A broken heart forever bears scars. . .
Sterling Legend grew up a prince in the City of Angels. His life was perfect and he wanted for nothing until his entire world shattered. He lost everything dear to him the year he turned seventeen. Now he’s grown into a formidable man on the cusp of outrageous success. His life revolves around his work and all the beautiful baubles that Los Angeles can offer to a wealthy young man. He’s buried his feelings and his heart so that he will never be hurt again.
A lost love that she could never forget . . .
Rhiannon Bliss was forced to leave L.A. to extinguish the fire of a first love, but an ocean, a different country, and seven years couldn’t quell her desires. Now she’s returned to the City of Angels to care for her mother. Can she fight her feelings for the man that once broke her heart? Does she even want to?
Finding your way back to love can be an impossible path. . .
Sterling Legend is at the top of the entertainment industry. His fast rise to success due to his talent and to his last name. But Sterling wants to find success on his own. He is on the path to producing his first film, without his famous father as the star, when the ex-love of his life re-enters his world. Rhiannon Bliss left seven years before without a word. Sterling has no need to forgive, but his desire for Rhiannon is overwhelming. Can two broken hearts use the heat of their attraction to find their way back to love?
“Dude, what is up with all these guys letting themselves get pussy-whipped?” Webber shook his head and a look of disdain covered his face. He took a long drink of cabernet.
My gaze swept the room. This was opening night for The Amanda Legend Gallery and the renovated space in Venice was packed with people.
“Look over there,” Webber gestured. “Dillon MacAvoy, famous ladies’ man, is married, guy, he’s friggin’ married. As in completely-off-the-market, one pussy forever. Poor guy.”
Dillon bent toward Lane, his wife and my sister’s best friend, and she whispered in his ear. He leaned toward her and gave her a gentle kiss. The look on Dillon’s face made it clear he didn’t think being married to Lane was a burden to bear.
“Then there’s Ryan and your sister. No offense to her, I mean she’s a fucking hot piece
My eyebrows tightened and I turned my head. “Webber, you’re talking about my sister.”
“Oh, right, man, sorry,” he tapped me on the arm and rolled his eyes upward as if to say what-the-hell-was-I-thinking. “She’s hot and I get that they’re in love, but married? Ryan and Amanda are going to get married? What is the world coming to? Even Choo!” Webber swung his arm out and pointed toward Choo MacAvoy, Dillon’s little brother, who was standing with his boyfriend Jackson. “Even he’s paired off.” Webber shook his head and took another gulp from his wineglass.
“I guess all that’s left is you, your dad, and me. The three amigos on the hunt for women throughout the world.” Webber raised his glass to toast us.
I glanced toward Dad. He stood in the center of the gallery with a blonde on one arm and a redhead on the other. He was single right now, but I wasn’t certain that he’d remain single. Since Mom’s death, marrying and divorcing seemed to be his latest hobby.
“Speaking of on-the-hunt,” Webber said, “I spy a lovely little brunette I’ve yet to meet. She looks like she needs help finding me.” Webber punched me in the arm. “Later.”
I tilted my glass of wine to my lips. Webber might never get married, and I was right behind him on that decision. I accepted that true love existed. I’d been witness to it, when I was little, between my parents, and with Dillon and Lane and Ryan and Amanda. I’d even experienced true love, once—but I’d been so young that to call it a romance was a bit of a stretch. A crush was probably more like it. Regardless, I wasn’t ever going down that road. Giving away your heart hurt. Why suffer the soul-crushing defeat of lost love when I could enjoy the hedonistic pleasure of a new girl every night? This was L.A. and I was a Legend. Let the ladies line up.
Amanda swept toward me and Ryan trailed in her wake. Webber was right, my sister was a knockout.
“So, what do you think?” she asked. She knotted her fingers together and raised her eyebrows.
My eyes swept over the giant space with high ceilings and great lighting to accentuate the art. The dark wood floors were varnished to perfection. Magnificent art adorned the walls. A hip and eclectic crowd filled with collectors and people with money to spend were here at the opening of Amanda’s new gallery.
“I think you’re a hit,” I said. I kissed my sister on the cheek. “You saw all the paparazzi outside?”
“That’s because of Daddy and Dillon and this guy,” Amanda hitched her thumb toward Ryan who stood beside her, “not my gallery.”
“Press is press, little sister. And with your eye,” I glanced at a giant piece that took up an entire wall, “I think you are in for much success.”
The Amanda Legend Gallery was opening with a bang. This event had become “red carpet” with the appearance of my father, his famous friends, and all the famous people Amanda and I had collected in our Hollywood life. I wasn’t certain how many sales she’d racked up in this first night, but I’d overheard a number of collectors mentioning that most of the paintings were sold.
“Thank you!” Amanda nearly burst with pride. The light shining through her eyes made me happy. She glanced from me to Ryan, and then toward our Dad. “I’m so lucky to share this with my three favorite guys.”
Ryan lifted her hand that he clasped tightly in his and kissed her fingers. The giant diamond he’d just given to her when they’d recently gone to Paris sparkled in the light. Another man down for the count. I nodded toward Ryan. He knew I would love him like a brother, but I also had big expectations when it came to the man who would marry my little sister.
Forgiving Ryan Sinclair for being a douchebag was easy because of the permanent smile affixed to my sister’s face. The guy hadn’t been my favorite in the beginning, but post rehab—the second time—and my sister was the happiest I’d seen her in the seven years since our mom had died.
“I have to go schmooze,” Amanda said. “I’ll see you later.” She leaned toward me. “Oh, by the way, that painting you’re ogling was done by someone you know. Very well.”
I crinkled my eyebrows. Amanda and Ryan escaped into the crowd. I turned back to the giant painting that had captured my attention. Who did I know that was an artist? I stood in front of the giant work. It was almost a mural. The bright colors grabbed me. My gut twisted in response to the images before me.
“Do you like it?”
My heart kicked against my ribcage. Was it . . . Could it be? The voice was familiar and yet, deeper, darker, older . . . sexier. Summertime memories of a beautiful girl flickered in my mind, memories of a girl who had nearly been a woman, and me nearly a man. A girl I loved. A girl I could have made a life with if I’d known, even known at the tender age of seventeen, what making a life with someone meant. A girl who’d disappeared and had taken my heart with her. I turned.
My chest tightened. My breath caught in my lungs.
Rhiannon had been that girl.
Rhiannon stood in before me in a silky slip of a dress, tall and willowy with long lush white-blonde hair draped over her shoulders. Haunting green eyes stared out from atop cheekbones that looked sculpted from marble. She was so beautiful, so ethereal, that she didn’t even look real. Her lips turned upward into a smile.
“You’re looking very well,” she said.
I maintained my cool Legend exterior. Rhiannon had been a mere schoolboy crush. Hadn’t she?
“Rhiannon,” I said. I leaned forward and grasped her hand and pressed my lips to each of her cheeks. A scent rich and dark like cinnamon trailed her. The scent caused memories to pop in my mind. Memories of blankets, and beaches, and Malibu and first kisses.
Heat jolted me. Desire coiled thick in my gut. I forced a coolness into my face. I hadn’t touched Rhiannon since I was seventeen and yet, and yet, her skin, her hand in mine seemed familiar, natural.
“It’s been forever,” Rhiannon said.
My throat clutched. Never at a loss for words and yet, in this moment her ethereal beauty blinded me. I was barely able to put words together in my mind and form the syllables on my lips.
“It has,” I said. I cleared my throat. Recovered. I’d bedded the most beautiful women in the world; I could speak to Rhiannon Bliss. “Haven’t you been in Ireland and … London?”
“Good memory,” she said. She flipped her golden locks over her shoulder and glanced down at her wine. “The last four years I’ve been in Paris, and now I’m here.”
“And now you’re here.” My head spun with her words. Rhiannon was here. In Los Angeles. After nearly seven years away, seven years of silence, seven years of memories, Rhiannon Bliss was again standing next to me and having the same effect she’d had on me when I was seventeen.
“You never answered my question,” Rhiannon said. She nodded toward the painting behind me. “Do you like it?”
I glanced over my shoulder. The landscape was familiar and yet distant, rendered in a surreal manner. “I do,” I said. “It seems so familiar in an eerie way.”
“Ah, so you do remember that view,” Rhiannon said.
I cocked one eyebrow upward and my gaze locked onto those green eyes. Green eyes that I could fall into forever.
“It’s at my mom’s place, on the plateau.”
Heat grabbed my chest and pulsed through me. I knew that spot. We knew that spot. That spot in Malibu, on Gayle Bliss’s ranch, would forever hold a place in my life.
“You painted this?”
She nodded. Her eyes said so many things to me in this moment, things that words could never tell me. There were so many questions I wanted to ask. But pain, fear, and a broken heart stopped me. I had questions that only a man who needed answers, or who wanted to pursue a lost love, would ask. And I was definitely not that man. Love was not on my itinerary—not in this lifetime.
“It’s beautiful,” I said. I plastered the Legend look of nonchalance onto my face.
Rhiannon’s eyebrow cocked upward, and the smile widened across her face. “I see you’ve mastered the Legend facade,” she said. Her voice lilted and teased. My head jerked back; I was not used to anyone ever calling me on my shit. That didn’t happen in this town, not when you were a Legend.
I smiled. Why pretend there was no history, when Rhiannon was here to tell me otherwise. “You remember that?” I asked.
“How could I ever forget?” She glanced toward the giant painting. “You should buy it,” she said, “before someone else does.”
“Yes,” I said. “Maybe I should.”
My gaze swept the room as I sipped my wine. I caught Webber’s eye across the room. He’d stopped chatting up the new brunette and stood with his palms up. He looked at me and shook his head. His pointed at me and then he drew a heart in the air. He shook his head, as though I was the next man down for the count.
Maggie Marr grew up in the Midwest and made the move to Los Angeles to work in the movie business. She was a motion picture literary agent for ICM before becoming a full time writer. She’s written for film and TV and ghostwritten for celebrities. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.