Read an excerpt from Burned by Melody Anne

Summary

Tyler Knight isn’t nearly as hardened as his brothers. He was too young to remember the horrific death of his parents, the betrayal of his mother, or the weakness of his father. But he’s watched his brothers, and the hardened life they have led, and he’s always been the calm in the storm for them all, bringing light to an otherwise darkened world. 

When he watches his brothers find a ray of sun in their otherwise turbulent lives, he wonders why he can’t find the same and he goes on a quest, for the first time doing it all on his own without the negative words of his brothers in his ear. But he’s about to learn that no matter how much he may want to hide from his dark past, it’s something that won’t disappear. And it’s about to catch up to him. 

See the exciting conclusion to NYT best-selling author Melody Anne’s Forbidden Series with Tyler Knight’s story.

About Melody Anne: Melody Anne is the author of the popular series, Billionaire Bachelors, and Baby for the Billionaire. She also has a Young Adult Series out; Midnight Fire and Midnight Moon - Rise of the Dark Angel. She's been writing for years and published in 2011. She hold a bachelors degree in business, so she loves to write about strong, powerful, businessmen.

When Melody isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and pets. She lives in a small town that she loves, and is involved in many community projects.

Excerpt

Chapter Two

“Do you know the man who’s looking at you like you’re dessert?”

It took several moments for Elena to realize that her friend Piper had spoken to her, because, yes, she did know exactly who was looking at her. And her gaze was fully captured by the one and only Tyler Knight.

“Hello. Earth to Elena,” Piper said, and she laughed as she bumped into her. Finally, Elena was able to break the eye contact with Tyler, and she looked back toward her friend, feeling slightly dazed.

“Yes…um…yes, I know who he is,” Elena said as she lifted her drink and took a long swallow.

“Do you care to share?” Piper said with impatience.

Shaking off the shock of seeing the man who had once been her best friend, and then who had humiliated her almost beyond repair a little later on, Elena was suddenly filled with anger. How dare this worthless bastard look at her now as if he wanted to devour her?

“Okay, let me rephrase this,” Piper said, placing her hands on Elena’s shoulders and shaking her to get her friend’s attention. “You will tell me who he is!”

“He was my best friend when we were children — until her realized he was too cool to play with a mere girl anymore. Then, when I was in college and working…” She trailed off. This wasn’t something she wanted to talk about.

“You mean when you were going through your geeky phase?” Piper asked.

“Thanks for being so supportive,” Elena said through gritted teeth.

“Just tell me what happened and I’ll be nice,” Piper promised her.

“There’s no time,” Elena told her. “It looks like he’s gonna walk over. Maybe it’s my turn for a little revenge. Why should he get away with being a complete dick without suffering any consequences?” Hey. She really liked this idea. Was it just the booze talking?

“I don’t know, Elena. Revenge never ends well.” Piper swiveled around and saw that Tyler certainly looked as if he was going to walk over.

“For the loser it doesn’t,” Elena said. “It’s all a matter of perspective. Just have my back.”

“I don’t know. You’re acting a little crazy right now,” Piper told her.

“I’m fine. I just wasn’t expecting to see him ever again — that’s all,” Elena told her
before taking another gulp of liquid courage.

“I think you’ve had enough to drink. Elena. I also think you should abort this mission
right now.”

“I’m fine. I promise you,” Elena said. She gave her friend a determined look, but she
put down the drink.

“Look, Elena, it’s been a lot of years, and maybe Tyler isn’t the monster he once was.
People change,” Piper said, peeking back across the bar. “But he seems to be coming this
way, so you’d better make a decision, and fast.”

“The panic in your voice isn’t helping me right now, Piper. No way. And don’t let his
looks or his charm deceive you. Tyler Knight does what he wants when he wants, and he
doesn’t give a damn about who gets hurt in the process.”

“But that all happened so long ago…”

“Stop talking about it now. He’s almost here. Go to the bar and flirt with the
bartender, and most importantly, have faith in your best friend,” Elena whispered
frantically.

“I’ll be watching.” With that Piper walked away.

Elena only had a moment to compose her features before she felt Tyler behind her.
She didn’t even need to turn to know he was there. Damn, the man had been blessed with
more charisma than any one person deserved. It just wasn’t right.

He’d had it even back when they were kids, and later in life, when she’d been gangly
and he’d been perfection in a suit. She just hadn’t known then what the hell charisma
was. It hadn’t taken her too many years to figure it out — or to blossom from the longlegged,
too skinny, dirt-faced young tomboy she’d been when she was ten years old.

She hadn’t spoken to Tyler in ages. This reunion was long overdue, and her dislike of
him had grown fierce with time. After he had rejected her early on, his meanness hadn’t
been good enough. No, he had to then come into her life once more and humiliate her
when she twenty. In theory, she’d been a woman for two years by then, but she’d been
shy and awkward, little more than a girl, really, and he’d made it so much worse for her.
Just her luck.

Well, this time, Tyler would be the one to feel something other than smugness. He
could feel what it was like to be humiliated and left wanting something that he couldn’t
have.

“Good evening.”

Even the sound of his voice right behind her ear sent shivers traveling through her
body. This wasn’t going to be as easy as she’d envisioned just a minute before. But Elena
wasn’t a quitter. Never had been, and never would be. This was a battle she would most
certainly win.

“Are you speaking to me?” She turned around slowly, her eyelids lowered just the
slightest bit, her lips in a perfect pout.

A femme fatale was so not like her. But anyone could learn if they tried hard enough.

“I don’t play games,” he told her, and he invaded her personal space. She wanted to
take a step back — all she could do now was breathe his scent — but a seductress would
never do that, so she thrust her chin out and moved an inch closer to him.

“Neither do I,” she practically purred, hating herself just the tiniest bit for doing it.

“I’d like to take you home.”

“Well, that was forward,” she said with a tinkling laugh. “And what makes you think
for even a moment that I’m the type of girl who would take you up on an offer like that?”

“We made a connection, even in a room full of other people. Don’t tell me that you
didn’t feel it.”

“Oh, believe me, I felt it,” she said, lifting her hand and tracing a perfectly manicured
fingernail down his arm. “But I have some standards, sad to say. Here’s one of them — I
don’t go home with strangers in the night, particularly ones I meet in a bar.”

“And I told you that I don’t play games,” he said, moving yet another inch closer. Her
breasts were brushing against his impressively hard chest.

A shudder rushed through her and she knew she was out of her league. She thought
for a moment of crying mercy and bailing out on this impromptu mission, but then he
lifted his eyebrow just the way he had the last time he’d rejected her, and she knew she
wasn’t going anywhere. But she knew something about gamesmanship. She had a degree
in it, as a matter of fact.

“Fine. Walk away, then,” she told him with a careless shrug.

She turned back to the bar and lifted her drink. If he called her bluff and left, then
she’d have to come up with another strategy, but everything inside her was saying that he
wasn’t going anywhere.

When he brushed up against her back, his hands closing over her shoulders, she knew
she had him, hook, line, and sinker. She’d never felt anything better before. The power of
knowing she had him.

“You’re making me break my rules,” he said, his breath whispering across her ear
before he turned her around to face him again. “Tell me your name.”

“Do you always talk as if you’re commanding people?”

“I can be laid back. But not quite yet. And when I want something, I go for it. Tell me
your name.”

She smiled, this time a real smile, and his eyes dilated, making the flutters in her
stomach take flight. “You tell me your name first,” she said, her voice just a little too
breathless, and she didn’t need any acting skills to achieve that effect just now.

“Tyler.” He didn’t add anything. He just waited.

“Elena,” she finally said. There was no recognition in his eyes. Of course, he’d
always called her Lanie when they were younger. But why would she think for even a
moment that he would remember her? She was just one more castoff in his life, one of a
long line of castoffs.

“Got a last name, Elena?” he said after a few moments of silence.

“My last name has to be earned,” she told him.

It took a moment, but then his face was transformed. His lips turned up first in a wide
smile, and then he laughed. A deep-in-the-gut happy laughter that had her own lips
turning up too.

“I think I could like you, Elena. Let me buy you a drink,” he said. Without waiting for
a yes or a no, he held up a hand, and a bartender came over.

“I guarantee that you’ll like me, Tyler,” she said.

“I guess I’m going to have to break another of my rules, then,” he said as he took her
arm and led away from the crowded bar and took her to a private corner in the back of the
room.

She waited, but he didn’t elaborate. “And what rule is that, Tyler?” she finally asked
him.

The smoldering look he sent her had her entire body responding to the man, fully
against her will. Then he leaned forward as if he were about to impart a great secret.

“Let the games begin.”

He said no more, and Elena could almost hear the dinging of a bell as round one got
underway.

“I thought you said that you didn’t play games.”

“As I said, I’m breaking one of my rules. And all in your honor.”

Ah. So he was telling her he was more than ready to play with her.

“Yes, Tyler, let the games begin.”

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