Hard-edged rocker Graham Allen has it all. He's flush with cash from playing bass in a band by night and restoring classic cars by day. And there are plenty of women willing to share his bed for a night, complication-free. Perfect, because if there's anything he learned from his past, it was to never get attached—to anything. So when bartender Carly Sullivan flashes her innocent smile, Graham isn't prepared for what happens next.
Never fall in love
Two rules, that's all Graham has—never apologize and never fall in love. He knows Carly is everything he should avoid. Cheerful and sweet, she has "relationship" written all over her. But Graham can't stay away from her probing questions and concerned blue eyes.
When Graham discovers Carly is hiding a crushing secret, he's prepared to risk it all. Until in one single moment, everything changes and Graham's past threatens to collide with his future. His life is crumbling down around him, and soon no apology in the world can save him.
He should've known to walk away.
I thought about the handful of women I could’ve called but I knew none of them would scratch the itch that’d been building all night. I pulled into the parking lot behind the bar twenty minutes before closing and wasted another two minutes trying to talk myself out of going inside.
Sitting on the beer cooler, talking to a guy, Carly turned as I walked in. The surprise on her face was quickly replaced with a wide smile. “Ah, the prodigal ‘not a date’ customer.” She made quotation marks with her fingers as she said not a date.
Completely thrown off my game, I scowled. Who the fuck was she talking to? And was she making fun of me?
Her smile faltered and she went all business. “Sit. You got fifteen minutes. What’ll it be?”
“Surprise me.” I was a fucking idiot for coming back here tonight.
“Hmm.” Her hand cupped her chin, then she smiled like she was up to no good. “Blow-your-mind surprise or regular surprise?”
Good thing I didn’t already have a drink, I would’ve choked on it. Hearing her say blow was a total fucking turn-on, in a bad, taboo, you-felt-up-the-preacher’s-daughter kinda way. Carly was too sweet for that shit.
“Blow my mind,” I said low and quiet, feeling a little more like myself.
Something flashed across her face but she quickly covered it. “Coming right up, Mr. Allen.”
I alternated between watching her and the fucker she’d been talking to. He was watching Carly like a hawk. It wasn’t hard to figure out his game. As soon as she brought my drink, I was going to crush the bastard’s chances.
A minute later, Carly set a martini glass in front of me. A martini glass. Did I look like a fucking banker? I put my hand over hers before she let go of the glass and spoke loud enough for the bastard to hear. “I’ll drive you home tonight.” I said a silent prayer she didn’t fight me on it.
She didn’t. But she did pull her fingers away. “Do I get to drive?”
“Is that what you want?” I wasn’t asking about the fucking car.
“Yes!” She squealed. She actually squealed. Shit. I’d dug myself into a hole.
“I’ll think about it.”
“Nope.” She grinned. “No deal. I drive or I walk.”
Stalling, deciding, I took a sip of the drink. Fuuuck. Salt and fire, it was disgusting. “What the fuck is this?”
“Grey Goose martini, extra dirty, up. Like it?” she asked as if she was suppressing laughter.
Oh hell no. I crooked my finger at her. For the second time tonight, she took the bait and leaned toward me. “I’m humoring you right now but understand something. If it comes in a glass with a stem, straw or fruit, I don’t drink it. Ever. Give this shit to the prick over there eyeing you like a piece of meat. Tell him it’s all he’s gonna get tonight. And Carly? I am taking you home and you are not driving my car.”
I grew up in Northern California with my head in a book and my feet in the sand. I dreamt of becoming a painter but the heady scent of libraries with their shelves full of books drew me into the world of storytelling. I love the New Adult genre, but really, any story about a love so desperately wrong and impossibly beautiful makes me swoon.
I now live in Southern Florida and while I don’t get to read as much as I like, I still bury my toes in the sand. If I’m not writing or fighting to contain the banana plantation in my backyard, you can find me spending time with my handsomely tattooed husband, my brilliantly practical son and a mischievous miniature boxer…
Here are ten things you really want to know about me:
I grew up a faculty brat. I can swear like a sailor. I love men in uniform. I hate being told what to do. I can do your taxes (but don’t ask). The Bird Market in Hong Kong freaks me out. My favorite word is desperate…or dirty, or both—I can’t decide. I have a thing for muscle cars. But never reply on me for driving directions, ever. And I have a new book boyfriend every week—don’t tell my husband.
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