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CHAPTER REVEAL ~ Boyfrenemy by Sosie Frost

 

 

 

 

MICAH
Julian’s the kind of sexy that demands a cigarette before sex.

He’s the whip and the cream on top of my chocolate sundae.
Hell, he’s the only man worth the fancy underwear in my panty drawer. But suddenly, the thong isn’t the only pain in my ass.
He’s rude. He’s arrogant. And he’s the single greatest threat to my job.
So, of course, I fell in love with my perfect enemy.
Accidentally getting pregnant was our first battle.
Now? It’s all-out-war.

JULIAN
Micah’s the sort of girl who breaks more balls than hearts.

No matter how perfect her ass, it’s not worth the pain in mine.
Her smile might tighten my pants, but the woman’s worse than the drought, pestilence, and ramble of weeds destroying my fields.
Too bad she’s the only one who can save my farm.
So, I made a deal with that devil.
…Then I knocked her up.

Micah

It was a bad day to fall in love.

Then again, every day was a bad day to fall in love.

I’d missed the warning signs—the alarm that never went off, the torrential downpour, the car that didn’t start.

Days like that day were perfect for hiding in the office and catching up on paperwork. There, the only risk was the occasional coffee ring on an important contract or an unfortunate paper cut. And while I was sure that the good, old-fashioned journey of self-destruction they called love might have been exhilarating for the first few irresponsible moments, that sort of complication had no place in my life plan.

Especially since Mr. Julian Payne was the wrong man to steal my heart.

If he could find it under the layers and layers of mud.

Mud made a bad day worse. Worse and soggy. Mud caked me head to toe, settling in a variety of places that would require a very intimate scrubbing. Unlike Spa Gemma—Ironfield’s hottest and most exclusive health resort—Butterpond’s famous mud offered no organic benefits to skincare or hydration. Instead, this particular land was supposedly exceedingly fertile. Not any concern of mine, considering the next five years of my life were specifically organized to focus on career growth and physical fitness.

Butterpond wasn’t a great launch pad for any future ambitions or social networking. After four months of employment in the municipal zoning office, my most productive assignment had been unwedging myself from a mud hole in the Payne’s driveway-turned-swamp. I’d kept my shoe but lost my dignity to the sticky pit.

First, my broken-down car.

Then, getting tsunami’d by a speeding pickup truck tearing through a pond-sized puddle on Bakers Run Road.

And now…

Mud.

I’d fallen—wallowed—in six inches of uncompromising, unrelenting mud, crawling hand over fist until I reached the safety of the Payne’s county-styled farmhouse.

And, at the end of the quarter-mile trek up the filthy, water-logged, knee-deep mud driveway? I faced a man who might have stolen my breath if I hadn’t lost it all on the hike to his porch.

Julian Payne was a superior kind of sexy.

As hot as a flickering cigarette after hours of lovemaking.

As teasing as a wrinkle in the sheets twisted by bare toes.

As damning as a body prickling with sweat in the dark.

He was the type of man who’d make a woman giggle as she made the biggest mistake of her life.

I’d made a personal promise to never compromise my values for a little green, but eyes like his were worth dirtying a clean reputation in a new town.

My heart beat quicker—and it wasn’t the panic of leaving my Jimmy Choo’s sinking in a puddle of gloppy mud. This was either love at first sight…or an entirely inappropriate reaction as I stared at Julian, pacing the porch in broad, athletic strides.

Shame. Definitely shame.

I was supposed to be meeting this man on behalf of the Sawyer County Zoning Department. Instead, I drooled over a god so beautiful, so muscular, so utterly stunning that he’d be a perfect excuse to amend my current life plan of career advancement for a fairy tale dream of desire and lust.

Then…he opened his mouth.

“You know what’s wrong with this world?”

Julian spoke daggers—slicing words from lips that shouldn’t have tumbled anything but compliments and dirty words.

He wove his hand through thick, dark hair—wet from either the rain or a shower. His flannel shirt, only halfway buttoned, revealed a hard chest of solid muscle.

This was a man who had never feared a day of hard work in his life. Probably made hard work fear him.

Julian paced the porch, but he wouldn’t outrun his frustration. “I’m trying my goddamned hardest to get this farm up and running.”

This was a proud man. A confident man. A man unburdened by mud and dirty puddle water. And I stood, unnoticed, caked in the unthinkable.

Of course I would meet the man of my dreams while living a waking nightmare. But maybe he’d like a woman who smelled like his farm.

God…I hoped it was just farm I smelled. What the hell was in that mud?

Across the old, rickety porch—covered with a roof that would never meet modern structural guidelines—Julian’s friend eyed me with shock…then pity. Probably the same look I’d receive once I returned to the township offices for my scheduled meeting with the mayor and city council.

So much for the raise.

The second man bounced a baby on his knee. He didn’t seem the type to cuddle a one-year-old, but the baby took glee in tugging the trimmed beard teasing his hardened jaw. He spat out the fingers the little girl jammed into his mouth and attempted to interrupt Julian to greet me.

Julian ignored his friend and proceeded to rant instead.

“How the hell am I supposed to work this farm? The taxes are killing me, the regulations are binding my hands, and now this zoning bullshit tells me where I can and can’t build on my own damn property?”

He was a rugged sort of cowboy, chock full of muscles and arrogance and something less pleasant.

I attempted to interject and announce my arrival, but Julian had no time in the world to listen to anyone by himself.

And I didn’t like what I heard.

“This is our land. It was my father’s land. His father’s land. And his father’s land.” He slapped a calloused hand against the clapboard siding of his house. His home didn’t deserve the solid spank, punishing the building for the inconvenience of the zoning laws that were my job to enforce. “My grandparents built this home from nothing. When my father took over the farm, he worked every day of the year. Sunup to sundown. Back then, no municipality ordered them around on their own private property.”

Why did the cute ones always advocate anarchy?

A man like Julian Payne should’ve stayed quiet and enjoyed the air of mystery. Tall, dark, handsome, and utterly silent. Gone was my fantasy of a rugged cowboy, riding us off into the sunset on his trusty horse, while obeying every zoning regulation set forth in the county’s Unified Development Ordinance.

This was not a man who wanted to play by the rules…or by the laws enacted via local ordinance by the Sawyer County Board of Supervisors and vested in me as Director of Building and Zoning.

“Now there’s some hotshot, wannabe politician telling me what to do?” Julian hadn’t yet noticed me. That was fine. I’d wait this performance out. “He’s probably some fat ass who never even set foot on a farm.”

My ass was not fat. And none of my previous admirers had ever complained about the bump. All…two of them.

Julian seethed, his boots thudding hard against the porch’s warping planks. “He’s probably never worked a day in his life, you know?”

His friend cleared his throat. “Uh…”

“Probably spent his life sitting behind some desk in a cushy office.”

My desk had three legs and a pile of books propping up the fourth. One florescent bulb had burned out a year ago and had yet to be replaced. And, when it rained, the window leaked and trickled water into the outlet.

Real cushy.

Julian smirked. “Probably gets off on the power. Jerks it every time he rejects a building permit application.”

If I took any more offense to his statement, I’d be stuffing my pockets with indignation.

So what if my job was in an office? What did it matter if I wasn’t riding a tractor in the sun all day? I had papers to file and applications to review and men like him to disappoint when they thought they could do as they liked without regard to the greater good of the community.

But Julian was right.

His was one building permit application that would be downright orgasmic to reject.

“Know it took me two weeks to even get an appointment with this asshole?” Julian said. “And now he’s too goddamned incompetent to show up on time.”

Incompetent?

I’d just lost a five-hundred-dollar pair of shoes in the pit he called a driveway. This was after I’d rearranged my entire schedule to visit him in person, sacrificing my thirty-minute lunch and a growing stack of county fair plans in desperate need of review. I’d come to Triumph Farm as a favor to the one man everyone in Butterpond loved like their own damned child.

And now I was incompetent?

No matter how panty-melting handsome the son of a bitch was, he was going to be nothing but a pain in my ass.

“Julian!” The man holding the baby finally interrupted the rant, but Julian had already stuck his foot so far in his mouth he’d be shitting toes for a week. “I think he is here.”

Julian turned. My stomach flopped back into the mud.

This man took my breath away. Which was good. It’d put us on even ground once I punched him square in the gut. But that wouldn’t be very professional as a representative of Sawyer County.

I’d get him audited instead.

I extended a hand. A glop of mud dripped from my fingers. At least it made the java brown of my skin shine. Not that I wanted to exfoliate with the sticky, clumpy mess of debris that churned in Julian Payne’s backyard.

I sucked in a breath, tempered my anger, and attempted to introduce myself.

“I’m—”

His riotous, exceedingly inappropriate laugh carried across his untended farmland—land that would stay empty if he insisted on misbehaving.

“What the hell…” He stared at me—eyes greener than any weed sprouting in his fields. “What happened to you?”

His was a question that would take an afternoon in a spa, a soak in a tub, and a dinner of pure carbs and an entire bottle of wine to answer.

It’d started when I’d busted the corrupt Chief of Police in Ironfield and ended around the time the city fired me for whistle blowing. Fast forward six months of unemployment, and suddenly I was changing the tire of the hand-me-down Sawyer County Crown Vic with three hundred thousand miles, no air conditioning, and an accelerator that tended to stick. Add to that an afternoon dip in a mud puddle and fifteen minutes of clawing through a swamp to get to his front porch, and I had quite the tale to tell Mr. Payne-In-My-Ass about my punctuality and sludgy appearance.

Of course, that was the moment my shock, rage, and absolute lust for this cowboy coalesced into a knot that bound my tongue, heart, and a place a bit lower that—frankly—could have used a good hogtie in the past six months.

“Someone…” My words sputtered out in a most unflattering, incoherent jumble. I stumbled forward, my bare toes sinking into yet another slimy, cold layer of gunk. “There’s…a…it was locked…”

The man with the baby offered me the little girl’s blanket to, presumably, un-mire myself. It wouldn’t help. I needed a damned hose to clear the mud from every nook and cranny on me—places I’d worked so hard to keep clean.

The job wasn’t supposed to be like this.

My life wasn’t supposed to be like this.

I didn’t belong in the dead-end, rural, farming town of Butterpond.

And I sure as hell didn’t deserve to be treated like a inconvenience by Julian Payne when I’d been trying to help.

I swallowed the irritation and gestured down the quarter-mile of sludge that was the farm’s driveway.

“The gate was locked.”

Julian hadn’t stopped laughing.

“I had to get out of the car…open it…the mud was…everywhere.”

His cayenne smoky laugh gutted me. This was a bastard who’d rot in hell for watching my toes wiggle in the grass.

My words turned to a hiss. “You…are you Julian Payne?”

For half a second, I prayed I had the wrong man, wrong farm, wrong anything.

If he was the whip and cream on my chocolate sundae, he’d just melted my entire dessert.

“Yeah,” he said. “Who the hell are you?”

Unfortunate. He was the one man I’d hate to hate.

I straightened my dress as best I could and attempted to wipe some of the mud from my face. No good. It only smeared yet another line across my cheek.

“I’m your appointment,” I said. “And I would have been here sooner if someone hadn’t locked the driveway gate. I fell in the mud and had to claw my way here.”

I received no pity from him. Julian scowled. Damn the man for looking so good even while irritated.

“Look, swamp thing. Sorry you got a little dirty…that’s life on a farm. This is what happens when you’re working the land, not pushing papers.”

Like he had any idea how to do my job. I clenched my fists, wishing a layer of gunk hadn’t squished from between my fingers. My voice cracked with rage. Not the most intimidating.

“Well, I’m here now,” I said. “Let’s get this over with.”

“Hell, no. I’ve got an appointment with Mr. Micah Robinson, not…”

He gestured over my curves. He couldn’t be that stupid. All brawn and no brains.

Julian shook his head. “I’m not meeting with his secretary.”

If I wasn’t so sure I’d lost my earrings somewhere by my flattened tire, I’d have ripped the hoops out and prepared to rumble.

Bad day to fall in love.

Bad day to have my heartbroken by a jackass.

Bad day to mess with me.

“You know, cowboy…” I used the term loosely. His farm had no crops and no animals, and it’d probably stay that way. “I intended to do you a favor.”

“What’s that?”

“I came out in person. I wanted to survey the farm. Meet this Julian Payne everyone keeps talking about.”

And they talked a lot.

The Paynes were the glue that held together a town comprised mostly of a grocery store that stocked nothing organic and a roughneck bar that didn’t serve Cosmopolitans or even understand the meaning of the word.

Small couldn’t begin to describe Butterpond—but financially insolvent got close. Maybe it was the family’s charity from years ago, or maybe it was the trouble caused these last thirty years by his five sons, but the Paynes dominated the town gossip. Tales of wild nights and fires, eligible bachelors and warring siblings added a bit of mystery to the usual stories of the town’s bingo cheaters, not-so-secret affairs, and warnings about the feral cats overrunning the county fairgrounds.

But Julian Payne?

This man could do no wrong.

Giving up a potentially lucrative career with the Ironfield Rivets just to come home and take care of the family farm, his grieving family, and the responsibility as head of household? Supposedly, the man was a rural messiah who still had enough connections to score the occasional Rivets’ ticket.

That would teach me to listen to idle gossip again.

Especially when it wasn’t about me or threats to my employment.

I raised my chin and pretended the mud was just another layer of Sephora foundation. “And here I thought you could use some help…and you’re gonna need it. You submitted an application to rebuild a barn that’s been demolished for five years.”

“Burned down,” Julian said. “Long story. It burned down.”

“Yes, well, you haven’t attempted to rebuild it within a permitted time frame which makes it exempt to any grandfathered building codes and requirements. Since the structure’s destruction, Sawyer County has passed a new set of zoning regulations which you must adhere to. Your application—which did not include the required set of architectural drawings or a survey of your property—”

“It’s just a barn.”

“—Was not only incomplete, but it lacked the relevant detail to even consider approval for the new construction of an accessory structure on this chosen location.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

It meant this would have felt a hell of a lot better if I wasn’t covered in mud for the reveal.

“It means…I can tell you right now what the decision will be regarding your barn.”

“Oh, yeah?”

I tasted the anger. It tasted a lot like mud. “It’s gonna get denied.”

“What?” Julian blinked. He held his arms out. “That’s it?”

“Don’t bother helping me with the gate. I can manage this time.”

“Don’t let it knock you on your ass on the way out.”

Maybe then he’d stop staring at it, curves barely covered by a designer skirt ruined by the mud and gunk. I hobbled across the driveway just as the skies opened and my luck torrentially poured on me. The saturated material clung to my curves—curves which might’ve been a grand accomplishment for any lady who was not attempting to maintain a level of professionalism within her newfound career. I hadn’t intended to literally storm to my car, but I crossed my fingers for a flash flood to whisk me away.

No amount of hand sanitizer would clean this mess. Especially not before my two o’clock meeting with the mayor and council. I couldn’t go back to the office looking like this. Then again, I doubted I could even make it back to my car.

The mud snowballed around my feet, mixing with the rain to become as heavy as cement. I’d have to cancel the meeting with the council meant to save my job. Too many complaints in government usually meant a municipal employee was doing something right. But in a town where everyone knew each other’s names, kids, properties, secrets, and vulnerable insecurities, one-too-many High Grass and Weed citations didn’t commend me for community outreach. It pissed off the wrong people.

I groaned.

This was his fault.

That sexist, arrogant jerk of a man.

I wouldn’t have gotten muddy if I hadn’t come to his stupid farm. Wouldn’t have popped the tire if I hadn’t volunteered to meet him. Wouldn’t have been late to the meeting to save my career if I hadn’t offered to help that egotistical son of a—

My foot plunked too deep into the mud. My ankle didn’t go with it. I twisted and collapsed to the ground.

“Not again…”

The rain made everything stickier. I wiped the hair out of my eyes with a stroke of my hand. Mistake. The mud smeared over my nose, in my eyes, over my lips.

Gross.

Dress—ruined.

Hair—embedded with twigs.

Foot—stuck in a hole.

Career—over.

I hobbled upright and kicked. Nada. The earth sucked me in but didn’t have the courtesy to bury me six feet under.

Screw it. I’d gnaw my damn ankle off if it meant getting the hell off this farm.

Another yank and I fell forward once again. My Louis Vuitton purse abandoned me, tumbling into a puddle. The vibrating cell phone rolled from the front pocket and splashed in murky water.

Great. I’d die in a backwoods mud pit.

I reached for the phone. My fingertips just grazed the vibrating case before a sun-warmed rumble of a voice piqued my blood pressure.

I’d either jump his bones or bury them in his own backyard.

I didn’t bother glancing at Julian Payne. I’d remember exactly what he looked like tonight in my dreams. It’d take more than a bottle of wine and evening with my showerhead to forget that face.

I spoke through gritted teeth. “You expected someone different?”

“Yeah.” Julian circled me, the mud practically hardening under his boots. Jesus walked on water, Julian could traverse through mud. Less of a god and more a pig. “I thought I was meeting a guy—the zoning officer.”

“Do you even know what a zoning officer is?”

“Yeah. He’s the asshole who won’t let me build a barn.”

And that was why I wouldn’t waste my breath explaining how the municipal code forbid the construction of a new structure so close to the property lines or why a barn of that size would be denied based on the township’s maximum permissible square footage calculation.

Hell, even breaking the regulations down wouldn’t work. A thick head like his wouldn’t understand no build here, too big.

I ignored him and attempted to dislodge my foot from a property that was one blue heron away from a wetlands designation. Then he’d really be pissed when he couldn’t build anything.

“Need help?” Julian asked.

Was he joking? “No.”

“You sure?”

I squirmed. Wiggled. Juked.

And sunk deeper into the mud.

I gritted my teeth. “Yes, I’m sure.”

“Cause…to me?” Julian snickered. “Looks like you’re about to become part of the foundation for my new barn.”

Now I did glare at him. And I regretted every single pelting raindrop that splattered his shirt and stuck the material to his thick muscles.

“What barn?” I huffed. “After today, you’ll be lucky if you can plant a damn tomato without a permit.”

“Not sure who made you princess of the county…” Julian enjoyed my plight a little too much. “But lemme help you.”

“I don’t need help.”

“You’ve never spent a day outside your office, have you?”

Not that he needed to know. I warded him away with a swing of a very muddy hand. “I’m fine.”

“Not from around here, are you?” He smirked. God, it was a great smirk. “Most of the locals don’t try to swim through the mud.”

“I wouldn’t have needed to swim if someone had remembered to open the gate.”

“Might’ve opened the gate if someone were on time for her scheduled appointment.”

“Would have made it on time if you had opened the gate.”

“Would have had the gate open if you’d called to tell me you were here.”

Julian didn’t ask permission before sliding his arm around my waist. With a graceful shrug, he lifted me out of the mud and freed me from the hole.

With any other man, in any other time, in any other moment when I wasn’t coated head to toe with muck, I might have offered myself for his ravishment.

It wasn’t the classiest or most realistic of expectations, but it had been a long time since a man had grabbed these hips, and sometimes a girl needed an excuse to get dirty.

But not with him.

Not with a man that arrogant, that aggravating…

That attractive.

“You sure you’re old enough to be a zoning officer?” He hadn’t released me, smirking as I swung my legs above the ground. “I should just keep you in my pocket. Might get the build done faster—”

I kicked. My foot connected a little too hard with the part of him that fed his ego. With a groan, he dropped me. We both clattered to the ground. Me, smooshed into the mud.

Him?

Julian landed over me—all two hundred pounds of pure muscle and small-town mischief.

The skies drenched us in buckets of warm, summer rain. The mud had cushioned our fall. I laid beneath him, pinned, staring into eyes as green as the ominous clouds overhead. Probably a sign to find better cover than under the body of the town’s most frustratingly handsome farmer.

Embarrassment choked me. Or maybe that was lust. I couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t think. Couldn’t unburrow from the muck and mire to ensure my dress hadn’t hiked too far up my thighs

The bastard still held me in his arms. I squirmed, clenching my jaw and my legs tightly shut. Didn’t help. A new heat sizzled the raindrops against my skin. Julian stared at me, bright eyes under thick brows, a stoic nose slightly bent from years of abuse, a hardened jaw teased with a scruffy, five o’clock shadow.

A face worthy of cuddling against a pillow or burrowing between my thighs. I hated the thoughts and banished the flutter of warmth aching inside me.

He caught his breath and adjusted the injured part of him. “Are you—”

He’d rubbed his face, leaving a trail of mud along his cheek.

A wriggling, dark little spec remained.

A nightmare of nightmares.

I screamed and punched him square in the nose.

“Leech!”

Julian fell backwards with a grunt. I scrambled to safety.

“Oh, God.” I’d hyperventilate before I could climb a tree or escape into my car to flee from the leeches. “Ew, ew, ew.”

I whipped my hands over any exposed skin, but it wouldn’t do any good.

I’d lain in that oozing, sticky mud.

A million of those creepy crawly disgusting creatures might have latched onto me. The panic set in. So did the lightheadedness. I clutched my clothes and struggled to check all over me before the leeches gorged themselves on every last drop of my blood.

But where could I run? Hide? Fight? I lamented my bare feet and scrunched up tight, sacrificing my right foot to the mud. Hopefully, they wouldn’t strip it to the bone in mere minutes.

Or maybe that was piranhas?

Oh, God, I didn’t want to find out.

“What the hell is your problem?” Julian touched his nose. No blood, but he winced anyway.

He didn’t have to thank me. I’d never stop retching. “You had a leech on your face!”

“No, I didn’t, you maniac.” Julian held out his hand, exposing the little black wiggler. “It’s a fucking blade of grass.”

I still didn’t let it touch me. I nearly collapsed, my breath heaving in uneven gasps. Julian watched, eyebrow rising.

“Have you ever been outside before?” he asked.

Forget the glass of wine. Tonight I’d take the whole damn bottle into the tub. “I don’t often make farm calls. Usually the applicants properly fill out their applications.”

“Never thought I’d have to sweet talk a dirty girl for my barn.”

Hardly appropriate. “Don’t you dare sweet talk me, Mr. Payne.”

“Oh, I forgot. You’re county royalty, princess.” He waggled his eyebrows—the bastard. “I’ll take you out to dinner instead.”

“How could that possibly help?”

“Better than propositioning you in the mud.”

He had to be joking. “You aren’t propositioning anything.”

“Drinks?”

I shoved past him. “I’d need to be drunk to accept that offer.”

“Dinner?”

“Your application has been denied.”

Julian didn’t quit. A smile tugged at his lips. “Dancing.”

I ignored him and trudged away. To my displeasure, he followed.

“Come on, princess.” He loved this. “Those hips were made for more than mud wrestling.”

No one had ever talked to me like that before. I sure as hell didn’t approve of it.

But I wasn’t sure I hated that good ol’, small-town charm.

“Look, cowboy…” I spun and poked him in the chest. “I don’t take bribes.”

“And I don’t sleep with charity cases, but I’ll do whatever it takes for this barn.”

The insolent, conceited asshole! “You’re a real bastard, you know that?”

“Are my tax dollars paying for that mouth of yours?” He grinned. “Wish I could put it to better use.”

“How many times do I have to reject you today?” The insults burned through me. So did the desire, though I couldn’t possibly loathe this man more. “Keep trying, cowboy. Disappointing you is starting to feel nice.”

“I can make you feel better than nice.”

“Not interested.”

“Liar.”

“I have morals,” I said.

“You work in government.”

“And men like are you are the reason I avoid the public sector.”

Julian hollered as I stomped away. “How am I supposed to get my barn, princess?”

“You could start by using my real name.” I should have kept walking. “Then you could build the damn thing where it’s authorized in the right dimensions and not insult the only person who can grant you the permissions.”

“Didn’t know government came with a safe word.”

He was going to need one soon. “Don’t test me.”

“What other permissions can you grant?”

“None. But I can cite you for being a public nuisance.”

Julian sighed. “You haven’t even given me a chance.”

“I gave you enough of a chance, Julian Payne. You blew it.”

He laughed, a hearty, country-born, home-grown rumble. “Don’t make this into a challenge, princess. You won’t win.”

“This isn’t about winning,” I said. “It’s about the law.”

“I’m not giving up.” Julian winked. “You’re going to see a lot of me, Miss Robinson.”

“First an insult, now a threat?”

He shrugged. “You could just grant approval now—save us the time and the inevitable foreplay.”

“You couldn’t handle me, cowboy.”

“Won’t know until we try…see if you’re as dirty as you seem.”

I sauntered close, my words a low growl. “Oh, I can play very dirty.”

“That’s what I like to hear.”

Then he’d love this. “Your application is not only denied, now I will take all forty-five business days to review any appeal you may submit.” I met his gaze. “Before this gets any worse for you, Mr. Payne, I recommend you submit.”

“Always did like a feisty girl.”

Loathsome man. “I think you’ve met your match.”

“Oh, princess, believe me. I’m gonna do you to code.”

“That so?”

“Inspect you head to toe, make sure you adhere to my master plan.”

“I bet you will.”

Julian’s words were filthier than the mud. “Wonder what I could do if I bound you up in your own red tape.”

“Never gonna find out.” I offered him a sweet, professional smile and continued to my car. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Julian Payne. I can’t wait until the next time I get to reject you.”




 

Sosie Frost is no stranger to quirky, embarrassing, and wild situations, and she’s channeling all that new adult angst into fun romances.

From marching at the high school homecoming game without her trumpet (a punishment for forgetting the instrument on the band bus), to regretfully tucking her prom dress into the back of her tights before pictures, and even accidentally starting a chemical fire in the college chem lab, Sosie has the market cornered on crazy stories.

But hey, writing is a better outlet than therapy right? 😉

If you want funny, charming, and steamy romances, you’ve found the right author!

Sosie lives in Pittsburgh with her hubby, her two cats, and thrives on a near constant stream of gummy bears.

 



 

EXCERPT REVEAL ~ BabyJacked by Sosie Frost

 

 

 

Five years ago, I let the girl of my dreams get away.


To be honest, I set fire to her barn, fought with her brothers, then exiled myself to a logging company in the Canadian wilderness.


But a reclusive b@stard can’t hide forever. When my sister got sick, I took in my two young nieces. Now I’m paying rent to Sesame Street, drinking Jack and fruit juice, and reading my chainsaw manual as a bedtime story. I’ve gone from lumberjack to babyjacked, and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.


Fortunately, I found a nanny. Five years have passed, and Cassi’s not just my best friends’ little sister anymore. She’s all grown up, dark and beautiful with a smart mouth and a broken heart.


Doesn’t take long before she’s falling for me again, but I can’t shout timber yet.


Cassi can’t forgive the past. And I can’t tell her why I ran.


When a man doesn’t deserve a second chance, he’s just gotta steal her heart.

Cassi

The first time I saw Remington Marshall, he stole my heart.

The last time I saw Remington Marshall, he’d just burned my family’s barn to the ground.

Arson usually complicated relationships.

Especially afterward, when Rem left our sleepy town of Butterpond in the dead of night without so much as a goodbye. He’d stayed gone for five long years.

Five years with no phone call. No visits. No explanations.

Even worse—no apology.

So, when my brother, Tidus, told me Rem was back in town, I had to make a decision.

Ignore Remington Marshall and forget he’d ever existed…

Or demand an answer for why he’d broken my heart.

I chose the latter, encouraged by the perspective I’d gained over the last couple years. As long as we stayed away from any flammable objects that might’ve torched what remained of my potential happiness, a conversation would bring me some much-needed closure. Besides, all that time had allowed me to douse the last few embers burning in my barn, heart, and loins.

But that still didn’t make confrontation a good idea, despite my brother’s insistence.

He came home to take care of his nieces, Tidus said.

Take him up a box of kids’ toys from storage, he said.

Pick me up a burger from Lou’s on the way home, he said.

Yeah, right.

Rem wasn’t a man who wanted to be found, even in the tiny town of Butterpond—a small cluster of dreams, prayers, and fatty liver disease. Butterpond was where the trees wanted in, the people wanted out, and my family’s farm accidentally lynch-pinned the whole place together.

To the town, my family was a fixture. The Payne’s farm. The Payne’s charity. The Payne’s pain in the ass boys who rolled over the town’s one streetlight like a plague of locusts. The Payne’s adopted daughter in a family of five boys—bless her heart.

But Rem? He no longer belonged in the town. Men like him kept to themselves, tucked away inside a cabin in the mountains, hidden from society by gravel roads, the occasional tick, and busted suspensions.

As much as I’d once loved Rem, risking Lyme disease and a punctured tire seemed a bad idea.

I did it anyway.

A box of old toys and children’s clothes was jammed in next to my suitcase.

This would be quick. In and out. Hand him the box stuffed with goodies from when my family had foster kids running all over the farm. Wish him well. Make the requisite small talk. And then pretend like my heart wasn’t held together with a roll of scotch tape and a smattering of pride.

I wasn’t about to let Remington Marshall shatter my barely rejuvenated dignity. Besides, the last I’d heard, he was the one crippled with guilt. Rumor had it—and by rumor, I meant the occasional conversation with his sister, Emma—he’d run away to the deepest forests of Canada to join a logging company.

If a heart broke in the forest, did it make a sound? The answer was yes, but it wasn’t a thud. More like the noise a sleepy woman yelped in the middle of the night when she stubbed her toe on the way to the bathroom. Less of a timber! More like son of a—

The box fit snugly against my hip, drawing the hem of my skirt up only an inch. I was fine with that. Showing a little leg would do me good. I’d grown up since the fire. Earned my curves. Managed to fill out my bra without two handfuls of wadded up toilet paper. Things were looking up.

I wound my way over a weed-choked cobblestone path and picked my steps up the rickety porch. The cabin was lost in the woods, and the forest wasn’t happy with the new occupant. The little space was so overgrown with brush and leaves that the trees would be grateful to be cleaned out of the gutters.

My knock clattered against the cabin door—almost loud enough to drown out the very irritated cry of a baby.

Almost.

The wail might’ve belonged to a child. Could have also been a mountain lion with a toothache. Sometimes it was tough to tell, even with a degree in early education. Money well spent.

The door flung open. I expected Remington. Instead, a bright-eyed, blonde-haired, puffy-cheeked three-year-old peered up at me, scowled, and belted at the top of her precious little lungs to alert all within a square mile of my arrival.

“Stranger!”

I winced. “Hi. I’m Cassi. Is your Uncle—”

“Stranger!”

This alerted the baby—the real siren of the household who’d missed her calling as the dive alarm for a German U-Boat.

The chorus of screams rang in my ears. I shushed the three-year-old with a wave of my hand.

“I’m not a stranger—I’m a…” Was friend the right word? “I know your Uncle Rem…well, not know know. We grew up together. I mean, he grew up with my brother—I grew up later. But we were…I’d see him a lot—”

“Stranger!”

I cringed and went to Plan B. The box dropped to the porch. I debated on running, but the tape had loosened enough for me to rip the flaps. An old baby doll rested on a folded pile of clothes. I offered it as a sacrifice to appease the child.

“It’s for you!” My frantic words shushed her. “It’s PJ Sparkles. All the little girls loved PJ Sparkles!”

The child quieted. She bit her lip, scratched her leg with a foot clad in mismatched socks, and reached for the doll. She jumped as a husky voice caught her in the act.

“What do we have here?”

His voice was a blend of sticky marshmallow and crumbling graham cracker, and I melted like a chocolate bar squished near the fire.

I knew better than to get burned by Remington Marshall, but even the wisest girl sometimes took a big bite before blowing on it.

And, believe me, Rem would go to his grave wishing I had blown him.

Rem leaned against the door frame. His broad shoulders were clad in a warm, red flannel shirt. He scratched a wild, thick beard, and might have teased a smile. I couldn’t tell. Five years of isolation had obscured his face in dark hair.

A one-year-old baby wailed in his arms.

“Never expected to see you here, Cassia Payne.” He grunted as the three-year-old bashed the doll’s plastic head into a part of him that regretted meeting PJ Sparkles. He stepped aside and let her go play, but his stare pinned me in place. “Lost in the woods, little girl?”

What had happened to my Remington Marshall?

Gone was the teenage bad boy, strong enough to win his fights but lean enough to make a quick escape once Sherriff Samson flashed his lights. Now, Rem had become a terrifying beast of rugged strength. A lumberjack. A man like him could have punched down a tree. The Canadian forests never stood a chance.

Muscles packed on muscles. And the beard…oh, the beard. I didn’t know if he belonged in an ice fishing cabin or on a Harley, but this wasn’t the boy who’d left me behind.

This was a man.

And he was in trouble.

Rem struggled to bounce the little bundle of pink in his arms. The baby fussed, red-faced and probably wishing her Uncle hadn’t given her diaper a wedgie while rocking her. The three-year-old dropped the doll and instead raced over, around, and on top of his feet, tugging on his jeans with an urgent need to tinkle. She tripped over one of the four stuffed garbage bags piled in the entryway. One had already blown open, spilling dresses, shoes, socks, and toys into the cabin.

The three-year-old was wearing two shirts. The baby needed a pair of pants. Rem’s own belongings had tumbled into the hall—duffel bags and mountain boots.

Tidus wasn’t lying. Rem must have come home only hours before to take care of the kids.

The older girl somersaulted around his feet, somehow summoning and then spilling a glass of water. The TV blared cartoons from the den. The baby cried just to be louder than the show. Behind him, every chair had been toppled in the dining room. The cushions stripped off the couch. Something slimy dripped from the sink.

Chaos had descended upon a three-square-foot area of his life…

And a part of me really enjoyed the struggle.

“Everyone said you ran away to become a lumberjack,” I said. “But apparently you joined a circus.”

Rem was a great liar. I’d learned that long ago. He attempted to soothe the baby and accidentally smooshed her face into the wall of muscle that was his shoulder. His wink wasn’t fooling anyone.

“Brought the circus home too.” He reached down and lifted the little girl to her feet before she somersaulted into the wall. “Got my acrobat tumbling her way into preschool, and the prepubescent bearded lady doing shows before and after naptime.”

Cute. “And what’s your talent?”

“World’s sexiest uncle.”

“Ain’t no one buying tickets for that.”

“Ringleader then.”

The three-year-old demanded cookies. The baby, blood. I shook my head. “Guess again.”

“Toddler-tamer.”

He wished. I crossed my arms. “Better get a shovel. I think you’re mucking out stalls and diapers.”

Rem grinned, but that was a charmer’s smile, part of his bag of tricks. He’d always been the type to sweet-talk his way out of handcuffs just to use them in bed. But maybe he had changed. Maybe the wilderness had straightened him out? Perhaps…the hard work taught him responsibility? Was it possible the time apart had made him as miserable as it had me?

Or maybe that smile meant I should’ve left the box on the porch and ran.

“Do I have to charge admission, or are you coming inside?” he asked.

Dangerous question. “Depends. Got an elephant under this big top?”

“Nah. He’s on break. I’m standing in.”

“And what are you?”

“The jackass.”

Fair enough. I offered him the box. “This is some stuff from the farm—back when we had all the foster kids. Tidus said you could probably use it. Clothes and toys.”

Rem easily balanced the baby on his shoulder and the box in his arms. He left the door open. Inviting the little ones to escape or beckoning me inside?

I spoke from the entryway, a promise to myself. “Only for a minute.”

“Want something to drink?” he asked.

“That would take longer than a minute.”

“Good. I don’t have much to offer.”

The three-year-old circled the sofa with the doll, tripped over the logs that were once stacked neatly by a stone fireplace, and plummeted onto the hardwood. She whimpered, rolled, and revealed a scraped knee. The crying began anew.

Rem brushed his hands through his shaggy, collar length dark hair and sighed.

“Are you bleeding? Again? Really?” He fumbled through a couple drawers. “All right. Here. No band-aids, but…”

Oh, this was a disaster.

Rem ripped a piece of electrical tape between his teeth, juggled the baby from one arm to the other, and slapped the silver strip over the girl’s knee.

“Good job,” I said. “Now she’s patched up, and she won’t conduct electricity.”

“She’ll be fine.” He patted the girl’s head. “Mellie, say hi to Cassi. Cas, this is Melanie. And this…” He flipped the baby outwards, finally letting her look around the room. She instantly stopped crying. The chubby cheeks and sniffling nose gave way to an adorable smile with three little white teeth poking out. “This is Tabitha—Tabby. They’re Emma’s kids.”

They looked like his sister—blonde and perky with the right amount of sass that got her in as much trouble as Rem.

I hated to ask the question, but a man like Rem wouldn’t volunteer to babysit without a genuine crisis. “What happened to Emma?”

Rem turned somber—a dark, serious glance broken with a forced shrug. “She’s…sick. Needed some help.”

“Is she okay?”

“Yeah. Just needs time. I came home to wrangle the kids.”

“I’m surprised to see you.” No harm in the truth.

“It’s been a while.”

Silence.

I looked away. Somehow, under the heavy flannel, bushy beard, and shaggy hair was the Remington Marshall that still made my chest flutter. My options were to escape or find a defibrillator. My heart was broken, but it could still stop if he whispered the right words.

I shuffled towards the door, but Mellie plucked at the electrical tape banding her knee. The garbage bags of clothes, the injured child, and the quarter inch of dust over the cabin didn’t bode well.

“Are you sure you know…” How to phrase it without insulting him or completely terrifying the kids. “I had no idea you liked children.”

“They’re all right.”

“And…they’re still alive. So you must be doing…okay?”

Rem snorted. “They’re kids, Cas. I can handle ‘em.”

Right. “And…how long have you had them?”

Rem checked his watch. “It’s been five hours, and I haven’t lost my mind yet.”

Yet. “And you’re happy to babysit?”

“Sure.”

“For how long?”

“As long as she needs.” Rem sounded confident. Or foolish. Probably foolish. “Don’t worry. It’s temporary. A week or two at the most. Shouldn’t be too hard. Keep an eye on them until Emma’s good, and then I’ll head back to the logging company.”

I laughed. Sweet Jesus, he was serious. I covered my mouth. “You…you’re keeping them here?”

“I was going to let them out at night like a cat, but I figured they’d rather get the lay of the land first.” He plopped the baby on the ground within range of both the wall outlet, fire place, and his penknife on the coffee table. “How hard can it be?”

And that was all I needed to hear.

I did not need to get involved.

Did not need to warm at his smile.

Did not need to wonder why my skin tingled in his presence.

Rem was a good-looking boy when we were kids, but at twenty-seven, he was absolutely gorgeous. A hard jaw from hard work. Toughened voice from a tough life. A strong back strengthened through manual labor. He might’ve tussled with a baby hell-bent on toddling into the fireplace, but he hadn’t left the wilds in the forest.

Rem looked as out of place in his own home as the kids did in the middle of the woods.

I had to help him.

Maybe I made this bad decision because it had been so long since I last saw him. Maybe I let my heart lead because the beard disguised him in a dark, tempting mystery. Or maybe I took pity on him because five years ago I had been hopelessly in love with our small town’s baddest bad boy.

Rem wasn’t a trouble-maker anymore, but he was still in trouble. Especially now that Butterpond had changed so much. We had cell phone reception. Community events. A giant Facebook group where all the busybodies kept in touch. Butterpond wouldn’t let him hunker down in the forest and hide forever.

And it must’ve terrified him.

“How’s the farm?” Even his words were jagged, briars in his throat. Either he was out of practice with small talk or he knew he shouldn’t have asked.

“It’s a warzone,” I said. “but no fires at least.”

“Tidus okay?”

“Is he ever?” I smirked. “Tidus hates this town as much as me.”

“What about everyone else?”

Well, they wouldn’t be happy to hear that Rem came back home. “Julian is…Julian. Trying to rebuild the farm like he has any idea how to manage it. Marius is overseas still—he can’t tell us where, and he likes it that way. Varius hasn’t been the same since the tornado. Quint…God only knows. Runs around like a puppy, but turns rabid the instant any of my brothers look his way.”

Rem rummaged through his fridge and offered me a beer. I shook my head. He popped the cap off but didn’t drink.

“About your dad…” he said.

“I know.”

“Just…I’m sorry.”

So was everyone, but I still nodded and accepted the thoughts, prayers, and Bundt cakes.

“We knew it was coming,” I said. “His heart was bad.”

“Doesn’t mean it hurts any less.”

I’d done a fantastic job of smooshing that pain deep, deep down and suppressing the memories of the past few months when I’d taken care of him. My brothers understood, but it felt different for me—the one adopted girl in the family of biological sons.

They’d left me alone on the farm with Dad, and the family slowly tore itself apart. Fight after fight, even during Dad’s last days. Each of my brothers swore they’d never speak to the others again.

At least, until that phone call had to be made.

“The good news…well…news, I guess,” I said. “Everyone is home now. In Dad’s infinite wisdom, he left the farm to everyone. Every decision on the land must be made in unison, in person. No subdividing the farm. No selling our pieces to anyone else. It’s World War Three with pitchforks and chicken coops.”

“Feathers flying?”

“Bombs dropping like eggs.”

Tabby attempted to toddle with Rem’s wallet into the bathroom. Mellie giggled from inside. Rem excused himself, swore as the toilet flushed, and returned with a soaking wet wallet. He pitched it into the sink and shooed both kids away.

They stayed glued to him, wrapping their arms around his legs like they hadn’t been hugged in years. Rem knelt down and welcomed them into his thick arms.

It wasn’t a sight I’d expected to see from a man like him.

“So what…” His words mumbled over Tabby’s fingers as she clobbered him in the mouth. “What are you…doing?”

“Anything I can to get out of here.”

Mellie slid from his side and skipped back to her baby doll. He set Tabby on the counter. I rushed forward before he realized that the one-year-old was a bit hyper and likely to take a tumble. She eagerly offered me more of his possessions. I accepted the jingling keys and his cellphone, but I stopped her before she lunged for a sheathed bowie knife tucked inside a stack of paperwork.

Rem leaned against the sink, sipping his beer. “You’re leaving, huh? Where are you planning to go?”

“Anywhere.”

“Been there, Sassy.” The nickname rolled off his tongue, like he’d never stopped using it. “Running doesn’t get you as far as you think.”

“Well, I need to get somewhere. I love my brothers too much to start hating them.”

“You know they need you, especially with your parents gone.”

The guilt was already suffocating me. “Jules says I remind them of Mom.”

“Yeah. I can see the family resemblance.”

As was the gentle joke which passed around the town. I brushed my dark fingers through the bouncing curls I’d swept away with the aid of a bubblegum pink scarf. Didn’t matter if my momma was blonde haired and green eyed or if she shared my mahogany skin and fawn eyes, people in Butterpond knew I was her daughter because she’d taught me how to be a lady.

And how to whoop my brothers into shape if they gave me a hard time.

But mostly how to be a good lady.

Also, a forgiving woman. She never thumped the Bible, only used it to swat our backsides when we acted out. What would she say about this? The man I swore never to forgive…and the kids tumbling around his house.

Mellie climbed the woodpile. Tabby unsuccessfully attempted to roll off the counter, falling into my arms.

And he thought it was going to be easy.

He wouldn’t last the night.

“Do you have everything you need for them?” I asked.

Rem nodded. “I got some of their clothes. They brought toys. I set them up in the spare bedroom.”

“Well, that’s good. But…do you know Tabby’s diaper is on backwards?”

He approached the child, picked her up under the arms, and gave her a quick once over.

“Is that why it keeps leaking?” He whistled in realization. “Thought she was an overachiever.”

Fantastic. “Okay, Rem…there’s like, six things I can see from where I’m standing that will seriously maim the very young children.”

He plopped Tabby on the counter and attempted to twist the diaper to the right position. When that didn’t work, he undid the tabs with so much force ripped the Velcro, removed the diaper, and left her tush on the cold counter. The diaper flipped, but he couldn’t fasten it.

He grabbed his handy electrical tape once more. “There. Now she’s got a racing stripe.”

If only he could feed, bathe, and entertain the kids with tape too. At least it wasn’t a staple gun.

I finally asked the question. “Do you need help, Rem?”

His lazy smile would’ve been cute if Mellie wasn’t heading for the axe he’d set near the backdoor. “You worried about me, Sassy?”

“Worried you’re going to end up on the news…” I pointed to the axe wielding Mellie—one blue ox short of a classic American tall tale. “And now I’ll be an accomplice.”

“Mellie, you chop my house down, you’re building the next one.” He took the axe from her hands and searched for a place to put it. The cabin was a mess, so he shrugged and stuck it on top of the fridge, clattering a couple pots and pans out of the way. “They’re kids. Sure, I need some time to fix the place up…” Rem batted at a spider web over the kitchen window. I cringed as the spider clamored to hide in the dusty curtains. “But they needed me. Emma asked, so here I am. Someone’s gotta help the girls. Just like what your family used to do for all those kids—including me.”

“You’re certain you can handle it?”

“Got no problems here.”

I should have left. The suitcase waited in my car. I had a full-tank of gas. I’d been threatening to head to Ironfield for two weeks now.

Rem had the box of supplies. The kids hadn’t set fire to the cabin yet.

They’d be fine.

But my feet didn’t move. “Do you have food for them?”

Rem took a swig from his beer. A liquid dinner might have suited him, but I doubted Mellie and Tabby wanted to lounge on the couch, knocking back a cold six-pack of Juicy Juice.

“I’ll find something,” he said. “I think it’s cute that you’re worried.”

“I’m not worried.” If I was worried, I’d have to stay. “I’m…making conversation.”

“Could have done that a long time ago,” he said. “Called me up.”

And let him know how twice in the past five years I’d actually tracked down a contact number for him in the middle of the Canadian wilds? No thanks.

“I didn’t hear from you either,” I said. “Not even a hey, sorry about the barn.”

“I am sorry about the barn. Sorry about a lot of things. Sorry I haven’t seen you since then.”

I stomped down a betraying warmth. No need to open that Pandora’s Box. “You were the one who left.”

“You didn’t want me around.”

“I never said that.”

“Cause you were too polite. You’d let Julian’s fist do the talking.”

“He’s quite persuasive.”

“And if he knew you were up here, asking about my dinner plans?”

I smirked. “Asking about the kids’ dinner plans.”

Rem glanced over his shoulder. “Mellie, want some dinner?”

The little girl marched into the kitchen, dragging Rem’s boots on her feet. She stumbled as she walked, but she raised her little chin as if she wore a tiara instead of steel-toed mud buckets.

“I don’t like peas,” she said.

“Me either. See?” He winked. “We’re fine.”

This would be fun. I knelt to her level. “Mellie, what else don’t you like to eat?”

Her words bumbled in and out of intelligibility. “Chicken. Broccoli. Green. Yogurt. Cars. Dragons. Shoes!”

The answer became a rambling story about a kitten, dragon, and a spaghetti noodle, but she illustrated my point.

“Any ideas, Chef?” I asked.

Rem had attempted to memorize her preferences and got lost somewhere around worms and green. “I…have some beef jerky.”

“You’re going to feed beef jerky to some toddlers?”

“Got some trail mix too. A can of soup beans.”

“…How long are you keeping the kids?”

“As long as Emma needs.”

I raised my eyebrows. “How long do you think you can keep them alive?”

“At least through the night.”

Good enough for me. Now it was my turn to leave him. I’d already survived five years without speaking, without resolving anything, without…

Saying those words.

I’d last another five. Maybe by then, he’d be out of jail for child endangerment.

“Start small,” I said. “Do you have milk?”

“Well-water.”

“Do you want my advice?”

Rem braced himself on the counter, muscles flexing, eyes brightening with a roguish playfulness that made any game unwinnable.

“It’s been so long since I’ve seen you, Cas…I’ll take anything you’re willing to give.”

“Go into town—”

“Nope.”

I sighed. “Why not?”

“I’ve gotten real good at avoiding Butterpond.”

“Who’s the real baby here? Get off this mountain. Take the girls into town. Buy some kid-friendly food.”

“Like…chew and whiskey?”

I scolded him. “Battery acid and horseradish.”

He grimaced, finally realizing the girls couldn’t survive on dried meats and wild onions.

“Okay,” he said. “This might be hard to believe, Cas…but I might need some help managing this circus. I mean…” His smile turned wicked. “I can pitch a hell of a tent, but beyond that…”

I didn’t need the visual. It’d taken years for me to stop fantasizing about it. “It won’t be that hard. Just…feed them. Make sure they don’t set themselves or the forest on fire. Put them to bed. Repeat.”

“Go with me,” he said.

“Where?”

“To the store.”

Nope. Nada. Not happening. “It’s right where you left it, Rem.”

“How will I know what to buy? Chicken nuggets or liver and onions? Red jello or red wine?”

“You’ll figure it out.”

He edged a little closer, grabbing Tabby before she tossed his phone against the wall. “Not asking for much, Sassy. Give me a couple pointers.”

“I’m on my way out of town.” And this time, I meant it.

That smile didn’t just slay me—it pinned me against the ropes, powerslammed me to the mat, then grabbed a metal folding chair from the crowd.

“How about one last favor for me?” he asked.

Not a chance. That well had emptied trying to put out the barn fire.

He read my reluctance. “Okay. A favor to the kids?”

Damn it. Tabby gave me a wave of her chubby fingers. Mellie continued to list things she liked, didn’t like, and some sounds the baby particularity enjoyed while shouted at the top of her lungs.

I surrendered. “Tell me you have a car seat.”

“No, the kids rode up here on top of a wild boar. Have a little faith, Cassi.”

“That’s the problem,” I said. “I don’t have much faith left in you.”

“Me either.” Rem’s voice had mellowed with honesty and time. “Just means I can’t disappoint you anymore, huh?”

“You’ve never backed down from a challenge.”

“That settles it.” His amusement thudded my heart like an axe missing a tree and striking a nearby boulder instead. “I got nothing else to lose, Cas.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because I already lost you.”

Sosie Frost is no stranger to quirky, embarrassing, and wild situations, and she’s channeling all that new adult angst into fun romances.

From marching at the high school homecoming game without her trumpet (a punishment for forgetting the instrument on the band bus), to regretfully tucking her prom dress into the back of her tights before pictures, and even accidentally starting a chemical fire in the college chem lab, Sosie has the market cornered on crazy stories.

But hey, writing is a better outlet than therapy right? 😉

If you want funny, charming, and steamy romances, you’ve found the right author!

Sosie lives in Pittsburgh with her hubby, her two cats, and thrives on a near constant stream of gummy bears.





 

NEW RELEASE ~ Babyjacked (A Payne Brothers Romance) by Sosie Frost

 

Amazon

 

Five years ago, I let the girl of my dreams get away.

To be honest, I set fire to her barn, fought with her brothers, then exiled myself to a logging company in the Canadian wilderness.

But a reclusive b@stard can’t hide forever. When my sister got sick, I took in my two young nieces. Now I’m paying rent to Sesame Street, drinking Jack and fruit juice, and reading my chainsaw manual as a bedtime story. I’ve gone from lumberjack to babyjacked, and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.

Fortunately, I found a nanny. Five years have passed, and Cassi’s not just my best friends’ little sister anymore. She’s all grown up, dark and beautiful with a smart mouth and a broken heart.

Doesn’t take long before she’s falling for me again, but I can’t shout timber yet.

Cassi can’t forgive the past. And I can’t tell her why I ran.

When a man doesn’t deserve a second chance, he’s just gotta steal her heart.


“Give me one good reason why you can’t be their nanny,” he said.

I’d give him the best one. “We’re not even going to talk about the kisses?”

Wrong reason.

Rem’s voice lowered, a dark and caramel growl that layered me with regret and shivers and memories.

“Must have been some good kisses if you remember them after all this time.”

I didn’t look at his lips. “You mean you forgot?”

“I made myself forget.”

“Why?”

“Because thinking of that night is the reason I had to put three thousand miles of uncut wilderness and five years between us.”

In the past twenty-four hours, this man had made my heart ache so much I considered popping some of Dad’s leftover beta-blockers. I wasn’t about to let Rem twist me up any more.

“No one asked you to leave,” I said. “No one told you to go. It’s not heroic, Rem. It just hurts.”

“Good thing I’m a changed man.”

I’d never wanted him to change, only to be honest. “How can I trust you?”

“I’ll prove it. I got the kids. I got the bank account. The cabin. The responsibility. I’m different.”

“You’re still chasing me.”

His hound-dog grin should have run me up a tree. “Can’t blame a man for trying. It’s lonely in these woods. Gets real dark and cold at night. I’m looking for someone to warm me up.”

“And that’s why the answer is no. We have a history together.”

“Do we?”

The sadness kicked me in the gut. “We might have had a history.”

“Do you think there’s still a chance?”

“How could there be, after all that happened?”

He surprised me with a wink. “Then what’s the problem? Are you attracted to me?”

“No,” I lied.

“Then work for me.”

“I can’t.”

He smoothed that beard. Easier to see his smile. Harder to resist wondering how it’d feel scratching all over me. “What if I show you that this could be perfectly platonic?”

“How?”

“Kiss me.”

I poked him away with the broom. “And what would that prove?”

“That there’s nothing between us,” he said.

“That’s like leaving my credit card in the street to prove there’s no thieves around.”

“Not trying to steal anything from you, Sassy.”

That’s because there was only one thing left to give him, and I’d mercifully avoided that roll in the hay. “You’re out of your mind.”

“One kiss,” he said. “We’ll settle it once and for all.”

I focused on cleaning and scrubbed my way into the kitchen, hoping my hips didn’t sashay with every brush. He watched me, his gaze boiling over my skin.

“Why not?” Rem asked.

I didn’t have to lie. “Because it took me five years to get over our last kiss. I can’t spend the next five forgetting this one.”

“One kiss.” He edged too close for me to breathe, think, or defend my honor. “One little, teensy, tiny nibble of a kiss. I promise—I won’t even make a good one.”

“Is that possible?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never kissed bad before.”

“Then I can’t afford the risk.”

“For all we know, every kiss of mine becomes a five-year memory.” He towered over me, leaning in, his whisper playful and tempting. “And that’s just the kiss. Imagine what I could do with a touch. A lick. One night with me, and you might never forget it.”

“Or forgive it.”

“Good thing I’m only asking for a kiss.” He bumped my chin up with his fingers. “One kiss.”

“To prove there’s nothing between us…or to torture us for the rest of our lives?”

“You tell me, Sassy.”

He leaned in, capturing my lips with a playful, deliberate swipe. I gripped the broom, heart raging, pounding, attempting to crash through my chest and knock my head back into sanity.

Heat swirled between us, suffocating me in that woodsy, fresh-cut pine scent. Earthy and tempting and so much more than he was before. Everything was more. His words meant more. His eyes saw more. His touch offered more.

And his kiss…

Conquered and overwhelmed. My body pooled into softness. A murmur accidentally parted my lips. His tongue swept in. Gentle. Teasing. Wonderful.

His kiss was every perfect moment I’d imagined in the last five years. Every flirty nibble. Every sensual bite. Every casual, quick peck people took for granted.

In five seconds, he’d revealed everything he might have offered in those lost five years.

And I hated him for it.

And I melted for it.

And I was so much trouble.


Sosie Frost is no stranger to quirky, embarrassing, and wild situations, and she’s channeling all that new adult angst into fun romances.

From marching at the high school homecoming game without her trumpet (a punishment for forgetting the instrument on the band bus), to regretfully tucking her prom dress into the back of her tights before pictures, and even accidentally starting a chemical fire in the college chem lab, Sosie has the market cornered on crazy stories.

But hey, writing is a better outlet than therapy right? 😉

If you want funny, charming, and steamy romances, you’ve found the right author!

Sosie lives in Pittsburgh with her hubby, her two cats, and thrives on a near constant stream of gummy bears.



 

PROMO BLITZ ~ Beauty and the Blitz by Sosie Frost

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Shatter the slipper. Spit out the apple. Fall for The Beast. 
 
All-star line-backer Cole Hawthorne is a beast on the field, destroying offenses one broken quarterback at a time. Though he’s a gifted athlete, his violent reputation makes him a liability to his team and a villain in the league. 
 
As Cole’s agent, it’s my responsibility to convince the brooding loner that being traded is better than getting banished from the game. If he loses his contract, this single mom is out of a job. 
 
So, it’s up to me to tame the beast. 
 
But the closer I get to the ferocious monster, the harder I fall for the passionate man underneath. He’s crude and charming. Tough and sweet. Dangerous…but even he can’t resist my baby’s giggle. 
 
Denying my feelings might protect my heart, but the trading deadline is closing in. When Cole reveals the dirty truth about the trade, I can’t let the league rip us apart. 
 
Do I save my career…or do I protect a man who deserves a happily ever after? 
 
Maybe no one can love a beast… 
But they haven’t met Cole Hawthorne. 
 
 
Beauty and the Blitz is a flirty, standalone romantic comedy with no cliffhangers and a guaranteed happily-ever-after. As a special release celebration and a thank you to my readers, Sweetest Sin and Bad Boy’s Baby are included as FREE bonus books with this file! All three books are full-length, 350+ paperback pages of deliciously sexy romance.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 


 

Sosie Frost is no stranger to quirky, embarrassing, and wild situations, and she’s channeling all that new adult angst into fun romances.
 
From marching at the high school homecoming game without her trumpet (a punishment for forgetting the instrument on the band bus), to regretfully tucking her prom dress into the back of her tights before pictures, and even accidentally starting a chemical fire in the college chem lab, Sosie has the market cornered on crazy stories.
 
But hey, writing is a better outlet than therapy right? 😉
 
If you want funny, charming, and steamy romances, you’ve found the right author!
 
Sosie lives in Pittsburgh with her hubby, her two cats, and thrives on a near constant stream of gummy bears.
 
 
 
 


 

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