Release Date: February 3, 2020
I met the love of my life in a little town called Gravity once…too bad she was with another guy that night. When fate throws me a second chance, it adds a twist I didn’t see coming…literally. ~Kane
Taking him home, that’s a good plan, right? I’m just being neighborly. Just being neighborly…geez I don’t even believe that myself. I’m bringing 6’5” of muscle bound, ink-covered, bearded goodness home with me, because he’s hurt, he has no one else…and I think I might love him a little. ~Wren
When Wren and Kane meet again, far away from sleepy little Gravity, Georgia, things have changed. Wren is graduating med school, ready to start her residency soon. She’s got a cat who likes to steal t-shirts with amazingly perfect timing, a not-even-a-boyfriend that won’t take a hint, and an inability to say no when a bachelorette party for an acquaintance takes them to a seedy bar on the outskirts of town.
Kane is under pressure to pay for the sins of his father, and the life he thought was buried just won’t stay dead. An ambush in an alley makes him depend on Wren far more than he expected. The real question is, can they find love in the midst of five-dollar tequila shots, surprise proposals and the bright lights of Las Vegas?
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Bachelorette parties suck. Elbowing my way through the crowded bar, I curse Gran for teaching me manners as a child. If it weren’t for her, I would have given this whole night a hard pass. Instead, here I am, getting another round of shots for Jenna and her friends who can, at best, be called acquaintances from med school. Squeezing between a rock and a hard place; in the form of a man so firmly wedged onto his stool that I question if he died a few days ago and a trucker with a sun-dried tomato for a face who sighs and moves every so slightly, I wave at the bartender and glance around.
You know that no-man’s land where the country meets the city? You’re driving through street lights and neighborhoods and BAM, nothing for about a mile before the fields and barns start? That’s where Joe’s Bar sits, right smack in the middle of that city-country deadzone. It’s a pretty average crappy bar, full of hard-drinking regulars, the occasional hipsters who roll in looking for an experience, bar flies who reek of cheap perfume and desperation, and a party of silly girls hogging up the tiny dance floor. That’s me. I’m with the silly girls.
Waving at the bartender again, I walk myself back through the conversation that brought me to this point. Jenna approached me earlier today with the friendliest smile I’d ever seen on her face. There’s the mistake…I fell for that crocodile smile. She fed me some kind of sob story about Monica not having many local friends who would throw her a hen party, boo-freakin-hoo, I fell for that too. Yep, and now here I am, buying a round, for these silly drunks I barely know. I should bail.
“Hurry up Wren!! We’re sooooo thirsty!” Monica trills, dancing in a circle with her stupid plastic champagne glass held high. She’s gaining the attention of the pool players nearby. Pausing their game to look at her, the nearest one grins at his friends and loops an arm around her waist as she dances by, pulling her in tight. Oh great, this could get bad fast. I’m too far away to hear what he’s saying, but her smile quickly fades and she starts squirming free, so it’s not hard to guess at his intentions.
Jenna stomps over, finger raised in a very official angry point to give him a piece of her mind, but one of his buddies twirls her into his arms, laughing rudely as she squeals indignantly. I glance at the bartender who gives a decidedly overworked sigh. Picking up his phone from under the bar, he appears to check the time before tossing the phone on the counter and continuing to pour drinks.
“Thanks bud, you’re a big help,” I grumble as I shove away from the bar and make my way back through the crowd. I can see angry tears brimming in Monica’s eyes as she swats away the offending hands of the dipshit who won’t leave her alone. See now, that’s not fair…and this is her hen party damnit… Pasting a smile on my face I put a little bounce in my step, all the better to get close to you losers. The two men who are bothering the girls see me coming and glance at each other before smiling at me.
“Well good evening Sugar,” the one bothering Monica lets go of her waist, tipping an invisible hat at me, his voice oily as his eyes scan me top to tail. It doesn’t take him long, I’m five foot nothing, and I walk right up close while he gets an eye-full. Not wasting a beat, I get in his space, grab his nuts, and squeeze. Hard. As his smile quickly turns to an open-mouthed bellow of pain, he curls in on himself trying to get away from me. I help the momentum along, pushing his head straight down on the edge of the pool table with a satisfying thunk and he falls to the floor, dazed, holding his squished nuts. Just like you taught me Gran.
“What the hell?!” His buddy lets Jenna loose and looks back and forth from his fallen friend to me several times in rapid succession. Now to get us out of this mess.
“You stupid jackasses,” I fill my normally sweet Southern voice with as much disdain as I can drum up. “Do you know who these girls’ Daddies are?” I point at Jenna, Monica and Courtney, “CEO, Senator, Sheriff, and you think you can just paw their baby girls?” Idiot number one is still on the floor, but his buddies are backing away looking seriously uncomfortable.
I shake my head in disgust. “Apologize and get back to your game, you hear?” They mumble ‘sorry’ and turn back to the pool table shame-faced, but the idiot on the floor isn’t quite ready to give up.
“Whatever bitch,” he groans, climbing painfully to his feet, eyes narrowed. Damnit.
Turning to the girls, I decide to herd them to the door and find a bouncer to walk us to our car. A hard poke in the shoulder turns me back to the angry idiot with sore nuts.
“We ain’t done yet sweetie,” he leers, confidence returning, as he reaches out a finger to twirl a strand of my blonde hair. I swat him away, angry. As I’m deciding whether to dust off a few more tricks Gran taught me or just insist that the bartender get off his ass and call the cops or something, Sore Nuts jerks his hand away like he touched a hot stove.
“My apologies, we thought you girls wanted to dance. We’re just going to play pool now and leave you be.” His words tumble out in a rush, fear in his eyes as he stares over my head. The hell?
“Hey Kane, didn’t know you were working tonight,” Sore Nuts continues, trying to sound calm. Kane? Ohmygod. I whirl around and almost bash my nose into a very hard chest covered in a flannel work shirt. Taking a tiny step back I look up and see a grim face I’d recognize anywhere. He doesn’t glance at me as he gives Sore Nuts a hard look.
“Roy, Charlie,” he rumbles, looking at each of them in turn. “Looks like your game is over.” He sets his jaw, I can see the muscles working under his beard. It’s shorter than I remember it, he used to keep it long, now it’s just barely long enough to grab. That’s not a weird measurement at all, where did that come from, wow. Darker red, almost brown, as if he’s not in the sun as much as he used to be when he worked on the farm. His hair used to be such a golden red, I always thought he looked like a lion. I wonder if he remembers me.