by Kristen Ashley
November 5, 2013; Forever/E-Book; $3.99; 978-1-4555-9914-1
Zara Cinders always knew Ham Reece was the one, but he wasn’t interested in settling down. When she found someone who was, Ham walked out of her life. Three years later, Zara’s lost her business, her marriage, and she’s barely getting by in a tiny apartment on the wrong side of the tracks. As soon as Ham hears about Zara’s plight, he’s on her doorstep offering her a lifeline. Now, it will take every ounce of will power she possesses to resist all that he offers.
Ham was always a traveling man, never one to settle down in one town, with one woman, for more time than absolutely necessary. But Ham’s faced his own demons, and he’s learned a lot. About himself, and about the life he knows he’s meant to live. So when he hears that Zara’s having a rough time, he wants to be the one to help. In fact, he wants to do more than that for Zara. A lot more. But first, he must prove to Zara that he’s a changed man.
And now for an excerpt from Jagged!
When I saw who was outside, my mouth dropped open.
Luckily, the doorbell buzzing stopped.
Unluckily, the last person on earth I wanted to see was standing outside my door.
“Jesus, you don’t have a peephole?” Ham growled, looking incensed and Graham Reece looking, or worse, being incensed was a very bad thing. I’d learned that five months ago.
I didn’t have it in me to concern myself with Ham being incensed. I was more concerned with him being there at all.
To express this, I asked, “What the hell?”
“Open the fuckin’ door, Zara.”
I stared a beat, then pulled myself together.
This was not happening.
We were done.
I pushed the door closed.
The problem with this was it didn’t work, seeing as the toe of Ham’s boot was wedged between it and the jamb.
“Open the door, Zara,” he repeated.
“We’re done,” I told him through the gap in the door. “Move your foot.”
“Open the door.”
“We’re done, Ham,” I snapped.
“Right, then move back.”
He didn’t repeat his order. He moved his foot but only so he could rear back and plant his shoulder in the door.
chain popped right open, as did the door, and I went flying.
I righted myself as Ham, now in my apartment, slammed the door.
“You’re payin’ for that!” I yelled.
His eyes were beyond me, examining my new space as his mouth moved.
Not a problem. I’ll reimburse what they take out of your security deposit when we move you out of this dump.”
I didn’t know what he meant and I also didn’t care.
I switched subjects.
“How did you get here so fast?” I asked, and his eyes finally came to me.
“I hope to Christ you didn’t miss local gossip because you’re spendin’ your days at Deluxe Home Store and your nights at some titty bar.”
“I’m not working at a titty bar, Ham, so you can stop concerning yourself with me and move on”—I paused—“again.” I bit off the last word then what he said penetrated and I asked, “What gossip?”
“Managing The Dog, Zara, have been for a week. I live in Gnaw Bone.”
I felt my eyes get huge as my stomach clenched.
“You’re managing The Dog?” I whispered, aghast.
“Yeah. And you just got a new job. You start after you work out your notice at Deluxe,” he returned.
“What?” This also came out quiet and horrified.
“You’re waitressin’ for me. Shit hours but, if I remember correctly and since the view hasn’t changed except to get better, with your face, tits, and ass, great tips. In the meantime, we’re movin’ you out of this shithole and, you don’t got a girl who can take you on, you’re bunkin’ with me.”
Bunking with him?
Was he high?
“I am not moving in with you,” I declared.
Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.
Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake.
Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.
And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.
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