Shattered by Janet Nissenson
Angela Del Carlo has been living half a life, ever since he walked out on her, shattering her entire existence and leaving her to cope with picking up the fragments. Nothing seems to matter much anymore, and her life is a drab existence of work, run, repeat. She’s forgotten how to laugh, how to love, and even how to live. Most days she’s little more than a ghost.
Nick Manning’s life has been one lived without compromise, without rules, and without regrets. Except for his one weakness, his one regret – Angela. What he did to her still tugs at his conscience, still fills him with remorse, and continues to haunt his dreams. But he stays away, knowing that he can never be the man she needs or give her what she deserves.
But when fate intervenes and Angela’s and Nick’s paths cross again, she’s determined not to surrender her soul to the devil ever again, while he’s desperate to have his angel back in his arms – even if it means changing the rules to get it done.
He reached across the table and trailed a finger along the deep V neckline of the seriously sexy dress. “Red is your color, Angel,” he observed lazily. “Ironic, isn’t it, given that’s typically a color associated with the devil.”
She tugged playfully on his tie. “Maybe you’ve succeeded in corrupting me.”
He grinned, pinching her cheek. “So you’re a fallen angel now, are you? Or more of a scarlet woman? Hmm, no, I don’t believe it. To me you’ll always be my angel, no matter what color you’re wearing.”
She slid her hand over his, turning her face to press a kiss to his palm. “I’ll be whatever you want me to be. Always.”
Nick squeezed her hand. “Tonight I just want you to be the birthday girl. The pampered, totally spoiled birthday girl.”
Angela laughed happily. “I can totally be her. In fact, I’m pretty sure I already am being her.”
He drew her hand to his lips, sucking the index finger into his mouth, and she was glad they were seated – as usual – in a darkened, secluded corner. “You ain’t seen nothing yet, Angel. I’ve got plans for you once we get back to your apartment. And, no, it doesn’t involve sharing the cupcake you bought.”
She giggled, even as a shimmer of desire rippled up her spine and she felt her unbound breasts swell within the fine silk bodice of her dress. Fortunately the garment was fully lined so that the pointed tips of her nipples weren’t glaringly obvious.
Nick had even arranged for a birthday cake, beautifully decorated with her name written across the top, and lit by more than a dozen candles. Several of the wait staff gathered around their table to sing “Happy Birthday” and Angela’s own heart sang with happiness. She was head over heels in love with the gorgeous, compelling man seated across the table from her, the man who had gone to great lengths to arrange this fabulous evening for her, who had hand-picked the stunning outfit and jewels she wore. And she was convinced that he cared for her far more than he would ever admit, for how could he have gone to this much trouble to make sure her birthday was something special if he wasn’t at least a little in love with her?
She was filled with renewed confidence that everything was just fine in their relationship, that they were as solid as ever. The sense of relief that washed through her was incredible, and she told herself firmly that she’d been worrying for nothing, that things were exactly as they should be.
In the eleven months they’d been together, Angela couldn’t think of a time when they’d gone more than a few days without having sex, and she could tell that Nick was as highly strung and needy as she was. Their awareness of each other grew and grew as the evening continued, but he only touched her very fleetingly and casually – a brush of his knuckles against her cheek, a squeeze of her hand, a light touch of her arm. In spite of the privacy their table afforded them, he didn’t attempt even once to touch her more intimately – to slide his hand up her bare thigh and higher, to where she’d been wet and ready for him all evening; or to not so subtly cup her breast, his thumb flicking over the tight bud of her nipple through the silky fabric of her dress. She squirmed impatiently, aroused just from being near him, from inhaling the scent of his soap and his skin, and she almost whimpered aloud with need.
Nick gave her a knowing smile, almost a smirk, as he very deliberately lingered over a post-dinner glass of port. “How well I know that look on your face, Angel,” he told her in an amused voice. “But it won’t do you any good. I’ll fuck you when I decide the time is right. And you’re not quite ready.”
She bit down on her bottom lip as she crossed and uncrossed her legs, struggling not to fidget. “I’m always ready for you, Nick,” she whispered.
“Hmm.” He took another leisurely sip of his drink, regarding her with that maddeningly cryptic smile that both enthralled and infuriated her at the same time. “And here I thought we’d made so much progress on teaching you control, Angel. Perhaps someone needs a refresher course. Like, for example, tonight I could spread you out, tie you to the bed, and then make you wait for a couple of hours in that position.”
Q: Romance readers have a lot of choices these days. What makes Shattered stand out in the crowd?
A: The book is steamy and seductive with just the right amount of darkness. Both the hero and heroine are perfectly imperfect people, and their relationship runs the gamut of emotions. The character development is very detailed, as is the realistic and compelling dialog, and the reader will be drawn into the story very easily.
Q: We like to include our favorite quote in our reviews of the books we read. What is your favorite quote from Shattered?
A: My favorite quote from Shattered is:
“Granted, the sex was hot, but since you’re far from the only guy in this world with a big dick and a dirty mouth, I’d say you don’t have a hell of a lot going for you these days.”
About Janet Nissenson
Janet is a lifelong resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, and currently resides on the northern California coast with her husband Steve and Golden Retriever Max. She worked for more than two decades in the financial services industry before turning her focus to producing running events. She is a former long-distance runner, current avid yoga practitioner, is addicted to Pinterest, likes to travel and read. She has been writing for more than three decades, with her first book in the Inevitable Series – Serendipity – published in December 2013. The series will include six full-length, standalone novels plus additional novellas.