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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?



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.”