I’ll put the teaser a couple of spaces down from the blurb for those who do not want to read any spoilers.
Beatrice Porter swore she would never fall in love with a man like her father. For years she watched her mother self-destruct in bitterness, married to someone who only lived for his job. Gabriel Sullivan was such a man—a Navy SEAL, a man who put duty and country above all else. Yet falling in love with him was inevitable. She thought their relationship could work until he’d left her one night with a broken heart and her pride in tatters.
Three years later, he’s back and he wants a second chance.
Having committed atrocities for the greater good, Gabe has nothing left but darkness inside him. The only flicker of light is the memory of Beatrice—a woman embedded so deeply under his skin.
Winning her back won’t be easy for she has erected walls that only the toughest of SEALs can hope to scale.
When Beatrice finds herself at the center of a deadly game, Gabe discovers the eerie similarities of the killer’s MO to a former assassin.
A link to a past, a truth that may cost him the woman he loves, distancing himself may be the only option to save Beatrice, but he is done walking away.
Gabe just needs to convince her this time he is all in, and a future with her is the only redemption worth having.
A clap of thunder jolted Beatrice awake.
Disoriented, she took in her naked body under the cool satin sheets. She smiled like a cat who’d had her fill of cream. Pure feline satisfaction. A night of wild sex with Gabriel Sullivan would do that to you.
She frowned at the empty space beside her. Where is he?
Her brows furrowed deeper when a streak of lightning and the ensuing rumble followed too closely behind it. Damn spring storms. They better not delay their flight to Barbados in the morning.
Beatrice swung her legs to the floor, stood and slipped into a robe. Eyeing the open suitcase laid out on the floor, she remembered the whirlwind development of their relationship in recent weeks. She’d been seeing Gabe on and off for the past four months. It was only in the last three weeks that the dark-haired former Navy SEAL finally staked some sort of claim on her. Well. Really staked a claim. Beatrice was having drinks with a male friend when he rudely butted in and asked to speak to her.
He laid it out. He wanted their relationship to be exclusive.
This four-day trip to Barbados was a way of cementing the definition of said relationship: Gabe and Beatrice were a couple.
Shaking her head at how easily he had changed her rules about dating someone who was currently serving or had served in the military, she went to look for her man.
She descended the stairs of her two-story colonial home and found him in the study, standing by the French windows with the phone to his ear. His voice was low and gruff. He heard her come into the room; lightning illuminated his grim face, a tight mouth.
Something was horribly wrong.
“I need to go,” Gabe spoke into the phone, his whiskey-eyes were black in the darkened room, but she could feel them drinking her in. “I’ll see you in a few.”
“Is everything okay?” Beatrice asked anxiously as he ended the call.
Gabe lowered his gaze. Striding past her, he exited the study, crossed the living room, and mounted the steps leading to their bedroom.
A familiar knot of abandonment tightened her gut, freezing her where Gabe had left her. Taking deep breaths to calm down, she followed him upstairs.
The sight that met her in their room unleashed her worst fears. Gabe was pulling out his stuff from the meticulously-packed suitcase and was shoving them into his black duffel.
“What are you doing?” Beatrice asked hoarsely. “Our flight leaves in six hours. Are we canceling?”
Gabe paused, the muscle tic in his jaw pulsed a few times before he finally looked at her. “I made a mistake.”
Beatrice forced herself to smile, sure she had misheard him. “What do you mean? You don’t like Barbados? We don’t have to go if that’s not your thing.”
“Us, Beatrice.” His tone was calm. “We’re not going to work.”
His statement doused her denial of what was clearly unfolding before her. He was ending it.
“Explain, Gabriel,” Beatrice said coldly. “Three weeks ago, you practically bulldozed me into a committed relationship. And now you’re wimping out? Uh-uh, a simple we’re not going to work IS NOT cutting it.”
Gabe flinched, but didn’t respond. He pulled the zipper on his duffel and tried to get past her. She was having none of that and stood smack in front of him.
“I deserve an answer.”
Gabe’s eyes blazed at her. Wait, he was angry at her?
“You want the truth?” Gabe rasped. “I have a job to do.”
“You’re done with the SEALs or did you lie?”
“No. This is something else.”
“You’re working for Dad,” Beatrice whispered. The disapproval of her father regarding their relationship dawned on her.
He looked straight into her eyes. “No. Someone else. I need to leave.”
“No. That’s not a frigging explanation,” Beatrice fired back.
“You deserve more—”
“Don’t feed me that bullshit!” Beatrice screamed. Tremors shook her body. This wasn’t happening. Why was this happening?
“Okay, you want the fucking truth?” Gabe replied tersely. “I’ll always care for my job more than I’ll ever care about you. I realize that now.”
She inhaled sharply at his blunt if not cruel declaration. Heat burned behind her eyes. She wasn’t going to cry. Oh no, she wasn’t. She wasn’t becoming her mother.
A tear slid down her cheek.
Gabriel cursed. “You asked for the fucking truth. You got it.”
He made to move past her again, but she couldn’t let him go.
Against her better judgment, she raised a palm against his chest.
“Jesus, Bee,” Gabe growled. “You’re an Admiral’s daughter. Have some fucking pride. Don’t beg a man to stay if he doesn’t want you.”
The final stake was driven into her heart. She dropped her hand and swallowed hard. She stepped aside. Gabriel didn’t even hesitate and walked briskly away from her.
And yet what hope was left inside her made her walk to the window. The rain had slowed to a trickle, and there were still rumblings of thunder in the distance. The scene outside was pretty much what she felt inside—pure desolation. She watched the headlights of Gabe’s car flash as he bleeped the locks. Seconds later, his tall silhouette emerged from the sidewalk fronting her house.
Look up, look up. Don’t leave, Gabe.
He never looked up.