Will her terrifying past threaten their passionate future?
After a violent tragedy nearly destroyed her, Lily Taylor ran away, changed her name, and started over. When her deadly nemesis resurfaces to eliminate his loose end, she turns to the last man she should trust—a stranger with a history of violence and an intoxicating sexuality she can’t refuse…
Though strong-armed into locating Lily to help put away a drug lord, ex-con Stone Sutter isn’t anyone’s snitch. When he finds the terrified beauty, he vows to keep her safe—but he isn’t sure he has the strength to shield her from his own desires.
As an unquenchable fire sparks between them, Lily’s tormentor stalks ever closer and she must overcome her darkest fear to survive. Can she trust the bond she and Stone have formed as they’re falling in deeper?
No.” She shook her head adamantly. “Let me go.”
“I have to.”
“I know you think you’re in danger. Someone from your past, right? You don’t want him to catch you or put anyone you care about at risk.”
Her big eyes widened with surprise. “How did you—”
“I was born but it wasn’t yesterday, baby. Let me help you.” He reached for her.
“How do I know you’re not involved? You seem to understand this situation pretty well and you just got out of prison.” She stood and gripped her tote, then began backing away. “Don’t come near me.”
Stone sent her a reassuring stare. “I have nothing to do with anyone trying to scare you. Hell, Jack Cole got me out of prison to help solve a cyber crime.”
“Did Axel know that?”
“Then I don’t trust you.”
Clearly she’d been deeply attached to Axel, and that made Stone jealous as hell. “If you don’t believe anything else, then believe I’m here to help you.”
Lily shook her head and gathered her scattered belongings again. “It’s not that simple. You don’t understand how ruthless this monster is. It’s better if I go. Tell Thorpe and Axel I said good-bye,” she choked out. “Thank them for everything.”
When she tried to dash past him, he snagged her arm, holding her just tight enough to make her stay. “Baby, let me help you.”
“You can’t. Besides, you look at me like you’d ultimately want sex in return. I don’t like it and I’m no good at it.”
“Whoa.” He held up his hands. “I never said anything about an exchange of protection for sex.”
She kept on as if he hadn’t spoken. “Sometimes in bed I freak out or cry or . . . God, I need to stop babbling and get out of town.”
As Lily darted for her car, Stone filed away that assessment of her sexual prowess and blocked her path. “Don’t run. No strings. I promise.”
“Then why would you bother?”
Stone tried to think through his answer fast. The truth—that he needed her to testify—would scare the hell out of her right now. He certainly couldn’t tell her that he wanted her so badly it was fucking with his brainpan because that would freak her out, too. Unfortunately, that didn’t leave him with much. “I can’t stand to see you terrified, and I promised Thorpe I’d keep you safe.”
“If you don’t want sex, you feel sorry for me, and I can’t handle that. Just let me go before this guy finds you with me. He’ll kill you. He’ll kill us both.” She looked ready to beg. “Please move your truck. Otherwise I’ll jump the curb and drive over the grass to get away.”
Her little car wouldn’t make it, but Stone would bet she’d give it a hell of a try. And he was running out of options. The last one he had up his sleeve pissed him off,but if it worked, he’d get over himself.
“Be logical. The person who left those flowers isn’t a nice guy, right?”
If anything, she paled more as she shook her head. “No.”
“I’m going to venture that he might even be some sort of criminal.”
Lily pressed her lips together. Her chin trembled as she fought her fear. “The worst.”
From everything he’d been told, Canton was a sociopathic prick who deserved a place of honor in the ninth circle of hell. “You don’t know anything about being a criminal.”
“I know about running from one.”
He’d give her that. She’d managed to keep herself alive for the past seven years. “But do you want to keep running for the rest of your life? How long before it wears you down? How much longer do you want to keep leaving family and friends to start over, all alone?”
His words seemed to slice at her heart, and he hated the way tears filled her eyes. “I don’t have a choice.”
“You do. Maybe it takes a criminal to think like one.”
She glanced up at him in surprise, as if that thought had never occurred to her. Then she frowned. “You said you’re not a violent person.”
“Prison teaches a man a lot about the lengths he’ll go to in order to stay alive.”
“You can’t kill him.” Her voice trembled.
If Canton had frightened Lily this much, then it would be Stone’s pleasure. “I can outsmart him, find other ways to make him disappear…”