The man who shattered her trust is back to protect her… New York Times bestselling author Diana Palmer delivers a breathtaking story of second-chance love.
When Paul Fiore disappeared from Isabel Grayling’s life, he told himself it was for all the right reasons. She was young and innocent, and he was her millionaire father’s lowly employee. Three years on, Paul is the FBI agent assigned to Isabel’s case. Too late, he realizes what life in her Texas mansion was really like back then—and how much damage he did when he left.
Once love-struck and sheltered, Isabel has become an assistant district attorney committed to serving the law, no matter how risky it gets. But right now, the man she can’t forgive is the one thing standing between her and a deadly stalker. She knows Paul won’t hesitate to protect her life with his own. But if she can’t trust herself to resist him, how can she trust him not to break her heart all over again?
He paced in his bedroom, his mind going back again and again to the downburst, to the car, to Isabel in his arms, hungry, responsive, wanting him.
His mind told him that he was crazy to think he could ever have her. If he showed the least personal interest in her, Darwin Grayling would have him skinned alive and grilled, just before he fired him. Of course there were plenty of other security people who could replace him, but none with the history he had with Isabel and Merrie. They were family to him. He went above and beyond to keep them safe, because he genuinely cared about them. Another man might be careless, might not bother with the tiny details that never escaped Paul. Well, there was Morris, his second-in-command. The man had been working for Grayling for several years. He seemed to be fond of the girls, but he did anything that Grayling told him to. He never questioned an order.
On the other hand, Paul knew he was coming to the end of his time with the Graylings. Merrie was out of high school, Isabel was in law school. Sure, they still needed protecting from possible kidnappers or people with a grudge against their father. But he couldn’t stay here much longer. The genie was out of the bottle as far as Isabel went. They were physically aware of each other. That situation was only going to get worse. The tension would grow as they denied the hunger; it would build to a flash point and then explode.
He didn’t know how he was going to stay alive with no glimpses of curly reddish-gold hair and blue, blue eyes in a gamine little face with freckles just over the nose. He didn’t know how long ago Isabel had wormed her way into his heart, but she had possession of it now. And he couldn’t have her. He could never have her.
He groaned out loud. He stood at the darkened window, looking out toward the stables, where security lights burned near the accommodations for the boss’s Thoroughbreds. He had three men out there full-time, just to make sure nothing happened to the horses. Inside, the girls were safe with him. He didn’t have cameras in the house, but he had the doors and windows wired. Nothing—no one—would get in without his knowing about it.
He perched his hands on his lean hips over the black silk pajama bottoms as he contemplated his next move. When the boss came back, he was going to have to put in his notice. It was for Isabel’s protection as well as his own. Her father had an unpredictable temper. He didn’t know much of what had gone on before he started watching the girls, but he’d heard gossip. He didn’t want Isabel to get in trouble because he’d gone too long without a woman and couldn’t keep his hands off her.
The tap at the door was so soft that he didn’t hear it until it came again. He frowned as he went to open it.
Isabel was wearing pajamas with a thick cotton robe. No way was she going to be accused of tempting him.
“I won’t come in,” she said, eyes downcast. “I just wanted to apologize.”
He drew her inside and closed the door. “Apologize for what, baby?” he asked softly.
The tenderness in his voice ground into her heart like broken glass. “For…what happened. I shouldn’t have… I should have…”
He pulled her into his arms and wrapped her up tight, his face in her warm throat. “You didn’t do anything. It was me. I’ve been too long without… Well, I let things get out of control.”
She drew back and looked up at his handsome face. She searched his dark eyes quietly. “Too long without a woman.” She finished the sentence for him.