The Present – Ian
Ian paced the small motel room for an entire hour before finally sitting in a tiny chair which belonged to a small kitchenette that sat under a window. He’d also looked at his cell phone a hundred times it seemed, since leaving the mansion a little over five hours ago. He hadn’t replaced the battery or powered it up since turning it off in the car. He’d driven around with the girl in the passenger seat, thinking of what to do. When nothing came to him he’d paid for a motel room, the kind that smelled like stale air and the plumbing rattled when you turned the faucet off.
He reached over and gently rubbed his thumb over the girl’s hand while he held it in his own. Several times he’d gotten to his feet to get a washcloth. He wanted to clean her up but he didn’t want to leave her side. Hell, his being here with her was probably not a good idea. She’d been brutalized, and she looked awful. He should have taken her to the hospital, but she was so adamant about not going. So much so that she would rather jump from a moving car than let him take her.
She hadn’t moved the entire time they’d been in the room, and he was beyond worried. She’d clearly been drugged and he knew what that felt like first hand. Sal had stuck a syringe in his neck and had him placed in a room down the hall where those assholes had tossed him on a sofa. His hearing, vision, and sense of touch hadn’t been affected, but he’d been completely immobile. His stomach lurched at the realization that she’d probably been similarly aware of whatever they’d done to her and couldn’t fight back.
He lowered his head and gently squeezed her hand, knowing the part he’d played. When her dainty fingers wrapped around his, Ian lifted his head as her hand suddenly jerked away. Without warning, the girl rolled away from him and stood on the other side of the bed with her fists up and ready to fight.
Ian braced himself, prepared for her to freak out. He stood with his hands up in the universal “surrender” motion. “I’m not going to hurt you…anymore,” he whispered, as he stared into her eyes.
She stared at him for awhile, looking him over as if he were an alien. Then she backed up until the wall prevented her from moving any farther. With the wall to her back, she looked around the room. Her gaze swept over the bed, the table and two chairs, and the door. Then she focused on him again, with the same wild gaze he’d seen right before she tried to jump out of the car.
“You need a hospital,” he told her. His words did exactly what he wanted. They’d distracted her from bolting, but they also brought back her awareness of the situation.
The pain in her eyes intensified, but Ian saw understanding in them, too. She knew the state she was in. It was even more evident when she slumped to the floor and sobbed uncontrollably. For a minute or so, Ian allowed her to sit naked on the carpet, then he took the sheet from the bed, wrapped it around her, and lifted her in his arms.
When Aria Cole turned eighteen, she wanted nothing more than to trade childish balloons and sugary confetti cake for Dirty Martinis and dancing all night. Determined to shed her Perfect Princess image and surround herself with guys who didn’t know she was the daughter of an overly protective small town Sheriff, Aria decided a fun-filled night in the big city was the answer.
Being assaulted and marked for death was not what Aria had envisioned.
At twenty-one, former child prodigy Ian Howl finally agreed to work for his uncle at Howl Industries. Independently wealthy, he needed a change from his idle playboy lifestyle and wanted a challenge. To celebrate his new position, a lavish party was thrown in his honor.
However, Ian’s version of fun didn’t include being drugged and mixed up in a murder plot.
A chance meeting had brought Aria and Ian together but what they endured that evening linked them forever. Ian wanted answers and revenge. Aria wanted to forget that awful night. But forgetting is not an option when you know too much. Hunted and terrified, Aria must rely on and trust a stranger with her life. Haunted by guilt, Ian’s primary concern was Aria’s safety and if he had to unleash hell to achieve it, then so be it. Neither of them could have anticipated the events that brought them together but once their mutual passion and power is realized…many lives are forever changed.
This is a Standalone Book.
Book contains scenes of graphic violence. Reader discretion is advised.