The Escort (Shamed #3)
by Laura Marie Altom
In Laura Marie Altom’s scorching new Shamed novel, perfect for fans of J. Kenner and Tracy Wolff, a broken heart pushes a rugged loner to the breaking point—until a not-so-innocent affair changes everything.
When the woman he loves marries billionaire Liam Stone, Nathan Black swears off dating and playing by the rules. He’s also tired of being broke. His new gig as a male escort isn’t exactly legal, but the cash will help him build a solid future. Then there’s Carol Moore, Liam’s personal assistant. She and Nathan always seem to get paired up at Stone family functions—and always seem to end up in bed together. She’s definitely intriguing. But how could a good girl like Carol settle down with a screw-up like Nathan?
After Carol’s dreamy boss gets hitched, crushing any chance of them getting back together, she finds herself hooking up with the bride’s best friend. Nathan is hot, adventurous, and just a little bit dangerous. But when one of their sexy games goes too far, Carol discovers how out of control Nathan’s life really is. And before long Carol is forced to choose between her safe old life and the bad boy who makes her feel like the woman she’s meant to be.
“You’re welcome.” I ignored the pang of guilt stemming from when I’d earlier dredged my middle finger through the backside of his cake. Annabelle Hargrove was the wedding planner. She’d crap pearls to hear Liam call her Annie. But then for what this wedding cost, she might not object too terribly much.
“She looks beautiful, doesn’t she?” He nodded to Ella, who laughed while dancing with Liam’s best friend’s youngest, five-year-old Darcy. Ella and the little girl shared a special bond since weathering the ordeal that had finally severed Ella’s ties to her psycho ex.
“Radiant.” Ella did look especially beautiful in the candlelight. The crystals on her custom Vera Wang shimmered with her every turn.
Liam’s wedding surprise—as if he hadn’t already given her enough—was a post-dinner acoustic set by the Dave Matthews Band. I wanted to hate Liam’s new bride—I really did—but when she dashed straight from the dance floor to give me a hug, I returned the gesture and meant it. She’d been through so much, and deserved her happiness.
“I can’t imagine how you pulled this off,” Ella said. “Liam, you’d better give Carol a raise or you’ll lose her when she opens her own wedding planning shop.”
“That’s not a half-bad idea,” I teased, wishing I were brave enough to leave Liam, yet knowing I never would.
“Done.” Liam grinned at me before slipping his arm around his wife, pulling her close for a kiss I felt in my gut. “Before meeting you, I didn’t know it was possible to love this much.”
“I feel the same about you,” Ella said softly, as if the two of them were the only ones in the tent. In the whole world. When they melted into another heated kiss, I discreetly backed away, helping myself to more cake and Dom.
Darcy had plopped onto the sand with her seven-year-old twin sisters, who built a castle from champagne-dampened sand. I suppose I should have stopped them, but why? At least their antics were entertaining. Yvonne—Ella’s former boss at the Sausalito Christmas store—danced with her husband, Peter. They looked every bit as in love as the newlyweds.
Owen and Natalie looked just as cozy.
Damn Nathan for leaving.
If he were here, I’d do him all over again. Only I guess technically, he mostly did me—not that I was complaining. The guy was shockingly well hung. I closed my eyes and for an instant, still felt him inside. He’s a good guy—far too good to be wasting himself pining for Ella. I didn’t know much about him, other than that as far as friends go, he was loyal to a fault.
Maybe I should give him a call sometime?
We didn’t have much in common, but who needed anything but great sex?
My gold lamé cocktail clutch buzzed, meaning my cell was ringing. For a second, I got excited. Nathan? But then I remembered he’d left before we could even exchange numbers—assuming he would even have wanted to.
I glanced at the Caller ID. Mom.
I gulped the remainder of my bubbly, then declined the call. My heart had already suffered enough for one night. I couldn’t take any more.
Laura Marie Altom is the author of more than forty books in three different genres. Now that her kids are in college, Altom spends her days writing and chasing after a menagerie of pets: a mini long-haired dachshund named Cocoa, a Yorkie named Daisy, a mutt named Sweet Pea, and Domino—a black-and-white stealth cat she rarely sees. She’s happily married to her college sweetheart (go Hogs!), and when night falls, she steals a few romantic moments for herself with her own hunky cover stud.
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