The gentle giant slowly awakens her long-dormant
Anna Thompson looked up from her plate, peering at the hulking giant sitting in the booth across from her. Nic twirled the last bit of spaghetti on his plate, watching her with careful eyes as he stuffed the bite into his mouth and chewed. After introducing her to his older brother, Luc, who owned half the restaurant and worked as the head chef, Nic had indeed raided the ’fridge. He’d made three heaping plates of spaghetti and meatballs, complete with salad and what smelled like fresh garlic bread sticks.
The man made her insides shake. The resemblance was uncanny at best, terrifying at worst. If it weren’t for the other two waitresses, moving silently around the dining room as they cleaned up for the night, she wouldn’t have stayed. When she’d gotten her first look at Nic after that sweet waitress let her and Lacey in, she’d almost turned around a left. He looked so much like Tony her throat had closed. Both had the same dark brown hair and olive complexion so common in men of Italian decent. Nic’s eyes were different, though. Tony was dark all over, including his midnight eyes. Nic’s were a beautiful shade of amber, and, so far, always seemed to hold a hint of a smile.
She couldn’t deny he was good-looking. Ten years ago, before Tony, she might have flirted with his sexy smile, with those beautiful amber eyes. But he stood a good head and shoulders above her, his body thickly muscled. The power behind his large, muscular frame made her stomach lurch.
Nic set his fork on the side of his plate and folded his hands on the table in front of him. He inclined his head at Lacey. “She was hungry.”
Nic had given her enough pasta for a grown man, but Lacey had cleaned her plate. She’d then curled up in the corner of the booth and fallen asleep sitting up.
“And exhausted.” Anna shook her head, her face warming. “You must think I’m a horrible mother.”
What kind of mother couldn’t provide even a meal and a warm bed for her child?
Nic leaned back in the booth, studying her with shrewd eyes, as if he could see too much and had already figured her out. “Actually, I don’t. It takes guts to admit to a complete stranger you have nowhere to sleep.”
Regret twisted in Anna’s stomach. She shouldn’t have pushed them so hard this time. She should have stopped in Oregon, when Lacey begged her to camp on the beach again. Then at least they could have started tomorrow with a full belly, and with any luck, she might have found another job where she could work for a while to earn more money before they pushed on.
She’d been desperate to come here, to this tiny little town on an island in the middle of the Puget Sound. Tony had gotten too close this last time, and she’d run again, terrified he’d find them. Hope and sheer, stubborn determination were the only things keeping her going anymore.
Anna Thompson and her daughter Lacey are on the run from an abusive ex-husband who will stop at nothing to find her. Anna and Lacey wind up in Angel Bay where Anna set out to find a job to help support her and her daughter. She finds herself in a restaurant late one night begging for a job when she first meets Nic. At first she is intimidated by the size of the man due to the trauma of her ex’s abuse but soon learns the man is a gentle giant.
Nic was first introduced to us in Luc (book #1 in the Russi Brothers series). Nic is a single parent himself and his sole focus is on his daughter. He had no intention of trying to find love, he wife leaving the two of them turned his heart cold towards relationships, until the night Anna and Lacey walk into his restaurant. He sees the fear in Anna’s eyes and knows she is hiding from something or someone.
Guys, this story, wow I just don’t really know who to put it into words. It was deeply emotional and suspenseful. I felt like I was right in the book with the characters and feeling every emotion with them. I have read several books by this author and they really just keep getting better. While this book contains sensitive material (abuse by the ex-husband) it gives up hope for second chances at love and finding a HEA. I cannot recommend this book enough.
I received an eARC of this book compliments of the publisher in exchange for my honest review and opinion. All ratings and opinions stated are my own.