My newest serial, MAKE ME begins next week! I can’t believe it. I think you’re going to love this story, which takes place in the present between Jacob and Harper, but also flashes back to their youth, when the pair of them were on the run for their lives, and where they developed a deep, abiding bond. The serial was the perfect format for really delving into these characters’ past and revealing thread by thread their torments, longings and mysteries in the present day. Join me in a sneak peak at this epic, steamy romance!
Harper McFaddan has made her name as an investigative journalist by being both compassionate and fearless. After tragedy strikes her family, she moves to the shores of Lake Tahoe to find some peace. But when mysterious software mogul Jacob Latimer comes into her life, her thoughts turn from her own healing to an urgent need to get closer to him…
Jacob Latimer is the definition of a self-made man. The software entrepreneur built his corporation from nothing, but rumors abound about the shadiness of his rise to power and no one knows what secrets lurk in his past. Harper is the last person he should let into his life. As an investigative journalist, she’s the one person who could expose his hidden origins. But Jacob knows things about Harper’s past that make him irresistibly drawn to her. He wants nothing more than to make her his—and Jacob is a man who always gets what he wants…
Harper glanced over at Elizabeth and gave a short laugh. “This isn’t what I expected in coming here tonight.”
“What did you expect?” Elizabeth asked.
“I didn’t know what to expect. I was surprised when I got the invitation. I was under the impression Mr. Latimer was responsible for it, which confused me even more. I see now that it was you”—she glanced at Cyril—“who was behind it all.”
“Oh, Jacob was responsible for it. He suggested the whole thing to me at lunch a few days ago. I thought his idea was brilliant. But of course, everything Jacob suggests is,” Cyril said as though stating the obvious.
The waiter arrived with an empty wine goblet and a bottle on a tray.
“Is he here?” Harper asked, smiling in thanks as she took the glass. She noticed the label as the waiter poured the chardonnay: It was Latimer’s own.
“Mr. Latimer, you mean?”
Harper nodded at Elizabeth and took a sip. She blinked in pleasure at the subtle, oaky taste of the wine. Nothing but the best for Latimer.
“No, he got caught up in an emergency work situation, unfortunately,” Elizabeth said smoothly. Harper had the impression this was Elizabeth’s standard reply for queries in regard to Latimer’s presence . . . or absence, as the case likely usually was.
“Jacob hardly ever attends these things. I tell him this place is his cave”—Cyril waved his crystal highball glass at the magnificent mansion—“and he’s the hermit who inhabits it. If I didn’t come over and push my way in a few times a week, I’d never catch sight of him. He’d be just as much a legend to me as Sasquatch and our local Tahoe Tessie. I live just a house down,” he explained to Harper, pointing behind her. “I suppose if I harp too much, the hermit will toss me out on my bony butt, so I try to—” Cyril paused, his brow furrowing.
Harper instinctively turned to where he was staring. Other partygoers looked around in the direction of the house, as well. Conversation faded off until a breathless hush prevailed.
It was like a charge had ignited the evening air and an electrical current passed through them all. Or at least that’s how it felt to Harper as she watched the man from the beach saunter toward the party with easy grace, eyes trained directly on her.
“To what do we owe this honor?” Cyril boomed incredulously as the man approached their small grouping. As if on cue, the other partygoers turned back to their conversation, and the quartet began another number. Even though everyone resumed the cocktail party routine, Harper noticed several sideways, surreptitious glances in their direction. It wasn’t just women looking, either. It was clear that Latimer’s presence at the party was not only unexpected, but also exciting.
“I looked out my window and saw Harper’s hair.”
There was a burning in Harper’s chest cavity. She realized it was because she hadn’t drawn air as she watched him approach. And . . . had he really just said that about her hair?
“Jacob Latimer,” he said, extending his hand. “I don’t think I ever got the chance to actually introduce myself the other day on the beach.”
“No, you didn’t,” she said, grasping his hand. She stared up into a pair of long-lashed golden-green-brown eyes. He wore a suit, including a vest and tie, but somehow he managed to make the suit seem as casual and easy as the swim trunks she’d seen him in yesterday. Just as sexy, that much was certain. Here was a man who was supremely confident in his own skin. And why shouldn’t he be?
“It’s the color of the sunset,” he said quietly, and again, there was that small smile, almost as if he was a little embarrassed by his poetic turn of phrase, but had said it, anyway. He released her hand slowly and pointed at her hair when she just stared at him stupidly. She managed to return his smile despite her discomposure, all too aware of Elizabeth and Cyril’s fascinated gazes on them.
“A sunset is one of the kinder things it’s been compared to. Ask any redhead how much they liked their hair color as a kid,” she laughed.
“So it’s real?” Cyril asked. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen that particular shade naturally. It’s absolutely brilliant, to say the least. You’re quite right about the sunset, Jacob.”
Harper knew her cheeks had turned the color of her hair. She couldn’t believe the iconic Latimer and the man on the beach were one and the same. He was way too young to be so accomplished, wasn’t he? Too young to already have acquired such an aura of mystery and fascination?
“Has Cyril been talking to you about his film idea?” Jacob asked her, politely changing the topic. He’d probably noticed her discomfort on the topic of her hair.
“Actually, he mentioned it was your idea,” she said.
“I brought up the subject of you and your article. Cyril thought of the movie, and I agreed it would be brilliant,” he said, gracefully avoiding her pointed statement. “So he has mentioned it?” he asked, glancing inquiringly at Cyril, Harper, and Elizabeth.
“He’d just brought it up when you arrived,” Harper told him. Of course. He’d mentioned that particular story on the beach. Cyril had just said his home neighbored Latimer’s. It must have been Cyril’s beach they were on when Charger raced toward her. Then he’d mentioned their brief meeting to Cyril, the director . . . and here she was. Understanding the chain of events that had gotten her to this unusual situation steadied her a bit from a whirlwind of confusion.
Got it. I’m good. I can handle this.
“I was telling him that I didn’t think it would work,” Harper told Latimer frankly.
“She’s concerned that the young woman, Ellie, won’t consent to having her story told,” Cyril told Jacob. “But we can use another name, after all. Perhaps you can broach the topic to her? If she’s hesitant, I’m sure I can convince her.”
“Cyril is very convincing,” Elizabeth said, although she wasn’t looking at Cyril, but Latimer. Latimer, in turn, was steadily regarding Harper. Harper was highly aware of his stare on her cheek.
“Ellie aside, you don’t like the idea,” Latimer said. “Why not?”
She blinked at his astute observation. She hadn’t even been aware it was true until he said it. “I felt like writing Ellie’s story was worthwhile. Still . . . part of me felt a little guilty—still feels a little guilty—for exposing her entire life for public consumption.”
Latimer nodded once solemnly. “How did Ellie feel about it? Do you think she’ll worry about having her history become even more exposed?”
“She never complained. In fact, she was thankful. She was glad to have her story, and the experience of many of her friends and acquaintances, told.”
“It’s a story that should be told,” Cyril stated unequivocally. “We call ourselves civilized in the Western world, and yet innocent children are living in the most appalling circumstances right in the midst of our cities. You wanted to expose that story, and you did, Harper. Why wouldn’t you want it to reach an even wider audience?”
“I . . . I’m not saying I’m against it,” she replied, flustered. A cool lake breeze swirled around them, cutting through the silk of her cocktail dress. The temperature had dipped as sunset approached. A shiver rippled through her. This wasn’t a conversation she’d prepared herself for. “And like I said, it’s not primarily up to me.”
“As I said, I’m sure we can convince—”
“Give it a rest for the moment, Cyril,” Jacob interrupted, his voice quiet, but steely. He slipped a hand beneath Harper’s bent elbow. “Ms. McFadden is feeling a bit ambushed, I think. Elizabeth, could you have one of the waiters bring Harper and me a hot drink? We’re going to sit up by the fire.”
No one contradicted him. Harper had the impression no one would dare. She followed him up the stairs, highly aware of two things: the stares on her exposed back, and Jacob Latimer’s hand on the sensitive skin on the underside of her elbow.
“There. Is that better?” he asked a moment later when he led her to a deep sofa situated before one of the stone fireplaces. She nodded and set down her wineglass on a coffee table before she sat. Realizing she still clutched her purse, she quickly tucked it in the corner of the sofa. He came down on the cushion next to her. His long, strong thigh was only an inch away from hers. His stark masculinity—his potent attractiveness—crowded her brain and rushed her body.
* * * * *
Make Me Begins on 4/5 with MAKE ME FORGET! Preorder all the installments now at your favorite retailer: