From New York Times bestselling author, J. Daniels, comes the second COMPLETE STANDALONE in the Alabama Summer series.
Luke Evans is a heartbreaker.
I didn’t want to give mine to him. Not when he kept me out.
He gave me enough, just enough to make me fall in love with him. I say this to convince myself. But I know the truth.
I would’ve fallen in love with him at a distance.
Handing my heart over to Luke was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I was naive when I wished for more, when I hoped he wanted the same things I did.
I try to hate him. I try to forget him.
But it’s not that easy.
Love is a ruthless bitch, and I’m her latest victim.
Tessa Kelly is a man-eater.
When she sets her sights on you, she doesn’t just consume your heart, she goes for your soul.
What we had was perfect, real, and all I would ever want.
But she destroyed it.
She destroyed us.
I try to hate her. I try to forget her.
But it’s not that easy.
Love is for people who have hope, and I have none.
Tessa Kelly is a man-eater.
She’s like medusa, but without the whole “freezing to stone” bit. Because that’s not her style. That’s not painful enough for her. She’d much rather draw you in with her blinding beauty, and then rip your heart out and eat it in front of you. And then she’ll stand over you and watch you slowly die at her feet.
This should be enough to make me not want her. To make me not think about her every second of the fucking day. And if her Queen Bitch attitude wasn’t enough of a reason to hate her, the fact that she destroyed me a year ago should be. But there’s one major problem.
I have a cock.
And he wants Tessa. He knows what it’s like to be with her. He’s had a taste of her, and no other pussy is good enough. Believe me, I’ve given him options. First, there was Brandie, who I wasted no time in satisfying my needs with. Or, at least tried to satisfy my needs with. Maybe it was a fucked up move to bring her to that concert for the sole purpose of making Tessa jealous, but I didn’t give a shit. I wanted to hurt her, after what she did to me—dumping my ass out of nowhere and not giving me a fucking reason.
You don’t want this anymore? Fine. You need more than what I can give you? Whatever. I didn’t care what the reason was; I just needed one. But she wouldn’t talk to me. She wouldn’t give me anything. And then I find out she broke up with me thinking she was pregnant with my baby.
Fuck her. She keeps something like that from me? I had a right to know.
Her reasoning behind the break-up, using my words to her as an excuse, was complete bullshit. How the fuck was I supposed to know she was fishing around because she thought she was pregnant? Tessa and I never put labels on what we were. And I liked that. I didn’t need anything other than what she was giving me, and I don’t need anyone getting too close. Except for Ben, but that shit’s different. He’s my partner. We have to trust each other completely, and you can’t trust someone if they keep you at a distance. I’d risk my life for him, but that is my choice. And it’s a fucking selfish one. He’s my best friend, and I don’t want to miss him. I don’t want to miss anyone. So I don’t let anyone else in. I can’t. I saw what it did to my dad, and that’s not happening to me.
He didn’t just love her. He lived for her. She was everything to him, and for nineteen years he was a better man. But when you love someone like that, when they become your only reason and they’re taken away from you, a part of you dies right along with them. And nothing can fill that void.
Not the drink you gave up when you met her.
Not the son you shared.
So, what Tessa and I had worked for me. I gave her what I could, and she gave me all of her and never held back. Maybe it wasn’t the perfect balance, but it was us. She was open and honest, most of the time. And I wanted to be that way with her. So when she asked me if I ever saw myself getting married and having a family someday, I was fucking honest.
No. I didn’t.
Shit, before I met Tessa, I had a different girl practically every night. It was fucking easy to get laid in this town, and not a lot of work ever went in to taking someone home. I could just sit back and let them come to me. But doing that for nine years had taken its toll. No one excited me, or my cock. No one until her.
I had known Ben had a sister, but the thought of meeting her had never crossed my mind. We’d gone through the academy together and he mentioned her occasionally, but I’d never thought twice about her. Until I actually saw her. Then she became all I thought about.
It was at one of our fundraising events at Todd Lakes. Ben didn’t tell me that his sister was coming, so when I’d seen him get out of his truck with the hottest chick I’d ever seen, I’d been jealous and really fucking pissed. My best friend had landed himself a girl that my dick wanted to be introduced to. And when they both came walking over to me, I’d wanted to get the hell out of there. I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from looking at her, and how fucked up would that be?
Even from a distance she was stunning. She was a tiny thing, coming up to Ben’s shoulders, with reddish hair and a tight little body that I could easily throw around a little, which I desperately wanted to do. She had these crazy green eyes that grew more intense the closer she got to me. And they’d been glued to mine, daring me to break the contact I’d been holding. I’d never been looked at like that. Like she knew I wasn’t going to be able to stop. Like she was getting off on my struggle. She’d fucking commanded attention, and I’d given it to her.
And I’d been way the hell turned on.
Then, by some fucking miracle, she’d turned out to be Ben’s sister. I’d almost lunged at her right then. I’d almost pulled her into my arms and crashed my mouth against hers, needing to taste the sweetness I knew was there, but also the bite, because she fucking had it. Instead, I’d held my hand out for her to take and she’d looked down at it, smirked, and walked away with a smile that had made my dick harden.
That, right there, had pulled me in.