An alpha hero's attraction to the one woman he can't have could draw him into a killer's snare in the sizzling new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster
Charismatic bar owner Rowdy Yates isn't the kind of man women say no to. So when he approaches waitress Avery Mullins, he fully expects to get her number. However, the elusive beauty has her reasons for keeping her distanceincluding a past that might come back to haunt them both.
Avery spends her nights working for tips and trying to forget the secret Rowdy is determined to unearth. But when history threatens to repeat itself, Avery grows to rely on Rowdy's protective presence. As the sparks between them ignite, she will be forced to choose between the security she's finally found and the passion she's always wanted.
About the Author
Lori Foster is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author with books from a variety of publishers, including Berkley/Jove, Kensington, St. Martin's, Harlequin and Silhouette. Lori has been a recipient of the prestigious RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy, and for Contemporary Romance. For more about Lori, visit her Web site at www.lorifoster.com.
Read an Excerpt
Avery Mullins hesitated outside the entrance of the newly renovated bar. This early in the day, only a dim interior showed beyond the locked, glass-and-oak double entry doorsnew doors that had just been installed two weeks ago.
Doors she'd helped to pick out.
Freshly painted signs crowded the big front window, advertising food, two pool tables, dancing and drinks. Overhead neon lights showcased the name of the bar: Getting Rowdy. It made her smile, remembering how she'd suggested the name, and how he'd followed through.
In such a short time, so much had changed. The business had gone from a failing, run-down dump of a place known mostly for its cheap drinks and availability of illicit drugs to a promising, fresh new bar with a fast-growing crowd. Even more notable was her switch of positions, from struggling waitress to head bartender.
Satisfaction had her smiling through most of her days. Thanks to the tips she made along with the raise she'd gotten, she no longer had the grind of two jobs just to make ends meet.
She'd kept the same apartment that could only be called modest if someone felt generous. And for the sake of anonymity, she still took the bus to and from work, rather than drive. But.. She had changed.
Before meeting Rowdy Yatesbar owner, boss and scalding-hot temptationbefore being swept up in his enthusiasm for turning around a broke-dick bar, she'd survived. No more, no less. She hadn't been unhappy, really. Or rather, there'd been no time to dwell on ideas like happiness.
But she hadn't enjoyed her life, either. Not like she did now.
She loved how Rowdy so often included her in decisions concerning the bar, almost as an equal partner instead of simply an employee. He had final say in all things, but he welcomed her input. He was proud, but not too stubborn to listen. Strong, but never a bully. He made her feel important again.
And of course, every woman who laid eyes on him noticed his appealher included.
They got along great, working to make the bar as successful as it could be. Associates, and she liked to think friends, as well.
Rowdy wanted more. God knew he hadn't been shy in sharing his interest.
And though he didn't know it, she returned those sentiments. But did she dare to get intimately involved with a heartbreaker like Rowdy? He was honest with her; she didn't worry about what he wanted because he spelled it out. His honesty could sometimes be so brutal that it took her breath away.
He wanted sex.
Preferably with her, but every time she refusedand she'd refused every timehe easily found "company" elsewhere. With the way the female patrons came on to him, she doubted he ever had to spend a night alone.
Yet he always asked her first before moving on to second choicehis words, not hers.
Who did that?
Why did he do that?
If she really mattered to him, wouldn't he wait until he got her agreement?
But, being honest with herself, Avery had to admit that went both ways. If he mattered to her, why make him wait? After the year she'd had, she deserved some fun.
Bad boy Rowdy Yates, with his scrumptious bod, brazen attitude and overactive libido, would be so much fun.
A brisk October wind cut through Avery's jacket and sent shivers up her spine, bringing her back to the here and now. Daydreaming about Rowdy had become her prime preoccupation. Seldom did a minute pass that he didn't plague her mind.
Maybe tonight, before he hooked up with someone else, she'd clue him in to how she felt.
With that decision made, Avery unlocked the door. Only she and Rowdy had keys. It still amazed and pleased her that he trusted her so much. She would never do anything to make him regret that.
Without turning on lights, she made her way through the dim interior of the bar. The early-morning sunshine barely penetrated the shadows. Usually she arrived around two o'clock, an hour or so before her shift so she could get set up. But she had errands to run today, as well as an important phone call to make, and she'd forgotten her phone near the register. She figured she may as well combine the trips.
After locating her cell phone behind the barright where she'd left itshe started to leave. She'd taken only a few steps when she heard the first noise.
Heart going heavy, alarm prickling, Avery stopped to listen.
There! She heard it again. A slight rustling, a low groan?
She swallowed hard. Had someone gotten in through the back door? A drunk? A vagrant? A robber? Or worse?
No. She shook her head, denying that possibility. No one from her past would ever think to look for her here. There were times when she still couldn't believe the differences in her life. Differences that, since meeting Rowdy, she no longer regretted.
Besides, Rowdy's ongoing renovations to the bar had started with updating all the security, installing sturdy new locks to both the front and back door and all the windows that opened. No one could easily break in.
Before her transformation, she'd been an utter coward. Oh, sure, some might have called it circumspect, but she knew the truth. For far too long she'd relied on others.for everything.
A year ago, when faced with an unknown noise, she would have slunk back out the front door and called the police to investigate. If it turned out to be nothing, well, she didn't mind the possible inconvenience to others.
But a year in hiding had taught her to be more self-reliant, to handle her own problems. Independence had freed her, so she wouldn't backslide now.
Trying to be utterly silent, Avery crept toward the sound, her ears straining. She heard another groan that appeared to come from Rowdy's office. Maybe a radio? The creak of the wind outside?
Rowdy's door stood ajar, when he usually kept it closed. Daring took her only so far, but never beyond common sense. Just in case someone had found a way in, Avery pushed 9-1-1 on her cell and put her thumb on the call button. Inching along the wall, she held her breath until she stood right beside the door.
"Yeah, that's it."
Recognizing Rowdy's rough, whispered voice, Avery relaxed. Thinking he spoke on the phone, probably to one of his lady friends, she rolled her eyes, stepped around the door frame.
And her stomach did a free fall.
Slouched in the big padded chair behind his desk, his hands gripping the armrests, his blond head tipped back, Rowdy released another low groan, this one deeper, more gravelly. Avery saw him in profile, the large desk hiding most of his lower bodybut not the top of the woman's head moving over him, precisely in the general area of his lap.
Good God, she knew what they were doing; even an idiot wouldn't misunderstand. Jealousy, hurt, resentment rose up to choke her. Avery wanted to move, she really did, but her feet stayed glued to the spot.
She wanted to look away, too, but she didn't.
Rowdy's body went taut, straining, his expression bordering on acute pleasure. Then, with a final sound of repletion, he released a breath and eased again, his every muscle going lax. With a deep exhalation, he stroked the woman's hair and said, "Ease up, honey, I'm spent."
Oh. My. God.
Avery tried to swallow, but she couldn't find any spit. She tried to close her eyes, but couldn't even manage a blink.
On her knees before him, the redhead gave her own sound of satisfaction and slowly rose up over Rowdy's thighs. "My turn."
Whoa. No way did she want to hang around to witness that. Horrified, Avery shifted to sneak offand the floor squeaked.
Rowdy's gaze swung around to pinpoint her there in the doorway. His light brown eyes went from mellow satisfaction to razor-sharp focus. He didn't straighten, didn't take his big hand from the woman's hair.
Maybe he didn't even breathe.
Their gazes clashed for two heavy heartbeats before Avery got it together and lurched away. Heat scalded her face. Her heart punched against her ribs. Please don't let him follow me. Please don't.
From behind her, she heard Rowdy's low curse, and then the high-pitched laughter of the woman.
No, no, no. Humiliation chased Avery to the front door. Once there, breathless in a confusing mix of emotions, she paused and glanced back over her shoulder.
No one followed. In fact, she could now hear the quiet conversation between Rowdy and the woman.
Fury tightened her chest and burned her eyes. Damn you, Rowdy Yates.
Forcing her chin up, Avery pushed through the door, out of the bar and away from the first man who'd interested her in over a year.
Rowdy fought the urge to call Avery back, to chase after her and say what? Sorry you busted me getting a blow job. Hardly. She'd annihilate him if he even tried.
He could tell her the truth. I wish it had been you on your knees instead. He snorted at the idiocy of that thought.
Avery already knew he wanted her. Hell, he'd been so open and up-front with her that his pursuit bordered on infatuation, as asinine as that seemed.
Growing uneasiness obliterated the pleasure from release. Damn it, he didn't owe Avery any explanations. She was his employee. Period.
That's how she wanted it.
But what if she didn't come back?
No, he wouldn't think that way. In the short time he'd known her, Avery had proved to have a backbone of iron, an overload of pride and possibly a chip on her shoulder bigger than the one he carried.
She'd be back, if for no other reason than to fry him with her disapproval.
Besides, she loved her job, and she was good at it. He checked his watch. Why was she here so early?
Whatever her reason, it didn't matter. She had seen him, and that destroyed all the ground he'd gained with her. For a little while there, she'd been softening to him. Sort of.
With Avery Mullins, it was hard to tell.
From the first time he'd spotted her in the bar, he'd wanted her. She had amazing red hair, a killer attitude and tons of energy contained in a petite and enticing body. Smart, savvy, observant.
And sexy as hell, though she denied that truth, just as she denied wanting him.
The contrast of her personal pride and work ethic, compared to where she chose to workwith himintrigued Rowdy. He'd met her before buying the bar, back when it was no more than a dump filled with creeps and criminals. He still wasn't sure if she'd factored into his desire to have the bar.
Eventually he'd win her over. He refused to accept any other outcome. But even to him, this current transgression looked bad.
The long, lonely night had ended, so he had no reason to continue lingering with.shit. What was her name?
Feeling the sting of Avery's censure, even though she hadn't stuck around to share it with him, Rowdy caught the woman's arms and tugged her to her feet. "C'mon, honey. Fun's over."
"For you," she complained, and tried to crawl into his lap.
"As I recall, you had your turn at least twice already."
"At least." She gave him a sultry, satisfied smile and rubbed up against him.
Her hair, red but not the rich, natural red of Avery's, trailed over his arm. She was a small woman also, but without the same proud stature as Avery.
And when it came to outlook, the two women were worlds apart.
Had he really imagined a similarity of any kind? Dumb. Maybe even desperate, but he didn't like that idea, so he snuffed it from his mind.
Holding the woman away, Rowdy stood and then turned from her so he could refasten his jeans. "It's later than I realized. Time for you to go."
"Because of her?"
On the nose. "No."
Snuggling up to his back, she rubbed her breasts against him. "I had an incredible time."
Now, after seeing Avery, the purring tone and brush of body on body left him cold. "Glad to hear it." Though he felt like a bastard, he skirted around his desk and went to the door to wait, his impatience plain.
She pouted before accepting the inevitable. With a slow lick to her lips, she sauntered toward him, tried to kiss himbut he dodged thatand started to head through the bar.
Rowdy caught her arm and redirected her. "Back door is closer." On the off chance that Avery lingered out front, best not to push his luck.
"Did you have fun?"
"Yeah, sure." He'd tried to win Avery over last night but as usual, she'd turned him down in her no-nonsense way.
He hadn't wanted to, but he'd accepted an alternate. "I need cab fare."
"Not a problem." The lady was from out of town and staying with her family, which meant going to her place hadn't been an option. Rowdy hadn't wanted her in his new apartment, either so he'd taken her to his office instead.
Not good. He should have just rented a room for the night. Next time he would.
Because the nightmares never went away for long, he knew there would be a next time, and a time after that.
He was a twenty-nine-year-old man, and he'd been on his own for most of his life. But sometimes the ugliness of long ago closed in around him with the suffocating discomfort of a boy's desperation.
Damn it, he hated his own weakness.
Disgusted, Rowdy dug out his wallet and retrieved two twenty-dollar bills. Now, with a new day ahead, he craved a few hours' sleep. "Will that do it?"
"Thanks." She curled her manicured fingers around the money and said with suggestion, "I get into town every couple of weeks."
Rowdy unlocked the back door while saying, "Sorry, honey, but I already told you this was a onetime deal."
"It doesn't have to be."
"Yeah." His thoughts already moving ahead to what had to be done before he opened the bar, he held the door wide open for her. "It does."
"If you change your mind "
As gently as he could, he nudged her along. "I won't." She'd been a nice distraction, but nothing more. At the moment, he wanted to concentrate on the bar.and on Avery.
The woman left reluctantlybut she did leave. Just as they all did.
And that's the way he wanted it. Usually. But odd as it seemed, even though they hadn't yet hit the sheets, he enjoyed Avery's company.
Hell, he liked it so much that he'd made her the bartender as soon as he'd bought the bar. If he wanted her to stick aroundand he didthere'd have to be no more sex in the office.
Unless it was sex with Avery.
And wasn't that one hell of a nice idea?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I like Lori Foster, but in all honesty this was a slow read, i skipped pages especially when Marcus was brought into the story and Rowdy was soo worried about him: I get all the sentiments about his upbringing but really some parts were just boring, and it took way too long for Rowdy and Avery to get together.
Being a big fan of Lori Fosters Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series, I am a little disappointed in the men in this series. Logans story was awesome. But then Reeses story was a disappointment and now Rowdys story. Been looking forward to it for so long. But geesh, he did not turn out to be the man I expected. The man that took care of his sister the way he has.....had a few people say he has issues. He is trying to figure out his issues. Well, sorry. Just too much for me. I will try Dash & Canons stories. But really, only because I have read Lori Foster when I love her writing. Its enough for me to try.
Readable, but fairly predictable.
Getting Rowdy is book 3 in the Love Undercover Series. In Getting Rowdy we get to know Rowdy & Avery's story. Logan & Pepper (from Run the Risk) and Reese & Alice (from Bare it All), Dash (Logan's brother, whose story will be next) all make appearances. We also meet Marcus and Cannon (Cannon's story is coming after Dash's). I've thoroughly enjoy the entire Love Undercover Series. However Getting Rowdy is my favorite so far! ;)I want my own Rowdy! I can't wait to see what happens next in the Love Undercover series. I highly recommend all of Lori Foster's work. She's a excellent author. Never fails to hook you from the very beginning.
Right around the last 100 pages the story just drops and 2 other characters are show cased for several more pages. I mean it is plain as day LF is getting the readers ready for her next installment. Hows about just keep this story going! This book was not even romantic. Rowdy was creepy, Avery was stupid and the plot was drug out and weak. I don't get why so many good reviews? I'm just glad to get this train wreck of a book finished. No more boring Lori Foster books for me.
This is the first book by Lori Foster that I haven't liked. I own all of her books and this is the first one that I don't even know if I want to finish it. I was looking forward to reading Rowdy's story. But I found myself not really liking Avery all that much. She doesn't come off as the brazen,confident, fun smart ass as she did in the snip its of Reese and Alice's story. She just harps on Rowdy's past and his safety. It is obvious Rowdy loves her but I don't. She just starts to feel like a thin character. Rowdy and the other characters are done well.
Too many plot spoilers here ruined the book by revealing too many details of the story. Come on, a few lines is enough. There is absolutely no reason to rewrite the entire book then brag how YOU got your book for free for your so called honest review. Its not an honest review. Its a bought and paid for review. Bn, please ban these plot spoilers and delete their posts.
## God, I hated Rowdy. One of the worst "heroes" ever. And I read a lot. He's a complete *whore. He wants sex, sex and more sex. And he doesn't care with whom. The heroine even walks into his office and has to witness it. Even though he keeps saying he's interested in her. But he straight out tells her, since she won't give "it" up, he's got plenty of willing women who will. He's just plain revolting. Night after night she has to watch as he picks up women at his bar. This woman is ridiculous. I wouldn't touch this guys' man parts with a ten foot pole. And she gushes: "He's so wonderful", "he's the best man I know", "I love him".... blah, blah. Even later in the book after they are together, he flirts with everyone, constantly checking out their "racks". She asks if they can be exclusive for however long they last, probably so she doesn't have to watch him scr*w someone else and he just evades the question. I wish she would've ended up with Cannon. Now there's a hero. There is no way I would believe that Rowdy could be faithful to one woman. I've been a huge fan of Lori's for many years, but this was a big disappointment. I hope she takes more care with Dash's character. We get that these men are hot and do well with the ladies. No need to hit us over the head with it. I love sex scenes,but between the hero and heroine, not random skanks. Cannot recommend this book.
This is now my favorite book! I can almost see Rowdy while I'm reading his book! Don't understand how someone could give this book a one star! They must be from mars. I loved Rowdy an Avery's story! I love a woman that can't stand with her man and not back down! Great job Lori!
Love MS. Foster's books! Amazing heros and so lovable! Hope Cannon and Dash get their own story.
Lori Foster is not only a great writer of stories but develops her characters so well you can actually picture the action in your brain as you read.
I absoulutly loved this book it is a great read. If you have not tried Lorie Foster this is a great book to get started with. If you have read them then you know she is an awsome writer. Rowdy and Avery's story is one of my new favoriot's.
Great suspense and story telling. Lori Foster delivers another fun and sexy story.
So good, best story to date!
Lori Foster did it again! This is why she is an auto-buy author for me. I love everything she has ever written and this is no exception. I anxiously waited for Rowdy and Avery's story and this was perfect!
Love this series Lori Foster has been a favorite of mine for the last 10 years! She is a great writer.
Love all the books in this series
Adorable Sexy Suspense Romance LORI FOSTER - GETTING ROWDY • Love Undercover #3 • 448 Pages • release date - 24 September - 2013 Book #4 Dash of Peril will be out March 25 - 2014 Please read the first 2 books before you start with Rowdy's story. You will first meet Rowdy in book 1 - and he's SOOOO worth meeting! The other guys too - of course ¿ ¿¿¿¿¿ 5 Stars My Opinion: Just like the first two books in the series - Getting Rowdy is a very sexy, romantic and suspensy book. We already met 29-year-old Rowdy Yates - Pepper's brother - in the first book in the series and then of course he's in book 2 as well. Now he gets his own book. And his own girl ¿ Avery. She's working in the bar he just bought - she has been working there for a while - we already met her in the previous book - where Rowdy was flirting with her - without much success ;) Rowdy wants her - but he's not a commitment type - he just wants sex - lots of it. But Avery is different - he could even imagine more than only one night. He never wanted that before. He spent most of his life on the run from bad people - there was never time for anything long-term - so he never felt the need to do the whole 'love thing'. Avery is hiding something - or from someone. She gets weird hang-up phone calls at the bar - and we 'see' someone following her. It takes a while for Avery and Rowdy to finally 'get together'. There are a few kisses and lots of sparks - but Avery is afraid that she'll be just one of many. And Rowdy is scared of feeling too much - of maybe even - falling for her!!! *HeShuddersAtTheThought* ¿ I don't want to tell you too much - I don't want to spoil anything... there will be a few problems at the bar - someone will get hurt. A little boy will play a part in the story and the most important thing - we meet a new guy - Cannon....hot cutie alert!!!! Avery's family will play a part in the book - she has been gone from home for more than a year - we will of course learn why ¿ Logan and Reese - from book 1 & 2 - and their ladies will of course be in book 3 again! there will be LOTS of sexy moments ¿ dangerous moments (we might see those 2 hot cops from book 1+2 again!) and moving moments ♥ ¿¿¿ but that's all I'm telling you ¿ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ I REALLY LOVED THE BOOK!!! This was - and still is - an amazing romantic suspense series! I loved ALL books and more important - ALL CHARACTERS - and that's not something that happens a lot. You always find something you can't stand - but those 4 guys here and their girls are all really wonderfully written! This book had EVERYTHING I love in a book - sexy and romantic scenes & dangerous suspense scenes. Rowdy is H.O.T.!!!!! Jeez is that guy good looking! Take a look at the cover of the book! I know he's not real - but the poor model guy just has to live with it now - he's my Rowdy! And Rowdy is sooo adorable too - he's a tough - street-wise guy, who always had to take care of his little sister and he's so sweet and protective with all this friends and their girls. He never even had any friends before his sister got it into her head to fall in love with a COP - of all things ¿ And now he has a family and a new girl that he starts to have weird feelings for - feelings he never felt before! Getting Rowdy is an amazing - sexy - suspense Romance!! But please don't forget to read the first 2 books before reading Rowdy's story! Now I can't wait for the next book - Dash's story - coming in March 2014 ¿ and I heard rumors that there will be a book/series about Cannon one day - Once he's all grown up ¿
A very enjoyable book with just enough danger and excitement to keep it interesting and enough romance to make you turning the pages. Avery and Rowdy have an easy rapport and I like the way they play off each other. Their hook-up was inevitable and I like the way the way it worked out. All the characters in the book have a back story and they all work well together. I am looking forward to the next book and can't wait to see who it is about. A very good read.
It's not like Rowdy Yates has made it a secret that he wants her. Ever since Avery Mullins started working with him, getting his bar ready for re-opening, and later as his bartender, he has been very clear in expressing his interest. Problem is, he has a broad interest ......and a short attention span. And even though Avery has had the hots for her boss since day one, she is not about to become another notch on his bedpost. Sex has always been a release for Rowdy. Ever since he ended up looking after his younger sister, Pepper, when he was still virtually a boy, he discovered it was as good an outlet as any, for anger and stress. He just never was a long-term, settle down kinda guy. In fact, buying the bar had been out of character for him, since it implied setting down roots. But his sister was married now, and he had never ventured far from her side. Besides, he had some new interesting friends in his life now.......one in particular he really would like to know better. Avery had never really opened up about her past wanting to leave it behind, but when strange calls start coming in a the bar, and she feels uneasy after hours, she wonders if it may have caught up with her. Rowdy notices her uneasiness and tries to get her to open up. Initially she resists and tries to waive him off, but when Rowdy's protective instincts take over, there is no holding him back. Before she knows it, she is in his apartment and the sparks are flying!! Avery is not a fool, she knows this will likely be temporary, until Rowdy deems it safe enough to send her off on her own again. Despite that, she is determined she is going to enjoy him while she can, no holds barred. Rowdy keeps Avery as close as he can. He tells himself he is making sure she stays safe, but the only person he has ever felt so protective about is his sister. Normally he doesn't like sharing himself or his space with anyone, but with Avery.........it feels kind of nice. ***** Rowdy Yates is a fine, fine man!! A FINE man. Yup. Heart in the right place, honourable, protective, huge hot Alpha man with a vulnerable side..............and I'm sold. Couple that with a slightly mysterious, independent, tom-boy, hands-off beauty like Avery Mullins............and you have a potent mix on your hands! The dynamic between the two was delightful. I loved the dialogue, the descriptions of body language, the sizzling chemistry. I also enjoyed the combined points of view. That always makes for a more complete immersion in the story. Great to see both characters, who are rather reserved, slowly open up with each other and process some of their respective life issues, showing definite development. We are also introduced to a hot, new and very interesting character who starts working at the bar, and I can't help but think he would make a perfect leading man for a possible future book? Ms. Foster??? I have read every one of Lori Foster's contemporary books and I think this is by far the sexiest I've read. Now that may be personal preference, since I really seem to have a thing for Mr. Yates, but no one will be able to deny that this is one seriously seductive and steamy book!!! ¿Tight suspense, fiery characters and red-hot romance!!¿ **ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Harlequin HQN in return for an honest review.**
NUMBER OF HEARTS: 3 1/2 Getting Rowdy was a great read. Rowdy Yates is just about everything you want in a hero. He is dark, dangerous, standoffish, and willing to do anything it takes to protect those who are in need of help. Avery is a pretty tough cookie. After the last year of her life she is ready to be happy with her new life. But when Avery’s past comes back to haunt her she has a choice to make. Run or make a stand. I really enjoyed Rowdy and Avery’s stories. Rowdy tries so hard to not let his inner nice guy show, but when you are a pretty nice guy it is going to be hard. I will say there were a few times (early) that I wanted to slap Rowdy upside the head. But all in all I really enjoyed reading this story. And I just realized that I have not read book 1 & 2... Adding those to my list. Favorite line: “She’s just upset because I love her.” Disclaimer: I purchased this book and this review is my own opinion and not a paid review.