by Diane Saxon
Atlantic Divide Book Four
Returning to England after eleven years, Cormack Blunt stumbles across the woman who he thought was lost to him forever. The woman he had never forgotten. And he realizes that the sweet young girl he once knew has managed to keep a secret from him.
Zoe Chance can’t believe that the young man she loved eleven years before, now a famous movie star and action hero, has turned up out of the blue and wants answers. Not only that, he wants her son too.
Forced to confront him, she realizes that it isn’t a fight to keep her son that causes the problem but the fight to keep her own heart.
Note: This was originally published by Liquid Silver Books in September 2013. It has been newly edited.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 30, 2013
Publisher: Hartwood Publishing
Trailer, Excerpt & More
Chuckling to herself, she wondered what her clients would think. It would probably bring in even more. Being a vet, she got to see the quirkier side of human nature. Just yesterday a woman brought her eighteen-week-old golden retriever puppy in for the fourth time. She thought he might have hurt himself when he took a flying leap off her back patio steps and seemed to be limping. She was almost as concerned Zoe might think she had Munchausen by proxy as she was about the puppy having an injury. Smiling, Zoe wondered if you would confess to it if you actually had it.
Most of her clients would probably take it in their stride if they thought she was the ex-lover of a Hollywood star. Half her clients wouldn’t know who he was. Being a farmer was hard work with long hours, and her clientele were mainly farmers.
She looked for the biggest trailer, bearing in mind Mac’s size and the inevitable size of his ego, and it crossed her mind most of her clients would wonder where she found the gall to stalk a movie star. But it had to be done. For Ryan’s sake. She could only hope Mac would greet her in a civil manner and not have her escorted off campus the moment he spotted her and have his lawyers issue her with an injunction order to stop stalking.
She figured on the huge, pale green trailer. As she approached, the door was flung open and a tall, rangy cowboy stepped out, speaking over his shoulder. The left side of his face was ravaged with scars, and Zoe could only be grateful he was speaking at the time, otherwise he would have heard her shocked inhalation of breath.
“I know you hate fucking heights, but it’s my job to throw you off them!”
He turned back, his piercing blue eyes pinning her to the spot, but she refused to flinch. She was a vet; she’d seen worse things done to animals.
His damaged left eyebrow rose in surprise. He was obviously used to dealing with a variety of reactions from people; she could only hope she managed to look composed.
She cleared her throat and tried for a natural smile.
“Do you know where Mac is? Um sorry, Cormack…Blunt?”
“Are you sure you know who you’re looking for?” His voice was gruff and aggressive.
“Yes.” She drew herself up. He may be damaged, but he wasn’t injured. She remembered she was supposed to seem as if she belonged there wandering around a film set instead of looking like she was hunting down a film star. “Cormack Blunt.” She enunciated clearly in case the young American didn’t understand who she had asked for.
“Sure, honey. He’s inside. Quaking in his boat-size boots.” His lopsided grin gave her a moment’s pause as he raked his gaze down her body. “I bet my next paycheck you didn’t come through the security gates.”
Offering him a bright smile, she opened her mouth to deny it, but he flicked his hand in the direction of the door. “Go on in. I’m sure he’ll be delighted to have a female visit him in his trailer. He might even be grateful for the distraction.” His smile was quick and feral as he loped off in the opposite direction.
“Mac?” She poked her head around the door. He was slumped in a seat with his head between his knees; she could hear him pulling in breaths, deep and even. Disturbed, she stepped forward.
“Are you okay?”
His head shot up, and he took a moment to glower at her before he dropped it between his knees again.
Concerned, she sidled in and kneeled at his feet. He looked so sick, a horrible shade of green, and as he pulled his head up to stare at her, she could see the beads of sweat covering his top lip, hear him sucking air in through his teeth and blowing it back out again through pursed lips as though he was trying not to panic.
His beautiful, dark brown eyes were stricken. Her heart shuddered with fear, and she placed her hand on his knee as sympathy oozed.
“They’re going to throw me off the top of a cooling tower.”
“Oh my God, why?” Her heart played treble time, and she shuffled closer, her hand coming up to soothe his shoulder as his anguished eyes appealed to her.
“So they can film it.”
She almost heard the screech of brakes inside her head as her heart staggered around in her chest in confusion, before it had the decency to return to normal. She removed her hand and sat back on her haunches, not knowing who to feel more exasperated at—him for being pathetic, or her for falling for it. She shook her head.
“I would imagine they’re going to pay you quite handsomely to do it.” She folded her arms across her chest as all traces of compassion evaporated.
His gorgeous mouth turned sullen at the tone of her voice. His dark eyes narrowed at her, hardened. “Ten million.”
“To jump off a freaking tower?” She gave his leg a resounding slap and almost apologized as his mouth dropped open and his eyes widened at her familiarity. She was fairly certain not many people slapped Cormack Blunt these days, and she’d even surprised herself, but she still had to know. “They’re going to pay you ten million pounds to jump off a tower?”
“Dollars. It’s less than pounds. And I’m not jumping; they’re going to throw me off!” He straightened up, looked a little less green as his irritation with her brought his color flooding back.
“Well, I suppose it’s what happens when you’re a superhero.” She couldn’t help the waspishness creeping into her voice. It was, after all, his job. His luxurious job. In any case, they’d probably have a stunt man do it for him; he probably only had to hang off the edge for a moment.
“Action hero. There’s a difference.”
“What’s that, then?” She smiled sweetly at him and blinked slowly.
“Action heroes don’t fly.”
“Oh.” She stared at him in silence and then clucked her tongue and gave a quick, evil grin. “Could be a handy gift to have right now.”
“Jeez, Zoe. Don’t joke about it; you surely remember I hate heights.”
She remembered. He hadn’t been able to stand on the edge of Major’s Leap without nearly fainting; his tall frame would sway dangerously as he stared transfixed straight down the precipice. She shrugged; her voice when she replied was deceptively soft. “I can’t remember. It’s a long time ago.”
They stared at each other for a long moment. He knew she was lying; she could see it in his eyes. She gulped and let her gaze slide away from his.
“I need to talk to you about Ryan.”
“Does Security know you’re here?”
“Of course they do. What do you think? I’d crawl through barbed-wire fencing to get to you?” She smirked, thinking he had no idea how truthful it was, and now she was quite happily going to hit him with a lie. “They told me where to find you. The guy with the bright blue eyes told me to come straight in.”
“Flynn. He’s the one going to throw me off the cooling tower.”
“Do they pay him well?”
“Probably as much as me, but if the rope doesn’t hold, he’s not the one to fall to an ugly death.”
She patted his knee, couldn’t hold back the wicked smile, and wondered what it felt like to be paid to push Mac to his death. She could offer to do it for free. Tempting.
She looked into his pained face and wondered if he was just trying to distract her from the real issue here. He hadn’t tried very hard, and already it was all about him. Bloody actor. Her voice came out clipped, and she spoke to him like he was an errant schoolboy.
“Mac. We need to talk about Ryan.”
“I’m a little preoccupied here. I’m about to fall to my death.”
“Don’t be stupid. You’re going to be pushed. This is more important.” His eyes widened, and he sat back with a loud huff. Why she ever thought she would get any sense out of an actor, she had no idea. “Get over yourself.” She’d been dying to use Ryan’s new phrase without sounding like a kid. “You’re not going to die. You’re an actor. Actors don’t simply hurtle to their deaths on an everyday basis.”
“They do if they’re pushed.”
“Stop it. This is not about you. The guy out there is probably very highly trained to carry out his job. His priority is to keep you from plummeting to your death.” Unable to resist making him turn a little greener, she snorted. “Unless they want to save ten million on the film budget, of course.”
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