Midnight Legacy [Midnight Trilogy, Book Three]
Click on image to enlarge.
by Dee Tenorio
Description: How high a price would you pay to belong? Book Three in the Midnight Trilogy Tara Sellers has an identity problem. Having grown up in countless foster homes, she scratches out a living as a paparazzi photographer. Until she discovers she's the illegitimate daughter of one of the richest men in the world. Suddenly, everything she thought she knew about herself is a lie. Dr. Perry Chase has a proximity problem. His friendship with the Remingtons has long defined him, but when they ask him to help steer their newfound sister to seeing things their way, he can't let himself get too close to his very attractive prey. But he can't seem to make himself get far enough away, either. By day, they bicker, but by night their private lessons turn to passion. Unclear who she is and who she wants to be, Tara must decide how much she's willing to give up for the chance to have a real family of her own.
eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., 2007
eBookwise Release Date: February 2011
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [329 KB]
Reading time: 214-300 min.
"It's your house."
She sighed, rolling her eyes. "Don't remind me." The house, the land, but nothing in it. No money to support it. Nothing but an albatross around her neck. Just like her unwelcome new pedigree.
She backed away from the door, turning and leaving it open for him, leading him to an uncomfortable question: go in and see where the conversation led or turn around and leave the mercurial woman to her brooding?
The answer was fairly simple. He'd never been able to leave good-looking women alone. Especially not the tall, leggy types. Were she anyone else, the question would simply have been, "How fast can we get undressed?", but she wasn't anyone else. Nothing could change the fact that she was being entrusted to him to protect. And to manipulate, damn it.
"It's a nice house," he began inanely. "I grew up here, I know. Lots of fun nooks and crannies to get yourself into trouble."
"How exciting for you," she mumbled, pacing the open floor area like a caged animal. Or like her brothers.
"It was, actually."
Her frown relaxed and her steps slowed, reminding him she was pretty when she wasn't busy staring daggers through him. "That's either the worst lie I've ever heard or you have very low standards."
Chase looked around the room. Raw silk curtains in a jewel tone blue, four-poster mahogany bed with a canopy of matching fabric. Louis XIV desk set, proportions large enough to be someone's apartment instead of a guest room and a private bath with accoutrements better than the ones in his own home. "You're one of those impossible to impress people, aren't you?"
Her narrow shoulders hitched. "A house is just a house, no matter what's in it. How is it supposed to impress me?"
Somehow, he didn't think she'd be a hit at the next homeowner's association meeting.
"And we both know this isn't really my house. It's theirs. I don't want it." For a second she brightened. "Can't I just sign something, give it back to them?"
She could, something the brothers would no doubt appreciate in that inimitable Remington way--meaning they'd glower until it was over and resent it long after it was done--but there was a problem with that idea. "You have to prove you're Legacy Remington to do that and sign as her, meaning--"
"I'll still be exposed to the press as Harper Remington's illegitimate child."
"Love child, I think is the phrase you press people like to use."
Her eyebrow rose with derision. "You can't really think love had anything to do with my conception."
No. Love was what he'd seen growing up here, slightly outside the circle of the family. Which was why Harper's infidelity hurt so damned much. How could a man love his family so wholeheartedly and betray them at the same time? It didn't make sense. It never would.
"If you don't use this house as a bargaining chip," he said on a cough, needing to change the subject, "you'll never be able to afford the security it takes to avoid your friends."
She tilted her head, peering at him as if she could see inside. Maybe she could. Sky often ferreted out weaknesses with a stare. His current weakness was an inconvenient attraction and a slightly guilty conscience. Nothing she didn't already know about.
Whatever conclusion she came to didn't look too satisfying. "They're not my friends."
Now she looked amused.
"You obviously don't know much about being a freelance photographer."
"Don't you mean stalkerazzi?" He'd seen the damage those swarms of cameras could do to people and the lives they tried to build.
Her temper sparked to life. "Hey, I'm not like that. Believe it or not, there's rules to what I do."
"Sure there are. Get the money shot at any cost. Even if you have to make it yourself."
"Not me. I'm not going to say there's not jerks out there who will, it's competitive as hell out there. There's a lot of them, too, but I have rules. Personal ones. I take pictures of people, yes, but usually people doing something wrong, and I sell it to the highest bidder. I'm fine with that. If they didn't want to get caught, they wouldn't be out in open or in front of a fricken window. I'm not ashamed of what I do and I can be very discreet if the money is good enough, but I don't hunt down people and if I can't get the shot, I don't make one happen. Ever."
"So punching a man into a fountain doesn't count as making the shot happen?"
"No." The corner of her mouth twitched, as if she were trying to keep from smiling. He could count being bloodthirsty off his lessons list, too. "That's called getting what he deserved."
Knowing Raven and his gift for bluntness, it probably was. "It doesn't change the truth. You can't hide from them."
"I won't need to. I've spent my entire life not being seen. I don't think anything is going to suddenly change just because I know who my father is. I could walk down the street naked for all anyone is really going to care." But she knew it wasn't the truth. Her gaze slid away, the tiniest shade of doubt dimming her expression.
"You're welcome to try." He'd love to see it. "The door is just down those stairs. Hell, you could go to your new apartment, pack your things and head on back to Dallas any time you please." He gestured, watching as her eyes tracked the sweep of his hand but her body made no move to follow. "But you're not going to do that, are you? Because you know this is the safest place in the world to be."
Her jaw tightened and her gaze turned brittle. Note to self--Tara doesn't like home truths.
"There's no such thing as safe. Anywhere." She returned to her pacing, crossing her arms and putting one fingernail to her mouth to nibble on. He watched her chew until she noticed him again. "You made your point. Or is there something else you'd like to do while you're ruining my life, Dr. Chase?"
Plenty of things, unfortunately. "Just Chase."
Tara didn't seem to register the preference. She simply stared at him, silently demanding an answer.
"I still have to check for the silver," he replied, turning back to the door so he could pull it closed behind himself.
"I know what you're doing, you know."
He turned back to look at her. Her cheeks had regained their natural color but her mouth was still a hard feature, no matter the lush pink color of her lips. "What would that be?"
"You're trying to get into my head. I've had enough people play good cop, bad cop on me to know a scam when I see one."
"No one is trying to scam you." Of course he was.
She glared at him, her anger, hurt and disappointment forming more than effective weapons. Her eyes would probably be the death of him, if he let them. Even now, he could feel her judging him, could tell when he'd come up short. "You're a terrible liar."
He was worse things. "You're a suspicious woman."
"It keeps me alive, doesn't it?"
"Does it?" He wasn't so sure. She spent so much time putting up walls, it was all but impossible that she was really living. But who was he to point fingers? "We all have reasons for our crimes, Tara. Doesn't make them any less of a crime." He turned his back on her, slipping through the door before she made him feel worse. "Kitchen is on the first floor, third door into the east wing should lead you there, in case you get hungry."
She would, eventually. Tara Sellers had that coltish, half-starved look to her. The doctor in him craved to make sure she wasn't anemic. He didn't like to think what the purely male side of his mind wanted to find out about her. That curiosity would never be answered, but man, did it crave.