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Authors: Cynthia Eden

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #General, #Contemporary, #Suspense, #Military, #Mine#2

Mine to Keep

BOOK: Mine to Keep
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Cynthia Eden continues her
New York Times
and
USA Today
best-selling
“Mine”
romantic suspense series with…

MINE TO KEEP

Love is the most dangerous obsession…

Skye Sullivan is trying to put the pieces of her life back together. She survived a brutal stalker and escaped his abduction, and now she is looking to the future—a future that includes Skye’s lover, billionaire Trace Weston. Skye thinks the danger is finally over for her.

She’s dead wrong.

When Trace’s past comes back to haunt him, Skye discovers that the man she loves isn’t quite who he seems to be. Trace has been leading a double-life. An ex-special forces agent, his military training turned him into the perfect killing machine. He made more than his share of enemies during his time in the military—and as he built his security empire—and one of those enemies is striking back.

He won’t lose her.

Skye is the one weapon that can be used against Trace—his only vulnerability. But he won’t let her go—he can’t. Trace will do anything necessary to protect Skye. Anything. Yet when she discovers the secrets that he’s tried to keep hidden, Skye’s pain and rage may send her running directly into the cross-hairs of a killer…

This book is a work of fiction. Any similarities to real people, places, or events are not intentional and are purely the result of coincidence. The characters, places, and events in this story are fictional.

Copyright ©2013 by Cynthia Eden

Cover art and design by: Pickyme/Patricia Schmitt

Copy-editing by: J. R. T. Editing

Dedication

I want to dedicate MINE TO KEEP to all of my wonderful readers. Thank you so much for all of the notes and emails that you’ve sent me about Skye and Trace.  You have been absolutely incredible!

Table of Contents
Mine To Keep
Author’s Note
About The Author
Chapter One

She couldn’t get free. No matter how long or how hard she struggled, Skye couldn’t escape from the handcuffs.

Or from the basement that she knew would be her grave.

The place smelled of blood and death. Fear.  Her fear.

Skye’s breath sawed in her lungs.  Hunger gnawed at her, twisting her stomach.  The darkness was so complete.

She was trapped there. Skye knew that she would die there.

“Weston is dead.”
The brutal words came to her in the darkness.

Weston. Trace Weston. Her Trace.

He was gone, and, soon, she would be dying, too.

Because there was no escape from the darkness. Or from the monster that waited there with her.

“Skye! Dammit, wake the fuck up!”
Hard hands grabbed her. Shook her.

Tore her right out of the nightmare.

Skye Sullivan’s eyelids flew open.  Light surrounded her, flooding from the nearby lamp and spilling onto the rumpled bed.

Trace leaned over her. His hands were wrapped tightly around her upper arms. His blue eyes—so bright that sometimes it almost hurt to look into them—blazed down at her.  “You come back to me,” he demanded, his voice a low, deep growl. “You come back
now.”

Her heart thudded in a frantic rhythm against her ribs.  She couldn’t suck in a breath that was deep enough, and Skye realized that her cheeks were wet with tears.

Because that hadn’t just been a nightmare.

It had been a memory.

Four weeks ago, her ex-lover, Mitch Loxley had kidnapped her. He’d kept her captive in a basement. Starved her. If it hadn’t been for Trace, Skye knew that she would’ve died in that stinking pit.

“I’m back,” she said, but the words were hoarse, as if she’d been screaming.

When Mitch had taken her, she’d screamed for hours. Days? Until her voice broke.

“He can’t hurt you anymore,” Trace said.  The faint lines around his eyes tightened as his gaze swept over her face. “Baby, that bastard is rotting in the ground. He won’t hurt
anyone.”

Thanks to Trace.  Because Trace had killed Mitch.

Memories can’t hurt you.

Lately, that had become her mantra.

Trace bent his head. His lips brushed over her cheek. “I don’t want you crying because of that SOB.”

But she hadn’t been crying for Mitch. She’d been crying because…in that twisted memory, Trace hadn’t come to save her.

Trace had been dead. 

She wet her dry lips and stared into his eyes.  In one way or another, Trace had been the central point of her life since she’d been fifteen years old.

He’d saved her the first night they met. Her foster brother had been attacking her.  Skye had been so certain that no one would hear her cries for help.

Trace had heard her. 

Without him, sometimes she feared that she would be lost.

And that scared her to death.

“Make love to me,” she said, the words coming out in that same hoarse, husky tone. 

His hold tightened on her. 

“I need you,” Skye told him, and it was the truth.  Trace was real and strong, and she wanted him to banish the fear that twisted within her. 

“Skye…”

Her hands rose up. Her fingers sank into the thickness of his midnight black hair, and she pulled his head toward her. Her lips met his. Open. Hungry. Desperate.

She licked his lips.  Licked his tongue. 

They were in bed. She was naked, tangled in the sheets. She needed—

“I’ll give you anything you want, you know that,” Trace said, biting off the words against her lips.  Then he yanked the sheets away from her.  Flesh met flesh. He was warm and hard, his body strong with muscles, and he was
alive.

His fingers slid down her body. Parted her legs.  His fingers stroked her.  Eased up and—

“No.” Skye was surprised by the clipped denial that broke from her, but she wasn’t looking for seduction.

She needed pleasure. Release. Fast. Hard.

His jaw tensed. 

“You,” Skye whispered. “I need to feel you.” 

Her hands curved around his shoulders.  Her short nails raked over his flesh. Down, down she went. Her hand slid around his sides, pushed across his rock-hard abs.

Then she was touching his cock. Heavy and full, thrusting toward her.  “I don’t want to wait,” Skye said as she stroked him. “I need you,
now.”

“You’re not ready, Skye.” His words were a rumble.

“Yes, I am.”  She arched toward him. “Trace, please!” She tried to urge him toward her, but Trace was too strong, and he pulled back.

Her heart stopped then. 

“Not like this,” he said, the words hard and sharp and—

He kissed her. Deep and long even as he caressed the center of her need.  She pushed against him. Because she didn’t want to go slow. She needed fast. One hundred miles an hour. Too fast to think. Too fast to do anything but feel—

He thrust a finger into her.  Stretched her.

Not enough. Not even close.

His mouth trailed down her neck. He kissed her throat. Licked her sensitive flesh. 

His fingers kept stroking her.  Desire built, pulsing through her.  But the desire wasn’t enough. It wasn’t going to be enough, not until he was
in
her.  Skye arched toward him. Her legs wrapped around his hips.

But Trace’s hands caught her legs and pushed them back down.

No, she wanted
him.

Trace slid down—

And he put his mouth on her.

Pleasure came then, surging through her and a moan broke from her lips.

“Much fucking better,” Trace growled. “
Now,
we do this.”

He positioned his body and drove into her. Deep. So deep. She stared into his eyes, those bright, glittering eyes. Stared right into that blue even as the bed shook beneath her. He thrust, again and again. Harder.

There was no more thinking. Only feeling.    

Meeting him. Thrust for thrust.

Sweat slickened their bodies.

She couldn’t look away from his gaze.

His hands had locked around her hips. He lifted her up, holding her easily, as he thrust.  Every muscle in her body tightened. She was so close to release. So close—

Pleasure exploded. The release burst over her with an impact that took her breath away.  She shuddered and quaked, and he was there. Trace stiffened against her. Held her even tighter.  The hot surge of his release filled her.

Alive
.

Tremors shook her sex.  Shook her.

But the memories of fear and death were gone. Pleasure surrounded her.

Because Trace surrounded her. 

In that moment, Skye could almost convince herself that she was safe.

Almost. 

The thunder of her heartbeat slowly eased its mad drumming. She became aware of other sounds then. The rush of waves, the pounding of the water against the shore.

The scent of the ocean.

She wasn’t in Chicago. Not New York. They’d escaped together, and Trace had taken her down to the Florida Keys.

She wasn’t supposed to be cold there. She wasn’t supposed to be afraid.

His lips feathered over her cheek. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Skye shook her head. 

“He’s dead.  I won’t ever let anyone hurt you again.”

Her lashes lifted, and she found herself staring up into Trace’s eyes once more.  She’d always felt like Trace could see straight into her soul.

Past the pretenses that she gave to others.

Right to her core.

Trace Weston. His face was hard, strong. Slashing cheekbones. A square, tight jaw.  Lips that were cut in the faintest of cruel lines.

One look, and a smart woman knew he was dangerous.

Skye knew, and she didn’t care. 

He’d killed for her.  She probably
should
have been afraid of him. She wasn’t.

Because, deep down, Skye knew the truth.

I’d kill for him, too.

With each day that passed, she was discovering a new darkness within herself. 

Maybe that was why she’d always been drawn to Trace.  They were the same.

He slowly withdrew from her. Stood. He stared down at her, his legs brushing against the side of the bed. “You have to talk to someone.”

No, she didn’t. What she had to do was shove the memories into the deepest, darkest part of her mind.

And move the hell on.

That was what she’d done before, when her parents had died. Burying the pain and the dark memories—that was the way she survived. Her coping mechanisms had gotten her through life.

One stumbling step at a time.

“The nightmares aren’t stopping.” His hands clenched into powerful fists as he stared down at her. “You need to—”

“I have what I need,” she said, and she rose from the bed, too. Skye pulled the sheet with her, letting it cover her body. Trace had never cared for modesty. She shouldn’t either, but Skye still found herself pulling the sheet closer. “Talking to some shrink isn’t going to magically fix me.”

“Skye…”

A loud, insistent ringing cut through his words.  

Saved by the bell.

Skye glanced to the right. Trace’s phone waited on the small nightstand. 

“It can damn well wait,” he muttered. “You should—”

But she’d leaned forward to see the screen. “It’s Reese.  You’d better talk to him.” Because Reese Stokes was Trace’s right-hand man. A bodyguard, a friend—one of the few confidants that Trace actually had in the world.

“Go ahead,” Skye urged him. “It could be important.” She headed for the bathroom. Took the silken robe that waited on the hook behind the door.  “I’ll be outside.”

The ringing stopped just as she opened the balcony door.

When she heard Trace answer the call, Skye stepped outside. The pounding of the surf was louder. The salty scent of the ocean filled her nose.

A private island.

Trace didn’t do things half-way.  Since the guy was a freaking billionaire now, he could have anything or anyone that he wanted…with just a snap of his fingers.

The wind blew her robe back against her, molding the silk to her body.

Skye headed for the churning waves.  The light of the moon glinted off the water, making it look almost black.

She walked toward that beckoning darkness.

One foot, in front of the other.

These days, that was the only way she could get through life. 

The waves hit her feet, and they washed away the foot prints that she’d left behind. 

***

“Reese, this had better be damn important,” Trace Weston snarled as his fingers tightened around the phone.

BOOK: Mine to Keep
12.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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