One woman. Two men. One night.
Kat refuses to give in to her mother’s demand to marry a man she can’t stand. After years of trusting no one with her heart or her body, she wants to be swept off her feet, to experience complete surrender, if only for one night.
Tristan has lusted after Kat for years. She’s the woman he wants to put between him and his best friend, Adam, and he’s finally making his move. He’ll steal her away from his brother, who doesn’t deserve her. Then he and Adam will give her exactly what she needs.
Two men. One woman. A lifetime?
Now ready to take control of her life, Kat moves to Philadelphia to open her own law practice and to risk giving her heart to the two men who opened her eyes to desire.
Tristan and Adam are determined to keep Kat close and win her heart. But work dangers and family obligations conspire to tear them apart before their fragile relationship has a chance to grow into something stronger.
Will Kat, Tristan and Adam be able to build a strong foundation for their lives together? Or will everything they’ve worked so hard for come crashing down around them?
Read an excerpt ...
“She brought a date.”
“Are you joking?”
“Why would I? She walked in on the arm of some guy who looks like he only leaves his parents’ basement to eat.”
Tristan Donovan turned to frown at the man who’d suddenly appeared at his side. Adam Oleksy had always been a sneaky bastard, which had saved their asses more than once. He also had a world-class poker face, but Tristan knew when he was bullshitting. Which he wasn’t now.
“Where are they?”
“Just walked through the front door. I believe your brother may have had a mini stroke.”
Tristan’s upper lip curled. “Serves the bastard right.” His older brother, Philip, didn’t deserve Katrina Riley. She was too good for him. Besides, Tristan had already decided he and Adam would have the frosty little lawyer for themselves. Taking her away from Philip would be icing on the cake.
Standing at the bar in the study of Arthur and Angelica Riley’s Beacon Hill home, Tristan let his gaze wander over the guests at the Rileys’ annual open house. Which was a total misnomer because this was one of the most exclusive events in Boston high society.
Arthur Riley had inherited one of the oldest and most prestigious law firms in Boston and, since the Donovan family had been clients of Riley & McNassett for more than fifty years, they had a standing invitation.
This marked only the second year Tristan had attended.
Last year had been the first.
While Adam ordered a drink, Tristan tried to catch a glimpse of Katrina through the entrance into the parlor, but the doorway only allowed him to view a slice of the great room at the front of the Riley mansion.
In another time, that room would’ve been called a ballroom, but no one held balls in their homes anymore. At least they weren’t pretentious enough to call them that.
“So now what?”
Adam took a sip of his whiskey as he waited for Tristan to answer his question. Adam knew him well enough to know he was formulating another plan. The first plan Katrina had screwed with her date.
But Tristan was nothing if not resourceful. As he worked through various scenarios, he knew there was still only one outcome he would consider: Katrina leaving with him and Adam.
There was no way in hell she was leaving with another man. He’d give her date cab fare if he needed it. But whoever he was, he wasn’t walking out the door with Katrina.
“Now I think it’s time to introduce ourselves to Kat.”
Adam glanced over his shoulder at Tristan, his lips curving in a wry smile. “Sounds kind of like the first plan.”
Tristan returned his friend’s grin. “It’s no different from the first plan. It just means there’re going to be two disappointed men instead of one.”
“Double the fun,” Adam drawled.
Yes, it would be. “Let’s move out.”
* * * * *
Kat realized her error as soon as Philip Donovan slithered up to her side and proceeded to ignore her every increasingly not-very-subtle attempt to ignore him like he was the plague.
She wanted to run like hell in the other direction, but that would cause a scene, and Angelica Riley did not abide scenes. Especially not by her daughter.
And Kat had no wish to bring any attention to herself here. Though she didn’t give a shit what her mother thought, she wouldn’t embarrass her dad.
But not even the presence of another man by her side had been enough to deter Philip. He simply ignored Garret as if he weren’t even there.
In Philip’s eyes, he probably wasn’t. Philip only acknowledged people in his own tax bracket as worthy of his attention. Unless, of course, he needed something.
“So I told the governor it wasn’t going to happen. I can’t believe the man even had the gall to ask.”
Kat barely bothered to hide her sigh as Philip continued to yammer on about some deal he was making. Philip ran his father’s business, a multibillion-dollar business that was all about profit. She wasn’t even completely sure what kind of business they did.
Why couldn’t the stock market crash, just a little, so she wouldn’t have to put up with this self-important blowhard? In addition to pissing her off, Philip was making Garrett increasing uncomfortable by continuing to ignore him, and that was unacceptable. It was her fault Garrett was here. All her fault that he was enduring what was probably the worst night of his life simply because she’d asked her brother to find her a date for this travesty. Someone who wouldn’t expect her to sleep with him at the end of the night but who would at least make it believable that he liked her.
Which was pretty ridiculous in and of itself. Anyone who knew her knew she was unlikable. She worked hard at it.
Kat swallowed a sigh and did her level best not to run screaming. Her dad would worry.
And she certainly didn’t want Garrett going back to Erik and telling him his sister was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Since Garrett worked for Erik, he’d probably feel duty bound to fill in his boss on everything that happened tonight.
“Of course, the senator and I have played a few rounds so he knew where this was headed. I had to tell him exactly why I thought the deal was not in his best interest.”
When she’d first begged Erik to find her someone to bring to this party, she’d thought Philip would be more manageable if he saw she had a date. That he wouldn’t assume she was his personal property, granted to him by her mother’s approval.
Now she had to worry not only about herself but about Garrett, a decent guy who didn’t deserve to be subjected to Philip.
“Philip, I’m so sorry to interrupt, but would you be a dear and get me a whiskey on the rocks from the bar? I don’t see a server anywhere.”
That was because she’d made damn sure there weren’t any in the immediate vicinity before she’d asked. It was a desperate, childish move, one she wasn’t sure Philip was going to fall for. His gaze shot to Garrett for a brief second before Philip smiled and nodded. Apparently, he must’ve decided that, if she was asking him for his service, she preferred him over Garrett.
“Of course.” He smiled, making her want to grimace.
“I’ll be back in a minute.”
As soon as he was out of earshot, Kat turned to
Garrett. “I am so sorry—”
Garrett laughed, not loud enough to attract attention but with just enough inflection for her to know he wasn’t being a prick.
“Kat, hey, no apologies necessary. I knew the score coming into tonight. Erik told me to expect to be bored out of my mind and to be ignored most of the night by the assholes. He also told me his sister needed someone to keep her from going off the deep end. And I’ve got all day tomorrow and Monday to visit my sister at Boston University. Besides, when Erik asks for a favor, I typically don’t decline.”
No, her brother had loyal friends who’d stuck by him after his laboratory had been sabotaged and an explosion had nearly ended his life and left him with brutal scars on his face and body.
Erik had people he could turn to, including a best friend and a woman who loved him.
Kat only had Erik.
“Well, I really do appreciate you giving up a night for a stranger. I’m sorry it’s just so awful.”
Garrett’s smile widened. “The drinks are free, the food’s great, and my date’s beautiful. It’s not a total loss.”
Her lips parted as she immediately thought to distance herself from him. He was a nice enough guy but— But what?
Garrett was a nice enough guy. At least, he seemed like one. And she trusted her brother wouldn’t send some freak on a date with his younger sister. So why couldn’t she smile, say thank you for the compliment, and ask him to leave with her? Why couldn’t she take him back to her apartment, screw his brains out for the night, then send him on his way tomorrow morning?
Because I’m a coward, that’s why.
She blinked and closed her mouth. Then forced herself to take a deep breath. “Thank you for the compliment,
“Hey.” He held up one hand. “I know the score. It’s okay. And I’m not hitting on you. Seriously. It’s cool.”
She felt a huge weight lift from her shoulders and made a mental note to send her brother a huge thank-you for Garrett. Too bad he wasn’t at all her type. Handsome in a boy-next-door fashion with blue eyes, blond hair, and a lean body. Only the dark-framed glasses gave away a hint of his true nature. But they weren’t an affectation. Garrett was an electrical engineer with an IQ higher than 150. Since he worked for her brother, he was most definitely a geek.
And she wasn’t going there again. Ever.
“Thank you, Garrett.” She infused as much warmth as she could into her voice. “I really appreciate—”
The voice behind her was familiar, and she took a second to compose her expression back into the bland mask she usually wore for these functions. She’d let it slip while she’d been dealing with Philip.
Turning, her lips curved in a smile—that arrested as soon as she caught a glimpse of the men standing behind her. She knew one. The other was a stranger.
Struggling to keep her pleasant smile, she knew it might be a losing proposition if she had to maintain it for long.
“Tristan. How are you?”
“I’m good. It’s nice to see you, Kat. How have you been?”
She nodded. “I’ve been fine. And you?”
“Busy.” The word came out clipped and tight, as if he didn’t want to waste time on small talk. Which was strange because they’d never shared anything other than small talk.
Truthfully, she tried to avoid even that with Tristan. He made her uncomfortable.
Before she could say something equally short before trying to make her escape, he turned to the man by his side. “Kat, I’d like you to meet Adam Oleksy. Adam is my business partner.”
“Kat. It’s nice to meet you.”
She took the coldly handsome man’s outstretched hand but released it as quickly as possible. If Tristan made her uncomfortable, this man made her want to run in the other direction.
And a very small part of her wanted them to chase her.
She forced herself to hold her ground and hold that smile.
In direct contrast to his brother, Philip, Tristan Donovan was the perfect example of tall, dark, and handsome. He stood at least two inches over six foot, his looks deceivingly bland until he smiled. Then he turned into a heartbreaker with a killer grin and deep green eyes. His dark hair was cut short but not as short as she remembered it being when he’d been in the service.
He was two years older than her, which made him ten years younger than his brother. Who elicited the complete opposite reaction from her.
Philip repulsed her. Tristan…didn’t.