“You’ve owned me from the moment I walked into that music room. You’ve wrapped yourself in my heart and mind. I can’t get you out. I don’t want to.” ~ Rafael Van Rees
Sophie Fisher’s life is on fire. If she’s not ducking around corners or slipping out of windows to escape the debt collectors her father’s death has left knocking on her door, she’s dealing with her rebellious, fifteen-year-old sister, Lilli. And, as if that’s not enough, Rafael Van Rees crashes into her life—literally—bringing with him a past the public has no idea of. Can she unravel his mysteries before he unravels her, or will his presence finally force her to face the demons she’s trying to outrun?
Rafael Van Rees prides himself on being in control of his destiny, music and women. As far as he is concerned, his past is a black cloud in the distance–until he meets Sophie, that is, and his world spins out of control in more ways than one. He knows the darkest sins and secrets eventually reveal themselves, but when it comes to Sophie, he’ll stop at nothing to protect her from his past. Even if it kills him.
**Mature Content Warning** 17+ for language and sexual content
“Just this . . .” I frame her face with my palms and brush my lips on hers. She sucks in a breath, her eyes fluttering shut. She grabs the front of my shirt as she sags forward, like her legs can’t hold her up anymore. Slipping one arm around her waist, I pull her curvy, soft body flush against my hard one, my lips still on hers.
Fuck yes! The buzz is still there. We were both young when we shared our first kiss, but this. This is different. Time hasn’t erased the connection between us. My heart recognizes her, beating to a rhythm that’s only hers. Pulling back, I stare at the face that has lived in my head for years. Haunting me. Comforting me. Her eyes slowly open, and she blinks, looking dazed. She presses her fingers on her lips.
“You kissed me,” she whispers, as if it’s the most unusual thing. Does she not get kissed often?
Her lips were made for kissing, and I can’t get my greedy eyes off them.
I tip my head to the side. “I did,” I say, pressing my thumb on her bottom lip, inching up to the labret. Her mouth parts slightly. I could kiss her again, slip my tongue past those delectable lips. Taste her. Really taste her.
“Goodbye, Sophie.” I drop my hand and turn to leave, then stop. “Nice tattoo, by the way. A butterfly.” I emphasize the last word to get a reaction. Nothing.
“Mr. Van R–Rafael. Do we know each other?”
Christ, the way she says my name has every part of my body straining, wanting to hear her say “Do we?” I lift a brow.
Her frown deepens, and her bewitching eyes, smoky after the shared semi-kiss, narrow at me.
I’m not about to tell her. I need to find out why she can’t remember me first. “Drive safely, Sophie.” I turn, and stride back to Simone’s music room. I feel her eyes on my back, my shoulders, my ass. I let her have her fill. I’m not going to deny her–and me–this chance. I’m selfish, but hey, she needs the image to go along with the kiss. Right before I turn the corner, she takes a loud, deep breath.
Damn right, Butterfly. I stalk toward the car, my fists twitching at my sides. Another thud comes from the house. The image of her wrapped in someone’s arms is replaced by one that entirely chills my blood. I change directions and dash across the lawn to the front door. It’s locked. I lift my foot to kick it in, but pause when I hear sounds coming from the backyard. I round the corner, scanning the area. Two large backpacks lay on the lawn. A smaller one tumbles to the ground beside them. I jerk my gaze up, trailing it along the rope dangling from the roof.
Sophie leans out a window on the second story, grabs the rope, murmuring under her breath, and wraps her booted legs around it, sliding down expertly. I groan, readjusting the front of my jeans as I watch her curvy ass descend. I move to stand below the window and wait, my hands ready and twitching. Who said stalking doesn’t have its benefits?
“What are we rehearsing for? Grand Theft House, or this is just a nightly thing?”
She squeals, flailing, and plunges into my arms, cursing words that have my ears burning. I let her squirming body slide against mine until her feet touch the wet grass.
I duck my head, leveling my lips to the shell of her ear. “Ladies don’t curse.”
She shivers, and whirls around to face me, her eyes on fire and her cheeks flushed. “If you haven’t noticed, I’m nowhere close to a lady. What the fuck are you doing here?”
“Saving you from breaking that pretty little neck.”
She stomps to the backpacks and picks them off the ground. “I don’t need saving.” One bag goes over her shoulder, the other around her chest.
“What’s with the Sedan outside?”
Her hands stop adjusting the smaller bag, and she sways as she tries to balance the extra weight. “They’ve been watching my house since my dad passed away.” She starts to walk toward the bushy fence on her right.
“Where are you going?”
“In the bushes?” She ignores me, and walks off. I grab her arm and spin her around. I’m not in the mood to argue. If Josef called Kravic to tell him I was hanging around, we might be sitting ducks right now. “We need to talk. Now.”
She frowns. “I’m staying at Jace’s, and need to get back before everyone gets nervous.” Her gaze darts around. She licks her lips before looking up at me.
“They’ll be fine. Trust me. I have someone watching their flat. Look, I know about the people following you and Lilli around.”
She stumbles back, her eyes wide. “Wha–how did you know? Did Jace tell you? Oh my God, she did, didn’t she? I’m going to kick her ass from here to Russia.”
I step forward, grabbing her shoulders. “Stop freaking out, Sophie. Jace didn’t tell me anything.”
She tries to shake herself from my grip, but I don’t let her go. “There’s so much I want to tell you, but we need to leave, okay? Trust me.”
“Damn it, Sophie, listen to me! I know these men. They’re not here because they want to play
“Of c–wait a second. You know them?”
Shit! This is not how I wanted to explain things. I nod once. I’m already balls deep into my confession. No point in trying to deny it now.
She studies me, and, for just a moment, I see fear reflected in her eyes. “And you want me to trust you, Rafael? How the fuck am I supposed to do that?”
She abruptly wiggles out of my hands, and darts toward the front of the house, dropping the “Damn it all to hell!” I tear after her, scooping her up before she rounds the corner. She shrieks, flailing her legs and arms, trying to dislodge my hold. One foot hits my balls. “Fucking hell! Stop that right now.” I growl in her ear.
Of course, she doesn’t. Clenching my jaw, I drop to the ground, making sure my body takes the impact, then flip around so she’s on her back. I pin her arms to the ground.
“Are you trying to castrate me? Seriously, Sophie, stop this struggling shit right now.”
“Let go of me you, you–”
She stops, glaring up at me. Tears swim in her eyes, reflecting the moonlight. She blinks hard, as if to push back the tears. Our ragged breathing fills the quiet night. “Are you ready to listen to me?”
She swallows, and nods. I wait until I feel her body relax beneath mine, then ease my hands off her arms, and unpin her legs from my thighs. Her knee jerks up, toward my groin, and I tilt my “Bloody hell!” I grab her biceps, let my body drop onto hers, and capture her mouth with mine, Christ, she tastes like fire and tears and fear. Her mouth is the most fantastic thing I’ve ever tasted. Her bunched muscles relax beneath my fingers as a whimper rushes through her mouth. Pulling back, I nip her jaw, tracing a path to her ear and running my tongue over its outline.
“You taste so damn good, Sophie. Want to kick me again?”
She doesn’t answer. I pull back, quirking a brow at her. Fuck, she’s so beautiful with her flushed cheeks and plump, sweet lips. She shakes her head.
“Good.” I brush that little dimple on her chin with my fingertips. “Trust. Me.”
She bites the corner of her bottom lip and nods. “This talk had better be good, or I might stab you while you sleep.”
I write YA, NA and Adult. My motto: Passion rules. I enjoy writing stories about people finding love in the most
unexpected places, coupled with adventurous journeys, whether it’s urban, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary or
paranormal romance. There’s always a happy ever after, no matter how long it takes to get there.