by Marie Stewart
Publication Date: May 29nd, 2013
At 22, Josephine Sinclair thought she’d finally closed the door on her past and was moving on with her life. With a stable job as a waitress, a small apartment in town, and scenic Cannon Beach a two-mile jog to the west, she was getting by.In a mansion on the beach, Dex Hartley felt just the opposite. After years of living the fast life in New York and L.A., he’d come home to bury himself in the ghosts of his past and his grief.When an old obsession comes back to life, Josephine finds herself face-to-face with Dex, turning her ordinary world upside down and igniting a burning desire in them both they can’t deny. As Jo opens herself up to Dex, his passion, and his body, she unearths a lifetime of lies and deception that threaten to destroy the normal life she’s managed to start. As her hard-earned life collapses around her, will the truth break her or set her free?
When his eyes found mine I saw an instant of recognition and joy, lighting his face and eyes with an unmatched splendor. But as quickly as it appeared, it was gone, replaced by hot, searing anger. He strode across the house, ignoring hellos, offers of champagne, and curious glances. Every step he took closer to me sent a new wave of simmering rage in my direction, his eyes never leaving my face. He came through the open french doors and out onto the balcony as I instinctively backed up, teetering in Macy’s too-tall heels, my back crushing into the railing. He stopped inches from my face, his eyes alive with a burning intensity of passion and naked hostility. He grabbed my arms and held them in his powerful grip.
“Who are you?” he snarled, inches from my face. I was still shorter than Dex, and although I felt tall and ungainly before, now the urge to cower and disappear under his intense stare was stifling. But I refused to let him know my feelings, putting my hands on his chest and shoving him back.
“Let go of me. You know who I am,” I said, with as much defiance and resistance as I could offer.
“I want to hear you say it,” he said, still gripping me with ferocious intensity and staring at me with a pained and pleading look. I saw the confusion and fear in his eyes and wanted to do anything to take it away. He might have been scaring me at the moment, but the look on his face made my heart ache for him, and for any pain I’d somehow caused him.
“Jo Sinclair,” I answered. “I’m the woman who dropped her groceries all over the sidewalk, the woman you kissed in the forest …” I paused, lowering my voice to a barely audible whisper, “and the woman who broke into your mansion and broke her promise. That’s who I am.” I let out a trapped breath and forced air into my lungs. My heart pounded in my chest and my lungs heaved as if they would burst. We continued to stare at each other for what felt like ages, him scanning my face for some sign, and me imploring him to accept my answer and let me go.
As if in answer to my silent request, his hands fell away from me, leaving searing heat where his fingers had been. Before I could blink, he’d turned on his heels and walked back through the house, out the door, and away from me into the night. I stood there, dumbfounded and staring after him, unable to move, unable to react.