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Everything I Need

A Journey's End Billionaire Romance

10/29/18

Journey's End Billionaires, Book 4

The Queen’s grandson. A beautiful American doctor. An unforgettable royal love story…

Long-distance romances never lead to happily-ever-after. Or do they?

The road to true love never runs smooth. Especially when an awkward British billionaire with family issues finds himself smitten with a workaholic pediatric surgeon from small-town Journey’s End. 

But Anthony Scott refuses to give up on his thrilling new relationship with beautiful but guarded Dr. Melody Harrison. Even when the frequent goodbyes and ongoing loneliness threaten to break both their hearts.

Long-distance love affairs often crash and burn. But not always…

If you love hot and emotional contemporary romance, pick up the steamy conclusion to this two-part romantic saga today!

1. No Ordinary Love (Baptiste & Samira #1)

2. Beyond Ordinary Love (Baptiste & Samira #2)

3. Everything I Hoped For (Anthony & Melody #1)

4. Everything I Need (Anthony & Melody #2)

5. Untitled (Nick’s Story #1)

6. Untitled (Nick’s Story #2)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

“That’s everything, I think.” Anthony Scott emerged from the bedroom, passed through the living room to deposit his overnight bag in the foyer by the front door and came back to sit on the sofa in front of the crackling fire. “All packed.”

Melody Harrison watched the proceedings from her kitchen, where she poured herself a cup of tea, and tried not to freak out now that they’d reached Sunday evening and the end of their first weekend together as lovers. Easier said than done, especially with an unexpected mass of anxiety tightening her chest and creeping steadily higher. The moody silence, which had grown worse all afternoon after they finished decorating the Christmas tree they’d cut together and returned his rental car, also didn’t boost her flagging morale any.

“How much longer until Baptiste picks you up for the airport?” she said.

His best friend, Jean-Baptiste Mercier, a Parisian billionaire with his own plane, had recently begun dating her best friend, Samira Palmer, here in small-town Journey’s End in Upstate New York.

Anthony checked his watch. “Fifteen minutes,” he said, his upper-class British accent sounding more clipped than ever. Like a pissed-off Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes complaining that Mrs. Hudson had moved his violin.

Her heart sank another couple notches.

“You okay?” she asked brightly, stirring her tea.

He frowned. Avoided eye contact. “’Course.”

Melody worked hard to feel reassured. Unfortunately, she never quite managed it beyond about 30 percent. The thing was, he didn’t look okay. He didn’t look okay at all as he rested his elbows on his knees and absently rubbed his hands together, his grim and downturned profile something that you might see on a man walking the last several steps to the lethal injection chamber.  

Do not freak out, Mel, she told herself as she joined him in the living room, settled in the armchair and set her mug on the coffee table. Do not get clingy. So Anthony’s a little sour right now. So what? Do not make a mountain out of a molehill.

Good advice, but she was pretty sure that the mountain was already there. The longer he didn’t look at her, the more she felt as though Kilimanjaro had been inserted into the middle of her living room.

Suddenly he glanced up. They looked at each other long enough for her to feel a jolt of turbulence from his cornflower blue eyes. His jaw tightened. He quickly blinked and turned away, at the setting sun on the other side of her sliding glass doors, but the damage had been done. 

She felt profoundly unsettled. As vulnerable as a squealing and furless newborn panda.

And this, sports fans, was why she should have stuck to her vow to focus on her status as both a spinster and a pediatric surgeon and to avoid romantic entanglements. Failing that, she should certainly have waited to get to know Anthony better before she leapt into the horizontal boogie with him, but she’d divested herself of both her panties and most of her good sense within a few short days of meeting him, hadn’t she?

Yep. She was a regular genius.

Now here she was. With her heart in her throat and no real idea what to expect next as he returned to London and they officially embarked on their committed long-distance relationship.

Desperate for something to do with herself, she reached for her tea. Blew on it. Sipped it. Tried to figure out how she’d wound up here on this glum Sunday night, where the darkness and chill inside far exceeded anything going on outside and this man’s moods were now, evidently, at the center of her existence.

Well, actually, she knew exactly how she’d wound up here.

She’d met Anthony several days ago, at a gala celebrating the merger of Baptiste’s French winery with one here in Journey’s End in the Hudson River Valley. After a rocky initial meeting, she and Anthony had discovered they shared some serious chemistry. They’d spent some time together while he was in town. At the end of last weekend, he’d gone back to his London home. He and Melody had talked and texted religiously while he was there. Then he’d surprised her back here in Journey’s End this past Friday. Emphasis on surprised because he’d caught her on a blind date with someone she’d met online. 

That had gone over well. Not. 

A blowup had ensued, followed by some spectacular sex.

Then Anthony had filled Melody in on a pertinent detail or two from his past. Like the fact that his father was a Texas oilman and Anthony had a trust fund in the neighborhood of a billion dollars. Oh, and Anthony’s grandmother on his mother’s side? The Queen of England. As in, the Queen of England. True, he was her youngest grandchild and about as likely to accede to the throne as Melody was, but he was still a prince of England.

Had Melody seen any of that coming? No, she had not. Was she, as a black woman with her own life and career on this side of the pond, prepared for the possibility of press intrusion into their fledgling relationship?  Was she prepared for the scrutiny (and public judgment) of her appearance, including the burn scars she bore on her face and neck, which dated from a childhood accident in the kitchen? Hell no. The thought made her cringe. 

And yet…

Was she prepared to say good-bye to this man? To wish him a great life without her?

She watched him absently crack his knuckles, her innards softening to caramel goo.

Absolutely not.

So she and Anthony had decided to be exclusive and continue seeing each other. See what happened.

And what was happening at this particular moment was that Mr. Anthony Scott looked as cold and forbidding as he’d been when they first met. There was something about seeing him in a sweater, jeans and leather jacket, with his blond hair brushed and shot through with golden streaks, that made her heart ache. This morning, they’d been naked in bed together, her fingers running through that silky hair and his body thrusting deep inside hers. Now he sat over there, a million miles away on her sofa, and she couldn’t muster the courage to go sit beside him, much less reach for his hand.

Yet they thought they could make a run at a successful long-distance relationship when they couldn’t breach the brick wall that had sprung up between them while they were in the same town and the same room?

Yup. They were off to a baaaad start.

She could almost laugh if it wasn’t all so doomed to failure.

She and Anthony were going to crash and burn, and they were going to crash and burn big. 

Guaranteed.

Don’t think like that, Mel, said a quiet little voice in the back of her head.

Be brave. Take a chance.

She took a deep breath and decided that she wasn’t going to let this whole thing go down in flames on account of her unmitigated cowardice. Hadn’t she survived a horrible childhood burn and all the corresponding surgeries, pain and negative attention from staring people? Hadn’t she gotten into and then clawed her way through Harvard Med, for God’s sake? Couldn’t she act like a mature adult and try to reach across their divide?

You bet your ass she could.

She cleared her throat. “You sure you’re okay? You’ve been awfully quiet.”

“I’m fine,” he snapped, staring down at his hands as he rubbed them.

“Clearly,” she muttered, putting her mug back on the coffee table with a distinct thunk before moving over to sit beside him on the sofa.

His head came up. He nailed her straight on with those unwavering blue eyes, frosty now. 

“Meaning?” he asked aggressively.

That tone made her hackles rise.

She nailed him with her own unyielding stare. Screw it. This relationship had nothing if they didn’t master basic honesty and Communication 101. 

“Meaning you’re starting to remind me of the night we met. When you were being a jackass.”

He looked startled.

“And since I’m sure that’s not your intent, and I’m pretty sure something’s on your mind, why don’t we talk about it? Give you a chance to practice talking about your feelings.”

Whoa. She hadn’t meant to be quite that forceful.

Neither of them spoke for several beats. The silence turned brittle.

“You probably wouldn’t want to hear every thought that’s popped into my head this afternoon.” His wry smile never came within a mile of his eyes. “I believe you’ve complained about my being too blunt with my words at times?”

Fair point, not that she wanted to concede it just now.

“Well, it turns out that I prefer your bluntness to your cold shoulder. Imagine my surprise.”

“I’m not giving you the cold shoulder,” he said, incredulous. “If anything, I’m lost in my thoughts. Is that illegal in the States now?”

“Spill, Anthony.”

He hesitated. Heaved a rough sigh.

“Have it your way. If you must know, I’m wondering if we’ll be able to make a go of it after all, because this is all shaping up to be much more difficult than I’d expected.”

Melody absorbed this information like a punch to the solar plexus. 

He what? Was this the end already? Was he about to dump her now that he’d screwed her?

“I’ve also been wondering if you’ll be on another blind date with some other bloke as soon as my plane goes wheels up tonight—”

“I will not—” she began, outraged.

“—but I’ve dismissed that possibility because we’ve given each other our word and I believe we trust each other reasonably well.” His gaze, filled with sudden sensual appreciation, skimmed her up and down, making her skin sizzle. “Besides that, we quite enjoy each other in bed, don’t we, darling? We’ve given each other a lot to think about and a lot to remember each other by until we meet again on Friday, haven’t we?”

Melody opened her mouth, feeling a little breathless—  

Anthony’s lips twisted with unmistakable bitterness. 

“I’m wondering why the bloody hell I’ll have to spend the week in exile across the ocean, going to meetings most of the time and alone in my drafty cottage the rest of the time while, meantime, you’re out having fun with Baptiste and Samira or here in your cozy little apartment with your Christmas decorations, a blazing fire, river views and your amazingly comfortable bed that has the added bonus of having your incredible body in it.”

She gaped at him, her head spinning.

“I’m wondering if I could possibly skive off my meetings and just stay here, but my grandmother would have my head. And then she’d never let me hear the end of it. My life wouldn’t be worth living.”

“Anthony…” she said when he paused to catch his breath.

“I’m wondering what you’ve done to me to turn me into this complete nutter in such a short period of time, because I don’t lose my head—about anything—nor am I a clingy person.” He paused thoughtfully. “Now, of course, I’m wondering if it was a mistake to confess my looming nuttery and if you’ll use that as an excuse to run in the other direction.”

“Anthony—”

“I’m wondering what I’ve ever done to get lucky enough for a woman like you to cross my path, much less give me a chance, and I want to kiss your feet that you haven’t written me off now that you know all about both sides of my family. The fact that you’ve actually met my father and are still even speaking to me qualifies you for sainthood in my book.”

She had to laugh. 

He watched her, his avid gaze crisscrossing her features. Then he cursed, took her face in his hands and kissed her hard. He eased back to end the kiss, leaving her stunned and hopelessly aroused as he rested his forehead against hers.

“Mainly I’m wondering if it’s physically possible for me to survive without seeing your smile or kissing you between now and Friday,” he said gruffly. “Aren’t you glad you asked?”

Melody paused to smooth his hair and rein in her answering confession, which would include gems like I want to stow away on your plane and I am literally now incapable of thinking about anything but you. 

He wasn’t the only one up on a ledge about the future of their relationship outside of the four walls of her apartment this weekend. That was for damn sure.

She let out a shaky laugh.

“You have all that up there?” she asked, tapping his temple. “No wonder you look so pained all the time. There’s no room for any fun thoughts.”

Crooked smile from Anthony. “You’ve no idea.”

He let her go and sat back, idly twisting her one of her corkscrew curls and setting off frissons of pleasure every time he brushed the side of her neck.

They stared at each other.

“Can I tell you something?” she asked quietly.

His expression softened, as did his voice. 

“You can tell me anything, darling.”

As always, his use of the endearment made her feel as though her skin glowed.

She stole another quick kiss, lingering over his tender lips because they were so delicious. When they broke apart, she noted, with great satisfaction, that his eyes were glazed.

“I work at the hospital,” she said. “All the time. I eat. Sometimes I sleep. When I can’t sleep, I read my medical journals.” She pointed to where they were piled high in a basket. “Sometimes I have a glass of wine. Sometimes I meet up with Samira, but not so much now that she’s with Baptiste. And that’s it. That’s all there is to me.”

One corner of his mouth curled. 

“Sounds pathetic, to be honest. I never realized you were such a loser.”

“Well, I am,” she said, managing a quick laugh before her swelling heart filled her throat. Her smile slipped away. It was much too hard to think clearly when he looked at her like that, all steady warmth. “So the next time you feel like I’m having too much fun without you, just remember that I’m either in the OR trying to patch some kid back together or sitting here wishing you were with me.”

He hesitated. Ran his hands over the top of his head, ruffling his hair.

“Melody—”

His phone vibrated. They both stiffened.

At that glum moment, Melody would have been happier to hear Jack from The Shining chopping through her front door with an ax.

He pulled his phone out and checked the display. “It’s Baptiste. He’s on his way.”

“I know,” she said.

To her everlasting dismay, she felt her chin wobble and discovered that she was perilously close to tears. She’d already cried once in front of him (the other day when one of her patients had suddenly died) and had no intention of doing it again. Ever, if she could help it. 

The man was going home to London. They’d known this moment would come. No big deal whatsoever.

So she plastered a bright smile on her face and jumped up. 

“Did you forget anything? I’d better make sure you grabbed all your stuff.”

She hurried into the bedroom, giving herself a swift mental kick in the ass along the way. What the hell had gotten into her? She met a new man and all of the sudden she carried on as though life was a Shakespearean tragedy every time he left her side? Was that where this was going? 

No freaking way.

Her life did not depend on a man. Her happiness did not depend on a man.

She wouldn’t let it.

Tomorrow she would go back to work at the hospital like she always did. Normal life would resume. The birds would still sing in the trees and her curly hair would still refuse to behave. Her entire life had not changed because of this relationship.

Okay.

Focus, girl.

She did a lap around her ultra-neat bedroom with her usual brisk efficiency and noticed it right away: the telltale patch of red plaid under the edge of one of the white decorator pillows on the bed. Anthony’s flannel pajama bottoms. He’d be sad if he got back home and they weren’t in his overnight bag, wouldn’t he? She snatched them up and headed for the bathroom. And there was something else: Anthony’s toothbrush in her holder, along with his travel-sized bottle of funky British mouthwash and tube of toothpaste. She grabbed those, too.

Men. 

And to think he’d claimed he’d packed. How was it “packing” when you forgot pretty much everything you’d brought with you? Was it a vision problem? Maybe she should hold up a couple fingers and ask him how many he saw—

Anthony appeared in the bathroom doorway, startling her.

She shook her head, disbelieving, and snorted out a laugh as she held the items up for him to see. 

“You forgot half your stuff, you silly goose.” 

But Anthony was evidently in no mood for teasing.

She watched the storm roll in and settle on his face, dimming the vivid cornflower blue of his eyes the way an afternoon rain throws Miami beaches into shadow.

His jaw tightened.

“Why are you getting rid of my things?”

Chapter 2

The sudden rough edge to his voice caught her by surprise. So did the look on his face, as though he planned to call the local authorities if she didn’t put his stuff back now. A negative electrical charge in the air made nerve endings tingle all up and down her arms and across her scalp.

She froze, baffled. 

This whole situation demonstrated, in stark detail, the problem with sexing someone up first, then trying to build a relationship later. The sex, at least for her, kicked the intensity level up to eleven, but the parties involved still didn’t know each other well enough to understand whether the inevitable bumps in the road were normal or if they led to hidden sinkholes that could ruin everything.

“Why’re you looking at me like that?” she asked. “I’m not getting rid of your stuff. I’m making sure you pack it so you don’t miss it when you get home.”

His eyes flashed. “Why can’t my things stay where they were?”

She blinked, bewildered. “I didn’t realize you wanted them to.”

“Well, I do,” he said flatly. 

She held her hands up. “My mistake.”

He grumbled something indistinct.

“What the hell is going on here?” she asked. “Why am I getting the feeling that your toothbrush is not the real issue?” 

“Because you’ve completely missed the point.” He barked. “Some women want the man to leave something behind. Some women want the man to feel that there’s a place for him.” 

“A thousand pardons.”

“Besides. You need the reminder.”

“Of what?” she said, still baffled.

“My pending return.”

The lingering belligerence in his tone didn’t sit well with her. Nor did the additional reference to the fact that she hadn’t kept the faith the last time he left town. 

She crossed her arms, beginning to fume. 

“Stop throwing that blind date in my face. And don’t bark at me. I’m not one of your soldiers. And you’re not General Patton pledging to return to the Philippines.”

A flicker of grudging respect crossed over his face. “It was General MacArthur.”

“Close enough.” 

They watched each other, the silence turning wary until a light bulb went off over her head. She snapped her fingers as all the puzzle pieces fell into place. 

“Hang on. I know what you’re doing. You’re picking a fight with me.”

His expression became guarded. 

“Pardon me? Why on earth would I do that in my last ten seconds with you before I have to leave for the week?”

Look at his face! She was definitely on to something.

“It’s part of the separation process. It’s easier for people to let each other go and say good-bye if they’re angry with each other. I learned about this whole thing during med school.”

A dull flush climbed up his neck and resolved over his cheekbones. He cocked his head, squinting at her. “Are you analyzing me?”

Meeting his stony expression head-on shaved a year or two off her life. This man gave intimidating a whole new meaning, and she’d been yelled at and humiliated by some of the most fearsome professors Harvard Med had to offer. 

Yet she wasn’t scared. Not at all. She was exhilarated. 

“Am I wrong?”

His jaw began to flex in the back. Maybe that was why it took him so long to speak. 

“I hope I haven’t reached quite that level of insanity and dependency over a woman I didn’t know existed two short weeks ago.”

The words hovered between them, lingering in the air like a blast from a skunk’s tail.

Worse? The veiled implication made her wince. It was all buried in those staccato syllables, something to the effect that she thought a bit too highly of herself, or maybe that she read way too much importance and/or permanency into any plans he may have for their relationship. 

Whatever it was, it cut far too close to the bone of her sparse dating life and forgettable previous relationships with men. It made her want to duck her head and mumble an apology for letting her narcissistic side run wild.

Then she remembered: she didn’t have a narcissistic side. 

He was picking an argument. No matter how he tried to dodge and deflect when confronted with the truth. This behavior was a known psychological phenomenon.

Funny thing, though. She still wanted to hit him.

Actually, she wanted a lot of things at the moment. 

She wanted him to march his arrogant self out of her apartment and not let the door hit him in the ass on the way out. She also wanted him to stay here forever so she could employ more of her previously undetected intuitive skills and uncover all of his secrets.

Mostly she just wanted a reaction from Mr. Cool and Aloof.

“Tell you what,” she said with a sweeping gesture toward the bathroom door. “Why don’t you wait for Baptiste in the lobby? Have a great flight.”

Seething now, she took a determined step or two away from him. 

He made a strangled noise behind her, the only clue that she might have hit a nerve. 

Bingo. 

She turned back, triumph surging through her as they glared at each other.

One glimpse of those flashing blue eyes revealed everything she could have hoped to know. Honestly, it was like looking into a funhouse mirror of her own emotions. A reflection of everything she felt about him.

She infuriated him.

She fascinated him.

She amused and unraveled him.

He didn’t want to leave her. 

This thing between them terrified him.

What if it didn’t work out?

And, worse, what if it somehow did?

This was all too much, way too soon.

Yet he had no intention of backing away from any challenges she might present.

His expression turned determined as he looked her up and down. Hot. Possessive. 

There was no mistaking his intent.

She started to shake her head and remind him that Baptiste was probably pulling into the parking lot this very second. The circumstances weren’t exactly conducive to her relaxing and enjoying herself. Plus, they’d already had sex roughly eight hundred times in the last twenty-four hours and her intimate lady parts were sore and wonderfully sated. There was a limit to how much her body could take and how many times she could cream and come for him.

Enough was enough. 

She started to open her mouth and tell him that now was not the time. But she got exactly nowhere.

Because that was the thing about Anthony Scott.

He had his rough edges and arrogant moments, sure. 

But when he looked at her like that? 

There was only this.

She reached for him, palming his scratchy cheeks and pulling his face down for her urgent kisses. He was right there with her, running his hands down to her ass and hefting her as his mouth slanted over hers. She hopped up, wrapping her legs around his waist and reveling in his earthy scent and the size of his erection as he ground against her. His skilled mouth nuzzled, licked and nipped, his tongue growing more insistent and sweeping deeper once he gripped a handful of her hair and tilted her head the way he wanted it.

Just the way she wanted it.

She crooned and mewled, choking out little sounds of encouragement that he didn’t seem to need as he plunked her on the marble countertop next to the sink.

There was a tiny pause while they stared at each other in mutual astonishment. God only knew what all ran through his mind when he stared at her with such dark intent, his expression vaguely troubled, but she could only manage a single flustered thought:

What is this man doing to me?

Then he unleashed all his passion with a low growl and thinking became impossible. 

Never had a quickie been quite so quick or so relentlessly thorough. While she propped her hands on the counter behind her and tried to withstand the onslaught, his hands managed to hit all the highlights of her body in sixty seconds or less. They gripped her hair and massaged her nape. Reverently stroked her face and neck, maneuvering her head this way and that for his kisses and nips. Manhandled her breasts and nipples, rubbing and squeezing jolts of sensation out of her body and making her squirm with growing agitation.

Down below, meanwhile, she held his waist in a death grip between her thighs. If this man thought she was letting him hop a plane to London when he belonged right here with her, he damn well better think again. But Anthony didn’t act like he was going anywhere. He rotated his hips with sharp thrusts, never missing a beat as he unerringly hit the sweet spot between her legs and made her foolish as she panted and moaned incoherently for him.

Then his hands went to the waistband of her yoga pants…

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