Welcome the Bad Boy
From the author of Welcome to Forever (“Full of heart and emotion!”—Lori Wilde) comes a sweet, sexy novel about breaking all the rules. In Seaside, North Carolina, the boys on the base are heroes—but that doesn’t mean they’re always well-behaved.
As a preacher’s daughter, Valerie Hunt only dates the very respectable, very boring men who meet her father’s strict standards. In private, however, she leads a double life as a romance writer of steamy stories about the least respectable sorts of men. Valerie has always kept her hottest fantasies separate from her real life, but when she nearly runs a hot-blooded biker off the road, the lines begin to blur.
Even though Valerie almost killed him, Griffin Black can’t be angry after he learns the reason for her distracted driving: an unruly puppy belonging to her ailing friend. As a member of the military police K-9 unit, Griffin insists on training the dog himself. But he soon wonders how he’s ever going to stay disciplined around the most alluring, down-to-earth, and totally unattainable woman he’s ever met. Valerie is the ultimate good girl. And Griffin is going to need all his old tricks to unleash her wild side.
No one’s tougher than Carolina Cougars linebacker Derek McLaughlin. But when a fatal car accident claims the life of his girlfriend, Derek finds himself caught in a destructive spiral of drugs, alcohol, and meaningless sex. But not even a string of one-night stands can ease the hurt. Football is all he has left. Then fate leads him back to the scene of the crash, and into the arms of a kind, gorgeous woman who sees past his façade to the man he once was . . . and can be again.
When a chance roadside encounter brings Derek into her life, veterinarian Hayden Hunter isn’t fooled by his bad attitude: All bark and no bite, he’s hiding a wounded heart beneath that gruff demeanor. And Hayden wants to be the one to kiss it all better. Soon they both find that a dose of passion is potent medicine. But when a hidden enemy lashes out at Hayden, Derek steps up to do what he does best: put his body on the line in the name of love.
Guilt plagued me and I felt sick. Getting out of bed, I paced the room, running my hands angrily through my hair. I didn’t want to hurt Hayden. Keeping her away would protect her from my life. She was bound to leave me anyway. I’d fuck up somehow and it would ruin her. What the hell was I talking about? I’d already fucked her up.
“Derek?” Her voice was like honey, silky and sweet. I’d imagined what it would be like to hear that voice screaming my name as I fucked her over and over. Last night had been the best night of my life, but it had scared the shit out of me. I couldn’t shake it. “Derek, are you okay?” she asked. Stopping midstep, I turned to face her, and her eyes widenened when she got a glimpse of my face. I could only imagine what she saw. So many emotions battled inside me. She held the blanket to her chest, and her lips trembled. “Please tell me this wasn’t just a game to you,” she whispered.
Swallowing hard, I sat down on the edge of the bed and reached for her. She recoiled from my touch. “None of this was a game, Hayden. Last night was fucking amazing.”
Her eyes glistened, but her jaw was firm. “Then why are you looking at me like that? Like you regret what we did.”
I wanted to touch her, but last night had been my only chance. She’d never let me close to her again. “I don’t regret it, but eventually you will. You’re not the only one who’s lost someone they cared about. I can’t go through it again. It’s best to stop this before it goes any further.”
“Any further?” she scoffed. She waved her arm around the room, her anger so thick I could cut it with a knife. “If you didn’t want it to go any further, then why did you bring me here? Why would you do that to me?”
“Because I care about you,” I said, knowing it made no sense to her.
“Then why are you pushing me away?” she cried.
Standing, I got up and walked over to the window. “You wouldn’t understand.”
“Look, Obviously I’m not telling you to go organic vegan or anything-“
“Good, because I can’t afford to be vegan. Have you seen the price on quinoa? The entire world has lost its freakin’ mind. And all its quinoa, apparently since every time I look at it it’s sold out.”
PR specialist Miriam Ashley makes her living cleaning up bad boys. Mountain climber-turned-CEO Jason Sanders should be an easy fix. And with a nephew to care for, he’s motivated. The problem? Every time she tries to help Jason get his head in the boardroom, they end up in the bedroom.
What the hell is she thinking? He’s the definition of off-limits. Not just because he’s a client—he spends his free time risking his life mountain climbing. The same thing that got her father killed. She’s not going to open her heart to a guy who could disappear at the drop of a…well, she’d rather not finish that thought.
She needs to leave complicated alone, but every time she sees Jason, something tells her it’s her who might fall…
Tawna Fenske is a romantic comedy author who writes humorous fiction, risqué romance, and heartwarming love stories with a quirky twist. Her offbeat brand of romance has been praised by Booklist as “A tame Carl Hiaasen on cupid juice,” and RT Book Reviews nominated her debut novel for contemporary romance of the year. Tawna is a fourth generation Oregonian who can peel a banana with her toes and who loses an average of 20 pairs of eyeglasses per year. She lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband, step kids, and a menagerie of ill-behaved pets.
Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of Americaâs largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isnât writing, sheâs spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors.
Catherine Lavender is from Baltimore, Maryland but now resides in Tampa, Florida with her miniature schnauzer name Ripken. She is an animal activist, as well as a supporter of the organization First Book which helps supply literature for underprivileged children. In her spare time, Catherine enjoys reading classic literature and playing the acoustic guitar.
If Greyson had ever been nervous standing in front of a woman’s door before, he didn’t remember. But here and now, in front of Blaise’s, he could swear his palms were sweaty. I should have brought flowers, he thought. Then immediately rejected the idea. Flowers for the flower shop owner. Stupid idea. Besides, he has seen Blaise’s talent. Flowers from anywhere else would just be inferior. And, it was probably in bad taste to buy from a competitor. Greyson certainly didn’t need more reasons for Blaise to reject him.
Grateful that he had taken the time to change into well-worn jeans and a black t-shirt—may as well be comfortable while begging—he knocked on the door.
The door slid open. “Honey, I told you I was fine and you didn’t have to…”
Greyson was struck dumb by the sight before him. Mere hours before, Blaise was the epitome of grace and class. The gown she wore accentuated everything about Blaise that Greyson found sexy. But now. Damn. Her hair was piled on the top of her head in a messy bun, her face was clean of any cosmetics and she wore a men’s white button up shirt and white fluffy socks. Whether she had on anything under that shirt, Greyson didn’t know, but he ached to find out. To him, Blaise was sexier right at this moment than he had ever seen her.
“What?” She frowned, and waved a spoon in his direction. He hadn’t noticed the carton of ice cream until then. “What are you doing here? How did you know where I live?”
“I’m here because you wouldn’t listen to me before. I need to explain.”
“You need to go home to your fiancée, Mr. Steele.”
“Goddamn it, Blaise. She’s not my fucking fiancée. That’s what I’m trying to tell you.”
Blaise raised an eyebrow, and Greyson wondered if she was aware of just how beautiful she looked right now.
“The ring and the woman say something different,” she shot back. “And, you certainly didn’t deny it at that moment. If you just broke up with her and came here, that’s even lower, Mr. Steele.”
Greyson let out a frustrated growl, and scrubbed his hands over his face. “May I come in?” he asked through gritted teeth.
“Blaise.” The tone of his voice was one he used when he wanted to intimidate those around him to do as he demanded. He shouldn’t have been surprised when it didn’t even faze her.
“Do not ‘Blaise’ me. And, don’t you dare use that tone with me. I am not one of your employees, or lackeys or whatever. You have something to say, say it right here.” She leaned against the door jamb, crossing her ankles, and waited. Digging the spoon into the carton, Blaise looked up at him. “And, don’t think I don’t realize you totally skipped over my question of how you found out where I live.”
He watched her wrap her lips around the spoon. Just as he had when he sat at dinner with her a few nights ago, he found watching her eat completely erotic. And, as much as her stubbornness irked him, he couldn’t help but feel an equal—or more—amount of respect for her.
“Fine,” he sighed. If he had to do this out in the hallway, so be it. “I am not engaged. That’s the most important thing I need you to know.” He held up a hand when she opened her mouth. “If you’re going to make me talk out here, the least you can do is hear me out.”
Her jaw tightened with annoyance, but she nodded before taking another bite of what he could now see was Ben & Jerry’s Coffee, Coffee flavor.
“I’m not engaged,” he repeated. “I’ve never been engaged, and I certainly would never even contemplate marrying Pricilla. She surprised the shit out of me with the ring, as well, which is why I didn’t say anything. It’s my mother’s ring, but I didn’t give it to her. Fuck, I wouldn’t give that hideous thing to anyone.” He took a deep breath. “I was there with Pricilla because my mother asked me to escort her. ‘Keeping up appearances’, she calls it. Padding her fucking portfolio by trying to merge the families is what it really is. I’ve already resigned myself to taking over the family business. I refuse to give her this. Tonight was a mistake. I should never have agreed to it.” He braved a step closer to her. “I never wanted to hurt you, or make you think I’m that kind of bastard.”
Damn. She’d gone too far. She’d merely wanted him to respect her as someone equally capable of making that choice. Instead he’d called her bluff. Suddenly feeling the need to backpedal, she searched for a good excuse. “I would, but...you’re not the right kind of guy for my first hook-up.”
“Are you kidding?” he said. “I’m the perfect guy. And I’m volunteering.”
“That’s kind of you, but...it wouldn’t be...smart.”
“We wouldn’t gel. We’re not...compatible.”
She swallowed hard. He knew he appealed to women, knew she was no exception. What would he accept that would allow her to save face? “I’d be a boring partner for a thrill-seeker like you.”
“That’s like saying you have to wash your hair,” he said flatly. “If you’re stepping up your game, you’re really going to have to do better.”
“It’s not as lame as you’re making it sound.”
“It’s worse. Face it. You’re all talk.”
“No, I’m not,” she said. “Think of the women you’ve been with. The variety. The experience. I’d be...meat and potatoes when you’re used to caviar.”
It wasn’t hot outside. As a matter of fact, it was a bit chilly. Yet she was sweating. “Yes?”
“Why don’t you let me decide what turns me on?”
New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is the author of more than fifty books. A four-time Rita nominee, she has won many awards, including the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Daphne, and the Holt Medallion. She also runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity to raise money for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised $2.5 million.
For more about Brenda, please visit www.brendanovak.com.
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