Can she free his heart from the demons that plague him, or will his fears keep him from loving again?
Following the deaths of her sister and brother-in-law, Kaya Brehna is awarded custody of their three children, and to avoid financial ruin, she must move them to Palm Beach where her successful career in interior decorating can provide financial security. Her plans are, however, thwarted by New Hampshire business mogul, Bryce Fontaine, who is determined to keep his godchildren in Granite Falls at all costs—even emotional blackmail.
Ever since he lost his own family five years earlier, Bryce Fontaine has been a tormented soul. His godchildren are the closest thing to family he has, and he’ll be damned before he let some corporate ladder-climbing stranger take them away from him.
Can Bryce and Kaya find a way to work together for the good of the children whom they both love while simultaneously heal the pain in each other’s heart?
THE MOGUL'S RELUCTANT BRIDE EXCERPT
Bryce stared out at the snowflakes drifting down from a cloudy sky to form a pristine white carpet across the frozen lake. This was the season when he felt closest to Pilar. He missed sharing meals with her in front of a roaring fire, then making love on the floor until the embers died out. He missed waking up next to her on cold wintry mornings, making love again, sleeping in, breakfast in bed, and sometimes lunch.
Those who were close to him knew not to question him about the few precious months he had with Pilar, and of the years of happiness they should have had in this house. His close friends and family understood his need for privacy when it came to Pilar. Kaya was neither friend nor family. She was a stranger Michael and Lauren had appointed guardian of their children.
He wanted her gone by the end of the week, either voluntarily or by coercion. He already had a private detective on her case. He needed something to use against her. Even an unpaid parking ticket could make her seem irresponsible. She’d already alluded to a somewhat unpleasant past, some loathsome secret she and Lauren had shared. Perhaps the threat of exposing “it” would be enough to persuade her to quietly hand over the children and return to her life in Palm Beach.
He had no desire to hurt Kaya, or Lauren’s memory if the secret they’d hidden all these years turned out to be monumental, but he was willing to do anything, even resort to blackmail if that was what it took to keep the children where they belonged. He’d be remiss in his role as a godfather if he did nothing to stop Kaya’s plan.
Bryce turned at the sound of his name. His heart trembled with joy and fear as Alyssa raced across the floor toward him, Snoopy under one arm. She wrapped her free hand around his legs. He couldn’t bear the thought of going through life and not hearing her calling out for her Uncle Bryce.
“Yes, baby. What is it?”
He stroked her hair away from her face.“Can we go for a sled ride on the lake?”
“Maybe tomorrow, sweetheart.”
“Why can’t we go now? It’s not dark yet.”
“I know, baby. It’s just that I—” He took a quick glance at Kaya who was still feeding Anastasia. She had that enraptured smile adults got when they stared into the innocent face of a child. She was bonding. He knew the feeling well. There was no way in hell he was going to leave her alone with Samantha. She would have zero opportunities to cut him out of any decisions about the children. He returned his attention to Alyssa. “I have to talk with Miss Samantha when she’s finished with your brother.”
“But they’ve been talking for a one hundreds of minutes already. Is Jason bad? Does he have a timeout?”
Bryce crouched down to her eye level and held her hands. “No. They’re just talking about some very important stuff.”
“Like what?” She shrugged her shoulder.
Bryce studied her face. She seemed unaffected by her parents’ absence. She hadn’t even asked for them since he’d arrived. Where did she think they were?
Bryce stood to his feet as Alyssa stuck her thumb into her mouth and walked over to Kaya. She stared at her baby sister then announced around her thumb, “That’s not the way Mommy feeds her.”
“No? How did your mommy feed her?” Kaya asked as she finally pulled the empty bottle from Anastasia’s mouth.
“With those.” Alyssa poked a finger into Kaya’s breasts, one at a time.
She flinched, twice, then stated with a stiff upper lip, “Well, this is how I feed her.”
Bryce watched on, curiously amused as Kaya’s cheeks turned a bright pink. She kept her head down, not daring to glance his way. She had the same uncomfortable look as before when they’d discussed nipples in the nursery. Was she that inexperienced? That innocent?
“Why don’t you use those?” Alyssa jabbed her again.
And again, she flinched. “Because I’m an aunt and not a mommy. Only mommies feed babies that way.”
Her voice was as unstable as the rhythm of his heart.
“When is my mommy coming home?” Alyssa asked.
Finally. Bryce held his breath as he looked on silently.
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