Riley Beckett's past just came back to haunt her . . . and this time, he's got a gun.
When Gage Lawton finds his brother shot dead on his back porch, every shred of evidence points to one person: Gage's former lover, Riley. He and she didn't part ways on good terms, and he's not planning to rekindle anything now--not when he's got a revolver pointed at her head and a finger on the trigger.
A year after Riley swore she and Gage were over, he returns in a hail of gunfire. One look into those achingly familiar blue eyes and she knows how wrong she was to let him go, but now far more than their heated past stands in the way. A twist of fate puts them in the crosshairs of a killer, leaving Riley with two slim options: trust her greatest betrayer or face a murderer on her own.
Something was wrong. Was the dark playing tricks on her? Riley Beckett froze, arm outstretched, hand poised to toss her keys on the table just inside her front door. But she didn't let go. Instead of dropping them in their usual spot, instinct whispered for her to feather pieces of the makeshift weapon between her knuckles. Heart pounding, she pressed the keys in a silent, white-knuckle grip and prayed her concerns were her imagination, that the paranoia of coming home alone to a dark house was getting the better of her.
One, two steps in. Wood planks echoed underfoot. She fought to breathe in air that grew thinner with every tense second.
Then it hit her. The scent.His scent.And with it a flush of memories.The burn of hot grass on her bare skin.Rough hands, a tender touch. Love so sweet she ached for it, her dreams raging, and her body drenched with need.
Their first time.
"Gage?" Her voice broke on the single syllable. Riley's grip on the keys tightened, her blood raging hot and cold all at once.
A creak sounded from the corner chair. Her eyes refused to adjust in the darkness, but not even the faint light kept the blond streaks in his russet hair from giving him away. Like rays of sunshine, she used to tease, and her words never failed to draw a scowl across his rugged face.
God help her, her name on his lips sounded as it always had. Coarse. Dangerous.Forbidden. Even before . . . The memory surged, hot and vivid, leaving a metallic taste in her mouth. White heat assaulted her from every corner of the room.
The keys fell to the floor with a clink.
"An eye for an eye, is it?" His voice sounded unpracticed, as if he hadn't spoken in a long while.
She couldn't see his face, but she knew his expression. Flat and humorless.Broken. She remembered the day he stopped smiling. Every part of her wanted to flee, but she stood frozen to the spot.
"What do you mean?" Riley wondered if the words, whispered and weak, had the strength to make it across the room. Hadn't she always known she'd shatter the next time she saw him? Hadn't she dreamed of it anyway?
"You have to ask?" Gage laughed, cold and hollow. "Billy's dead. Hell of a thing to come home to, Riley. My brother blown to bits on my back porch."
"Oh, God." Riley swayed, bile rising in her throat. The room filled with a distant buzzing. She took one unsteady step to the side and stumbled.
When she found his gaze, it was over the business end of a revolver.
He leveled the gun in her direction. Everything else in her world trembled, but his aim held rock steady. Unyielding.
His eyes burned blue and bright. "What I want to know, sweetheart, is why you did it."
He worked his finger over the trigger, and a veil of blackness threatened her last discerning thought.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah and her husband of over fourteen years live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they're asleep. She often jokes that she writes to be around people who will listen to her, but her characters aren't much better than her kids. Fortunately, her husband is quite supportive, having generously offered to help her research "the good parts." She's never had to ask twice.