Free Pass: A Free Will novel
Her two weeks of freedom…
My comfortable existence is shaken by a simple picture. A single cell phone snap delivered photographic proof of the years I wasted on a guy who couldn’t keep his dick in his pants over spring break. I’m done. But then Austin blurts out this ridiculous idea to even the score. Two weeks with any guy I choose? After a few brief fantasies, I hardly give his plan a thought … until I stumble into the path of a guy most definitely not on my list. Now Jake’s the only possibility I can bring myself to consider and the one man Austin has forbidden.
His only chance…
For three years now, I’ve been in love with a girl who’s off limits. Some lines a man just can’t cross. Going after your brother’s girl is one of them. But when Austin screws up, I finally get my shot. Getting Laney to pick me for the short-term was the easy part. Convincing her that I’m the right brother for the long-term? Not so simple.
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Seeing Laney in Dad’s study with tears in her eyes about did me in. How the hell was I supposed to walk away from that? Away from her? Still, I doubted she’d accept any comfort from me. I’m sure Austin was the cause of her tears. He didn’t deserve her.
But I do.
I leaned my forehead against the door and blew out a deep breath. I couldn’t think like that. I had to go tell my brother that she was looking for him.
Walking through the house, I dodged my dad and grandparents to slip out the back door. Yup, my idiot brother was exactly where I’d seen him last. Over in the corner slow dancing with some redhead. She had her hands tucked in his back pockets and his hands were tangled in her hair.
Austin had a beautiful girl in the study crying over his stupid ass—a girl I’d kill for a chance with—and he was out here snuggled up to one of Dad’s associate’s slutty daughters.
I ought to shake the shit out of him. But I restrained myself to just squeezing his shoulder. Hard. “Laney’s looking for you.”
Austin pulled the girl closer and nuzzled his nose against her cheek and smirked at me. “Can’t you see I’m busy?”
“I can see you being a damn idiot. That girl in there loves you. Your girlfriend loves you. What the hell is wrong with you?” The urge to put my fist through his teeth rose up within me.
Did he not realize what he could be throwing away just for a piece of ass?
I’d never hated my job until today. Graphic design gave me a creative outlet that spoke to my artist soul. Most days I loved my job. A few clients made me long for a break, but I’d never all out hated it.
Until it took me away from Laney when I only had a limited time to win her over.
They called for my boarding group and I got on the plane. I took my seat and waited. With a fake stumble, the woman who’d be in the seat next to me for the next two hours fell into my lap. She managed to get a good feel in before she got up and into her seat with a giggle.
“I’m so sorry, honey. I just tipped right off my heels and couldn’t catch myself in time.”
“It’s fine.” It’s not, but I don’t want to be an all-out dick.
“I’m sure your wife wouldn’t have been as forgiving, would she?” She blinked a lot.
Did she have something in her eye or what?
“My fiancée wouldn’t like it, no.”
“Aww, that’s too bad. All the good guys are taken.” She poked her bright red lips out in a pout.
And that’s exactly why I said that even though I’m not engaged…I closed my eyes and leaned my head against the window.
Two weeks was such a short time. I had to make the most of it. With Laney’s history with my brother, if I screwed this up, I’d never have another shot. I was damn lucky to have got this chance.
Two weeks to convince the woman of my dreams that I was the man of hers.
I was fucking screwed.
Granny’s eyes were sharp as razors when she looked Jake over. “Why are you here?”
Well, that was blunt. Granny never beat around the bush when she could jump right in.
“Jimmy and Susie said you wanted to meet me.” Jake gestured for me to take the only chair, but I sat on the bed next to Granny and let him have the seat.
“No shit. I meant why are you at the hospital. You just started fooling around with my granddaughter a few days ago, a bit soon to be hanging around the hospital with her family.”
He sighed and ran his hands through his hair. “She needed me.”
“Did she now?” Her piercing glare never left Jake. He shifted a bit, looking uncomfortable with the scrutiny, but didn’t bolt.
“She did.” He smiled at me, adding, “And I’m not just fooling around with your granddaughter.”
“Uh huh… Why should I believe that? You hardly know her. ”
Granny didn’t like him. She’d kicked such a fuss with my cousins that she’d made them break up with boyfriends and girlfriends she didn’t like before. I didn’t want to lose Jake before I even knew what we really had.
Jake threw his head back and laughed. The idiot freaking laughed. “I’m crazy about Laney. And you can believe that, or not.” His eyes met mine, and my heart skipped a beat at his intensity.
With confusion crinkling his eyes, he turned back to Granny. “Why what? Why do I like Laney? Or why should you believe me?”
Granny’s eyes narrowed. She glared at him until he spoke. He didn’t look at her when he answered. He looked right into my eyes, his hand holding mine.
“I’m crazy about Laney because she’s everything I’ve ever wanted. She’s funny. She looks like an angel, but kisses like the devil. She makes my heart race just by smiling at me.”
I couldn’t breathe.
He turned his gaze back to her then. “And I don’t care if you believe me or not. As long as Laney does, that’s what matters.”
Lord, she was going to kill him. No one ever spoke to Granny like that. Ever. A cackling laugh rang out and I hunted for the source. No one was there but us and Granny…
Wait. What just happened?
My jaw dropped and I gaped at them both. Maybe aliens abducted my Granny, and this was just a Granny look-alike. Yeah, that had to be it. There’s no way he told her off and she laughed about it. Jake smiled at her and brought my hand up to his lips. I pulled my hand away from him and pinched myself. Hard. This had to be a dream. No other explanation made sense.
“Would I be correct in saying that you do not find my granddaughter defective in any way then, young man?” Granny questioned him again. Like a dog with a bone, she wouldn’t give up until she’s gnawed it beyond recognition.
“Defective?” His eyes searched mine. “Why would I find Laney defective?”
My eyes filled with tears. “Because Austin did. I wasn’t enough. My boobs weren’t enough. Our sex life wasn’t enough.”
“Oh, honey.” He reached for me. Pulling me into his lap in that lone chair, he kissed me. Soft warm lips met mine. His tongue coaxed my mouth open so that he could deepen the kiss.
“My brother is a damn fool.”
As a busy mother of five, Allie sneaks time to write between breakfast and tickles. Always a Kentucky girl at heart, she currently makes her home near Nashville.
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