Now that she and her best friends are out of danger, Cecily Carrigan is restless. Pyotr’s boss bought a restaurant and installed her as head chef. She lives rent-free with a with a sexy beast of a Russian mobster who treats her like a queen, but hasn’t offered marriage. She detests Cleveland, cold weather, and the Bratva. Conflicted and confused, what's a girl to do when she suffers a crisis of conscience?
She removes herself from temptation and leaves.
Moving to San Antonio where the weather's warm and the restaurant scene fiercely competitive, Cecily works to find herself and rebuild her self-respect... and discovers that she left the secret to happiness behind in the form of a big Russian with a heart of gold.
“I’m not weak,” she protested.
“No, but your strength is different.” His eyes glinted. “You will make such beautiful babies.”
“Babies!” she spluttered, spraying bits of egg.
He leaned back in his chair, gaze assessing her. “What? You did not think I invited every woman whose body I enjoyed to live with me?”
From the darkening expression on her face, he could see that he’d not expressed himself well. Cecily set down her fork with a distinct clink.
“That’s all I am to you? A body to enjoy and an incubator for your babies?”
Not much scared Pyotr, but this cold, hard expression on his beloved Cecily’s face did. Thus far, he’d managed to keep her bound to him by virtue of a job she loved and frequent, amazing sex. However, dread churned his belly as she rose from the chair.
“Thank you for breakfast,” she said with chilly politeness and left the table, her food mostly uneaten.
“Cecily!” he called after her.
She ignored him and disappeared into the bedroom.
He rose from the table to go after her, but his cell phone rang.
There was no polite inquiry as to whether that was a good time, only the command, “Come, you are needed.”
There was only one possible response: “On my way.”
Wishing he could pursue Cecily, apologize, and explain what he really meant, he heeded Maksim’s call. Instead, he poked his head into the bedroom and said, “I must go.”
Cecily, tugging on a comfortable pair of jeans, nodded her acknowledgement without turning to look at him. The snub stung.
When dressed, Cecily stood in the room, completely unsure of herself. Slowly, she walked to the nightstand where her phone lay plugged into recharge. She unplugged it and dialed.
“What’s up, Cece?”
“Latasha, are you busy?”
“Girl, I am always busy, but never too busy for you. What do you need?”
“I—I need to talk.”
“Did that big, dumb Russian hurt you?” her friend growled.
“Er, no, he wouldn’t hit me.” She knew that for truth. The big, brutal Russian treated her with utmost care. Gennady hurt women, not Pyotr, and liked it.
Latasha’s sigh seemed to hit her ear with a long-distance gust of air. “You working tonight?”
“My shift doesn’t end until four o’clock. God, hospital hours are crazy. Anyway, I can meet you during your break tonight or…” The silence lasted about three seconds. “No, no, that won’t work. Tell me now, girl, what’s got you so upset.”
“Well, duh. What did the big oaf do?”
Tears welled up and ran down Cecily’s cheeks as she blurted, “He said he wants me for sex and babies!”
“Whoa, there,” Latasha cautioned. “Are you sure that’s what he said?”
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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