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Captivated


Ella Walker meets a gorgeous Italian surfing at her beach, and he lights up her life.

She feels like she’s known him forever, but fears she will lose him.

The sexy, rich hero has a dark secret that could tear them apart forever. Can you meet your soul mate, only to lose him in the same instant?

“He stood at the shoreline, and I knew there would never be another like him. Yet he’s a man I can’t have. I know he’s a vision and will disappear.”

Adam Bianci is drawn to the woman he rescues, after she falls from a wave and plummets into the ocean. In his eyes she is beautiful, and passion flames between them. But he shouldn’t involve Ella in the evil he must face in Brazil. But will he stay away from her?

“Ella felt alive, really alive, and it hurt. The pain of never seeing him again was more than she could bear.”

 

Reviews


Loved the book , I’ve read the first 2 and can’t wait for book 3 , once I started couldn’t put it down until I was completely finished. Tina

This story is totally amazing!! I was captivated right from the very beginning and could not put it down!! Adam and Ella’s romance is sweet but HOT, HOT, HOT!!!!! I can’t wait for the next book to come out!!! I highly recommend this book!!! Susan G.

Excerpt


Captivated – Adam & Ella 1

Chapter 1

 

The first time Adam saw Ella, she looked tiny on her surfboard, gliding inside the curl of a wave. Swells were good that time of year, and he had to admire her skill in manipulating her board, considering her size. The white tip of the roaring wave curled over her head, threatening to swallow her.

She slid down the smooth underside cutting a path toward shore, shooting through the ferocity of the ride. He stood at the water’s edge, unable to take his eyes away from her. The power in her small form was spellbinding. It seemed the wave, many stories high, would swallow her. Yet it didn’t.

The early morning sun of spring peaked above the horizon, giving the scene a pale orange glow. His toes curled into the warm sand and the ocean lapped at his feet. Ready to paddle out and catch the best waves of the morning, he held his board, looking out. But he didn’t see the swells, or the surfers dotted over the blue expanse—only Ella. She was a slender, feminine figure, commanding the immense power of the enormous wave. One hand tightened on his board and the other clenched into a fist, his breathing shallow and his heart pounding. She was a sight to behold.

Crouched, knees perfectly bent, arms out for balance, Ella propelled at high speed; her light form like a feather in the wind. Yet there was something about her, something indefinable. She was small, but the ferocity with which she clung to the board and the determined stance she took—controlling the board, the wave, and everything around her—said it. She was a force to reckon with, and the ocean knew it, allowing her to take her ride as she would. Her fall through the wave was a slow-motion dance, every moment of her fly down the wall of water seeming to take an eternity.

Then the wave came crashing down and swooshed to shore, the elegant performance over. Not thinking, only reacting, Adam let go of his board and ran knee deep into the water. Not stopping, he dove into the surf and swam as hard as he could, adrenaline taking over.

********

Ella had come to the beach early wanting to catch the best waves at this Newport Beach break before the crowds flooded her beloved ocean. She loved the early morning air and the soft glow of the beach just before the sun came up. Most mornings before work, just like this morning, she rolled out of bed and threw on her suit. Grabbing some coffee, drowning it in cream, and chugging it, she snagged a sweatshirt and her beach shoes and was out the door.

Kaiyla Montgomery, her friend for life and roommate, would usually still be sleeping, but the past few mornings she’d had been up early, already dressed and ready to go to the beach. She was on a new workout program that included running in the sand early in the morning, which was fine with Ella because that meant Kaiyla had the coffee ready when Ella staggered out to the kitchen.

Living near the beach was non-negotiable for Ella. She’d walked to the beach early in the morning since she was a kid living in Laguna. She couldn’t imagine a life without the smell of the ocean right outside her door. Surfing was not a hobby—it was life itself. The problems of life didn’t exist when the thrill of surfing a wave invigorated her body. The winter season had offered sizable swells, and she hoped today would be no different.

“Hurry, Kaiyla,” she said, striding down the uneven sidewalk, her board under one arm, her towel over her shoulder.

“I’m not awake,” Kaiyla complained, shuffling behind and trying to keep up.

“You’re the one who’s on this new program. If you wait until later, the beach will be too crowded, so hustle up.”

Ella’s life so far, at the ripe age of twenty-one, had been rougher than she could easily deal with. One bright spot in the mess was her best friend. Originally from Texas, Kaiyla retained the friendly attitude and even a bit of the accent, although she’d been in California since junior high school. That was when Ella met her, and they’d become instant friends. In many ways, they were different. Ella considered herself plain, whereas Kaiyla was a beauty. No one could question that.

They were about the same size and traded clothes as the opportunity or need arose. Ella’s wardrobe was woefully inadequate, so it was more that she borrowed from her roommate’s closet as need inspired her. It was unlikely that the favor would ever be returned, since her wardrobe consisted mostly of beachwear, and faded beachwear at that.

However, Kaiyla understood her and knew what she’d been through. No one else did—at least, up until now. Nor did Ella have anyone else who cared about her, or who would be the least bit interested in her story.

Hitting the beach, Kaiyla flopped onto the sand, wrapped her arms around her legs, and yawned.

“That’s some workout,” Ella said, laughing, peeling her sweatshirt off and tossing it at her friend.

She scanned the waves, noting it would be another good day for surfing. The good swells had lasted way past the normal winter season. That must be a good sign. Grabbing her board, she jogged out into the cool water up to her knees. Throwing her board in front of her, she leapt on top and began to paddle out. The salty smell of the ocean comforted her. She was safe, away from life, from other people. One with the ocean.

When she was out far enough, she sat on her board and looked around, bouncing up and over the waves. Her new board was just perfect for her. Some time ago, she’d saved up to get one that was ideal for her body weight and skill level. Although she’d had it for a while, it had proven itself over the summer, and she felt excitement over riding it again today.

She leaned down and paddled into a wave, then turned her board around to wait for one to catch. She didn’t have to wait long. The wave she spotted cresting toward her would be a wild ride from the looks of it, but she was up for it. Grabbing the wave rolling over her, she jumped onto her board and navigated to a secure perch, deep inside the swirl.

A thrill ran through her. The exhilaration of riding a wave was a familiar feeling, one she never tired of. Her soaked hair clung to her back and her feet gripped the waxed surface of her board. She soared from the peak, spray from the ocean showering her. The power of the ocean could engulf her in a second, so quick she’d have no time to react, yet fear was not part of the equation. Fear caused hesitation and hesitation made the worst fears come true. With confidence, she skimmed through the rolling water.

For no reason she could name, someone on shore caught her eye. Even from a distance, he exuded a command of the environment that pinned her eyes to him. He was muscled and lean like surfers she saw every day. Yet he was somehow different. There was something about him.

Captivated the instant she spotted him, she couldn’t get enough and gazed toward the shore a moment longer than was wise. Taking in his presence, nothing else existed for that fleeting second in time—not the ocean, not the wave that crashed forward, not her board, not her body, just him.

In the next second, a heavy wall of water gulped her down. Too late, she realized her inattentiveness had caused her to be pulled down by the heavy-handed wave. She was under before she knew what hit her. Worse, she’d swallowed water on the way under.

Floundering against the impossible pressure all around her, she didn’t have time to even consider what had happened, only that she needed to surface. And fast. Her body switched to emergency mode and she tried not to panic—a nearly impossible task in a prison of water weighing more tons than she cared to think.

Maybe this was it: the end. She couldn’t say she’d be too sorry about that. Her life was dull at best. The only thing she’d miss would be surfing—and Kaiyla, of course. The thought of Kaiyla seeing her tumble flashed through her mind, but the fight for survival took over, and dull life or not, she struggled in what she hoped was the right direction, water already tickling into her lungs.

There was no hope, just a solid mass of water in every direction. Whether she looked up toward the surface or down deeper, it all looked the same: just dark and solid. Disoriented, panic overtook her senses despite her best intentions. It was a reflex and all she could do was wildly kick her feet and plow through the angry depths with her arms. The heavy, pounding, roiling water showed no mercy, and she doubted her strength against it.

Pitted against the force of nature for what seemed like long, tortuous minutes, the reality that it had been only seconds was beyond her. On the edge of losing hope, and consumed with the irrational feeling to just give up and die, she felt a new pressure against her—an arm, a strong arm, around her waist.

Before she could consider how that could be possible, she was moving in a steady motion, in one direction, which she hoped was toward air. Consciousness threatened to leave her, but now revitalized, if only slightly, she began to fight toward the surface again.

The strong arm, and the hard body she’d become aware of, pressed against her back and refused to let her go. She gave in to the guidance with relief, although not knowing for sure if whoever had her was a friend or foe. She had to believe it was a friend. Who else would attempt such a feat as to jump into the frightening undertow to save her? She hoped.

Air, as sweet as life, assaulted her senses and she gasped and coughed. Flailing her arms to stay above the surface, she wiggled and kicked her feet, still in the throes of panic. Soft words soothed her.

“You’re okay. I’ve got you.”

It was him. She knew it was. She could feel it, but he was behind her, and it wasn’t until he turned her around that she had affirmation. Water, unwelcome in her lungs, produced a round of deep coughing. He held her around the waist and lifted her higher to get more air.

The coughing fit was shorter than she would have expected, and she looked at him, seeing his face up close for the first time. At the sight of him, she stopped breathing, but only for a second, before she gasped for air again like she couldn’t get enough.

He was keeping them both afloat somehow. Turning and pulling her onto his back, he said, “Hold on. I’ll take you to shore.”

She was farther out than she’d thought, and it was a challenge to get them both back to shore in the crazy waves. Once they passed the swells, it got easier. Ella should have been anxious to get out of the water, but now that he had her, she knew she’d be okay.

The trip back to shore gave her time to drink in this unfamiliar man. He was hard as a rock. His sun drenched skin a golden color. Even half drowned, out in the waves, he was handsome as sin.

Regret washed over her when he stood knee deep in the water and reached behind to slip her off his back. She wanted to keep holding on to him, a man she didn’t even know, and felt awkward. Thankfully, he didn’t let her go entirely. With his arm around her shoulders, he guided her to the beach. His touch, his strength, warmed her skin, and she flushed.

She’d almost put the trauma of nearly drowning behind her when she saw Kaiyla jumping up and down. The instant Ella’s feet hit the sand her friend ran over and threw her arms around her.

“Oh my God, what happened out there?” She gasped. “You scared me to death.”

Missing his touch already, Ella was disappointed that her friend had rushed to her so fast, cutting the stranger’s assistance short. Yet there was no way she could admonish her for it. Obviously, from shore it must have looked like Ella was plunging to her demise. Kaiyla was clearly grateful that she’d been delivered safely to shore. Never releasing her, she walked her to further safety, grabbing the towel and wrapping it around Ella’s shoulders.

“I thought you were going to die,” she breathed, distress showing in her pretty face.

“Not yet, it seems,” Ella replied, and took a huge breath, still oxygen deficient.

The adrenaline which had sustained her, faded, her strength along with it. Her knees folded and she fell to the sand involuntarily. Ella rolled to her back and lay there listless, eyes to the sky. Her lungs hurt, and her skin was cold.

“You’re trembling,” said Kaiyla, alarm resonating in her voice.

The sun was blocked by a form standing over her, and Ella felt disappointed to see it was Robert, the lifeguard.

“You took your time,” Kaiyla accused, unable to hide her annoyance. “She could have drowned. Where were you?”

“Hey, I just came over to see if she’s all right. I saw some dude saved her. Seems he had the situation under control,” Robert offered.

“Yes, you would want to wash off your sunscreen before diving in after someone. Heaven forbid you would rescue them from drowning, which is what you’re here for.”

Robert just shrugged and knelt down to check out how Ella was doing. He lifted a wrist to take her pulse. Another surfer placed her surfboard on the sand beside her, having retrieved it from the ocean as a friendly gesture. Robert nodded at him.

The ensuing argument between Robert and Kaiyla was droning noise to Ella. She neither heard nor cared. Shocked to alertness, she realized that her rescuer was not saying anything. She bolted upright, looking all around. Squinting, she looked out over the water dotted with surfers. He wasn’t there. Nor was he on the beach.

She leaned around her friend and stared toward the parking lot. Her heart leapt at the sight of him, board under his arm, walking toward the lot. An impulse to run after him shot through her, and she even lurched in that direction, but she didn’t even know him.

Of course, she wanted to thank him. He’d saved her life. That would be reasonable, wouldn’t it? To run after him to thank him? Her body rebelled and refused to rise. All her muscles felt like jelly, and she was dizzy and lightheaded. She tried forcing her muscles into action and started to stand, but just collapsed back onto the towel.

Then he was gone, out of sight. Ella just sat there, stunned, suffering from the loss of him, a man whose name she didn’t even know. He may never come back to the beach. She may never see him again. That thought distressed her, more than any discomforts from her near-death experience.

Death be damned. Only he mattered, and the fact that she’d had to risk her life for him to appear was just fine with her. Her dull, boring life had just taken a new blush. She felt alive, really alive, and it hurt. The pain of never seeing him again was more than she could bear.