Series: Girls' Night Trilogy # 2
Sometimes friends make the best lovers.
This one is for anyone who’s ever quietly loved another. For anyone who needs to be reminded of their innate self worth. New York Times bestselling author Selena Blake brings you a brand new contemporary romance novel that will make you believe in happily ever after, again.
Gretchen Mascoe has had a ‘thing’ for Greg Fairchild for years, however the timing has never been right. So she sat on the sidelines, watching him date woman after woman. It’s time to tell him how she feels or move on with her life, but how do you move on when you know in your bones he’s the one?
When a tragic car accident leaves Greg dependent on Gretchen’s generosity and nursing skills, he sees a whole new side to his sister’s usually quiet and laced up friend. Especially when making love somehow works its way into his healing process. Suddenly, he’s falling hard and it’s not just her chocolate chip cookies he’s after. Will his survivor’s guilt ruin their chance at happily ever after?
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Accolades & Reviews
Selena Blake has penned another brilliantly captivating story! ~ Karen, amazon
Lots of steamy romance with very inspiring story to balance it. ~ Angela, amazon
I loved Gretchen’s strong personality even when she shows weakness. ~ Cilicia, amazon
She heard Baby Campbell’s giggle and narrowed her gaze on their friend who held court like she was a princess. Gretchen wished that she could be that comfortable in her own skin. Since college, she’d watched Baby charm man after man, smiling and flirting, using body language that Gretchen had yet to master. But most of all, Baby had gumption. She went after what she wanted.
Last week’s Girls’ Night had driven home just how badly Gretchen needed gumption in her own personal life. School and business gave her no such problems but two faulty relationship attempts had left her shy in the man department.
That was going to change. From now on she would follow Baby’s lead and go after what she wanted.
Since Trevor was a former NFL star, he had plenty of tall, rich and built-like-a-bomb-shelter friends for Baby to flirt with. Unfortunately, the only man Gretchen was interested in had disappeared out the side door about five minutes ago and she was curious what had pulled him away. Like the rest of his family, he loved football.
A roar of displeasure echoed through the room and a dozen or so people jumped to their feet. Trevor, ever the voice of reason, waved his hands up and down to calm everyone. “There’s still two more quarters, guys. Lots of game left.”
A beer commercial filled the screen, signalling half -time, a bunch of guys headed for the bar. Gretchen leaned around the bulging biceps and searched the crowd for JJ.
“Now who are you looking for and don’t tell me ‘nobody.’” Cindy said.
“JJ,” Gretchen replied.
“Is it half time already?” Cindy murmured, more to herself than asking a question.
They shared a grin, excited about the surprise proposal awaiting everyone.
Where had…there she was. JJ nodded at Gretchen.
That was her cue. Crossing her fingers that she didn’t mess this up, she quickly turned to the elaborate TV remote next to her wine glass. They’d gone over her part in today’s activities yesterday, but Gretchen had never seen a TV remote that was nothing but a giant touch pad full of virtual buttons and certainly not one that controlled multiple TVs and audio.
Luckily, things worked just like they were supposed to. The beer commercial paused, the audio silenced and there was a backlash in the crowd and a fair amount of “what the hell?”
JJ left Trevor’s side and stepped in front of the main TV. Smiling at everyone, she looked considerably less nervous than Gretchen felt.
“We won’t miss anything, I promise—” JJ started.
“What’s goin’ on, babe?” Trevor asked.
The murmurs quieted as everyone turned their attention to the woman in skinny jeans and a New York Wolves jersey.
Gretchen noticed Greg step through the doors that led to the terrace and glance at his sister. Like all the Fairchild men, he was tall and lean with dark brown hair and ridiculously blue eyes. Those blue eyes let him get away with murder as far as she was concerned; there was a permanent twinkle that often left her breathless. Right now her body relaxed as a feeling completion, rightness, took hold. When he was near, everything was just as it should be.
A slight smile curved up his lips and she couldn’t help but think of long winter nights kissing on a couch. In addition to being JJ’s step brother, he was also her business partner so Gretchen assumed that he knew what was about to happen.
“I’m so glad everyone could make it.” JJ’s voice pulled Gretchen back from her fantasy land where only she and Greg existed.
“Super Bowl Sunday is a big day in our family and this year’s Extravaganza is the biggest yet. Trevor and I are thrilled to host the party and so glad all of you came to help us break in the house.”
Everyone laughed, charmed.
Shoulders back with a hint of a smile on her pretty face, JJ surveyed the room. Then she focused on Trevor and her smile widened.
“I know everyone here knows Trevor pretty well. What you might not know is that I used to interview him during my time as a sports journalist. Over the years I lost track of the times he asked me out.”
She sent him a sweet smile but he made playful ‘stabbed in the heart’ motions with his hands. Gretchen chuckled.
“I always regretted turning him down. Last fall I was in New York and to make a long story short, I ran into him again. He was manning his cousin’s shoe store so Jamal and Kendra could take a honeymoon. Is it any wonder I fell for him?”
There were plenty of sighs from the ladies and a bit of male ruckus since JJ was getting into mushy territory.
“Anyway, a young co-worker was leaving for the day and told me to ask Trevor if I needed anything. I didn’t know it at the time but I’d be asking for Trevor’s help plenty over the next few months. Which leads to today. There’s one more thing I need to ask.”
Gretchen sighed and clung to the bar so she didn’t melt into a puddle. Hopefully someone was videotaping this because it was so romantic.
JJ took a deep breath and Gretchen was pretty sure the rest of the room knew what was coming as they all seemed to be holding their breath as well.
“Trevor Wyatt, all around best guy I know and kick-ass wide receiver, will you marry me?”
Yep, Gretchen’s heart melted. JJ’s blue gaze was filled with love and focused on Trevor like twin lasers. There was a beat of silence and then an eruption of cat calls and cheers, well wishes and bawdy jokes.
Trevor wasted no time sweeping JJ up into his arms and Gretchen rushed forward to save the beer bottle dangling precariously from his fingertips. He shot her a quick look of thanks before burying his handsome face against JJ’s neck.
Gretchen heard him mutter “I was supposed to ask you that question.”
Exhaling a sigh, Gretchen stepped back to give them space. Arms tight around JJ’s waist, he spun her around, reminding Gretchen of a scene in a Valentine’s Day commercial.
After setting her back on her feet he pulled something out of his pocket. Gretchen’s heart squeezed in her chest and a sheen of moisture filled her eyes. Trevor took a step back and knelt down. JJ slapped a hand over her mouth.
Even from this angle, Gretchen could see how surprised and happy her friend was. The whole room was silent, anxious, completely focused on the unexpected events of the day. Gretchen snuck a peek at Mr. Fairchild. His grin stretched ear to ear and Mrs. Wyatt had tears in her eyes, her right hand pressed over her heart.
“I already had this picked out,” Trevor said.
Gretchen’s heart squeezed harder and she folded her hands, holding them to her lips. This was better than a romance novel.
“I beat you to the punch,” JJ said and a soft chuckle went through the crowd.
“You did. I’m hoping this answers your question.” He opened his hand and a large diamond ring twinkled from the center of his palm.
JJ nodded and her blonde ponytail bobbed up and down.
“He can’t hear your head rattle,” JJ’s father called.
The room erupted in laughter and JJ joined in. Shoulders still shaking, JJ held out her hand and Trevor slipped the ring into place. She didn’t even pause to study it before she leaned over, gave a quick ‘yes’, and kissed his lips.
A second round of cheers, louder than the first, preceded the rush. Gretchen stepped out of the way just in time to keep from being squished by another massive guy.
“How romantic is that?” she whispered to Cindy.
They hadn’t had any doubt Trevor would say yes; he was just as crazy about JJ as she was about him. But him going down on one knee with a ring had been a sweet surprise.
Gretchen’s smile widened. The plan had gone off without a hitch. Just as JJ had hoped, it was a terrific party and a perfect day.
Looking past the well-wishers, Gretchen caught Greg’s eye and he smiled at her. The world melted away until it was just the two of them sharing something intimate. Almost like an inside joke. Her heart swelled and a tiny tremor of excitement fluttered in the general area of her stomach. He was the only man who’d ever gotten that response from her body. He smiled at her now and she grinned back.
Telling herself it was time to do what she’d come to do, tell him the truth, lay it all out there, she started forward. Three steps into her journey, she skidded to a stop, surprised to see Baby saunter up to him. With a hand on his bicep, the pint sized blonde snagged his full attention, breaking the invisible connection between him and Gretchen. Baby grinned up at him like she was about to make his day.
Gretchen’s smile faded.
Baby gave Greg a thorough, and very obvious, once over. Gretchen’s stomach soured and she clawed back nausea because she’d seen her best friend in action before. They’d visited enough bars and bistros over the years for Gretchen to know when the itty, bitty lawyer was in get-him mode.
She felt like she was watching a slow motion movie. Baby tilted her head to the right, showing off her neck. Even though it was February and cold outside Baby wore a short skirt, knee high boots and a cropped red sweater that hugged her curves. Greg smiled at something she said and the skin around his eyes crinkled.
As Gretchen watched the two of them talk, something inside her shrivelled up and died. That might be a tad melodramatic but it perfectly described the feeling of emptiness and shocking cold that seeped from one cell to the next until her whole body felt chilled.
In fact, her feet were frozen to the floor even though her brain was ordering her to cross the room and… and what? Break up their conversation? Tell Greg that Baby was only using him for sex?
Baby reached for Greg’s hand and she tugged him toward the staircase that led to the house above. Gretchen didn’t want to watch them go but it was like a car accident, you couldn’t turn away. And with every step they took she felt like she was going to hyperventilate.
She’d lost her chance.