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Authors: Cindy Gerard

Tags: #Romance, #General, #Contemporary, #Fiction

When Somebody Loves You

BOOK: When Somebody Loves You
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Dear Reader,

We had such a great time bringing you
Worth Dying For,
an ebook volume containing two of my short contemporary romances that were originally written several years ago for Bantam Books’s much-loved Loveswept line. Reader response to the reissue has been wonderful!

Because it’s been so fantastic, we reached back into the archives for two more Loveswepts,
Slow Burn
and
Temptation from the Past,
and packaged them as a duo in
When Somebody Loves You.
Same fun, sexy contemporary reads, same great price.

I know that most of you associate me with my
New York Times
bestselling romantic suspense novels, but I’m hearing from my readers that they are enjoying my contemporary novels every bit as much. It brings me much pleasure to make them available again.

As was the case in the preparation of the first two-book volume, it was fun reacquainting myself with these amazing couples and their stories. I hope you enjoy the two books in
When Somebody Loves You
as much as I enjoyed writing them!

All my best,

Cindy

Don’t forget

to click through after

Temptation from the Past

and

Slow Burn

for an exclusive sneak peek

at a heartwarming hardcover set in

Cindy Gerard’s romantic suspense world

The Way Home

Available October 2013 from Gallery Books

Temptation from the Past

One

“You know what you really need, don’t you?”

January Stewart removed her reading glasses and sighed patiently. She glanced up from the brief she was finishing into the sparkling hazel eyes of her sixty-five-year-old secretary, Helen Morgan. “I don’t need a lecture, if that’s what you had in mind,” she said with gentle admonishment.

Ignoring the warning, Helen said decisively, “You need to get laid.”

January grinned in spite of herself. Everything about Helen was outrageous, from her blue shine-in-the-dark eye shadow and Cupid’s-bow red lips to her flaming orange hair. Each shocking, ridiculous quirk was part and parcel of why January had fought daily impulses to either hug Helen or fire her over the past five years.

Since hugging was something she’d never learned to do gracefully, and since Helen would never stand for being fired, January just shook her head. “Getting laid, as you so delicately put it, is your answer for everything since you met Leonard.”

“Hey,” Helen said with a smug grin, “it works for me, sweetie, and until you come up with a better solution, you won’t find this kid trying to fix something that ain’t broke. A man, my dear, can do wonders for one’s . . .” She paused for effect, then finished with a wicked smile, “. . . attitude. Besides, some good sex might cut some of the tension that’s putting the dark circles under your gorgeous brown eyes.”

Since being widowed ten years earlier and finally finding love again last May with Leonard Tyler, Helen had been driving January crazy with her insistence that a man could cure everything from anxiety to tooth decay.

Extending the dozen or so pages of notes she’d compiled on the Garner case, January gave Helen a benign yet dismissive smile. “I need this for court tomorrow.”

Helen rose regally from her chair, tugged her paisley vest over a waistline that had never been trim, and tucked the notes under her arm. “Fine,” she said in that high, tight voice she reserved for when things were not fine. “Play it your way. But just remember what happened to Jack.”

“Jack?” January slipped her glasses back into place.

“You remember. . . . All work and no play Jack?”

“Oh, that Jack. Not to worry, Helen. I’m already as dull as a rubber knife, and I seriously doubt that I’ll turn into a boy at this stage in my life.”

“At this stage in your life,” Helen added with a glare meant to remind January that her thirty-second birthday had come and gone the previous month without so much as a dinner date, “you should have a lusty husband messing up you and your bed, and a couple of apple-cheeked babies warming your workaholic heart.”

“Workaholics make lousy marriage partners. Consider I’m doing my bit to keep the rising divorce rate in check.”

Helen grunted. “You’ve got more excuses to avoid a relationship than Leonard has plaid pants. For the life of me, I do not understand you. Why don’t you take advantage of that face and that tall, lean body of yours and wear something other than those sedate navy suits and prissy white blouses that hide your pretty assets? Contacts would be great, and you could cut and curl your hair,” she added, really getting into it.

“I don’t want contacts, and there’s nothing wrong with my hair.”

“You could be having such a good time,” Helen went on as if she hadn’t heard January. “That sexy Lance O’Brian has been calling for you again. Why won’t you give him or one of the other attorneys from the D.A.’s office a tumble? Why, one teacupful of encouragement from you and you could—”

“Get myself laid?” January interrupted drolly. “At the risk of missing out on what promises to be a really meaningful relationship, I’ll pass, thank you.”

“You’re right,” Helen said after a lengthy pause. “You really are a deadly dull person, Jan.”

“I am a busy person . . . and you should be too.” She slanted a pointed glance at the notes.

With a “humph” and a swirl of rose-colored silk, Helen headed for the door on four-inch stiletto heels, leaving behind the lingering scent of her exotic, sultry perfume.

January watched Helen settle in behind her PC, fighting the urge to close the floor-to-ceiling miniblinds that covered the glass wall separating her office from the reception area. But if she closed the blinds, Helen would know for certain she was hiding something. Then again, what was the point? Helen always knew when something was wrong.

January slumped back in her chair. Fiddling absently with a pen, she stared out the street-level window. Not until the noise of a rusted-out cab with its muffler skidding along the cracked pavement slashed through the quiet did January realize with disgust that she was doing it again, tuning out. She didn’t have time for this nonsense. Yet for over six months now, January “the Ice Princess” Stewart had found herself feeling the low, dull ache of loneliness. At the oddest moments she’d catch herself wondering about—no, worse, wanting to experience—what Helen experienced with Leonard. To know what all the fuss was about when things were good between a woman and a man.

Since she didn’t have the slightest hint of what to do about it, January did what she always did to combat what she considered a weakness. She turned back to the file on her desk and buried herself in her work. She’d convinced Judge Stone to hold the record on the Garner case open until she’d had time to prepare a brief. He’d extended that time until tomorrow, and for the Garner child’s sake she’d better be ready.

Two hours later, as she scanned the case record one last time, she was barely aware of the roar of a motorcycle coming to a halt outside her window. Helen’s laughter soon brought her attention to the outer office.

Her first thought when she saw the man settled with casual arrogance on the corner of Helen’s desk was that he was just another hood on the take for some free legal advice. Her second thought, however—and this one distressed her—was that he was the most blatantly sexy man she’d ever seen. He was rough-cut, ragged, and, she’d bet her last paycheck, randy.

As she watched, he flashed a smile. Though that smile was directed at Helen, January felt the effects of his sure, cocky grin like a hard throbbing. And that throbbing was in places Helen liked to talk and giggle about and January avoided mentioning at all costs.

Much as she wanted to ignore him and let Helen send him on his way, January couldn’t stop herself from staring.

There was so much to see.

He was a big man, tall and lean but firmly muscled. He wore a black sleeveless T-shirt that both revealed and concealed provocative expanses of tanned, sleek skin and broad, toned chest. His jeans, tight and low on his hips, were faded almost white; a wish and a prayer seemed to be the two strongest threads holding them together. His hair, as thick as the charm he was pouring on Helen and as black as his scuffed biker boots, was long enough to make his mother blush deep red as she wondered where she’d gone wrong with her son. A diamond earring winked wickedly at January when, with a large, long-fingered hand, he brushed the wind-whipped strands behind his left ear and away from his face.

What a face.

His overall appearance suggested he kept rough company, yet his nose was so Nordic and straight it made her wonder how he’d escaped having it broken. His cheekbones were high and strong, his jaw a study in stubbornness and totally at odds with the fluid mobility of his full lips. Lips that promised pleasure . . . and compliance . . . and trouble.

January watched with a catch in her breath as he twisted at the hip, planted his hands on the top of Helen’s desk, and leaned toward her, grinning another one of those intimate, suggestive grins. Helen beamed like a schoolgirl on her first trip behind the bleachers. She seemed to consider denying whatever request he was making, then succumbed to another killer smile. Touching a hand to her neon-bright hair, she picked up the phone.

Even though she knew what would happen next, January jumped when Helen’s voice purred over the speaker. “Miss Stewart, there’s a gentl—”

“The answer is no, Helen,” January broke in quickly, before Helen could finish asking for what she strongly sensed would be a colossal mistake from the start. “You know my bank account can’t handle another freebie, no matter how tight he wears his pants.”

“Oh, he’ll be so pleased you were able to make room in your schedule,” Helen cooed, studiously avoiding looking January’s way. She smiled sweetly at Mr. Tight Pants, who turned his head and met January’s gaze through the glass wall.

Nothing had prepared January for those eyes. They were a shocking, liquid blue. Heartbreak blue. She should have thought of ice; instead, she felt a flame. A low, slow, licking flame as he held her motionless with his gaze alone, filling her senses with an intense, intimate heat. A heat so mesmerizing it nearly suppressed another, more powerful emotion. Panic. She felt it like a frigid blast of winter wind that gained velocity as it swept nearer.

She knew him. She was certain she knew him! But from where? And more important, from when? Then it hit her.

Michael Hayward.

Oh, God. As her heart beat heavily, she fought the fear that threatened to take over.

Michael Hayward. His name was synonymous with pain.

She felt her palms grow damp and the suffocating ache in her chest grow tighter. How, she wondered, after all these years, had he found her? And what did he want with her? He was an important and powerful journalist now. People listened when he spoke, believed what he wrote.

She made herself hold his gaze, searching for some sign of recognition on his part. She found none. Her pulse leaped with hope. Could that be? She’d swear by the look in his eyes that his interest was present, not past.

Her mind raced for more reasons to support her conclusion. He couldn’t have found her by her name. She’d changed it.
She’d
changed. It had been eighteen years. She’d been fourteen then, a gangly stick of an awkward kid, whom she prayed she no longer had any resemblance to, either physically or emotionally. He’d been a cocky twenty-one-year-old reporter, out to take on the world at anyone’s expense. At her expense. Hers and her mother’s.

No, she decided finally but without much relief. He didn’t recognize her. So why was he here?

It wasn’t worth taking the chance to find out.

Forcefully tearing her gaze free of his, she swiveled in her chair so her back was to the wall of glass. She whipped off her glasses and sat forward. Fighting a sickening wave of nausea, she spoke into the phone again, trying to keep her voice from shaking.

“Helen, I want you to listen to me,” she said with as much calm authority as she could force past her tightly constricted vocal cords. “I don’t care how you do it, but get rid of him.”

“Of course, Miss Stewart,” Helen replied cheerfully. “I’ll send him right in.”

January’s heart dropped like a stone.

She drew in a deep breath and listened as her office door opened, then closed.

Slowly, she turned to face him, promising herself that if she was still practicing law when Mr. Hayward got through with her, she truly was going to fire Helen. Really.

Lulled by the sultry, almost tropical heat Helen Morgan had spoon-fed him in the waiting room, Michael Hayward had to suppress a shiver when he strode into January Stewart’s office.

He’d long ago learned that in his business, his looks were as much of an asset as his ability to cut to the heart of a matter. Neither vain nor blind to the reactions he normally received from women, he routinely used those reactions to open doors. And he used them with the same ease with which he wore his dark good looks and too-long hair.

But January Stewart’s reaction, he soon found out, was nowhere near the norm.

He offered her a tentative smile.

She met it with a distinct glacial glare.

Ice, he thought with mild amusement, should be so cold.

So he had tried for a smile and failed. Not a good start, but not the end of the movie either. Yet when he extended his hand and she ignored it, too, he could almost see the closing credits rolling.

If resistance were a color, he mused, appraising her with interest, it would be the color of her eyes. The beautiful dark eyes that had shot fire during the impassioned speech he’d seen her deliver a week before were as cold and unyielding as diamonds today.

“I know this is an imposition, Miss Stewart,” he began, undaunted, “and I appreciate the fact that you agreed to see me on such short notice.”

“I’ve only a few minutes, Mr. Hayward.”

The lady was resistant, all right, he thought. Resistant and hostile. Intrigued, he tipped one corner of his mouth up in a half-grin. “So you know who I am.”

“One would have to live in a vacuum not to know who you are and what you do,” she said bluntly.

His grin widened. “I’m past the point of losing sleep over low opinions of my work, but at least it explains your cool reception. Not one of my biggest fans, I take it.”

Caution or relief, he wasn’t sure which, colored her expression. More intrigued than ever, Michael watched as, with obviously staged patience, she folded her delicate hands together on the top of her desk.

“I
have
read your work,” she said, gazing at him with bland tolerance, “but I have neither the time nor the inclination to discuss it.”

BOOK: When Somebody Loves You
5.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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