After dinner with the most arrogant man in the world, Jessica Miller is shocked when her blind date tries to maul her in the parking lot. Enter “Zag”: the brooding, bruising alpha male who jumps off his motorcycle and teaches the jerk a lesson he won’t forget. After getting one taste of a bad boy who lives on the edge, Jessica’s hooked. Zag’s willing to give her the ride of her life. But she needs to wrap her arms around his powerful chest and hold on—tight.
Zag knows firsthand that the True Brothers MC isn’t for the faint of heart. He only intends to show beautiful, innocent Jessica a few cheap thrills to satisfy her curiosity. But the more he lets her in, the more Zag comes to depend on her gentle touch to help heal the wounds that he’s been denying for so long. Now, a rival gang has set its sights on Jessica, and Zag must step up once again. He just hopes he can go the distance to protect the woman he loves.
Look for all of Gillian Archer’s smoldering True Brothers MC romances:
RUTHLESS | REBELLIOUS | RESILIENT | ROUGH RIDE
And don’t miss RELUCTANTLY ROYAL, “an entertaining, sexy, opposites-attract romance” (Harlequin Junkie).
Praise for Ruthless
“Ruthless does not disappoint. The sexy, alluring bad boys of the True Brothers MC will make your mouth water.”—New York Times bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin
“Hang on tight! The True Brothers MC will take you on one helluva sexy ride!”—Stacey Kennedy, USA Today bestselling author of the Club Sin series
“Well, dang, I read it too fast. I loved Zag! And now I want the next book in the series.”—Carla Swafford, author of Hidden Heat
“Zag’s intensity and air of danger combined with his endless caring and worry created a paradox that made me melt.”—Confessions of a Bibliophile
“Zag’s character was written well. With his messed-up past and low self-esteem, he’s a great tortured bad boy.”—Wicked Reads
Includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The worst date of my life didn’t start out so bad.
When I spotted him across the room, I couldn’t believe it—my mom had actually set me up with a stellar guy. Which was something of a surprise. My mom’s idea of the perfect man was light-years from mine. But tonight’s guy, Charlie, was hot. It wasn’t so much his looks as the confident air he had about him—the way he wore a suit reminded me of James Bond. He owned the look in a totally understated, badass way. Although he wasn’t GQ handsome, the combination of his confidence and height made him more appealing to me than any model. Height was an important checklist item. Most men were shorter than me and seemed intimidated by my five-foot-ten frame.
But then not much daunted Charlie, as I later found out.
“Jessica?” He stood and offered a well-manicured hand.
“Yes, so that would make you Charlie?”
“Guilty.” He gently squeezed my hand as he gave me the once-over. His smug little grin made me think he didn’t mind the view. Holding on to the back of his chair, he gestured to the vacant one across the table. “Sit, please.”
Charmed, I took a seat and we exchanged smiles, although mine felt a little awkward. I looked around at the other diners and slyly scoped out their plates. I was starving. “So what’s good here?”
“No need to worry about ordering.” He leaned back in his chair, totally comfortable with his surroundings. “I’ve already taken the liberty of ordering for both of us.”
“But…” I trailed off as the waiter approached with our dinner salads. Okay, then. Granted it was a little high-handed, but I was determined to make the most of the situation. I gritted my teeth, picked up a fork, and dug in. “So tell me about yourself.”
Charlie smiled charmingly over his salad. “What would you like to know?”
“Um, how about what you like to do for fun?”
“Well, I’m what some would call an adrenaline junkie. I’ve scaled Mount Kilimanjaro. The sound of the wind and the taste of the air so high above the rest of humanity really makes you feel alive. Of course I climbed it without a guide. Only weak excuses for climbers use Sherpas. And just last month I surfed the Banzai Pipeline in Oahu. My third day there, I caught a thirty-foot wave and rode it over…”
He continued to drone on about his accomplishments, but I was too busy resisting the urge to stab my eye with my fork to pay close attention. And here was the drawback that always came with my mom’s setups. I should’ve known he was too good to be true.
Of course he didn’t seem to be interested in anything about me at all. At every turn he managed to slip in some outrageous claim about himself. I’m pretty sure over our entrées—which was a fish pairing and I hate fish, ugh!—he told me he’d testified in front of Congress on the same day he’d rescued a baby seal. Although given the amount of wine he downed, it was hard to believe he could walk in a straight line on a Saturday night, let alone climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Whatever snow job he gave my mom, it obviously hadn’t been the truth. Captain America wouldn’t know the truth if it bit him on the ass. How had he managed to hide his utter douchiness? I certainly hadn’t detected it from across the room. But once he opened his mouth…Whatever it was, I had to change my inner jackass radar and maybe buy my mom one, too. I didn’t want to ever do this again.
When the bill finally arrived, thankfully, I expected at least some modest tussle over who would pay. I mean he was so macho and all. Not that I was going to let him; I didn’t want even the hint of “owing him” at the end of the night. I just wanted to get the heck out of there and forget Captain Douche and his amazing conquests.
But there wasn’t a tussle.
Charlie made a big production of patting his shirt pockets. “Oh, dang it. I can’t find my wallet.”
So he was either the world’s biggest cheapskate—he did drink two fairly expensive bottles of wine after all—or his master plan was to owe me at the end of the night.
Not in this lifetime.
I put my pleasant—if slightly irritated—fake smile on and paid the bill. I could not wait for the evening to end. He, of course, insisted on walking me to my car. Which was where my historically awful evening got worse.
I insist. It is, after all, the gentlemanly thing to do.” He bowed low enough that he lost his balance and tipped forward, coming within kissing distance of the pavement. Although it could’ve been the breeze that pushed him off center.
I grabbed his right arm and helped him back up. I looked around the dark parking lot. No one—even the street off the lot was quiet. Great. I really couldn’t live with myself if I let this asshat drive home. There were innocent people on the road, after all. “Hey, Charlie, did you drive yourself here?”
“Nope. Had my secretary drop me off. Did I tell you I’m a lawyer? I’m this close to getting partner.” He held his fingers up for my inspection.
I had a feeling they weren’t as close together as he thought. “That’s great. Well, here we are.”
I stopped next to my car and Charlie crashed into me.
“But you’re right. I do need a ride home.”
Oh Lord, here it comes.
“Can I get a lift home? Or better yet, I’ll go home with you. We’ll save gas that way. It’s better for the environment.” He sent me something I thought was supposed to be a charming smile but came off looking more like a leer.
“Uh, no. Thanks. Not tonight.” Or ever. I barely held in my shudder.
“Come on, baby. You were feeling the same vibes I was. You know you want me. Why deny it?”
There were times for the polite dismissal, but this definitely wasn’t one of them. “Because I don’t want you. This date sucked and I’m going home. Alone.”
“Playing hard to get, huh? That’s okay. I love some slap with my tickle.” Charlie pressed in close and trapped me against my car.
Freaked out, I struggled against him but his arms were like tentacles, sliding all over my body and impossible to get away from. My heart raced and a litany of oh my gods ran through my head. I tried to bring my knee up, but he blocked the movement and pinned my legs with his so I couldn’t move.
Suddenly he didn’t seem very drunk.
“No, Charlie. Stop!”
But he didn’t seem to be interested in my objections. His slimy lips moved down my neck, leaving a trail of saliva like a slug. He stopped at my cleavage and buried his face between my breasts.
Shuddering with disgust, I grasped for my purse dangling from my wrist, but it fell to the ground, and my can of pepper spray with it. Panicked, I did the only thing I could think of.
The sound was loud, piercing, and terrified.
Because I was. He was too big to fight off. He was going to rape me in the parking lot and there was no one around to help me. Oh God.
He didn’t budge an inch, aside from his hands that continued to slide over my body. His breath was heavy and putrid against my face. My skin crawled from the combination.
“No. Stop. Get off me!” I struggled as much as I could with his big body sandwiching me against the car. “Stop. No!”
And then suddenly he was gone.
I was afraid that I’d dreamed it—gone to that safe place in my mind—but the muffled thumps and curses definitely weren’t part of my happy place.
“When a lady says no, she fucking means no.” My white knight gave Charlie one last brutal kick to the ribs, then stepped over his body and slowly approached me.
Our corner of the parking lot was dark, so I couldn’t see him very clearly. I just knew he was big—built like a linebacker, way over six feet tall—and had possibly saved my life. He stopped a few feet away from me, his hands raised as if to show me he wasn’t a threat.
“You okay?” His voice rumbled in the darkness, a deep baritone.
My eyes darted from my white knight’s dark outline to where Charlie slowly inched away. “I—uh…Yeah. Mostly. I think.”
“Good.” He turned slightly and watched Charlie stagger to his feet and stumble away. “Do you guys live together?”
“Will he be waiting for you at your house?”
“Oh, no. This was our first and last date.” I pushed my bangs off my forehead with a shaky hand. “A very bad blind date.”
“No shit.” He jerked his chin in a masculine head nod. “Well, have a good night.”
With that, my white knight turned and walked away in the same direction Charlie had gone.
“Wait.” I couldn’t just let him leave. I had to do…something. The guy had saved me from being raped and now he was just going to walk away?