Taylor’s suddenly thrown into the dangers of the corporate world and her only protector is her hot, anonymous one-night stand.
Taylor Scott thought she had it all—a good life and a great job. No relationship? No problem. But her world is turned upside down when the father she never knew she had first refuses to acknowledge her, then makes her the sole heir to the major conglomerate he owned. It’s the last thing she wants, but circumstances leave her no choice. She steps into a world of corporate greed and treachery where no one is what they seem.
And the only person to guide her through the treacherous waters? The man with whom she had the hottest one-night stand ever, Noah Cantrell. Noah isn’t what he seemed at first, either, but now he’s the only one Taylor can trust.
As danger stalks her at every turn, she must rely on him for everything. The man who makes her scream with pleasure is the only one who can tell her where the danger hides.
About the Author
A multi-published, award winning, Amazon and USA Today best-selling author, Desiree Holt has produced more than 200 titles and won many awards. She has received an EPIC E-Book Award, the Holt Medallion and many others including Author After Dark’s Author of the Year. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The London Daily Mail. She lives in Florida with her cats who insist they help her write her books, and is addicted to football.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Desiree Holt 2017. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.
Hell and damnation.
Taylor Scott never swore, but after this week—this day—she’d acquired a number of words not previously found in her vocabulary.
She hitched her five-foot-four-with-heels body onto one of the two vacant barstools. Turning sideways, she looked at herself in the mirror behind the bar. She saw a tumble of auburn hair and emerald-green eyes. The conservative navy suit and silk blouse looked only slightly the worse for wear after the day’s confrontation. The heavy gold hoops in her ears shone even in the subdued light the cocktail lounge afforded.
Not bad, she thought, critically assessing herself. Not a showstopper. Breasts too small, hips too wide, thighs a little plumper than she’d like. But she made the best use of her assets. Certainly not someone to get tossed out into the street, so to speak.
She wasn’t much of a bar sitter—not even a bar visitor, truth to tell—and she’d really wanted one of the small tables, only they were all full. But she needed a drink, something to make her forget the fact that in the short span of seven days she’d learned her entire life had been a lie. The letter from her grandmother was folded in the pocket of her jacket, a slim sheet of stationery filled with words that had destroyed everything she’d believed about her life up until now.
“What can I get for you, miss?”
Taylor snapped her head up. The bartender had placed a cocktail napkin on the bar in front of her. Now he waited patiently for her, this stocky blond with eyes that said he’d seen and heard it all and an expectant look on his face. What did one drink to get drunk? Her experience was limited to a small selection of good wines and Bloody Marys at Sunday brunches. Wait. The partners in the investment firm where she worked always drank Jack Daniel’s at corporate functions. Black, whatever that meant. She guessed it was as good a choice as any.
“Jack Daniel’s Black, please.” She tried to sound authoritative.
“Rocks or neat?”
She frowned. Why does ordering a drink have to be so complicated? “Oh, um, rocks, please.”
She was hyperaware of her surroundings. The walls of the bar were a rich, polished oak as was the paneling of the bar itself. The tables were oak planking, with chairs covered in soft-looking leather. The lighting, discreetly recessed, gave patrons the illusion of a cloak of darkness. Soft music drifted into the air from hidden speakers, an effective sound screen for couples with their heads inclined toward each other in an intimate fashion.
“Your drink, ma’am.”
The bartender placed a glass filled with deep amber liquid and ice cubes on the tiny square of napkin and set a glass of water next to it.
“In case you wanted a chaser.” He gave her a half-grin.
She picked up the glass with both hands and took a healthy swallow. The first splash of the liquor on her tongue was a sharp bite of smoky flavor, a burning sensation she was unprepared for that brought tears to her eyes and made her cough.
“I wouldn’t chug that like lemonade if I were you. Here.”
The voice was so deep and rich it sent fingers of heat skittering along her spine and tiny pulses throbbing at the heart of her sex. A strong masculine hand held out a snow-white handkerchief which she grabbed without thinking. She blotted her eyes then picked up her glass of water and drained half of it. Then she looked up to see who’d come to her rescue.
Predator. That was the first word that came to mind. An unfamiliar thrill of forbidden temptation shot through her body at the sight of the man sitting at an angle to her right. Broad shoulders and hands with long, slim fingers. A face full of sharp planes and angles with a straight nose and sensuous lips but a totally unreadable look. Eyes blacker than coal under lashes thicker than hers. Black hair worn long and tied back with a thin strip of leather.
There was something feral about him. Wild. Untamed. Dangerous. Powerful energy radiated from him and battered against her body, all of it barely tamed beneath the civilized cloak of a custom-tailored suit and silk dress shirt. An unbidden image flashed in her mind of him naked, his dark hair loose, the muscles of his bronzed body rippling in the sunshine. A panther, that was what he reminded her of. And for a brief moment she wanted to lose herself in the jungle.
He raised an eyebrow. “Panther? Is that a code word?”
Oh, God, did I say that out loud? “Pay no attention to anything that comes out of my mouth tonight.” Heat crept up her cheeks. “My mind isn’t functioning properly.”
His eyes burned into her and she shivered. Good sense told her to get as far away from this stranger as possible before she found herself in a situation beyond her control. Her lovers had been pitifully few and disappointing and none had made her blood heat and moisture pool between her legs the way one look from this stranger did. She wondered what it would be like to have hot, sweaty sex with him. Muscles deep in her body contracted.
She almost laughed. Her grandparents would turn over in their graves if they knew such a thought had even entered her mind. Good. They deserve a little grave-spinning after what they did to me.
Taylor knew she should finish her drink, go to her room and try not to think about how her life had been blown to little pieces. Or about today’s humiliating episode. But resentment had been boiling inside her for a week and what had happened today had set a match to all that growing bitterness. The ruthless discipline she’d allowed to be imposed on her all her life had all been for nothing. For a lie.
When the attorney handling her grandmother’s estate had handed her the letter detailing the monstrous charade she’d been living, she’d received the shock of her life. Nothing had been the way she’d thought. She wasn’t even Taylor Scott, really. At this point she didn’t even know just who the hell she was. But she did know who she didn’t want to be.
Maybe now it was time for her to find out what life had to offer. To taste the forbidden fruit she’d always denied herself.
She handed back the fine cotton handkerchief, noticing his strong, lean fingers as she did so. The brief contact sent heat rocketing through her. “Thank you. I, um, swallowed a little more than I intended.”
He nodded toward her glass. “You need to sip that stuff slowly, not throw it down. Good whiskey is meant to be savored.”
“I know that.” She straightened her back and tossed her hair. “You think I don’t know how to drink good whiskey?”
She thought a smile ghosted across his mouth, but the hint of it disappeared at once.
“I think your drinking habits are your own business. I was just offering a little friendly advice.” He nodded at the bartender and lifted his glass.
“Well, you can keep the advice but thank you for the use of your handkerchief. I’m fine now.” Liar!
“Good. Happy to be of help.”
Taylor finished the rest of her drink in small swallows and tried to ignore the man next to her. The liquor traced fire through her blood but left untouched the cold spot sitting inside her like a block of ice. She raised her hand and motioned to the bartender.
“Sure you want another one of those?” The deep voice spiked another flash of heat.
“Yes. I’m sure. And thanks for your concern, but I don’t need someone to monitor my drinks.”
He shrugged. “Fine by me.” He lifted an eyebrow as the bartender set another full glass in front of her. “Celebrating? Or drowning your sorrows?”
“Neither. Just…” She searched for the right word but couldn’t find one. “Just drinking.”
“I hate to tell you, but you don’t look like you’re enjoying it very much.”
Taylor turned to face him and found herself captured again by the darkness of his eyes.
Eyes without a soul. Now, where did that come from? “On the contrary. I’m having a wonderful time.” She took a healthy swallow of her new drink and nearly choked again. She grabbed her water glass and drained it.
“Mm-hmm. That’s certainly pleasure I see on your face.”
He was beginning to get on her nerves. “You sure are nosy.” She had to turn away from his penetrating gaze. “I’d say it’s distressing to find out after thirty years that your life has been a lie and the one relative you seem to have left denies your existence. Take it from me. Fairy tales don’t really exist.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Sounds pretty serious.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
## UGH. This was horrible. The "hero" (yeah, not so much), was a complete ass! Oh my god, the worst l've read. He treated the heroine like trash the entire way through. Even in the end the heroine had to chase him down and beg him to be with her. Jeez, have some pride lady. The dominant sex was fine but he mentally abused this woman. Someone needed to beat the crap out of this guy. As they were having their HEA, she asks him "Are you clean"? (So they can have sex without a condom). He answers "I'm tested regularly. When you been in as many playpins as me it's a necessity." And then she asks him to marry her. What planet is this guy from? And don't even get me started with how he constantly mocked her "little girl", over and over. There was not one redeeming quality about the "hero" for the heroine to fall for.Do not waste your money!
I always enjoy reading books by ms holt. This story was one of her best ones so far. Great story line...great cnaracters...and great sex...i could not put it down.
Absolutely one of Desiree Holt's best books. A must read.
Another winner for Desiree but then most of her books are winners. A definite must read romantic suspense!!
One of the best books I've read in a long time.