Description: a sensual contemporary Western novella in the Hawk Point Romances series, released January 15, 2014 by Whiskey Creek Press LLC/Torrid Books
She’ll do anything to get her way.
Tall, elegant and beautiful, Emma Thorpe has wanted a baby for years. The yearning for a child occupies all her thought, her time, her effort, and any money she and her husband can scrape up for medical intervention. After trying and failing to conceive, the solution that finally comes to her is to leave her husband and hope to find a man—any man—capable of fulfilling her deepest desire.
Big, handsome Clay Thorpe isn’t the kind of man to let his wife just wander away. It takes a few months of Emma’s absence from his bed to devise a plan, but he’s determined. Eventually, Clay lures Emma home with a convoluted strategy only he could concoct, involving an antique diamond ring, sex three times a day, and...a turkey baster?Caution: This is a work of fiction. Please don’t attempt duplicating Clay’s methods!
She forced herself to slide open the glass doors in the rear of the display case and begin taking out the rings he requested. One by one, the lovely old boxes of velvet with satin linings came out, royal blue, deep purple, Valentine red. One by one she slowly lined them up beside the jumble of chains, taking her time and letting him consider. One by one, he silently debated and then shook his head no. Square-cut amethyst in platinum? No. Oval pink diamond in silver? No. Marquise-cut black onyx surrounded by brilliant-cut diamonds in white gold? No. The rings she chose got progressively older and more expensive. Heavy, with curlicues and much hand work, the vintage pieces were as beautiful on the back as they were on the side meant to be admired when worn. Their beauty didn’t seem to affect Clay any. He rejected them all.
Really, Emma was astounded. What did Clay Thorpe know about antique jewelry? How could he just shake his head negatively at all her pretty wares? “Maybe you would find what you’re looking for at the mall,” she suggested with a touch of asperity. He had heard her disparage the chain jewelers more than once and would know she was denigrating his taste. But in her opinion, industrial grade diamonds used on saw blades would be good enough for any new woman Clay was considering letting take her place.
“You haven’t showed me everything you’ve got, Emma,” he accused. “You’re holding back the best.”
Could he actually be referring indirectly to their situation? Would he dare accuse her? Up until now not a word of denunciation had passed between them. They had steadfastly refused to cast stones. But now that he’d found someone else, was the blame game going to begin?
His finger touched the glass. “That one. I want to see that one.”
She blew out a breath. He would. Emma felt her shoulders sag. He would ask to see the one piece in the entire store she was reluctant to part with. Despite the bills steadily mounting now that she lived on her own, she had hoped to hang onto the ring until her financial situation improved. Until she could take it home and admire it and keep it for herself. Over the years she had become almost inured to giving up beautiful, priceless things, things that she appreciated but couldn’t afford for herself. It was an unpredictable business, antiques dealer. Most of the time she made little money; sometimes she made a lot on a single item. She loved so much of what she bought, or else stocked on consignment for others, but the whole idea was to sell them. Not to have them for her own. Yet there were just those few certain pieces that cried out to be possessed and loved by her alone.
She could feel Clay’s eyes on her, watching and assessing as she continued to hesitate. At last she brought out the ring and set the box on the counter. It was truly an extraordinary diamond, a round solitaire with a weight of almost a carat and a half, surrounded by smaller diamonds set in a platinum linear Art Deco design. Even in the poor light from the hanging ceiling fixtures of the shop and the dim autumn light struggling to penetrate the front windows, the ring sparkled, bending and refracting and reflecting what little light was available, in a remarkable demonstration of a long dead and forgotten master gem-cutter and ‑setter’s talent.
Clay sucked in a breath. Even Clay, who would be the first to admit he knew little of truly valuable antique jewelry, had to appreciate this amazing ring.
“Put it on for me, Emma. Let me see what it looks like.”
“Clay.” She tried to forestall him. “This is a very expensive piece.”
“Well, I figured. Since you didn’t want to show it to me.” She caught his eyes glinting with repressed humor again. “Come on, cooperate with me. I’ve seen your financials, remember. I doubt if you’re doing much more business than you ever were. You can probably use the money from a big sale. Let me see what it looks like on your hand.”
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