Devlin Calvary makes his own luck. Orphaned as a young child, he was taken in by a crew of bookies and gamblers—and they became his family. They’re the reason Dev’s running a trendy bistro, living in a high rise, and enjoying the good life with a string of women who never ask for too much. Until, one night, he finds out how much it hurts to trust the wrong people. . . .
Rena Lewis sticks to the straight and narrow, determined not to slip up again . . . like the terrible night of partying four years ago that ended in tragedy. A waitress at Oak & Sage, she knows that sleeping with her boss is not a smart move. But when Dev shows up on her doorstep, beat up and clearly shaken, Rena’s not about to turn him down . . . or kick him out of bed.
Dev reawakens something primal within her—a need to go wild. And Rena soon finds out that the heart she’d sealed away years ago still has the power to fight for love.
(All information obtained from the authors website. No copyright infringement intended.)
The first time I’d seen Devlin Calvary, I held my breath until my chest inflated like a party balloon. Today hadn’t been any different, considering the moment I saw his profile as I strode in, I ducked my head and ran for the kitchen. He was like the sun: hot, and he made me squint if I looked directly at him.
Other than the flooring good looks of the man who was my boss, my new job had started without a bang. Oak & Sage hadn’t hit a dinner rush yet. My Nazi-like trainer, Melinda, and I were attempting to stay occupied while (according to her) out of shift manager Chet’s sight.
“How can anyone take him seriously with that slur?” she spat. Melinda spat everything. She reminded me of an angry cat most of the time.
I frowned, dusting the broad leaves on one of the fake plants lining the top of the empty booths where she and I were cleaning. Well, where I was cleaning. She was gossiping about everyone she laid eyes on. I didn’t like her all that much, but she was the only co-worker I really knew here. I missed my friends at the recently gone-out-of-business Craft Palace. Right about now, we’d be opening a shipment of new scrapbook paper and dishing about the cute delivery guy.
“What if he dated a girl with an ‘S’ at the beginning of her name?” Melinda said, an evil smirk on her face. “Like . . . Sarah. ‘Sthara, you’re stho sthexthy.’”
I tried not to laugh, but it was funny. Mean, but funny.
“Nervous about tonight?” she asked as I moved to the next plant. “It’s your first time alone.”
“No, I think I can do it.”
“It’s a lot of pressure. Don’t underestimate a Thursday. It’s usually twice as busy as Friday but in fewer hours. Plus, you have a three-table section.”
I glanced at her uneasily.
“And your tables aren’t in the direct path of the kitchen, so you’ll be double-timing it back there most of the evening.”
I blinked at her. “Are you trying to freak me out?”
She smiled, her eyes holding a lazy-cat look, then her gaze slid over my shoulder. I watched as her smile turned . . . something. Almost lusty. Then I realized why.
Crazy as it sounded, I could feel whenever he approached. I clutched my dust rag when his low, commanding voice washed over the air and etched into my skin.
“Melinda, help the hostesses roll some more silverware, will you?”
Devlin Calvary. General manager of Oak & Sage, though I would swear he couldn’t be much older than my twenty-two years. The youngest man I’d ever seen in charge of my paycheck was dressed in a suit. He always wore suits rather than the khaki-and-button-down-shirt combo Chet wore. I guess to show he was in charge. But let me tell you, Devlin didn’t need a suit to alert anyone of his authority.
I ran a gaze up and down the length of his lean body, appreciating his height, broad shoulders, and the air of power and control ebbing off him like expensive cologne.
When his long, dark lashes gave me a once-over, I felt my throat close off. I’d been introduced to him in passing when Chet hired me. Devlin hadn’t done more than tip his chin in acknowledgment then.
And he hadn’t spoken a word to me since.
“Sure thing.” Melinda started, then pointed to me. “Unless you’d rather Rena do it. She really doesn’t know how to do much of anything else.”
I glared at her, but she didn’t see me, as she was attempting to blind him with the bazillion-watt smile pulling her shiny, red lips. Devlin’s bored expression remained; his chiseled jaw stayed firm.
“Just you. Rena’s . . . ” He lifted his brows and studied the rag I’d clutched against my chest like a handkerchief. “. . . petting the plants.”
Melinda snapped her head toward me, her dark blond ponytail flicking behind her like the end of a very short whip. He walked away and I continued “petting” the fake orchid in front of me as I watched his legs eat up the long aisle leading to the kitchen.
“You may as well forget about whatever fantasy you’re cooking in your head.” She sneered at me.
I shook my head in fervent denial—like I suffered any delusions that someone as hot and powerful as Devlin might look at me twice. I knew who I was. I wasn’t the type of girl who snagged the attention of a guy like him.
“He doesn’t date the help,” she continued. “He flirts with me, but I’d never.” She cut a look in the direction he’d disappeared, biting her lip. A brief flicker of longing lit her hazel eyes before she muttered, “I don’t have any interest in him.”
Oh, the lies she told. I rolled my eyes as she turned and walked to the hostess station. I knew damn well that Melinda, or any of the other females in this restaurant, would trade an ovary to be under Devlin’s intense blue-eyed stare for fifteen minutes.
To be under him, period.
I cut through the clatter of silverware and tinkling of crystal glasses wearing a smile on my face. Oak & Sage restaurant had been my second home for as long as I could remember. My dad opened it when I was in diapers, and I’d cut my teeth on the corner of table 31. You could say I was born into this life. Along the way, I had inherited another.
We were busy tonight, even by Thursday standards. I smoothed my tie and buttoned my jacket. As I stepped out of the way of an incoming server with a platter of ribs, I nodded at the guy sitting at table 31. Benny was one of the regulars, his shirt buttons nearly popping as he polished off the end of a very large piece of chocolate cake. He lifted his fork to signal he had money for me, but my sights were set on Sal Crawford: the older man at table 36.
Mr. Crawford sawed into an overcooked rib eye—why patrons insisted on ruining a forty-dollar steak by ordering it well-done was beyond me—and gestured at his wife who primly flaked her salmon and listened with half an ear.
I’d never be the kind of prick to say I had it all, but I had it pretty damn good. When my father died, he left Oak & Sage to me. I was eighteen at the time and his friend, Sonny Laurence, taught me the ropes of running a restaurant. Thanks to our history, and my being Sonny’s go-to guy in this small town, I knew every degenerate who placed bets within a fifty-mile radius.
But “degenerate” wasn’t a term I’d use to describe the Crawfords. They were wealthy, thanks in part to me, I reminded myself as I approached the table. Which made this visit almost pleasant.
“Devlin,” he greeted, cheeks rosy from the bottle of Merlot on the table. At my arrival, his wife perked up, batting her lashes and adjusting her pearls. Never mind I’m thirty years her junior, Annabelle Crawford would have me for dinner instead of the fish if I said yes.
He patted his mouth with a black cloth napkin as I leaned over the table and winked at his wife. “Anna. Looking beautiful this evening.” My lips tipped into a wry smile and her hand landed on mine.
“Oh, you.” She toyed with one of her earrings. Women were one of the things I was really good at. The other was what I did to them to make them howl. Too bad for Anna. Another ten years closer to my age and I could’ve had her clawing the bedsheets.
“I believe we have business to attend to,” I told Sal. Mrs. Crawford fished a small compact from her giant purse and patted her nose, intent on ignoring this part of the meal.
He nodded, his lips twitching slightly at the sides. I made people nervous. Not that I was some massive block of muscle with a thrice-broken nose or anything, but I was the man with the power. I carried the weight of Sonny Laurence, and had a frame that was six-two and two-twenty to back that up. In a town like Ridgeway, Ohio, reputation was worth more than any fortune Crawford could amass.
“Next time”—I reached into my jacket pocket and Sal’s eyes widened the slightest bit—“I’ll be the one collecting from you.” I proffered an envelope with curly gold script on it that read, Gift Certificate, but we both knew it contained a few cool thousand Crawford had won fair and square. “Sonny says hello.” Which was code for, Call him to place a bet today.
Sal smiled, getting the message, and accepted the envelope. Mrs. Crawford shut her compact with a snap. I pressed my palms together in typical manager-of-a-restaurant fashion and said, “Your meal is on me this evening.” I raised a brow at Sal. “I’m sure I’ll see you again soon.” I flicked a glance at the envelope.
“A pleasure, Mr. Calvary.” He nodded. Once. A sign he’d be calling Sonny later to give back some of those crisp hundreds in his hand now.
I turned for Benny’s table to relieve him of the eight hundred dollars he owed Sonny feeling the slightest bit smug. Sal had addressed me as Mr. Calvary. Twenty-four years old and I garnered more respect than an orphaned kid from West End had ever dreamed. But this was the game.
Thanks to Sonny, a game I’d mastered.
(All information obtained from the authors website)
A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want. Jessica is a social media junkie who loves to hear from readers. You can learn more at: jessicalemmon.com.
Jessica Lemmon is a contemporary romance writer, artist, dreamer, wife, and den mother to a rescue dog. You can learn more about her sexy heroes and the women who fall for them at www.jessicalemmon.com.
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- ▪ USA Today Recommendation A Bad Boy for Christmas
- ▪ Publisher’s Weekly Review A Bad Boy for Christmas
- ▪ RT Top Pick! Bringing Home the Bad Boy
- ▪ RT Seal of Excellence Nomination Bringing Home the Bad Boy
- ▪ #1 Nook Bestseller A Millionaire Affair
Photo credit: Nicholas Long
Nicole Resciniti, The Seymour Agency email@example.com
Grand Central, Forever
Love in the Balance (series) Second Chance (series) Billionaire Bad Boys (series) Random House, Loveswept Lost Boys (series)
Forgotten Promises (Standalone title)
If You Dare (Standalone title)
As always a special thank you to Netgalley and Random House Loveswept for providing us with a copy of this book so that we could bring you this review.
Delvin puts himself in a tight spot and has to ask someone he doesn’t quite know for help. Now the fact that he is attracted to her. He is torn between two alliances to the man who sacrificed so much after he was left alone in the world and the one who taught him how to survive. This book through a few twists at me that weren’t all the best ones. But I did see the need for them. Rena made some mistakes, but to me they didn’t seem like the biggest ones someone could make that would be life altering. Yes one big decision did change things for her and left her with a deep scar. I liked the fact that even though Rena has the hots for Delvin she does act cautiously and thinks about how her life could be affected by the actions and things Delvin wants her to help him with. Delvin did have a tough life, but it was nice to see that he was able to turn it around and do better.
I give this book 4 fighting kisses…
Happy Reading… Adri