Repressed deadly secrets, p.30
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       Repressed (Deadly Secrets), p.30

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  “I love you too, Ethan. More than you will ever know.”

  Their lips met, and as the healing power of her love swept through him, he grew dizzy and lightheaded in a way that had absolutely nothing to do with the painkillers he’d taken earlier and everything to do with her.

  They were both panting when she drew back. And when she rested her forehead against his, he knew every moment of suffering he’d lived through had been worth it, because it had brought him here to her.

  “You know, I still have issues,” she said. “You’re not going to try to get inside my head and fix me, are you?”

  He chuckled. “No way. I love you just the way you are. Klutz and all.” She laughed against him, and the vibration zinged along his nerve endings, warming all the places inside that had gone cold since he’d lost her. “Besides which, you’re not the only one with issues. In case you haven’t realized it yet, I don’t have much of anything figured out.”

  “Ironically, that explains why you’re a shrink.”

  “A damn good shrink.”

  She smiled. “The best one I know.”

  She climbed onto the bed next to him and laid her head on his good shoulder, exactly where he liked her best, and warmth encircled his heart when her body brushed his side. “What if I don’t know what I want to do with myself now? I mean, I’m not sure if I want to stay in teaching or go back to research. I’m not sure of anything except you.”

  “I’ll support you in whatever you want to do. But right now, I won’t complain if you’re focused solely on me.”

  She smiled. “I don’t deserve you.”

  “Yes, you do,” he whispered, looking down at her. “You deserve a hell of a lot better than me. But there’s no way I can be noble and let you go. I need you too much, Samantha Parker.”

  Her fingers brushed the stubble on his jaw, and her eyes darkened with so much emotion, his heart turned over. “Nobody else ever needed me. You’re the first, Ethan. The only one.”

  “You’re damn right I am. Now shut up and kiss me before those lunatics come in again and interrupt us.”

  She smiled once more. And when her lips brushed his, he knew the past was finally buried, never to hurt them again.


  Each book is a labor of love, time, and effort, and I wouldn’t be able to write without the support and advice from several key people.

  Special thanks go to Johanna Balascio, Probation Support Services Manager with Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, and Lauren Madigan, Assistant Director Central Intake Services, for their expertise translating juvenile sentencing codes and providing real-life advice for this book. Ladies, I owe you both a round of drinks the next time I’m in Virginia!

  I also want to thank my writing girls—Skye Jordan/Joan Swan, Darcy Burke, and Rachel Grant for their help brainstorming and plotting this story. Girls, I couldn’t have finished this one without our author weekends away! When’s the next one?

  Thanks also to my agent, Laura Blake Peterson, my editors, Anh Schluep, Christopher Werner, and Charlotte Herscher, and the entire team at Montlake Books for turning this story into a novel.

  Finally, I want to say a big thank you to my husband Dan for his faith and support during the writing of this book and all the others. Living with a writer is not easy. Somehow, he manages to not only put up with me, but to act as if he’s enjoying himself. Babe, I definitely got lucky the day I hit on you.


  Photo © Curtis Almquist at Almquist Studios

  Before topping multiple bestseller lists—including those of The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal—Elisabeth Naughton taught middle school science. A voracious reader, she soon discovered she had a knack for creating stories with a chemistry of their own. The spark turned into a flame, and Naughton now writes full-time. Her books have received nominations for some of the industry’s most prestigious awards, such as the RITA® and Golden Heart® awards from Romance Writers of America, the Australian Romance Readers Awards, and the Golden Leaf award. When not dreaming up new stories, Naughton enjoys spending time with her husband and three children in their western-Oregon home.



  Elisabeth Naughton, Repressed (Deadly Secrets)



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