by Adriana Anders
Date Released: April 4, 2017
About By Her Touch
He thought he was beyond saving.
A cop turned undercover gang member turned…whatever he is now.
He thought no one would ever see him as anything but a beast.
Until he found her.
Until she changed everything.
Undercover cop Clay Navarro left the Sultans biker gang a changed man. Its ringleaders may be awaiting trial, but he wears the memory of every brutal act he was forced to commit tattooed across his skin. He doesn’t have space in his messed-up life for anything gentle—not now, maybe not ever.
Dr. Georgette Hadley is drawn to the damaged stranger’s pain, intimidated but intrigued by the warmth that lies beneath Clay’s frightening exterior. But when the Sultans return looking for revenge, she finds herself drawn into the dirty underbelly of a life forged in violence…that not even her touch may be able to heal.
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An Excerpt from By Her TouchClay hurt worse than usual—probably from all the workouts. Not something the doctors back in Baltimore had recommended.
The pain, he told himself, was why he headed over to George Hadley’s house that evening around dinnertime, clutching a sad bouquet of grocery-store flowers and an overpriced bottle of Virginia wine.
He stood on the doctor’s front porch, wearing a neat button-down shirt and jeans, as if they had an actual date, when in reality he was just busting in on her night. The woman probably did have a date. With an entirely different kind of man.
She came to the door at his knock and greeted him with a wide-eyed “oh,” which he could take as either a good omen or a bad one.
“‘Oh, what a pleasant surprise’?” he asked, “Or ‘Oh, get the hell outta here’?”
It took her a second to decide, apparently. Not the best of signs, but…hey, he’d take what he could get.
“Come in,” she said with a friendly air, if not quite the smile he’d wished for.
He followed her into the now-familiar main hall, again bypassing the front rooms and heading straight to the kitchen—the heart of the house, he surmised.
“Those for me?” she asked.
“Oh, yeah. Here.” Gracious as always, he thought. Man, aren’t I a prince?
She smiled her thanks and plunked his bouquet into a vase that far outshone the flowers themselves.
A look around reminded him of all the other flowers strewn about—and behind her, through the screen porch, daylight revealed the bright, happy disarray of growing blooms the moonlight had washed out the other night. Right, no flowers next time. Chocolates.
Next time. There probably wouldn’t be a next time, judging by her expression—all closed up and professional like he’d never seen her. That was just what he deserved for running away before.
She set the wine on the counter, pulled a corkscrew from a drawer, and placed it beside it.
Instead of opening the bottle, she turned to him, arms folded across her chest, and he saw new, tight lines pulling her eyes down, puffiness beneath. Had she been crying? Shit. He hoped not.
“What can I do for you, Mr. Blane?”
Jesus, he hated that name. Hated it.
“I…” He wasn’t sure, actually. What was he doing here, again?
“I needed to see you” was all that came out. Thank God, because in his current state, Clay could see himself spewing some of the crap rotting out his brain. And no, that wouldn’t be a good thing. Not at all.
She stood there, looking…sadder? Oh hell.
“Why?” she asked, and fuck if her eyes didn’t look a little too shiny.
He swallowed, glanced out back at the woods and the raging cicadas there, and said the only thing he could think of: the truth.
“It’s better when you’re around.”
About Adriana Anders
Adriana Anders has acted and sung, slung cocktails and corrected copy. She’s worked for start-ups, multinationals and small nonprofits, but it wasn’t until she returned to her first love—writing romance—that she finally felt like she’d come home. Today, she resides with her tall French husband, two small children and fat French cat in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she writes the dark, gritty, steamy love stories of her heart.
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