It only takes a second, a fraction of a second, to forever change your life. That moment hap-pened to me years ago. I did something you can’t take back, and I’d do it again. It’s a secret I’ll take to my grave—which is probably sooner rather than later—and that’s okay. I live with my choices.
Three things I’ve learned—bad things happen to good people, life isn’t fair, and the bad guy doesn’t get the girl. And I’m most definitely the bad guy.
I’ve always made my own decisions. I’ve never apologized for them, and I never will. Regret is an emotion I’ve never had to face.
Until now. Until her.
She once told me that what I did, killing people for a living, wasn’t good for my soul. I told her I was beyond saving. The truth is that I’m not worth saving. Not anymore.
But when I look in her eyes, I wish I was the man she deserves, the man she loves.
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She was running, her arms tightly gripping a dog, and glanced behind her every few steps.
Well, she certainly was never boring, that was for damn sure.
Kade didn’t even think, just stepped out from where he’d been hidden and let Kathleen run full bore into him, grabbing her arms to keep her from stumbling back and falling. She screamed and he covered her mouth with his hand, stifling her. Struggling, she let go of the dog and started pushing against him.
Kade jerked her closer, making her unable to fight him, and she finally looked up, her body stilling when her terrified eyes locked with his. It felt as though an electric shock went through Kade at the touch of her blue gaze, but he kept his reaction carefully hidden.
“Nice to see you, too, princess.”
Her knees buckled and Kade had to tighten his hold, bringing her body more fully against his, so she didn’t collapse altogether. The feel of her was like a hit of acid after being sober for too long, overwhelming and addicting. The object of his obsession was suddenly back in his arms, the scent of her hair teasing him with memories he’d tried to forget.
“Someone’s chasing me,” she gasped, breathless from running.
Kade scrutinized her. She was obviously terrified. Her eyes were so wide the whites were showing and her mouth was pinched with fear. Her body trembled against his and he didn’t think it was from the cold.
Drawing his weapon, Kade pushed Kathleen behind him. “Stay close,” he ordered.
She didn’t argue, just picked up the dog—when had she gotten a dog?—and did as he’d said, scurrying behind him. He felt her clutch a handful of his jacket as he headed back to her apartment. The gesture seemed to awaken a part of him he’d thought only Blane could touch—the protector rather than the killer.
Kade’s eyes scanned the area for anything that wasn’t supposed to be there, even as another part of his mind processed the unbelievable fact that Kathleen implicitly trusted him to keep her safe. He wanted to reach back and take her hand, but that would be unwise. If there was someone out here, he might need both hands free, so Kade resisted the urge to shield her body with his.
But he saw no one and nothing on the way back. When they reached her apartment building, Kade holstered his gun. “There’s no one around,” he said.
“I saw someone earlier,” she insisted, then pointed to a small knot of trees and bushes. “Over there.”
Kade walked to where she’d indicated, crouching down to look at the ground. The snow was trampled here, the footprints large and heavy, pressing the tread of work boots into the ground. Kade glanced up and saw a direct line of sight into Kathleen’s front window. Cigarette butts littered the area and Kade reached for one.
“What is it?” Kathleen asked, hovering over his shoulder.
“Cigarette butts,” he replied, showing her one, then he stood. “Let’s get you inside.”
This time, he didn’t hesitate to shield her body with his as they went up the stairs, though Kade would bet the guy was long gone by now.
Kathleen tripped on the top step and Kade moved fast, snagging her around the waist and hauling her backward against him, which was a big mistake.
Her scent clogged his throat as the silky strands of her hair brushed his neck. He had the insane urge to lean down and bury his face in the crook between her neck and shoulder and see if her skin there was as soft as he’d imagined. Kade tightened his hold ever so slightly. She was so small, seemed so fragile, her bones half the size of his, yet she was brave and strong. He admired that. She’d climbed out of the window of a burning house, fought and shot a man who would’ve killed her—and stood up to Kade when others would have quaked in fear. The bite of that stinging slap she’d given him in Blane’s study still made him grin with reluctant admiration.
All these thoughts assailed Kade in the span of a second while Kathleen paused to catch her breath. She tried to move, but Kade’s grip was locked tight and she had to tug on his arm.
“Thanks,” she said.
Kade abruptly released her, startled that he’d been reluctant to do so.
This was really becoming a problem.
I love to write and am thrilled to be a part of the Amazon Montlake family. My debut novel, NO TURNING BACK, is the first book in The Kathleen Turner Series. I write about things I love to read myself - a heroine who could be a neighbor or best friend; two men who each portray their own version of darkness and light, each vying for her affection; and a story that focuses as much on the characters as it does the suspense. NO TURNING BACK, TURN TO ME, TURN-ING POINT, OUT OF TURN and POINT OF NO RETURN currently comprise The Kathleen Turner Series. There is also a companion novel to NO TURNING BACK entitled TURN ON A DIME - BLANE'S TURN. TURN ON A DIME - KADE'S TURN releases August 25, 2014. My new series, The Tangled Ivy Trilogy starts with the release of IN HIS SHADOW, set to release December 16, 2014.
As for me, I've been reading romance novels since I was way too young to read such things, have an unhealthy obsession for all things Doctor Who, prefer Pepsi to Coke and Absolut to both, think men who drink girly cocktails are wusses, have learned to never stop believing in my beloved St. Louis Cardinals, and can recite the entire scripts of When Harry Met Sally and Apollo 13. George Washington is cool, Bon Jovi still rocks the house, and Bruce Willis is the ultimate alpha-male hero. Most of all, romance never, ever gets old.
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