The release of Book 21 in The Friessens series, YOU ARE MY EVERYTHING, is just days away, but today I'm giving you an exclusive peek at Chapter 1!
Up and coming hockey rookie Michael Friessen has everything going for him: a future few could hope for, parents who are his everything… He doesn’t want anything more until one weekend before he secures a spot with the Canucks, when he wakes up with a ring on his finger and the hottest, sexiest blonde sound asleep beside him.
He tries to tell himself it was a mistake, that he isn’t looking for a relationship, and despite everything about her, including the night he’s still trying to remember, he’s determined not to fall for her. But the closer they get, the deeper he falls—until he learns that the night they met may not have been accidental.
All pre-ordered copies will include a special link to a free short story. Michael's story is available for pre-sale today at:
How many times had he told himself it wasn’t a good idea to close down the bar? It was even worse after a game, a win, a night out in a new town, when they just couldn’t resist blowing off steam, or so their coach called it. Except tonight was different, considering it was his twenty-first birthday, and what had he done with his three besties from the team but driven across the border to Vegas?
He’d have smiled and laughed if it didn’t hurt so damn much.
Now here he was, unable to open his eyes past the thumping in his head—not the music from the club, no. Now as he lay there in his misery, it felt more like someone was ramming a hammer, or rather a sledgehammer, into his head. The pounding just wouldn’t quit. He needed water and forced himself to lift a lid even though he felt as if ground-up glass had been scraped over his eyeballs as soon as he took in the bright sun streaming in through a window he didn’t recognize. Right, a hotel room, of course.
White sheets were twisted around him, from what he could barely make out, and he didn’t remember how he’d gotten there. He needed to move, but each muscle protested loudly, and his mouth tasted as if something had recently died in it.
Happy twenty-first birthday, Michael! He groaned and then immediately regretted it, as the pounding in his head was sickening.
Even thinking hurt as he tried to remember how many boilermakers he’d downed. Just thinking of the cheap whiskey with beer had him wanting to retch as he somehow managed to move his hand and then slide his naked ass to the edge of the bed. He shut his eyes and groaned again as he lowered his head to his hands, knowing that he was in deep shit. He still had practice and another game tomorrow, and right now he didn’t know how he’d manage to walk, let alone pull on skates and race down the ice to play the game he loved. Calling in sick wasn’t an option, not when he was on his way to the pros.
He forced himself to stand and squinted at the desert sun, feeling as though the sand was scraping his eyes all the way up where he was, at least twenty stories high. He looked down and took in the strip of Vegas, trying to remember where they had ended up and what hotel this was.
Nope, nothing. Just a haze of…well, what he was sure had been a great time.
“Water,” he mumbled and staggered to the bathroom, where he turned on the tap and stuck his head under to drink what he could, then let the cold water run over his neck, his head, his face. Ah, relief!
He needed aspirin, a ton of it, then maybe coffee. He took in his bloodshot eyes and the five o’clock shadow he sported in the mirror as the water ran from his face. His short dark hair was sticking up, dripping beads of water, and he allowed the fact to sink in that he was now legal everywhere.
He’d have been excited if his head wasn’t about to blow off—but he’d had fun, he thought, from what he could remember. He wiped his hand over his face, swiping away the beads of water, and caught a gleam of gold on his finger. He froze.
Like, what the fuck?
He just stared, and every muscle in his body tightened as he took in the ring. All manner of horror shot through him as he racked his brain, trying to remember what the hell he had done. A joke, a prank—had to be one of the guys, Stu, Kyle, or maybe Nathan. Yeah, Nathan was always pulling something. Geez, he hoped he hadn’t dressed him up like a girl and taken photos while he was passed out, because that was exactly what one of them would do.
He stepped out of the bathroom and took in the bed, then froze again when he saw blond hair, the long blond hair of a woman who was naked and sound asleep on her stomach with the sheet covering her ass.
Like, double what the fuck?
She didn’t move, and he took in the smallish room, for Vegas, seeing his clothes tossed everywhere: a shoe by the door, her bra hanging over a chair. He took a step and kicked a killer red heel, seeing a long slim leg sticking out from under the sheet. Where the hell were his friends? Another room, maybe. Like he could remember.
So he’d picked up a woman and had sex, and there was a ring on his finger. It hurt to think, because all he wanted to do was puke—whether from the fact that he could smell the booze oozing out of his pores or the fact that he couldn’t remember what the hell he had done, he wasn’t sure.
He reached for his pants and stumbled from the dizziness for a minute. After that nearly took him to his knees, he shoved his feet into his favorite blue jeans, which smelled ripe with stale beer, and turned around, feeling suddenly awkward, as if she were awake and sitting up, watching him as he zipped up his fly. This awkward, shy feeling was completely ludicrous, given the scenario.
He made his way over to the bed, taking in the silky black skirt and underwear on the floor, then the face of the blonde. Her mascara was smudged, her full red lips were parted slightly, and she was still sound asleep. So what were his options? Get dressed, slip out…and then what?
He pressed his hands to the mattress and shook, but nothing happened. He did it again, harder, and she stirred and pulled in a breath, then blinked and went to roll over before she spotted Michael staring down at her.
“What time is it?” Her voice was groggy, and she lifted her hand and brushed back her hair. She rolled over, pulling at the sheet and lifting it to cover herself, but not before he caught a glimpse of two perfectly round breasts. If he weren’t so hungover, he might have appreciated the sight. Then he spotted a gold ring on her finger as she sat up and pulled her knees to her chest, maybe feeling some of the awkwardness he felt.
She reached for the clock by the bed. “Shit, it’s after nine! You were supposed to set the alarm.” Then she tossed back the covers, and her bare feet hit the beige carpet, her toenails painted a vibrant red. He stepped back, taking in her gorgeous naked body: fit, slim, and exactly the kind of woman he wanted in his bed. She stepped into her underwear and then her skirt and said something under her breath that he couldn’t quite make out as she hurried across the room and reached for her bra. She pulled it on, and then she was on the floor, on her knees on the other side of the bed, looking for something.
“This may sound totally weird and all,” Michael said, “but I must have drunk an awful lot last night, because I don’t remember coming back here. As gorgeous as you are, we met where…?”
She was holding a deep auburn and black silky tank up over her bra as she sat back on her knees, her deep blue eyes staring at him with horror. Okay, maybe not too cool on his part, implying that he didn’t remember her—but he didn’t.
“I mean, if you could just fill me in, and then this here…” He lifted his hand, and the ring was the same plain gold as hers.
She was still looking at him, wide eyed, when she lifted the tank and pulled it on, then rose to her feet on the other side of the bed. Her long blond hair was a tangled mess as she took in her own hand, her own ring finger. “Well, that’s kind of a problem, then, isn’t it?” she said, and he sensed he’d hit a nerve.
“If I can’t remember, then yeah, it is,” he started, then stopped as she took a step around the bed and reached for a red heel by the door. “So…two rings, a bed, a hotel, and—”
She pulled in a breath and sighed. “I’m your wife.”
I need your help! The McCabe Brothers collection is in serious need of reviews. There is an upcoming major promotion happening April 2 for this collection and I need reviews quickly. If you've read the books in the series already--Don't Stop Me, Don't Catch Me, Don't Run From Me, Don't Hide From Me and Don't Leave Me--could you kindly pop over to the Amazon page here and leave a review? I sincerely appreciate your help, each and every one of you, and the reviews you continue to leave! All the best for a terrific weekend-- Lorhainne
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