STANDALONE (But Spin-off from The Forbidden Men Series)
Contemporary New Adult Romance
Orginally published April 2019
154,883 words, 472 pages
3-Flame Sensuality Rating
After I caught my boyfriend cheating, I tried to be mature about it with an amicable split. But he took his retaliation too far, and I have officially had enough. No more Miss Nice Haven.
No one is allowed to lie to me, betray, embarrass, and devastate me, fill me with self-doubt, or put my future at risk, and expect to get away with it. He is going to feel my wrath.
Enter Wick Webster, his archenemy.
Nothing would provoke my ex more than to see me moving on with the one guy he hates most, so that's exactly what I plan to do.
The only hitch in my brilliant scheme is Wick himself. He's just gotta be all love-not-war and peace-is-the-only-way. He's more concerned about helping me heal than seeking my sweet revenge.
And what the hell is it about his soothing presence and yummy looks that calls to me until I forget how much pain I'm in? He's making it awfully hard to use and abuse him for my malicious means. The damn guy is making me fall for him.
Issue 1 of "Hopeless Henry"
By Alice Bennet
Taken from the University Gazette
There she was again.
From the back of class, I slunk further into my chair so she wouldn't notice me staring as she entered the lecture hall with her two friends. Tipping my chin down just enough to shade most of my eyes under the bill of my baseball cap, I brought my hand up to my mouth so I could bite down on my thumbnail.
God, she was pretty.
And she was wearing the shirt, which made me smile behind my hand. That shirt was what had drawn me to her in the first place. A crossover from two of my favorite shows, it depicted Lucille, the bat from The Walking Dead, and the Winchester's Chevy Impala from Supernatural, with text that read, "Dad's still on a hunting trip." A fan of both shows, I'd understood the message and laughed the first time I'd seen it, wishing I had a shirt like that.
It'd actually taken me a couple of seconds to realize the material of that shirt stretched across a very lovely set of feminine breasts. When my brain finally registered what I was seeing, my eyebrows perked up and my gaze wandered on to the rest of her.
Since then, I'd been hooked.
As she and her friends found three open seats next to each other near the front, she said something that made the other two laugh. Their reactions had her smiling in satisfaction, which was awesome because I loved her smile. It lit up the entire room.
A band of longing tightened across my chest as I wondered if she was the jokester of the group. And what kind of wit did she have: biting and sarcastic or goofball friendly?
I had no idea. But I wanted to know. I wanted to know everything about her. Like her name. I bet she had a kickass name. Anyone who looked like her must have an amazing name.
She wore her hair down today. As she leaned to the side to fetch a book from her backpack she'd set by her knee, the blonde locks tumbled into her face, and she tucked some behind her ear with one smooth hook of her middle finger as she straightened. She made each move look like art. And as much as I felt like a creeper for always staring, I could never seem to look away whenever we shared this class together.
She fascinated me on every level.
"Yo, man. You hear about Baxter?"
Startled by the interruption as Jordan Rush—a fellow member of the marching band—flopped heavily into the seat beside me, I blinked the girl from my vision and straightened to address the question.
"Uh, yeah," I mumbled, still shaking my head in an attempt to jostle myself from all the wants and dreams coursing through me. "Car accident. That's gotta suck."
Rush snickered in disagreement. "Sucks for him, yeah, but this is an opportunity of a lifetime for you, bro."
When I frowned out my confusion, he sighed, rolling his eyes.
"His playing hand is all fucked up. He's gonna be out for the rest of the year. They're going to need someone to take his spot as trumpet section leader."
"What about Chad or—"
"Dude, no one else plays like you. And you gotta be tripping if you think the director doesn't see that. If you tried for it, you'd get his spot." Rush gave a low whistle and bumped my arm. "You should totally try for it."
I pulled back, not having even considered the possibility. But now that Rush had planted a seed…
I shook my head, a part of me instinctively rejecting such a hopeful suggestion, and I laughed it off. "No," I murmured. I couldn't advance that far as a freshman.
Rush pointed at me knowingly, as if reading my mind. "Think about it," he said with all seriousness.
Across the room, I saw light hair move from the corner of my eye. I glanced over just as she stood from her chair and crossed the floor to a trash can where she threw something away. Was it a gum wrapper? A phone number some lame loser had tried to give her? The secret to her heart?
Rush chattered on next to me, still talking about band. I didn't hear a word he said.
Probably just a gum wrapper. Cinnamon flavored, I bet. She looked like a cinnamon kind of girl.
I tracked her as she returned to her chair and sat again, just as a hand waved in front of my face.
"Hey. Wow. Where'd you go there, buddy?"
I blinked Rush back into focus and frowned at him for butting into my staring. "What?"
I only had this one measly hour to watch her, three days a week. This was some precious-ass time for me.
"Dude, you just totally phased out for a minute. And… You're doing it again."
When I realized I'd returned my gaze to her, I jerked my attention to Rush and frowned. "What?"
"Seriously, what has you so…?" But he'd already followed the direction of my gaze and was lifting interested eyebrows. "Oh…" he drew out in understanding and nodded sagely. "It's a girl. Hey, wait." His eyes widened as he whirled back to me. "Is this the girl? The one you always go on about at band practice?"
"I don't always go on about her," I muttered, lowering my voice and glancing around to make sure no one was listening in on us. Then I sank a little in my seat, because shit, had I gone on that much about her during band practice?
"Um… Yeah, you kind of do. Which one is she?" He moved confidentially closer as he studied her and her two friends. "The one in the middle, right? Or maybe the one on the left?"
I shook my head, frowning because why couldn't he already tell? And how in all that was holy had he guessed completely wrong? Twice! "The right end," I said, scowling at him.
He wrinkled his nose, before sending me a sideways glance. "You shitting me? The one on the right? That's the one you're so crazy about? What the hell, man? I mean, don't get me wrong, she's cute and all, in a bring-home-to-mama-and-bake-cookies-with kind of way, but damn… The one in the middle screams do-me-dirty. She's fifty times hotter."
My frown deepened as my back straightened. No one knocked my dream girl.
"Um…no," I told him in no uncertain terms, ready to get physical if he dared to disagree. "She isn't. The one on the right is the best-looking one."
She was prettier than the other two put together. Hands down.