Table of Contents
PRAISE FOR BETH KERY AND
Winner of the
All About Romance
Reader Poll for Best Erotica 2009
“Truly hot enough to make the pages smoke.”
Fallen Angel Reviews
“Kery gives readers beautifully written prose with amazingly descriptive sex scenes. But be warned—this is a very sensual tale. The well-crafted characters are full of raw emotions that are right on the page for the reader to experience.”—
by Beth Kery, I have a new favorite author! . . . With passionate love scenes, poignant romance, and a touching story,
is the kind of book that I will read again and again—it will certainly have a permanent place in my personal library.”—
Wild on Books
“A book you will never forget.”—
“[Kery] brings her characters to life with her descriptive prose and realistic dialogue . . . I held my breath as they came together in some of the sexiest love scenes I have read this year.”
“Beth Kery has written a tale filled with intense emotion and wickedly hot sex.”—
“A poignant contemporary romance . . . filled with real characters.”
Midwest Book Review
“A remarkable tale that mesmerizes to the core.”
The Romance Studio
Berkley Heat Titles by Beth Kery
Berkley Sensation Titles by Beth Kery
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
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This is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Copyright © 2010 by Beth Kery.
All rights reserved.
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HEAT and the HEAT design are trademarks belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Heat trade paperback edition / February 2010
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Release / Beth Kery.—Heat trade pbk. ed.
eISBN : 978-1-101-18511-7
1. Triangles (Interpersonal relations)—Fiction. I. Title.
enevieve ripped open the sealed envelope and withdrew the slip of paper. The security code to enter Sauren-Kennedy Solutions Inc. had been written in a bold, slanting hand. She recognized Sean’s writing. She clenched her eyelids.
Slowly, the pain faded.
It had just been the unexpectedness of seeing his handwriting. She was shaken up—who wouldn’t be after watching their house turn into a smoldering, blackened husk? Practically everything she owned had been destroyed tonight. She didn’t have the energy to worry about what it meant to return to the penthouse after so many years.
Besides, Genevieve was in excellent practice at shoving any memory of the penthouse into the corners of her consciousness like a dirty, shameful secret.
She held up the paper and keyed in the numbers written in the familiar scrawl with a shaking hand. Sean had forwarded the updated security information through her lawyer about a year and a half ago. She’d never even opened the envelope, figuring she’d never use the contents. Thankfully she’d kept the code in the small safe at her boutique.
The code entry activated a retinal scan. The flash of light in her eye made a memory leap into her consciousness in breathtaking detail.
He’d taught her how to keep score at Cubs games. Sunlit gold strands of dark blond hair mixed with light brown as Sean leaned over and wrote on the program perched on his thigh. The bold, succinct strokes he made with the pencil contrasted so markedly with the instructions uttered in his mellow, New Orleans-accented voice—
The lock snicked open softly and Genevieve plunged into the office, acting as if she could run from her memories. It was the trauma of the night that was making her remember with such graphic detail. That’s all.
The deep-pile carpeting muted her footsteps as she entered the posh reception area. Genevieve set down the bag she’d hastily packed at her Oak Street boutique and reentered the code, securing the doors once again.
Sean had made Sauren-Kennedy Solutions the most sought-after private intelligence firm in the country. These premises were nothing if not secure. Her husband, the former owner, might have been as knowledgeable and clever as any client could hope for when it came to intelligence work, but it was Sean who’d earned the trust that mattered. She knew from her lawyer that Sean had procured several lucrative government contracts over the past few years.
All was silent in the offices at two A.M. She looked around, feeling like an interloper instead of part-owner of the business. She took in the receptionist’s circular mahogany desk and wondered if Carol still worked for them. She wouldn’t know. All of Sauren-Kennedy business affairs were managed by her attorney. The offices had been redecorated since she’d last been there, but that wasn’t too surprising. She hadn’t set a foot on the premises for more than three years.
Her husband had been killed five days after Genevieve had last stood here.
For a few seconds, she wavered on her feet.
She shook off her doubts and marched toward the elevators. Why
she stay here? She owned the place, didn’t she? Her step sounded more brisk and confident than she felt when her heels hit the polished granite tile.
The penthouse was on the top floor of the building where Sauren-Kennedy housed its offices. Max had insisted they buy a huge house on a wooded estate in the suburbs when they married, but he hadn’t been completely immune to Genevieve’s disappointment about moving out of downtown Chicago. She’d been such a city girl ever since she’d moved downtown during her college years. It’d been where she’d discovered what she was capable of as a clothing designer and entrepreneur; where she’d first found success. The penthouse renovation on the top floor of the high-rise where Max’s company was housed had been for her—their city place, the weekend getaway.
Her phone began to ring as she stepped off the elevator. She drew her cell out of her purse and groaned softly when she saw the caller. Instead of ignoring the call from the man she’d been dating for eight weeks now—which is precisely what she felt like doing—she forced herself to answer.
“Genevieve? A friend of mine who reports on the northern suburbs just called me about the fire. Are you all right?”
Genevieve lingered in the foyer, the phone pressed to her ear and her leather carryall clutched against her chest. “Yeah, it’s been a hell of a night. And yes, I’m fine. Everything is going to be fine.
, don’t worry,” she finished emphatically.
Jeff was a respected sports writer for the
. He traveled a lot, and Genevieve knew he was in New York at the moment, covering the NBA All-Star Game this weekend. It didn’t surprise her that one of his fellow reporters had called him about the fire. Given the fact that Genevieve and he were so far apart, she knew he would worry all that much more. They hadn’t been seeing each other for long, but Jeff seemed pretty damn interested.
Genevieve had yet to decide how she felt about that.
“My friend said your house was . . .”
“It was completely destroyed,” Genevieve finished evenly when Jeff trailed off.
. What happened?”
She slowly started to make her way toward the penthouse front door. “I don’t know for sure. The fire chief said he’d get a report to me by tomorrow. Well . . . today, actually,” she added when she recalled it was nearly two A.M.
“I’ll catch a plane back in the morning.”
Genevieve made an effort to soften her voice when she realized how harsh she’d sounded. She didn’t want to be rude, but she had enough on her plate at the moment without having to worry about Jeff hovering around and worrying about
. “You have the game to report on this weekend. Besides, you’ve heard we’re supposed to be getting the snowstorm of the century starting tomorrow? I seriously doubt any flights will be getting into O’Hare for the rest of the weekend. And like I said, I’m
. Things could have been much worse. No one was hurt. There’s nothing in that house that can’t be replaced.” She sighed heavily and placed her forehead against the penthouse’s wooden door. “To be honest with you, it would have been a lot harder on me if my boutique had burned down.”
“Are you sure you’re all right? Where are you going to stay?”
“I’m staying at a penthouse I own downtown.”