I’d thought that he was mine, the dark, arresting man who commanded not only my body but my heart. Dante had swept into my life, and I’d succumbed to the burn of passion in his arms.
I’d believed we had a love that would last forever, but he’d shattered my dreams and broken me into pieces when he’d walked away, taking a piece of my soul with him.
Now he has come back seeking my help, and though I try to keep my distance and protect my heart, I cannot deny that the fire between us burns hotter than ever. And I cannot help but fear that this time our passion will reduce us both to ashes.
I fell in love with him once—and I’m honestly not sure that I ever fell out of love.
But I do know one thing for sure—Dante Storm is dangerous to my heart. And whatever we started just now is something that we can’t finish.
I meet his eyes and am about to say just that when he shakes his head. “No. Don’t say it. You don’t need to say it.”
“That we can’t do it again.”
I stand in silence. I know why I can’t; it’s because he will break my heart.
But I don’t know why he doesn’t want me. I only know that he doesn’t. I only know that he walked away once, and that he has already told me he will walk away again.
That should be enough, but then I have to go and open my mouth. I have to ask— “Why? Why did you leave?”
For a minute, I don’t think that he’s going to answer. But he surprises me by saying, “Because I was looking at forever.”
“And you don’t think I was, too?” I’m baffled. With Dante, forever was my mantra.
He looks at me, his eyes so sad I want to cry. “No,” he says, “I know you weren’t.”
I start to protest, but he just shakes his head, like a dog shaking off water. “Let’s go transfer your money.”
“No,” I say, standing firm.
He cocks his head, then winces. “We shouldn’t have done this. It won’t happen again. But please don’t back out. I really need your help. I can’t tell you how urgent this is.”
“I’ll help,” I say. “But I don’t want your money. And I don’t want sex.” That’s not entirely true. I want it; I don’t think I can handle it.
“I don’t know,” I say. “Maybe because I loved you once upon a time.”
Maybe because I still do.
About Julie Kenner
Julie Kenner (aka J. Kenner and J.K. Beck) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over forty novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.
Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” J.K. writes a range of stories including super sexy romances, paranormal romance, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, is in development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures.
Her most recent trilogy of erotic romances, The Stark Trilogy (as J. Kenner), reached as high as #2 on the New York Times list and is published in over twenty countries.
J.K. lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and several cats.