Run To YouBy: Lara Adrian
Once a celebrated model, Evelyn Beckham dominated the fashion runways of New York, Paris, and Milan. But life under the lights nearly destroyed her, and at the height of her career she walked away from it all. Now, five years later, Eve's built a new life at the helm of Manhattan's premier high-end lingerie boutique, L'opale. Chosen to design the bridal ensemble for billionaire Dominic Baine's fiancée, Avery Ross, it seems Eve's stars have finally realigned—until her return to the spotlight thrusts her into the crosshairs of a danger that's been watching from the shadows, waiting for the chance to strike.
Gabriel Noble didn't go to war to become a hero, but when he returned from the battlefield in Afghanistan it was with a chest full of medals and a broken body filled with shrapnel. Losing his leg derailed more than Gabe's career, and when no one else was willing to take a chance on him, Baine International put him on their security team. Now, Gabe would do anything for Dominic Baine—including keeping a covert, protective eye on beautiful Evelyn Beckham as a personal favor to his boss and friend. But keeping Eve safe means keeping her close, and soon the lines between duty and desire begin to blur into a consuming passion too powerful to be denied. With Eve's life in escalating peril and her faith in him certain to shatter, Gabe will have to risk everything to protect her while facing the most intense fight of his life . . . the battle for Eve's heart.
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Dammit, I’m never late. It’s one of my unbreakable personal rules. Right up there with never lose control of any situation. At least, not on the outside. Yet today of all days, I’m currently eight minutes late and going nowhere fast.
As I speed through the rivers of afternoon Manhattan traffic, anxiety creeps up the back of my neck in a damp rush, making me regret that I decided to wear my dark hair up in a chignon instead of down around my shoulders in loose waves to hide the clammy sheen. I crank the A/C to full-blast, but it’s not going to cool my nerves. I haven’t experienced flop-sweat like this since the first time I stepped onto a fashion runway. A long time ago. Another lifetime ago, in fact. Still, my stomach clenches at the reminder, nausea twisting inside me.
And I’m getting later by the second.
I’d already been running behind when I left my shop on Madison Avenue to make the fifteen-minute drive from L’Opale to this private client meeting across town. Rescheduling was out of the question. I’ve been looking forward to this appointment for several weeks. In truth, I’ve been busting my ass to prepare for it as if my life depends on landing this client. Maybe it does. Either way, I’m not about to let a career-making opportunity slip through my fingers.
I switch lanes to avoid a slow-moving minivan with out-of-state plates and a bumper full of tourist decals. My turn onto West 57th Street is only a couple of miles ahead. I rush to make a light, only to slam my foot on the brake an instant later, wincing as the hood of my Volvo nearly taps the yellow taxi that’s veered out from the curb in front of me.
Shit. Nine minutes late now.
I can still hear Katrina, my design partner at the boutique, chiding me for insisting on driving instead of opting for the subway. And yes, as much as I hate to admit it, she was right. Never mind that I haven’t set foot near those subterranean tracks even once in the past five years. To be honest, I’m not sure I can ever again. But this appointment would have been worth it to try.
Who the hell am I trying to kid? This appointment is worth everything to me.
God, I hope Kat was able to reach Avery Ross to let her know I’m on the way. Absently, I reach over to the passenger seat for the phone in my purse and grasp nothing but air. It’s not there, of course. The vintage Chanel couture clutch--one of the few remnants of my former life--went missing sometime between my arrival at L’Opale this morning and the moment I was packing up my lingerie designs for today’s private consultation.
After several minutes of panic and fruitless searching, I finally grabbed my keys from atop my desk where I tossed them and left. I’ll have plenty of time to resume freaking out about losing my favorite little handbag and everything inside it when I return. At the moment, the only thing I’m focused on is getting my portfolio into the hands of my newest client who’s waiting for me in the executive suite of the Baine International building.