This is the second book in the Million Dollar Catch series. Willow is mad at Todd because he was trying to keep Ryan and Julie apart. Todd thinks all women are gold diggers. SHe goes over to his house to yell at him and meets Kane, his security man. She is running away from him because Kane thinks she is a crazy woman and he needs to subdue her. She trips over a tree root and injures her ankle. For some reason, he cares for her ankle. He is a loner who wants to be alone. But will Willow let him alone?
I liked this story. Willow is a rescuer and therefore chooses all the wrong men. But this time she is the one to get rescued, whether Kane realizes it. He makes her feel safe. He also stands up to her father when he treats her like crap. No man has done that for her before.
His second mistake had been surrendering to passion after warning Willow to run away. Because a woman like her deserved better than a one-night stand. She believed in soul mates. He trusted no one—needed no one. And not even Willow was going to change him!
About eight seconds too late, Willow Anastasia Nelson realized there was a massive flaw in her plan. She’d driven over to Todd Aston, the Third’s embarrassingly huge estate to give the slimy, no-good weasel a piece of her mind. But she’d never actually met the man, so she didn’t know what, exactly, he looked like.
She had an idea, of course, sort of. Tall-ish, handsome-ish, rich. But wasn’t his hair dark and weren’t his eye brown? Why hadn’t she thought to look him up on the Internet? He was probably on the front page of “JerksMonthly.com”
And if Todd Aston defined the whole tall, dark and yucky scenario, then who was the blond hunk and a half standing in front of her?
“Oh, hi,” she said, smiling at the man who’d opened the front door and hoping she didn’t look as out of place as she felt. “I was hoping to have a word with Todd. This is his house, right? My sister mentioned he lived here and...”
Willow groaned. That hadn’t come out right. She sounded like a groupie.
“My sister knows him,” she added helpfully.
Blond guy didn’t step aside to let her in, although he did fold his arms over his chest in a move that got her attention. The man was big—really muscled, but not in a too-buff, action movie hero kind of way. This guy looked powerful, like a jaguar. She would bet he could snap her forearm without breaking a sweat.
His eyes were green and kind of cat-like, she thought absently, continuing the whole “powerful cat” analogy. He had a good face—handsome, but also trustworthy. Not that she knew anything about him. He could be... She shook her head. She had to focus on her mission.
“Look,” she said as forcefully as she could, determined to sound in charge and unintimidated by the burly guy’s presence. “I need to talk to Todd. I’d like to do more, of course. He totally messed things up for my sister. Everything turned out in the end, but what if it hadn’t? I get so mad when I think about it, I just want to pop his pointy little head. And that’s the least of it.”
The man in the doorway raised one eyebrow, then pushed aside the front of his suit jacket. Willow felt all the blood rush out of her head—no doubt fleeing to somewhere much safer than her body.
The man had a gun.
She could see it just inside his coat, tucked under his arm in some kind of holster. It was almost like in the movies, except for the cold knot of terror in her stomach.
“What is your business with Mr. Aston?” the man asked in a low voice that sent chills tripping down her spine.
So he wasn’t Todd. She’d sort of guessed that, but now she knew for sure. “I, ah, he...”
The smartest move would be to leave. She wanted to yell at Todd, not get shot. But some stubborn streak made her plant her feet more firmly on the oversized and pillared porch.
“I think you’re overreacting,” she muttered, forcing herself to look away from the gun back to the man threatening her with it. Well, not threatening, but intimidating. Something he was doing really, really well.
“I get paid to overreact.”
“Has weasel-man already left for the office?” she asked sweetly. “I’ll catch him there.”
“You won’t be catching him anywhere. Who are you and what do you want with Mr. Aston?”
As he spoke, he reached out to grab her arm. Willow had tried out every year of high school for the cheerleading squad. But in a world of amazons, she’d been too short. No matter how well she knew the routine, putting her in the line-up made them look off-balance. Still, she’d been good at tumbling and turning and ducking.
The skills came back to her now as she faked a spin to the left, instead went to the right, then ducked under the big guy’s arm. Suddenly she was inside the house.
Elation filled her. If Todd was here, she would find him. Then she would yell at him and her world would be set to rights.
She sprinted down the wide entry way, Mr. Big Gun and Cranky right behind her, then ran through huge rooms with soaring ceilings. This place was more like a museum than a house, she thought as she raced through what looked like a study and came out in a long hallway. She heard the man with the gun running behind her. She was fairly confident he wouldn’t actually shoot her, but just in case, she wove back and forth and kept close to walls.
“Todd,” she yelled as she ran. “Are you home? You need to get your lying, slimy butt down here. You don’t have the right to mess with people’s lives.
It’s wrong. You should know better.”
Perhaps not words to put fear into his heart, but they would have to do.
She heard footsteps closing in and righteous anger gave her a burst of speed. Unfortunately that burst led her into a room with no other exits.
Panic energized her. She spun quickly, looking for a door, a big window, anything. Then she stared at the floor to ceiling drapes and headed in that direction.
Victory! A French door that led onto a patio as big as her elementary school had been. She burst outside and glanced around.
The grounds were stunning. The patio led to stairs that flowed into a terraced garden that reminded her of the grounds around Versailles. Beyond them was a forest of trees.
Didn’t Todd know he was in the middle of Los Angeles?
“Stop,” burly guy demanded as he ran out of the house after her. “Stop, or I’ll stop you myself.”
Ha! He hadn’t been able to stop her yet, had he? But had he already called the police? Willow didn’t wait to ask. She bolted for the trees.
Unfortunately, the open ground gave her pursuer the advantage, mostly because his legs were a lot longer than hers. That combined with her erratic commitment to physical fitness and any sort of regular exercise program meant he gained on her far too quickly.
She dug down for more righteous indignation to give her speed, or slow him down or something, but there wasn’t anything left. Her breath came in pants, the sound of her rapid heartbeat filled her ears and she felt the chilling fingers of defeat reaching for her.
“I will not be taken alive,” she gasped as she surged forward, straining to reach the trees. Once there, she might have a chance. As for not being taken alive, okay, yeah, she had a slight dramatic streak.
She felt him reach for her. She darted to the left, where a tree root jutted out of some grasses. She tripped over it, lost her balance and started to go down.
Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published January 15th 2013 by Harlequin HQN
(first published December 1st 2006)