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Lucas Thorn wasn’t born a cheater. All it took was a single moment—say, a certain disastrous incident on the night before his wedding—and boom. Reputation destroyed forever and always. So now he owns it. He has a lady friend for every night of the week (except Sundays—God’s day and all), and his rules are simple: No commitments. No exceptions.
But a certain smart-mouthed, strawberry blonde vixen is about to blow that all to hell.
Avery Black has never forgiven Lucas for cheating on her sister. And suddenly being forced to work with him is pretty much a nightmare on steroids. Of course, it does afford her the opportunity to make his life as difficult as possible. But no good revenge scheme comes without payback. Because he didn’t become the Lucas Thorn without learning a few things about women.
Now Avery’s lust for vengeance has turned into, well, lust. And if Lucas stops cheating, it’s definitely not because he’s falling in love…
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Shaking, I ran my hands through my hair and was about ready to have a nervous breakdown when my phone rang.
“Yeah?” I grabbed my coat and headed out of the restaurant.
“She’s a clinger.” That’s all Thatch had to say before I burst out laughing. “She asked for my phone number.”
“How else is she supposed to have another booty call with the good doctor?” I grinned like a smug bastard, enjoying his panic, and then I warned him to stay away. “You know this is your fault, right? You know that inviting a woman to your apartment usually means that she’ll start envisioning her shit all over the place—and next thing you know, she’s about to have your baby.”
“SHE’S NOT PREGNANT!” He started cursing again. “Look, you know I have commitment issues.”
“No.” I rolled my eyes. “Shocker.”
“Like you should talk, you selfish bastard.” Thatch sighed loudly. “Break up with her for me?”
“Not a chance in hell.”
“Maybe if you had tits, and even then, that just makes shit weird, Thatch.”
I hit the elevator button and waited while Thatch started complaining about why sex can’t just be sex.
“You’re telling me.” I snorted into the phone. “Look, I gotta go. Just remember Austin and Avery are best friends, meaning, you screw her, her friend is most likely going to try to find a way to screw me. Girls go to the bathroom together. If they do the nonserious stuff in teams, you bet your ass they’re going to treat a breakup the same way.”
“That really wasn’t helpful, not at all, Lucas.”
“Or”—I shrugged and hit the button for my floor—“you could just make the sex really, really bad next time, say, finishing in like thirty seconds and screaming ‘Porcupine!’ or something.”
He was quiet, then said, “I can’t decide if that’s genius or stupid.”
“You never know until you try. Think of Christopher Columbus. Everyone thought he was stupid for sailing toward the New World, and look! He proved them wrong. The earth was in fact round, my friend.”
“Did you just compare yourself to someone who discovered an actual continent? Because it seems like you did, and this is after you told me to yell ‘Porcupine!’ when I orgasm.”
“Well, when you repeat it back like that . . .” I grumbled as the elevator doors opened to my floor. “Look, I gotta go. Leave me out of it though.”
“No promises,” he said just as I ended the conversation and greedily searched for Avery.
She wasn’t behind her desk.
Nor was she under it—I had to check because hiding and pouncing was exactly the kind of thing I could imagine her doing, just so she could scare the shit out of me and get it on camera or something. Then again, she wasn’t seventeen anymore, but this was still Avery we were talking about. Ergo, I still looked.
Frowning, I turned around in an effort to casually strut into my office and slammed right into Avery, knocking her backward onto her ass.
Folders went everywhere.
Papers scattered across the floor.
And her wedged heels somehow managed to fall from her feet, though they still dangled around her ankles.
“Are you okay?” I leaned down to grab her hand, but she didn’t take mine.
“Yeah.” Her cheeks reddened. “Sorry, I was just dropping off some files, and then I saw that these were addressed to another department and thought I could drop them off and . . .” Her voice trailed off as she flashed me a worried look, like I was going to fire her any minute.
Instantly feeling like an ass, I grabbed her by the waist and hoisted her into the air. “I’m not going to fire you.”
“Okay,” she huffed, tears welling in her eyes.
“Shit, Avery.” Earlier I’d been taking out my frustration with my family on her. Apparently, the distance and years hadn’t changed this aspect of our relationship, because this was a familiar pattern. I made her feel bad or guilty about something that wasn’t her fault—something she had no control over.
Especially the fact that I was extremely attracted to her—and knew it was wrong then, just like it was wrong now.
About the Author:
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!