Genre: Romantic Suspense
A familiar twinge of disappointment wells up in her chest — a reminder of all the broken connections after the illusion of her disintegrates. She blows out a deep sigh. “Everyone thinks they know me from magazines and gossip sites. It’s just an image for publicity. I’m not that person.”
Before he can respond, she stands up and walks toward the foyer. “I need to go.”
“I know the real you.” The tenderness in his voice forces her to pause. This is the Nick she knows. Not the one from the restaurant. The man who makes her think crazy things like this could be real, that the two of them might actually have a chance.
“How your cheeks turn pink when you feel shy. How you’re secretly competitive and try to one-up me when we work out. The way you’re always thinking about dessert.”
He stands behind her, close enough his breath warms her neck, his skin skimming hers, stirring an ache for him to wrap his arms around her and eliminate all of her uncertainty. “I know you’ve been hurt before, and you’re scared it’s going to happen again.”
She whips around to face him, heat creeping up her cheeks flamed from both accuracy and embarrassment.
“Why do you think that?”
“Men would kill to be with a woman like you. You could have anyone you want. You’re alone because you choose to be.”
“That’s not…” She wraps her arms around her waist, attempting to shield herself from the unexpected memories his words trigger. Nick isn’t Evan. Apparent from the beginning, yet she’s terrified it will end the same way. “It’s complicated.”
“Not for me. I know you’re sweet and gentle and bring me a feeling of peace I’ve never experienced before. Whenever I’m with you, nothing else matters.” He tucks a piece of loose hair behind her ear.
“When I’m not with you, you’re all I think about. I’m falling in love with you.”
The bouncing balloon in her chest from his heartfelt admission quickly deflates from his declaration of love, a painful reminder of the heartbreak she’s endured. “Please don’t say that.”
“Since the first moment I saw you, I’ve wanted to be with you. I can’t get you out of my head.” His fingertips slide under her chin, lifting her face to meet his. “I know you feel it too.”
“All I feel right now is fear.”
His eyes lock with hers, blazing with conviction. “Don’t be afraid. I swear to God I’ll never hurt you.”
No longer controlled by her mother, manager, or former fiancé, pop star Shae Armstrong steps out on her own and into the path of Nick DeMarco, a wealthy investor with alleged ties to organized crime and real childhood scars to overcome. She wants to take it slow. He needs her now, in his life and in his bed.
Nick’s enemies threaten her career, her friendships, even her sanity, but not Shae’s heart – the one thing Nick holds precious. He proves his love is real, and she stops running. Until everything around them falls apart, including him. He swore he would never hurt her. Instead, he almost destroys them both. Shae makes a dangerous choice, sacrificing her happiness for his, just like he always does for her. Now that she’s found her own voice, can Shae survive the challenges of living in Nick’s world?