TRAGICALLY FLAWED Synopsis:
Riviera Benson has a talent...one she discovered by accident. She’s a painter, but canvas isn’t her medium. She creates her lovely masterpieces on walls and ceilings of million dollar homes as murals and faux finishes. Her art is in high demand now, but life wasn’t always that way. Riviera has secrets from her past she intends to keep tightly locked away...terrifying secrets that keep her awake at night...that prevent her from getting close to anyone...anyone that is, until she meets Shan.
Benjamin Shandon, owner of Shandon Homes, works like a thousand demons are chasing him...because perhaps they are. His business has boomed, ever since the forest fire swept through the canyon and destroyed hundreds of million dollar homes. He demands excellence in everything...from his employees to his women. He slows down for nothing, keeping a schedule that no sane person would want. But Riviera interrupts everything, twisting his guts inside out, and wedging her way into his heart, destroying a promise he made to himself.
Will they let their pasts control their future, or will they decide to let go and allow their hearts to discover each other’s?
This book contains mature content and is not intended for younger readers.
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A.M. Hargrove's Bio:
One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager, A. M. Hargrove, realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn't do something soon, it would quickly be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life. So, she rolled down the passenger window of her fabulous (not) company car and tossed out her leather briefcase. Luckily, the pedestrian in the direct line of fire was a dodge ball pro and had über quick reflexes enabling him to avoid getting bashed in the head. Feeling a tad guilty about the near miss, A. M. made a speedy turn down a deserted side street before tossing her crummy, outdated piece-of-you-know-what laptop out the window. She breathed a liberating sigh of relief, picked up her cell phone, called her boss and quit her job. Grinning, she made another call to her hubs and told him of her new adventure (after making sure his heart was beating properly again).
So began A. M. Hargrove's career as a YA/NA and Adult Romance writer. Her books include the following: Edge of Disaster, Shattered Edge and Kissing Fire (The Edge Series); The Guardians of Vesturon series (Survival, Resurrection, Determinant, reEmergent and Beginnings); Dark Waltz and Tragically Flawed.
Other than being in love with writing about being in love, she loves chocolate, ice cream and coffee and is positive they should be added as part of the USDA food groups.
Excerpt *Adult Content*:
When he entered through the back, he walked into the kitchen and did a double take. All the walls had been changed.
“Riviera,” he smiled.
He could tell immediately. Everything had her touch on it. Moving through each room, he became more and more astounded as he stared at her work.
When in the hell had she done all this, he wondered? Every room in the house had a different technique, a different signature, and they were all perfectly fitting for this place. She had increased the value of this home by God only knew how much.
He smiled as he headed up the stairs, wondering what surprises were in store for him. The biggest one was when he spied her on a ladder, finishing up the ceiling.
“You really are an angel, you know.”
“Aiiiyyee!” her hands flew out in front of her and she lost her balance on the plank. Shan didn’t waste a second getting to her and snagged her right in time as her breath whooshed out of her.
He held her next to his chest as he asked her, “You okay?”
“Yeah. Thanks.” Her heart hitched as her belly did a one-eighty.
They stared at each other until he set her feet on the ground. Riviera wished he’d kept holding her and maybe even kissed her.
“I’m sorry I frightened you. How long have you been working on this?”
She smiled shyly and said, “A little over a month.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“Why, Riviera? You do know, but you just don’t want to tell me.”
Their eyes met for a moment, but then she looked away. She got the impression he could see all the way into her soul. It was disconcerting so she busied herself with the hem of her shirt.
“Riviera,” he whispered, “you’re one of them, aren’t you?”
Her eyes widened as she gaped at him, but she didn’t answer. Not because she didn’t want to. But because there was just so damn much to say and it was so fucking humiliating.
He finally understood what it was he saw in her eyes. They were the eyes of a wounded soul. He wanted her to know she could trust him so he assured her by saying, “Riviera, I’ll never lay a hand on you or be aggressive toward you. I’ll never physically harm you, in any way … ever. I promise you’ll always be safe with me.”
Their eyes locked again, but this time she assessed him as she gave him a long, searching look.
“Do you understand what I’m telling you?”
“Yes,” she murmured.
“One day, when you trust me enough to tell me, I’ll be here for you. I want you to know something, though. What you’ve done here is amazing and I think you added at least another ten grand to the bidding price.”
Shan watched her face brighten. “You honestly think so?”
“Yes, I do!”
“That’s great. Shelby’s Shack has helped me out so much ...” She stopped suddenly, realizing she’d spilled the beans. She started chewing on her lip.
“Riviera, I already figured it out. It’s okay. You can talk about it or not, but it’s not a secret to me.”
She relaxed slightly and nodded. “It’s so humiliating. I’m ashamed of it, if you want to know the truth.”
Right then, the only thing Shan wanted to do was to hold her close and assure her there was nothing for her to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. Shan watched her closely and caught the shadow of fear in her eyes that she tried to keep hidden. He wanted to find the bastard who hurt her and beat him within an inch of his life.
“Don’t you ever be embarrassed or ashamed over what some asshole did to you. You understand me? No one deserves that, Riviera, no one!”
His vehemence surprised her. As she looked at him, her discomfort slowly dissolved, and she became hyperaware of his face, his arms, his body. Her anxiety of being found out was soon replaced by intense arousal as her body flamed at the sight of him. It didn’t take long for her breasts to grow heavy as her nipples turned to stiff points. Her eyes instantly dropped to see if they were noticeable through her thin T-shirt.
She’d taken off her hoodie earlier, and now she was sorry because her brazen peaks were clearly visible. Riviera’s cheeks stung with fire as she crossed her arms over her chest. Her wish to run and hide was so strong, until she heard his deep, husky voice break through her thoughts.
“I think they look so blatantly sexy, but my only problem is I’d like to put my mouth there and suck them until I hear you moan.”
Riviera’s mouth formed an O as she drew in a long, shaky breath, knowing quite certain she could very possibly climax just hearing him speak. And how does one respond to that, she wondered?
Knowing what he wanted more than anything stood fewer than three feet from him, but also knowing that he couldn’t touch her, Shan thought he would join the ranks of the insane.
“God, Riviera, you’re beautiful. Everything about you is extraordinary. It’s something I’ve wanted to say for quite some time now. I’m sorry. I probably shouldn’t say this to you, but I want nothing more right now than to kiss your sweet mouth.” He clamped his eyes shut, afraid he would see a look of disgust on her face. In all likelihood, she would be mortified at what else he wanted to do to her. Shan wisely kept those thoughts to himself.
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