Chris Summers needs to get back to work to save his own sanity. He’d do anything to still the deep remorse rooted in the incident that led to his disability. When an old school friend lures him to Rome with an offer to get involved in his sister’s project as the professional photographer, Chris can’t say no.
Julia Carlevaro swore off men—and some other addictive substances—five years ago. An ivory trafficking disaster at her family’s East Africa lodges almost destroyed their conservation reputation, and it’s up to Julia to re-launch their lodges with a stunning photo book. Failure is not an option: for nearly five years she’s been clean, now she needs to prove she deserves her place in the family business. Once on location in East Africa, Chris and Julia work long hours together to meet her looming deadline. But Julia is perturbed, as not only does Chris seem to see everything, especially what she wants to hide most, but the attraction between them is palpable, weakening her no-men resolve.
As the noose of desire tightens, Julia struggles to keep her own promises. She hides the secret of her addiction and everything it entailed, as she knows it will tear her and Chris apart. After a shooting accident that leaves Chris unhinged, he confides in Julia about the true nature of the incident that led to his disability. His cards are on the table, and she will need to show hers, or let go of her one chance for love.
Chris lifted Julia’s chin to bring her closer, their lips magnetizing by their own volition. Hers were soft and opened for him in a sensual invitation as he kissed her. Desire raced through his body, demanding more as he explored her mouth with his tongue, inching tenderly deeper as she settled against him.
Her soft moans and fingers in his hair drew him back to unwanted reality. He broke away from her mouth to anchor his forehead against hers.
He’d never intended to kiss her. Not after her revelation.
She drew herself up to him, her softness pressed against his telltale arousal. Dropping his head back he took a deep breath, hating himself for losing control like that.
She was an addict.
She was addictive.
Chris opened his eyes and hardened his resolve. He took her by the shoulders and pushed her to arm’s length. Her eyes flew open and he stared at her, shaking his head. “I won’t get involved, I can’t.”
He’d never hated life more than in that moment. “I’ve seen… I’ve lived this life already, Jules. It’s not only the addict who suffers. The loved ones suffer equally if not more. Without taking the drug once.” He took a deep breath. “Let’s not mess with each other like this, okay?”
He didn’t wait for her answer. Instead, he let go and turned to limp through the few meters of water. Grabbing his cane, he stalked off, not looking back.