From New York Times bestselling author Meghan March comes the stunning conclusion to the Forge Trilogy. In this final volume, ruthless billionaire Jericho Forge faces his toughest challenge. To emerge victorious, he’ll have to give up the one thing he’s never offered a woman—his heart.
It started as a game. She was nothing but my pawn.
But I was quick to see the error in my ways, and now she is everything I never knew I needed.
The value of a woman like India Baptiste is beyond measure.
But the problem with being a man like me? I’ve already screwed this up, and there’s no guarantee India will take me on for one last bet.
I’ll do whatever I have to do. Drop to my knees and offer her the only thing I have left. The one thing that’s only ever been hers—the heart of the devil.
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Ten years ago
“What the fuck was that?”
The floor-to-ceiling panes of glass in my office just rattled so hard, I thought they would shatter. I jumped out of my seat at the desk and rushed to the windows in time to see a ball of fire explode on the water halfway between Isaac’s island and Ibiza.
Fire on the water. Every captain’s worst nightmare, and this one was growing by the minute.
Through the thick cloud of black smoke, I could make out a sleek red hull. The other boat involved in the crash was indistinguishable, hidden behind the expanding wall of flame.
Bolting from my office, I snagged the keys lying on the counter in Isaac’s spacious kitchen and ran out of the house, heading for the stairs carved into the cliff that led down to the dock.
I’d lost track of time as I’d worked, and I had no idea how long Isaac had been gone. He took his small fishing boat out to catch lunch for his birthday, because according to him, there was no day better spent. I’d been planning to go with him, but a call had come in that couldn’t be ignored.
Pirates off the coast of Africa had been spotted stalking one of Isaac’s ships. Isaac had winked and told me to handle it.
“You’re more than capable. That’s why you’ll inherit the fleet and everything I’ve built someday. God put you on my ship for a reason. You’re my legacy, Jericho.”
The memory faded away as I pounded down the dock to the tender bobbing on the waves. It wasn’t fancy, since we mostly used it to fetch supplies from Ibiza, but it would get me to the wreck quickly so I could offer assistance to the survivors of whatever the fuck happened out there.
I started the engine, tossed off the lines, and hammered the throttle, expecting to see a swarm of boats heading toward the accident to help, but there was only one nearby. As I cut through the water, closing the distance at top speed, I caught sight of one boat involved in the collision as the bow shot above the surface as if taking its last breath, then sank quickly.
“No!” An icy fist seized my heart as the sea claimed the familiar black outline of a woman’s profile set against the white of the hull.
The love of Isaac’s life. The woman who died in an accident, while he was at sea and totally unaware. He never forgave himself for not being there, and as long as I’d known him, he’d put her image on every single ship he owned.
I scanned the water, desperately searching for Isaac’s silver hair, expecting his sure strokes to be carrying him away from the fire and toward the nearest boat, but I didn’t see him.
A man on the rescue vessel hauled a kid over the side. Thank fuck for that. I piloted around the blaze, trying to find Isaac, but another explosion sent flames spiraling from the surface as the boat with the red hull exploded.
“Isaac!” I screamed his name, praying like hell he was swimming toward the other boat. I turned toward them and called out to see if they’d rescued him, but the captain didn’t answer as he pulled someone else from the water. I froze, but the momentary hope shattered when I saw a younger man climb onto the swim platform.
I yelled again, and the last man out of the water spotted me. Instead of replying, he snarled at the captain, shoving him toward the helm.
“Go! Go! Go! Get us the fuck out of here!”
What the hell?
I didn’t recognize him, but when the captain stared at him instead of moving, the blond man charged toward the helm, pushing the kid and the two other men aside as he grabbed the wheel. In moments, the boat roared away from the fire, leaving any remaining survivors behind.
Who the fuck does that? I wasn’t fucking leaving until I was certain every single survivor had been rescued.
“Isaac!” I bellowed until my voice turned ragged, circling the debris field, desperate to find him. On my second pass, I spotted a hand clinging to a floating cooler.
Thank God. I pulled the throttle back into neutral and charged to the side of the boat.
“I’m coming, Isaac. I’m coming.” I swear to Christ, I’ll save you.
With that vow, I launched myself over the side, diving below the burning surface of the water before emerging inside the ring of fire. To my right, a hand rose above the water, and I swam toward it.
“Isaac!” I reached out, sending up a prayer as soon as I saw his dive watch, but when my fingers touched the skin, I knew something was wrong. I tugged, and the arm flew toward me . . . but there was no body connected.
Gas- and oil-laced water rushed into my mouth as I screamed his name again and again. Ice-cold rage flooded my veins as I realized what had likely happened. Those motherfuckers fled the scene of a crime. They hit Isaac’s boat and fucking ran.
But that didn’t matter right now. All that mattered was finding Isaac. The rest of Isaac.
But there was no reply, except the crackle of the fire and the scent of burning oil, gas, plastic . . . and human flesh.
I sank beneath the surface, not caring that the sea water stung as I opened my eyes, searching the submerged wreckage for any sign of the only father I’d ever known.
The hull of the red boat faded as it sank to its grave on the bottom of the ocean, joining Isaac’s.
Isaac has to be down there. He must have been close to the impact or the initial explosion.
I kicked to the surface, my hand still gripping Isaac’s as I swam for my boat to climb aboard to get my mask. Moments later, I was back in the water, having left the only piece of Isaac I might find, and dove to the bottom.
I wouldn’t rest until I found the rest of him . . . and the fucking coward who left him here to die.
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