Bound to the Bad Boy – Crystal Kaswell
The bell rings as Emma pushes the door open. Cold air greets us. The tattoo parlor’s A.C. is a welcome reprieve from an especially hot afternoon in Venice Beach.
But it does nothing to cool me down.
Not when Brendon is standing behind the counter, all tall, handsome, and off-limits.
He runs a hand through his short, dark hair.
He shoots Emma that typical, paternal what have you gotten yourself into now look.
His dark eyes soften as his gaze meets mine. His lips curl into a smile.
A smile that makes the shop’s air conditioning irrelevant.
All it takes is a smile from Brendon and I’m on fire. I’ve been crushing on the guy for years. He’s Emma’s older brother, and Emma’s been my best friend since forever.
I should be used to Brendon’s gorgeous face and his perfect body and all the lines of ink running over his muscular arms.
His chest piece peeks out from his scoop-neck t-shirt. My fingers itch to trace the lines of that ink. My fingers itch for his skin. Every inch of it. Every sweaty, warm inch of it.
Emma grabs my arm and pulls me towards the counter. She nods to Brendon’s paternal expression, then to me. It’s her usual look. Isn’t he annoying?
She’s completely oblivious to my crush.
It needs to stay that way.
Emma is my best friend and the only person, besides Brendon, I trust in California.
She waits until Brendon is done with his customer, then she moves up to the counter. “Hey. I’m thinking about some ink. Right here.” She pushes her t-shirt up her sleeve to show off her bicep. “A heart that says ‘bad boys.'”
He turns to me. “Do me a favor, Kaylee?”
His deep, steady voice sends a shiver down my spine. That’s no good. We’re supposed to be friends, good friends. And good friends don’t picture each other naked this often.
I barely manage to get out my response. “Sure.”
“Keep an eye on Em for me.” He turns to his sister. “Your textbooks are in the back.”
She offers him a sweet smile.
“You’re right. You can’t be trusted to get them,” he teases.
“You should be less suspicious,” she says.
“More gullible, you mean?” He shoots me a wink. “You mind keeping an eye on the desk, Kaylee?”
Emma pouts. It’s mostly for show. She and Brendon are always perfecting their you’re a brat/you’re bossy and annoying banter.
She motions for the bathroom. “I won’t tell if you snag a hottie’s phone number from the appointment book.” She winks and heads off.
I sit on the stool behind the counter and play with the binding of the appointment book. The shop is quiet except for the hum of a tattoo gun and the quiet grunts of a client getting a back piece.
Despite my complete lack of ink, I’m used to the hum of the tattoo gun. I stop by the shop, with and without Em, a few times a week. I like being here.
Mostly, I do homework or read at the front desk and help out between appointments.
The black sketchbook on the counter draws my eyes. It’s Brendon’s sketchbook. I’ve seen him with it a thousand times.
What does he draw when he isn’t mocking up a tattoo?
I should respect his privacy. I shouldn’t snoop. But my fingers are begging me to pry that book open.
I want to look inside his head.
He’s always quiet. Stoic. Strong.
Just a peek…
Just for a minute.
I take the book into my lap and pry it open. The first few pages are familiar tattoo mockups—Brendon always shows off his finished work. Or maybe I check the shop’s Facebook religiously. Either way.
Then there are figure drawings. More tattoo mockups. A fierce dragon defending a castle. A giant octopus destroying a sea monster. A topless mermaid sunning on a rock.
A librarian pinup.
She looks like me. Same champagne blonde hair. Same green eyes. Same pretty pink cardigan. Same thick blue glasses. These aren’t exactly standard frames.
And she’s wearing a Mockingjay pin.
Exactly like the one attached to my backpack.
That’s nothing. Lots of people like The Hunger Games. Even Brendon.
There’s no way he’s looking at me like this.
My heartbeat picks up.
My breath flees my body at an alarming rate.
I shouldn’t turn the page, but I can’t stop myself.
It’s that same pinup, only her cardigan is unbuttoned. Her breasts are exposed.
In the next picture, she’s lying on her back, her arms over her head, her cardigan binding her wrists.
This is private.
It’s not for my eyes.
But my hands refuse to cooperate. They turn the page.
There’s no denying it.
That’s the four-poster bed in Brendon’s room.
And the woman bound to it, wearing nothing but a thong—
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Dirty Debt by Lauren Landish It’s time to collect on the biggest debt anyone in the city owes me. Jacob Waters, the bastard that killed my father. He’s an abusive prick and he’ll pay the ultimate price. But before I take him down, I’m taking his most prized possession. His precious Sarah.
Bound to the BB – Crystal Kaswell Brendon. My best friend’s brother. The smoking hot tattoo artist miles and miles out of my league. He wants me. He wants me bound. I’ve had a crush on him since I can remember, but can I really handle him like *this*?
Protector by Bella Lovewins Robin – I bump into the bad boy who broke my sister’s heart nine years ago, and everything changes. I never expect forbidden fireworks, secrets and danger at every turn, and a hero in my corner when I need him most.
Redeeming Viktor by Alexis Abbott A passionate one-night-stand ends in heartbreak. Five years later, and he’s back, but can what they have be rekindled once he realizes they have a daughter?
Hostage by Vivian Wood World-weary ex-soldier Sam isn’t expecting to find beautiful, broken Kat in the snow. When he takes her back to his hunting lodge and cleans her bruises, she tries to flee. Scared for her life. Sam is determined to protect the delicate blonde from the world, even if that means putting his life on the line. Now that he’s found her, he won’t let her go…
Lumberjack Boss by Tabatha Kiss Wealth. Power. Wood. Three things I had more of than anybody else until Hazel showed up to protest my latest project. She won’t take my money. She doesn’t care about my family’s influence. Maybe a little wood is what she needs… and I’ve got more than enough to give her.
Bloodlines by Aubrey Irons Once upon a time, he was my prince not-so-charming. But there are no happy ever afters with life in the Dark Saints Irish mafia. I swore I’d never come back to Boston after he pushed me away six years ago. But that’s before there was a price on my head, and I needed protection. I won’t fall for him again. Giving in to temptation this time around doesn’t mean a broken heart. It means we’re dead.
Hard Rock Promise by Athena Wright I thought it’d be an easy job when my friend asked me to “babysit” her out-of-control brother — her playboy, arrogant, *sinfully sexy* older brother. As the bassist in the rock band Cherry Lips, Gael’s had more than his fair share of women. But his dirty, sexy words ignite my body, just as his promises of forever ignite my heart. Is Gael playing me or playing for keeps?
Crossfire by KB Winters I’m Jameson O’Leary. When I find a sweet Irish babe on the side of the road, it’s time to get down and dirty—on and off my bike. I just pray baby girl doesn’t get caught in the crossfire.
One Night Stand by Kylie Walker Heather Blair was only going to check up on her assistant. To see how the wedding was going. She hadn’t planned on being snowed in or make a night of it with a tall, dark and sexy billionaire. Have a one night stand her assistant told her! When she finds out who he really is, the question is, will she run out the door or into his arms?
Signed SEAL’d Delivered by Holly Hart Ripped muscle and strict discipline, that’s what SEAL’s are made of and exactly why Jax was hired for the job. When Jax sees Alex, the girl he loved all those years ago, his years of hard work and his career are put to the test.
A Fake Wife by Sierra Rose Charlie’s plan: Sweep into town, pick up a fake bride, get his inheritance, and leave like the wind after a quickie divorce in Caribbean paradise, untying the knot fast enough to cause whiplash. Jaime’s plan: Getting intimate, then signing papers over Piña Coladas and saying adios wasn’t quite her style. She knew a happily ever after with Charlie was never going to happen… unless fate intervened.