A woman and child in danger teaches Nick life is worth living.
ALL SHE WANTS IS TO LIVE HER LIFE
Abused, Sara Sheridan finds the courage to escape her husband. She has no interest in getting mixed up with another alpha, attitude-laden male. Especially with her ex hot on her trail.
ALL HE CRAVES IS PEACE AND QUIET
Marine, Nick Kelley prefers solitude, away from the memories haunting him. So what is it about his reticent neighbor and her child that tempts him to give it up?
UNTIL LOVE GETS IN THE WAY
Nick and Sara’s growing attraction leads them down a dangerous path as her ex-husband closes in on the new life she’s made for her daughter and threatens to blow it all apart.
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Nick Kelley spent years working as a dog handler in the U.S. Marine Corps. His sole focus, to keep his team alive in the midst of chaos. When he fails to notice an IED in time and loses most of his teammates, Nick shuts down. It takes meeting and falling in love with a woman in danger to make him realize life’s worth living.
Her cell phone rang out from where she’d left it on the coffee table when her and Nick…stopping that thought in its tracks, she escaped his hold to answer. It was probably Annie calling to let Jessica say goodnight.
Swallowing rapidly to conceal her tears, she picked up, “Hello, peanut.”
“You still care, how refreshing.” Her husband’s pompous tone in her ear had her sliding in a boneless heap onto the sofa behind her.
“What do you want, Tom? How did you get this number?” The sudden silence in her home was deafening. Unable to help herself, her gaze locked on Nick, begging for support. He hurried over and sank down beside her, his warm palm settling over her thigh. She turned the phone to speaker with shaking fingers and tried to regulate the tremor in her tone. “I would have thought you’d have figured out by now I want nothing to do with you. It’s over between us. Leave us alone. Please, Tom.” She couldn’t help it. Entreaty filled her voice. Even after being away from him for this long, the sound of his silky voice still brought frissons of anxiety skating over her skin.
“I think you must be confused, my dear. Since when do you get to give any commands in this relationship? I’ve missed you, Sara. It’s time for you to quit this insanity and come home.”
“That’s not going to happen. The only thing you’ve missed is your precious file. I’ve read it, Tom. If I turn it over to the authorities, you’re going to jail. You and I both know it. All I want is for you to give me custody of Jessica, and a divorce. In return, I’ll give you back your precious flash drive. Take the deal; you won’t like the alternative.” Her teeth threatened to chatter themselves right out of her head as shock began to set in. She wrapped her arms around her body. She was cold, so very cold.
“Au contraire, I think the best would be if you did as I God-damn asked for once in your stupid, insipid little life.” The octaves rose, his power indisputable even through the airwaves, had Sara shrinking back as if he were right there before her. “I’ve asked you nice, but as per usual, you aren’t listening, so I’ll let someone else convince you to pay attention. I plan to win, Sara.”
“Don’t tell him anything, I’m so sor…”
“Oh my God, Fiona. Are you okay? Fiona!” Sara sobbed. Then in the background they heard a slap, and a choked off cry along with the wounded screech of a chair overturning and hitting the floor. Hard.
Tom’s manic laugh rang through the room. “Sorry my dear, she’s temporarily incapacitated. Your pretty friend was very forthcoming with your number when she realized just how much I’ve been missing you. We’ve been spending a little time together, getting to know each other. She’s quite the firebrand, must be all that red hair.”
“What have you done? You monster. Fiona did nothing to you. Let her go, Tom, right now. If you’ve hurt her in any way—”
“You’ll what? Snivel and cry. That’s about the only thing you’re any good at. I’m tired of the childish games you’ve been playing. They have gone on long enough. I need that file back and I mean to get it. You get your ass back here within the next twenty-four hours or Ms. Radcliffe here will have to pay the price for your tardiness.”
“That would be a very grave mistake on your part, Sheridan. The police don’t look too kindly at kidnapping.” Nick squeezed her thigh in reassurance, and she almost forgave him. Almost.
“Ah, Nick Kelley, is that you, my old friend? I’d heard you were out. It’s been a while. Return her to me and you will be well compensated. I always knew I could count on you.”
Shit, shit, shit, Nick knew as soon as Tom uttered the words, how Sara would construe them. He felt her stiffen within his arms, the shudder that ran through her body, and then she pushed away, regarding him through hurt-filled eyes, as if he were ten times worse than her prick of a husband.
“You win, Tom; it seems you hold all the cards.” Sara spoke in an eerily empty voice, her expression as she stared at Nick, frozen with betrayal. “Your lackey here can call you back with the travel plans. Don’t hurt Fiona; I swear to God, I will make you pay if you do.”
“I don’t believe you are in a position to swear anything my dear. Well played, Nick, well played. I will see you soon, wife. We have a lot of catching up to do.” She could hear his sickening chuckle as he closed the line, and then there was nothing but the loud ringtone reverberating through the room.
Nick stared at her with entreating eyes, as if begging her to understand. “Honey, I know that sounded bad, but it’s not what you’re thinking.”
“Really, Nick, because I’m thinking that sounded like my ex-husband just hired you to bring us back. It sounds like you came here and introduced yourself under false pretenses.” Her voice rose with each sentence, shaking with hurt and anger. “And then you insinuated yourself into our lives, made us care about you. All for what? How much did he offer you Nick? How much did he God-damn offer you?”
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