Mine to HoldWicked Lovers, Book 6
His best friend’s ex. A night he can’t forget. A secret that could destroy them both.
Tyler Murphy was an LAPD detective, single and happy—until a near-fatal tragedy crippled his friend, fellow detective Eric Catalano. While he supported Eric, he also became a shoulder for Eric’s wife, Delaney, to lean on. But with one naughty suggestion from Eric, a drunken night with Delaney spilled into erotic abandon. Before it was over Tyler saw his best friend’s wife as a woman and yearned for more. When Eric struggled to deal with the aftermath, Delaney begged Tyler to leave. Crushed, he fled to Louisiana, hoping to escape his longing for the one woman he could never have again…and unaware of what he’d left behind.
After two years of living with regret, Tyler finds Delaney on his doorstep, her husband having abandoned her long ago. She’s protecting a shocking secret and desperately needs refuge from a killer determined to see her dead. As they fight to stay alive and catch the stalker, they struggle to resolve the guilt of their past pleasures. But they can’t deny that what was once a spark is now a flame burning out of control. To possess Delaney—body and soul—Tyler must heal her pain and thwart the evil that’s a mere breath behind her…
Wicked Lovers SERIES
The doorbell rang before Tyler could escape the house. Damn it, if this was another meddling female trying to tell him how to run his life, he was going to shove a bottle of wine in her hands and send her out back with the rest of them. He had better things to do, like slap some sense into his buddies. What the hell had possessed all of them to marry such interfering women?
Clenching the knob with almost as much gusto as he gnashed his teeth, Tyler yanked the door open with a curse on the tip of his tongue. It died abruptly.
Oh. My. God.
He drank in the sight of the familiar, petite brunette. He knew those wary blue eyes, framed by thick, dark lashes, and that sweet oval face. Her stubborn chin. Th at wide bow of a mouth. His heart pounded. He found himself unable to take a breath. “Delaney?”
The sight of her hit him like a fucking two-by-four in the solar plexus. Was it even possible that she stood at his door? Or was he hallucinating aft er two silent years of wondering what the fuck had happened?
She shifted nervously, looking too damn tired and rumpled. Her dark hair hung in an unraveling braid. She wore no makeup, a faded T-shirt, and had dark circles under her eyes. By her side sat a black duffel bag on wheels. Something else squatted near her, around the corner. He couldn’t see more than a blue, waist-high plastic handle stretching vertically for about two feet.
What the hell? She refused to have anything to do with him for two years, then came to his door unannounced, bringing everything she owned?
“You’re a tough man to track down,” she murmured, then glanced over her shoulder at the empty street bathed in twilight. “Your alias threw me.”
Scowling, he crossed his arms over his chest. Yeah, he should invite her in, but last time he checked, she’d thrown him out of her life.
Of course, she wouldn’t show up now with luggage unless she was desperate…
“I was under the impression you’d rather I get and stay lost,” he drawled.
She shook her head, her dark braid swaying in the valley between her soft breasts, the ones with the pretty berry red nipples he’d never forgotten, no matter how many fake tits he’d fondled in the last two years. Tyler ignored the stirring of his cock and swallowed back the memory.
“I’m sorry for the way things ended.” She bit her lip. “I know this is awkward—”
“As hell. Yeah. Where’s Eric?” He glanced down at her left hand, clutching the rolling duffel bag. Her ring finger was bare.
Fuck. And there came the two-by-four to his gut again. Tyler didn’t ask why; he knew the answer.
“I’m sorry as hell, Del.”
And he was. But there was a selfish side of him having a full-on, get-down party at the news that Del was single.
Self-consciously, she rubbed her thumb under her naked ring finger. “Thanks. It was final sixteen months ago. I haven’t seen much of him since.” She pursed her lips together, glanced behind her at the quiet street again. “We don’t talk a lot.”
Son of a bitch, he’d bet the split was ugly. And why did she keep glancing behind her?
“Delaney…” Tyler didn’t know what the hell to say. It wasn’t all his fault. But a good deal of the blame rested on his shoulders. The need to know why she was here now also kept circling his brain.
“It’s okay. I know you have company and that this is uncomfortable. I know I handled everything between us badly in the past. I’m sorry. I regret it like hell.”
Delaney’s blue eyes filled up with tears. As she fought them back, Tyler resisted the urge to comfort her as he had when they’d been friends…then more.
“Can I come in? There’s something we really need to talk about—and we shouldn’t do it on your porch.”
Everything inside Tyler seized up. Th e last time they’d talked, she’d asked him to leave, then cut him out of her life. Whatever was on her mind, it would be heavy. She hadn’t come all the way to Lafayette from Los Angeles to shoot the shit.
Despite everything, how the hell could he say no? He’d ruined her life, and deep down, he’d been pretty damn sure that would be the outcome the second the deed was done. He owed her. Besides, he’d never been in love…but he’d come perilously close with Delaney.
“Sure.” He swallowed, grabbed her duffel, and stepped back. “Come in. How did you know I had company?”
Delaney glanced at the object with the tall plastic handle beside her, the rest hidden by the exterior wall of the porch. She looked distinctly uncomfortable. “I rang the doorbell a bit ago, and no one answered. So I popped around to the side of the house and…saw that you weren’t alone.”
“They’re my buddies’ wives.” He’d meant the words as an explanation, a defense. Then he winced. God, Delaney probably already imagined—with good reason—that he was fucking each and every one of them.
“It’s none of my business.” She glanced at the hidden object beside her again, then the empty street behind her. “I came because I need your help. Really badly and right now.”
“You look tired, Del. And too thin. Come in and tell me what you need.”
She drew in a deep breath, then bent to the hidden item just beside her. A trunk? A dolly? Did she mean to move in?
A moment later, she straightened up, clutching a child. A little boy. He was deadweight in her arms, half asleep, his face against her shoulder, thick blond hair askew. Tyler’s heart skidded to a stop.
The kid’s meaty hands and feet peeked out beyond the arms and legs of his Spider-Man pajamas that were just a bit too small. He hooked one arm around Delaney’s neck, then began rubbing an eye with his little fist. Then the kid turned. That little face possessed the Murphy nose. His own green eyes, uncertain and watchful, stared back at him.
Tyler’s entire body went cold. His jaw dropped as his mind came to a screeching halt. Oh God. Oh fucking God…
“Once again, Shayla Black has dazzled readers… This story epitomizes just why I crave this author’s stories again and again.”
—Fallen Angel Reviews
“A definite must-read for fans who enjoy passion, suspense, and off-the-charts chemistry.”
– Fresh Fiction
“Shayla has written another WONDERFUL story!”
—Books –N- Kisses
5 out of 5 stars again! “…incredibly sexy and emotional.”
—Another Look Books
“Shayla Black, I don’t know how you do that voodoo that you do so well, but you rocked it! Loved this book!!!!”
—The Romance Reviews
“Mine to Hold is hot, Hot, HOT! Fans of Shayla Black will not be disappointed as the author seamlessly mixes sizzling passion and potent suspense.”
—Bookaholics Romance Book Club
“The chemistry between Tyler and Delaney is so potent that it wafts off the pages, intoxicates you, pulls you in, and holds you in a sinful embrace. This book has…turned
[Tyler] into the most beloved male in Wicked Lovers history! Loved this book!!!!”
—The Romance Reviews
4 ½ stars! “…Fast-paced and emotionally sexy story. It will pull you in and have you turning the page for more because the action is so hot you can’t get enough.”
—Affaire de Coeur
4 ½ stars! “Black does an amazing job adding passion and intensity to every page. The storyline is part mystery and part erotica and will leave readers yearning for more.”
—RT Book Reviews
“In my opinion, this is the best Wicked [Lovers] book yet. Mine to Hold is a great addition to the series and a must read.”
Perfect 10! “I loved this story…”
—Erotica Romance Writers