A Secret Until Now

By: Kim Lawrence

One scorching night, one secret never to be told…

Angel Urquart didn’t sign up for this. A photo shoot on an island paradise? Yes. Working alongside Alex Arlov? Definitely not! Six years ago he showed her passion she’d only ever dreamed of, but after his behavior the following morning, she resolved to put him out of her head forever.

Seeing Angel brings all sorts of memories flooding back to Alex—memories that stir up a forgotten hunger. Alex sees no reason why they can’t indulge in one more blazing night together, but Angel has a secret that will turn their lives upside down.…

“Alex Arlov.” He tipped his sleek head and, to her intense relief, released her hand.

How could I ever not have seen how arrogant he is? Angel grabbed a napkin from a passing tray and wiped it against the heel of her hand.

“The name seems familiar.…” She gnawed lightly on her full lower lip, pretending to search her memory before producing a bright smile and pausing to stretch the moment, hoping he was worrying that she might reveal all. If it wasn’t for her daughter she would, and to hell with people knowing what a total fool she was.

But he didn’t look concerned, just vaguely amused as he elevated one dark brow. “That happens to me all the time…an instantly forgettable face.”

And so full of yourself, she wanted to scream as she smiled back, unable to repress a shudder as she looked directly into his ice-blue dark-framed eyes.

She willed herself to relax. Her life had moved on, and if time hadn’t completely healed the wounds, it had allowed her to see things from a different perspective. She had made a mistake, but that mistake had given her Jasmine—this man had given her a gift, and he didn’t know.


London, Summer 2008, a hotel

ANGEL’S EYES HAD adjusted to the dark but from where she was lying the illuminated display of the bedside clock was hidden from her view, blocked by his shoulder. But the thin finger of light that was shining into the room through the chink in the blackout curtains suggested that it was morning.

‘The morning after the night before!’

She gave a soft shaken sigh and allowed her glance to drift around the unfamiliar room, the generic but luxurious five-star hotel furnishings familiar, especially to someone who had slept in dozens of similar suites; someone who had imagined at one point that everybody ordered their supper from room service.

Since she’d had the choice Angel had avoided rooms like this as they depressed her. Depressed... Smiling at the past tense, she raised herself slowly up on one elbow. This room was different not because it boasted a special view or had a sumptuously comfortable bed. What was different was that she was not alone.

She froze when the man on the bed beside her murmured in his sleep and her attention immediately returned to him—it had never really left him. She gulped as he threw a hand above his head, the action causing the muscles in his beautiful back to ripple in a way that made her stomach flip over. She couldn’t see his face but his breathing remained deep and regular.

Should she wake him up?

The bruised-looking half-moons underneath his spectacular eyes suggested he probably needed his sleep. She’d noticed them the moment she’d looked at him, but then she had noticed pretty much everything about him. Angel had never considered herself a particularly observant person but crazily one glance had indelibly printed his face into her memory.

Mind you, it was a pretty special face, not made any less special by the lines of fatigue etched around his wide, sensual mouth or the dark shadows beneath those totally spectacular eyes. There was a weary cynicism reflected in those electric-blue depths and also in that first instant anger.

He had been furious with her, but it wasn’t the incandescent anger that had made her legs feel hollow or even her dramatic brush with death or that he had saved her life. It was him, everything about him. He projected an aura of raw maleness that had a cataclysmic impact on her, like someone thrown in the deep end who from that first moment was treading water, barely able to breathe, throat tight with emotion as if she were submerged by a massive wave of lust.

It wasn’t until much later that she had recognised this as a crossroad moment. She didn’t see a fork in the road; there was no definable instant when she made a conscious decision. Her universe had narrowed into this total stranger, and she had known with utter and total conviction that she had to be with him. She wanted him and then she had seen in his eyes he wanted her too.

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