That should have been it. I should have hit the road as soon as I could, because I’m a vagabond, a drifter. A homeless orphan with no family and no future except what I create for myself. Which is why getting tangled up with a guy—no matter how tall, dark, quiet, and sexy he may be—is a really terrible idea.
Yet…I kissed him anyway. And that one kiss? It set my world on fire, turned everything upside down.
I know I shouldn’t get involved with him. I tell myself I won’t. Yet, I still get pulled in by him and his seven brothers and their wives and girlfriends—by the concept of family, something I haven’t had in a very, very long time. Something I never thought I’d have again.
Every moment I spend with Lucian turns my present into perfect, and puts my future at risk.
* * *
As the second youngest Badd brother, I’ve lived my entire life in the long, broad shadows cast by my older brothers—the burly, bad boy bartender, the Navy SEAL, the trick pilot, the athlete, and the rock star twins. Even my younger brother, Xavier, finds a way to outshine everyone in the room with his unassuming charisma and dizzying intellect. More and more lately, I’ve been asking myself where I fit in.
And then Joss Mackenzie fell into the Inside Passage in the middle of a freak snowstorm, and in so doing, fell into my life. I saved her from the icy water, but can I can I save myself from falling for a girl I know is only going to end up doing the one thing she does best—leave?
It’s evident from the first kiss what the answer is—there’s no saving myself, not from the magnetic appeal of her wild, untamable spirit, or the exotic allure of her caramel skin and long dreadlocks and golden-brown eyes and perfect body. I’m helpless against this attraction.
But as I seek to find myself and my place among my larger-than-life brothers, will I lose my heart to the exotic beauty with walls a mile high and a tragic past?
Love is in the air, commitments are being made, careers are being abandoned—nothing is easy. Except our sexual chemistry. Which is off-the-charts hot. But is it JUST chemistry, or is it more? We both want it to be more, but the question is, which one of us is going to be the first to risk heartbreak in order to find out? We both have dark pasts that are holding us back and may keep us from true happiness.
Intense sexual connection is easy…love, commitment, and figuring out the future? Well…that’s a whole lot harder.
And it’s twice as hard when you’re twins.
I’ve always been a one-night stand kind of girl, and sometimes I wouldn’t even stick around for a full night. Brock was supposed to be a one-night stand—that’s how it started out, at least. Only, what was supposed to be a fun one-time-only hookup with a hot local guy ended up with me discovering Brock’s potency six different ways by breakfast.
That was all it took. One night with Brock, and I was hooked. But hooked doesn’t mean ready for a relationship.
That’s what he wants. And deep down, I’m starting to fear that’s what I want too.
I’m just not sure I’m ready for it.
I mean, he’s the literal epitome of tall, dark, and handsome, plus he’s a pilot…with a six-pack and perfect hair and a smile to melt me from the inside out. How’s a girl supposed to resist that? I couldn’t. I can’t. I’ve tried, but I keep going back for more.
I’ve got it bad, real BADD.
Six-six, built like a god, red hair, blue eyes, and a tree trunk between his legs. Yeah. This is the guy I got kidnapped with. Phrasing is important there: kidnapped WITH, not kidnapped BY.
Fortunately, Duke Silver is a hard-core badass, because it's going to take every last shred of skill he has as a killer commando to keep us both alive, and even then, nothing's a sure thing.
And I intended to fully explore that reason, as soon as he finished rescuing me, along with the other women I had been kidnapped with. One of whom was a sassy, saucy woman named Layla. I tried to convince her, and myself, that Puck Lawson wasn't my type.
She just laughed. "Honey, Puck isn’t anyone’s type," she told me. "You don’t go looking for guys like Puck. They find you, and somehow, you’re never quite able to walk away after that.”
Although, I had a feeling I might be unable to walk at all by the time he was finished with me...
The trouble with Zane isn’t getting him, it’s keeping him.
And the trouble with me is, even if I could hold onto a man like Zane, I wouldn’t know what to do with him. It’s not in my nature, and if life has taught me anything, it’s to not trust anyone, least of all men like Zane. He’s a warrior through and through, hard, muscular, gorgeous, tenacious, and yet oddly tender toward me.
Experience and instincts are telling me to run from Zane Badd as fast as possible, but my heart and my body are telling me to stay, to hold on and not let go. Yeah, it’s a conflict as old as humanity itself, but it’s brand new for me.
* * *
Life as Navy SEAL doesn’t exactly prepare you for normality. Yeah, I can tend bar and goof off with my seven crazy brothers, but what do I do when the woman of my dreams—dreams I didn’t know I’d had until I saw her—explodes into my life like a frag grenade? I’m trained to attack, to win, to survive at any costs, and figuring out what to do about a woman like Amarantha Quinn will take every scrap of tenacity and courage I possess. Combat is easy, it turns out, in comparison to facing your own fears and scars.
And then sometimes, just when you think you’ve got it finally figured out, fate throws you a screwball and sends everything FUBAR.