Gone For You, an all-new small town, second chance romance from Jennifer Van Wyk, is available now!
I didn’t expect you.
Certainly wasn’t looking for a relationship.
But, my heart is drawn to you and I can’t stop the way it’s beating, demanding more.
This distance between us should have been enough to stop me.
It wasn’t, though. Not even knowing you’re my brother’s best friend could have stopped me from wanting more with you.
The universe has other plans, though.
You say that you’ll stop at nothing to make me yours.
But, our pasts have a way of sneaking up on us.
I hope I’m strong enough to withstand the hurt. Because my heart… it’s gone for you.
Gone for You is a standalone brother’s best friend, sweet and sizzling romance.
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It’s getting late and the crowd has shrunk in size considerably, including almost everyone that I saw hanging out with the birthday party. But not Liv. Still, even though the crowd is small, they all cheer when I toss a bottle Rex’s way and he lets it drop almost to the floor before bending at the knees to catch it. He stands back up, swoops his arm in the air, releases his grip on the bottle and snatches it again quickly.
Everyone laughs and claps at his theatrics, a few catcalls are hollered from the back area by the pool table. Even though we’ve been at it off and on all night, they still can’t get enough.
He winks at a pretty girl with chin-length, straight brown hair and she blushes as he raises the vodka bottle high in the air while he’s pouring the liquor into the glass, topping it off with a splash of cranberry juice and wedge of lime.
I don’t even know if she ordered it but he gives it to her anyway and she lifts it to her lips. He leans over the bar, whispering something in her ear. She smiles over the rim of the glass and touches his shoulder flirtatiously. I shake my head, knowing exactly who he’ll be spending his night with.
My skin prickles, a tingle runs up and down my spine. I don’t need to scan the crowd to know where she is. I move to the end of the bar where she’s sitting now, talking with a friend while pretending not to watch me.
The ‘trio of boobs’, as Liv so eloquently named them, sidles up next to her and orders another round of shots. Of course, they’re still here. “Can we get some Slut Juice?” This time it’s a different woman ordering than before.
Liv coughs and I look at her out of the corner of my eye. She bites the corner of her bottom lip and I can tell she’s trying not to laugh.
“Comin’ right up,” I tell them, knocking my knuckles on the wood. The girls giggle and I hear Liv mumble something about them already having enough slut juice. I’m glad my back is turned when she says it so no one sees how hard I’m working to keep a straight face.
Behind me, I hear the same high-pitched voice from earlier paired with cackling laughter when the girl who first approached me earlier tonight says something about my ass and how she hopes I’m going to cash in on that flaming orgy.
“You’re awful,” one of them replies.
“What? Like you weren’t thinking it?”
“Maybe we can get ‘em both to join us.”
I glance at Liv just in time to see her rolling her eyes.
Drinks mixed, I fill their shots and push them in their direction.
“We’re going to get you to join us sooner or later,” the first one purrs.
“Babe?” I hear Liv call out. Scrunching my eyebrows, I look at her to see who she’s talking to. But her focus is on me.
One of the girls huffs beside me when Liv reaches out and lays her hand on my hand that’s resting on the bar.
“Eth? Did you hear me?”
She looks at the girls and sighs like she’s really put out. “When he’s working, he’s so focused on making his customers happy. It’s one of the things I love most about him. Though, I have to admit, it kind of sucks when you don’t even hear what your girlfriend is saying.” She offers them a sweet smile while trailing a finger over my hand. Liv turns and looks at me adoringly and sighs. Places her chin in the palm of her hand not touching me. “But just look at him. Could you stay upset with that face? Isn’t he gorgeous?”
One of the girls starts agreeing while one elbows her in the side. They spin around, hair flying behind them as they stomp away.
“You probably just cost me a tip,” I tease.
“Oh please. You should be thanking me.”
It doesn’t go unnoticed that her long, slender fingers are still resting on my hand. The bright pink polish on her fingernails is a stark contrast against my skin and something about it is so completely sexy. I’m also very aware that I haven’t moved my hand either. In fact, if anything, I’m inching it closer to her.
“Thanking you, huh?”
“Uh huh. I probably just saved you from about four STD’s.”
“From who? The…”
“Trio of boobs. Yes. I mean, seriously, who orders slut juice when it’s obvious it’s basically their blood type.”
I bark out a laugh and turn my body so I’m fully facing her. I notice her friend beside us is watching our exchange like we’re the most entertaining thing she’s seen all night. She’s looks to be about ready to pull out a bag of popcorn and settle in for a good show.
“I’m so grateful that you felt the need to step in, pretend to be my girlfriend so they’d back off. I mean, one can only handle receiving so many orgy invitations in one night.”
She lifts a shoulder and I feel her hand flex over mine. “Well, yeah. I’m generous like that.”
I lower my voice and inch closer still. “So it was all for my benefit, huh?”
Liv rubs her lips together and glances down at our hands that are almost linked together now. “Mm-hmm. Your benefit only.”
“No other reason to get those girls away from me?”
“You did seem awfully uncomfortable and I assumed you were being nice because it’s kind of your job.”
I lean on the bar so I’m close enough to say into her ear, “You know what I think?”
She shakes her head slightly and I can smell the faint coconut fragrance of her shampoo waft through my senses. I want to thread my fingers through her hair, bury my nose in it, wrap it around my hand while I tip her head back and taste the long column of her neck.
I flip my hand over beneath hers and curl a finger so the tip teases the palm of her hand. I’m hoping for a shiver in response and smile when I receive it.
“I think you were jealous.”
From the Ground Up was Jennifer’s first published novel and now that she was bitten by the writing bug, has no intention of ever stopping. Jennifer makes her home in small town Iowa with her high school sweetheart, three beautiful, hilarious and amazing kids, one crazy Jack Russell terrier. This is where her love for all things reading, baking, and cooking happen. Jennifer’s family enjoys camping, boating, and spending time outside as much as possible. You’ll be her best friend if you can make her laugh and follow up with asking her what to read next. When she’s not writing, you can find her cheering the loudest at her kids’ sporting events (read as: embarrassing them), sipping coffee or iced tea out of a mason jar with her Kindle in her lap or binging on Netflix.
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