Today we have the fantastic new excerpt for Ember Leigh’s Make Me Fall! Check it out and be sure to pre-order your copy today!
There’s one rule in my family.
Stay away from the Daly brothers.
We were raised to know them as users. Manipulators. But I only ever saw Connor as the enigmatic senior hottie who dropped into fifth period to teach us about the perils of drunk driving.
So when my first big girl job out of college ends up with us working at the same company, it’s heart throb city all over again. Except he’s way ahead of the game. Successful, talented, put together. I’m just a frumpy twenty-something in a quarter life crisis who doesn’t know a glue stick from a makeup highlighter.
He would never want me, even though he’s all I ever wanted in secret. So when we cross paths one night at the bar and one drink leads to another, he slaps me with an offer I can’t refuse.
Accompany him back to Bayshore, flight included.
Only stipulation? Pose as his girlfriend.
Our families will flip, but I’m not strong enough to say no to those baby blues, especially if it means I’ll have a chance to spend the next two weeks with my adolescent heart throb.
“Come back to Bayshore with me.” The suggestion flies out of my mouth, aided by alcohol. “I’ll buy your ticket.”
She narrows her eyes with a look that says, come on. “You’re not buying my ticket.”
“Why not? I’ve got the money.”
“But you—” She sputters a little. “We don’t even—”
I lean forward, and my fingers brush her wrist. She clamps her mouth shut, and her gaze falls to her hand.
“We’re Bayshore buddies.” I squeeze her wrist gently, and she bites her bottom lip. “We’re from the same place. We’ve got a bond that nobody else has because of it.”
I’m that level of drunk where I will spew any bullshit necessary to get what I need. And I can tell this homely little lass will eat it up. She’s got eyes the color of a summer sky bordered with periwinkle, and there’s something sharp and hot in her gaze that makes my forearms prickle. I can’t tell if she’s naïve or just one of those conscious virgins.
“A bond, huh?” Her voice is husky in her disbelief, which is warranted. We’ve barely spoken ten words to each other the entire lifetime we’ve known each other. And something in her laugh makes my memory spark. Kinsley. That’s her name. I remember it because Tamara always made fun of her for it. Tamara, my ex. Tamara, Kinsley’s boss.
Tamara had a problem with Kinsley from day one, which is the other perfect dimension to this arrangement.
Tamara will lose her shit if I take Kinsley back to Bayshore with me.
“Kinsley. When’s the last time you went back?” I ask, scooting my chair closer.
She’s nibbling on her bottom lip again. “It’s been a few years…”
“Way too long. Let me treat you. I’m going anyway, and I could use the company on the plane.”
She’s tugging at the damp bits of the napkin beneath her glass. “When would you leave?”
“In a few days.”
She shakes her head. “I can’t take a two-week vacation like that. That requires planning. I—”
“Our company is permissive with personal days. If you can use a few of those and rack up the vacation days on the backend, you’re golden.”
She sighs, drumming her fingers against the bar like she’s really thinking about it. Then she rubs at her face, and lets out a little squeal into her palms. “Okay! This is crazy, but I’ll do it.”
I squeeze her shoulder, but this time I notice the feminine curves beneath her silky shirt. The narrow width of her shoulder blade, which begs for a slouchy shirt or the slipping strap of lingerie. Heat prickles through me, but I know this is the alcohol speaking. Kinsley and I, we don’t run in the same circles. It’s the type of truth that simmers on the backburner, always burbling and true.
Which makes my next proposition even more outrageous, but all the more doable.
“I just wonder if you could do me one small favor.” I try to keep my voice light. Casual, even. Like I’m not about to ask the most absurd thing ever. “I need you to pose as my girlfriend while we’re home.”
Her hesitant blue eyes find mine for a split second. Serious question marks brew there, a witch’s cauldron of confusion. “What?”
“I know it sounds crazy,” I insist. “It would really help me out. My family…they…” Even more important than getting home is proving to my family that I live up to their absurd standards of achievement. Especially my overbearing father and too-successful older brothers.
The only trump card in my euchre hand right now is the fact that I’ll be the one with a girlfriend.
“Why wouldn’t you take your girlfriend?”
I stare at her dumbly for a moment, getting lost in the delicate planes of her face. Freckles splash across her cheeks, and she’s got a sun kissed quality that makes her look younger than she probably is.
“Tamara?” she prompts, when I’ve remained silent too long.
“Oh,” I blurt. “Right. Well, she’s not my girlfriend. That’s why I’m not taking her.” My chest tightens slightly, but not because I miss her. Tamara and I had the Urban Dictionary definition of a toxic relationship.
“But haven’t you guys been together forever?” Kinsley asks.
“We broke up a while ago,” I tell her. And if you count the moment I emotionally disengaged from her, it was even longer.
Kinsley softens. She turns the empty tumbler of RumChata back and forth in her hands. If she goes along with this, I will give her so much more than a plane ticket to see her family. I will construct a shrine in her likeness and kiss its feet on the daily. Because she’s helping me complete the trifecta.
Get back at Tamara, prove to my family I’m better than I actually am, and last but not least, piss off my dad.
Because Kinsley isn’t just any ol’ Bayshore buddy. Oh no. She’s Kinsley Cabana. The daughter of my mom’s ex-best friend and dad’s most hated enemy in the world.
Sure, I want to look good compared to my brothers. But what’s a competition without ruffling some feathers?
Bringing Kinsley home isn’t just going to ruffle them. It’s going to burn them to a crisp.
About the Author
Ember Leigh has been writing erotic romance novels since she was far too young. A native of northern Ohio, she currently resides near Lake Erie with her Argentinean husband, where they run an Argentinian-American food truck. In addition to romance novels, Ember also writes travel memoirs and occasionally updates a couple of blogs. In her free time, she practices Ashtanga yoga, hops around the world, and eats lots of vegetables.