But someone is watching me. Following me. He’s gorgeous. Soon we’re talking, and against all my instincts, I reveal bits and pieces of myself to Max. It feels good, though I know he can’t be the man for me. These sudden feelings we share are way too complicated, too fraught, too intense.
Then everything explodes and I’m forced to return home. My intentions have always been true, but now everyone’s mad at me. I don’t know who to turn to anymore . . . except to Max. He’s the one I want to trust. But I’m not so sure I should. Maybe it’s worth the risk—what-ifs be damned. . . .
squeeze her back, closing my eyes for the briefest moment as
I absorb her love and warmth, so incredibly thankful to be with
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you in person,” I tell her
before I withdraw, though I don’t let her go my hands still
clasp her shoulders and she’s holding on to my arms.
“I know.” Violet’s smiling at me, looking gorgeous with all
that dark hair falling down her back in luxurious waves, her
dark eyes sparkling as bright as the giant diamond on her finger.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Violet look so genuinely happy.
I could almost get choked up, having her here in front of me.
I didn’t realize I missed my sister so much until now. “Skype just
doesn’t cut it, you know,” I say, my voice rough as I clear my
throat past the emotional bubble clogging it.
Violet rolls her eyes and smiles. “I totally agree. But guess
what? You’re stuck with me now. No more going back to Lon-
don for us except to visit.”
I’m so grateful for her warm acceptance of me that I can feel
the tight knot in my chest slowly unravel. I was scared to death
this morning as I prepared to come into Fleur. Seeing Daddy, Grandma, Rose, and Violet . . . and worst of all, that evil witch
Pilar . . . I wasn’t looking forward to it, and that’s the understatement of the year.
I’d rather pretend the fact that I ran away to Maui to escape my
problems—especially a problem that neither I nor Pilar wants
made public knowledge, I’m sure—was swept under the rug.
I don’t even want to talk about Maui and what happened
there. The man I met. The man who somehow, some way,
double-crossed me. Stole from me . . .
I have my suspicions about why Max did what he did. Nothing confirmed yet, but come on. I had jewelry in my suitcase—
expensive jewelry. Cash in my wallet and stashed away in my
travel bag. Yet he took my laptop and that’s it. The fucker stole
Could he be working for Pilar?
No. It couldn’t be possible, just some weird coincidence.
Maybe he didn’t steal from me. Maybe one of the hotel employees snagged my Mac. I hadn’t checked on it in days. For all I
know, it could have been missing since the day I stashed it up on
the shelf in my closet.
That’s the problem. I don’t know what happened, when it
was stolen or why. I can suspect Max all I want. It makes sense
in a way. He held me close until I fell asleep and when I woke up
in the morning, groggy and hung over, he was gone. Disappeared
like he’d never existed in the first place. He didn’t even leave a
note. I searched for him everywhere. By the pool, in the lobby,
down by the beach, in the hotel restaurants, but he wasn’t there.
I went to his hotel room only to find the door cracked open
and the maids inside, cleaning. His stuff was gone. The maids let
me know he’d checked out that morning.
He didn’t even bother saying goodbye.
It hurts that he didn’t believe me worthy of a goodbye. Worse, he lied to me. Said that we would see each other again and then
ditched me. I don’t get it.
gave him everything I thought he wanted. I wanted to please
him, wanted to be the submissive woman, not only to make him
happy, but because it made me feel…good. I liked handing
over the control to Max so I could get lost in the pleasure. It
aroused me, his controlling ways, the words he said, the demands he made on my body. I wanted more. I wanted all of
him . . .
And he didn’t want me at all.
New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite with her husband and three children. She’s a workaholic who loves her job. When she’s not busy writing, she also loves to read and travel with her family. She writes new adult and contemporary romance and is published with Bantam and Avon. She also writes romance as USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson.