If you receive a mysterious check, for enough money to erase all your worries, would you cash it?
The next month, I received another check, again from VRI Incorporated. It too contained a single word: "belong."
A third check, the next month. This time, two words. Four letters. "To me."
The checks kept coming. The notes stopped. Ten thousand dollars, every month. A girl gets used to that, real quick. It let me pay the bills without going into debt. Let me keep my baby brother in school and Mom's hospice care paid for. How do you turn down what seems like free money, when you're desperate? You don't. I didn't.
And then, after a year, there was a knock on my door. A sleek black limousine sat on the curb in front of my house. A driver stood in front of me, and he spoke six words: "It's time to pay your debt."
Would you have gotten in?
It turns out $120,000 doesn't come free.
And now he has the mission of a lifetime: the three year old daughter of two A-list celebrities has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom. The twist? The mercenary and Russian mafioso who snatched the sweet, innocent little girl is a vicious, evil, sadistic thug with a grudge against Nick.
And the fallout from this mission will be jet fuel on the flames of that grudge, pulling everyone around Nick into the vortex of violence and vengeance. Good thing we have the seven deadliest and most badass men on the planet on our team…
And oh yeah, there’s little ol’ me:
Layla Campari, mercenary-in-training.
These letters are often all that get me through week to week. Even if it's just random stuff, nothing important, they're important to me. Gramps is great, and I love working on the ranch. But... I'm lonely. I feel disconnected, like I'm no one, like I don't belong anywhere. Like I'm just here until something else happens. I don't even know what I want with my future. But your letters, they make me feel connected to something, to someone. I had a crush on you, when we first met. I thought you were beautiful. So beautiful. It was hard to think of anything else. Then camp ended and we never got together, and now all I have of you is these letters. S**t. I just told you I have a crush on you. HAD. Had a crush. Not sure what is anymore. A letter-crush? A literary love? That's stupid. Sorry. I just have this rule with myself that I never throw away what I write and I always send it, so hopefully this doesn't weird you out too much. I had a dream about you too. Same kind of thing. Us, in the darkness, together. Just us. And it was like you said, a memory turned into a dream, but a memory of something that's never happened, but in the dream it felt so real, and it was more, I don't even know, more RIGHT than anything I've ever felt, in life or in dreams. I wonder what it means that we both had the same dream about each other. Maybe nothing, maybe everything. You tell me.
~ ~ ~ ~
We're pen pals. Maybe that's all we'll ever be. I don't know. If we met IRL (in real life, in case you're not familiar with the term) what would happen? And just FYI, the term you used, a literary love? It was beautiful. So beautiful. That term means something, between us now. We are literary loves. Lovers? I do love you, in some strange way. Knowing about you, in these letters, knowing your hurt and your joys, it means something so important to me, that I just can't describe. I need your art, and your letters, and your literary love. If we never have anything else between us, I need this. I do. Maybe this letter will only complicate things, but like you I have a rule that I never erase or throw away what I've written and I always send it, no matter what I write in the letter.
Your literary love,
Life was pretty incredible.
Until I woke up in his chateau in France, alone. On the bed next to me was a note. There were only four words:
He belongs to me.
BIG GIRLS DO IT BETTER
Gorgeous, rock-star guys like Chase Delany don't go for girls like me. They go for supermodels and actresses, skinny-girls who never eat and spend all day working out. I'm not that girl. So when he locked his fiery brown eyes on me for the first time, I couldn't quite believe it was really happening to me.
It was the second night I spent with him that I'll never forget.
THE LONG DRIVE HOME (bonus short story)
BIG GIRLS DO IT WETTER
Chase went to New York...without me. It was only one night, one delicious, sinful night, but it awakened something within me, and now, with him gone, I have no one to satiate my sudden, ferocious hunger. Then I woke up one day and looked at someone near and dear to me in a whole new light. And my world was rocked once again.
BIG GIRLS DO IT WILDER
I'm going. Going to New York City to be with gorgeous, mysterious, rockstar Chase Delany seemed like a crazy dream, a fantasy come true. The bright lights and music, and his tight, sexy leather pants called to me...and I answered. Chase might want more and I just might give it to him, if I could only forget what I started with Jeff back in Detroit.
I thought I had my love life all figured out, I thought I knew what I wanted, and then things went and changed on me all over again...
BIG GIRLS DO IT ON TOP
I fled New York with my heart breaking and a million questions. Foremost in my mind was whether Jeff would even see me after the colossal mess that New York turned out to be.
I discovered the answer, but that only spawned even more questions, many of the yes or no variety...
Big Girls full series reading order:
Big Girls Do It (#1 Better, #2 Wetter, #3 Wilder and #4 On Top)
Big Girls Do It Married
Big Girls Do It On Christmas
Rock Stars Do It Harder
Rock Stars Do It Dirty
Rock Stars Do It Forever
Big Girls Do It Pregnant
One night, Ben’s alcohol-fueled abuse explodes hotter than it ever has before, and Miriam isn’t sure she’ll survive it this time.
Then Miriam meets Jack. Sweet, handsome, brave, and totally unafraid of the strange and often scary things that have begun happening whenever Miriam’s emotions run high.
As things between Miriam and Jack heat up, so does Ben’s jealous rage, as well as the mysterious fire that seems to burn hotter and hotter inside Miriam. She quickly discovers two things: one, that she has a lot more power and strength hidden within herself than she’d ever imagined, and two, that Jack’s gentle, unwavering love can heal a lifetime of wounds and scars.
Will they survive to explore all that could be between them?
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.
But I have walls that no man, no matter how big he is, has ever been able to break through. Thresh doesn’t know how to take “no” for an answer, though. He’s determined to get past all my defenses and show me what I’ve been missing.
The only problem is Thresh has enemies. Powerful, deadly, merciless enemies who have no problem using me to get to him. And Thresh is injured, one arm left useless.
Can Thresh singlehandedly take on armed and dangerous men out to kill us AND my freight train of emotional baggage?
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.