Recovery is the winner for Best Romance in the NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards for Summer 2011
and the winner of the Readers Favorite Gold Medal for Best in Romance.
Recovery is also a finalist in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards for Romance!
I took in the crowd around me feeling very much removed from the people in the room. I had come here tonight thinking I was a writer, but in a matter of moments, I had been transformed into bait to tempt a killer. I eagerly finished my second drink, hoping the warm rush of alcohol would help numb my anxiety. I turned away from the party, waved down the bartender, and asked for another vodka and orange juice.
“You don’t need anymore,” a husky voice said behind me.
I spun around, about to reprimand the offensive cretin who would dare deny me my source of strength when I was greeted by a familiar pair of cold blue eyes.
My jaw fell. “What in the hell are you doing here!”
“Well hello to you too, Ms. Beauvoir.” The limousine driver from earlier that day gave me a sarcastic grin.
He was wearing a custom-tailored dark blue pinstripe suit that complemented his eyes and accentuated his lean torso. I was instantly gripped by a desire to slap the silly grin off his face.
He took the empty glass out of my hand and placed it on the bar. He then nodded to the bartender.
A gust of anger blew through me. “You’re here with Simon?”
He looked at the bartender and said, “Get her a glass of water and give me a Stoli vodka and soda.”
The bartender placed two glasses on the bar in front of us and filled them with ice.
I glared at his profile. “Who exactly are you?”
He turned his eyes to me. “You know my name. Let’s just dispense with the formalities and get down to the business at hand.”
“Ah, you’re Mr. August.”
He smiled and dipped his head to me. “Ms. Beauvoir.”
“Simon arranged for you to be here, so we could meet and plan our next move?” I paused. “Is that it?”
“There is nothing to plan. Everything is already in motion.” He glanced about the bar.
I sighed, resigning myself to the fact that I was committed to this adventure, despite my numerous reservations. “And when does this charade of ours begin?” I asked.
“Now,” Dallas August whispered as the bartender placed a drink before him.
He picked up his drink and quickly downed half the contents in one swallow.
A wave of panic coursed throughout my body. “What am I to do?”
He gazed over the rim of his glass, letting his eyes travel up and down my figure. “Act like you find me attractive, for one. Don’t look so damned scared.” He put his glass back down on the bar.
I took a breath and got a hold of myself. I had been raised under the critical gaze of New Orleans society and I had been pretending with that crowd all my life. This was an act, and I knew I could be a damn good actress when necessary.
Filled with a renewed confidence, I smiled, slowly looked up into his face, and leaned forward, letting my hand brush ever so slightly against his sleeve. I fingered the expensive stainless steel watch on his wrist.
“Anything else?” I asked.
“Very good,” he commented as he moved in closer to me, smiling radiantly. “In a few minutes I am going to take your arm and escort you out of here. Tell that little assistant of yours that you are done for the evening.” He leaned back and laughed a very fake-sounding laugh. “Then I will take you back to the bar in your hotel. We’ll have a very public drink, after which you will take me back to your room for the night.” He paused and his eyes went cold. “I want lots of witnesses to see us together tonight.”
I removed my hand from his arm. “I am not a whore, Mr. August.”
“If we’re going to look like lovers, Nicci, you’d better call me Dallas from here on out.”
I raised my eyebrows tauntingly at his bravado, but said nothing.
“As for sleeping with you tonight, we need to quickly establish the intimacy of our relationship to justify my returning with you to New Orleans day after tomorrow.”
“You’re flying back with me?”
“My ticket has already been purchased for the seat next to yours.”
The bitter aftertaste of anger burned in the back of my throat. “I only agreed to this a few moments ago. How could all of this have been already planned?”
“Simon knew, Nicci,” Dallas said, lowering his voice. “He is a master at predicting human behavior.”
“I don’t like being manipulated like this,” I mumbled so no one around us could hear.
“This,” he laughed again and his face came within inches of mine, “is only the beginning.”
|Don't Worry Mom! I got your back! I'll sneak up on this
character and attack from the back if he gets too frisky!