Stone Cold Surrender

By: Brenda Jackson


T he woman had a death grip on his thigh. The pain was

almost unbearable but her hands touching him felt so damn good.

No longer satisfied with looking at her out of the corner of his eye, Stone Westmoreland slowly glanced over to stare at the woman, studying every single element about her. She was strapped in her seat as if the plane would crash unless she grabbed hold of something. Her eyes were shut tight

and her breathing was irregular and it reminded him of the breathing pattern of a woman who’d just experienced the

most satisfying orgasm. Just thinking about her touch

aroused him….

He leaned back in his seat as the plane leveled off in the sky and closed his own eyes. With back-to-back book

deadlines, it had been a long time since he’d been with a woman and a mere touch from her had sent his libido into overdrive.

He opened his eyes and took a shaky breath, hoping the

month he would spend at his cousin’s ranch in Montana,

getting his thoughts together for a new book, would do him some good. At thirty-three, he and Durango were only a few months apart in age and had always been close. Then

there was his uncle Corey who lived not far from Durango

on a ranch high up in the mountains. Corey Westmoreland was his father’s youngest brother who, at fifty-four, had

retired as a park ranger after over thirty years of service.

Stone had fond memories of the summers he and his one sister, four brothers and six male cousins had shared

visiting Uncle Corey. They had gained a great appreciation for the outdoors, as well as for wildlife. Their uncle always took his job as a park ranger seriously and his love for the wilderness had been contagious.

The one thing that stood out in Stone’s mind about his uncle was that he never planned to marry. In fact, other than the

women in the family, no other woman’s foot had ever

touched the soil of Corey’s mountain. His uncle always said it was because he was so ornery and set in his ways that

marriage wasn’t for him. He much preferred living the life of a bachelor.

Stone’s thoughts shifted to his brothers. This time last year all of them had been happy-go-lucky, enjoying every single minute of playing the field. Then the next thing you know,

Dare, the eldest, got married and less than six months later, last month to be exact, his brother Thorn was marching

down the aisle. Everyone in the family began ribbing Stone, saying since he was the third Westmoreland brother he

would probably be next.

And he had been quick to tell them that hell would freeze

over first.

He enjoyed being a bachelor too much to fall for any type of marriage trap. And although he would be the first to admit that the women his brothers had married were the best and more than worthy of their undying love and affection, he had decided a long time ago, just like Uncle Corey, that

marriage wasn’t for him. Not that he considered himself

ornery or set in his ways; he just did not want to be

responsible for anyone other than himself. He enjoyed the freedom to come and go whenever he pleased, and being a national, award-winning, bestselling author of action-

thriller novels afforded him that luxury. He traveled all over the world to do research, and whenever he did date it was on his time and no one else’s. For him women were a

necessity, but only at certain times, and usually it wasn’t

difficult to find one who agreed to an affair on his terms.

To be completely honest, Stone had no issues with the

concept of marriage, he just wasn’t ready to take the plunge himself. He’d made a decision long ago to remain single

after watching a good friend, who was also a bestselling

author, become hopelessly in love and besotted with a

woman. After getting married, Mark had decided that

writing was not a priority in his life anymore. His focus had switched. He much preferred spending time with his wife

instead of sitting at a computer all day. It was as if Mark

had become Samson who’d gotten a hair cut. Once

married, he had been zapped of his identity.

The thought that he could lose his desire to write over

something called love totally unnerved Stone. Since

publishing his first book at twenty-three, writing had

become his life and he didn’t intend for that to change.

Doing so would mean losing control and the idea of losing that type of control on his life was something he couldn’t handle.

Stone decided to check out the woman sitting beside him once more. Even with her eyes closed, he immediately

liked what he saw. Shoulder-length dark brown hair and

skin the color of dark coffee. She had a nice set of full lips and her nose was just the right fit for her face. She had long lashes and her cheeks were high. If she was wearing