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Get your next glimpse of THE BAD BOY! Book 25 in The Friessens series is on the way, but you can preview Chapter 3 now!
As the youngest brother, Mark Friessen refuses to answer to anyone. He’s been called a restless bad boy because responsibility for his father’s ranch has never rested on his shoulders, even though he loves everything about the life of a cowboy. Working with the horses and the land, being in charge, and doing all the hard work on the ranch has always settled his restless nature—that is, until a rodeo queen broke his heart by running off with his best friend after two-timing him for six long months.
The funny thing about broken hearts is that they make people do things they wouldn’t do if they were thinking clearly, as his mother so succinctly advised him during his ensuing dating spree. This is likely why Mark has now signed up to be a deputy in the next county over, with a badge, a gun, and the kind of power he thought he wanted.
When he pulls young mousy librarian Daria McKenzie over for speeding, she is speechless and furious when she realizes he doesn’t remember who she is. This bad boy has left a trail of broken hearts in his wake—including hers.
THE BAD BOY (The Friessens, Book 25) is available for pre-sale at:
Did you miss your sneak peek of Chapter 2? If so, click here.
His windows were rolled down in the sheriff’s cruiser as he listened to the buzz over the scanner, parked on a side road outside of Mount Vernon, where he was assigned to traffic duty. Of all the jobs, he’d never expected this one, which, as far as he was concerned, was a total waste.
Apparently, this was the lifeblood of the sheriff’s office and the revenue needed to keep it flowing, and the new guy wasn’t needed anywhere but there. It gave him too much time to think about things he didn’t want to be thinking about, namely Cindy.
What was it about her? He still couldn’t get her out of his mind. It wasn’t as if she was a supermodel; she was short, with a slight overbite and a plump butt he loved to sink his hands into. He still wanted her, considering thinking about her climbing onto him and slipping around him and riding him was making him damn uncomfortable.
There was just something about her that excited him in a way that wasn’t rational. She was a sexual dynamo, so much like a drug to his body, his mind, that he craved everything about her. Not one woman he’d taken out and slept with had excited him the way Cindy could.
His radar beeped, and he jumped, seeing the flash of a green Sunfire whip past. He started his car and pulled out, flooring it, flicking on his sirens as he chased it down, putting everything he could into pulling over the speeding dirtbag.
This was the only thrill he had in one of the most boring tasks. The car signaled, slowed, and pulled over, and he parked behind it, boxing it in. Then he called in to dispatch, radioing the license plate number.
He stepped out of his car, the lights still flashing but the siren now silent, and took in the idling Sunfire, taking his time to notice anything that seemed off. A glance in the back told him there was just the one driver.
He stopped at the window and tapped on the glass as he took in the woman behind the wheel, seeing no one else. She rolled her window down, revealing shoulder-length brown hair, dark-rimmed glasses, and full pink lips.
“Any idea how fast you were going there, ma’am?” He looked down into the back seat, the passenger side, noting a black purse on the seat but nothing else from where he stood. His hand rested on the top of the car, the other close to the butt of his gun.
“Not a clue. I was speeding, is what you’re going to tell me, right? Well, so be it. Give me the damn ticket. I’m late for work.”
He took in the young woman and the way she stared up at him, her blue eyes lit with a fire that told him she was ready to fight. He wondered if she had any idea that was exactly what she shouldn’t do with a cop.
He pulled his shades down a bit and stared over the rims at her, a motion he knew intimidated many. She just glared back with all the annoyance it appeared she could muster.
“Okay, you want to play it this way? License and registration,” he snapped, and he watched the hesitation and then the shake of her head, the huff of annoyance under her breath. Seriously, this lady was pushing her luck. She reached into the glovebox for her registration and then into her wallet for her license and handed them to him. He took in the name Daria McKenzie.
“Do you mind stepping out of the car?” he snapped and stepped back, taking in her shock.
“Are you serious? Wow, you really are a piece of work,” she said.
What the hell? He stepped back as she got out of the car, taking in the long legs, the skirt that stopped at her knees, and the high collar of her sleeveless shirt, ultra conservative. She was maybe five foot five, cute, slender.
“Come on, miss. I have no time for this attitude of yours, and right now I have you at thirty over the limit, which is bordering on careless driving. You want to tell me why you were in such a hurry?”
“Miss? So that’s what I’m reduced to, seriously? Guess I should have known, but never expected you were a cop. So you have me on speeding, careless driving? I think not.” She was direct, and he sensed the challenge. She didn’t pull that gaze from him, and for a second he had a feeling she knew him. All he could do was stare and wonder how he didn’t recognize her.
“I’m confused. Have we met?” he said.
This time, she couldn’t hide the shock, which had her leaning in and stiffening her hands at her sides. She shook her head with an angry toss, the same one he’d seen both his sisters-in-law pull on his brothers. There was just something about an angry woman. He could always tell when one had something on her mind.
“You seriously don’t remember? Guess I should’ve known, considering you called me honey the whole time. Stupid me, I thought it was a nickname or some term of endearment. I figured it was just something you liked to call a woman. Evidently, remembering my name wasn’t important.” She pulled her arms across her chest and actually rolled her eyes, and for a second, he felt his chest tighten as he tried to place her.
“I can tell by the look on your face that you’re still trying to figure out where you know me from, and it’s not coming to you,” she said. “It’s eluding you, that mystery. You know what? I should be hurt, but frankly, I’m kind of pissed off to know I’m so…forgettable.”
He didn’t know what to say, and he took in this woman, racking his brain, willing some memory to return, some hint, before he jammed his other foot in his mouth. She must have known, as she lifted her brows as if expecting him to say something.
“Uh…” he started.
She lifted the flat of her hand to stop him. “Seriously, save your dignity. You don’t remember me, and for me, it should be a crushing blow, but thankfully, I like myself enough that I refuse to let it bring me down. Yes, Mark Friessen, you’re all that, hot stuff, eye candy…” She actually flitted her hand in the air, gesturing his way as if making some point. “But that’s all you are. Should’ve known, with how the night started out. Not even dinner, just freebie happy-hour appies, because you weren’t trying to impress me. You had a couple wings, downed a beer, talked nonstop about yourself. Let me remind you, you were the one who came over to where I was, minding my own business, having a glass of wine. Of course, I realize the interest was all one-sided. Can’t figure out why you bothered. It was just about a one-night stand, just S-E-X…” She actually spelled it out.
He wondered if his face paled. Not good. Why couldn’t he remember who she was? He needed a clue. The bar had to be the Horned Toad, which was pretty much the only one he frequented for a pint, free appies, and women—but he didn’t think he’d picked up that many.
“Well, this is awkward,” he said. “I see that you’re angry over it. I guess I should apologize, then, for…”
She lifted her hand again and actually shut her eyes. He wasn’t sure whether the sound she made was a laugh or a snort, but he was sure it signified disgust, anger. He knew well when a woman didn’t want to hear his excuses or what he had to say, so he shut up. He’d seen his mom and his two sisters-in-law often enough with Danny, Chris, and his dad.
“Hey, no biggie,” she said. “You picked me up against my better judgement, which was prodding me to tell you to get lost. I thought you were cute and ignored the warning that you might be just man candy, nothing with any substance. We had a few drinks, you said all the right things, and you talked me into driving out to Millers Landing, by the pond, even though we’d just met. Then you kissed me and talked me into the back seat of your Mustang, and then it was over. Wham, bam, so fast. It became clear you didn’t care about satisfying me. It was all about you and your needs.
“Then you drove me back, dropped me off, didn’t even have the courtesy to get out of your car and walk me to mine. You stayed behind the wheel with a ‘See ya, honey,’ not even a kiss, then drove away before I could even get behind the wheel. So the fact that you’re now pulling me over and can’t remember who I am is pathetic, really, for you.”
He squeezed the license and registration and handed them back to her. For a second, all she did was stare up at him and then the papers. Then she reached out and took them back.
“I’m sorry,” he said, knowing it likely didn’t come close to making right what he’d done, as he vaguely remembered now, even though her face at the time had blended into all the other faceless women he’d screwed in a desperate need to get Cindy out of him. Only now did he have the first inkling that maybe what he’d done wasn’t okay. No, it definitely wasn’t okay.
“So, my ticket?” she prodded.
He just shook his head and lifted his hands. “I’ll let you off with a warning, Daria. And again, you aren’t forgettable.” He was about to flash her a smile, but the way she stared up at him told him to go to hell, and he realized she’d likely help him there if he was having trouble finding the way.
“Please spare me that sweet-talk bullshit. I’ve already had the experience with you, and it wasn’t anything memorable. Just so you know, all you have going on wasn’t as great as I expected. So thank you for letting me off with a warning, but at the same time, it definitely wasn’t a pleasure. Now can I go and get back in my car? Because I’m late for work.”
He didn’t miss the unveiled anger in her tone, the spirit, the fight, the fact that she’d just said Fuck you without actually saying the words. So what did he do but reach for her license and registration and rip them from her hands?
“On second thought, let me go write your ticket up. Now, don’t go anywhere,” he said as he leaned in. He knew he should just let her go, and the shock on her face reminded him that this one-upmanship wasn’t a flattering side of him, considering what he’d done.
He walked back to his cruiser and slid inside, taking in this woman, one of many with whom he’d had a one-night stand. She turned to her car, her hands fisted, and she swore before kicking her tire.
Yeah, she was pissed, hot under the collar, and not what he’d expected. How in the world had he ever forgotten Daria McKenzie?
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