Six years ago, Chad’s hunt for a dangerous treasure turned deadly when his family home was set on fire, his parents killed. Faking his and his sister Amy’s death to protect her from further retaliation, he set her up in a new life with a friend’s help, letting her believe he’d died. But now the men who hired Chad to find the treasure have found him, imprisoning and torturing him to learn where it’s hidden. A dark-haired beauty named Gia helps him escape, promising him access to his worst enemy. And as he tries to unravel the deep secrets of the past, he starts falling for her…only to discover she’s not what she seems. Unable to trust anyone, Chad focuses on only two things: protecting his sister Amy and getting revenge. Is love even possible in the midst of heartache?
It’s nearly eight in the evening when I take the elevator to our secure, key-coded floor and enter the suite, where I immediately hear, “Chad! Is that you?”
Angry, I grab the chair in front of the door and shove it aside.
“Oh, thank God,” Gia gushes, flinging her arms around my neck. “You’re in one piece.”
Stunned by her greeting, by the way her sweet curves meld against me, I fight the heat rushes through me, untangling her grip and pressing her hands against the wall. “Tell me what you know about my sister,” I demand.
“Nothing, Chad. I told you that. Is she—was she—”
“You know I didn’t find her.”
“I wanted you to find her. I was terrified for you.”
Anger expands in me, seeping into my veins, and on some level, I know it’s not about Gia at all, or maybe I just fear it will be about her. I don’t want to trust her and be wrong. “You barely know me.”
“I know you’re in pain. I know what being alone feels like, and I know that’s what you feel right now.”
It’s a word that pierces my heart with guilt. It’s what I know my sister has felt for six long years. I was all she had, the only one she could count on, even if she didn’t know I was there—and I failed her. The pain is a seed that grows and expands inside me in an instant, and suddenly, or maybe not so suddenly, the idea of being betrayed by Gia is not as biting as the idea of failing her as well. My hands come down on her face, and I stare at her. “I have money and resources to hide you, and I promise you, no one will find you. But I won’t be there with you. I’m poison to anyone near me. You can’t forget that. I can’t forget that.”
I don’t give her time to reply. My mouth closes down on hers, my tongue pressing past her lips, stroking and stroking again, in what is instantly an aggressive, searching kiss. She moans, and I swear the sound of her moan shatters a piece of my soul that is already bleeding for my sister. In this moment, it feels like all I have left is this woman.
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New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES, and is now in development by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland, Austin Powers, Must Love Dogs) for cable TV. In addition, her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series, both spent several months on a combination of the NY Times and USA Today lists. Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann. Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine. Lisa loves to hear from her readers.