Author: K.L. Grayson
Release date: February 21, 2017
(Sub)genres: Contemporary Romance
February 21, 2017
Lennon Barrick-St. James is making headlines as New York City’s hottest new socialite. Only she isn’t new at all. One well-intentioned night gone horribly wrong has landed the daughter of vice presidential candidate Christopher St. James on the front page of every newspaper and magazine in the country.
Forced by her father to stay out of the limelight, Lennon flees to the quiet town of Heaven, Texas, where she vows to lie low and avoid men. Well, except for the sexy biker she just ran off the road—she definitely won’t be avoiding him.
Noah Cunningham already has one girl in his life, and he sure as hell doesn’t need another. Especially the beautiful and sinfully sweet angel that just descended upon the quiet little town he calls home.
The only problem is that the more time he spends with Lennon, the more he wants to be with her. And that’s just not going to work for Noah. He’s already been burned once, and he’s not so sure he’s ready to go down that road again.
Noah has spent the last five years putting his life back together after secrets and lies ripped it apart. So what will happen when he learns the truth about Lennon?
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“Can I help you?”
“Yes, I’m looking for Noah Cunningham. He was brought in by ambulance a little while ago.”
The woman looks me over and she smiles, but it isn’t as friendly as it should be. “Are you family?”
“Um…” I shake my head. “No.” Her smile fades, and I quickly improvise because I know that look. If I’m not family, she won’t let me back there to see him. “Not yet, at least,” I say, mustering up as much conviction as I can. “I’m his fiancée.”
Oh shit. I can’t believe I just said that.
Too late now.
That makes her frown. “Noah doesn’t have a fiancée.”
“How do you know?”
Narrowing her eyes, the woman stands behind her desk. “I grew up with Noah. Our brothers are friends. I think I’d know if he was dating, let alone engaged,” she says—a bit too defensively, if you ask me.
Does this woman have a thing for Noah? A hint of jealousy sparks in my veins, surprising me.
“I assure you he does,” I say with just as much bite, because as it turns out, I have a thing for him too.
The bitch crosses her arms over her chest. “Where’s your ring?”
“I didn’t put it on this morning. What are you, the engagement police?” Not the cleverest thing to say, I know, but it’s the best I could come up with.
Lips pressed firmly together, the woman glares. If looks could kill I’d be dead, buried, and forgotten about. I glance at the woman’s name tag before meeting her death stare head on.
“Now I get it,” I say, snapping my fingers as though I should’ve recognized her sooner. “You’re Penny.”
Penny’s scowl turns into more of a frown.
“Noah told me all about you.”
As expected, this perks her up. “He did?” She quickly realizes her mistake. “I mean, of course he did.”
“There you are, Lennon!”
I turn to see Mikey, the guy from the ambulance, walking toward us. If the look on his face is any indication, he caught some—if not all—of my little white lie.
Leaning against the desk, he smiles warmly at the woman. “How are ya, Penny?”
It’s amazing how her demeanor changes in the presence of a man. “Hey, Mikey. I’m good. Just been workin’ a lot, ya know?”
Mikey nods, and Penny glances at me somewhat timidly. “This woman is trying to tell me she’s engaged to Noah.”
“Wait…” Mikey waves a finger between me and Penny. “You mean you didn’t know about Lennon? Brad didn’t tell you?”
Penny shakes her head and opens her mouth to respond, but Mikey cuts her off with a fake disappointed sigh.
“I guess I’m not really surprised,” he says. “He hasn’t been around much lately, what with his new job and all. How’s that going for him, anyway?”
“Good,” she says, looking back toward me, clearly wanting to redirect the conversation.
“Good.” Mikey nods. “That’s good. Well,” he says, clapping a hand on the desk, “I’ll take Lennon down to Noah’s room before I go, if it’s all right with you.”
Plopping down in her seat, Penny huffs. “Fine.”
With a hand pressed to my back, Mikey guides me down the hall.
“Thank you,” I whisper when I’m certain we’re out of earshot.
“Are you kidding me? Noah should be thanking you. He’s been turning down Penny since the third grade, and now maybe she’ll get off of his back for good.”
“Well, then…” I puff out my chest. “I’m glad I was able to help. But I’ll be honest; I thought for sure I lied to the wrong person. I was really worried there for a second.”
“This is a small town, Lennon. The kind where everybody knows everybody, everybody thinks they know everything, and you can’t piss without it ending up in the paper or on Facebook. It’ll do you good to remember that.”
“Does that mean—”
“Yup.” He nods before I even finish. “Penny has probably already posted about it, tweeted it, Snapchatted it, and found a way to put it up on Instagram.”
“Great.” I stare at the hospital door. “Now Noah’s really going to hate me, and we don’t even know each other.”
“Nah. Noah’s pretty laid back.”
I look up at him, cocking a brow.
“Okay, he’s uptight, but he’ll see the humor in it,” he says, opening the door before quietly adding, “I think.”
A man in a long, white coat is standing in the room, waving his hands as he talks to Noah, who is stretched out on the bed, his jeans and T-shirt now replaced by a green hospital gown. Noah’s eyes widen when he notices me walking into the room behind Mikey.
“What is she doing here?” he says, cutting off the doctor.
“She’s your fiancée; where else would she be?”
We all turn toward the snide voice. Penny. Go figure, she must’ve followed us. She flits around the room. Doing what? No clue. Probably just being nosy.
“Fiancée?” Noah looks from Penny to Mikey and narrows his eyes when they land on me.
I’m going to go straight to hell.
“It’s okay,” I soothe, sitting on the bed next to him. Smiling down, I brush his hair off of his forehead. It’s soft, and I let my fingers linger longer than necessary as I imagine what it would be like to belong to this man—to be able to touch him whenever I wanted, run my fingers through his shaggy hair, kiss him. The thoughts in my mind have no business being there, but I can’t help but wish for every single one.
Feeling the weight of silence, I clear my throat. “I told her.” I glance at Penny, who is frowning. “And she’s not going to say anything, are you, Penny? Because we haven’t officially announced it yet.”
Her eyes widen, guilt splattered across her face. “Uh…”
“I’m so lost,” Noah mumbles, running a hand over his ruggedly handsome face. “Maybe I did hit my head, doc.”
“I’m sorry, I missed your name.” The young doctor sticks out his hand, which I quickly accept.
He smiles. “It’s nice to meet you, Lennon. My name is Dr. Ward, and I took care of your fiancé when he came in. In fact,” he says, looking at Noah, “I was just telling him what will need to be done once he gets home.”
“Yes.” I turn toward the doctor, giving him my full attention like any dutiful fiancée would. “Please, fill me in.”
“You don’t have to fill her in,” Noah says, trying to nudge me off the bed. “She’s not—”
“Shush.” Pressing a finger against his mouth, I frown. So does Noah. “He absolutely will fill me in. Who else is going to take care of you?”
He swats my hand away. “I don’t need anyone to take care of me.”
“That’s not entirely true,” Dr. Ward interjects.
“Fine.” Noah rolls his eyes. “I’ll have my mother come help me.”
“She’s on vacation,” Mikey offers, holding his hands up in surrender when Noah shoots him a nasty glare.
“Noah, this is good. You’ll need some assistance for a few days, someone to help you get around the house so you can stay off your ankle,” Dr. Ward says.
“I’m good, doc, really.”
He nudges me again, but I just wrap his hand in mine and kiss his knuckles adoringly. Noah furrows his brow and presses his lips together. His gaze on me is so powerful, I swear the man can hold a conversation with just his eyes.
What the fuck are you up to?
I squint at him, letting him know I’ve got the wheel right now. Play along or I’ll run you off the road again.
Noah blows out a long, frustrated breath, and I know I’ve won him over.
“Anyway.” The doctor clears his throat. “Noah sprained his ankle during the accident. Nothing is broken, but he did a number on it. He also has a laceration on his leg that we cleaned up. It didn’t need stitches, but I’d like for him to keep an eye on it, because we don’t want it to get infected. I’ll have Penny print out the instructions and give them to you.”
I nod, and when Dr. Ward isn’t looking, Penny rolls her eyes.
“I would like it if you could stay off your foot for a couple of days,” he says to Noah. “Your ankle needs rest and ice.”
“Rest and Ice. Got it.” I turn to Noah. “I’ll just plan on staying with you for the next couple of days.”
“He’s your fiancée,” Penny exclaims. “Don’t you live with him?”
“No.” I might not be southern, but I do my best to tack on some southern belle charm. I press a hand to my chest, feigning disbelief. “Daddy would not approve of that. No shackin’ up until we’re married. Right, sweetie?”
“Shackin’ up?” Noah says.
“Whatever.” Penny walks out, followed by the doctor, and Mikey claps his hands together.
“Well, folks, I’ve gotta get going.” He walks toward me and squeezes my shoulder. “Lennon, I’ll swing by Noah’s tonight and make sure you two don’t need anything.”
“Wait. What?” Noah pulls his hand from mine and scowls up at Mikey. “She’s not really coming home with me.”
“Yes, she is.” Mikey looks to me for confirmation, and I nod. “How else would you get home? You don’t have your bike, and your parents are out of town.”
“You,” Noah says. “You can take me home.”
“Sorry, man. Can’t. Gotta finish my shift. Plus, there’s no way in hell I’m taking care of your ass.”
“But you’re a fucking paramedic.”
Mikey shrugs. “So? I do that shit all day long. I don’t want to do it when I’m off. Plus, Lennon here has already volunteered to take care of your gimp ass.”
“This is a fucking joke.” Noah clenches his hands against the sheet. “She caused all of this,” he says, waving toward his ankle. “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t even be here.”
“And that’s exactly why I want you to let me help,” I plead. “I feel horrible. I promise I’ll take really good care of you, and I won’t get in your way at all. And I won’t really move in for the next few days; I’ll just come by and make sure you don’t need anything, maybe cook dinner for you.”
This isn’t exactly how I’d planned to spend my first few days in Heaven, but I like the idea of taking care of someone. Particularly this someone.
“You don’t even know me,” he argues.
I stick my hand out to shake his, and all he does is scowl. Mikey shoves an elbow into his arm and finally, reluctantly, Noah shakes my hand.
Mikey smiles. “Noah, meet Lennon, your fiancée.”
“Fuck.” Noah groans, dropping his head back on the pillow, and Mikey shoots me a wink.
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