Old Habits Die Hard.
Ryan Campbell is not only leaving his title of Professor behind to move on to bigger and better things at Simon and Warden Publishing, he’s also become Seattle’s rising literary star. Sitting on the overwhelming cusp of newfound fame, he learns soon enough that being popular has its downside.
Attracted to the buzz surrounding his new career, former lovers begin to creep back into his life, and potential ones emerge with enticing advances. While he works to juggle reserved, yet stressful, wedding plans with Kate and his new public image, he has enough to manage without worrying about Carter and Dean—Kate’s loveable albeit eccentric friends—and their latest shenanigans.
Surrounded by a lifestyle that includes temptation at every turn, Ryan finds himself immersed in a world full of scandal and lies, where his oldest weaknesses thrive and his ghosts return to haunt him. Questioning whether his life with Kate is his best path, he must discover if he’s still capable of being the man he aspired to be when she first became his, or if happily ever after is only an illusion.
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And then I spotted her, and that mouthwatering gave way to full-on drooling.
Her back was to me as she sat perched on a stool at the bar, one leg crossed over the other, her dress’s low-cut back leaving me scanning the room for any eyes that might be taking in the sight of her porcelain skin. I knew this was an island and the weather was hot, but fuck, was she purposely trying to toy with me? Anyone could see what was only meant for me, and that did frustrating, terrible things to me. The dark red dress made her pale skin striking, the dark green of the surrounding decorative palm trees framing her in dramatic, sultry light. She was a caramel apple, covered in layers of sweet, lush temptation.
I stalked forward to take a bite, stilling the second I caught a tall, dark-haired man glide to her side. His hand snaked around her bare back as he leaned in to speak near her ear and I tensed, my knuckles tightening and turning white at my sides. She turned slightly to peer up at him, nodding and smiling, and I saw red as dark as her dress.
Slinging my suit jacket over my shoulder, I resumed my stride toward her, gaze fixed on the thin fingers still rested on her lower back.
"Hi, Kate," I said coolly, peeling my eyes from the man's fingers to glare at his slimy face. He might've been wearing a sharp black suit and a radiant, charming smile, but it was fake as hell and I saw all I needed to know in his beady brown eyes the moment our gazes locked.
Kate pivoted around to face me, and Slime Bag dropped his hand from her back, his fake smile faltering as he tried to discreetly distance himself a few inches. "Ry, you're late, I was starting to wonder what happened. You didn't text." She leapt from the stool and tackled me, throwing her arms around my neck.
My eyes didn't leave Slime Bag. "Sorry, baby, my flight was late and my cell service has been shit since I landed. Happy to see me?" I finally glanced down at her and tossed her a crooked grin, my pulse accelerating when I registered the magnitude of her excitement. She was just as thrilled to see me, and that kick started the damn swelling sensation in my chest that had lodged itself there ever since I made her mine. No other woman brought that machine to life. Only Kate and her soulful eyes, daring mouth, and strong will.
Slime Bag here, on the other hand, was prompting other kinds of swelling in my chest—a concoction of fresh, hot anger and searing pangs of irrational jealousy. Fuck, this woman made me crazy. "I missed you," I whispered into her ear, pressing my lips to her temple before bringing my gaze back to Slime Bag. I extended a hand out of courtesy, keeping the other planted firmly on Kate's back. "The fiancé. And you are?"
Reservation Official Playlist:
Mynabirds – Disaster (Dinner at Sam’s)
Snow Patrol - Run
Will. I. Am. ft. Britney Spears – Scream and Shout
Justin Timberlake – Like I Love You
Lady Gaga - Telephone
Dido - Let Us Move On
Lady Gaga – Bad Romance (The Chateau scene)
Florence and the Machine - Kiss with a Fist (Ryan’s Ringtone, Kate and Ryan Kitchen Scene)
Elbow - Grounds for Divorce (Ryan and Kate’s road trip to the San Juans)
Nirvana – You Know You’re Right (On Ryan’s iPod)
Nirvana - Heart Shaped Box (On Ryan’s iPod)
Timbaland - The Way I Are
Brandi Carlile - Dying Day
Bush - Glycerine
Smashing Pumpkins - Disarm
The Cranberries - Zombie
Pearl Jam – Even Flow
Soundgarden - Blackhole Sun
Seether - Truth
Brittany Spears – Break the Ice
Kings of Leon - Closer
Fergie - London Bridge (Carter and Dean’s appearance at the Henson Event)
Justin Timberlake - What Goes Around
Rihanna – Russian Roulette
Alex Clare (Etta James Cover) - Damn Your Eyes (Chateau VIP room scene)
Lady Gaga – Paparazzi
The Lumineers – Ho Hey (Epilogue)
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