I’ve spent the better part of the last few years successfully avoiding my brother’s best friend, Weston Aldrich. As CEO of Andes, Inc, the infuriatingly handsome and incessantly grumpy Weston also happens to be my new boss. It shouldn’t have been hard to continue avoiding him. After all, he’s on the executive floor and I’m one of many copywriters. Weston has his own ideas about how things should go between us. He’s in my emails, leaving notes on my desk, and as if that’s not enough, he arranges for me to accompany him on a business trip. That leads to stolen touches, frenzied kisses, and the undeniable need to work each other out of our systems. That always works, right? Except now that I know what it feels like to have Weston Aldrich appreciate every inch of my abundant curves, avoiding him is impossible. But he’s my brother’s best friend. And a workaholic. We have to stop. And we will. Soon. Just…not yet.
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Julia Wolf writes sexy rockers, broken bad boys, snarky heroines, and bad ass women. She’s a firm believer in happily ever afters, no matter how rocky the road is to get there. Julia lives in Maryland with her husband and three crazy, beautiful children. When she’s not writing romance, she’s reading it. Some of her favorite things are, in no particular order: goats, books, coffee, and Target.
Long before Jay McClintock and Brad Garza were music industry royalty, Jay was an ambitious intern and Brad was an awkward farm boy. But the ladder to the top was anything but smooth and anything but legal. And their relationship? That was anything but HR safe.
Getting ahead in the cut-throat world of the Los Angeles music industry means making some dark deals, and Jay was so eager to make his client (and crush) shine, that he was ready to make them all. As some bold moves have Brad’s popularity taking off into the stratosphere, Jay is digging himself deeper and deeper into the hole. If only he had known that the shovel belonged to the same men who ran his father off the road all those years ago.
Second Chance is the second book in the Fighting Chance series, following Jay McClintock’s career from an unlikely intern to a star writer, Brad Garza’s career from a humble farmer to a musician for the ages, and the trials that brought them together and tore them apart. If either man wants any chance of finding their Happily Ever After, they’ll have to face the past that made them head-on.
“So what’s up, Jay Jay? Did you suddenly get a new idea for my next album?” Brad Garza sat across from me at Roast of the Magi, a trendy new coffee shop off Sunset and Vine. He wore sunglasses over his dark eyes and a ball cap over his short, dark brown hair, hoping he might disguise himself just enough to dissuade the usual onslaught of fans. Though that exquisite voice and Latin charm could hardly be contained by a few well-placed accessories.
“Not quite.” I handed him the manila envelope full of photos. He pulled out the pages one by one, examining each image as though he was auditioning for a lead role as a forensic scientist. Once he reached the last page, he slid the photos back into their envelope and sat back in his chair.
“Where did you get this?” His voice had lost its usual playful luster.
“Someone left it on my doorstep and rang the doorbell. They were gone before I managed to answer.”
“Couldn’t get dressed fast enough, I’d wager.” Brad rolled his eyes. “I can still smell him on you, you know. You couldn’t have at least showered first before coming to see me?”
“This felt too urgent.” I heaved a sigh. Poor judgement on my part. Where was my head? “Whether you approve of my relationship or not is hardly the point right now.”
A smile returned to Brad’s lips, and he relaxed into his chair. “Of course, of course. I guess I can’t be too mad if your first thought was to come see me.” His arrogance never faltered. Though he wasn’t wrong. I’d known Brad for the better part of ten years. The better part of my life after the crash. And just through the better parts of my life. He was a constant who I could always rely on, his support never even wavering in the harshest parts of our breakup. Our relationship might have been over, but our friendship never would be.
Roland was who I wanted, now and in the future, but I didn’t want to include him in my past if I didn’t have to. I would tell him everything once the coast was clear. I knew that was selfish, and he would see it as unfair, but…I would rather be selfish than put him in danger. Though perhaps getting involved with me has already put him in danger.
I shook my head to dismiss the thought and returned my attention to Brad. “‘All debts must one day be paid.’” I recited the final note from memory. “I barely even know what counts as debt anymore. I think we’ve both racked up enough to file for bankruptcy.”
“Bankruptcy…or maybe a really nice pair of coffins.” He chuckled, an inappropriate amount of amusement in his eyes. “You know, our contract is still valid even into the afterlife. Don’t think you’ll get to slack off if this turns sour.”
“I’m not sure which one of us should have gotten a better lawyer.” I laughed. “So what do you think it means?”
Brad stroked his lightly stubbled chin. “I was wondering that. I’m not sure if I’m more unnerved by the pictures of a mob boss with Jonathan, the ones with your dad, or the pictures that include the kid. I kind of expected to see myself in there, but the rest… I guess you weren’t exactly good at staying out of trouble even after you got put in witness protection.”
“I never did find out what kinds of debts my father had wracked up to justify running him off the road all those years ago. The detectives weren’t terribly forthright.”
“Clearly,” Brad said while peeking into the envelope again. “I don’t know what he owed them, but I know what we do.”
“Right.” I frowned.
“Honestly, I haven’t thought about those times in quite a while. Well, not the bad parts anyway.”
“Do you still think about the good parts?” I knew what he was implying, but I admittedly blocked just about all of it out of my mind. The good parts seemed far and in between in hindsight.
“Of course.” Brad shook his head. “You can never forget where you came from.”
You can never forget where you came from? Maybe that’s true, but I could still try.
Whether she’s racing motorcycles faster than a RomCom lead’s beating heart, or scuba diving deeper than the pit of love they fall into, Anni Lee is always down for an adventure. She was born and raised in Los Angeles with four siblings and a single mother, which is probably why she has such a penchant for writing big city love and tenacious (albeit dysfunctional) heroes.
When she’s not typing away behind her laptop, she’s living out of a tent off the back of her motorcycle on her quest to ride around the world. The wilderness is the best place to catch up on reading, after all!
It all started the summer going into my Freshman year.
I became the new neighbor to a pretty blonde with a book in her lap that didn’t want my company.
Laynee Reese was a smart-mouthed, semi-music genius, who captured all my attention, from shoving me mercilessly into the lake outside our cabins to her failed attempts of trying to get me to like Good Charlotte.
We quickly became best friends, writing letters back and forth about everything and nothing. It became a placeholder for me to keep a piece of how I felt about her because every summer it got worse. I was getting jealous and I wanted more than two thousand miles between us and phone calls after nine.
Life has a funny way of fucking shit up, though, and the end result was the devastating loss of the only girl I’ve ever wanted.
Months turned to agonizing years but as fate would have it, she stepped right back into the limelight of my life with a second chance.
One she didn’t want to give me.
Now, she’s my personal assistant and she’s screwed because I’m not messing this up again.
Laynee can be pissed at my sudden disappearance when we were eighteen, the things I’ve done and didn’t do, however, all that doesn’t overcast the hardened fact that I’m still crazy for this girl.
And nothing and no one is going to get in my way this time. Even if I have to destroy every man not worthy of her that comes her way.
Hazel Grace is an avid music lover and hardcore Oakland Raiders fan from the mitten state of Michigan. Her writing goals are “what the f*ck” storylines while enjoying her readers private messaging her to cuss her out.
After his step-father nearly ruins both his family name and business, Damien Fiorenza becomes suspicious of everyone—except for his long-time partner, Ethan Lord. He doesn’t trust people in authority, much less the woman who weasels her way into his walled-up heart alongside his lover of fifteen years.
Ethan dislikes his empathic abilities, especially since they allow him to feel his mother’s indifference towards him, her only son. Damien, however, has always made Ethan feel needed. Appreciated and protected. But, he can’t voice what Ethan is desperate to hear. Falling for their new secretary is unexpected, but she encourages and supports him in ways Damien won’t.
Shaylia Bright’s father chose his secret family over her and her mother. Ever since, she’s striven to be the best she can be, unable to stomach being second best. Although an office romance is taboo, she can’t deny the passionate chemistry among the three of them and finds herself drawn to both her bosses.
Problems from their pasts threaten to block the HEA they’re heading toward. Will Shaylia be able to accept herself as less than perfect, and will Damien lower his defenses? Ethan holds the key to their healing, but can he overcome his own demons before it’s too late?
Lynn Burke is a full time mother, voracious gardener, and scribbler of spicy romance stories. A country bumpkin turned Bay Stater, she enjoys her chowdah and Dunkin Donuts when not trying to escape the reality of city life.
Zoey has had erotic dreams about her boss, Sebastian Montcrief, for the longest time, but doubts he would ever look at her as more than an employee. When his cousin Andrew Montcrief joins Bellmont Enterprises, Zoey and Andrew team up to win her the attention of the elusive Sebastian.’
At the office, I did my work as usual, trying to keep a low profile. I smiled when people walked by, but tried to mind my business otherwise. The women didn’t seem to like me, not since my very first day. I kept to myself. Well, mostly.
Landon Wells was a close friend and colleague, and the only person I really talked to in the office. As a gay man, he had it rough. The other guys in the office either avoided him or made snide remarks about the fact he preferred men. There were definitely grounds for him to file harassment charges against them, but he just let it slide. He always said that there were small minds everywhere, and it was easier to ignore them than to try fighting the whole world. Still, I would have slapped them with a lawsuit. But that’s just me.
My email dinged and I opened a message from Nancy, Sebastian’s secretary. Groaning, I dropped my head in my hands. Great, another meeting. I was still completely embarrassed over the last one. Sebastian had asked me a question repeatedly, but I’d been too busy fantasizing about having sex with him to hear anything he’d said. I’d been mortified when Landon nudged me with a snicker and nodded toward the boss, knowing exactly where my mind had been — in the gutter.
I grabbed my pen and notepad, and headed for the conference room, wishing there was a way I could sit with my back to my boss. It was the only way I wouldn’t fantasize about him; at least I thought I wouldn’t. Then again, Sebastian was yummy enough that I’d probably daydream about him regardless.
When I entered the room, only a few people had made it. Hurrying over to Landon, I claimed the chair next to his. Brett Sawyer sat on my left and leered at me. I rolled my eyes and turned to Landon, planning to ignore the annoying Brett.
“What do you think the meeting’s about?” I asked softly.
Landon shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine.”
I chewed on my lower lip, a little worried. Our stocks had dipped a bit in the last few weeks, and I’d heard rumors of budget cuts. Usually that translated into lay-offs. Not only did I not want to be parted from my delicious boss’s company, but I couldn’t afford to lose my job. My apartment might not be much, but it was mine. No, it wasn’t my living expenses that I couldn’t afford, it was my shopping bills. I had maxed out all of my credit cards, much to my horror. But I was addicted to clothes and shoes. My overstuffed closet bore witness to this fact.
When Sebastian walked in the door, I felt my heart flutter in my chest. No matter how many times I saw him, my body reacted to him on sight, wanting him with an intensity that bordered on being embarrassing. Good thing men weren’t entirely like dogs, otherwise they would have smelled my arousal every time the man came near me.
He smiled broadly at all of us, everyone now gathered around the large table waiting on whatever news he had to impart.
“Good morning. I know you’re probably wondering why I called this meeting and I promise to keep it brief.” He met our eyes, his gaze resting on each of us in turn. Did he linger a little on me, or was that just wishful thinking? “I’ve decided to bring in some fresh blood to help with marketing so my cousin, Andrew Montcrief, will be joining us starting Monday. He’s a likeable guy so I’m sure everyone will get along well with him.”
Brett’s hand slid up the slit of my skirt, and I turned and glared at him. When he just grinned unrepentantly, I smacked him in the arm — hard. It wasn’t the first time he’d tried something like that and I doubted it would be the last. The man couldn’t seem to keep his hands to himself and didn’t understand the word “no” in any language. I’d complained to H.R. a few times, but they hadn’t done anything. So I’d decided to ignore him as much as possible.
“Zoey, is there a problem?” Sebastian asked, one eyebrow arched.
“Um, uh… No.”
“So you were swatting a fly on Mr. Sawyer’s arm?”
“Uh, no… that is, um…”
“I’ll see you in my office after the meeting, Zoey.”
Amidst the snickers at the table, he turned away from me and immediately began speaking again. My face flamed in embarrassment, and I looked beseechingly at Landon. The louse only shrugged and grinned, knowing full well why I’d smacked Brett.
I couldn’t focus for the rest of the meeting and was somewhat surprised when everyone stood to leave. It had ended without me hearing a single thing — not good. Thankfully, it looked like Landon had taken excellent notes so I could just get everything from him later, even if it meant enduring a bit of teasing about my infatuation with the boss.
As I stood, Sebastian motioned for me to follow him to his office. His assistant glared at me as I walked past her desk and into Sebastian’s office. When I heard the door click shut behind me, my shoulders stiffened. While being alone with him might have been my ongoing fantasy, I wasn’t sure I trusted myself. With my luck, I’d assault the man and practically beg him to have sex with me on his desk, the floor, or anywhere else he wanted.
“Zoey, care to explain to me what happened today?”
I swallowed. No, not really. “Well…um…”
“Sometime today, Zoey.”
“Brett tried to stick his hand up my skirt,” I blurted out, inwardly wincing. Subtlety was not my strong suit to be sure.
“I see.” He pursed his lips. His beautiful, full, kissable lips.
I jerked my attention away from his delightful mouth and focused on his eyes. Not much better really, but I had to look somewhere. My gaze started to drop and I forced it to stay on his face. I would not look at his crotch in hopes of seeing how big his cock was, I absolutely… okay, so I peeked.
“Do you want to file a complaint against him?” he asked, and my eyes jerked back up to his face.
“No, that’s not necessary.” I wasn’t about to tell the man I’d already filed several complaints. I somehow doubted he wanted to hear that his H.R. department wasn’t doing an adequate job.
Both eyebrows lifted. “He’s done this sort of thing before?”
I nearly snorted. “Uh, yeah. A few times.” More like a few hundred.
“I’m sorry you’ve been having problems with him. The good news is that he’ll be reporting to Andrew starting Monday, and my cousin won’t tolerate any foolishness. If Brett touches you again, just tell Andrew and he’ll take care of it.”
He gave me a small smile and I thought my legs would buckle. “You can go back to your desk now.”
I nodded again and slowly walked out of the office, thankful my legs would still hold me up. I left the door ajar on my way out.
Sour Grapes, a.k.a. Nancy, glared at me once more. I felt like sticking my tongue out at her, but refrained — barely.