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Luckily for me, The Real Werewives have decided to create a reality show around finding forever mates for the team. I sign up, only wanting to get his attention. Get in, get help, and get out of Alaska as soon as possible. Landon signed up for a reality show, so maybe he’s ready to change his player ways. This fox shifter has been a hound dog for too long.
When I place the winning bid for a date with Landon at a Bloodhounds bachelor auction, damn if there isn’t a spark. He’s been avoiding tackles and commitment as long as I’ve known him, but now that he’s at the end of his career, he’s thinking about a future... with me.
Am I ready to call Holiday Falls home?
Maybe that spark will turn into a fire before the camera. That is, if our daughter doesn’t steal the show.
- Growly, protective fox shifter over 40
- Grumpy hero, sunshine heroine
- Star quarterback hero
- Curvy heroine over 40 starting over
- Dating Reality Show
- Second chance romance
Read Chapter One
Read Chapter One
Keeping my daughter Fiona in line was like trying to shove
hornets back into their nest after I kicked it.
“A tattoo? Really?” There wasn’t enough coffee in the world
for this nonsense so early in the morning. “Please tell me that’s fake.”
The plastic and tape that protected the healing wound said otherwise.
She wrinkled her nose and shrugged. When she did that, she looked so much younger than three months away from eighteen. For a second, she
was my little girl again. “I’d hate to tell you a lie.”
“How did you get that thing? You didn’t get another fake ID,
did you?” I groaned. I’d shut that shop down with one phone call.
“Don’t need one. My boyfriend Max is a tattoo artist.”
“Your boyfriend? Max? Tattoo artist?” That one sentence
cemented my induction into the Failed Parent Hall of Fame. In that guy’s defense, Fiona probably told him as many tall tales as she told me. I’d have to
make an appointment with him to compare notes. I had a feeling he wouldn’t be the only one in for a shock. “I take it you didn’t stay at Annie’s last night.”
My daughter was pretty much grounded until her fiftieth
birthday, but her best friend Annie was a sweet girl—at least she used to be—and I held out hope that some of that would rub off on Fiona. So far, it never worked that way. My girl had raised trouble to an art form.
She wrinkled her nose again. This time she looked like her
dad, a fox shifter. “I said I wouldn’t lie.”
The important thing was she was home in one piece, and this time, without a police escort. I had to celebrate the little victories. “Come
here. Let me see it.”
Hopefully Max was better at his art than he was with common sense. I didn’t want to think about what other ways he’d gotten under her skin.
The cream from my coffee curdled in my stomach.
Fiona took a couple steps closer, wincing like she either
regretted her decision or she feared I’d slap her. I was far more tempted to wring her neck. She was taller than me now and I had to get out of my chair and go up on my tiptoes to peel back the wrapping to see what she had done.
“You’re so lucky. It’s actually pretty.” The tattoo was
stars with swirl patterns between them. It was on the top of her shoulder and
trailed down to her back. It was big, but she probably wouldn’t regret it for at least a few years.
“See? You should trust me.” How she said that with a
straight face was beyond me.
“Hell no. Go to your room. Go to bed, because I’m sure you
haven’t had any sleep.” I was only up this early because old habits die hard. I didn’t have my restaurant anymore, but my internal alarm clock had me up at four every morning. “Where’s your phone?”
“Ma, come on.” She grabbed her purse and held it protectively against her.
“Give it to me.” I held my hand out. We had a stare down
until she remembered who paid the bill. “What’s the code?”
“Are you serious?” She knew the answer to that question. She sighed. “Six seven eight nine.”
“Thank you. Wash that thing with antibacterial soap and go
to bed. I’ll figure out your punishment while you’re sleeping.” I sighed.
Fiona was halfway up the stairs before I had a chance to
take my next sip of now-lukewarm coffee. Mornings like this made me think I
should spike it.
I’d been like my daughter once and that was how I wound up a
single parent. I lived for the moment and never worried about the future. That
was the most painful part, watching her make the same mistakes I’d made. Like
her, I’d been lucky. Until I wasn’t. Her father wound up being one of the top
quarterbacks in the Continental Football Association. The check showed up on time every month, but that was about all we got from him. Going from city to city and living and breathing football didn’t leave a lot of time for being a dad. I made excuses for him because it was easier than admitting he didn’t want
to be in our lives. I was guilty, too. We’d been more in lust than love when Fiona came into the picture. Lust doesn’t last, and I had dreams too. They
didn’t die when I became a mom. I would’ve never succeeded in the restaurant
business if I had to move every time he got traded.
But every once in a while, I wondered how my life would be different if I'd stayed with Landon Fox.
If he’d been more than a hookup. If the condom didn’t break. If he’d bothered to tell me he was a freaking shapeshifter before he knocked me up. If we could’ve looked past our differences and tried to make things work
for our daughter. If he loved anything or anyone as much as he loved football.
I wasn’t bitter. My seventeen-year-old daughter just got a
tattoo and I’d just been blindsided by a divorce, which led to the downfall of my business. My other baby. So I was a little overwhelmed.
Not ready to trust myself not to give this Max guy a piece
of my mind if I unlocked Fiona’s phone and peeked at the messages, I locked it
in my desk drawer and indulged myself in my favorite guilty pleasure.
The Real Werewives of
The reality show had yet to debut. I followed the site with
the same morbid curiosity I watched those TV shows about serial killers. It was full of teasers and trailers, and I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to see what they’d do next. A flock of women had descended upon Alaska in hopes of becoming
the true mate of an Alaska Bloodhound player. The Alaska Bloodhounds that included my baby daddy, Landon Fox.
I reconsidered Fiona’s phone. I’d have to snap a pick of
that tattoo and send it to him. To see if he even cared.
As I sat at my empty desk—Charlie, my ex-husband, took the paperwork and the chaos away from me along with the business—I realized what
I’d done up until now didn’t work anymore. I couldn’t learn from my mistakes until I fixed the biggest one.
I had to teach my daughter not to follow in my footsteps.
Grounding her and telling her what she couldn’t do would only make her more creative in her rebellion. I didn’t want her to shut me out. My heart was still in pieces from the divorce. Okay, a little more over the loss of the restaurant, which was what sent the marriage into the danger zone. But waking up alone in a cold, empty bed every morning sucked.
For the first time since Fiona was born, I had no idea what
to do with myself next. Besides keep her out of jail. I’d always had a plan—for her, for my career—and now I had nothing.
I clicked to my favorite part of the Real Werewife site, the "Ask a Werewife" page. People
wrote to ask the Werewives about fashion, football, and of course, the Alaska
Bloodhounds. They wanted to know what their favorite first date activities were, who was the best in bed, and they had tons of questions about Landon. He was the star of the team—still ruggedly gorgeous even after eighteen years in
the league. That jackass actually looked better now that he’d gone gray.
I started typing in the box that said, "Have a question? Ask a Werewife!"
What would Landon Fox
tell a single mom whose teenage daughter came home with a brand-new tattoo…
Nah, too soon. I erased it. Sending pictures with no
explanation would pack much more of a punch. At least if they didn’t, I wouldn’t be publicly humiliated. I had enough of that to last a lifetime, having to explain why my restaurant, which had been packed every night, suddenly
closed after ten years.
Charlie’s name had been on everything. When he decided the
bartender was a better business—and pleasure—partner than I was, I was out. My beloved farm to table concept, gone. They were turning my former restaurant,
Bella, into a sports bar. The plan to make it sound like my decision fell apart when it became obvious I had no plan for my own future.
I wanted something different this time. Maybe it wasn’t
work. I thought food was love, but I’d spent too much time feeding the wrong people. They loved me while they were there, then left money on the table and disappeared without a word. It was time to concentrate on my family, what was left of it, and myself. Not professionally—the walls of my office were full of framed magazine articles about my work. But me.
I sat in this empty office and I had no idea what to do
besides cook. I’d fed myself enough of my feelings since the restaurant closed and my pajama pants were the only ones that fit comfortably.
Drumming my fingers on my keyboard, I considered going back to bed. No, I’d lie there and feel sorry for myself. My gaze fell to the pink button at the top corner of every page on The Real Werewives website.
Do you have what it takes to be a Real Werewife?
The other reason I really didn’t want to go back to bed was because recently I’d been starring in a foolish fantasy where my first love was also
the one that lasted forever. That Landon, Fiona, and I were a family. A screwed up one, but what family wasn’t? After all, he was available. Elusive as hell; the ladies on the show were finding that out the hard way, just like I had. So far, only previews of the show were available online but I’d watched them all. The ones featuring Landon more than once.
Okay, Jenna, shut down
the website and start planning your new restaurant. I could have anything I wanted now. I didn’t have to rely on Charlie co-signing my business loans
anymore. I took out a notebook and scribbled a few things down.
I scratched that one out. She’d only seduce her roommate and
they’d tear the place up. Trouble wafted from her pulse points like perfume.
Besides Fiona making good decisions, all those things were
totally realistic. I just had to do them. The laptop screen blazed in front of me, that pink button taunting me like a dare.
I could change my life. All I had to do was find out if I
had what it took to be a Real Werewife.