Zeke Riley had bad boy written all over him
Curly blond hair that always looked just a little bit mussed and brown eyes that brought to mind hot, melted chocolate.
He was a good time in a pair of butt-hugging jeans that made my mouth water.
He was also a bad bet.
But I couldn"t resist his sexy smile or his sensual words, and I paid for it.
Humiliation in spades.
I planned to never speak to him again.
Until we ended up married.
Maddie Trenton had too many curves to be a single mom.
She had too much sense to take a chance on a guy like me.
But the stars aligned for the second time, and I was determined not to screw it up.
One wrong spell had given me a second chance.
One ill-timed visits blew it all up.
And it was up to me to figure out how to be the kind of man who deserved the love of a good woman.
I just didn"t know if I did.Books by Author:Piper Sullivan Books
"I seriously can"t believe you wanted to come here of all places."
Being inside Zeke"s bar was the last place I wanted to be, but with great reluctance, I slid into the cozy booth. I had nothing against the bar and restaurant, the food was good, but I didn"t want to waste another minute on Zeke Riley.
"Why not" Zeke"s got a new chef and a brand new menu," Vivi insisted with a smug grin that said she knew exactly what she was doing. "Besides, we"re doing our part and supporting a local business."
Vivi was a close friend, and I loved her dearly even though we"d lost touch for a few years, but she wasn"t nearly as slick as she thought she was.
"Bullshit, Vivi." She blinked innocently, but I wasn"t buying it, mostly because she"d spent the past few months trying to not-so-secretly force Zeke and I to talk. "I know what you"re doing and I"m asking, no, I"m telling you to stop it. If you don"t, I swear I"ll find a way to get back at you."
"I just want you to talk to him, Maddie. Is that so wrong""
I nodded and took a long gulp of icy water as soon as the perky waitress set it down. She took our orders"a bacon cheeseburger for Vivi, and a grilled chicken salad for the single mom with too many curves"and as soon as she was gone I turned back to my friend.
"Yes. It"s wrong when I tell you I have nothing to say to him. Nothing, Vivi."
It was bad enough I was here now, eating and spending my hard-earned money in the exact place of my public humiliation. Six months ago, I came in here thinking I would surprise Zeke with a little office picnic and maybe more. But I was the one who got a big surprise in the form of a busty woman leaning over the bar with all of her goods on display, for Zeke"s visual pleasure. Even worse, he"d been enjoying the hell out of it. Which stung, but I still wasn"t ready to give up on him.
Until she leaned in for a kiss"on the mouth"and he didn"t" step back, didn"t do one damn thing to dissuade her. He took it. An intimate kiss on the mouth inside the busiest place in town. He didn"t do jack shit, the same as my piece of crap baby daddy.
"But you won"t even let him explain," she insisted for the thousandth time.
"Because I don"t need to, Vivi. I have eyes, and I know what it looks like when a man kisses another woman, in front of at least half the town. I don"t need an explanation, his actions spoke loud enough, believe me." And there was no explanation on earth that would satisfy me. "You"re meddling Vivi and I"m asking you to stop."
"But, Maddie"" she pleaded.
"No, Vivi. Stop. There won"t be a happy ending for us. Not together anyway. Get used to it." Her insistence was the main reason that I"d turned down at least half a dozen invites from Vivi and Nash over the past few months to spend time at their place. Of course, Zeke was always there too, with his charming smile, and his stupid handsome face. But I could handle ignoring Zeke. What I refused to handle was the constant pressure to let him explain the unexplainable. "Moving on. Tell me about what you"re working on."
"The book is on hold while I make a few adjustments to the script. Which should be easy, but this monster baby inside my belly won"t stop practicing for the World Cup, so it makes it hard to do much of anything but laze around." Even as she complained, Vivi was filled with more happiness than she had been when she first returned to Belle Musique. I couldn"t help but be pleased that she found her happy ending. "You haven"t been around a lot, otherwise you would"ve known."
"I"ve been busy, same as you."
Vivi shook her head, ready to call me out, but the waitress returned with our food. She dug in to her burger with the gusto of a pregnant woman and I ate my salad hesitantly, waiting for her to start in again.
"Busy with what""
"The shop." I"d been working on a few things that I wanted to keep to myself for just a little bit longer, and since Vivi had been less of a friend lately and more of a Zeke-advocate, I felt alright about it.
"Sounds cryptic," she said with a pout, and I just shrugged and chewed my salad with minimal dressing in hopes that some of these extra "curves" would go the hell away.
"Not really, just work stuff." When the time was right, I"d reveal everything. To everyone.
"Don"t be mad at me Maddie, I can"t stand it that you"re upset."
A heavy sigh escaped as I worked to keep my temper in check. "Then maybe you should stop trying to force your will on me."