LOVE ME LATER
Book One in the Second Chances Series
Can they love right on the redo?
Scarlet Leore enjoys a glittering existence among New York society’s elite. Ethan Blake is a prizefighter knocking his way through school, counting on his winnings to bankroll the dreams that won’t fit in a boxing ring. When the two meet, neither can deny the instant attraction that wells between the hulking fighter and the heiress who is miles and millions out of his league. But a vicious attack leaves Scarlet physically and emotionally battered, and for Ethan, the allure crumbles along with the rest of his life after Scarlet accuses him of wielding the knife.
Years later, Scarlet has abandoned the high life for that of a hard-working lawyer, while Ethan has clawed his way to the pinnacle of a business empire. Drawn into his world of high-stakes tech mergers, they dance to a tune of revenge, desire, and finally, redemption. But theirs is a world that won’t tolerate an attorney falling for her client. They’ll need more than lust and forgiveness. They must bridge the chasm of a tormented past to understand who they are today. Only then can they forge a future in the face of the resurging enemy who once tore them apart.
Mentally grappling with a plan to turn the tide, Scarlet wandered the corridor outside her hotel room, dressed for dinner alfresco but feeling like saltines in bed.
Ethan opened his door with suspiciously impeccable timing. “Can’t get my mind off the flight,” he murmured, falling in step.
No kidding. “Try harder.”
“Harder,” he said solemnly, “is an interesting choice of words.”
She stopped, needing to clear the air before their dining with Optik’s top players. “Ethan, you know this can’t happen.”
“This?” He looked around in mock confusion. “I’m walking down the hall. Not exactly
“We cannot happen.” Even though I want you so badly. “No flirting.” Because then I’ll let “us” happen. “No touching.” Because we want each other for different reasons.
“Tell me why.” Ethan didn’t sound angry, exactly, more like tense.
Hello chest squeeze. She swallowed hard, eyes darting around the corridor, stalling everywhere but his questioning face. The motivation behind his tenderness on the flight and his lingering interest couldn’t be noble. They may have delved into the personal on the plane, but they’d avoided the elephant in the room. Her accusation of violence and his subsequent imprisonment weren’t going away.
They’d also ignored the little fact the he was her client and a big catch for her firm. Ethan was off limits no matter how many past demons they overcame.
“You know why,” she said, finally responding to his demand for an explanation.
With that, she resumed her trek to dinner, intent on ignoring how well he filled out his designer suit. Most men couldn’t work the classic cut of Dior Homme, but the midnight wool of the suit and the equally dark silk shirt, tieless and barely open at the throat, only combined to make him look bigger, sleeker. Equal parts dangerous and erotic.
And Ethan was a danger to her. So much so she feared she couldn’t handle his brand of hurt.
“Bullshit.” He towered over her, his voice at once sensual and menacing. “We’re both attracted, and you have neither a meaningful nor convincing reason as to why we can’t
enjoy each other.”
More like use each other, she thought, startled by his revealing choice of words. But how utterly tempting.
“Then let me spell it out.” She came to an abrupt halt, her need to understand Ethan’s motives driving the whole sticky scenario from her lips. “I accused you of trying to kill me, an accusation that landed you in a notorious prison for months and shattered your livelihood and future plans. I tried to reconcile. You made it clear any apology from me was both unwanted and unacceptable. You hinted that revenge would be sweet.
Fast-forward nine years. You drag me unwittingly into your now-luxurious corporate world, bent on executing a plan only you understand. What is it, Ethan? What is your plan? What must I endure for you to feel better? I’ve paid my dues.”
Her heart worked in painful beats. The simple act of verbalizing her fears initiated great rushes of emotion that left her floundering. All the pent-up suspicion and worry had provided a framework of almost physical support, a tension she hadn’t known she’d come to rely on.
Without a word, Ethan snaked an arm around her waist. Like on the plane, his other hand went to her face, her hair, stroking in that way of his that both comforted and aroused. He made low, whirling sounds in the back of his throat, and within moments, her heart no longer squeezed in painful lurches and her breathing returned to normal.
When she peeked up at him from within the embrace, he refused to meet her gaze. Evading her barrage of questions, he focused on her lower lip, rubbing at it with his thumb.
“I’m not that complex. No tricks,” he said darkly. His voice dropped and his head descended to nuzzle the base of her throat when he murmured, “You know exactly what I want, Empress”
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