Falling For The Ice Queen (Ice Breaker Cold Case #2) - Cynthia Eden

Prologue

Her hands grabbed desperately for the French doors, her broken nails scraped against the ornate knobs, and she left dark, dirty smears on the pristine surfaces. A fierce shove had the doors flying open, and Eliza stumbled into the ballroom. “H-help…” A gasped cry.

One that none of the dancing, laughing figures seemed to hear.

She staggered forward. Her bare feet left bloody footprints on the hardwood flooring. “Help!” Louder. But still, no one seemed to notice her.

More laughter filled the air.

Until…

She bumped into someone. The woman turned with a gasp, and horror quickly flashed on her face as she took in Eliza’s form. Her torn, dirty, and blood-stained clothing. Her wild hair. Her bare feet.

“Eliza!” Her father’s voice thundered across the ballroom as he charged for her. “What in the world is the meaning of this? I can’t believe you’d pull off another of your stunts—”

Her knees gave way, and she hit the floor. “Help me,” she said again, as she felt the tears trail down her cheeks.

Her father staggered to a stop beside her. His eyes widened as he finally seemed to see her. She lifted her hands toward him. Knew he’d notice the bruises around her wrists. The handcuff that still encircled her right wrist.

“My God…” Her father blanched.

The band stopped playing. The crowd swarmed in.

And Eliza Robinson prayed that she was finally safe.

Chapter One

“Come on, Eliza,” her friend Bethany Bancroft chided her, “don’t you ever want to cut loose? Where is the wild girl who used to be the life of the party? The one who made me seem like a wallflower?” Bethany laughed and turned back to survey the busy crowd inside the bar. “Look at all those men. Gorgeous. Sexy. Just waiting to be selected as our lucky partners for the night. They are out there hoping we will make their dreams come true.”

“I don’t know that they’re waiting for that.” Eliza swiveled slightly on her barstool. The place was packed. Super loud. And way too dimly lit.

“They are. Trust me.” Bethany tossed her red hair over her shoulder. “Why else would they be in this place? They’re ready for a hookup, and so am I.”

“Um…” I am not ready. So not.

Bethany glanced back at her. “You are, too, ready. Don’t even try denying it. That’s why you’re here. You’re going to stop being a nun, right?”

“I’m not a nun.” Eliza’s shoulders stiffened because the accusation hit a little too close to home. So she didn’t date a lot. Her life was extremely busy. Hardly her fault that there just wasn’t time for a relationship.

Lie. Lie. Lie.

A satisfied smile curved Bethany’s lips. “Then prove it. Find a man. Dance with him. Now.”

“Is that a dare?” She tried to make her voice sound light. Casual. Like this was something fun.

It wasn’t. Being at the bar was hell, and she’d really like to leave, ASAP.

“Yep, just like in our college days. Only then, you would have been the one already dancing on the bar top by now, and I’d be the one you were trying to talk into doing something crazy.” Bethany caught Eliza’s hand. Gave it a squeeze. “Come on. For the first time in ages, you don’t have one of those annoying guards dodging your steps. You are free tonight. Time to live a little bit.”

Those annoying guards. Yes, Eliza had thought that she’d managed to get out without a guard following her. Or, at least, that was what she’d believed until about five minutes ago.

Until she’d seen him. The man with the dark hair. Stony features. An attitude that promised trouble. And a laser-like gaze that he’d locked on her the minute he’d walked into the bar. The guy had muscles for days and days—muscles that bulged the short sleeves and the chest of his black t-shirt. An aura of danger surrounded him, and Eliza knew he was the kind of man with whom one just did not fuck.

He was also probably the best-looking man she’d ever seen in her life. If you went for that type. The whole bad boy, devil-may-care, I-give-screaming-orgasms-to-my-partners type.

She fanned herself a little because the place was hot. Too many people inside.

Her gaze darted to him, almost helplessly, as he sat in his booth.

He was still watching her. He didn’t smile. Didn’t incline his head. Didn’t do anything but stare.

He hadn’t approached her, though. The guards rarely did. They knew their orders, after all. They were to watch from a distance. To trail her. To make sure that she was never