THE BAD BOY is coming soon, but you can read Chapter 4 today!
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 3? If so, click here.
She stacked the last of the returned books onto the cart after running them through the scanner, listening to the familiar creaks of the library, the oldest building in North Lakewood, which was always packed on Saturdays. It was the kind of day where she didn’t stop, and by five o’clock, her feet were aching and she was ready to head home.
“Daria, can you lock up in about five minutes? I think everyone is gone, and I’m going to take off early. You may as well leave those books until the morning, you know, put them away then,” said Carol Hodges, the head librarian, with a wave of her hand as she strode around the counter and then stopped. She was a motherly boss, with short gray hair, married to the mayor, and she’d always given Daria a friendly ear when she needed it.
“Nah, I’ll stay a bit after I lock up to make up the time I was late,” she said just as she heard the ding of the door. “We’re closing in five minutes,” she called out.
In strode Mark Friessen in his deputy’s uniform, lifting his hat off his head and running his fingers through that thick red neatly cut hair. His shades were tucked into his shirtfront, and he was walking her way.
“Ladies,” he said with a nod to Carol first and then to Daria.
Of course, her stomach bottomed out as she took in his swagger, all that frickin’ man candy, tall and broad shouldered and too good looking for his own good. She wondered if she’d ever have the feel of his hands on her ass stricken from her mind. Nope, it was burned there forever, and just seeing him now looking her way, she could feel the heat that had been responsible for her bad judgement.
“As I said, we’re closing in five.” She lifted her wrist, taking in her watch. “Actually, make that three.” She knew her voice was cool. Carol stared at her, obviously taken aback by her tone.
Mark, though, flashed her that super-flirty sexy smile that she supposed he was born with, the one she knew well would have her wanting to do anything for him. Damn him, anyway.
He let out a soft laugh under his breath, and she knew he wasn’t impressed. “Well, I’ll make this quick then. It’s about earlier today. I wanted to have a word with you.”
Carol was looking from him to her, and Daria could feel the interest and forced herself to drag her gaze from Mark.
“The reason I was late,” she said. “I was speeding, and this deputy pulled me over. He then insisted on dragging me out of my car to treat me like a common criminal and took extra time writing up a ticket. So now you’re here to, what, add to the two-hundred-dollar ticket you gave me? What, did you forget something? Maybe you want to humiliate me more? I already admitted to speeding, and you insisted on being a jerk and—”
He held out her license, and she stopped talking, staring at the plastic. “Forgot to give this back to you,” he cut in.
She didn’t have to look over to Carol to know she was enjoying this. Daria had to clear her throat, feeling her face heat, and she fiddled with her glasses as if the frames she wore only to work had slipped down her nose. He’d just yanked the rug out from under her, making her look like an idiot. She reached for the license and ripped it from his hand a little harder than needed.
“Careless on your part, not giving this back,” she said. “I could have been in a world of trouble if I was pulled over again. Is this something you do often, keep someone’s license?” She knew she was deliberately being a pain in the ass, but there was something about Mark and the way things had been left that made her want—no, need to have the last word. To argue and not go quietly into the night.
He rested his hands on his belt, his dark brooding look so damn sexy. “You’re quite the firecracker, aren’t you?”
What the fuck? Even the way he’d said it, it seemed as if he was toying with her.
“Well, as interesting as this is, I think I’ll leave you two,” Carol said. “Daria, I presume I won’t have to bail you out of jail for work tomorrow?”
She took in the teasing in her boss’s face and said, “Well, I don’t know. Mark, will she?” She just couldn’t stop herself.
He didn’t pull his gaze from her. She’d forgotten how blue his eyes were and that spark of mischief that completely rattled her. “As long as she behaves herself, I’m sure she’ll be fine,” he said, pulling his gaze from her to Carol, who she could see had picked up on the spike of tension that sizzled between them. Something in her gaze told Daria she would likely be piled with questions tomorrow.
“I’ll lock up on my way out, and you two can finish this little…” Carol gestured and then lifted her hand in a wave, and there was another second of silence as Daria listened to the door and heard the click of the lock.
She had to press her lips together as she pulled in a breath. Her heart was pounding, and there stood Mark Friessen, his gaze heavy. All the flirtatiousness that had been there a moment ago was gone. He was so damn alpha, and maleness oozed from his heavy gaze. She forced herself to reach under the counter for her purse, pull out her wallet, and slip the license in.
“So I wanted to apologize,” he said.
She hadn’t expected that and stared up at him. What was it about his voice, how deep it was, that it seemed to reach inside her? It was the kind of voice she could listen to all day. It filled her with a reluctant wanting. She’d already been tossed away, and he hadn’t even remembered who she was.
“Okay, so you apologized. For what, again?” she said. Was it for the sex and forgetting her or for being an asshole cop? She didn’t miss the pull of his lips as if he was fighting the urge to smile.
“For overreacting today, I guess, and for not remembering your name. It was not cool on my part.” There it was, that smile. “And I wanted to see if maybe you’d let me take you out for a drink.”
She thought she leaned forward on the counter, as she had to bite back her first response. “Let me get this straight: You came here to apologize for forgetting my name, the name you didn’t even know, might I add, two months ago.” She took in his frown and the pull of his brows, seeing he was thinking. “And for not remembering me at all, so the name thing is kind of irrelevant, and for being a dick today in general and giving me a ticket in the next category because you felt like it. And now you want to take me for a drink as your way of apologizing for all of this?”
It was priceless, his expression She could see the minute he realized this wasn’t going his way. What had he expected, another chance to talk her into the back seat? Some sex, as if she was that easy?
Yeah, being stupid twice wasn’t her thing.
“So is that a no to the drink?” he said, and it took her another second to realize that he actually thought he could walk right in there and toss her that easy smile and expect her to say yes.
“No, not in this lifetime, not ever again. Is that clear enough for you?” she said, walking around the counter to unlock the door and hold it open until he left, when she would lock it behind him. She held her head high and was damn proud of herself.
“Okay then, forget the drink,” he said. “Let’s just skip right to the sex.”
She froze mid-step before turning around slowly, feeling her jaw slacken, and she took in his mischievous grin. Was he serious?
“I’m teasing.” He reached out and rested a hand on her shoulder. “I just wanted to see your reaction.” Then he pulled his hand away, winked, and said, “Take care, Daria.”
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