Since the moment a local crime boss claimed ownership of her family’s fairground, Sasha Todd has dreamed of righting the wrong. Now it’s time to act, and backing down from the man’s estranged son is definitely not an option. After all, giving up her legacy to hot-blooded John Jordon means losing the chance to finally heal the wounds in her past.
Stopping John in his tracks—and resisting the sizzle between them—is Sasha’s best defense. But there’s more to him than she thought, which changes everything. With what matters most at stake, she’ll have to risk a brand-new future with John, or walk away from the man whose heart belongs to her.
Sasha Todd stood ramrod-straight and narrowed her eyes as she studied the man standing near the bumper cars talking to a group of teenage girls. Unease rippled up her spine. Was one of them his daughter? Or was the son of a bitch edging in on forbidden territory? Uncrossing her arms, she pulled back her shoulders and strode forward, suppressed anger burning hot in her stomach.
When she was two feet away from them, one of the girls gave a delighted shriek and threw her arms around the man's neck. "Thanks, Daddy. You're the best."
He laughed. "You're welcome, sweetheart. Now behave yourselves. I'll be back at nine-thirty to pick you up."
The girl untangled herself from her father's embrace and waved, linking arms with her friend, her father's generous wad of spending money clutched in her hand. Her father stared fondly after her, before pulling a bunch of keys from his pocket and heading toward the fairground gates. Sasha released her held breath, heat pinching her cheeks.
She couldn't deny the proud smile he wore was one of a father who adored and cared for his little girl.
She sent silent thanks to God, relieved that her continual paranoia had been proven unsubstantiated once again. Happiness relaxed her shoulders, and she smiled as she surveyed the domain that would soon be entirely hers, excitement washing through her. She rounded one of the three Funland burger stands and came to an abrupt stop, her eyebrows rising in appreciation.
"Well, hello there." She casually appraised the handsome stranger standing at the Ferris wheel.
His dark, glossy hair and the gray five-o'clock shadow that brushed his jaw caught her interest.. but it was the muscular forearms revealed beneath the rolled-up sleeves of his checked shirt, and the undoubtedly strong thighs covered with faded denim that reeled her in all the way.
Dance music pulsed from the loudspeakers at the corners of the bumper cars, and screams emanated from the roller coaster hurtling along the tracks above. Sasha's heart rate hitched higher. Lordy, the man was built. Inhaling a deep breath, she wandered closer under the pretense of cool nonchalance.
Tomorrow she'd face Kyle Jordon's asshole second-in-command and begin the task of taking back the fair from Kyle's criminal hands-but for tonight, she wanted some personal time. Some time to release the pressure of having to endure years of silent frustration. Frustration that had built to bursting if her earlier, misconstrued, father/daughter exchange was anything to go by.
She smiled. If everything went to plan, the fair would finally soon be back in the Todd family after Kyle had maliciously stolen it from her dying grandfather when he was in his most vulnerable and desperate state.
Exhaling, she concentrated on the satisfying sight of the stranger's taut ass. She tossed her hair over her shoulders, enjoying a rare rush of power. He stared up at the Ferris wheel as it slowly worked its romantic magic around the couples swinging to and fro in the brightly colored carriages. His jaw was a hardened line as he intently studied the ride. The man looked as though he wanted to spit at the joviality of it.
As she drew closer, the stiff set of his shoulders and the fisted hands at his hips swayed Sasha's confidence. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all. She glanced up at the ride. What if his girlfriend was up there alone and avoiding him? Or worse, up there with a new lover? A guy pitching for a fight was the last thing she needed added to her already teetering pile of problems.
Her smile dissolved and she shrugged on her manager persona. A potential fight brewing gave her no choice but to step in and cool the simmering fire before it had time to set fully alight. Sidling up beside him, she gave a loud, theatrical cough.
He turned, and his dark blue eyes coolly pinned her to the spot. She forced herself to stand still as his gaze languidly glided over her face, lingering for a moment at her lips. No smile lifted the corners of his mouth. No softness seeped into his hardened study.
She smiled even as her stomach knotted. "Hi."
He continued to stare.
Okay, so he's got that sexy, broody thing going on, but since when does a guy-any guy-leave me speechless? Say something…
"Well, you're all sorts of angry, aren't you?" Great, Sasha. Just poetic.
He lifted an eyebrow and turned his focus back to the ride.
She frowned and glared at his profile, feeling like an idiot. The guy needed to take a serious chill pill. Did he think he had a monopoly on being pissed off? Wakey, wakey, mister, the entire human race holds a grudge of one kind or another.
"I was only trying to make conversation. If you don't want to talk to me, that's fine." She shrugged. "I haven't seen you before and, as I'm the person running things around here, I thought you might appreciate a friendly word, a kind welcome. My name's Sasha-"
"I know who you are."
She stiffened. The deep, smooth lilt of his upper-class English voice filled her with equal measures of attraction and warning. "Pardon me?"
He faced her and crossed his arms across his broad chest. "You're Sasha Todd, exceptionally pretty and svelte manageress of this fairground, known so lovingly as Funland. You work for Kyle Jordon. Although, while Kyle's currently boarding at Her Majesty's pleasure in prison, you are undoubtedly forced to answer to his bull mastiff of a lapdog, the wonderfully charming and partially toothed Freddy Campton. Am I right?"
Sasha crossed her arms, mimicking his stance as irritation simmered inside her. "Yes, but who-"
"How do you feel about that, Miss Todd?"
"Moreover, how are you going to feel knowing that from tomorrow, you'll be answering to me and not him?"
Sasha froze as his words filtered through her mind. What the hell did he just say? She uncrossed her arms and splayed her hands on her hips. "Is this some kind of joke?"
A flicker of amusement lit his eyes before he blinked and they turned cold once more. "No joke. From tomorrow you'll be reporting to me."
Panic and disbelief hurtled through her. Who the hell does this guy think he is? She huffed out a laugh. "I don't think so. Who are you?"
"Your new boss."
She grinned, hoping it would coerce some semblance of a smile to his lips and make him tell her he was kidding. "Very funny. You're a funny guy, Mr.-"
"You don't believe me?" His face remained un-nervingly impassive.
Okay, enough was enough. "I asked you who you are. If you want to toss a revelation like that at me, the least you can do is tell me your name. Not that I'm likely to believe a word you say after this slightly creepy performance."
He uncrossed his arms and offered his hand, which she took without thinking. His hand enveloped hers. Warm, smooth and unnervingly large. Why did she have the sudden and unwelcome suspicion nothing about this guy was small or weak?
"John Jordon." He shook her hand. "Nice to meet you."
She stared into his eyes, her heart picking up speed. No, no, no. She swallowed in an effort to bring some saliva back into her desert-dry mouth. "Jordon? Are you telling me you're Kyle's son? His brother?"
She scowled as anger shot through her body with the speed of a freight train. Frustration and the enormity of what this meant turned her vision pink with rage. She slowly eased her hand from his and fisted her hair back from her face. "Well?"
"I'm his son."
She closed her eyes, struggling to maintain her equilibrium and not freak out. "As far as I was aware Kyle doesn't have a son or a brother." She opened her eyes. "I don't believe you."
His gaze locked on hers for a moment before it shot toward the crowds of people walking around the fair, laughing and shouting without a care in the world. "I'm his son whether you want to believe it or not." He met her eyes. "And I'll be here running things for the foreseeable future. So the sooner we get acquainted, the better."
"Get acquainted?" She laughed as her shaky self-control snapped. "You have no idea, do you? No damn idea whatsoever."
The anger dissolved from his eyes and was replaced with wary confusion. "About what? This place?"
"About everything. You need to go."
His brow furrowed as he stared. "That won't be happening anytime soon, I'm afraid."
Trembling, Sasha walked backward, opening the space between them. She shook her head. "You can't do this. You can't do this to me. Not now."
His frown deepened. "Do what?"
She waved her hand at him. "Do this. Turn up here. Say these things. I won't let you do this."
"I'm leaving." Her mind raced and her body felt strangely numb. "This isn't happening."
He put his hand out as if to touch her, hesitated and then dropped it to his side. "Wait. Just wait."
The stiff set of his shoulders slumped. "Maybe we should start-"
Sasha fled. She resolutely fought the tears that burned her eyes and blurred the crowds in front of her as she shouldered her way through. Her breathing grew labored and she rasped as if she had sharpened needles inside her chest. John Jordon. Kyle Jordon's son. He was going to take her fair. It was his. Not hers. Never hers.
She choked back a sob as the green, wrought-iron gates of the fairground came into view. Stumbling, she gripped them, shook them, wanting to rip them from their hinges....
Back at Templeton CoveJohn Jordan, son of Kyle Jordan and Sasha Todd both feel that Funland, which was once owned by Sasha's family is their answer. Now John has inherited it from Sasha's grandfather almost seven years ago. Funland is important to both Sasha and John, only for different reasons. As a reader I could almost cut the air with a knife. You could sense the discord between them. Sasha was her own person, not afraid to face things. She had grit and strength.
They would constantly mad at each other but didn't try hard to solve their differences. Neither trusted the other. It surprised me that there was this sexual bond between them. It happened all at once. You didn't know from one page to the next what was going to happen between the two.
Between all the anger, Ms. Brimble included a little romance, trust and talking to each other. It's surprising what a little calm conversation can do. Putting aside the anger and distrust, Sasha and John start to communicate.
Ms. Brimble's characters all have something in common. They all have something that is hurting them, emotionally. They seem to be leery of closeness, relationships, trust issues and ghosts in their lives.
So will the two get together in their personal lives? What about the Funland? Will there be a compromise?
Ms. Brimble writes such descriptions of her characters and scenes. You can almost place Sasha and John at Funland battling against each other. The author keeps you riveted from page one. You can't help but turn those pages. This book is definitely a keeper. So grab a copy and follow Sasha and John in their rivalry and see what happens? You won't be sorry.
I was given a complimentary copy of What Belongs To Her by Rachel Brimble from Fiction Addiction Book Tours for my personal opinion. No other compensation took place.
I would give this book 4 STARS.
About the Author
Rachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. In 2012, she sold two books to Harlequin Superromance and a further three in 2013. She also writes Victorian romance for Kensington–her debut was released in April 2013 and she has since signed for three more.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family and beloved black Lab, Max. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!