Read an Excerpt
She fell in love on April Fool’s Day. That alone should have told Briley Evans she’d lost her mind. Love had never factored into her life. She knew two of her friends were happy with the men in their lives. But love…for her? Never in a million years would she have used her name and that one word in the same sentence. The emotion might work for other people, but she lived in reality where love existed only in movies and sappy greeting cards.
The two exceptions to the rules in the game of love came in the form of Emma and Olivia. Two of her four closest friends had found men who genuinely cared about the women and didn’t want to change a thing about them. Given that all five friends shared a waist size larger than the usual starving super models said a lot about the men who loved them.
The night her world flipped upside down happened by sheer accident and stupidity as did most things in her life. Briley needed to get her laptop fixed. Instead, she ended up giving her heart away. Not the plan when she’d walked into Immortality, the tattoo and computer repair shop one of her friends had recommended. And not that she allowed herself to acknowledge the strange emotions. Love meant leaving yourself open to pain. Since Briley wasn’t a masochist, it left love off her to do list.
The nights were still cold in Avalon, so she’d bundled up her generously curved self and driven over. The shop stood out, not in the seedy porno/biker way she’d imagined. The frosted glass and simple lettering looked classy not cheesy. Housed in an old warehouse district, the store looked clean and inviting. A shock, but a pleasant one.
A bell tingled over her head as she opened the door to warm air and the scent of peppermint. Definitely not the clean smell she’d expected either. Briley looked around, trying to get a feel for the place and maybe a hint of the talent that supposedly worked there. Instead, she saw him.
He had his back to her, a thick hunter green sweater fitted over his runner’s frame as he bent over and fiddled with the strange looking machine in front of him. Tousled dark brown hair curled over the tanned nap of his neck while long fingers played over wires. Worn jeans and brown scuffed hiking boots completed the back frame of the picture, and Briley’s stomach tightened from just that small glimpse of him.
Stupidly, naively, she shrugged the reaction off. After all, she saw good-looking men, including their nicely formed fronts, all the time at Club Botticelli, the club one of her best friends, Olivia, owned. What did the curve of one man’s neck matter? Even though said neck made her mouth water with the urge to bite and nibble her way across his skin. She could almost taste the salty tang of his flesh on her tongue.
Irritated at her unusual and completely out of character response, Briley straightened her shoulders, made sure her chin tilted up in just the right angle and cleared her throat. If no one else had come at the door’s chiming, surely he must be the lone employee there. Granted, the time she’d chosen to show up was rather late, but still a place like this, which catered to people’s temporary emotions with permanent reminders, should be accustomed to late arrivals. Not to mention all the people staring at the blue screen of death and two-seconds away from throwing their now useless computers off tall buildings or bridges.
Being the owner of her own business, Briley knew you had to put the client first. She did it every day at her travel agency. Customers first, personal life second. The motto had gained her a great reputation, a solid client list and a very lonely personal life.
When the man with the nibble-worthy neck didn’t turn around at her subtle attempt to get his attention, Briley decided to make herself known by getting deep into his personal space. She wanted her computer fixed and ready tonight before she lost what little remained of her sanity.
Her boots made a sharp clicking sound in the quiet of the room, yet the stranger refused to move and continued to play with whatever had caught his focus. He hummed a low tune under his breath as he worked seemingly content and happy. When she rounded the flat table to face him, she finally saw why. Two small black buds were cradled in his ears and were also the source behind the humming. When he jerked upright at her presence, she found herself staring into the most startling light green eyes surrounded by silver rimless glasses.
With a quick pull, he stumbled to his feet, dropping everything in his hands as he stared at Briley. “Ah…” In a vague wave he brushed away the stray lock of hair that had fallen over his eyes. “Hi.” He flashed a bright and slightly flustered smile. “Didn’t hear you come in,” he confessed and sheepishly pulled the buds out of his ears.