Shattered by Janet Nissenson Blog Tour
Shattered by Janet Nissenson Inevitable #3 Publication Date: May 5, 2015 Genres: Contemporary, Romance
The GhostAngela Del Carlo has been living half a life, ever since he walked out on her, shattering her entire existence and leaving her to cope with picking up the fragments. Nothing seems to matter much anymore, and her life is a drab existence of work, run, repeat. She’s forgotten how to laugh, how to love, and even how to live. Most days she’s little more than a ghost. The Devil Nick Manning’s life has been one lived without compromise, without rules, and without regrets. Except for his one weakness, his one regret – Angela. What he did to her still tugs at his conscience, still fills him with remorse, and continues to haunt his dreams. But he stays away, knowing that he can never be the man she needs or give her what she deserves. The Angel But when fate intervenes and Angela’s and Nick’s paths cross again, she’s determined not to surrender her soul to the devil ever again, while he’s desperate to have his angel back in his arms – even if it means changing the rules to get it done.
About Janet NissensonJanet is a lifelong resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, and currently resides on the northern California coast with her husband Steve and Golden Retriever Max. She worked for more than two decades in the financial services industry before turning her focus to producing running events. She is a former long-distance runner, current avid yoga practitioner, is addicted to Pinterest, likes to travel and read. She has been writing for more than three decades but Serendipity is her first official published work. She plans five more books in the Inevitable series, with each one a standalone with new lead characters, so no cliffhangers or waiting months to see what happens next!
Angela had known little affection in her twenty six years, her childhood one of loneliness and emotional neglect despite growing up in a seemingly stable household with two parents and two older sisters. The few sexual partners she’d had during college had all been fleeting, casual encounters, all during a time in her life when she’d been angry, rebellious, and totally incapable of managing anything remotely resembling a relationship.
And then had come the time in her life she merely referred to as “the year” – though in actuality it had only been eleven months and five days. It had been the only time in her life when she’d felt truly alive, truly fulfilled, even though there had also been countless days during the same year when she’d felt helpless and out of control. And since then, she’d spent every day trying to claw her way out of the depths of hell that she’d fallen into when the ill-fated affair had ended so horribly.
But now, for the first time in years, she was beginning to find hope. That fleeting sensation of something that she’d felt earlier today during her run had been hovering on the outskirts of her emotions for a little while now, and she wasn’t sure whether to embrace it fully and welcome it in, or shove it brutally aside so she could continue to wallow in her sorrow.
“Angela, come and meet the newest member of our team. Though you’ve probably already heard of the legend that’s Nick Manning.”
Looking back at that particular moment later in the day, Angela was never quite sure how she’d prevented herself from recoiling at the mention of that name. Or how she didn’t faint dead away when she looked into those keenly intelligent dark brown eyes for the first time in almost four years. Or how she managed – by some inner, hidden strength she sure as hell wouldn’t have thought she possessed – to hold out her hand as he took a few slow, precise steps towards her desk.
“Hello, Nick. It’s been a long time.”
Angela didn’t know who was more shocked at that moment or why. She couldn’t quite believe that eerily calm, almost disembodied voice had come out of her mouth, or that she could just stand there, cool as a cucumber, and offer to shake hands as though they’d been nothing more than the most casual of business acquaintances.
Nick, on the other hand, paled considerably beneath his normally swarthy complexion, and he didn’t even try to conceal the shocked look that crossed his compelling features. His big hand reached out instinctively to clasp hers, and she could see his very visible reaction when he felt how icy cold her skin was. But instead of hastily breaking contact as most people did, Nick only tightened his grip.
For one brief, tantalizing second she’d thought he would call her by the name no one else but he had ever used. But that had been another lifetime ago, it seemed, and she was no longer his “Angel”, if in fact she had ever truly been so.
Nick smiled, taking the glass from her suddenly nerveless fingers and setting it aside. “The coincidences just keep piling up, don’t they? That’s almost always what I drink, too. And then, of course, there’s the coincidence of our first names.”
She gave him a puzzled look. “My name is Italian while yours is Greek. At least, I assume Nick is short for Nicholas.”
“It is. But I wasn’t referring to their ethnic origins,” he corrected. “Has anyone ever called you Angel? As a nickname, of course.”
Her pulse rate seemed to be jacking up another degree with each passing moment. “N-nno. Just Angie.”
Nick shook his head. “Not Angie. That doesn’t suit you in the least. But Angel definitely does. And, well, many people aren’t aware of this but Nick is sometimes used as a nickname for the devil – Old Nick, to be precise. So, here we are then – the Angel and the Devil. Rather poetic, don’t you think?”
She stared at him, too shocked and too enraptured in equal measures to think of anything remotely intelligent to say. Instead, she stammered clumsily, “But you – what about – I work here!”
He gave her a knowing smirk, as though he knew exactly how unsettled he was making her feel. “Are we back to that again? Very well, it’s true. I’ve never dated a co-worker before. Too messy, too complicated, and way too invasive of the privacy I insist on having in my personal life. But this is different. You’re different. Enough so that I’m going to break my ironclad rule and ask you to have dinner with me tonight.”
She gasped and knew that her jaw must have dropped open in shock. “You – you are?”
“I am. I have. So, what’s your answer?”
“Yes.” She replied without the slightest hesitation, afraid that if she stopped to think about it too long that she’d wake up and realize this had all been a dream.
Nick looked pleased, satisfied, and maybe even a bit relieved. “Good. I hate when women play games. Unless, of course, they happen to be a particular kind of game.”
But before she could even begin to think up a witty reply – hell, any reply – to that very deliberate taunt, Nick had pulled a business card and pen from the inside pocket of his superbly tailored suit jacket.
“Here.” He handed her the card, on which he’d written a name and address in a bold script. “Meet me in half an hour. I’ll leave first so that we don’t give the gossip mongers in this place more fuel for their nosy little fires. God, how I hate that shit.”
She took the card, unable to suppress a little shiver at the sound of disgust in his voice. “Are you – I mean, is it okay for you to leave so soon?”
Nick gave a hoot of laughter. “Let’s put it this way. There’s not a single person here who’s got the balls to tell me otherwise. And that includes our spineless excuse of a CEO. In other words, Angel, I can do whatever the hell I please. Don’t be late, hmm?”
He stood up the moment he spied her in the doorway, a knowing smile on that rakishly handsome face. It didn’t escape Angela’s notice that every female in the bar was staring at him longingly, and she couldn’t help the added little swagger in her step as she walked over to him.
But nothing could have prepared her for the way he took her hand and tugged her in close against his hard, unyielding body just before bending his head to capture her mouth in a searing, domineering kiss. Her free hand fluttered up limply to rest against one of his broad, steely shoulders, bracing herself as her knees grew weak from the continued onslaught of his kiss – the kiss that felt as though he was branding her, claiming her. His tongue was making lazy but bold sweeps through her mouth, letting her know that he was in charge, and that he expected not just her participation but her complete and total enjoyment as well.
And then he lifted his head, gazing down at her in satisfaction. She knew her eyes must be glazing over by now, her cheeks flushed, her freshly applied lipstick all for naught. Her lips felt swollen and bruised, and she’d never even come close to being this highly aroused before. She would have done anything at that point for him to whisk her off to bed, to cup her achy breasts in his big hands, and she had to resist the urge to pull his head back down to hers for another deep, dirty kiss.
“Sit. Your drink’s already here.”
Rather than object or rebel at the commanding tone of his voice, something deep within her responded to it instead, recognized it, even liked it, and she sat down obediently in the chair he pulled out for her.
Nick took his own seat, his long legs brushing against hers very intentionally as he picked up his glass. “Here’s to what will hopefully be a very interesting evening to come,” he toasted in a deep, seductive voice that seemed to reverberate throughout her entire body.
Angela gave him what she hoped was an equally seductive smile. “I’ll drink to that,” she replied, clinking her glass against his before taking a sip of the lemon flavored vodka. “But it’s already been a very, very interesting evening for me.”
He lounged back leisurely in his chair, stretching his extra-long legs out and crossing them at the ankles. “Is that right?” he drawled. “Well, why don’t we see how much more interesting it can get. Are you on birth control?”
She coughed and sputtered as the mouthful of vodka she’d just swallowed went down the wrong way. She raised watery eyes up to him, observing the amused look on his face. “I’d, ah, ask what business that is of yours but I’m having a little trouble speaking at the moment,” she croaked.
“Bullshit.” He took a leisurely drink from his own glass. “To both statements. You’re talking just fine and you know exactly why it’s my business.” Without any warning he captured her hand and brought it to his mouth, his tongue tracing a wicked little circle around her palm. “After dinner I’m going to fuck you, Angel. Probably more than once. So answer my question like a good girl, would you?”