They have been chomping at the bit, ready for me to tell their story, which is a weave of past and present. Forever Branded is a tale of love enduring when all hope is lost. Told from Marla and Beau’s perspective, this story will suck you in and let you dive into all the juicy details and secrets revealed! Check out the excerpt below!
Enjoy this morsel of Marla and Beau’s story and check out Forever Branded available May 23rd or pre-order now.
Life had offered me a pretty sweet ride. I had money, status, and privilege. It bought me whatever I wanted, excused any indiscretion, and included me in a VIP world.
But I didn’t give a shit.
None of it really mattered.
I’d lived for years in a fog after Marla broke up with me. I’d only resurfaced when I had a car accident. It cost me my hockey career, my leg shattering as I wrapped my Ferrari F50 around a tree.
I was lucky to walk after that.
Having a near death experience scared me enough to straighten out my life.
I cut out the heavy partying and channeled my energy into becoming a workaholic and a fuckaholic. When I wasn’t at the office or working out, I was screwing every hot woman in Baltimore, trying to get Marla out of my head.
I could still remember how her soft skin tasted, the breathy, pitched moans she made as we went at it. It haunted me at times, even in the middle of a great fuck.
Marla was my first.
I’d loved her so hard, I’d come apart at the seams when she left me.
I’d never been the same since.
Now, I just wanted to punish her.
Especially after seeing her at that party.
After all these years, she still took my breath away as she stood there wide-eyed. My blood ran hot and I wanted to make her squeal like the naughty girl she was hiding under that modest black dress she wore.
A rush of dirty flashbacks ran through my mind, mostly of her opening wide and welcoming me in. I had to control my first instinct to run over, scoop her up, and lay a hard kiss on her sweet, lush mouth.
I had never gotten over her.
I knew it. I lived with it.
I should have been able to let her go and move on.
But she became ground zero for me when she blasted a hole the size of Texas in my heart. For now, I would settle for fucking her up, the way she had so easily done to me.
After I left the party and dumped the disappointed redhead back at her apartment, I sped off in my bright blue Bugatti Veyron as I high-tailed it across town. I had better things to do than waste my time dealing with her shit anyway. She was starting to look at me as if we were more than fuck buddies.
We weren’t ever going to be more than that.
I would never trust a woman again.
Not worth it.
I headed back to the Gators headquarters, where I conducted most of my business. Located in a high-rise, I keyed in my code and made my way up to the fifty-second floor in my private elevator.
As I set foot into the Gators office, everybody perked up.
The boss was in.
I passed a couple of women smiling in my direction, while men nodded in respect, through the glass-plated walls of their offices.
Power was good.
Walking into my spacious office that overlooked the scenic oceanfront, I was determined to dig up dirt on Marla. I had a million other projects that demanded my attention, but I didn’t care.
“Get Mitch on the phone for me, Donna,” I said to my secretary, taking off my jacket and throwing it on one of the leather high back chairs in front of my desk.
“You got it. Want some coffee?” she asked as I paced back and forth, trying to get a hold of myself.
Marla had me all whipped up. I could barely think straight.
“Sure.” I ran my hand through my hair, trying to settle my jets, wondering why that girl always got under my skin.
Donna brought me a cup of Joe, moseying in as if she had all the time in the world. She was in her mid-fifties, with her red hair in a French twist, dressed like she was Peggy on the show Mad Men. She wasn’t crazy about technology, but she was the best damn secretary I could ask for —sharp as a tack, didn’t miss much, and she kept things running smoothly. Just what I liked.
“What’s got you all worked up?” she asked as she watched me pace.
“You don’t want to know.”
“Mm-hmm,” she said, studying me with her perceptive light blue gaze. “I bet it’s a woman.”
“It might be…but you’ll never know.”
I grinned. “You always keep it real, Donna.”
“Someone has to,” she shot back with a grin, turning around and heading toward the front of the office. A couple of seconds later, she shouted, “Mitch on line one,” as I grabbed the phone and sat down behind my big mahogany desk.
“What do you need?” my head of security asked as soon as he heard my voice.
“I need you to do some research for me.”
“Marla Matthews. I want everything on her. Leave no stone unturned.”
“Got it boss.”
I slammed down the phone and sat back in my black leather office chair. I lit a cigar, put my feet on my desk, and thought about what had just happened.
Goddamn Marla Matthews.
Still the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.
Curvy, sensuous, and hot.
She still had it, after all these years.
Twenty-two goddamn years.
I figured she’d be married with two kids by now.
But she’d been at the party all by herself.
It didn’t make sense.
I needed to know why she wasn’t married and being taken care of by another man. My gut clenched as I thought about the last time I saw her. She said some horrible things I would never forgive her for.
I had been completely fooled by her innocent do-gooder act. But underneath her sweet veneer was a heartless woman who didn’t give a shit about anyone.
Least of all, me.
When I’d lived in Toronto, it been easier to put her into the back of my mind. Granted, I had been fucked up for many years, but still, I couldn’t see her because she was thousands of miles away.
However, here in Baltimore, it was hard to resist the temptation of knowing her every move. I could almost breathe her in. No matter where I went.
I knew I would run into her eventually. Still, it had been a shock to my system, watching her stare at me, like she was seeing a ghost.
FUCK! I couldn’t believe I still wanted to know what was going on in her life. It tore me up and I hated that she brought out so much emotion in me.
It hadn’t always been like this.
My first impression of Marla, when I saw her in the library all those years ago was that she was pretty, but a stick in the mud. I remember her being a little frumpy in her overalls and plaid shirt.
Then she got all feisty with me when I showed no interest in that stupid paper on Jane Eyre for that damn Honors English class my dad pushed me into. Her big, brown doe eyes had flashed with anger when I called her boring.
Most girls would have twirled their hair and tried to win me over with a giggle and a smile.
With tears in her eyes, she told me off without a second thought. So much passion in each word as she angrily picked up her notebook from the library table.
Whoa. She had all of my attention as she stalked off, while I sat back, wondering who she was.
How had I not noticed her before?
The sweet, brown eyes.
The long lashes that gave her an innocent, come-hither stare.
And that backside.
Hips for days.
Damn, I got a woody just watching her walk away.