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Cherished


Ella risks it all for love.

Adam makes her feel like the most beautiful woman that exists.

But the dark side of his life may drag them down. Adam is determined to protect her from the oppression he’s endured for far too long. Will Ella have a future with him, unfettered by the abuse of his past that haunt’s them. She loves him more than life itself. Will that be enough?

Cherished is a suspenseful episode in Adam & Ella’s love story.

The angst and unexpected twists of fate will propel you through the heart-wrenching tale. Will their love survive, or will the danger rip them apart?

 

Reviews


I really enjoyed this story it was intense and really kept you wanting to read more so I give 5 stars and plan to read more of your books. Lisa

True to form for Emily, the last book about the love between Adam and Ella wad powerful. The nightmare that Adam had lived with all his life finally came to an end. Ella could not sit by and watch the man she loved tormented another day so she put forth all of the bravery she had to rid the nightmare from their lives. Free at last, Adam and Ella could spend the rest of their in the magic of their love. MJ

Excerpt


Cherished – Adam & Ella 3

Chapter 1

 

Violetta sashayed over to them, the heels of her strappy gold sandals clicking on the marble floor of the hotel bar. The top of her peach-colored dress outlined her figure, the low waist settling across her hips, and from there the floral chiffon skirt shifted with each step. Her rod-straight glossy hair fell over her shoulders, moving just so in the negligible breeze she created with her supermodel gait.

Every man in the room either glanced, trying not to be obvious, or unabashedly gaped at her. Poised and graceful, she made her way to Adam and Ella, seeming not to notice her admirers. As she was used to the camera, a few gawkers were hardly worth her attention. Chin held high, she glided through the room, stopping at their table to wait for Adam to assist her. Standing as any gentleman would, Adam pulled out her chair for her, and when she was seated, went back to his own.

Placing her small embroidered purse on the table, Violetta said, “What is she doing here?” Giving Ella a scathing look, her lower lip dramatized her injured feelings.

She is Ella. And Ella is with me,” Adam said.

“I thought we were going to talk,” Violetta said sharply, her gold earrings swaying as she spoke.

“We are, and whatever you have to say you can say to both of us.” Adam reflected on his conversation with her that very morning. Unhappy about being sent back to her hotel the prior day, Violetta had asked to meet with him. Knowing the rift between them would need to be resolved, he had agreed but declined to meet her in her hotel room; the lobby bar would be better.

Violetta had pouted then, just as she did now. If there was one thing Adam knew about her it was that she preferred to get her own way, and disliked being told “no” about anything. Thus, that was part of the issue that needed resolving. For years, she’d clung to the idea that Adam would be hers, eventually. The fact that he went off to college, or that he had much opportunity to be with other women, never bothered her.

Whenever Adam encountered Violetta, her confidence regarding her ultimate victory with him was evident. Overall, this had never bothered him. She could think whatever she liked, and he saw no reason to shove the truth in her face. Knowing she’d been through a lot, he let it ride, thinking that she’d meet another man and that would take care of everything. But so far, that hadn’t happened.

Violetta had a career that required extensive travel; doing photo shoots in various countries, and attending fashion shows all over the world. Everywhere she went, men drooled over her. Even Adam had heard them talking, whether in Rio or Newport, about what a looker she was. But looking was not touching. He guessed Violetta shielded herself with an icy, untouchable exterior, and she was very good at doing so.

However, he knew her better than anyone. Prone to emotional outbursts and mood swings, at heart she was a good person. Being mistreated in violent ways didn’t help her personality flaws but magnified them; the day before had been an example. Entering his home without an invitation and speaking so rudely to Ella was unacceptable. It wouldn’t happen again; he’d make sure of that.

True, he cared about Violetta, and had known her since she was a child. There was no way to deny that the perversion of her life had resulted in large part because of Claudio. And the reason Claudio had stepped in was because of his compulsion about Adam. So Adam felt responsible for her. There was no way he could avoid it. Yet he drew the line at any action that would upset Ella, who’d come into his life so recently and deserved only kind treatment.

Adam placed his hand over Ella’s and squeezed. Violetta glared at their hands in that loving touch, in plain view on the table, before taking a breath and settling back in her chair. “I’ll have dry white wine,” she said, and Adam flagged the server. The atmosphere was tense, and for a few moments no one said anything.

Deciding to take charge, Adam said, “Vee, you need to know that Ella and I are together. I think you’ve figured that much out.”

“For now,” she huffed with a condescending look in Ella’s direction.

“No, not for now. Forever.”

Her brow furrowed, letting Adam know she didn’t want to hear that. She flattened her hand, palm down, and tapped the back of her fingers under her chin, the gesture showing her disbelief.

Familiar with her talent for wrapping men around her finger, he was not affected. “So, when did you get back from Milan?”

“Only just. I went by to see you the day after I returned. I missed you, Adam,” she said as though Ella didn’t exist.

“Vee,” he said, “you’re pouting. It’s unbecoming. You travel the world and you’ve seen me very little in that past few years. Admit it.”

“That is true, but it doesn’t mean I don’t miss you.” Flipping her shiny hair behind one shoulder, she took a sip of her wine, the entire process a performance.

“I met Ella in Newport,” Adam said. “And now she’s here with me in Rio. That’s something you will have to get used to. You and I have known each other most of our lives, so I know it’s best to be open with you. I love Ella and that won’t stop. I want the best for you, but a romance with me isn’t part of your life. It never was. I don’t mean to be harsh, but you need to know the truth. I love Ella.”

“And I love Adam.” Ella had watched quietly, holding Adam’s hand, but her words supported what he’d just said.

“You’ll just forget me?” Violetta raised her brows, accentuating her disbelief.

“Nothing has changed, Vee. We share the past together, but to read more into that will only disappoint you.”

Vee looked down. “We will see.” Her full lips, glossed to a perfect shine, pursed together in defiance.

Adam shook his head, knowing how stubborn she could be. “So, where to next?”

“Nowhere right away. I’ll be modeling at Fashion Rio next month. Fashions from Brazil are rising to prominence, as are those of us from Brazil that model. Plus, designers from around the globe attend. It’s a huge event these days.”

Adam was glad they were on a different subject. He felt sure that she’d gotten the message, whether she wanted to believe it or not. Vee’s mind functioned according to her rules, and often didn’t match with reality. At least he’d been honest. He let go of Ella’s hand, reaching under the table and gripping her thigh, wanting to be alone with her.

“Anyway, this hotel is just for a couple of nights. I met someone in Milan and he’s joining me,” she said, going on as if she hadn’t just made a plea for Adam’s heart. Possibly, she was hurt and deflecting the insult by letting him know she had a male suitor. Or maybe she just neglected to mention the new man in her life, preferring to play games with Adam.

Adam wasn’t sure; admittedly he never fully understood her. She was volatile and moody and he never knew what to expect. One minute she was coming on strong, determined that Adam was really in love with her but wouldn’t admit it, and the next she was flaunting one of her new romances. He should be used to it, but it still caught him off guard.

“That’s great, Vee,” he said, anxious to focus the attention on her new romantic interest and off of him.

“Who is he?” Ella looked at her, and Vee looked back, hesitating a moment before revealing who the new man was.

“Vittoro Esposito. I met him in Milan at the photo shoot. He owns the magazine, and from what I understand, quite a few others. He’s in publishing. I’ve been invited to stay at his home here. He will be attending the fashion show, too.”

Vee talked about her recent photo shoot and how much she liked Milan. She went on to enlighten them about some of the new designers that were attending Fashion Rio and new offers she’d had for modeling. Interested, she inquired about Newport and asked how Adam and Ella had met. The initial rivalry seemed to fade and she ceased making biting remarks. Seeing her change in tone, Adam filled her in on some highlights of his recent stay in California. And Ella joined in, talking about how they’d met but not revealing anything too personal.

Leaving half of her wine, Vee stood, preparing to leave. “I’m off. I have some appointments.”

Adam stood and so did Ella.

“I know we got off on the wrong foot,” Violetta said, “but I’m glad we had this chance to talk. It’s nice to meet you, Ella.” She nodded toward Ella, gave Adam a quick smile, and walked out with her hips swaying, every male eye in the room on her.

*****

Ella wasn’t sure what to think. Violetta had turned her into an emotional wreck just the day before, bolding stating she intended to marry Adam. Even when she first arrived in the bar, she toyed with their emotions, making an attempt to get Adam to admit he felt more for her than he did.

Was she just vain, wanting every man to fall for her? Ella didn’t believe so. It was more about her relationship with Adam. Maybe she still had injured feelings over his rejection of her, so long ago. Being a woman, Ella could understand if that were true. But then, Violetta had shifted so abruptly into making friends. Even more confusing, she hadn’t even hugged Adam before leaving.

“I’m not sure I understand her,” Ella said, resting her chin on her hands, looking at Adam.

“Me either. She’s Violetta, that’s all. She can shift moods faster than anyone I’ve ever met. And get emotional. Today, she seemed pretty good. It must be the new man she met. I have a feeling she likes him more than she told us.”

“Then why whine about you being with me?”

“That’s just what she’s like. Pouting is a fine art with her.” Adam laughed.

“I guess so. Well, I’m relieved she’s dating. Yesterday, I was freaked out that she’d come after you.”

“No need to be. She’s not a threat. I’m just sorry you had to find out about her that way.” Adam reached out and took Ella’s hand, holding it between both of his.

“Yes, I’m not letting you off the hook for that. You should have told me about something that big in your life. But now that I’ve met her, I see what you mean about being unstable. She changes so fast.” Ella paused; then a new thought occurred to her. “Doesn’t she have to travel with a bodyguard?”

“Sure, especially with all the travel to different countries.”

“No, I mean, she didn’t seem concerned about Claudio. She never even asked about him.”

“Oh, that.”

“Yes, you always said he would try to use anyone close to you, in order to get to you. Well, what about Violetta?”

“He wouldn’t do anything to her. She knows she’s safe.”

“Why?”

“Because Violetta Ganotti is a high-profile figure now. As a supermodel, she is known internationally. She’s very visible. Claudio is mean, but he’s not inherently brave. As long as he can slink around in the dark, threatening the defenseless, he will. But the last thing he’s going to do is attack Vee. It would be in the news media, not to mention the internet, in every corner of the world. There would be no hiding for him. So, he won’t do that. And besides, she has leverage.”

“What?”

“If he harmed her, even if he annoyed her, she could reveal what really happened; give the details about what he did to her. Having her committed to that institution was an act of vengeance. With all the money and connections she has now, angering her would not be smart. What if she told the whole story to the press? Controversy sells. The public would eat up a scandal like that about a current supermodel.”

“Why doesn’t she do that then, and wipe him out?”

“It wouldn’t wipe him out; it would just harass him. There’s no reason to dig up the story now. Violetta would have to announce to the world that she was in a mental institution and I know she prefers to keep that part of her life out of the public view. Sure, it would look bad for Claudio, but it wouldn’t stop him. So I’m sure Vee has no intention of doing that, unless pushed and left with no choice.”

“So she has that knowledge as her protection.”

“She does.”

“So I guess she feels immune to Claudio then. I see what you mean. Too bad, for a second I hoped we had a way to get him out of our life.”

“Not that way, not through Vee. But there will be another way, you’ll see.”

Ella looked off into the distance, remembering the story Adam told her about how Vee ended up institutionalized. And it had all started with Vee wanting Adam. The scene haunted her, and seeing Violetta just moments before, ravishing and charming, stuck in her mind.

“What are you thinking?”

“Oh, how gorgeous she is.” Ella glanced at her white slacks and knit top. “I mean, she’s in a whole different league. The way she looks, the way she walks, even the way she talks, I could never measure up.” A thread of self-doubt surfaced and Ella couldn’t push it away.

“High-fashion modeling is her career. She has to look good and she has lots of help doing it. But it doesn’t matter, Ella.”

“Why not?”

Adam looked at her, his amber eyes piercing into her. “You are the woman I love.”

Ella lifted his hand and placed it on her cheek. “Still, don’t you wish I was that beautiful?”

“You don’t have any idea how beautiful you are, even though I tell you every day? Remember what I said, when you opened your heart to me that night in Newport? Remember, I made you promise never to doubt yourself, to know how beautiful you are?”

Ella cringed. She was doing pretty lousy at that. “It’s not that easy, Adam.”

“Look at me.”

Ella looked, and reflected in his eyes she could see what he saw when he looked at her. He really did think she was beautiful, and when she was with him, she did feel so. The shock of meeting Violetta and the threat she posed, no matter how false it had turned out to be, had shaken her to the core. The mere idea of another woman trying to take Adam crushed her heart, just as if a hand reached inside and squeezed it.

“Beautiful Ella, there is no one but you.” Adam pulled her onto his lap and she nuzzled her head under his chin. If other guests noticed, she didn’t care. In his embrace, secure and loved, life was good. Adam made her feel like no other man ever could. Rubbing her hand across his chest, hard under the light cotton shirt, arousal flooded her.

“Want to get out of here?”

“Yes, let’s go,” Ella said.