The cops think that Julianna Smith is a murderer. No one will listen when Julianna claims she’s innocent, and as the suspicions mount against her, only Julianna knows the truth…a killer is hunting her. Somewhere in the darkness, a stalker is closing in and preparing to deliver a final justice that she can’t escape.
He’s her only option.
Devlin Shade isn’t a man who trusts easily, and when Julianna Smith walks into VJS Protection, he’s well aware of her reputation—the sexy blond could be a cold-blooded murderer. Only when he looks at her, cold is the last thing that Devlin feels. There’s an instant attraction between them—hot, fierce, primal. And he agrees to take her case. He’ll be her bodyguard. He’ll keep her safe from the enemy hunting her, and he’ll also find out the truth about the mysterious Julianna. If she is a killer, he’ll turn her over to the cops himself.
She can’t let him get too close…
Julianna knows that she is walking a dangerous line with Devlin. She never expected to want him so much, and as they grow closer, she realizes that he’s working to uncover her secrets. But the secrets that she carries are worth killing for…and she can’t let anyone discover the truth, not even Devlin.
Killer or victim…
Soon the thin line between right and wrong is blurred. For Devlin, the case becomes personal, and all that matters is Julianna—keeping her safe and stopping the stalker who is on her trail. As he slides deeper into Julianna’s dangerous world, Devlin’s own darkness rises up. He’s played the good guy for so long, but now his mask is falling away. He isn’t controlled, he isn’t safe, and when Julianna is threatened, he will cross any line to keep her safe.
Some needs can push you to the edge of sanity…
“I’m not guilty.”
He shrugged. “I’m not on your jury, so it’s not my place to say.”
His words hurt her. Why she should be surprised he thought she was a killer, Julianna didn’t know. Plenty of people had thought and said the same thing. That she was a calculating woman who’d taken herself a rich husband. She’d bided her time until she was legally set with his money, then she’d brutally killed him.
If only people knew the truth about her dead husband.
If only they knew the truth about me.
“Until the real killer is caught, I do have to worry about the possibility of spending the rest of my life in jail.” And that couldn’t happen. She’d already lived too long in a cage. She wouldn’t be doing it again. Even Sophie didn’t know that Julianna had made plans…escape plans. If things started to look too dark, she was going to vanish.
And, lately, with fear crowding ever closer, vanishing had started to look like the perfect choice. I just don’t want the world to remember me as a killer.
“You want me to catch the real killer?” Devlin asked, cocking his head a bit as he stared down at her.
Her hands lifted and curled around his shoulders. Why was she touching him? Julianna wasn’t sure, but she just tightened her hold on him. “No, I want you to keep me alive. He’s after me. I know he is, and I want to hire you as my bodyguard.” Money wasn’t an issue for her. Not anymore.
For just an instant, the past swam before her. That terrible morning when she’d woken on the floor of her living room and found her husband’s dead body right beside hers. His blood had soaked the carpet. It had been under her body. On her.
Devlin’s gaze slid over her face. Slowly. As if he were taking her in. Julianna was far too conscious of her fingers on his shoulders. Of his body so close to hers. Of—
“Do you always get what you want?”
Her brow furrowed.
“Do you always…” Devlin continued, voice roughening a bit, “use your body to get what you want?”
Her mouth dropped open in shock, then immediately closed as rage swept through her. “I’m not using my body.” She jerked away from him. Sophie had been so wrong about the guy. Going to Devlin had been a huge mistake. He wasn’t the man she’d thought, not at all.
Julianna rushed for the door, but Devlin caught her before she’d taken more than a few steps. He curled his fingers around her shoulder and spun her back to face him. “Every news story says that you’re a femme fatale. The woman who seduced billionaire Jeremy Smith and convinced him to marry her after a whirlwind courtship.”
She was the one who’d been seduced. And trapped.
“And then you come in here, offering to pay anything if I help you.”
Her chin shot up. “I was talking about money. Any amount you wanted. I wasn’t talking about paying with myself.” And she hurt right then. Why, Julianna didn’t know. He wasn’t the first person to hurl insults at her. “Despite what you might think, I’m not a whore, high-priced or otherwise.”
His fingers slid down her arm. “My mistake.”
“Yes,” her voice had turned icy, “it was your mistake. But it was mine, too. I never should have come here. I’ll find someone else.” She gave him a curt nod. “Forget you ever saw me.”
She turned on her heel and once more aimed for the door—and freedom.
“Forgetting you won’t be easy,” Devlin said. “No hope of that.”