Friday, May 25, 2018

Wild Card by Lila Monroe - Excerpt Reveal

       
    
‘The Wedding Date’ gets a sexy twist in the new hilarious rom-com from Lila Monroe! Is there anything worse than playing maid-of-honor to your bitchy college nemesis? Try it when she’s marrying your DAD! Olivia Chambers doesn’t know what she’s done to deserve this karmic retribution, but she needs a date to the wedding from hell - and fast. She’s used to matchmaking billionaires, but now she needs a Prince Charming of her own. Someone handsome and famous enough to make bridezilla and her minions drool with envy… Someone like hottie ex-NFL star Ryan Callahan. Ryan is looking for love. Well, the fake kind. He needs the perfect woman on his arm to woo investors for his superstar new business venture, but nobody is scoring that touchdown… until elegant, sophisticated Olivia comes to him with a proposition. She’ll play his perfect date - if he’ll play hers. The deal is simple! Or is it? Take one week in the Florida Keys, a dose of sizzling sexual tension, a madcap wedding, and some seriously humid frizzy hair, and Ryan and Olivia have the recipe for disaster… or maybe the time of their lives. But can Olivia let down her guard long enough to let Ryan sweep her off her feet? And will Ryan take his eyes off the (business) prize long enough to see what’s right in front of him? Find out in the hot, delicious new novel from Lila Monroe! BILLIONAIRE BACHELORS SERIES: 1 Very Irresistible Playboy 2 Hot Daddy 3 Wild Card (June 2018) 4 Man Candy (Aug 2018)

PREORDER NOW

iBooks AmazonAmazon UKAmazon AU KoboB&NGooglePlay

  Chapter One   When you’ve lived in New York as long as I have, you start to accept the fact that there are certain undeniable truths about life in this city. 1) Carrie Bradshaw never could have afforded that apartment on a journalist’s salary. 2) Unless your idea of Sunday Funday is a teary three p.m. orange-juice hangover, unlimited mimosa brunch is never a good idea. And 3) this city—and, let’s face it, basically the whole world—is set up for couples. Everything is easier if you’re one half of a pair. Rent is cheaper. Battling the mobs at the grocery store on a weekend is less soul-crushing. And the odds of dying one of those grim, Daily News-type deaths where nobody knows you’re gone until the neighbors start to notice a funny smell from down the hallway? Way less likely when there’s someone around to catch the stench and stop kitty from eating your face. Most of us try to find our other half the old-fashioned way: looking for true love. A partner to fill our lives with joy—or, at the very least, someone to slump in front of Netflix with on a Friday night and stop us from eating a whole block of cheese alone. (Not that I’ve done that. Not at all.) But what happens if that hasn’t worked out for you just yet, but you still need someone on your team? Well, if you’re wealthy, and connected enough to know the number—you call me. The Agency specializes in matchmaking . . . of the fake variety. I’m not aiming to find my clients true love (although, that seems to be a side benefit for a few of them these days), just a true partner-in-crime. Need a fake fiancĂ©e to get your interfering relatives off your case? I’m your woman. Old-school workplace treating you like a brazen hussy because you’re not coupled up? I’ll find a partner for that work retreat that your boss will adore. I’m discreet, professional, and I have a knack for finding just the right match to get your through that tough spot. After all, everyone deserves someone to have their back, even the weirdos. Especially the weirdos. “So, I think I’ve got all the information I need,” I say now, smiling across my desk at today’s client. Jason is the newly-flush CEO of a tech startup that was just bought out by Google, and he needs a date to bring to a company-wide retreat in the Berkshires. Though most my clients are just too busy—or too famous—to find themselves the right date, with Jason I’m pretty sure it’s got more to do with his twenty-dollar haircut and his habit of peppering every conversation with arcane trivia from Star Trek. “I should be able to find someone with an advanced degree in a STEM field and an interest in . . .” I double-check my notes. “Traditional Latvian folk music.” “That’s great,” Jason says, smiling eagerly. He can’t be more than twenty-two, and the fact that he has no idea how to handle his newfound fortune is achingly obvious. At our very first meeting, he parked his brand-new Maserati in a tow zone in front of my office and had to take a cab all the way to Coney Island to get it back. “In the meantime, I want you to go see my friend Lucas down at Bergdorf’s,” I tell him. There’s no way I’m about to send this guy out into the world in his Pac-Man T-shirt and Birkenstocks, no matter how rich he is. After all, I’ve got a reputation to protect. “And I’ve had my assistant Alice make you an appointment at a great salon.” “Sounds good,” Jason says, nodding like a bobblehead. Then his face clouds. “There is one more thing I’m looking for in a date,” he says, suddenly nervous. “And I think it might be a little . . . unorthodox.” “Oh?” I try to keep my face neutral. I have to explain to new clients, gently but firmly, that I’m not running that kind of agency. In fact, I have strict rules about romantic activities—they’re totally forbidden. Jason takes a deep breath. “I’m looking for someone with experience as a Dungeon Master.” Oh, yikes. “Unfortunately that’s not part of the suite of services we offer here,” I say carefully, “but I’d be happy to give you the card of an extremely discreet dominatrix who operates a private club on the Lower East Side, and I’m sure she’ll be able to—” All at once Jason sits bolt upright in his chair. “Wait wait wait,” he interrupts, turning the color of a late-summer tomato. “A dominatrix? What are you talking about?” I frown. “Isn’t that what you just—?” “A Dungeon Master,” he says witheringly. “Like, for Dungeons and Dragons.” “Oh. Oh!” I feel my face flush to match his. “Of course. I didn’t realize—” “Jeez,” he interrupts, looking at me like possibly I’m the perv here. “What kind of operation are you running?” I spend the next twenty minutes reassuring him that we’re on the up and up, then show him out and turn to my assistant, Alice, who’s sitting behind the reception desk typing away at her computer, her dark hair in a tidy Audrey Hepburn topknot at the crown of her head. “How was that?” she asks, raising her eyebrows. “Oh, you know.” I stretch as Thor, our cranky ginger cat hops down off the filing cabinet and prowls across the Persian rug. I bend down to scratch him behind his mangy ears. “Just another day in the coal mines. You can knock off early,” I say, straightening up and smoothing my pencil skirt. “I’ve got a lunch across town, and then I’m just going to take the rest of the day.” Alice tilts her head to the side. “Hot date?” she asks. “I wish,” I say, plucking my jacket off the brass coat rack in the corner. “My dad’s in town.” I’m running late, so I take a car across town to the Palace Hotel, where my dad likes to stay every time he’s in New York. My phone rings while we’re stopped in traffic, and I grimace when I see the caller ID. “Hi, Ryan,” I say, hoping the eye-roll isn’t too obvious in my voice. Ryan Callahan is one of my most difficult, demanding clients. And not because he isn’t attractive. The polar opposite, actually. He was a star quarterback for a pro football team until an injury to his Achilles tendon cut his career short three years ago. Since then he’s had his hand in all kinds of different businesses—sports drinks, fitness apps, even a sneaker line—and his combination of brains and brawn should make him an easy match—if I was just looking for a real date. But the guy needs someone to help him schmooze with investors, and he’s ridiculously picky. He’s auditioned nearly my entire roster, but nobody is good enough. Ryan may be rich and handsome—OK, he’s hot as all get out, with the kind of broad, hard body you want to climb like a mountain—but he’s proving to be a Kilimanjaro-sized pain in my ass. “Hey, Olivia,” he says, his easygoing voice hiding what I know is an iron will. “We need to talk.” “Of course,” I reply. “I’m glad you called. Tell me more about why you didn’t like Amy?” And Tessa, and Claire, and Erin, I silently add. “It’s not that I didn’t like her, exactly,” Ryan says as the car pulls up in front of the hotel. I scoot out of the backseat, smiling at the doorman as I slip through the revolving door and head for the lobby. The Palace is quintessential old New York, with marble floors and crystal chandeliers, the smell of lilies heavy in the air. “She was fine,” Ryan continues. “But I need the perfect wingwoman, you know? This investor meeting is a huge deal.” “No, I know it is,” I promise, wanting to head him off at the pass before he launches into his pitch—again. He’s trying to raise capital to launch a chain of health food kiosks, and his potential investor is an old-school finance guy, so to make a good impression he needs someone smart and sophisticated. Which, for the record, all my girls are. But none of them have passed muster with Captain America over here. And the truth is I’m starting to run out of options. “There’s a woman named Lauren I want you to meet,” I tell him now, climbing the wide carpeted steps that lead to the lobby. “She’s an executive assistant at a gallery downtown—very smart, very culturally savvy. I’ll have Alice make you a dinner reservation for this weekend.” “If you say so,” Ryan says, sounding uncertain. “I just think . . .” I lose the rest of his sentence in the loud buzzing that suddenly fills my ears as I turn the corner into the lobby—and catch sight of a familiar woman strolling across the plush oriental rug. “Shit,” I blurt, stopping in my tracks and scooting behind a massive floral arrangement before she can see me. My heart jackhammers violently against my ribs as I peek out and check I wasn’t just hallucinating. But nope. There she is. Vanessa Simpson, my psycho college roommate in the flesh. A lot of flesh. She’s sashaying through the lobby in a flimsy sundress with a Birkin bag slung over one arm. Ryan breaks off. “Olivia?” he says. “Are you OK?” “Um, yup,” I promise distractedly, darting behind a bellman pushing a loaded luggage cart across the lobby. “Completely. I’m listening.” He keeps talking, but I peek through a couple of garment bags to watch Vanessa, who’s stalking across the lobby like she thinks it’s a runway. She was my roommate freshman year and made my life a living hell. There were the normal roommate annoyances, sure—the clothes-stealing, the messiness, the loud hookups so I had to sleep with earplugs and an eye mask in case she came stumbling back at two a.m. with a guy and stripped naked right up against the door. (Twice.) And then there were the next-level stunts, the kind that took her from “selfish and spoiled” to “psycho in the making.” Like casually wiping my finals papers from my laptop because, whoops, she couldn’t figure out how to download the new Housewives episodes. Or the time I got a particularly gnarly zit on my lip and she told everyone on our floor I had mouth herpes. It took me a week to figure out why the RA kept offering to escort me to the health center. If there was one silver lining to living with a raging She-Demon like Vanessa, it was her big brother Tristan, who was at school down at Princeton and took the train up to visit sometimes. He always invited me out to dinner with the two of them, asking me about my classes and what books I was reading. To say I had a crush on him was an understatement—the truth is, I would have hitchhiked to New Jersey in a pair of crotchless panties if he’d ever shown one tiny glimmer of interest. As it was, I settled for stalking—ahem, scrutinizing every post he made on social media and dreaming up elaborate fantasies in which he rode up on a fiery steed—or a Toyota Corolla, whatever—and rescued me from undergraduate hell. But that was then. The minute freshman year was over, I switched dorms and kept my distance from Vanessa. I haven’t seen either one of them since graduation, and I fully intend to keep it that way. I skulk past the lobby and into an alcove, then drag my focus back to the conversation. Ryan is a big, important client, and I’m determined to find him someone who ticks all the boxes. “Ashley will be perfect,” I tell him. “I think you two will really hit it off.” I hang up with Ryan and peek around the corner to check the lobby. All clear. Vanessa is mercifully gone—off to have her broomstick re-bristled, maybe, or to steal candy from a small child with a terminal illness. I let out a sigh of relief and head into the restaurant, where my dad is already seated at a table by the window, a glass of Basil Hayden on the rocks sweating in his hand. “Hi, Dad,” I say, bending to kiss him on the cheek. “Hiya, sweetheart.” My dad retired down to Key West a few years ago and spends his days relaxing on the beach and taking friends out on his fishing boat. But he’s still a Northeasterner at his core and he makes his way back like a homing pigeon every few months. “How you doing?” I order a drink and we spend a few minutes catching up. “Should we order?” I ask finally, glancing down at the menu. “In a minute,” my dad says. “First, I’ve got news.” I raise my eyebrows, I can’t help it. Suddenly I know exactly where this is going. “Let me guess,” I deadpan. “You’re getting married again?” My dad makes an exaggerated who, me? face. “Well, hell, Livvie,” he says, sounding a little hurt. “When you say it like that you make it sound as if I’ve got a new bride every week.” Every couple of years, more like. My mom died when I was in high school, and ever since then my dad has gone through wives like other men go through undershirts. Whoever this woman is, she’ll be new stepmom #4. I try not to let it get to me—it’s his life, after all, and I want him to be happy, even if it does mean having to pretend to be interested in some daffy stranger’s rare doll collection just because she happens to be married to my dad. “Oh, I’m sorry,” I tease, “so you’re not getting married again?” “Well, yes,” my dad admits sheepishly. Then he brightens. “But this one’s a winner. Really, Livvie, it’s someone I’m sure you’ll like.” “Oh yeah?” I ask, taking a sip of my prosecco. “What’s she like?” “You already know her,” my dad says, visibly pleased with himself. “In fact: you’ve lived together.” “We’ve—wait, what?” I set my glass down on the table. There’s a horrifying moment where I start to put two and two together, but it’s like I can’t force my brain to finish the thought before two hands with long pink nails like talons land on my shoulders. “Surprise!” I whirl around and there’s Vanessa suddenly looming over me like a Disney villain, as if she’d appeared in a puff of smoke. “Guess what, Livvie,” she trills, baring her teeth in a wide, white smile. “I’m going to be your new mom!”      

About the Author

Combining her passions for books, sex, and well-fitted suits, Lila Monroe wrote her first romantic comedy, The Billionaire Bargain, in 2015 and hasn’t stopped since. She loves writing about smart alpha men, and the strong and sassy women who try to tame them.

RELEASE BLITZ - Because of You by Laura Ward




Title: Because of You
Series: Not You #4
Author: Laura Ward
Genre: New Adult
Release Date: May 25, 2018



Blurb

All Ricky Martinez knows of life is loss, loyalty, and family. 

When his father became a quadriplegic after breaking his neck saving a drowning girl, Ricky gave up his dreams of playing football at a big college to stay home and take care of his family. His new dream? Find the girl who caused his father’s injury and get justice.

Because of her, his family lost everything.

All Aveline Gerard knows of life is a quiet, protective love.

Homeschooled ever since her accident eighteen years ago, Aveline’s parents, both deaf, have kept her safe the only way they know how—sheltered, and alone. Aveline’s deepest desire? To experience life in all its loud and messy glory, and the tattooed guy in her first college class is all of those things.

Because of him, her life is finally beginning.

But fate has a wicked sense of justice and when Ricky realizes the sweet, shy girl in his class is the one who wrecked his family, will he be able to walk away? Or will the bitter rage inside cause him to make the biggest mistake of his life?

Because of them, the pain of two families will finally collide. 







Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited





Excerpt

He circled the bike, standing in front of me, arms crossed over his chest. “What’d you think of that lecture, mariposa?”
My eyes slid to the side, the floor, the ceiling. A slow burn traveled up my neck, settling on my cheeks. “It was… interesting, Freud, you know...” I laughed, a weird, awkward, uncomfortable sound escaping my lips. God, I sounded like a freak. Get it together, girl. Instead of wringing my hands together, I pushed my glasses higher up on my nose.
Ricky looked down at me, his eyes crinkling, and lips curved. “Interesting, huh?”
My hands shot out to the sides, “I’m sure you know all about that stuff… the stages and sex and… yeah.” I blew out a breath, my cheeks puffing, in what I was sure was the sexiest look I’d managed to pull off yet. “I’ve only done some light reading. That was new to me and frankly, a bit uncomfortable to hear around you because of your general hotness and all.”
Did I say light reading?
General hotness?
Oh. My. God.
Ricky threw his head back and chortled. “You are the cutest damn thing I’ve ever seen.” His tongue darted out to lick his bottom lip. He took the paper and pen from my hand, tossing them onto the floor. “I won’t touch you here. Although, I’ll admit it’s probably my biggest fantasy, but you aren’t ready for that.”
Bending down, he picked me up, his hands lifting under my ass until I wrapped my legs around his waist. “You’re so tiny.” He smirked, his eyes focused on my lips.
I took off my glasses, placing them on the metal tool shelf next to us. My body shook, and I knew Ricky felt it when his grip on me tightened.
“I won’t hurt you, mariposa. You have my word that I’ll protect you. I’m not a good man, but I’ll be good to you.” He looked into my eyes, his warm brown orbs like melted chocolate.
“You are a good man. I wish you saw yourself like I see you.” My words pled, begging him to hear me.
Closing his eyes and shutting me out, he pressed his forehead to mine. “I need you,” he whispered. “I’ve never needed anyone like I need you. You’re open and vulnerable, kind and innocent. You’re unlike any girl I’ve ever met, and all I want to do is learn more about you. Understand all the parts that make you whole.”
His words sounded stricken and raw, but I absorbed them, drawing them into my heart. I didn’t know if he meant that he needed me physically or emotionally, but either way I was his.
“I need you, too.” I kissed his lips, a light sweet peck. “I’ve already learned and grown from being near you. You’re strong and loyal. The way you take care of your family has captivated me. And the way you make me feel is addictive.” I kissed him again, longer, and he groaned, one hand pressing into my back and one twisting in my hair.
My mouth opened, tongue peeking out to find his. Meeting, touching, and tangling as we moaned in unison. My hands sought his beautiful hair and I wrapped the long strands around my fingers, hoping that I would weave myself into him, his life, and his heart.
This complicated, gorgeous man, that thought he didn’t deserve happiness or dreams or good in his life.
I’d had a glimpse inside, something I believed was a rarity. And Ricky deserved all the beauty the world had to bring. I wasn’t sure I was the person who could give that to him.
But I sure wanted to try. 






Also Available


#1 Not Yet, is FREE for a limited time!

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited






Author Bio

USA Today bestselling author, Laura Ward, writes sweet and sexy stories that will hopefully make you look at the world in a different way. Her books include the Not Yet series: Not Yet, Until Now, Someday Soon, and Because of You. Her Contemporary Romance standalone is titled, Past Heaven. She is also the co-author of the College Bound series: The Pledge, The Color of Us, and The Sound of Your Heart (Releasing July 13, 2018.) Laura lives in Maryland with her loud and very loving three children and husband. She married her college sweetheart and is endlessly grateful for the support he has given her through all their years together, and especially toward her dream of writing books. When not picking up toy trucks, driving to lacrosse practice, or checking spelling homework, Laura is writing or reading romance novels.


Author Links

RELEASE BLITZ - Alive Again by Emma Tharp




Title: Alive Again
Series: McLoughlin Brothers #3
Author: Emma Tharp
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 23, 2018



Blurb

He thought his life was over.

After ten years of being happily married to his high school sweetheart, Patrick McLoughlin thought he had it all. A beautiful wife, a career he loved, and a gorgeous new baby girl. All of his dreams were finally coming true.

Until the day Maggie, his wife, walked out and never so much as left a note. Six months of radio silence.

Patrick needs a nanny, someone to care for his daughter while he builds his empire. In walks Carsen Sanders - tall, sweet with a model’s body, and eleven years younger than him. She steps in and takes care of his daughter just like a second mom.

He can’t help but have feelings for Carsen even though he knows it’s wrong in every way. What happens when Patrick and Carsen can no longer deny their mutual attraction? Or will Maggie return to take back what’s hers?

This book is intended for a mature audience. 18+

This book is Book Three in the McLoughlin Brothers Series but can be read as a standalone.







Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited






Also Available


FREE for a limited time!

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited



99c for a limited time

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited



Author Bio


Emma Tharp is the author of The Bluff Harbor Series, The McLoughlin Brothers Series, Drawn to Dark, and Keeping It Casual. She was raised in upstate New York. Being an only child, she spent a great deal of time alone, dreaming up characters who would keep her company on long family road trips. Putting her writing on the back burner, she went to college and became a chiropractor. After spending twelve years healing patients, Emma decided—with the help of her amazingly supportive husband—to use the creative side of her brain and let her characters come to the page.

If she’s not writing, Emma can be found at the gym, one of her kids sporting events, Starbucks, or a live music event.

A perfect day for Emma would be spent at her lake house with her husband, two ginger-haired children, and Vizsla, reading a book and drinking a large cup of coffee (or wine) with music playing in the background.



Author Links



Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ - Swallow Me Whole by Gemma James




Title: Swallow Me Whole
Author: Gemma James
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Release Date: May 25, 2018



Blurb

Sadie Sawyer wants to learn how to blow a guy. She’s my sister’s best friend. The girl I’ve known since grade school. The girl I’ve always considered off-limits.

She’s the girl that crawled under a table in a bar one night and changed everything between us. Now the brain in my pants is more than willing to step up.

The rules are simple.

No kissing.

No screwing.

No falling in love.

But the more I let her use my body in the name of experimentation, the more I know being friends isn’t enough.

Is it too much to want it all with her?

The taste of her lips.

The sweetness of her innocence.

The chance to earn her love.

I might have a real shot with her…if her douchebag ex and my past don’t ruin everything.


Swallow Me Whole is a friends-to-lovers standalone romance. Please note this book was previously published as a serial under the pen name of Angel Allen.







Purchase Links

FREE for TODAY ONLY!!

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Always free in Kindle Unlimited






Author Bio

Gemma James is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author of a blend of genres, from new adult suspense to dark erotic romance. She loves to explore the darker side of human nature in her fiction, and she’s morbidly curious about anything dark and edgy, from deviant sex to serial killers. Readers have described her stories as being “not for the faint of heart.”

She warns you to heed their words! Her playground isn’t full of rainbows and kittens, though she likes both. She lives in Oregon with her husband and their four children–three rambunctious UFC/wrestling-loving boys and one girl who steals everyone’s attention.


Author Links

RELEASE BLITZ - Cross by Adriana Locke




Title: Cross
Series: The Gibson Boys #2.5
Author: Adriana Locke
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 25, 2018



Blurb

Cross Jacobs was a screw-up.

Everyone knew it, especially him, and the point was hammered home when Kallie Welch drove herself right out of his life.

But, she’s back.

Seeing Cross wasn’t on Kallie’s to-do list. She didn’t think she could avoid him forever but trying never hurt anyone. One minute she’s standing by herself and the next she’s accosted by a rich, velvety scent that could only belong to one man: Cross.

At face value, he’s divine. All rugged and confident with a smile that melts her right where she’s standing. It doesn’t take long to find him to be charming, witty, and the owner of a few legitimate businesses. Not at all like the mischievous boy she left.

He laughs and her heart flutters. With a touch of his hand, she’s dizzy. She’s fairly certain she’s going to die when he pulls her into an embrace and touches his lips to her forehead.

It feels right. It feels so right.

But is it?

Note: This novella was originally released in the Team Player Anthology last winter. It has been updated a bit with a few new chapters to round out the story.







Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited





Excerpt

Chapter One
Cross

“Where have you been in that thing?” Machlan shouts.
The roar of his muscle car’s engine winds down and he clicks the transmission into park. The purplish-black paint shines in the early afternoon sun.
Having just backed out of a parking spot onto Main Street, I check my rearview mirror. No one is coming. “Bluebird Hill,” I tell him. “After all that rain last night, I figured I’d test the new tires Walker put on my truck last week.”
“You’re a fuckin’ kid.” He laughs.
“Says the man driving that,” I tease, pointing at his ride.
“I’m not sure what your point is. This car is the baddest thing in town.” He punches the gas, the motor roaring like a banshee.
Glancing around at Doc Burns’ office with two cars in the parking lot and the Linton County History Museum across the street that only opens for the Water Festival once a year, I grin. “That’s not saying much.”
“Go to Hell.” His hand slips through his dark hair and over his chin. The amusement in his features evaporates as I watch … and cringe.
I know this look. I know all of his looks, actually, a by-product of being his best friend as long as I can remember. Many of them concern me and a lot of them worry me. But this one? It’s a flashing red sign with Vegas-inspired lights.
The thing is, I can’t just ignore it. When this look comes, so does the topic of my sister and, even though I love the both of them, I wouldn’t mind seeing them in a padded room until they fix whatever it is between them that is so broken.
With a sigh, I jam my truck into park too. “Yes,” I say, answering the question he’s yet to ask. “Hadley called and isn’t coming home this weekend. She said maybe next week.”
His jaw works back and forth as he stares down the street. “Why?”
That single word is spit with a lifetime of emotion. Machlan has loved my sister since the day she moved to Linton with our father and me when our mother died. She was fourteen and innocent and he was fifteen and infatuated. Through the years, they were off and on and together and not—at least officially. Everyone knew Machlan and Hadley were one and the same.
I’m not sure why she moved away from here. Being both her brother and his best friend precluded me from certain information, which is for the best. They both drive me nuts without having the details.
“Not sure,” I reply. “She left a voicemail last night saying she wouldn’t be home today. She didn’t pick up when I called her back.”
He flips his gaze to me. “You didn’t talk to her after that?”
“She’s a big girl, Mach,” I mock. “I’m sure she had shit to do.”
“Yeah.” His fingers regrip the steering wheel as his jaw goes back to work again.
“I’m gonna go wash this before I head back to the gym—”
“She’s all right, though. Right?” he interrupts. His face is stone-cold sober. “I mean …”
“She’s fine.”
He waits. Blinks. Re-grips the wheel again. “That’s it?”
Popping my truck into drive, I blow out a breath. “Yeah, that’s it. You want to know more? Call her. What a fucking amazing concept.”
“Yeah. I’ll get right on that,” he snips back.
“You should. Then you could quit this whole thing.”
“Got nothin’ to quit, man. Just being a decent guy.”
A decent guy. It’s my turn to turn my knuckles white on the steering wheel.
Machlan isn’t a decent guy. He’s a fucking great one … much better than the guy Hadley is seeing now. A guy I haven’t mentioned to Mach since I got home a couple of weeks ago from visiting her. I’m not mentioning him, either. I’ll save the boyfriend an ER bill and myself the bail money.
I can’t blame him. It has to be hard to see Hadley with another guy when, in Machlan’s mind, she’s his girl.
My stomach twists like it always does when my mind goes down this road. At least my girl didn’t bring other guys back with her. Hell, she didn’t even come back at all.
“Here comes Kip,” Machlan says, bringing me out of my reverie. Nodding toward the road in front of him, he laughs. “I’m not moving.”
I twist in my seat to see the sheriff coming toward us. He blares the siren twice as if to get us to move. We don’t.
Machlan pokes his head out of the window. “Need somethin’?” he shouts.
Laughing, I watch Kip’s car slide carefully between Machlan’s and the curb on the other side.
“You can’t park in the street!” Kip yells.
“What are ya gonna do about it?” I holler.
“Take ya both in.”
“Don’t you have somewhere to be?” Machlan asks. “Someone to protect and serve? Or service, if I know you?”
Kip shakes his head as Machlan flips him the bird. The sirens come on again before Kip hits the gas and speeds off down the street and vanishes over the hill.
When I look back at Machlan, his attention is on his phone.
“What?” I ask, curious about the smile on his face.
He looks at me and laughs. Sticking the phone in the cup holder, he shrugs. “Nothing. But can you do me a favor?”
“No.”
“I need help moving a couple of things at Crave. Come help me. Just for a few.”
“What’s in it for me?” I ask.
“A beer?”
Throwing the truck in neutral, I rev the engine. It barely sounds before his is screaming over top of mine and we jet off in opposite directions. I get to a stop sign at the end of the street and do a quick one-eighty to head to Crave.






Also Available


AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited





AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited

ALSO AVAILABLE IN AUDIO






Author Bio

USA Today Bestselling author Adriana Locke lives and breathes books. After years of slightly obsessive relationships with the flawed bad boys created by other authors, Adriana has created her own.

She resides in the Midwest with her husband, sons, and two dogs. She spends a large amount of time playing with her kids, drinking coffee, and cooking. You can find her outside if the weather's nice and there's always a piece of candy in her pocket.

For sneak peeks, giveaways, and more, please join Adriana's Facebook Group, Books by Adriana Locke, or her Goodreads group, All Locked Up.


Author Links





Giveaway