Growing up, the three of us were friends.
He was the nerd.
I was the playboy.
She was the beauty.
Deep down, I only ever wanted her. I kept it inside because Rory and I made a pact that our friend, Amber, was off-limits.
I went off to college, and he got the girl.
Amber never knew how I felt.
They were together for years—before he broke her heart.
Through it all and across the miles, she and I casually stayed in touch.
When my job sent me to Boston for a three-month contract position, Amber let me stay in her spare room.
Still reeling from her breakup, she’d sworn off men.
One night, I opened her computer to find the shock of my life. She’d hesitantly contacted a male escort company. Afraid to date and get her heart broken again, she was looking for sex with no strings.
Every emotion imaginable ran through me: protectiveness, jealousy—curiosity.
Amber had chosen Gentleman Number Nine and sent him a message.
She opened up to him, confessing, among other things, her physical attraction to her friend—me. But she considered me off-limits—and she thought I was a manwhore. (Ironic, considering the circumstances.)
Eventually, she set up a date to meet Gentleman Nine at a hotel.
When she showed up several nights later to meet him, she was stunned to see me standing there—with an offer I hoped she wouldn’t refuse.
Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author.
She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son and beautiful daughter with autism.
With over 1.5 million books sold, she is a seventeen-time New York Times bestseller and the author of over fifteen novels including RoomHate which hit #2 on the New York Times bestseller list and #1 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. Other New York Times bestsellers include Stepbrother Dearest, Neighbor Dearest, Drunk Dial, Cocky Bastard, Stuck-Up Suit, Playboy Pilot and Mister Moneybags (the latter four co-written with Vi Keeland).