He’s the last man Chloe Girard should love . . . but the first she ever could.
Ethan Frost is a visionary, a genius, every woman’s deepest, darkest fantasy—even mine. And, somehow, I am his.
He stole into my life like a dream. Turned my reality upside down and made my every desire come true—especially those I never knew I had. He demanded everything I had to give and gave me everything of himself in return.
But dreams don’t last forever, and ours is no exception. Because my nightmares are darker, and my wounds deeper, than I could ever reveal. And as much as Ethan wants to protect me, the secrets we we share will only tear us apart.
Read an Excerpt
I drift into consciousness slowly, to the feel of early morning sunlight on my face and the scent of coffee in my nose.
There’s no disorientation at waking in a strange bed, no moment of trying to figure out where I am or how I got here. The second I open my eyes, I know I’m at Ethan’s house. In Ethan’s bed. He brought me to it last night after the temperature dropped so much on the patio that my teeth began to chatter.
Pushing my riot of curls out of my face, I sit up on my elbows and look around at Ethan’s private domain. Last night I’d been too wiped to do anything but curl up with him in bed, but this morning I notice the slate-blue walls. The smoky gray of the comforter I’m lying beneath. The huge painting of a sailboat that takes over a significant portion of one of the side walls.
For some, Ethan’s color choice might be depressing—dark blues and grays with only a few instances of a lighter accent color—but in my mind, it’s perfect. I feel like I’m in the belly of the Pacific Ocean, cradled in the arms of the ever-changing waves. It’s a good feeling, especially considering all that happened last night. And not nearly as violent as the drowning I had so often imagined.
On the nightstand beside the bed is a cup of coffee and a long, flat white box. I reach for the coffee first, take a long, deep inhale. It works its way inside me, finding those last little frozen places that I didn’t think anything could melt and warming them through. Of course, I know it’s not the coffee doing that. Not really. It’s Ethan and the perfect care he takes of me.
I spend the next few minutes sipping my perfectly made coffee and contemplating the white box on the nightstand. There’s a part of me that wants to grab it, rip the red ribbon off, and dive inside. But there’s another part of me that’s relishing the surprise. That wants to wait just a little longer to draw out the anticipation. I’m the kind of girl who believes in delayed gratification.
Except, it seems, with Ethan.
Suddenly I can’t wait until I finish my coffee to know what’s inside the box. I put my cup aside and grab the present, doing my best not to rip the box to shreds as I open it.
Just like with Ethan’s other gift, inside this one is a myriad of things that don’t really fit together but are somehow perfect anyway. I push the tissue paper aside and pull out the first treasure, a pair of delicate gold filigree earrings. Flamingos, I realize with a stab of delight, from our zoo trip yesterday. I admire them for long seconds before sliding them out of their container and into my ears. I can’t wait to see what they look like.
The second object I pull out of the box is a small vial of perfume. It’s one of those specially mixed ones that people can design to their own specifications. The label has only my name on it and the date from three days ago.
Ethan designed it for me.
I pull the little stopper out of the top of the vial, bend my head for a sniff. And nearly cry all over again. Strawberries, jasmine, the ocean, champagne. Somehow he’s managed to have my favorite scents mixed into a perfume that’s perfect for me in every way.
I can’t resist dabbing a little on my pulse points before I close it up and put it back in the box. It smells good, really good, and I couldn’t be more delighted.
Except as soon as I reach into the box again, I realize that’s not true. Ethan’s next gift is a peacock feather, beautiful and exotic and just a touch naughty. For a moment, I stroke it against my throat and imagine that it’s Ethan touching me with it, Ethan running it all over my body.
Arousal spikes through me and I nearly leave the rest of the present unopened to go in search of him. I want him to hold me, to touch me, to kiss me. Want to do the same for him, if he’ll let me.
In the end, though, curiosity gets the best of me and I pull out the final object in the gift. It’s another box, though this one is smaller and flatter than the original. And a distinctive light blue that I recognize even before I see the name on the top of it: Tiffany & Co.
I bobble the box, watch as it falls to the floor. Instead of diving for it, I just stare. I’m not sure if I want to pick it up, if I want to open it. Oh, I know most women dating Ethan Frost would love to get something from Tiffany’s. Hell, they’d probably expect gifts like this regularly.
But I’m not so sure. I’ve enjoyed my small, thoughtful gifts from Ethan. The strawberries, the tea, the feather. This, though, this feels like something more. It feels like a blender, only much more expensive, and I’m just not sure I want to go there with him. Not because of him, per se, but because money has such negative connotations for me when it comes to things like this. I don’t want it to get in the way, don’t want to feel like he expects something for his expensive gifts. And I don’t want him to feel like I expect him to spend a lot of money on me.
It’s a double-edged sword, one I don’t want to grab on to until I actually have some idea of how to wield it.