Forgive me, darling readers. December was a horrible month for us. And to make matters more complicated, I had dental surgery on the same day as the release of Can’t Fight This Feeling, Book 2 in the Craving 1985 Series. All went well and I’m recovering, but I can’t believe I forgot to post a teaser for the release of Rob and Marcy’s book! Allow me to rectify this now.
Welcome to 1985
I’ve worked damned hard to get where I am. After a failed marriage to an abusive asshole, I’m in no hurry to dive into another relationship. My business is booming, and I’m rubbing shoulders with the cream of New York!
But when one of my clients gets rough, I have no one to back me up. So I run to the one man who will bandage me up without judgment. My brother’s best friend. He knows too much, has seen me at my worst, and is completely off-limits.
Dr. Rob Thompson
I’ve been in love with my best friend’s sister from the first moment I met her. But she hates my guts. After her divorce, I watched her hit rock bottom. Her pride and persistence made her ten times hotter, and a million times more stubborn. There’s no convincing her of anything, let alone my sincerity. Until she finds herself in hot water.
I would do anything for her, even if it means sacrificing everything.
I hate weddings.
That’s the first thought I had when my brother told me he was getting married. I love Arthur and Kate, but the thought of helping to plan a wedding and being an active participant in the whole event leaves my skin crawling.
I tried it once, the whole marriage thing. It’s bogus. I’d rather use my toothbrush to clean the bathrooms in Grand Central than tie the knot again.
But this isn’t about what I want. This is about my brother finding the love of his life across time itself. I don’t know how much of Kate’s story I believe. I mean, it’s pretty hard to swallow the yarn she told me.
From the future? Yeah, sure. Whatever.
But she makes my brother happy, and she’s pretty awesome. So I’m not going to rain on their parade.
I slide a tip into the caterer’s hand. “Thanks.”
“Enjoy your party.” He nods and leaves with his crew in tow.
“Did you finish those favors yet?” I ask my assistant, Liana, while I inspect the cake.
“Yeah. When did Arthur say Kate would be back?”
“Rob should be bringing her any minute.” I glance at the clock. Five to five.
Arthur suggested I throw a small bachelorette party for Kate instead of a bridal shower. I had no idea what it was until he explained. I guess it’s a big deal in the future. I don’t know. But it gives me an excuse to kick back and relax. Work has been crazy lately, and I’m in desperate need of some downtime.
Besides, Kate doesn’t have a lot of friends. And that resonates deep. I remember a time when I had no one but Arthur looking out for me. Well, Rob was there too, in a way offering support, especially that night…
I shake my head at the direction of my thoughts. I will not think about that night or my brother’s best friend. Not now. Not ever.
We put the finishing touches on the decorations. The moment the door opens, Liana pops the champagne.
Kate jumps and laughs, her eyes wide as she enters Arthur’s penthouse. “Marcy.” She puts her hands on her hips. “Did your brother put you up to this?”
I wrap my arm around her waist and lead her into the living room I converted into our party oasis. “He may have mentioned it in passing.”
“Thank you.” Kate takes a champagne flute from Liana.
“You’ve given us a reason to celebrate.” I wink and take the offered glass from Donna. “I never thought I’d see Arthur delirious in love.”
“To love then.” Kate lifts her glass. The small group of women around us cheer in agreement and drink.
I can’t toast to that. I won’t. Love ruined me. My hand trembles as I bring the glass to my lips.
A shadow flickers by the door.
Rob stands in the entryway, leaning against the doorframe, his blue eyes narrowed on me. His dark blond hair is short enough to keep it out of his eyes but long enough to run fingers through it. From a distance, he’s the perfect image of a medical professional. But I’ve seen him up close and personal.
That man is a hazard to my health.
While Kate is distracted by the small buffet and animated conversation, I cross the room, bracing for an oncoming storm with Rob.
“Thanks for bringing Kate.” I gesture to the door. “You can go now.”
A lopsided smile transforms his face from serious to amused, and he presses his hand to his heart. “That eager to kick me out? I’m hurt.”
“You’re so dramatic. Don’t you have somewhere to be?”
“Arthur hasn’t even left work.” He straightens, and I’m reminded of the staggering height difference between us. He looks down at me. “Why do you hate me, Marcy?”
“I don’t hate you.” A lump lodges in my throat and I swallow it. “I just don’t have time for playboys.”
Rob scoffs. “I’m not a playboy.”
“Whatever. Now shoo. This party doesn’t include you.” I press my hand against his chest, urging him back toward the door. He’s like a brick wall beneath my hand. I ignore the way his body flexes beneath my touch.
“Fine. We’ll be at the bar, then crash at my place.” He collides with the wall by the door and rests his hand on the knob. “Enjoy your evening.”
The moment the door closes behind him, relief and regret simultaneously slam into me. Why does he make me feel this way—twisted up and confused to the point I can’t think clearly? I know there’s sexual tension between us, but exploring it is not an option. Period.
I return to the party. The half dozen ladies I’ve gathered to celebrate Kate’s status as bride-to-be are ready for food and booze. By the time we cut the cake, the tension between Rob and me has lessened to a nagging pinprick in the back of my mind.
Kate curls up on the couch beside me, balancing her plate in one hand and stabbing bits of cake with a fork. “Thanks for the party, Marcy. You didn’t have to do this.”
I wave my hand. “Don’t worry about it. I like the idea of this much more than a stuffy, boring bridal shower.”
“The only thing missing is some strippers.” Kate laughs and stuffs a bite of cake in her mouth.
“Strippers?” I gawk at her before chuckling. “Why didn’t I think of that?” My voice drops low so only she can hear me. “Is that a big thing in the future?”
She nods adamantly.
“The future sounds like a wild trip.”
Kate’s mood sobers, her eyes glistening with tears. “It’s…different.”
My heart goes out to her. I have no frame of reference for the emotions she must be feeling—torn from her life and thrown into the past. It must be terrifying and heartbreaking. She doesn’t offer any details, but she doesn’t have to. Arthur’s told me enough to know she felt like an outsider in her own time.
I wrap my arm around her and pull her against me. She leans her head on my shoulder. We’ve all felt that way at some point, and even though she can’t talk about it, I want her to know I’m here if she needs me.
“So what’s going on with you and Rob?”
Well, that shatters the heartwarming moment. Kate sits up, her gaze curious when it fixes on me.
“Nothing. Why?” I sip my drink and focus on a streamer hanging on the far wall.
“Come on. I may have been here less than six months, but I’m not blind. You two have some kind of thing going on.”
“We most certainly do not have a thing,” I growl. “He’s my brother’s best friend. That’s it.”
“Really?” She looks unconvinced.
“Look, it’s simple. The only thing we have in common is Arthur. That’s it. There is nothing between us.”
“Would you want something?”
“With Rob?” I scoff. “Not in a million years.”
“Why?” Kate’s question is like a blade through my heart. “He’s a nice guy. I think you two would make a great couple.”
“I just don’t look at him that way.”
“Why not? He looks at you like he wants to—”
“It’s complicated,” I snap.
Hurt fills her eyes at my harsh response.
I sigh and take her hand. “Let’s not talk about this non-existent thing between Rob and me.”
“I just want to see you as happy as Arthur and me.” She squeezes my hand. “You deserve to be happy, Marcy.”
She knows the truth of my messy past; she’s just too kind to bring it up. I’m sure Arthur has filled her in on the details of my failed marriage and my subsequent struggle. How I refused to take his money and clawed my way up from the ground to reach this point. Arthur walked beside me the whole way, but I wouldn’t let him help me.
It was something I had to do myself. To prove I am strong enough to overcome what that bastard did to me.
“Thanks, sugar.” I kiss her cheek. “Let’s focus on you for now. In a week, you’ll be married and off on your honeymoon.”
“It’s so exciting.” Joy fills her eyes at the reminder.
“Have you picked a destination yet?”
“Italy. He’s promised to show me Rome, Venice, Florence, and Milan. A whirlwind tour of the country over two weeks.”
Jealousy rears its head. Not over the trip to Italy. I could buy a ticket and spend a year roaming the country with the funds I have tucked away. No, it’s not the destination causing me pain; it’s that she’ll have Arthur by her side for the adventure. They’ll share the experience, and it’ll be a memory they carry into their golden years together. I can’t help but envy that.
“Nona would be so proud.” I beam at her, swallowing the sting of my own disappointment. “Be sure to take plenty of pictures.”
“I wish I had my iPhone. This film stuff is so old-school.” Kate claps her hand over her mouth. “Forget I said that.”
“Oh, honey, if I don’t recognize something you say, I block it out.” I wink. “At some point, I’ll figure it all out, but I don’t need to know the future. The present is enough of a challenge.”
“That’s true.” Kate leans back against the couch. “If there’s no stripper, then what do you have planned for us?”
“Well, I have two options. Games or gossip,” I tell the group as the guests gather around us. “What’ll it be?”
“You work with the hottest celebrities on a daily basis,” Kate’s coworker, Gladys, says with a glint in her eyes. “Let’s gossip.”
“What about both?” Kate asks, sitting up. “Marcy can name a celebrity, and we’ll ask her yes-or-no questions. If it’s yes, she drinks. If it’s no, we drink.”
“Sounds like a dangerous game but I’m in.” Liana settles a chair nearby and fills her wine glass.
While the other women scramble to fill their glasses, I prepare myself mentally for this game. Normally, I wouldn’t encourage gossip about my clients. But these ladies know me well enough to keep it within the bounds of my established rules. I may work in an industry that allows me to rub shoulders with the elite of New York City, but I’m certainly not a snitch or a sellout.
“Here is the only rule.” My gaze skims over the five guests and the bride-to-be. “I reserve the right to not answer a question if it crosses the line of client confidentiality, but I’ll entertain all questions before making that decision. Deal?”
“Deal,” they chime in unison.
“All right, Kate. You pick the first celebrity.”
“Jon Bon Jovi.” Her eyes sparkle. “Is his hair as soft as it looks?”
With a wicked grin, I salute her and take a drink. The ladies cheer my confirmation.
The evening continues with laughter and scandalous revelations about our favorite celebrities. Since I found success as a stylist to the stars, my view of celebrity culture has changed. I see them as people first, not commodities. Not all of them are pleasant, but for every asshole, there are ten who treat me with respect and courtesy.
I’ve spent a lot of time building my reputation as the top stylist in the city. It doesn’t put me in the spotlight like being an actor would, but it’s my passion and I’m proud of my accomplishments.
By the end of the night, I’m pleasantly exhausted. I’m not as young as my mind thinks I am, and these late nights take their toll. I’m closing in on forty. That alone terrifies me. The last thing I want is to wake up at seventy with regrets. Maybe I should start figuring out what I want to do outside of my established empire.
In one week, my brother will be married to a wonderful woman, and I’ll be on my own again.
That’s not true. My family will expand with Kate’s presence. I just can’t help but feel the gaping hole in my chest expanding.
Why should I need a man? I’ve done just fine without one. The last thing I need is another asshole barging into my life, ruining my hard work, and stealing my thunder before beating me unconscious.
To hell with marriage and men. After Arthur and Kate’s wedding next week, I’ll wash my hands of the whole institution.
I hope you enjoyed this little teaser! Thanks for stopping by.