Sean O'Malley has never tried to hide who he is. He shows it in the motorcycle thrumming between the legs of his tight jeans…the shaggy hair that falls in his gorgeous eyes…the wicked gleam in his smile when he asks Emma out for a drink. Sean is a rebel, a bad boy, and a ton of fun: exactly the kind of guy she's sworn off forever.
Emma isn't just the the prim kindergarten teacher she appears to be. And somehow Sean can tell. As soon as he pulls up to her overheated car he knows that a fast bike and a cold beer will fix her rotten day better than compliments or a bubble bath. Her straitlaced exterior and her wild heart light him up. But Emma wants to escape her past and settle down—and if her desk jockey dates don't understand where she comes from, at least she doesn't worry about them bringing her back.
One weekend of intense connection can't change the paths Sean and Emma have chosen. But with a little space to be themselves together, maybe the rest of the world can wait...
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
In Your Arms
By SHANNYN SCHROEDER
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2017 Shannyn Schroeder
All rights reserved.
"Damn it." Emma stared at the plume of steam snaking up through her hood and popped the lever before slamming her car door. She'd been doing so well today. Not one curse word, not even under her breath. Not after her heart-to-heart with her boss to talk about the importance of making sure kids showed up on the first day of school. Not even after waiting for a roomful of parents to attend the back-to-school open house only to be greeted with three. Out of twenty-six.
Hard to convince parents their kids shouldn't miss school when the parents aren't interested. They didn't care if funding got cut or if she lost her job.
She'd managed to keep her frustration in check through all of that. But this, her car, might drive her over the edge, especially since Nicky had assured her he'd fixed the hose. As she levered the hood up to assess the problem, she prayed she wouldn't have to kill her brother for taking her money and lying to her. She paced and waited for the engine compartment to cool so she could test her theory. The sight didn't make her day any better.
"Goddamn fudge monkey." The halfway-improvised curse did nothing for her. No, this was definitely one of those situations where she shouldn't feel guilty about using all five of her daily allotted swear words at once. "Fucking lying piece-of-shit asshole." Then she kicked the bumper but almost lost her balance because of the stupid heels she wore to look professional.
Stomping back to the driver's seat, she reached in for her phone and called Nicky, only to get his voicemail. She inhaled deeply and forced a softer tone. "Hey, Nicky. Guess what? I'm sitting on the side of the highway right now with steam pouring from my radiator. You know anything about that? 'Cause you should. I paid you to replace the hose. Yet I'm looking at the same damn hole."
So she'd exaggerated the trickle of steam, but she needed Nicky to understand how pissed she was. She should've just taken care of it herself. She knew how to fix it. High school shop class had taught her a few things. Her boyfriends had taught her more. But Nicky needed cash and she hated fixing anything on her car, so she'd paid him to do the work. She hadn't considered that he wouldn't do it. Tossing her phone back on the seat, she stood and thought about her options. Calling the auto club would mean waiting at least an hour. They never rushed anywhere. Glancing down at the clothes she wore, her only good suit, she knew if she attempted a temporary fix to get off the expressway, she ran the risk of ruining it.
She took her keys from the ignition and opened the trunk to look for duct tape. Once the engine cooled, she could seal the hole and get to a shop. She dug through the junk that had mysteriously accumulated in the trunk. An old blanket, an empty box of animal crackers, and her emergency kit. She unzipped the pouch to find two bandages and antibiotic ointment. No flares, no cables, and of course, no duct tape.
Her first boyfriend, who had taught her to drive, had given her an emergency kit. Her second boyfriend had taught her the value of carrying duct tape. Knowing Nicky, he'd probably swiped it one of the many times he'd borrowed her car. The least he could've done was tape the hole. She slammed the trunk shut and couldn't resist calling her brother an asshole one more time. By her count, she was now two over her allotment for cursing.
As she moved back to grab her phone to call the auto club, a motorcycle rumbled close to her location and pulled off the road. Great. Just what she needed: another guy to add to the mess of her day.
He cut the engine and swung a leg over the bike to dismount. The tight jeans over black boots, topped with a stretched white T-shirt, weren't lost on her. He took off his helmet and Emma braced herself for what would surely follow. He'd come over and hit on her, and she'd get more pissed off. She thought about reaching in her bag for her pepper spray. He turned around and smiled at her while running a hand through his short hair.
With the setting sun off to the side, his face was lit with a glow, and amazingly blue eyes stared at her. His smile wasn't a bit lecherous. Just friendly.
"Hey. Need some help?" He took only one small step closer. He looked her up and down and waited for a response.
"No. It's a hole in my radiator hose."
One eyebrow lifted. As if she shouldn't be able to diagnose the problem. Men.
"Can I take a look?"
She waved her arms out. "Go ahead." At least while he was under the hood, she'd have time to get her pepper spray and her phone.
Sitting on the edge of the driver's seat with her feet tapping, she waited on hold with the auto club. Blue Eyes came closer to the door and cleared his throat. She glanced at him.
"You're right. It's the hose. Only a small hole, but it needs to be replaced."
No duh. "Thanks. I'm calling the auto club now for a tow."
"Do you have a shop you want to get it to?"
"Wherever they tow me is where I'll go."
"If you want, I can do a temporary fix and take you to the shop I work at. It's only about a mile off the highway. It'll save you towing fees and you can get out of here now."
She sighed as the easy-listening music played in her ear. Climbing from the car, she said, "I already thought of that. My duct tape is missing from my trunk."
He laughed. "Something tells me I should be worried about a chick who carries duct tape in her trunk."
She suddenly realized how bad that sounded and laughed too. Nothing about this day was going right. "I have it for emergencies, not to tie up my captives."
He crossed his arms, causing his shirt to tighten on his biceps and drawing her eye to a tattoo peeking out. He smiled and added, "Maybe I should take your picture to let my friends know who I'm with in case I disappear."
Oh, man. He was cute. She didn't want him to be cute.
"How do you propose to fix it?" she asked.
He flicked a thumb over his shoulder. "With the duct tape I have in my saddlebag."
"Now who should be worried?" The words slipped without her thinking about the fact that she was flirting. She knew better. She really did.
His smile slipped and his face became serious. "Feel free to keep your distance. I'm doing what I hope someone would do for my sister if she was stuck on the side of the road. Besides, a body won't fit in a saddlebag."
He turned to his bike and opened the side compartment. Emma waited until he returned with a roll of tape. Leaning on her front fender, she smiled. "Hey, I was kidding. I appreciate this. My brother was supposed to fix it. I wouldn't have kept driving if I'd known he'd flaked." Which shouldn't have surprised her at all. Nicky always flaked.
"No problem." He unrolled a section of tape and tore it with his teeth.
Emma had no idea why she found that sexy, but she did. No, she knew exactly why. This guy ticked off all the things she loved but avoided because they were bad for her: a motorcycle-riding, tattooed mechanic with a sense of humor and a killer smile.
After wrapping the hose, he pulled a dark blue bandana from his pocket and wiped his hands. Then he extended his right hand. Another tattoo on the inside of his forearm. A pair of crossed hockey sticks. "Sean."
She shook his hand, which still bore the grease marks of his work. "Emma."
"Nice to meet you, Emma. Why don't you start it up and we'll make sure this'll hold?"
She went to the open door and bent to turn the key. The engine roared, but no steam puffed out.
He closed the hood. "If you want to take it to another place or have your brother fix it, this'll work for a little while. Don't push it though."
"If you give me directions to the place you work, I'll take it there now. It only seems fair that you get the job." She paused, thinking about the time. "Unless you're closed and won't be able to take me."
"The boss is always there late."
"I don't want to put you out. You were already nice enough to stop. You can get on with your weekend." It was a Friday evening of a holiday weekend. The unofficial end of her summer, and she was looking at having work done on her car.
"Not a problem. Follow me."
She nodded and got back behind the wheel. She watched as he put his helmet back on, covering his slightly messy hair. As she put her car in drive and pulled back into the lane, she followed Sean and tried to ease her tight muscles. Even after laughing with him, her tension hadn't dissipated.
The heat in her car was stifling, and her clothes clung and pinched at her. She knew it was all in her head, her frustration poking her, but she rolled the window down anyway. They pulled off at the next exit, and Emma tried to think how she'd get home. Her mom would be working and couldn't afford to leave. Nicky would never answer his phone now that she'd called him on his garbage. He'd probably dodge her for a week hoping she'd cool off.
Looked like she'd be calling a cab.
True to his word, Sean turned into a lot for a garage a few minutes later. He waved his arm to point where she could park. After turning the car off, Emma grabbed her keys and stuffed her phone and charger in her bag and got out. Sean stood at the back of her car, waiting. She handed him the keys.
From the door of the garage, a guy in his forties wearing a blue jumpsuit called, "O'Malley? Thought you were done for the weekend."
Sean turned to the man. "I am. Brought you a customer."
The guy wiped his hands on a grubby rag. "Don't think that makes up for you blowing off work yesterday and showing up late today."
"Wouldn't think of it," Sean mumbled. He turned back to Emma. "That's Dominick. He'll take care of you."
She followed Sean over and listened as he filled Dominick in on the problem. Dominick wiped his hands on his thighs and pointed to the office. "Let's get your paperwork done. I should be able to get this done by tomorrow afternoon."
Finally, something went her way. She turned to Sean before following Dominick. "Thanks again."
He nodded and turned away.
As she followed Dominick, she considered her options. Mom lived only about a mile away, but the thought of walking in these heels didn't appeal to her. Plus, she'd be stuck at her mom's house all night, which didn't sound any better.
It would take two buses to get to her apartment. In rush hour. The buses would be packed. She'd be stuck standing in her heels while surrounded by sweaty bodies. A cab was the way to go, but she hated wasting more money for cab fare.
She authorized Dominick to do the work and walked back out into the warm air. She looked to the street and thought again about walking to her mom's.
"Need a ride?"
Sean's question startled her. She'd figured he'd be long gone by now. "Don't you have something better to do than take care of a woman you don't know?"
He shrugged. "Thought maybe you'd want to get a drink. You look like you could use one."
"That's an understatement." The fear of losing her job had weighed on her all day. This was only her second year. She still didn't understand how the funding worked, but she knew attendance for the first few weeks of school was vital to keeping her job. She'd thought taking a position at an inner-city school would give her job security. So many people didn't want to work there. But if the budget was cut, she'd be the first to go.
Without teaching, she'd go back to living like her mom. She wanted more than that. She'd worked too hard to go back to that kind of life. She took a deep breath. "Do you really have a sister or did you just say that to put me at ease?"
"I have a sister. Her name is Norah." He pulled out his phone, scrolled across the screen, and turned it to face her.
A picture of Sean standing next to a girl who could've definitely passed for his sister. They had the same eyes. When she nodded, he added, "I don't lie."
Emma knew better than to believe him. Guys like him lied. As evidenced by his boss, he was exactly how she'd pegged him: irresponsible. But guys like him were also a ton of fun. And right now, she could use some fun. She needed to forget everything about this day.
* * *
Sean waited for Emma to decide. She shifted from one foot to another. Those heels were fucking sexy but didn't go with the rest of the package. The suit said business, but the shoes said party. Not that he was some shoe aficionado. He'd just spent enough time picking up women in clubs to know they wore shoes like that to draw attention.
Emma had definitely grabbed his attention on the side of the road. Her fury had radiated off her as she beat on her car, slamming doors and yelling at no one. In the ride to the garage, she seemed to have lost some steam.
She looked at the phone still in his hand and then at his bike.
If he wasn't mistaken, he caught the telltale glimpse of longing. He knew that look. Someone who really wanted to be on a bike, like maybe she missed it. The look was familiar because he felt it every time he saw his bike in the middle of winter.
"I'm not dressed for going for drinks."
"I'm not complaining." A chick wearing a suit wasn't his type. They were a little too adult for him. But those shoes ... As a bonus, her short skirt would definitely ride high as she straddled the bike. And him. His blood rushed south with the thought.
"Can we make a quick stop so I can change?"
"You live close?" Not that it mattered. He'd drive her wherever as long as it led to drinks and hanging out.
"No, but my mom does. I can borrow something there. She's only about a mile away." She edged closer to the bike.
Sean handed her his helmet. She took it without bitching about messing up her hair. Good thing to know about her. She accepted necessary protection and didn't mind messy hair. He easily thought of similar situations.
She tied her hair into a ponytail at her nape and slid the helmet on. As she adjusted the helmet to fit as best it could, he climbed on and held out a hand to her.
"Have you ridden before?"
She nodded. "It's been a while though."
"I'll take it slow. Where are we going?"
"Take Fullerton east. I'll let you know when to turn." She hiked her skirt up to an almost indecent spot and swung a leg over. "I'll tap you when we're close."
He almost asked if she'd tap when she was close to coming during sex, but thought it might end their date too quickly. He wasn't sure what to make of Emma. The girl wearing the buttoned-up suit didn't match the one who wanted to ride and hiked her skirt like it was nothing. Getting her to relax was going to be interesting.
When he started the engine, she scooted closer and wrapped her arms around his waist. Yeah, that felt good.
The sun dipped low in the sky, but was still strong enough to warm his skin. He was so used to wearing a helmet, he'd almost forgotten how good it felt to ride without. If his brother Jimmy ever found out, Sean would be in for another lecture, but at the moment, he didn't care. What Jimmy didn't know wouldn't hurt anyone.
Sean eased onto the street and followed the directions Emma had given him. The neighborhood was alive for a Friday night. Kids ran across lawns and into the street. Smells of food cooking on grills reminded him he hadn't eaten dinner. A couple of houses had cars up on blocks in the driveway, for those few houses lucky enough to have a driveway. Some people sat on front steps hoping to catch a cool breeze to break the heat of the day. Cars lined the street and he was glad he drove a motorcycle. Parking around here would be a bitch.
Emma tapped his chest and he pulled over at the corner in front of a fire hydrant. He held out a hand to help her and couldn't help but look as she tugged her skirt while climbing off. She removed the helmet. Her ponytail loosened and locks flew around her face.
"It's a few houses back."
"I'll wait here." He took the helmet from her and watched as she pulled her bag from across her body.
A little more than ten minutes later, she was on her way back. The sight of her knocked the wind from him. Snug jeans and fitted tank top covered her, and she had a sweatshirt tied at her waist. She'd traded the heels for a pair of sneakers. Her hair was now completely down and long brown waves flew around in the breeze. For a moment, he considered that she'd lied about it being her mom's place because he didn't know any moms who dressed like that. But her bag was overstuffed, he assumed with her clothes.
Excerpted from In Your Arms by SHANNYN SCHROEDER. Copyright © 2017 Shannyn Schroeder. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Shannyn Schroeder is a new author to me. In Your Arms is the story of motorcycle rider Sean O'Malley and kindergarten teacher Emma. What’s a girl to do when a tattooed, long haired biker offers to help her out and buy her a drink? That’s Emma’s dilemma, should she take a walk on the wild side and d have a little fun or avoid the temptation that Sean offers her? Sean can tell by looking at Emma that beneath her prim exterior lays the heart of a naughty women. Emma is wants to have a little fun before she settles down and finds “the one”, but it certainly won’t be bad boy Sean, or will it? Emma makes no bones about what she is looking for from Sean and it was amusing to see that Sean was the one who struggled when he realised he was the one who wanted more than what Emma was prepared to give; a refreshing change from the normal storylines. There were times I struggled with this book, but overall I enjoyed it and I am intrigued enough that I want to read about the other siblings, so they will go on my TBR and I look forward to reading more from Ms. Schroeder.
I have read every Shannyn Schroeder book in this series, as well as, the O'Leary series and I have loved them all. Sean and Emma had so much chemistry that it was hard not to root for them to see what they had and be happy together. I loved the fact that Sean realized how he felt first, but knew that if he spoke up about his true feelings that Emma would run. I also loved the fact that he never gave up; he 'knew' that he wasn't good enough for her (which I felt was ridiculous), but he decided that he would take and cherish any time he had with her. For a leather wearing, motorcycle riding bada**, he sure had a heart of gold. He helped her when she was stranded on the freeway, supported her when she lost a student, and had a complete breakdown when she pulled away from him when he was defending her. That was a head-scratching moment for me. Emma, is a strong heroine, who was trying to make 'better' choices for herself. She felt that, as a teacher, she couldn't make the wrong choice because it would make her look bad. I understand how she felt, but there were definitely times that I wanted to strangle her. She didn't want to label their relationship, yet she met his entire family. She didn't want to need/want him, but she called him when she was upset. When she pushed him away; essentially ending things with him, I wanted to scream. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I liked how they relied on one another and how they both came to realize that they were better with each other than apart. Great job, Shannyn. I received an ARC, via NetGalley, in exchange for an unbiased, truthful review.
I've been craving birthday cake for two days straight now...I wonder why? ;) I really liked Sean and Emma together--they had good chemistry, and clearly brought out good qualities in one another, even though they couldn't always see it. I wasn't crazy about how Emma wrote Sean off from the very beginning, though I did understand her instincts there--yeah, a guy who lives in his parent's basement and thinks nothing of having three different jobs in one year doesn't exactly scream "stable grownup". She was a bit out of line not wanting to date a mechanic, though (seriously, with how much I have a tendency to shell out to gentlemen of that profession each year, they'd be on my short list), and the whole dating other guys to find "the one" while keeping up a friends(? up for debate--even they weren't sure how to label them) with benefits thing she had going on with Sean was not cool. Even though he freely admitted he wasn't looking for anything permanent, I had trouble believing he'd be okay with that aspect. And yeah, Sean definitely needed to do some growing up, but overall he was a really good guy...though that could be my partiality for bar league hockey players doing some of the talking there. ;) Still, he was easy to root for, and it was clear from the start that the two of them had something that was going to be worth the work in the end--if they'd let it get to that point, that is. It was also nice to see a realistically-written teacher for a change! Yes, lesson planning, grading, and getting up early Monday through Friday are very real facts of life for teachers, even in kindergarten. So many authors over-romanticize their characters, having it be all sunshine and rainbows and I-adore-my-student-y with dedicated teachers who hardly seem to do much more than show up for class every morning. Emma loved her job and seemed good at it, but she also worked for it, which was refreshing. Though both the hero and heroine were frustrating at times, ultimately this book was more satisfying than the previous one in the series, Under Your Skin , where the heroine (Sean's younger sister Norah) being pregnant with another guy's baby for 2/3 of the book made it more than a little bit disconcerting. The entertaining O'Malley family dynamic was here again, making me look forward to the last two siblings (Kevin and Tommy) finally getting their HEAs. In Your Arms should work fine as a standalone if you haven't read book one or the original series this is connected to (oldest brother Jimmy's story is part of the O'Learys series-- Catch Your Breath ). Rating: 4 stars / B+ I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
In Your Arms features Emma and Sean as two people hooking up while each is waiting for next thing to happen in their life. Emma is a reformed bad girl who Is looking for a husband. Sean is a hockey player and mechanic that still lives at home and isn't concerned about steady employment. Emma and Sean compliment each other, but neither is a very likable character. As the story progresses, Sean starts to mature, but Emma is stuck in a rut. The story picks towards the ending and overall I was happy wit the ending. I was given a free copy for an honest review.
I loved getting to know the O'Malley boys in Nora's book, Under Your Skin, so I was super excited to dig into In Your Arms knowing I was going to see one of those boys knocked out by love. In Your Arms, Sean's story was just as fabulous as Nora's; full of emotion and unexpected feelings. There's was a meeting by chance, the bad boy with no care for responsibility stopping to help the nice and proper respectable teacher on the side of the road. What could have been a weekend tryst of unexpected pleasure led to so much more. Emma wants stability in her life, she wants things smooth and following her plan; Have a good steady job, find a nice man, marry, and the babies will follow. It works out perfectly in her head and she knows jsut the type of man she should be aiming for. But the heart doesn't always listen to the head and when Emma finds herself in the sphere of Sean O'Malley, well all bets are off. If Sean had dreamed up who the perfect woman for himself would be, he couldn't have gotten close to who Emma is, because Sean wouldn't have realized that its not really about the traits of a person, but more who they truly are. I really enjoyed that aspect of this book, the fact that Sean had to grow up and change during the story, to figure out what love really is and what it takes to find it. Sean knew he wanted to get to know Emma, he wanted to add something to her life, but it took him a little while to figure out why that was. In Your Arms is a fun romantic tale, that left me laughing, swooning and also sometimes a little frustrated with the characters and the things they were doing/thinking. Shannyn Schroeder pulls it all together with relatable characters and details that grab you into the story. This book proves that love truly is unexpected and sometimes we find it where (and with whom) we least expect it. It also shows us that for the right person and at the righ time, people can and do change their life outlook. Sean shows a lot of growth throughout this book, from the carefree attitude of a single and happy male at the start to something more worthy of a relationship. I love how Schroeder hooks me into the story by making me fall for each of the characters, giving me the chance to root for them as the rest of the story unfolds. I can't wait to see what comes in future books in this series.
Received An ARC for voluntary honest review for netgalley. Its an ok book however at times I found myself frustrated with both of them, I felt you either gave it your all or give up. I didn't like that she was with Sean, while she was looking for her perfect guy, granted he wasn't sticking with a job, and then he was living with his father. I gave her that. And then you have Sean, he claims he was with her, just for fun, I didn't like that either, that he wasn't the type to want strings, the good is he realized his mistake, and she did too. And that I appreciated, after that I liked book. I also enjoyed the interaction with Sean's family.
I loved this story. These O'Malley's are a great family and watching them lose their hearts is so much fun. Emma is a bit of a wild girl but she's determined to change her ways. Starting a new job as a kindergarten teacher is her first step. Her second - swearing off bad boys. Then the motorcycle riding Sean O'Malley swaggers into her life like a white knight and she decides one last sip of a bad boy wouldn't be so bad. One last fling before the school year starts but will walking away be easy for either of them??? Lots of good relaxing fun with this one. I highly recommend it.
When a woman decides to change her life and give up bad boys but decides to have one last weekend fling before taking on teaching kindergarten and then meets a bad boy that could be the man she really needs things are not going to be easy for either of them. Emma knows she wants stability but also wants chemistry and though Sean provides chemistry that goes beyond that one weekend fling she is sure he will not meet her standards for a committed relationship and since he is not sure he ever wants to settle they seem to be on the same page. This same page relationship is more of a friends with benefits one that they believe provides them both what they need, is enough, doesn’t tie them down and allows Emma to look for her forever man while enjoying one another …except…after a while…things change a bit…then…change some more…and what was easy wasn’t easy any more. This was a fun easy read that ended with a HFN that may prove to be more in future books of the series. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the ARC. This is my honest review.