Hide Your Heart: A New Zealand Small Town Romance (Sexy New Zealand Beach Romance Far North Book 1)

Hide Your Heart: A New Zealand Small Town Romance (Sexy New Zealand Beach Romance Far North Book 1) by Tracey Alvarez

Book: Hide Your Heart: A New Zealand Small Town Romance (Sexy New Zealand Beach Romance Far North Book 1) by Tracey Alvarez Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tracey Alvarez
between them had ignited into a wildfire. They’d crossed an invisible line with that kiss, and wildfires had a nasty habit of destroying lives if left unchecked.
    Lauren stepped through the archway, only to freeze at an unexpected complication. A complication who sprawled on her couch with a steaming mug in his hand.
    “I thought you’d gone down to the workshop already.” Lauren’s gaze darted from Nate’s long, denim-clad legs to the extra mug on the coffee table.
    “Nope. I made you tea—chamomile, right?”
    Her hand fluttered to her lips. “I should get on with the dishes.”
    “I’ve done them. Come and have your tea.”
    Lauren accepted the mug and chose to sit on the couch opposite. “Thanks. It’s been a long day.”
    As she sipped, she flicked him a glance over the rim.
    He leaned back, crossed his ankles and kept her gaze trapped. “Will you tell me about New York?”
    “Oh. Ah, surely you’ve been there?” Tell him about New York? She’d barely told her family about her disastrous, four-year marriage.
    “Couple of times.”
    Then, in the way some guys intuitively did, he shut up and just watched her. Watched her with those dark-lashed, gorgeous green eyes.
    Damn.
    “I don’t know where to start.”
    “Start at the beginning.”
    “Right.”
    Where did her story begin? Where were the safe spots she could stand on like stepping stones in a turbulent river? What parts of her truth did she dare expose?
    She sucked in a deep breath. “I got married at twenty—too young, I know.” She cut him a sharp glance, but his impassive face showed no tell-tale sign of impending judgment. “I met John at a bar while I was with a bunch of friends.”
    Technically, it was a charity gala, and her agent insisted she and four other models in the agency attend. Jonathan Knight had swooped in on her like a bird of prey spotting a field mouse. At nineteen, and having her first taste of freedom since her mother had left her in New York, Lauren believed she could handle a man like Jonathan.
    “To a naive girl from small town New Zealand, he appeared very sophisticated and worldly. Not to mention he was the clichéd tall, dark and handsome.”
    “He had dark hair and was tall?”
    “Yes.”
    “Is that why you reacted so dramatically when I found you on the road?”
    Her fingers looped around her knees and squeezed. “You’re a similar build, have similar colored hair and similar sized…hands.”
    “Well, hell.”
    “But you have different eyes. John’s were hard and nearly black. I could never read his mood.”
    A fine network of lines radiated from the corner of Nate’s eyes, the spark of wry humor lighting the clear green depths.
    “Yours are like the sea, deep enough to drown in. They’re kind eyes.” A flood of heat crept over her skin and she averted her gaze.
    “I got swept away in the romance of it all. The extravagant gestures, the finest restaurants, his attention focused solely on me. I believed he loved me.” She choked out a bitter laugh. “But his love was conditional and based on ownership.”
    She paused, remembering the little signs she’d overlooked. His frown if he arrived for a date and she’d dressed in an outfit he didn’t like. How designer-stamped bags would arrive the next day, loaded with garments he’d selected. Garments he deemed suitable. The first flex of control over her life, something she’d missed at the time.
    “We got married a few days after my twentieth birthday. He paid for Mum, Todd, Kathy and even Sophie to fly to New York for the wedding.
    “What did they think of him?”
    “Mum deemed him the catch of a lifetime. Todd didn’t take to him, but he kept his mouth shut as he figured his own bias was at play. Kathy liked him well enough until he threw a mini fit about Sophie spilling her orange juice on his apartment’s white carpet. He apologized profusely and even bought Sophie a huge stuffed animal from FAO Schwarz.” She shook her head. “Kathy

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