I’d thought that he was mine, the dark, arresting man who commanded not only my body but my heart. Dante had swept into my life, and I’d succumbed to the burn of passion in his arms.
I’d believed we had a love that would last forever, but he’d shattered my dreams and broken me into pieces when he’d walked away, taking a piece of my soul with him.
Now he has come back seeking my help, and though I try to keep my distance and protect my heart, I cannot deny that the fire between us burns hotter than ever. And I cannot help but fear that this time our passion will reduce us both to ashes.
I suppose I was primed for a distraction, and Dante was a distraction times ten. Even now, I can feel the way my chest tightened and my pulse kicked up when he walked through the wide double doors, the black dinner jacket and slacks making him look like a man from another era. A man with dark blond hair swept back from his face in a way that highlighted his hypnotic, golden eyes. His wide shoulders looked as though they could bear the weight of the world, and something about his regal posture suggested that they did.
I’d never seen him before, and I knew he wasn’t a regular at Dashiell’s. Even so, he strode into the room like he owned it—and drew the attention of every person in the room, male and female, as he did.
How is it possible that I can barely remember the name of the guy I slept with last week, and yet I can recall everything about Dante. His scent, all spice and musk with just a hint of cinnamon. His touch, so deceptively gentle that when it turned rough it was all the more exciting. The scar that sliced from his shoulder down to his hip bone. A reminder, he’d called it. But I’d dubbed it a map and let my kisses follow it home.
And his tattoos. Five amazing, brilliantly colored birds in a cluster on his back. Phoenixes, he’d said.
He’d had a way of making me feel alive. Beautiful. Vibrant.
With Dante, I felt as though I was lit from the inside. At least until he’d snuffed that light out for good.
He’d hurt me, more than I’d ever been hurt before or since. And I absolutely, one-hundred percent have no interest in seeing him now.
And the moment I do, I’m certain I’ve just made the biggest mistake of my life.
About Julie Kenner
Julie Kenner (aka J. Kenner and J.K. Beck) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over forty novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.
Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” J.K. writes a range of stories including super sexy romances, paranormal romance, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, is in development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures.
Her most recent trilogy of erotic romances, The Stark Trilogy (as J. Kenner), reached as high as #2 on the New York Times list and is published in over twenty countries.
J.K. lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and several cats.