Juniper is done with men – especially movie stars named Maverick. They are not to be trusted!
Maverick sashayed into her life, talked her out of her pants and into his bed, and then – boom! – betrayed her. She’s learned her lesson. She is NOT giving him another chance.
Maverick’s willing to do anything to prove her wrong – including climbing into a cage with those scary little devils known as capybaras. Don’t let anyone fool you – they are vicious animals!
Ready to find out if Maverick can charm his way back into Juniper’s life?
Need some more convincing? No worries. Read the first chapter of Stay For Forever below.
As I look around the garden at the entire town of Winter Falls celebrating the love my sister, Ellery, has found, it’s all I can do to not roll my eyes. Love. Ha! I thought I found it, but I was a naïve fool.
I can only hope the love my sister and her brand-spanking-new fiancé, Cole, share will last longer than my attempts at a happily ever after.
My phone buzzes in my pocket. Oh goodie. A reminder of why love sucks. Because I needed a reminder.
You’d think Mr. ‘Can’t buy a hint if it slaps him in the face’ would have figured it out by now. We are over. Although, we never actually began. It’s hard to have a relationship when half of the couple bolts the morning after sex. And leaving me alone in bed isn’t the worst part. Not by a long shot.
“Here.” Another one of my sisters – Aspen this time – presses a glass into my hand.
I sniff the drink and nearly rear back at the strong scent of alcohol. “What is this?”
A martini doesn’t burn my nose hairs. “This is not a martini.”
“Yes, it is. Gin and vodka equals martini.” My book-obsessed sister always did suck at math.
I shiver. “What about the vermouth?”
“Trust me. You’re going to need the fortification.”
I pause with my lips on the glass. “What are you talking about?”
“It’s your turn.”
My two other sisters, Lilac and Ashlyn, join us. Yep. There are five of us in total. I’d feel sorry for my poor father, but Dad loves his girls more than anything on earth.
“I believe she means she’s going to meddle in your love life next,” Lilac says.
Uh oh. My sisters have been falling for men like flies over the past year. First, Aspen returned to Winter Falls after her bookstore in Dallas burned down and rekindled her romance with her first love, Lyric. Afterwards, Ashlyn went balls to the wall to convince her forever crush, Rowan, to give her a chance. They’re married now.
And, last but not least, Ellery got pregnant during a one-night stand with Cole. My stubborn sister gave the man a run for his money, but she accepted his marriage proposal today, so I’m thinking the running’s over.
But my sisters being all loved up doesn’t mean I want to be. I tried doing the whole love and romance thing. It was a disaster. Complete and utter disaster.
I retreat a step. “What about you?” I point to Lilac, the only other sister who remains unattached. “Why can’t Aspen meddle in your love life?”
“Please,” Aspen draws out the word. “I think we all know Lilac will be the last of us to pair off, and she’s going to need the most help. It’s for the best if all of us are happily paired off before we set our sights on matching Lilac.”
“What if I don’t want to be happily paired off?”
Ashlyn barks out a laugh. “Ha! Liar.”
“I am not lying.” I sneer at her.
I’m done with men. Men who make tons of promises before they get you in their bed but disappear before you wake up the next morning. Men who can’t be bothered to answer your messages until you start ignoring them. I hate games. In fact, I’m thinking I hate most people at the moment.
I’ll stick to my animals, thank you very much. My sweet pets never forget about me, and I never question how much they love me, because they show me how much they love me constantly.
The crowd buzzes, and I glance over at the back porch expecting to see Ellery and Cole emerge from the house. It’s about time. But the happy couple is still missing from their own party.
“Someone’s not a secret admirer anymore,” Ashlyn sings. What is my baby sister – aka shit stirrer of the worst kind – talking about?
I scan the crowd and flaming ducks! I blink my eyes hoping I’m in the midst of some type of hallucination, but when my vision clears the scene in front of me hasn’t changed. Maverick Langston is here. In my sister’s backyard. Love a duck.
Aspen stares at him with her mouth hanging open as he stalks across the lawn toward us. I can’t blame her for staring. My reaction the first time I met the owner of the Wildlife Refuge I manage wasn’t much different.
You don’t expect a Hollywood movie star to own a Wildlife Refuge in Winter Falls, Colorado – the town that defines the word quirky. Seriously. Our claim to fame is being the first carbon neutral town in the world, but the quirkiness doesn’t stop there. Not even close.
But Maverick Langston is indeed the owner of the Wildlife Refuge. He’s also a gorgeous movie star. Duh. Movie stars in general are gorgeous. He could have stepped directly off the silver screen with his thick brown hair, high cheekbones, and smoldering blue eyes.
Dang him. Why can’t he have a big, fat hairy mole on his crooked nose? Probably because he’s not a witch, but you get what I’m saying.
“You knew about him?” Aspen asks Ashlyn before he reaches us.
“Of course. Juniper and I don’t have secrets.”
I snort. “She means she followed me to work and spied on me.” As I said, Ashlyn’s a troublemaker.
“June Bug,” Mav greets in his deep voice, and I nearly forget why I’ve been ignoring the man. He smirks and I remember. He’s a movie star who’s playing at being with me. He’s not really interested in me as a person. Hell, he’s not interested in the Wildlife Refuge except as a tax write-off.
I tag his hand and drag him toward the furthest edge of the yard.
“What are you doing here?” I hiss at him. “You’ve blown your cover.”
I don’t actually care if the whole town knows the movie star has a house here and owns the place where I work, but if he’s worried about everyone knowing about him, maybe he’ll go away and never come back. My heart squeezes at the thought. No, heart. Stop it! We don’t care about him!
“No, he hasn’t,” Sage says before he can respond. “We’ve known Rickie owned the Wildlife Refuge since he bought it.”
“Nothing is sacred in this town,” I grumble despite not being surprised at Sage’s declaration. The woman’s ability to ferret out secrets is refined to an art form.
“Sacred refers to—”
I shove my palm in Lilac’s direction. Lilac is Ms. Literal. Words should be used in their most basic sense without any form of exaggeration according to her. And if you don’t follow her rules, she makes her disapproval known. Not now, sis. The last thing I need at this very moment is a lecture on the proper use of the word sacred.
“Can’t you give us some space to have a private conversation?” I ask when I notice everyone has followed us.
“Why?” Aspen questions, her brow wrinkled in confusion.
“I’ve never met a movie star before. I want an autograph,” Ashlyn adds.
I roll my eyes at her. “You’re a big fat liar. Half of your college graduating class became movie stars.”
I’m not exaggerating. Ashlyn studied drama in college. While she didn’t run off to try her hand at being an actor in Hollywood, many of her fellow students did. And they made it big.
“I wouldn’t say stars,” she mumbles.
“Who is this man?” Lilac asks. If I weren’t in the middle of freaking out, I’d laugh at her question. Naturally, my sister, who I worry is more robot than person, has no clue who this movie star is.
“It’s Maverick Langston. If you’d been to any of Juniper’s monthly movie nights, you’d recognize him,” Ashlyn explains.
“Enough!” I shout loud enough for the entire town to hear me. “Everyone needs to back off before the revealing of secrets begins.”
“I don’t have any secrets,” Sage, the leader of the town busybodies, claims.
I cock an eyebrow. “How about the time I saw you—”
“Let’s give Juniper and Rickie some space,” she says before I can finish tattling on her for the time I caught her spying on her friend Petal’s house with a pair of binoculars.
I wait until Sage has herded everyone toward the house before I turn my attention to Mav. “Now, what can I do for you?”
“You can stop running away.”
Me? I’m the one running away? He must be joking.
He reaches for me, but I bat his hands away. He sighs. “I’m done playing around Juniper. I want you. You want me. It’s time to figure out where this can go.”
I know exactly where it will go. It’s this place I refer to as heartbreak city. Been there. Done that. Have a broken heart as a souvenir. Do I plan to return? Not on your life.
“Not interested,” I tell him before marching away.