Second Sight by Lynn Michaels
Originally published by Harlequin Temptation
Kindle Edition October 2010 by Lynn Michaels
This is paranormal light, one of my favorites of all my books. In case you were wondering.
Back cover blurb
Hope for the best, but expect the worst.
That's Richard Parker-Harris' outlook on life, so of course that's how he ends up -- broke and brokenhearted on his grandmother's doorstep. Again. Richard realizes this is getting to be a pattern, one he is determined to break.
Hopefully before Susan Cade, his stepsister Meredith's cousin, breaks his nose. Again. But it seems that's what he's headed for when Meredith invites him to Cicada Ranch, the horse farm she and Susan own in California, and he fails to recognize Susan. How could he? He hasn't seen her in eight years.
The ugly duckling Richard remembers has turned into a swan, a gorgeous redhead -- and she still has an uncanny knack for picking winners at the track. Richard needs money, but he wants Susan. More than he's ever wanted any woman.
Susan is hopelessly in love with him -- Richard the scoundrel, the wastrel -- the real ugly duckling. For once Richard vows to do the right thing and get out of Susan's life.
But love has other plans.
That's what Richard was afraid of, knowing Susan wanted him as much as he wanted her. And that he would, God help him, take her the next chance he got. Preferably after he took her to the track, but he wouldn't let that stop him.
The second thing that scared him was knowing he'd move heaven and hell to get her alone and out of her clothes at the earliest possible moment; the third was knowing what a son of a bitch he was for even thinking about doing the things he wanted to do to Susan unless he loved her. Which he didn't.
Which Susan knew as well as he did. Still, it took all her self-control once they'd said good night under her father's watchful eye, not to slip down the hall into the guest room two doors away, out of her pink pajamas and into Richard's bed.
More than she'd ever wanted anything Susan wanted Richard, but from experience she knew you could want something too much. As badly as she'd wanted to be an equine vet, the course work and internship had nearly killed her. The only thing that kept her in her room was knowing that as much as she loved Richard it probably would kill her when he walked out of her life -- more than likely two minutes after Meredith and Luke said "I do."
While Richard smoked himself into a headache, Susan paced her mostly white-and-brass bedroom. She feel asleep only minutes after he did, and woke with a start only slight ahead of him from a lushly erotic dream, tangled in eyelet sheets, and an hour late for rounds at Roundhouse. Susan occasionally overslept, Dr. Susan Cade, never. She fumbled for the beside phone and called Luke. He told her not to rush. So she didn't, just took a moody soak in her oversize bath tub.
Susan shaved her legs while Richard shaved his face. She dressed for work in jeans, a red-and-black flannel shirt over a black turtleneck and her trusty Dingo boots. Richard tugged an ecru cotton sweater over his head, stuck toilet paper on his chin and smoked his last cigarette.
Susan made her bed, resolving not to make a fool of herself over a man who would use her and leave her. She'd gotten over Richard before; she'd get over him again. Richard resolved to give up cigarettes and searched the ashtray for a butt worth smoking.
When the scream came, they both bolted for the kitchen. Susan hit the hallway as the guest room door opened and Richard appeared. They stopped and stared at each other.
Richard felt a pang at the tired smudges under Susan's eyes, wanted to press her cheek to his shoulder and rock her to sleep. Susan wanted to kiss the nick on his chin.
"Who screamed?" he asked.
"Consuella, probably," Susan replied. "She usually does when Dad come in with stable muck all over his boots."
Richard had no idea who moved first. Neither did Susan. One moment they were standing looking at each other, the next moment his arms were around her and his mouth was clamped over hers in a fierce kiss. Susan tasted like toothpaste and salvation; Richard like tobacco and need.
The tobacco was new, the need wasn't. It had always been there, a need so deep and so painful it hurt just to brush against. What frightened Susan into pushing him away was the realization that it was the need of a man now. Not a boy who'd wait to be invited, but a man capable of taking what she hadn't yet decided to give.
"This is wrong," she said, holding him at arm's length. "We don't like each other. We don't know each other. Not anymore. Not well enough for this."
"I think we've known each other plenty long enough for this," Richard replied. "I think this is what's been at the bottom of what's between us from the jump."
The same thing had occurred to Susan a long time ago. It was one of her favorite Richard fantasies. She had a million of them.
"I was twelve," Susan retorted, folding her arms. "I couldn't even spell sex."
"I was almost fifteen. I could spell it in six languages."
"I was a troglodyte. You said so yourself."
"When hormones rule your life looks don't matter."
He didn't mean it the way it sounded, but that's how Susan took it. Richard saw it in the flinch of her shoulders, the upward jerk of her chin a second before she spun away from him and stalked toward the kitchen.