They built a life on lies
Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. The couple seems made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.
Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.
Irish all the way, though she wasn’t accented. Second generation, then, but he’d bet a pound her family was recent. He knew the name, but he wasn’t about to give her the satisfaction of that knowledge. He was enjoying her discomfiture. Most women he met went all sycophant on him within moments. This one was truly tongue-tied, and eyeing him like he was a juicy steak. He thought it was cute. Check that, he thought it was hot.
“Can I buy you drink, Sutton Healy?”
“From the open bar? Sure.”
She’d touched his arm again then, slower this time, and he’d known. He was going to take her upstairs, and they were going to spend the night together, and he was going to get to know Sutton Healy biblically, and he was going to enjoy every minute of it.
He heard Bill’s voice behind him, a harsh whisper overlaid with laughter. “Sucker.” Ethan flipped him off behind his back.
Sutton Healy wanted Macallan too, so he ordered doubles. They wandered off to a corner of the ballroom. He turned her to face the room so his back was to the crowd. They managed to stay that way, uninterrupted, for half an hour. He may have run his hand through his hair a few times. He was a little fuzzy on that, but it usually drove women crazy.
Two drinks later, he admitted he’d heard of her work.
“Historical romance, right?”
“Did your agent slip you a note with that information?”
“You read historical romance? You have to be kidding me.”
“It’s very soothing. Besides, I like seeing how women think heroes should act. Gives me guidelines. I need all the chivalry schooling I can get, especially now, with all the sensitivity training they make us do. It can get very confusing, where the lines are supposed to be drawn. If we acted toward eighteen-year-old virgins the way your heroes do, we’d be jailed. Can you imagine the juice the press would get out of it?”
“You, Ethan Montclair, are full of crap.”
“Maybe I am. Maybe I’m drunk.” Yes, he had run his hand through his hair then, knowing the thick waves would stand up a bit, mussed, as his mother used to say. He’d given Sutton Healy a slow, lazy smile. “Or maybe it’s the way you’re affecting me. Speaking of crossing lines, you want to get out of here?”
He worried for a moment he’d shifted gears too quickly, sounded too wanting, but she hadn’t hesitated. “God, yes. I can’t stand these parties. Can we go now?”
He remembered every one of the fifty steps it had taken to get to the elevator, anticipation buzzing in his veins. He had a hand on the small of her back—gentle, proprietary—could feel the smooth column of muscle where her spine met her finely shaped rump. He waited until the doors slid closed to kiss her. Her mouth was sweet and smoky from the Scotch, and when she threw her arms around his neck and pulled him deeper into the kiss, he felt his heart begin to race. It was more than the usual turn on, too. There was something about this woman that was absolutely intoxicating. He had a feeling he would remember this trip to New York for a long time to come.
They both had rooms on the same floor, the conference block. He motioned toward his door, but she shook her head. “I need ten minutes. Give me your key.”
He swiped the small plastic card, unlocked his door and handed her the keycard. “Don’t disappoint me.”
She grinned, eyes a wee bit unfocused. “Never.”
She scooted off down the hall. He paced. He brushed his teeth. He debated pouring another drink from the minibar, decided he was pretty well pissed and would ride the buzz a while longer.
And true to her word, she returned eight minutes later. He couldn’t remember the last time he was so happy to see anyone.
Inside the room, she rubbed up against him like a cat. He quickly discovered she’d taken off her knickers, and he was so turned on by the juxtaposition of naughty and nice he barely got her to the bed before he was inside her.
At four in the morning, sated, sitting naked in the rumpled sheets with an array of strawberries and chocolates and champagne he’d managed to have delivered from a very grumpy front desk overnight manager, watching his dress shirt fall off her pale, freckled shoulder, he decided that he loved her.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes standalone domestic noir and psychological thriller series, the latter starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the international thriller series “A Brit in the FBI" with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the Emmy Award-winning literary television series, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.
Visit JTEllison.com for more insight into her wicked imagination, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter @thrillerchick, and Instagram @jt_thrillerchick.