In Deep and In Deeper
by Kella McKinnon
“I never thought it would go this far… that a man with such terrible secrets would steal my heart and make me want him so much, when his life of danger and lies should have made me want nothing more than to turn and run. I understood him, you see. I knew that beneath all of that money and power, and yes… violence, was a man in desperate need of love. So desperate that he took from me something I wasn’t ready to give: my future.”
Brielle Dalton thought the few months in Vegas she needed to finish her dissertation would also be a chance to have some fun before ‘real life’ took over. But she never counted on meeting Cristos Vicario, the irresistible but troubled owner of the Adagio casino. The attraction was instant and all-consuming, but in the beginning neither knew that their lives had crossed before, and the result had been nothing short of tragedy. By the time Brielle discovers who Cristos really is, and what he has done in a reckless attempt to keep her, it’s too late. She’s already in too deep.
He leaned closer. “You smell like chocolate.”
“I had a chocolate martini with Alexis earlier.”
“I thought you were going running.”
“I did go running. Then I met Alexis.”
I didn’t like his tone, it was almost accusing. I got the sneaking suspicion that he had been spying on me.
“That’s none of your business”, I countered, suddenly a little annoyed. Almost annoyed enough to take away his bonus points.
He pushed a hand through his hair and shook his head a little. “I want it to be my business.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Did he want to control who I spent my time with?
“It means that when I’m seeing you, I want to have you all to myself. I don’t want to share you with anyone else.”
“We’re not seeing each other… you don’t date, remember?”
“Seeing each other is not the same thing as dating”, he said, pressing his lips into a thin line.
“Yes, it is. And since we aren’t seeing each other or dating, you have no say over what I do with my time or who I spend it with.” I had no idea why I was even arguing with him, because even if we were dating, I was only with Lexi and her friend Dex. And Dex was only there for a few minutes after I arrived.
He went silent for a long moment, his jaw working as he hashed something out in his mind. “I think I want to make an exception.”
“An exception to what?” I asked, exasperated.
“The no dating rule… I want us to be dating.”
I looked up at him in surprise. That was just about the last thing I expected him to say. I wondered if this was just another ploy to get me into bed. I also wondered if he’d make me sign a waiver first like Lexi had heard. Really rich guys did that sometimes before they dated someone, didn’t they? A kind of non-disclosure agreement in case of a bad break-up? Or entrapment? The thought almost made me smile but I bit my lip instead.
“I’ll think about it”, I said.
His jaw clenched tighter and he drew a breath in through his nose, as if he was trying to rein in his temper. “Come on, I’ll buy you a coffee.”
I grinned at him. “You’re forgiven.”
He laughed and took my hand, leading me away to the nearest Starbucks. “You amuse me to no end, Brielle. I like that.”
After coffee, he brought me to a really classy sushi place, and ordered a wide selection for me to try.
“You know, this is the third evening in a row you’ve taken me to dinner.”
He gave me a sexy look. “That’s because we’re dating.”
“I haven’t agreed to dating.”
“I don’t care what you did or didn’t agree to. I say we’re dating. In fact… I want you to move to the Adagio. There’s a suite of rooms open on the floor below mine that would be perfect for you.”
I narrowed my eyes at him. “Uh uh, no way. I’m perfectly fine where I am.”
“Brielle, where you’re staying is dangerous, not to mention… unsavory. I don’t want you there, not when I own an entire hotel.”
I rested my chin in the palm of my hand and gave him my most stubborn look. “No.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Hello everyone! Let me introduce myself. Though I used to work in Boston in the biotech industry, I’m now loving life on a small farm in New England where my husband and I are raising our three children and lots of animals. Between taking care of chickens and goats and shuttling the kids to dance class and piano lessons, I find the time to pursue my own interest: writing. I relish creating stories and bringing my characters to life on the written page, and each book is a labor of love.
I’m passionate about the romance genre because of the emotional journey a well-written novel can take the reader on, and my goal with each of my books is to do the same for my readers. I would love to hear from you at kellamckinnon.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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