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Stay With Me – Book 3: Betrayal


Stephano is willing to risk all to protect Kyra.

But Kyra has other ideas. Her love for Stephano compels her to face danger alone. Yet betrayal from all sides may be her undoing. This volatile romance takes a new unexpected turn. Will they survive it and finally be together?

“The sound of Stephano’s voice would be her undoing. It was difficult enough to follow through. It was only because of him that she had left. Maybe he would understand later. But not now. That would have to wait. She worried over what the next day would bring. And she missed Stephano. Her heart ached and her stomach knotted with anxiety. Her only consolation was that the man she loved was safe.”

Will the abuse from Kyra’s past succeed in destroying her future?

 

Reviews


Oh my gosh!!!!!! This book is an absolute MUST READ. Kyra and Stephano have finally come to terms with their undying, absolute love for each other. Stephano will do anything to keep harm from Kyra, but the past keeps showing up at their door steps. Troy is the evil ex and will stop at nothing to get what he thinks is rightfully his. He is lurking in the background just waiting for the precise moment to make his move and prove to Kyra and Stephano that he WILL get his way. This book is a painstaking cliffhanger and I can’t wait for book 4! You have outdone yourself Emily! MJ

This series is full of love and suspense! What would you do for true love? Kyra has stayed away from her family for years because of a abusive boyfriend, Troy. She tries to push Stephano away because she can’t see him get hurt but Stephano loves her and won’t leave. As Troy threatens her and Stephano, she tries to deal with him on her on. Stephano loves her and goes after her and tells her he will always be with her. This story has a lot of suspense and mystery. You get to travel from country to country along with Kyra and Stephano as they look for a way to put Troy behind bars and out of their lives forever. Each day Kyra and Stephano fall deeper in love but as always the plot thickens and now Kyra has disappeared……will Stephano find her before Troy hurts her? You will love this series so start with Book 1!!! Michele L.

Excerpt


Stay With Me

Book 3: Betrayal

Chapter 1

 

Kyra had to act fast, before Stephano knocked on the bathroom door to see what was taking her so long. Looking at the valuable document in her hand made her dizzy. It was worth too much money, and it was stolen property.

She wished she hadn’t seen the provenance, and definitely didn’t want it. But Troy did. And he expected her to hand it over. That was something she couldn’t do. The instant the paper was in the hands of her ex, the man who had abused her, Kyra would be his victim.

As long as Kyra had the piece of paper that authenticated a painting, one that Troy surely hoped to sell for millions, she had leverage. Plus, she had not admitted to having possession of it, even if Troy suspected she lied about that.

Adrenaline pumped through her veins. At best, Kyra had a couple of minutes to make this work. It could mean Stephano’s life. The same asshole that wanted the provenance threatened to kill the man she loved if the document wasn’t delivered.

Kyra stood up and placed the document on the bathroom counter. She took her scrapbook and opened to the back cover. Running her fingertips over the seam along the inside of the binding, she decided what to do.

From her makeup bag, Kyra retrieved a tiny tube of glue. It was useful for many things, such as fixing a fingernail, or even mending the hem of a dress. Repairing the binding would be no problem. She put a drop of glue under the rough edge and smeared it along the length of the book.

Then Kyra pressed the leather cover back in place. She rubbed her fingers along it several times to make sure it was secure. On examination, the inside back cover of her scrapbook looked normal. No one would suspect it had looked any different.

If Troy saw it, he would know that the provenance had been removed from its hiding place. But he wouldn’t know for sure who had done so. Of course, he would be furious that the document was missing, but that couldn’t be avoided.

Satisfied with the repair, Kyra moved swiftly to other matters. Taking one last look in the mirror, she breathed deeply. This had to work. She refolded the provenance and slipped it into her pocket. The casual pants and shirt she had worn to the spa served her well.

The outfit would be good for travel. Kyra grabbed her makeup bag and the scrapbook, then stealthily slipped into the bedroom. She heard Stephano talking on the phone in the other room. Holding her large spa bag, she stuffed in the scrapbook and her makeup.

There was no time to waste. Kyra choose a heavy coat with a hood and draped it over one arm. Peeking out the bedroom door, she spotted Stephano by the window, still talking animatedly. He turned as she stepped out.

As calmly as she could, Kyra walked past him toward the door to the suite.

“Just a second,” Stephano said in the phone, then held it away from his ear. He raised his eyebrows at Kyra.

She wanted to hug him and not let go. But that wasn’t to be. Kyra pushed the thought aside in the split second it took her to respond to Stephano. Without breaking stride, she said, “I left my phone downstairs at the spa. Be right back.”

Kyra saw him nod before he resumed the call. Then she shut the door behind her and raced down the stairs, to avoid being seen in the elevator. Downstairs, she went to the concierge. “I’d like to store an item in the safe,” Kyra said. “It’s just a photo book. But it means a lot to me.”

The concierge nodded, and she followed him to the desk. Kyra reached in her bag and handed over the scrapbook. “I’ll come back for it later,” she said.

As soon as the concierge disappeared, Kyra went to the ladies’ room, into the nearest stall, and locked the door. She leaned against the wall. The scrapbook would be safe enough, but easily retrievable when Kyra needed it.

Her heart raced, but Kyra didn’t have the luxury of delay. She put on the heavy coat and pulled the hood over her head. It would cover her enough. Hopefully she wouldn’t be recognized. Her purse was still in her spa bag from earlier.

At least she had some cash with her. For a moment, Kyra listened to be sure no other woman was in the restroom. It was quiet. She exited the stall and went to the door. She nervously looked out, but no other guests were around.

Kyra walked directly to the front of the hotel, and the electric doors swept open. There were a few people in the lobby, and a car at the curb. The valet was assisting the newly arrived guests, and didn’t notice her walk by.

Keeping a steady pace, Kyra walked out to the main street, where several taxis waited. One of the drivers smiled at her and opened his door. “Please take me to Zurich,” she said, and slid into the back seat. Until the car pulled away, she looked down so her face would not be visible.

Once the taxi was on the way to Zurich, she closed her eyes for a minute. Kyra steadied her breathing and tried to calm her nerves. Proceeding with her plan required fortitude. There was no one else that could help her. She had to be strong.

Kyra relaxed against the back seat, making an attempt to look like any other passenger. If the driver glanced in the rearview mirror, her appearance wouldn’t alarm him. The farther she was from Basel, the better.

She had left her love behind. Kyra imagined how it would transpire. Once Stephano finished with his work, he would be curious what was delaying her at the spa. She wondered how long he would wait before calling down to see if she was still there. It would take a few minutes to ask around.

Once Stephano realized she was missing, he would contact Rafe, and the chase would be on. It was an advantage that he didn’t know of Troy’s call. Nor did he have any clue about the scrapbook, and what had been hidden there.

Stephano would be puzzled. He wouldn’t immediately know where she’d gone. And that was good. It would buy Kyra time, which was what she needed. Meanwhile, Troy was waiting. His confidence would lead him to be patient.

But his patience would wear thin. Troy would call again, and soon. But until then, he would assume she was at the hotel with Stephano. There had been no one watching when Kyra took the taxi. No car followed. Well on her way, Kyra was certain no one had observed her departure.

She had no delusions about being pursued. Zurich was an hour away, and the distance would delay her capture. Until Troy realized she was gone, he wouldn’t follow. But Stephano would. Kyra intended to do all she could to keep him out of trouble.

But she wasn’t sure how long Stephano would be safe from harm. All along he had refused to leave her, and Kyra had no doubt he would stick to that. Her disappearance would confuse him, but not for long. Stephano would likely figure things out.

It was dark out, and the city lights of Basel were no longer visible, so there wasn’t much to see. Kyra closed her eyes, but was unable to block out the loss. Only hours before she had been in Stephano’s arms. Now Kyra had no idea when she would see him again.

Panic surged. If she failed to keep Troy at bay, it would mean the worst. The idea of anything happening to Stephano made her heart ache. It couldn’t be true. It couldn’t have come to this. Kyra knew life wasn’t fair. But she would endure what fate handed her, if that meant protecting her love.

Anxiety mounted, and Kyra glanced behind to see if any car hung close to them. It was hard to tell at night, but she didn’t think so. Vehicles whipped past them, changing lanes or taking exits. There didn’t seem to be any interest in the taxi.

It wasn’t long before Zurich came into view. Tormented by her situation, Kyra would have preferred to put off her task. Yet she couldn’t. She slipped her hand inside her pocket and felt the folded-up provenance.

The taxi driver looked at her in the rearview mirror. “Zurich ahead,” he said. “Where do you want me to drop you?”

“The Marriott,” Kyra said. It was a big hotel, and safe. But she had no intention of staying there. Her trail would be too easy to follow.

Snow was piled on the buildings in the city, although the weather was clear then. It seemed Switzerland had been blanketed in white since Kyra had arrived. She tried to imagine how it would look in the spring, but couldn’t.

The driver pulled in front of the brightly lit hotel, and Kyra paid him. A Marriott employee opened the door for her. Hefting her bag over her shoulder, Kyra got out of the taxi and went into the warm lobby. The hotel was busy, and even at that late hour there was a line to registration.

Turning the other way, Kyra went to the ladies’ room. She had not felt so alone before. Prior to meeting Stephano, there had been many empty nights. But now she knew the difference. The man she loved was in another city. And she was on a mission to save them both.

When Stephano would wrap his arms around her again, or even if he would have that opportunity, Kyra didn’t know. There was no choice but to press on. She used the facilities, and then went to the downstairs café for some hot coffee, wanting to be mentally sharp.

It was not as though Kyra had experience with moving about in the dark and thwarting the plans of an oppressor. She was figuring it out as she went. But it was wise to stay alert and not make a novice mistake. Once fortified with caffeine, she went back to the lobby.

When the staff appeared occupied with guests, Kyra walked out to the street and caught another taxi. She had been to Zurich only weeks before, and remembered the city. “La Stanza,” she said, directing the driver to take her to a popular bar.

But Kyra had no intention of drinking or dancing. On the way, she looked at the well-lit buildings of downtown. It was festive, and Kyra could felt a hum of excitement for a new year on the way. Pedestrians bustled down the street and customers exited bars, laughing and smiling.

Tomorrow was New Year’s Eve, and there was something exciting about a new start. But not for Kyra. As the scene rolled by, she felt like an outsider looking in. It was as if a glass partition separated her from the rest of the world. Her mood was far from celebratory.

At the bar, Kyra paid the driver and went inside. She walked through as if looking for someone, then left. It was cold out, but the brisk air felt good. Walking outside gave her a sense of freedom. Kyra wasn’t trapped; she was moving. She was in action, doing something about her situation. It was tempting to keep walking and not look back.

But that was fantasy. Kyra would not abandon Stephano. Besides, she had vowed not to run again. Not far from the hotel was a café. She needed to eat, although Kyra didn’t have much appetite. Yet she had to keep her strength up.

Opening the door, Kyra stepped into the warmth of the restaurant. In one corner was a tall Christmas tree, brightly decorated, which reminded her it was still the holiday season. The dark wood furniture and richly painted walls made her feel welcome. A greeter escorted her to a table for two, and removed the extra flatware wrapped in a red cloth napkin.

It was another sign that Kyra was alone. All around her, couples ate and chatted. But she could not take time to bemoan her circumstance, or allow regret. There was something she had to do without assistance. That couldn’t be changed.

When the waiter came to her table, Kyra ordered the tomato soup with crusty bread. Water with lemon would be fine, as she had no intention of relaxing until the provenance was safe. She sipped her water and tried not to think of tomorrow.

But it was impossible not to. Butterflies fought in her stomach, and Kyra fiddled with her napkin. It was going to work. Yet she wasn’t convinced, and wouldn’t be until it was over. The worst was how upset and worried Stephano was. By now, he knew she was missing.

The soup arrived, and Kyra managed to eat half of it. The bread was fresh, and she ate some with butter. After eating, she stayed a bit longer to avoid the solitude of a hotel room. But it was getting late, and it wasn’t wise to stay out in the open. She paid and left.

Not far from the restaurant, Kyra found a place to stay. It was a youth hostel, which suited her. It wouldn’t be too expensive, and Troy wouldn’t look there. Not at first, anyway. He would assume she was in a high-priced hotel, such as she had stayed in with Stephano. It would be later before he knew she was on her own.

The lobby was simply decorated, but clean. The walls were blue-gray. The floors and reception desk were blond wood that looked new. A young woman behind the counter smiled. “Welcome, may I help you?”

Kyra secured a private room. It wasn’t large, but she may not need it for more than one night. The next day she could proceed with her plan. In the dark of the evening, the only thing to do was to hide out and wait. The cozy room at the hostel would do.

She intended to pay cash for the room, and leave no trail to follow. Yet Kyra was certain she couldn’t stay out of Troy’s sights for too many days. But for one evening, she felt secure. As secure as she could be while evading a man who would kill to get the valuable document she possessed.

She prayed her plan would work, but there was no guarantee. Kyra sat down on the twin-sized mattress and put her bag beside her. Reaching inside, she found her phone and turned it on to see that she had several messages from Stephano.

Kyra couldn’t bear to listen to them. She turned the phone off and tossed it on the small side table. The sound of Stephano’s voice would be her undoing. It was difficult enough to follow through. It was only because of him that she had left.

Maybe he would understand later. But not now. That would have to wait. Kyra showered and then got under the covers. But sleep didn’t come. She worried over what the next day would bring. And she missed Stephano. Her heart ached and her stomach knotted with anxiety. Her only consolation was that the man she loved was safe.