Peaches Taylor spent the last seven years slinging drinks and dodging drunks at the Starkwood Saloon. Some might call it a dead end job, but to her it was an investment—another six months, and she’d have enough money to buy the place.
Life would've been perfect if Eli hadn’t come home.
Eli King is ready to settle down. He stood by his brothers when they needed him, paying the price for their freedom with his own. Now it’s time to claim his reward—the Starkwood Saloon. He’s got the cash to buy the bar, the skills to run it, and just one person standing between him and his dream: Peaches Taylor.
She’s been driving him crazy since they were kids, and not in the good way. When she was six, she shoved a spider down his pants. When he was ten, he locked her in a closet overnight. Then she hot-wired his car at seventeen, and things got ugly…
They’re adults now, and the Starkwood isn’t a toy to fight over—it’s the hill they’ll die on. No prisoners. No compromises. No mercy.
Peaches Taylor and Eli King are going to war.
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“He’s been watching me.”
“Um, I think he’s just drinking a beer,”Megan said. “Maybe checking out your boobs a little, but that’s nothing new.”
Hmm… It couldn’t possibly be that simple, but it did give me an idea. Maybe it was time to create a diversion. I shifted my shoulders, expanding my chest.
Disappointingly, his eyes stayed on mine.
“Someday I’m gonna own this bar, and firing his ass is the first thing I’ll do.”
Megan giggled. “That sounded sort of super-villain-ish. Do you have a lair? I wish I had a lair…”
I blinked, caught off guard. I hadn’t realized that I’d said the words out loud. Eli smirked at me, gloating because he’d just won our little pissing contest. Dammit!
“I can’t believe I wrote to him in prison,” I told her, turning my back on the bikers. “Never should’ve been nice to him. He probably thinks that, deep down inside, we’re friends or something. We’re never going to be friends.”
“Didn’t he give you a ride home after work last night?” she asked, her voice light.
“Gus made him,” I snapped.
“And did Gus make him hug you the other day?”
“He caught me and gave me a noogie. And it hurt, too. It’s not a hug if it leaves bruises.”
“He left bruises?”Megan asked, startled. Shit. I might be able to justify a rumor about him not being able to get it up, but telling her that he’d hurt me for real…yeah, that probably crossed a line.
“No,” I admitted. “That was an exaggeration. But he’s still pure evil, so don’t fall for his shit. Or sleep with him. Every time a waitress sleeps with him, she ends up quitting without notice. Then I have to cover their shifts.”
Megan nodded, looking a little uncomfortable. “Okay, then… Um, I think I’ll go check the bathrooms. Make sure there’s no ugly surprises before things start getting busy.”
“Great idea,” I told her, and she scuttled off. Then I reached for a washcloth because I had lemon juice to clean up. Then I’d have to go back over there and check on them. See if they wanted more… Eli would, I could already tell. Not because he was big on drinking, though.
He just wouldn’t be able to resist an opportunity to order me around.
About Joanna Wylde:
Joanna Wylde started her writing career in journalism, working in two daily newspapers as both a reporter and editor. Her career has included many different jobs, from managing a homeless shelter to running her own freelance writing business, where she took on projects ranging from fundraising to ghostwriting for academics. During 2012 she got her first Kindle reader as a gift and discovered the indie writing revolution taking place online. Not long afterward she started cutting back her client list to work on Reaper’s Property, her breakout book. It was published in January 2013, marking the beginning of a new career writing fiction.
Joanna lives in the mountains of northern Idaho with her family.
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