He was a man with connections...
Wealth, power and the perfect life. That's what Graham Hollister thought he had with his beautiful wife, Kendall. He'd almost lost her in a deadly car crash, but since then he'd reveled in their renewed marriage.
Until one Texas night changed everything.
She was a woman with a past...
A brutal crime cartel came to abduct Kendall. Only the kidnappers didn't want just ransom--they were out for revenge. But as Graham raced against time and all odds to rescue his wife, everything he thought he once knew about her was now in question. Would the dark, dangerous secrets she harbored destroy them both?
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January 07, 2008
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Excerpt from Texas Ransom by Amanda Stevens
"It feels a little like heaven up here, doesn't it?"
"Only a little?" Graham Hollister teased as he surveyed the city lights from the rooftop of the PemCo Tower, an eighty-five-story glass-and-granite monolith that was now the tallest skyscraper in the Houston skyline.
The building would soon become the oil company's world headquarters, but for now, tonight, it was the culmination of all Graham's dreams.
When he closed his eyes, he could feel the building sway beneath them, and a wave of dizziness washed over him. He fought it off. He didn't want anything to spoil this night.
He tightened his arms around his wife's slim waist. "Only a little like heaven," he mused. "Damn. I must be doing something wrong."
She pulled away and shot him a look over her shoulder. "Will you stop fishing? I told you earlier the earth moved. What more do you want?"
"Tell me again. I'm feeling insecure." His hand trailed down her bare arm. "Or better yet, show me."
She slapped at his hand. "Up here? No way! I'm not an exhibitionist."
"Tell that to Myron." Myron was the stray tabby they'd adopted a few months ago when he'd crawled over the fence one day and caught them skinny-dipping in the pool. He'd gotten quite an eyeful before either of them had noticed him stretched out on one of the loungers.
"Different situation entirely," Kendall said.
"And besides, Myron doesn't have a judgmental bone in his body."
"And I do?"
"You're not the one I'm worried about. Getting caught in flagrante delicto by the Mexican ambassador is not my idea of a fun evening."
"No, but I bet it would be his," Graham said as he drew her back against him.
Her shampoo smelled like flowers, but her perfume was something darker, headier. That was Kendall. Always a dichotomy. Insecure, dauntless and perfectly flawed. A woman he found endlessly fascinating, even after seven years of marriage. More like five, though, if you counted the long separation.
But Graham didn't want to think about that tonight. He and Kendall had never been happier, so what did it matter that she'd once left him? He hadn't tried to stop her. The truth of the matter was he'd been relieved when she walked out on their marriage.
That had been a long time ago. Things were different now. They were different.
And yet there were times, such as earlier tonight before they'd left the hotel, when Graham sensed that maybe everything between them wasn't as perfect as he wanted to believe. Sometimes, when Kendall didn't know he was around, he'd see a look come over her face. Sad, pensive...lost. Graham tried to chalk it up to her past. She didn't talk much about her family, but he knew she'd had a difficult childhood and a troubled adolescence. He'd never pressed for details. He wasn't keen on airing his dirty laundry, either, but at times, he still felt as if he'd barely scratched the surface of who she really was.