Publication date: October 20th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense
He is everywhere. He surrounds me, permeates the air, wends his way under my skin. I can’t escape his strength, his intensity, his presence.
There’s nowhere to run.
Nowhere to hide.
But even if I could escape…would I be strong enough to leave?
I needed something—something big—to get myself out of the rut I’d fallen into after the car accident that killed my sister. This sailing trip was meant only to mark a new chapter in my life. Until Ethan Williams stepped on board.
Ethan radiated confidence. His darkly handsome good looks and ocean-blue eyes mesmerized me. But it was the way he looked at me that drew me in. He wasn’t looking at my past or at my scars, but the real me behind all that baggage I was trying so hard to leave behind.
But Ethan had secrets—dark, dangerous secrets. I was trapped in the middle of the ocean in a tangle of lies, sex, and violence. The problem was, I was happy to be trapped forever…if it meant I could have him.
Warning: Swept Away is a 4-part serial. This story is messy and twisted and very, very sexy. It is not for people under 18.
Ethan gets up, and it looks like shutters are closing over his eyes. The heat in them fades to a simmer and then flattens until his gaze is completely unreadable.
Impenetrable. It’s the expression he had on the phone with Donna. It’s the expression he uses on me when he’s digging that chasm between us. I already know that expression too well.
He gazes into my eyes, cool and distant. “As I said, I don’t do relationships. And that’s what you need. Someone who’ll be there for you. That’s not me.”
Kyle told me about how Ethan hasn’t been photographed with a woman for eight years. Has he not had a girlfriend for eight years? “But why?”
He doesn’t answer. The most he’ll give me is a shake of his head.
I want to pull out my hair in frustration. It seems simple: I want him. He knows it. He said he wanted me too. Then why not act on it? All this “I don’t do relationships” crap—who cares? This isn’t a happily ever after. This is just being together.
He’s being presumptuous to think he knows what’s best for me, anyway. There’s no way he could possibly know what I need.
A thought slams into me. While my nature is to care about people I’m physically close to, maybe I can switch that part of myself off. I want to be with Ethan, and if I enter into a physical relationship with my eyes wide open, then there will be no concern of bringing emotions and thoughts of “relationships” into it.
Our time together is limited anyway. There’s no reason this needs to go beyond the time parameters of this trip.
I can do it. I can control this. I want to do it.
“You’re wrong about me.” The steel hardens in my own eyes. “In a few weeks, I’m going to be starting a new job, and I want to focus on that. But we’re out in the middle of the ocean, and this isn’t the real world. We can do whatever we want out here—be whatever we want to be.”
The shutters over his eyes fly open suddenly, and there’s a storm raging behind them.
“Do you think I haven’t thought about that?” he grits out, taking a step closer to me. Energy bristles from him. “But what happens when we go home? We go our separate ways, back to our lives? It’s not going to be that easy, Tara, and you know it. I don’t want to hurt you, damn it.”
I want this—want him—so badly, I’m going to fight for a chance. I’ll wash my hands of him and go on with my life when we get back to LA. I can do that—I know I can.
“You’re not going to hurt me, because I understand what you’re saying. I understand that this can’t continue once we’re home, and that you don’t want a relationship. I get it. I don’t need or want a relationship either. I have a life to go back to in LA, too. But for now, I want you, Ethan.”
He closes his eyes and makes a low noise that sounds like a groan.
“Give me two weeks.” In two weeks’ time, we’ll be in Hawaii, and he’ll probably be heading home.
I remember that night at the convenience store a year ago—how leaving home and walking down the block was the bravest thing I’d done since the accident. But it doesn’t even hold a candle to this.
This is the bravest thing I’ve ever done—before or after the accident. I’ve thrown myself out there, laid myself out as some kind of a temporary offering. But that’s exactly what I want, and I’m going after it.
Where did this assertive Tara come from? I like her.
My face is blazing hot. Tiny shudders skitter over my skin from my toes to my hair.
But I know he wants me. And judging by the look on his face, my offer has tempted him. He stares at me, his expression torn.
Then his lips tighten, the shutters over his eyes slam shut once again, and pain stabs at me, bitter and cold, in my chest. I know what his next words are going to be.
“I can’t. I’m sorry.”
He turns and walks away.
USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Haymore is the author of sexy historical and contemporary romance.
You can find Jennifer in Southern California trying to talk her husband into yet another trip to England, helping her three children with homework while brainstorming a new five-minute dinner menu, or crouched in a corner of the local bookstore writing her next novel.