Excerpt Small Town Pretender by Brighton Walsh

Jun 102021
 

Small Town Pretender (Havenbrook Book 5) by Brighton Walsh

Asher McCoy can win over a sold-out crowd with a husky note and a strum of his guitar, but proving to a judge he’s responsible enough to gain custody of his niece and nephew? Not so easy. His big idea—a fake marriage. And who better to play his doting bride than his longtime best friend? He just needs to get her home first…

Natalie Haven couldn’t get away from her suffocating hometown fast enough. For years, she’s fluttered around the globe as a freelance photographer. And if that unconventional job pisses off her daddy? Well, all the better. But when her best friend sends out an S.O.S., she heads back to the one place she swore she’d never land.

Except a fake marriage means a not-so-fake living arrangement, including only one bed. Nat’s witnessed enough women fall for Asher’s charms, but she refuses to be one of them. Because permanence isn’t in her blood. Not even for him.

Excerpt Small Town Pretender by Brighton Walsh

While she obviously wasn’t oblivious to the fact that both of her closest friends were smoking hot dudes, she’d also never really seen them as sexual beings—not to her, anyway.
Or she hadn’t.
She didn’t know if it was because she’d spent the past six nights sharing a bed with Asher—and waking up pretzeled around him like he was her personal stuffed animal—or if it was the whole maybe-marriage thing that had sparked that part of her brain, but now she couldn’t not see it.
She could honestly say now she definitely understood the whole mysterious, broody musician vibe girls went crazy for.
“How long are you gonna stand there starin’ at me like a stalker?” he murmured without opening his eyes.
“Oh, I’m the stalker, but somehow you knew I was standin’ here, even with your eyes closed.”
“You might be small enough that I could fold you up and put you in my pocket, but you walk like you’ve got cement blocks tied around your ankles.”
With a laugh, she strode toward him and dropped down on the cushion at his side, shoving her elbow into his stomach and delighting in his grunt of surprise. “You deserved that. I walk just like I do everything else.”
“Yeah, like you don’t give a single fuck what anyone thinks.”
Daintily, Ash. I do all things daintily. But, please, tell me more about this favor you need from me…”
He chuckled and wrapped an arm around her, tugging her into his side. She snuggled in, notching herself perfectly under his arm, like that very space had a Nat-shaped cutout made just for her.
“My compliments aren’t winnin’ me any favors?” he said. “Is that what you’re sayin’?”
“What I’m sayin’ is that if you want something, you’d be better off gettin’ it with some chocolate and maybe a little wine instead of your smart mouth.”
He chuckled. “You love my smart mouth.”
“Not today I don’t.”
“Unconditional love—isn’t that what you promised me?”
“I didn’t promise you shit. I’m not your wi—“ Nat nearly choked on the word, remembering too late exactly the size and shape of the elephant in the room. The one they’d been avoiding all day. “Speakin’ of, we should probably talk about that.“
“Yeah… Look, Nattie, I know I’m askin’ a lot. This would be…” He blew out a breath, the move ruffling her hair. “You know I wouldn’t have asked if I had any other options.”
“So I’m your last resort then? Good to know.”
“You’re my every resort,” he said without hesitation, earnestness in his tone.

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