September Book of the Month

    A sizzling excerpt from When I'm With You, Book 2 in Beth Kery's captivating Because You Are Mine series.

    When he returned a few minutes later alone, Elise still stood next to the bar, her chin up, her carriage held every bit as proud and erect as her aristocratic ancestors, her gaze on him wary. He walked toward her, unsure if he wanted to shove her into the back of a cab like he just had Mario, shake her for her foolishness, or turn her over his knee and punish her ass for the infraction of peering into his private world.

    “What did you do with him?” she asked shakily when Lucien stalked toward her, his fierce, gray-eyed gaze causing her to quail inwardly, even though she didn’t show it. She understood what a potential threat Lucien Sauvage was. He could handle a drunk like Mario in his sleep. Elise knew of his athleticism, not to mention his years of experience in maintaining peace and the law in his popular, luxurious restaurants and hotels across the world. Many times organized-crime elements had tried to get a foothold in his establishments and failed, thanks to a combination of Lucien’s acute intelligence and raw power.

    “I put him in a cab. Now—what to do with you?” he asked, his gaze dropping over her.

    Her nipples tightened beneath a stare that was fire and ice at once. Her spine stiffened; her throat froze. The truth was still ricocheting around her skull: Lucien Sauvage owned Fusion. She’d unknowingly put her future in the hands of a man who had rejected her.

    And nobody rejected her.

    Well, hardly anybody, at least when she wanted otherwise. She’d definitely wanted “otherwise” with Lucien. Just my luck. Of all the restaurants and gin joints in towns all over the world, she’d had to walk into his, she thought with a panicked sense of amusement.

    “You’re going to do the only thing you can do with me,” she replied, her voice cool enough for someone who was playing the poker game of a lifetime with a crap hand. It was a mark of their shared past—their onetime friendship—that they spoke English to each other. Both of their mothers were English, their fathers French. It was a commonality they shared, a small intimacy that used to seem significant to a fourteen-year-old girl who craved the feeling of closeness to a beautiful young man who forever seemed unattainable to her. “You’re going to have to let me fill in as Fusion’s chef now that you’ve made such a mess of things with Mario.”

    He blinked and his expression went flat. “What are you rambling about? Are you drunk?”

    Anger bubbled up in her chest. “I had one glass of wine all night,” she said honestly. She noticed his sarcastic glance at her brandy snifter on the bar. “Mario handed it to me; I took it. Lucien, what are you doing here?” she asked again, her curiosity about him trumping her worry about her future. “You disappeared from Paris over a year ago. None of your employees in Paris will say where you are. My mother spoke to yours recently. Even Sophia doesn’t know where you are. She’s miserable with worry.”

    “Right,” he said sardonically. “My mother is sick to death at the idea of me not touching all that money she wants for herself ever since my father has been locked up in prison.”

    Elise blinked. He had a point. She had heard he was being strangely stubborn and elusive about accepting his ancestral fortune.

    “If you tell a soul you saw me here, I’ll make you pay, Elise.”

    Quiet. Succinct. Completely believable.

    Her heart leapt into overdrive. He’d paused a few feet away from her. She had to stretch her neck back slightly to see his face and hoped he didn’t notice her pulse throbbing at her throat. He struck her as even larger than she remembered— tall, lean, hard, and supremely formidable. He’d cut his dark hair since she’d last seen him, wearing it in a short, very sexy shake-out style that emphasized his masculine, chiseled features and an effortless sense of masculine grace. She’d always had a desire to run her fingers through that soft-looking, thick hair . . . wantonly fill her palms with it. He’d grown a very trim goatee since then, too. He wore jeans and a buttoned ivory cotton shirt, the color along with his silvery-gray eyes creating a striking contrast to smooth, caramel-hued skin. Mario wasn’t the first to refer to Lucien as a devil. Men said it with bitter envy. Women said it with covetous lust.

    When I'm With You is out in paperback and ebook on 3rd September 2013.