This one is near and dear to my heart because Brady is the closest Hero I've written to my husband, even the smoking- although he quit in 2009. After writing about so many other swoon-worthy men, I wanted to show him how much he means to me.
Drama Free 2003 blurb:
Lucas "Lucy" Dunn is a slut, a party girl... At least that's how most people would describe her. She takes offense to the double standard that because she doesn't want a relationship, but has a rolodex of booty calls, well, three, that she must be easy. She's not, not even close. Lucas knows that if she didn't 'hit it and quit it' on a weekly basis, she'd never survive the stress of working and going to school full-time. Alcohol and orgasms are a wonderful stress relief combination, after all, and new relationships when she was still caught up with her high school sweetheart, well, they just weren't worth it.
Until one fateful New Year's Eve night...Lucas asks her friend, Brady Manning, to pretend to be her date for the evening so that she can let someone she doesn't want anymore down easy. She didn't count on feeling something for him. She didn't count on wanting to be with him. She didn't count on all the drama she was inviting into her life because she couldn't stop herself from falling in love again.
Brady Manning never expected to be divorced at 23, only seeing his daughter on the weekends, but one thing is for sure, he's learned the lesson that love is disastrous the hard way. It's something he never wanted in his life again. With a child in the mix, he has to be careful with who he lets into his life. Until one evening of make believe with his friend, Lucas, changes everything.
“I’m ready for this year to be over, Lucy,” Brady grumbled in my ear as our friends drank around us.
“Me, too,” I approved, looking over at him. “2002 sucked balls.”
Luckily, I’m drunk enough not to flinch at Brady calling me Lucy. He always does, even though I, now, prefer to go by my real name. I’d had the name Lucas my entire life, but went by Lucy until I was in high school. Once the teen angst took over, having a boy’s name was suddenly cool and didn’t get me made fun of anymore. Everyone who’d met me since high school called me Lucas, but my family and friends I’d had my whole life still insisted on calling me Lucy. Brady fell into the latter category, not because he’d known me since high school, but because his roommates had.
“10!” My guests started the make shift countdown to midnight, staring at the second-hand of my living room clock. I was positive that it was fast and we were prematurely counting down the New Year, but it was okay. At least this shitty year would be over, finally. I wasn’t exaggerating when I told Brady 2002 had sucked. I was banking on the hope that 2003 would be better. If it wasn’t, I swore to GOD, I was leaving this God-forsaken state and moving far, far away. The thirty minute move to Tempe had helped, but not enough.
“5!” My eyes slid back to Brady, my ‘date’ for the evening, a good friend who agreed to pretend to be my temporary conquest so that an auditionee for my boy corral, Trevor, would get the point that it wasn’t going to happen between us again. He was nice enough, if not a bit quiet. Good looking, too-long, shaggy, brown hair, beautiful steel blue eyes, which were similar to my own, oval features, a gash mark scar on the left side of his chin. He was taller than me, but only by two to three inches, and I’d learned tonight that I fit perfectly under his arm as we snuggled on the floor beside my living room window.
“1! Happy New Year!” my guests yelled and turned to kiss their dates or hug the friend they came with. Trevor shot me a hopeful smile, prompting me to turn to Brady, giving him a nervous, but questioning, look. With a shrug, he pulled me close and planted a sweet, linger kiss on my forehead before settling my head against his chest. I could feel the steady rhythm of his heart against my ear. There was something completely calming about being wrapped up in his arms, but I didn’t want to dwell on it.
“Here’s to a drama free year,” he whispered in my ear, as my face heated and chills raced through my body when his breath hit my neck. I couldn’t wipe the silly grin off my face at the kiss he gave me on my forehead. I’d be appalled at my reaction if I hadn’t drunk enough alcohol to take shame off the menu. I knew he’d never be truly interested in me. He’d seen me retreat to my bedroom during my monthly parties with a constantly rotating roster of guys to really want to be with me. I’d be lying to myself if I said that before that moment, I’d ever considered being with him either. Yet, through the course of the evening, something inside me had changed and he was all I could see.
Trying to push the thought away, I did my best to enjoy the remainder of the party before saying good night to those not sleeping on my nearly vacant living room floor and collapsing on my, now, lonely queen sized bed. Is there a way I could get Brady interested in me, without compromising who I was? I doubted it. I was destined to be the girl that flitted from hook up to hook up, never able to find the guy she was really supposed to share her life with. I was okay with that, though, because it meant I never had to compromise what I wanted out of life because of someone else’s whims.As I drifted off to sleep, Brady’s smiling face was the last thing I saw. I wondered what 2003 would have in store for me when I awoke the next morning to my empty bed and party trashed living room. Would Brady be the first person I thought of in the light of day, too?
If this sounds like a book you are interested in checking out, add it to your goodreads list: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17207209-drama-free-2003
AND! There is a character in The Wife that I will be spinning off into his own series. I'm already in love with him!