I'm Paxton Wilder.
Motocross phenom&adrenaline junkie.
I have more tattoos than scars.
And I've never seen a stunt I couldn't pull off--
Or a girl I can't get off.
Until she walks in.
My new tutor is sexy, smart, more stubborn than I am, and one hundred percent off limits.
That's right--the only rule this semester is Don't Touch the Tutor.
For the first time in my life, I want someone I can't have.
She's the girl who obeys every rule.
I'm the guy who breaks them.
Our biggest risk is falling for each other,
but I live for risk...
Each book in The Renegades series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 Wilder
Book #2 Nova
Book #3 Rebel
About the Author
Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and a lover of all things coffee, chocolate, and Paleo. She is the author of the Flight&Glory series, which includes Full Measures, the award-winning Eyes Turned Skyward, Beyond What is Given, and Hallowed Ground. She loves military heroes and has been blissfully married to hers for fourteen years.
When she’s not writing, she’s tying hockey skates for her four sons, sneaking in some guitar time, or watching brat- pack movies with her two daughters. She lives in Colorado with the hottest Apache pilot ever, their rambunctious gaggle of kids, an English bulldog who is more stubborn than sweet, and a bunny named General Fluffy Pants who torments the aforementioned bulldog. They recently adopted their youngest daughter from the foster system, and Rebecca is passionate about helping others do the same.
Want to know about Rebecca’s next release? Join her mailing list! Or check her out online at www.rebeccayarros.com.
Read an Excerpt
By Rebecca Yarros, Karen Grove
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2016 Rebecca Yarros
All rights reserved.
Port of Miami
The elevator was hot and humid despite the air conditioning, filled with four other students, their luggage, and the unmistakable taste of excitement and salt water.
With a ding, the doors opened on the tenth floor, and the bellboy got off with my luggage. Wait. Were they called bellboys on cruise ships? Cabin stewards? I should have probably known that, seeing as this ship was my home for the next nine months.
"Wait," I said, following him. "This isn't my floor."
"No mistake," he promised, tossing a cute grin over his white-uniformed shoulder. "Your room is right this way, Miss Baxter."
I flipped through my file folder while trying not to trip over my feet or the other students crowding the narrow hall during move-in day. "See?" I asked, waving the paper from my "room and board" section. "I'm supposed to be on the fourth floor."
In steerage. I laughed to myself, dodging a sweaty guy with frat letters on his sleeveless tee as he manhandled a suitcase into a room on my right.
"I have you on this deck," he answered, correcting my terminology. "Do you know if your roommate is here yet?"
"She came down with mono three days ago." And I already missed my best friend. Guilt sank my heart. Was her mom taking care of her? Was she getting enough rest? She'd taken such good care of me when I needed her the last two years, and I'd just left her. She told you to.
Considering I hadn't left the house without Rachel pushing me in the last two years — hell, at first getting out of bed had been nearly impossible — I could barely believe that I'd actually come without her.
But she'd been right — living my life didn't mean I loved him less, it just meant I loved myself, too.
"Oh, no. Did she get a refund?" he asked, waiting for another group to cross in front of us into their room.
"No, she'll be here at the start of next term." Thank God the Study at Sea program worked on the trimester system, otherwise Rachel would have had to wait until January to come. Instead, she could join us in Abu Dhabi in November.
Abu Dhabi. Being accepted to this program — a full academic year studying on a worldwide cruise — had been surreal. But now I was actually living it. I was really in Miami, saying good-bye to the U.S. for nine entire months. I just never imagined — or wanted — to do it on my own.
But that was why I'd agreed to this program, right? It was time to step out of the comfort zone I'd walled myself into the last two years, and it would look killer when I applied to graduate programs for International Relations.
Besides, Rachel couldn't hold my hand for the rest of my life.
"Here we are," the cabin steward said, fumbling with the card key as we reached the back — aft, I corrected myself — corner of the ship.
Two girls in short dresses bumped into me, apologizing as they passed. They giggled with a lightness I slightly envied and entered the room on the opposite corner from mine.
"Sorry," the cabin steward apologized. "It's only my second day on the ship, and I don't have the hang of these locks yet." He sighed in relief when the door clicked open.
"It's okay," I said as he held the door for me. "Thank you, Hugo," I added after reading the green tag on his shirt.
"No problem," he said as I passed him, walking into the entry hall of the suite.
"Yeah, that was my reaction, too," he said with a soft chuckle.
"Oh, I said that out loud?" I asked, more distracted by the marble floors and the sheer size of the suite.
His brown eyes danced with laughter. "It's your room. Feel free to swear as much as you want. Hall closet is here." He pointed to a door on the right.
Hall closet? My entire room should have fit in there.
I tuned him out and simply walked. There were two bedrooms off to the right, connected by a large bathroom with double sinks, a shower, and a jetted tub. Seriously?
I picked my jaw up off the floor as I made my way farther into the suite. There was a dining area set up with a table to seat six and a living room with supple, buttery leather couches and a big-screen TV. But it wasn't the space that had me speechless — it was the view from the floor-to-ceiling windows that lined the exquisite suite. What would it be like to wake up every day here for the next nine months? To walk through those huge doors to the balcony and bask in the sunlight?
To be the kind of person who could even think about affording this?
It was perfect, but it wasn't mine.
If this place was on my bill for even one week, I could kiss every dollar of my savings good-bye.
"Hugo, I'm not supposed to be here. I'm in the work-study program. I'm supposed to be on deck four."
He stopped inspecting how my mini-fridge was stocked and looked up at me. "Right. I know." He shook his head. "I mean that I know you're in the program. I am, too. But you're supposed to be here, I promise. You're a tutor, right?"
I nodded. That had been the offer that had woken me up, brought me back to life this year: if I tutored one student on the Athena, not only would my tuition, field-studies, and room and board be paid, but the program would do the same for Rachel. As soon as I'd made sure that it wasn't some cruel joke, I'd pinched myself and signed the papers. With my parents under a Hollywood-Hills-house amount of medical bills, and Rachel's uber-uptight parents declaring that she couldn't go if I didn't ... well, everything had fallen into place perfectly.
"Well, then this is your room."
"No way," I protested, looking up at the chandelier. Seriously? A freaking chandelier? "Is every tutor in a suite? Even with a ship that caters to rich kids, I have a hard time thinking the program is this hard up for tutors."
He stood and smiled. "Nope, just you. Why don't you pick out a bedroom? Or check out the balcony? I'll give Mrs. Trenton a buzz if it makes you feel better."
"That would be awesome, thanks." I opted for the balcony. The afternoon was winding down — the air still heavy with sultry heat as I opened the heavy glass door and stepped onto the polished wooden surface. Miami in August was hot as hell, and wearing jeans wasn't helping. I pulled my thick hair into a messy topknot to get it off my neck and moved toward the smooth railing, testing my limits. After all, that's what this trip was for, right? But my chest constricted with every step, and as the water came into view stories below, the roaring that filled my ears sounded too similar to a California canyon wind and not enough like the Miami breeze. Not now. God, not now. I heeded my body's warning, backing away from the nauseating height. Guess you're not quite ready. But I had nine months on this ship, and maybe if I tried a little each day, by the end I could do it. Until then ... well, I'd hang back here.
It was a gorgeous space with a fleet of cushioned lounge chairs and an unencumbered view down to the right — starboard — side of the ship.
Another student leaned against the railing about twenty feet away, his very tanned, toned, tattooed body on display in nothing but a pair of dark blue Hawaiian print board shorts that hung low on his hips.
I openly ogled the cut lines of his muscles, from his worship-worthy washboard abs to the way his biceps flexed, tattoos rippling as he pushed off the railing and sighed, running his hands over his midnight-black hair and lacing his fingers behind his neck.
He was hot. And not passingly hot, but more like I-can-make-you-come-with-a-look hot. Hell, I was halfway there, and he hadn't so much as glanced in my direction.
What the hell is wrong with you?
I shook my head and tore my eyes away. What was the point of looking, wanting, when he was so far out of my league that we were playing different sports? And besides, what kind of sport gave a guy a body like that? Where every muscle had a purpose?
My gaze drifted back to the stranger, appreciating the strong angles of his face that I could make out from here, the tattoos that moved with his skin.
Not for you. Yeah, obviously, but one more second of gawking wasn't going to hurt me. Hell, at least it reminded me that my sex drive still worked ... and was currently in overdrive, apparently.
He looked pensive, like he carried some impossible, Atlas-worthy weight on his shoulders, and while part of me wondered what someone like him could possibly have to worry about, the other part instinctively wanted to soothe him.
Then he caught me staring.
I ignored my flight reflex and forced myself to hold his gaze across the distance. He cocked his head to the side, like he was trying to decide if he knew me, and smiled softly.
Yep. The old sex drive is definitely working again.
Damn it, he wasn't just hot, he was beautiful.
The door opened behind him and a goddess with long blond hair and longer legs floated onto the deck. He turned to her, his entire presence morphing into one word: cocky.
"You ready?" she asked. Even her voice was gorgeous.
I turned away from the obvious couple and was saved by Hugo opening the door. "Miss Baxter?"
"Leah," I corrected him.
"Leah, Mrs. Trenton is here." He held the door open, and I walked through, mentally kissing all this opulence — including the hot stranger — good-bye.
A middle-aged blond woman in a pencil skirt leaned over a folder of paperwork at my dining room table. The table, not yours. Don't get used to this.
"Miss Baxter." She greeted me with a smile and an outstretched hand, which I shook. "I understand that you don't like your room?"
My cheeks heated instantly. "No, it's gorgeous. I love it, but I'm supposed to be in an inside cabin on the crew deck. Is there another Leah Baxter?"
"No, this wasn't a mistake. The student you're tutoring asked that you be put here so he could have easier access to you as his schedule is quite demanding."
"Who would do that?"
"Paxton Wilder," she replied, her smile still firmly affixed to her face.
"Miss Baxter, which bedroom did you want?" Hugo called from the entry hall, my luggage in hand.
"None!" I called out. Easier access? Did this guy think I was going to be at his beck and call? Hopefully not, because I was no one's beck-and-call girl.
"Nonsense, give her the bigger one since her roommate won't be joining her until November."
"Absolutely not. This is Rachel's dream and she would deserve the bigger one."
"Perfect. Give her the blue room with the bigger balcony," Mrs. Trenton answered.
Crap. Did I inadvertently accept the room? "I can't afford this," I said quietly.
"Well, I'll look into that with the bursar's office. Now, here's your ID. It doubles as your room key as well as access to all your VIP privileges such as early disembarkation for field-study days, so don't lose it. Hopefully the lanyard helps in that department."
VIP? Unless that stood for very impoverished person, there was no way. She handed me the card and, yep, there it was — Eleanor Baxter, VIP. It said so right next to the cringe-worthy picture I'd taken in the cruise terminal. Fabulous, my normally tame brown hair was pretty much the before picture on an intervention makeover show.
"Enjoy your year with us."
How was I going to enjoy it if I couldn't pay for it? Before I could sputter an intelligent response, Mrs. Trenton was leaving.
"Hugo, you'll take good care of her?"
"Yes, ma'am," he replied as the door shut behind her.
"What does she mean take good care of me?" I asked.
"Your work-study is to tutor Mr. Wilder. Mine is to be your butler. I'm here to help you."
Butler? That was it. I was in some kind of parallel universe. I tried to crank my jaw up off the floor and found some semblance of a coherent thought. "Which room is Mr. Wilder in?" I managed to ask.
"Ten thirty-two," he answered.
I was in the hallway, my ID around my neck, before he finished. "Ten thirty-two," I mumbled to myself as I walked two doors away to the other corner suite and knocked.
Loud rock music blared from inside, and I knocked again, this time harder.
"Hold on!" came a loud male voice.
A moment later, the door opened and a beefy, bald guy answered. "Can I help you?"
"Umm ... I'm looking for Mr. Wilder?"
He looked me up and down and then smirked. "Not his type, honey. Sorry."
If my cheeks had warmed earlier, now they were on fucking fire. "I'm not looking to score him; I'm his tutor." I lifted the lanyard from my neck and dangled the attached ID.
His eyes widened. "Oh, Miss Baxter? He's getting ready, but come on in. Wilder!" he yelled as he shut the door behind me. "I'm Little John, by the way."
"Nice to meet you," I said, and bit my tongue when I wanted to ask where Robin Hood was hiding.
Wilder's suite was bigger than mine, which was absolutely mindboggling. What would someone need with all this space? We cleared the hallway into the huge living area, and I snorted. There were at least a dozen bikini-clad girls lounged over his couches, drinking out of red Solo cups. I guess you needed that much room when you traveled with your own harem.
Don't get judgy.
I couldn't help it. I was here for serious academics and travel, and he was, well ... apparently not.
Looking up, I watched him come down the stairs. I might have been blown away by the fact that he had a two-story suite if I hadn't been stunned by Mr. Out of My League walking toward me with a grin. No way. No. Fucking. Way.
Oh God. He had seen me. And that voice. It was deep, slightly gravelly, and sexy as hell. Almost as sexy as the dragon tattoo that wound itself from his heart to where the tail dragged along the lickable line of his abs. Not lickable. Nope. Not one bit.
"Uhh, hi." Oh my God, that was up there with I carried a watermelon. "I didn't mean that."
His incredibly sexy grin widened. "You didn't mean to say hi?"
I blinked. "No, of course I did."
"Then I don't see an issue."
One of the partygoers knocked me off-balance — and right into Wilder. He caught me easily, his fingers flexing on my waist. I should have worn a thicker tank top — the silky material of this one let the heat from his hands right through to wake up every nerve ending in my skin.
"Are you okay?" he asked, turning the full force of his incredibly blue eyes on me. Magnetic. Glorious. Hypnotizing. Those were all better words to describe the insane variations of color there, or the way he pinned me in place without a single ounce of effort.
My first impression had been right. He could probably make me come with one look ... and that exact look was trained on me with all the accuracy of a guided missile straight to my thighs.
I didn't believe in love at first sight. I wasn't that stupid. But science? Chemistry? Pheromones? Yeah, lust at first encounter, I believed that all day long.
Words, Leah. Find them.
"Oh, you found your tutor," Little John said with a slap on Wilder's back. "We have to go soon, so get ready."
Wilder stiffened and carefully set me away from him. "You're Eleanor Baxter?"
"Leah," I corrected him automatically and dug my thumbs into the belt loops of my jeans.
"Holy shit." He closed his eyes.
"Are you okay?" I turned his words around on him.
He nodded, his eyes squeezed tight. "Just moving you out of the fuckable category in my brain. I'm going to need a minute."
Wait. He had categories? Scrap that. I'd barely met the guy and he's already friend-zoned me? Out of your league.
"Leah," he said, opening his eyes with a slight smile, like he enjoyed saying it. "So what can I do for you?"
"You can explain why I'm in a crazy-huge suite that I can't possibly afford and ask them to move me, since apparently you have the power over where I sleep." I crossed my arms under my breasts, well aware that I was fidgeting.
"Oh, do I?" he asked with a suggestive smile.
Apparently friend-zone was still flirt-zone to him.
Excerpted from Wilder by Rebecca Yarros, Karen Grove. Copyright © 2016 Rebecca Yarros. 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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