The Sullivans Books 1-3
Knowing better than to slam on the brakes—he wouldn’t be able to help whomever was stranded on the side of the road if he ended up stuck in the muddy ditch right next to them—Chase slowed down enough to see that there was definitely a vehicle stuck in the ditch.
He turned his brights on to see better in the pouring rain and realized there was a person walking along the edge of the road about a hundred yards up ahead. Obviously hearing his car approach, she turned to face him, and he could see her long wet hair whipping around her shoulders in his headlights.
Wondering why she wasn’t just sitting in her car, dry and warm, calling Triple A and waiting for them to come save her, he pulled over to the edge of his lane and got out to try to help her. She was shivering as she watched him approach.
“Are you hurt?”
She covered her cheek with one hand, but shook her head. “No.”
He had to move closer to hear her over the sound of the water hitting the pavement in what were rapidly becoming hailstones. Even though he’d turned his headlights off, as his eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness, he was able to get a better look at her face.
Something inside of Chase’s chest clenched tight.
Despite the long, dark hair plastered to her head and chest, regardless of the fact that looking like a drowned rat wasn’t too far off the descriptive mark, her beauty stunned him.
In an instant, his photographer’s eye cataloged her features. Her mouth was a little too big, her eyes a little too wide-set on her face. She wasn’t even close to model thin, but given the way her T-shirt and jeans stuck to her skin, he could see that she wore her lush curves well. In the dark he couldn’t judge the exact color of her hair, but it looked like silk, perfectly smooth and straight where it lay over her breasts.
It wasn’t until Chase heard her say, “My car is definitely hurt, though,” that he realized he had completely lost the thread of what he’d come out here to do.
Knowing he’d been drinking her in like he was dying of thirst, he worked to recover his balance. He could already see he’d been right about her car. It didn’t take a mechanic like his brother Zach, who owned an auto shop—more like forty, but Chase had stopped counting years ago—to see that her shitty hatchback was borderline totaled. Even if the front bumper wasn’t half-smashed to pieces by the white farm fence she’d slid into, her bald tires weren’t going to get any traction on the mud. Not tonight, anyway.
If her car had been in a less precarious situation, he probably would have sent her to hang out in her car while he took care of getting it unstuck. But one of her back tires was hanging precariously over the edge of the ditch.
He jerked his thumb over his shoulder. “Get in my car. We can wait there for a tow truck.” He was vaguely aware of his words coming out like an order, but the hail was starting to sting, damn it. Both of them needed to get out of the rain before they froze.
But the woman didn’t move. Instead, she gave him a look that said he was a complete and utter nut-job.
“I’m not getting into your car.”
Realizing just how frightening it must be for a lone woman to end up stuck and alone in the middle of a dark road, Chase took a step back from her. He had to speak loudly enough for her to hear him over the hail.
“I’m not going to attack you. I swear I won’t do anything to hurt you.”
She all but flinched at the word attack, and Chase’s radar started buzzing. He’d never been a magnet for troubled women, wasn’t the kind of guy who thrived on fixing wounded birds. But living with two sisters for so many years meant he could always tell when something was up.
And something was definitely up with this woman, beyond the fact that her car was half-stuck in a muddy ditch.
Wanting to make her feel safe, he held his hands up. “I swear on my father’s grave, I’m not going to hurt you. It’s okay to get into my car.” When she didn’t immediately say no again, he pressed his advantage with, “I just want to help you.” And he did. More than it made sense to want to help a stranger. “Please,” he said. “Let me help you.”
She stared at him for a long moment, hail hammering between them, around them, onto them. Chase found himself holding his breath, waiting for her decision. It shouldn’t matter to him what she decided.
But, for some strange reason, it did.
Excerpt from The Look of Love: The Sullivans #1, copyright 2013, Bella Andre
For thirty-six years, Marcus Sullivan has been the responsible older brother, stepping in to take care of his seven siblings after their father died when they were children. But when the perfectly ordered future he's planned for himself turns out to be nothing but a lie, Marcus needs one reckless night to shake free from it all.
Marcus Sullivan was known for his patience. After helping to raise his seven siblings, he’d learned to wait out tantrums, fistfights, even tears.
But tonight, he was all out of patience.
He’d come to the club tonight to find a woman, to proposition her, to claim her for one no-holds-barred night, but he’d been watching the dancers for long enough to know that he wasn’t going to take a single one of them to bed. None of the women who’d walked in through the thick red curtain in the past thirty minutes had been contenders, either.
Until, suddenly, the curtain parted…and she walked in.
Marcus felt like a fist had slammed straight into his gut.
The woman was young, mid-twenties probably, and so beautiful it almost hurt to look at her. Her black leather dress left nothing to his imagination, fitting her like a second skin with wide cut-outs that ran down the side of her insane curves.
She was the one.
As she stood in the doorway and slowly scanned the crowd, every eye in the room was on her. She was magnetic, had that special something that made it impossible to pull your eyes away from her.
And then her eyes met his, illuminated by a beam of light in the dark room, and although Marcus hadn’t drunk nearly enough at Chase’s engagement party to be unsteady on his feet, one look at those clear blue eyes had him fighting for balance.
What was wrong with him?
He needed to remember, at all times, what tonight was about. Pleasure. Not emotion. Not a relationship. It was okay for certain parts of his body below the waist to react like a match had been lit from nothing more than looking at the woman. Everything else was off-limits. He wasn’t looking for a woman to respect.
And he definitely wasn’t going to fall in love.
The dangerous curves began to shift beneath the thin layer of leather as she moved straight toward him, never once breaking stride, even in impossibly high heels. Marcus couldn’t miss the challenge in her gaze, a look that asked if he was man enough to handle her.
He’d always liked his women tall and slim, not barely coming up to his chest like this one. A voice in his head told him she was way too young for him, young enough that if this were any other night, he’d walk away from her now.
But he wasn’t planning on walking away from whatever this woman offered. Not until first light.
And definitely not until he’d had his fill of those curves.
Gabe Sullivan risks his life every day as a firefighter in San Francisco. But after learning a brutal lesson about professional boundaries, he knows better than to risk his heart to his fire victims ever again. Especially the brave mother and daughter he saved from a deadly apartment fire…and can't stop thinking about.
Gabe Sullivan’s captain, Todd, stepped into the room.
“How’re you feeling, Gabe?”
He moved to sit up straighter on the bed and Todd shook his head. “You’re fine just like that. I know your skull must hurt like hell.” He nodded back to the doorway. “Are you ready to see Ms. Harris and her daughter, Summer?”
No, he thought, he’d be better off never seeing those eyes again.
He’d thought about Megan and her daughter one too many times for comfort. Not just because he was reviewing the rescue, trying to look for what he could have done differently, to have gotten them out faster and more safely—but because he hadn’t been able to forget her strength, how hard she’d fought to stay conscious, and what a fighter she’d been every single second of the harrowing journey from her burning apartment.
Still, he understood that fire victims often felt compelled to say thank you to the men who had saved them. Especially in a case like this, where they’d just barely held death at bay.
“Sure.” He began to nod, but a sharp shooting pain stopped him halfway into the movement.
Catching his grimace, Todd said, “I’ll ask Megan and her daughter to come back later.”
Her name fit her, Gabe had found himself thinking one too many times. Megan was pretty and strong all at the same time. It would be better to think of her as Ms. Harris. Although, he had to wonder, was there a husband? And if so, where had he been during the fire and why wasn’t he here with them now?
“No,” he said, “it’ll be better if I see them now.”
She’d say thank you, he’d tell her he was happy to see her and her daughter doing so well, and that would be that. No more being haunted by her eyes, by the surprising strength she’d shown him as she’d crawled on the floor of her apartment and down the stairs.
A couple of minutes later, Todd walked back in with the mother and daughter. Ignoring the pain in his head, Gabe sat up higher and forced a smile on his face.
And then, his eyes locked with Megan’s and his smile froze in place.
My God, he found himself thinking before he could shove the thought away, she’s beautiful.
The last time he’d seen her face it had been through a thick haze of dark smoke and the knowledge that one wrong move meant their lives were over. Her eyes were just as big and pretty, her limbs looked as lean and strong as they had when he’d been helping to move her along the floor, but now he could see the softness in her, the sweet curves of her breasts and hips in her T-shirt and jeans. He couldn’t stop staring at the startling green of her eyes, the silky dark hair falling across her shoulders, and the way her pretty young daughter was a carbon copy of her, the only difference their hair color, one dark, one light.
She seemed just as stunned as he and for a long moment, the two of them just stared at each other in silence until her daughter ran over to him and threw her arms around him.
Excerpt of Can't Help Falling In Love: The Sullivans #3 , copyright 2014, Bella Andre