Chapter One

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"Are you sure about this, Vanessa?"

Kendall Atherton looked at the older woman, Ms. Vanessa Lee, as they rode the elevator to the top floor of the apartment complex. Kendall would never have made it up here alone; the security was too tight, so Vanessa was accompanying her until she made it to the penthouse. Then Kendall would be on her own.

"I'm running out of options. He won't talk to Dr. Selwood anymore," Vanessa said.

"But Dr. Selwood has been good to me. I hate going behind his back like this."

"And to me, too. He is an excellent doctor, but I think you will have more success than he would with this situation," Vanessa said.

Dr. Isaac Selwood was Kendall's mentor while she did an internship at his psychology practice, and Vanessa, a patient of his, had given her the most unusual proposition two days ago. Kendall had been slightly concerned about it. What she was about to do was hardly professional, but Vanessa was desperate and prepared to pay for Kendall's tuition fees for the whole semester.

The elevator had stopped. The security was so tight that the guard who was riding up with them had to key open the door.

"Wait here," Vanessa instructed as she stepped out. "I won't be a moment, Caleb," she said to the security guard.

Kendall glanced at the security guard, who remained in the elevator with her, then looked across at the imposing metal door to the penthouse apartment where Vanessa now stood. It looked like the door to a prison cell; Kendall knew because she'd been in one as part of her study. Vanessa pressed a button and waited until the door clicked open. There was no one behind it. Vanessa swivelled on her stylish stilettos and stepped back into the elevator, smiling encouragingly at her.

"This is where I have to leave you," Vanessa said. "Remember, the most important thing today is to get him to trust you. Next week, we can work on getting him to talk."

Kendall stepped out of the elevator and took one last look back at Vanessa as the doors slid closed, then inhaled deeply. With a mixture of curiosity and nerves, she willed herself to step forward, still unsure whether she was doing the right thing. But if she turned back, she'd lose the financial incentive Vanessa was offering her—not to mention her first chance to put her psychology training into practice without Dr. Selwood looking over her shoulder. Before she lost her nerve, she took the last step and entered.

She expected him to be standing there at the door, waiting for her, but he wasn't. She stepped further inside and closed the door. She looked around, gasping at the opulence of the place. It was ultra-modern, which Kendall usually liked, but this place felt like a glass castle. It was furnished with expensive-looking artworks and sculptures to add more personal touches, yet Kendall still felt like she was in a museum.

There was a large mirror on one of the walls, and Kendall caught sight of her reflection, her blue eyes staring back at her. She took the opportunity to straighten her long brown hair which she'd arranged into a simple ponytail before she turned to look at the rest of the apartment.

There was a piano in one corner, advantageously positioned in front of a huge window, which probably overlooked the entire Sydney skyline. It would look amazing without the large blinds marring the view. If she lived here, she'd never close the blinds. She was itching to open them, but she wouldn't—not today. But that resolve didn't stop her from walking toward them and grasping the thick fabric between her fingers.

"Who are you?"

The cutting voice made Kendall drop the blinds and turn. Her eyes met a man whom she assumed was Maton Lee. Why had Vanessa neglected to mention how textbook-perfect he would be? She was suddenly having a space-cadet moment as she took in his perfectly-proportioned appearance. He was like Michelangelo's David in living, breathing flesh and even though he was wearing a suit, it only seemed to add to the impression that he was a walking artform. His strong jawline had the slightest hint of stubble, and his ash brown hair, although scruffy, had obviously also been carefully styled. His blue eyes looked like there was a brewing storm contained within their depths—the only indication that the perfect outer package housed a seriously damaged mind.

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