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Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library 1 FIC MUL Adult Fiction Book
Fillmore - Wide Awake Club Library 1 ADPBKFIC New books

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NOWHERE TO RUN. NOWHERE TO HIDE.Fleeing her dark past, Tasya Flynn desperately breaks into a mansion -- and is caught red-handed by its owner, legendary millionaire and cat burglar Ian MacPherson. Fiercely intelligent and strangely attractive, he has been a recluse ever since his partner-in-crime betrayed him, but he is still a man to be reckoned with. Tasya expects him to call the police; instead he offers to mold her into a world-class jewel thief. After all, she needs a refuge and he needs someone to help him retrieve the priceless stone his former partner double-crossed him to obtain. But when the heist goes awry, Tasya discovers the mystery of the stone and embarks upon a perilous and passionate journey. For Ian is on a deadly quest for revenge, and it's up to Tasya to save him froma tragic fate...if she can.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Betrayed by his old apprentice, and rendered wheelchair-bound for 30 years, former cat-burglar Ian MacPherson is ready to take his own life when fate sends young Tasya Flynn into his world--and into his heart. Tasya, also wounded inside and out, suspects Ian's motives for helping her, but she soon grows to trust and even love him, and she is willing to help him on one last caper for revenge on the man who crippled him. But the key to the job, a mysterious red tourmaline called Milagre, turns out to be more than they bargained for, and is, in fact, nothing less than the key to their past and their future. Mulvany turns in a unique and captivating tale, a work of romantic suspense laced with paranormal elements and anchored by an unconventional hero and an action-oriented heroine. Readers who enjoy books that veer off the beaten path will enjoy this one, and its cross-genre appeal should entice readers who like romance, suspense, and a bit of magic. --Nina Davis Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Right before Tasya Flynn breaks into ex-cat burglar and millionaire Ian MacPherson's California mansion, he comes close to ending his own life out of a sense of hopelessness in Mulvany's (Aquamarine, etc.) unwieldy tale of romantic suspense. But Ian sees in Tasya, who clearly possesses latent talent for capers, a chance to take revenge on Alex Farrell, who left him for dead during their theft 30 years earlier of the Brazilian Milagre, "an enormous tourmaline, half again the size of a man's fist and a rich ruby red." Though Ian is a generation older than Tasya and, thanks to Alex, is confined to a wheelchair, they fight a growing attraction. Ian trains Tasya to exact his revenge and slowly learns of her horrific past with an abusive lover named Richard, whom she murdered to escape or so she thinks. When Tasya learns that she can use Milagre for time travel (Milagre means "miracle" in Portuguese), she goes back to the time of the original theft and ends up falling in love with Ian's younger self even more deeply than with the present-day Ian. Happily-ever-after 30 years in the past may seem strange, but it's no more bizarre than the rest of this roller-coaster of a novel, which suffers from a surfeit of magic and mayhem. Agent, Meredith Bernstein. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Chapter 1 April 2004 Half Moon Bay, California Ian MacPherson sat hunched in his wheelchair with a Colt Python .357 shoved in his mouth. Blowing his brains out would take care of his problems, but leaving Paulinho to deal with the resulting mess hardly seemed sporting. His ex-cellmate barely spoke English. On the other hand, what did he have to live for besides revenge? A revenge that shimmered like a distant mirage forever beyond his grasp. The kitchen lay deep in shadow, the only illumination a pale swath of moonlight admitted by the window over the sink and the eerie green glow of the digital clock on the microwave. Two-thirty-seven. How very appropriate, he thought in sour amusement, dying in the dead of the night. His finger tightened on the trigger. The creak of the dog door distracted him. Not a particularly alarming noise...unless, of course, one didn't own a dog. He leveled the pistol at the plastic flap. Thin and agile, a young woman squeezed through the narrow aperture, a penlight clenched between her teeth. He waited until she was all the way in, then said, "Burglary's against the law." She gasped and dropped the light. It spun across the kitchen tiles, throwing weird, flickering shadows into every corner of the room, briefly illuminating in turn the cupboards, the appliances, the butcher block, and finally Ian with his revolver. "Don't shoot." She got to her feet, extending her hands in surrender. "Why not? It's what one does to intruders." He flipped on the overhead light, and she blinked in the sudden glare. With her odd monochrome coloring -- skin and hair almost the same shade of pale honey beige -- she reminded him of an old sepia print. Portrait of a waif. He wondered if the effect was calculated. "All I was looking for was something to eat." She met his gaze, and her eyes captured his attention. Unusual eyes, a pale silvery gray ringed in black. Even more unusual, the expression in their depths -- neither fright nor defiance, just a sad resignation, a sterile lifelessness. Abused, he thought. She looked like someone who'd endured so much in the past that she was prepared now to suffer quite stoically whatever new horror presented itself. Even a crazy, gun-toting, gray-bearded cripple. "Hunger seems an unlikely motive for breaking and entering." "Are you going to call the police?" He studied her a moment in silence. "When did you last eat?" "A truck driver bought me dinner yesterday. I didn't stick around for breakfast." She shifted her gaze to the toes of her ragged sneakers. "I don't have any money, but I can pay you for the food the same way I paid the trucker." "You'd barter your body for a crust of bread?" Her soulless eyes locked on his. "And count it a fair trade." Bitterness welled up, all but choking him. "Your sacrifice won't be necessary." He glanced down at his ruined body. "My injuries preclude it. I have minimal sensation below the waist." He was used to pitying looks and polite murmurs of, "I'm sorry." But the dead-eyed girl drew a deep breath, then released it in a ragged sigh. "Some people have all the luck." Tasya huddled naked in the dark. Richard would be coming soon. He saved his nastiest games for the hours between dusk and dawn. Though she had no clock, she knew it was late. Like a threat, darkness pressed against the barred window high up on the cellar wall. The color of midnight. Every instinct urged her to run, but there was nowhere to go. Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. If only I could die, she thought. Just curl up and die, leave her body behind, go to a place where Richard couldn't follow. But he would never permit it. He enjoyed torturing her, but he was careful not to inflict life-threatening injuries. He liked her to fight, to scream, to beg, and dead women did none of those things. Suddenly the fluorescents buzzed on overhead, flooding her prison with a harsh glare. He was coming. Oh, God, he was coming. The lock clicked, and the door at the top of the stairs swung open. She didn't want to look, tried not to, but she couldn't help herself. His gaze met hers. He stared at her for an endless minute, then smiled, his eyes bright with anticipation. And she knew it was going to be bad. Tasya awoke with a start, shuddering at the memory of the joyous malevolence in Richard's blue eyes. He can't hurt me, she told herself over and over in what had become her own personal mantra. He can't hurt me anymore. Slowly the nightmare faded and her surroundings registered. She lay tangled in the sheets of an antique four-poster, the sort of bed normally found in the pages of glossy magazines. Oh, God. Another of Richard's games? She shoved herself upright, panicking, her heart beating frantically. But no. Richard couldn't hurt her anymore. She was alone now. Alone and safe for the moment. Only...alone where? Disjointed memories of the night before teased her mind. She frowned, forcing her brain to sort through her impressions. She'd thought at first the old man intended to shoot her. Instead, he'd fed her hunks of crusty bread and something he called feijoada, a filling dish of garlic-flavored black beans and meat, ladled over rice. She'd eaten one big plateful and half of a second, the only sounds in the room the click of her fork against the blue-and-white stoneware and the soft creaking of the wheelchair as the old man moved about the kitchen. She'd gobbled her food, afraid he would realize his mistake any minute and call the police. But he hadn't, and when she'd eaten all she could hold, he'd shown her to this sumptuous room, a room she'd been too tired to explore last night. She slipped out of bed to rectify that oversight. An enormous mural of Venus rising from the sea foam, so cleverly painted that it might have been the work of Botticelli himself, covered the wall beside the bed from polished wooden floor to beamed cathedral ceiling. Centered on the opposite wall, long, shuttered casement windows leaked buttery sunlight, striping the brown leather club chair that sat in front of them. Flanking the chair were a brass floor lamp and a flat-topped trunk piled high with books and magazines -- Time, National Geographic, The New Yorker. A postcard marked someone's place in one of the books. L.A. Requiem by Robert Crais. A second Crais book, a Harlan Coben, and a Tony Hillerman constituted the rest of the collection. All hardbacks. All mysteries. The old man's choice of reading matter? Or someone else's? Whose room was this? Whose bed? She frowned at the rumpled covers of the four-poster. The old man had claimed sex was out of the question, but he could have been lying. In her experience, that was what men did best. But she had to admit, she'd done her share of lying. Last night she'd claimed she'd broken in to look for food. In truth she'd planned to rob the old man. Still planned to rob him. She needed cash, and from the looks of this place, he wouldn't miss it. A smudge on the sheet caught her eye. She'd slept in her clothes, too exhausted the night before to undress. Now she realized with embarrassment that her filthy clothing had soiled the bedding. Surely one of the room's three doors led to a bathroom. At random she tried the door to the left of the armoire, but it opened into a walk-in closet larger than the living room of the Idaho farmhouse where she'd spent the first fifteen years of her life. The closet was full of clothes, men's clothes. And the lightweight collapsible wheelchair parked against the back wall confirmed her earlier suspicions. This was the old man's room. A headache throbbed at her temples. Nausea churned her stomach. Had she escaped one exploitative male only to have been captured by another? Luck was with her on her second try. The door opened into a spacious bathroom equipped with both a whirlpool tub and a tiled shower enclosure. Tasya opted for the shower. She dropped her soiled clothing in a pile, adjusted the water temperature, and stepped under the pounding spray. She scrubbed herself, then stood there, eyes shut, body relaxed, as the grime sluiced away. She reveled in the luxury of herbal soap, the balm of warm water cascading over her battered body, even though she knew cleanliness was an illusion. Once you'd wallowed in filth the way she had, the dirt worked its way down to the bones, where soap and water couldn't touch it. Only after the water grew tepid did she turn off the faucets and step out of the shower. She dried herself on one of the thick blue towels that hung from the heated towel rack, wishing she had a change of clothing. Instead she'd have to dress again in the same dirty clothes she'd filched from the Salvation Army four days ago in Carson City, Nevada. If she could find her dirty clothes, that was. She wrapped herself in the towel, frowning at the spot where she'd dropped her things. Either they'd evaporated or someone had taken them. Payback time already? Cynically, she speculated about the old man's intentions. Normal sex was out of the question if what he'd told her was true, but she knew firsthand about the other ways a man could use a woman to pleasure himself. Angry now, she shoved the bedroom door open, then stopped dead just inside the room. She'd expected to find him waiting for her in bed, but the room was empty. Someone -- presumably the same someone who'd taken her clothes -- had been here, though. The bed had been made, the room tidied. In the doorway behind her, someone cleared his throat. Startled, she spun around, tightening her grip on the towel. "Who are you?" An ebony giant examined her, his impassive gaze flicking up and down her body. He grunted, sounding so much like the Charolais bulls her dad had raised that she almost smiled, would have smiled if she hadn't felt so vulnerable and he hadn't looked so intimidating. "Who are you?" she repeated, but instead of answering, he turned and bellowed something incomprehensible down the hall. Tasya didn't recognize the language. Neither French nor Spanish, though with elements of both. "Quiet," the old man said from somewhere beyond Tasya's line of sight. "The girl needs her rest." Another torrent of impassioned speech erupted from the giant. "No wonder," the old man said, "with you carrying on like a demented idiot." He wheeled his chair into the doorway and nodded at Tasya. "You're up early. Did you sleep well?" "Well enough, thank you, though I seem to have misplaced my clothes." "Ah, yes." The old man held a low-voiced consultation with the giant, then turned to her. "Paulinho put your things in the washer. They'll be ready in an hour or so. In the meantime, feel free to borrow something." He gestured toward the closet door, then spoke again to Paulinho. The giant shot a glare in her direction, grunted, then moved off down the hall, grumbling under his breath. A sardonic smile tilted the corners of the old man's mouth. Though his face was lined, his hair graying, he had the saturnine good looks of a fallen angel. With his piercing dark eyes and devilish black eyebrows, he'd have broken a few hearts in his day. "Join me for breakfast on the deck when you're dressed." He delivered the invitation in a rich baritone, deep and resonant, another reminder of the man he'd once been. "I'd like that," she said, meaning breakfast. She wasn't so sure about the company. "Did you see the bruises on her arms and shoulders?" Paulinho said in Portuguese. "Yes, and the ligature marks on her wrists and ankles," Ian answered in the same language. "And her neck. Did you notice? Someone tried to throttle her. The girl is trouble." Paulinho tied an apron over his khakis. "The girl is in trouble," Ian said. "I think we both can relate to that." A muscle twitched in Paulinho's cheek as he stood at the sink, scrubbing his hands. "You know nothing about her, Senhor Ian. She might be a thief, a murderer even." "A thief like me? A murderer like you?" Ian laughed. "Besides, the bruises were on her neck." "Humph." Paulinho dried his hands on a blue-checked towel and began preparing breakfast. "She's been abused. I knew that. I saw it in her eyes." "And did it not occur to you that there are women -- whores -- who let men do these things to them in exchange for money?" Paulinho slapped a side of bacon on the meat board. Wielding a knife with the élan of a surgeon, he cut paper-thin slices. "Does she look like anyone's paid her lately?" "No," Paulinho admitted. He broke eggs into a bowl, poured in some cream, and whisked the mixture to a froth. "But what if she is a runaway? What if the police are after her? If they come looking for her, they may get suspicious, and our papers -- " "Don't worry about our papers. They're the best money can buy. Don't worry about the police, either. I have enough to buy them as well, should it become necessary." He ran his chair over to the window. Redwoods and eucalyptus screened the rooftops of his neighbors down the hill but allowed glimpses of the ocean. "I, too, noticed her eyes, Senhor Ian, and I am telling you, this one has been touched by Exú." "Exú?" Ian shot a skeptical glance at his friend. Paulinho rubbed the gold crucifix that hung around his neck, then crossed himself quickly, oblivious to the irony of using Christian symbols and Catholic rituals to protect himself from a Macumba devil. Ian turned back to his view of the distant ocean. "I'm sixty-one years old. I have no family, no life beyond the constraints of this damned mechanical contraption." He smacked the arm of his chair. "Last night I came close to blowing my head off. This morning instead of grilling bacon and chopping chives, you could have been scrubbing my brains off the wall and trying to explain to the police in your damned poor excuse for English how you had nothing to do with the senhor's death." "You thought of killing yourself?" Paulinho sounded shocked. "But suicide's a mortal sin!" "The strange part is, just as I was about to pull the trigger, the girl squeezed through the dog door I've been threatening to have sealed off for the last six months." "I will fix the latch after breakfast," Paulinho said. "You're missing the point. If the flap had fastened properly, she couldn't have shoved her way in. And if she hadn't shoved her way in, I'd have pulled the trigger. The girl saved my life. In fact, I haven't felt quite so alive in years." Paulinho's spatula clattered on the counter. "So now you want to keep her? This skinny girl someone tried to throttle?" "Keep her?" "For your woman." Paulinho grated cheese with a vengeance. Fine shreds of cheddar flew from his grater like confetti. Ian shook his head. "Are you mad? What good is a woman to me at my age? In my condition?" "There are many roads to pleasure." "Not for that child. You saw her poor dead eyes, Paulinho. She needs help. For once in my life, my motives are entirely altruistic. I assure you, I have no designs on her virtue." "Humph." Paulinho scowled at the pile of shredded cheese. "Don't stand there grunting like a Neanderthal. Speak up." "Very well." Paulinho's troubled gaze met his. "You're fooling yourself, Senhor Ian. She attracts you, with her long limbs and smooth skin, her eyes like silvery mirrors." "She's interesting looking, yes, even beautiful, but -- " "Only a fool trusts a beautiful woman. Who is she? Where did she come from? What does she want? Do you know the answers? No. I pray to God she will not end up destroying you." "Impossible. Alex Farrell already did that." Hatred stirred in the depths of his soul like an oily black sludge. "I'm not a religious man like you, my friend, but I believe that girl was sent as an act of divine intervention. It was not destined that I die last night. Why? The only answer I can come up with is, I have something yet to accomplish. I think the girl was sent to help." Paulinho snorted and dumped the bowl of eggs into an omelet pan. "Help you to an early grave, perhaps." Sunlight gleamed off the big black man's shaved head. Paulinho didn't like her much, Tasya thought, judging by the sullen look he sent her way as she took her place across from the old man at the table on the deck. She couldn't fault his cooking, though. She stuffed herself with bacon and omelet, fresh fruit, and hot buttered rolls, a meal consumed in silence broken only by the rustle of turning pages as the old man read his way through a stack of newspapers. Finally, he set the papers aside and turned to her with an inquiring glance. "More fruit? Some coffee perhaps?" "No, thank you. I couldn't eat another bite." Her smile included Paulinho, standing guard behind the old man's chair. He glowered back at her as if he suspected she'd try any moment now to slit his employer's throat with her butter knife. The old man said something to him she didn't understand, and Paulinho took his scowl into the house. A sparrow balanced on the deck railing as if waiting for crumbs. She broke off a bit of roll and tossed it to him. "What language is it that you and Paulinho speak?" "Portuguese," he said. "I lived in Brazil for many years." He shot her a quick smile, and she caught another glimpse of the charmer he'd been in his youth. "But how rude of me. I never introduced myself last night. I'm Ian MacPherson, also known as Cat." He held out his hand, and they shook across the remains of their breakfast. "Cat?" "A nickname." He leaned back, a wry half smile twisting the corner of his mouth. "My turn to ask a question." "Of course." Wary, but not wanting him to see it, she lowered her gaze to the tablecloth. "What's your name?" She didn't know how much the police had figured out or what they'd released to the press, and Ian MacPherson was obviously a man who stayed abreast of the news. She couldn't chance the truth. "I-Ivana. Smith." "How original." Again that cynical twist of the lips. "My mother was a Russian immigrant, my father American." That part, at least, was true. "And where are they, your parents?" "Dead." Her mother and the man she'd called Dad for the first fifteen years of her life had died in a two-car pileup on Highway 55 south of Horseshoe Bend, Idaho. Only after the funeral had she learned that Joe Flynn wasn't her biological father. She knew nothing about the man who'd provided half of her DNA. "Do you have other family? Friends perhaps?" "No." The sparrow finished the crumb and took flight. Just as she would...once she located her crumb. "You're on the run, aren't you?" Speechless, she stared at him. "From whom? The police?" "They might be looking for me. I don't know for sure." "Is that why you lied about your name? Because you think the police are after you?" "I'm sorry. I can't tell you any more. Thank you again for the food and the bed, but it's time I was on my way." She stood. His fingers closed around her wrist, his grip surprisingly strong. "Don't go. Not yet." She must have made some involuntary sound of protest, because he released her instantly, his voice softening as he added, "Please." Please. She couldn't remember the last time she'd heard that word. She sat down. "I didn't mean to frighten you." Tasya stared at the remains of her breakfast. "You didn't. I don't like being touched, that's all." She took a deep breath. "You've been very kind, but I can't involve you in my problems." "Too late. I am involved." His gaze captured hers. His eyes were so dark a brown, she couldn't distinguish his pupils from his irises, their expression so intense, she couldn't look away. "You don't understand. Getting involved in my troubles would be a mistake. A dangerous mistake." "I've been in and out of trouble all my life." He smiled. "And I rather enjoy danger." She gazed at him helplessly. How to explain without telling him everything? He cocked his head to one side. "If you don't let me help you, what will you do? Where will you go?" "I'm not sure. Maybe L.A." "Stardom. The American dream." A trace of condescension colored his expression. Her cheeks grew warm. "I'm not some pathetic starstruck runaway, deluding herself that she's the next Julia Roberts. I plan to try my luck as a stunt double." His mouth twitched as if he were suppressing a smile. "A profession requiring its own talents." "Talents I have. I trained in gymnastics for eleven years. I have excellent reflexes. I'm fast, flexible, and well coordinated." "Ideal attributes for a stunt double." He was humoring her. Tasya's temper flared. "Watch." She jumped onto the railing and, using it as a balance beam, moved through the elements of an old routine, only slightly hampered by the baggy borrowed sweat pants. She finished with a round-off triple-twist dismount. "Brava!" The condescension had vanished, replaced by genuine enthusiasm and a hint of something that might have been speculation. "You are, indeed, talented." She sat down across the table from him. "Why didn't you call the police last night?" "Let's just say I have a soft spot for thieves." She studied his face. "That's not the only reason." "Do you believe in fate, Ms. Smith?" She frowned. Was he trying to change the subject? "I do," he said. "I believe you were destined to enter my life at a critical moment, as I, perhaps, was destined to enter yours." He paused. "Who hurt you?" The blood drummed in her ears. "I can't tell you that." He inclined his head. "Fair enough. I dare say there are things I'd not wish to share with a stranger, either." She studied the harsh lines of his face. "You seem a decent man. You've treated me kindly, but -- " "You're curious about my motivation. Wondering what I expect in return for my 'kindness'?" She nodded, then looked away, unable to face his dark scrutiny. "Nothing you're unwilling to give. I promise." Men always promised. And they always lied. "Then why did you put me in your room last night? In your bed?" He raised his eyebrows at the accusation underlying her tone. "The guest room beds weren't made up, and you were asleep on your feet." A simple explanation. Possibly even true. She flicked a glance at him. He seemed to find her amusing. "Even were I not...incapacitated, you'd still be safe with me. I'm not a child molester." "And I'm not a child." She stared steadily at him. A shadow passed across his face, a flicker of emotion there and gone so fast she couldn't name it. "Quite so," he said and shifted his gaze to the distant ocean. Quite so? How many Americans talked like that? She crumbled the remnants of her roll as she puzzled it out. A querulous chirp drew her attention to the deck railing. The sparrow was back. She tossed him another crumb, and he pecked at it, studying her all the while with black ball-bearing eyes. "You don't sound American," she said abruptly. He laughed. "I'm a Scot by birth, originally from a village northwest of Inverness. I emigrated in my teens." "A Highlander?" "Aye, lass." His exaggerated accent mocked her. "The MacPhersons belong to Clan Chattan. 'Touch not the cat, but a glove.' Our motto." "'But a glove'?" "Archaic language for 'without a glove.' In other words, watch out. We have claws." "That explains your nickname." He made no comment but smiled again, a charming smile this time that crinkled the corners of his dark eyes and revealed strong white teeth. Tasya broke off eye contact. Condescension, she could handle. Mocking irony, she could handle. But charm set off her internal alarms. "So...how long were you in Brazil?" "Thirty years, more or less." "Thirty years! Doing what?" He laughed again. "Avoiding gang rape, for the most part. Not that I could have felt anything, you understand, but one doesn't care to be used." His careless words stirred the murky depths of her memory. Tasya bit the inside of her lip until she tasted blood. He hadn't noticed her distress. She swallowed hard. "Are men often raped in Brazil?" He tugged at the corner of his mustache, smoothed his neatly trimmed beard. "Only in prison." She shuddered. "How did you end up behind bars?" "I trusted the wrong person." A bitter smile twisted his mouth. "I'd been a thief all my life, so I suppose I deserved incarceration. But I didn't deserve to lose the use of my legs. I didn't deserve this damned wheelchair. Dreams of retribution were all that kept me alive in that pesthole, but I've been free for over six months, and I'm no closer to achieving revenge now than I was the day I got out." He paused. "Then last night fate sent you." "Me?" He'd been staring at some point over her head, but now he focused on her. She wanted to look away but found she couldn't. "If I'm not mistaken, you, too, have been betrayed. So you'll understand how I feel." "Yes," she said, even though it hadn't been a question. He knew. Somehow he knew. "What do you want from me?" He examined her face, a smile hovering around the corners of his mouth. "I'm a cat burglar confined to a wheelchair. I need an assistant, someone young and agile. All those admirable skills of yours -- speed, flexibility, coordination -- make you ideally suited for the job." "I don't mean to insult you, but" -- she felt herself flushing again -- "I'm not sure I want to make a career of thievery." He frowned. "You had no such qualms last night." Oh, God, he knew about that, too. "That was different. I was desperate." "So was I. I'd decided to kill myself. When you interrupted, I believed it was a sign." He smiled. "And when you demonstrated your gymnastics skills just now, I knew it for another. Fate has smiled on me at last." "But -- " "Don't worry. I'm not proposing a crime spree. One caper. That's all you'd be involved in. One payback caper." "Revenge," she said. "Yes. I'd get satisfaction, and you'd get money. A million dollars. No strings attached." A million dollars? "But -- " "Don't say no. Try the training first," he said. "You can back out at any time. No hard feelings. But if you stay the course, you can build a new life with the money you earn." She considered his proposal. Outrageous, yes. Dangerous, without a doubt. But with a million dollars at her disposal, she could do as she pleased and never have to answer to any man again. "A new life," she said, the words sweet on her tongue. A life without Richard. Without fear. She nodded. "All right, I'll try it." "Very well, Ivana Smith, shall we -- " "Don't call me that. You were right. I lied about my name. It's Tasya." "Tasya what?" She hesitated. "Flynn." "A good Irish name." Smiling, he reached across the table to seal their bargain with a handshake. His grip was warm and firm, his expression kind, but Tasya had learned the hard way not to accept anyone at face value. Only time would tell if Ian MacPherson would deliver the salvation he promised...or if she'd just made a pact with the devil. Copyright

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