Forced to choose between the world she wants and the man she loves, Cassia opts for fame and fortune. But it's not enough—one taste and she's hooked again...
Despite her success in the Sydney art world, Cassia yearns for the idyllic life she once lead with Jake in their shack over looking the Pacific Ocean. Seeking closure she falls, like an addict, straight back into his arms, and out again equally quickly. Not only has he taken up with his brother's wife, but it seems they have a child.
Truth is, Jake's living a lie, sworn to secrecy, and hamstrung by the debt he owes his estranged family. But one glimpse of Cassia and he knows he cannot live without her. Her fey, artistic character and magical body possess his imagination and his heart. Can he convince her to trust him long enough to save the crumbling remains of their relationship?
She dismissed his words with a wave of her hand, but her eyes betrayed her. He knew her too well. The burn of hurt behind their velvety depths had nothing to do with the here and now, but everything to do with what had gone before. His fault. Lyle's fault. No one's fault. Just circumstance.
"No, no, I'm not. I need answers, and I need them now. I can't go on like this. Either we are together or we are not. You have to make a choice: Madeleine or me. I can't be a convenience you can pick up and put down as the mood takes you."
"My feelings for you, Cass, are a million things, but convenient isn't one of them." He shook his head in sorrowful disbelief. How could she not recognize the bond they had?
"Madeleine?" Her raised eyebrows challenged him.
"Right now I can't explain what happened with Madeleine, but her safety is paramount."
Her body shuddered as if she were trying to lift a great weight. What was he doing to her? Madeleine, Madeleine, always Madeleine. "I can't do this again, Jake. I need to go home."
Jake slipped her cardigan over her frail shoulders and then stepped back to allow her to lead the way past the bar and up the narrow stairs to street level.
He unlocked the car door and held it open. Her skirt caught on the ribbons of her espadrille. As he leaned down to untangle them, she flinched. He closed the car door with exaggerated care and walked around to the driver's door and let himself in. He clicked his seat belt into its clasp before he twisted the key in the ignition. The engine sprang to life, and he pulled out into the darkened street.
"You have to trust me, Cass. I know it is difficult, but you just have to trust me and wait. Everything will be sorted out soon."
Her sigh filled the car. "Jake, I can't. How can I? I've tried and look where we've ended up. Me in Sydney, and you living with your brother's girlfriend."
"Wife," he corrected, regretting the word the moment it left his lips.