From New York Times and #1 International bestselling author J. Kenner comes a new full-length novel in the wildly popular Stark Saga that"s left millions of readers breathless.
His touch takes my breath away. Our passion feeds my soul…
My love for Damien fills me, and the intensity of our bond brings me to my knees. There is no burden I wouldn"t bear for him, no decadent punishment to which I won"t submit.
The dark days seemingly behind us, we have carved a life out of adversity, chiseling away pain to reveal strength and beauty. Now, all I want is to laugh with our children in the sunlight, then surrender myself to Damien"s embrace in the dark.
But lingering secrets and hidden menace threaten our family. Now, Damien and I must forge a new strength from our shared passion and hope the fire between us will burn away the darkness and protect everything we hold most dear.
This sexy, emotionally charged romance continues the story of Damien Stark, the powerful billionaire who"s never had to take "no" for an answer, and his beloved wife Nikki Fairchild Stark.Books in Series:Stark Saga Series by J. KennerBooks by Author:J. Kenner Books
I stand on the wooden patio of my beachfront bungalow, the lively notes of Mozart"s Rondo Alla Turca filling my head, the quick tempo of the hold music at odds with the relative calm of the Pacific spread out before me. I press my fingers to the earpiece, settling it more firmly in place as I wait, then once again grip the railing in front of me as I look out to the sea and breathe in the beauty that stretches to the horizon and beyond.
At just past ten, the sky has already lost the orange and purple hues that defined the morning, and it spreads out like a cerulean blanket over a dancing sea that sparkles in the brilliant light of the climbing sun.
I"m no stranger to fine art"how can I be, married to a man like Damien Stark, who appreciates the arts and has the money to buy what he loves" And as I look out on this incredible vista, two thoughts are clear in my mind. First, that no painting or photograph could ever truly capture the majesty of this view. And second, that I am more blessed than I ever expected to be, and I"m grateful every day for the life I now have, so different from the horror that was my life back in Texas.
I have my children. My home. My work. My view.
And Damien, I think with a delicious frisson of delight. Most of all, I have Damien. My husband, my lover, my heart.
I exhale slowly, intentionally enjoying the moment. It"s a good day. An easy day, and I feel like it"s my due. After all, during our trip to San Francisco a few months ago, there"d been a chasm between Damien and me. Not deep"I don"t know that there could ever be one that is deep or uncrossable between us, and if there ever were, the pain of that separation would kill me. But he"d been keeping secrets. Trying to protect me.
An ironic smile tugs at my mouth. I understand why he did it, but secrets between us never really work out. And now, of course, he owes me a do-over of that particular trip.
I"m considering when we could both squeeze out time for a jaunt back up the coast, when Abby bursts back onto the line with a breathless, "Sorry! Sorry! I didn"t think I"d be away so long. Debugging this code is going to be the death of me."
My company, Fairchild & Partners Development, designs and implements corporate software as well as web and mobile device apps"both business and entertainment related. Today, Abby is tearing her hair out about Mommy"s Helper, a deceptively simple app she conceived that incorporates parent-related reminders, appointment scheduling, audio and video monitors, direct messaging with babysitters, and other similarly useful parental tidbits in one place. We"ve been in beta-testing the last two weeks, and our official release day is just around the corner.
Naturally, the closer we get, the more glitches appear, but Abby"s brilliant at programming, and she"s tackled each challenge as it"s come up. If she"s having trouble now, this string of code must really be a beast.
"Travis wasn"t any help"" I ask, referencing our newest employee.
"Not really." Silence hangs between us, and she rushes on. "I mean, he"s got so much on his plate that I didn"t ask him."
I press my palms together as if in prayer and tap my chin, debating between silence and speech. Silence is easier, but this is my company, and I need to be the grown-up even if my employees aren"t.
Partner, I correct. She"s only got a ten percent stake, but Abby is now my partner. I brought her in when I was juggling the pressures of being a business owner and a new mom, and I don"t regret it. Not only is she one hell of a programmer, but she also doesn"t bullshit. If she says she can do something, she can. If she"s not sure or screws up, she lets you know. And she doesn"t play stupid workplace games.
Or she never has before.
With a sigh, I take a seat on one of the cushioned, outdoor chairs. I"m wearing a black bikini with a sheer blouse and a large scarf tied around my hips as a makeshift sarong. It opens as I sit, revealing bare thighs, both ridged with scars. Roughly, I cross my legs, shifting the scarf as I do to cover the exposed skin. Then I force myself to think about Abby. Not about my past and certainly not about the speech I"m delivering tomorrow morning.
"So, I"ll shoot you the code," she says. "And you can work your magic, okay""
"That"s one option. Or you could pull in Travis. Unless I"m misremembering, debugging code is a major part of his job description." I can hear the mom-tone in my voice, but can"t seem to dial it back. "And since you haven"t asked for his help already, that makes me think that you"re either too proud"which isn"t going to fly at this company"or you can"t get past this dark cloud that"s shoved its way between the two of you. And that"s not going to fly either."