Give It Up

Give It Up

by Lee Kilraine

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781516108251
Publisher: Random House
Publication date: 07/10/2018
Pages: 204
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.47(d)

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CHAPTER 1

Beckett

Welcome to the website of Six Brothers Construction. The design and build team you can count on.

The Thorne brothers — Beckett, Asher, Wyatt, Grayson, Elijah, and Ryker — lived an unconventional childhood. Raised by their free-spirited parents in a cooperative commune, they learned the value of clean living, hard work, and family values. Their parents' life lessons bonded the brothers into a tightknit unit.

Deep in the Montana wilderness, the brothers learned the craft of wood-working, product design, and aesthetics during intensive apprenticeships with the commune's resident experts. Starting as early as the first grade, each brother learned to swing a hammer, mill rough lumber, and craft furniture just as well as he could handle a rope and drive cattle. Their teachers expected practice and perfection in all areas. The boys delivered.

Each brother left home, scattering in different directions to find their own unique adventure, until the oldest brother, Beckett, gathered them back together. As they say in the movies, it was time to assemble the team. They settled in Raleigh, North Carolina, with a simple goal: to provide quality craftsmanship executed with the utmost professionalism and top-notch service. The brothers' core business philosophy rests on the belief that when you're true to your work, your word, and your customers, you're true to yourself.

"That's amazing." The woman across from me sighed, snapped the laptop in front of her closed, and looked at me over the avocado green tiled kitchen island, noticeably impressed with Six Brothers Construction. "What a wonderful upbringing you had. I've read over your website three times now, and everything about it is amazing."

Everything about it was bullshit.

"Our upbringing made us what we are today." That was true. I could say that without my pants catching on fire.

"A commune in the wilds of Montana. That must have been beautiful."

A series of trailer parks in far western North Carolina. It had been a dump. I've never been to Montana. Like I said, it was all bullshit, but bullshit that potential clients loved. Our company is licensed and bonded, but we learned quickly that our real story made people uncomfortable. I don't have one iota of guilt over making that shit up. That website got our fledgling company's foot in the door when we'd set up shop in Raleigh five years ago.

You want the real story? Everything I learned about construction began with reading books at the library. And then later, I moved on to YouTube videos. I even volunteered with Habitat for Humanity so I could work with carpenters until I had enough skills to get hired for day labor all while taking night classes at the local university. Every job I took I walked away with more knowledge and better skills. Not nearly as sexy as the wilds of Montana, right? You know what they say in the design industry ... make it sexy.

I left the new client's home with the job and a check for our standard deposit. It was a small kitchen and would need some creative thinking to maximize the space, but Eli lived for those challenges. All these little jobs added up, but they didn't come close to what I knew our company needed. And soon. That weight sat on my shoulders alone. Responsibility I'd taken on a long time ago. I'm counting on you, Beckett. You take care of your brothers.

A decision made three years ago when I was desperate, one I thought I'd have settled by now and could avoid ever telling my brothers, was about to come due.

When traffic on the highway slowed to a crawl, I put in a call to our office to let them know the Wade job was a go.

"Welcome to the home of the beefcake builders. We've got the wood for your job. Which beefcake builder can I hook you up with?"

What the hell? Beefcake builder? "Whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with?" I knew who it was, but wanted confirmation so I knew which brother's ass to kick when I finally got out of this traffic jam and into the office.

"Oh my, don't you have a raspy voice. This is Leesa with two 'e's, but you can spell it any way you want. Who is this?"

"I'm the one who signs your paychecks, Leesa with two 'e's, and I'd like you to answer the phone the way it's listed in the training manual."

"Mr. Thorne!"

"Beckett will do just fine, Leesa. I need you to answer the phone with 'Six Brothers Construction. How can I help you?'" I reached over and punched the air conditioning up higher. It may have been one of those blue-sky Carolina days, but the July heat wave had been burning up the city for days. "Can you do that, Leesa?"

"Well, I guess I can, but have you looked around at yourselves? Y'all are gorgeous, so I figured 'beefcake builders' would help you drum up more business."

"You get points for initiative, but all new ideas get run by everyone at the weekly staff meeting." Where ideas like "beefcake builders" could be shot down and burned upon the pyre of bad ideas that would never see the light of day. I made a mental note to stop letting Eli hire our receptionists.

"Awesome! Whoa, oh my gawd." Leesa's voice lowered to a whisper in my hands-free earpiece. "I think that hockey player Asher the Crasher just walked in the office. Should I try my 'beefcake builders' line on him? Pfft. What am I saying? He's a guy. Beefcake builders won't reel him in."

It sure as hell would. Ash didn't hide the fact that he was gay, but he didn't advertise it either. It still pissed me off that Ash was the reason we'd lost the best receptionist we'd ever had. I'd even begged Ash to keep his hands off Jonathan. Did he listen? Hell no. Everyone knew how it was going to end. It was how all Thorne brother relationships ended. Early and quick. We didn't do commitment. And once Ash broke Jonathan's heart, he said the office was a painful reminder and quit, leaving us with the ongoing headache of finding someone capable of replacing him. Asher owed us big.

"OMG! What if he wants to hire y'all?"

"He doesn't. Leesa, do you know Asher the Crasher's last name?" At this point, not only was I beginning to wonder if Leesa was still in high school, but I'd decided that Eli had one week to get her up to speed or she was gone. How could it be so hard to hire a qualified, competent receptionist?

"It's not Crasher? Wait ... let me think. I should know this because me and my girlfriends were puck bunnies for a few seasons. Asher the Crasher ... Thorne. His last name is Tho — OMG! He's your brother? Of course he is! He looks like y'all, only bigger. A lot bigger, meow."

The traffic in front of me finally started moving, and sure enough it had backed up from everyone rubber-necking an accident on the shoulder. Flying cars couldn't be invented fast enough. "Please tell Ash I'll be there in ten minutes. Any calls I should know about?"

"A Ms. Goddard called. She said she's having doubts about her wood choice. She's afraid it's too light and would like you to bring more samples over."

Like hell I would. Ms. Goddard had no doubts about what she wanted only it had nothing to do with her bathroom remodel. "Pass her message on to Gray. Let him handle it."

"Will do, boss. I've only been here a day, and that brother of yours could convince me to put shag carpet in my whole house. I'd let him handle me any day."

There was something about Gray that people responded to. He should have been a lawyer; no doubt juries would fall under his charm too. Ash said it was on account of Gray being so pretty.

Whatever it was, it worked in our favor since as soon as a new client got to Gray's phase of the job they literally sat back with a sigh and said yes to almost every one of his suggestions. Hell, his pretty face was so helpful I should probably insure it for a million bucks like a ballplayer insures their arm.

It was true he might use his power to seduce women around town more than he should. But they didn't seem to mind. He was straight about what he wanted from women when it came to relationships. If a night or two counted for a relationship, because that was Gray's limit.

Hey, I warned you we Thornes don't do relationships. We're not assholes; we just don't believe in love. We don't trust it. And we're doing fine without it. We've got a business we're passionate about and we've got each other. Well, almost, but we're working on the last missing piece.

When I walked in the office a few minutes later, Eli was leaned against the reception desk chatting up Leesa. Let's hope they were reviewing how to answer the phone. Ash exited the break room with what looked like the contents of the refrigerator on the plate he carried and I didn't say a thing.

First, because Ash was a professional hockey player and worked out like a beast. Second, we'd all been hungry before. Do you know how hard it is to listen to one of your little brothers cry for two days because they hadn't eaten since the free lunch at school on Friday and now it was Sunday night? I do. I'd rather let my old man beat the crap out of me than live through that again. You will never hear me give my brothers a hard time for eating too much. Ever.

"Did a leg workout and ran five miles. You in for chest tomorrow?" Ash asked around the bite of peanut butter-covered apple slice he was eating.

"Sure, I'm in." I wasn't the beast Ash was, but I could keep up with him most days. When a guy didn't have a relationship sucking up his day, it left time for shit like working out and playing poker with the guys or hanging out in my garage rebuilding my Chevy fastback.

Ash grinned and jerked his head toward Leesa. "Beefcake builder? I like it. Real catchy."

I might have growled seeing as how our receptionist problems started with him. "Not funny. You still owe us for that."

"That's exactly why I'm here."

"This had better be good, Ash." He followed me into my office, making himself at home in the classic yet comfortable Dabney chair from the upcoming fall collection. At least that's what Gray babbled on about when he'd parked it in my office last week. "We're on our sixth receptionist since you broke Jon's heart."

An actual look of regret flashed over Ash's face, making me feel bad about bringing it up. Shit.

"It's pretty good. I met the team's new owner, Denver King, and his wife over the weekend. Lila King is looking for someone to remodel the house they bought. I'm talking top to bottom, all five thousand square feet."

Damn, that was more than pretty good. A remodel for the new owner of the Raleigh Roughnecks wouldn't just bring in a nice paycheck. No, you couldn't pay for exposure like that. This might be the break I'd been needing, and it couldn't have come at a better time. "Sounds like a big job."

"Huge. And guess who happened to have a Six Brothers Construction business card handy?" Ash wagged his eyebrows and grinned. "Lila would like to meet you at her house at two tomorrow."

"Damn, Ash, when you pay a debt — you go big."

"You bet your ass I do." He pointed a pickle spear at me before popping it into his mouth. "Heads up though, you aren't the only designer she's considering, so bring your A game."

This time it was my turn to grin. "That's the only game we've got. Who's our competition?"

Ash shrugged. "Some guy named Sam Devine. Heard of him?"

Damn it. "I know Sam Devine. And he's a she." Samantha Devine of Devine Designs. She'd arrived on the decorating scene in Raleigh two years ago, and you could say I'd done my part to make the lady feel welcome.

"Well, shit," Ash said, looking at me closely. "You slept with her."

"I didn't say that." But I sure as hell had. Damn if I didn't still remember every second of it as if it had been last night. I sucked in a quick breath of air at the memory. The two of us had gone up in flames. I had seriously contemplated something longer than my usual brief encounter — in a weak moment I'd even mentioned I'd like to see her again — but a little bit of cooling off time helped me squash that impulse.

And she'd been a pain in my ass ever since, nibbling into our business and beating us out of contracts.

"Hell, yes, I'll bring my A game." And I'll happily win the contract right out from under her sexy ass. Game on.

CHAPTER 2

Samantha

"If you were a frisky llama, which design says, 'whoa baby, let's get it on'?" I held up my two renderings for the barn we'd been commissioned to renovate. "Design number one, which I'm calling the Alpaca You, You Packa Me Abode, with its dark, sexy reds that set the stage for seduction. Or design number two, the Llama Love Shack, playful and rustic charm with a romantic chandelier and white-washed walls?"

"Well, if I'm frisky, then definitely the sexy red." Margo, my friend and business partner, looked up from laying out triple berry crumble muffins for our morning meeting. "But I'm guessing they wouldn't need us if they had frisky llamas on their hands."

"Oh, you think low-libido llamas? Or maybe the male llama is a jerk with commitment issues?" The clients, Dharma and Rowan, had hired us to refit an existing barn on their llama farm with a "bedroom" that was heavy on the romance. A desperate attempt to get their llamas in the mood as the breeding wasn't going well.

"Why do you care what a llama would pick? The clients will pick which one they like."

"I care because they're going to let the llamas, Sunshine and Mist, pick the winning design plan."

"The llamas? The llamas are going to choose? How does that even work?"

"Right? Point with a hoof? Spit on the preferred design? I can't imagine." I smiled across at Margo. "Make sure you text me and let me know."

"Wait, what? Me?" Margo's eyes went wide. "Why me? I don't want to be within spitting distance of two sex-deprived llamas."

"You're going to have to; I've got the meeting with Lila King this afternoon."

"Dang it. I forgot that was today. That explains your lucky suit." Margo eyed me up and down. "Today's our chance to stop being the ugly stepchildren in the Raleigh design world."

I looked at my reflection in the full-length, French antique mirror across from me, giving my favorite little red dress and my Nasty Gal cheetah print pumps a once-over. This was number three on my list of "go-to" power outfits in my closet whenever I was making a sales presentation. This dress made my overly-generous ass look awesome. Or so I'd been told by my trusted ass connoisseur, Brady Jacobs.

In a round-about way, Brady was the reason I was invited to pitch for this much-coveted renovation and design job. I'd met Brady, an all-star defenseman for the Raleigh Roughnecks, through his girlfriend, Tanya. Tanya and I worked out at the same gym. Tanya didn't last, but my friendship with Brady did. And Brady introduced me to Lila who had recently married the Roughnecks' new coach. Thus, the need for the renovation on their new house.

From what Lila had told me about the job, it would be exactly the shot in the arm our firm needed. Devine Designs was only two years old; the new kid on the block in the Raleigh interior design scene. This gut job of a renovation would be the perfect way to expand our business, and the pay-off was too big not to give it a shot.

"It feels like we've been digging a tunnel with a teaspoon trying to break into the 'go-to' designers in this city the last two years, but if today goes the way I plan, it'll be like crashing through with a bulldozer." I looked around the compact space of our small upstart design firm with an eye to all the changes we could make if today's meeting proved fruitful.

We were like a lot of other start-ups: trying to build our brand and get on people's radar. We'd had steady work during our first two years of our new business, but in order to grow we needed something to change. We couldn't keep living job to job. Hard work and talent had gotten us this far, but we could use a lucky break right now to help us begin to reinvest and grow our business.

"And not a moment too soon," Margo said. "Do you know that over forty percent of new businesses fail before the second year?"

Oh, I knew. I may have only been a business owner for two years, but I'd worked at a large corporation since I was a freshman in high school. Between hands-on experience and an MBA, I knew a lot about what could make or break a business.

Running my own interior decorating company may not have been my original career goal, but I had too much invested and too much to prove to see it fail. Which I absolutely wasn't going to think about this morning. Sugar not lemon, Samantha. Only positive thoughts today.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Give It Up"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Lee Kilraine.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Give It Up 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
JWright57 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read by Lee Kilraine but it won’t be the last I can’t wait for more from The Thorne Brothers and I will certainly be checking out her other books. Beck and his brothers run a construction company and they are bidding for one of there biggest jobs so far but Sam a design consultant is also in the running and when the owner throws them a curveball by insisting they work on this project together that’s when things start to heat up... I loved the concept of this book the characters are well developed and the story is realistic with sizzling chemistry family loyalty and a hockey team thrown in what more could you want. This book drew me in from the first page and there was no putting down until I had read the last line. Looking forward to more from The Thorne Brothers.
ljtljtljt More than 1 year ago
4.5 Stars! I really liked Give It Up by new to me author Lee Kilraine. This is the first novel from her brand new series The Thorne Brothers, and it can be enjoyed as a standalone. Together, the Thorne brothers own a turnkey construction business, and each book focuses on one of the six siblings. This story is about Beckett Thorne, the eldest brother and financial manager of the company. Beck also has amazing design skills. Due to shocking circumstances, the company's business loan has become due, so winning the project to design a sport team owner's mansion is a definite must. Samantha Devine and her best friend Margo are business partners. Their interior design firm is on the cusp of being well-known in the Raleigh area, after only two years of being in business. Sam left her father's very successful and nationally known construction company after years of her talent being overlooked because of her sex. Now she has the chance to truly shine, however, working with Beck will be a challenge, especially since they have a history together. This is quite an earnest read. Beck's back story tugged at my emotions, so I was especially happy that he and his brothers turned out to be successful and kind men. I loved Sam's independence, but disliked how and why she turned out to be so strong. Beck and Sam are two people that truly belong together, but needed some time to realize how much they compliment each other. Their sexy times are hot, both in and out of the bedroom. Overall, this is a well-written romance about two characters that I could not get enough of. Complimentary copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Lorizen More than 1 year ago
Well let's see. Sam and Beck, Beck and Sam. Add in their respective businesses, Becks brothers who are partners with him in their construction company, Sam with her own design business, toss in a hockey team owners esoteric, feng shued, chi loving wife who hires them both to work on their new home because she things their yin and yang will compliment each other, with a deadline of 5 months and their reputations riding on it, not to mention finances and there you have book one of the Thorne Brothers and I just couldn't get enough. The book gives us nice peeks at all the brothers, Ash is a pro hockey player, the only one who isn't fully hands on in the business. Beck is the oldest and has been basically parenting his brothers all their lives, with a really rough upbringing and being split up at a young age Beck carries the weight of the world on his shoulders and still feels the need to take care of his brothers. Which also means not telling them everything. Beck and Sam have a bit of history. One night because that's all Beck can manage and left Sam a little what's the word? You fill in the blank on that one. She needs this job, the daughter of a famous builder and designer her father is garbage I'd scrape off the bottom of my shoe. The crap he throws at her, she at one point worked for him and left to start her own company with her best friend; the only way to survive and come out and away from that mostly intact. When she gets the offer for this job she knows she's up against Beck, what she wasn't planning on was having to work together. Neither was he. Neither of them were anticipating the attraction they still felt toward each other so deciding it would be less distracting if they went ahead and burned off a little steam it would make the job easier they jumped right into it. It definitely made the job easier. It also made them enjoy being around each other a lot more and spending time together, Beck gets an idea of what Sam's life was like with her father and how terrible he was. Beck isn't as open about his past as she is, but it's something he'd rather not go back to. He's also keeping secrets from his brothers. Beck falls pretty hard for Sam and she for him. I loved them as a couple. When Sam doesn't show for Thanksgiving due to an emergent call from her baby sister, she rushes off for a couple days and drops off the radar from the guys. Beck takes that way to personally and instead of talking about it... blows her off. Think his line was "it was just sex right?" That pulls the shutters down for Sam. Once again feeling that she's less that because she doesn't have a penis. That's a classic line from the book and I love that Lee wrote that. It comes up more than once. I loved the brothers too. Each have their own personality quirks and with the exception of Wyatt are total flirts. When they make the deadline for the open house and hockey gala everyone is over the top happy and this is the break they've both been waiting and hoping for. The event is not without a couple pretty lousy twists. So these two, and everyone else in between; can they find their way back to each other or will Beck resort to being Beck? Then there's Sam. The brothers and everyone has an opinion. This was a great read. It's the one that pulls you in at the first page and doesn't let you go until the end. It's a stellar read. I look forward the next brother's book! *arc from NetGalley and Publisher for an honest review*
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
I am absolutely, head over heels in love with these Thorn Brothers and this new series!! Please don't make me wait long for more. I've read several books by this author and this series just cements me as a huge fan. Her writing style is fun and relaxed, her characters lovable but flawed and this band of brothers she's created are just yummy. Each with there own bit of quirky but yummy just the same. This book is Beckett's story. He's the oldest, the protector and he has always taken on that responsibility for his brothers willingly. With the example his parents set he doesn't believe in relationship or love. That is until Samantha Devine crashes into his life and heart like a freight train. I loved everything about this book especially that ending! More please. Now!! I highly recommend this one.
CathyGeha More than 1 year ago
Give It Up by Lee Kilraine Thorne Brothers #1 The Thorne brothers were separated young and for the most part have managed to find one another again, set up a business together and do well for themselves. There is one brother still unaccounted for that they are looking for but otherwise they work together well, are close and take care of one another. They are also charming, attractive and eagerly sought out by those looking for a bit of time between the sheets. In book one we meet the brothers and hear the story of Beckett, the oldest brother. He and a woman he had a one night stand with, Samantha “Sam” Devine, are hired to work together on a large lucrative job redesigning a home for a wealthy couple. They are forced into close proximity, have to make compromises and begin to care for one another…though it takes a bit of doing for them to reach the HEA conclusion hoped for. There are no real big surprises in this story and the romance is fairly straight forward. I am interested in finding out more about the other brothers and also about the twist their private investigator brings to them near the end. Did I enjoy the book? Yes Will I read more in the series? More than likely Am I willing to read more books by this author? Yes Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Publishing ~ Lyrical Press ~ Caress for the ARC – This is my honest review. 3-4 Stars
HeyerF4n More than 1 year ago
Lighthearted Family Series Bk 1. Start of a new series involving 6 brothers who had a dysfunctional upbringing but have a tight bond with one another. Loved the interaction between the brothers and looking forward to reading their stories. Sam already knows that Beck doesn’t do relationships from an encounter in their shared past and when they first find themselves pitted against each other to win a contract and then have to work together in partnership, they try to remain professional but the chemistry between them is too great. The story is told from both their POV. This was an enjoyable book though I would have liked it to have had more emotional impact. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.