A sexy category romance novella from Entangled's Brazen imprint...
She was off-limits...until now.
Vegas was a bad idea. There's no real good reason for a Marine to be stranded in the desert...and yet here I am. Hungover as hell, bruised, and bloodied. The tequila was just another mistake in a long line of mistakes. So naturally she had to be the one to come and save my sorry ass. The girl who broke my heart. My ex-best pal's little sister...
And dammit, I still want Erica Jones as much as I did all those years ago. Tried to tell her I loved her then, and she ran. Now I just need to touch that smooth-as-silk skin, worshipping the curves of her body. But she and I? We always see through each other, and something's changed. And despite how screwed up we are, this time I'm going to prove myself to her...to hell with the consequences.
Previously released on the Ever After imprint in May 2012.
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A Take a Chance Novella
By Diane Alberts, Adrien-Luc Sanders
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2012 Diane Alberts
All rights reserved.
Jeremy stumbled along a deserted road just outside Vegas. At least ... he thought he was outside Vegas. The heatwave-shimmer of darkness on the horizon could be Pittsburgh. Reno. Aliens. It depended on whether this was dehydration or a really bad hangover. With the April sun beating down on his head, Jeremy was leaning toward dehydration. He felt like an egg in a frying pan, sizzled and broken.
Though he was pretty sure the sunlight wasn't to blame for how he'd gotten here.
He'd come to Vegas for a little fun. That was what leave was about, right? Fast times, cheap booze, plenty of gambling. He was pretty sure people only ended up bruised and stranded in the middle of Buttfuck, Nowhere, in the movies. He blamed the damned squid for his own personal reenactment of The Hangover. Jeremy had kept his cool until the sailor had called him a coward and a jarhead.
Then he'd lost it.
He wished he could blame the alcohol, but he'd been sober at that point. It wasn't until after the fight, his eye black and his lip swollen, that he'd nursed his wounded pride with a visit from Johnny Walker. His own temper, built up over the months of a high-tension deployment, had gotten him into this mess. The liquor had just made his bruises hurt a little less.
Though he'd sure as hell like to know what happened between the bottom of the bottle and the side of the road.
He fingered the split in his lower lip and let out a bitter laugh. Idiot. At twenty-seven, he should know better than to drink until he dropped. He never lost control like that. Never let himself. Not after what his father had done to his mother. His father had blamed the bottle, too.
Yeah. Right. Even sober, his father was an asshole.
Jeremy wouldn't let himself follow in his father's footsteps: a loser behind bars, with no hope for a future and no one who loved him enough to bother visiting. Jeremy was a Marine. He made his own life, did his best to look after people.
And if he roughed up one squid on leave, well ... Jeremy hadn't thrown the first punch. Sure, he'd lost the fight and ended up as desert road kill—but at least he could claim self-defense.
With a snort, he ducked his head against the sunlight and trudged along the road. At least he'd get to work on his tan.
That tan was turning into the beginning of a sunburn before he finally heard a car engine rumbling behind him. It was the first sign of life he'd seen since he stumbled out of the desert. Finally. He'd started to think he'd slept through the end of the world. Zombies optional.
He turned to walk backward, facing the wavering silver gleam that sped toward him. His mouth was too dry to even try shouting, his tongue swollen. He waved his arms over his head like a madman and stepped into the road. The late afternoon sun reflected off the hood, blinding him.
Please don't run me over.
Not that it wouldn't be a fitting end to this hellish day.
Brakes screeched. Jeremy stumbled off the road and landed on his ass in the sand. Grit stung his reddened skin. A cactus decided to fuck with him just a little more and poked into his back. Son of a bitch. He rubbed at his eyes; negative-image floaters swam against the insides of his eyelids.
A car door opened with a k-chnk. Footsteps pounded the pavement, their noise drawing closer. Jeremy cracked his eyelids open enough to squint at the driver. Short. Female. That was all he could make out.
She dropped to her knees at his side. "Are you all right?"
Her voice was soft. Sweet. Melodious. Familiar. He thought of warm summer nights by the pool, watching the stars.
With his best friend's sister at his side.
"... Erica?" Please, God, no. Anyone but Erica. He rubbed at his eyes and blinked at her. Same brown hair. Same brown eyes. Same soft, sweet face. It was Erica, all right.
"Do I know you ...?" She eyed him warily, her eyes empty of recognition.
Any moment now she'd remember him. Jeremy Addison. The fool who'd confessed his love to her. The idiot who'd driven her away with his stupid mouth. She'd run before he'd even finished the you in I love you. It had been years, but she'd remember.
And it would all go downhill from there.
And five ... four ... three ... two ...
"... Jeremy? Is that you?"
"Yep," he croaked. The only way this day could get worse was if her brother was in the car. Tommy. His ex-best friend. That would dropkick things from downhill to straight into the shitter pretty fast.
Jeremy cleared his throat and tried to force something resembling a human voice past his lips. "Uh. How are you?"
"How am I?" Her eyes widened. "How are you? What the hell happened? You look like a POW."
Her soft, cool hands pressed to his shoulders, then slid over him. He knew she was only checking for injuries, but his heart stumbled nonetheless. Maybe if his skin didn't feel like an overcooked hot dog, he'd actually enjoy her touch.
"I don't remember," he mumbled.
What he really meant was I drank myself into a drunken stupor. And I think now I'll go do it again, thank you. Go ahead and run away now. This time, I won't blame you. And this time, he thought, he'd try tequila. Anything to erase the memory of humiliating himself in front of the girl he'd been in love with since the first grade.
He sighed. "The last I remember, I was hanging around the Bellagio. Hadn't even cracked my first beer.. Some Navy jackass called me out. Picked a fight with ten of his buddies. Next thing I know, I'm waking up with a mouthful of sand."
"How long have you been out here?" She felt his forehead. He could've told her without checking; he was running somewhere between fricasseed and hot as hell, Fahrenheit.
He gritted his teeth. "No clue."
"Come on." She slung an arm under his and gave him her shoulder. "In the car. You're probably dehydrated. I have some bottled water."
He'd have laughed if it didn't hurt so much. Jeremy had a good foot or more on Erica. She'd hit five foot one when they were eleven, and hadn't grown an inch since. He still remembered her marking off her height on the doorframe of her family's antique frame house, and finally giving up after it didn't change for six straight months. Sad that he still remembered that—her pretty, slim fingers curled around the marker, the way she pouted.
But he always remembered things like that. Story of his life.
It was more stubbornness than strength that got him back on his feet. She wrapped her arm around his hips, as if she had even half a chance of supporting him. His heart gave a painful lurch, and his gut tightened. He ignored it. His body and heart never could be objective where Erica was concerned.
She was only helping him, he told himself. Taking pity on him after finding him in a pathetic heap on the side of the road. She didn't care about him. She hadn't then. She didn't now. She was just a good person ... and to her, he was practically a stranger. Too many years had passed, and too much had changed.
One grueling step at a time, they dragged back to her silver Porsche Cayenne. Of course she had a classy car. She'd always had the best taste in ... well, everything. Probably why she'd never dated him, even after his confession. She'd never stoop so low as the son of a lowlife, no-account, good-for-nothing criminal. He couldn't blame her. She deserved a prince, not a knuckleheaded piece of shit Marine.
He still remembered the look on her face when he'd told her. She'd turned ghostly white, and her pretty little mouth had tightened. Then she'd run away. Just like that—run away from him as if he were diseased. He'd never been able to face her, after that. Her or her brother, after things had turned sour between them. Maybe it was better that way, but his self-esteem sure as hell didn't agree.
And his self-esteem wasn't too happy about seeing her now. He looked like a damned bum, and he was getting sand all over her elegant business suit.
Brilliant, Jeremy. Absolutely brilliant. Next you can puke on her shoes.
Come to think of it, he might have done something like that last night, somewhere between the fight and the second bottle of hooch. That might account for two or three of the fresher bruises throbbing on his chest.
Erica helped him wedge into the passenger's-side seat, strapped him in, then slipped in on the driver's side and passed him a large water bottle. The condensation on the sides almost froze his palms, and he had to stop himself from rubbing the damned thing all over his body. He was tempted, but her pretty brown eyes stopped him, concern written all over her face.
"God, Jeremy, you look like shit."
"I know." He groaned, twisted the cap off the bottle, and took a deep draught. The dry stinging in his throat eased, and he let out a heavy sigh. "Thanks."
She started the car and cranked up the air conditioning. Cold air blasted him in the face, and he closed his eyes and sank against the seat. Thank God. The last time he'd been this hot, he'd been stationed in Afghanistan, camped out in the hellish desert and dodging a hell of a lot of unfriendly fire.
Still more comfortable than sitting here with Erica, sweating all over the plush upholstery of her car.
"Are you on leave?" she asked.
He watched her from the corner of his eye. How did she know he was in the Marines? He'd kept up with her life now and then, but had she cared enough to follow his?
Her eyes dropped to the dog tags currently burning into his chest like branding irons, and his face heated. No. Of course not. He needed to get his wayward emotions under control.
He shrugged and took another sip of water. "Yeah. Took a month. Though I could use some R&R."
"Relax?" She raised a brow. "This is what you call relaxing?"
He stiffened. Of course she'd look at him like that. Like the loser he was. He wanted to tell her she had no right to judge him—that she'd given up what power she held over him long ago—but he'd be lying. One look and he still felt that same desperate, agonizing emptiness; the hollow knowledge that he loved her, and she'd never love him. Never even consider it. She was a different Erica now, grown up after seven years.
But he was still unworthy of her, and no amount of commendations or medals would change that.
Jeremy's hand tightened against the bottle, until he forced himself to let go. "It was plenty relaxing, until a fist got up close and personal with my face."
She snorted. "Sounds like you got what you deserved."
Erica strapped in, shifted into gear, and pulled onto the road. Uncomfortable silence descended. Jeremy relaxed against the seat and tried to focus on the cool air and refreshing water—not the woman at his side. He might as well try to forget his own name. He was grateful when she slid on her sunglasses; they hid her dark, unreadable eyes behind an equally impenetrable barrier.
She fidgeted at the gearshift. "What's your MOS?"
"Since when do you know military lingo?" he countered. "I'm a mortar man."
"Oh." Her brows wrinkled. "So you get shot at. You're not on a ship somewhere, or safe at the base."
"'Safe' is relative in Afghanistan. But yeah, I get shot at."
Her knuckles went white against the gearshift. Her motions were tense when she changed gear. "Oh," she said again.
"Don't worry. I'm too ornery for anyone to hit me."
Her lips quirked and she glanced at him. "Someone hit you pretty hard last night."
"Funny. You know what I meant." He snapped a mock salute. "Sergeant Jeremy Addison, at your service. Too proud and determined to get shot."
She laughed. "You mean too stubborn and bullheaded."
She chuckled and fell silent. Jeremy turned his attention out the window. Before long they passed the first straggling outskirts of civilization, which quickly blended into lushly groomed lawns and houses that seemed to get larger with every block. Posh. Luxurious. Somewhere he didn't belong. He'd never have a house like these, or a wife like Erica. Both were as far out of his reach as the stars, and just as untouchable.
"Where are you staying?" She nibbled at her lower lip. "I can take you back, or to my place. It's only five minutes away."
Of course it was.
"Depends. I am still in Vegas, right? A little fuzzy on that detail."
Her lips compressed. Past her sunglasses, he caught one sharp brown eye watching him. "Still in Vegas. You didn't walk that far in your drunken stupor."
"I've done worse."
No, he hadn't. But a perverse and hurting part of him wanted to disappoint her. If she was going to look at him like that, she might as well have good reason to.
"Besides," he said. "Last I heard, you were in California."
"It's been seven years. I moved. How did you know I was in California?"
Great. Now you think I'm a creepy stalker. "Old classmates," he fumbled. He drained the water a little too fast; the sudden cold rush left him dizzy, and he gasped and dropped the empty bottle into the cup holder. "So. Yeah. Could we hit your place? I could use a shower sooner rather than later."
"Sure." Her hands tightened against the steering wheel, and she fidgeted in her seat. "So. Besides getting drunk, beaten up, and left for dead ... how's life?"
He laughed, harsh and humorless. "When you put it that way, pretty shitty. But otherwise, not bad. Enjoying being back in the States."
She flashed him a small smile. The dimple in her right cheek made him want to kiss it. She only had the one, but he loved it. "Maybe things will get better after last night."
"They can't possibly get any worse." He idly toyed with his dog tags. "Sorry you had to find me like that."
"It's okay." She patted his knee. His thigh tensed. "I'm glad I did. Who knows how much longer you'd have lasted? You looked like death. You're lucky it's only April. In July, you'd be dead."
"Instead of just a little dry and crispy?"
"Thanks. Now I want fried chicken."
It was on his lips to offer to take her to dinner. Maybe sate a few more cravings than food. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and said, "Uh. How's Tommy?"
"He's good." She paused, then swallowed. "Divorced."
"About damned time," Jeremy snarled, then took another breath. And another. And another, until the heated wash of anger began to cool. That lying whore had destroyed the only friendship that had ever mattered to Jeremy—and had been destroying Tommy for far longer than that. Erica's brother deserved better, but he hadn't wanted to listen when Jeremy said so. And then when Nicole had ...
He forced the thought away. No point in reliving the past. Especially not when he could feel Erica watching him, after his little outburst.
"He tried to find you," she said. "Once he came to his senses. When he realized Nicole was lying, he wanted to apologize. You really didn't sleep with her, did you?"
"Of course I didn't. She wasn't my type." You are. "And I wouldn't do that. Not to Tommy. Not to anyone."
"Ah," she said softly. "So it was just a game, to her."
"Something like that." Jeremy turned his glare out the window, rather than on her. Looking at her did nothing for his peace of mind. "I told both of you I didn't do it. I don't lie. I hated Nicole. And you of all people—"
—should know who I loved.
He shut his mouth. That night loomed between them, large and stifling. He'd poured his heart out into her hands, and she'd thrown it away.
"Jeremy, I'm sorry." This time the steering wheel squeaked under her tightening grip. She pried one hand away and ran it back through her hair. "I didn't mean to hurt you. I just—"
"Can we not talk about this?" He folded his arms uncomfortably over his chest. "It's been seven years. We've both moved on."
"Of course," she bit off with a jerky nod. "So are you ... married? Kids?"
Married? Him? Yeah, right. As if he'd ever find someone who could even compare to her memory.
Not that he'd ever tell her that again.
"I'm not the marrying type," he said with a chuckle that left his mouth tasting bitter. Especially when a horrible thought struck him. "Are you?"
"No." Her voice went flat. "I was engaged once. I'm not anymore."
Everything in her tone warned him not to ask. Not to push. He cleared his throat. "I'm sorry. Maybe the right guy will come along soon."
Excerpted from Try Me by Diane Alberts, Adrien-Luc Sanders. Copyright © 2012 Diane Alberts. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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
Try Me is a short, but very cute love story which took me about a day to read, stopping to tend to my 2 childred. A guy and a girl become friends and fall in love. But a big misunderstanding and lies ruins their friendship. Years later the find each other and fight their attraction to one another, thinking they are not good enough or are too damaged for the other. This story captivated me from the beginning to the end. I can't wait to read other stories from this author.
Try Me (Take a Chance, #1) by Diane Albert Reading Try Me by Diane Albert’s has lead me to go find out if she has written more books, I enjoyed this story it is a fast read and quite enjoyable. Oh and did I mention a sexy looking Marine. Diane’s writing is good, words flowed well, I thought both characters had great chemistry together, plus the cover wow, I probably shouldn’t admit half the reason I signed up to read and review this was because of the cover…but it was worth it. We meet Jeremy who is off on leave, drinking and fighting he wakes up in the desert bruised and bloody. Knowing he needs to get moving before he dies for dehydration he sticks his thumb out for a ride. Erica driving down the highway stops to help someone out and cannot believe her eyes when she sees its Jeremy the man she loved and rejected. This story is fantastic, sexy Sergeant Jeremy Addison still loves Erica, Erica still loves Jeremy ….but can they put the past behind them and start over? Does true love conquer all? All you can do is go purchase Try Me to find out! I would recommend Try Me to anyone who loves romance a bit of heartbreak and finding lost love and starting over. Diane Albert’s is one fantastic author and I cannot wait to read more of her books.
Come for the abs… stay for the book. Try Me, by Diane Alberts is so much more than it’s smoking hot cover. Alberts created two very likable characters in Jeremy and Erica, and the tension between them is as steamy as the book’s cover. They story pulls you in from the first page and leaves you tapping at the screen of your eReader hoping for more.
3.75 stars Jeremy had a rough night and by the looks of his surroundings it seems he is bound to have even a rougher day. Taking a chance that a stranger might help him out, he tries to hitch a ride. Even in his dazed state he recognizes the voice of the woman who stopped to help -- Erica, the woman he never forgot. I enjoyed the emotions brought to the page by the Diane Alberts. Each emotion that was portrayed by both Jeremy and Erica felt real and revealed a lot about their personalities, struggles and hesitations. It was what truly helped me relate to the characters in a more personal level. Jeremy and Erica's interactions were honest and emotional and their chemistry was easily palpable throughout the book. This was what truly sold me the story. I appreciated the way the time the author spent bringing their stories to the front so that there couldn't be any more misunderstandings between them so that they could move forward once and for all. Try Me, the first story in the Take a Chance series is a touching story about second chances with great mix of drama and romance. I look forward to reading more about Erica's brother, Thomas, in Love Me . I want to get to the bottom of the conflict between Jeremy and Thomas and maybe see him moving on in his life now that he had the chance to make amends with Jeremy.
Ok. But only 66 pages
A good, easy read. It is very short so there are many gaps in the plot and it is hard to build a close relationship with the characters, but its a sexy, romantic book about unconditional love that bridges time and emotional barriers.
I loved this story. It was well written, and I caught myself laughing out-loud a few times.. It was such a fun little love story.My only complaint is that the story was not long enough. I was sad to see it end. I have read all of Diane Albert's books so far and have enjoyed them all. Oh and keep the smokin' hot covers coming, Diane!
Entangled Publishing has completely changed my opinion about novellas. They really are perfect for when you're looking for a quick read, especially if it's romance. A few weeks ago, I read Divinely Ruined by Diane Alberts. It was the first book that I had read that was written by Diane and I absolutely loved it. Try Me was just as good and in some ways, even better. Try Me is the story of Jeremy and Erica, two people who have loved each other forever but lost their chance (or so they thought)..until 7 years later when, call it fate/destiny or co-incidence, something brings them together again. This book has everything from friendship, childhood crushes and unrequited love to tragedy, insecurities and some serious emotional turmoil. Diane has once again written a deep and wonderful love story involving two people you can't help but root for. Jeremy and Erica are from different worlds. Sure, they were close as children but Jeremy has had a rough life while Erica's was mostly smooth sailing. Yet, despite their differences, Erica's the one girl who has always been on Jeremy's mind, the one who makes him wear his heart on his sleeve. Their shared past, even if not exactly romantic, just made the chemistry between them all the more intense and I loved that. Although individually they both have their issues, together, Jeremy's raw emotions somehow balance Erica's doubts and fears. Believe me, sparks were flying. Try Me is a sweet, heart-warming story about two people that were just meant to be together trying to find their way back to each other.
Try Me was an wonderful and captivating love story. Young and in love Erica and Jeremy both made mistakes. Confident that their futures will never be together; they have lived the past eight years trying to move forward. Even though this is proving harder than anticipated; neither of them though. It they would find one another on a lonely desolate road in the desert. Erica is a wounded and fragile woman after what life has unfolded for her in the past few years. Determined that Jeremy will be like every other man she has known; she is determined to keep herself at a distance. This proves harder than planned when Jeremy begins pressing her boundaries, and searching for a way into her future. This story was very short, and over in a blink of the eye, but not without securing me as a new fan. I am anxious to see what else the Take a Chance series has to offer.
This was the most amazing story! Jeremy is so hot (and omg those abs that cover I want him for that alone the tats so sexy!) and he's a total hero type, and he wants to rescue Erica but she's afraid she's not good enough for him. And so many misunderstandings when they used to be childhood sweethearts! It adds just enough conflict to give them something difficult to struggle through to a rewarding end. Loved this book!
I read this all in one sitting, and stayed up to 1:30 a.m. to finish it! I loved the hero, Jeremy, completely. A boy from the wrong side of the tracks and from the worst possible family background who feels he's not good enough for the women he's loved since childhood, a woman who now has secrets she believes makes her unworthy as well. Watching the two of them come together and find the acceptance and love they've been longing for was a great emotional ride! I love friends-to-lovers stories, but this one also had a bit of a twist on that theme by inserting a major crisis into their friendship that made them believe they were no longer friends. I liked that variation, as it added another layer of conflict between them. A great read!
Enjoyethis story .L.M.A.d
Love truely more importsnt than any body inprovections. Looking fotward to more of this lady!s novels,
Jeremy and Erica meet after many years apart. He is stranded on the side of a ride in the Vegas desert after a night out that he can't remember. She stumbles upon him and takes him to her house to clean up and get re-hydrated. Both of them are circling around their feelings for each other. Jeremy decides to take what he wants and Erica brushes him off due to her own feelings of inadequacy due to an accident she had that left her scars, both physical and mental. Jeremy finally finds out what is holding Erica back and gets her to realize that he can see past all of that to her true self and he doesn't care about anything else. It was nicely done and had a good epilogue. It was very short so it tried to cram a lot into it. Would have liked to have seen more of the couple together but was pretty good for such a short story.
Excellant story felt like I was there watching the whole thing. Diane can really write her books.
Good read, always like to read about men in the military and this one was about unconditional love. There was an ending and an HEA!!!!!! Would Recommend!!!!
Many people don't understand about servicemen. I have to say I am one and this author has done justice to them. Thank you for this. I enjoyed this book it was short but great.
It was a great idea, but I would have loved to have had more of a story for how much I paid for it. There could have been much more added to this story.
Good Book! Try Me (Take a Chance #1) by Diane Alberts is a well-written, seductive novella. I have read all of the books in the Take a Chance series and enjoyed each and every one of them. This story is about Marine Sergeant Jeremy Addison and attorney Erica Jones. Erica and Jeremy have known each other since childhood and fell in love somewhere along the way. Immediately before Jeremy deployed for the first time, he had a falling out with Tommy, his best friend and Erica's older brother. It has been seven long years since Erica, Jeremy and Tommy have seen or even talked to each other. Now Jeremy is home on leave, and he runs into Erica on the side of the road. Erica and Jeremy still have tremendous chemistry and they both finally foresee a future together. However, Erica has a secret which she believes will prevent Jeremy from loving her completely. Luckily they are able to work things out. I really liked this novella, especially the unexpected ending. Erica and Jeremy are real and their love is tangible. In addition, the build up to their lovemaking is both seductive and sensual. Don't pass up the opportunity to read Try Me and the entire Take a Chance series.
I Loved this book . Jeremey and Erica where two great People to get to know. It is a short fast read. I have to say that I find all Dianes books so good I cannot put them down once I start them. It is short as people said ,but that is what these books are short reads. I love that I care about what is going to happen to these two people. The people surrounding them are just as interesting. Get this for a quick read on the beach or plane you won't be sorry. Thank Diane your books make me laugh, cry, anger and sigh. You make me feel all this in such a short time. Thank you!
Try Me by Diane Alberts My rating: 4 of 5 stars Try Me by Diane Alberts is the first book in her Take a Chance series. This book starts with Jeremy, our hunky Marine stranded in the Las Vegas desert, beat up, thirsty and hungover. His savior is none other than the one that got ran away seven years ago, Erica. This is a story full of life's strange coincidences, people's misunderstandings of situations, and how they make what turns about to be the wrong decision based on that misunderstanding. It's about second chances, and lasting love for who the person is and not just how the person looks on the outside. Once again a book from Entangled publishing has been a thoroughly enjoyable read. This book has a Happily Ever After and no cliffhanger. Up next... Love Me (Take a Chance #2)