by Penelope Ward
Growing up, the three of us were friends. He was the nerd. I was the playboy. She was the beauty. Deep down, I only ever wanted her. I kept it inside because Rory and I made a pact that our friend, Amber, was off-limits. He lied. I went off to college, and he got the girl. Amber never knew how I felt. They were together for years—before he broke her heart. Through it all and across the miles, she and I casually stayed in touch. When my job sent me to Boston for a three-month contract position, Amber let me stay in her spare room. Still reeling from her breakup, she’d sworn off men. One night, I opened her computer to find the shock of my life. She’d hesitantly contacted a male escort company. Afraid to date and get her heart broken again, she was looking for sex with no strings. Every emotion imaginable ran through me: protectiveness, jealousy—curiosity. Amber had chosen Gentleman Number Nine and sent him a message. She opened up to him, confessing, among other things, her physical attraction to her friend— me. But she considered me off-limits—and she thought I was a manwhore. (Ironic, considering the circumstances.) Eventually, she set up a date to meet Gentleman Nine at a hotel. When she showed up several nights later to meet him, she got the surprise of her life to see me standing there—with an offer I hoped she wouldn’t refuse. ADD TO GOODREADS
**No Amazon e-book preorder. Will go live on/around release day **G9, Is that what your friends call you? I like that. Thanks for the answers. That’s an interesting question—why tonight of all nights? Well, I saw my ex tagged on Facebook with another woman, and that put me over the edge. But it’s more than that. Lately, I’ve developed a strong attraction to a good friend of mine, and that’s sort of screwing with me a bit. He’s actually temporarily living in my condo, but he’s someone I’ve known for years. I’ve always thought he was extremely handsome, but it’s complicated. He and I would not be a good match romantically. He’s not the monogamous type, or at least, he never used to be. We’re better off as friends. He was also the best friend of my ex years back, so there’s that. Having him around, though, has made me more sensitized to my sexual desires. Little things like the waft of his scent, the way he touches the small of my back when he passes by me in the kitchen…it’s like my body is on this constant state of alert. So, I was thinking if I could just—for lack of a better word—get laid, maybe I could get this feeling out of my system. —Amber My jaw was open as I just sat there staring at the screen. Holy shit. I read it again. And again. And again. I honestly didn’t think that Amber felt that way about me. She would always make jokes about me being good-looking, but her attraction to Rory proved that her taste wasn’t exactly conventional. Now, I really felt like shit for invading her privacy, because there was no way she would’ve been okay with confessing that to me. I never imagined any of this had to do with me. I’d assumed it was solely about Rory. She wanted to use another man to f*ck me out of her system? That revelation left me shocked and confused—not to mention hard as f*ck thinking about the fact that Amber wanted me.
Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She’s a seventeen-time New York Times bestseller. Her novels are published in over a dozen languages and can be found in bookstores around the world. Having grown up in Boston with five older brothers, she spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 13-year-old girl with autism and a 12-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island.
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