Four years ago, Bee Carter left her tiny hometown, escaping her tormenters. She concealed her tarnished reputation under a good-girl persona, hiding her history from Nicolas, her strong and silent billionaire; Hawke, her tattooed bad-boy biker; and Cyndi, her man-crazy best friend.
Today, she's returning home … and she's not alone. Some of her deepest, darkest secrets will be revealed. Trust will be tested. Clothing and inhibitions will be discarded. Bee and her hometown will never be the same.
At four sixteen, exactly fourteen minutes after our call ended, the doorbell rings. I look through the peephole, see a giant brown eye, and laugh. My control-freak billionaire is trying to peer into the condo. I swing the door open. “Peepholes work only one way,” I tease.
“I thought you might require retinal identification.” Nicolas smiles, his white teeth flashing in his tanned face, and I inhale sharply. He’s so d*mn handsome, even when exhausted, his black hair swept back from his gorgeous face, a hint of darkness under his eyes, a shadow of stubble on his chin.
My body hums with excitement. I’ve gained an appreciation for stubble, loving the feel of it against my soft skin. “Welcome to my, or rather the Wynterses’, humble abode.” I give the main room a game-show wave, showing Nicolas all of its fabulous features, features he installed.
He looks around him, his gaze stopping at Cyndi’s bedroom. “Their humble abode is a mess.” Nicolas shakes his head. “That must be the Wynters girl’s room.” He strides toward it.
“Don’t go in there.” I hurry after him, intent on protecting Cyndi’s privacy. “That’s her private space.”
“I’m closing the door.”
“Don’t close the door,” I shout. Nicolas stops abruptly and I smack into his back. He turns and gazes at me as though I’ve lost my mind, which I suppose I have. “I like having it open,” I explain, my voice lowered to a normal volume.
Nicolas raises his eyebrows. “Her room is a disaster zone. You want to look at that?”
“Yes,” I admit, avoiding his gaze. Seeing Cyndi’s things reassures me she’ll return to the condo, to me. She’d never leave all of her stuff behind.
“Come on,” I urge, not sharing any of this with Nicolas. “We’re serving ice cream at the kitchen counter.”
Nicolas looks at the bedroom, bewilderment flitting across his beautiful face. I wait, my heart pounding, my fears admittedly irrational yet real to me.
He shrugs his broad shoulders and follows me into the main living room-kitchen space. He’s a smaller man than Hawke, yet his tread is heavier, noisier.
Relieved that the bedroom crisis is over, I saunter to the fridge and extract the carton of Heavenly Hash ice cream from the freezer compartment. The glass cups and spoons are already laid out on the counter.
Nicolas perches on a stool, touches the bowl of jelly beans, and frowns. “These look familiar.”
My face heats. My roommate tossed a bowl of jelly beans out of the window recently, earning all building residents a memo from Nicolas’s management team. “It sometimes rains jelly beans.” I scoop ice cream into the cups. “Chicago weather is strange.”
Nicolas sprinkles a handful of jelly beans onto his ice cream. “Your messy roommate is the strange one.”
“Cyndi is my best friend.” I jump to her defense. “And she bought the ice cream you’re eating.” I place the tub back in the freezer. “Be nice.”
“I’m not a nice man.” Nicolas swallows a spoonful of ice cream. “But she does have good taste in ice cream. Does this have marshmallow in it?” He dissects the creamy treat. “It does, and almonds. G*d, this is good.” He sucks on his spoon, appearing adorably boyish.
I sit beside him and we eat ice cream. My billionaire’s blue silk tie is loosened, the top button of his crisp white shirt undone. His navy blue suit hugs his lean body. His leather dress shoes balance on the bar stool’s footrest.
He’s here alone. He arrived alone. “Shouldn’t you have a bodyguard with you?”
Nicolas’s lips curve around his spoon. “Am I in danger? Should I be scared?” His dark eyes sparkle.
“Be serious.” I slap his shoulder.
Cynthia Sax lives in a world where demons aren’t all bad, angels aren’t all good, and magic happens every single day. Although her heroes may not always say, “I love you”, they will do anything for the women they love. They live passionately. They fight fiercely. They love the same women forever.
Cynthia has loved the same wonderful man forever. Her supportive hubby offers himself up to the joys and pains of research, while they travel the world together, meeting fascinating people and finding inspiration in exotic places such as Istanbul, Bali, and Chicago.