Falling head-first into the wrong woman’s bed was not how Reed Bishop’s night was supposed to go. Now a gorgeous, half-naked ballet dancer was threatening his manhood…with a book. He can’t blame her.
It wasn’t how it seemed—he was just doing his job, tracking down his lead informant, who, unfortunately, took off, leaving him to figure out what to do with her friend. Staying in her apartment was no longer safe.
And that’s how he got himself into this mess.
Now she’s sleeping in his bed while he tosses and turns on the couch.
There are pink tights in his bathroom.
Pointe shoes next to his boots.
He swears he won’t touch her like that…but he can’t ignore his fantasies.
As a tattooed, muscled DEA Agent, Reed’s seen some things. Drug dealers, murderers…He can’t let Talia get close. Even though she’s made it clear they’re both fighting the same hunger. And he definitely can’t use his handcuffs on her…no matter how much she begs.
Each book in the Accidental Love series is STANDALONE:
* Wrong Bed, Right Roommate
* Wrong Bed, Right Girl
About the Author
Rebecca Brooks lives in New York City in an apartment lled with books. She received a PhD in English but decided it was more fun to write books than write about them. She has backpacked alone through India and Brazil, traveled by cargo boat down the Amazon River, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, explored ice caves in Peru, trekked to the source of the Ganges, and sunbathed in Burma, but she always likes coming home to a cold beer and her hot husband in the Bronx.
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Rebecca’s website: www.rebeccabrooksromance.com
Read an Excerpt
Step, lunge, turn. Soubresaut into a relevé, then plié, relevé, and —
Wait. Where was she supposed to stand again?
Talia Lassiter stopped to scribble a note to herself, then replayed the music from the top. Grand jeté,arabesque, step one, two, th —
Her leg whacked the dresser behind her.
"Shit!" she cried out, reaching for her ankle. She hopped on one foot, massaging her ankle bone. But that just made her lose her balance, and she collapsed onto the bed. At least moving to a studio apartment meant she didn't have far to fall — even if it also meant she had barely any space to practice.
This isn't going to work, she thought as she gingerly touched her ankle.
But she gritted her teeth and stood up again. She had to keep trying.
It wasn't like she could call the artistic director of the New York City Ballet and say, "Sorry, Hal, never mind! I don't want to be the principal soloist in Giselle after all! I'd rather stay an understudy for the rest of my life. Thanks! Bye!"
And she couldn't ask her best friend Jessie if she could move back, no matter how perfect their living room was for rehearsing. The whole point of leaving had been so Jessie's boyfriend, Shawn — also known as Talia's older brother — could move in. Talia loved them both, and by now she could honestly say she loved them together. But she was tired of being the third wheel, and they needed their space.
She'd thought there was no way she could afford it, until Stacey Moss, the most beautiful dancer in the entire company, came to rehearsal in tears. Major family emergency, had to leave immediately, couldn't afford to break her lease and lose her security deposit. Where could she find someone trustworthy to sublet her apartment ASAP?
"It's a shithole," Stacey had warned when they first walked in, like she needed to apologize for saving Talia from living with six roommates in a shoebox.
She was right. The paint was peeling, the stove had to be lit with a match, and of the apartment's two windows, one was permanently jammed shut. The toilet refused to flush, then trickled for hours in protest after Talia forced it into submission.
But it was Talia's shithole, for better or worse. She could pirouette to her heart's content. Maybe even learn to love being alone. Or at least not completely hate it.
Her phone buzzed, and she did an elaborate, graceful arabesque to pick it up — this time, careful not to hit the wall behind her. See? She was already adapting.
Are you settled in? Jessie texted. I miss you already. When can I come see the place??? Followed by a heart and a hug emoji.
Talia made herself smile. You can't come visit. It's too tiny for a second person to fit their big toe in, she wrote, reminding herself to be happy. It was normal for friends to move in with their boyfriends. It was normal for life to move on.
I'll stand outside and shout nice things to you through the door, Jessie texted.
And pass me casseroles through the window!!
OMG. Talia. How are you going to feed yourself alone?
Cereal, Talia wrote immediately.
I'm bringing you a smoke alarm and a fire extinguisher. DON'T TURN ON THE STOVE BEFORE I GET THERE.
LOL, my mom is already on it.
Jessie had always done the cooking in their old apartment. Another thing Talia was going to miss.
What about the other problem you have? Jessie asked.
Now you can only bring home guys with small feet. :( Talia burst out laughing, this time for real. That wasn't going to be a problem. No one was setting foot in this apartment — no matter how big their, ahem, shoes. Not only because the place was too small, but because she was going to be too busy for lousy dates — the only kind that seemed to exist.
Either they talked endlessly about themselves, thought "ballerina" meant "sweet little thing," or took one look at her dancer's feet and made the kind of yuck face that said they hadn't expected a real person to exist under her clothes.
No, thank you. At least her vibrator didn't judge her, didn't snore, and always made her see stars.
No matter how many times she hoped a man might be different, her luck never held. So she was done wasting her time. She had work to do.
She'd been so excited about the apartment, it was only after Stacey handed her the keys that she'd stopped to process what else that meant — besides unlimited dance parties in her underwear.
Just thinking about it made a huge bass drum pound in her chest. In the background, the music to Giselle's dramatic death scene swelled and soared.
Giselle, as in the character. In the ballet called Giselle. Yeah, it was kind of a major role.
And it was supposed to be Stacey's. Talia was the understudy, safely out of the spotlight unless Stacey got injured or sick.
Or, apparently, unless Stacey left the city altogether, with no hint about where she was going or when she'd be back.
Talia thought she'd wanted a leading role more than anything. Only now that it had been unexpectedly thrust upon her ... some secret part of her wished she could hand it back.
What if she messed up? What if she wasn't good enough? What if the audience started booing, wishing it were Stacey on stage instead?
She'd spent her whole life dreaming of the chance to dance like this. What if she bombed it ... again?
The night before the auditions for Giselle, she'd stayed up until sunrise boosting the morale of the guy she'd thought was her boyfriend with praise, accolades, and blowjobs after his feature film was rejected from Cannes. Max needed her, she'd rationalized. A good girlfriend was supposed to be selfless.
Only it turned out Max Matthers had a different assessment of their relationship, one that left him free to pursue other blowjobs in the course of cheering himself up. And Talia found herself exhausted and stumbling over the steps as Hal Burton, the famous choreographer, muttered to himself and shook his head, then told her to try a wheatgrass shot. She looked "a little peaky."
Gross. She didn't care how many Green Goddess smoothies the other dancers choked down. Wheatgrass was never the answer. Now she had another chance. She wasn't going to blow it.
Which meant no dating, no hookups, and absolutely zero distractions. She knew Jessie was trying to make her happy about having her own place, but she couldn't think about guys right now. She hadn't even unpacked that vibrator. Dance was her world, and she wanted it that way.
She went through the routine once more, and then it was lights out so she could get her full eight hours before tomorrow's big rehearsal. Her first as Talia Lassiter, lead principal dancer in Giselle. Not Talia Lassiter, understudy, hidden in the wings.
Maybe everything wasn't perfect. She could still hear the trickle of the toilet, and texting Jessie good night wasn't the same as popping into her room and saying it in person.
But she was that much closer to her dreams.
I can do this, she told herself firmly. She had six weeks until opening night. Six weeks to polish her steps until they shone.
At least with earplugs in and her silk eye mask on, she was dead to the world within minutes. Ready to wake up tomorrow and face her brand-new, distraction-free life.
* * *
Reed Bishop slammed down the desk phone. "Where the fuck is she?"
He checked his cell phone. Still nothing. Maybe if he glared at it a little harder, it would ring. It worked with perps he was interrogating. Too bad cell phones weren't as easily intimidated by his badge.
Across the desk, his brother Aaron looked up sharply.
"Stacey Moss," Reed grumbled by way of explanation. "She's not answering her phone. I've left her a dozen messages, and she's not calling back."
"So?" Aaron stood and reached for his suit jacket draped over the back of his desk. They'd moved out of the rank and file and didn't have to be in uniform anymore. Aaron took that to mean finely pressed suits. Reed took it to mean jeans.
But no matter how different they were, they were still brothers. Reed could read his look from a mile away. Aaron thought Reed was overreacting. Again.
"Something's wrong," Reed said with certainty. He ran a hand over his shaved head, then the grizzled scruff on his jaw. His arm flexed, making the waves tattooed up his sleeve storm and crest with the movement of his muscles underneath.
He didn't know why he felt so sure of it. He just did.
That snake writhing in his stomach wasn't tiredness or nerves, even though he'd been up for the last twenty-four hours trying to make a dent in a robbery that had left a pharmacist dead and two cashiers seriously injured. It wasn't hunger, either, even though burgers with Aaron had been hours ago.
It was just a feeling. Call it intuition. Call it his gut. Most of the time, he had no idea what the fuck he was doing. Women? Family? No clue.
But this — this, he was good at. When it came to agency work, he knew.
"She's fine, Reed," Aaron said with his usual calm.
"She might not be."
"She's a smart girl. You don't need to worry."
"She was supposed to check in if she got the signal that Jonnie had more pills to buy. I haven't heard a peep from her all day."
"Then she didn't get the signal." When Reed didn't respond, Aaron kept talking. "Maybe she'll call over the weekend. It might not have been Jonnie's crew that robbed the pharmacy, you know."
"It was him," Reed said, tension ratcheting up inside him. "I'm sure of it."
He didn't know how to explain. "Because my tummy tells me" wasn't exactly star agent work, the kind of careful case-building that would make him a decorated lieutenant like their father had been.
But there were some feelings he couldn't ignore.
"Go home, get some sleep, wait for tomorrow," Aaron said. It wasn't unkind. It was just the way his brother was — all facts, no bullshit. Nothing went swimming around in the murky depths of his guts.
But Reed couldn't sit around doing nothing, waiting for a phone call that might never come. What if there was a problem? What if Stacey was getting cold feet about helping their case ... or something worse, and he wasn't there?
He barely heard his brother's protests as he reached for his bag and threw it over his shoulder.
"I'm going to see her," he told Aaron.
"It's late, Reed. She's probably been at rehearsal, and now she's out being a twentysomething in New York. You could stand to have a life, too, you know."
Reed shrugged. "The fact that I don't have one is why I don't mind waiting for her tonight."
"She's an informant. She knew what she was signing up for."
"Exactly!" Reed didn't mean for the outburst to come out quite so loudly. He could see heads in the office turning, looking to see what was going on. His next words came out too hard. "She trusts us. That means we're supposed to take care of her."
"You can't save everyone," Aaron said.
Reed clenched his jaw to avoid spitting out a response he might regret. His molars were going to be ground down to nothing by the end of this case.
It was easy for Aaron to tell him not to worry. Aaron was the baby of the four Bishop brothers — everyone looked out for him. He was so young when their father died, he probably didn't remember.
But Reed remembered.
When his father worked long hours, his mother would leave the hall light on so his father could find his way upstairs in the dark. Reed never fell asleep until the light switched off, which meant his dad was safely home.
But one night the light never went out, and so Reed never slept. In the morning, he learned his father had been killed in a raid, the bullet going straight through his neck, missing the bulletproof vest. An expert shot, or a lucky one? He'd never know.
The fact that the killer was locked up for life should've made him feel better, but it didn't. It all felt like such a waste.
His father had been trying to stop shipments of heroin from flowing into the city's ports. Reed's focus was on prescription pills and a rash of pharmacy robberies breaking out as desperate people tried to get their hands on whatever painkillers they could. Same shit, different day. The battle was endless and exhausting. He just wanted to see progress. He wanted people to stop dying. He wanted there to be a way to help.
And right now, his best chance at making that happen wasn't returning his calls.
He grabbed Stacey's key out of his desk drawer. She'd given it to him after he'd started worrying that one of Jonnie's guys could sweet talk his way into her apartment if her cover was blown, and Reed would have no way to intervene. Stacey had turned it over without blinking.
He got the feeling she wouldn't have minded if he'd taken advantage of the arrangement and come over a lot more often ... without bothering to talk about the case.
But he never mixed business and pleasure.
He only had time for one of those things, anyway.
"Are we really going over there now?" Aaron asked, eyeing the key in Reed's hand.
Reed knew that if he said the word, Aaron would follow his lead.
But he shook his head. No way could he drag his little brother into some foolhardy late-night trip to Brooklyn based on nothing more than a few noisy gurgles in his gut.
"Go home to Maggie," he said. "She had a doctor's appointment today, right? Text me a picture of the ultrasound when you get home."
He could see Aaron's relief to be off the hook. That his youngest brother was married and had a kid on the way never ceased to blow his mind. At one point, it had seemed as though Reed would be the first to settle down, raise a family, do all the things their dad had valued.
Then his fiancée, Lisa, left him before the wedding. It was her or the job, she said. While he wasn't sure what advice his father would have given, he knew there was only one choice he could make.
Which was why tonight he had all the time in the world to head to Brooklyn to check on an informant, while Aaron, baby-faced and beaming, went home to his pregnant wife.
Any feelings Reed might have had about it, he shoved down into those murky depths, way too deep to reach them. Once he might have wanted that life, but it wasn't for him. He had work to do and other ways he was needed. The whole ride out to Brooklyn, he turned the worried feeling over inside himself, examining its contours, pressing on its sides.
It had been two days since he'd last heard from Stacey. Not that long to go without hearing from an informant.
But she'd been so sure she'd have a chance to buy more pills from Jonnie soon. Pills Reed knew Jonnie stole. Pills Jonnie had killed for. Pills Reed could use to build an airtight case that would put the West gang away for good.
He didn't like putting Stacey in danger. But he'd busted her trying to lift pills from a hospital after she had back surgery, and this was their exchange. Instead of jail time, she got treatment. But she had to work for him, too.
When Reed got to her stop, he walked briskly out of the subway and over to her building. The night was cool, but he barely felt it. He was only focused on Stacey, on Jonnie, on bringing home this case. On his father, on that last raid. How much he needed to make this work, make lieutenant, make his father's memory proud.
He looked up and frowned. Her apartment was dark. Maybe Aaron was right and she was out. Maybe she was asleep. He needed to be patient, give her more time to call. He needed to learn how to chill.
He pushed open the front door to her building and took the stairs two at a time. He didn't want to buzz to announce his presence. Not if one of Jonnie's guys was there. Not if something was wrong.
And if Aaron was right, and everything was fine? It was better to be safe than sorry. He'd check on her, and then he'd go home, pour himself a whiskey, and finally crash.
When he reached her door, he pressed his ear to the outside. He didn't hear anything. He didn't know if that meant he should knock, enter, or turn away. Someone could be waiting in the darkness for him, knowing he'd come looking if she didn't check in. Or else he was being an idiot, and Stacey was out doing shots on the Lower East Side with her friends and would stumble home pissed as hell at him for invading her privacy.
Let her be pissed. He'd rather she be mad than in trouble.
Quietly, he slipped the key in the lock and pushed open the door.
It was dark inside and absolutely silent, except for the usual drip from her toilet that he'd never been able to fix. He took a breath. Now what?
He was about to leave when something caught his eye.
Or not something, but everything. It was like his subconscious noticed the changes first, before the rest of him caught up. Instinct. Intuition. That feeling in his gut.
The studio was dark, but he could see the shapes of things piled on the kitchen counter. Stacey was neat and organized, everything in its place.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Wrong Bed, Right Girl"
Copyright © 2019 Rebecca Brooks.
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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