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Heat level: Sensual (some adult language and some open-door sex scenes)
Love is an addiction. And its name is Scott Melt-Your-Panties Meyers.
For twenty-five-year-old Amy Miles, moving into her craptastic new apartment was like winning the lottery.
Here, she could start over.
No more nightmares. No more drama. No constantly looking over her shoulder, waiting for the boogeyman to strike.
No, she was done with all that. She was going to be a normal girl, dammit.
Then Scott Meyers saunters into her life.
She knows she should stay away from her hot-as-sin apartment building manager. Shouldn’t put her heart out there, or get into another hot, romantic mess.
Two years of heartache, a helluva lot of tequila, and buried regrets should have been enough to make her call it quits on passion.
Except, Amy knows the moment she lays eyes on Scott, she’s not going to be able to run away from the undeniable attraction between them. They’re both damaged goods—and there’s a saying that darkness calls to darkness.
But some ghosts won’t be laid to rest.
When a stalker from Amy’s past returns, hell-bent on ending her life, she realizes happily ever after with Scott is just a dream. For his safety, she should walk out the door and never look back. It’s what the old Amy would have done—run like hell. Away from her past, away from inevitable heartbreak.
Except this time, she’s tired of running.
She’s ready to fight—even if it kills her.
READY TO GET YOUR HEART RACING? CHECK OUT SHATTER RIGHT NOW. Or continue to read the first chapter.
EXCERPT – CHAPTER 1
THE APARTMENT WAS a piece of shit. Anyone could see that.
But to Amy, it felt like seven hundred square feet of awesome.
It was new. Not “new, new.” Nothing in this place screamed “updated!” It was “new” in the sense that she blissfully didn’t recognize a damned thing in here: from the ramshackle, bright-green shag carpet, to the peeling, flowery wallpaper from the seventies. Every leaky faucet, every spiderweb-covered nook—hell, even the old, dusty sofa that the last occupant had neglected to move—was alien to her.
And that was what made it so wonderful. Here, she could truly forget about all the heartaches, lies, and bullshit that had come before now. She was officially rebooting her life, and she was going to enjoy every damned minute of it.
With a lightness in her step that had been absent for years, she grabbed her first box of belongings and hauled it into her new digs.
Yeah, that whole thing about the apartment being cleaned before she moved in totally hadn’t happened. Dust puffed up in the wake of her steps as she set her stuff down on the countertop, which also was covered in a light sheen of the gray fluff. Her sister would die in here. She was, literally, allergic to everything: cats, dogs, people. They’d both inherited some of their aloofness with the real world from their hopelessly starry-eyed, creativity-imbued mother.
Amy wished she could book a one-way ticket to La-La Land. She’d totally live there if she could.
Wishful thinking. She eyed the rectangular room. The kitchen, if you could even call it that, sat off in one corner; a bar overlooked the living room. A dining hovel—she called it a “hovel” because it wasn’t nearly big enough to be considered a room—adjoined the kitchen. The only way it was marked off was by a block of mismatched tiles.
At the opposite end of the living room was a small bathroom—with the emphasis on small—and a bedroom that reminded her of her college cell, er, “dorm.” The weirdest thing about the apartment was that the bedroom had a concrete floor. That’s right—concrete. Like a jail.
And yet, she stupidly grinned from ear to ear.
Who cared if it wasn’t the most glamorous apartment in the city? It was hers, dammit, and she was going to own it. Starting with ripping down this dingy-ass wallpaper and slapping up some bright-yellow paint.
No more reminders of her past. No more wallowing in self-pity, and regret, and “God, why was I so stupid?”
If people could win an Academy Award for being a dumbass, she’d have stolen the vote. Her bestie, Becca, told her, “It’s okay, doll, people make mistakes when they’re in love.”
But love didn’t just make people blind—it made them dumb.
She gritted her teeth as determination lit a fire deep inside her.
She wouldn’t fail at this. She could be on her own and enjoy it again.
Just as much as she had before all that crazy shit happened two years ago. The thought of it made her shiver, made her glance over her shoulder twice.
She was alone. There was something strangely comforting in that.
Her shoulders relaxed. See? Things are already getting back to normal.
She’d dreamed of a life where she wouldn’t be afraid of her own shadow. She’d been there once, long before she’d met Michael, but she couldn’t remember much of her pre-Michael life. Like her art, her life had gone through phases: pre-Michael, Michael, and post-Michael.
Post-Michael had been a bitch for about a year. Then she’d hit her stride and something miraculous had started to happen—she’d begun to grow, slowly stitching her life back together. One morning, she woke up earlier, and didn’t wallow in bed all day. One trip to the grocery store, one smile at a stranger.
The first night she wasn’t afraid to sleep in a dark room alone. Granted, she’d had a nightlight, but still. It was progress.
And the warm glow inside her told her things were only going to get better.
The apartment was a turning point in her life. She could feel the pull of destiny, almost as if it were a tangible force.
Her life was about to change, and it was going to be epic.
It took all afternoon to haul her stuff in, mainly because she was doing it alone. Her sister and mom lived in another state, and Becca was still at the school, sorting out some drama involving her little brother, though Becca was supposed to meet her later to work out.
Ugh, couldn’t she count the five flights of stairs she’d climbed over and over as a workout? The independence rah-rah train was grand until times like this, when you realized how fabulous movers would have been. If she could have afforded them, that is. Thanks to utilities deposits, plus the deposit and first month’s rent she owed on this place, her bank account was pretty parched for cash.
Tired but not wanting to waste any time, she spritzed the wallpaper and peeled it off before she sanded the walls down and thoroughly cleaned them. She didn’t even want to think about all the black crap that came off on the towels.
Yeah, this place definitely hadn’t been cleaned. It broke her heart in a way, dumb as it sounded. Nobody had cared enough about this apartment to spruce it up. It was abandoned, just like she’d been after the incident that had nearly destroyed her. People tended to avoid negative things, and she’d been positively toxic. When she’d eventually tired of gargling her own negative thoughts and self-destructive behavior, she’d caved and seen a therapist on her mother’s tab.
It had helped in more ways than one, mainly because she had someone to talk to. It was so much easier to spill your guts to a stranger than to your best friend, because you didn’t give a damn what they thought. Besides, this stranger was paid to be nonjudgmental. Win-win.
Amy had already picked out the paint for the walls the afternoon she’d signed the lease, and got busy outlining the walls in green tape and throwing down massive drapes so the paint wouldn’t get on the floor. She turned on the little stereo she’d brought to a local rock station. Rolling up her sleeves, she slapped on some fresh rubber gloves, grabbed the roller brush, and went to town.
For a few blissful minutes, she allowed herself to forget how she’d ended up here. It was just her, her paint high, and the sound of her voice belting out the lyrics to one 80s rock tune after another.
She’d almost forgotten where she was, when the radio abruptly snapped off. The silence slapped her back to her senses, seeming louder by its abrupt termination.
Yelping, Amy whirled; paint slung all over the floor. She swore and brandished the brush handle in front of her like some kind of cheap silver staff. Blowing her bangs out of her eyes, she lifted her head—and stared.
The man behind her kitchen counter was hot, at least from the torso up, because that’s all she could see. The black T-shirt clung to his chest, revealing carefully refined muscles she’d love to run her hands over just to see if they were really as hard as they looked. Veins threaded along each arm, both of which were also impressively chiseled. The guy obviously took working out seriously, unlike she did.
She was a “work out only when I feel motivated” kind of girl, despite her best attempts at staying fit. This or that got in the way, mostly herself, and she’d just never stuck with it.
If this gorgeous piece of man candy was at the gym, however, she might have to reconsider her routine. She could definitely find an excuse to get out of bed to look at that.
The power cord for her radio dangled from his hand.
Her eyes rose to his neck, and she slowly drank him in. If a man was delectable, she’d be eating him right up. Warmth rushed between her thighs, along with a dampness that soaked her panties. Sexual fantasies played out in her head, mainly where he said, “I’ve been waiting my entire life for a woman like you,” swept her up in his arms, and made love to her on the countertop.
Holy shit, her hormones were out of control. It was a miracle she wasn’t panting.
Then her eyes traveled up to his face.
He was gorgeous in every sense of the word. From the straight set of his nose to the slight dimple in his chin, he was H-O-T. Stubble shadowed his jawline, somehow making his full, sensual lips seem more pronounced.
Or maybe it was the flames that leapt in his eyes as he pinned her with an incinerating glare.
It would have been hot if she hadn’t been so terrified. She gulped. Uh-oh.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, as if counting down. When he opened his eyes, a startling blue she could see from ten feet away, he looked no less pissed off.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” he bellowed.
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