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Red. The color of extremes. Tate Conrad’s existence is annihilated. Destroyed by two men: one, her hero and the other, her worst nightmare. She has nothing to lose. Determined to survive, vengeance feeds her. There are no limits, no boundaries, not even death, in seeking liberation. ******* Rylan Wolfe is driven. A stellar FBI agent close to breaking the case of a lifetime. It’s more than career-making, it’s personal. Tate’s the linchpin to it all. They need each other to succeed. For Tate, is he her salvation or ruin?
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Incessant beeping wakes me. Opening my eyes, I shiver at the vague memory of my dream. I dreamt about my childhood, my father more specifically. It was at a time when I thought he hung the moon.
Exhaustion weighs on me. It’s just after five in the morning. I need to get up. Today’s my mandatory monthly breakfast with my father. Bile pushes up my throat at the thought. I have no choice or excuse to cancel. My father started these stupid breakfasts after rehab under the pretense of forgive and forget. Or some bullshit like that. It’s pure torture, but I pick my battles. If this keeps the wolves at bay, I grin and bear it.
Heading to the shower, I glimpse my reflection in the mirror. Fatigue evident in the dark circles under my eyes. Yesterday’s encounter with Wolfe messed with me. I can’t shake the nagging feeling that his visit was more about me than Bobby.
I wonder if he feels it too? This definite draw between us. It’s like being stuck in a force field with no control over the gravitational pull or path my body takes toward him. There’s only one purpose, to be near to him. There’s no denying the physical attraction. What woman wouldn’t be tempted by him? For me, it’s his calm, commanding nature without a hint of arrogance that lures me.
While we kept our talk superficial, I struggled throughout the meal from walking out the door. I could barely stand the burning, crimson tide of passion ebbing and flowing between us. While I’d given up on ever longing for sex or being turned on again, Rylan Wolfe proved me wrong. If nothing else, my libido is alive and well. But I won’t be detoured by a hot, sexy man. Even if his touch bewildered and aroused me. Damn, I have to keep my distance. This is one game I can’t afford to play.
I can’t let my guard down. I’ve got to focus on getting revenge for Griffin and for me. Rylan Wolfe clouds my judgment. I can’t have entanglements no matter how enticing a package. And Wolfe’s package is mighty fine.
Chuckling, I shake those thoughts out of my head. The hot shower does nothing to calm my nerves or still my thoughts. I get dressed in the bathroom. My hair’s slicked back in a bun, my makeup light and subtle as usual. I’m dressed in a conservative gray suit, one I rarely wear. I purchased it for these very occasions. It’s acceptable to my father.
While slipping on my black sling back heels, I hear movement in the bedroom. Bobby. We haven’t spoken since the encounter with Somerset in my office. He’s lying on the bed, still fully clothed. He too looks exhausted.
“You’re still here,” his tone is flat and low.
“Yes, I’m on my way to meet my father,” I coolly answer. This could go so many ways. I prepare for the worst. My only hope is if he attempts to be violent, he knows I’m meeting my father, he won’t be as brutal.
About S.M. West:
Born on the shortest day and longest night of the year, Winter Solstice, she's a self-professed night owl. From a young age, creating stories and conjuring characters was always one of her favorite pastimes. She loves a great story with romance and intrigue, a strong heroine and fiercely passionate hero with passion, intensity and edge. If she's not writing or reading, she's planning her next adventure, spending time with her family or drinking a great glass of wine and indulging in chocolate.
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