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Authors: Jacquie Underdown

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Jacquie Underdown

Jacquie Underdown

A new adult story about what happens when you meet the perfect guy at the worst possible time.

Anthea has loved him since her earliest memory, but she has no idea who he is, or if he even exists. But her heart belongs to him, and no one else can ever take his place. That is until she stumbles into Lucas, lead singer of
. He is sexy as hell, passionate, and, most importantly, knows the answers to questions that Anthea has always had.

Lucas knows he is different from other guys — but Anthea is different to other girls. He is drawn to her, craves her, needs her. He also has secrets. Secrets that will tear Anthea apart. He needs to share them, but to share them could end their relationship, and Lucas isn’t willing to take that risk. But secrets have a way of coming out, and Lucas can’t stay forever.

Theirs is a passion that is meant to last forever, but time isn’t always quite so linear…

About the Author

Jacquie resides in hot and steamy Central Queensland, Australia, with her husband and two sons. On permanent hiatus from a profession she doesn’t love, she now spends her time wrapped up in her imagination creating characters and exploring alternative realities.

Jacquie is an author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories that are emotionally driven and possess unique themes beyond the constraints of the physical universe. She strives to offer romance, but with complexity; spirituality, without the religion; love, with a tantalising splash of spice.

Her novels express a purpose and offer subtle messages about life, the spirit and, of course, love.


Much thanks to Kate Cuthbert for your continued belief and guidance, along with all the fabulous staff at Escape Publishing and Harlequin. And a very special thanks to my husband for supporting me completely, so that I may do what I love. One day, I’ll pay it forward.

For Brad and my boys


About the Author


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Bestselling Titles by Escape Publishing…

Chapter 1


I stared at the god on the stage, guitar in his hand, darkest brown hair falling around his ears and neck. A coil tightened in my stomach and speared tension lower. I crossed one leg in front of the other and clenched — both pleasure and aching pain.

He was as sexy as fuck. No, even sexier than that. Christ, just looking upon that tall, muscled frame, decked out in black ripped jeans and a black t-shirt, made my blood warm and ebb to those pleasure-seeking parts of my body.

His voice was low and husky, perfectly in tune. The song he sang told of heartache and love lost, and, as he hit a higher melody, each note sluiced down my body like rain, soaking me in his pain. My heart heaved, goose bumps pimpled my flesh; tears ached in the back of my throat and danced in my eyes.

His lyrics spoke of the hollowness that has scorched my insides since I was a little girl. A hollowness, which has had me endlessly seeking something I could never quite place. His entire manner, the rise and fall of the melody, the slow slide of his fingers over the strings of his guitar, seemed to simulate all of that. Maybe that’s why his words felt so personal, as though I wasn’t just a pair of eyes in a room full of hundreds of others, but, instead, the only person in an audience of one. And his story was like salve for my soul because it implied that someone else understood.

I closed my eyes and let his song caress me until the last chord was strummed, the last note was sung and the final beat was drummed. I again peered up at him and the room fell to silence — not one murmur, not one cheer, when his eyes met mine and we watched each other.

My body buzzed and heat rushed to my cheeks. Those eyes, vividly green, almost luminescent, penetrated me. They occupied a space inside of me, knowing my bones, veins and blood before my skin and imperfections. My lips parted on a rushed inhale. Yearning for more than a mere look from across a crowded room, my flesh tingled with need. It was as though my body thrummed with a thieved memory. Memory ignited by those wandering green eyes pursuing every part of me, every secret and nook, every void and slope. I had never craved someone more than I did in that moment. My bones ached, my heart trembled and my flesh was burning to ashes.

This sexy stranger had set me on fire with a single glance and I knew I would never be the same again. Ever.

Then the spell broke as the drummer counted in the next song with four quick cracks of his drumsticks in the air, and the singer broke his gaze. All noise came streaming back with a beastly roar. My knees quaked, hands shook.

My God. What the fuck just happened?

Brendt grabbed me from behind, his strong arms sliding around my middle. He laughed in my ear, a rough tumble of sound, so male, so Brendt. ‘Anthea? Did you not hear me?’ he asked.

‘You said something?’ I yelled over my shoulder, loud enough to be heard above the din, but still not willing to turn away from the singer.

Brendt lifted me into his arms and slung me over his shoulder. I giggled and shrieked as he carried me through the thick throng of heated bodies. The scent of sweat and sweetly stale alcohol stirred in our wake. ‘We’re heading to another bar,’ he said, his shoulders
shaking with laughter. He slapped my arse, hard enough for me to feel it through my jeans, and said, ‘Now stop squirming or I’ll drop you.’

He didn’t put me down until we joined Rachel and Roslyn, who were waiting near the exit. I straightened my rucked shirt and ran fingers through my long hair, disentangling the knots.

I grinned at Brendt then twisted my face with mock reproach. ‘Gee, caveman, you know I can walk. It’s a skill I learnt about, I don’t know, twenty years ago.’

Brendt laughed, his thick chest vibrating. His blue eyes were sparkling. ‘I know. I like to throw my muscle around every now and then, just to remind you all I have them.’ He lifted one arm and tensed a bulging bicep.

‘Oh, that muscle,’ said Roslyn, grinning with half her mouth. ‘I thought you were going to show us the muscle us girls really care about.’ She winked and dropped her eyes to his fly.

Rachel linked elbows with Brendt and leant her head against him. ‘Eyes and hands off my boyfriend. And no talking about his impressive muscle…I mean…muscles.’

We all laughed loudly and swayed out onto the sidewalk. I raised my face to the darkened star-speckled sky and let the cool breeze chill my hot cheeks. The air was scented with rain, which obviously fell while we were inside, drenching the road and sidewalk.

Despite the alcohol tickling my senses, I couldn’t shake the eddying anxiety — a reminder, whispering in my ear about the events of today that prompted this bender.
Leith had sex with you to win a thousand dollars. That’s all you’re worth to him



We were all trying to distract Anthea from what that prick did to her, yet there I was unable to think of anything else. I clenched my fist, the knuckles popping. Pain sliced from my hand all the way up my arm and I winced.

My hand was bruised and swollen, a nice little cut across a couple of fingers, but I shook out the pain. I was vibrating and tensing, knowing that Leith, in a roundabout way, had caused this.

Mother fucker

Anthea swayed in front of me and I caught her by the hips, so she didn’t fall to the ground. She was drunk. Understandably. I’d be drunk too if I’d been through what she’d just been through. That same anger and adrenalin, which I felt just before I smashed my fist into Leith’s face, burned afresh in my veins. I found it hard to stop myself, to not lay in to him with all that I had.

I pulled Anthea under my arm, let her use me for balance while I used her for calm. She didn’t deserve any of this. I should’ve done more than break Leith’s nose. I should have…

Anthea lifted my hand into hers and gently traced over the swollen knuckles. My eyelids were heavy, wanting to close, so I would feel her touch more deeply. But I controlled my reactions and pushed those feelings deep down. She looked up at me with her cute face, those honey-brown eyes and long, long eyelashes, smiled and lowered her eyes quickly.

‘I’m sorry,’ her tongue was thickening her s’s so they sounded like sh’s, ‘for getting you caught up in all this mess.’

I shook my head and stopped walking. Rachel and Roslyn didn’t notice, kept chattering with each other and edged further ahead. I squeezed my arm around her tighter
and waited for her to look up at me. And she did — glossy fawn eyes wide and eyebrows high.

‘Anthea, you’re my best friend. It’s my job to get involved.’

Anthea shrugged and pressed her lips together. She ran gentle fingers across my grazed knuckle again and focused on my hand. ‘I hate that you’re hurt.’ A tear fell down her cheek. I watched it roll over her lips and chin, envying that tear and hating the man who caused it.

I wiped at her cheek with my palm and couldn’t stop my thumb finding her full bottom lip and dragging over the pink, salty flesh. My breaths grew heavier, heart raced, as much as I tried to steady them both. And then my cock twitched under my jeans as I was flooded with thoughts of taking that lush lip between my own and invading her warm mouth with my tongue.

I pulled away and stepped back one pace.

Back the fuck up, Brendt.

Heart thudding, I glanced up the pathway; Rachel and Roslyn had stopped, but were chatting madly with each other, arms flailing, their heads tilting back with laughter, oblivious of me. Breaths came a little easier.

‘I hate that you’re hurt, too,’ I said quickly and strode away to catch up with the girls. She followed, keeping a pace or two behind.



I hurried along the fluoro-lit streets behind Brendt as music gushed from passing bars and restaurants. I didn’t want to bring it up. Not tonight. Not when I was doing so well to bury it down in the pit of my belly and smother it with stomach acid and booze. But it frothed and burned a passage up my throat until it lingered foul of my tongue — sour. Then when I saw the bruising across Brendt’s knuckles, it all came tumbling back like a steel-capped boot to my head.

Brendt’s a good friend, truly, to have done what he did to help me out. Especially when I’d been so gullible, so…stupid!

I trusted Leith. I thought I really liked him. Hell, I thought he liked me too. A laugh almost escaped from my scowling lips, for ever expecting anything different. Me and love, we just didn’t mix.

I know, I know — twenty-three years old. There’s time enough for love and heartbreak and having it all come good in the end. But I wasn’t like other girls my age. I wasn’t like anyone else I knew. I was damaged goods, as though some magical being had come along and pulled on the threads of my heart, slowly unstitching me and never bothering to repair the tethers. The ironic part of it was: I didn’t even know how I came to be this way.

Rachel and Roslyn pushed through the doors of the bar spilling the music onto us. The beat found me and vibrated my heart. The scent of artificial smoke and booze slipped out the entry to mingle with the air and wrap around me. Brendt held the door open, not meeting my eyes.

Why can’t he look at me?
Then the sinking feeling of guilt as it knotted in my guts returned.
Oh, right
because of that weird lip-rubbing, chemistry-popping, eye-staring moment back there.
Last thing I needed was more guy trouble, especially with a guy that was my best friend’s boyfriend. I strained a smile and stepped through into the dim club, heaving with bodies.

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