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Livy has never known pure desire like this. The gorgeous Miller Hart captivates her, seduces her, and worships her in deliciously sinful ways. He knows her innermost thoughts, drawing her ever deeper into his dangerous world.
Miller will do anything to keep Livy safe, even if it means risking his own life. But his dark history isn’t the only thing that threatens their future together. As the truth of Livy’s family legacy unravels, an unsettling parallel between past and present comes to light. Her world spinning out of control, Livy finds herself caught between the rapture of an all-consuming love-and a deadly obsession that could destroy them both . . .
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It's perfect here. But it would be even more perfect if my mind wasn't awash with worry, fear, and confusion.
Rolling onto my back in the queen-size bed, I gaze up at the skylights built into the vaulted ceiling of our hotel suite, seeing soft, fluffy clouds littering the bright blue sky. I can also see skyscrapers stretching up to the heavens. I hold my breath and listen for the now-familiar sounds of a New York morning—car horns, whistles, and the general hustle and bustle are all detectable from twelve floors up. Mirrored skyscrapers close us in, making this building seem lost amid the concrete and glass jungle. Our surroundings are incredible, yet it's not what is making this nearly perfect. It's the man lying next to me in the squidgy queen-size bed. I'm certain that beds in America are bigger. Everything in America seems bigger—the buildings, the cars, the personalities… my love for Miller Hart.
We've been here for two weeks now, and I miss Nan terribly but speak to her daily. We've let the city swallow us up and had nothing to do except immerse ourselves in each other.
My perfectly imperfect man is relaxed here. He still has extreme ways, but I can live with that. Oddly enough, I'm starting to find many of his OCD habits lovable. I can say that now. And I can say it to him, even if he still chooses to ignore the fact that he is crippled by obsession in most elements of his life. Including me.
At least there are no interferers here in New York—no one to try to take away his most prized possession. I'm his most prized possession. And it's a title I'm thrilled to have. It's also a burden I'm willing to shoulder. Because I know that the sanctuary we've created here is only temporary. Facing that dark world is a battle hovering on the horizon of our current almost perfect existence. And I hate myself for doubting the strength within me to see us through it—the strength Miller is so confident I have.
A mild stirring beside me pulls me back into the lavish suite we've called home since we arrived in New York, and I smile when I see him nuzzle into his pillow on a cute murmur. His dark waves are a mussed mess upon his lovely head, and his jaw is shadowed by coarse stubble. He sighs and pats around half asleep until his palm feels its way up to my head and his fingers locate my wild locks. My smile widens as I lie still and let my gaze linger on his face, feeling his fingers combing through my hair as he settles again. This has become another habit of my perfect part-time gentleman. He'll twiddle with my hair for hours, even in his sleep. I've woken with knots on a few occasions, sometimes with Miller's fingers still caught up in the strands, but I never complain. I need the contact—any contact—from him.
My eyelids slowly close, soothed by his touch. But all too soon, my peace is bombarded by unwelcome visions—including the haunting sight of Gracie Taylor. I snap my eyes open and bolt upright in bed, wincing when my head gets yanked back and my hair pulled. "Shit!" I hiss, reaching up to begin the meticulous task of unraveling Miller's fingers from my hair. He grumbles a few times but doesn't wake, and I rest his hand on the pillow before pulling myself softly to the edge of the bed. Glancing over my naked shoulder, I see Miller lost in a deep sleep and silently hope his dreams are serene and blissful. Unlike mine.
Letting my feet find the plush carpet, I push myself up, having a little stretch and a sigh. I remain standing beside the bed, staring blankly out the huge window. Could I really have seen my mother for the first time in eighteen years? Or was it just a hallucination brought on by stress?
"Tell me what's troubling that beautiful mind of yours." His sleepy rasp interrupts my thoughts, and I turn to find him lying on his side, praying hands resting under his cheek. I force a smile, one I know won't convince him, and let Miller and all of his perfection distract me from my inner turmoil.
"Just daydreaming," I say quietly, ignoring his doubtful expression. I've mentally tortured myself since we boarded that plane, replayed that moment over and over, and my quiet pensiveness has been silently noted by Miller. Not that he's pressed me on it, leaving me certain that he thinks I'm reflecting on the trauma that has landed us in New York. He would be partly right. Many events, revelations, and visions have plagued my mind since arriving here, making me resentful that I can't fully appreciate Miller and his devotion to worshipping me.
"Come here," he whispers, remaining still with no gesture or encouragement, only his quiet, commanding words.
"I was going to make coffee." I'm a fool to think I can avoid his questions or concern for much longer.
"I've asked once." He pushes himself to his elbow and cocks his head. His lips are pressed into a straight line, and his crystal blue eyes are burning through me. "Don't make me repeat myself."
I shake my head mildly on a sigh and slip back between the sheets, crawling into his chest while he remains still and allows me to find my place. Once I'm settled, his arms encircle me and his nose goes straight to my hair. "Better?"
I nod into his chest and stare across the planes of his muscles while he feels me everywhere and takes deep breaths. I know he's desperate to comfort and reassure me. But he hasn't. He's allowed me my quiet time, and I know it's been incredibly difficult for him. I'm overthinking. I know it, and Miller knows it, too.
He pulls out of the warmth of my hair and spends a few moments arranging it just so. Then he focuses worried blues on mine. "Never stop loving me, Olivia Taylor."
"Never," I affirm, guilt settling deep. I want to reassure him that my love for him shouldn't be of any concern—none at all. "Don't overthink." I reach up and drag my thumb across his full bottom lip and watch as he blinks lazily and shifts his hand to clutch mine at his mouth.
He flattens my palm and kisses the center. "It's a two-way street, gorgeous girl. I can't see you sad."
"I have you. I couldn't possibly be sad."
He gives me a mild smile and leans forward to plant a delicate kiss on the end of my nose. "I beg to differ."
"You can beg all you like, Miller Hart." I'm quickly seized and pulled onto his front, his thighs spreading so I'm cradled between them. He clenches my cheeks in his palms and reaches forward with his lips, leaving them millimeters away from mine with hot air spreading across my skin. My body's reaction isn't something I can help. And I don't want to.
"Let me taste you," he murmurs, searching my eyes.
I push forward, colliding with his lips, and crawl up his body until I'm straddling his hips and feeling his mood, hard and hot and wedged under my bum. I hum into his mouth, grateful for his tactics to distract me. "I think I'm addicted to you," I murmur, cupping the back of his head in my palms and pulling impatiently until he's sitting up. My legs find their way around his waist, and his hands palm my bum, pulling me farther into him while we maintain the smoldering slow dance with our tongues.
"Good." He breaks our kiss and shifts me back slightly before reaching over to the cabinet and grabbing a condom. "Your period must be due soon," he observes, and I nod, reaching to help him, taking it from his hand and ripping the packet open, just as eager to commence worshipping as Miller. "Good. Then we can get rid of these." It's rolled on, I'm reclaimed, lifted, and then he clenches his eyes shut as he guides his arousal to my damp opening. I slip down, taking him to the hilt.
My moan of satisfaction is broken and low. Our joining sends every trouble away, leaving room for nothing but unrelenting pleasure and undying love. He's buried deep, holding still, and my head has dropped back as I dig my nails into his solid shoulders for support. "Move," I beg, grinding down into his lap, my breath stuttering with need.
His mouth finds my shoulder, and his teeth grip gently as he begins guiding me meticulously on his lap. "Feel good?"
"Better than anything I can imagine."
"I concur." His hips drive up as he grinds me down, pulling pleasure from both of our heaving bodies. "Olivia Taylor, I'm so fucking fascinated by you."
His measured rhythm is beyond perfection, working us both up slowly and lazily, every rotation edging us closer to explosion. The friction against his groin on the tip of my clitoris when he brings me to the end of each swivel has me whimpering and panting, before my body is journeying back around, relieving the delicious pressure, only briefly, until I'm back at that wondrous pinnacle of pleasure. The knowing in his gaze tells me it's all so very purposeful, the constant slow blinks and the parting of his lush lips only intensifying my desperate condition.
"Miller," I gasp, dropping my face into his neck, losing the ability to keep myself upright on his lap.
"Don't deprive me of that face, Olivia," he warns. "Show it to me."
I pant, licking and biting at his throat, his stubble scratching at my sweaty face. "I can't." His expert worshipping never fails to render me useless.
"For me you can. Show me your face." His command is harsh and delivered on an upward bolt of his hips.
I yelp at the sudden deep penetration and fly upright again. "How?" I cry out, frustrated and delighted all at once. He's holding me in that place—the one between torture and otherworldly pleasure.
"Because I can." He flips me onto my back and reenters me on a shout of satisfaction. His pace is increasing, and so is the force. Our lovemaking has become harder in recent weeks. It's like a light has switched on, and Miller's realized that taking me with a little more aggression and force doesn't make our intimacies any less worshipful. He's still making love to me. I can touch him and kiss him, and he reciprocates, responds, says continuous loving words as if reassuring himself and me that he's in full control. It's unnecessary. I trust him with my body as much as I now trust him with my love.
My wrists are seized and held firmly above my head, and he braces himself on his toned forearms, blinding me with the acres of cut muscle on his torso. His teeth are clenched, but I can still detect that mild beam of victory. He's happy. He's delighted by my clear desperation for him. But he's equally desperate for me. My hips rise and begin to meet his firm pumping, our centers clashing as he withdraws and sinks back in, over and over.
"You're clenching around me, sweet girl," he pants, his wayward curl bouncing on his forehead with each collision of our bodies. Every nerve ending I possess begins to twitch at the onslaught of pressure accumulating at my core. I'm trying desperately to fight it back, anything to prolong the stunning sight of him above me, dripping wet, his face etched in a pleasure so intense it could be confused with pain.
"Miller!" I shout, frenzied, my head beginning to shake but my eyes still holding his. "Please!"
"Please what? You need to come?"
"Yes!" I gasp, and then suck in air when he pelts forward, pushing me up the bed. "No!" I don't know what I want to do. I need release, but I need to stay in this faraway place of raw abandon.
Miller groans, allowing his chin to drop to his chest and his fierce grasp to release my wrists, prompting them to shoot to his shoulders. My short nails dig in. Hard. "Fuck!" he roars, his pace picking up further. This is the hardest he's taken me, but there's no room amid my earth-shaking pleasure to be concerned by it. He's not hurting me, although I suspect I am him. My fingers are instantly aching.
I let off my own little round of expletives, absorbing every pound until he abruptly stops. I feel him swell within me, and then he rears back slowly and pushes forward smooth and slow on a groan. It sends us both tumbling into an abyss of indescribable, wonderful sensations.
I'm taken out by the intensity of my climax, and Miller collapsing to my chest with no concern for his weight atop me tells me he is, too. We're both gasping, both still pulsing and both completely wiped out. That was powerful, frantic lovemaking that I think may have transformed into fucking, and when I feel hands begin to caress me and a mouth creeping up my cheek, searching for my lips, I know Miller is registering this, too.
"Tell me I didn't hurt you." He dedicates a few moments to worshipping my mouth, taking it gently, delicately nibbling at my lips each time he pulls away. His hands are everywhere, stroking, skimming, tracing.
My eyes close on a satisfied sigh, and I absorb all of his slow attention as I smile and muster some waning strength to cuddle him and squeeze some reassurance into him. "You didn't hurt me."
He's heavy, resting all over me, but I have no desire to alleviate the weight. We're connected… everywhere.
I draw a deep breath. "I love you, Miller Hart."
He slowly rises until he's gazing down at me, eyes sparkling, his beautiful mouth tipping at each corner. "I accept your love."
I try in vain to narrow my eyes on him in irritation but just wind up mirroring his amusement. It's impossible not to when his rare smiles are being dished out so willingly and so often these days. "You're such a smart-arse."
"And you, Olivia Taylor, are such a divine blessing."
"Same thing," he whispers. "In my world, anyway." Each of my eyelids is kissed sweetly before he lifts his hips and slips out of me, sitting back on his heels. Contentment heats my veins, and peace spirals in my mind as he pulls me up to his lap and directs my legs around his back. The sheets are a pile of messy material surrounding us, and he isn't in the least bit bothered.
"The bed's an awful mess," I say with a teasing smile as he arranges my hair over my shoulders and slides his palms down my arms until he has my hands.
"My compulsion to have you in bed with me far outweighs any compulsion to have the sheets tidy."
My mild smile stretches into a massive grin. "Why, Mr. Hart, did you just admit to a compulsion?"
His head cocks, and I flex one of my hands until he releases it, then take my time pushing back his stray wave from his damp forehead.
"You might be on to something there," he replies, totally composed and with no humor in his tone.
My hand falters in his waves, and I watch him closely, searching for that cute dimple. It's nowhere in sight, and I look questioningly at him, trying to figure out if he's finally admitting that he suffers terribly from OCD.
"Might," he repeats, remaining poker-faced.
I gasp and jab him in the shoulder, forcing the sweetest-sounding chuckle to slip from his mouth. The sight and sound of Miller displaying amusement never fails to mesmerize me. It's without question the most beautiful thing in the world—not just my world but the whole world. It has to be.
"I'm inclined to say definitely," I break in, interrupting his laughter.
His head shakes in wonder. "Do you realize how hard I find it to accept you're here?"
My smile fades into confusion. "In New York?" I'd have gone to Outer Mongolia if he had demanded it. Anywhere. He laughs lightly and glances away, prompting me to take his jaw and direct his perfect face back to mine. "Elaborate." I raise my eyebrows in authority, pressing my lips together, despite the overwhelming need to join him in his happiness.
"Just here," he says on a little shrug of his solid shoulders. "With me, I mean."
"In my life, Olivia. Transforming my darkness into blinding light." His face comes close, his lips ghosting mine. "Replacing my nightmares with beautiful dreams." Holding my eyes, he falls silent and waits for me to absorb his heartfelt words. Like many things he says now, I fully understand and comprehend it.
"You could just say how much you love me. That would work." I purse my lips, desperate to remain straight-faced. It's hard when he's just blown my fallen heart from my chest with such a powerful declaration. I want to push him to his back and demonstrate my feelings for him with a heart-stopping kiss, but a tiny part of me is willing him to take my not-so-subtle hint. He's never said anything about love. Fascinated is his word of choice, and I know exactly what he means. But I can't deny my desire to hear those three simple words.
Miller takes me to my back, smothering me with his stubble, kissing every available inch of my screwed-up face. "I'm deeply fascinated by you, Olivia Taylor." My cheeks are encased in his palms. "You'll never know how deeply."
I surrender to Miller's way and let him completely overwhelm me.
"While I'd love to lose myself beneath these sheets all day with my habit, we have a date." My nose is nibbled, and he's pulling me up from the bed, placing me on my feet, and messing with my hair. "Take a shower."
"Yes, sir!" I salute him and ignore his eye roll as I saunter off to the shower.
I'm standing on the pavement outside our hotel, gazing up to the sky. It's part of my daily routine. Every morning I wander down, leaving Miller fussing with something back upstairs, and take up a position at the roadside, my head fallen back, staring in wonder up to the heavens. People sidestep me, taxis and shiny black SUVs zoom past, and the chaos of New York City saturates my hearing. I'm held captivated under the spell of the towering glass and metal guarding the city. Just… incredible.
There are not many things that can yank me from my raptured state, but his touch is one of those things. And his breath at my ear.
"Boom," he murmurs, turning me in his arms. "They don't grow overnight, you know."
I glimpse up again. "I just don't understand how they stay upright." My jaw is clasped and pulled back down. His eyes are soft and amused.
"Maybe you should seek to sate this fascination."
My neck retracts. "What do you mean?"
His palm slides to my nape, and he starts guiding me toward Sixth Avenue. "Perhaps you should look into studying structural engineering."
Dipping out of his hold, I place my hand in his. And he lets me, carrying out the usual flex of his fingers until he has a comfy grip. "I prefer the history behind the building, not how it was built." I glance up at him, then let my eyes fall down the length of his tall physique, smiling as I do. He has jeans on. Lovely, relaxed-fitting jeans and a plain white T-shirt. Wearing suits while we're here would be ridiculously inappropriate, and I wasn't afraid to tell him so. He didn't argue about it either, allowing me to drag him around Saks for the whole first day we were here. He has no need for a suit in New York; there's no one he needs to fool with his routine as an aloof gentleman. Despite this, though, Miller Hart still doesn't do wandering very well. Or mixing, for that matter.
"So, do you remember your challenge for today?" he asks as we pause at a DON'T WALK signal. His eyebrows are raised as I smile up at him.
"Yes, and I'm all prepared." I lost myself in the New York Public Library for hours yesterday while Miller took care of some business calls. I didn't want to leave. I'd tortured myself a little by Googling "Gracie Taylor." But it was like she didn't even exist. After a few more tries of coming up with nothing, I lost myself in dozens of books, but not all historical architecture books. I took a brief peek at one about OCD, and I found out a few things, like the connection with anger. Miller certainly has a temper.
"And what building did you choose?"
"The Brill Building."
He frowns down at me. "The Brill Building?"
"Not the Empire State or Rockefeller?"
I smile. "Everyone knows the histories of those." I also thought everyone knew the histories of most of the buildings in London, but I was mistaken. Miller knew nothing about the Café Royal or the story behind it. Perhaps I've immersed myself a bit too much in the opulence of London. I know everything, and I'm not sure if that makes me sad, obsessed, or a damn good tour guide.
I'm delighted by his doubt. "The Brill Building is more obscure, but I've heard of it, and I think you'll love to hear what I've learned." The lights change, and we begin to cross. "It has a very interesting history in music."
"Yes." I gaze up at him, and he smiles fondly. He might seem alarmed by my pointless historical knowledge of architecture, but I know he relishes my enthusiasm. "Have you remembered your challenge?" I pull him to a halt before he can take us across another road.
My lovely, obsessive man purses his lips and regards me closely. And I grin. He remembers. "Something about fast food."
"That's right," he confirms, full of trepidation. "You want me to eat a hot dog."
"I do," I confirm, hysterical on the inside. Every day we have been in New York, we've each set a challenge for the other to fulfill. Miller's challenges for me have all been somewhat interesting, from preparing a lecture on a local building to bathing without touching him, even if he touched me. That was torturous, and I failed miserably. Not that he was much bothered, but it lost me a point. My challenges for him have been a little bit childish but perfectly appropriate for Miller, like sitting on the grass in Central Park, eating in a restaurant without precisely aligning his wineglass, and now eating a hot dog. My challenges are all very easy… supposedly. He fought through some and failed others, like resisting shifting his wineglass. The score? Eight to Olivia, seven to Miller.
"As you wish," he huffs, attempting to tug me across the road, but I stand firm and wait for him to turn his attention back to me. He's watching me carefully, his mind clearly racing. "You're going to make me eat a hot dog from one of those grubby little corner stands, aren't you?"
I nod, knowing he's seen the grubby little corner stand only a few paces away. "Here's one."
"How convenient," he mutters, reluctantly following me to the hot dog cart.
"Two hot dogs, please," I say to the vendor as Miller twitches uncomfortably beside me.
"Sure thing, sweetheart. Onions? Ketchup? Mustard?"
Miller steps forward. "None—"
"All!" I interrupt, pushing him back and ignoring his gasp of annoyance. "Lots of it, too."
The vendor chuckles as he loads the bun with a hot dog and proceeds to pile on onions before squirting lashings of ketchup and mustard across the top. "Anything the lady likes," he says, handing me the finished product.
I push it straight to Miller with a smile. "Enjoy."
"I doubt it," he mutters, eyeing his breakfast dubiously.
I direct an apologetic smile to the vendor and take my hot dog, handing him a ten-dollar bill. "Keep the change," I say, quickly taking Miller's arm and leading him away. "That was rude."
"What was?" He looks up, genuinely stumped, and I roll my eyes at his ignorance.
I sink my teeth into one end of the bun and gesture for him to follow suit. But he just looks at the hot dog as though it could possibly be the strangest thing he's ever seen. He even turns it in his hand a few times, like looking at it from a different angle might make it more appetizing. I remain quiet, enjoying my own, and wait for him to take the plunge. I'm halfway through before he braves a nibble on the end.
Then I watch in horror—which almost matches Miller's—as a big dollop of onions, mixed with a copious amount of ketchup and mustard, slips off the end and splatters down his bright white T-shirt.
"Oh…" I purse my lips and swallow hard, bracing for the imminent meltdown.
He's staring at his chest, his jaw clenching, his hot dog quickly tossed to the ground. I'm all tense, my teeth clamped down on my bottom lip to stop me from saying anything and stoking the clear irritation coming off him in droves. He snatches my napkin and starts rubbing frantically at the material, stretching the stain, smearing it in a little more. I cringe. Miller takes a calming gulp of air. Then he closes his eyes and slowly reopens them, focusing on me. "Just… fucking… perfect."
My cheeks puff out, my lip slipping through my teeth painfully as I try my hardest to contain a laugh, but it's no good. I throw my hot dog in the nearby bin and lose control. "I'm sorry!" I gasp. "You just… you look like the world is going to end."
Eyes blazing, he clasps my neck and leads me down the street, while I work hard on reining myself in. He won't appreciate it, whether we're in London, New York, or Timbuktu.
"This will do," he declares.
I look up and see a Diesel store across the street. He quickly guides me across the road, with only three seconds to spare on the pedestrian countdown, no doubt unwilling to even allow the potential of being mowed down delay his mission to be rid of the horrifying stain on his T-shirt. I know for absolutely certain that this would never be his usual store of choice, but his current tarnished condition won't allow Miller to seek out a less casual outlet.
We enter and are instantly bombarded by loud, pumping music. Miller whips off his soiled shirt, revealing miles of sharp muscle to everyone in sight. Lines of definition rise from the waistband of his perfectly hung jeans and drift into stupidly taut abs… and then that chest. I don't know whether to cry with pleasure or shout at him for sharing the stunning sight.
Countless female shop assistants trip over themselves to be the first to make it to us. "Can I help?" It's a petite Asian woman who wins, smiling smugly at her colleagues before dribbling all over Miller.
The mask slips right into place, delighting me. "A T-shirt, please. Anything." He waves his hand around the store dismissively.
"Certainly!" She's off, grabbing various garments on her travels, calling behind her to follow, which we do once Miller has settled his palm on my nape. We walk until we're at the back of the store and the sales assistant has reams of material in her grasp. "I'll pop them all in the changing room and you can call if you need any assistance."
I laugh, earning me a curious sideways glance from Miller and pursed lips from Miss Flirty. "I'm certain your biceps need measuring." I reach down and smooth my palm down his thigh on raised brows. "Or maybe your inside leg."
- On Sale
- Feb 10, 2015
- Page Count
- 432 pages