Aftershock by Jill Shalvis - Romance>Drama
If it hadn't been for the earthquake, Amber Riggs would never have made love to a perfect stranger. And no doubt about it, fire inspector Dax McCall was perfect. Who else could have taught her the meaning of passion at a time like that?
Still, when Amber ran into him a year later she wasn't sure how he'd react. To her...or their three-month-old baby. She hadn't meant to keep the news from Dax, but he'd been out of town, and she'd been sort of relieved. After all, how do you tell the perfect man he has a perfect baby girl with a woman he doesn't know from Eve?
BONUS BOOK INCLUDED IN THIS VOLUME!
Exposed: Misbehaving with the Magnate by USA TODAY bestselling author Kelly Hunter
Seven years ago Gabrielle was the housekeeper's daughter, and Luc Duvalier, as the heir to a vast fortune, was forbidden. Now she's returned home determined to face Luc as an equal--in every way!
The place wasn't what she expected. Though she was alone, Amber Riggs kept her features carefully schooled so that nothing in her cool, serene expression reflected dismay. Control was everything. A deal couldn't be made to the best advantage without it, and she did love a good deal.
She got out of her car without checking her makeup or hair. She didn't need to. It wasn't vanity that told her she looked crisp and businesslike. It was just fact. Her careful facade was purposely created with clothes and makeup so that people took her seriously.
If she were vain, she'd still be basking in the glow from the write-up she'd received in this morning's paper: "A go-get-'em real estate manager."
"Best in San Diego county."
"No one gets the better of Amber Riggs."
Great for business, but the praise meant little. Amber loved her work, and because she did, she didn't need anyone's approval.
That's what she told herself.
She looked at the deserted warehouse in front of her and frowned. As good at her job as she was, making money from this building would be like bleeding a turnip. It was too far out of town.
Still, stranger things had been known to happen. At least the owner hadn't cared whether she found a buyer or a renter, and that would give her some options.
Her heels clicked noisily on the rough asphalt as she moved closer. The place was two stories and mostly brick, which gave it definite character. That was good. So was the basement that held the offices. She had to sigh as she noted the deterioration of the roof and the decay of the old brick walls. That wasn't good. And no windows, which meant that the client she'd contacted this morning, the one who wanted to convert an older building into an antique mall, wouldn't be happy.
She could fix that, Amber decided, by going inside and finding something interesting. Something that would appeal. This was her forte, turning the negative into the positive. Her fat bank account could attest to that. For a girl who'd left home exceptionally early with nothing but the shirt on her back, she'd done okay.
She took the key out of her purse and let herself in. Darkness prevailed, but always prepared, she again reached into her purse for the small flashlight she kept there. As she flipped it on and moved past the reception area into the even darker open warehouse, the silence settled on her shoulders eerily. She swallowed hard, losing a fraction of her iron-clad control.
The dark was not her friend. It was an old fear, from childhood, where she'd spent far too much time alone, afraid. Unwanted.
Dammit, not the self-pity again. She was twenty-seven years old. Maudlin thoughts about her past were unacceptable, and she promptly pushed them aside. Her flashlight shimmered, cutting a path across the huge empty place. The beam hardly made a dent in the absolute blackness, and more of her control slipped. Her palms became damp.
Determinedly, she lifted her chin, letting her logic and famed concentration take over. She was a grownup. Yes, she was alone, but she wasn't leaving until she'd scoped out the place carefully. She needed something to lure her potential client.
She wanted the deal.
She made it three quarters of the way across the place when she came to a door. Stairs, leading down. Good, the offices there would be a good selling point. Swallowing her discomfort around the intense, inky blackness, she bravely wielded her flashlight and went down the stairs, entering another large and even darker room.
A damp, musty smell greeted her.
An unnatural silence beat down, so did a terrible, heavy...