Authors: Jessica Wilde
By: Jessica Wilde
Copyright © 2014 Jessica Wilde
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce,
distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means without written consent
from the author.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places,
and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used
fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or
dead, is coincidental.
Cover Photo from Shutterstock.com
Cover design by Jessica Wilde
Other titles by Jessica Wilde
Every One of Me
The Brannock Siblings Series
Leverage (The Brannock Siblings, #1)
Conned (The Brannock Siblings, #2)
"The beauty of life is figuring out how to live it
with someone you love more than yourself."
To my husband, the love of my life. You are my Gus, my
Lucas, my Conall, Charlie, and Andrew. You are every possible hero I have and
will ever write about and I'll love you forever. Thank you for taking this
journey with me.
Table of Contents
"Another one bites the dust," I sang into the
"Shut up, Gus Gus. You're next," Conall grumbled
back at me.
He had just informed me that Emily had moved in with him
back in Denver and things were going really well so far.
"So my big brother is shacking up with a good looking
blonde who has a record," I teased. "That's hot."
He sighed into the phone and I could just see him shaking
his head and clenching his fists. He probably wanted to punch me.
"God, I want to punch you right now," he confirmed
and I threw my head back with laughter.
"Good. I wouldn't be me if I didn't tempt my siblings
into beating the shit out of me. Ash got enough hits in to last her a while,
but you, my brother, were too busy falling in love to pay any attention to me.
I feel your pain."
He chuckled and the twinge I always felt in my chest when I
was away from my family twisted. I missed them already.
When a rhythmic thumping sound came from the other side of
my bedroom wall, I rolled my eyes.
"What the hell
that?" Con asked,
irritating me more that
could hear the noise over the phone.
I shot to my feet and started for my front door. "It's
my God damn neighbor. She's always turning on some bullshit music and blasting
it so loud that it wakes me up."
I'd been working late shifts for months now and spent the
mornings catching up on some much needed shuteye. My neighbor, a short, red
haired pain in the ass, knew that and didn't give a damn about it. At least
three times a week, she blasted some kind of kid music and annoyed the hell out
At first, I just let it go and started going to sleep the
minute I got home to make sure I got enough, but the last couple weeks since
I'd been back in town, it had been too much. It was time to say something.
Conall was laughing, "Serves you right, man. You need
to be nicer to her. By the way, how are things going with that girl from the
"Great, I'm meeting her in person next week and
, I'm nice to her. I just don't like cookies that taste like
cardboard and thirteen year old chocolate."
When she first moved in several months ago, she had tried to
be a good neighbor and bake me some cookies. She was hot, so I accepted them
and planned on asking her out later on.
"It's the thought that counts," he mumbled.
"Not when it forces me to spend two hours on the toilet
He laughed so hard I had to pull the phone away from my ear.
Yeah, I wasn't exaggerating either. Ended up getting bottles
of Tums and laxatives with big bows tied around them on my desk for the next
couple weeks. It wasn't pretty.
When she brought me another plate, I politely declined and
it ended up causing some tension. Found out she wasn't as angelic as I thought
and she was an even worse cook. We'd had several arguments about her cooking
when it made the entire floor smell like bigfoot had taken a big old shit in
the hallway. The stench lasted a week and we'd been enemies ever since. Well,
maybe not enemies. We just pretty much hated each other and let the other know
by means of little pranks here and there. They weren't terribly mean, but one
actually ended up getting the cops called on me.
I'd found a way into her apartment and left a 'Cooking for
Dummies' book on her kitchen counter. I was in and out faster than you could
'I was just trying to help'
. No one saw me, but she knew who'd left
it the second she laid eyes on it.
Thank the good Lord the officers who showed up were ones I'd
worked with frequently, otherwise I would have had to deal with more crap for
another few weeks. Revenge would have been sweet, but the consequences were
I yanked open my front door and started down the hall a
short distance to her apartment. I wasn't going to put up with that crappy
music anymore. I heard Emily's voice in the background and Conall could barely
stop laughing long enough to tell her what was going on.
He'd been a lot happier since meeting Emily, a lot more laid
back, even with all the shit that went down with her brother. It's too bad she
didn't grow up with a good family the way we had, but what better way to get
one than with us, right?
"I gotta go, Con. Time to throw down the law."
"Whatever, Gus. Emily says 'Hi'. Let me know how it
goes next week. We'll see you soon, yeah?"
I pocketed my phone and took a deep, cleansing breath to
calm my rattled nerves. I wasn't angry enough to accidently disrespect the
woman, but I was definitely at the end of my rope. Work was getting crazy with
all the kids gone missing and it was hard to
bring that shit home
with you. It amazed me how many parents just let their children play around
Hello people! We live in Detroit. It's not purgatory, but it
isn't the golden gates of heaven either.
Con's reminder that I was going to be meeting someone great
next week calmed me down. I hadn't meant to tell Con about it and if I found
out he spilled the beans to Luke, there would be hell to pay. Being a detective
for missing children didn't really leave much time for me to go out and meet
people. I'd joined a dating site in secret, one that didn't require you to give
real names or pictures, just to see what happened and ended up talking to the
coolest girl I had ever met. She was funny and smart and I had a good feeling
she was absolutely gorgeous. We'd agreed to not send any pictures once we started
talking since we both didn't feel comfortable with it. But we talked on the
phone a couple times a week and it was a miracle I hadn't been caught while I
was back in Oakland.
I pounded on the door and waited. A few seconds later, the
music turned down and I heard giggling from the other side.
The door opened a crack and there she was, hiding behind the
chain with a knowing smile.
Damn, she's pretty
, I thought. Too bad she's
"Can I help you, Fergus?" she asked sweetly.
"Yeah, Red, you can. The music is too loud, has been
She rolled her eyes and shut the door. My jaw dropped in
shock at her rudeness until I heard the sound of the chain sliding and she
opened the door a moment later, a little wider so I could just see inside her
apartment. It was a mess.
"My name isn't Red, it's Aiden."
Same difference. The meaning for Aiden is 'fire'. She has
red hair. Big fucking coincidence if you ask me.
"Whatever, Red. Just turn the music down. I gotta get
. It's not
"Then whose is it?" I asked, narrowing my eyes at
She smiled and took a step back, opening the door a little
wider. Behind her was a tiny little red haired beauty dressed in a princess
gown and holding a wand with a heart on the end of it. The top of her head
would probably reach up to my mid thigh, she was so small. Her little smile
looked like an angel's and she giggled when Red told her to say hi.
I swallowed, knowing exactly what I'd gotten myself into.
"Fergus, did you have something to tell Little
Aiden?" Red asked sarcastically.
I turned my eyes to her and shot daggers into those dark
brown swirls of hers.
"You named you're daughter after you?" I asked,
trying to be an asshole on purpose.
She rolled her eyes again, "She isn't my daughter.
She's my niece. My sister liked the name and when she came out with red hair,
it seemed fitting."
"She's the reason for the music? Almost every
She smiled again and I felt my stomach flip. Why'd my arch
enemy have to be so smoking hot?
"Yep. I watch her while her mom works. She's a nurse so
it changes every so often."
I swallowed again and looked back down at the little girl.
She had freckles covering her face and a little button nose that actually
looked a lot like Red's.
"Yes?" she pressed, and for the first time in my
life, I turned away from a challenge.
Just walked away without a word.
I heard her chuckle softly and clenched my fists. Then
Little Aiden giggled and squealed, making my heart do a tiny flip. It was a
I hurried into my apartment and leaned against the door.
"What the hell was that?" I asked no one and
rubbed my sternum, hoping to relieve the panic in my chest.
I don't know how long I stood there, but my phone chimed
with a text message, pulling my thoughts back to reality. I loved kids, always
wanted some for my own. That little girl was a wakeup call, though. She tugged
at my heart with just a smile.
My phone showed a text from MysteryGirl. We hadn't given our
names either in case we decided this whole thing wasn't going to work out. She
was definitely my type of woman. Thought like me, had a dirty mind, and I
couldn't wait to lay eyes on her.
MysteryGirl: Why do neighbors suck?
We had a lot in common.
"No. Uh uh! No way am I wearing that!" Aiden
shouted at her sister, Lily. The flowery concoction that the woman had pulled
out of the back of her closet made her want to cover her eyes to avoid getting
a headache from all the bright, nauseating colors.
"What? It's gorgeous! It will look so good, I
She laughed. Loudly. Heartily. Because that was the funniest
damn thing she had ever heard. "Lil, you of all people should know that
," she emphasized, pointing at the offending scrap
of material, "do not look good with colors like
pointed to the mass of bright red curls on the top of her head. "I'd look
like the love child between a rainbow and a unicorn. It's too much."
"Seriously?" Lily scowled at her, "Do you
have to be so dramatic? God, it's like I'm dealing with Aidy all over
Aiden Murphy was
dramatic. She told the truth.
Always. No matter what. And that dress, the one her sister was still holding in
front of her, looked like unicorn barf. It was just so sad.
Her sister had always been her best friend, even when they
were kids. They looked so different from each other so the kids in school never
thought they were sisters which probably made life a lot easier back then.
There was no competition between them.
Lily was beautiful. Always had been, even in those awkward
years as a teen. Her blonde hair was thick and shiny, no matter how she styled
it, it always looked amazing. Her eyes were green, not brown like Aiden's, and
they made her look mysterious, which now days was sexy as hell. She'd always
been thin and after giving birth to Aidy, her body seemed to suck back in to
normal with some added curves here and there. But nothing compared to her
smile. Lily could make anyone fall in love with her with those perfect teeth
and a smile that could slay lesser men. It made Aiden extremely bitter that the
man who stole her sister's heart was such a dick.
Lily was an amazing sister, an even better mother, and a
rock in Aiden's life. The least she could do was be the best damn aunt that
little girl could ever ask for.
"That's because Aidy thinks like her favorite
aunt," she snickered.
aunt! And thank the Lord there aren't
any others. I swear that little girl has multiple personalities already. I
wouldn't be able to handle it," Lily replied with an exaggerated shake of