I’m finally getting my life back on track…and then he shows up.
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.
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I was late. I’m never late.
Twenty minutes to get to campus. I had a two o’clock appointment with my thesis advisor. Oliver was trying to see if he could get me put back on our project even though I wasn’t currently enrolled in the Master’s program.
It was a long shot, and I didn’t want to blow it bybeing late.
I hated to interrupt a meeting, but I’d told my bosses I needed a few hours off this afternoon, and I had to hand over my charge before I left. Cradling baby Rosie against my shoulder, I nudged the door to the office open with my hip, saying, “I’m so sorry to interrupt, but it’s one forty and—”
I looked up, and my breath froze in my lungs.
Noah Endicott was sitting across the room. He lounged in the chair opposite Vance’s desk, his brown eyes wide with surprise and fixed on mine.
That was all he said. Just Ella.
I wasn’t much better. I didn’t say anything. I just stared.
It was Noah, but not my Noah. My Noah wore faded T-shirts with geeky engineering jokes. My Noah’s dark hair was long enough to fall into his eyes. My Noah had a sweet smile.
My Noah had broken my heart.
The man in front of me may have looked like my first love, but I doubted they had anything in common.
This Noah had short hair and lines around his eyes.
This Noah wore an expensive designer sweater instead of a T-shirt and hoodie, though the faded jeans and black-and-white Converse high-tops were heartbreakingly familiar.
“Ella?” Maggie asked, concern heavy in her voice. “Are you okay? Do you and Noah know each other?”
I looked at my bosses and tried to get my head back in gear. Vance and Magnolia were both staring at me with concern. I needed to get myself together before they decided I was losing it. Vance and Maggie had hired me as Rosie’s nanny a few months before, and thanks to them, I might be able to save up enough money to go back to school.
That was my plan. Work for Vance and Magnolia. Save every penny. Go back to school.
Noah had no part in any of that.
“I’m so sorry, Maggie. I thought Rosie would fall asleep on her walk, but she’s still up, and I have to go.”
Maggie stood and scooped the baby out of my arms. “I lost track of time, Ella, or I would have come to get her. Don’t worry about it. We’re good. Why don’t you take the rest of the day off after your meeting?”
“Thanks so much,” I said, half over my shoulder, as I escaped the room without another word. Behind me, I heard Noah say, “Ella! Ella, wait!”
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.
Ivy is represented by Sarah Hershman of Hershman Rights Management.