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Authors: Kristi Rose

The Girl He Needs

BOOK: The Girl He Needs
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The safe choice can be the riskiest of all…

 

Ever since her beloved older brother disappeared after an accident, Josie Woodmere’s been on a mission to find him—and maybe herself—along the way. That’s meant leaving her pampered, parent-approved life behind. Two years, four moves, and a body piercing later, she’s finally got a lead on her brother’s whereabouts, and she’s headed to Florida. She didn’t plan to ditch her sputtering car and accept a ride from Brinn McRae. But she didn’t plan to be attracted to a straight-laced guy like him either, much less land in his hometown, Daytona Beach…

 

A self-made man with a tough past, Brinn is a workaholic who allows very little room for pleasure—until he meets Josie. Their powerful chemistry is a distraction neither wants, yet neither can resist. Hoping they can burn it off, Brinn agrees to a no-strings arrangement. But they can only hide their deepening feelings for so long—until a disaster strikes, exposing truths that threaten to ruin everything…

 

Now, not only will Josie have to contend with the troubling secret her brother has finally revealed—she’ll have to convince Brinn she’s more than a rich girl playing at being free. This time, she’s playing for keeps.

 

 

Visit us at
www.kensingtonbooks.com

 

 

 

 

Books by Kristi Rose

 

No Strings Attached series

The Girl He Knows

The Girl He Needs

 

 

Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation

 

 

 

The Girl He Needs

A No Strings Attached Novel

 

Kristi Rose

 

LYRICAL PRESS

Kensington Publishing Corp.

www.kensingtonbooks.com

 

 

 

Copyright

 

Lyrical Press books are published by

Kensington Publishing Corp. 119 West 40th Street New York, NY 10018

 

Copyright © 2016 by Kristi Rose

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the Publisher, excepting brief quotes used in reviews.

 

All Kensington titles, imprints, and distributed lines are available at special quantity discounts for bulk purchases for sales promotion, premiums, fund- raising, and educational or institutional use.

 

To the extent that the image or images on the cover of this book depict a person or persons, such person or persons are merely models, and are not intended to portray any character or characters featured in the book.

 

Special book excerpts or customized printings can also be created to fit specific needs. For details, write or phone the office of the Kensington Special Sales Manager:

Kensington Publishing Corp.

119 West 40th Street

New York, NY 10018

Attn. Special Sales Department. Phone: 1-800-221-2647.

 

Kensington and the K logo Reg. U.S. Pat. & TM Off.

LYRICAL PRESS Reg. U.S. Pat. & TM Off.

Lyrical Press and the L logo are trademarks of Kensington Publishing Corp.

 

First Electronic Edition: July 2016

eISBN-13: 978-1-60183-970-1

eISBN-10: 1-60183-970-7

 

First Print Edition: July 2016

ISBN-13: 978-1-60183-972-5

ISBN-10: 1-60183-972-3

 

Printed in the United States of America

 

 

Dedication

 

This girl only needs -DHM- you are my heart.

For Eryn Scott, Anya Monroe, and G.L. Snodgrass. I do my best writing in your presence because you all are THAT awesome.

 

I am truly a very lucky girl.

 

 

 

Author’s Foreword

 

As many as 51 million people worldwide suffer from Schizophrenia - for which there is no cure.

 

You can learn more about the signs and symptoms as well as treatment at

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml
.

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

This author would like to THANK:

 

Dawn Brower and Sue Ernst for their math humor.

 

My fellow writer friends that carry me when I stumble. Thanks to the KickAss Chicks- Sarah Hegger, Sabine Priestly, Juliette Cross, Gemma Brocato, A.S. Fenichel, and Kyra Jacobs- we are a merry band of chicks and I couldn't do it without you!

 

Special thanks to all the friends who kept asking me for the second book. You gave me the courage to continue moving forward.

 

A heartfelt thanks to my editor, Paige Christian, who wasn't afraid to make a phone call and help me find the path again. Without her intervention this book would have been a billion words. No joke. Ok, maybe a little joking. Miniscule.

 

My biggest thanks to the readers, especially those who take a chance on new authors. I understand how valuable your time is and I appreciate you giving some to me.

 

Chapter 1

 

Karma is a dirty hag.

Here I am, an hour out of Beaufort. It’s hot, I’m hungry, and my car is a piece of shit. It’s gone and called it a day. Black smoke pours out from under the hood and the stench of something burning could
almost
make me lose my appetite. Almost. If I wasn’t a stress eater. To make matters worse, when I got out of the car, my phone charger got caught on the seatbelt and fell, landing between the door and the seat. I noticed it as I was slamming the door, using all my fury in the push, and effectively crushed the charger, leaving bits of black plastic littered on the ground.

I grab the flower I have tucked into my hair, throw it down, then stomp it into the pavement before I move to the passenger side door and jerk it open.

After removing the title from the glove box, I sign the car away. It’s someone else’s problem now. Then I dig in my bag for my phone, ready to search for a charity to donate the car, but once I pull it out I find the battery empty.

Karma.

I knew it would catch up with me, eventually. A girl doesn’t live like I do without accruing some bad juju. Since walking out on my fiancée, Max, two years ago, I’ve dumped guys via text messages, ended a second engagement by changing my Facebook status, and just today I dumped a Marine by leaving a note on his house door.

For additional kicks, I quit my job as a hotel desk clerk this morning with no notice whatsoever. It’s only right that my car would shit the bed, too. In all fairness, it’s not that I set out to be a cold-hearted bitch. I just don’t do long term. I’m upfront with all parties involved, but this is my life and I don’t plan on living it for others. Nothing sounds worse to me than working the job, monogamy dating, and not experiencing anything new. I’ve been there, done that, and burned the T-shirt in a campfire ceremony in Small Town, Texas where “Josie Woodmere, a rising phoenix” was launched.

When I woke this morning, and the plan for the day ahead of me was best described as familiar rut, I tossed my personal effects into the few bags I own and left the hotel, steering my 2000 Saturn hatchback—affectionately termed Freckles because of the sheer volume of Bondo patches that comprise my paint job—toward the southbound interstate, stopping only at Nick’s house to leave the farewell card.

It’s the least I can do, say goodbye and wish him luck in his future endeavors, thanking him for teaching me how to shoot a gun, for showing me a good time, and for being a friend. Though karma’s probably right, I should’ve taken the time to tell him in person, but I’m a girl on a mission to move on and friendly farewells tend to be long, drawn-out affairs. Especially when the guy in question is getting far too attached, asking me to leave clothes at his place and calling me at work just to say hello. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s sweet really, but not for me.

Jerking my rolling suitcase from the trunk, I swing my tote and mat across my back and pull my sunglasses from atop my head. The last road sign said the next exit is nine miles away. It’s going to be a long walk, so I might as well get to it. Had I known what sort of day I’d be facing, I certainly wouldn’t have worn my wedge heels and long maxi skirt. The only smart item on my body is my tank top, and I’m fortunate that I’ve pulled my long hair into one equally long, fat braid.

Cars speed past me, kicking up small pebbles and sand, some pelting me on the arm. Some jackasses honk, wolf whistle, or call out obscenities. Others just hang their asses out the window. I reach into my bag and touch the .38 Special Nick gave me for my birthday. It’s times like now that I’m glad I pack heat. I’m debating switching out my wedge shoes for my runners when a four-door truck pulls onto the shoulder ahead of me. It’s an expensive one that’s made for towing and comfort, and the placard on the tailgate advertises Alliance Aviation, Daytona Beach.

Have I caught my first break?

It backs up toward me and stops ten feet away. Cautiously, I walk to the passenger door, hand in my purse on my gun. The window is down and some guy hangs out his head.

I place him immediately. Suite 501. Last night.

The one with his head out the window is the younger brother of a much larger, and if my eidetic memory serves, unbelievably hot guy. An incredibly serious, must-have-a-corn-cob-up-his-ass, straight-laced, only-has-eyes-for-his-smartphone hot guy.

If you like that sort of thing. I don’t.

“Reckon that’s you broke down back there,” baby brother says matter-of-factly. Must be a Mensa member.

At the window, I see the hot guy inside, his forearm resting on the steering wheel, looking at me over his brother’s shoulder.

“Is a tow truck coming?” the driver asks. Mac something. My memory scrolls through the last names of the guest register from last night, taking a moment before locking on to the information.

“No, that car and I are parting company.” McRae, that’s his name.

“Do you need a ride back to the hotel?” McRae asks as his eyes flick down where my rolling suitcase sits.

“I quit this morning. I’m actually headed to Florida.” A van pulls off onto the shoulder about two hundred yards behind us.

“It’s a long walk to Florida,” McRae states.

I shift my attention back to the brothers. “I’m aware. I thought I’d get to the next town and either rent a car or catch a bus.”

“You going down for a visit?” the younger brother asks. His brow knits together and I assume he’s trying to puzzle me out.

“Something like that. I’m moving there.” I gesture to my bags. It’s none of their business that I’ve not only been on a quest to figure out my shit but also searching for my older brother, William. Who, with a simple three-lined email sent yesterday, spurred me into moving on earlier than I planned.

 

I’m glad you like the South. You should try to spend some time in Florida. You’d love it. It’s great and why I choose to live here.

 

For two years I’ve been searching and it’s my first clue.

“That’s all your stuff? Hell, I thought that’s what women took when they went away overnight.” Younger brother laughs and turns to older brother. “Right, Brinn?”

I smile slightly at the joke, my attention on the van rolling toward us. It’s not one of those pleasant minivans, sure to contain a family and seats sticky with juice box spills. It’s an old utility van with painted-out black windows. I take a step closer to the truck and the brothers. I have my gun, but I never really thought I’d have to use it and certainly not an hour after I broke down.

“Look,” I say, switching my hand from my gun to my phone and pulling it from my purse. “My cell is dead, I know the next exit is another nine miles, and I’m willing to compensate you for the gas.” I nod my head toward the molester mobile coasting to a stop several yards behind the truck and raise my brows in question.

“Hell, we’re headed to Florida, too. We can at least get you to the state line,” little brother says. He’s got a pleasing southern drawl that’s more noticeable on certain words. He jumps out of the truck, opens the back door, and throws my suitcase in. He gestures for me follow and I don’t waste a second.

BOOK: The Girl He Needs
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