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Read an Excerpt
Lucky For You
A Marsden Novel
By JAYNE DENKER
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2015 Jayne Denker
All rights reserved.
Morning was usually Will's favorite time of day. Usually. But not thid say. Er, this day. Crap. And ow.
Damn that pothole. It had been an obstacle since the spring thaw, five months ago. But because it was only a small blemish on a little-used side road leading down to the heart of town, it was hardly at the top of the Town of Marsden road crew's repair list. Will knew it was there, but because he had been fumbling for his ringing cell phone, he'd let first his front, then his rear bike tire bounce into and out of it, and as a bonus, the side of his tongue had just been slammed between his teeth. Well, at least he hadn't wiped out. Road rash would have made a really nasty start to his day.
"'Wo," he mumbled a greeting. "Off'cer Nash."
Okay, nasty start to the day completed, even without a wipeout.
He swallowed, the swelling on the left side of his tongue painful and awkward in his mouth, and said nothing. He really needed to respond, but he was too busy cursing silently.
"Yeah," he finally managed to say as he coasted to a stop at the bottom of the hill and hopped off the seat, then added a belated, "Good morning."
"That's better. Good morning to you, Officer."
Kyra was shooting for sultry, and she might have hit the target if Will was buying. But he wasn't.
"Whacha up to?" she went on when he didn't reply.
"On my way to work."
Pause. "Don't you want to know what I'm up to?"
He massaged his jaw and sighed. Not really. But he was nothing if not polite. Then again, manners like that got him into situations like this. "Sure," he said dutifully. "What are you up to this morning, Kyra?"
"Just ... thinking about last night." Will knew from the sound of her voice and the rustling coming through the phone that she was still in bed, likely stretching under a tangle of sheets. "I don't know why I can't get you all to myself, you know?" Her seductive tone was derailed by a gurgling coughing fit. She busted out a smoker's powerful throat-clearing "Hem," and then he heard more rustling, this time the familiar crinkling of a cigarette pack.
Will knew. He knew better. As the little voice in the back of his head often reminded him, spending time with Kyra wasn't a smart choice. In his weaker moments, he told the little voice to go drown itself in the Marsden River and he did whatever he liked, but most of the time he was in agreement with the invisible little nag. This morning his head was clear, the little nag was sitting back nodding his head in approval, and Kyra wasn't swaying him in the least.
Will brightened at the sight of an old woman entering the crosswalk in front of him. "Mrs. Rousseau," he called. "You're up early today."
"Hush, you," she snapped. "You're too loud for this time of day."
Will smiled broadly. It was rumored Mrs. Rousseau was the oldest Marsden resident, although she'd never admit it, so there was no way to prove it unless he went snooping in the town records. And he had no interest in doing that to a law-abiding citizen.
She stopped in the middle of the street and examined him with her sharp, bulbous hawk eyes. "You're going to be late for work, young man. Get off that cell phone and move along."
"And don't you get involved with that tramp, you hear me? Keep it in your pants before it falls off. Don't give me that look," she muttered as she started walking again. "You know what I'm talking about. Too good for that Whalen trash anyway ... absolutely nothing good comes out of that town ..."
Will had no idea how the old woman knew Kyra was on the other end of the line—or that she lived in their sketchy neighboring town—and he didn't bother to ask. It was just the way Mrs. Rousseau rolled. He made his excuses to Kyra, ended his call, and waited patiently until the elderly woman mounted the opposite curb. Then he continued on his way, standing up in the pedals as he sped up and turned left on Main to get to the police station at the back of the town hall, while Mrs. Rousseau headed in the other direction, toward the coffee shop or the diner, or perhaps the market.
The village was quiet—no surprise there. It usually was. The several-thousand strong population was mostly law abiding, making his job as one of four local police officers easy, even a little dull sometimes. But there was nowhere else he'd rather be. In his eyes, his New York hometown was perfect just the way it was—picturesque turn-of-the-twentieth-century Main Street with quaint storefronts and all of three stoplights, hundred-year-old homes on the shaded side streets running from the valley up the steep Catskills hillsides, farms farther out. He knew everyone, and everyone knew him—something some people might have found suffocating, but not Will. Family, friends, neighbors—he couldn't have been more content.
He settled his bike into the rack by the back door—no need for a lock in this town—and entered the cool, dim hallway, every sound he made echoing off the glossy painted walls and high ceilings of the old building.
The police station was actually just three small rooms with a couple of desks, the "holding cell" a metal ring embedded in the wall with a pair of handcuffs attached and an old wooden chair in front of it. They didn't have much call for any tighter security than that. If someone was especially disruptive—and Will couldn't remember the last time he wasn't able to talk a person down, even the rowdiest of individuals who had spent a little too much time at Beers, the most popular local bar—he turned them over to the sheriff 's deputies or state troopers for delivery to the county lockup. Basically, he was a babysitter for drunks and an occasional minder for citizens who'd engaged in some kind of violence ... usually both at the same time. But that was what he got for accepting a lot of night shifts.
Come to think of it, he probably should have worked last night, instead of spending even five minutes with Kyra. He didn't want to give her the wrong idea. But he wasn't averse to having a couple of drinks with her. She was a diversion—nothing more—and she seemed okay with it most of the time. So they existed in some kind of friends-with-potential-benefits limbo that just made him feel ... unpleasant, to put it mildly.
Will shook himself and put Kyra out of his mind. The late September morning was fresh and cool, the office was dark and quiet, and he had plenty of time to catch up on his paperwork before he had to head out on patrol—
He stiffened. The noises were coming from the chief's office, but Zoë wasn't due in for another half hour. And if she was in her office, she would have turned on the lights when she came in. Will's hand drifted instinctively to his belt, even though he hadn't drawn his weapon in ... well, ever. Not in his whole four and a half years as a Marsden police officer.
"Zoë?" he called tentatively, expecting her brusque "Yeah" in answer. It didn't come.
The silence thickened, as though whoever was in the chief 's office was holding his breath, frozen in place. Will squared his shoulders and put on his "cop attitude"—the air of authority that did more to control a situation than any weapon could—and planted himself in the doorway.
"Oh, hey, Mister Policeman."
His shoulders drooped. "Shit."
Jordan Leigh, occasional Marsden resident and frequent scourge of the town, was sitting at the chief 's desk—in Zoë's chair, no less—like she owned the place. Of course she was. It was what she did. Jordan had more attitude—and more nerve—packed into her small frame than anyone would expect. Anyone who didn't know her, anyway. Will, on the other hand, knew her pretty well, so instead of relaxing, he stayed on high alert.
"Nice to see you too." Jordan propped her elbows on the arms of the chair and spun it first one way, then the other, and back again.
"How did you get in here?"
"You've gotta ask? It's not rocket science to get into any building in this town. Even the police station, apparently. Who's on the cleaning crew lately? They left the door open."
"They did not."
"Might as well have, if all it took was a good hip check to open it."
"What do you want, Jordan, before I arrest you for trespassing?"
She clucked disapprovingly. "Not a morning person, huh? You'd better check your daily briefing or your ... town crier's scroll or whatever. I have an appointment."
Will crossed his arms and leaned against the doorjamb. "Do you, now?"
"No offense, but I thought the last place you'd ever want to visit is the police station. What kind of appointment could you possibly have?"
Jordan ran her fingers through her jagged, pin-straight dark hair, massaged her scalp, then flashed a wicked little smile. Without another word, she rolled the chair backward and propped one leg on Zoë's desk, then crossed the other one over it at the ankle. Will pushed off from the door frame, ready to ream her out for being rude—a Jordan Leigh specialty—when she cleared her throat and waggled the foot on top.
She sported an ugly, clunky ankle monitor that looked as though it was weighing her down and could snap her slender limb at any moment.
The flicker of sympathy Will felt for her was so slight he barely noticed it. Fighting back a smile that smacked of schadenfreude, he asked, "What did you do this time?"
"I said read your notices." She wiggled her fingers in a dismissive wave, but he didn't move.
"Get up; let's go. My desk is out here, and I'm not turning my back on you for a second."
Jordan obeyed, but Will still didn't feel comfortable in her presence. He'd never reveal that to her, of course. Instead, he did his best to fill the room as he watched her rise and saunter over to him. He squinted at her suspiciously—partly because he didn't trust her, partly because it masked the fact that he was watching the swaying of her narrow hips too closely. When she got closer to him, he realized she was going to have to squeeze past him to get through the door, and his skin started prickling. Still, he didn't move an inch. No quarter—not for this one. He knew her too well, even if she didn't spend a whole lot of time in Marsden these days.
When Jordan reached him, she stopped and looked him in the eye. She had a natural end-of-summer tan, as though she'd spent the season boating; a few freckles dotted the bridge of her upturned nose, and the neutral color of her lips accentuated the healthy shade of her skin.
He swallowed and hoped it wasn't as audible to her as it was to him. "What, Jordan?" he demanded.
She stayed silent for another moment, then her lips twitched. They weren't full and lush, but they definitely held their own unique appeal. He immediately looked over her head instead of staring at them.
"Nothing. You're cute when you're being all bossy, that's all."
With an irritated sigh, he muttered, "Move it."
Jordan laughed softly and passed through the doorway. Will wondered if she'd brushed her shoulder against his chest intentionally or not. He wasn't even officially on duty yet and already it had been a long, trying shift.CHAPTER 2
This was too much fun. The house arrest sucked, of course—Jordan couldn't think of anything more annoying, not to mention inconvenient—but being in Marsden, being glowered at by Officer William Nash, almost made it worthwhile. It wouldn't do her any good to piss him off this soon, but it was pretty easy to do. She was going to have to pace herself. If that was even possible. Tormenting him was way too tempting.
Like brushing her shoulder against him. She shouldn't have done that, but she just couldn't help it. She wanted to see the sheen of sweat break out on his forehead, and he didn't disappoint. Besides, his chest was so very touchable—it was like its siren call just drew her shoulder to it. Will Nash wasn't super tall, but she was on the short side herself, so his proportions worked fine—just fine. And he certainly was muscular; she could tell because Marsden police officers didn't bother with body armor unless they were on patrol. That solid torso was all him. Yep, this house arrest might be all right after all.
Trying to look repentant—and doing a poor job, she knew—Jordan slid into the chair Will pointed to. She could tell this was his desk; the old metal thing was sparse, dust free, and neat, with every office item in its place and carefully aligned along some invisible XY axis important only to him. He even had an oh-so-quaint calendar blotter. With nothing written on it. She had a sudden, overwhelming urge to stand up, lean across this organized expanse, and sweep everything onto the floor, just to drive him crazy. And maybe give him a peek of her cleavage in the process, so she could watch him fidget. Instead, she pretended to look around the station while he took his seat and booted up his computer.
He was making a point of not looking at her either. Yep, he was definitely cute. She was used to hanging around very different guys: cockier, more arrogant, more demanding, more careless with their behavior. Will Nash was none of those things, and never had been. Of course, she didn't know him as well as she had when she'd lived in Marsden, back when she'd amused herself by stealing his toys in kindergarten, but intermittent visits to the old hometown over the years proved to her he never changed all that much. He was just ... bigger. Which was also good.
She bit her lip to keep her expression as serious as his. "I know," she deadpanned earnestly.
"So? Are you going to answer my question?"
Shit, had he been talking while she'd been admiring his profile? No way was she going to let on that she'd been zoning out over his looks. "Maybe I am, maybe I'm not," she said coyly instead, leaning forward and placing her elbows on the edge of his desk. Casually, she nudged his stapler out of alignment.
Just as casually, he straightened it out again. "All right, fine. I have the basic information right here. This e-mail from the Sullivan County probation department says you've gotten allowance to serve the rest of your house arrest here in Marsden ... that's five more weeks ... Wow, what did you do?"
"You don't have those details too?"
"I could read through this whole thing, but why don't you give me the executive summary to save time?"
"I was at the races."
"At Monticello? Sure. And?"
She pursed her lips. "I wanted to ride a pony."
Will raised one dark eyebrow but said nothing.
"We took a detour. Through the casino. Alcohol may have been involved," she added, turning his tape dispenser and pulling an inch-long piece from the roll, but leaving it hanging off the edge.
"You don't say." Will ripped off the small piece of tape, threw it away, and turned the tape dispenser back around.
"Are you going to sit there being sarcastic, or are you going to tell me what I have to do for this house arrest thing? It's making me crabby. It's getting colder already, and I can't fit my Ugg boots on over this stupid tracking device thing."
"Because of course that's the most important issue in your life at this point in time."
"Hey, what did I just say about the sarcasm? Are you going to inform me of my rights or not?"
"That's for when you're arrested. You don't want to go through that again, do you?"
"You know what I mean."
"Yes, I know what you mean." He perused his computer screen a little more, clicking and scrolling. "Why are you back in Marsden, anyway?"
She shrugged noncommittally. "I ... um ..." was as much as she could get out before she faltered. How could she tell Will—or anybody, really—that she had nowhere else to go? "Why Marsden?" Jordan echoed him to buy time, pulling a few paper clips out of the magnetic holder and stringing them together. "Because. Why not Marsden? I love it here."
Will snorted, pulled the paper clip chain out of her fingers, separated them, and put them back into the holder. "Typical Jordan Leigh, thinking everyone forgets anything you say or do the minute you leave town."
She snorted back and crossed her arms. "Okay, here's another answer to your question: Mind your own business."
Excerpted from Lucky For You by JAYNE DENKER. Copyright © 2015 Jayne Denker. 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jayne is quickly becoming a go-to author for me. This book is funny, well written and heart felt.
* I received an ebook in exchange for an honest review. * This was my first book by author Jayne Denker, but it will not be my last! This states that it is book 3 in the series but I was able to jump right in and understand exactly what was going on without having read the previous 2 books. I love that the author makes it so effortless to start the book here, but what I love more is that she has written the book so well that I WANT to go back and start at the beginning so that I don't miss out on any of the characters, the town or the fun that she has created. The plot is smooth, fast paced and draws the reader in right from the very start. The characters are well developed, relatable and people with whom I could see myself hanging out with on a daily basis. There is no "rich man, poor woman, Cinderella type story" going on here....they are real everyday people that I can relate to and enjoy reading about. Jordan has made a few mistakes in her life and is now paying the price for those mistakes. Will has grown up to be a gorgeous rule abiding officer of the law and still has a bit of a crush on Jordan. Jordan and Will decided in kindergarten that they were going to be married....do several years, a few mistakes and a bit of heartbreak mean there will be no Happily Ever After?!?! The author does a great job of keeping the reader on the edge of their seats and while there is a bit of predictable-ness to the plot, there is just as much mystery and wonder going on that the reader never becomes bored. This is a fun read and a quick one because once you get started you won't want to stop reading it. It will draw you in and hold you there until you have turned the very last page and even then you will still be thinking about the book and the characters long after you have finished reading. The author also adds in a bit of humor throughout the story that will literally have the reader laughing out loud - and it may happen at the most embarrassing times...Do yourself a favor and check this author out! She is going on my list of new favorites and I am moving her straight towards the top of that list! Add this one and her others to your TBR and enjoy them! This one was a lot of fun!!
I loved how spunky Jordan is. She’s hiding a world of hurt behind humorous sarcasm. She’s not mean-spirited but she is quite snarky and unless you look further you might mistake it for just being awful. She’s also a little socially awkward which makes it even worse :) Will is one of those people who has a huge heart. He’s patient and understanding, which Jordan needs in spades, and he’s the only real support she has in town. They are so fun together … once they stop letting their pride get in the way. My only complaint with the story is how Jordan handles the end. She’d done so much growing through the book that I would have thought she would have done so much better. I mean I understand that she might have fallen into old habits but she let it go too long, I think. And when she comes back she doesn’t do much better, but Will is such an amazing and understanding guy that together they figure it out. As with Picture This, it is the characters that make this such a hit. While we do get a good cast of supporting characters (and I’m SUPER interested in what Denker has in store for Will’s brothers), it is Jordan and Will that drive this story. The growth and development is so satisfying (with a few hiccups) and I was so excited when they finally got their happy ending. I’ve loved both of the Marsden books that I’ve read so far and I’m definitely looking forward to see what comes next. (Complimentary copy provided in exchange for an honest review)
Jordan has always had a bad rep. When a night of fun that included some alcohol and a horse lands her in trouble, Jordan must serve out her sentence of house arrest in her old town and the only place she ever felt at home, her grandmother's housee. Will has always been the boy Jordan crushed on. Now he is an officer of the law and will do what it takes to keep Jordan in line...but Jordan has plans to make Will see she has all grown up and not just the troublesome youth. What a marvelous story about rising above others opinions and coming home. Lucky For You is a wonderfully endearing and delightfully cute romance to devour. I received this ARC copy of Lucky for You from Kensington Books - Lyrical Shine in exchange for a honest review.
I thought this was a great read! Love the little town of Marsden with all it's quirky characters and Jordan Leigh's return just notched up the quirkiness. Will Nash is content being the follow the rules Nash brother. His life, however, is about to get a whole lot more interesting when he's put in charge of keeping an eye on Jordan while she's in Marsden serving out her house arrest. These two worked great together and made this a fun read no one should miss. I highly recommend it.