Chloe Grey loves her job at Fierce Engineering. She likes being single because she isn’t one for compromising. The last thing she expects is that her bosses would try to set her up but once she is onto them and with whom, she takes matters into her own hands and offers a proposition to the sexy contractor.

Royce Kennedy is determined to follow in his father’s footsteps and take over the family construction business. He didn’t think he’d have the same nasty luck with women that his father did though. Well, at least he has his career since that is the only thing he has time for. Which is why Chloe’s idea is so tempting…until he wants to change the rules.

Back To Me…Prologue


“Go get it,” Cooper Winslow said to his dog, Winston. The rescue mutt took off in the fenced-in yard to get the ball that was just tossed.

When Winston returned and dropped the wet mangled ball at his feet, Cooper picked it up and tossed it again, watching the dog race to the back to retrieve it.

He could stand out here all day playing fetch with his dog.

His best friend. 

If he could have more pets, he’d fill this house with anything he could save.

But at fifteen, he didn’t have much of a say other than the one dog that slept on his bed and kept him company. The only dog he’d ever been allowed to have.

“Good boy,” he said to Winston, squatting down and rubbing the dog behind the ears. When Winston flopped over, he did the same for the exposed belly.

At three now, Winston had joined the household over two years ago. Shortly after Cooper’s mother was gone from his life.

A horrible time back then for a teenager that was close to his mother. His father and he had grieved like a loving family did when someone was ripped from their lives so tragically. 

He wondered if he’d ever get closure from it all. A hurricane in south Florida where his mother had been staying overnight because of a delayed flight. Her job as a flight attendant always made him nervous, but she loved it. She got to travel all the time, though it’s not like she went sightseeing in most of those places. Just rode the plane there and back a few times a week.

The last time she didn’t come back. 

The hurricane hit. The hotel she and the crew were staying in destroyed, her body never found with plenty of others. 

Life had to move on though. It’s just he didn’t want it to. 

His father struggled the same as him but adjusted better in the past year. 

Cooper picked the ball up and tossed it again, Winston taking off running. His grief and what he went through were the only reasons he’d been able to get this dog. He knew that. He’d been asking for a pet for years and was always told no.

Or more like he’d been told he could get a cat. A bird. A fish. Frog. Anything that was easier than having to let a dog out all the time or handling one that barked. 

He’d never been one to shy away from something hard and was determined to go after a dog and give it a loving home.

He had all this love to give and was just waiting for the right time to hand it out. It seemed his father didn’t have to wait as long.

No, he was going to let it go. It wasn’t his life. They’d all been through enough.

Winston came running back with the ball in his mouth, dropped it at his feet, then took off for the edge of the yard, put his big paws on the fence and started to bark. Winston didn’t bark much, so Cooper looked and saw a stranger across the street watching him playing with his dog.

He couldn’t see the woman’s face, but she was definitely watching them.

“Quiet, Winston,” he said, tugging on his dog’s collar to get him to stop. “Sit and be good.”

Winston didn’t sit and he wasn’t being good. The woman started to walk closer. His jaw dropped, his eyes might have popped out of his head and he knew they were filled with tears.

“Mom?” he asked. It couldn’t be. It had to be a ghost.

But it wasn’t. His mother was standing in front of him with a baseball hat on her head, one eye seemed to be more closed than he remembered with a faint scar on the side of her face.

“Hi, Cooper.”

“How can it be?” he asked, wishing the gate was right where he was standing and he could hug her. His hand reached out and touched hers.

“It’s a long story,” she said.

“Cooper. Who are you talking to?”

He turned to see his stepmother, Hannah, standing in the doorway of the back porch and all he could think was, “Oh shit.”

Back To Me

Cooper Winslow experienced a devastating childhood event that changed his life forever. He tried to move on the best he could but when he met who he thought would be the love of his life and she didn’t see him much more than a friend, he found it wasn’t as easy as he thought. Years later, he’s conceded he’ll never see her again and yet fate brings them back together. This time he’s going to make sure she knows how he really feels.

Morgan Finley focused more on her career than her personal life. Some of it had to do with trying to keep up with her siblings, the other was she just knew what she wanted out of life. As time goes on, she realizes that career wasn’t what she thought it was and picks up her life to start over when an old college friend offers her a job. Being around him so much now, she sees something that she couldn’t believe she missed before. Now she has to figure out how to hold onto it when doubts creep into her mind.

A Vacationer For Violet…Chapter One

If you haven’t read the Prologue yet, check it out

Chapter One

Good For Business 

Twenty-Five Years Later

“Can I help you?”

Trace Mancini looked at the woman waiting on him in the flower shop and he asked himself for the tenth time what he was doing here and how he got talked into this.

“I’m looking for some plants,” he said. Sure, he liked plants and all, but he’d only be in Mystic for less than a month at this point. The half a week he’d been here so far, he’d spent unpacking, getting food and figuring out the area.

“What kind of plants?” the woman asked. She had dark hair and eyes. Her skin was the same shade as his, as if she tanned easily and, though it was December, the tan hadn’t left her completely.

“Good question,” he said. He had to think of something fast. He’d always been good on his feet. “Something easy. I’m here for about a month on vacation. I like having some nature around me. Maybe something I can leave in the house for the people I’m renting from.”

“A month, you say,” she said. “Wow. I don’t know what I’d do for a month-long vacation, but good for you.”

No reason to tell her it was a working vacation. He planned on exploring the area and basing his next book here. He’d been lucky enough to find a house a block from the water but with a nice view from a second-story window that he was using as his office.

Being two blocks from Main Street helped too and he found he liked walking around this small quaint town. Sitting too long wasn’t good for his back and being able to move outside in the fresh air was always more preferable for him.

“What about these succulents over here?” he asked. They were beautifully potted gardens. Different shapes and colors. He knew they’d be easy to care for. He’d probably only have to water it once or twice while he was in town.

“That’s a good choice,” she said. “We grow most things locally.”

“Really?” he asked. “Here in the building? You do it?”

“No,” she said, smiling. “I manage the flower shop and put bouquets and orders together. The growing is all done at the greenhouses off site by Jasmine. All the succulents you see here have been propagated from plants Blossoms has owned for years and years.”

“That’s interesting,” he said. “Gives it some history.” He looked around at the different plants on the shelves. There was a ton to choose from. He wouldn’t mind more than one but told himself he could come back again. It’d give him the excuse to get back here. 

“You could say that,” she said. 

“Jasmine, you say?” he said. “Ironic that the person has a flower name.”

She laughed. “Since you’re a vacationer you wouldn’t know that most of us do here.”

He was aware of the names of the owners. Lily, Poppy and Rose. He knew they were all married now and that they’d been orphaned. He also knew Lily married the previous owner of the shop, Carl Blossoms, when she was eighteen. No way he was letting on he knew those things though.

“What’s your name?” he asked. “No, let me guess. Rose?”

“No,” she said. “We do have a Rose here. One of the owners. Along with Lily and Poppy. The Bloom sisters own Blossoms. The store next door too. If you’ve got a special lady at home you might consider going over there to get some lotion or accessories.”

“You’re a good salesperson,” he said. “But no one at home. Sorry.”

“They carry a men’s line too.”

Which of course he knew. “I might have to check that out another day,” he said, picking up the succulent garden he liked the best. He’d walked here so he didn’t want to go too big since he had to carry it back to his place.

“Follow me to the desk and I’ll check you out,” she said.

“You didn’t tell me your name?” he asked.

“I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours,” she said.

There was mischief in her eyes. He couldn’t remember the last time he saw that from a woman and wanted to engage more.

It seemed to him most of the women he spent time with were on the serious end. All but Kate, but that was different.

“Trace,” he said. 

“Violet,” she said back.

“Goes with the shirt you’re wearing,” he said of the purple T-shirt she had on. It had the name Blossoms in the corner. “Do you all have shirts that match the color of your flower name?”

“That would be funny. I might have to bring that up to the owners,” Violet said. “But no. We just have a handful of shirts in different colors. You know, like the flower shop.”

“Got to keep things bright and cheerful,” he said. “Good for business.”

Though the flower shop didn’t seem to be that busy, the phone had been ringing a lot and there was another woman bringing items out through a door in the back he could see. Maybe deliveries. 

The tourist season was done, being a few days into December, but the weather was holding for the moment.

He should have come earlier, but he’d been under deadlines with his other book and this one was going to be the start of a new series. He’d had to pitch it to his agent; then he got the contract faster than he expected.

A month here would be more than enough to get what he needed for the setting. And it was close enough to his home on Staten Island not that far from where he grew up that he could come back again in the future.

He handed over his credit card when Violet was done ringing up his plant.

“You can put it right in the machine,” she said, moving it from behind a plant where he hadn’t seen it. She glanced down at his card. “Trace Mancini. Nice Italian name.”

“Violet is hardly Italian,” he said, not surprised she figured out his nationality. “Now you know my last name. Don’t you think it’s fair to share?”

“Sure,” she said, grinning at him. “It’s Soren. Violet Soren.”

Definitely not Italian even though her coloring indicated otherwise. His old fashioned grandmother might not approve of the name but would have liked her on sight.

All he heard repeatedly when he saw his nonna was that he needed to get himself some nice Italian girl to settle down with.

He finished with the transaction, took his receipt and left a few minutes later to walk the few blocks to his rented house.

When he got in the front door, he brought the plant to his office and set it by the window to give it a lot of light.

He was barely at his computer when his phone buzzed and he looked down to see Kate texting him.

It was like she knew he might have made contact. Not that he felt there was much made.

He read the message asking if he had anything to report, and rather than text her back or ignore her for now, he called so that he could get it over with and get to work.

“You’re calling me fast,” Kate said. “That means something. Normally I wait hours to hear from you.”

His best friend since childhood was always busting on his ass. “Some of us work,” he said.

“You play,” Kate said. “You type and research and kill people on paper.”

“No paper around here,” he said.

“You know what I mean,” Kate said. “Well? You’ve been there a few days. Anything?”

“It’s a good thing I love you because no one else would put up with your nagging.”

Kate laughed. “That’s right. Remember that.”

“I just left the flower shop. Bought myself a nice succulent garden. Do I get to bill you for these for expenses?”

“Stop,” Kate said. “You know you love having plants around. But if it makes you feel better, then sure.”

He’d never do that. He didn’t need the money and Kate knew that. 

He didn’t always have as much as he did now, but he was never poor. He was a hard worker like his parents and was proud to say he earned every penny of what he had.

“I’ll send you a picture of it when we are done talking.”

“Enough about the plant,” Kate said, letting out a sigh. “What did you find out at Blossoms?”

“Nothing much,” he said. “I got sick of walking up and down Main Street and trying to figure out a way to go in and see if I could talk to someone.”

“So you used the plant excuse. Did you talk to one of the owners?”

“No,” he said. “An employee. It was better. She was about my age, maybe a little younger. Flirty and funny. We exchanged names.”

“There you go,” Kate said. “Get an inside source.”

“If you say so,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking of it that way.”

“Do you find her pretty?” Kate asked.

“Never mind,” he said.

“Come on,” Kate said. “Maybe you can have a vacation fling while you’re there. I appreciate you doing this for me. It was a big ask, but I didn’t know who else to go to.”

“You could have hired a PI,” he said.

“Why? You did recon or something in the Army. You know how to get facts and research. You needed the break anyway and you know it. Besides, you used to be a PI. It’s kind of what I did.”

Kate wasn’t saying anything that wasn’t true. “Then I guess it worked out for both of us,” he said. 

“You made contact. Got a name. Anything else?”

“No,” he said. “I told you everything I found on the sisters and their life. Everything I could find online. Remember, they are very wealthy right now. All married. The youngest got married two months ago to an attorney. The oldest is married with a kid and Lily’s husband is an ex-Ranger. I know men like him. I’ve worked with them. I have to tread carefully. Then there is Poppy’s husband. He’s part of the McGill family.”

Everyone knew the McGills in New York and Connecticut. It was too big of a name to not in the Northeast.

“I know,” Kate said. “I just want to know what happened. I wish I never found out what I did.”

“You did find out and you can’t let it go until you get answers. I understand. But it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s been close to sixteen years.”

“It doesn’t change anything,” Kate said. “We were Lily’s age back then. All of us teens.”

He didn’t need the reminder.

“And she’s a stranger to us,” he said.

He knew his best friend wanted answers and he hoped to help her, but he wasn’t sure if it was the best thing either.

“Thank you again, Trace. I know this is a big favor.”

“I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think I could help,” he said. “But I can’t make any promises. You might have to hire someone anyway to get the answers you want.”

“But then my family might find out. I can’t hurt them this way if it’s true. More like I can’t deal with any more fights with my mother. There has to be a limit on my communication with her now.”

He knew that too. It was easy for him to do this and no one would think of it. 

“If you find out anything from your next visit with your grandmother, then let me know,” he said.

“It won’t be for a week or so. I’m leaving tomorrow for Paris. That is why I was reaching out today. I’ll be gone about six days.”

“Globetrotting again,” he said.

“Some of us have more exciting lives than others,” Kate said. 

They talked a few more minutes and hung up.

Kate was right. His life was boring. He mumbled to himself all the time when he was home because he was always alone and sometimes just liked to hear his own voice.

That ten minutes with Violet might have been the highlight of his past few months and he realized he wanted to see her again and it had nothing to do with this wild goose chase his best friend put him up to.

A Vacationer For Violet…Prologue


“Vinnie,” a man’s voice said late one night. Violet was sitting at the top of the staircase at the back of her house. She should be in bed sleeping, but sometimes she couldn’t get her body to relax and had gone in search of her mother to lie with her. When she couldn’t find her, she started to walk down the back staircase and heard the men’s voices and stopped.

“Steve,” her father said. “I’m not sure why you are here.”

“Vinnie,” the man named Steve said again. “We go way back. I’ve done business with you and your father for twenty years.”

Her father let out a not so funny laugh. She’d heard it a few times in her life. It was a sound that meant he didn’t find it funny. Even at five years old she could figure it out.

“What business you had with my father isn’t the same business that I’m trying to run,” her father said.

“I just need another thirty days,” Steve said.

“I already gave you thirty. I told you before,” her father said.

“I know,” Steve said. The man’s voice was getting higher. “Bruno paid me a visit this morning. Twenty days. Fifteen? Half the time. I can get the money by then.”

“It’s a lot of money,” her father said. “I know my father floated you all the time.”

“And I came through when I needed to. I can win it back. A line of credit in the casino,” Steve said. “That’s all I need to win it back.”

“Or go into more debt,” her father said. “Men like you are good for business but not if you can’t cover your debts. You owe me outside the casino. I told you I was done with this once you were paid up.”

She wasn’t sure what her father was talking about. She knew he owned a casino in Las Vegas where they lived. Not that she’d ever been there or would be allowed to. But it wasn’t a secret the business her father owned.

“I know, I know,” Steve said. “I can get it all for you. I’m feeling lucky.”

“I’ve heard that before,” her father said. “Your ten percent just jumped to fifteen for those extra fifteen days.”

“That’s steep,” Steve said.

“So is my time with you right now,” her father said.

“I get it,” Steve said. “I’ll take it. How about the line of credit? It’d help me out.”

“Five grand,” her father said. “It has the fifteen percent interest on it too. I expect payment in full in fifteen days.”

Her father’s voice had gotten deeper than normal. Firm too. She’d heard that when she wasn’t supposed to.

“I know. Bruno will come to collect on that day.”

“Not a day later.”

“Maria Violet Sorrentino. What are you doing on the stairs?”

She turned her head and saw her mother moving toward her quickly down the hall. Guess she’d gotten caught. The full name was proof she might get in trouble. “I was looking for you, Ma.”

“You’re not going to find me sitting at the top of the stairs in the dark. You know better than to come to this end of the house at night,” her mother said.

She’d always been told it was off limits and she didn’t know why. The stairs led to her father’s office in the back and then toward the kitchen. 

“But I couldn’t find you,” she argued.

Her mother grabbed her hand.

“Fifteen days,” Steve said. “Heard loud and clear. You’ll get your money.”

Her mother yanked her up and moved her back down the hall to her room. “Why were you looking for me?”

“I couldn’t sleep,” she said.

“And you thought listening to your father was going to help?”

“Well, no. I just wanted you. I thought you might be in the kitchen.”

“I was taking a bath,” her mother said.

“I didn’t look in the bathroom,” she said. She wasn’t sure why. Maybe because it was earlier than she was used to her mother going to bed. She’d gone down the stairs in the front of the house. She walked around to the living room and the room her mother did some crafts in. She couldn’t find her. Not even when she walked by the kitchen.

She’d passed her parents’ bedroom on the way down and had looked in. When she got back to her room she heard a door shut and thought her mother had left and just come back and was going to that end of the house to find out.

Her father’s voice stopped her though. She knew she shouldn’t be there, but she sat down waiting to see if she heard her mother’s voice too.

“Let’s get you back in bed and I’ll read you a story,” her mother said. “Is that why you were looking for me?”

“You can read me a story,” she said. “But I just wanted you to lie down with me.”

“I can do that too,” her mother said. She was tucked in, her mother lying down next to her on the bed, running her hand over her hair. “What’s on your mind, sweetie? Why can’t you sleep?”

“I’m nervous about school starting next week,” she said. “I won’t know anyone.”

Her mother sighed. “That is what you will do though. Learn to meet people and make new friends.”

“Why don’t I have any friends now?” she asked. “No one I can call and play with?”

“It’s complicated,” her mother said. “You have friends though.”

“Cousins,” she said. “And kids that come with your friends. But never any of my own.”

She couldn’t figure that out. She went to a Pre-k and met lots of kids, but they were never allowed to come over. Or some of the kids’ parents didn’t want her playing together with their children either.

No one ever told her why.

“You’ll get some now. You’ll like this school. I know you will.”

She’d been told she was going to a private school. A driver would bring her back and forth daily. She hoped it was fun, as she wanted to meet more people.

“Why do I have to start going by Violet and not Maria though?” she asked. 

“I thought you liked the name Violet more,” her mother said.

“I do.”

“Isn’t that a good enough reason?” her mother asked.

“I guess. But you said my last name is going to be spelled differently too. Why?”

“It’s shorter,” her mother said. “For now it’s just better if people don’t know who your father is. Someday it will all make sense. I promise. Maybe in the future it will be different. That is what we are aiming for.”

She didn’t understand any of this, but as long as they didn’t send her away for good, she’d just have to accept it. At five she understood that she didn’t have a lot of choices in her life, but she just didn’t know why.

A Vacationer For Violet

Violet Soren’s parents made the ultimate sacrifice to protect their only child. When she was younger, Violet had no choice in those decisions. Now as an adult, she’s spent so much of her time as someone else, she doesn’t know who she is anymore and wonders if that is what is holding her back from finding love. Until a vacationer comes into town and she realizes it’s time to figure it all out and put herself first.

Trace Mancini is finally doing what he wants in life. Not for anyone else and only for what he’s dreamed of. He isn’t in Mystic for the reason he’s given though. Not the full reason. But the closer he gets to Violet, he realizes that to earn her trust he may have to betray his best friend in the process.

Family Bonds- Roark & Chelsea… Prologue


“What’s going on in your life, Roark?” his cousin Hudson Mills asked him. Hudson’s twin, Carson, was at the table too at McKay’s for drinks and dinner. Roark was on the island for the weekend because he just needed to get the hell out of Boston before he cracked. Not that he’d ever let people see him do that. “It’s got to be more exciting than Carson’s life on the island.”

Roark grinned. “Same old same old. Work is crazy busy and continues to be. The lawsuits are piling up now from the building issues that Sam’s firm tried to cover up. I joked she was good for the family in more ways than one.”

Just one more lawsuit dropped on his desk. As a defense attorney, he’d always been more out for justice than money, but with his family ties and career, the money was flowing faster than the justice. He’d never complained before, but there were only so many hours in a day.

“Everyone seems to be hitting gold lately,” Carson said. “My twin included.” Carson was referring to their cousin Bode and his fiancée, Sam—that engagement was just a few weeks ago on New Year’s Eve. Hudson was seriously dating Delaney. Here he and Carson were single and saying they loved it. 

Roark did to a point. Until he went home at night and had nothing and no one other than work. Then he was wishing he weren’t so single.

“I have,” Hudson agreed. “You keep talking about women so much and going back to Delaney, I’m starting to think you’re jealous.”

“Nah,” Carson said. “I can get any woman I want. I could take one home tonight if I wanted to and I’ve got my own place to brag about.”

Roark grinned. “Have you even set it up yet or are you living out of the boxes?” Since he had to get out of town, he’d offered to do the house closing for Carson yesterday, then helped him move out of Hudson’s house. Rather than sit by himself at his parents’ all weekend, drinks with his cousins sounded like the best invite he’d had in months.

“He’s living out of boxes. He’s not as organized as I am,” Hudson said.

“My bed is set up, the furniture is in place and the TV mounted. Some of my clothes are put away.”

“The ones that were already on hangers and in the drawers of your dresser when we moved it,” Hudson said, laughing.

“That still counts,” Carson said. “I’ve got a lot of other things to do with everything you guys bought me for the new house. Which I appreciate.”

“We knew you would,” Hudson said.

For now Roark enjoyed sitting here and watching the twins banter back and forth while he let his brain relax. It was hard to be the funny laid back one on the outside but stone cold on the inside to get the results he needed for his job. If only he could disconnect half the time.

“Who are you waving to at the bar?” Hudson asked Carson.

Roark turned his head with Hudson to see.

“Sidney is working. I didn’t think she worked nights anymore,” Carson said.

Mac Bond, the chief of police, had married Sidney who’d worked as a bartender here since she moved to the island a few years ago. Looked like Mac was keeping his wife company as he sat at the end of the bar. Another one in the family settled and happy.

“Who knows?” Hudson said. “But Mac will be there all night so you better behave.”

“Got the chief of police in the bar and a defense attorney at my table,” Carson said. “I’m good as gold.”

“I’m not bailing your ass out of anything,” Roark said, grinning. Though he totally would because that was what family did. The Bond family, they stuck together.

A few minutes later their nachos came out and they started to pick at them while they chatted about anything other than women.

Until the waitress came over and said, “There is a table over there that would like to buy you guys some drinks.”

The three of them turned to see the women sitting there. Good-looking women laughing and waving. He and Carson waved back. Hudson nodded his head.

“Sweet,” Carson said. “But how about we buy them one instead? My brother here is taken, but Roark and I aren’t. You can pass that on if you’d like.”

The waitress made her way back to talk to the women, them laughing and nodding their heads and waving back. 

Their burgers were brought out shortly after, and they each got another beer. This was going to go down smooth and he wondered what his life had turned into that a burger and beer were the highlight of his past year.

Mac made his way over and pulled out a chair with his beer and sat. “You boys behaving tonight?”

“We are,” Hudson said. “Or I am. Not so sure about these two. Eat with us.”

“My meal is on the way out. Sidney told me to get lost. I hover too much,” Mac said.

“Congrats on the baby,” Hudson said. “We heard the news but haven’t had a chance to see you.”

“Thanks,” Mac said. “Scary as fuck right now, but Sidney seems to be taking it in stride.” Not just married but a kid on the way. Again, Roark told himself he was good single and coming and going as he liked, but was he really when he felt jealousy over talking about Mac’s future child?

“How is she feeling?” Hudson asked. “She looks good.”

“Feeling fine,” Mac said. “Said she doesn’t even feel like she’s pregnant. I might be going nuts if I had to see her sick daily.”

Carson grinned. “We know Hunter did with Kayla the first time when she was pregnant with Ben. Now he’s used to it. Sidney is tough.”

Hunter Bond was his first cousin. His boss Hailey’s older brother. They were close growing up and still were, though Hunter lived on the island now while Roark enjoyed his condo in Boston, just visiting the island when he needed to get away or work called him here.

“She is,” Mac said. “At least I know I’m not the only one acting like an idiot and will until I’m holding my kid.”

“And then you’ll be even more protective,” Roark said. “We know it.”

Mac frowned, then shifted back when his meal was delivered. “I’m sure,” Mac said. “What are you guys doing out while I babysit my wife?”

Hudson laughed. “Which I’m sure she isn’t enjoying and doesn’t need.”

“Nope,” Mac said. “They were short staffed and she said she’d fill in. She’s been part time days only for months. Once the baby is born though, she’s done here.”

“Her idea?” Roark said, lifting his eyebrow. He figured he should participate a bit more in the conversation since he was normally the more outgoing one. “Or protective hubby not wanting her here?”

 “Hers,” Mac said. “Thank God. I didn’t want to be the ass to bring it up and it saved me from suggesting it.”

Roark sat there listening to the conversation and replying when needed, but his eyes were drawn to the table of the women that the drinks were sent to. Lots of looks happening and one blonde was catching his eye. She’d shifted and glanced over plenty too…just looking at him.

Maybe it was more than the burger and beer he needed tonight, trying to remember the last time he’d had a soft woman by his side.

“Go talk to the opposite sex,” Hudson said when the bill came. “I’m heading home to my woman. I’ll have a nice warm body next to me tonight.”

Carson and Roark looked at him and laughed. “Who says we won’t?” Roark said.

Mac had already gone back to Sidney, Hudson out the door, he and Carson picked up their beers and moved to the table of the three women. As they got there, one got up.

“Ladies,” the one said. “Call me to come get you if needed, but have fun. I’m going back home to talk to my husband.”

“Bye, Noreen,” a redhead said. “I’m Cora and this is Chelsea.”

He nodded and put his hand out to the blonde. He was staking the claim there. “Roark,” he said.

“I’m Carson,” his cousin said and sat next to Cora. No reason to give last names. He didn’t when he was out. Nor was he saying what he did for a living and neither would Carson. This was a night of fun and entertainment. 

He lifted his hand and called for more drinks to be delivered and the four of them started to talk. “Visiting the island?” he asked Chelsea.

“Yes. Just here for the weekend. More for work than anything,” she said. “You?”

He wasn’t going to ask what her work was because he didn’t want to give out his information. “Welcome to Amore Island then. I’m here for the weekend too.” He figured there wasn’t anything wrong with saying that.

After his third beer in almost five hours, he realized it was late and Carson was getting cozy with Cora. He and Chelsea had been talking too. Nothing personal. Just things on the island that were interesting. He tried to hold back anything about the history so it didn’t give it away he was from an ancestor or was here often.

When Carson got up with Cora and said they were going back to his place, he looked at Chelsea. She had a big smile on her face and he was thinking she was game for the same. He wasn’t going to ask. He wanted her to offer it up. He wasn’t stupid.

“Do you need a ride somewhere?” he asked. Her friend did say to call her to come pick her up.

“Only if it’s with you,” she said. “Of course you’re probably with your friend, huh?”

Shit. He wasn’t bringing her back to his parents’ house where he was staying. No way. That would raise too many questions. It worked in his favor that she assumed he was staying with Carson. “I’ll get us a hotel if you’re game.”

Definitely would solve a lot of problems…like having no clothes with him or a hotel room of his own.

“You only live once,” she said.

He pulled his phone out and decided the casino was easiest. If he went to The Bond Retreat that his grandfather, Uncle Charlie, and cousin Hunter owned, he might be recognized. Nope. Not risking it. 

His other cousin, Eli, owned Bond Casino, but texting Eli privately, he’d get a place discreetly. It wouldn’t be the first time that happened.

After five minutes, he said, “We are set.”

“That was fast,” she said, standing up.

“Got lucky,” he said. 

“Guess we are both going to tonight.” She was grinning, her long blonde hair halfway down her back, and he realized she was tall for a woman. Only about six inches shorter than his six foot three. He liked women with long legs. Ones that could wrap around him in a night of passion.

He drove them to the casino, parked and walked in. When he got to the front desk, he said, “Roark.” She wouldn’t know if that was his first or last name. No way he was giving his last. 

The minute they were behind the closed door of their room, he reached forward and yanked her close to his body, their hands grasping and pulling off articles of clothing faster than he’d ever seen happen before.

He wasn’t sure which one of them was more eager and he wasn’t going to question it either.

The next morning, he woke up first. He never slept much and wished that wasn’t the case, but his mind was always racing.

This time it had more to do with the sexy woman that was sleeping next to him and gave him exactly what he needed last night. Maybe over breakfast he could find out more about her. There was something that was pulling at him and he wasn’t ready to let go.

He threw the covers back and quietly made his way to the shower.

When he came out ten minutes later she was gone. Not one sign of her having been here other than a few loose strands of her hair on the pillow.

Guess it wasn’t meant to be and he tried not to be disappointed once again.

Family Bonds- Roark & Chelsea

Roark French has put his career first for years. Ever since he got his heart broken by his first love he’s only focused on the law. He always said he’d try to find someone again, yet he couldn’t bring himself to. Work was kicking his butt so he decided to go to the family home on Amore Island for the weekend to take a break. The last thing he expected was to not be able to get his one night stand out of his head and he has no way of finding her…until fate is working in his favor. He wasn’t letting her go this time!

Chelsea Faison knows what it’s like to reinvent herself. When she discovers her younger sister is going through the same things she did, she steps in to take over for her mother. She is starting life over on Amore Island with a teenager in tow. A place she visited when she needed a break and did something she’s never done before. A one night stand. The last thing she expects is to find out that the hot guy who made her forget the drama in her life for a night not only works for the same firm as her but is her boss’s first cousin.

Fierce-Jonah…Chapter One

Check out the PROLOGUE first

Chapter One

Work On Your Delivery

Seven Years Later

“Holy crap,” Megan Harrington said. She’d just walked into the backyard of Ryder Fierce’s house for a Jack and Jill party for Cody McMillan and Raina Davenport’s wedding next month. She loved Raina and considered her her best friend and couldn’t wait to be in their wedding.

This was the first Fierce party she’d been to and Ryder and his wife, Marissa, being the best man and matron of honor in the wedding, were hosting it.

She’d be meeting the rest of the wedding party too, which included Raina’s brothers, Jonah—whom she’d be paired up with—and Trent Davenport and Tori Miller, a college friend of Raina’s. Those two would be paired up too.

“Problem?” she heard and turned to see Raina standing there and then reaching in to give her a hug. Raina had been so quiet when they first met working at Fierce Engineering a few years ago, but now she’d come out of her shell. More so once she started to date Cody.

A match set up by Grant, Garrett, Diane and Carolyn Fierce. Those two couples sure did have the magic touch when it came to finding mates for their family. And since Cody was Grant’s daughter-in-law’s brother, they felt he was family.

They also thought some of their employees fell into that category too, which was how Raina popped into their head for that match.

“Is that your brother? I knew he was big, but I didn’t think he was that big.”

Jonah Davenport owned a gym and was a personal trainer or something. He was a big guy in both size and personality, but she hadn’t expected to see the man that was almost as tall as Grant and Garrett at six foot four and bigger than anyone else here. 

“Yeah, that’s Jonah,” Raina said, “standing next to Trent.”

Raina’s other brother was an inch or so shorter than Jonah and, though he looked to be in great shape too, he appeared small next to his brother. Everyone looked small in comparison.

Good Lord, she’d bet Jonah had a foot and a hundred pounds on her. They were going to look funny next to each other in the wedding party.

“You’ve said before his bark is worse than his bite,” she said, laughing.

“It is. I won’t say he’s a teddy bear, but don’t let his looks bother you. We know you can handle anything. Just crack a few jokes like you normally do. He’ll smile and you guys will get along fine. I should have made sure you were introduced before, but life gets in the way and Jonah is always so busy with the gym and all.”

“I’m sure,” Megan said, moving over with Raina to meet the man that she was trying not to drool over. 

Yep, he was big and intimidating, but he was hotter than hell on this summer day, making her wish she could go stand in front of one of the fans that were moving the breeze around on the deck. She should have figured Ryder would have everything here.

She’d never been to his house before. Not to any of the Fierces’ houses. Many employees were invited to a lot of the parties, but not everyone.

At least she knew more than half the people here today.

“Jonah, this is Megan Harrington. She’s going to be walking with you down the aisle at the wedding. I figured you two would be good paired up together since you’re stuffy and she’s not,” Raina said.

“I’m not stuffy,” Jonah said. “Just because I wanted to punch your fiancé in the face when he hurt you doesn’t make me stuffy.”

Megan lifted her eyebrow when Raina laughed. Even Cody did, having heard a few feet away. “I’d never hurt your sister and you know it,” Cody said.

“Yeah,” Jonah said. “As we know, she was the stubborn one then.”

Cody slipped his arm around Raina. Megan had no idea what this was about and would try to find out later, but it was probably nothing. For all intents, Cody was a gem and brought the best out of Raina.

“It’s nice to meet you,” Megan said. “You’re not going to want to punch me in the face if I upset your sister, are you? I mean there are times at work I annoy her when I want her to walk away from her desk and get lunch with me. That doesn’t count, does it?”

Jonah snorted. “I’d never touch a woman that way. And my sister can take care of herself.”

Just great. She insulted the guy. Raina reached her arm out and pinched her older brother. “Jonah, stop it. Megan was only making a joke and now you’re going to have her feeling bad.”

She looked at Raina and smirked. Jonah did look as if he felt bad about what he’d said. “Sorry. Guess I’m not allowed to joke either.”

Man, this dude was stuffy if he thought that was a joke. “No problem,” Megan said. “You might need to work on your delivery a bit more.”

Raina giggled and was pulled away by Cody. Trent, who had walked away, came back too. “I overheard Raina introduce you and you giving Jonah crap. Good. Someone needs to. I’m Trent.”

She shook hands with Raina’s other brother. She knew he was a few years older than Raina, but a few years younger than Jonah. She was guessing she and Trent might be the same age or a year apart, as she was older than Raina too.

At twenty-eight, Megan had to hear her mother reminding her multiple times monthly that her sisters were both married and had kids when they were her age. Here she was not able to even find a guy she could stand being around for more than a few months.

Or maybe it was the men she was dating. Ones that her older parents thought were perfect and she felt were boring.

“I’ve been told I’m good at giving people crap,” she said, grinning. “Mostly by my parents. Or maybe they said I’m good at giving them fits. That’s it.”

Jonah cracked a grin this time. “We might have that in common.”

“No might about it,” Trent said. “You’re the one that Mom said was going to be the death of her. You just made life so much easier for me. I’m the good kid now.”

“Well then,” she said. “We might have more in common than that, Jonah. I’ve never been the good kid. I’m the oops later in life baby that doesn’t seem to want to conform or do what she is told.”

She wasn’t sure why she said that when she rarely said it to many. Raina knew because they were friends, but not many others knew. It wasn’t something she was proud of. That her parents would never think she was good enough or doing the right things.

She’d even followed her father’s footsteps into accounting hoping he’d be happy. She supposed he was when it came to her career choices though she didn’t get her CPA like he’d wanted. And he sure the heck wasn’t happy about her personal life choices.

“Conforming is for weak people,” Jonah said. “Right, Trent? You’d know a thing or two about that.”

“Ass,” Trent said, shaking his head and walking away.

“That wasn’t very nice,” she said.

“I’ve been told I’m not a nice guy,” he said. “But in this case it was just me getting even for his crack. He gets told worse things than that being an attorney. He knows it.”

“We all have to live with our choices in life,” she said.

“You’re not kidding,” he said and she wondered what he meant by that.


“Carolyn,” Diane Fierce said. “Come here.”

She watched as her sister-in-law left Raina’s mother’s side and made her way over. “What’s going on? Do we need to bring out more food? Ryder told us to let the caterers do it all.”

“No, no,” she said. “Not that. Look at Jonah and Megan over there.”

They’d been at the party for a few hours now. She was thrilled that there was another wedding happening next month. They sure did good work. 

“That is interesting,” Carolyn said. “Jami was just telling me she is so happy Raina is settling down and has thanked me again for the helping nudge we had in this. She was hinting toward her boys. What do you think?”

“I don’t know Jonah and Trent all that well,” Diane said. “But I can see with my own eyes and Megan’s eyes have sought Jonah out a few times today when they weren’t together. And they seem to be talking again. Jonah’s eyes doing the same.”

When she’d seen the two of them together when Megan first arrived, her spidey senses saw the fireworks going off and her wheels started to turn.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were thinking that hours ago?” Carolyn asked.

“Sorry,” she said. “I’ve been busy and talking with people.”

“It could work,” Carolyn said. “Megan is such a sweet girl. I can’t believe no one has snatched her up yet. She’s funny and has a great personality. The two of them do make a striking couple too. Should we go corner her and see what is going on?”

“No cornering needed,” she said, lifting her arm and waving Megan over. Her sister-in-law laughed at her. “Hi, Megan. Are you having a good time?”

“I am, Diane. Your son knows how to throw a party. I’m thinking he got that from you.”

“Aren’t you so sweet to say that,” she said. “You’re here alone?”

“I am,” Megan said. “Sad but true. It’s all good. I wanted to get to know Jonah anyway. I’ve got to dance with the guy and since he could squish me if I misstep, or he does, it’s best to make sure our feet are moving in the right direction, don’t you think?”

“Most definitely,” Carolyn said. “He is a big guy. Intimidating too.”

“In a sexy way,” Diane said, lowering her voice and winking.

“He is that,” Megan said. “I’ve gotten a few smiles out of him. Raina said he needs to loosen up. Trent said he was stuffy too.”

“And we know you aren’t that. If anyone could get someone to relax,” Carolyn said, “it’s you.”

“Yep,” Megan said. “Just need to spend the day with him at the wedding and then we can move on. I want to have fun that day and it’d be better if my dance partner did too. Of course, for all I know, he’ll have a date and someone else to dance with. Then I’ll be out there busting a move on my own. Unless you two ladies want to join me.”

Diane laughed. Oh yeah. Megan was perfect for Jonah in her mind. The old opposites attract thing was going to be full force. 

“We’ll be out there with you,” she said. “As for Jonah, I believe he and his brother are single.”

“That is what their mother told me,” Carolyn said. “I think she wants our help. We do good work, you know.”

“I’ve heard and seen it,” Megan said. “Oh, I’m sorry. Raina is waving me over. I need to run.”

“We’ll talk to you again,” she said, then turned to her sister-in-law. “Well?”

“That’s the one we are working on next,” Carolyn said. “Guess we’ll have to fill the guys in later on it. As sad as it is, they see Megan more at work.”

“Yeah. I don’t like this part of it,” she said. “But at least now that Flynn and Julia appear to be moving in the right direction we do need to focus on someone else.”

“Yay us,” Carolyn said. “I’ve got to go hunt down my husband and see if I can get some more information on Megan. I’d try Jade, but she’ll see right through me. Kara actually might be the best bet.”

“I’m going to hit Ryder up. He has the loosest lips. We’ve got this.”



“You’ve got this, Jonah.”

Jonah Davenport looked at his girlfriend while she helped to tape up his ankles in the locker room. Her red hair hanging over her shoulder in big loose curls, her makeup artfully applied, the skintight black dress she was wearing putting her on display for anyone to notice.

Molly Webster was one hot chick that he’d been lucky to land when he met her in the gym over a year ago.

She’d been the one to push him toward MMA fighting when he’d only been training like one, not actually willing to get in the ring to fight. It was more of a hobby to him.

He’d spent years learning various martial arts as a kid and had a few black belts. He’d competed when he was younger and loved it.

As he got older though, he started to develop an interest in boxing. Bodybuilding. All sorts of physical activity.

Though he was a big guy—a really big guy—he’d never been one to get in a ring and pound on a person for the joy of it.

“It’s going to be a rough one,” he said.

He’d been in several matches now in the past nine months, winning all but one, normally by a knockout or tap out. He’d had one loss that went the full rounds and he lost by the judge’s decision. He still felt like a winner to last that long though.

This wasn’t going to be his career, though, no matter how much Molly was pushing for that to happen.

“Jonah, you’re bigger than him,” Molly said, running her hands on his biceps. “You’ve got a longer reach. You’re taller. You can take him and you know it.”

“Rodney is undefeated. I’m not sure I’m ready for this.” 

Rodney Mastermind had been fighting for three years now moving his way up the ranks. He hadn’t lost once and, as good and as fast as Jonah was catching on, he still had his doubts he should have signed on for this match.

But Molly wanted to be his agent and promoter and he’d let her do it because she loved him and said she saw his potential.

“You ready for this, Jonah?”

He looked over at Mike, his trainer. He’d confided in Mike that he was having second thoughts, but like Molly, Mike told him it’d be a hard match but he’d be fine. He had the upper hand.

“As ready as I’m going to be,” he said.

Mike taped up his hands for him and he turned when his mother and father walked into the locker room. At twenty-five, Jonah wasn’t embarrassed they were here. He knew his mother wasn’t happy about this, but they were at every match in his corner, his mother covering her eyes for most of it and then helping nurse his bruises when Molly wasn’t around.

 He knew his mother didn’t care for Molly all that much, but she never said so either.

“John, Jami,” Molly said to his parents. “We’ve got this. You can go get your seats.”

“They are fine,” Jonah said. 

Secretly he wanted to see them anyway. Something about this fight wasn’t sitting well with him.

“It’s not too late to back out,” his father said quietly. As if he knew Jonah was nervous when he never was before. “You’ve got a job and a career. No reason to stress us out over this.”

There was a smile on his father’s face that didn’t reach his eyes. Jonah hated the job he had as a guard at the correctional facility in Durham his father worked at, but his two years of college didn’t give him too many options.

His problem was, he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. He was starting to think it wasn’t this, and when this fight was done, he’d figure it out more, but he’d never been a quitter and wouldn’t be one tonight.

“It’s all good,” he said. “Come give me a kiss for good luck, Mom.”

His mother moved over and kissed his cheek and whispered in his ear, “Go get ’em.”

It was a forced bravado, he knew. 

His parents left, Mike and Molly giving him his normal pep talk, telling him how wonderful he was and how he was going to wipe the floor with Rodney’s spit. 

Ten minutes later he was in the ring, the bell went off and the fighting started. It was a free-for-all of kicks and punches. Dodges and twists, catching of feet and throwing them down. 

He’d landed as many as he’d taken at this point and after the first round he knew this was going to be a brutal match. 

But the more he landed, the better he felt. Until Rodney got him in the jaw and he saw stars. Then before he could get his balance, Rodney’s left foot came up and connected with the side of his head and all Jonah saw was blackness before he hit the mat. 

He should have gone with his gut and backed out of this fight was all he thought the second he saw that foot coming toward his head.