“Not anymore.” He reached out and cupped her cheek. The burning need to touch her was so great it scared the shit out of him.

For the first time in his life he knew what was important and he wasn’t going to let anything get in his way. But before he came clean with Izzy, he had to clear things up with her father and with his brother. He owed his brother an explanation for why he was turning down the deal in person.

They’d worked their assess off to get where they were today and he knew he was turning down a shit load of money. He just couldn’t do this over the phone. Savannah was about two hours away.

If he left in an hour, he could talk to his brother first, then meet Edward before lunchtime. And it would give him enough time to make it back to Izzy tonight.

“When you will be back?” She tried to scoot away from him, but he clamped down on her hip.

“Don’t be angry, Izzy. I’ll be back by tonight.

If you don’t want me to go, I won’t.” While he wanted to get this over today so he could come clean with Izzy and start things fresh, he wouldn’t leave her if she asked him to stay.

“It’s important to you?”


“Well what is it?”

“I can’t tell you and I’d rather not lie. You’re going to have to trust me.”

She sighed and fell against the pillow. “Fine. I guess.”

“When you say fine do you really mean it or is this something you’re going to hold against me when we’re old and gray?”

At his words she turned to look at him with wide eyes. “What did you just say?”

He swallowed under her intense scrutiny. Izzy was different from any woman he’d ever known.

He not only loved her, he was impressed with the way she handled herself under pressure. She’d been frightened but she’d still gone out of her way to comfort the other girl last night. “You didn’t misunderstand me.”

“What didn’t I misunderstand?” Her words came out hoarse.

“I love you, Izzy. You have to know that.”

A wide grin spread across her face, and before he could guess what she planned she sat up, pushed against his chest and straddled him. “I love you too.” She grabbed him by the wrists and held them above his head as she leaned forward and kissed him.

An invisible force loosened around his chest.

He’d never opened up about himself to anyone the way he had to Izzy. He hadn’t realized how nervous he’d been she wouldn’t respond when he admitted how he felt.

As her tongue rasped against his, his cock surged forward. Reaching between them, he cupped one of her breasts and strummed one of her nipples until it turned rock hard under his touch. She moaned into his mouth and when she rubbed over his erection, he stilled.

He wanted to take her fast and hard but after the night she’d had, he couldn’t. Gently, he cupped her cheek. “Hey, do we need to change your bandages?”

Frowning, she turned her wrists over to look at them and nodded.“Unfortunately yes.”

She had superficial burns around the edges of her wrists. The doctors said she’d heal completely, but if left unchecked they could get infected. He hooked her by the waist and lifted her off. “Come on before I forget to be a gentleman.”

She slipped out of bed and started to follow him to the bathroom, but he stopped and picked up a T-shirt.

“What are you doing?” she asked, when he handed it to her. “Aren’t you going to change my bandages?”

“Yes, but after you put some clothes on.”

She glanced down at the erection his boxers couldn’t hide and grinned. “You’re like a machine.”

“Only around you,” he muttered before heading to the bathroom. She didn’t have much in the way of first aid stuff, but the staff at the hospital had given her plenty of backup supplies.

A few seconds later she walked in wearing a shirt that barely skimmed the top of her long legs.

Not the shirt he’d handed her. “Damn, Izzy.

That’s not clothes.”

She sat on the edge of the sink and held out both arms. When she moved like that, he got a flash of the skimpy hot pink scrap of material she considered underwear. “I don’t want you to forget me while you’re gone.”

“Not possible,” he chuckled as he pulled out a roll of gauze. At the intent expression on her face he stopped what he was doing.

He encircled her wrists with his hands a little higher than the burns so he wouldn’t agitate her skin and pulled her close. “I’ve got to take care of something today, but it has nothing to do with us.”

Technically it did, but he couldn’t give her more to worry about. Not when she had so much on her plate right now. When she didn’t respond he continued. “It’s family stuff, Izzy.” He bit back the lie. Once he took care of things, he’d tell her everything.

“Okay. You’re still making me breakfast before you leave.” It wasn’t a question.

He shook his head and suppressed a grin as he started to take off her bandages. His princess was going to be just fine.

Izzy shut the front door behind Adam and sagged against it. She couldn’t believe he’d left today of all days, but for once, she was actually going to trust someone. It sucked he was leaving, but she’d promised Detective Dennis she’d drop by the station this morning as a follow-up. If she was honest with herself, she didn’t mind Adam leaving too much mainly because she needed a few hours alone to decompress. Everything hadn’t truly hit her, but she was sure it would soon enough.

She heard her phone ringing from the other room and rushed to get it. When she saw Carolyn’s name, she debated whether to answer.

She didn’t feel like talking to anyone, but if she didn’t answer her friend would worry.

“Hey, Carolyn.”

“Izzy, how’re you feeling? Do you need me to come over? What can I bring?” Her friend shot questions at her like a machine gun.

“I’m still a little shaken up, but I’m totally fine.

I promise. If I need anything I’ll call.”

“Okay, I guess.” Carolyn didn’t sound completely convinced.

“Will you please stop worrying? Except for a few scrapes and bruises I’m alive and healthy.”

“Have you called your father?” Carolyn was the only person in Coconut Bay who knew about Izzy’s strained relationship with her father.

She hadn’t told her dad about anything that had happened because she knew he’d insist she come home immediately, or worse, send her a ten-man bodyguard team. “No.”

“Are you going to?” she demanded.

“Yes, I’ll call him… Actually, after I drop by the station, I’ll take a mini day trip to see him.” It was only two hours away and after all she’d been through, she really did want to see her dad. He’d be pissed she’d kept him in the dark about everything, but he’d get over it.

“Are you sure you’re okay to drive?”

“Jeez Carolyn, you’re already sounding like a mom. I’m fine.”

After five minutes of convincing her friend she was capable of driving, she changed into a blue knee-length wrap dress and kitten heels. As she swiped on mascara in the mirror, she still couldn’t believe everything that had happened in the span of five days. She’d fallen in love and almost been killed by a raging psycho. Savannah was suddenly looking pretty good.

She grabbed her purse and headed down to the police station. The sooner she got this over, the sooner she’d be on her way to see her dad.

Adam braced himself for his brother’s reaction as he stepped into the waiting elevator of their building downtown. They’d rented out the bottom two floors to other tenants but the entire third floor was theirs. When he stepped out Marian glanced up from behind her desk.

Her eyebrows raised. “You back already?”

“Sort of. Is Ben in?”

She nodded but didn’t say anything else. He opened the door to his brother’s office to find him frowning at his computer screen.

“Problems little brother?”

Ben looked up and grinned. “Not anymore.

Good to see you, man. I take it you’ve finally come to your senses and are back to stay?”

“I’ve still got to pack up some stuff, but I’ll be moving back in a couple days.”

“Good because we’ve got our work cut out for us. In about seven days, we’re going to have more work than we know what to do with.”

“What are you talking about?” He took a seat on the uncomfortable metal chair.

“Have you had a chance to review Ballantine’s contract? We need to have a team ready immediately. I’ve already called and emailed the guys I know you’ll want for this gig.”

“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. I’m not accepting the contract.” Adam hated doing this to him, but he hoped his brother understood.

It was why he’d come in person. He owed his brother enough respect not to have this conversation over the phone.

“It’s a little too late for that.” Ben crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back in his chair.

Blood rushed in Adam’s ears. “What the hell are you talking about?”

His brother shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

“I signed it.”

“What do you mean you signed it?”

Ben shrugged. “We’re partners, bro. I thought we both wanted this deal. What’s going on? We’ve got the numbers and the guys. If you’re freaked out about taking on such a big contract, don’t. This is what we’ve been working toward.”

“It’s not that. I…I want to start a life with Izzy.

I didn’t mean to fall for her but it just happened.

Taking this deal with Ballantine seems wrong.”

Ben’s head snapped back in shock. “You love her or something?”