Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Series: The Canyon Series, Book 3
Published: Oct 2021
Level of Sensuality: Sensual
“The worst fear is that the bad guys will hurt people you … love.”
Other Books In The Series
Set in 2015 Saturday Santa is the final installment of Kate Moore’s Canyon Club series about three contemporary princes of privilege—Will Sloan, Josh Huntington, and Jack Ryker—united by an episode in their school days that sends each out into the world in need of redemption and love. Jack’s story, is a “Beauty and the Beast” tale with a touch of “Die Hard,” thrown in.
Under the spell of an ugly past that has left scars on his heart and body, millionaire former arms consultant and brand-new philanthropist, Jack Ryker, returns to L.A., determined to stop an enemy he has unleashed from a distant part of the world. Christmas is the last thing on his mind when he takes refuge in a prison-like house above the sea with a team of security guards. From his window above the beach, trapped in a specially made chair, Jack watches a woman coax a faltering old man on a daily walk. She is not part of Jack’s plan, but he’s determined to meet her.
Maryrose Lynch’s salt-of-the-earth Irish fisherman family doesn’t approve, but Maryrose enjoys her job directing events at the upscale Coast Plaza Mall, especially at Christmas. Her Christmas cheer is a bit dampened when a stroke stops her Grandpa Connor from being her favorite Saturday Santa at the mall. Even worse, Jack’s fortress house, which Maryrose and her grandpa pass on their afternoon walks, stirs memories that upset Connor. When Maryrose confronts the house’s mysterious owner, she’s stunned to discover that he’s a beautiful, wounded stranger who wants to date her.
As their worlds collide, Jack upends Maryrose’s whole idea of dating, while she thaws his frozen heart and teaches him the joys of ordinary life. Only the truth about Jack’s past stands between them. When Jack’s enemy comes after Maryrose in the mall crowded with Christmas shoppers and kids waiting to sit on Santa’s lap, Jack realizes that he loves her and has everything to lose in ways he never expected.
"Hello,” she called, stepping up to the iron railing. “He’s in there, isn’t he? I want to see him.” She knew as soon as she said it that the whole point of the fortress-like house was to prevent anyone from seeing him, the beautiful stranger from the supermarket.
Cinder Block cupped his mouth with one hand and turned aside to speak to someone on the other end of his wire. The car alarm stopped. Cinder Block turned back to her, something clicked, and a gate in the iron railing swung open. Maryrose stepped inside.
"Ms. Lynch, he’ll see you now. Just leave your phone with me.”
Maryrose did not say any of the rude things she was thinking.
Cinder Block extended a large hand for her phone. “Nothing here is illegal. You are in no danger.”
No, she thought, your boss is in danger of having me tell him what I think. Maryrose handed over her phone. Cinder Block turned it off, and slipped it into a padded metallic bag. He stepped aside and gestured to the path. At the door in the tower, he halted, tipped his face up, and waited. Maryrose looked up, expecting a security camera, but saw nothing. The door slid open in front of them. She had a fleeting thought that she was nuts to enter the place, but she remembered that she had a few things to say to the stranger.
Inside was a small vestibule and a closed stainless-steel elevator door. Cinder Block opened another door on the ground floor into a gym or a workout room. Maryrose hesitated while her eyes adjusted to the deeper gloom. Nothing scary met her gaze, just yoga mats on the floor, weights in their racks, and fitness machines for several different muscle groups.
"He’ll see you now.” Cinder Block indicated a man in a chair facing the ocean, a large black Labrador retriever at his side.
Maryrose took a steadying breath and crossed the room, ready to give him a piece of her mind. Then face to face with him again, she stopped dead, caught as she’d been in the grocery store by his appearance.
It was impossible not to stare. He’d been working out apparently. His collar-length dark hair was damp, and she could plainly see the tattoos on his neck under the sheen of perspiration. A sweat-darkened charcoal gray t-shirt clung to his chest. His arms, very strong arms, rested on some sort of mechanized chair. The black chair puzzled her. A pair of navy workout shorts revealed his perfectly healthy-looking legs and bare feet. She knew he could walk. He’d plowed into her in the supermarket.
"You got the eggs,” he said. The dark glasses hid his eyes.
She nodded. “You know my name. You know where I live.” Maryrose made the words an accusation, a challenge. He remained silent, and his silence gave her time to realize that he was steps ahead of her. He’d already figured out how she’d found him.
She wanted to say that the tiny exchange of personal information did not make them even. She wanted to know who he really was and why the chair and the dark glasses and the dog and the beefy security men and the fortress.
"You didn’t bring your grandfather today,” he said.
"Is there anything you don’t know about me?” she asked. She had thought her personal information fairly secure. Suddenly she imagined that everything she’d ever said or done had somehow been exposed to this man’s gaze.
"That’s meant to be comforting?” Maryrose waited for him to say more. He had a beautiful mouth. Her brain tried to make sense of the vast pauses between his terse comments. She was used to the quick back and forth of her large family, of people interrupting and speaking over one another.
"Is your grandfather okay?”
"He had a stroke recently. He’s not himself anymore.”
"My house bothers him.”
"It does,” she agreed. “I have no idea why. It’s such a cheerful, warm, inviting sort of fortress.” She could not keep a little sarcasm from creeping into her tone. He’d seen her with Grandpa Connor. He’d seen them stop. There probably were cameras even if she had not spotted them. He held himself so still, his body aligned in perfect symmetry at odds with asymmetry of the way he talked. She imagined her words wandering down long dark corridors in his brain before they reached headquarters and elicited a return message.
"You date,” he said.
"Do you?” He could not have dated in the 21st century. If he thought dating was a thing people still did, he must have been trapped in his concrete fortress a long time.
"I want to date you.”
"Date me?” Her voice squeaked. Her legs went rubbery, and she sat down. On the floor. The dog immediately lowered his belly to the floor to face her. She didn’t know whether the man or the dog watched her more intently. Again, her brain worked to process what was going on inside his head. He wanted to date her, the strangest, most beautiful man she’d ever not really met. No labor-intensive series of swipes to get matches to get a phone number to get to a date, just a bold assertion. "What’s your idea of a date?” she asked.