Authors: Nazarea Andrews
Tags: #1. Romance 2. Small Town 3. Family Drama
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The author makes no claims to, but instead acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of any wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction including brands or products.
Copyright © 2016 Nazarea Andrews.
DIRTY SEXY SECRET
All rights reserved. Published in the United States of America by A&A Literary.
Summary: Hazel Campton left Green County to keep her secrets. But now she’s home, and Brandon Archer is everywhere she turns. There are secrets more dangerous than a forbidden love story in Green County and when four people are murdered, those secrets begin to come to light.
1. Romance 2. Small Town 3. Family Drama
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
For information, address Nazarea Andrews
Edited by Angi Black
Cover design by
The Illustrated Author
Cover art copyright©: Nazarea Andrews
Ebook Formatting by
The Illustrated Author
For Jessica, who heard the original idea and wouldn’t let me forget it.
And for Tiffany, who cheered me on and said the right thing at the right time.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
hree killers, two cops, and a journalist walk into a bar.
Sounds like a bad joke, right? It’s not.
It’s the end--dear God I hope it’s the end--of the worst day if my life.
I just hope we all walk out alive.
ome people say you can’t go home again. And
is a complete pile of bullshit. You can. It just won’t be home.
I should know. I did it.
Green County doesn’t change. It’s been four years since I bolted. Six months since I sucked up all my pride and ego and came back. And it still struck me as strange. Green Co. is exactly the same. Same ridiculous festivals. Same leafy boulevards and parks filled with yoga moms and shrieking children. The same gossips fill the coffee shop and eye me when I step in.
They’ll chatter my every move to Eli later, cooing over him while warning that I was too skinny, too wild, too rude, too, too, too.
They did the same thing in high school.
Nothing changed in Green Co. If you want change you go somewhere else and you let it wrap you up tight and fight like hell to keep from being dragged back.
Eli gets pissy when I say shit like that. But Eli never left Green Co. Never felt the need to get out, to see and shape the world. He’s always been more than happy to see and shape the County.
And you know, he was right. He was good at it. I loved that he cared so much about Green Co. That he wanted to save the little Kansas county from itself.
Someone had to.
I flash the ladies a smile as I order two extra large iced coffees. Cindy grins at me, punching in the order and adding a slice of banana bread and her boxed lunch.
“Long day, Hazel?”
I grin, a half quirk of my lips that passes as a grin these days. “It’s a day ending in Y, Cins. Those are always long.”
She gives me a smirk that tips toward worry. “You need a day off, sugar.”
I make a face, and drop a twenty on the counter as I take my order. “I don’t even know what I’d do with that much free time.”
She arches an eyebrow at me and I grin at her.
“Hazel, my love,” Gabe says, sailing through the door of the coffee shop as I turn away from the counter.
I swallow the grin before it twists into a smirk. “Gabriel,” I say, almost frosty and he laughs.
“We should carpool, love, if we’re going to keep meeting like this. Save the planet and all.”
“Because you care so much about the damn planet,” I scoff, and he makes a face, all wounded dignity.
The problem with that face is that I know Gabe. I’ve known him my whole life.
Gabe is everything I ran away from when I left Green Co. Everything I wanted to forget. The tiny smile that means trouble and the too sharp eyes that see right through my quick easy lies and watches with concern when I isolate.
Fucking bastard is my neighbor. He’s too damn close for comfort and too damn nosy for his own good.
And coming from an investigative journalist, that’s pretty fucking nosy.
“I’ve got work, Gabe. So as much as I’d love to spar,” I shift my boxes and nod at the door.
“Hazy,” he says, and it draws me up. Because once, we were friends. We were impossibly close. He was my rock, and I threw him away. Because I was so fucking determined. To be more. To get out. I fucked up and I ran, and I left Gabe behind with all my other mistakes.
I always regretted that. Hurting Gabe.
“Wine night?” he asks, and I flinch, falling back a step.
It’s still too soon for that shit. And he sees it in my eyes.
His smile dips, just a little. Just enough that I notice. Because I know him better than he knows himself, and I can read his sadness in the line of his shoulders.
“Maybe next week,” I offer, shuffle stepping closer to the door. Aware of all the church ladies watching, and Cin, standing at the counter, her lips pulled down in a frown, and worry.
And Gabe shrugs it off. Beams at me like a fucking lunatic, and nods.
Gives me the out.
I flash him a quick smile and move toward the door, and he steps to the side, giving me a sardonic smile.
Because he’s Gabe.
And this is Green County.
And nothing here changes. Not really.
The door opens and Brandon Archer steps through, all long legs and wide shoulders and a face that’s so fucking pretty it’s almost painful. His green eyes, so expressive and alive, find me and go blank. And I almost drop my bags.
Because if there was ever a mistake I made, it was him. Eli comes in a half-step behind, and a half-foot taller. His eyes warm as he pushes past Archer to wrap me in a hug.
It’s been about twelve hours since I saw my foster brother, so of course he’s tackle hugging me in CinSations. While Archer watches, those moss-green eyes probing me. I squeak and Elijah relinquishes me reluctantly. I drive an elbow in his gut. “Dumbass. You spill my coffee, you replace it.”
He doesn’t even blink. He just shoots a quick look at Archer, an eyebrow quirked in question.
Because of course they don’t talk. How silly. Why would they?
See—this right here? This is why I left. Because I can’t handle seeing the epic fucking bromance that is Elijah Beasley and Brandon fucking Archer.
I shift, and Archer smiles, a slow curling thing that I want to smack off his face. “Hazel, sugar, you need a hand?”
My smile feels more feral than sweet, and his eyes are sparkling, that fucking, amused
she’s so cute
light I’ve seen for so long. “Thanks, but Gabe is helping me. Right?” I side eye my friend who gives me this extravagant bow that doesn’t say, you just blew me off.
Thank Christ for Gabe.
I twist. “Have a good day, Officer.”
Gabe snorts at that as he takes my bag and one of my coffees. I think I’m in the clear. That I’m safe, and out of the danger zone that is
And then his hand closes around my arm, and it pulls me to a stop.
He’s always been ridiculously able to pull me to a complete stop with almost nothing. “You can’t hide in that farmhouse forever, Hazel,” he murmurs, and I flush.
Damn fair skin. A blush is too fucking easy to see and he’s always been too fascinated with pulling them from me. I can almost feel the low chuckle he gives as he lets me go, and I fall back a step.
It’s a retreat, and that’s just another reason I scowl at him. “Tell Eli I’m making dinner on Sunday. Mom is coming over.” I push past him and Gabe slips an arm around my shoulder, ignoring Archer’s tension. “You aren’t invited,” I add, all sugar sweet. And then I’m gone. Outside and Gabe is steering me to my truck.