NY Times Bestselling Author
A jilted bride. Her brother’s ex-buddy. An affair would be crazy…right?
Chloe Kingston’s life is exactly how she needs it: safe and stable. Right up until her reliable, low-risk fiancé jilts her on their fairy-tale wedding day. As she works her way through the reception champagne—and wonders where she’s going to live—she stumbles into her brother Linc’s ex-best friend.
If only Beckett Daniels were hideous. But he’s not. He’s everything her erstwhile groom was not. Hot. Sexy. Dangerous. And she’s just buzzed enough to want all that Greek-god gorgeousness to show her the kind of fun she’s been missing.
Beck thrives on calculated risks, but taking advantage of Linc’s little sister isn’t one of them. What he can do is haul her tipsy, tulle-clad, tempting little butt to the bridal suite to sleep it off. Then move her into his spare room—which has the satisfying side effect of driving her brother crazy.
They can’t remain platonic roommates for long. Not when the sexual attraction sizzles out of control. But when tragedy threatens Beck, pain from his past reminds them both that life doesn’t come without risks…and this time, they’re gambling with their hearts.
Chloe Kingston was left at the alter, her family of course is supporting her, but she kicks them all out. She proceeded to enjoy the reception with her close friends and gets just a bit tipsy. In the lobby asking people to come and dance she encounters Beckett Daniels and his brothers. She thinks he looks familiar but can’t quite place him.
Beckett knows exactly who she is. When he realizes none of her family is around and she’s not married and more than a little tipsy, well he can’t very well leave her defenseless wandering the hotel. He gets her safely to her suite but instead of leaving stays the night to be sure she doesn’t get sick.
Of course the first person to bang on the door in the morning is her brother Linc. Once upon a time he and Beckett were best friends, now they’re business rivals and not friendly ones.
This is a favorite scene.
He closed his eyes and listened to the rhythmic breathing Chloe had fallen into and drifted off to sleep. Beck wasn’t sure how much time had passed when loud knocking sounded, waking him from a not-so-great sleep.
He glanced around the room, taking in his surroundings and remembering where he was and who was in bed beside him. Thanks to his remaining above the comforter, they hadn’t rolled against each other during the night, but she had moved closer and he inhaled her fragrant scent.
The knock that must have woken him sounded again.
Chloe groaned and shifted to her side. No doubt she would be hurting this morning.
The pounding continued and Beck slid out of bed, heading for the door to ask housekeeping to come back later. Who else could be there at this hour? He wasn’t about to open the door, either. Neither he nor Chloe was dressed.
“Chloe? Open up!” a familiar male voice called out as Beck touched the doorknob.
Linc. Well, this was about to get interesting. Not caring what Linc thought, Beck drew a deep breath and opened the door for his former friend.
Linc took one look at Beck and his mouth opened in shock. “What the fuck are you doing here?” Before Beck could answer, Linc brushed past him and walked into the outer room of the suite. “I swear to God if you took advantage of my sister, I’ll kill you.”
Beck let the door shut behind them before turning to Linc with a scowl.
Meanwhile, Linc’s hands curled into fists at his sides, reminding Beck of how he’d taken a swing at Linc after finding him in bed with Jenna. “Taking advantage of women is more your style than mine.”
Linc jerked at the insult. “This isn’t about what happened back then. I left Chloe here against my better judgment, and it turns out I was right.” Linc’s gaze raked over Beck’s lack of clothing. “Where’s my sister?”
“In bed.” Beck couldn’t help tossing out the words that would rile Linc up more. But before he could react, Beck continued. “You’re just damned lucky I was there to make sure she got up here safely.”
Linc’s jaw locked in place, and he visibly drew a calming breath. “She’s not safe if she’s with you.”
Beck laughed but it was harsh. “It’s not like you were there to look out for her.”
Linc stepped forward, clearly planning to swing, and Beck was ready.
“Linc, stop!” Chloe’s voice had both men turning toward her.
She’d obviously found the hotel robe before coming out here, because she was tying the belt around her waist as she stood there, facing them. Her hair was a wild tangle around her face, and despite the crying jags last night, he’d obviously managed to clean her up fairly well. There were black circles under her eyes, but her cheeks weren’t smudged with makeup. Just flushed with embarrassment but still just as attractive, if not more so now that he saw her softer, real side.
“Are you okay?” Linc stepped toward her but she held him off with her hand in the air.
She nodded. “I’m fine. What are you doing here?”
He narrowed his gaze. “I think the better question is what are you doing with him?”
“If you must know, I drank too much and he … umm … helped me up here.” Her cheeks burned brighter and she couldn’t meet Beck’s gaze.
“That better be all he did,” Linc muttered. “Come on, Chloe. Let’s go.”
“What?” She straightened her shoulders.
“You can come stay with me and Jordan until you get yourself sorted out.”
She shook her head the way she had last night when Beck had suggested nearly the same thing. “No. You two have a baby on the way. You’re new as a couple. You need your time together. I won’t be a third wheel. And before you say Mom’s, I won’t go there, either. Or Xander’s or Dash’s place. Just no.” She wrapped her arms around herself, looking lost.
Most likely because, as she’d told Beck, she’d given up her apartment and really did have nowhere to go.
“You can stay with me.” The words were out before he could stop them or even think them through.
But he had to admit Linc’s horror-filled expression made the offer worth it. “I have plenty of room at my place and you won’t be in the way. You can stay until you make a plan of your own.”
Chloe shot him a look filled with surprise and some gratitude. “I–”
“No. He’s just using you to get back at me,” Linc said. “I won’t have it.”
Chloe drew herself up tall, and Beck knew immediately Linc had made his final mistake.
“You won’t have it? Well, it’s not your decision to make.” She strode up to her brother and got in his personal space. “I don’t know what went on between you and Beck and I don’t care. What I do know is that he was there for me last night, and since he’s still willing to help, I’m going to take him up on his offer. Now it’s time for you to go.” She turned away from Linc, strode to the door, and held it open.
Linc briefly closed his eyes, then opened them again. “I’m sorry. I know it’s your choice, but please let your family be the ones to help.”
She shook her head. “I need time to sort out my life without anyone else telling me what they think is best.”
“I understand that but with him? Not to mention, I came to tell you that the society pages of the papers and social media sites picked up the story.” His tone gentled as he broke the news.
“Great.” She pressed her hands to cheeks that had flushed in embarrassment. “So now I’m a public laughingstock.”
Linc shook his head. “I’m sorry. Since Dad died and some asshole named you the Kingston heiress, people have kept an eye on your engagement.”
Beck felt sorry for her, being in a spotlight she hadn’t asked for, but it came along with her family’s wealth.
“Well, I’m taking my honeymoon time off from work, so that should help me stay out of sight and make people forget about me. Now, go home to Jordan. Please.” She swept her arm toward the hallway.
Linc shot Beck a warning glare before walking toward the door. He braced a hand on the frame and turned. “Chloe, I love you and just want what’s best for you.” And Beck isn’t it resounded without him saying the actual words.
“Then let me make those decisions for myself,” Chloe said, and Linc finally listened to her and walked out the door.
Carly Phillips. Just One Scandal (Kindle Locations 327-379). CP Publishing.
Chole moves in with Beck and even though she asks he refuses to tell her what happened between Linc and him.
Chloe also tells him about her discontent with her job, wanting to do more than the conservative décor required by Kingston properties. She’s designing a room for a prestigious contest. If she wins her career will go in a whole new and exciting direction.
Then of course we have the attraction that is so very apparent right from the beginning. They both do they’re best to deny it, but eventually they have to give in or go insane.
Plenty of laughter, tears and sizzle in this page turning read.
I can’t wait for the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Carly!
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Carly Phillips is the N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels featuring hot men, strong women and the emotionally compelling stories her readers have come to expect and love.
Carly’s career spans over a decade and a half with various New York publishing houses, and she is now an Indie author who runs her own business and loves every exciting minute of her publishing journey. Carly is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs (two wheaten terriers and one mutant Havanese) who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers.