Shamed # 2
By: Laura Marie Altom
Releasing December 23rd, 2014
Ella Patton and Liam Stone return in the breathtaking conclusion to the steamy, contentious love affair that began in Control.
Will you marry me? Those four little words should be a dream come true. But for Ella Patton, they’re the start of a waking nightmare. For despite the insatiable desire she feels for Liam Stone, marriage is out of the question—divorcing her abusive husband, Blaine, would be too dangerous to even contemplate. Besides, Ella couldn’t ask for anything more than the life she and Liam share: a scalding hot passion that’s totally outside the bounds of “I do.”
Liam has hit a brick wall. His fortune can’t buy Ella’s freedom from the oppressive monster the law recognizes as her husband. Blaine will take any opportunity to bring Ella back under his authority, no doubt exacting a terrible revenge as punishment for nearly slipping away. But Liam has a force greater than money and influence on his side: Ella’s love. She sparks his most unstoppable determination—and ignites pleasures that no man should be able to possess.
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(From Chapter 1: Liam)
How had I not seen this coming?
On some level, I’d known Ella—my Ella—still legally wore another man’s vows. I’d almost questioned her about the way she’d referred to him as her husband in the present tense. Instead, I’d followed my cock instead of logic. Rather than having her background checked nine ways to Sunday, I’d mooned over her with enough theatrics for her to have been some unobtainable, movie-star crush. Stupid. I’d known what we’d shared was too good to last.
“Liam?” she asked. Her voice sounded far away, as if the moments between my proposal and her proclamation had twisted time and the very earth beneath us until we now occupied our own islands, separated by shark-infested waters and vast, rolling banks of acid fog.
I hated her.
I loved her.
“Liam, you’re bleeding.”
I’d clenched her ring so hard that I’d cut my palm. Blood trailed down my wrists and over the stupid sapphire cuff links I’d bought on a whim when selecting her jewelry because they’d matched her blueberry eyes. Blood stained my starched white shirt.
Kneeling alongside me, she coaxed open my fist, taking the biting bauble. She tucked it into my shirt’s chest pocket before removing my tux coat from her shoulders to wrap one sleeve around my hand. She bundled the rest, wrapping and tucking until it became a black hornet’s nest growing off of my appendage.
“Instead of the party,” she said in a matter-of-fact tone, “let’s have your driver take us to the beach house. It’s been such a busy day—busy week,” she tacked on a chatty titter, “wouldn’t it be nice to ring in the new year on our own? We can make popcorn and watch a movie—anything you want. Oh—and we need to stop off for ice cream. We can’t have a party without ice cream.”
Was she even listening to herself? Why wouldn’t she stop this incessant babble?
“If you think about it, we have so much to be thankful for, and I really deep-down believe this year’s going to be great. You’ll keep growing your empire, and I’m going to start those online classes.”
“You don’t want ice cream?”
I don’t want you. Your complications. Your fucked-up past.
Only, that would be a lie, because that even though I knew she was bad for me—like popping an Ambien, then downing a few fingers of scotch—even if I washed my hands of her tonight, come morning, she’d still be in my head.
I didn’t want to just marry her, I wanted to possess her.
“Liam, please . . . talk to me.”
“What the hell am I supposed to say? I don’t commit. You know that. So when I gave you my ring, it kind of meant something. Where do you get off, keeping a bombshell like this? If I hadn’t been dim-witted enough to propose, would you have ever told me?”
“Yes—no . . . maybe.”
“Maybe?” At that, I had to laugh. “Christ, I’ve gotta get out of here. Away from you.”
Laura Marie Altom is the author of more than forty books in three different genres. Now that her kids are in college, Altom spends her days writing and chasing after a menagerie of pets: a mini long-haired dachshund named Cocoa, a Yorkie named Daisy, a mutt named Sweet Pea, and Domino—a black-and-white stealth cat she rarely sees. She’s happily married to her college sweetheart (go Hogs!), and when night falls, she steals a few romantic moments for herself with her own hunky cover stud.
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