STANDALONE (But Spin-off from The Forbidden Men Series)
Contemporary Adult Romance
Orginally published 28 December 2022
4-Flame Sensuality Rating
How do you make yourself fall in love with someone?
After his family friend, Chloe Ryan, is traumatized by a disturbed ex-boyfriend, Luke Hamilton is “encouraged” to step up and be the kind of partner she needs.
Problem is, he’s never been in love before.
He’s not one to give up, though. His stubborn, competitive nature, mixed with the dutiful loyalty he inherited from his parents, makes it impossible for him to say no. And romancing Chloe becomes priority number one.
But his feisty contender gives him the challenge of a lifetime when she’d rather argue with him than accept a simple compliment. Chloe demands honest, genuine feelings from someone before she’ll even think about opening her heart again, and since Luke refuses to back down from his determined quest, he decides to grow some feelings.
Except, uh, yeah… That’s easier said than done since he has no idea how to even begin the process of falling.
Chloe is a simple woman with simple wants. All she’d like is to work her job, find a partner to share her life with, and then grow a family with him.
But apparently, that’s just too much to ask for.
After her ex kidnaps and terrorizes her, Chloe is suddenly put on six weeks of leave from her job to recover, she can’t handle it when anyone touches her, and her big dream of the simple life seems more impossible to reach than ever.
Until Luke bulldozes his way into the picture, determined to help her through her rough patch and promising her everything she’s ever wanted.
The problem is Chloe loved Luke way back when she was young, and no one’s ever broken her heart the way he did when he didn’t even notice her in return. No way is she going to risk more heartbreak at his hands now. Chloe becomes just as determined to push him away as he is to stick by her side.
Let the battle of wills begin.
Well, it was official.
My taste in men sucked ass.
I sent a glare to one of the handcuffs holding me prisoner; this one pinning my left wrist to the floor and forcing my arm out away from my side, and I blew at a bloody clump of hair that kept getting into my eyes. But movement like that caused pain to scream through my jaw because that’s where Dax had hit me to knock me unconscious and bring me here in the first place.
I closed my eyes and sniffed in self-pity while a tear trickled down my cheek and dripped into my ear.
At least, I think it was a tear. Could’ve been blood. That eye felt pretty fucked up, so who really knew what was dripping from it.
Whatever it was, now I had a wet ear on top of everything else.
Didn’t that just take the cake?
It beat focusing on the fact that I was chained, spread eagle and fully naked, to the freezing concrete basement floor of my psycho stalker ex-boyfriend’s house, though, while I listened for approaching footsteps overhead and wondered when he might return for more...cleansing...as he had called it.
I hadn’t even gotten any wetness in my ears when he’d turned the hose on me, although plenty had gone up my nose and into my mouth, which I had to admit, was way worse.
Ugh, okay. Fine...
The wet ear was nothing compared to everything else. But everything else was too big to deal with right now. Lucy and the baby seriously better be okay, or I was going to...
Damn. The panic returned from just thinking about them. A sob tore its way up my raw, dry throat, burning and clawing the whole way. I was going to start hyperventilating any moment if I didn’t get my shit together. And that was going to help absolutely nothing. The only things I could control right now were my emotions, and I couldn’t even seem to do that.
Come on, Chloe, I gave myself the mental pep talk I knew I needed. Get it together. You’re doing okay. You’re alive, not currently being tortured, and at least he hasn’t raped—
The floorboards above me creaked.