His worst mistake was walking away from her…
Quinn Brody ended things with sweet, sexy Athena when he learned she was a virgin. Their relationship was getting too serious and walking away seemed like the best plan. But Quinn has never been able to forget Athena. And when she gets a marketing job at Red Stone Security, it becomes impossible. Quinn wants a second chance, but Athena’s not interested—even if the chemistry between them is off the charts.
Now his past has come back to haunt him…
The man Quinn put behind bars has been released from prison and is out for blood. Quinn took years of the man’s life and helped his abused wife flee so now the ex-con is hellbent on using Athena to make Quinn pay.
He’ll do anything to protect her…
When Athena is sent to Vegas for a tradeshow Quinn volunteers to accompany her—to watch her back. But professional quickly turns personal when the threat to Athena escalates. Refusing to lose her again, Quinn will do anything to save her. Even if it means risking both his life and his heart.
Author note: Though part of a series this book can be read as a stand-alone.
Length: 43,000 words
“You’re going to do great,” Lizzy said as they reached the mini Tiki bar. The air was cool in the high fifties and the scent of various meats on the grill filled the air. Even though they’d had the party catered, apparently Grant had insisted on grilling some things himself. “I wouldn’t have recommended you apply for it otherwise.”
Athena ducked behind the bar and grinned at the array of bottles and other garnishes. She’d been friends with Lizzy the past couple months and knew her friend’s tastes by now. As she started mixing up their drinks she said, “If I fail, hopefully they won’t blame you.”
Lizzy just snorted but eyed the drink mix curiously. “Purple?”
“Just wait. You’ll like it.” She rolled the rims of the martini glasses in sugar as she spoke.
“Where’d you learn to do this?”
“I bartended a little in college and there were a few occasions on the job where I had to assist because staff called out sick for an event.” There’d been a huge festival in Madrid she’d helped out with a year ago where three of the staff had gotten food poisoning, so in addition to everything else she’d been in charge of, she’d had to help with drinks on and off. That had been such a chaotic, ridiculous job.
“At least you’ll have something to fall back on if you do fail,” Lizzy teased.
“I seriously hope not.” She set the two glasses on the bar and strained the purple concoction into them. With the twinkle lights strung up around the lanai and the ones glittering in the pool, the sugar seemed to sparkle around the rim. “This is called a wildcat.”
“You have to make me one of those too!” The unfamiliar female voice made Athena look up.
Her eyes widened as her gaze locked with Quinn freaking Brody, the too-sexy-man with an aversion to virgins. He was with the tall woman who’d just asked Athena to make a drink. But she had eyes only for Quinn. Her heart about jumped out of her chest. What was he doing here of all places? At least he looked just as surprised to see her.
She ignored him because she knew if she stared into those dark eyes she’d lose the ability to speak and then she’d inevitably embarrass herself.
The tall, built-like-a-goddess woman with pale blonde hair he was with smiled widely at Athena. “Only if you don’t mind,” she continued, nodding at the drinks. “They look so good.”
“Ah, you can have this one. I made an extra for the lush here.” She tilted her head at Lizzy with a half-smile. Athena had planned to drink the second one herself but didn’t trust her hands not to shake if she made another. She couldn’t believe Quinn was standing right in front of her, looking all casual and annoyingly sexy in dark jeans and a long-sleeved sweater shoved up to his elbows. Why did his forearms have to look so good?
“Ha, ha.” Lizzy snagged her drink as Athena stepped out from behind the bar. “Athena, this is Quinn Brody and Dominique Castle. They both work for Red Stone but Dominique is almost as new as you.”
Forcing a smile on her face, Athena nodded politely at both of them—and tried to ignore the way Quinn was staring at her. She’d had no freaking idea he worked for Red Stone. He looked a bit like a hungry wolf. Just like on their last date—two months ago. When he’d decided she was too much trouble, being a virgin and all. Jackass. “It’s so nice to meet you both.” She did a mental fist pump when her voice sounded normal. “I promised Belle I’d help out inside but I hope to see you both around tonight.” Liar, liar.
“Me too. Thanks again for the drink,” Dominique said cheerfully while Lizzy just gave Athena a strange look.
Athena wasn’t sure what Quinn’s expression was because she’d decided to do the mature thing—and studiously ignore him.