by Catherine Bybee
Publication date: July 31, 2018
Paperback: 348 pages
Publisher: Montlake Romance
New York Times bestselling author Catherine Bybee continues her sassy series with another of the First Wives finding that love and secrets are a dangerous combination.
Trina Petrov’s marriage-by-contract was only meant to be temporary. But when tragedy strikes, Trina is left one of the wealthiest women in the world. To recover from the shock, she takes some time off in Italy, swearing not to fall for any men while there. But that doesn’t mean she can’t fall for anyone on the trip home…
Country-music superstar Wade Thomas is lying low in a hotel bar when he gets the cold shoulder from the woman next to him. He’s used to fans fawning at his boots, and Trina is a refreshing change—so is the fact that she has no idea who he is.
As things begin to heat up, Trina discovers that the circumstances of her late husband’s death are not what they seemed. Now she’s in trouble, and Wade isn’t about to let her out of his sight. Getting close to love and danger could get them killed…or it could sweep them both off their feet.
They closed the bar and took their last round to the hotel lobby.
Wade had to admit he was a bit more than tipsy, and Trina wasn’t exactly sober. She’d tucked her feet under her on the lobby sofa as she described Venice in a way that made him want to visit.
“There isn’t one car?” he asked.
“No place for them. You only get around on foot or boat. Which is probably best to help counter the pasta you consume while you’re there.”
“So why did you pick Venice?”
Her eyes drifted away, something Wade had noticed happened a lot when she was lost in thought. A hint of sorrow quickly came and went, almost as if she caught herself. The smile she flashed felt forced. “I wanted isolation so I could study.”
“Study?” She rattled off something that went completely over his head.
Her dark brown eyes glistened with her smile. “I’m learning Italian.”
Wade blew out a breath. “Oh, thank God. I thought maybe that last beer was one too many.”
“I like languages.”
“As in many?”
He was happy to speak English. “I’m impressed.”
“Don’t be. Most Europeans are fluent in a minimum of two languages.”
“Are you from Europe?”
“No. Born and raised in Southern California. My grandparents on my mother’s side are from Mexico. Spanish was always spoken in our home.”
“So you speak Spanish as well?” He squirmed in his chair.
“Now I’m feelin’ a bit inferior.”
“Language is my hidden talent,” she said.
“So how did you end up in Texas?”
Her gaze met his before she wrinkled her nose and gave a quick shake of the head. “It’s a long story.”
“Which is your way of saying don’t pry.”
She stretched out her arms. “It’s my way of saying that we’ve had a pleasant conversation, and bringing up my recent move will change all that. I’d just as soon keep this light.”
Wade wasn’t expecting her reply. “Now you’ve piqued my interest.”
“Another time,” she said.
He offered a smile that usually had women crawling all over him. “Am I going to have that chance?”
“Chance for what?”
Her eyes bored into him as if he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. “I told you, I’m not interested.”
He lifted one eyebrow, flashed a dimple. “What if I told you I was rich?”
She burst out in laughter.
His smile fell.
“Sorry…” She appeared to pull in her mirth. “You’re gonna have to do better than money.”
“Good lord, woman.”
He scratched his head. “I’m famous.”
She bit her lip. “That explains the arrogance.”
Wade placed a hand on his wounded chest. “I am not.”
Trina tossed her head back, and her deep laugh filled the empty lobby. “My name is Wade Thomas, you don’t know who I am?” Her mimicry of him was off by several octaves.
Her laughter tickled his gut.
“I can teach you the two-step.”
She pinched her lips together, trying to contain herself.
His pride was starting to dim.
“I’m not bad looking.”
She looked him up and down … twice. “I’ll give you that.”
He lifted both hands in the air. “Finally.”
For the span of a full minute, she stared. Her smile slowly started to fall, and he knew she was talking herself out of dating him.
“Tell you what. I’m flying home tomorrow. Private charter, because I’m rich, famous, and arrogant.” He moaned on that last word.
Now they were getting somewhere.
“I can give you a lift home.”
Trina blew out a breath. “I’m avoiding going home,” she reminded him.
“And I was thinking I needed a quick stop in Nassau … where the plane might not be able to leave right away. That tropical depressed storm and all.”
She pointed a finger in his direction. “I like the way you think.”