Leila Warner is determined to find a donor match for her twelve-year-old daughter, Callie. The best match would be a blood relative, and no one in the immediate family matched. Another possibility is her deceased husband’s brother, a man once accused of murder, a man that his own family disowned, who now lives in Australia and no one has heard from in ten years.
Leila flies to Australia, determined to meet Ryan and drag him home with her, if he tested as a donor match. He tells her that she can have any part of him she wants, but he’s never returning to the country that had treated him so unfairly.
Can she convince him to do the right thing and put his past grievances behind? Will he leave his scuba-diving business, and the land he’s come to love, to help his brother’s daughter, the niece he’s never known?This is an emotionally compelling story, sure to capture your heart. How can a woman not love a man who is willing to save her daughter’s life?
“Look, Ryan, if you’re a match, you need to fly home with me immediately. As a matter of fact, I’m not leaving here without you.” Patience gone, she put her hands on her hips and glared at him.
He snapped, “In that case your daughter will die alone.”
Leila’s mouth dropped open. Tears gushed from her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. She stared at him, realizing she was a bad judge of character. His family had been right all along.
He was an evil, heartless man.
“I’m sorry, Leila. I didn’t mean that.” Ryan tried to put his arms around her, but she shrugged him off.
“Leave me, please.” Her words were icy, and he didn’t blame her.
“No. I’m not going anywhere until you look at me. I need to know you forgive me.” He rubbed a hand over his face, frustrated and filled with self-loathing and shame. “It was a terrible, cruel thing to say. I can’t believe those words came out of my mouth.”
She looked at him, her eyes still swimming with tears. Her silence hurt him more than any words ever could.
He lifted a finger and swept one sloppy, fat tear away. “Leila, I know you don’t understand why I can’t go back, and I’m not interested in explaining it. But I do want to help, I really do.”
Her body shook as she began to cry harder. Her sobs tore at his heart, and he wanted--no, he needed to offer comfort.
He wrapped his arms around her and drew her body against his. He held her for a long time, letting her cry it out, glad that she had his shoulder to cry on. Not that he deserved it, or had earned the right, but he took it anyway.
“Don’t cry. Please don’t cry. We will save your girl. I promise.” His mouth was on her brow, dropping light kisses, his hands rubbing her back, warming her, comforting her. “It’ll be all right. I don’t know how, but trust me. Please, Leila?”
She lifted her face, and her lovely blue eyes were filled with hope. “Do you mean that?” She drew in a ragged breath. “You promise?”
“Yes, yes, yes.” He didn’t know what he was doing, but his mouth found hers, and he was kissing her as if his life depended on it.
She didn’t move away. He couldn’t be certain that she returned his kiss, but he was so lost in her that it didn’t matter. He wanted to kiss away her pain and her fears, and ease her torment. That was the only thing that mattered.
He didn’t need her to respond or to pretend that she forgave him. He could never forgive himself. He was not good for any woman, and the fact that he could say something so callous about her daughter proved it.
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