Distracted by the Shinies
I’m a little distracted this morning. Everything pretty and shiny is drawing my attention away from the work I should be doing. I’m kind of liking it.
What’s your favorite distraction?
This wasn’t fair. Mercy tried not to look. Wasn’t going to stare. Twelve years—that made him thirty, for Hell’s sake—and he looked a billion times better than she remembered. Which was saying a lot. Dark hair the same color as Liz’s barely brushed his ears. His sturdy jaw was clenched. And if most men looked amazing in a tux, regardless of their normal appearance, his elevated him to a god-like status. Or she was exaggerating the tiniest bit. Maybe only Greek-hero level. But not like Hercules or anyone impressive. A minor hero no one heard of, like Actaeon.
His gaze lingered on Mercy, tracing her frame, and her cold skin heated to scorching. He shook his head, as if to rattle something loose, and turned back to Liz. “You’re going to want to sit down for this.”
“I’m not sitting until I absolutely have to.” Liz tapped her stocking toes on the carpet. “What’s up?”
“No, really. You need to sit, and you need to breathe. Undo a couple buttons on the dress if you have to.” Ian’s voice took on a hard edge.
“With a lead-in like that, you know you’ve killed whatever potency your news has, right?” Mercy tried to keep her tone light, despite the concern creeping into her gut.
He gave her a weak smile that didn’t reach his eyes.
Liz grabbed his arm. “Stop. Tell me what you want.”
“There was a disturbance outside. Hotel security stopped it, but a couple of the guests caught it on camera, and now the video making its way around the party.” He held up his phone for Liz to see.
Silence stretched into the room. Sounds filtered from the tiny speakers. Mercy struggled to make out the crackling voice, but she caught phrases like I’m his wife, and already married, and you’ll pay, you fucking whore.
Liz sank to the floor. A series of tiny noises, like stitches tearing, mingled with her Oh, fuck me.
“Was that what I think it was?” Mercy asked.
Ian pocketed his phone. “George Debson’s wife showed up and started screaming about how Liz would never get away with marrying him. She’d lose everything. You caught the gist of it.”
Liz’s fiancé was already married. The pit in Mercy’s gut filled with lead. It was a lot of information to process, for so few words. She watched Liz, concern growing as emotions flashed across her best friend’s face before it hardened into a stone mask.
Mercy knelt next to her. “Liz? Talk to me. Say something.” It wasn’t the silence that bothered her so much as the cold steel reflected in Liz’s gaze.
When Ian left for college. Mercy begged to go with him, so she could escape her life of probably-fatal-small-town-boredom. He refused.
Mercy found her own way out. More than a decade later, it will take her best friend’s wedding to bring her back to town for more than a layover. Mercy’s here for Liz. That won’t stop Mercy from teasing, tempting, and pushing Ian’s limits… Mostly to show him what he left behind. Only partly because he looks like a god in his tux.
The moment Ian sees Mercy—confident, stunning, and definitely all grown up—he wants a taste before she vanishes back to the big city. Then Liz discovers her fiancé is already married to someone else. Ian won’t add more heartbreak to his sister’s life by hitting on her best friend. Besides, Mercy’s advertising firm is competing with Ian’s for the same make-or-break-me contract.
Mercy and Ian are determined to go their separate ways, but fate has other plans. As they’re thrown together again and again, the temptation of forbidden fruit proves impossible to resist… but giving in could send their worlds, and the lives of those they care about most, spiraling out of control.
About Allyson Lindt
Allyson Lindt is a full-time geek and a fuller-time contemporary romance author. She prefers that her geeky heroes come with the alpha expansion pack and adores a heroine who can hold her own in a boardroom. She loves a sexy happily-ever-after and helping deserving cubicle dwellers find their futures together.