Trauma surgeon Ronan Grisham lost everything the day the man he loved was stolen from him in a brutal attack. Driven by a thirst for vengeance, he turns his hatred into building an underground group that can do what he couldn"t that fateful day"take the lives of the guilty to save the lives of the innocent. But years later, he"s forced to confront the one link to his past that he can"t sever.
Seven years after the loss of his parents in a violent home invasion that left him permanently scarred both inside and out, 21-year-old Seth Nichols is trying to put his life back together so he can take over the reins of his father"s global shipping empire. But the last person he expects to come back into his life is the man he drove away with one innocent, stolen kiss.
With one brush of his lips, Seth managed to do to Ronan what no other had since the day Ronan watched the light in his fianc"s eyes go out forever. He made him need again. But Ronan can"t need anyone, least of all his dead fianc"s younger brother. Because even one touch from Seth could shatter Ronan"s carefully constructed world and Ronan knows there"s no coming back from that a second time.
But when a series of escalating attacks against Seth forces Ronan back into his life, Seth knows it"s his last chance to show Ronan he can be the man the broken surgeon needs. Only the Ronan who returns isn"t the Ronan Seth fell in love with so long ago"
Can Seth be Ronan"s salvation or will he end up destroying them both"Books in Series:The Protectors Series by Sloane KennedyBooks by Author:Sloane Kennedy Books
I ignored the sleek German Shepherd running towards me and kept my eyes on the house that sat up the slight hill several hundred yards away. I"d thought the grove of trees would hide my presence, but I"d been wrong because I"d seen the shadow of the man staring in my direction from his bedroom window, minutes before the back door of the house had opened and the dog had darted through it.
I"d been wrong a lot lately.
Wrong in trusting a man who"d sworn his loyalty to my cause, only to throw it away for a lucrative payout that would have taken an innocent man"s life.
Wrong to think my efforts to save a man I"d come to think of as a friend had done anything other than lead him further into the pit of despair he"d so desperately been trying to escape from after suffering an insurmountable loss.
Wrong to think that I could stay away from the young man who was forever tied to my past"a past I wanted nothing more than to forget.
Did it work for you, Ronan"
A simple question from someone who"d reminded me a lot of the man in the house. It had come in response to my insistence that my choice to pursue justice outside the limits of the law had provided me with an alternative outlet for the hatred that consumed me. I hadn"t answered Jonas Davenport when he"d asked me that. It was a question that, even now, I still refused to answer. Because it didn"t matter. It had stopped being about me the first time I ended one life to save another.
I could hear the dog snarling as he neared me but, as soon as he crossed into the trees, the growling ceased and I put out my hand in greeting and he began whining excitedly. He sniffed and licked my hand repeatedly before settling down next to me and leaning against my leg. I let my hand stroke over the dog"s lush coat. I hadn"t seen the animal in several years, but I wasn"t surprised that he remembered me since I"d been the one who"d picked him out of the litter of eight well-bred puppies and watched him grow up alongside the teenage boy I"d gifted him to.
I looked back up at the house and felt my gut clench at the sight of the open door leading from the expansive patio into what I knew was the kitchen. The invitation was clear.
It wasn"t the first time I"d watched the young man from a distance; it wasn"t even the first time I"d stood in these very woods waiting to see a glimpse of him as he passed by a window. Some days I never even saw him.
Being near him was a need I couldn"t explain, but one I"d given up trying to deny. My only consolation was that I"d been strong enough not to act on the desire that had consumed me on that fateful day when I"d stopped seeing him as a boy and started wanting him as a man. One feather light brush of his mouth over mine and he"d become so much more than the little brother of the man I had been planning to spend the rest of my life with.
My only saving grace, the only reason I hadn"t taken what he was offering, was the promise I"d made to protect him. But I"d known as soon as he kissed me that what he needed protection most from was me.
I gave the dog a final pat and began walking up the hill. Because it was time to keep my promise"no matter what it cost me.
I heard the words the instant I stepped over the threshold into the dimly lit den, but I didn"t respond. Instead, I let my eyes settle on the young man sitting on the leather couch that was facing a set of glass doors leading to a porch overlooking Puget Sound. His back was to me, so all I saw was the back of his head and his wider-than-I-remembered shoulders.
He"d been easy to find because all I"d had to do was follow the dog through the large house. But it wouldn"t have mattered either way because I knew the place like the back of my hand. Not only had Trace and I spent several of our leaves together here in the year that we"d met, but I"d also made countless trips after his death to check on his younger brother. And even though it had been three years since I"d seen Seth Nichols, I wasn"t ready for this moment. I"d never be ready"
The dog trotted around the couch and I saw Seth"s arms move, presumably to caress the animal. I took my time walking towards the couch in the hopes that I could get control of my churning gut. It was a sensation I fucking hated.