Savannah Gentry, now Savi Baker, escaped the torture and degradation forced upon her by a sadistic father for eleven years and has made a safe life for herself and her daughter. When her father threatens her peace of mind—and her daughter’s safety—Savi runs to Damián Orlando for protection. Their one day together eight years earlier changed both their lives and resulted in a secret she can no longer hide. But being with Damián reawakens feelings she wants buried—and stirs up an onslaught of disturbing flashbacks that leave her shaken to the core with little hope of ever being a sexual being again.
Damián has his own dragons to fight, but has never forgotten the one perfect day he spent with Savannah in a cave at the beach. He will go to the ends of the earth to protect Savi and her daughter, but can never be the whole man she deserves after a firefight in Iraq. Besides, the trauma of war and resulting PTSD has led him to find his place as the Masters at Arms Club’s favorite sadist. Savi needs someone gentle and loving, not the broken man he has become. But he sees that the lifestyle he’s come to embrace also can help Savi regain control of her life and sexuality. How can he not help redirect her negative thoughts and actions if she needs him?
If you haven’t been following the tour thus far, go back and start at the beginning. For those of you that have followed, here is part 3 of the wonderful excerpts!! (Unedited)
“Who said anything about leaving? He’ll come over here if I ask him.”
“No. The fewer people who know I’m here, the better.”
“Who are you running from, Savannah?”
A spark of anger flashed through her at his use of that name. “I told you not to call me that.”
He grinned. “I liked your hair better blonde. Why did you change it?”
She hadn’t been a blonde in seven years. “None of your business.”
He leaned toward her and she tried not to let him intimidate her, but he did. “Hey, chica, you just showed up on my doorstep out of nowhere, beaten up and on the run. You’re the one who asked me for help, so don’t go getting all defensive. I’m just trying to figure out what the hell’s going on.”
When she didn’t respond, he sat back and took a longer draw on his beer, draining it, then lowered the empty bottle to his crotch. She averted her attention from that part of his anatomy, reaching up to twirl her hair. A wave of discomfort crashed against her. She hadn’t been alone in a room with a man in a very long time.
“I felt safer changing my appearance.”
Her hand froze on the curl as her heart thudded against her chest, robbing her of even more oxygen. Did he know? She looked up at him again, studying his face for some time. “What about him?”
“Is he the one who roughed you up and sent you running?”
He didn’t know. She relaxed into the sofa and took another swig of the soda, buying time as she tried to will her heartbeat to slow down. “No. He’s been out of my…out of the picture from day one.” She’d tried to find Damián when she’d gotten strong enough to function after Mari’s birth, but hadn’t been able to find him.
“Let me see where you’re hurt.”
She refused to make eye contact. “No. I’m fine.”
“Bullshit, chica.” When she looked up at him again, he held her gaze. “Your choice—me or my friend? Which will it be?”
Anger ripped through her again. She hadn’t come all this way to have him expose her to her father’s hound dogs by leaving a paper trail, which is what would happen if he involved medical personnel. She glared at him for a moment, but he refused to back down. Leaning forward, wincing at the shortness of breath before she caught herself again and masked her features, she laid the soda can on top of a magazine on the coffee table.
She sat back against the sofa. “It’s nothing. Really. Just a bruise.”
“I’ll be the judge of that. I have some…expertise with bruising. Remove your jacket.”
She continued to wage a silent battle of wills with him, but after a few moments decided they needed to get beyond this or she’d never get him to help them. She raised a shaking hand to loosen the belt of her jacket, then tried to control the shaking in her hands as she reached up to undo the top button.
“I haven’t ever hurt you, Savannah. Have I?”
Why did he keep calling her that? Savi remembered those first months when she’d fantasized about Damián coming to rescue her. And later fantasies of his being a daddy to Mari. Before she’d shut down emotionally. Still, she’d always hoped he would try to find her. He’d broken her heart by not doing so.
Don’t be ridiculous, Savi. He wouldn’t have come looking for you. He’d have looked for Savannah Gentry. And she was dead.
Choosing not to answer the question, she finished unbuttoning the jacket and peeled it off, then leaned against the back of the sofa and pulled the tail of her shirt loose from her slacks. His gaze went to her abdomen and she saw a flash of rage cross his face as his mouth tightened.
His words sounded angry and fear clawed at her throat again. She wouldn’t let herself be placed in such a vulnerable position with him. “No.” She took a deep breath and stood up, wincing as the movement robbed her of breath. “I’d rather stand.”
He stood as well and leaned closer to her, reaching out his hand. She gasped even before he touched her. When he gingerly touched the bruised area on her left ribcage, below her breast, she held her breath and tried not to move. After a moment he pulled away.
“I need to ask Doc what to do.”
Didn’t doctors have to make reports of violent acts to the authorities? She couldn’t risk seeing a doctor. But he didn’t wait for her to express an opinion as he pulled out his phone and pressed a button. After a moment, someone answered.
“Sorry to wake you, man, but I need your help.” He paused and glanced at Savi. “A friend of mine has been in…some kind of fight and she has some bruising over her ribs.” He seemed exasperated by the other person’s response and wondered what he’d said. “Man, this is serious. It’s not from impact play.”
How could violent impacts against someone’s body be considered play?
“She’s been punched by a fist, it looks like. Under her breast. Where the ribs are. The bruises are still dark in color. Happened at least two days ago.” He looked to her for confirmation and she nodded and held up two fingers. The man apparently did know his bruising. How did someone who wasn’t in the medical field become an expert on bruising?
He listened a moment, then shook his head. “Can’t do that.”
“What’s plan B? What can I do?” Once more, he listened. Savi could hear a garbled voice coming through the phone, but couldn’t make out the words. After a long while, he said “Hold on” and lowered the phone to the coffee table. Damián looked at her. “Take some deep breaths. Really fill your lungs.”
Lost in his gaze, she did as he told her, then caught her breath and winced again. She’d forgotten to be careful how she breathed. He picked up the phone again and said, “Might be a problem with her breathing, Doc.”
Refusing to appear injured, Savi stood taller. “No, there isn’t. I’m fine.”
Damián glared at her until she heard the voice coming through the phone again.
“Shoot.” He listened to his friend’s instructions. “I didn’t take anatomy, Doc.”
What had he asked? Damián’s gaze went to her breasts and she grew uncomfortable. Don’t look at me like I’m a dirty slut. She’d endured the unwanted stares and touches of more men than she could count during the year before she’d escaped her father’s house.
“Be right back.” Damián laid the phone on the coffee table and moved closer to Savi, and she fought the impulse to turn and run. “I need to check for a broken rib. Just try and relax.”
Now she did take a step back. No effing way.
“Hold still, querida.” He maintained eye contact with her, but rather than calm her, she was overwhelmed with the need to escape; to go to her safe place.
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