By Tracy Lorraine
Lilly’s life has been shattered by her ex. Few people know the truth about what happened that day. Lilly is trying to put the past behind her but everyone around her is moving on with their lives and it’s a constant reminder of what she’s lost. Lilly throws herself into university and her part time job as a distraction. What she doesn’t expect is for an unwanted promotion to once again send her world into a tailspin.
Will she be able to let her guard down, open her heart once again and fight for the happiness she deserves?
Lucas could never have imagined that his life would turn out like it has. Supportive parents, a powerful job and more money than he knows what to do with. On the surface he looks like the perfect businessman but Lucas is not only hiding his past but also who he really is. The only thing missing is something he swore he never wanted. When he finds a broken Lilly in his sanctuary will he be able to push his fears of love aside and be the man she needs?
Individually they have a lot of demons that have the potential to break them but will they be strong enough together to face them?
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I’m unattractively sobbing on the sofa when I suddenly hear a throat clearing behind me. I jump up from my seat in panic and turn around to see who’s walked in.
My eyes run from his spotlessly polished shoes, up his perfectly pressed trousers and over his waistcoat and crisp shirt until I reach his eyes. They are dark and staring daggers at me. His glare renders me motionless but my heart starts to race. A huge part of me wants to run, run as far away and as fast as I can from this situation. I’ve barely had this promotion two hours and I’ve already screwed it up.
I square my shoulders and stand up. I wipe the tears from my cheeks with the backs of my hands as I wait for the ear bashing I’m about to get for slacking on the job.
Only it doesn’t come.
As I stand looking at him I see his eyes change. They started off hard and vicious but as the seconds have ticked by they seem to be softening. I must be mistaken though because there is nothing about the man stood in front of me that’s soft. He is a ruthless businessman who tramples on anyone who gets in his way. I have no reason to suspect he’s going to go gentle on me just because I’ve shed a few tears. I raise my chin slightly to him as I prepare for him to tear a strip off me.
He opens his mouth to say something but what comes out shocks the hell out of me. “Are you okay?” His voice comes out different to what I’ve heard before. There is no harsh demanding tone instead there’s concern. Weird.
“I’m…uh…” I stutter because this is so unexpected. I thought I’d already be on my way home with my P45 in my hand by now. “I’m fine. I just received some news and I…” I don’t continue because I realise that he really doesn’t care, he’s just trying to be kind. I appreciate that but I’m here to do a job. “I’ll just get on with it,” I say gesturing to the room.
I pick up my phone and go to walk past him. I don’t make eye contact. I’m scared he’ll return to his usual self once I get back to work.
I go to step past him but I’m frozen to the spot when he moves and clamps his hand around my wrist. I daren’t look up at him. Firstly because I don’t know what I might find looking back at me and also because he really doesn’t need to see the fresh tears in my eyes.
“If you need to go and have some time,” he says.
I’m so shocked by his words that my eyes snap up to his. Close up they look bluer than I thought they were from a distance.
“It…it’s fine, honestly,” my voice quivers as I say this showing that I’m anything but fine really.
“Well, if you’re sure,” he says hesitantly. I can only presume that being in the presence of an emotional woman isn’t the norm for him.
He holds my eye contact and I’m powerless to look away. There are only inches between us. I’m surrounded by his scent and his kindness touches me. Then I do something so unlike me and so utterly stupid that I can’t even comprehend it.
I lean forward and kiss him. I actually kiss him!
As I walk around to the driver’s side I can’t help being unsure of whether I’m pleased or not that people fall for this act. But then I guess I’ve played the part for so long now that it’s almost normal. The suits, the money, the flashy cars. Lilly might have the impression I’m something impressive but under all this I’m far from the person she thinks I am. I know she’s thinking that she’s not good enough for all this, but if she only knew the truth. That she is the one that is way too good for me.
I let out a huge sigh and crack on while trying to put all memories of last night and this morning behind me. Obsessing over them will not help me in the slightest.
It’s a shame that my little pep talk doesn’t help because I’m totally lost to the feeling of his lips on my body when a throat clearing behind me makes me jump. I drop the bathroom cleaner and sponge I had in my hands in fright. I spin around and gasp at the sight. My heart starts racing and my temperature instantly increases.
Lucas is stood in the doorway wearing a black hoodie with the hood up over his head and a pair of grey jogging bottoms. The hood comes down to his eyebrows and the shadow it causes makes his eyes look even angrier.
I swallow down a lump that’s formed in my throat. He looks dangerous, like he could seriously hurt someone, weirdly I have no fear though. I know he won’t hurt me. This shocks me because after everything I’ve been through I’d have thought this would set me on edge.
“I need to use the shower,” he states coldly.
I gather up my stuff and get out. I can’t stop myself from turning back to look at him as I walk away though and of course he catches me. And just to torture me further he pulls his hoodie off exposing that stunning tattoo to me. Frustratingly he doesn’t shut the bathroom door so as I go about dusting the bedroom all I can picture is the water running over his hard muscles.
I need to get a grip.
It’s only a few minutes before he appears with a towel wrapped around his waist and water droplets running down his chest.
“Lucas, can we talk a minute.”
“No, I’m busy. Just do your job, Lilly. It’s what I pay you for.”
His vicious words cut me. They actually hurt.
“I thought you took the morning off,” I say with as much strength as I can muster because I don’t want him to see that he’s affecting me.
The look I receive in response to my question instantly has me cowering away. Now that’s the Mr. Dalton I knew of before I started working up here. A ruthless and powerful arsehole. As much as it hurts that he’s reverted to that when he’s never been anything but kind to me actually grounds me a little. This is what I was expecting; this is how it should be.
Some of his memories must have been lingering in the background though because when we get back to our hotel room he drops the bags he’s been carrying on the floor before disappearing into the bathroom.
I listen as the water starts running. I argue with myself about what to do. Do I stay here and wait for him to reappear or do I go and join him?
In the end I decide to strip out of my clothes and head for the shower. My breath catches in my throat when I get there. He’s stood with his head bent forward with the water cascading down his back.
The opening of the shower door catches his attention and he looks up at me, but it’s not with the kind of heat in his eyes that I’m used to. I don’t think he even notices that I’m naked.
I step inside and pull the door shut behind me. I stand right up against him and place my lips to his. Just like earlier it takes a few seconds but he soon responds and within a minute he has me backed up against the tiles with my legs wrapped around his waist.
By the time he’s finished the shadows have totally lifted from his eyes and I have my Lucas back. I hate the idea of him hurting so much when he thinks about the past but we will have to talk about it at some point.
Tracy Lorraine is a M/F and M/M contemporary romance author. Tracy has recently turned thirty and lives in a cute Cotswold village in England with her husband, baby girl and lovable but slightly crazy dog. Having always been a bookaholic with her head stuck in her Kindle Tracy decided to try her hand at a story idea she dreamt up and hasn’t looked back since.