The Maverick Millionaire

By: Alison Roberts



‘Which way?’ The words were as grim as the face of the man who uttered them.

‘North.’ Ellie pointed. ‘About a mile.’

A gust of wind, vicious enough to make this solid man stagger, reminded her that this was only the beginning of this cyclone. Things were going to get a whole lot worse before they got any better.

The stabs of pain coming up her leg from her ankle were bad enough to make her feel sick. On top of her exhaustion and the knowledge that they were in real trouble here, it was enough to make her head spin. She couldn’t faint. If she did, how would he know how to find the beach house, which was probably their only hope of surviving?

‘There’s a river,’ she added. ‘We turn inland there.’

She could feel his arms tighten around her. It had to be incredibly hard, carrying somebody as tall as she was in the face of this wind and on soft sand, and they had a long way to go.

Could he do it?

Ellie had no choice but to put her faith in him, however hard that was to do. With a groan that came more from defeat than pain, she screwed her eyes shut and buried her face against his chest as he staggered along the beach.

It had been a very long time since she had felt a man’s arms around her like this.

At least she wouldn’t die alone.





CHAPTER THREE

SHE WAS NO lightweight, this woman in his arms.

Jake had to lean forward into the fierce wind and his feet were dragging in the soft sand that was no match for these conditions. It swirled around enough to obscure his feet completely and it would have reached his nose and eyes if the rain hadn’t been heavy enough to drive it down again.

Another blast of wind made Jake stagger and almost fall. He gritted his teeth and battled on. They had to find shelter. She’d been right. He might wish it was Ben instead of him, but he was lucky to still be alive and he owed it to her to try and make sure the heroic actions of his rescuers weren’t wasted to the extent that one of them lost her life.

A river, she’d said. Good grief. He didn’t even know the name of the woman he was carrying. A person who had risked her life for his and he’d been ungrateful enough to practically tell her he wished she hadn’t. That he would have stayed with Ben if he’d been given a choice.

His left leg was dragging more than the right and a familiar ache was tightening like a vice in his thigh.

Another vice was tightening around his heart as his thoughts were dragged back to Ben, who would still be being tossed around in the ocean in that pathetically small life raft.

The combination of his sore leg and thoughts of his brother inevitably dragged his mind back to Afghanistan. They’d only been nineteen when they’d joined the army. Sixteen years ago now but the memories were as fresh as ever. Had it been his idea first that it was the ideal way to escape their father?

Charles Logan’s voice had the ability to echo in his head with all the force of the gunfire from a war zone.

You moronic imbeciles, you’re your mother’s children, you’ve inherited nothing from me. Stupid, stupid, stupid...

No. They’d both wanted to run. Both had needed the brutal reality of the army to find out what life was like outside an overprivileged upbringing. To find out who they really were.

But he had been more excited about it, hadn’t he? In the movies, the soldiers were heroes and it always came out all right for them in the end.

They weren’t supposed to get shipped home with a shattered leg as the aftermath of being collateral damage from a bus full of school kids that had been targeted by a roadside bomb.

His brother’s last words still echoed in his head.

Why do you think she killed herself?

It had been Ben who’d found her, all those years ago, when the boys had been only fourteen.

Did he know something he’d never told him? Had he found evidence that it hadn’t been an accidental overdose of prescription meds washed down with alcohol?

A note, even?

No. It couldn’t be true. She wouldn’t have deserted her children with such finality. She’d loved them, even if she hadn’t been around often enough to show them how much.

A cry was ripped from Jake’s lips. An anguished denial of accepting such a premeditated abandonment.

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