HOW FOREVER FEELS
Friends First #4
Releasing Oct 13th, 2015
Maya McKay’s heart is as big as Jack Rhodes’s shoulders are broad. Their chemistry is out of control, but it could never work between them because Jack is more than just best friends with her cheating ex-husband—they’re like brothers. Maya, the sensitive, practical florist, has given up on love and is ready to settle for like. But now that Jack’s around again, he’s stirring up old feelings—and turning Maya’s fantasies into irresistible reality.
Jack blew his chance with Maya years ago when he stepped aside for his best friend, Will, and he’s still kicking himself about it. Maya was promised forever once before, and she got burned. But when Jack realizes that second chances aren’t going to fall out of the sky, he seizes the moment—and the woman he’s always loved—to show her how forever truly feels.
“So what brings you to town?” Ellie asked. “And if you mention Dickhead’s name in your next sentence, you’re buying a round for the whole room.”
“Thanks for the heads-up,” Jack muttered, giving the packed house a quick glance. “The company I work with is moving one of our offices up here, so I’m keeping an eye on things to make sure it all stays on track and we get going on time. I talked to the contractor the other day and it sounds like we’re on course, so hopefully—”
“Duh!” Groaning, Jayne thumped the heel of her hand against her forehead. “You’re Gamer-guy-Jack from TMJ! That’s why I know your name—Nick told me someone was coming to take over for Keith but I didn’t make the connection between you and him. “
“You know Nick Scott?”
“Sorry.” Maya laughed. “Let me try the introductions again. Jack, this is Jayne Scott, Nick’s wife, and if he’s doing the work, you’ll have no worries about staying on track.”
“Good, because the lease we have right now is up in mid-November, so we’re already pushing our luck.”
“Nick said you work out of Seattle,” Jayne said. “So are you going to stay when the new place is finished or are you just here on loan?”
“Just a loaner,” he said. “Until Keith’s back.”
“And are you staying with”—Jayne stopped and winked at Ellie—“He Who Must Not Be Named?”
“No.” Jack blinked past Jayne and shrugged. “That hotel by the golf course gave us a good deal, so—”
“Us?” Ellie asked. It was only one word, but it covered a lot of territory.
He turned his grin to Maya. “Me and Pete.”
“Pete’s with you?” Maya cried. She’d never considered herself much of a dog person until she’d met Pete. “How is he?”
“Still the same; big, brown, and a little bit pathetic.” Jack pulled out his phone and flashed a couple pictures of his chocolate Lab, starting with the one of Pete as a chubby nine-week-old puppy and ending with a recent one of him with two tennis balls stuffed in his mouth and his right ear flopped back.
“How old is he now?” Maya asked. “Eight?”
“Coming up next month, yeah.”
They were all still gushing over him as Ellie continued to pepper Jack with questions.
“Ever been married?”
“Sorry, Jack,” Maya muttered. “Ellie, the Queen of Tact, doesn’t believe in beating around the bush.”
“It’s fine.” He chuckled but Maya knew it was forced. “And no, never been married.”
“Got any kids?”
“Nope. It’s just Pete and me,” Jack said, tucking his phone away again. “I told you, boring.”
“I don’t believe that,” Ellie said, watching him through narrowed eyes. “You don’t look like the boring type.”
There was never a day that went by when Maya didn’t know how lucky she was to have these three women as her best friends, but nights like this made her appreciate them even more. Following Ellie’s lead, they spent the next hour or so dragging all kinds of stories from him; everything from him being the tall, skinny awkward kid at school, to the craziest date he’d ever been on—the girl showed up in a leopard-print catsuit complete with tail and ears—to the time he literally ran into Thor at Comic-Con.
“He’s a big sonuvabitch, that one.”
“Looked in a mirror lately, Jack?” Regan laughed.
“Yeah, easy for you guys to laugh about it,” he said. “But I wound up flat on my ass surrounded by security.”
“Way to make an impression,” Maya snickered. “There goes any chance you might have had to get him to voice one of your games.”
A slow smirk spread across Regan’s face as she sat up straighter. “If it’s voices you need, why don’t you get Maya to hit up her new boyfriend, Griffin Carr?”
“Griffin Carr?” Jack’s eyes bulged. “You mean . . . no . . . Like just-started-filming-the-next-Bond-movie Griffin Carr?”
“One and the same.f” Ellie nodded, but Maya was already shaking her head.
“He’s not my boyfriend. We’ve been out a few times, that’s it.” Okay, it was a little more than that now, but she couldn’t exactly tell the girls about it with Jack sitting there staring at her.
“Sorry, Snip, you’re going to have to give me more than that. ”
It took her a few seconds to say anything else, partly because she was in mid-sip of her wine and partly because she was dragging that sip out as long as she could.
“He’s been filming up here a lot in the last few years and likes to use Regan as his stylist.”
“And a few months back, he and Regan made a deal where she’d be his stylist for an indie film he was doing if he’d agree to play on our slo-pitch team in a charity game, which is where he and Maya met.”
Jack nodded. “Right, I remember Will saying something about the game.”
Ellie nodded pointedly. “I’m guessing Dickhead neglected to mention that Griffin was all over Maya like white on rice.”
“But she was playing hard to get,” Regan added. “Because she thought he was a sleazeball.”
“And I already admitted I was wrong,” Maya said, forcing a dry laugh. “And that I shouldn’t believe everything I hear or read about him, so can we get over that, please?”
Regan popped a couple peanuts in her mouth and grinned. “I’m telling you, Jack, that game was one of the best things I’ve ever witnessed; we had Griffin putting the moves on Maya for all the world to see, and we had Dickhead and his skank with front row seats to the show. It was beautiful.”
Maya was sure Will’s scowl that day had little to do with the fact that Griffin was hitting on her and more to do with the fact that Stella spent the entire game the same way every other woman—and a few of the men—did: drooling over Griffin and doing whatever she could to get his attention.
A better person might not have found any satisfaction in Will’s misery, but Maya never claimed to be that good of a person.
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USA Today Bestselling author, Laura Drewry had been scribbling things for years before she decided to seriously sit down and write. After spending eight years in the Canadian north, Laura now lives back home in southwestern British Columbia with her husband, three sons, a turtle named Sheldon, and an extremely energetic German shepherd. She loves old tattered books, good movies, country music, and the New York Yankees.