A man struggling
to leave the battlefield behind,
a woman powerful enough
to help him all the way home.
Logan Stone should be happy. More than happy, in fact. He’s Sutton Capital’s newest executive, no longer a Navy SEAL in the line of fire, fighting for his country and his brothers-in-arms. Now he spends his days working side-by-side with Samantha Page, the sexy, brilliant woman of his dreams.
But Logan is fighting a different kind of battle; one no one realizes he’s in. While he’s focused on managing his PTSI, something much more sinister enters his world and he must battle to save Samantha’s life and their growing love.
When her life is threatened, he spirals downward. If he succumbs to the PTSI clawing at him, she’ll be left to fend for herself against threats neither of them could see coming.
Steamy romance meets heart-stopping suspense in the Sutton Billionaires Series. This is the fifth book in the series but it can be read as a standalone story with no cliffhangers. If you’d rather start at book one, grab The Billionaire Deal by Lori Ryan. A shorter version of this book was previously released as part of the Sutton Capital Series.
Logan Stone is the newest addition to Sutton Capitol, even though he still has some PTSI issues he’s come a long way since the nightmares have stopped.
He was really early his first day and Jack questions him on it. He covers with he wanted an early start. Jack takes him to his office to give him some files he would later be reviewing with Samantha. Now as they are leaving the office they overhear a conversation between Samantha, Jennie and Tanya.
I have to say it was hysterical, and was one of my favorite scenes.
Jennie had been trying to convince Sam to hire a personal trainer. Sam’s budget could definitely afford it, but frankly, she wasn’t sure she wanted to pay someone to hound her to exercise. There would be no wheedling out of it if she wasn’t in the mood, which, most of the time, she wasn’t.
“And, tell me again why you have to divorce your gym?” Jennie emphasized the divorce part of the question, as if to stress how unusual it was to talk about divorcing a fitness center. Yeah, okay, so maybe that had been the wrong choice of words.
“It’s got bad juju,” Sam explained. “It’s cursed. You can’t deny the evidence. First, someone stole my wallet in the locker room the one time I forgot to bring my lock, then I ended up with a flat tire a week later, and yesterday someone sideswiped my car in the parking lot. They don’t have cameras in the lot, so I’m screwed. I can get her repaired, but she’ll never be the same.”
Jennie nodded and sipped her drink. Everyone knew Sam’s Jaguar was her baby. She didn’t splurge on things often, but that car had been her one great splurge and she babied it. Coming out and seeing the scrapes and dents all along one side of Dahlia had made Sam want to cry. Or hit something. Or throw things. She’d actually done all of those things. And, stomped her feet.
“That is some bad juju. Maybe you could join another gym. Mine doesn’t have an ice cream shop nearby, but there’s a donut place.”
“Ooooooo. Donuts could work.” Her grin was wide, but the reason for her and Jennie’s early arrival in the office walked through the door, distracting her from thoughts of food and workouts.
Three men and one woman followed the office’s human resources director into the room.
The men looked like they belonged in a magazine or on the pages of a calendar. One of those calendars. And the woman looked to be five feet one or two inches of size-zero gorgeousness, designed to make other women feel inconsequential, at best.
“You have got to be freaking kidding me!” Samantha said, probably a little louder than she’d planned to.
She heard Jennie sputter and cough over a mouthful of latte and had to admit to a bit of chagrin when Jennie turned amused eyes on her.
“What?” Sam said defensively. “You’re telling me you expected that for our new science and technology department? We should have gotten geeks and nerds, not underwear models and a woman who could easily pose for … for … for whatever the biggest fashion magazine is,” Sam said with a glance to her own outfit.
Sam would have no fashionable clothes if it weren’t for Jennie. When Sam’s online game took off and she started earning more money than she knew what to do with, Jennie helped Sam trade in boxy business suits for cute skirts and blouses that accentuated Sam’s curves. It had taken some talking to get Sam to see that, when showcased properly, her curves were beautiful.
And now Sam had a personal shopper who brought her clothes each month to choose from. She let Sam have her own unique style, as evidenced by the purple blouse and matching purple boots she wore today, which Sam loved.
Still, even with the personal shopper and help from her friends, Sam wasn’t what one would consider a fashionista. Hence, her lack of knowledge about the titles of the latest and greatest fashion magazines.
Her friend shushed her and laughed as they watched the HR director continue her tour, the underwear models in question following her as the group made their way across the room.
“I’m just not sure I understand your issue with it, Sam. If I was going to be in charge of getting those guys settled into the company, I’m pretty sure I’d be psyched, not complaining. I mean, if I didn’t have Chad, that is,” Jennie said with a sly grin.
Jennie was happily married to Chad Thompson, head of Sutton Capital’s security division and part owner in the company. Chad was also Jack’s cousin and best friends with Andrew Weston, Sutton’s Chief Financial Officer.
Chad, incidentally, was model-worthy himself. It didn’t surprise Samantha that Jennie was married to such a good-looking man, since Jennie could also easily have landed the cover of Vogue or some swimsuit or underwear spread.
Samantha, on the other hand, was a normal person. She was one of those “average” females you heard about, who wore more than thimble-sized clothing. She was taller than the average woman at five foot eleven. Oh, Jennie told her differently.
Jennie said she was voluptuous and sexy, and Sam saw that to some extent. But she also faced reality. If she were a model, she’d be showing off sweatshirts and galoshes, not underwear.
“Why am I not happy about this?” Sam gestured to the men who stood in a loose circle across the room, each with the kind of easy confidence born of above-average looks and a physical fitness level that can only come from years of honing and driven attention to exercise. “Because we need some normal people around here.”
Another coworker approached on Sam’s side as she finished her sentence.
“Damn right we do,” Tanya, the newcomer, said with a nod. Tanya worked in the finance department of Sutton and often had lunch with Jennie and Samantha.
“See, she gets it,” Samantha said to Jennie, as she bumped her hip in solidarity against Tanya’s, earning a smile from the other woman. “We’re surrounded by above-average overachievers who look like they were crafted in the Ken and Barbie doll factory instead of a womb. We need average guys around here for those of us that weren’t graced with those kind of genes,” Sam said, casting a glance at Jennie. “No offense.”
“Um, none taken. I think,” Jennie answered with a huff of a laugh. “So you were hoping for ugly?”
“Not ugly. Just . . . normal. They’re science geeks. I mean, come on. These people are supposed to be walking computers on everything from nanotech and biochemistry, to immunotherapy and whatever the hell else they do. They should, at the very least, be a little pale from being indoors too long, not tanned and glowing and all . . . all . . .”
“Godlike,” Tanya finished for Sam.
“Yeah.” Sam nodded. “Godlike. You’d think Jack would have given the teeniest bit of consideration to us mere mortals when he hired them. It’s just selfish, is what it is. Selfish and inconsiderate. Just because Jack’s all walking, talking sex-on-a-stick doesn’t mean he shouldn’t think of the rest of us once in a while. The guy could at least throw us a bone for once. Is that too much to ask?”
Sam looked at Tanya and grinned, expecting to find her co-worker grinning back. Instead, Tanya looked past Sam and Jennie, her face a pale, pasty color—somewhat like the flour-and-water glue Samantha’s mother used to make for her dioramas. In fact, she looked a bit like she might be sick.
Sam turned her head slowly, flinching the second she caught sight of her boss, the sex-on-a-stick man, in the flesh. Jack Sutton stood in the doorway of the office next to hers, another man next to him, both wearing expressions that clearly told her they’d heard every word she’d said.
Jennie only laughed, but given who her husband was, she could do that.
Sam heard Tanya squeak and mumble something about paperwork piling up. Sam knew if she turned, she’d see Tanya slinking back to her cubicle, where she’d no doubt crawl under her desk and hide.
But she didn’t turn to check on Tanya. She was rooted to the spot, trying to figure out how to get her foot to either come back up her throat or go down smoothly. Her size nine, chunky-heeled, purple boot that she thought had looked so cute this morning was going nowhere. It was firmly lodged in her throat as a weird, choked sound eked out past it.
Before she could come up with words to try to cover her mortification, Jack grinned and gracefully let her off the hook.
“Jennie, Sam, have you met Logan Stone?”
Sigh. Had she met Logan Stone? No. She hadn’t met him. She’d seen him, though. And drooled over him from across the room at her friend’s wedding three months ago. And she’d dreamed about him.
She’d lusted after his dark eyes and the five o’clock shadow that graced a chiseled jaw and outlined a mouth she wanted to bite. Hair so dark it was almost black. Thick hair she wanted to pull as he, um … so, yes, she’d dreamed about him. Hot, sweaty dreams that she’d prayed never to wake up from. In her dreams, they’d done a lot more than meet, going well past “hello, how are you” to “let me stick my tongue down your throat while we get started on our first-born child.”
Somewhere in the back of Sam’s mind, she knew running her gaze up and down the man’s body was rude, but who could stop themselves?
He stood there all dark and scruffy in dark slacks and a charcoal sweater that hugged his biceps and chest. He looked photoshoot ready, and Sam had a hard time not being grateful that he wasn’t covering himself up with a suit jacket.
She guessed going from BDUs and a flak jacket, or whatever it was SEALs wore, to a business suit was too much. She liked his choice of compromise just fine. She wondered briefly if spinning her finger in the air to indicate he should turn so she could see his backside would be too much.
Probably. But maybe?
“Hi, Logan. It’s so good to see you again,” Jennie said smoothly, next to Samantha, putting her hand out to shake the man’s. Samantha continued to stare.
Close your mouth.
Well, at least the voice in her head wasn’t dumbstruck. That was always a positive.
On the negative side of the scale was the fact that Logan Stone had just heard her tirade against her boss’s taste in men.
“And, this is Samantha Page,” Jack said, gesturing to Sam as she forced her mouth to close. “She was going to be showing you guys the ropes and getting you settled in, but I think she’s got some complaints to lodge with HR over your qualifications,” Jack quipped and Sam found her mouth falling open once again.
He was joking about this? She’d called him sex-on-a-stick and he was joking?
Samantha closed her mouth and cleared her throat. “I’m good, Jack. No complaints here. I’ll just, um, I’ll get, um ….”
Oh, my hell. Stop babbling and say something—anything—moderately intelligible. Or burst into flames. Developing the ability to go up in flames right now would be handy.
“Hi,” the man of her dreams intoned, his deep voice washing over every atom of her body, stroking her in a way she’d felt only in her dreams. “It’s nice to meet you, Samantha.” He said the words, but kept his hands shoved in his pockets.
And, with that, in front of Jennie, her boss, and the man whose kids she hoped to have one day, Samantha Page opened her mouth and said, “Gah.”
Lori Ryan. The Billionaire’s Navy SEAL (Kindle Locations 92-181). Kindle Edition.
Jack and Samantha have been attracted to each other since his friend Zach’s wedding. They had never been introduced until today and I have to say a lot of there interactions had me giggling. Samantha has no filter at all and sometimes she actually says what she thinks is only a silent thought.
Logan doesn’t mind this at all and is trying to be professional when he really doesn’t want to be at all.
A phone call from a former teammate, has him on guard but it doesn’t concern his employment.
Samantha discovers some of Logan’s PTSI problems on the way to lunch one day and then starts bringing him lunch when she gets her own.
Then things start happening with Samantha, that don’t seem to be coincidences.
Plenty laughter and tears in this page-turning, suspenseful, steamy, romantic, action-packed book.
I really can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Lori.
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Lori Ryan is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance with steamy love scenes and characters you won’t want to leave in the pages when the story is over.Lori published her first novel in April of 2013 and has fallen in love with writing.
She is the author of the Sutton Capital Series; the Heroes of Evers, Texas; and the Triple Play Curse Novellas, a set of novellas with sexy baseball players at their core as part of Bella Andre’s Game For Love Kindle World. She has also published in Melanie Shawn’s Hope Falls Kindle World and in Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Kindle World.
She lives with an extremely understanding husband, three wonderful children, and two mostly well-behaved dogs in Austin, Texas. It’s a bit of a zoo, but she wouldn’t change a thing. She loves to connect with her readers. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter or subscribe to her blog.