Addison Fox's Forever Yours is fun, flirty, and sure to set off plenty of fireworks in readers’ hearts.
Detective Cade Rossi has spent the majority of his life oblivious to Jasmine Shane. She’s always been his little sister’s best friend, but after coming to her rescue one night, Cade is starting to see the woman behind the lawyerly suits.
Since childhood, Jasmine has harbored an embarrassing crush on Cade. She’s seen him work his way through nearly every eligible bachelorette in Park Heights, Brooklyn, and Jasmine’s given up hope of them ever having a chance together.
But summer is the perfect time for a fling, and as Cade and Jasmine grow closer, what starts out as an innocent flirtation could turn into so much more…
About the Author
Addison Fox can't remember a time when words weren't a part of her life. In addition to being an avid reader, she loves writing novels about strong-willed and exciting heroes and heroines—individuals who are meant for each other and who deserve their happily ever after. After she makes them work for it, of course! Her books include At Last, The Billionaire's Demands, and Just Once.
Read an Excerpt
By Addison Fox
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2017 Frances Karkosak
All rights reserved.
Twenty years, two months, four days.
That was how long Jasmine Shane had been in love with Cade Rossi. It had all started when she was nine years old and he launched a strategic series of water balloons at her from the Rossis' front porch. No amount of ignoring it, denying it, or being mad about it would change it. Sadly, she'd tried each approach, and all of them had failed.
For years, she'd ignored every skip of her heartbeat and the way her palms grew sweaty every time he arrived to torture her and his sister, Daphne. Once Jasmine finally did admit to herself that no one else made her heart skip beats, or make her perennially dry palms damp, she'd attempted denial. There was no way she was in love with her best friend's older brother. Absolutely not.
When that had failed — and they'd reached an age where they began to engage in the dating activities of grownups — she'd grown mad. Mad that Cade Rossi was the undisputed lothario of Park Heights, Brooklyn. Madder still that he saw her as nothing more than his little sister's best friend. But worst of all, mad that she refused to step out of that role to put her heart and her girl balls on the line and do something about the endless ache in her chest.
It was particularly unpleasant to address that fact as she sat in one of the trendiest steak houses in the borough on a date with an attractive, interesting man who, by all rights, should have her full attention this evening.
"Your name's come up for the prosecution team on the Bernard case."
Jasmine pulled her attention from the striking couple hovering in the doorway, talking up the maître d', and focused on her dinner companion.
Gardner Cross. Perfect. Elegant. And a rising star in the DA's office. They'd been officially dating since the Fourth of July, with intermittent time away from each other since then. She'd had a large case that had taken up all her time the last two weeks of July, and he'd been sent up to Albany for a training session the first week of August. Both had given her an opportunity to delay the advancement of their relationship beyond anything but some serious kissing and a few make-out sessions in her living room.
Which should have been more than a clear sign she needed to let the very attractive man move on to someone else. Especially since he'd only added to his personal brand of perfection by not pressuring her.
And oh, was the man attractive.
He had eyes dark as midnight, a physique that was the subject of more than a few daily sighs in the public defenders' office, and sleek, dark skin that begged for a woman's touch.
Everything about Gardner Cross screamed young, eligible man, and Jasmine knew they made a striking pair. Her mother had hinted more than a few times that she was pleased with the match, and even his biggest fans at the office — the ones Jasmine had dubbed "the swooners" — were happy for the two of them.
Which made putting off the big finale — finally sleeping with the man — a silly delay tactic that she needed to get over. She'd had relationships before. Damn good ones, full of compatibility, laughter, and outstanding sex. Cade Rossi might make her boiling mad, but she wasn't dead.
Yet something in her had hung back from taking that last step with Gardner.
"Jasmine? Do you want to be part of the prosecution team?" His smile had remained firmly intact but didn't fully reach those eyes as he flicked a glance toward the door before returning his focus to her.
Damn. She'd been caught staring furtively at Cade and his date.
Reframing her attention on her attractive dinner companion, she nodded. "Of course I do. It's a huge opportunity. We've got a good case and the chance to show my skills to the office brass is huge."
Huge because media darling Jason Bernard had been caught defrauding the good taxpayers of the State of New York on multiple counts, and the DA's office was gunning for him. Personally huge because her star had been rising, and a chance to work on the case would put her firmly on track for a promotion.
So why couldn't she get more excited about it?
She'd put in the time. Worked hard. And hell, she wanted the opportunity. But no matter how hard she tried to get it all together, life hadn't been the same since the prior December, and no amount of smiling or dating or big opportunities at work had managed to change it.
Ignoring the problem hadn't worked too well, either.
Just like Cade.
She glanced over once more — his broad smile seemed to light up the front corner of the restaurant — before turning her attention fully to Gardner. And her future. She had a right to it, damn it. She'd earned it. Hell, she'd survived that December night to have a future.
She might as well get busy living it.
* * *
God deliver him from the small talk.
The thought raced through Cade Rossi's mind as he sat down across from his latest date, the deliciously lovely Sarah Albright.
Albright was all right. Wasn't that what his partner had said at work on Friday when he'd mentioned he was taking Sarah out on their third date?
And she was. Long blonde hair. High, firm breasts, lush enough to make a man weep tears of joy. Even her conversation skills were a pleasant surprise. She'd already mentioned an article she'd read the past weekend in the Times, which meant there was something cooking in her brain besides keeping up with hair and nail appointments.
Yet even with that, he was bored.
And unable to keep his stare from wandering toward the back of the restaurant.
None of which had anything to do with the delectable Sarah Albright and everything to do with the ridiculous direction of his thoughts that, until recently, hadn't given the object of his attention in the back of the restaurant much consideration. Which was his own raging stupidity, coupled with a major side of what-the-fuckery.
Jasmine was here with Mr. Perfect. The asshole.
On general principle Cade didn't dislike many people. He was the youngest son of five children — fourth in line followed only by his baby sister — and he'd long ago earned the moniker of "the easygoing one." He knew when to turn it on and off, but Cade had found early that it was easier to sit back, offer up a laconic smile, and do whatever he wanted than it was to get worked up about anything.
It was a philosophy that had served him well. He didn't get riled up over the small stuff, and he managed to skate through life with minimal stress, except when it came to wearing the badge.
Not a bad trade-off.
That attitude — and the jawline and bedroom eyes passed down from his Poppy Dominick — was his trademark.
But no amount of humor or relaxed attitude could assuage the endless rounds of small talk that seemed to consume his dating life.
By his latest count, Sarah was the twelfth woman he'd gone out with this year. No one lasted much longer than a month, and where that had once been a source of enjoyment — maybe even pride — it had become tedious of late.
The over-bright smiles.
The inane conversations about reality TV.
The hemming and hawing about which salad on the menu would have fewer calories.
He didn't care about any of it. And sitting through those dull conversational pearls simply to get laid wasn't getting the job done, either.
He hadn't always hated it. In fact, there'd been a time he'd enjoyed the mating dance, and the subtle seduction over cocktails and conversation. So when had that changed? Or, more to the point, why?
While he knew age played a part, it wasn't simply boredom or ennui or even the feeling that nothing was new any longer. It was something more.
Something — or someone — who currently sat across the restaurant smiling and flirting with her date.
Gorgeous. Smart. Sharp. Jaz saw everything and always had, first through the thick glasses she wore as a kid, before graduating to contacts that opened up her face and made her already-large brown eyes look positively enormous.
She saw him.
And all too often, Cade felt himself lacking beneath that stare. He couldn't ever quite shake it — he always had the sense she was pissed off at him. Especially when he was on a date.
Since they saw each other most often in social situations, it meant he was usually on a date. And no one but Jaz had the ability to pleasantly size him up and make him feel lacking, all without anyone else noticing.
But he noticed. He always had, and for some reason over the past year, that knowledge had begun to chafe.
Not that he should care. For all his frustration, she was an old and dear friend. Heck, she was his sister's oldest and best friend, which meant she was practically his own little sister. She deserved to be happy, and why not with someone as polished and going-places as Gardner Cross?
They were a striking couple, well-matched in height, looks, and as well-respected members of the community. They'd both made the local news several times for their commitment to the justice system, and the individual accolades each racked up grew by the month.
Which only reinforced all the reasons Cade needed to look away from Jasmine Shane and focus on his own hot date. A date, if his ears hadn't deceived him, who had just ordered a steak and a baked potato.
Maybe Albright really was all right.
He could almost believe it until he heard that husky laugh echo from one of the darker corners of the restaurant. Helpless to not look, Cade allowed his gaze to shift past their waiter toward the back table.
And watched Jasmine lay her long fingers on Cross's forearm before she leaned forward and took a bite of something off the man's fork.
Sarah Albright might be all right, but he sure as hell wasn't.
* * *
Jasmine had nearly deluded herself into thinking she'd enjoyed her evening when a subtle buzz interrupted their dinner. Gardner had hid it well, but it was the third time she caught the echoing vibration of his silenced phone from his front shirt pocket, and she couldn't help but put him out of his misery. "Why don't you go ahead and answer that?"
"You know how I feel about phones at dinner."
"And I also know how it feels to miss something big. You've been buzzing since the waiter took our dessert order. Go ahead and take the call."
"If you're sure ...?"
"Positive." She laid a hand on his arm once more, the heat of his body emanating through the crisp material of his shirtsleeve. "Go ahead."
Relief flooded his face as a smile curved his lips. "Justice calls."
"She usually does."
He was up and out of his seat before she could say another word. Although Jasmine kept a hard-and-fast rule of her own about phones at the table, she couldn't fault him for the call. The summer had been full of crazy cases, and his latest had caused more than a few long hours.
Long hours she was grateful for because they'd given her a chance to avoid the sex conversation.
She toyed with her small espresso cup, the motion meant to distract her attention from wandering through the restaurant. She'd diligently avoided staring at Cade and his very attractive date and wasn't ready to cave now that she had the opportunity to stare freely.
So she'd ruminate instead on how she'd managed to resist Brooklyn's hottest attorney. And would absolutely not think about Brooklyn's hottest cop as she sized up her date's impressive list of attributes.
She'd gotten through perfect teeth, good smile, and strong shoulders when their waiter approached the table. The man folded Gardner's discarded napkin as he offered her another espresso. Before she could decline, a large body filled the space behind their waiter.
"Where'd Cross get off to?"
"Cade." She waved off the waiter with a politely murmured decline on anything that would make her more jittery, and gave Cade a flat stare. "Hi."
"Good to see you, Jaz."
"You too. I didn't see you come in." Damn. Bad move. She had seen him come in and knew their gazes had met briefly as he was talking to the maître d'.
Pushing forward like she was delivering closing arguments to a jury, she ignored the small faux pas and shot the restaurant an airy gaze. "It's busy in here tonight."
"So where'd your date get off to?"
"He had to take a call. And your —" she left the word hang there a moment before adding, "— friend? Where is she?"
Something flickered in his gaze. Remorse? Embarrassment? Anger? Jaz wasn't sure, other than she instinctively knew she'd gotten off a direct hit. "Ladies' room."
Her decision to focus on her coffee had ensured she'd missed the woman's departure. It had also left her open and vulnerable to Cade's sudden appearance.
And what an appearance it was.
Broad, hard-packed shoulders that suggested a side of beef rather than Gardner's subtly refined strength. Thick wavy hair that would have been boyish if it didn't top a hard, angled face that could take a solid punch and keep on going. And then there were the eyes.
He might be able to make them go tough and flat for the day job, but nothing could take away the thick, spiky lashes that made a woman look twice. Nor could those lush lashes disguise the bedroom eyes set deep beneath them.
She hadn't understood it at nine — and was pretty sure he hadn't either — but the promise in those eyes had captivated her from the first. And when he gave her his full attention, it was hardly her fault the man made her lose her mind.
"Cross is mixing business with pleasure?"
"More that business calls. The legal system never rests, as you well know."
"Shame." Cade glanced at Gardner's empty seat before taking it. "I'm not sure I'd let justice pull me away from a lovely and attractive dinner companion."
"Yet you've done just that to talk to an old friend." She added emphasis on the word old, curious to see that flare spike in his gaze once more before it flicked away toward the ladies' room.
What was he doing here?
"Daphne and Landon's engagement party is next weekend."
Although she'd have bet a year's salary the engagement party was an excuse, Jasmine played along. "I'm looking forward to it. And your mother's meatballs. According to Daphne, the party will be on par with their annual Fourth of July bash."
"Bigger, if you add in Landon's family and colleagues."
"Should be fun."
And if that was a small spear of envy sticking beneath her breast at the sheer joy that seemed to suffuse her best friend every time they were together, Jasmine would just live with it. There was no one she was happier for than Daphne. The fact that her friend had found a good man who was fun, attractive, interesting, and wildly crazy about her, and whom she was crazy about in return, was something to celebrate.
"You bringing Cross?"
Cade's question interrupted her thoughts. "I was planning on it."
"My mom likes him, so expect an extra helping of meatballs going home in your to-go container."
Giovanna Rossi had been giving to-go bags of her cooking since Jasmine was a small child. The size of the container was in direct proportion to her level of esteem for the recipient. Her first visit to the Rossis' — a playdate after school the day she and Daphne met — had resulted in a large container going home in her backpack.
Jasmine's mother didn't ruffle easily, but the implication she couldn't feed her daughter had chafed and they'd marched straight back over to the Rossis'. An hour later, the two mothers were fast friends, and several more containers spilled from Jasmine's mother's handbag as they walked back home.
"What's the smile for?"
"Thinking about our mothers."
"That's dangerous. Or more to the point, they're dangerous. Especially when they put their heads together."
"Actually, I was thinking about the first time they met. My mother had a self-righteous head of steam on that your mother would send home a meal in my backpack. As if my mother couldn't feed me properly."
"Only to realize my mother is a dyed-in-the-wool Italian who believes food is love, and who fell in love with you from the first moment."
Jasmine smiled again at the memory before a light cloud of perfume assailed her from behind.
"Who's in love?"
The breathy voice didn't fool anyone. Nor did the daggers that rained down from eyes of cool ice blue as Cade's date stood over their table.CHAPTER 2
Cade kept his smile firmly in place, refusing to rise to the bait. He'd enjoyed his dinner with Sarah more than he'd expected to, but had been surprised when their quiet evening took a decided turn south around the time they received their meals.
The convivial date who'd been nothing but airy fun since the start of the evening had picked up on the neighborhood gossip, suddenly angling for an invite to his sister's engagement party the following weekend. While he had already been thinking he'd extend the invite, something about her assumption — nay, her expectation — had stuck in his craw.
Excerpted from Forever Yours by Addison Fox. Copyright © 2017 Frances Karkosak. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was a sweet read. I didn't realize it was part of a series so I felt like I was a bit behind the story in some places. It also was a very short story so I didn't feel like the characters were fully explained. That being said I really liked Jaz & Cade. Their story was special. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Cade is a playboy bachelor not interested in changing his ways. Jasmine is his biggest fan, but he never looks her way. Until fate steps in and opens their eyes to love's possibilities. Romance suspense are not usually my forte, but I do read it, every now and then. Ms. Fox is lending her voice to a genre that could use some new voices.
I first met Cade and Jasmine in the preceding book, Just Once, Jasmine has been in love with her best friend's brother, Cade, since she was a child but Cade has been oblivious. However, since Cade rescued Jasmine from a vicious assault by a student's father he has been more aware of her as an attractive woman. But given his track record with women can he afford to date a family friend and have it all blow up in his face? When they discover that the man has been released from jail and is stalking Jasmine, Cade offers to keep her safe and let her stay at his place, suddenly all those feels have nowhere to go. As I mentioned in my review of Arm Candy, the trouble with these series is that so often the meat of a romance is told in the preceding books so that sometimes the actual novel can feel a bit lacking. It's ok if you have read the previous books and are eagerly awaiting this one but otherwise you can feel a bit meh. Anyhoo, rant over, I liked this much more than the last one, even though Jasmine was a bit of a doormat for just mooning over Cade for all those years. This had just the right mix of romance and action/ suspense for me. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.