Justice was always the screw up of the Bridges Brothers, and after hitting rock bottom, he is finally ready to turn his life around. Besides building a new business, he wants a meaningful relationship with a woman…for once. The problem is the beautiful brunette who fills his dreams and tortures his reality seems to hate his guts.
After leaving modeling behind, Kaylee wants to be taken seriously as a writer, she yearns for meaning in her life. When she is thrown together on a charity fundraiser with the tall, golden-haired Adonis who grates her last nerve, she discovers there’s more to Justice than meets the eye.
Finding a crack in Kaylee’s armor, Justice goes full throttle to win her over. He wants to be the man Kaylee deserves. Kaylee feels the pull too, but getting close to Justice means revealing a secret from her past she doesn’t want to face.
When I feel Justice lean slightly forward, I startle and turn away. “Well, this sucks,” I say, grabbing my phone and then putting some distance between us, pretending to look around the room.
“Hey, thanks.” He comes up behind me and when I feel him at my back, my pulse quickens with his close proximity. I fold my arms and examine the colors of an abstract painting on the wall. “Why do you hate me so much, Kay?” His voice is soft and deep, filled with emotion. If I didn’t know it was Justice, I’d almost think another man was behind me.
Oddly, a steady pang of something—guilt maybe—causes an ache in my chest. I don’t turn around, only glance over my shoulder. “I don’t hate you, Justice.”
“Oh, so this is how you treat people you like?”
“I didn’t say I liked you either.” I swing to the side and shoot him a quick glance.
“Awesome. Then how do you feel about me?”
“I don’t. I’m…indifferent…dispassionate.”
“Well, shit. I think I’d rather have you hate me.”
I feel him walk away, so I turn and watch him go toward the kitchen. I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but how can I explain something I don’t fully understand myself. If I’m being honest, everything I’ve said is a mirror of how he’s treated me.
I step into the kitchen and find him with his head in the fridge. He pulls out a bottle of Pellegrino water and grabs two glasses from the cupboard.
“Why does it matter to you, anyway?” I ask.
“It just does. You treat me differently than everyone else. Shittier.”
I follow him to the counter where he sets down the glasses and pours us each some water. “So, you think I treat everyone shitty?”
His gaze catches mine for only a moment as we both stand on opposites sides of the kitchen island. “We’re getting off topic here. This is about me.”
“Yeah, everything is.”
“Yes. Besides, you treat me differently too.”
Our eyes lock and it’s as though we’ve both realized there are two sides to every story. Neither of us look away for a good ten seconds, but when I see his mouth move, I pan down to find him licking his lips; my traitorous heart skips a beat. One corner of his mouth quirks. Damn. I finally find the sense to look away just before he speaks.
“Sweetheart, it’s simply a case of rubber and glue.”
I laugh out loud. “Did you really just say that?”
“It’s true. You’ve been giving me crap since day one. Now, I give it back.”
Bestselling author Lia Fairchild writes romance and women’s fiction. Fans of her books praise her endearing, real characters that come to life in stories that will touch your heart. Her latest series, Bridges Brothers, follows four brothers as they attempt to navigate life and love after a tragic family loss.
Fairchild is addicted to the warmth of Southern California and the taste of a dry red wine. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism, a multiple-subject teaching credential, and is also a professional copy editor and ghostwriter. She is a wife and mother of two young adults.