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Authors: Cheryl Douglas

Ruthless

BOOK: Ruthless
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Ruthless
Cheryl Douglas
(2012)

Product Description

Marisa Turner has wanted her brother's best friend, Luc, forever. But she also wants a baby and it seems Luc isn't up to the challenge. She has to choose between the man she loves and the family she hopes to have. Fortunately, there's another man waiting in the wings to make her baby fantasy a reality.

Luc Spencer is tired of hearing about marriage and babies. He loves Marisa, but he can't promise her forever. After two years together, she tells him it's over. He's not worried, he believes she'll be back. But what will happen when he finds out there's another man ready and willing to give Marisa everything he can't?

 

 

 

 

Ruthless

 

 

Book Three in the Nashville Nights Series

 

 

 

Cheryl Douglas

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © by Cheryl Douglas

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, including photocopying, graphic, electronic, mechanical, taping, recording, sharing, or by any information retrieval system without the express written permission of the author and / or publisher. Exceptions include brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

 

Persons, places and other entities represented in this book are deemed to be fictitious. They are not intended to represent actual places or entities currently or previously in existence or any person living or dead. This work is the product of the author’s imagination.

Any and all inquiries to the author of this book should be directed to

[email protected]
.

 

Ruthless © 2011 Cheryl Douglas

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read What Others Are Saying About Nashville Nights…

 

“Shameless has wonderfully flawed characters that have to fight to get back what they lost, but when they get it right, it is absolutely fantastic.”

Cocktails and Books

 

“Shameless is a sensual story packed full of passion, temptation, and forbidden love.”

For the Love of Reading

 

“Shameless drew me in heart and soul from the very first page to the satisfying conclusion after the final page was turned. Those wanting an emotional roller coaster ride, climb on board and add this one to your bookshelf.”

Wow from the Scarf Princess Blog

 

“There were times throughout Shameless where I was actually overcome with emotion. It made me cry and smile, and sometimes gasp or laugh out loud; a piece of art that couldn’t have come at a better time. Simply a must read. I give this book a solid five stars!”

Read2Review

 

“The flow of this story (Fearless) was perfect. I cannot wait for the 3
rd
installment.”

Insightful Minds Reviews

 

“I really adore all of the characters in this series.”

Autumn Review

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

About the Author

Coming Soon

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

“I still can’t believe I’m going to be an auntie in just a few short hours,” Marisa Turner said squeezing her friend Lexi’s hand.

Lexi grinned. “I can hardly wait to meet our niece.”

Marisa glanced at her friend’s flat stomach, feeling a pang of envy. “It won’t be long before we’re sitting in this waiting room anticipating the arrival of your little one.”

Lexi rolled her eyes. “Can you believe it? When I went off the pill, I thought it would take months, maybe even years, to get pregnant.” She laughed. “I guess my hubby has some pretty potent swimmers, huh?”

Marisa tried to smile. She was happy for her sister-in-law and her friend, but she couldn’t help but wish she was sharing the journey with them. “Guess so.”

Lexi put her arm around Marisa’s shoulders. “Hey, you okay, honey?”

Marisa glanced across the waiting area. Lexi’s husband Josh was engaged in an animated conversation with her ex-boyfriend, Luc. She ended the relationship months ago, but it still hurt to see him. “I’m fine.”

Lexi looked at Luc. “You’re still not over him, are you?”

Marisa dropped her head into her hands. “I’ve loved that man forever, Lex. How the hell am I supposed to get over him?”

Lexi shifted in her seat until she was facing her friend. “Have you tried talking to him?”

Marisa looked at the ground. “What’s the point? He’s hell bent on staying single for the rest of his miserable life.”

Lexi grabbed her hand. “I know how much you want to get married and have a baby of your own, Marisa. If Luc doesn’t want that, then maybe he’s not the guy for you. I know it’s hard to hear this, but you’ve wasted too many years waiting for him to change his mind and make a commitment. It’s pretty obvious that’s not gonna happen, sweetie. It’s time to let him go and move on with your life.”

Marisa felt tears stinging her eyes. “I could have said the same thing to Josh about you. You swore you’d never get married. Next thing I know, we’re all flying off to Barbados to watch you two tie the knot, and less than a couple of months later, you’re pregnant. Who says people can’t change?”

Lexi smiled fondly at her husband, who winked at her from across the room. “You’re right, if you’d told me a year ago that Josh would be my husband and I’d be carrying his baby, I’d have told you that you were nuts. But it was different for us. Josh and I were just friends for a long time, but you and Luc were in a monogamous relationship for over two years. He had plenty of time to change his mind about settling down, and he didn’t, not even when you gave him an ultimatum. Instead of fighting to keep you in his life, he let you walk away.”

Marisa knew her friend was right, as difficult as it was to hear the truth. She couldn’t go on being Luc’s girlfriend, and he didn’t want to be her husband. They were at an impasse, and no matter how much time passed, things were never going to change.

“How are things going with Tim? Are you two getting closer?”

Tim Mitchell was a man any woman would be proud to call her husband, but Marisa couldn’t get past the fact he wasn’t Luc. Marisa shrugged. “Tim’s a great guy, but I’ve known him since we were kids. The Mitchells were like second parents to me growing up. I guess it just seems weird to be dating, given all that family history.”

Lexi giggled. “You two ever play doctor when you were kids?”

Marisa felt her cheeks grow warm. Tim was the first boy she’d ever kissed. They were both thirteen and alone in his tack house when he asked if he could kiss her. She was curious about what it would feel like, so she said yes. Unfortunately, Tim wore braces at the time, which made a mating of the mouths not only difficult, but painful.

“Ohmigod, you did!” Lexi said, laughing. “Was he your first?”

“Was who your first what?” Luc asked, walking up with a cardboard tray filled with Styrofoam cups from the cafeteria. He looked from Marisa to Lexi.

Marisa dipped her head, wishing she could escape his penetrating glare. “Nothing. Forget it.”

Josh smirked and looked at his wife. “You were talking about your first lovers, weren’t you?”

Lexi shook her head. “Not my first lover. Marisa’s.”

She could feel Luc’s eyes boring through the top of her head.

“Who was it?” he demanded.

Lexi giggled. “None other than Tim Mitchell.”

Marisa glared at her. “I didn’t say that.”

“You didn’t have to. I can tell by the look on your face that I’m right. I think it’s sweet, re-united with your first love after all these years.”

Luc thrust the tray of drinks at Josh. “’I’ve gotta get some air.”

Marisa watched Luc as he stalked through the sliding glass doors to the parking lot. She knew he still had feelings for her. Why was he being so stubborn? Just because his parents’ marriage ended in divorce didn’t mean theirs would. She presented that argument dozens of times over the years to no avail. Lexi was right; Luc wasn’t going to change. It was time to accept that and move on with her life.   

Josh handed both ladies a steaming cup of hot chocolate. “Think I should go and talk to him?”

Marisa shook her head. “What’s the point?”

“Ohh, speak of the devil,” Lexi said, pointing toward the admissions desk. “There’s your handsome cowboy now.”

Marisa looked up to see Tim talking to a pretty young nurse who seemed to be flirting with him. He was ruggedly handsome, whereas Luc was more polished and sophisticated. Why couldn’t she stop comparing the two men and just accept Tim as a supportive and loving man?

“I texted him to tell him Sierra was having the baby,” Marisa said. “I guess he just wanted to check in.”

“That’s so sweet,” Lexi said, taking a sip of the hot chocolate. “I think that man’s a keeper, Marisa.”

She raised her hand when he smiled in her direction. “Maybe you’re right.”

 

Luc heard footsteps behind him as he braced his hands on the wrought iron fence and pretended to admire the lush hospital grounds.

Josh came up beside him and slapped him on the back. “You okay, buddy?”

Luc grunted. “Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?”

“I thought you might have crossed paths with Marisa’s boyfriend.”

Luc felt the sting of iron piercing his palms, and he realized he was transferring his frustration to the inanimate object. “The rancher’s here?”

Josh nodded. He backed against the railing and folded his arms across his chest. “Does that bother you?”

Luc clenched his teeth. “I hate his guts.”

Josh threw his head back and laughed. “Tell me how you really feel, man.”

“I mean it. I hate him. Every time I see him, I want to rip him apart.”

Josh jabbed his cheek with his tongue. “Now why do ya suppose that is?”

Luc glared at him. “Hell, I don’t know. How would you feel if some dirtbag was sleeping with your woman?”

“She’s not your woman anymore, Luc,” Josh said quietly.

As much as it hurt to hear, he knew it was true. She hadn’t been his since the day she threw a pair of two-carat diamond earrings in his face and walked out of a crowded restaurant. He knew when he presented her with the small velvet box on her thirtieth birthday she hoped it was a diamond engagement ring, but he couldn’t give her what she wanted, not then, not even now.

“I can’t stand the thought of her...” His voice trailed off. He couldn’t finish the thought. He looked up at Josh. “You know they shared a suite in Barbados, right?”

Josh nodded. “I noticed. That couldn’t have been easy for you.”

Luc scrubbed his hands over his face. “I don’t know what I’m gonna do, Josh. She’s my best friend’s sister, not to mention his stylist. She’s gonna be going on tour with us soon, and I’m going to be with her day and night, knowing I can’t even touch her. How am I supposed to deal with that?”

Josh frowned. “You thinkin’ about skipping the tour, Luc?”

Luc looked him in the eye. “I’m thinking about telling Trey I can’t do this anymore.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I think Trey’s gonna have to find a new manager.”

“What the hell are you talking about? You’re the best manager in country music, Luc. Trey needs you.”

The last thing Luc wanted was to abandon his best friend, but he needed to put some distance between himself and Marisa or he was going to go insane. “It’s not that I want to...”

BOOK: Ruthless
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