Jennifer Lyon

Obsession

Obsession

The Plus One Chronicles, Book 3
Jennifer Lyon Books (October 10, 2013)

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In the explosive conclusion to The Plus One Chronicles Trilogy, obscenely rich, jaggedly handsome and still obsessed with love and vengeance, Sloane Michaels must face an impossible choice: lose the woman he loves or betray his twin sister’s memory.

Obsession

(Old Cover)

Watching the man she adores destroy himself for revenge, Kat Thayne knows she should run and never look back. But running isn’t her way anymore. Kat has grown into a fierce fighter, and the man who helped her get there is the very man who needs her strength now. But as the sizzling passion and hard-won love bind Kat and Sloane even tighter together, old secrets and lies explode around them. Danger threatens. And Kat soon realizes that she’s risking more than her heart to be with Sloane…she’s risking her very life.

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Excerpted from Obsession: Book three of The Plus One Chronicles by Jennifer Lyon Copyright © 2013 by Jennifer Lyon. Excerpted by permission of Jennifer Lyon. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

Angry tension gnawed at Kat Thayne’s neck muscles as she drove the streets of San Diego, California heading for a confrontation.

Sloane Michaels was not a killer. She would not let his mother or his guilt turn him into one. She’d already made one mistake in thinking Sloane would come and talk to her. Instead he’d sent a text message.

You will keep your security team until this is over. Not negotiable.

Her chest ached. It was bad enough that his mother had come into Sugar Dancer, dropping the bombshell about Sloane’s goal for revenge on his sister’s killer. Olivia Michaels was a horrible woman and a worse mother. Sloane hadn’t been lying about that.

His huge house loomed as she pulled up his long driveway and the security gates swung closed behind her. Kat took a deep breath, trying to get control of her anxiety. Why hadn’t he come to talk to her? Did he think Kat would abandon him when things got rough? The silence hurt. She steeled herself, refusing to withdraw and hide.

After parking her car, she stormed up to Sloane’s house, went inside without knocking and hooked a left into the family room.

Drake watched her from his chair. The man looked older and thinner since she’d seen him last night. More pain tore through Kat. In mere weeks she’d come to love Drake, and they were losing him more each day. It was destroying Sloane along with his obsession for vengeance.

But in trying to help Sloane, Kat was sure of one thing—she had an ally in Drake, and that refortified her. “Where is he?”

Slowly, Drake pushed to his feet.

Kat rushed forward to take his arm. “Bad day?” His face had a gray cast to it. The pain must be hideous. “I’ll find Sloane, you keep resting.”

“I need to move around a bit. Sloane’s in his studio.”

She adjusted her pace to Drake’s shuffling steps, taking as much of his weight as she could manage without her leg buckling. They made their way through the kitchen and into the garage. Every step seemed to be a struggle for Drake, and finally Kat asked, “Did you take pain medication?”

“Later.” He led her into the garage.

The tightness of his voice worried her. “Let’s go back in the house. You need morphine.” But that sometimes caused him stomach problems. “Or are you nauseous?”

He paused and looked down at her. “I’m okay, but Sloane isn’t. He never is after dealing with his mother.”

“He told you that Olivia came to my shop? And what she said?” Of course he had. Drake was the one person Sloane trusted. While Kat had wanted to be someone he trusted too, she was glad he had Drake. “You know what he’s planning?”

Drake nodded. “I haven’t been able to convince him not to kill Foster.” His words were as heavy as his gaze. “I’m hoping you can reach him. And that you love him enough not to give up on him.”

She sucked in a breath. It wasn’t a question of her love, but Sloane’s feelings for her. Her emotions churned into queasy anxiety. What if she couldn’t get through to Sloane?

Before she could say anything else, Drake started walking again, passing the neatly lined up cars until he reached another door. He pushed it open, revealing a massive room with high ceilings. Kat hadn’t been in here before. Mirrors lined two walls, and a third displayed martial arts weapons. The last side had weights and a heavy bag, and the center of the floor was covered in blue mats. But none of that mattered once her gaze hooked on Sloane. He wore shorts and a layer of sweat. Transfixed, she tried to follow his speed as he moved.

“He’s doing master level Tae Kwon Do forms,” Drake said.

The beauty and power took her breath away. Sloane controlled every punch, spin, kick and twist. One moment he’d do a slow, precise action similar to switching yoga poses and the next he’d launch a spinning jump kick as high as her face.

She’d never seen this side of him. He was so extraordinary she flushed at the memories of him teaching her self-defense. Hell, sometimes just taking a simple step caused her leg to give out and she’d trip, while Sloane appeared to defy the laws of physics and gravity. Why had he agreed to waste his time teaching her?

She should leave. She’d come here to what? Yell at him because he hadn’t cared enough to talk to her? But looking at him now, it was crystal clear he was so far out of her league, humiliation at her own foolishness rolled over her face and chest. How could she have thought he wanted a real relationship with her? The kind where they turned to each other? Instead, he’d avoided and ignored her when she became inconvenient.

Leave. Given the extreme concentration blazing across Sloane’s face, she doubted he knew she and Drake were in the room. But she couldn’t make herself turn away. Watching him execute moves so powerfully complex she couldn’t name them, her last thread of hope that he could truly love her died. But she wasn’t going to confront him about their supposed relationship. She had more pride than that no matter how much it hurt. No, she was here to try and save Sloane from making a mistake that would emotionally ruin him. Somehow, she had to make him see that he wasn’t a killer.

Kat turned to look at Drake, but he was gone. She’d been so absorbed in Sloane, she hadn’t heard him leave.

“He left a minute ago.”

Whipping around, she caught the wall for balance. “You knew we were here?”

Sloane’s chest heaved, and he shoved one hand through his sweat-dampened hair. At six-and-a-half feet, he packed well over two hundred pounds of muscle. Her hands itched to touch him, to trace the lines that reflected years and years of severe dedication. She’d always wondered what drove him to train so hard. Shifting her gaze to his tat gleaming beneath the fresh coat of sweat, she knew the answer—revenge for Sara. Another shaft of pain hit her. When Sloane did love, he loved deep and forever, like he loved the sister he’d lost at the hands of a killer.

“I always know when you’re near me.”

Oh no. “You don’t get to say things like that.” A toxic mix of fury and pain ignited. “You didn’t come.” Oh hell, she hadn’t meant to say that. But she’d sat in her bakery for hours, thinking he’d show up. That he’d care about her so much he’d do something. Anything except send a two-line text message.

Sloane dropped his hand, his harsh face softening. “Kat—”

“No!” God it hurt. “Why, Sloane? Why lie to me? Why make me think we had something real and lasting when you intended to destroy it all along?” Humiliated tears washed down her face. Kat was disgusted with herself, but her mouth listened to her heart not her brain. This wasn’t the time to talk to him, not while she was an emotional powder keg. She turned, reached for the door and was tugged off her feet.

Sloane’s huge hands circled her waist and pulled her back to his chest. “Don’t cry, baby. Please.”

His rough voice in her ear sent shudders tripping down the center of her soul, and a sob broke from her chest.

He swept her legs up, sank to the mats and held her against him. “I never meant to hurt you. I couldn’t let you go.” He drew in a ragged breath. “I know I have to now. I’ve been working out for hours trying to stay away from you.”

He didn’t want to let her go. Those words wrapped around her as tightly as his arms. Kat turned her face into his chest, his warm, wet skin a drug to her battered senses.

“You can’t do this.” She couldn’t let him. The horror of his mother’s words when she’d come into the bakery was permanently branded in her brain:

Sloane put a target on my back by testifying against that animal who killed my baby. I told him not to. He’d already done enough. The police looked at me like I was neglecting my kids when I was trying to give them a better life.

Olivia kept saying Sloane had to fix this. Kat had asked her what exactly Sloane was supposed to do to fix it, but Kat’d been completely unprepared for the answer.

“Kill Lee Foster. Then I’ll be safe and the world will know the truth.”

Sloane tugged gently on her hair, bringing her back to the present. His eyes were sad and troubled. “I have to.”

He believed that. Kat could see it in his tortured gaze. “This is what you’ve trained for. All these years.”

“Yes.”

He’d trained to kill, and yet he cradled Kat tenderly in his lap. “When are you planning to kill him? How?” She thought she knew, having surmised from some of the things his mother had said. But she wanted to hear it from him.

Sloane leaned his forehead against hers. “I’ll tell you what you want to know after I shower. I’m sweating all over you.”

“I don’t care.” She clung tighter to him, a terrible foreboding stealing her breath. If she released him, she’d lose him.

“Touching you is only making this harder.” He lifted his head. In the space of a heartbeat his eyes emptied to flat brown. Sloane stood then slid her down to her feet. “We’ll talk because you need to understand why you must keep your security until Foster’s dead.”

Cold chills broke out over her skin. She reached out to touch him and recapture the connection they’d had only seconds ago. “You can’t kill him. That’s murder.” Didn’t he understand?

He stepped back, away from her touch. “I’ve trained long and hard to make damn sure I can kill him. And I will.” He turned and walked out.

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