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𝐼 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑎𝑓𝑖𝑎 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑢𝑛𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑒𝑑𝑙𝑦 𝑔𝑜𝑡 𝑚𝑦 𝑤𝑖𝑠ℎ,
𝑜𝑛𝑙𝑦 𝑖𝑡’𝑠 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑠𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑛 𝐼 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑖𝑚𝑎𝑔𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑑.
𝐼’𝑣𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐼𝑟𝑖𝑠ℎ.
𝐴𝑛 𝑎𝑟𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑑 𝑚𝑎𝑟𝑟𝑖𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑛𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑖𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒.
𝐼 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑛𝑜 𝑐ℎ𝑜𝑖𝑐𝑒.
𝑀𝑦 𝑓𝑎𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑘𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑚𝑒 𝑖𝑓 𝐼 𝑟𝑒𝑓𝑢𝑠𝑒.
𝐼𝑛 𝑡𝑤𝑜 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑤𝑒𝑒𝑘𝑠, 𝐶𝑜𝑛𝑛𝑒𝑟 𝑅𝑒𝑖𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑏𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑚𝑦 ℎ𝑢𝑠𝑏𝑎𝑛𝑑.
𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑢𝑡ℎ𝑙𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝐼𝑟𝑖𝑠ℎ𝑚𝑎𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑛𝑠 𝑚𝑦 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑜𝑥𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑠 𝑚𝑦 𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑠𝑒𝑠.
𝐻𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑠 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝐼 ℎ𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑦𝑒𝑡 𝑠𝑢𝑚𝑚𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑚𝑦 𝑑𝑎𝑟𝑘𝑒𝑠𝑡 𝑐𝑟𝑎𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠.
𝐼 𝑐𝑎𝑛’𝑡 𝑒𝑠𝑐𝑎𝑝𝑒 ℎ𝑖𝑚.
𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑠𝑡 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑖𝑠, 𝐼’𝑚 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝐼 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑡𝑜.
𝐵𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒 𝑚𝑦 𝑙𝑖𝑓𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑑𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑟, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝐶𝑜𝑛𝑛𝑒𝑟 𝑚𝑎𝑦 𝑏𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑜𝑛𝑙𝑦 𝑚𝑎𝑛 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑠𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑚𝑒.
𝑨 𝒅𝒂𝒓𝒌 𝒓𝒐𝒎𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒂𝒅𝒖𝒍𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒔, 𝑺𝒊𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝑽𝒐𝒘𝒔 𝒎𝒂𝒚 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒃𝒆 𝒔𝒖𝒊𝒕𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒆 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒔𝒆𝒏𝒔𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝒂𝒖𝒅𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆𝒔. 𝑩𝒖𝒕 𝒊𝒇 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒎𝒆𝒏 𝒑𝒐𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒂 𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒂𝒎𝒚 𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒅 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒂 𝒈𝒖𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒆𝒅 𝒉𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒊𝒍𝒚 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒂𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒓, 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒎𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒂𝒓𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒅 𝒎𝒂𝒓𝒓𝒊𝒂𝒈𝒆 𝒓𝒐𝒎𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒔𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒔𝒇𝒚 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚 𝒄𝒓𝒂𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈!
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His cool stare held me captive, eyes inches from mine. “Is your father going to be a problem?”
My lips parted in surprise.
I’d expected innuendo and manipulation. Such a direct line of questioning hit at the very heart of my worries and unsteadied me.
I shook my head and tried to dart beneath his arm. Conner wedged his body in front of the door, blocking my path completely and bringing us chest to chest. I sucked in a shock of air, then narrowed my eyes defensively.
He wasn’t remotely unsettled by my display of irritation. If anything, his intensity only darkened further in the dimly lit basement hallway—a villainous storm threatening to crumble me to my foundations.
“Protective is one thing. I get the sense this is more, and I think I ought to know if it’s going to be a problem.” His eyes narrowed a fraction, the difference between tension and savage ferocity in one tiny twitch of a muscle. “He ever hurt you?” The words were deadly calm.
Oh God. Why was he doing this?
He needed to stop asking questions, and I needed to stop thinking his questions meant he cared. This was all probably about control and power, not me. I had to shut it down. Now. The best way to accomplish that was not to look like a scared little girl.
Taking a small step back, I opened my clutch and pulled out a pen, then took his hand in mine, palm up. It’s so much wider than I expected. Rough and solid muscle. Hands that knew hard work, like squeezing the life out of an enemy.
I mentally scolded myself to focus and wrote two letters across the full surface of his palm.
Releasing him, I peered up in challenge. Conner stepped forward, placing his leg between my thighs and swiveling us until my back was against the wall next to the door. I didn’t squirm or respond, knowing I couldn’t show doubt or weakness if I was going to shut down his questions.
“Not so fragile as they implied, are you?” he purred above me.
I took his tie in my hand, pulling him slowly lower until our noses almost touched, and shook my head slowly side to side. His hands came to rest on either side of my head as he brought his cheek to mine, his hint of stubble creating a delicious friction against my skin.
“Good, because I’m not remotely gentle.” The words were a black promise, raw and demanding and utterly intoxicating.
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Read the First Chapter HERE!
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Jill is a Texan, born and raised. She manages the hectic social calendars for her three active children and occasionally spends an evening with her dashing husband. Aside from being an author and a mom, she’s a travel junkie and loves to read when she is not lost in her own stories.
With Jill’s books, you can count on confident heroines, plenty of steamy tension, and deliciously assertive leading men. There are no guarantees in life, but with her books, you know everything will work out in the end. However, a perfect ending would not be nearly as satisfying without a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Jill loves to add plenty of adversity in her stories, creating unforgettably dynamic characters and sneaky plot twists you will never see coming.
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