Every survivor is first a victim, but from the depths of weakness comes an awakening of strength that is empty and fearless.
After escaping her abusive husband Dr. Chloe Wolfe’s luck runs out and Trenton Cole steps in. Chloe reluctantly agrees to let this tall, dark, and devastatingly hot stranger help her find her children. What she doesn’t know is that Trent is the bounty hunter hired by her husband to catch her. Playing it safe, Chloe escapes his presence without a trace, but no secrets remain hidden forever. When worlds collide six years later, neither Chloe nor Trent have forgotten each other, but when her hero’s betrayal is exposed Chloe finds herself in love with another enemy.
An unforgettable love story of a woman who sacrifices everything to protect the ones she loves, and loses her self along the way—A heart wrenching tale of survival, forgiveness, and new beginnings.
Chloe turned at the deep voice behind her. On instinct, she clutched her purse tight to her side and pressed her back into the payphone. The man approaching her was enormous, over half a foot taller than her already tall self.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t intend to scare you. It’s just, you look like you could use some help. Are you all right? Are you stranded? I’m heading to Pennsylvania and would be more than happy to help. My name is Trenton Cole.”
He reached out and Chloe could only stare at the absurdly large hand.
“Do you need help?” he asked, lowering his hand when she didn't offer hers in return.
Squaring her shoulders and composing herself, she stated matter-of-factly, “I need money.” She pulled her two-carat wedding ring off her finger and held it in front of his face. “What will you give me for this? It’s real gold and the stone’s real as well.”
He frowned at her offer. “I’m sorry. I don’t have that kind of money on me—”
“I’ll take whatever you have. You surely have twenty dollars on you. I need to get to my children and lost my money for the train.”
“I can’t take your ring, miss. I have a car. I could offer you a ride and the money in my pocket, but I won’t take your jewelry.”
“What is it you’ll take then? The last man who offered me a ride required a payment I couldn’t bring myself to forfeit. He dumped me on the side of the road.”
“I don’t require any payment. I simply don’t like seeing a woman upset and alone. I just want to help.”
“Pardon me if I don’t believe you. My experience with men has taught me that no man expects nothing from any woman. There’s always a cost.”
“I give you my word. I only want to take you where you need to go, to your children.”
Chloe wanted to be suspicious of the man, but the voice in her head, the voice that cried for her babies to once again be in her arms, shouted at her to toughen up and get moving. She took a deep breath.
“What are you going to Pennsylvania for?”
“I live there. I’m only in Maryland on business.”
“What is it you do, Mr. Cole, was it?”
“I’m in security.”
She scrutinized his physique and found his statement believable. A ribbed thermal shirt stretched tight over his muscles, muscles that could obliterate a woman—even of her size. While she was debating her options he reached in his pocket ad pulled out his wallet. Chloe froze at the flash of money in the folds. It was more than twenty dollars.
He pulled out a photograph and said, “These are my sisters and their children. I’m a good man, miss, and I just want to return to my family. I can’t, in good conscience, leave you abandoned here. Here,” he said, passing her a Pennsylvania driver’s license. “That’s my name and address.” He smiled awkwardly, mimicking the staged smile on his ID.
The urge to laugh was unexpected. She stifled the unexpected reaction and said, “Then take my ring and give me some money so I can be on my way.”
He considered her offer for a minute. “And what happens when the money runs out? I’d spend the rest of my life wondering what happened to the woman I found crying in the subway. How about this, you keep your ring, as I’m sure your husband would wonder what happened to it and I’ll give you thirty dollars and a ride to your children?”
“I do not have a husband,” she said hastily, not sure why she divulged such information, no matter that it was a lie.
“Does that mean you’ll allow me to help you?”
She exhaled, slid her ring back on her finger, and took the thirty dollars he offered, wedging it securely in her pocket.
He smiled and said, “My truck’s parked in the garage across the street.”
Chloe was exhausted. She desperately wanted to shut her eyes, but was too afraid of the man next to her. Being trapped in the claustrophobic cab of his truck only made him seem larger. They rode in silence, as the highway buzzed past her peripheral. After days of traveling by bus and foot, it seemed as though she was now moving at light speed.
She passed the time by observing her rescuer. She hoped by referring to him as her rescuer she’d grow less afraid of him. So far it hadn’t been working.
He was so tall it was a wonder his head didn’t skim the upholstered ceiling of the vehicle. His hair was tied at the back of his neck, so dark it almost appeared to have blue highlights. He had a scar that ran from his jaw disappearing somewhere below the collar of his shirt. She was too nervous to let herself wonder how one received such a scar.
His skin was deep olive and his eyes were piercing enough to take her breath away. She wasn’t sure if it was the direct way he stared back at her or the actual color that made them so arresting. They were an unnatural blue, the color of sea glass reflecting sunlight and his lashes were as black as his hair and equally as thick. The way they outlined his brilliant eyes made them appear lined with a dusting of soot. The kind of lashes too pretty for a man’s face, but oddly, his attractive visage wasn’t what most would describe as pretty.
“Mind if I ask what you were doing in Maryland when your kids are all the way in Pennsylvania?”
His question startled her, breaking the peaceful silence they had maintained for the past forty minutes.
“They’re staying with a relative until I can reach them. We had to move and it was too dangerous for them to travel with me.”
“Why too dangerous?”
She thought over how to answer. “Where we were living wasn’t safe for them. We needed to leave quickly and I could travel faster without them.”
“Seems to me, for as fast as you say you can travel, they beat’chya there.”
That was true, but it was also for good reason. “I didn’t want to be followed, so I had to take a longer route.”
“You running from someone, ma’am?”