Near Perfect~ Excerpt

by Ashlynmathews on June 4, 2014

Near PerfectNear Perfect is almost ready to be released! Here’s the blurb:  Not one to take a chance, Lucy Badeaux takes the biggest one when she moves two states north of her hometown. The location is perfect. Her job and schedule is perfect. Getting away from the drama of her ex-boyfriend hooking up with her stepsister . . . perfect. Too bad living next door to hunkiest of hunks, Bryce Morgan, ex-Supercross champion extraordinaire, is less than perfect. He mows his lawn too early in the morning, talks too loudly on the phone about his personal issues, and annoys Lucy with his I’m-too-good-for-you cockiness. When he finds her little book of secrets and uses it to bribe her for a face-to-face meeting with her ruthless and overprotective stepdad in the hopes of getting a sponsorship to get back in the races again, Lucy asks for the unthinkable in exchange. Have sexy Bryce pretend to be her boyfriend to get a guy from Lucy’s past to leave her alone. But when the attraction heats up between her and Bryce, Lucy must decide to end the “experiment” and save her pride and her heart. Or let a near perfect friendship be the perfect set-up for love.

Excerpt (unedited):

It was a mistake to take her journal to work, but Lucy had no one to turn to. No, that wasn’t true. There was her best friend. But the last time they’d talked, Jaime sounded worn out from being up all night with a teething baby.

Life was hard enough for Jaime, being a single mom, and all, without Lucy’s family’s drama thrown into the mix. So, Lucy hadn’t texted or called her friend with the news she’d gotten right before the start of her night shift—Lucy’s stepsister was pregnant with Lucy’s ex-boyfriend’s baby.

Instead, during her break, Lucy wrote what she’d felt inside the pages of her red journal.

She’d moved from Palm Springs to the town of Bellingham in northern Washington to get away from her family. Distance obviously wasn’t enough to keep them from hurting her. Sighing, she parted the curtains of her bedroom.

The roar from her neighbor’s motorcycle had woken her. Down below in their shared driveway, it was quiet. Soon, Bryce would walk over and grab the newspaper thrown next to their mailbox post, just like he’d do most mornings.

On some of those early mornings, their eyes would meet. His would be bloodshot, probably from partying all night. Hers were dry and stung by the cold after her bicycle ride home from working her twelve hour shift as a radiology technician at the hospital.

Lucy was ready to close the curtains and return to bed when she spotted the glossy covers of books strewn near the mailbox post. Lying on top of the grass were the books Ellie—the housekeeper she’d befriended—had loaned her.

“Hot stuff to read during your time off,” Ellie had said. The books must’ve fallen out of Lucy’s overstuffed bag. The red binding of one stuck out like a sharp splinter. Her journal. A year’s worth of heartache and frustrations were written in the pages of her little red book.

Her heart pounding, Lucy watched Bryce grab the paper and tuck it between his arm and his side. When he started to turn and head toward his place, she thought she was in the clear. Then he walked back to the stack, picked up each book and glanced at the titles.

She groaned. Was this the time to crawl under her bed and hide from the humiliation of having her hot and sexy neighbor reading titles like:  Riding Shotgun, Two to Tumble, and Eternally Yours? When he got to her journal, Lucy couldn’t watch any longer.

Cursing, she yanked on oversized sweatpants over her pajama shorts and a sweatshirt over her tank top and rushed down the stairs. After tugging on her boots, Lucy swung open the door. Bryce was gone. She stormed to his place and pounded on the door.

The door opened, and Lucy tried not to stare. With his crooked smile, head of curls, intense blue eyes, and recent single status, Bryce Morgan was a catch for sure. But he wouldn’t be caught by her. She found his overconfident, overinflated ego annoying.

Lucy got the vibe Bryce didn’t like her either. Not since the day she’d demanded he stopped mowing his small strip of lawn at nine in the morning. She’d just gotten home at eight after working her night shift.

The noise cut into her sleep. “Can’t you mow the lawn at a decent hour like a normal human being?” she’d asked, more pissed off than she’d been in a long time. He’d given her a once over, shrugged then went back to mowing the lawn. Yeah, there was no love lost between them.

“Something I can help you with?” The twinkle in his eyes told her he realized exactly why Lucy was at his door.

“Hand them over.”

“Hand what over?”

She clenched her jaw. “The books.” Seeing that she wasn’t going to leave, Bryce handed her the books.

Lucy turned them over and glanced at the spines. “Where’s the red one?”

“For that, you’ll have to work for it.”

A growl started low in her throat. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

He started to close the door. She stuck her boot between the door and the frame. He raised a brow. She tipped her chin at him. He smiled. Her heart went pitter-patter. Lucy mentally told her heart to be quiet.

“Come over tonight, and I’ll tell you,” he finally said.

He shamelessly checked her out from head to toe and back up to her face again without even blinking. Her dislike for him returned full force. Lucy couldn’t stand his I’m-too-good-for-you-and-way-out-of-your-league, guts.

“Fine.” She unstuck her boot from between the door and the frame. “But it’ll have to be tomorrow night.” Nodding, he closed the door in her face.

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