New beginnings come at a price…
Adopted into a life of wealth and privilege, Evelyn Berkshire’s ivory tower has become her prison. Her fiancé, the charming, newly elected governor of Oregon, is a monster, and she is convinced she will never escape. That is, until she meets the sisters she was separated from at birth, and they refuse to abandon her to a life of hidden bruises and fake smiles.
Through her sisters, she finds the pieces of herself she never realized were missing, including the adorably nerdy former Navy SEAL, Jason Campbell. Evelyn is drawn to his quiet strength, and he quickly becomes the rock she clings to when her life spins out of control.
But when their carefully crafted escape plan takes an unexpected turn, her faith in her new family is put to the test. Can Evelyn trust them to do what’s right, or will she strike out on her own and risk the lives of everyone she loves?
Publisher’s Note: This steamy, action-packed romance contains elements of power exchange.
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Two weeks before inauguration…
“Is everyone clear on their assignments?”
As she looked around Teagan’s disheveled living room, Evelyn met both of her sisters’ gazes. After nearly three months, she still wasn’t used to seeing her own face staring back at her, never mind twice over.
Teagan raised an eyebrow. “Assignments? You’ve been hanging around the men too much, Fancy.”
Rolling her eyes, Ro swatted Teagan’s arm. “Be nice to her. She’s under a lot of pressure right now.”
“I can fight my own battles, Ro.” Well, that wasn’t entirely true. If Evelyn could fight her own battles, she wouldn’t be sitting in Teagan’s living room, hammering out the details on a grand plan to rescue her from the nightmare she’d been trapped in for the past three years.
Ro’s gaze softened, and she leaned over to squeeze Evelyn’s arm. “I know you can, sweetie. But there’s no need for Tea to be rude. You would think Luca would have spanked that out of her by now.”
“I’m not being rude.” This time, the eye roll came from Teagan. “I’m just teasing her. We’re laying it on a bit thick, calling a haircut an assignment, don’t you think?”
Fixing Teagan with a bland stare, Evelyn lifted an eyebrow of her own. “It’s part of an undercover operation. Doesn’t assignment fit, detective?”
Teagan grinned. “Fair enough. So, what’s the play?”
“I’ve made appointments for both of you in separate salons across the state lines. Any salon in Oregon is going to have my face memorized, so even with different names, you run the risk of being recognized. At least enough for someone to make a fuss or try to sneak a picture onto social media.”
“Real names?” Teagan asked, shifting into what Evelyn thought of as “cop mode.” Her eyes went flat and her voice lost most of its inflection. It was a strange transformation, and one that never failed to make Evelyn uneasy.
She didn’t trust cops as a rule. Not since she’d learned, painfully, how easily they could be paid off by a man as wealthy and powerful as her fiancé.
Shaking off the anxiety crawling up her spine, Evelyn shook her head. “I’ll text you the names, as well as a picture of the cut and exact instructions for the color.”
“Blonde, right?” The corners of Teagan’s lips dipped down. “The color is blonde.”
“Some of the highlights are blonde. There’s some lighter brown mixed in there as well. Just follow the instructions I send you.”
Ro examined the ends of her purple-tipped hair with a sad smile. “It’s going to be so weird having a normal, grown up haircut.”
A pang of guilt had Evelyn shifting uncomfortably in her chair. “We don’t have to do this. The guys’ plan of sneaking me out is perfectly fine.”
Ro and Teagan shared a look before focusing on her again. “Not a chance,” Teagan said, laying a hand on Evelyn’s arm. “You need this, to really feel free. You deserve a chance to make a statement.”
“And we want to be there, every step of the way,” Ro added, mirroring Teagan’s stance.
“You’re risking so much,” Evelyn whispered, barely able to speak past the lump in her throat.
“You mean a spanking? What’s a sore butt compared to helping our sister?” Ro winked and gave Evelyn’s arm a reassuring squeeze.
Evelyn shook her head. “It’s more than that. What if he catches you? You know what he’s capable of. I’ll never forgive myself if he hurts either of you.”
“He’d never risk it in a public venue like that.” Teagan’s voice was firm and confident. “He can’t risk that kind of publicity.”
“He might. If he got angry enough,” Evelyn insisted.
“We’ll be careful. Promise.” Ro spoke in calm, soothing tones. For being identical triplets, the differences between the three of them never failed to amaze Evelyn.
“I know. I just… I’m scared.” She could admit it, here, with just her sisters. With the men, she tried not to let the fear show as much. She preferred their looks of exasperation when she was acting the diva over the pity she saw whenever they were discussing her “situation.”
Especially Jason. From him, she much preferred the quiet, smoldering looks he sometimes sent her. Or the way he watched her when he thought she wasn’t looking, like she was the last drop of water in the desert and he was dying of thirst.
“There’s no need to be scared.” Teagan’s comments snapped Evelyn back into the moment. “If it looks like things might go sideways, all three of us have the option to call it off. We’ll all have our phones on us at all times.”
“Good. Back to the plan. Ro and I each have our copy of your dress.” Tugging at her hair, Teagan frowned. “I tried it on the other day. It shows a lot of skin. Won’t people notice the bruising?”
“I have a cape,” Evelyn explained, only to be met with twin looks of confusion from her sisters.
“A cape? Like Superman?” Ro laughed. “Won’t the red and yellow clash with your gown?”
“Not like Superman.” Rolling her eyes, Evelyn pulled her phone from her pocket and pulled up a picture of the floor-length, white dress cape she’d purchased. “Like this.”
“Oh. That’s… fancy,” Ro decided with a giggle.
“More importantly, it hides the damage until we’re ready.” Teagan looked impressed, despite herself. “Nice work.”
“I’m not just a pretty face, you know,” Evelyn snapped, tossing the phone in her purse. “I have a brain and I do occasionally use it for something more than my vanity.”
“Whoa.” Teagan held up both hands in the time-honored gesture of surrender. “I never said you weren’t smart.”
“You don’t have to say it. You’ve made it clear you think I’m silly and ridiculous.” Heat flooded her cheeks. She hated confrontation. Especially with people she actually cared for.
“Evie, nobody thinks you’re ridiculous,” Ro offered quietly.
“Well, you should!” The words burst out of her. Unable to bear sitting still another minute, she shoved out of the chair and paced the small space. “How ridiculous is it to be so swept up in a man that I let things get this bad? How stupid does someone have to be to let this happen?”
“Stop it.” The gruff order was accompanied by Teagan grabbing her arms and jerking her around. Evelyn wasn’t quick enough to hide the wince when her sister unknowingly pressed on a fresh bruise.
“Goddammit.” Still holding her captive, Teagan jerked the sleeve of her sweater up to reveal the dark purple fingerprints wrapped around Evelyn’s upper arm. “How bad?”
Evelyn tried to pull her arm from Teagan’s grasp, but her sister was stronger than she looked. “Not too bad. Just the arm, mostly.”
Another hand rested on Teagan’s, gently prying her fingers from Evelyn’s arm. Ro. “Tell us what happened, love.”
“The same thing as always.” Freed from Teagan’s grasp, Evelyn rubbed at her arm. “I said the wrong thing, embarrassed him at a dinner party. He couldn’t very well beat the shit out of me in front of the people who funded his campaign, could he?”
“Oh, Evie.” For once, when Ro pulled her in close, Evelyn went willingly into her sister’s arms.
“I don’t know if I’m strong enough for this,” she admitted, clinging to Ro.
Teagan joined them, wrapping her arms around the pair of them. “Then let us be your strength. Lean on us, Evie. We’ll get you out. I swear.”