For Zoey Odell, the definition of family is her two best friends, Maya and Addy. So when Maya makes the decision to leave her abusive husband, Zoey is only too happy to lavish her with support and a temporary home. Unfortunately, taking in her best friend also means seeing more of that no good do-gooder, Kellen Bradley.
For Kellen, the definition of family has just been shattered. After finding out that his brother is an abusive monster, he can’t help but question himself and his parents. The one thing he knows for certain is that he’ll do anything to take care of his sister-in-law and her children. For them, he would walk into gunfire, pass through the flames of hell…even go head-to-head with Zoey Odell.
Zoey has no intention of letting him in, but Kellen is done taking her crap. Life has just gotten real and he’s more than ready to shed his nice-guy image. When he finally stands up to her, Zoey starts seeing him in a new light. As the attraction turns mutual, she finds it more and more difficult to hide behind her carefully formed walls. And Kellen is finding himself more and more driven to tear those walls down.
He opened his eyes and for the first time ever, there was fire in them. He stepped toward her and pointed at her. “Here’s how it’s going to be. I’m going to visit my sister and her kids whenever. The fuck. I want. And you’re going to keep your goddamn mouth shut about how much you hate me, especially around those kids. You got no right badmouthing me where they can hear. You understand all that?”
She pressed her lips together to keep from grinning. “Yeah, I understand.”
He stepped back, the fire in his eyes replaced by stunned confusion. He blew out a breath and rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m sorry to have to talk to you like that, but you’ve left me no choice.”
She did laugh, then. She couldn’t help herself. “What’s next, Kellen? Are you gonna spank me and send me to bed?”
He actually blushed.
She stopped laughing and arched her brow. “Is that what you want, Kellen? To spank me?” She was possessed of the desire to flirt. Like a warrior who’d finally met her match on the field of battle, she found a kinship with her enemy. And in her case, a sudden and exciting attraction.
Carter Ashby is a hardworking housewife and homeschool mother by day, and a romance reader and writer by night. She lives in rural Missouri with her husband, three children, and two dogs.