A bombshell waitress who wants more. A former FBI agent who wants less … except for her.
Imogene Walsh has always been unapologetically confident and ruthlessly opinionated with people, particularly men. No one is spared from her unfiltered mouth, but it hasn’t seemed to deter Cooper MacKenzie. Although he is not the clean-cut, businessman type she’s always thought she should pursue, Imogene is drawn to the sexy outsider who is the hottest topic in town gossip, the fantasy heartthrob women love to speculate about.
She has spent most of her life in the little town of Hera, NY, putting her numerous forgettable relationships behind her and floundering in both her professional and personal life. Work and men—neither have gone well for her. Now it’s reached the point where she wants to stop playing it safe.
It may be time to live up to her tough reputation and take a chance on Cooper, the only man who isn’t intimidated by Imogene’s brash personality. However, it could be a thrilling ride that doesn't end well.
*This is a standalone novel in the FEARSOME Series. Excerpt 1
My single friends are getting married and
caught up in their newfound blissfully wedded lives of creating homes and being
spouses. Meanwhile, I’m being left behind.
Therefore, I did what any normal woman
would do. I grabbed the first bottle of champagne Lois had opened and got busy,
pushing that tinge of sorrow and jealousy so far down my throat all I could
feel was a complacent numbness.
Now I’m losing the cute, little runt, and
I’m lost, stuck in the maze. I stop running and put my hands on my hips as I catch
my breath while Toby’s giggles continue to grow farther away.
“Imogene,” a deep voice purrs my name,
smooth and rich like sweet liquid on his lips.
When I turn around, he smiles. Man, he is
handsome. I’ve always thought so, but tonight, the moonlight captures his tall,
lean form in an unearthly sight of mythical beauty. His shoulder-length golden
hair shines, and his gray eyes stalk me like a wild cat. Being drunk takes my
imagination to thoughts I have been dismissing for months. Inebriation is also what
makes it easy for me to walk quickly towards him and fling my arms around his
neck. Then I pull him down for the kiss I have long fantasized about.
Strong and solid, he resists my brazen
behavior before giving in and kissing me deeply. The smoothness of his
movements comes from experience and confidence and, hopefully, excitement for
One of his hands presses against my lower
back, pulling me tightly to him while the other reaches under my skirt and
firmly holds one of my butt cheeks.
I grab fistfuls of his thick hair as I
stand on tiptoes to kiss him. When we unlock our lips for air, I feel him smile
against my cheek, and then I bury my face against the warm skin of his neck.
“Imogene,” he whispers, his breath tickling
my ear and sending a shiver of tingles through me.
I close my eyes and hold on to him. “I
think I drank too much.”
“I’ve got you.”
I feel my feet leave the ground as he
lifts me up. My head is about to roll backwards before he adjusts me so my face
rests against his hard chest. My arms are still wrapped around his neck as a
sleepy contentment takes over my body. I sigh, and his chest rumbles with a
This is an unexpected turn of events, one
I don’t want to end.
“I’m not banging the Pilates instructor, by the way. I stopped seeing her a
couple of months ago.”
“Okeydokey. None of my business.” I scoot
him out of the room and then pass him to lead him out of the house.
“I thought you should know since you got
a little angry when you mentioned her,” he says softly from behind me as I jog
down the stairs to get him out the front door as quickly as possible.
“Nope. Not angry,” I reply as we reach
the first floor where I throw open the front door and walk out to the porch
with him right on my heels.
“Really? Because your body language says
“How so?” While I internally admit I
sound pissed off, I won’t say it to him.
“Obvious signs. Your lips are curled
under into a thin line, which is hard to do when you have full lips like
yours.” Before I can react to the comment about my lips, he continues, “And
your body went rigid, your arms and hands moving directly in front of your
torso, which is a defensive reaction. You scrunched your eyebrows at me, and then
your chin went out. You probably didn’t notice, but you also took one step
back, away from me, at the same time. You were showing anger and distrust
towards me. They’re little signs and they happen fast, but I’m very good at
This is such an odd conversation; I’ve
never heard Cooper talk like this. “Who are you?” My tone sounds disgusted. I
can’t seem to control myself today.
“Cooper MacKenzie,” he laughs. “I’m a
regular guy, Imogene. But when I was with the Bureau, doing undercover—NARC,
round-the-clock actor, whatever you want to call it—I could profile anyone down
to a T. Even though I’ve switched careers, profiling people, reading them, is
still a habit.”
“You’ve never told me anything about your
FBI work other than what happened with Emma’s father last year.”
“You never asked,” he says in all
seriousness this time.
“Did I do anything embarrassing besides
needing you to carry me to my bed?” I ask hesitantly, slipping my sandal off
his long finger. His hands are large, tan, and rough from working in the
factory and on that fixer-upper house of his I’ve heard about through the
“No.” He shakes his head.
“Whew, good.” I playfully swipe the back
of my hand against my forehead.
“Although, you did maul me. Of course, I
didn’t mind that one bit.” He grins, his eyes lighting up as the heat rises in
“Oh, God,” I mutter, bringing my hands
along with the smelly, dirty sandal up to cover my face.
When I peek at him over my fisted hands,
Cooper smirks. “I have to get back to work,” I say, annoyed.
“So, we’re not going to talk about what
happened?” he asks with amusement.
“No. I was drunk. It doesn’t count as
anything. But thanks for helping me, and I hope your sister likes the
His smile fades as he nods. “She will.”
He stares at me for an extra beat then
turns and makes his way back to his bike. Instead of immediately going back
inside, I stand there and watch him again because it’s just so damn easy to
watch a hunky guy stride to his Harley like he has all the time in the world.
He knows I’m watching him, too.
“And the answer is no!” he shouts as he
turns around and puts on his sunglasses.
“No, what?” I shout in return.
“After you had your tongue down my throat
and before you licked my ear, you asked if I had a tattoo on my ass.”
While, from behind me, I hear Lauren gasp,
I’m mortified again, and he’s enjoying this.
Cooper swings a long, muscular leg over
his bike and sits back into it like a seasoned pro. That confident posture is
amplified with the Harley between his legs. He’s smiling and loving the fact
that he’s shocked me.
“The answer is no,” he reiterates as he
straps on his helmet.
I stand on the porch, mute and thankful
he didn’t shout this in the diner or in some other crowded venue.
“And, Imogene,” he says. “I enjoyed it.”
Pulling me into the bright
sunshine, he takes his safety glasses and gloves off. I stand there dumbly,
watching him, thinking of something clever and possibly rude to say. However,
I’m mostly enjoying the view of how his broad chest and nicely developed biceps
fill out his T-shirt.
He quickly yanks my
glasses and gloves off and pushes me backwards against the brick wall of the
building. I’m about to reprimand him for unnecessary roughness, but then his
mouth is on mine, kissing all of the snarky sense out of me. His tongue roves
around mine like it owns me, causing a small moan of approval to escape me for
his excellent kissing skills. Without caring that we may be on exhibition to
anyone walking by, my hands slip around his waist as his hands slide up my arms
before cradling my head firmly in place for a deeper kiss.
Brushing his lips against
mine, he then lets his beard stubble caresses my cheek before his head drops
into the crook of my neck and he sighs.
He just made my day with
“Damn, you smell good,” he
says into my neck. “Like French fries.”
I pinch his side hard.
“I love French fries,” he adds,
“Stop doing this, Cooper.
I have to get back to work.” I push him off me.
“Hey, I’m just
reciprocating. You were the one who kissed me at the party.
“We both know I was very
drunk that night. I probably would have made out with any guy that crossed my
“You’re perfectly sober
now,” he retorts, holding me in place by the waist. “And we both know you
enjoyed this kiss.”
“I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy
kissing Wolverine, too, but I don’t have time for him today, either. Now let me
go,” I say as I try to wriggle from his grasp.
“Wait,” he commands. I
stop moving because my hormones are signaling my brain to listen to the sexy Viking.
“What time do you get off work?”
He drops his head down so
his nose is almost touching mine. “Imogene, answer the question.”
“I’m going back to do the
shift clean up, and then I’m heading home in about a half hour. Why?”
“Good. I’m leaving here at
four. I’m going to run home and shower, and then I’m picking you up at five and
taking you to that estate sale Archie mentioned.”
I look at him in
confusion. Since when do Cooper and I go shopping together? Since when do we do
anything together other than these two unintended make out sessions?
“Arch said they have a lot
of jewelry there, and Lauren said you two need more pieces because your
inventory is low.”
Between staring at his
eyes and his perfectly kissable lips and hearing him talk about taking me to
shop for jewelry, I’m quite dumbfounded at the moment. It takes me a few
seconds to gather my thoughts.
“Cooper, our inventory is
low for a reason. We don’t have the funds to buy the good pieces right now.”
“It’s a catch-22. Whether
you have the money or not, you need new pieces to make the jewelry, right? So,
if you don’t purchase more stock, you can’t make more things and the business
dies. So I’m taking you there to stock up.”
“Stock up? This isn’t like
buying canned goods at the grocery store. Those antique lockets and beads are
“Right. I have to get back
inside to deal with a minor problem, but be ready at five. Five o’clock. I’m
always on time, Imogene.” With that, he tweaks my chin lightly before heading
back through the side door.
What just happened? I
kissed the guy who’s the type I’m not supposed to kiss, ever again. Then I made plans with him, or rather, he made plans for me.
I head back to the diner
and finish my clean up before the night crew arrives. As I turn in my sales, I
realize the enormous tip Cooper left me is back in my apron. Somehow, the
sneaky bastard managed to slip it back in my apron pocket while we were
S. A. Wolfe lives with her family in New York City. She is a voracious reader of all types of fiction and passionate about writing. She loves connecting with readers on Facebook or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.