At least, that’s what she’s convinced herself of, until the moment she sees him again. It’s not the one-time “run-in” she was expecting, and therefore prepared to handle.
Instead, it’s an announcement she never saw coming…he’s the tour guide.
She’s got no backup plan for that.
Kingston knew what it meant the moment Echo accepted the offer. And when he lays eyes on her, standing in his childhood home, her fate is sealed forever. There’s not a damn thing that will stop him from finally claiming what’s always been his.
Not everyone gets a second chance—and Kingston Hawthorne sure as hell isn’t going to let his slip away.
Luckily, our attention is suddenly pulled to the front of the room. Gerard holds a microphone, greeting everyone and explaining how we’ll spend the next two days exploring London and Bath before traveling to our next stop.
“We have a brilliant tour guide, who will be with you along every step of this journey. Any issues that arise, or questions you may have, should be directed his way.” Gerard turns toward the opening doors. “Please say hello to my son, Kingston Hawthorne.”
Of course his name is announced at the precise moment I take a drink. I’m not exactly shocked to see him step into the room, but I’m certainly startled.
And accordingly, I do the worst thing possible—spray a mouthful of cider onto the back of Bridget’s blouse.
“Oh my God!” She whips around, glaring at me. “Did you…?”
“I’m so, so sorry,” I mutter, wiping my mouth like the uncivilized country girl I now very much feel I am.
It’s not until I’m handing my glass off to a passing waiter that I realize the room is not only deadly silent, but all eyes are on me—including a steely gray pair that still penetrate directly into my very center.
The longer our gazes mingle, the more Kingston must sense my unease, as he chooses that moment to break our connection and regain everyone’s attention by announcing dinner is being served in another room.
I use the distraction to make my escape—where to, I don’t know, but I do know I’m suddenly in desperate need of some fresh air.
“Echo!” I hear him calling after me the moment I hit the foyer, stopping my body cold. I can’t think past the thunderous pounding of my heart.
And then I feel him at my back, his breath ghosting across my skin.
“You must be hungry. Come eat, Love.”
It’s that simple word, a term of endearment that’s anything but simple when it’s him saying it to me, that’s my undoing.
I spin around to face him and take a deliberate step back.
“Don’t call me that. Do not ever call me that again.”
I pivot again, not willing to give up my quest for the freedom of outside, when he grabs both my arms.
“It’s raining out. Please, come to dinner.”
“I’m not hungry.” I can’t look at him, a new anger unleashing within me. Why is he bothering to talk to me after all this time? I’d almost convinced myself he’d forgotten my name.
“As you wish. Shall I have someone show you where you’re staying tonight, then?”
He starts to walk away, then stops and adds, “I won’t be far…if you need anything.”
S.E.Hall, lover of all things anticipation and romance, is the author of The Evolve Series: Emerge, Embrace, Entangled, Entice, Endure and companion novellas Baby Mama Drama and Guide for Tools Looking to Date My Daughter by character Sawyer Beckett. S.E. also wrote the stand-alone Finally Found novels Pretty Instinct and Pretty Remedy. Her co-written works include The Provocative Professions Collection: Stirred Up, Packaged and Handled 1&2, One Naughty Night and full-length, standalone novel Matched with Angela Graham as well as Conspire, a romantic suspense, written with Erin Noelle.
S.E. resides in Arkansas with her husband of 18 years and 3 daughters of the home. When not writing or reading, she can be found “enthusiastically cheering” on one of her girls’ softball games.
In 2012 she knew she found her calling in the world of fiction the moment she began pounding away at the keys for her first short story. With a baby on her shoulder, she wrote about a year before deciding to try her hand at a novel. It was the best decision she ever made and one that changed her life in ways she never imagined.
Together with S.E. Hall, she has released five novels and one short story together.
Angela resides in Northwest Arkansas with her three beautiful children and a rowdy dog.