- Pub. Date:
Erin Watters is her small town's resident wild child—she doesn't do boring, and after having her heart annihilated, she definitely doesn't do relationships. Her friends have other ideas, though, and when they throw down a matchmaking challenge, impulsive Erin can't ignore it. Even when the annoyingly hot Troy Streiber accepts the matchmaker role…
As a rescue paramedic, Troy's used to watching out for people. Never mind the bet he made with his buddy to play Erin's wingman. But the more time he spends with the sexy, charismatic woman, the more he discovers a side of her she doesn't let many see. Soon what started as an innocent game of matchmaking has them both thinking about the person right under their nose. But Troy's a play-it-safe guy, and he won't let a woman who lives for risk ever steal his heart.
Each book in the Secret Wishes series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 Kissing the Maid of Honor
Book #2 Her Accidental Boyfriend
Book #3 Wild About Her Wingman
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About the Author
Robin Bielman lives in Southern California with her high school sweetheart husband, two sons, and crazy-cute mini Labradoodle, Harry (named after Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books). When not attached to her laptop, she can almost always be found with her nose in a book. She also likes to run, hike, and dip her toes in the ocean. Filled with wanderlust, she longs to visit many different places and satisfy her curiosity. She wouldn't mind indulging her sweet tooth in every location either. Lover of Post-it notes, cable television shows and café mochas. Writing is a dream come true, and she still pinches herself to be sure it's real.
She is also the author of Kissing the Maid of Honor, Her Accidental Boyfriend, Risky Surrender, Worth the Risk, and Yours At Midnight from Entangled's Ever After line. She loves to connect with readers. Visit her online:
Read an Excerpt
Wild About Her Wingman
A Secret Wishes Novel
By Robin Bielman, Wendy Chen, Stacy Abrams
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2014 Robin Bielman
All rights reserved.
"I lost mine somewhere between the ten yard line and the end zone," Erin Watters said.
"What?" sputtered her younger sister, Teague, choking on her buffalo chicken wing at a corner table in the Crown & Anchor pub. Erin wasn't sure if it was her statement or the kick-ass wing that made her sister gag.
"With the quarterback," Erin added. Her gaze popped over Teague's shoulder. Said quarterback sat at the bar eyeing her like he wanted a repeat performance. So not going to happen. He'd been a good guy to lose her virginity to ... until he'd given her the "let's just be friends" speech the next day.
She'd lost a lot of things over the years — her wallet full of money she'd saved from a summer of babysitting, her mountain bike when she really had to pee and someone snagged it while she did her business behind a bush, and on more than one occasion, her heart. That night back in her senior year of high school ranked high on the stupidity scale.
"How did I not know this?"
Teague, Teague, Teague, Erin wanted to say, but she didn't. Her baby sister had held on to her Vcard until last week. "Because I didn't want to taint your innocent ears." And she might also be a little — okay, a lot — mad at herself for falling for the wrong guy back in high school.
"And you do now?"
"Sure. We can swap all sorts of dirty secrets now." Not that Erin would, or that she had very many. She may be considered the town's wild child, but really she went on far fewer dates than gossiped about. Which didn't bother her in the least. High school football players aside, she'd had her heart annihilated by her college boyfriend and wasn't sure love was in the cards for her again.
She shut her eyes and drank down the rest of her beer. She didn't ever want to feel that hurt again. That broken. If she let someone in and he shattered her trust, she'd never recover.
Her heart was no longer up for grabs, stabs, or any other torment.
"I would love that." Teague gathered her long strawberry-blond hair and put it over one shoulder. "Tell me something else I don't know."
That left a lot on the table, since Erin kept things close. Her ex's deception had pilfered her openness with just about everything and everyone.
Teague's blue eyes begged for something good, and Erin silently cursed. She hated that even two and a half years after being cheated on and dumped, she still kept her guard up. That she felt this need to protect herself even with the people who meant the most to her.
"Last year, you know how I left for a few days to go bungee jump off the Navajo Bridge?" Teague nodded at her question. "After the jump, this really cute guy and I took off in his Jeep to go swim in the Colorado River. We found what we thought was a secluded spot and since neither of us had our bathing suits, we —"
"You got naked?"
"I left on my boy shorts." Erin didn't have a modest bone in her body and she liked her boobs. The guy had, too, his eyes having a hard time looking anywhere else as they got into the water.
"Go on," Teague said, moving to the edge of her seat.
"We started kissing — that's all we were going to do — and a few minutes later the police showed up. They arrested us for indecent exposure."
"Oh my gosh."
"Not exactly the words I used, but yeah."
"What was he wearing?"
Erin chuckled. "Good question. Uh ..." Teague's eyes widened. "Nothing. He'd gone commando that day." The guy hadn't a hint of modesty, either. And with a killer body, it was no wonder.
"Wait. When you say arrested, you mean they took you to jail?"
She nodded. "They let us get dressed first."
Teague didn't seem to find that as amusing as Erin did, her sister's mouth still slightly downturned. "What did Mom and Dad say?"
"They don't know. No one knows but Luke and now you." She slid her finger around the rim of her empty glass. "And I expect it to stay that way now that we're sharing stuff."
"You called Luke to bail you out?"
Their older brother, Luke, had lived in Los Angeles at the time and lucky for Erin, he hadn't been out of the country on assignment for his job as an extreme sports photographer. He'd laughed his ass off when Erin told him what had happened, but he'd also posted her bail with a money transfer quicker than she could say thank you.
"He's always told us if we ever needed anything to let him know, so I did."
Teague settled back in her chair and crossed her arms. "Your secret is safe with me."
See? You can trust your family, your friends.
Keeping up this independent, tough-girl image didn't mean she couldn't open up more with those close to her. Especially her sisters. It felt nice confiding in Teague, and it wouldn't be at all bad sharing more.
She thought back to how much fun she'd had with what was his name — Levi — that day in Colorado. He'd been an awesome guy and if hundreds of miles hadn't separated their zip codes, she could've pictured him as boyfriend material. Maybe it was time to think about finding a guy to hang out with for longer than her three-date rule. It didn't mean she had to fall in love. Just get to know someone beyond what kind of pizza he liked.
For a Wednesday night, the Crown & Anchor was hopping. Several pumpkins decorated the pub in honor of Halloween next week, and one girl had apparently decided to dress in costume early. Erin couldn't decide if she was a French maid or pirate, but the guys gawking didn't seem to care.
"Do you think you'll ever fall in love again?" Teague asked, like she could read Erin's mind. She put her elbows on the table and cupped her face in her hands.
Deep down you wish for the white picket fence and two-point-five children.
Erin hated that damn thought creeping up on her all the time. Her family and friends knew how her boyfriend of three years, the man she thought she was going to marry, had cheated on her for months before she'd found out. Two weeks before college graduation she'd found him in bed — in their bed — with his "other girlfriend." His slightly-rounded-with-child other girlfriend, who also happened to be Erin's sometime rival and sorority sister.
She'd tossed his clothes out the three-story window, let the harpy get dressed, and told them to get out of the apartment and never come back. Then she'd cried for seven straight hours.
Every day did get easier. Every day she hated the power her ex still held over her, but ... But what? Live alone for the rest of her life or take another chance? Erin copied Teague's pose and said, "I think it's time we make a list."
"What kind of list?"
Erin straightened. "Have something to write with?"
Teague pulled a pen from her purse. Erin slid the napkin out from under her glass. "A list of must-have boyfriend qualities," Erin said. She took the pen and wrote:
1. Blond hair
"That's not a quality," Teague said.
"True, but they say blonds have more fun, so we can chalk it up to that."
2. Sense of humor
"A man who can make me laugh is very sexy." Erin scanned the bar for signs of funny. There were a bunch of guys at the bar who looked like they might know a joke or two, but her high school boyfriend was with them, so they were all out. Couples and older residents of Cascade filled most of the tables and booths. And then her eyes landed on a group of firemen and paramedics from the local station. Each nice to look at, but all way too serious.
Troy Streiber turned his head and his eyes locked on hers.
"How 'bout, 'will be complimentary,'" Teague suggested.
Erin broke eye contact with Troy. "I like that." When was the last time a guy had complimented her? She couldn't remember. Saying she had a nice rack didn't count.
3. Compliment when it's least expected
4. Be daring and willing to break some rules
"Um, that's not so important to me." Teague scrunched her nose and shook her head.
5. Be sweet
"How's that?" Erin asked, trying to sound sincere. Yes, sweet would be nice, but sweet was a sure way to wiggle into a girl's heart before she was ready.
Teague sighed. "That's good."
Erin smiled. For all her twenty-two years, Teague had never once been anything but cute and lovable, so it was no wonder she wanted the same in return.
6. Will not judge me for watching reality TV
"Oh my gosh, yes," Teague said. The two of them were slightly addicted and didn't care that the rest of their family thought their fascination a little extreme.
Erin lifted the pen and looked around the pub again. Three good-looking, twentysomething professionals, their ties loosened, drinks in their hands, stood at the far end of the bar and one of them ...
"Three o'clock," Erin said, dropping her voice to a whisper. "The guy can't take his eyes off you."
Without moving her head, Teague took a peek out of the corner of her eye. "Erin!" she said under her breath. "That's him. What do I do?"
"Him? Him? Winner of the coveted —"
"Shh!" Teague leaned back in her chair and toyed with her hair, curling a piece around her finger. "He said he might be here."
"He's cute." Erin did the honors of watching his every move, since Teague seemed frozen. "You should go talk to him."
"Definitely. He just hasn't made his move yet because he's with his friends. You need to wiggle your butt over there, say hi, and he'll be yours for the night."
Teague sat up and did an apparent practice run of fluttering her eyelashes. "You think so?"
"I know so. Now go." She nodded in Cute Guy's direction.
Her sister stood and more than one head turned to watch her cross the pub to the bar. The second she got close enough to Lover Boy, though, he had an arm around her and a possessive grin on his face.
Erin reached into her jeans pocket for her ChapStick. She swiped it across her lips and rolled her eyes when High School Boyfriend watched her like he might need some lip balm too — taken from her mouth. Hmm ... He had been a good kisser.
"Hey there," Kagan said, sitting down and saving her from making another mistake. "My shift just ended and Shane is on his way over," her friend continued. "Want some company now that Teague is otherwise engaged?" They both darted a glance at the bar.
Yep. Teague was definitely engaged.
"I love your company all the time," Erin said. Kagan was the Crown & Anchor's best waitress and she'd recently started her own jewelry business, too. She was also a great friend. The kind of friend she could trust, Erin realized.
"What's this?" Kagan picked up the napkin and read Erin's scribbles. She braced a hand on the edge of the table. "Don't tell me this is a list of your future husband's attributes."
Erin plucked the paper out of Kagan's hand. "It's not —"
"Oh my God. It is!" Kagan grinned widely enough to catch attention and her feet did a little happy dance, the tapping sound somehow louder than if they'd been sitting in the bleachers at Watters Field watching a home run during one of Luke and Shane's softball games.
"Bite your tongue. It has nothing to do with a husband. But ..." Erin let out a deep breath. "But I guess I'm warming to the idea of a boyfriend."
Kagan's eyes danced now, too.
"Maaaybe," she added. In the past six months, Erin had watched her sister Vanessa walk down the aisle with the man of her dreams. She'd watched her brother fall madly in love and elope with Sela, the girl of his dreams and one of Erin's closest friends. And just last month Kagan had gotten engaged to Shane, her brother's best friend.
So it was no wonder with all this pairing off going on around her that she felt some urge to find a match, too.
To be reminded that not all guys were jerks who cheat.
"Hey, beautiful." Shane nuzzled Kagan's neck. She mmm'd and he straddled the chair next to her, settling in with his arms crossed over the high back. "So what's going on here? Word has it you two are up to something."
Erin had a feeling Kagan's little outburst wouldn't go unnoticed. "Nosy" was everyone's middle name in their tiny seaside town. She smiled — just a little — because hello? Shane had been in the bar for all of ten seconds and gotten wind of their something.
Kagan raised her brows and gave a tight-lipped smile. Can I tell him? being communicated without a word.
"We're discussing good qualities in a boyfriend," Erin said, sliding the napkin under her thigh.
Shane blessed her with one of his killer smiles. Since he was like a brother to her, she appreciated it for just that, but she was pretty sure she heard a woman behind her give a swoony sigh. Kagan did, too.
"Let's hear 'em," he said with his cocky yet charming tone of voice.
"Hear what?" Oliver said, putting a fresh beer down in front of Shane and grabbing a seat. "Ladies." His white Cascade Fire Department T-shirt had some splotches of blue dye, like he'd mixed his colors when doing the laundry.
"Thanks, dude," Shane said. "Care to make another bet on one of this weekend's games?"
Beers were traded like dollar bills every week after the college football games. And when football season ended it was hockey, basketball, baseball, whatever sport season it was.
Oliver's frosty glass, Erin noticed, was filled with good old fashioned root beer. Just like all the other guys from the fire department here tonight, no doubt.
"Absolutely," Oliver said. "Let's get the other guys involved too." He whistled and waved across the restaurant, and four more highly regarded boys from Station Twenty-Nine descended on their table.
Troy pulled up a chair next to her. "Hey," he said, his warm brown eyes fringed with long, dark lashes capturing her attention.
"How are you?"
"I'm fine, thank you."
"You still mad —"
"Just drop it, okay?"
"Okay." His gaze moved to the dance floor and Miss Pirate Booty with her French maid ruffles all amok.
Last week she'd led a group of type A businessmen hoping to alleviate some stress on a hike. As the assistant director of activities for Cascade Outback Adventure, she knew the terrain, but her mind had been elsewhere. What an idiot she'd been not to notice the pain-in-the-ass plant. It wasn't until welts popped up on her arm and she got itchy that she realized her mistake.
She hadn't been prepared for the stupid rash to spread, though, and her tongue to swell and her breathing to falter. She'd wanted to drive herself to urgent care, but a coworker insisted on calling 911. Troy arrived, gave her a shot of epinephrine, and took her for an ambulance ride to the hospital.
Against her wishes.
The shot had cured her. She didn't need the ER doc to tell her she'd be fine.
So Troy knew she had an abnormal allergy to poison oak and had looked quite happy with himself for coming to her rescue — and not for the first time, given the whole "gash in her hand, afraid to see her own blood" thing from several weeks ago. Which really pissed her off, since she was not a damsel in distress and didn't want anyone thinking so — and put to rest the occasional eye flirting and niceties when they ran into each other.
Mr. Straight Arrow might have been nice to look at once, but not anymore.
Out of the corner of her eye, she peeked at him. Okay, maybe she'd still look. With his square jaw, perfect nose, and contagious smile, there were worse things to spend time on.
His leg brushed hers and tingles spread throughout her thigh.
Damn electrical shock.
"Erin?" Shane said. "Your thoughts?"
She blinked and found everyone's eyes on her. "Sorry. What?"
"My last girlfriend dumped me because I hadn't read a book since college," Oliver chimed in — or maybe repeated. "Harsh, don't you think?"
While Erin had zoned out for a minute, Kagan must have started the discussion on boyfriends and their traits.
"That was her only reason?" Erin teased.
"Reading's not a quality," Kagan said. "It's a hobby. I've been trying to teach these guys the difference."
"Basically, dating is like climbing a volcano and you never know when it's going to erupt, dumping molten lava and burning you," Oliver said.
"Ohhh!" rang out from the guys. They shook their heads, and laughter danced in their eyes. "Seriously, dude?" Shane gave his friend a playful push in the chest. "That's the analogy you're going with? You write poetry for any of these exes?"
Excerpted from Wild About Her Wingman by Robin Bielman, Wendy Chen, Stacy Abrams. Copyright © 2014 Robin Bielman. 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.
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