Authors: K.C. Lynn
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance
Published by K.C. Lynn
Copyright © 2016 K.C. LYNN
First Edition: 2016
Editing: Wild Rose Editing
Formatting: BB eBooks
Cover Art by: Cover to Cover Designs
Cover Image by: Sara Eirew Photography
Cover Models: Tiffany Marie and Justin Edwards
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the author of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication and use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
This story is dedicated to my mother-in-law, Gisele. I waited for the right book to do this. As I wrote Jase and Samantha’s story, and the love they share, I often thought of you and Les. Because, if two people were ever destined for each other the way Samantha and Jase are, it’s the two of you.
Thank you for always supporting me in this journey I’m on, but most of all, thank you for giving me my husband—my soul mate.
Sam and Jase are for you.
rying to find your place in the world can be difficult.
I grew up in the best family a girl could have. My parents showered me with love and affection. My big brother protected me and showed me what it meant to be strong. And my beautiful, talented sister was my best friend.
They were my place—my home.
Then one by one they left, because their home became somewhere else. The only one I’d ever known no longer existed, and I still wasn’t sure where mine was.
At one point I became lost trying to find it. It was a dark time and one I never want to live through again.
Then, one day he barged into my life—my brother’s rival. With his big ego, insane good looks, and cynical attitude.
My name is Samantha Evans and this is the story of how I found my place.
My sweet haven.
usic vibrates beneath my feet as I head up to the bar with my tray in hand. “I need three Coronas, two Jack and Cokes, and a screwdriver for table seven,” I tell my friend, Zoey, who’s behind the counter.
“Got it.” Lining up three glasses she begins filling the order. “I can’t thank you enough, Sam, for bailing me out once again. Finding reliable help nowadays seems impossible, especially on a Friday night.”
I smile back at her, feeling bad about how much trouble she’s had finding good servers. Zoey is one of my best friends and owns Overtime, a successful sports bar here in Silver Creek. Anytime I can help her out I do, especially since the hours don’t conflict with my day job. It also keeps me busy and my mind off of things. Things I don’t like to think about.
“You know I’m happy to help whenever I can. It’s not like my Friday nights are ever eventful.”
She chuckles, knowing it’s true. “Well, thank God for that or I would have been in one hell of a bind tonight. It’s going to be hard to find backup when you leave me for good,” she adds, speaking of my upcoming move to Charleston. Her smile dims as she places the first two drinks on my tray. “You know I’m going to miss the hell out of you, right?”
“I’ll miss you, too,” I confess, my throat beginning to feel tight. “But we still have three more months together. I promise to come visit and you can come see me, too.”
“I know, but it won’t be the same.” She pops the caps off three Coronas before putting them down in front of me and reaching for the limes nearby. “The first thing I want you to do when you get there is go to your brother’s gym and find yourself a sexy fighter. If you find two then send one my way.”
“Yeah right, you know how Sawyer is. The last place I’ll ever find a date will be at his gym.”
“Well, he’s going to have to get over the whole protective big brother thing. It’s time you got back on the dating train, Sam. Now that the two-timing asshole is out of the picture.”
My stomach knots at the mention of Grant.
Zoey senses the reaction. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to bring him up.”
I shake my head. “Don’t be. It’s fine.”
Actually, it’s not fine. Nothing to do with Grant was ever fine. If I could go back and change the seven months I foolishly gave him then I would. But I can’t. All I can do is move on and never let myself stoop that low again. Being with my family again will help. I’ve missed them so much.
Shoving my thoughts aside, I flash Zoey my perfected fake smile before turning back to the packed bar to deliver my order. It really is a great place with booths and high-top tables littering the worn hardwood floors, creating a maze of sports enthusiasts, eager to catch whatever sporting event is on for the evening. Most local sports teams come in to either celebrate their victory or drown their sorrows.
As I place each drink in front of the waiting patrons, I feel a crowd at my back as people take the table behind me. I spin around to greet them with a bright smile that dies when my gaze collides with a pair of sexy chocolate brown eyes that girls drop their panties for in a heartbeat.
Jase Crawford, my brother’s sworn enemy.
His gaze blatantly sweeps down my body, making my skin tingle before slowly climbing back up to my face. I stand tall, refusing to shift under his scrutiny, knowing that’s exactly what he wants. A slight smirk plays at the edge of his full lips, but there’s no denying the hint of hostility in his eyes as he stares back at me.
The sexy bastard.
No, not sexy. He’s just a bastard.
Well, maybe he’s a little sexy…or a lot. But definitely more bastard than sexy.
Frustrated with my internal debate, I shift my gaze away from his and focus on the rest of the group. My smile returns when I see a few of the guys he’s with are Jake Ryan, Cam Phillips, and Austin Hawke. They work at the fire station with him and also happen to be childhood friends of Sawyer’s.
“Well, if it isn’t little Evans,” Cam boasts, being the first to greet me.
“Hey, guys. Good to see you.”
“You, too,” Austin says. “How are things?”
“Good thanks, and you?”
He shrugs. “Can’t complain. How about your brother? It’s been a while since we spoke.”
“He’s doing great. Living the dream down in Charleston with his beautiful family. He even coached my nephew’s first year of hockey last season. My dad swears he’s a natural and the NHL’s next legend,” I relay with a proud smile.
There’s a grunt to my left, interrupting our conversation.
Twisting my head, I glare at those mesmerizing brown eyes. “You have something to say, Crawford?”
If he makes one rude comment about my family, I’ll mess up that pretty face of his.
“Nope, I’ve got nothing,” he answers with an infuriating smirk.
That’s what I thought.
I turn to dismiss him when he speaks again. “However, I would like a drink whenever you’re done bragging about your
My fists clench at my sides as I get the urge to slap the smug look off his sexy face. Choosing to ignore him, I return my attention back to Austin and find his eyes lit with amusement.
“What can I get you, Austin?”
With a chuckle, he gives me his order.
I move to Cam next, then Jake, making my way around the table to everyone except Jase. Once I have their orders, it’s only then that I acknowledge him.
“You?” I ask, keeping my eyes averted. If I look at him, I could end up being arrested for bodily harm…
Don’t think about his body, Sam.
“Well, thanks for finally asking me, Peaches.”
My teeth grind at the nickname. He started calling me that the last few times I’ve run into him, but I have no idea why. It drives me crazy.
“I’ll take a bottle of Bud.”
When I start away he gently snags my wrist, stopping me in my tracks. His touch ignites an inferno throughout my entire body that burns from my head right down to the tips of my pink painted toenails. I drop my gaze where his fingers sear my skin before meeting his eyes, getting lost in the deep dark irises.
“And while you’re at it, fetch me a menu.”
I snap back into myself at his condescending tone, narrowing my eyes in anger.
Oh, I’ll fetch him something all right.
Yanking my hand back, I head to the bar, slamming my tray down with a resounding smack.
Zoey looks up at me from where she makes a Caesar, her brows arched. “You all right?”
“I’m fine, why?” I grind out.
“Because your cheeks are flushed and you look like you’re about to rip someone’s head off.”
I shake my head. “Don’t worry about it.”
Concern pinches her expression. “If someone is giving you problems, Sam, just say the word and his ass is gone.”
“No, it’s fine,” I assure her. “It’s just Jase Crawford. That man drives me crazy.”
She looks over my shoulder with a smile. “Ah, the sexy fire boys are in the house.” Her fingers dance in the air as she gives them all a wave before bringing her attention back to me. “What happened with Jase?”
“He pushes every single one of my buttons.”
“I wish he would push mine, especially the one between my legs.”
As irritated as I am, I can’t help but laugh. By the smile she gives me it’s clear that was her intention.
“Don’t ever let him hear you say that. He doesn’t need his ego fed.”
“True, but you have to admit he’s hot enough to be a little arrogant. They all are.”
“Hey, whose side are you on here?” I ask defensively.
“Yours. Always yours, but there shouldn’t be any sides with the two of you, Sam. The problem is between him and Sawyer. It always has been.”
“Exactly. He hates my brother so of course that affects me, too. And let’s not forget our fathers can’t stand to be around each other either.”
Though, I’ve never understood why.
“Okay. I get it. I do,” she says. “I can assign Tara to their table. I’m sure she’ll have no problem serving a group of sexy firefighters.”
“No!” I reject her offer immediately. “I’m not going to give him the satisfaction. I can handle him.”
She shrugs. “Okay, let me know if you change your mind.”
“I will. Thanks.”
Relaying their order to her, I wait while she fills the drinks. When the sound of laughter cuts through the steady noise of the bar, I glance behind me and see it’s coming from their table. Unable to stop myself, my eyes immediately lock with Jase’s. He gives me a cocky wink that has my blood heating to a dangerous temperature.
Turning back around, my eyes land on the bottle of Tabasco next to Zoey. A smile dances across my lips as an idea forms. “Pass me that, will ya?”
“What?” she asks, bringing her attention up to me.
I gesture to the sauce next to her. “That.”
Once she hands it to me, I unscrew the top and tap a few drops into the bottle of Budweiser before soaking the rim with it.
“What the hell are you doing?”
“Fighting fire with fire,” I tell her, feeling my smile spread.
“Oh shit. I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Don’t worry about it. It’s just a little hot sauce. No harm. No foul.”
She shakes her head but a chuckle escapes her. “Fine, but you’re on your own with this one.”
“Don’t worry. I can handle it,” I promise before pointing over her shoulder. “I need a menu too, please.”
After she passes me one, I slide it under my arm then lift my tray and head back over to their table. My smile is radiant as I stop beside Jase first. I place his beer down in front of him then take the thin booklet from under my arm.