This is the complete Nice Girl to Love serial romance collection, which contains: Resisting the Bad Boy (Book One), Falling for the Good Guy (Book Two), and Choosing the Right Man (Book Three).
THE ONE SHE NEVER THOUGHT SHE COULD KEEP…
Abby Bartlett is the quintessential nice girl. Between teaching, volunteering, completing her PhD, and helping her best friend raise his daughter, Abby never gets the chance to be anything but nice. That is, until the all-wrong-for-her man she’s only ever known from afar starts daring her to simply take that chance for herself. His sage advice? Try something wild and fast. Preferably him.
An unbridled, hotshot attorney with a not-so-little black book, Connor Sullivan has earned himself quite the bad boy reputation. But in his defense, he’s a very conscientious one. He knows far too well that sometimes in life, love isn’t enough…or worse, not even a factor at all. To avoid that misery–and repel the drama–Connor has a firm ‘nothing over a month’ rule. Who knew a nice girl would be the one to make him want to break all his rules?
THE ONE SHE NEVER HOPED SHE COULD HAVE…
Abby is well aware that everyone thinks she’s in love with her best friend Brian. He is, after all, the type of man a nice girl should be with—the polar opposite of the bad boy—the kind of guy who didn’t let his wife’s decade-long illness stop him from showering her with a lifetime of love every second until her dying day. But everyone’s wrong; she couldn’t possibly be in love with him. Because she’s never once allowed herself that option.
It’s taken a while but Brian has finally come to terms with surviving the woman he spent half his life loving, a third of it losing. Truth is though, he wouldn’t have ‘survived’ any of it really had it not been for Abby—sweet, incredible Abby—the woman he’s never once had to picture his life without, never realized he couldn’t truly live without. Until now. Now that he’s finally able to love her the way she deserves, the way he knows she wants to be loved…by his brother. Who’s giving him exactly one chance to speak now or forever hold his peace.
A DECISION SHE NEVER DREAMED SHE’D HAVE TO MAKE…
And now it’s up to Abby to decide between the bad boy wanting to start a life with her and the good guy fighting for the life they’ve already built.
Lord, but he was beautiful. For well over a decade, Abby hadn’t allowed herself to acknowledge that fact. Not once. But she was definitely making up for lost time now.
Brian had always had that effortlessly charming farmer-boy-next-door look to him, complete with the infectious ‘can Abby come out to play’ smile and a generous heart worn right there on his sleeve. Not to mention the body of an All-American football god that belonged on a billboard selling grit-covered denim and boots like it was going out of style.
He was the perfect, unjust combination of strong and sweet.
And apparently, her immunity to the man had somehow worn off.
Her once impenetrable vaccination against things like that gorgeous hair of his? Gone. Now she absolutely noticed its kaleidoscopic shades of brown from all his time in the sun, tousled in that just-out-of-bed country-perfect ease, which usually made him look slightly overdue for a haircut…and all the sexier for it.
But that was nothing compared to the effect his eyes had on her. On all women, undoubtedly. Where Connor’s were a piercing ice blue always deep in thought, Brian’s were warmer, earthier, always rich with affection. The startling color of the ocean, his eyes had a depth of conquered pain that just sucked you in, made it difficult to look away. And if ever you caught those eyes smiling at his daughter, the fierce protectiveness and sheer determination for hope where his had clearly been through the ringer made it impossible not to get emotionally invested, inspired.
Made it impossible not to want to love him with every inch of your soul.
Abby didn’t know when her feet had walked her over to the couch, or why her eyes were now running along the lines of his body in a way she’d denied herself for as long as she’d known him, but here she was. How did this happen? How could her reaction to Brian be this different after just one night, one kiss? The way her skin tingled now at the mere thought of his name was pitching her toward a minor panic attack. She could hardly breathe.
“You’re going to give me a big head if you keep staring at me like that.”
She gasped as one of Brian’s thickly muscled, sleep-warmed arms wrapped around her waist and tugged her down on top of him. Abby hesitated for a brief second before eventually letting him pull her in the rest of the way for a head-to-toe good morning hug.
If she were being totally honest with herself, she’d always adored the feel of Brian’s massive arms wrapped around her in one of his ‘I’m here for you’ python squeezes. It was addicting, as was the way he’d hold her close whenever she’d fall asleep on him during a DVD.
Now feeling his arms around her when they weren’t both upright…this was a whole new kind of addicting.
When she opened her eyes—funny, she didn’t remember closing them—she saw Brian looking at her with a sleepy combination of humor and hunger. “Why are you tiptoeing around me today, woman? I was expecting my usual pillow in the face wake-up call.”
Sugarplums, had his voice always sounded this sexy? She averted her eyes…which ended up being a lateral move as she was now staring directly at his chest. “I was giving you a few extra minutes; you looked more tired than usual,” she mumbled into one hard pec. All mostly true. “Didn’t you sleep well last night?”
She could feel him smiling against her temple. “Not exactly.”
Frowning, she tipped her head back and looked at him in concern. “But you always sleep like a coma patient on this sofa.”
“The sofa was fine. I, on the other hand, was less so.” He dragged his fingers through her hair in long strokes. As if he were petting a cat.
She almost purred. “Wh-why?” A fully enunciated word. And in a near-normal tone with barely even a stutter. She was so proud of herself.
“Let’s just say I was a little…uncomfortable,” he murmured, shifting over so she could stop imitating a human blanket and instead wedge herself between him and the backrest of the couch.
Another lateral move.
“You should‘ve told me. I would’ve had you sleep in my bed—”
“Do tell,” he teased, deliberately making that innocent sentence sound dirty.
Abby felt her cheeks burn. “I meant I would’ve slept out here.”
“Spoilsport.” He grazed a knuckle over her hot skin. “And like I said, that’s not the kind of ‘discomfort’ that was keeping me up.”
“Oh.” She dragged a corner of the quilt draped at his waist up to cover her face. Or did smothering only work on extinguishing cooking fires? Everything he was saying was simply more kindling to the most dangerous kind of fire. “Brian, I appreciate the effort,” she mumbled from under the quilt, “but truly, you don’t have to work this hard to help me get over Connor.”
Before she could so much as yelp, she went from being simply wedged to being thoroughly hot-dogged—a more apt description here than sandwiched—with a very intense-looking Brian launching a now full-body interrogation of her every reaction to him. From the rapid rise and fall of her chest against his, to the way her fingers instantly flexed into his obliques when his fingertips skimmed over her shoulder blades, she could see the fireburst of sea green around his pupils flare with every new bit of damning data her body revealed to him.
“Is that all you think this is, Abby? Don’t you feel what’s happening between us?”
She felt something alright. And she was trying her damndest not to move her hips at all lest she wake it up even more.
Something in her expression must have given her thoughts away.
With an incredulous headshake, Brian let out a low, throaty chuckle. “I’d ask you what you were thinking just now but I’m not sure I could handle it.”
Honestly, she wasn’t too certain she could handle it either. The saying about big hands? Apparently very, very true…
“Sweetheart, I’ll give you exactly two seconds to come back to me or else I’m going in after you,” he warned, gripping the couch cushion in a way that belied the smile in his voice.
Who knew watching a man’s forearms flex at close range could this mesmerizing?
“I’m back, I’m back!” she exclaimed, yanking her gaze back up to meet his.
“Aw, just as things were about to get interesting,” he pouted, somehow managing to make even that look masculine.
Mentally, she smacked herself. This was Brian for goodness sakes. Wonderfully sweet Brian. Lovably brawny Brian.
Achingly sexy Brian.
Violet Duke is a former professor of English Education who is ecstatic to now be on the other side of the page writing wickedly fun contemporary romance novels. Besides writing and feeding her book-a-day reading addiction, she can often be found tackling reno projects with her power tools and trying pretty much anything without reading the directions first, or cooking ‘special edition’ dishes that laugh in the face of recipes. Violet lives in Hawai’i with her two cute kids and similarly adorable husband.