Her Beautiful Addiction - Book cover

Her Beautiful Addiction

E.R. Knight

Age Rating


Years ago, Theo kissed Neva at a party—a night he's never been able to forget, but that she seems to have forgotten. Hiding the truth, he sets out to court her, only to learn that she has been abused by a former partner. He swears to make her feel safe again, but if he is to succeed, he'll have to tell her the truth about their past...

Age Rating: 18+

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Chapter 1

Theo found himself staring out the expansive window that took up one side of his city office.

The sun had dipped below the horizon three hours ago, yet he remained, lounging in his comfortable leather chair, with no desire to call it a day.

Every part of him resisted the idea of returning home. But he knew he couldn’t avoid it forever. It was like pulling off a band-aid. Quick and painful.

By now, Alex would be home. He was working towards his graduate degree in business administration, just a couple of months away from completion. They were content.

Just not as content as they once were.

Alex and Theo had been close, but their father’s sudden heart attack had driven a wedge between them.

Theo had tried to mend things, but every attempt felt like throwing mud at a wall, hoping something would stick.

He blamed himself for taking the easy way out.

When their father died, Theo had to abandon his own degree to take over the family business.

The business had been their father’s pride and joy. He’d built it from the ground up, pouring all his time and energy into its growth and success.

But in doing so, he’d neglected his family.

Their mother had become increasingly distant over time. She’d battled depression, but medication had helped.

Then, six months later, she left.

She’d been seeing someone else for a short time and told them she deserved happiness, something she knew their father could never provide.

Theo shook his head, pushing away the negative thoughts and crushing the bitterness that threatened to bloom from the seeds of the past.

He stood, straightened his rolled-up sleeves, and donned his coat.

He had to face the mess. There was no other choice.

He bid his secretary, Belinda, goodnight, then headed for the elevator.

Once outside the building, he chatted briefly with Jason, the evening security guard, before making his way to his car.

A few minutes later, he pulled into the garage of the place they called home.

He sat in the car for a moment, letting the day’s stress dissipate before entering the house. He’d learned long ago to keep his work and family life separate.

And his love life, or lack thereof. Sure, he had sex occasionally, but it was just that—sex, nothing more.

He’d grown accustomed to people wanting his wealth more than him, and it no longer surprised him.

At first, he’d refused to believe that women would sleep with him just for what he could offer them. He grimaced at his reflection in the car window.

He’d been naive and foolish.

Not anymore.

He stepped out of the car, retrieving his briefcase from the passenger seat. The sudden blast of loud music stopped him in his tracks.

What the fuck?

He frowned. Was Alex throwing a damn party?

Entering through the garage door, he halted at the sight of the living room. It was packed with people.

A group of young women stood by the door, plastic cups in hand, laughing at something a guy in their midst said.

Their laughter cut off abruptly when one of the girls spotted Theo.

He saw her mouth form an Oh my God before she nudged the girl next to her, who also turned to stare.

He resisted the urge to roll his eyes.

In an instant, seven pairs of eyes were fixed on him. He stood there a moment longer, surveying the crowd of young men and women.

They were probably celebrating their impending graduation a bit early. He sighed.

He’d been hoping for a quiet, restful night. But you can’t always get what you want. If this made Alex happy, he could handle it.

He shifted his briefcase to avoid bumping into anyone and navigated around the group, offering a curt but polite, “Ladies.”

“Hey, Theo!”

He looked up to see Alex waving at him from across the room.

Theo forced a smile onto his face, hoping it looked genuine.

“Hi, Alex.”

Alex approached him, clapping him on the shoulder, then introduced him to a few of his classmates.

Theo put on a polite smile, making small talk for a few minutes, trying not to show his distaste for the strong smell of beer in the air.

These kids were probably looking to get laid or do something really stupid tonight.

As he chatted, he scanned the room, taking in the crowd.

He noticed some of the girls staring and offered a polite smile, not wanting to be rude to any of Alex’s friends.

He realized their housekeeper, Mary, was nowhere to be seen. She’d probably gone to bed or decided to let the kids have their fun and clean up later.

Food was scattered across a nearby table, and dark red stains marked where punch had been spilled.

Next to it, a round table held a makeshift minibar, the bottles already half empty.

Theo just hoped they didn’t trash the place.

When the conversation lulled, he took the opportunity to wish Alex’s guests a good night. Then he smiled at Alex, genuinely glad to see his little brother enjoying himself.

Alex gave him a one-armed hug before he and his friends returned to the group of girls by the door.

Theo made his way to the staircase leading to the second-floor bedrooms.

Once in his room, he set his briefcase at the foot of the bed, shed his suit and tie, and headed straight for the shower.

He let the warm water wash away the day’s stress. When he was done, he wrapped a towel around his waist and examined his reflection in the mirror.

Dark circles under his eyes and a day’s worth of stubble were the only signs of his long day. Otherwise, he didn’t look too bad.

His daily workout was the highlight of his day. Sure, he didn’t mind working and running the company, but he had everything under control. Alex and his family were set for life.

As a kid, he’d dreamed of being a football player, then shifted his aspirations to the finance industry.

Now, he wasn’t sure what he’d do if he had the chance to devote his time to something other than work.

He let out a sigh, wiping the beads of water from his neck. He needed to unwind, and he had a pretty good idea of what might do the trick.

Pulling on a sweatshirt, he made his way down the hallway.

Arriving at the library he’d had built a year after his dad’s death, he was taken aback by the sound of a gentle voice coming from inside.

Irritated, he assumed one of Alex’s buddies had mistaken the room for a good make-out spot, and a scowl crept onto his face.

He was all set to give them a piece of his mind when he walked in. But the sight that greeted him stopped him dead in his tracks.

A young woman was sitting on the plush carpet, engrossed in a book spread out in front of her. Two more books were piled up to her right.

All he could see was the top of her head as she turned a page.

Glancing at the stacked books, he recognized a copy of Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns.

It was one of his favorites.

She was wearing a loose shirt and black dress pants.

He was taken aback. Was this her idea of party wear? Most of the girls downstairs, with a few exceptions, were barely dressed, showing off as much skin as possible.

He heard her mutter something, like she was talking to herself. For some reason, he didn’t want to interrupt her.

She stretched her left foot and tugged at the hem of her pants, all while keeping her eyes on the book. Was she cold? He scanned the room for a coat, but didn’t see one.

Her hair was a light auburn, and he caught a glimpse of her olive skin when she turned her head slightly to check her phone, which had just lit up with a notification.

Theo felt a strange urge to go and stand behind her, to watch her read without disturbing her. But he found himself frozen in place.

He heard her let out a soft sigh. Then she closed the book, almost reluctantly. She was in the process of gathering the other two books when she realized she wasn’t alone.

She looked up at him, her mouth slightly open.

Theo froze when he saw her face. The impact of her soft brown eyes hit him like a punch to the gut, and for a moment, he forgot how to breathe.

No fucking way.

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