Play by the rules and you’ll never get what you deserve.
Tyler Golden is all about control. It’s an attitude that helped him and his brother build Haven, a boutique hotel in Philadelphia. The only thing Tyler couldn’t control was his fiancée’s death. It left him emotionally guarded, and willing to go only so far with women: satisfying his sexual needs.
Kate Song knows the feeling. Her sole focus is her dream to be a lingerie designer. She’s not about to be distracted by any man. No matter who he is. Or how demanding. Or forceful. Or captivatingly sexy. Or so she thought.
Tyler has the power to make her dream come true. Who can say no to such a dominating personality? Who would want to? Not Kate. Offering her body for submission is one thing. But giving her heart and soul is another. Now Tyler may discover that the one woman who taught him to love again is the one woman he might not be able to keep.
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Tyler Golden stopped just outside the Adamstown antiques store where his brother, Jared, planned to make a very public display of intention.
His grandmother, Beatrice, and Jed had already entered the building.
Through the front window, Tyler saw store owner, Annabelle Elder, the woman Jed could no longer live without.
She moved through the crowd, her bright red hair flashing under the lights. Annabelle had a wide smile to go along with her vibrant hair and vivid green eyes and a sweet nature that eased Jed’s harder edges. When she laughed, everyone in her vicinity was drawn to her.
Everyone except Tyler.
His attention had latched on to the woman at Annabelle’s side.
Kate Song, Annabelle’s best friend. Her long, dark hair accentuated the paleness of her skin. Her huge, dark eyes and exotic features blended into a beauty that had tugged at Tyler’s libido since the moment he’d seen her.
The first woman to do so since his fiancée.
It’d been almost two years since Mia had died and, of course, the first woman Tyler had been attracted to had turned out to be engaged.
Apparently, his luck hadn’t changed much.
A cold breeze slid by him as the women moved into another room, out of sight. Tyler decided it was past time to join his family and pushed through the front door.
Once inside, he stopped for a quick look around.
The shop looked clean, open, elegant. Not a dusty and disorganized jumble like a stereotypical antiques store.
People stood in small groups everywhere . . . talking, laughing, having a good time. No one he recognized, but that was probably because he wasn’t an art person like Jed.
Annabelle was celebrating the opening of her very own art gallery featuring the work of her late father, a world-famous artist whose murder, along with that of Annabelle’s mother and the man she considered her second father, had created a worldwide scandal several years ago.
Annabelle was finally taking back her birthright and her name as Peter O’Malley’s daughter.
Tyler wished her all the best, and he’d make damn sure she and Jed had the time and the privacy they needed to make their relationship work. If it meant he had to call in some favors from a few well-placed friends, he wouldn’t hesitate.
He could be ruthless when it came to his family.
Though he hadn’t been able to do a damn thing to help Mia. And she hadn’t—
Pushing that thought out of his mind, he made his way through the crowd to his grandmother and brother, just as Annabelle spotted them from the front of the gallery, where she was welcoming the guests.
“I have one more person I’d like to thank,” she said. “Without him, I don’t think I’d be in this position. Ladies and gentlemen, Jared Golden was the catalyst for tonight’s event. He provided me with the final piece to my father’s Passion series. Thank you, Jared, and thank you all for coming tonight.”
Annabelle turned to Kate, still at her side, and the women exchanged a few words, their gazes darting toward Jed before Kate’s slid to him. And held.
His grandmother said something he didn’t hear, but Jed and Beatrice moved forward and Tyler followed along, his gaze never leaving Kate’s.
Annabelle stepped in front of them and Tyler forced himself to focus on her.
She wore a smile so bright, he couldn’t help but return it.
“Mrs. Golden.” Annabelle reached for his grandmother’s hand. “I’m so glad you could come.”
“I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, Annabelle. Your shop is beautiful, and the gallery is amazing.”
Their conversation continued but Tyler couldn’t follow. His attention had shifted back to Kate.
She looked stunning, covered from neck to ankles in champagne-colored silk. Tyler would’ve never thought a dress that completely covered every inch of a woman’s body could be anything other than concealing.
This one . . .
Hell, this dress conformed to every curve, no matter how slight, and accentuated her femininity to an exponential level.
He wanted to run his hands over the shiny material. Wondered if she was wearing anything under the dress, because he couldn’t see any lines. And he was looking damn hard.
His temperature began to rise and he knew it wasn’t because the gallery was full of people. It was Kate.
Suddenly, Kate stepped up beside Belle and held out her hand, palm up.
“But the set shouldn’t be parted,” Annabelle said.
Set? What set?
His grandmother gasped and he turned to see her expression break into an amazed smile. “Oh, Annabelle, you found the ring.”
Ah. The missing piece of his grandmother’s stolen jewelry. Annabelle had worn the pin, stolen from his grandmother decades ago and lost for years until Annabelle’s late grandfather had bought it at a yard sale, to Haven's New Year’s Eve party.
Jed, the idiot, had nearly lost Annabelle when she’d overheard him telling Tyler about the piece. She’d thrown it at him in anger the morning after the party, and it’d taken Jed days to find her.
“Actually, Kate did,” Annabelle continued. “She picked it up at one of the stands at Renninger’s Flea Market. If you hadn’t shown up tonight, I would have contacted you tomorrow.”
Beatrice’s smile couldn’t be contained. “Well, now, I’m absolutely stunned.” She turned to Kate with a smile Tyler had learned to be wary of. “Kate, why don’t you give that to Tyler? He’ll hold on to it for me. Won’t you, sweetheart?”
Since he never refused his grandmother anything, he nodded and dutifuly held out his hand. “Of course, Nana.”
Their gazes locked as Kate stepped closer. She placed the ring in the center of his palm, her fingertips brushing against his skin for a brief second before she pulled back.
He forced his hand to remain open when all he wanted was to grab her and pull her against him.
From the corner of his eye, he saw Jed and Annabelle exchange soft words and a kiss.
Good for Jed.
Tyler fought the urge to do the same to Kate.
His hand clenched around the ring and he nodded, not trusting himself to speak. Not sure his voice wouldn’t betray his simmering desire for this woman.
Because somewhere in this crowd, he was pretty sure he’d find her fiancé.