Didn’t I Warn You?
Bad for You #1
Amber A. Bardan
April 18, 2016
Carina Press//Harlequin AU
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From the moment Angelina laid eyes on him, she fell into a fantasy. Mysterious, foreign, gorgeous, Haithem offered her what she needed most—a chance to feel again.
But Haithem is much more than he appears to be. He lives in a world of danger where everything comes at a price.
For Angelina, that price is her future.
He's made sure the life she's left behind is in tatters. Made her family believe she's dead. Still, he talks about protecting her, about keeping her safe, but she can't distinguish his truth from his lies. She can't separate her pleasure from his betrayal.
Haithem warned her. He told her he'd make her heart race, her body come alive and her most primal needs rush to the surface. His for the taking.
He didn't say she'd come to love the devil who's destroying her, even as he keeps her prisoner.
**If you'd like to read my early review for Didn't I Warn You, click HERE.**
“I swear—you never existed. I never met you at all.”
His gaze flicked to my touch, and stuck there as though the touching of him was not something that was usually done. His expression shivered and whatever I thought I saw vanished. He rose to his feet. “I’m afraid a promise made under duress is no promise at all.”
“What do you mean, duress?” I leaped off the bed.
He strode for the door. Apparently, he thought our conversation was over. Pity—I wasn’t done. I followed him onto the deck.
Salty air swept hair across my face.
“It’s not as if you’ve threatened me, so I’m not under duress.”
He paused, pushed the notepad into his pocket and turned. “You think someone has to hold a gun to your head for you to be helpless?” His movements changed, went sharp yet somehow also slinky. He walked—not to me but around me. “I have all the power, all the say. And you—” he pointed his finger directly at me “—you, Angel, are a scared girl who wants to go home.”
His words whipped me like lashings from the wind. Painful, cutting lashes that made me want to cry. He stalked me, closing his circle just as surely as a shark. My veins spurted adrenaline, instinct compelling me to run.
But I didn’t run. That would break the dubious politeness he’d affected, and this small glimpse at what lay underneath was enough to shake the skin around me.
There was nowhere to run. He’d catch me, and—god help me—I might even enjoy it.
I might enjoy something so real and so raw as being caught, even if it hurt. No polite control. Nothing proper or respectable. Just real.
He walked and walked, round and around. My neck strained to keep up with him. I couldn’t drop my gaze, couldn’t let him out of my peripheral vision.
“You owe me nothing. I expect nothing from you. I trust no promises from you.” His voice softened, whispered around me from what felt like all directions. He stopped directly behind me, his hands coming down on my shoulders so I couldn’t turn. “But this doesn’t have to be a nightmare. It doesn’t have to be a trap or a prison.” He pulled me back against him, and suddenly his arms were around me and the beast was gone, replaced instead by a comforting protector.
My pulse jumped. How quickly he could change.
“This isn’t fair. For that, I owe you, and I always honor my debts.”
I’d slipped into hyperawareness—of the arm around my waist, the body at my back, the voice in my ear. I could almost see myself in his arms, standing like a waxwork, so still and glassy-eyed. Mesmerized.
“I saw your face when you told me you’re smothered so tightly you can’t breathe,” he whispered. “You could be free…” He brushed his cheek against my temple. “No one around. You could be yourself.”
He rocked me, so softly I almost missed the shift of my weight from one side to the other. I no longer knew if I was holding myself up.
“I can give you sunsets on the ocean. I can show you space so endless you’ll lose yourself.”
My hair caught on his bristles.
“Have you ever run down a deserted beach, Angel?” His hand moved on my belly. “Have you ever swum naked in salt water?” His voice penetrated my head, my blood, sinking down somewhere even deeper.
“Imagine three weeks where anything you ask will be indulged. All your demands met. Ask me for something—ask me for anything.”
My eyes closed.
“Do you need someone to hear you?” His word curled into my ear so gently, I felt the heat of his body in his breath. “I’ll listen to you talk for days.”
He touched my chest, pressed his palm flat against me.
“You can tell me what it is you keep buried in here. What you’re holding on to so tightly that you can’t let go. You can give it all to me, Angel. Just hand it all over to me…”
Air flooded my lungs, and I lunged out of his grasp. My heart beat so fast, I could imagine coronary damage taking place. I turned and faced him, backing out of reach.
Had I let him read me so thoroughly? Had I laid out my weakness so well that he could drive himself into my head and fuck me there?
Because that’s what he was doing—he was fucking my mind. I knew it. He knew it.
It was working.
After spending years imagining fictional adventures, Amber Bardan finally found a way to turn daydreaming into a productive habit. She now spends her time in a coffee-fueled adrenaline haze, writing romance with a thriller edge.
She lives with her husband and children in semi-rural Australia, where if she peers outside at the right moment she might just see a kangaroo bounce by.
Amber is an award winning writer, Amazon Bestselling Author, and member of Romance Writers of Australia, Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, and Writers Victoria.