Embrace My Heart

By: Altonya Washington

Is she ready to trust again?

All of the delights and none of the drama—that’s what heiress and gallery owner Vectra Bauer wants from her fling with Qasim Wilder. The gorgeous financial adviser has been Vectra’s platonic friend, but now, after the end of her last painful relationship, she’s ready to take a small risk and open her heart.

Settling for a little of anything isn’t Sim’s ideal. Possessive by nature, he makes no secret of how much he wants Vectra. And he can’t understand why she’s hiding from their intense connection that’s way more than just physical. The man who always gets what he wants is embracing his biggest challenge yet: to make the woman he adores believe in love once more...

Qasim blinked, understanding pooling in his gaze. “You think I brought someone here with me?”

“Didn’t you?”


“Then what the hell is going on with you? Why would you say you don’t want to be friends anymore? Did I say something? Do something wrong—” She was silenced when he caught her elbow in a firm yet remarkably gentle grasp and pulled her away from the crowd.

Vectra held on to Qasim’s arm so she wouldn’t stumble on her chic yet outrageously high heels. Qasim didn’t stop moving until he’d found an unoccupied, remote section of the terrace. The structure ran the entire rear of Dazzles and overlooked the garden dining room below.

His hands smoothed up from her elbow to cup her slender neck, practically covering the entire column beneath his wide palm. His fingers played in the short crop of her blue-black hair where it tapered at her nape. His thumb tilted her chin up and back, studying the expression haunting her lovely face.

“Don’t be afraid of me, Vec. Don’t be afraid of me,” he whispered. The repeated words were silenced when his tongue outlined her mouth.

He groaned, then took total possession of her mouth.

Dear Reader,

Vectra Bauer used to be an outgoing sort before a relationship gone wrong caused her to shut down the part of herself that was willing to trust and willing to love. Meeting Qasim Wilder changes all that, and so begins one of the sexiest stories I’ve crafted in a long time. What starts off as friendship smoothly merges into an involvement that pulses with desire and seduction. Qasim makes no apologies for his possessive nature, and Vectra quickly realizes that she’s incapable of resisting the urge to give herself over to the stirring vibes that all but radiate from the man.

The alluring San Francisco and California wine country set the stage for this deliciously sensual tale that is not without its share of dangers when someone very close to our hero wreaks unexpected havoc. I do hope you’ll enjoy the ride!

Thanks for reading!



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Chapter 1

Chasing a man wasn’t something she did.

Come on, Vec, it’s Qasim Wilder.

Vectra Bauer thinned her lips and tried to drive the silent reminder from her mind.

She guessed that most women would likely deem Qasim Wilder a man worthy of being chased.

Truth be told, Vectra herself could easily subscribe to the same notion if not for the fact that the man in question had been acting decidedly weird for the past few months.

They had enjoyed what she’d considered a pretty nice friendship until he had very noticeably begun to distance himself. As a woman who maintained a short list of close friends, Vectra couldn’t afford to lose any—weird acting or not.

Which came to the point of her visit: chasing a man, indeed. She cast yet another speculative glance around the fortieth-floor private lobby outside the office for the president of Wilder. Qasim’s financial savvy was as coveted as his looks. His name was so well known, his skills so respected, that there was no need to add additional wording to the business moniker.

Money was Qasim’s game, and he was loved for it. If only I were here to discuss business, Vectra thought. She rubbed a clammy palm across the flaring hem of a casual cap-sleeved frock that hugged her unintentionally athletic figure.

She’d come to discuss a party, of all things. Vectra puffed out her cheeks and tried to preoccupy herself by attempting to count the cars crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, which stood in distinctive red splendor across the Bay. She managed to content herself with the fact that she at least didn’t have to worry over being turned down. After all, she wasn’t there to extend an invite.

The distinguished Mr. Wilder had made it very clear that a friendship with her was something he no longer had time for.

At least that was what his actions had suggested. Qasim had yet to come out and tell her what exactly had his boxers twisted. Rolling her eyes away from the stunning bridge, Vectra gave a mental sigh. Thoughts raging, she worked hard at putting her focus elsewhere. Periodicals were neatly arranged on a low marble coffee table set in the center of the lobby’s upscale reception area. She wondered if she’d be waiting long enough to pick one of them and dive in.

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