Bridge Series #2
Darren Bridge is living a bachelor’s dream. When he’s not running into burning buildings with his crew, he’s training the flavor of the week at his brother’s gym. Few women have ever been off limits...until Vanessa. Smart, beautiful, and legs for days, she’s unlike anyone he’s ever met. Too bad he’s sworn to leave her alone.
Overworked with no end in sight, Vanessa Hawkins hasn’t had a vacation in nearly two years. When Cameron and Maya’s destination wedding takes her out of the office for a much-needed break, she finds herself struggling to resist her attraction to the best man. Darren is dangerously good-looking with enough charm to make any hot-blooded woman want to drop her panties and enjoy the ride, no matter how long it lasts.
When they return to the city, Darren realizes the single life has lost its glimmer. But with everything else on her plate, Vanessa doesn’t have room in her life for a man, let alone a player. Can Darren find his way into her heart and convince her that he’s worth the risk?
Other Books In This Series
“Ladies get in free.” The guy manning the door of The Bearded Lady nodded toward Eli. “Ten bucks.”
Eli did little to hide his irritation, rolling his eyes as he shoved a ten at the man who then stamped our hands, gaining us entrance into the already crowded Brooklyn bar.
“I can’t believe he made me pay to get in here,” Eli said.
“Just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay.”
I pushed past a few clusters of people. The extended work week fatigue was even more real now, and I was determined to make the most of these last few hours of down time before take off tomorrow.
One of the few rituals I maintained was keeping plans on a Saturday night. While they weren’t quite as wild as they’d once been since my friend Maya had retired as my “work hard, play hard” partner in crime months ago, they were still plans that kept me sane. Almost two years at the firm felt more like twelve, and I couldn’t remember a time when I hadn’t worked long hours, bending my schedule around Reilly’s whims and wants.
“Just because you dragged me into this meat market doesn’t mean I’m not going to bitch about it, Vanessa.” Eli slid his slender fingers through his jet-black hair, something he habitually did since it was always overgrown. The tips of his bangs were dyed an electric blue, perfectly matching the bright blue band logo on his T-shirt.
I wedged myself into a place at the bar, hoping to secure enough real estate to flag down a drink. “First round is on me, and we’ll call it even.”
I tried in vain to get the bartender’s attention. I wasn’t in my usual bar hopping attire, so I didn’t have any cleavage to bare to help my cause.
Beside me, Eli scanned the room. “Have to say, this place has some decent scenery. Ladies night brings the man candy, doesn’t it?”
I smiled. How quickly the tides had turned. “I thought you hated the meat market.”
He cocked his head with a sigh. “Depends on the meat.” A mischievous little smirk tilted his lips. “Oh, I see a familiar slice right over there.”
I followed his gaze across the bar, expecting to see one of Eli’s old flings.
Decent scenery indeed. Not ten feet away stood Darren Bridge. I shouldn’t have been that excited about seeing a man I barely knew, but my heart began to beat double time. Something about him called to me…
I wished I could have been blind to what that something was, but the bad boy alarms went off like crazy in my head every time I was around him. I needed a bad boy in my life like I needed a second job. Still, no harm in getting an eyeful.
He wore a white Henley that did little to obscure the impressive body beneath. The man was a beast in the gym. Every hard curve of his muscled body was enhanced by the fact that he was gorgeous as hell. His face was mostly obscured to me now, so I consoled myself with the rest of the view. His dark hair was trimmed neatly on the sides, but he kept it messy and longer on top. Made a girl want to run her hands right through it. Enviable olive skin wrapped around the corded muscles of his neck and forearms. He turned slightly, baring straight teeth and a dazzling smile, and I saw him rather than heard him laugh.
Was the object of his attention a woman? I wouldn’t have been surprised, but he was talking to another guy, no less ripped or good looking. As if Darren attracting unnaturally good-looking guys to his circle was as effortless as attracting the women who were eye-fucking him all over the damn bar. Myself included.
Eli elbowed my rib and shot me a knowing smile.
“Shut up,” I preempted.
He laughed. “I didn’t say anything. Your face, though…”
“He’s bad news, and you know it. He breaks hearts for a living.”
“Right after he breaks your bed. I bet he fucks like a demon.”
The mere suggestion had my skin heating uncomfortably. Wouldn’t I like to know…
I resisted the urge to tell Eli to shut up again before he could continue painting a fantasy of Darren Bridge that I’d already stitched together since meeting him months ago. Maya had warned me then that Darren was a manwhore and to keep my distance if I couldn’t handle that. Easy enough. Drinks and clubbing could always lead to bad decisions, but even though he’d stuck by my side all night, he’d barely given me a peck on the cheek by the time the night was over.
Either the rumors were wrong and he was actually a gentleman, or more likely, I wasn’t his type and he was simply being polite by keeping me company that night.
I turned and leaned against the bar, giving up on getting the attention of the bartender. I needed to stare at something other than Darren’s toned back.
“Guys like Darren always look great on first glance. It’s a mirage. No one is ever that hot and good in bed.”
Eli lifted an eyebrow. “What kind of bullshit theory is that?”
I shrugged. Sometimes I made up rules to make myself feel better about my personal reality. Deep down I knew my theory was bullshit too. Cameron was equally gorgeous, and Maya didn’t have any complaints. Then again, they’d been in love for years. I hadn’t known the pleasure of sleeping with someone I loved for far too long, and if what Maya said about Darren’s reputation was true, he probably hadn’t stopped the whore tour long enough to fall in love with anyone.
I turned to find two dirty martinis placed in front of me, as if by magic.
“I didn’t order these.”
“Do you want them? The guy down there put them on his tab.” The once-elusive bartender jerked his thumb in the direction behind him.
I narrowed my eyes. “What guy?”
“I think this one, V.” Eli nudged me again, gentler this time.
Then a warm hand was at my hip, grazing softly across my back as I turned. My breath caught at the sight of Darren. Somehow his presence seemed to suck up all the oxygen around me.
“Not dirty enough?” He smiled.
And my heart went flying again.