Publisher: A&A Literary
Genre: Contemporary Romance
So! Come spend a little bit of time in the sleep small Southern town. I hope you love the University as much as I do. <3
She wants a summer job and a ride to a wedding.
He wants an assistant and a distraction from the mess his life had become.
They didn’t know they needed each other.
Avery Emili needs two grand. Two grand and a plane ticket–her sister is counting on her to get to Jamaica for her wedding. But the semester is over, and tutoring college freshman and high school students has dried up until the fall.
Atticus Grimes needs help–the messy split with his wife left the twenty-eight year old professor scrambling to keep things together as the semester winds down. Now he’s got a research grant he has to actually do research for and all he wants to do is drown himself in a tall bottle of bourbon.
When Avery sees his ad for an assistant, all she’s thinking is a summer job. But as they spend time together, in the office and out, both of them begin to realize something is there. Something that can’t happen–he’s a professor and she’s a student. And both of them have histories, pasts that won’t let go. Can two broken people pulled apart by expectations find a way to be whole?
She’s been broken by her past. He’s been breaking for as long as he can remember.
Together, they can make each other whole–or destroy each other.
When his best friend asks for something, Dane rarely says no. But babysitting a newly sober Scout Grimes for three weeks isn’t exactly a normal request. And with their history, it’s a recipe for disaster. Not to mention, she’s drop dead gorgeous and he can’t touch her.
There are few people Scout trusts as much as Dane Guillot. He’s always been her safe place, where nothing can hurt her. He’s also been the only man she’s never let herself want–screwing up their friendship isn’t worth one amazing night together.
They have too much history, and too much personal baggage to ever work. But if they are willing to take a chance on love–it might be worth the risk.
It’s good to be on top… Asher Knox has it all. Girls, wealth, a career most would kill for. He’s just landed the biggest job of his career. And he’s miserable.
She’s fighting her way from the bottom… Megan Beauchamp has no illusions about why she was chosen to be Asher’s PA. She’s pretty, and down to earth, and everything the Hollywood star always falls for. Too bad Megan is just paying her dues and has no interest in anything but advancing at her PR firm.
He’ll throw it all away…Luca James knows what he wants. And he’s waited a long time for the window to open—when it does, he’ll walk away from the career he’s built for a chance at something real.
When Megan’s boss threatens to fire her, Luca and Asher convince her to leave town with them. Between bad hotels and pit stop confessionals, the three are drawn closer together. And the lines blur even more in Branton, where Megan is forced to look at everything she left behind. But when the boys want more, Megan will be forced to choose between the men she loves and the life she thought she wanted. And in a town like Branton, the secrets she keeps won’t be hidden for long.
It’s fucking freezing. One of the nice things about Louisiana, supposedly, is that it’s warm. But this winter has been colder than a witches tit. And I’m about over it. I blow on my hands, stomping the mud off my shoes.
The office is quiet, this early. None of my staff have shown up. I don’t mind–I wanted the quiet to get some work done before I was forced to be the boss.
But leaving Scout sleeping in my bed was probably one of the harder things I’ve done. I keep thinking leaving her will get easier, or the sex would get a little less hot. That seeing her wouldn’t turn me on.
But it does. Every fucking time. It would be annoying as fuck, except I’m enjoying it too much.
Like last night…
Wait. Stop that shit right now. There will be plenty of time for that later, but right now I have several cases demanding my attention and I’m still too far behind.
Taking time off when she was in her accident was a no brainer. I had come too close to losing her to want to be farther than her bedside. But it didn’t mean it was easy to leave the practice. I was still feeling the effects of that and I had to get my shit together before Tripp decided to come back and nose around.
There’s a sharp rap on the front door and then Atti’s voice, “You here?”
It’s an annoying question. Or maybe everything about Atti is annoying me lately. I’m still pissed at him and he knows it.
“Office,” I yell.
A few seconds later, he appears in the doorway to my office and I stare at my best friend, not sure what to say.
Fuck it. This is his party–he came to me. He can decide what to say. I glance back at my paperwork and Atticus curses. Walks into the office and throws himself into one of the chairs across from me.
Scout sat in that chair, before I kissed her for the first time. Hmm. Possibly not the best train of thought at the moment.
He’s staring at me, a tiny smile on his face easing the scowl I’ve seen too often in the past month.
“Avery bitched me out this morning,” I say, stretching my legs. The scowl eases a little more, and Dane actually smirks.
“Is that why you’re out of her bed this early in the morning?”
I nod, “Pretty much the only reason.”
He laughs and I feel the tension in the room relax. “Look, I’m sorry, man. I was wrong.”
Dane looks like he swallowed something insectile and it’s still wiggling. He shakes his head slowly. “I don’t think you get how bad you fucked up, Atticus.”
Avery said the same thing. I wondered, distantly, if they had discussed it, then dismissed the thought—Avery and Dane tolerated each other. They would never be friend, never be much more than they were now—cautiously trusting because of me.
“Explain it to me,” I say.
“If you need to have it explained, you aren’t going to understand.” He snaps, a hint of heat entering his voice.
“We’ve both made mistakes, Dane. You dumped coffee on Avery.”
“That,” he points at me, “was a fucking accident and you damn well know it. You told Scout I wasn’t good enough for her. You told me she wasn’t my business. You left her with me—time after time after time. And you never once had an issue with it, until we fell in love. Do you know how fucked up that is?”
He’s furious, and I don’t know why. I don’t understand why he’s this mad. “Explain it to me.” I say again.
“Fuck you, Grimes.” He snaps. “I’m good enough to be friends with her. I’m good enough to be the shoulder she cries on and to be her surrogate brother. I’m good enough to carry her secrets, but I’m not good enough to be with her? Fuck you to hell and back.” He stands and I sit still, reeling.
Is that what he thinks?
Well of course it is. I haven’t given him no reason to think otherwise.
“You know, I’ll do anything for you. Anything in the world. But I’m doing this for me. Scout and me—we’re good together. I won’t give that up because you think it’s a bad idea or I’m a douchebag.”
“I don’t want you to,” I say, hoarsely.
Dane hesitates, staring at me with narrowed eyes.
I sigh and shake my head. “She’s happier than I’ve ever seen her, man. And I know it’s because of you. You’re happy—when you aren’t yelling at me. Why do you think I’d want to take that from you?”
He gives me a flat stare and I nod. “Ok, so I get why you’d think that.” I hesitate, and then say, “I’m a shitty brother, man. I get that. I’m going to try to be better—Scout deserves better.”
“You are,” Dane agrees and I choke on my laughter. His eyes sparkle when he grins at me, and the last of the tension vanishes. My best friend is grinning at me, and I haven’t seen that—not really—in almost a month. “She doesn’t need you to be her safe place,” Dane says. “She’s got me for that.”
I nod, and stand. “She does. And she’s a lucky girl.”
Dane blinks, startled and I walk backward a few steps. “Think you can leave her home alone tomorrow night?”
“I want your opinion. I need to go shopping.” I say, “For Avery.”
A slow smile spreads across his face and I add, turning away, “Don’t get any ideas, Guillot.”
He laughs, a low rumble that makes me grin as I leave.