Authors: Carrie Cox
Lauren reached across and held my hand. “You are. You just don’t know how strong you really are. No one does until being strong is the only choice they have. He really means a lot to you, doesn’t he?”
I nodded miserably. “Yes, but it could never work.”
“Why?” Lauren sounded angry. “How do you know if you don’t take a chance? If you don’t fight for something you want, you can’t cry when you don’t get it. Don’t run away from this, Kristina. If there is one thing I’ve learned over the past two years, it’s that no one can outrun their problems. Not even you.”
I wanted to ask Lauren what she meant. What problems had she tried to outrun? But my mind was reeling. I’d monumentally screwed up. I’d left Jack when he needed me most. If I got another chance at this, I promised myself I would never leave him voluntarily again.
When we reached the house, I left my luggage in the car and ran inside with Lauren. Maria, obviously on the lookout for us, met us at the entrance.
“It’s okay,” she said. “Alexander found him. He’s fine.”
A rush of emotion overwhelmed me and I couldn’t reply. I blinked away my tears and tried to control myself.
Lauren placed a hand to her chest. “Oh, thank God. Where are they?”
“In the garden,” Maria said. She touched my arm before pulling me into a hug. The kindness of her gesture almost broke me. “I’m glad you’re back,” she whispered.
In a daze, I followed Lauren through the entrance hall and the main living area until we reached the doors that opened out onto the garden.
There was a wrought-iron table and chairs just outside on the patio area, and Alexander and Jack were sitting at the table.
I held my breath. They weren’t talking.
In that moment, the contrast between the two brothers had never been greater. Jack’s dark hair to Alexander’s blonde. Jack’s fire to Alexander’s ice. Alexander sat ramrod straight in his chair. Jack slouched down in his.
When Lauren opened the door, both brothers turned.
The instant Jack saw me standing beside her, I saw the relief flood his expression.
In the next moment, he scowled. “I thought you’d left.”
But his moody act didn’t fool me. I’d seen his true reaction. I loved the fact he was terrible at hiding how he really felt. He was glad I was back and that made me feel so much better. It gave me the confidence to say, “I wanted to come back.” I turned to Alexander. “If that’s okay with both of you?”
Alexander bowed his head and pushed himself up from the table. “Of course.” He walked with Lauren to the far edge of the patio, leaving me alone next to Jack.
Jack looked up at me, still scowling. “Well, are you going to sit down?”
I sat down on the chair Alexander had vacated. The metal chair was cold, and I shivered.
Jack frowned. “Are you cold? We can go inside.”
Then he seemed to remember he was supposed to be mad at me. “I didn’t like your note. I can’t believe you just ran off like that.”
Jack grunted. He wasn’t going to let me off that easily.
“What happened this afternoon?” I asked. “Lauren told me that you’d gone missing…”
“Is that why you came back?” he snapped, looking furious. “I’m fine. Everyone over-reacted.”
The sun had almost dipped below the horizon. I took a deep breath and turned to look at Jack. Even petulant and scowling, he was still the most beautiful man I had ever seen. He shoved his dark hair back from his face, and his dark intense eyes burned into mine.
I wished we were alone. I wished I could lean forward and press my lips to his and forget all my mistakes. But Alexander and Lauren were standing only a few feet away.
“I came back…” I started to say, before my throat dried up. I swallowed hard. I couldn’t be a coward anymore. I needed to tell him how I felt. “I came back because I really care about you, Jack.”
“You do, huh?”
My stomach flipped as a slow, sexy grin spread across his face, replacing the scowl.
There was no backing out. I had to be strong. If I couldn’t admit my feelings to Jack now, I didn’t deserve to get what I wanted.
“Yes, I do.”
It might not be the three words I wanted to say to him. But it was a step in the right direction.
He reached across and took hold of my hand. My body reacted instantly as tingles shot along my fingers and up my arm. With one finger, he gently traced my palm and had me practically squirming in my seat. How did he do that?
His brother and my best friend were standing at the edge of the patio and yet with just one touch he had me burning up with desire.
He lifted my hand, and brushed my fingers with his lips. So slowly, so tenderly, but it made me imagine him kissing other parts of my body. Oh God. My nipples were erect, poking through the fabric of my shirt, and that had nothing to do with the cold.
I could feel the dampness growing between my thighs.
He moved my hand to his cheek and I felt the raspy stubble on his jawline. I remembered feeling that scratchy sensation against my inner thighs when he’d kissed me everywhere. My body was responding like crazy. I was trembling, and there was no way he hadn’t noticed.
I didn’t care anymore about the fact that Alexander and Lauren were so close, I just wanted to feel those beautiful lips on mine.
He grinned, looked at me with those beautiful dark eyes and said, “I’m glad you came back, Kristina.”
Jack leaned on his crutch and stood up. He didn’t let go of my hand.
“It’s been a long day. I think we need an early night,” he said. “Come inside with me.”
His hand closed around mine as my breath caught in my throat.
There was no denying it. I was totally addicted to Jack Harding, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Jack and Kristina’s story continues in FRAGMENTS.
I’m so sorry to leave you dangling! I’m finishing up the second book in this trilogy right now, and the second book - called FRAGMENTS - will be out soon.
You can add your email address to my
and I will email you as soon as FRAGMENTS is released.
I’m really enjoying writing this series, and I’m trying to write as fast as I can so you don’t have to wait too long for Jack and Kristina to get their happy-ever-after.
Even though I am writing like a crazy person at the moment, I love hearing from readers and I’m always happy to answer questions (if I can).
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book. If you have a couple of minutes to leave a review that would be awesome! If you do leave a review, let me know and I’ll reply and thank you personally. I really do appreciate each and every review.
Well, I’d better get back to work. Jack and Kristina are waiting...
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The Desire Series
(Kate and Benjamin’s story)
Part one is FREE here:
Desire part one
The Broken Series
(Kristina and Jack’s story)
Broken (Broken: book 1)
Fragments (Broken: book 2)
Whole Again (Broken: book 3) Coming Soon
The Billionaire’s seduction
(Alexander and Lauren’s story)
The Billionaire’s seduction 1
The Billionaire’s seduction 2
The Billionaire’s seduction 3
10 things about me:
1. I love to read all genres, but my favorite is contemporary romance, with an emphasis on alpha males.
2. My favorite authors include: Nora Roberts, Lori Foster, Bella Andre, Jasinda Wilder and Liliana Hart. All those authors have given me many happy hours of reading.
3. I'm a total sucker for billionaire bad boy romance, and I absolutely loved the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy by E. L James.
4. If I could live off salt and vinegar potato chips (aka crisps in the UK), I totally would.
5. I went to college and studied science. I'm not sure that it really helped me in my writing career, but I had fun at college!
6. I adore traveling to new places. I have visited Singapore, Malaysia, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England, and the Middle East, but there are many more places I'd love to visit.
7. One of my favorite places in the US is Newport, Rhode Island.
8. I'm a bit of a history buff, although I can never remember exact dates! When I visited London, I loved wandering round the Tower of London and seeing where traitors used to be beheaded. Gruesome history fascinates me, but I'm very glad I don't live in that era!
9. I've never learnt to drive.
10. My favorite thing about being a writer is hearing from my readers. Every time I see a new review from someone who enjoyed one of my books, or I get an email from a reader it makes me smile.
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