Lewis Cox has devoted his entire life to hunting Mandy, his neighbor who as a child was kidnapped by traffickers. Even now that she’s safe, and in his life, he knows there’s no way he can stop his mission. He can’t let other women live through what she had.
Mandy was raped, beaten, tortured, and left to die—but the memory of Lewis always helped her throughout her life. Now that she’s free, Lewis is helping her take her life back. Everything she missed out on while she’d been enslaved is now hers. Still, her life was tainted, and she’s seen and done things no one should ever have to. She’s guilty, too, and now she wonders if she has the right to love Lewis at all…
Lewis’s guilt threatens to swallow him whole. He is in love with Mandy, and wants nothing more than to give her the life she deserves. When the monster from her past comes back, Mandy’s life is in danger once again, and it’s up to Lewis to save her. Can he be her hero a second time?
Mandy didn’t know how she had gotten to be a rotten egg. She’d been in her bathing suit and near the pool. Within seconds, Lewis had thrown his shirt over his head and hit the water before she’d even gotten to the edge of the pool.
“Rotten egg,” he said, breaking the surface.
“That’s not fair. You’re not even in bathing trunks.”
“So? They’re still briefs, and they’re like trunks. It’s good enough for me.” He floated along the surface, showing his “trunks.”
“Now you’re creating rules because you don’t like the fact you’re a loser.”
She climbed into the pool and gave him a wide berth.
“Is that the game you’re going to play?”
“I did not. You didn’t mention once that there were rules. Before calling rotten egg, you should have said so.”
She rolled her eyes, but knew he was right. She was just teasing him, having fun.
He’d always tag her as a kid, and they’d run home.
Her brother often thought it was a childish game. She loved it, though. When it came to Lewis, she had loved him for a long time.
Lewis swam beside her, and she smiled at him. “I was only playing around.”
“I know. You couldn’t stay angry with me for long.” His hands wrapped around her waist, and he lifted her up, and then brought her down into the water.
By the time she broke the surface, she was laughing. She couldn’t help it. “You’re a complete nut.”
“You love it.”
She did love it.
As she splashed water on him, he did the same to her, and for over an hour, they goofed around in the pool. For the first time since being a kid, she felt carefree. It was a nice feeling, and not one she wanted to lose.
Lewis left the pool first, and when he came out from the house, he held a bottle of sunscreen. “You’re going to burn.”
“I want to burn. I don’t want to get out of the water.” She floated on her back and stared up at the sky. It was so clear, so bright, and so perfect.
She never wanted to leave this moment.
Sunburn hurt though, so she climbed out of the pool and walked toward him. Sitting down on the chair, she took the towel he gave her and began to dry off.
“I love the pool.”
“I’m glad. It’s hot out, and I don’t see it letting up for some time.”
“Nah, it probably won’t. That’s the bonus of having a pool to cool off in.” After she was dried, she sat still as Lewis rubbed the sunscreen into her flesh. She loved his touch more than anything. His fingers were gentle, and his touch aroused her in ways that she didn’t think were possible. Reality was setting in. Before coming down to the pool, he’d wanted to talk. She couldn’t shirk her duties any longer. He’d given her this time, and it was now time for her to find out what he wanted to know. “What did you want to talk about?”