Real estate mogul Christian Hunt has been released on probation under the stipulation he attend eight months of anger management therapy. Jessica Gold is the psychiatrist he has sought out for his sessions, although he has made it clear that he has no interest in discussing the issues that brought him to her office.
The sizzling attraction that develops between these two broken petals soon blossoms into a dark and obsessive love that will not allow anything or anyone to stand in its way, and things take a deadly turn after that love is unexpectedly threatened.
"Christian, stop," Jessica commanded, wiggling out of his embrace and walking around him, her hand reaching out to snare his wrist. "Come."
"What? Jessie, where the hell are you going?"
His voice was a gravelly whisper, filled with confusion, but he obediently followed, trudging behind her as she made her way down the hall to the bedroom. His eyes were shadowed by desire, his erection bulging at the front of his jeans, and she knew how hard it was for him to call a halt to his passion, but Jessica shook her head at him as she pushed him down onto the edge of the bed, her stern gaze warning him in silence not to move.
"Where the hell are you going?" he grated out again, his voice growing heavy with frustration as she walked into the bathroom. "Jessie, what are you doing? Come back here. I want you."
"And you have me," she assured him in a quiet murmur as she returned, armed with the medicine kit from the cupboard below the face basin, and bent to deposit a tender kiss on his forehead. "I just need to tend to your hand first. Okay?"
But she received no reply.
Christian sat in silence, peering at her from beneath a frown as she cleaned his hand with an antiseptic wipe, and she chuckled at the vague contortions of his face.
"It's just a little sting, Mr. Tough Guy," she teased, tapping his nose with a playful finger.
But still he remained silent, and his squinted gaze never strayed from her face as she applied a dab of ointment to the lacerated skin.
His dour brooding was unsettling her, and she found herself peeking at him from curious eyes as she wondered whether he was sulking over her withdrawal or whether he still felt guilty over the incident in the kitchen as she wound a long strip of gauze around his knuckles.
"Darling, are you okay?" she murmured.
His voice was harsh, almost cold, and her gaze leapt up in search of his, her eyes widening in surprise at the water pooling behind his lids. But understanding washed over her as she peered at him, and her heart broke for him.
The simple act of bandaging his hand had been a torment on his soul, so maternal in its quiet affection that it had brought unwanted memories flooding back, memories of a mother's love that had been ripped away too soon. It had not been her intention, but she had reopened that wound for him. She had brought his pain surging back to the fore and it was shredding him before her very eyes.
But Jessica made no comment as she secured the gauze with a strip of adhesive tape. She lifted his hand to her lips and deposited a soft kiss atop the stark white bandage before rising and making her way into the bathroom with the kit. And she rested her balled fists on the edge of the face basin, pausing for a long moment when she heard his muffled sob as guilt crashed down on top of her, crushing her under its weight.
Had she, on some subconscious level, wanted to push him into precisely that reaction? Had she, in the darkest corner of her heart, been hoping to break him, to become the mother to the lost and frightened child within him?
It was a terrifying thought.