Excerpt Fair Game by Monica Murphy

Apr 262020
 

Fair Game (The Rules Book 1) by Monica Murphy

A USA TODAY bestseller!

When you become the poker prize, all bets are off…

Jade Frost thought she was going on a date with her boyfriend–not to his poker game.

She really didn’t expect that weasel to throw her in the pot.

Then he had the nerve to lose. Talk about the perfect excuse for Jade to make him her ex-boyfriend. She wasn’t quick enough, though. Before she knows it, a frat boy wins the hand–and her.

Shep Prescott is extremely handsome and richer than sin, but he doesn’t own her. It was just a game, after all.

No matter how disinterested she acts, no matter how rudely she rejects his advances, he keeps coming back. Maybe even more than before.

He could have anything he wants, but she’s the only prize he’s after.

When she finds herself starting to fall for him, Jade’s confused. There’s more to Shep than the carefree player he shows the world.

So is he ready to win her for real, or will she call his bluff?

**Due to mature situations and language, recommended for readers 17 and older**

Excerpt Fair Game (The Rules Series #1) by Monica Murphy

“Cost doesn’t matter,” he says, acting like he wasn’t affected by our touching at all. Jerk. I wish I could be that nonchalant. But no, my fingers are shaking as I hit the buttons on the cash register, then have to punch in all the info on the credit card machine. All while Shep watches me, drumming those long, blunt-nailed fingers on the glass countertop. His scent wraps all around me, that citrusy, earthy smell I’m slowly becoming addicted to.

“Must be nice,” I murmur under my breath, reaching under the counter to pull out a few sheets of tissue paper. I carefully peel off the price tag on the bottom of the candle and then wrap it, securing it with a single piece of tape.

“It usually is. Unless I’m dealing with a stubborn female who refuses to pay back her debt.”

I lift my head, glaring at him. “I don’t owe you anything. I never agreed to that bet. Joel did.”

“And you’re his girlfriend,” he points out.

“Ex-girlfriend,” I stress, turning my back to him so I can grab the gift box I charged him five dollars extra for. Screw it. I padded his shipping charge too. Enid will be thrilled. Business has been slow lately and she’s thankful the weather has finally turned, bringing back the tourists. “I wish you would just leave this alone.” I start to put the box together.

“Maybe I don’t want to.”

“Clearly,” I say with a little snort.

“Maybe I want to see you even more.” He pauses. “Maybe you’re all I think about.”

My fingers fumble over the box, sending it flying off the counter onto the ground. I hear him come toward me, see his feet encased in very expensive looking Nikes appear next to me as he bends down at the same time I do, the both of us going for the slightly crumpled box. “There is no reason whatsoever for you to keep thinking about me.” My cheeks are on fire I’m so embarrassed. This is stupid. I shouldn’t let him get to me like this. He’s just saying these things to get under my skin and it’s working.

“Despite how much you hate me, I keep thinking about you.” He hands over the box and I take it from him with numb fingers. “A lot.”

“Like how you want to murder me with your bare hands?” I twist the box within my grip, mangling it further. I owe him a new one. Good thing I overcharged.

“I’d rather do something a lot more fun to you with my bare hands,” he whispers, his mouth curving into the slightest smile.

For once, I’ve got nothing. My throat is dry, my heart rate is going triple time and I’m feeling more than a little overwhelmed at his simple words. “You don’t mean it.”

“I definitely do.” His gaze drops to the box in my hands. “I think we’ll need a new one.”

We both come to a full stand together, my head just reaching his shoulder. Perfect height for me to tear off his shirt and run my mouth all over his hot, hard skin. “You’re right,” I say weakly. “Let me put together another one.”

He says nothing as I trash the first box and put together the second one with even shakier hands. But I succeed in getting it in place and I settle the candle inside, sealing it before I grab a label and take down his mother’s address.

I’m not acknowledging what he said. I’m not acknowledging what I’m thinking either. This is all a big mistake. If I even consider pursuing this…thing between us, I know he’ll just use me up and spit me out. I don’t want to risk it. I’m not a risky person. I hedge safe bets. Hell, I usually don’t bet at all. I test the waters, test them again, then test them yet again before I finally jump in.

Shep is a jump in without a thought type of guy. I can’t do it. I can’t. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…

“Go out with me tonight.”

“Okay.”

I slap my hand over my mouth, which just makes him laugh. Jerk. Smug, gorgeous, hot as hell jerk.

“No taking it back,” he says once his laughter dies. Those dark eyes of his go even darker if that’s possible. “You’re mine tonight, Jade.”

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