We always like to post the first chapter, so you can preview the book before buying. So, here you go!:
“He looks just like Channing Tatum,” Matt whispered to me as he pointed his chin across the bar. I followed his gaze to a guy who stood about six foot tall with short brown hair and a toothpick-thin body that was far from Magic Mike-worthy.
“I don’t see any resemblance.” I was pretty sure the guy in question must have thought he looked like Channing Tatum or some other A-list celebrity. An unattractive amount of confidence just seemed to permeate the air around him.
Matt glanced over at me with wide eyes. “Are you serious? The two of them could almost pass for identical twins.”
“I think you need glasses. The only thing they have in common is that they’re both brunettes.”
“I wish Hannah was here with us right now. She would agree with me.”
“And then I would say you both need to see an eye doctor,” I said with a laugh as I took a sip of my drink and then wrinkled my nose. I’d never been the type to drink fruity shit, but I’d gotten the bright idea to order a Sex on the Beach since we were drinking at a beachside bar. The only reason I was actually forcing myself to drink it was because it had cost me eight freaking bucks.
“I think our vision’s fine, thank you very much.” Matt shot me a sly grin, and then his expression transformed into a serious one. “You know, it’s sort of strange. You used to think every guy who walked into a bar was cute.”
“Not every guy. I do have standards.”
“But I think your standards might make you end up with only a feline companion someday. You’ve gotten to be so picky lately.”
“I guess my tastes have changed.” I shrugged. Adding a playful glare, I said, “But that doesn’t mean I’ll become an old cat lady.”
He smiled sheepishly. “Anyway, what do you think about going to Club 47 while we’re here this week?”
“I don’t know...,” I replied hesitantly.
“Why not? It would be so much fun.”
“I’m just not sure if I’m really in the clubbing mood.” Or in the mood to do anything that would involve being in the same room with a bunch of single, horny guys, for that matter.
“When aren’t you in the mood to get dolled up and go dancing?” He reached over and pressed the back of his hand to my forehead.
I batted his arm away. “I’m not physically sick. I’m just sick of the club scene.”
I expected him to tease me about it more (because when doesn’t he?), but he didn’t. Instead, he flicked his eyes around the room, searching for the guy he’d had his eyes on. He let out a heavy sigh as the Channing Tatum Lookalike made his way over to a blonde girl, who he wrapped his arm around.
“And another one bites the dust.”
“Don’t worry. There are plenty of other fish in the sea,” I assured him.
“Maybe, but not many who you could recreate a Step Up scene with,” he replied sadly. Then a moment later, he perked up. “Move over Channing Tatum Lookalike. Do you see that guy who just walked into the bar? He’s a dead ringer for Orlando Bloom!”
“Okay, I do sort of see it this time,” I admitted, studying the guy’s brown locks. “I think you compare guys to celebrities way too much. And it’s really not a good thing to do. You know why?”
“No.” He shook his head and glanced over at me. “Why?”
“Okay, so let’s just pretend you were to go out with a guy who looked just like Adam Levine, for example. And then that guy turns out to be the biggest douchebag you’ve ever met. You guys end whatever it was you had going on between the two of you, and you end up with a broken heart...” I paused, swallowing hard and gazing off into the distance. “You’d never be able to watch The Voice again or listen to ‘One More Night’ without thinking of said asshole ex-boyfriend.”
“That would be sad,” Matt agreed. “Tragic, really. I love Adam Levine.”
“Then you definitely don’t want to get involved with a guy who looks like him. Trust me.”
He eyed me curiously.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” I asked self-consciously.
“You sound like you’re speaking from personal experience, Teag. Since when were you ever with an Adam Levine lookalike?”
“I wasn’t,” I replied, probably a little too quickly. And technically it was the truth, because the guy I had been with didn’t look like Adam Levine; he looked like an older version of Liam Hemsworth. I can’t even tell you how hard it is to actually focus on watching The Hunger Games when all you can do is think about the fact that you’ve had your heart broken by a guy who looks just like Gale. And that wasn’t the only thing the two of them had in common, either; my Liam Hemsworth Lookalike might as well have just hunted me down and shot an arrow straight through my heart, considering that was the way it felt sometimes, anyway.
“Hmm,” Matt murmured. “Okay, Teag. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for your ex guy friend that doesn’t look anything like Adam Levine.” His eyes glittered with amusement. “The good news for me is that, while I do think he’s one of the most beautiful people in Hollywood, Orlando Bloom has never been one of my favorite actors. I don’t think I could sit through another one of those God awful Pirates of the Caribbean movies again if I tried.”
“Hey, I like those.”
“And you say my taste is bad.” He smirked, motioning to the guy by the bar. “So I have nothing to lose by talking to that guy.”
“Go for it. YOLO.”
He wrinkled his nose. “You know how much I hate that saying, Teag. We all know you only live once.”
“Sorry. I just felt the need to remind you again.” I shrugged. “Lame saying or not, it’s a true statement.” Even though I knew how much he hated it, I couldn’t seem to refrain from using it. It had become my motto lately, ever since the fire that had nearly taken Hannah and her boyfriend Logan’s lives the summer before.
“Yeah, yeah.” Matt glanced around the bar. “Are there any guys here who you might want to talk to? I just feel bad about leaving you here all by yourself.”
“It’s okay. I’m fine here by myself.” I actually preferred it that way. He didn’t know it, but hooking up wasn’t exactly at the top of my list of things to do for our vacation in Summer Haven. I’d made a new rule for myself: no casual hookups with strangers.
Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t that casual hookups weren’t fun, because trust me... I knew firsthand just how fun they could be. It was just that they weren’t for me. Not anymore.
“Are you sure? I feel like such a bad friend.”
“You couldn’t be a bad friend if you tried. Don’t worry about me.” I paused and then added, “Good luck—not that you need it.”
“Pfft. Who are you trying to kid? I need all the luck I can get.” He took a big, nervous gulp of his Cosmo in one last attempt to gain some liquid courage. Then he ran a hand over his sandy blonde hair, which was spiked up with gel in the front, before sauntering off in the direction of the Orlando Bloom lookalike.
My eyes had already moved past him and to the door, though...and when I saw who had just stepped into the bar, Matt and the guy who he’d gone to talk to became the very least of my worries.
My stomach dropped in the same way it would have if I’d just fallen down the world’s tallest roller coaster. I felt a rush of adrenaline, a giddy, school girl-like excitement, and then a wave of nausea as I realized that Weston Daniels was standing across the room from me.
Holy freaking shit.
Wes was not only Logan’s older and much hotter brother, but he was also the Liam Hemsworth Lookalike. Even more importantly, he was the very last person I wanted to see.
He wasn’t supposed to be here. The reason I knew that was because I’d made a point of asking Logan not just once but several times if his brother was going to be in Summer Haven while we were staying at their family’s beach house for the next week, and he’d told me no every time. But he was here. There was no mistaking that mess of brown hair, those beautiful sideburns, or that perfect, muscular body of his.
Damnit. If I had known he was planning to make an appearance, I would have just stayed at home.
When his gaze shifted in my direction, I inhaled sharply and quickly glanced away from him, hoping he hadn’t noticed me staring at him. I was pretty sure it was too late, though. From out of the corner of my eye, I could see that he’d already started in my direction. Shit, shit, shit...
Pushing a strand of hair behind my ear and smoothing out my shirt, I silently began to panic. If I’d known the two of us would come face to face again, I would have chosen a better outfit—something that dipped low enough to reveal more cleavage and high enough to show off more leg, probably. But instead, I’d worn a pair of jeans and a baggy white t-shirt that made me look like a total frump. Sexy, Teag...sexy.
“Hey, you,” I heard his familiar, silky voice say. God damn. Even his voice was sexy.
Every muscle in my body tensed. It wasn’t too late to avoid him, was it? I couldn’t face him; hell, I didn’t even think I could handle looking at him, because I knew that once I did, there would be no going back. As hard as I tried to fight it, though, I couldn’t help it. I glanced up at him and instantly felt the butterflies swarm around in my stomach when his eyes fell on mine.
I’d forgotten just how blue his eyes were; they were a shade that resembled the clearest of blue crystals—a shade that was so light it was almost startling. They were one of the first physical traits that had attracted me to him, along with that fine ass of his. As much as I hated to admit it, I’d always been a sucker for a nice ass.
“H-hey,” I stammered, making an effort to avoid his gaze. If I looked into those eyes again, I knew that I might fall under his spell—assuming that I’d fallen out of it in the first place.
“I didn’t know you were going to be in Summer Haven.”
“Likewise.” I realized how bitchy I must have sounded, but I couldn’t help it. Wes apparently had a way of bringing out that side of me now. But what did he expect?
“How long are you going to be staying in town?” He leaned against the table I was sitting at. His familiar cologne drifted in through my nostrils, forcing me to realize just how close the two of us were.
The funny thing was that being close to him again was what I had wanted for such a long time. Now that he was standing across from me, I wasn’t sure what to say or do. I could barely even collect my own thoughts. All I really wanted was to get away from him.
“I’ll be here for a week. I’m planning to leave on Sunday.” I nervously swirled my straw around the chunks of ice in my drink, watching them spin. I was probably failing miserably at pretending my drink was more interesting than him, but I knew that the less eye contact I made with him, the more likely I would be to form coherent sentences. “How about you?”
“I’ll be leaving on Sunday, too.” Wes motioned to my glass, which was nearly empty. “It looks like you’re going to need a refill soon. Why don’t you let me buy you one?”
Okay, I may have been planning to have one or two more drinks to make up for the grossness of the Sex on the Beach, but...scratch that idea. There was no way in hell I was going to let him buy me a drink. Did he really think I was foolish enough to make the same mistake twice?
“That’s okay. I’m good.” My voice was filled with even more bitterness than I’d intended—so much that it sounded shockingly harsh, even to me.
“Teag...,” he said hesitantly. “I think we should talk.”
What did he want to talk about? The fact that we’d had sex—or did he only consider it fucking?—and he’d completely disappeared from Summer Haven the morning after without so much as even saying goodbye? Of course, I knew I couldn’t say any of that aloud, even though I wanted to.
“There’s nothing for us to talk about.”
Wes’s face fell a little. Before he had a chance to respond, Matt was standing at my side. “Wes! You’re the last person I was expecting to run into tonight! What are you doing here?”
Ugh. Could he have sounded any happier to see the asshole? Then again, at least one of us was genuinely enthusiastic about seeing him, I supposed, considering I sure wasn’t. And it wasn’t like I could really blame Matt. He had no idea what a douchebag Wes was.
“Well, I wasn’t going to come down, but then I figured why the hell should I let you guys have all the fun without me?” Wes laughed. “I have two weeks to kill before I start my new job at the law firm, anyway, so I figured I might as well spend some time down here.”
Oh, that was right. Somehow, it had managed to slip my mind that, beneath his jackass exterior, Wes was actually a smart guy. He’d decided to follow in his father’s footsteps by beginning his career in law before later breaking into politics. I’d always been a firm believer that all politicians were lying sleazebags, so maybe it was a fitting career choice for him.
“Sweet. What type of attorney are you again?” Matt questioned.
“Overachiever,” I muttered under my breath, sparking sideway glances from both of them. Judging from their blank stares, though, I was pretty sure that neither of them had actually heard what I’d said.
When I didn’t repeat myself, Matt said, “Wow, that sounds...intense. I always thought it would be cool to be an environmental lawyer who advocates for animal rights. Sort of like Reese Witherspoon when she played Elle Woods in that second Legally Blonde movie. Do you know which one I mean? It’s the one where all of the Chihuahuas are being tested on.”
“I can’t say that I’ve ever seen that one.” Wes’s eyes darted over in my direction. “I bet you have, haven’t you, Teagan?”
“Actually, I haven’t.” Of course I’d seen the movie, but I wasn’t about to admit that to him. It felt like he was implying that I was the type of girl who spent her time watching every mindless chick flick she could get her hands on. And even though that was sort of the truth, I didn’t want him to know that.
“Hmm. You’re quite the mystery, aren’t you?” Wes murmured, staring straight at me.
I shifted in my seat, feeling my cheeks flush under his gaze. “Not really.”
“Make a believer out of me. Let me buy you a drink.”
Call me crazy, but I could have sworn there was a hopeful look behind his eyes. Not that it was enough to convince me.
“That’s okay. I think we’re actually going to head back to the house. It’s getting really late.” I glanced over at Matt pointedly.
Even though I knew he had no freaking clue why I wanted to leave the bar so abruptly, he didn’t fight me on it. “Yeah, I’m sort of getting tired and, unfortunately, the Orlando Bloom lookalike was really boring. He talked to me for five whole minutes about computers. Don’t get me wrong. I like technology as much as the next guy, because hello...Facebook is probably my favorite pastime. But as much as I need to get laid, I’d rather not try to make that happen with someone who puts me to sleep.”
I forced a laugh, but I knew it came out sounding more like a nervous squeak. Something about talking about getting laid while we were in front of Wes made me feel like I was on a Tilt-A-Whirl: dizzy, nauseous, and like I wanted nothing more than to get off of the ride ASAP. It only solidified the fact that I needed to get out of that bar before I ended up doing something really embarrassing, like puking my Sex on the Beach all over his shoes.
“I guess we’ll see you back at the house, then.” I met Wes’s eyes...and I instantly regretted it. I’d never considered myself to be a weak person by any means, but when he stared at me with those blue eyes of his, I felt weaker than I’d ever felt before. Just knowing that someone could have that sort of effect on me annoyed the hell out of me.
“Yeah, I’ll see you.” A look that I recognized flickered through his eyes. It wasn’t defeat; it was determination. Even though I hadn’t agreed to let him buy me a drink tonight, he was going to keep pushing for more opportunities to talk to me.
Well, I wasn’t about to cave. I was going to stay firm on this. Somehow, while the two of us were staying under the same roof in Summer Haven, I was going to forget the type of hold he had on me and force myself to avoid him like the plague.
A voice in the back of my head reminded me that, sometimes, things are much easier said than done.