Mandi Beck, Mia Asher & Willow Winters
Who knew sleeping with the enemy could be this fun? Was the one night stand a good idea?
So when the guy behind the bar started giving me THE look…you know, the one that promised I’d be screaming his name into the wee hours of the morning? When that guy also has the perfect amount of scruff on his chiseled chin, biceps bulging out of his t-shirt, and a cocky grin you knew he’d earned in the sack…when he gives you that look, you don’t bother to figure out what your six degrees of separation are. You jump on that horse and ride it!
Pun fully and completely intended. And accurate by the way.
I fully admit to feeling sorry for myself and acting impulsively, but by the time I’d figured out WHO the bartender was, I was already falling for him.
That damn dimple makes another appearance again before he answers. “Nah, he’s cool. It’s dead in here tonight. If anyone comes in, I’ll be sure they get what they need.” His gaze rakes up and down my small frame, and I get the distinct impression that he’s picturing me naked.
Jeez, I hope my nakedness looks amazing in his brain. Given the half-crooked smile on his face, I think it must. I wonder if his imagination is good enough to picture that dimple in my ass that doesn’t ever seem to want to disappear, regardless of how much I weigh.
As if he’s tempted fate with his words, the bell over the door dings and an older gentleman walks in and seats himself at one of the bar tables across the room.
“Be right back.” Cole pats my hand before he rises from his seat.
It was an innocent gesture, but it makes me think dirty things. The heat from his hand seeps up my arm like a bee sting and settles somewhere in my chest.
I watch him walk away and can’t help but notice the way his ass perfectly fills out his jeans. It bunches and flexes as his long strides take him across the bar. Maybe Lennon is right and it has been too long since I’ve been with a man.
It’s then that I realize that Tinder dude still hasn’t shown up. The bar isn’t busy, probably since it’s the middle of the week, and I’ve been chatting—okay, flirting—with Cole and hadn’t realized how much time had passed. I grab my phone from my purse and open the app to see that I have a new message.
Pussylickr69: Not coming. Sorry found someone else who wasn’t so much werk. Fury causes my face to heat as I type out a quick reply that might be, and by that I mean most definitely is, alcohol-fueled. Whiteebanter: Yeah, I can see how thirty minutes of conversation is too much foreplay for you. Fuck you and your lack of knowledge of the English language. You spell work with an ‘o,’ dipshit. There. That’ll show him. With a frown, I drop my phone back into my purse.“Everything okay?” Cole asks as he takes the seat beside me again.
I sigh. “Yeah, I just found out that Pussylicker isn’t coming anymore.”
Cole nearly spits out the sip of drink he’s just taken and has a coughing fit before he fully recovers. “Excuse me?”
“I was waiting for a guy from Tinder to show up, but he just ditched me because apparently it was too much work to have a drink with me before taking me back to his place to bang me.” I spin my glass in place on the bar top.
“You’re trolling for guys on Tinder?” Cole howls with laughter so hard he has to hold his stomach. I love the way the laugh looks on his face—the way it crinkles his eyes at the corners and how it showcases his perfect teeth. But all that aside, it’s irritating.
“It’s not that funny.” This guy might be hot, but right now he’s working my nerves.
“Actually, it is. Why the hell would a woman like you resort to finding someone to fuck on a dating site?”
The way the word ‘fuck’ rolls off his tongue has all my womanly parts contracting and wishing that it was an invitation to do just that. But never mind that, because I’m annoyed at him, I just barely remember through my drunken haze.
“What do you mean a woman like me?” I try to do air quotes around the last part, but my balance isn’t what it was three hours ago, and I almost topple off my stool, so I quickly grab on to the bar in front of me.
“Beautiful. Intelligent. Likable. Smartass.” He ticks each word off on one hand while he speaks and he says it like he means it. I hold his stare for a minute before realization dawns.
“Hey! I’m a B.I.L.F. You know, like a M.I.L.F. Only different.” I’m so impressed that I thought of that given my current state.
Cole chuckles with an amused gleam in his eyes. “Only better,” he says.
Our gazes lock for a beat and it’s at that moment I know that if I offer myself up to this guy, he’ll be more than willing to send me on the walk of shame tomorrow morning. Heat rushes into my cheeks and I look away. As much bravado as I had earlier about my Tinder escapade, I’m not sure I can do this. Be this girl so full of confidence that she bangs a stranger with no qualms about it.
My elation has crash-landed on the ground as I realize I’m not able to pull the trigger and make an advance toward him. I also know I’ll probably regret it forever because this man is so far beyond good-looking that it’s a speck in the rear-view mirror. Not to mention the fact that he’s sexy as hell and seems to be a decent human being. Which is more impossible to find in the Bay area than someone who doesn’t think they’re allergic to gluten.
I take a deep breath and finish the last couple of gulps of my drink and push the glass in Cole’s direction.
Cole tosses back the rest of his drink and I watch as his Adam’s apple bobs in his throat while the liquid slides down.
Damn. That is sexy.
Why is that sexy?
“I’m going to join you for another as well.” He gets up off his bar stool and before walking away he comes to stand directly behind me. “Assuming you want me to stick around?”
His breath washes across my neck and my ear and I close my eyes for a brief moment to enjoy the sensation. “I’d like that,” I say with all honesty.
“Good. I know the first guy let you down, but don’t worry… I’ve been told I lick pussy like a boss.”
And with that, he walks away while I struggle to keep my heart from pounding out of my chest.
I’m out of my league with this guy. I know it and there’s a good chance that he knows it, too.
We aren’t trying to stamp ourselves with a top-secret label. We wanted to write without apology. We wanted to not be pigeon holed into a specific outline. We wanted to give readers a story without them assuming how the story will flow. Everyone has their favorite authors, right? And when you pick up their books, you expect something from them. Whether it’s an alpha male, heavy angst, a happily ever after, there’s something you are absolutely certain the book will contain. Heck, we’re readers, too, we get it.What can we tell you about ourselves? We both have kindle’s full of one-clickable books. We’re both married to husbands who drive us to drink. We’re both chauffeurs to our kids. Most of all, we love hot heroes and quirky heroines that make us laugh, and we hope you do, too.
Signing with Brighthouse Records was supposed to be everything we ever wanted—our better life. Our chance at everything we never had but always wanted. All our dreams would finally come true and we were on top of the world. It was our chance at the happiness we never had in life.
Our every desire was at our fingertips and the power of that feeling was all consuming. But then it took every dream we thought would come true and it slapped us in the face with the cold hard reality.
Dreams were just that…something that floated on the cusp of untouchable, taunting you with every graze of your fingertips before slipping even further away.
Happiness…that feeling is a joke.
In the end it became painfully obvious that each of us would always have each other, but we would forever be alone.
Signing with the record company of our dreams should have been the best thing that ever happened to us.
And it was…for a short while anyway.
While the glitz and glamour of the fame’s promise was shining as bright as our stage lights we could forget where we came from and live in the glory. The money bought us every happiness we ever craved. Those false securities that you think will make your life better. The instant friends, lovers—you name it—would do whatever we asked just to spend a second in our presence.
We had it all.
The only problem was when we had those quiet moments in between the insanity. When we were slapped in the face with the reality that all we really had—all we could count on—was each other.
My brother, Weston, is the only constant I’ve ever had in my life. He’s the person that I know will never let me down and will always be my biggest support. We grew up with parents that hated us. Really…it sounds ridiculous, the notion that parents could hate their children, but ours did … no, do. They made no secret of it when we were younger. And they continue to attempt to pick at our very souls like the vultures that they are.
My earliest memory of them is somewhere around third or fourth grade. That was the year that they seemed hell-bent on reminding us that we had ruined it all for them. Constant screams and verbal lashings.
According to them, they were on the edge of fame and then we came along and it all went down hill. Even now, I still can’t understand how they came up with that logic. How we were to blame for their reckless behavior. The same reckless behavior that, in reality had ruined whatever path they might have traveled. It has nothing to do with us, but to them, we were essentially their bad luck.
When we hit middle school it got worse, but only because they knew that they could leave us for long periods and we wouldn’t die.
Our parents, like us, were born to be stars…or at least they assumed they were and they had no qualms about reminding us that fact daily. Unfortunately for them, they lacked the drive and ambition to never back down until they had everything they ever wanted. The first challenge that was thrown in their path they decided to take the low road full of scavengers and sinners.
Like I said, vultures through and through.
Our dad knocked up mom in the early eighties, when big hair rock bands were all the rage and theirs was seconds away from signing the record deal that would make their careers.
Then they found out about us.
The twins that ruined it all.
And all those long nights performing in whatever local hole they could find, bouncing from town to town just waiting for their big break was washed away.
Mom was no longer the singer that men would lust over. Not when we ruined her body. And our dad was so deep in the bottle I’m not sure he realized he was swimming in it. Again, something that was blamed on us.
When their band fell apart, they decided hating us was almost easier than hating each other. They had a common goal in their blame and right or wrong, to them we would never be anything other than a reminder of why they aren’t living their dream.
Their band mates obviously didn’t share the same bond that Weston and I have with Jamison and Luke. God forbid I ever found myself in a position like my parents had been in, I know my boys would band together and the show would go on.
Because for us, this is it.
This is our future’s promise of a better life and even if for me it’s starting to look like more of a curse than a promise, it’s something that we would die before we gave up.
Unfortunately for me, I’m pretty sure that there are a few people that would love to make that happen.
I’m getting ahead of myself. You’re probably wondering who am I.
I’m no stranger to you. I’m on every magazine cover. You open social media and I guarentee you there is a spondered post about my group. Turn on the radio, boom – there we are.
I’m Wrenlee Davenport, lead singer of Loaded Replay, and I’ve learned the hard way that there is plenty of people in the world that would love to have a piece of me, but they don’t give one shit about the person behind the voice.
They see the persona. The fake me that the record label loves to market as the sexy singer with the body of a sinner and the voice of a saint, but for me—I’m probably always going to be that stupid little girl that believes that my prince charming will come riding in on his black horse—because really, black horses are so much more badass than white ones—and prove to me that every little jaded piece of my heart is worth loving.
And he will love me for me.
Not the Wrenlee that, for more times than I care to admit, has to drink herself stupid just to face this fucking life I’m living.
Yeah… fame and fortune is far from everything I ever dreamed it was.
It’s my own personal hell and I pray that there’s something or someone out there that can prove to me that the world isn’t screwed because the majority of humanity is too busy licking the windows on the outside to see the beauty behind it. All they care about is what’s at face value when what matters is skin deep.
I should feel bad for prince charming. My knight in tarnished armor. Because he’ll have one giant battle on his hands to make me believe that there might be someone left out there that doesn’t just want a piece of me.
Harper is a NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL and USA TODAY bestselling author residing in Georgia with her husband and three daughters. She has a borderline unhealthy obsession with books, hibachi, tattoos and Game of Thrones. When she isn’t writing you can almost always find her with a book in hand.
And I need to walk away.