Date Published: April 1, 2014
It wasn’t exactly like spunky, photography student, Abbie Nartey ran away from her life…except, that she left under the cover of darkness and put three thousand miles between her and her ex-boyfriend’s betrayal. She went to London searching for her dream. She never expected to find love, or herself.
Heir to his family’s tech fortune, sexy, Alexi Chase, is looking for freedom—from his family and from his past. What he’s not looking for is love. With secrets like his, he can’t afford to let anyone get too close. But a chance rescue has him wondering if the price of keeping secrets is too high.
Will Alexi risk losing love to keep his past hidden? Will Abbie trust herself enough to love again? Or will their pasts keep then from accepting true love?
Read an excerpt:
As they hit the center of the dance floor closest to the DJ booth, Abbie closed her eyes and let the music take over her limbs. Jasper mixed some unfamiliar drum and base beats along with some mild electronica and infused them into dancehall, rock, and popular rap songs.
The only problem was, three women dancing together tended to attract attention…unwanted attention.
It wasn’t long before guys started to join them, dancing in the periphery, then eventually sidling up close. Tamsin and Sophie welcomed the attention. Abbie tried to focus on the music and ignore them. The first guy to slide up behind her had her body stiffening. Immediately, she stepped forward, spun around, and ended up on the other side of their little circle.
The next guy tried a frontal approach. Luckily, she could see him coming and waved him off. Maybe it was time to find Max and the other guys and sit down.
She waved at Jasper, and he frowned but nodded his acknowledgement. Sophie and Tamsin were too occupied to notice she’d slunk off the dance floor. On the edges where it was darkest, she paused and searched for where the guys had gone.
“I figured I’d try something different and ask you to dance.”
Abbie whirled around and let out a small squeak of alarm. The muscles in her lower belly quivered, and her breath caught. Her savior from earlier stood in front of her, looking like a cross between an angel of mercy and the devil incarnate. “We have to stop meeting like this,” she mumbled.
A smile tugged at the corners of his lips. “Well, there’s no rain at the moment, so we should be safe. I trust we were able to save your camera?”
Heat flooded her cheeks. “Yes. Thank you. Honestly that could have been ugly today. I’m indebted.”
“How about a dance, and we’ll call it even?”
A dance? With him? Pressed up against… “I uh…”
“Now, I’m not as good as you are, so you’ll need to take it easy on me.” He outstretched his hand and waited for her to take it. He didn’t press or push, just stood there…waiting.
Jasper didn’t help her when he switched the track to a dancehall reggae song with a grooving beat.
Butterflies fluttered low in her belly. When was the last time she’d had butterflies? Unfortunately with those butterflies also came fear. The fact was she didn’t know this guy. But, if he’d wanted to hurt you, he could have already.
It’s just a dance. She glanced down at his hand and placed her palm in his. Determined not to be nervous, she smiled up at him. “Hardly seems fair. You save my life and all you get is this dance.”
He drew her close, but not too close, keeping his hands at her waist. He waited patiently until she looped her arms around his neck. “It’s well worth it to me.” The low rumble in his chest as he spoke sent shivers coursing through her body.
As it turned out, he didn’t need any help dancing. He moved them easily in time to the seductive beat. Abbie didn’t dare look around because she knew what she’d find—couples pressed so close that they might as well be naked and in bed. Dirty dancing was a requisite of dancehall music, but her partner kept a marginally safe distance between them, figuratively if not literally, because with every down swing of the base, their hips rocked into each other.
She swallowed hard, but then forced her gaze up to meet his. As soon as their gazes met, her heart rate kicked. His slate gray eyes framed by dark lashes, stayed on hers. Nervously, she licked her lips. He stilled for just a second, causing her to lose her footing and bringing her flush against his body.
She froze, muscles tight. Touching wasn’t something she was used to or allowed easily. But with him, she didn’t want to be anywhere else. He smelled of mint and something crisp and woodsy, like he’d spent the afternoon outside on the water. She released her strangled breath and let her body relax into his. She felt, rather than heard, the low rumble in his throat as his chest vibrated against hers. His warmth enveloped her, and she could tune out everything but him. As if it were only the two of them on the edges of the dance floor.
There, in the dark, in the arms of a relative stranger, she felt safe.
His hands shifted on her waist so his thumbs traced her hipbones, and Abbie forgot to breathe. Wobbly knees forced her to tighten her hold on him. As if responding to her body’s automatic softening, her eyes dipped to his lips.
What the hell am I doing? Her brain tried desperately to take control of the situation. But she didn’t fell like listening. For the first time in longer than she cared to think about, she liked having someone’s hands on her. She wasn’t afraid. Instead, she craved it, that connection. Her body hummed with vibrant sexual energy. An energy she hadn’t felt in six long years. There were nerves, but not from fear or trepidation. It felt good. Better than good. It made her remember how much she needed to be touched. Or rather touched by someone who could make her feel safe.
But just as the last of the tension ebbed out of her body, his thumbs pressed gently against her hipbones, moving her back several inches. He raised his head, and they stood like that for several seconds before Abbie realized Jasper had switched the music. Oh, God. She’d been standing here with a total stranger, practically melting into him.
Heat rushed to her face. “I—”
He smiled, and she was too blinded to finish. Gently his thumbs traced across her hipbones once more, and he let her go. “Thank you for the dance.” Then he turned around and walked away.
I discovered Nana Malone about a year ago, so when the opportunity to review her latest book came up, I had to take advantage of it. Yet again she delivers a page-turning contemporary romance with sizzling chemistry between two flawed characters who only serve to make each other better and complete.
Abbie has been abused for years. Her boyfriend, Evan, has been hitting her, but no one knows. Her family has made their own plans for her, not caring what she really wants out of life. Despite being beaten down repeatedly, she still has an amazing strength and stubborn determination within herself and goes for her dreams. I can't imagine having the guts to just leave it all behind, to jump on a plane and to start over in Europe, though I have thought about it on many occasions.
She is lucky and has friends already in London, and an acceptance letter to her dream program in photography. A chance encounter on a rainy road changes her life even more, when she stumbles into Lex. Lex has his own personal demons and secrets and has never allowed himself to be happy. He is also rebelling against family expectations.
The two of them are inexplicably attracted to each other, able to almost forget about their problems and to heal each other. At the same time, they can torment each other, because secrets never work well in a relationship.
And then, there is Xander, Abbie's photography professor, who is also smoking hot and is Lex's brother. He holds a few of his own secrets, as well. I was surprised that Abbie didn't know his true identity, as his reputation preceded him, hence why she wanted to be in his program. I also felt like he was dancing in the wings, begging for more attention and a larger presence. I have a feeling his own story is coming soon, because you can feel that his story is begging to be told. We get just a teaser from him.
I didn't feel like Abbie's situation with Evan was ever truly resolved. Instead, it felt like he is just biding his time and will show up again in the future, to make life difficult for her once again. I also felt like there was more to the story with her family and I want to know what happens with them!
This book was a fast read, keeping me glued to the Kindle for an entire evening. I really enjoyed it and want more from these characters!
Amazon US \ Amazon UK \ Amazon CA \ Amazon AU \ Barnes and Noble \ iTunes \ Kobo \ All Romance Ebooks \ Smashwords
USA Today Best Seller and iTunes Breakout Books author, Nana Malone's love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she borrowed from her cousin.
It was a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana, and Nana was a precocious thirteen. She's been in love with kick butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.
While she waits for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, in the meantime Nana works out her drama, passion and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.
a Rafflecopter giveaway