CLOSE (Ryder Brothers #1) by Laurelin Paige
Release Date: October 10th
Cover Design: Laurelin Paige
Photographer: Wander Aguiar Photography
Cover Model: Kaz Vanderwaard
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Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07J6R58BW
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.com.uk/dp/B07J6R58BW
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07J6R58BW
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.au/dp/B07J6R58BW
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Everyone wants to get close to a rock star.
The bright lights.
Those talented fingers strumming… a guitar.
Everyone wants to bang a rock star.
So why do I keep running from the one who wants me?
I’m America’s Sweetheart.
I have a reputation.
He’s a boy-band icon turned rock god.
He’s every flavor of bad.
And he’s much, much too young for me.
If I end up in Nick Ryder’s bed, my career and I will both be screwed.
…but that’s only if I’m caught.
“Hi,” he says, doing a double-take when he realizes it’s me. He looks fabulous, of course, because why wouldn’t he when I look so scrubby? He’s wearing jeans and a T-shirt and a hoodie, and his face doesn’t look like he’s tired, or like he stayed up late to drink too much and tear up the dance floor.
Or like he spent last night making out with somebody more than a decade older than him.
“It’s crazy seeing you here,” I say. I giggle again at the sheer ridiculousness of this. “Do you come here often?” What am I doing? What am I saying? It’s like I just learned how to talk to people of the opposite sex. How have I ever gotten a date?
Not that I’m trying to date Nick.
“Occasionally. You?” He sticks his hands in his pockets and he’s so relaxed, so sexy, and I just can’t stand all that swagger on such a handsome guy that I am not allowed to touch. It’s unfair for anyone to look so effortlessly edible before nine a.m.
“It’s my favorite shop. Come here all the time.” I take a couple steps backwards, trying to shift toward my car. “I probably should—”
“Don’t you think it’s probably more than a coincidence?” He takes a step towards me, and I take one back, willing myself not to respond to the rumble of his deep voice and the magnetism of his body. “That we’d see each other again so soon. Kind of like fate, almost.”
Oh my god, Oh my god, he’s flirting with me. What do I do? He’s so hot, I can’t even look at him. But then I do, and I have total church-giggles over this, and I have to escape before I make an even bigger fool out of myself. Someone is bound to notice that I am losing my cool, and they’ll draw conclusions that aren’t even true.
It was just kissing!
“It’s really weird, I have to admit.” I dance back some more, then glance behind me to make sure I’m not going to back into the street and get run over and make this even worse. “And really awkward.” I brush some hair back that’s come loose from the messy bun at the base of my neck.
He shrugs, seeming to disagree. And it’s true that I’m the only one who seems to be awkward right now. “I don’t know about that. Doesn’t have to be awkward. Could just be convenient. Since I never got your phone number.”
If I didn’t think he was flirting before, I know he definitely is now. I don’t want to say no to him, but I have to say no to him. He cannot have my number. Can’t have anything more than a memory of a scorching-hot make-out in the back of a club. What we did was not for a sunlit day. It was for a dark corner. And yet, I still can’t seem to actually say the word no. So instead I say, “Why do you need my phone number?”
Oh my god, this is mortifying. It really is like I’m in high school again and I’ve forgotten not only how to talk to boys but how to stand in their presence.
He takes another step toward me, laughing. “Well, for one thing, I thought it might be nice if we had dinner sometime.”
He has the most ridiculous smile, I realize. It lights up his entire face. You can see it in his eyes, and there’s no pretension. It’s all genuine. Pure sunshine. I’m rendered speechless by it for half a second and I have to ask, “What was that?”
“Dinner,” he says, that huge-ass grin in full force, taking another step toward me, and now there’s only three feet between us, and I can feel the body heat from him, can remember what it felt like the last time he walked me backwards into a wall and then his body was pressing into me, and his mouth was on me. When his chest was against me, when his cock was pressing into me and my hips—
I suddenly jump backwards. “I don’t think that would be a good idea.” I look around suddenly to see if anyone’s noticed this exchange yet.
It’s fine, it’s still fine.
We’re just two people who work in the same industry who bumped into each other on a Saturday morning and are chatting like people do on Saturday mornings when they bump into each other. While giggling. Totally fine.
“What are you worried about, Natalia?” He doesn’t chase after me, just stands there looking confident and laid-back. Like a man trying to tempt a scared animal out from hiding. “I mean—I do bite, but most women like it.”
I smile at that, because I can’t help it, but I duck so he doesn’t see.
He’s probably so much more experienced than me.
He’s probably so dirty in the bedroom.
God, I shouldn’t be thinking about that. “I shouldn’t even be talking to you,” I say, shaking my head. I turn toward my car.
“No, you shouldn’t be,” he calls from behind me, and I have to actually close my eyes to collect myself because it’s obvious he’s thinking about doing not-talking things. Things like last night. Things like biting.
Things good girls have no business being so turned on by.
I tell myself he probably says stuff like that to all the girls who walk away from him.
But who am I kidding? Who has ever walked away from Nick Ryder? Besides me, I mean. Twice now. I deserve an Oscar for my willpower. That should be a new category.
“Bye, Nick,” I call as I flee with my coffee.
Then I step into my car, put my keys in the ignition and drive away before I lose my senses and change my mind.
With over 1 million books sold, Laurelin Paige is the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She’s a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She’s also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn’t do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio.
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