Silhouette Desire #1356
Original release: March 2001
eBook reissue: May 2011
eBook ISBN #978-1-459-20666-3
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Wealthy, jaded playboy Dylan Russell had sought an isolated cabin in the woods to escape his fast-paced life and reconsider his future. He wanted solitude...but awoke to a woman in his bed! Nothing had prepared Dylan for the sight of his best friend's sister...or the sensual spark that embracing her ignited.

After a canceled project, publicist Jessica McGuire looked forward to days of relaxation. She never expected to encounter the man who had stirred feelings deep in her soul years ago. Stranded with her in a storm, Dylan beckoned her closer with his bedroom eyes. But would Jessica have to be content with only a few nights of passion when she yearned for his love for a lifetime?


Reviews (from original print release):

Romantic Times -- March 2001

"After a few bad months, a sexy broker heads to his friend's secluded cabin and wakes up in bed with his friend's sister. She is not amused and wants privacy, but she is soon STORMBOUND WITH A TYCOON. Shawna Delacorte's latest sizzles with two hot characters and an interesting storyline."

Rendezvous Reviews -- March 2001

"Wheeler-dealer playboy Dylan Russell is the last person Jessica McGuire needs to run into at her remote cottage. But Jessica's brother, Dylan's best friend, loaned [sic] his half of the getaway to Dylan and now a raging storm has them trapped there. As they get to know one another, each begins to feel a strong pull toward the other, even though they both are sure they are totally unsuited. The very realistic interactions between these characters make this book a great read."



Read G-rated Excerpt inside front cover
Read Excerpt #1 (G-rated)
Read Excerpt #2 (G-rated)
Read Excerpt #3 (G-rated)
Read Excerpt #4 (G-rated)


Inside Front Cover PG-excerpt:

Jessica McGuire didn't know how long she had been sleeping when something nudged her awake. She managed to open one eye enough to see the morning light of a stormy dawn and know that it was still raining. Then a strong arm curled around her waist, jolting her into full wakefulness. A body snuggled up against hers -- a naked body that was unmistakably male. A strange, naked, male body. In her bed.


G-Rated Excerpt #1


Jessica was so different from any other woman he had ever known. She did not hang on his every word, laugh at his jokes whether they were funny or not, jump to fulfill his every whim. In short, she made no effort to impress him or play up to his ego, and he was not sure exactly how to handle it. In time gone past he wouldn't have given it any more thought. He would have simply moved on to someone more receptive. But now...well, she had him confused. He was sure of one thing, though. He had to do something to counter her obviously negative opinion of him. But what?

As soon as the coffee was ready he poured himself a mug and took it into the living room. He opened the front door and stared out at the rain. The cold, damp air chilled him in spite of the coffee that heated the inside of his mouth and his throat. He had to find something he could do that would show Jessica he was not as out of place at the cabin or as inept as she seemed to think. Then his gaze fell on the firewood stacked neatly on the porch.

He glanced back at the cold fireplace. That was it. There was nothing like a warm, cozy fire to create a romantic mood. Or, in this case, at least a friendly mood that was devoid of the prevailing tension.

He could not stop the little grin that tugged at the corners of his mouth. They could pull chairs up close to the fire and drink their morning coffee in a setting conducive to conversation. He would be able to change her abject opinion of him. Yes, indeed. He was very pleased with himself and his plan.

When he had finished with the fireplace he went to the kitchen to retrieve his coffee mug. He called to Jessica when he heard her emerge from the bathroom. "Coffee's ready. Do you take anything in it or is black okay?" He stood poised with the pot in his hand waiting for her answer.

"Oh, my God! What have you done?" Jessica's cry of alarm filled the air as much as the smell of smoke that quickly replaced the aroma of fresh coffee. It billowed out of the fireplace and into the living room. Her first thought said the cabin was on fire, but before she could act on that assumption she realized it was something else.

Dylan charged across the room toward the fireplace while shouting instructions. "Open the front door and a couple of windows to draw the smoke out." He snatched the largest logs that had not yet caught fire and dropped them on the hearth. He used the poker and scattered the burning kindling around the fireplace to break up the fire's fuel. Then he grabbed the bucket of sand he had spotted on the front porch and spread it over what was left of the fire to smother it.

Jessica stepped out to the front porch and took a deep breath of the crisp fresh air. She was not sure exactly what to think. It was obvious to her that he had stupidly left the damper in the chimney closed -- too much high living and not enough practical experience with real life. She furrowed her brow in thought as another realization hit her. He had also taken immediate charge of the emergency and handled it with calm efficiency.

She set her jaw into a firm line and shook her head to clear her mind of the unwanted, compromising thought. After all, she had every right to be angry with him for enveloping her cabin in smoke and causing a potential disaster. She stubbornly refused to allow any contradictory thoughts to cloud the issue. She stepped back inside the living room, paused for a moment, then made her way over to the fireplace where Dylan had busied himself cleaning up the mess.

The morning had been filled with more than enough tension, and she was not sure exactly what to think or feel about the events that had already transpired. She knew she had been a little harsh, and possibly even unfair, but she didn't seem to be able to stop herself. It was as if some sort of self-defense mechanism had automatically kicked in to protect her from the charms of this handsome and far-too-sexy scoundrel.


G-rated Excerpt #2:


Jessica knew she needed to say what was on her mind before she totally succumbed to the suggestion of untold pleasures hidden in the depth of Dylan's eyes and behind that smile.

She turned her gaze away from him preferring to focus her attention on an inanimate object. She chose the table lamp. A nervous tremor made its way through her body. "I...uh...I've been giving this some thought. Before anything else happens, we need to settle the problem of who is going to use the cabin. I do understand that Justin promised the cabin to you based on the fact that I was supposed to be in New York, but it should be obvious to you that the circumstances have changed. I'm not in New York, And...well, what with the electricity being out and all..."

She drew in a steadying breath in an attempt to quell her rising anxiety. "Well, I just think you'd be more comfortable at the lodge. It's only a few miles from here, down on the mail road."

"No, I wouldn't be more comfortable at the lodge."

"What?" She snapped her head in his direction as the shock spread through her body. His words caught her totally off guard. His unwavering gaze provided no hint of what he was thinking, yet it set her anxieties on edge. She stared at the lamp again, unable to hold the directness of his eye contact. There was nothing tentative or unsure about his attitude or the physical stance of his body language.

She forced her words, even though she knew they sounded less firm than when she started. "The lodge is very nice. I'm also sure it will be much more to your liking than being here without any activities or other people to socialize with."

He folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the wall. His voice was calm and very matter-of-fact, his words firm without being argumentative. "This cabin is only half yours. The other half belongs to Justin. You informed him you would be in New York for three weeks. So, taking you at your word, he promised use of the cabin to me. Since you're the one who showed up without checking first, I believe I have the right to stay."

She grabbed the fireplace poker and jabbed at the remnants of the morning's disastrous fire in an effort to play for time as she carefully chose her words. She didn't want to get into an argument, but she wanted to make her position clear. She turned to face him.

"Whether I'm supposed to be in New York or not isn't the point. The fact is that I'm not in New York...I'm here." She caught the edge surrounding her voice and took a steadying breath in hopes of smoothing it out. "I'm truly sorry this unfortunate situation had to occur, but I really do feel that the lodge will be far more to your liking. This cabin certainly can't be the kind of place where you would usually stay. This type of isolation must be quite different from your normal routine."

She wrinkled her brow in concentration for a moment. "In fact, I can't imagine why you would want to stay here at all."

A spark of anger flared with his words. "My normal routine has its times of isolation." He paused and took a deep breath before muttering, "But I'm sure you wouldn't understand that."

She saw something in his eyes and heard it in a brief moment in his voice. A hint of vulnerability? As quickly as it materialized it quickly disappeared, to be replaced by a facade of calm control. It was just a glimpse, but enough to tell her that there was more going on inside his head than he was saying or willing to show. What was he hiding? Then another thought occurred to her. Rather than hiding something, could he be hiding from someone?

She had no idea what he had specifically been doing over the years, only what her brother had told her. Perhaps his "business deals" were really scams to fleece unsuspecting people out of their money. A sick churning in the pit of her stomach told her just how much she hoped that wasn't true. She studied him for a moment. He looked so calm and collected, as if nothing could ruffle him. She wished she felt as in control as he looked.


G-rated Excerpt #3:


She watched him a moment longer as he stared ahead blankly, not acknowledging her comments. She carefully measured her words, wanting to know yet not wanting to antagonize him with her prying. "I still don't understand why you insisted on staying here rather than at the lodge."

He turned his gaze on her, sending a little shiver of anxiety through her body. She wasn't sure what to make of his expression. It was as if he had chosen to no longer accommodate anything other than his own thoughts and concerns. A new level of uncertainty rose inside her, but she refused to allow it to deter her from her goal of finding out why Dylan Russell had shown up out of the clear blue to invade her personal sanctuary.

"There isn't anything here that wouldn't be more comfortable and convenient for you if you were at the lodge." She looked at him questioningly, waiting for a reply.

Something flashed through his eyes, but it disappeared before she could read it. Could it have been anger? She shifted her weight uncomfortably under the security of his unrelenting stare. Had she pushed him too far? A hint of trepidation shivered through her body.

"I don't mean to be rude, but I don't believe my reasons are really any of your business." Dylan turned his gaze away from her, once again seemingly staring out at nothing in particular. "Besides, since neither of us can leave it's a moot point."

Jessica bristled at his attitude. "Quite the contrary...I believe your having climbed into my bed makes it very much my business."

The second the words were out of her mouth Jessica wished she hadn't said them. She vividly recalled the moment Dylan's arm slipped around her waist and the way his body nestled against hers. The sensual heat produced by the memory quickly spread through her body until it touched every part of her existence.

She hated not having any better control over her thoughts and feelings than what had been happening to her since the moment she opened her eyes that morning. She gathered her resolve. Absurd, that's what it was. She was not about to allow her hormones to dictate to her, regardless of how sexy and desirable she found this man.

"The bed was empty when I climbed into it." He forced a lightness to his voice, attempting to take the edge off the tenuous situation. "So technically you crawled into bed with me." The memory of those early-morning minutes spent snuggled together in a warm bed washed over him. There had been no intentional intimacy between them. It was all very natural and comfortable. It felt very right, not at all the same as with other women over the years.


"Justin is my best friend." A lump formed in his throat. A rush of sadness filled him as the remaining words escaped in a quiet hush, so low that they were almost inaudible. "Perhaps my only true friend." He chased the moment of melancholy away before it overwhelmed him.

He leaned forward until he was within inches of her face. He wanted so much to kiss her, to taste the delicious-looking mouth that had been driving him crazy all day. The uncertainty that had earlier invaded his consciousness once again returned to plague him.

"How about you, Jessica?" He succumbed to the urge as he brushed his lips lightly against hers. He didn't dare allow the gesture to linger in the form of a true kiss, even though it was what he wanted to do. "Are you my friend, too?"

He saw the same bewilderment mirrored in her eyes that clouded his own senses. Had he just made a colossal mistake? He had never experienced quite that reaction to a woman. She was the type with which he had no experience -- honest, self-reliant, capable and down-to-earth -- qualities he found very appealing. It was more than merely wanting to get a beautiful woman into bed. It was so much more. What was happening was as frightening to him as it was intriguing.

And lurking in the middle of his physical attraction to her was a growing awareness of how easy it would be for the physical desires to turn into an emotional involvement...something he knew all too well had to eventually lead to some sort of a commitment. He had been down that road before. He led with his heart and it had taken him all the way to the altar, then kicked him in the teeth and left him a member of the walking wounded. It had been a painful lesson, and one he had carried with him all these years. It was an experience he didn't want to repeat.

Then, as if on cue, that vacant spot in his life he wanted to fill jabbed at his awareness, quickly followed by an invisible shiver of panic. Another roadblock flew in his face in the form of a nagging reminder that she was more than just another woman. Even though she was no longer an underage teenager, she was still Justin's sister. He already had enough guilt to wrestle with over what had happened to Stanley and Rose Clarkson because of him. He didn't need to further compound his self-created upheaval. But all those good intentions didn't shake his thoughts about her or lessen the possibilities that he knew would present themselves as the evening unfolded.

For the first time in his adult life he didn't know what to do or how to proceed where a woman was concerned. Perhaps he had already done too much. He tentatively reached out and framed her face with his hands. Her slightly parted lips seemed to be beckoning him forward in spite of the wariness in her eyes and the caution blanketing her features. He closed his eyes for a moment, took a calming breath, then backed off.


G-rated Excerpt #4


The light from the fire bathed her face in a soft golden glow and reflected in the depth of her eyes. He had never seen anything so captivating and beautiful in his entire life. The sight literally took his breath away, leaving him momentarily speechless. He had never wanted anyone as much as he wanted her at that moment.

Panic squeezed his insides. Logic screamed at him to go upstairs and lock himself in Justin's bedroom before he did something foolish -- something he knew he would end up regretting. His desires overruled his anxieties, effectively managing to shove his panic aside. He picked up a couple of the large floor pillows stacked against the wall and placed them in front of the hearth. He took the wine glass from her hand and set it on the mantel next to his.

"I believe you were telling me about your public relations work." The huskiness that accompanied his words left him uneasy -- a huskiness he feared would belie his outer calm. He took her hand and gave it a gentle tug.

"I think we'd be cozier over here, closer to the fire." Was he asking for more trouble than he already had? Deep down inside he knew the answer, but chose to ignore it.

"I don't know if that's a good idea..." Her words trailed off before she could finish what she was trying to say. He coaxed her to her feet and escorted her the few steps to the floor pillows. The warmth of his touch traveled from her hand, up her arm and spread through her body. It was the type of sensual heat that radiated from the inside, one far more intense than could ever be generated by a fireplace. She feared what the night would bring, but was helpless to resist. She had allowed herself to become trapped in the pull of his magnetic sex appeal.

As soon as she was seated on the pillow he retrieved the wine glasses from the mantel. He handed one of them to her, but seemed somewhat distracted as he settled himself on the other pillow. He furrowed his brow in concentration, took a sip from his glass and stared into the fire as if lost in thought. She studied his profile, the worried expression on his face and his tensed muscles. Something was troubling him. She had seen it earlier, and now she saw it again just as the touches of vulnerability had shown from time to time. Perhaps his life wasn't as charmed as she had assumed.

"Are you okay?"

He glanced in her direction, a hint of confusion covering his features. "Am I okay? Certainly. Why do you ask?"

"You seem...well, sort of preoccupied. Is..." She wasn't sure about how to proceed. "Is there something wrong?" She hesitated, then cautiously asked, "Something you'd like to talk about?" A sadness in his eyes touched a spot deep inside her, a poignancy that connected on a very human level, bypassing the sensual pull and creating a surprising feeling of closeness. She touched his arm and ventured a tentative comment. "I'm a very good listener."

Dylan turned his gaze on her, once again capturing her essence and pulling her very soul into the depths of his eyes. She swallowed hard, but didn't look away. A troubled expression covered his face, a hesitation that said he was turning her words over in his mind. He glanced at the fire for a moment. When he returned his attention to her, all the uncertainty she saw just seconds earlier had been replaced by his easy manner and smooth charm.

"Why would you think something was wrong? What could be better than this? We have a nice fire, a bottle of good wine..." The practiced smile faded. The warmth of his touch spread across her cheek, then his lips were on hers. It was not another quick brushing as before. This was a kiss, a very real kiss that sent a wave of excitement crashing through her body. This was wrong...totally and completely wrong. He was the wrong man. What they were doing was wrong. So why did it feel so very right?