The New York Times bestselling Driven series continues with a standalone story about finding love where you least expect it…
Behind the wheel, racing champion Zander Donavan is at the top of his game. But after too much excess in his personal life, he’s forced to step away. He needs to accomplish something all on his own—outside of his famous father’s shadow.
Getty Caster is running away from the abuse that clouds her past. She thinks she’s found the perfect escape—until she discovers a stranger in the beachside cottage she’d been promised. He’s undeniably sexy, but she’s there to heal. Alone.
Before long though, fighting with each other turns into fighting their attraction. And giving into desire sets off a chain reaction that has their pasts colliding. With an unexpected love on the line, can they overcome the fallout to build a future?
“You don’t know anything about me.” My voice is slight but strong, my need to assert myself front and center despite his calling me on the carpet.
“That’s where you’re wrong, Socks. I might not know where you’re from or why I ruffled your feathers today, but I know you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for. Whatever it is that you ran from back home, you did it. You got out and are making it on your own. That takes guts and you deserve mad props for that. I know you like things messy and are goddamn cute when you’re tipsy. I know you’re stubborn as hell and gorgeous as fuck. And that your kiss tastes like an aged whiskey: something I want to sip slowly, feel on my lips, savor on my tongue, and take my time with before I get drunk on it.” With a lift of his eyebrows and a nod of his head, he walks past me, leaving me with my mouth agape and eyes wide.
I can’t move. Just stand staring at the door in front of me as I try to process what he just said, what he meant by it, and yet there’s no use because we just had a whole one-sided conversation and that need to banter with him is gone. Lost to the tingling in my lower belly and the wild spinning of my thoughts.
“Oh, and, Getty?” Zander calls out to me from the kitchen, refusing to continue until I turn to face him, standing there unabashedly shirtless. “If you ever call me pretty again, we’re gonna have a real problem. I guarantee you there is nothing pretty about me.”
I almost smile at the fact that out of all of the crappy things I said to him, that is the one that bugged him the most.
“You are kind of pretty, though,” I murmur, unable to resist goading him further, needing to try to get us back on an even playing field. Because hell if right now I don’t feel like I’m on the low end of the teeter-totter.
His immediate response? A snort to signify that his chiseled abs and the tall, dark, and handsome thing he’s got going on are nothing more than average.
“Last warning, Socks.” His eyes flash with mirth. And what looks like desire.
An unexpected part of me—the one who usually hides and doesn’t ever take a chance—wants to say it again. Just to see what he’d do if I did.
“So damn pretty.” I don’t know who’s more shocked at my comment, him or me, but we stand there for a moment, gazes locked, unspoken words warring across the distance between us.
He walks toward me with a predatory gleam in his eyes and a salacious smirk on his lips that catches me off guard. “I know I said you were brave, Getty, but now you’re just playing with matches.”
I draw in a long inhale as he steps right in front of me. I can’t look at him. My nerve is suddenly gone. Outside, rain pelts the roof. The constant drip into the bucket in the hallway serves as a metronome to this anticipatory silence we are dancing in. The goose bumps on his chest are the only thing I can focus on.
When his thumb and forefinger direct my chin up so I’m forced to meet his eyes, every part of me hums from his touch. From the want of something I don’t quite understand myself and couldn’t ever put into words. Our eyes meet—his intense, mine searching for answers that aren’t his to give—before his gaze flicks down to my mouth and then back up again.“Not yet, Getty.” He closes his eyes for a beat, and I see what I think is restraint reflected in his grimace, before a ghost of a smile spreads on his lips. “I don’t think you’re ready to light this fire just yet.”