As fast as I could without running, I walked down the hall to get my purse and keys from the kitchen. A few more seconds and I’d be in my car on the way to school.
My purse was not on the counter where I left it. Dammit. I didn’t have time for this.
My heart thundering in my chest, I scanned every flat surface in the kitchen for my red purse and silver key ring.
I wasn’t sure whether I was rushing to my appointment or just desperate to escape Noah.
How was Noah at Vance and Magnolia’s? He was in California. As far as I knew, he hadn’t been back to Georgia since three months before we’d broken up.
Why was he here now?
Vance was an artist, but he was also an angel tech investor on the side. He’d met Magnolia when he hired her as his assistant, and they’d gotten married a few months before. Vance and Maggie met with a lot of guys like Noah, but there were angel investors in California. Silicon Valley was filled with them. Why was he in Atlanta? Why was he here?
Maybe after what had happened, no one would talk to him out there.
It didn’t matter. Noah was the past. My future depended on doing my job and staying in Oliver’s good graces so I could get back into my program when I could afford to pay for it.
Where the hell did I leave my purse?
An image of the built-in bench beside the front door flashed in my mind. Yes! Rosie had been crying when I’d shown up that morning, and I dropped my purse and keys on the bench to get to her so Maggie could finish making breakfast without a screaming baby in her arms.
I whirled for the front hall and bumped smack into Noah. His hands came up to my shoulders, holding me in place. Up close, he looked tired and older. He smelled the same. Clean. Like the ocean and freshly-cut grass.
Scent memory is a killer. Just like fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies always brought me right back to my mom’s kitchen, that unique combination of salty sea and green grass meant Noah. My brain and heart stuttered, remembered love flooding through me.
I stepped back, jerking my shoulders out from underhis grip.
“I have to go,” I said.
Noah’s hand shot out and closed over my wrist. “Ella, wait. We have to talk.”
“No, we don’t. There’s nothing to say. I have to go. I’m going to be late.”
Noah shifted to block my path to the door. “Please, Ella. If you can’t talk now, have dinner with me.”
Was he crazy? I didn’t want to be in the same room with Noah Endicott, much less have dinner with him.
“No! Noah, I don’t know why you’re here, and I don’t care. We don’t have anything to say to each other anymore. Please just leave me alone.”
“I can’t do that,” Noah said, shifting again to block my exit. “I know you’re mad. You probably hate me. But I need to talk to you. There are things I need to explain—”
“There’s no point,” I said, no longer confused as to whether I was rushing to my appointment or running from Noah.
I was definitely running from Noah. Just being this close to him had my emotions in turmoil, my stomach tight and chest hollow with remembered pain.
I’d loved him so much. I couldn’t do this. I didn’t want to be anywhere near him. Especially not now.
“There’s every point,” Noah insisted. “Look me in the eyes and tell me you don’t still have feelings for me, and I’ll walk away. I swear.”
I raised my eyes to his, trying not to flinch at the heat and longing in his bittersweet chocolate gaze. I’d always lovedhis eyes.
“I don’t have any feelings for you, Noah,” I said.
Noah raised his hands to cup my face, sliding one hand back to bury his fingers in my hair, cradling my skull and tilting my face up to his. His touch was gentle, light enough that I could have easily stepped away.
I didn’t. A part of me wanted to. Wanted to run as fast as I could and never see Noah again. But the second he touched me, I froze, just like I had when I’d seen him sitting in Vance’soffice.
His touch was so familiar. The way he held my face, the stroke of his thumb over my cheek. I had plenty of time to dodge his kiss. I don’t know why I didn’t do it.
“Ella,” he whispered, his lips so close they stroked mine as they moved. His breath smelled like lemon and mint. He’d always loved chewing those lemon mint candies. My body swayed into his, drawn by history and a love I’d never quite been able to kill.
Scandals of the Bad Boy Billionaires
He walked away from me once. I won’t give him the chance to
do it again.
I’m finally getting my life back on track…and then he shows
The only man I’ve ever loved. The man who broke my heart.
He says he’s back for me, but I don’t believe him. I can’t.
Noah is all about business. He’s here to make a deal with my
boss, and I’m just convenient. Again.
This time, I’m going to protect my body, even if I can’t
protect my heart.
Ella doesn’t trust me. I get it. I do.
The first time around, I f*cked it all up.
I lost her, and I’ve missed her every day since.
Now I’m back, and I’m not walking away.
Ella thinks I’m only in town on business. She’s wrong.
I’m here for her, and I’m not leaving until she’s mine.
Romance Erotica Sensual [Author Self-Published, On Sale: June 6, 2017, e-Book, / ]
About Ivy Layne
Ivy Layne has had her nose stuck in a book since she learned to decipher the English language. Sometime in her early teens, she stumbled across her first Romance, and the die was cast. Though she pretended to pay attention to her creative writing professors, she dreamed of writing steamy romance instead of literary fiction. These days, she’s neck deep in alpha heroes and the smart, sexy women who love them.
Married to her very own alpha hero (who rubs her back after a long day of typing, but also leaves his socks on the floor). Ivy lives in the mountains of North Carolina where she and her other half are having a blast raising two energetic little boys. Aside from her family, Ivy’s greatest loves are coffee and chocolate, preferably together.