The Extra Shot: In the Pocket by Jessica Ruddick

The Extra Shot: In the Pocket by Jessica Ruddick

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Welcome to The Extra Shot where you’ll find an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from In the Pocket by Jessica Ruddick.

 

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Without thinking about it, I reached for her hand and traced her fingertips. Her nails were perfectly shaped and covered with clear polish. Her skin was so damn smooth, her fingers long and graceful. I wondered if she played piano. If she didn’t, she should. She had the hands for it.

Her breath hitched, causing me to look over at her. Her eyes were wide, and she looked shaken. “Why do you do that?” she whispered.

My instinct was to drop her hand, but I didn’t. Instead, I studied her hand. Why the hell did I do that? The answer was simple—I wanted to touch her. I’d never been the affectionate sort, but she brought it out in me. She brought a lot of things out in me, like a newfound need to throw all my past dating rules out the window. Don’t get attached. Don’t get serious. Don’t get close. Following those rules had kept things clean and simple, but I was starting to wonder if simple necessarily meant better. I took a deep breath. “Does it bother you?”

“No…yes… I mean no.” She sighed. “Apparently, I don’t know what I mean.”

“If it bothers you, I’ll stop.”

She swallowed. “Don’t stop.”

 

 

©In the Pocket, Jessica Ruddick 2020  

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Award-winning young adult and romance author Jessica Ruddick lives in Virginia with her college-sweetheart husband, two rambunctious sons, and two rowdy but lovable rescue dogs. Since her house is overflowing with testosterone, it’s a good thing she has a healthy appreciation for Marvel movies, Nerf guns, and football. Learn more about Jessica at jessicaruddick.com.

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The Extra Shot: Exclusive Excerpt for Hook by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Gina L. Maxwell

The Extra Shot: Exclusive Excerpt for Hook by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Gina L. Maxwell


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Exclusive Excerpt of Hook by Gina L. Maxwell

For the first time in my adult life, I might be out of my depth.

Not on the job. I’m confident in my abilities for this assignment. I have a good team behind me, and the background they created for me is solid. Croc can look all the way back to my kindergarten records, and he’ll find that John Dorian McRae was excellent at coloring in the lines but also had issues with authority.

No, it’s not the case that’s got me tossing and turning on these Egyptian cotton sheets (I guess he wasn’t kidding about enjoying the finer things in life). It’s the man on the other side of this wall. The man who sucked my sweat from the pad of his thumb and demanded I acknowledge his authority over me in this loft. And fuck if I didn’t want to agree before he even got all the words out. I would’ve done it on my knees if he’d pointed at the floor.

And that’s what has me so twisted up—this insane desire to please James, whatever it takes. I want to give him what he needs, to make him feel good, if only in the context of the bedroom. But while I’ve always been in relationships where we switched off physically as tops and bottoms, I’ve never had any kind of submissive tendencies. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’m very Type A. I like control and my routines, and the only time I ever take orders is from my superiors at work. Full stop.

But with James…f^*k, I don’t know what it is. Maybe there’s a part of me that’s still that little boy trying to impress the older kid and get him to like me or even notice me. Maybe it’s because I know he hasn’t had it easy in life and the idea of being an escape for him, however briefly, speaks to my protective side. Whatever the case, I can’t let it affect this assignment. Too much is at stake. I need to keep things strictly professional.

Strictly.

Professional.

Growling at the ceiling, I kick off the sheet and get out of bed. All this thinking about James is making me thirsty, and since I’m not getting any damn sleep, I might as well get some water. I contemplate slipping on a pair of lounge pants over my boxer briefs, but that seems like a lot of work for a ten-second walk to the fridge, so I don’t bother as I leave my room and head for the kitchen.

His place is nice, understated and simple. But it might as well be a hotel suite—tidy and functional, with all the furniture and appliances one needs but without any of the personal touches that make it a home. No pictures, knickknacks, or anything that would give any clue as to who lives here. I have a small house in the middle-class area of London. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s homey. I worked hard to put my stamp on it and fill it with things that remind me of the people I love.

Opening the fridge, I grab a bottle of water and take note of the blender in the corner on my way out of the kitchen. Good, I’ll need that for my morning meal. I twist off the cap, drain half the water, and recap it as I pad my way across the huge living room.

I catch movement out of the corner of my eye and instinctively reach for the gun that isn’t there. The water bottle drops to the floor and rolls under the couch somewhere as I try to recover from the near heart attack.

Jesus Christ, you scared the hell out of me,” I say to a very calm James who’s sprawled in the chair, bathed in the light of the full moon streaming in through the windows. He’s wearing only a pair of black lounge pants, his legs stretched out in front of him, his incredible torso on full display.

Holy s%*t, this is the first time I’ve ever seen Hook shirtless, and my eyes drink in every detail like a greedy sponge. He has another tattoo—a large, three-masted ship flying a pirate flag that takes up most of his right side—his nipples are pierced with hoops, and his chest is lightly dusted with black hair that disappears at his sternum and picks back up under his navel. He has the frame of a swimmer, broad at the shoulders and tapered at the waist, with plenty of defined muscles in between.

I feel like someone dumped water on my mental circuit board. I can’t think, can’t speak. And it’s not even the tattoo, the pierced nipples, the blocks of abs, or the dips of his V angling into his low waistband that has me completely tongue-tied. It’s the fact that he’s reading a worn copy of The Count of Monte Cristo and wearing black Clark Kent eyeglasses. He looks like a f#%kable, badass professor relaxing at home. Good goddamn, this part of the assignment is going to be one giant exercise in sexual frustration.

“What the hell are you doing over there?”

A single eyebrow rises above the rim of his glasses. “If you can’t figure that out, you might not be as good of a cop as you think.”

I roll my eyes. “I mean, what are you doing reading at nearly three in the morning? You have insomnia or something?”

“Or something.”

His tone has a hint of bitterness, or maybe resentment. Combined with the elusive answer, the wheels in my cop brain start spinning. “Do—”

He lifts his book again and interrupts me with a forceful, “Go back to sleep, Darling.”

I’ve accepted that he’s going to keep using my last name as a way to get under my skin, so it no longer bothers me. But f%^k if I’m telling him that. “I wasn’t sleeping, either.”

He lowers the book to his lap, and his eyes take a slow perusal of my body. Everywhere his gaze lands feels like an intimate touch, making me burn in its wake, and if I don’t distract myself, I’ll be pointing due north in seconds. There’s a trick I’ve used in the past if I found my mind wandering down a path that might lead to an awkward reaction. If I catalog the details of the person’s face and mentally file them away like I’ll need them for a report later, it keeps my mind out of the gutter. C’mon, cop brain, don’t fail me now.

Jesus. How can someone with such a ruthless reputation be so goddamn beautiful? His features are an odd mix of harsh and lush that complement each other. Cold eyes are framed with thick lashes, his often-snarling mouth is made with sexy, full lips, and his granite-edge jawline is softened by his trim beard that looks like strands of black silk. My fingers itch to stroke it as my lips lay claim to his, then trail lower to where the silky strands fade into the top of his throat, kissing their way down…

F#%k. So much for that trick. There’s no hiding my reaction to him when the only armor I have is a pair of gray boxer briefs. His eyes drag back up my body to meet mine, his mouth twisting into a smug grin. “Insomnia?”

“Or something,” I answer huskily.

©Hook, Gina L. Maxwell 2019  

 
 
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Gina L. Maxwell is a full-time writer, wife, and mother living in the upper Midwest, despite her scathing hatred of snow and cold weather. An avid romance novel addict, she began writing as an alternate way of enjoying the romance stories she loves to read. Her debut novel, Seducing Cinderella, hit both the USA Today and the New York Times bestseller lists in less than four weeks, and she’s been living her newfound dream ever since.

When she’s not reading or writing steamy romance novels, she spends her time losing at games to her high school sweetheart, hanging out with their adult teenagers as they learn to fly on their own, and dreaming of her move to someplace warm once they finally do.

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Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Amazon | Join The Maxwell Mob | Goodreads | Bookbub | Subscribe to My Newsletter

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The Extra Shot: In the Pocket by Jessica Ruddick

The Extra Shot: Lush Money by Angelina Lopez

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Welcome to The Extra Shot where you’ll find an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from Lush Money by Angelina Lopez.

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Exclusive Excerpt of Lush Money by Angelina M. Lopez

“Okay,” she conceded, raising her chin. “We’ll talk.” Those golden eyes took her in, assessed her. Slowly, he nodded. Then he stood up, buttoning the single button of his coat as if getting ready to leave.

Frustrated, she said, “But I thought we were going to talk.”

His eyes narrowed with a smirk as he walked around the table toward her. He tipped up her chin with a hot fingertip and searched her eyes. “You really think I’m going to trust your word, Princesa?” She could feel the warm puffs of his words against her lips. “Send the amended contract to my attorney. Tomorrow we’ll talk.” He nodded. “And since I’m feeling generous and you’ve already used up one night of your three, we’ll also do…whatever else you want to do. After we talk.”

His quick kiss was a surprise, barely a brush of skin and wine-spiced breath. Still it made her lips tingle.

Still it made her gasp a quick intake of breath. He heard her and rewarded her with his first real smile as he straightened.

His smile was glorious, a slow reveal of blinding white teeth and a dimple in his right cheek and laugh lines that pointed to eyes that seemed to glow just for her. His smile made her not care that he was laughing at her, that he’d palmed some of the power for himself and that he was gloating. His smile was beautiful, transforming her sullen, angry prince into a man who obviously felt joy enough to get laugh lines, a man who probably spent a lot of time smiling when she wasn’t around.

He turned his back on her and Roxanne watched his broad, tall silhouette leave, hands in his pockets, head probably already back in his greenhouse.

His smile—and the man himself, Roxanne was starting to realize—was very, very, very dangerous.

 ©Lush Money, Angelina M. Lopez 2019

 

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Angelina M. Lopez wrote “arthur” when her kindergarten teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. In the years since she learned to spell the word correctly, she’s been a journalist for an acclaimed city newspaper, a freelance magazine writer, and a content marketer for small businesses. At long last, she found her way back to “author.”

Angelina writes sexy, contemporary stories about strong women and the confident men lucky enough to fall in love with them. The fact that her parents own a vineyard in California’s Russian River Valley might imply a certain hedonism about her; it’s not true. She’s a wife and a mom who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She makes to-do lists with perfectly drawn check boxes. She checks them with glee.

Her first book, Lush Money, is available now from Carina Press. Her second book, Hate Crush, will be available June 2020. You can find more about her at her website, AngelinaMLopez.com and at @AngelinaMLo on Instagram and Twitter.

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The Extra Shot: In the Pocket by Jessica Ruddick

The Extra Shot – Tides of Time by Luna Joya

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Welcome to The Extra Shot where you’ll find an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from Tides of Time by Luna Joya.

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If only the dimmed lighting and dark glasses could excuse her gawking at the man behind the front podium. All muscles and tanned skin, he looked up from his notes, and his gaze locked on her face.

The exhaustion of back-to-back shifts must have caught up to her. Or the cost of her magic decided to crash into her as it did for Delia, who’d black out from using too much.

Cami bit back a groan. She’d drawn so hard on her psychic ability to connect with animals last night and then her elemental magic this morning, she should’ve expected her powers would demand replenishment. Her magic craved fulfillment from a hot guy. This hot guy. She’d probably leaked the desire all over him. She swallowed, shoving down the need as best she could with the powers calling for collection of a debt owed.

With one hand bracing her sister, Cami tugged her sunglasses into her tangle of curls and blew out a breath. Feeding Mina was top priority. No more sexy daydreams about a handsome guy.

The fleeting second she’d given in to the fluttering in her belly had been the best part of her week. Time to return to the reality of her witchy family.

“Why do you know so much about bad boys and scandals?” She wrinkled her nose in an adorable grin. “It’s kind of hot.”

“Yeah?” He checked to see if she was teasing, but watching her lips move, all he could do was imagine what they’d feel like on his.

He hesitated. What was it about her that made him doubt himself? Most women moved along when they saw he was already married to the restaurant. But Cami was different. She had her own ambition.

He brushed his knuckles over her soft cheek before skimming them along her jaw. She shivered, and he grinned. He wondered if she tasted as sweet as she smelled, but he didn’t want to scare her off.

All he’d thought about this week were her golden eyes, her scent, and the pull she had on him. He’d never experienced a connection on this base level to anyone or anything other than the ocean. It was crazy how she made him think of the call of waves and swells.

She stretched her fingers to brush the nape of his neck. Sam stilled with every single nerve focused on that delicate touch. He almost lost control when she grinned a mischievous, sly smile and a dimple flashed. His breath caught as she pressed her lips to his and quickly deepened the kiss.

He’d been wrong about her. She might be reserved and serene on the surface, but her passion was wild and bewitching. She was anything but the calm cool waters he’d expected. She was a riptide. Sam’s last coherent thought was how he’d be happy to drown in her before need took over.

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Award-winning author Luna Joya writes hex and sex in The Legacy Series, a witch family saga of romances about kickass heroines and the men who love them.

Fluent in sarcasm and penal code, Luna prosecutes sex crimes and homicides by day and writes paranormal romance at night. She loves history, especially Los Angeles and Hollywood lore. A survivor of traumatic brain injury with steel body parts, she lives in SoCal with her combat veteran husband and their two-pound terror of a rescue pup.

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The Extra Shot: In the Pocket by Jessica Ruddick

The Extra Shot – Unmasked by USA Today Bestselling Author Suzanne Ferrell

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Welcome to The Extra Shot where you’ll find an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from Unmasked by Suzanne Ferrell.

**UNMASKED is a re-issue novella previously part of the anthology CAPITOL DANGER. Minor changes to places and secondary characters have been changed, but the story of Luke and Abby is the same as in the anthology.**

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Chapter One

Lights glittered all around the main ballroom of the newly constructed Monitor Hotel for its first inaugural ball.

Snow-white linens covered the tables. Waiters, some of them security personnel working undercover for the night, dressed in black, carried trays of champagne in more crystal flutes among the national and foreign dignitaries, as well as both campaign supporters and workers who flocked the ball. Named for the Union’s Ironclad war ship from the Civil War, the hotel had an overall nautical theme, with all the main rooms, such as the Constitution Ballroom the ball was being held in, named after early American Naval sailing vessels. Tonight, however, in keeping with the winter theme, huge evergreens covered in twinkling white lights and blown-glass snowflakes lined the walls between the floor-to-ceiling mirrors and the crystal columns. Suspended overhead were more glass snowflakes, as well as the crystal chandeliers. The whole thing was—sparkly.

“Christ. Whose idea was it to hang all this glass?” Luke Edgars whispered as he took Abigail Whitson’s arm to escort her into the throng.

As always, a heated rush skittered over her body as he moved in beside her. They’d been together as a couple since he’d helped rescue her best friend and shut down the sex-slave ring holding her. Even so, her body still reacted like a hormonal teenager just with his presence.

“Not the security detail, you can bet your sweet ass on that.” The deep rumble of U.S. Deputy Marshal, Frank

Castello, sounded in the earbud secured in Abigail’s left ear.

She glanced up to see the older man across the room near one of the ice sculptures that sat on the dessert tables. Even dressed in a custom-tailored tuxedo, he still wore his usual scowl which, given the women eyeing him, only enhanced his lone-wolf appeal.

“You be careful out there. We have no idea when or where the deal is supposed to go down.” Another voice, belonging to Luke’s brother-in-law, FBI Special Agent Jake Carlisle, sounded in Abigail’s ear.

“Hell, we don’t even know who sent us the tip-off in the first place,” Castello mumbled.

“We know from the files we hacked the contact is on the up and up,” Luke muttered back, scanning the room.

She fought hard to hide a smile. For as self-assured as Luke was in the field, put him with members of his family—even the adopted member, Castello—and he was suddenly the little brother who bristled if any of the others questioned his skills or knowledge. Of course, he was the first one they called on when they needed some file or computer hacked off book.

“Until we’re sure who all the players are, let’s take this easy,” Jake said. “We don’t need anyone getting an itchy trigger finger with all these people and all this glass.”

Thanks to an anonymous tip, Luke and Abigail, both Treasury agents now under Homeland Security, discovered a money trail linking several of the attendees of tonight’s ball to a jet-setting playboy womanizer, who also happened to be an illegal arms merchant. Luke’s brother-in-law, FBI Special Agent Jake Carlisle brought in all their troops to try and trap the merchant before a cargo of Strategic Air Missiles or SAMS could be sold. Complicating the whole mess, the suspected merchant was also a major contributor to several well-placed Congressmen, Senators and political lobbyists.

The decision was made to bring her and Luke in undercover. For the past four months, she’d been attending many high-profile fundraiser events as Abigail Strickland, the ward of Senator Strickland, a new sitting member of the Committee on Homeland Security and whose permission to use him as a cover story had been given freely. To make her more high-profile in the media, she’d also been doing some modeling work—a perfect fit for her nearly six-foot-tall frame. Luke was always on her arm as her bodyguard, even at photo shoots. Her profile as a jet-setter with high contacts to an influential senator was meant to attract their arms dealer’s attention tonight.

Which is why Abigail was dressed in a black, floor-length, silk evening gown, complete with a slit up the right leg. They’d tried strapping a small handgun to her left leg in hopes she wouldn’t be defenseless at the ball. Since she’d never had to wear one before, she’d spent the past two weeks with one strapped to her thigh. She’d literally been walking around town armed, or was it legged?

A small giggle escaped her.

Luke turned one of his dazzling playboy smiles on her. “You find this funny, sweetheart?”

“No.” She smiled at him, finally almost equal to his height thanks to her heels. “I was just thinking how hard a time I’ve had learning to walk with that gun strapped between my legs. I’m glad this dress was so thin it nixed the idea of me wearing it tonight. I’d probably shoot myself when we dance.”

He slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her flush against his long, lean, tuxedoed body. The masculine scent of him and the slight spice of his aftershave filled her senses. “Trust me, when we’re dancing this close, a gun going off is the least of our worries.”

Groans from other members of the team filled Abigail’s ears.

“TMI, Romeo,” said one of the FBI agents carrying a tray of canapés past them.

“Boy’s got it bad,” quipped another.

“Focus on the mission, Luke,” Castello mumbled.

Abigail couldn’t help either the laughter that bubbled out again or the flush that filled her face.

“Y’all are just jealous you don’t have this gorgeous woman on your arm,” he said before capturing her lips with his.

“Luke,” Jake commanded through the mics. “Don’t draw attention to yourselves until the mark gets in the room. Low profile, remember?”

Luke slowly lifted his lips from Abigail’s, grabbed her hand and pulled her into the shadows near one of the pillars, flanked by more crystal-covered trees.

“Have you had time to catalogue the room?” he asked her.

She knew what he meant. One of the reasons she was in on this op was her photographic memory. Since they were virtually working blind on who their arms dealer might be meeting tonight, part of her job was to study everyone in the room in her own unique way. Her brain worked like a high-resolution camera. It took snapshots of whatever she saw, logging them into her memory for retrieval whenever she concentrated on an event or a person. Part of her assignment was to get as many images logged in what she liked to think of as her “filing cabinet” so they could compare the images with anyone interested in buying illegal arms, like known terrorists or anyone with a felony background, after the ball.

“Give me a few more minutes. The wait staff keeps streaming in and out. Kind of hard to get a read on if I’ve seen them all.”

“Try thinking of the room as a clock.” Luke held her close, one hand warm against her bare back where the dress dipped dangerously low. He nodded to the left. “Nine o’clock is there. Work slowly. Clockwise until you’ve covered the room. We’re not expecting you to capture everyone. Just relax and do what you do.”

Taking a deep breath, she followed his suggestion. Slowly, she worked the room as if she were looking for someone special. She didn’t try to focus on anyone in particular, just let her eyes and mind take the mental photos of anyone in the room—partygoers and wait staff alike. Her mind also captured the room’s layout and significant landmarks like the stage, bars and catering tables. She’d seen the blueprints of the room and table plans before the op, so the room felt familiar to her, as if she’d already been here before. Though a pencil sketch couldn’t compare to her mental 3-D images.

As she scanned the room, the occasional dignitary she’d previously studied before tonight stood out. The gala was the grand opening of the hotel centered around the U.S. Navy’s history. It wasn’t surprising to see so many high-ranking members of the military in one place, such as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and his spouse at the one o’clock portion of the ballroom. General Michael Walton and Dr. Alberta Reyes had entered and were currently speaking to Secretary of the Navy, Dr. Arnold Tenor, and Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard Academy, Vice Admiral Pauline Nieman. Abby focused on another section of the room at three o’clock. Even her and Luke’s ultimate boss, Secretary of the Treasury, Ms. Martha Trammel, talking with the Minority Whip, former General Robert Powers and Norman Winkoski, the CEO of one of the biggest arms manufacturers in the country.

The place was packed and quite frankly, in Abby’s opinion, any one of the people present could be the supplier of weapons to their target.

Just as Abigail finished her sweep of the room a click sounded in her ear.

“Heads up. Our man’s car just arrived,” Jake said.

A shiver ran through Abigail. She sucked in a breath, then slowly let it out.

Luke pulled her in tight once more, leaning in to whisper in her free ear. “You can do this, sweetheart.”

“First, I have to get him to notice me,” she said, her natural insecurity sneaking forward once more.

Luke leaned back and slowly slid his gaze over her, warming her from head to toe with wolfish male appreciation. “Even if he weren’t looking to get his hooks into the ward of Senator Strickland, trust me, you’ll have his attention. Hell, probably every man in the room is drooling over you.”

Despite his belief in her abilities to not only dazzle their mark but follow through in her mission, she knew that beneath all this glitzy makeup, chic hairdo and uber-sexy dress was the same desk accountant she’d been before the day Luke found her standing in a bloody crime scene. Now she was here, in her first undercover assignment, and those self-doubts bubbled up from deep inside.

“Look at me, Abby,” Luke said, all teasing gone from his voice, his hazel-colored eyes focused on her with steely strength and confidence. “All you have to do is dance one dance with him, slip the mic in place and come back to my side. Nothing else is going to happen.”

 

 

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48425927 2003948309691448 3298085097172893696 n 300x265 The Extra Shot   Unmasked by USA Today Bestselling Author Suzanne FerrellUSA Today Bestselling author Suzanne discovered romance novels in her aunt’s hidden stash one summer as a teenager. From that moment on she knew two things: she loved romance stories and someday she’d be writing her own. Her love for romances has only grown over the years. It took her a number of years and a secondary career as a nurse to finally start writing her own stories.

Currently there are two main series she’s actively writing in: The Westen Series, a contemporary small town series based in a fictional Ohio town where “things aren’t always what they seem”, and features Close To HomeClose To The Edge and Close To The Fire. The second series is the Romantic Suspense books KIDNAPPEDHUNTEDSEIZED and VANISHED, featuring the Edgars family as they fight for justice, even if it means stepping slightly outside the rulebook.

KIDNAPPED and HUNTED were both Golden Heart finalist, and SEIZED, book #3 in the Edgars Family Novels, was a finalist in the novella category of the OKRWA’s National Reader’s Choice Awards contest.

Suzanne’s sexy stories, whether they be her on the edge of your seat romantic suspense or the small town romantic suspense stories they’ll keep you thinking about her characters long after their Happy Ever After is achieved.

You can Find Suz at:

Website: https://suzanneferrell.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/suzanneferrell.author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SuzFerrell

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/suzferrell/

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The Extra Shot – The Baristas Beloved by Rebecca Norinne and Jamaila Brinkley

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Ben was skating on thin ice with his manager. With a local wine festival taking place that weekend, The Hollow Bean was busier than usual and he was struggling to keep up. He’d been warned once already that the next time he f#%ked up an order, it was coming out of his pay.
Unfortunately, all these tourists kept ordering drinks that sounded more like dessert than coffee. What the hell was a warm and toasty graham cracker latte anyhow? According to Corey, the harried barista toiling away next to him, it was an abomination. And now he had to make three of them for a group of blonde twenty-somethings dressed identically in skinny jeans, tight white t-shirts, and puffy black vests who were waiting impatiently for their orders.
“Hey.” A tall guy with a loud, booming voice stepped up to the counter and waved his cup in front of Ben’s face. “This isn’t what I ordered.”
Under the watchful eye of his manager, Ben took the to-go cup from the man’s hands and checked the cardboard sleeve to find out what it was supposed to have been. It turned out the problem wasn’t with the drink itself; rather, that the guy had grabbed the wrong order.
“Unless your name is Nancy, I’d think not,” Ben replied, taking note of what it was so he could make another one for the actual Nancy before she complained too.
“What did you say to me?”
Ben gritted his teeth. He’d only worked at The Hollow Bean for a couple of months, but during that time he’d seen the worst of humanity. So many people treated service staff like complete garbage. He just hoped he hadn’t been one of them back in the day. “Just let me get these coffees to them—” he lifted his chin to indicate the three blondes “—and I’ll remake yours.”
The guy harrumphed, but didn’t add anything else. Probably because his gaze was glued to the girls, his eyes raking over the tallest one with undisguised greed. It was a look Ben recognized well—it was the one he wore whenever he was in the same room as Maeve and he thought she wasn’t looking.
Having successfully handed over three graham cracker whatevers, he set about remaking the guy’s drink, trying not to eavesdrop on the phone conversation he was having.
“I should be able to wrap this up in a week or two,” he was saying. “The company that currently occupies the building is a nonprofit so they won’t be able to fight Hartwell for long. Mmm-hmm. Yeah, that’s right. Kids Matter, Teach Younger, Mentor Forever … something like that. I know it definitely has to do with kids. Exactly. We should expect some push back from the community because of that, but I figure once Hartwell ponies up a few grand for a new playground or something, that should shut the yokels up. You know how small towns are.”
Ben abandoned the milk he’d been foaming and Corey slammed down the bottle of hazelnut syrup he’d just picked up. Ben looked around, noting that the entire coffee shop had come to a silent standstill—something Coffee Douche was completely oblivious to.
“Look, that’s not my problem. My job is to get in, get the papers signed, and get the fuck out. Why should I care about some kids I’ll never meet? You know how these bleeding heart liberals are. They want to help everyone, and meanwhile, they’re not actually helping anyone. The condos will do a lot more for this ridiculous town than some old abandoned school, you know?”
With a fury he’d never felt before, Ben untied his apron strings and pulled the fabric over his head, dropping it into the bin of used linens. He had no idea what had come over him, but hearing this guy talk about this mentoring organization so dismissively made him want to do something proactive to stop it.
He felt a hand on his elbow, slowing him down. “What are you doing?” Corey hissed. “You can’t knock the f#%ker out. You’ll definitely get fired then.”
Ben lifted the wooden counter that separated employees from customers and stepped through. Dropping it back down, he turned to Corey. “Oh, I’m going to fight him, all right. Just not how you expect.”
They thought this takeover was going to be a walk in the park? Well, the joke was on this Hartwell character because he was going to have to go through him first. River Hill was just a town full of yokels, huh? They didn’t think the nonprofit would be able to put up a fight because they couldn’t afford a fancy lawyer? He might not work for a high profile firm anymore, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t go toe to toe with the best of ‘em. Hell, a few short months ago he had been the best. It was time to brush off the rust and prove he still had what it took to win cases. This asshole and the developers he worked for were going down.
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Rebecca Norinne:

USA TODAY bestselling author Rebecca Norinne writes steamy contemporary romance featuring strong, determined heroines and sexy, dominant heroes with guaranteed happily-ever-afters.

When not writing, Rebecca can be found watching rugby, drinking craft beer, or traveling the globe in search of inspiration for her next story. Originally from California, Rebecca currently resides in Dublin, Ireland, with her husband.

To receive news about Rebecca’s books, sign up for her newsletter, or keep in touch via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You can also visit her website or drop her an e-mail anytime.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website: http://www.rebeccanorinne.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorRebeccaNorinne

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rebecca_norinne

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/author_rebecca_norinne

Newsletter: http://rebeccanorinne.com/newsletter

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13488550.Rebecca_Norinne

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2Ff6KDb

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rebecca-norinne

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Jamaila Brinkley:

Jamaila Brinkley writes historical romance with a hint of magic. Her Wizards of London series features thieves, duchesses, witches, and more indulging in mayhem and romance in Regency England. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, and was a finalist in the Romance Through the Ages contest in 2015.

Jamaila came to romance as an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, and found that her favorite historical romances seemed ripe for an injection of magic. Her favorite historical period is currently the Victorian era, and she’s never happier than when immersed in a multi-book family series.

Jamaila lives outside Baltimore, Maryland in a house that is perpetually under renovation with her husband and twin toddlers. You can find her blogging about romance, writing, parenting, cooking, and more on her website at www.jamailabrinkley.com, and posting pictures of her lunch on Twitter as @jamaila.

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