Her life changed in an instant.
And he's the only one who could have prevented it.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Pact and The Lie comes a new standalone contemporary romance about those McGregor men.
Jessica Charles shouldn't have even been in London when the unthinkable happened.
She should have been back at home in Edinburgh, perhaps hanging with her boyfriend, having drinks with her sister or doing yoga with her group of friends. She should have been going on in her normal, dependable life as always.
But on that fateful day in August, when a mentally-ill ex-soldier opened fire in public, Jessica's world changed forever.
Now single and crippled from the gunshot wounds, Jessica finds herself scared and alone, losing faith in herself and humanity with each agonizing moment that passes.
That is until a stranger enters her life. A stranger who makes her live again.
Keir McGregor has always been the strong, silent type. Throw in tall, dark, and handsome and you've got pretty much the perfect Scotsman.
Except Keir is anything but perfect. He's got a past he's running away from and a guilty conscience he can't seem to shed. But the more time he spends with Jessica, the more he falls in love with her.
And the more his secret threatens to tear them apart.
He may have been a stranger to her.
But she’s never been a stranger to him.
going anywhere,” he says. “Sit. I’ll get you another drink.”
getting late,” I say feebly but I sit down anyway, my leg giving a protest of pain.
something for that?” he says, noticing my wince.
will do fine,” I tell him quickly, not wanting him to make a fuss. “But really,
I should go.”
asks from the kitchen. I hear the top pop off the bottle, the slosh of liquid
in the glass. “Where do you have to be?”
I have to
think about that for a moment. He comes over and holds out the glass. “I won’t
keep you here if you don’t want to be here. But if you do want to be here, you
don’t need to make any excuses.”
I take the
glass from him, holding it delicately in my fingers. He stands over me, a
massive wall, waiting for some kind of response.
“I just…” I
begin. “I…” I take a sip for bravery. Swallow. “I’m not very good at this.”
Being with a man.”
doesn’t say anything to that, I look up at him. He’s got a peculiar smile on
his face, his brows raised. “You call this being with a man?”
I clear my
throat, feeling my cheeks grow hot. “I mean. I’ve told you before –”
you don’t do relationships, how you don’t do sex.”
said I don’t do sex,” I remind him quickly.
never stop searching my face. “Then what is it? What are you afraid to say?”
I have the
sudden urge to flee and I know it must show because he suddenly points at me
and says, “Don’t you dare say you have to go again. I want you to go back to
what you said, that you’re not good at this. What is this? Us? You and me?
There’s nothing mystifying about you and me, Jessica. You know quite well how I
I stare at
him in shock. I do? “How?”
He looks off
with an air of impatience. “I invited you to dinner, you turned me down.”
you said just as friends.”
“And I meant
it. But there are different types of friends. It’s up to you to decide what kind
I put my
drink down with a clunk. “Holy pressure.” And now it’s not just my face going
hot but my entire body, flushed from head to toe.
fire, little red,” he says, his gaze skirting over my limbs in such a hungry
way I can almost feel them on my skin. “I have to say, I like this look on you.
Hot and bothered.”
the innuendos again,” I comment but my voice is weak.
innuendos this time. You came looking for me tonight not because you wanted to
confess but because you want something from me. What is it? What do you want
from me? What do you think I can give you?”
is so utterly unnerving. His words slice right through me, his eyes still
peeling under the layers, trying to get at something I’m not even sure of
If I lie,
he’ll know. I can only be honest with him.
“I want…” I
take in a deep breath, my eyes breaking away. “I want…company.”
He sounds surprised.
“That’s the truth. I’m lonely. And I’m afraid. And I’m tired of being both
those things. I want to be with someone who makes me forget who I am. You make
me feel fearless in a way I didn’t think possible.”
That’s the truth. Most of it. It hangs in the air, thickening the tension like
flour to stock.
He sits down
next to me, has a mouthful of Scotch. “Wow,” he says, running his hand over the
beard on his jaw. “And here I was thinking you wanted my cock.”
I burst out
laughing. So does he, a big wonderful bellow. The tension in the room eases up
“Sorry,” I tell
him when I catch my breath. “I guess they can both mean the same thing.”
He sucks in
his lip briefly, his eyes taking a lustful turn. “If you want it to.” We stare
at each other for a few heavy beats. Then his focus trails back to my gaze and
he says, “Why don’t you stay over?”
And there I
have it. The chance to know what those full lips would feel like on mine, what
his skin would taste like. I swallow hard.
Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Racing the Sun, Sins & Needles and over 25 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books. Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK. Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.