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Authors: Rebecca York

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“Raise your hips a little. Let me . . .”

A high sound escaped her throat as he eased himself halfway inside her. Going absolutely still, he watched her closely, steeling himself to stop. But she gave him a tremulous smile, and the smile turned to triumph as she tilted her hips and took him deep inside. For a trembling moment she looked overwhelmed. Then she began to move again, slowly at first, then driving in a frantic rhythm that captured him, sent him up and up toward the heavens, into the heat of the sun. His shout of satisfaction mingled with her cries as she followed him into the heart of the fire.

His arms went around her, clasping her tightly, holding her to him, knowing that he would never let her go.

When she raised her head, her eyes were shimmering. “Thank you. Not just for the pleasure. For the healing.”

His throat was so tight that he could only answer with a nod.

She slipped down beside him, cuddled against him, and his arm came up to cradle her close.

“So now you can’t back out on the marriage part,” he said, more gruffly than he intended. “We can do it over the comm lines, with the records office in Spenserville.”

“Rushing me into a signed contract?”

“Before you have time for second thoughts.”

“You’ve already had my second thought—and third and fourth and countless others,” she murmured. “I remember when my father sat me down and explained why I had to stop following you around. Until then, I didn’t understand much about ‘proper relations’ between Farlians and Dorre. But my father made it very clear.” She sighed. “Still, I couldn’t stay away from you. That night when you found me in the garden, I ached to tell you to wait for me, so we could go off and be alone. I ached to be with you—to do all the things my father told me I could never do until I was married to a man of the proper rank—and race. But I understood that being with you would only make things impossible for both of us if anyone found out. So I walked away. Now I know what I was giving up.”

“Oh, Kasi.”

“After the soldiers—” Her voice hitched. “After the soldiers, I thought I could never let a man touch me again. But then, I started imagining someone holding me in his arms, comforting me, making me feel whole again—and the man was always you. Never anyone but you. So that’s your answer. Yes, I want to marry you. I want to know you belong to me.”

“Always,” he breathed before kissing her, a long, sweet kiss of longing and wishes fulfilled.

When it was over, he looked down at her and vowed, “From now on, this place belongs to both of us. It’s
home. And I’m going to keep you safe here.” Then his face contorted. “But I’ve got to figure out where to get the money to buy more defenses.”

She gave him an uncertain look. “Maybe we don’t need more money. Maybe we just need more people.”

His eyebrows drew together in a puzzled frown as he watched her eyes take on an excited glow.

“When I saw the estate,” she said, “I started dreaming—about refugees living here. Orphans, Dorre and Farlians who’ve lost their homes. And good people who could make a community where all of us would be safe.” She stopped, flushed as she anxiously studied his face. “Maybe it’s a bad idea.”

“No!” With the adrenaline of excitement flooding his veins and his mind suddenly alive with ideas, he said, “It’s a wonderful idea! You’re right—children will accept people for what they are. And maybe some of the men I met in the hospital will want to join us. Men who never want another war. I’ll send for a few of them first so we’ll have a defensive force.”

She gave him a tremulous smile that touched him to the depths of his soul.

“The war was a horrible thing,” he said thickly. “But it brought you to me.”

Wordlessly, she nodded.

He pulled her close. “I came here not caring whether I lived or died. Now, I’m going to thank Atherdan for every day I have with you—and for every day we can make a difference, at least, in our little corner off this damned, screwed up planet.”

She stroked his damp hair back from his forehead. “Oh, Link, I know why I fell in love with you. You’ve always had vision and courage. You were a leader even when you were a boy.”

“I forgot who I was,” he muttered. “But you’ve made me remember.”

And he clasped her tightly, the most precious thing in a world that had turned, overnight, from dark to light.



Thank you for purchasing Hero’s Welcome.. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I loved writing it.

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If you enjoyed
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Rebecca York delivers page-turning suspense.

—Nora Roberts


Rebecca York never fails to deliver. Her strong characterizations, imaginative plots and sensuous love scenes have made fans of thousands of romance, romantic suspense and thriller readers.

—Chassie West


Rebecca York will thrill you with romance, kill you with danger and chill you with the supernatural.

—Patricia Rosemoor


[Rebecca York] is a real luminary of contemporary series romance

—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World


Rebecca York’s writing is fast-paced, suspenseful, and loaded with tension.

—Jayne Ann Krentz



A USA Today Best-Selling Author, Rebecca York is a 2011 recipient of the Romance Writers of America Centennial Award. Her career has focused on romantic suspense, often with paranormal elements.

Her 16 Berkley books and novellas include her nine-book werewolf “Moon” series. KILLING MOON was a launch book for the Berkley Sensation imprint. She has written over 50 books for Harlequin Intrigue, many in her popular 43 Light Street series.

She has written for Harlequin, Berkley, Dell, Tor, Carina Press, Silhouette, Kensington, Running Press, Tudor, Pageant Books, and Scholastic.

Her many awards include two Rita finalist books. She has two Career Achievement awards from Romantic Times: for Series Romantic Suspense and for Series Romantic Mystery. And her Peregrine Connection series won a Lifetime Achievement Award for Romantic Suspense Series.

Many of her novels have been nominated for or won RT Reviewers Choice awards. In addition, she has won a Prism Award, several New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf awards and numerous other chapter awards.



Rebecca York loves to hear from readers!

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Copyright Information

Published by Light Street Press

Copyright © 2013 by Ruth Glick

Cover design by Earthly Charms


All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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Table of Contents
BOOK: Hero's Welcome
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