Date Published: March 1, 2015 (second edition)
Original edition published April 2014
Tragedy destroyed Alex Kohen’s life, until fate offered her a chance to escape her nightmares and possibly find love…
Beautiful, compassionate Dr. Alex Kohen had the perfect life – until, in an instant, it was tragically ripped from her. Plagued by her demons, Alex moves to a new city and devotes herself to her work and her patients. But her secrets continue to haunt her, making her afraid to build a future outside of her career. Convinced that her heart is irreparably broken, Alex has closed herself off to the possibility of love.
That is, until she meets sexy, confident Kellen Rhion – a wealthy CEO with a reputation as the ultimate playboy. Kellen, plagued by personal tragedies of his own, knows from the moment they meet that Alex is the woman he wants. And with patient determination, he slowly begins to break down her long-fortified defenses.
Although they meet under tragic circumstances, out of that catastrophe is born a connection that neither can deny. And despite the challenges of their demanding and busy careers, Alex and Kellen find the time to nurture their growing relationship. They struggle through obstacle after obstacle, including Kellen’s celebrity lifestyle and Alex’s emotional baggage.
But after Kellen’s supposed betrayal and brush with death, can Alex really trust him with her heart? And can Kellen accept that she will always, in a way, be broken?
“Dance with me?” Kellen extended his hand.
“Seriously? To this? I can’t Irish dance.” She shook her head.
Ignoring her protests, Kellen stood and pulled her into his arms. They seemed to fit perfectly together, her nestling easily just below his chin. He guided her through the complicated moves, twirling her expertly. Alex was pleasantly surprised to find that Kellen was quite obviously a practiced dancer. No longer able to contain the happiness that had been building throughout the day, she started laughing – a real laugh, something she had not done in a long time.
Kellen pulled her close with a sparkle in his eyes. In the privacy of the balcony, there was only one thing he could do at that moment; he leaned in and softly pressed his lips to hers. With the alcohol buzzing through her system, Alex couldn’t think clearly enough to push him away, and truthfully, she didn’t know if she could have done so even with complete control of her faculties. He was an amazing kisser, and Alex’s breasts soon grew heavy with arousal, waves of heat shooting to her lower belly. His tongue softly caressed her lips, but she felt it in her most private parts. A moan escaped her, and Kellen’s onslaught became more aggressive. His hands gripped her small waist as if he feared she was an illusion.
Alex reached up to touch his tousled hair, as she had been yearning to do all night. It was as soft as she had imagined, like silk, and Kellen released an involuntary gasp of pleasure as she threaded her fingers through it. She could feel his hard length against her and leaned into it, craving the pleasure he could bring her.
Kellen ran his long fingers down the side of Alex’s face, her neck, her collarbone. When he reached her breasts, she froze. No one had touched her this way in years, and though she desperately wanted to continue, she knew she needed to stop. As gently as she could, she stepped back, resisting further advances. Understanding her intent, Kellen pulled her into an embrace; she rested her head on his chest, inhaling his scent.
After a moment, she pulled back far enough to look up at him. “I’m sorry, Kellen. This has been an amazing night, but I have to go. I have to work tomorrow. Thank you for dinner and…well…thank you.”
Kellen took her hand. “Let me see you home.”
“That’s really not necessary.” Alex, who had been living alone in the city for four years, was more than capable of getting home by herself.
“My grandmother raised me well, and she would roll over in her grave if I didn’t make sure you got home safely.” Kellen smiled, knowing she wouldn’t resist when he put it that way.
“Alex, you need to eat,” Kellen prompted after a while.
“I know. I just don’t have much of an appetite. The food is wonderful. It was very thoughtful of you to bring it in.”
Disappointed and suddenly feeling like an intruder, Kellen said, “I just wanted to see you before I left for my trip.”
The nursing staff and residents had started trickling in to grab some food, and Alex suddenly needed to get out of the ICU.
“Let’s go to my office,” she said, discarding her plate of picked-over food and striding purposefully from the room. Intrigued, Kellen followed. With a quick directive to Gia to page her if necessary, the two were out the door.
Just down the hall, Alex led Kellen into her office, which was nicely decorated, and had its own bathroom and sleeping quarters. Kellen looked around, checking everything out. There were a few pictures on Alex’s desk of what looked to be her parents and a couple friends, but other than that, the office was impersonal – but private. Taking advantage, Kellen hugged Alex close, then lifted her chin and placed a soft kiss on her lips before trailing down to her neck, which elicited a soft moan. He let go of her long enough to swiftly close and lock the door, then walked back towards her, his stance predatory. He pushed Alex up against the wall and secured her hands above her head.
“I’ve not been able to think of anything but you since Saturday night. I cannot be away from you for another second,” he said, voice deep and seductive. Then, pinning her against the wall with his hips, he kissed her passionately. Alex did not resist – it was good to be able to get away from her thoughts and lose herself in him.
Kellen’s tongue tangled with hers while he ground his arousal into her, leaving her wet and throbbing with need. Her nipples tightened, and Kellen used his free hand to reach under her scrub top and bra to caress her heavy, tingling breasts. His touch was pure heaven. It had been so, so long since a man had made her feel the way that Kellen was making her feel. Alex knew that the prudent thing to do would be to stop before things escalated, but found herself so caught up in the out-of-this-world sensations he was stimulating in her lady parts that she just could not bring herself to voice her concern.
In a fit of passion, Kellen lifted her up and carried her to her sleeping quarters…