The second chance that might never happen…
Eve Luccio waited years for her first love, but somehow their lives were never quite in sync. Now, at thirty-six, her only focus is completing the final year of her PhD. The last thing on her mind is the honor-driven former Navy SEAL who stole her heart as a teen and left her unable to love any other man since.
When Jake Theron walks back into Eve’s life, his presence shatters her walls of self preservation. He unleashes a dark sexuality that Eve never imagined she would experience, much less come to crave. All he wants from her is a day of her trust—twenty-four uninterrupted hours before she crosses the country for her Post Doctorate position in New York. But letting down her guard for even twenty-four hours with Jake might just destroy her.
For Jake Theron, Eve was always “the one that got away,” except even after two decades, she’s still under his skin. When Eve finally agrees to see him, Jake vows he won’t let her slip through his fingers again.
But nobody knows better than Jake what a vicious bitch fate can be. When his life gets in the way, he realizes he may have to let Eve go once again—this time for her own good.
All he has left are the next twenty-four hours. One day and night in a seaside hotel, after which he has no choice but to let her walk out of his life with no guarantee he’ll ever see her again. The problem is, now that he’s had a real taste of the woman who should have been his twenty years ago, he’s not sure he’ll have the strength to let her go.
“Know that I love you, Eve. You. For who you are, what you mean to me now and what you’ve always meant to me—even all the years we’ve been apart. Don’t ever forget that. I wish I could give you so much more.”
Jake’s words outside the restaurant last night repeatedly played through Eve’s head...why hadn’t she realized it sooner? If that didn’t sound like a goodbye of epic proportions, she didn’t know what did. Heat from the coffee cup pressed to her chest offered some warmth as the chilly ocean breeze cooled her skin. Staring out over the sea, she absently tracked the waves rushing up the shore, only to return back to where they belonged—a fitting visual analogy.
“Baby... Are you serious? It’s 8:00 a.m.”
With a gasp, Eve jerked up at the sound of Jake’s raspy morning voice. Coffee sloshed over the brim of her cup and down the front of her camisole.
“Ugh! Really?” The glass table clanked as she dropped the cup down. Breakfast Blend and silk...not a good combination. Good thing it had cooled to lukewarm. “Shit!”
“Shit, huh.” His deep chuckle danced across her skin like a seductive caress. “Did I scare you?”
“No—I mean, yes.” She glanced down at her wet top. “Kind of.” Grabbing her cup, she stood to go change. When she walked past him, he wrapped an arm around her waist, dragging her to him. “Babe...” She pressed her hand and the mug against his chest. “I’m all wet.”
“Are you?” Moving his hand down to her ass cheek, he pushed two fingers between her legs, over her pajama covered pussy. “Mmm—not yet, but you’re about to be.”
His soft lips gently bit down on her earlobe, covering her arms with goosebumps and the wind whipped her hair across both their faces. With an exaggerated shiver, he lifted her off the balcony and marched her inside the studio suite.
“Gotta warm you up a little.”
A smile pressed at the corners of her mouth. “No—come on. I’m gonna get coffee all over you. Let me change.”
“Nope.” Hugging tighter, he walked her backwards until he reached the couch. He sat down and patted his lap. “Sit.”
She stared at the hand reaching out to her. The man short-circuited her brain.
The sight of his ruggedly handsome face made her heart hurt. The sharp screech of nearby seagulls drew her attention back outside. Black clouds rolled in across the blue sea, mirroring the darkness threatening to overtake her.
“Honey—come on. Sit,” he repeated.
When she turned back to him, she couldn’t help but grin. The rumpled just-out-of-bed look he sported was even hotter in person than what she’d ever imagined.
He quickly waved her to him with both hands and patted his thighs. His sensual mouth drooped on one side and his brows scrunched together.
“Seriously, Jake? You’re gonna pout?”
“Depends. Will it work?”
She cocked her head as his frown turned into a full-blown Jake smile. The one he knew she couldn’t say no to.
“Fuck yeah, I do.” His eyes slowly travelled the length of her body, before meeting hers again. “Now get down here, grumpy, and I’ll remind you exactly how well.”
The heat already burning her cheeks blazed at his hungry expression. Any remaining self-preservation got shot straight to hell. Placing her cup on the side table, she straddled his thighs. “I see where your head’s at this morning.”
“Where’re you at, baby?” Jake rested his hands on her hips.
“Umm.” How to put this? She cleared her throat. “Last night you said—”
“Wait...” He put a hand up. “I know that look. This is gonna be intense, right?”
Hooking her fingers inside the neckline of his T-shirt, she shrugged as if no big deal. Right—neither was a grenade with its pin just pulled. “It’s something you said, so it’s on you.”
“Ahhh, Eve…too early for intense. Can I have coffee first?” He bunched the sides of her pajama bottoms in his hands.
The breath lodged in her throat came out in a defeated rush. “Yeah, okay.” When she shifted on his lap to stand up, he fisted the material tighter, locking her in place.
“The top needs to go.” He skimmed his hands up her arms, wrapping the spaghetti straps of her coffee-stained camisole around his fingers.
“Okay, but you have to let me go first,” she said.
“So grumpy this morning.”
Was he serious? “Stop saying that! I’m not grumpy.”
The slightly roughened pads of his fingers trailing down her arms made her nipples harden. She shivered at the scratchy circles he drew on her skin while he played with her top.
He took up the slack on the cami straps until she couldn’t move.
“Not enough coffee?”
“It’s your fault I didn’t hit my quota.”
“In the past, baby. Point is...this is wet,” he said, as he played with her tank straps. “Can’t have you getting sick, so it’s gotta come off.” He lifted the camisole up.
Eve squeezed her arms to her sides. “Babe, let me change. Go get coffee.” If her libido had an antagonist—it was Jake. His touch alone killed any coherent thoughts, turning them into a ridiculous manifestation of sexual need.
“I have coffee.” He switched up and tugged the cami down to her waist, twisting the straps around her wrists.
“Jake!” Her instinct was to cover up, but her wrists were stuck in the straps.
“That’s called improvising.”
The pressure of the material digging into her wrists was the only thing keeping her composed. Only a few more hours left with him.
About the Author
Carolyn Anthony is a sucker for a dark romance with a dominant, tattooed, alpha badass man at the helm.
Her characters deal with real life issues: the painful, the tragic, the damaging sort of life events that leave both external and internal scars, because she’s been there.
Her heroines are strong women at the core who will always find what’s been lost, taken or exploited: their strength, their self-worth, their identity, their innocence or their love. She writes about women exploring their sexuality, owning that sexuality and enjoying it. Along for the ride, the hot-ass men who prove worthy enough to be on that journey with them.
Book one in the Shattered Boundaries Series, Twenty-Four Hours, will be available to buy on July, 3, 2017. Each book is a stand alone with a well earned HEA. Book two coming soon as well as Phoenix, the first book in a Contemporary second chances trilogy.