USA Today Bestselling Author
Everyone has the right to make a mistake, … but the one Naira made isn’t one Scott can forgive. He wakes from a coma, sure that the ex-love of his life had been at his side, but finds no sign of her. When he does see her, he can’t get past a long-ago decision she’d made that tore them apart.
Naira had hoped that Scott would protest her decision way back when, but he didn’t say anything to stop her. Heartbroken, she went ahead with the business marriage to appease her father, which ends in divorce. When Terk called, she came running to Scott’s bedside, even knowing he’d hate to see her when he woke up. But she has always loved him and can only hope he might find his way back to her.
But finding his way back to the team is on his mind, with Naira second. Except that the operatives who took down his team initially are coming around and trying to pick off everyone left alive—and all the people they hold dear, … like Naira.
Naira and Scott’s relationship was a very long time ago. They ended when Naira made the decision to marry for a business arrangement. At the time she hoped he would protest or at least give some indication that he cared for her. Now divorced, she hadn’t hesitated when Terk called that Scott needed her. She still loves him but is certain he doesn’t feel the same, although Terk assures her that isn’t the case.
When Scott wakes from the coma, he’s hungry and when Terk arrives with Naira he’s still eating, much to his nurse’s dismay. The thing is he doesn’t seem at all pleased to see Naira and tells her so. In his mind, marriage, regardless of the reason for it should be sacred. So even though Naira is free to begin a relationship, he doesn’t feel it should be with him.
Naira is ready to pack up and leave but Terk asks her to think about it before she does anything rash. She doesn’t get a chance though as she’s shot on her way into the hotel.
Scott rushes to the hospital against his nurse’s advice. He’s there every time she wakes and finally when she’s a bit better they start to talk.
This is the beginning of that conversation and a favorite scene.
“I’m here and can rest while you sleep, so I’m staying,” he argued. “So don’t waste your strength trying to stop me.”
She frowned and didn’t say anything. Shifting ever-so-slightly and wincing at the pain, she looked around the room. “Where’s Terk?”
“He’s gone back to your hotel room.” She looked up at Scott, and he just shrugged. “He needed a place to crash. Plus he wondered if somebody would try to access your room, in case they were looking for something.”
“So, he set himself up as bait?” she asked, her tone flat.
“Well, it’s hardly bait if he goes in prepared. He’s not alone either.”
“Good. He’s special.”
Scott nodded. Terk connected with people on a deeper level than most did. If Terk were asked about what that special something was, he’d say, What are you talking about? He affected people profoundly, and he didn’t even realize it. “Terk is special,” Scott added. “I’m sure he will be fine.”
“I’m sure he will,” she murmured. “He’s just that kind of guy.”
She looked over at him. “I’m sorry.”
“For what?” he asked quietly.
“You know what for,” she replied. And the moodiness to her tone had him groaning. “We should always communicate,” she said.
“Well, that went out the window when you got married.”
“When I got married at my father’s request, you mean?”
“Your father has always been a bit of a bastard and a manipulator too,” Scott murmured.
“Yet you and I both know that I owe him.”
“You don’t owe him shit,” Scott declared, with feeling. “He’s your father, so looking after you is what he should be doing, not you looking after him.”
“Well, it worked in a sense— to stabilize the company, I mean. Stocks were fine. He didn’t lose his shit, blah, blah, blah,” she stated.
“And your marriage?”
“Well, it was a mistake right from the beginning,” she admitted. “And I learned pretty quickly that my husband had no intention of honoring the vows. So, whatever.”
“Ah. … But, for you, it was a real marriage?”
“I was prepared to give it my all. We’d always been friends,” she noted. “So marriage didn’t seem like it was the worst idea in the world.”
“Now it seems like it was the worst idea in the world,” she admitted, “and I really don’t understand how I came to make that kind of a decision.”
“Neither do I.”
“I get that,” she said, looking over at him. “I get that you don’t understand, but it’s not as if we were a thing.”
“And here I thought we were a thing,” he muttered, surprised that she knew what he was thinking.
“Well, if we were,” she added, “you weren’t doing anything about it.”
“Let me ask you something,” he murmured, looking at her. “Did you?”
She stared at him, not comprehending for a moment. “Did I what?”
“Did you do anything to further our relationship?”
Naira flushed. “No. … I didn’t.”
“Neither of us did. We were walking this pathway, lurching along, as if somebody would do something about it, and neither of us did.”
“So why are you so angry at me then?” she murmured.
“Because I’d been planning on doing something about it,” he replied. “Just like I think, in your mind, you’d been planning on me doing something about it too.”
She sighed. “Maybe, but all you had to do was say, Don’t, and I wouldn’t have married him.”
He stopped and looked at her. “Seriously?” Scott shook his head. “Because hearing that right now sounds pretty shitty.”
“I mean it,” she said. “I was rather desperately hoping that you would stop me and would ask me to marry you instead or something. But you didn’t say anything, and I thought you looked like you were completely disinterested.”
“Well, the woman I loved had just told me that she was marrying somebody else, so what the hell did you expect me to do?” He spoke with just enough bitterness that he realized just how much he was still affected by this one fateful event. He groaned. Why didn’t she just say all this before the wedding? “This is not a discussion we should be having right now. You need to focus on healing.”
She laughed and then cried out at the pain. “God,” she said, as she gasped. “Pretty sure I told you that yesterday.”
“Pretty sure I told you the day before too,” he noted cheerfully.
She stared at him. “I’ve lost that much time?”
“Yes, but you also gained an awful lot more,” he reminded her. “You’re alive, so stay focused on what’s important.” He got up, used the washroom; when he came back, she remained in the same position. “Do you need anything?” he asked her.
“Well, a new life would be good,” she stated. “Apparently I blew up the one that I had.”
“I don’t think you’ve blown up anything,” Scott admitted, “but you made some choices that affect a lot of other people. So, if things weren’t exactly smooth, that could be why.”
“It feels like they’ll never get smooth again,” she said.
“Maybe not. No way to know.”
“You won’t make it easy on me either, will you?”
“Trust is harder,” he stated, “particularly after it’s been broken.”
“I could say the same,” she replied. “I was pretty devastated when I told you, and you didn’t have anything to say about it.”
“It’s not as if you told me that you didn’t want to marry him or that you were looking for a way to get out of your father’s manipulations,” he murmured.
“No, but it never occurred to me that I needed to do that with you.”
“And it never occurred to you that you could just stand up to your father and tell him no?” He stared at her. “You came to me. Remember?” Scott said in disbelief. “You were the one sitting in front of me, telling me that you would marry somebody else.”
“Yes, I get that,” she snapped in a harsh voice. “Believe me. I’m still not even sure how I decided that was something I needed to do. But all it would have taken was one word from you.”
“And how much did you expect me to argue?” he asked. “Did you really think I would ask you to change your mind, when it was obvious you’d already made up your mind?”
“But I hadn’t made up my mind,” she argued, “and I think I was really just using that to help push you forward.” Her voice held a bitterness he wasn’t expecting.
“What do you mean?”
“I think I was trying to make you say it should be us instead, but, when you didn’t say anything, I realized that nobody gave a shit, so I might as well marry him after all,” she murmured. “So you see? It really did backfire on me.”
Dale Mayer. Scott’s Summit (Kindle Locations 635-693). Valley Publishing Ltd..
Everything changes for them when Terk brings her back to her hotel. Before she makes it inside, she’s shot. Of course, Scott insists on going to the hospital even though he still isn’t fully recovered. He compromises by getting a cot in Naira’s room so he can rest when she does. Things are escalating on the outside though and there’s another attempt on Naira’s life.
With no other options, Terk brings both Scott and Naira to the compound. These two have much to work through and they both have to stop and listen to each other.
Plenty of tension in this one as there is more escalation from their opposition. They also need a plan to be on the offensive not strictly defensive.
Pieces are coming together slowly, and there’s both action and romance as they figure things out.
I can’t wait for the next book!
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.