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“OH MY GOODNESS! A boy is in the house!” My six-year-old sister, Raine, runs up the moment Jack and I step inside my house and throws her arms around Jack, a guy she’s never met before. Taken aback, he stands frozen with his arms out and looks down at her with a tentative smile.
“Ooh! He’s pretty!” Shyla runs up to us as well, climbing her four-year-old body into my arms for a big hug while at the same time staring openmouthed at Jack. She whispers in my ear, “He gots big muscles.”
“Hi there,” Penny, my sixteen-year-old sister, says in a silky voice as she holds out her hand. “I’m Penny. It’s so nice to meet you.”
Jack hesitantly shakes her hand. “I’m Jack.”
“Oh, I know,” she says, still shaking his hand.
“Is this Jack?” my mother calls out as she enters the front room with my grandmother. “It is so nice to meet you!” Mom approaches and kisses him on the cheek, leaving a lipstick kiss mark on his face.
“You’re such a handsome young man,” Grandma coos as she walks up to us with the energy of a teenager and the healthy glow of a yoga instructor.
Dying, my ass.
“So handsome,” Mom repeats, rubbing the lipstick mark off Jack’s cheek before patting it like he’s a chubby baby in a high chair and not a grown man standing in her living room.
Jack’s big gray eyes look slightly terrified at all the attention he’s getting. Raine is sitting on his right foot with her limbs wrapped around his left as she stares up at him in awe, while Shyla has reached out from my arms and is now petting his shoulder and chanting, “Big muscles. Big muscles.” Penny is still shaking his hand, refusing to release it as she bats her lashes, and my mom keeps grinning while Grandma goes on about how attractive he is.
He glances at me, his eyes crying for help, and I call the dogs off.
“Okay, everyone, step away from the boy!” I say. “Step away. From the boy. That includes you too, Penny.” I shoot her a look as Jack delicately pulls his hand from her grasp.
I guess I can’t blame my family of all girls, all the time. It’s a rare occurrence, having a guy in the house, let alone a very attractive one.
“So Grandma,” I say, leaning over to greet my astonishingly healthy grandmother with a kiss. “You still don’t look like you’re dying to me.”
She shrugs with keen eyes. “Looks can be deceiving, child.”
I snort. “You know what else can be deceiving? Grandmas who cry death.”
She smiles. “If that’s what I need to do to get you to come home, then I’ll keep dying every year.”
“Ha. I know you will,” I say, as my mother and sisters crowd around Jack again with cooing admiration. “But it really is good to be home, Grams. I’ve missed you so much.”
“You too, child. You’re my star.” Her gaze slips between me and Jack. “And he seems to be yours.”
I roll my eyes. “Not even close. You know me. I don’t need a man.”
She huffs. “Who said anything about need? I’m talking about desire. I’m talking about the heart.”
Oh God. I come from a long line of hopeless romantics, and they seem to think it’s their job to make sure I fall in love and breed at some point.
I scoff. “Mom had desire and heart, and look where that got her.”
“I am looking at it,” Grams says, looking at me. “And it’s the best thing that ever happened to her.”
I draw in a breath. “Well you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t want to end up a broke single mother.”
She tsks at me. “Your mother chose her path. Besides, what is it you do want to be? A rich childless woman?”
I chew my food and think about that. Is that what I want? To either raise kids on my own or to live forever without being a mother?
Not liking where this train of thought is going, I playfully wink at her. “Well who doesn’t want to be rich?”
She tuts and looks away. “All I’m saying is that sometimes getting what you want is the worst fate of all.”
Ugh. Leave it to Grandma to throw fate in my face. Now I’ll never hear the end of Jack. The guy’s creeping into every hollow place in my heart. If I’m not careful, soon he’ll own more of it than I do.
Genre: New Adult
Length: 278 pages
Publisher: Forever (September 2, 2014)
Sometimes wrong can feel oh so right . . .
Jenna Lacombe needs complete control, whether it’s in the streets . . . or between the sheets. So when she sets out on a solo road trip to visit her family in New Orleans, she’s beyond annoyed that the infuriatingly sexy Jack Oliver wants to hitch a ride with her. Ever since they shared a wild night together last year, he’s been trying to strip away her defenses one by one. He claims he’s just coming along to keep her safe-but what’s not safe for her is prolonged exposure to the tattooed hottie.
Jack can’t get Jenna out from under his skin. She makes him feel alive again after his old life nearly destroyed him-and losing her is not an option. Now Jack’s troubles are catching up to him, and he’s forced to return to his hometown in Louisiana. But when his secrets put them both in harm’s way, Jenna will have to figure out how far she’s willing to let love in . . . and how much she already has.
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