Related to: 'Jasmine Guillory'

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The Wedding Party

Jasmine Guillory
Authors:
Jasmine Guillory

From the author of The Proposal, a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick!A fun and flirty novel from New York Times bestselling author Jasmine Guillory, author of The Proposal and The Wedding Date, one of Cosmopolitan's 33 Books to Get Excited About in 2018.For fans of Jo Watson, Sarah Morgan and Holly Martin, the next charming romance by The New York Times bestselling author of The Proposal.Maddie and Theo have two things in common:1. Alexa is their best friend2. They hate each otherAfter an 'oops, we made a mistake' night together, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa's wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they're comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won't fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn't looking.But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don't fall in love...'What a charming, warm, sexy gem of a novel' New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay on The Wedding Date

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London Affair: An International Love Story

Rhyannon Byrd
Authors:
Rhyannon Byrd

In Rhyannon Byrd's London Affair a dangerous web of passion, deception and intrigue unfolds into an explosive love story... Perfect for fans of Sylvia Day, J. Kenner and Jodi Ellen Malpas. This brings together The Weekend, The Chase and The Confession together for the first time.An intriguing proposition...American art-history graduate Emmy Reed is in London, hoping to land her dream job by getting an exclusive scoop on a famous reclusive artist. When fate throws her into the path of millionaire playboy Jase Beckett, Emmy is determined to turn down his proposal to be his date for a family wedding. That is, until she discovers that her sought-after artist is his grandfather.A web of passion and deception...Tired of the game-playing women in his circle, Jase finds Emmy refreshingly fascinating. And as the weekend progresses and they work together to survive his insufferable family's devious scheming, Emmy and Jase find themselves drowning in an intoxicating sexual chemistry that leaves them both desperate for more...and reeling emotionally.An explosive love story.When their stunning weekend is over, neither is ready to let go. But dark secrets surround the Beckett family - can their fledgling relationship survive the damaging and dangerous revelations to come?'London Affair is signature Rhyannon Byrd - exciting, sexy, and romantic. Byrd brilliantly crafts a steamy love story with a couple that dazzles, and I couldn't put it down!' Virna DePaul, New York Times bestselling author'From London to the English countryside, Jase and Emmy burn up the sheets in...Rhyannon Byrd's London Affair' P.T. Michelle, New York Times bestselling authorLooking for more sexy reads from Rhyannon Byrd? Check out the steamy Dangerous Tides titles: Take Me Under, Make Me Yours and Keep Me Closer.

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The Proposal

Jasmine Guillory
Authors:
Jasmine Guillory

A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick!A fun and flirty novel from New York Times bestseller Jasmine Guillory, author of The Wedding Date, one of Cosmopolitan's 33 Books to Get Excited About in 2018.For fans of Jo Watson, Sarah Morgan and Holly Martin, about the perils of public proposals and the beauty of an unexpected second chance.When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game in LA with her actor boyfriend, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn't difficult - they've only been dating for five months, and he can't even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans...At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik's rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He's even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik's social media goes crazy. Believing that neither of them are looking for anything serious, Nik embarks on an epic rebound with the handsome doctor, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, will they be brave enough to admit what they're really feeling? 'What a charming, warm, sexy gem of a novel' New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay on The Wedding Date

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The Good Luck Sister: A Wildstone Novella

Jill Shalvis
Authors:
Jill Shalvis

A novella in New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis's Wildstone series, featuring her trademark gift for humour, warmth and romance. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts and Marie Force. This summer, romance blooms again in Wildstone!After a difficult few years, Tilly Adams is ready for life to start going right. Though she has a case of first day nerves teaching art at the local community college, she knows it isn't anything a few snuggles from her rescue puppy won't cure. Until she sees Dylan Scott again, her one-time BFF and first love sitting in the front row.Dylan knows he should've left well enough alone, but when he sees Tilly living her dream, he can't help but make contact. Ten years ago, he left Wildstone and everything in it behind, including Tilly. He had his reasons, but now he wants her back in his life, anyway he can get her.When Tilly agrees to design the logo for Dylan's new helicopter touring company, it's business only...until she finds herself falling into his arms once again. Can she possibly open her heart back up to the only man who's ever broken it? But soon they're both realizing the truth - love always deserves a second chance.Want more warm, funny romance? Check out the Heartbreaker Bay novels, Sweet Little Lies, The Trouble With Mistletoe and Accidentally On Purpose, visit gorgeous Cedar Ridge, spellbinding Lucky Harbor or experience some Animal Magnetism in Sunshine, Idaho in Jill's other unforgettable series.

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The Wedding Date

Jasmine Guillory
Authors:
Jasmine Guillory

From the author of The Proposal, a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick!One of Cosmopolitan's 33 Books to Get Excited About in 2018!A feel-good romance to warm your heart, for fans of Jo Watson, Sarah Morgan and Holly Martin. A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in this 'charming, warm, sexy gem of a novel' (Roxane Gay).On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew Nichols is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend... Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is not something Alexa Monroe would normally do. But Drew's proposal proves hard to resist. After their wedding date turns into a whole weekend of fun in San Francisco, Drew and Alexa return to their all-consuming careers - his in LA and hers in Berkeley. Too bad they can't stop thinking about each other... It could be the long-distance dating disaster of the century - or Drew and Alexa could be just a flight away from what each of them truly wants.

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The Confession: London Affair Part 3

Rhyannon Byrd
Authors:
Rhyannon Byrd

The Confession concludes Rhyannon Byrd's sexy new serial, London Affair, where a dangerous web of passion, deception and intrigue unfolds into an explosive love story... Perfect for fans of Sylvia Day, J. Kenner and Jodi Ellen Malpas.When American art-history graduate Emmy Reed arrived in London, she was looking for an exclusive scoop on a famous reclusive artist. Encountering millionaire playboy Jase Beckett, Emmy agreed to be his date for a family wedding when she discovered that her sought-after artist was his grandfather.After a stunning weekend of intense sexual connection, neither Emmy nor Jase wanted to let go. But both had been burned by a lifetime of family tragedies and were unable to admit their feelings, so Emmy returned to San Diego. Determined to win her back, Jase followed, only to be forced to end things between them for her protection.Now, back in London, Jase is undone when Emmy shows up demanding an explanation - and he can't let her go again. With her at his side, he's ready to uncover the truth about the damaging secrets that have cursed the Beckett family. But as the revelations keep coming, it's clear the danger isn't over. And all Jase and Emmy know is that they can only trust each other...Emmy and Jase's unforgettable London Affair began in The Weekend and The Chase.'From London to the English countryside, Jase and Emmy burn up the sheets in this first installment of Rhyannon Byrd's London Affair' P.T. Michelle, New York Times bestselling author'London Affair is signature Rhyannon Byrd - exciting, sexy, and romantic. Byrd brilliantly crafts a steamy love story with a couple that dazzles, and I couldn't put it down!' Virna DePaul, New York Times bestselling authorLooking for more sexy reads from Rhyannon Byrd? Check out the steamy Dangerous Tides titles: Take Me Under, Make Me Yours and Keep Me Closer.

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The Chase: London Affair Part 2

Rhyannon Byrd
Authors:
Rhyannon Byrd

The Chase continues Rhyannon Byrd's sexy new serial, London Affair, where a dangerous web of passion, deception and intrigue unfolds into an explosive love story... Perfect for fans of Sylvia Day, J. Kenner and Jodi Ellen Malpas.When American art-history graduate Emmy Reed arrived in London, she was hoping to land her dream job with an exclusive scoop on a famous reclusive artist. Thrown into the path of millionaire playboy Jase Beckett, Emmy found herself agreeing to be his date for a family wedding when she discovered that her sought-after artist was his grandfather.After a stunning weekend of intense sexual connection, even amidst his family's devious scheming, neither Emmy nor Jase wanted to let go. But both had been burned by a lifetime of family tragedies and, with neither able to say what the other wanted to hear, Emmy returned to San Diego. Now, realising he's been a fool, Jase follows Emmy, determined to leave the past behind and fight for his future. But will San Diego be far enough away to escape the dark, damaging secrets that surround the Beckett family - especially when the revelations threaten his and Emmy's lives, as well as their relationship?Emmy and Jase's sizzling London Affair began in The Weekend and continues in The Confession.'From London to the English countryside, Jase and Emmy burn up the sheets in this first installment of Rhyannon Byrd's London Affair' P.T. Michelle, New York Times bestselling author'London Affair is signature Rhyannon Byrd - exciting, sexy, and romantic. Byrd brilliantly crafts a steamy love story with a couple that dazzles, and I couldn't put it down!' Virna DePaul, New York Times bestselling authorLooking for more sexy reads from Rhyannon Byrd? Check out the steamy Dangerous Tides titles: Take Me Under, Make Me Yours and Keep Me Closer.

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The Weekend: London Affair Part 1

Rhyannon Byrd
Authors:
Rhyannon Byrd
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Accidentally On Purpose: Heartbreaker Bay Book 3

Jill Shalvis
Authors:
Jill Shalvis

Accidentally On Purpose is the third in New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis's Heartbreaker Bay series, featuring her trademark gift for humour, warmth and romance. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts and Marie Force. Elle Wheaton's priorities: friends, career, and kick-ass shoes. Then there's the muscular wall of stubbornness that's security expert Archer Hunt - who comes before everything else. No point in telling Mr. "Feels-Free Zone" that, though. Elle will just see other men until she gets over Archer...which should only take a lifetime...Archer's wanted the best for Elle ever since he sacrificed his law-enforcement career to save her. Their chemistry could start the next San Francisco earthquake and he craves her 24/7, but Archer doesn't want to be responsible for the damage. The alternative? Watch her go out with guys who aren't him... As far as Archer's concerned, nobody is good enough for Elle. But when he sets out to prove it by sabotaging her dates, she gets mad - and things get hot as hell. Now Archer has a new mission: prove to Elle that her perfect man has been here all along...Want more warm, funny romance? Check out the other Heartbreaker Bay novels, Sweet Little Lies and The Trouble With Mistletoe, visit gorgeous Cedar Ridge, spellbinding Lucky Harbor or experience some Animal Magnetism in Sunshine, Idaho in Jill's other unforgettable series.

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Make You Burn: Deacons of Bourbon Street 1 (A scorching-hot biker romance)

Megan Crane
Authors:
Megan Crane
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In The Mood For Love (Cupcake Lovers Book 4)

Beth Ciotta
Authors:
Beth Ciotta

The Cupcake Lovers - a feel-good series of love, friendship and cake, for fans of Carole Matthews, Jenny Colgan, Debbie Johnson, Cressida McLaughlin and Cathy Bramley. In The Mood For Love is the enchanting fourth novel in Beth Ciotta's delicious series in which some things in life are too sweet to resist...Sugar Creek, Vermont, is a world away from Los Angeles for high-powered, media-obsessed Harper Day. When she took the job doing publicity for the Cupcake Lovers, she never expected to be won over by the town's old-fashioned charms. But that was before she moved into the Victorian vacation home of her dreams and fell in with a man whose good looks and irresistible ways are anything but small-town... Sam McCloud is a widowed father of two. He and bossy, big-city Harper appear to have nothing in common... though the attraction they feel toward one another cannot be denied. But will their romance last longer than the day's headlines? There's more to Harper than meets the eye, and as it turns out, she needs to get married - fast. Little does Harper know that family-man Sam will do whatever it takes to keep her in Sugar Creek - even if that means taking matters into his own hands. And never letting her go...BONUS CONTENT: Make your own cupcakes with the Cupcake Lovers' recipes! Curl up with a cupcake and indulge in the rest of the deliciously romantic Cupcake Lovers series: Fool For Love, The Trouble With Love, Some Kind of Wonderful and In The Mood For Love.

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Keep Me Closer: Dangerous Tides 2

Rhyannon Byrd
Authors:
Rhyannon Byrd

Keep Me Closer is the second novel in Rhyannon Byrd's scorching hot Dangerous Tides series about a family of law men determined to protect the women they love. Perfect for fans of Lori Foster, Maya Banks, Pamela Clare and Kyra Davis.Five years after the end of his marriage, Florida PI Alex Hudson wears a permanent suit of armour to keep the world - and romantic complications - at bay. And it makes his task of protecting beautiful therapist Brit Cramer from a dangerous former patient all the more complicated...Brit's been secretly attracted to Alex from the moment they first met several years ago. But their time to explore their searing desire is running out as they are pursued by a relentless madman. Before they know it, they're fighting not only for their lives, but for the possibility that they may have both found exactly what they've always wanted and needed...in each other.Don't miss the other steamy Dangerous Tides adventures in Take Me Under and Make Me Yours.Look for Rhyannon Byrd's sexy contemporary romance London Affair: An International Love Story, where a dangerous web of passion, deception and intrigue unfolds into an explosive love story in The Weekend, The Chase and The Confession.

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How To Master Your Marquis: Princess In Hiding Book 2

Juliana Gray
Authors:
Juliana Gray

How To Master Your Marquis is the dazzling second novel in a new trilogy by historical romance writer Juliana Gray, whose debut Affairs By Moonlight series was richly praised. Lose your heart to this witty and romantic story of three intrepid princesses caught in a deadly plot - until their uncle devises a brilliant plan to keep them safe... Perfect for fans of Julia Quinn and Suzanne Enoch.Of all her sisters, Princess Stefanie is by far the least amenable to law and order, which is why she's appalled to find herself masquerading as an unbearably drab clerk for the most honorable barrister in England. But her dull disguise turns out to have its privileges: namely, the opportunity to consort unchaperoned with her employer's exceedingly handsome nephew, James Lambert, the Marquess of Hatherfield.Hatherfield quickly realises that his uncle's spirited new clerk is, in fact, a lovely young woman of daring habits. The outwardly impeccable marquis isn't about to reveal her deception. After all, he's hiding a dangerous secret of his own. But when one too many escapades with the madcap princess brings Hatherfield's troubled past to light, it is only Stefanie's sharp wits that stand between the marquis and utter disaster, and only Hatherfield's daring that can save the princess from the shadowy agents bent on finding her.Don't miss the other two enticing books in the Princess In Hiding trilogy, How To Tame Your Duke and How To School Your Scoundrel, and for more gorgeous historical romance check out the other titles in her Affairs By Moonlight trilogy: A Lady Never Lies, A Gentleman Never Tells and A Duke Never Yields.

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Anything But Love (Cupcake Lovers Book 3)

Beth Ciotta
Authors:
Beth Ciotta

The Cupcake Lovers - a feel-good series of love, friendship and cake, for fans of Carole Matthews, Jenny Colgan, Debbie Johnson, Cressida McLaughlin and Cathy Bramley. Anything But Love is the dazzling third novel in Beth Ciotta's delicious series in which some things in life are too sweet to resist...For Reagan Deveraux, cosy Sugar Creek and the Cupcake Lovers are a dream come true, especially growing up with a fickle, fame-hungry heiress for a mother. But Rae's plan to hide out in anonymity for a year until she can claim her inheritance - and her independence - changes with one kiss from the gorgeous Luke Monroe.Luke's charm is legendary, but he's never been a one-woman man. That is until Rae captures his attention and disappears. When Luke tracks her down and unearths secrets almost too wild to be true, he's not sure he can forgive her. But when Rae returns to save the Cupcake Lovers from disaster, Luke knows it's his chance to get the truth - and the girl - this time for good...BONUS CONTENT: Make your own cupcakes with the Cupcake Lovers' recipes! Curl up with a cupcake and indulge in the rest of the deliciously romantic Cupcake Lovers series: Fool For Love, The Trouble With Love, Some Kind of Wonderful and In The Mood For Love.

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Fool For Love (Cupcake Lovers Book 1)

Beth Ciotta
Authors:
Beth Ciotta
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The Trouble With Love (Cupcake Lovers Book 2)

Beth Ciotta
Authors:
Beth Ciotta

Deliciously romantic and impossible to resist: the second novel in the Cupcake Lovers series. The Cupcake Lovers - a feel-good series of love, friendship and cake from author Beth Ciotta, follows a group of friends in beautiful Vermont and vibrant New York, as they navigate the romances and dramas that make up their lives. Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Cressida McLaughlin. 'The perfect blend of heart-warming love and endearing characters. Another terrific tale in the Cupcake Lovers series that will have readers craving cupcakes...and wanting more books in this terrific series' - Romance Reviews Today Rocky Monroe's bad luck is legendary. So it stands to reason that during a quick trip to New York on Cupcake Lovers' business, she winds up in the arms of the one man she never wants to see again. Delicious Jayce Bello has always been Rocky's biggest mistake, and she's not going to let history repeat itself - even if she can't stop dreaming about him...When Jayce Bello left Sugar Creek over ten years ago, it was the right thing to do - for him and for his best friend's sister. But after another passionate night with gorgeous, reckless Rocky he knows he can no longer live without her. Now he just needs to prove to Rocky that theirs is a recipe for love...BONUS CONTENT: Make your own cupcakes with the Cupcake Lovers' recipes! Curl up with a cupcake and indulge in the rest of the deliciously romantic Cupcake Lovers series: Fool For Love, The Trouble With Love, Some Kind of Wonderful and In The Mood For Love. What readers are saying about The Trouble With Love: 'Best read in a long time''For fans of chick-lit and cupcakes. A light-hearted, easy to read, fun book with characters you can relate to' 'Five stars'

Megan Crane

Megan Crane is a New Jersey native who had great plans to star on Broadway, preferably in Evita, just like Patti LuPone. Sadly, her inability to wow audiences with her singing voice required a backup plan. Accordingly, she graduated from Vassar College and got her MA and PhD in literature from the University of York in England. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on AIDS literature, mostly so she could wallow in her obsession with the remarkable multimedia artist David Wojnarowicz and her idol, the bitter and hilarious David Feinberg. After many years in the rain and subject to the whim of seasons, she followed the sun to Los Angeles, where she lives with too many pets and an artist named Jeff. She is still plotting her Broadway debut.Visit Megan's website www.megancrane.com, find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/?MeganCraneAndCaitlinCrews, and on Twitter @megancrane.

Jasmine Guillory on Oprah and baking...

August Book of the Month

Feel the heat of the Burning Moon

Love your life. Chase your dreams. Dance under the stars. It's all waiting for you in BURNING MOON...

July Book of the Month

Complete Me: a peek at J. Kenner's explosive finale

Fear yanks me from a deep sleep, and I sit bolt upright in a room shrouded with gray, the muted green light from a digital alarm clock announcing that it is just after midnight. My breath comes in gasps, and my eyes are wide but unseeing. The last remnant of an already forgotten nightmare brushes against me like the tattered hem of a specter's cloak, powerful enough to fill me with terror, and yet so insubstantial that it evaporates like mist when I try to grasp it. I do not know what frightened me. I only know that I am alone, and that I am scared. Alone? I turn swiftly in bed, shifting my body as I reach out to my right. But even before my fingers brush the cool, expensive sheets, I know that he is not there. I may have fallen asleep in Damien’s arms, but once again, I have awakened alone. At least now I know the source of the nightmare. It is the same fear I have faced every day and every night for weeks. The fear I try to hide beneath a plastic smile as I sit beside Damien day in and day out as his attorneys go over his defense in meticulous detail. As they explain the procedural ins-and-outs of a murder trial under German law. As they practically beg him to shine a light into the dark corners of his childhood because they know, as I do, that those secrets are his salvation. But Damien remains stubbornly mute, and I am left huddled against this pervasive fear that I will lose him. That he will be taken from me. And not just fear. I’m also fighting the damnable, overwhelming, panic-inducing knowledge that there isn’t a goddamn thing in the world I can do. Nothing except wait and watch and hope. But I do not like waiting, and I have never put my faith in hope. It is a cousin of fate, and both are too mercurial for my taste. What I crave is action, but the only one who can act is Damien, and he has steadfastly refused. And that, I think, is the worst cut of all. Because while I understand the reason for his silence, I can’t quell the selfish spark of anger. Because at the core of it all, it’s not just himself that Damien is sacrificing. It’s me. Hell, it’s us. We are running out of time. His trial will begin only a few hours from now, and unless he changes his mind about his defense, it is very likely that I will lose this man. I squeeze my eyes shut, forcing the tears to remain at bay. I can push the fear back, but my anger is like a living thing, and I am afraid that it will explode no matter how hard I try to quell it. For that matter, I’m afraid that suppressing it will make the ultimate explosion all the more brutal. When the indictment came through, Damien had tried to push me away, believing that he was protecting me. But he’d been wrong—and I’d flown all the way to Germany to tell him so. I’ve been here for over three weeks now, and there has not been a day when I have regretted coming, and I do not doubt that what he said when I arrived on his doorstep is true—he loves me. But that knowledge doesn’t diminish the sense of foreboding that has been rising within me. A trepidation that is especially potent at night when I wake alone and know that he has turned to solitude and Scotch when I want him in my arms. He loves me, yes. But at the same time I’m afraid that he is pushing me away again. Not in big steps, but in little ones. Well, screw that. I peel myself away from the cool comfort of our bed and stand up. I’m naked, and I bend to retrieve the white, lush robe provided by the Hotel Kempinski. Damien brushed it back off my shoulders after our shower last night, and I left it where it fell, a soft pile of cotton beside the bed. The sash is a different story, and I have to dig in the rumpled sheets to find it. Sex with Damien is always intense, but as the trial comes closer, it has been wilder, more potent, as if by controlling me Damien can control the outcome. Idly, I rub my wrists. They bear no marks, but that is only because Damien is careful. I can’t say the same about my ass, which still tingles from the feel of his palm against my skin. I like it—both this lingering sting and the knowledge that he needs my submission as much as I need to give myself to him. I find the sash shoved down near the foot of the bed. Last night, it had bound my wrists behind my back. Now, I tie it around my waist and tug it tight, relishing the luxurious comfort after waking so violently. The room itself is equally soothing, every detail done to perfection. Every piece of wood polished, every tiny knickknack and artistic addition thoughtfully arranged. Right now, however, I am oblivious to the room’s charms. I only want to find Damien. The bedroom connects to an oversized dressing area and a stunning bathroom. I check briefly in both, though I do not expect to find him, then continue through to the living area. The space is large and also well-appointed with comfortable seating and a round worktable that is now covered with sheafs of papers and folders representing both the business that Damien continues to run despite the world collapsing around our ears, and the various legal documents that his attorney, Charles Maynard, has ordered Damien to study. I let the robe drop where I stand and pull on the stunning trompe l’oeil patterned sheath that Damien cavalierly tossed over the arm of a chair after peeling it off me last night. We’ve spent a few hours escaping reality by shopping on Munich’s famous Maximilianstrasse, and I have acquired so many shoes and dresses I could open my own boutique. I run my fingers through my hair as I cross the room to the phone by the bar. I force myself not to go into the bathroom to primp and freshen the makeup that has surely rubbed off. It’s more challenging than it sounds; the mantra that a lady doesn’t go out unfinished has been beaten into my head since birth. But with Damien at my side I have thumbed my nose at many of the tribulations of my youth, and right now I am more concerned with finding him than with applying fresh lipstick. I pick up the receiver and dial zero. Almost immediately there is an accented voice on the other end. “Good evening, Ms. Fairchild.” “He’s in the bar?” I do not need to explain who “he” is. “He is. Shall I have a phone brought to his table?” “No, that’s all right. I’ll come down.” “Sehr gut. Is there anything else I can do for you?” “No, thank you.” I’m about to hang up when I realize there is something. “Wait!” I catch him before he clicks off, then enlist his help with my plan to distract Damien from his demons. Despite the age of the building and the elegance of the interior, the hotel boasts a modern ambiance, and I have come to feel at home within these walls. I wait impatiently for the elevator, and then even more impatiently once I’m in the car. The descent seems to take forever, and when the doors finally open to reveal the opulent lobby, I aim myself straight for the Old English–style bar. Though it’s late on a Sunday, the Jahreszeiten Bar is bustling. A woman stands by the piano softly singing to the gathered crowd. I barely pay her any heed. I don’t expect to find Damien among the listeners. Instead, I wander through the wood and red leather interior, shaking off the help of a waiter who wants to seat me. I pause for a moment, standing idly beside a blond woman about my age who is sipping champagne and laughing with a man who might be her father, but I’m betting is not. I turn slowly, taking in the room around me. Damien is not with the group at the piano, nor is he sitting at the bar. And he does not occupy any of the red leather chairs that are evenly spaced around the tables. I’m starting to worry that perhaps he was leaving as I was coming. Then I take a step to the left and realize that what I thought was a solid wall is actually an optical illusion created by a pillar. Now I can see the rest of the room, including the flames leaping in the fi replace set into the opposite wall. There is a small love seat and two chairs surrounding the hearth. And, yes, there is Damien. I immediately exhale, my relief so intense I almost use the blonde’s shoulder to steady myself. Damien is seated in one of the chairs, his back to the room as he faces the flames. His shoulders are broad and straight, and more than capable of bearing the weight of the world upon them. I wish, however, that they didn’t have to. I move toward him, the sound of my approach muffled by both the thick carpet and the din of conversation. I pause a few feet behind him, already feeling the familiar pull I experience whenever I am near Damien. The singer is now crooning “Since I Fell for You,” her voice cutting sharp and clear across the room. Her voice is so mournful that I’m afraid it is going to unleash a flood of tears along with all of the stress of the last few weeks. No. I’m here to comfort Damien, not the other way around, and I continue toward him with renewed resolve. When I finally reach him, I press my hand to his shoulder and bend down, my lips brushing his ear. “Is this a private party, or can anyone join in?” I hear rather than see his answering smile. “That depends on who’s asking.” He doesn’t turn to face me, but he lifts his arm so that his hand is held up in a silent invitation. I close my hand in his, and he guides me gently around the chair until I am standing in front of him. I know every line of this man’s face. Every angle, every curve. I know his lips, his expressions. I can close my own eyes and picture his, dark with desire, bright with laughter. I have only to look at his midnight-colored hair to imagine the soft, thick locks between my fingers. There is nothing about him that is not intimately familiar to me, and yet every glance at him hits me like a shock, reverberating through me with enough power to knock me to my knees. Empirically, he is gorgeous. But it is not simply his looks that overwhelm. It is the whole package. The power, the confidence, the bone-deep sensuality that he couldn’t shake even if he tried. “Damien,” I whisper, because I can’t wait any longer to feel his name on my lips. That wide, spectacular mouth curves into a slow smile. He tugs my hand, pulling me onto his lap. His thighs are firm and athletic, and I settle there eagerly, but I don’t lean against him. I want to sit back enough that I can see his face. “Do you want to talk about it?” I know what his answer will be, and yet I hold my breath, praying that I am wrong. “No,” he says. “I just want to hold you.” I smile as if his words are sweetly romantic, refusing to let him see how much they chill me. I need his touch, yes. But I need the man more. I stroke his cheek. He hasn’t shaved since yesterday, and the stubble of his beard is rough against my palm. The shock of our connection rumbles through me, and my chest feels tight, my breath uneven. Will there ever come a time when I can be near him without yearning for him? Without craving the touch of his skin against my own? It’s not even a sexual longing—not entirely, anyway. Instead, it’s a craving. As if my very survival depends on him. As if we are two halves of a whole and neither can survive without the other. With Damien, I am happier than I have ever been. But at the same time, I’m more miserable, too. Because now I truly understand fear. I force a smile, because the one thing I will not do is let Damien see how terrified I am of losing him. It doesn’t matter; Damien knows me too well. “You’re scared,” he says, and the sadness that colors his voice is enough to melt me. “You’re the one person in all the world I cannot bear to hurt, and yet I’m the one who put fear in your eyes.” “No,” I say. “I’m not scared at all.” “Liar,” he says gently. “You forget that I’ve seen you in action, Damien Stark. You’re a goddamn force of nature. They can’t possibly hold you. Maybe they don’t know it yet, but I do. You’re going to walk away from this. You’re going home a free man. There’s no other way that this can end.” I say the words because I need to believe them. But he is right. I am desperately afraid. Damien, of course, sees through my bullshit. Gently, he tucks a strand of hair behind my ear. “You should be scared. This is the kind of case that has prosecutors salivating.” “But you were only fourteen,” I say. “Which is why they’re not trying me as an adult.” I frown because even though he was only fourteen, he’s looking at a decade in prison. “But you didn’t kill Merle Richter.” That, after all, is the most important point. His expression darkens. “Truth is a malleable thing, and once I walk into that courtroom, the truth is what the court says it is.” “Then you need to make sure the judges know the real truth. Dammit, Damien, you didn’t kill him. But even if you had, there were mitigating circumstances.” Only recently had Damien told me what happened. He and Richter fought, and when Richter fell, Damien held back, refusing to step forward to help the coach who’d abused him for so many years. “Oh, Nikki.” He pulls me against him, his arm swooping around my waist and shifting me on his lap so quickly that I gasp. “You know I can’t do what you’re asking.” “I’m not asking anything,” I say, but the words sound brittle, because of course I’m asking. Hell, I’m begging. Damien damn well knows it, too. And yet he is denying me. Anger flares within me, but before it explodes, his mouth crushes against mine. The kiss is deep and raw and all-consuming, and warm desire blooms within me. It doesn’t erase my anger or my fear, but it does soothe it, and I shift closer to him, wishing I never had to leave the safety of his arms. His body tightens beneath mine, the bulge of his erection under his jeans teasing my rear as I shift my weight and lean closer, deepening this kiss and wishing like hell we were in our suite instead of in a very public bar. After a moment, I pull back, breathless. “I love you,” I say. “I know,” he says, and though I wait for the reciprocal words to come, he doesn’t say them back to me. My heart twists a little, and I force a smile. A pageant-quality All I Want Is World Peace kind of smile. The kind of smile I show the public, but not Damien. I tell myself that he’s just tired, but I don’t believe it. Damien Stark does nothing without a purpose. And though it is impossible to truly get inside that head of his, I know him well enough to guess at his motivations, and I want to jump to my feet and scream at him. I want to beg him not to push me away. I want to shout that I get it, that he’s trying to protect me because he knows that he might lose the trial. That he might be ripped from me. But goddammit, doesn’t he know that all he’s doing is hurting me? I believe with all my heart that Damien loves me. What I fear is that love isn’t enough. Not when he’s determined to push me away in some misguided attempt to protect me. So I don’t lash out. That’s not a fight I can win, but I can play the game my own way. With renewed resolve, I kick the wattage up on my smile and slide off his lap, my hand extended to him. “You have to be in court at ten, Mr. Stark. I think you’d better come with me.” He stands, his expression wary. “Are you going to tell me I have to get some sleep?” “No.” His gaze slides over me, and my body quivers in response as if he had physically touched me. “Good,” he says, and that one simple word not only conveys a world of promises but takes the edge off the chilly fear that has filled me. I allow the corner of my mouth to quirk up into a hint of a smile. “Not that, either. Not yet, anyway.” The confusion on his face brings a genuine smile to my lips, but he doesn’t have the chance to ask, as the concierge has approached. “Everything is ready, Ms. Fairchild.” My smile broadens. “Thank you. Your timing is perfect.” I take the hand of the very confused man that I love and lead him through the lobby, following the concierge to the front of the hotel. There, parked on the street beside a very giddy valet, is a cherry red Lamborghini. Damien turns to look at me. “What’s this?” “A rental. I thought you could use a little fun tonight, and the A9’s just a few miles away. Fast car. German autobahn. It seemed like a no-brainer to me.” “Boys and their toys?” I lower my voice so that the concierge can’t overhear. “Since we already have some interesting toys in the room, I thought you might enjoy a change of pace.” I lead him closer to where the valet stands by the open passenger door. “I understand she’s very responsive, and I know you’ll enjoy having all that power at your command.” “Is she?” He looks me up and down, and this time the inspection is tinged with fire. “As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what I like. Responsiveness. Power. Control.” “I know,” I say, and then slide into the passenger seat, letting more than a little thigh show as I do. An instant later, Damien is behind the wheel and he’s fired the powerful engine. “Drive fast enough, and it’s almost like sex,” I tease. And then, because I can’t resist, I add, “At the very least, it makes for exceptional foreplay.” “In that case, Ms. Fairchild,” he says, with a boyish grin that makes this all worthwhile, “I suggest you hold on tight.”