WHISKEY REVEALS by Carrie Ann Ryan

WHISKEY REVEALS by Carrie Ann Ryan is available now! Get your hands on this sexy next book in her standalone Whiskey and Lies series now – read an excerpt below!

About WHISKEY REVEALS (Whiskey and Lies #2)

One whiskey-saturated night turns into something far more in the second standalone installment of the bestselling Whiskey and Lies series from NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan.

Fox Collins likes his life just the way it is. His siblings are falling in love all around him, but he’d much rather focus on his next story than on a serious relationship. However, when his latest one-night stand returns to Whiskey-this time for good-he’ll need to learn to trust his instincts to figure out if he can live without her in his life.

Former dancer Melody Waters is finally ready to settle down in her grandmother’s small Pennsylvania hometown. Bad decisions and fateful nights have changed her path more than once, but now she’s focused on one thing: opening her new own dance studio. But fate is a funny thing, and once again, she’ll be forced to learn that actions have consequences and some repercussions can not only change your life forever, they can also come back to haunt you…one broken promise at a time.

Each book is a complete stand alone and can be read in any order.

Get your hand on WHISKEY REVEALS:

✦Amazon http://amzn.to/2tihmev
✦iBooks http://apple.co/2suIbQ3
✦Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2iWVlPu
✦Kobo http://bit.ly/2sgwX0L
✦Google Play http://bit.ly/2Al29gU
✦Amazon Paperback https://amzn.to/2JSLYfH
✦Audiobook http://adbl.co/2FJIZ6N

Read an excerpt from WHISKEY REVEALS

By the time the cable box lay forgotten on the coffee table, wires and empty cups of tea next to it, two hours had passed, and Fox was ready to throw the damn thing across the room.

“It’s haunted. That’s the only thing I can think of.” Melody sat next to him, the heat of her thigh pressed into his. His cock was beyond ready, and he had a feeling he was just going to have to get used to a perpetual state of hardness from now on.

“I cannot believe we tried fourteen things, finally got the place on the phone, and it’s still not working.” He’d lost any cred he might have had with being able to fix things. And all because of a damn cable box.

“I hate it. They may be sending a new one— which they wanted to charge us to install. At least between us, I think we convinced them to do it for free— but they still wouldn’t tell us if we lost the DVR settings or not. Grandma isn’t going to be happy.”

Fox reached out and squeezed her hand. “We’ll figure it out.”

He liked saying that. We. As if it were the two of them.

Friends, he reminded himself. They were friends.

“Thanks for everything, Fox. I guess this isn’t how you wanted to spend your day.”

“It’s what friends do. And I had fun, even when we were yelling at the damn thing. I should go, though, since I bet you have work to do, and I promised myself I’d get my yard looking somewhat decent.”

They both stood up as she smiled, and he had to do his best not to reach out and touch her. It wasn’t easy, but he was stronger than the temptation. Maybe.

“I owe you one,” she said softly as they walked to the front door. “Seriously.” “I’ll put you to work doing yard work if you want.”

She laughed again, and he took it in, the sound soothing his soul. “I don’t know if I owe you that much.”

They paused in the foyer, their gazes meeting, and a heated silence stretching between them.

“This doesn’t count as the owing,” he whispered then kissed her, knowing it was a bad idea.

He crushed his mouth to hers, her gasp lost in the kiss. Soon, her back was against the wall, his hands on her face as he deepened the kiss. He didn’t touch her anywhere else, and their bodies remained a breath apart, but they were close enough that he could feel her heat.

She tasted sweet and sinful and everything he ached for.

When he pulled away, their bodies shook, and he forced himself not to kiss her again.

“That was…” she whispered.

“A mistake,” he finished, not missing the hurt in her eyes. “I’m sorry. I know we’re trying to be friends.”

“And kissing complicates things.”

Missed the first book in the WHISKEY AND LIES series? Grab it now!

About WHISKEY SECRETS (Whiskey and Lies #1)

Sparks fly between a former cop-turned-bartender and his new innkeeper in the first installment of a Montgomery Ink spin-off series from NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan.

Dare Collins is a man who knows his whiskey and women—or at least that’s what he tells himself. When his family decides to hire on a new innkeeper for the inn above his bar and restaurant, he’s more than reluctant. Especially when he meets the new hire. But he’ll soon find that he has no choice but to work with this city girl and accept her new ideas and the burning attraction between them.

Kenzie Owens left her old life and an abusive relationship behind her—or so she thought. She figures she’ll be safe in Whiskey, Pennsylvania but after one look at her new boss, Dare Collins, she might still be in danger, or at least her heart. And when her past catches up with her despite her attempts to avoid it, it’s more than her heart on the line. This time, it might mean her life.

Get your hands on WHISKEY SECRETS now!

✦Amazon http://amzn.to/2oIB7KT
✦iBooks http://apple.co/2j4i3qE
✦Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2tkoES5
✦Kobo http://bit.ly/2hLUb63
✦Google Play http://bit.ly/2stO9gP
✦Amazon Paperback http://amzn.to/2nHuho9

About Carrie Ann Ryan

Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.

Website| Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest

WHISKEY REVEALS by Carrie Ann Ryan

We’re less than a week way from the release of WHISKEY REVEALS by Carrie Ann Ryan, but you can read the first chapter now! Be sure to check it out below!

 

About WHISKEY REVEALS (Whiskey and Lies #2)

One whiskey-saturated night turns into something far more in the second standalone installment of the bestselling Whiskey and Lies series from NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan.

Fox Collins likes his life just the way it is. His siblings are falling in love all around him, but he’d much rather focus on his next story than on a serious relationship. However, when his latest one-night stand returns to Whiskey-this time for good-he’ll need to learn to trust his instincts to figure out if he can live without her in his life.

Former dancer Melody Waters is finally ready to settle down in her grandmother’s small Pennsylvania hometown. Bad decisions and fateful nights have changed her path more than once, but now she’s focused on one thing: opening her new own dance studio. But fate is a funny thing, and once again, she’ll be forced to learn that actions have consequences and some repercussions can not only change your life forever, they can also come back to haunt you…one broken promise at a time.

Each book is a complete stand alone and can be read in any order.

 

WHISKEY REVEALS releases June 12th – preorder your copy now!

✦Amazon http://amzn.to/2tihmev
✦iBooks http://apple.co/2suIbQ3
✦Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2iWVlPu
✦Kobo http://bit.ly/2sgwX0L
✦Google Play http://bit.ly/2Al29gU
✦Amazon Paperback https://amzn.to/2JSLYfH
✦Audiobook http://adbl.co/2FJIZ6N

 

Read the first chapter of WHISKEY REVEALS

Fox Collins never wanted to wake up.

At least not while he was having the best damn dream of his life. He wasn’t necessarily fully asleep at the moment, but rather half dream-like snoozing, where he could wield his subconscious to finish the delicious dream he’d been having. Meaning, any sound could wake him up, and thinking about it too hard could also rip him from sleep.

That meant he quickly shoved those too complicated thoughts out of his head to avoid waking and went back to the delectable blonde currently sucking his cock. Sadly, she was only his dream woman, not real, but he’d take what he could get since this was one damn sexy figment of his imagination. The fact that she was sort of based on a real person was, again, one of those thoughts he wasn’t going to think about since he wanted this part of his morning to continue.

His blonde licked up his shaft, her tongue like magic and warmth and everything that made him want to come right there. But he held himself back— barely. She slowly sucked on the crown, the tip of her tongue playing with his slit, and his eyes mentally rolled to the back of his head, his body shaking both in and out of the dream. She was so damn sexy, all curves and softness. There was a strength to her, as well. Something that had taken him for a ride the one time they’d had sex out of his dreams, but he wasn’t going to focus on that either. Instead, he would only think about her on her knees on the bed in front of him, as he lay back to let her suck him down. She bobbed her head, her eyes meeting his as she took him whole.

He didn’t reach out to touch her, didn’t let his hands follow the curves of her soft skin. As soon as he did that, he knew he’d wake up. He always did. Because he’d never be able to reach her. It was as if his brain wouldn’t allow him to remember exactly how perfect she felt in his arms— even if those memories were wrapped in a whiskey-laced fog.

His blonde squeezed his dick, and his eyes crossed, his hips bucking off the bed. He shouted her name, but only her first since she’d refused to give him her last, and found himself awake in his bed, his stomach sticky, and his own hand wrapped around the base of his cock.

He was alone, somewhat sated, and as he looked over at the clock on his nightstand… running late.

“Well, Melody, it seems I just can’t quit you.” His voice sounded loud in the emptiness of his room, and he let out a sigh. Apparently, Fox wasn’t the best at one-night stands— even if he’d tried to be. And, now, the blonde from his single night playing with whiskey and fate haunted his dreams and his dick.

He quirked a smile at that. A haunted dick? That could be a fun story to write. He might be the owner and editor of the Whiskey Chronicles, but he could take an afternoon and write a short story just for fun. It would keep his skills sharp, and frankly, he could use a laugh. It had been a long few months with deadline after deadline, and his dream woman continued to seep into his subconscious to the point where he wasn’t sleeping nearly enough.

His second alarm went off on his phone, and he sighed. He’d jacked off in his sleep through the first one, and that meant he had no more time to stay wrapped in his sweaty sheets and brood. Plus, he wasn’t the broody brother, he let that title go to Loch— and maybe even Dare before he’d met Kenzie.

And now, he was thinking about his brothers and his future sister-in-law while naked in bed because he didn’t want to get up and go to work.

He’d officially hit rock bottom.

Fox rolled out of bed, careful to keep his dick close to his stomach so he didn’t make more of a mess and went to clean himself up at least slightly. Before he even took a shower, he went back into his bedroom and stripped off his sheets. This was the second time this week he’d woken to a dream like that, and he was already getting tired of doing laundry.

Knowing he needed coffee before he did anything else, he strode naked to his kitchen and made himself a cup while checking his email and looking over the news on his phone. He’d read the physical publications as well since he was in the paper business and tried to keep up with both formats, but for now, he just wanted to check on any headlines. And with the world as it was, it seemed there was almost hourly breaking news these days.

That was one reason he liked living and working in Whiskey. It was not only his hometown where he knew every single person in residence— other than the tourists, of course— but it was also quiet enough most days that he could get to the heart of the town with its news rather than reading horror stories day in and day out. Maybe, at one time in his life, he’d have liked to be the hardcore reporter who worked on terrifying and heartbreaking news until the wee hours of the morning, but he’d learned long ago that he needed balance in his life in order to make his writing mean something. There needed to be substantial pieces of good news amongst the horrors, and finding a way to do that without looking as if they were merely fluff pieces was his juggling act.

“And now I’m getting way too philosophical on half a cup of coffee. Not to mention, talking to myself.” He drained the rest of his mug and set it under the spout for when he got out of the shower and wanted his second cup. He was on a three-cup-a-day rule and would switch to water after his third, but he tended to drink all three at once. Probably not exactly what his doctor wanted, but it wasn’t as if he were going to change his habits anytime soon.

Fox rolled his shoulders and, still naked, made his way back the bathroom so he could shower and finish getting ready for the day. For a man already late, he sure was taking his time. Of course, since he owned the paper, he could come and go as he pleased, but he didn’t like showing up after the rest of his staff. He needed to at least show some responsibility.

Thoughts of his dream blonde filtered into his mind again, and his cock stiffened once more. Defeated, he looked down at his stiffening dick and frowned.

“Traitor.”

He didn’t live by his dick and actually needed to get to work, so it looked as though he’d be finishing up his shower as a cold one.

Again.

Damn it.

 

Missed the first book in the WHISKEY AND LIES series? Grab it now!

 

About WHISKEY SECRETS (Whiskey and Lies #1)

Sparks fly between a former cop-turned-bartender and his new innkeeper in the first installment of a Montgomery Ink spin-off series from NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan.

Dare Collins is a man who knows his whiskey and women—or at least that’s what he tells himself. When his family decides to hire on a new innkeeper for the inn above his bar and restaurant, he’s more than reluctant. Especially when he meets the new hire. But he’ll soon find that he has no choice but to work with this city girl and accept her new ideas and the burning attraction between them.

Kenzie Owens left her old life and an abusive relationship behind her—or so she thought. She figures she’ll be safe in Whiskey, Pennsylvania but after one look at her new boss, Dare Collins, she might still be in danger, or at least her heart. And when her past catches up with her despite her attempts to avoid it, it’s more than her heart on the line. This time, it might mean her life.

 

Get your hands on WHISKEY SECRETS now!

✦Amazon http://amzn.to/2oIB7KT
✦iBooks http://apple.co/2j4i3qE
✦Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2tkoES5
✦Kobo http://bit.ly/2hLUb63
✦Google Play http://bit.ly/2stO9gP
✦Amazon Paperback http://amzn.to/2nHuho9

 

About Carrie Ann Ryan

Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.

Website Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest

 

HOPE RESTORED by Carrie Ann Ryan

 

The last book in Carrie Ann Ryan’s Gallagher Brothers series releases in less than a week – but you can read the first chapter now! Check it out below and preorder your copy today!

 

 

About HOPE RESTORED

 

The Gallagher Brothers series from NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan concludes with the final brother who thought he had everything to look forward to, and the one woman who can handle him.

 

Life isn’t worth living if you don’t fight to live. That’s what Murphy Gallagher learned at a young age when cancer ravaged his body not once, but twice. Over the course of his survival, he lost his parents and his childhood, but he’s been healthy for years and has become a man he hopes his family is proud of. But when his world tilts on its axis yet again, he’ll have to learn what it means to fight not only the unknown but also his attraction to his best friend.

 

Tessa Stone works hard and plays harder. She’s spent her life trying to figure out who she is in the present rather than looking back. Yet when she’s forced into close proximity with Murphy, she’ll have to not only be his rock but learn how to relax enough to maybe let him be hers, as well. But seduction doesn’t stop when the world seems to, and close encounters of the naked kind might just be the first step in something much more complicated than either of them bargained for. Life, though, is for living, after all.

 

Add HOPE RESTORED to your Goodreads listhere!

 

HOPE RESTORED releases July 25th, 2017 – preorder your copy now!

 

✦Amazon http://amzn.to/2oIyrg4
✦iBooks http://apple.co/2ausw8M
✦Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2ksZ8Tc
✦Kobo http://bit.ly/2fD8s6j

 

 

Chapter One of HOPE RESTORED

Sometimes, life was damn good. Other times, it kicked him in the balls until he couldn’t catch his breath. Today, luckily, was one of the good days. Murphy Gallagher grinned from ear to ear as he tried to run from his niece, Rowan. She was eleven now and getting pretty fast, but he was faster. Not that he’d actually run at his full speed around her. It was always more entertaining when she caught him and took him to her lair.

As he was the evil dragon to her warrior princess, it only made sense.

“Behold! My mighty sword that shall slay the dragon!”

Murphy bit his tongue so he wouldn’t start laughing, but seriously, where had Rowan learned to say things like that? Of course, she was almost a teenager now and probably a little too old to play princess and the dragon, but that wasn’t something Murphy would ever bring up. Her mom, Blake, had been married to Murphy’s brother, Graham, for a little while now. Murphy hadn’t known Rowan when she was little, and he had a lot of playing to catch up on being her favorite uncle.

Sure, his brothers Owen and Jake were decent uncles, as well, but he would always be the best. Jake was the artistic one, Owen the type-A, Graham the grumpy one, and Murphy was the fun one.

He had to play his part and make sure Rowan had the time of her life. She’d only had her mom to play with for years, and while Blake was a kickass mother who made sure Rowan had the best childhood, Murphy wanted to make sure Rowan had even more fun now.

Murphy rolled to the ground as Rowan jumped on his back, both of them laughing so hard they shook. He made sure to take the brunt of the impact so he wouldn’t hurt his niece. She giggled as she stabbed him with her imaginary sword, and he put his hand over his heart and gasped, feigning injury before letting his tongue hang out and groaning.

And… the dragon was dead.

“Victory!” Rowan stood up and started dancing near Murphy’s corpse like any dignified warrior princess was wont to do.

“It’s about time,” Graham said with a laugh as he walked out from the porch where the rest of the Gallaghers were sitting. “I thought you’d have gotten him within the first few minutes, Rowan.”

Murphy sat up as Rowan beamed at her stepdad, though she just called him “Dad” now. Murphy smiled as he remembered the first time Rowan had called his brother “Dad” in front of them. Every single Gallagher had choked up and didn’t bother shrugging it off. They might all be inked, bearded, and pierced, but Rowan referring to Graham as her father as if it were no big deal was a big fucking deal.

“I didn’t want my prey to feel like it didn’t put up a fight,” Rowan said solemnly.

Murphy barked a laugh. “Prey? Really? What shows are you watching these days?”

Rowan turned to him and rolled her eyes with the pro of a teenage girl, rather than the eleven-year-old she was. “It was from a book, duh. Uncle Border got me a whole set of books with dragons in them.”

Border was Jake’s husband and the quietest of their group, though Murphy knew Border and Jake’s wife, Maya, was slowly changing that. The triad had been together the longest out of the Gallagher relationships, and yet they still acted like newlyweds with the way they incessantly groped one another.

Come to think of it, Blake and Graham acted the same way. And, hell, Owen and Liz— newly engaged— made out relentlessly, as well. No wonder Liz and Blake were pregnant; their men couldn’t keep their hands off their women.

That, of course, meant that Murphy was the last single Gallagher. He didn’t mind, though. After all, someone had to bear the mantle of bachelorhood. Plus, he really wasn’t ready to start settling down yet. He’d just learned to live life as it was, no need to change everything so dramatically again.

And that was enough of that.

Murphy rolled his shoulders and took Graham’s outstretched hand, helping him to his feet. “It wasn’t Game of Thrones was it?” he asked his niece.

Rowan rolled her eyes again, and Graham narrowed his. “It wasn’t that, Uncle Murphy.”

“What did we say about rolling your eyes so much, Rowan? Use your words, not your attitude.”

Rowan blushed and looked down at her feet. “Sorry, Dad.”

Murphy did his best not to smile at the way Graham’s chest puffed out at that. Seriously, the man was like a damn peacock. And now that Blake was pregnant, his brother was even worse. It was as if he were the first man to get his wife pregnant. And considering Jake and Border already had a kid with Maya, and Owen’s fiancée Liz was also pregnant, it wasn’t as if babies were something totally new to their crew.

Though with the way everyone kept popping them out, Murphy made a mental note to buy more condoms. There was something in the water with all the pregnancy hormones flying around like they were.

Murphy followed father and daughter back to the porch and gingerly took a seat next to Liz’s former roommate and Owen’s neighbor, Tessa— the only other single person at the Gallagher family dinner. He’d hit the ground a bit hard when he rolled to make sure Rowan didn’t get hurt in her exuberance and now his muscles were feeling it. He was in damned good shape— had to be for his job— but, apparently, he needed more protein or something because his body made him feel like an old man.

Murphy looked at the brunette next to him. Tessa wasn’t a Gallagher, but she was the only family Liz had, even though they weren’t related by blood. Plus, it would have been awkward as hell to not have Tessa over since there wasn’t a fence separating the two yards at the moment. Owen had taken it down after a few of the boards rotted. Eventually, they’d put it back up.

Considering that the family owned a construction and restoration company, it wouldn’t take too long, but they actually had to find the time to do it. Murphy figured he’d be enlisted soon to take care of it since he was the only one without a pregnant significant other or kids to keep him busy. And it wasn’t like he minded. He liked being able to do things for his family since they’d spent so much of their lives doing things for him when he couldn’t do them for himself.

And that, once again, was enough of those thoughts.

“You okay, dear dragon?” Tessa asked with a wink before handing over a beer. He took it with a wink of his own. “Thanks, and yeah. That warrior princess is tough.”

She laughed and pulled her long, chestnut hair behind her shoulders. He hadn’t seen her wear it down for a while since she was always working and tended to do severe ponytails. He had to say, he kind of liked it better down. Not that he’d tell her that since she’d have his balls for breakfast if he did. Every single woman in the Gallagher’s circle tended to be a ballbuster, and while Murphy loved it, he didn’t want to lose his nuts. He liked them, what could he say.

“That she is, but I was serious. You hit the ground hard, and you winced when you sat down. Did you hurt yourself? Because you know, Murphy Gallagher, you may still be hot as fuck, but you’re not getting any younger.” She whispered the last part so the kids wouldn’t hear, and Murphy held back a snort.

Considering he’d spent most of his life praying that he’d have a chance to get older, he didn’t mind that he had a few more aches and pains now that he was in his thirties. Hell, he’d relish the day he got wrinkles and grey in his hair. That meant he was alive to witness his body changing. For a man who didn’t know if that would ever happen, it was his own form of bliss.

Of course, he didn’t tell Tessa any of that and wasn’t sure why he’d let his thoughts get that deep so suddenly. Tessa was a fantastic person and sexy as all get out, and he loved flirting with her, but there was no way he’d get into deep feelings or heavy conversation with her. Their dynamic worked because they joked around and kept things light— if a bit inappropriate at times. If he changed that, then things would get fucked up, and he didn’t want to jeopardize what they had. Hell, he didn’t want to jeopardize her position in the group.

Everything was better if they just remained friends that didn’t go too deep.

“Hey, Murphy, did you send over the files on the house?” Owen asked, a frown on his face as he looked at his phone. Liz was perched on his lap, their hands tangled over her baby bump. She was finally starting to show, and Murphy loved the way she glowed. She just finally seemed so at peace with being pregnant, though he knew that wasn’t always the case since the baby hadn’t exactly been planned.

He made another note to himself to buy condoms. He couldn’t be too careful these days.

“I did,” he answered before pulling out his phone to check his outgoing messages. “I thought you replied back.”

Owen let out a sigh. “Shit, I did. Sorry. Didn’t get much sleep last night.”

Murphy looked over at Tessa and winked since she loved joking with him, and she laughed before whistling. “What were you doing, Mr. Organized One, if you weren’t sleeping.”

Owen looked over to where Rowan held her cousin Noah, Jake’s son, and shook his head. “Perv,” his brother whispered. “I was up finishing the final details on Blake’s house.”

Blake looked over and widened her eyes. “It’s almost done? Really?”

Murphy didn’t blame his sister-in-law for the incredulous look. The Gallaghers had been working on Blake’s family home for over a year now and had hit every obstacle known to man, including a kidnapping and an injured worker thanks to Blake’s former in-laws. Murphy fisted his hands as he let the rage wash through him, remembering everything that Graham and Blake had gone through when they were dating.

“It’s almost done,” Graham said as he wrapped his arm around Blake’s middle, his large hand resting over Blake’s tiny baby bump. She wasn’t as far along as Liz, but she was close.

Blake wiped away tears and turned into Graham’s arms for a hug. Murphy blinked in surprise at Blake’s show of emotion since she usually hid what she felt so well. Either she was feeling more comfortable around them, or it was the baby hormones. Knowing Blake, it might be a little of both.

“I can’t believe it’s almost done,” Blake said after a moment. “I mean, I knew you had to be close, but…” She shook her head as if at a loss for words.

Maya came up and hugged Blake, even though Graham refused to let his wife go. “These guys are pretty amazing, aren’t they? And soon, you won’t have to deal with the house at all. It’ll be in the city’s hands and only a distant memory.” She kissed Blake’s temple before going back to take Noah out of Rowan’s arms.

Murphy didn’t know the whole story behind Blake’s childhood, but he knew it wasn’t good. She’d grown up affluent but with the worst kind of family. She’d run off as soon as she could, and had had Rowan when she was pretty young. And when her parents had died, they’d left the huge mansion in disrepair and neglect but had forced Blake through their will to oversee the restoration. The project had brought Graham and Blake together, but other than that, it had been a pain in the ass. And considering that Murphy loved jobs where he got to dive into the history of a place and see how to keep some of the past blended into the present, it was saying something that he truly wanted nothing more to do with the project.

The others began talking about the next steps involved in finishing up the house as well as what they would do next since their last big project hadn’t panned out thanks to shady deals and selfish businessmen. But Murphy just closed his eyes and let the breeze slide over him. He’d slept for shit the night before, and he wished it had been because of a woman. Instead, he hadn’t been feeling well and had tossed and turned all night.

“Hey, I’m going to go get the chips and salsa, want to help?” Tessa asked. She put her hand on his forearm, and he opened his eyes. Her hands were cold to the touch, but it could be that his skin was overheated. Ever since the chemo when he was younger, he had a hard time keeping a consistent body temperature. That’s what happened when you had leukemia when you were in grade school and again when you were a teenager. You dealt with the side effects for the rest of your life.

No wonder he was damn tired.

“Sure,” he said and sat up, taking a sip of his beer once he was on his feet. The others were still shooting the breeze and passing Noah around. The kid was getting pretty big since he was nearing one year old now. Or at least Murphy thought. He should probably check his calendar and make sure he hadn’t missed a birthday since their family kept growing.

He and Tessa made their way to the kitchen and got out the chips and three kinds of salsa and dip that they’d made for the barbeque. Tessa brushed by him on her way to the fridge, and his cock hardened.

He glared down at his crotch, annoyed with himself for once again getting hard around her. She was his friend. Sure, they flirted because it was fun, but they’d never fooled around, and there was no way they would now. They’d firmly put themselves into their roles, and he didn’t want to change that.

Of course, his dick had other ideas, but hell, Tessa was hot. She was tall, mostly leg, and had just enough curves that he knew he’d have plenty to hold onto when he fucked her from behind or held her up against the wall and pounded into her.

Not when.

Never.

He would never be fucking Tessa against anything, thank you very much.

Tessa snuck a chip into the salsa and groaned. He did his best not to think about whether she’d groan like that under him, or over him… anywhere around him.

“This is so good. Here, taste.” She held out a chip with salsa on it, and he bent forward, taking it in one bite as he gently nipped at her fingers.

She swallowed hard before lowering her hand and giving him a sultry smile. “Like it?”

He nodded before swallowing. “Spicy.”

“I like a little heat, what can I say.”

He snorted and took a sip of his beer. He loved flirting with Tessa, even though he had to use his hands more often than not when she wasn’t around because she kept him in a perpetual state of arousal. He couldn’t help it. She was sexy and flirted better than anyone he’d ever met, but still, they were just friends.

Tessa took his beer from him since she hadn’t brought hers with her and took a sip, her eyes on him the whole time. He cleared his throat and looked away, only to glance at her breasts and notice that her nipples were hard pebbles against her very thin bra.

Damn, he could just bend her over the kitchen island and fuck her right there. Just slide her jeans down and fill that tight pussy with his dick. She’d cream for him, coming hard on his cock, and he’d fill her to the brim.

And… that wouldn’t be happening.

He shook off those thoughts, and Tessa gave him a knowing wink before handing back his beer. He took a deep swallow, finishing it off, and then tossed the bottle into the recycling can.

“Why didn’t you bring Brian?” he asked, keeping his mind on what was important. Like the fact that she was sort of dating a guy that wasn’t him.

Tessa laughed and picked up one of the trays of veggies they’d also taken out of the fridge. “His name is Brent, dork. We’re not that serious and still pretty new. There’s no way I’d bring him over to one of these. We’re just casual. And why didn’t you bring one of your many lady friends?”

“There aren’t that many, and I’m not seeing anyone serious right now.” In fact, now that he thought about it, he hadn’t been with a woman in over a month. Hell, no wonder he couldn’t get sex with Tessa off his mind. He just needed to get laid, and everything would work itself out.

Thoughts of Tessa just might kill him, but damn, he loved being her friend. Way better than any fucking amazing sex they might have.

“You’re never seeing anyone serious, Murph. It’s why we get along. Let the others be adults and get settled. We can live it up for the rest of them.”

She turned and sashayed from the room, and he did his best to keep his eyes off her very bitable ass. It wasn’t exactly easy since it was right there and practically speaking in tongues at him.

He followed Tessa out to the back deck and bent over the table to set everything down. He froze at Tessa’s gasp and looked over his shoulder.

“What is it?”

“What the fuck, Murphy?” she asked, pulling up his shirt. “What happened to you?”

He frowned and straightened, trying to see what the hell she was talking about. “Huh?”

“Jesus Christ,” Jake said shakily. “Your back, Murph. You’re black and blue.”

“What’s wrong with Uncle Murphy?” Rowan asked, her voice shaky.

Thunder pounded in Murphy’s ears, and he tried to process what everyone was saying, but they were all talking at once and trying to tug up his shirt. He pulled away from them and ran back into the house and into the nearest guest bathroom so he could check himself out in the mirror.

They had to be wrong or just fucking with him. Everything was fine. He was not black and blue. There was no way this could be happening again. He was healthy, damn it, and had been for a decade.

He wasn’t sick.

He wasn’t bruised.

But when he turned on the light and lifted up his shirt, he couldn’t think. Couldn’t speak. He’d looked at himself that morning after he got out of the shower, and the bruises hadn’t been here. Yet his side and what he could see of his back were covered in newly formed bruises. They weren’t bad yet, but he knew they’d grow.

They always did.

“Murphy,” Tessa whispered from the doorway. “I… Murphy…”

He met her eyes in the mirror and tried to think of something to say to brush this off, but he couldn’t. He knew what the bruises meant. He’d seen them before. Every single little ache and pain, infected scratch from the jobsite, mood swing, and fever over the past few weeks came back to him in a rush.

His cancer was back.

And he had no idea what the fuck he was going to do about it.

HOPE RESTORED releases July 25th, 2017 – preorder your copy now!

 

✦Amazon http://amzn.to/2oIyrg4
✦iBooks http://apple.co/2ausw8M
✦Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2ksZ8Tc
✦Kobo http://bit.ly/2fD8s6j

 

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About Carrie Ann Ryan

 

Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.

 

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