“Don’t try to be my hero. Don’t care about me. Don’t let go.”
Twenty-two-year-old Beatrice Stevens lives to dance. Two years ago she walked in on the picture of horror: after stabbing her mom 34 times, her father killed himself. She found his corpse still clutching at her mom’s, determined not to let go of her even in death. Now Beatrice freaks out if she’s hugged, loomed over or receives attention from daddy-type guys. Unless she’s dancing—the one thing that feeds her soul and saves her time after time.
Anthony Gowl wants Beatrice from the moment she bumps her adorable nose into his chest. That desire turns into a burning need after he sees her dance. But he’s the overprotective type—he can’t help it, it’s part of him ever since his sister ODed seven years ago. His savior complex makes him the perfect opposite of what Beatrice needs.
But she can’t seem to shake him. He’s both scary and exciting, even when he kneels at her feet. And the closer he gets, the more that toxic waste in her soul threatens to explode.
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“Jesus freaking Christ, yes! I’m comin — ”
I froze there. Right before me stood tall, gorgeous, and annoying Anthony Gowl. And he was grinning.
“Is this a nightmare?” I muttered under my breath.
“Judging by your sleepwear, more of a fantasy. But I’m awake, so I don’t know what that makes this.”
I frowned and looked down. My sleepwear was a pair of shorts and a top. Well, not showing more skin than the costumes. “What’s wrong with my sleepwear?”
“Not a thing. But it looks so … intimate. I like your morning look. Truly beautiful women are beautiful right when they wake up.”
I snorted. “Whatever. You clearly know nothing of women if you think that. Now what are you doing here?”
“Will you let me in, or are we talking on the hall?”
I thought about it. The only other person living here was Doug, so I was sort of okay talking in the door like that. But he just looked so hopeful, like a puppy. I almost felt bad to keep him there. So I shrugged and turned around, heading for the kitchen. “I’m making coffee. Want some?”
The door clicked closed behind him. “Sure, thanks.”
“Sit down or whatever,” I called over my shoulder.
Once the coffee was all done, I poured two mugs of it and brought them into the living room. He’d settled down on the couch, coat shrugged off. He wore chocolate brown pants and a lovely, crisp, white shirt. Not clean-shaven like he’d been the night before, and I sort of liked this look better. There was something about men with a maximum of three days’ growth that was incredibly sexy. I left his mug on the coffee table and walked into the bedroom, put on a pair of sweats. Sitting with him on my couch, him in a suit and me in shorts just seemed wrong on so many levels.
“Don’t dress up on my account. I liked your earlier outfit — ”
I held up my hand and took a few gulps of coffee. The nectar of the gods slid down my throat and made me incredibly happy. I truly woke up then, my brain getting its gears in motion.
I sighed with delight then fixed my eyes on him. “Okay, now I’m ready to begin the day. What the hell are you doing here?”
“I think I liked you better before the coffee. You were so soft and pliable … ”
I squinted my eyes and took another gulp. “Start talking or I’m calling Doug to throw you out.”