by Victoria Paige
Wealthy, powerful Grant Thorne is used to getting what he wants, and he wants Blaire, the beautiful angel who saved his life when he was injured in a blizzard. The CEO of Thorne Industries and the son of a Senator, he lives his life in the public eye. Convincing the reclusive artist to be a part of his world won’t be easy, but determination fuels his pursuit.
Blaire Callahan had escaped her dangerous past to create a new life for herself, or so she thought, until one night she rescues a handsome stranger who rattles her quiet existence. Their chemistry is undeniable, but is it enough to risk her heart and give up the safety of her remote sanctuary?
Dreams of having a life together come to a screeching halt when the couple is photographed at a political event. And when Blaire suddenly vanishes, Grant begins unraveling her past, and realizes the woman he fell in love with was never as she seemed.
Can a woman held captive by the lies of her past really have a future with a man who’s captured her heart? Or will her dangerous past catch up with her and jeopardize their future forever…
He didn’t imagine the spark of interest in her eyes. She was attracted to him but he could see the conflict inside her. Would a quick fling satisfy whatever was brewing between them? As soon as that thought crossed his mind, he dismissed it savagely. The woman saved his life; he needed to leave her alone. His life was on the east coast and he didn’t do long-distance relationships.
With that thought, he decided it was time to get up. He had a feeling he’d been sleeping for some time. He swore viciously as he got off the bed. His ribs hadn’t liked that. When he limped into the hallway, the smell of coffee hit his nose and he realized he’d not had caffeine in almost three days.
An overhead wrought-iron lamp brightened the kitchen, but the whole house was lit by the reflection of snow coming from the windows. A fire was burning in the living room hearth and, as Grant exited the hallway, he spotted Blaire sitting on the kitchen bench in red plaid pajamas. She had one foot raised on the seat and a sketchpad rested on that bent knee. Her hair was tied back in a ponytail, head tilted as she pulled expert strokes of charcoal across paper. He rubbed at his chest, an odd ache forming there. Grant wanted to commit this unguarded moment to memory so he could take it with him when he left.
But when Blaire glanced up and a smile broke across her face, all of Grant’s selfless intentions disappeared. There was no fucking way he was never seeing that smile again.
“You’re awake!” Blaire chirped, setting her sketchpad on the table and jumping up. “Twelve hours, Thorne.”
“You’re shitting me.”
“Nope. You passed out at nine,” his angel informed him. “It’s nine-thirty. Imagine that?”
“How’s the head?”
“Nope,” he answered, and before she could ask another question. “Coffee?”
“Oh, you’re one of those.” She raised a brow. “The ones who can’t function without caffeine?”
Damn, he wanted to kiss that smart mouth.
“No coffee,” she said. “You’re getting lemon tea—”
“And if you still want coffee, you may have a cup.”
Grant was rethinking her nurturing soul. Maybe he’d been hallucinating the past few days. “Do you like torturing your patients?”
“You’re better, aren’t you?” she sassed as she turned around and presented him with her oh-so-shapely ass. She headed to the stovetop to turn on the burner under the kettle. Grant spotted the coffee machine, limp-stalked over to the stove and switched it off.
“Coffee, woman. None of that lemon tea bullshit.” He started searching the cabinets for a mug. Finding one, he turned around and saw that she had her hands on her hips, her eyes shooting sparks of annoyance at him.
“You’re still sick,” she reminded him.
“And you made me drink fucking spruce tea,” he shot back. “I deserve coffee.”
Grant tagged the pot of brew and poured himself a cup. He took a healthy gulp and enjoyed the burn going down his throat but he had to admit, it wasn’t as effective as spruce or lemon tea.
Blaire threw up her hands. “You’re having oatmeal for breakfast.”
He sighed. “I’m really hungry.”
“I can put some eggs in it,” she offered. “Liam does it and I think it’s disgusting, but I guess you’ll need the calories to maintain those muscles.” Her eyes widened when she caught his smirk “I mean …”
“You perving on my muscles?”
She scowled. “Do you want breakfast?” She spun around and pulled the refrigerator open with a huff. “And I’m not a pervert,” she told the fridge.
“I was teasing, Blaire,” Grant murmured. “You’re cute when you’re flustered.”
She didn’t say anything, and he began to regret teasing her. She was obviously uncomfortable with flirting. But if her flaming cheeks were anything to go by, she was definitely not uninterested. He’d wondered since the night before if, when she blushed, she was pink all over. Grant groaned inwardly. He had felt her bare legs against him, her soft curves against him—maximum body heat. What he would give to experience that closeness again. Except it would end up with him balls-deep inside her. He’d climb over her, wrap her legs around him, shove her panties aside and slide his cock right into her tight heat. And there was his dick rising up to the challenge.
“Grant, are you sure you’re okay?” Blaire asked, a frown creasing her forehead. “You look like you’re in pain.”
You have no idea, Angel.
“Are the phones still down?” he asked as he willed his wayward thoughts to go on a different track.
She nodded. “You’re worried about your sister?”
“The radio didn’t report her missing the same time they reported that I was. I think she’s fine,” he concluded from what Blaire and Liam told him the day before.
“You sound pissed at her,” Blaire observed, stirring the oatmeal into the pot of water.
He lowered himself to the chair and leaned back. Taking another sip of coffee, he contemplated where exactly his headspace was regarding his sister. “I’m caught in the middle of worry and anger. There’s still a chance that something happened to her. Also,” he sighed. “Not being able to get word to my parents that I’m fine is frustrating.”
“I’m sorry,” she whispered.
“Not your fault,” Grant said quickly. “You guys have gone above and beyond for a complete stranger.” And that was why he tolerated Liam’s hostility to a certain point.
“Why were you both out in the snow?”
“Fight with her boyfriend,” he said, his blood starting to boil. “Val got so pissed, she took off on a snow mobile. Fucker didn’t go after her, so I did.”
There was that look on Blaire’s face that tempted him to hug her. The closest word that came to mind was “compassion.” Her face was so expressive, her eyes—he couldn’t even decide what color they were. Dark rimmed around the edges with light brown and green … no, sometimes they were almost blue. The previous night when she stood before him in front of her paintings, she took his breath away. Blaire by firelight was breathtaking.
Victoria Paige writes romantic suspense with badass alpha males and smart, feisty heroines.
Her heroes are possessive, overprotective, and frequently the obsessed, jealous type with a penchant for strong language. Her heroines are strong-willed and intelligent women who can hold their own against a bossy hero. Her books are sexually explicit and may contain dark themes, morally ambiguous choices, and disturbing situations. In short, they are not fluff reads because anything goes in her plots.
Victoria lives in Richmond, VA with her husband and their German Shepherd Dog. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s training her GSD to become a badass himself.