Series: The Gibson Boys #3
Author: Adriana Locke
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Hadley Jacobs is over Machlan Gibson.
Sure, she’ll always be a little weak to the dimple in his right cheek and the way his five o’clock shadow makes him ruggedly handsome. But that’s not enough to cover every other thing about him because they all drive her nuts. Like how he’s won’t admit he’s wrong even when he knows it and how he drives his stupid car a million miles an hour on wet asphalt. As she rolls back into town and takes a seat at Crave, she won’t take the bait. She’s over him. Mostly.
Machlan isn’t over her.
It’s not because he hasn’t tried. He reminds himself over and over that she’s not the girl for him. After all, she drives him insane with her sassy attitude and the way she calls him out on everything. She beats him at poker, even though she doesn’t know the difference between a straight and a flush, and when she looks at him with her bright, blue eyes, it’s unnerving. When she climbs onto that bar stool and orders a drink, he puts it in front of her and ignores the sparkle in her eyes. He’s not over her, but she won’t know that.
But she does know that. And he knows she’s not as over him as she’s pretending to be. When life forces their hand this time, there’s more on the line than a pile of poker chips. It’s their forever.
Crave is a standalone romance in a new small town, blue-collar series from USA Today bestselling author Adriana Locke. Join readers everywhere as they fall in love with the delicious Gibson Boys.
Here’s a little taste of Crave for you!
“What brought you back to town?” Peck asks. “Haven’t seen you in a while.”
I gaze at the horizon and the way the sun is barely visible over the tree line. I wish I were on Bluebird Hill watching it go down.
“Do you remember that tire swing we put up on Bluebird Hill?” I ignore his question and ask one of my own. “Is it still there?”
“I think so.” He takes off his hat emblazoned with a machinery company’s logo and runs a hand over his head. “I haven’t been up there in a while. The last time ended up with my truck being buried up to the axle in mud and me having to call Machlan to come get it out at two in the morning.” He grins sheepishly. “I’ll let you guess how that call went.”
My feet stop moving, so Peck halts too. We stand a few feet from the doors to Crave. His eyes search mine in a way only capable someone you’ve known for a long time can.
“He’s in there,” he says, motioning toward the door with his head.
“I hope so.”
Peck’s brow furrows. “Not the answer I was expecting.”
“Why else would I show up here?”
“Don’t you guys usually try to do this behind closed doors?” Peck asks.
He runs his tongue along his bottom lip before biting down to withhold a grin. It doesn’t work. I roll my eyes at both his question and reaction and head toward the door.
Whatever happens once I’m inside Crave will be fine. Either he’ll serve me a drink or he’ll be a major ass—either option I can work with in my plan to get over Machlan Gibson.
“Are you ignoring me?” Peck asks.
“I just want a drink,” I lie.
“And what do you drink these days?” he prods, seeing through my lie. I’ve never been much of a drinker, and I’m definitely not the kind of girl to just stop by a bar for a drink—this bar, no less.
My mind races to come up with a drink I’ve heard my friends order, all the while trying not to let Peck see how hard my heart is racing and the sweat glistening on my palms. “I’m drinking a tequila and Coke.”
Peck chuckles behind me. “Can I give you one quick tip?”
With a deep breath, I step into the building. Antique lanterns on the ceilings and various Christmas lights strung around the building illuminate the bar. I hold my breath before allowing the scent to hit me. It’s the smell of desperation and sweat, of a thousand spilled beers and even more bad decisions. It’s like perfume on your man that isn’t yours: repulsive.
“Fine then,” Peck says. “But when Machlan laughs his ass off because no one has ever, in the history of the universe, ordered a tequila and Coke, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
My cheeks burn. “Oh.”
“Rum and Coke or tequila shots. Not tequila and Coke, Had.” He shoves his hands in the pockets of his worn jeans as he eyes me with amusement. “But do the rum and Coke. You’d be a mess on tequila, and while I’d pay a lot of money to watch Machlan lose his shit over that, I’m not sure he’ll even serve it to you.”
“He has to if I order it,” I say.
Peck leans back and releases a full-belly laugh. “You tell him that.”
“I will.” Looking him in his bright, blue eyes, I almost lose my courage and tell him to get me the hell out of here. He would. He’d take me to Goodman’s, buy me a sweet tea, and drive me around as I spilled my guts. But I can’t do that to him. Or me.
This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision. It’s been a long time coming, and I finally broke down last week and realized it had to be done. I have to figure out how to move on with my life. I can’t put roots down somewhere else and allow myself to fall in love or really start a life when my heart is still here. With Machlan.
Peck’s face breaks into a sympathetic smile. “Take my advice and order the rum and Coke. You have a shot at getting that. Though it’s a small one, it’s better than your tequila chances, which are negative sixteen hundred.”
“I don’t understand why you don’t think he’ll serve me.”
“Rhubarb moonshine mean anything to you?” He makes a face reminiscent of someone dying before heading toward the bar.
I stand next to the bulletin boards lining the front wall, thinking about the night with the moonshine. How Mach and I got into a huge fight and I didn’t realize what moonshine was. And how he picked me up and took me home and stayed with me all night to make sure I didn’t pass out in my own vomit.
Besides the people playing pool in the back, the only other patrons drinking are seated near the old jukebox. As my gaze runs across a pair of pink panties pinned to the top of one of the bulletin boards, it settles on Peck. He waves at me to join him.
His merriment at my situation is written all over his face. I hope confidence masks the fear on mine. No matter how I get to the end result, this is going to hurt.
No, this is going to be hell.
I make my way over the cement floors. A man wearing a sleeve of tattoos and an undeniable invitation tickling his lips passes me. He turns around and whistles as he walks backward to the door.
My confidence slightly bolstered, I look back at the bar.
This doesn’t help.
My feet shuffle, nearly tripping over an invisible boulder in my way as Machlan’s lips form a thin, hard line. His arms cross his thick chest.
Even with the cool reception, my cheeks still heat.
Machlan sure knows how to make hell feel like home.
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USA Today Bestselling author Adriana Locke lives and breathes books. After years of slightly obsessive relationships with the flawed bad boys created by other authors, Adriana has created her own.
She resides in the Midwest with her husband, sons, and two dogs. She spends a large amount of time playing with her kids, drinking coffee, and cooking. You can find her outside if the weather’s nice and there’s always a piece of candy in her pocket.
For sneak peeks, giveaways, and more, please join Adriana’s Facebook Group, Books by Adriana Locke, or her Goodreads group, All Locked Up.
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