by Abbi Glines
COMING DECEMBER 2ND
Eight Years Ago
“What the hell is going on down at the beach?” I muttered as we pulled up to the condo my grandfather had given me as a graduation present. My parents hadn’t been happy about it but my mother’s father had informed them that I needed my space from them. This was his gift to me. I’d moved out the next day. Having the freedom of my own place allowed me to get the hell out of my parents’ clutches. It offered a taste of what I could have.
“Looks like a bonfire,” Woods said, stating the obvious.
“And we weren’t invited?” Jace asked.
It’s not our crowd. We’re real close to the town limits. That part of the beach isn’t Rosemary Beach. My guess is they’re from Destin. Locals maybe,” Woods explained.
We got out of Woods’s truck as I grinned back at the other two. I was leaving soon and I wanted to spend as much time as I could with Jace and his friends before I left. I didn’t know when I’d be home again. I had my own friends too but I could visit them when I was on the road. None of them spent their summers here. I always did because I was close to the guys from boarding school. The one year I’d spent there with Jace, Woods, and Thad had been epic. The shit we got away with because of Woods’s daddy’s influence didn’t compare to whenever Rush Finlay came to visit Grant, we really got to have some fun. No one wanted to piss off a Rock God’s son.
“Let’s go find some trouble,” I suggested, and Woods laughed as Jace whooped and jumped down out of the truck.
“I bet there’re hotties in bikinis lookin’ for a good time in that crowd,” Thad piped up as he pulled his long blonde hair back in a pony tail.
“That’s what I’m thinking. I haven’t gotten any since I broke up with London,” I admitted.
“Damn, she’s fucking hot. I haven’t figured out why you stopped tapping that ass,” Thad said.
“She’s crazy,” Woods told him. He knew the stories. He’d heard them from Jace.
I nodded my head in agreement.
“I’m going to go grab that six-pack out of the fridge,” Jace said.
“I gotta use some mouthwash,” Woods said, following him up to my condo.
“I’ll meet y’all down there,” I told them. Thad followed the other two; I figured he was going after the mouthwash, too. They were all sixteen and I doubted any of them were getting any tonight, but I didn’t break it to them. This crowd was probably my age or older.
I stepped into the firelight and looked around. The bikinis were gonna make Thad really happy. Smiling, I walked over to stand on the outskirts of the party to watch from the shadows for a bit before seeing if this was anything I wanted to walk into.
A large piece of driftwood lay just up to the right, hidden in the shadows, and I could make out the silhouette of someone occupying it. I knew that piece of driftwood. I came out here often at night to sit and watch the waves.
Curious, I walked over to it. As I approached, the occupant of my seat turned to look up at me. The moonlight illuminated her perfectly, and I recognized the sweet face and big brown eyes watching me. Bethy.
I hadn’t seen her again since I took her to her Aunt Darla’s last weekend, yet I’d heard she kept finding the parties in town. At least this time she was alone and not fighting off a jerk.
“You always find the good parties?” I asked as I sat down beside her.
She didn’t respond at first and I wondered if she remembered me. “Tripp,” I reminded her. “I gave you a ride from Rush’s party last weekend.”
She smiled and ducked her head. “I know who you are,” she said softly but that husky tone in her voice gave me a little shiver. I had to remember this girl was too young for me.
“Good. Then I’m not that forgettable,” I joked.
She laughed and glanced back up at me. “I knew who you were last weekend.”
Interesting. But then she’d grown up at the club. I’d seen her many times myself.
“So, whose party is this?” I asked, looking out at the crowd before turning my gaze back to her.
She sighed. “People from school. Seniors, mostly. My friend got an invite from a senior guy she has a thing for. She didn’t want to come alone. So here I am.”
And she was sitting all alone in the dark. Not exactly safe.
“Where’s your friend now?” I asked.
“There in that American flag bikini with that guy who has his hand down her bottoms,” she said, pointing to the couple openly making out in front of everyone. “She doesn’t always make smart choices,” Bethy said with a frown as she looked away from her friend and back down at her hands clasped in her lap.
She was also wearing a swimsuit but she had a cover-up on. I could see the pink straps tied behind her neck. All she was showing off was her legs. Her really long legs.
“Why are you here?” she asked, looking back up at me.
I nodded my head back to the condos to the left of us. “I live there.”
She frowned. “I thought your parents’ place was on the other side of Rosemary Beach.”
She knew where my parents’ summer house was? That was surprising. I wondered what else she knew about me.
“I moved out after graduation,” I explained.
She sighed wistfully. “That must be nice.”
She had no idea. But then she didn’t know what I was about to run from. She didn’t have people trying to make life decisions for her. That was my hell to face.
Hoots and whistles stopped me from saying anything more. I glanced out at the crowd to see Bethy’s friend was topless and the guy she was there to see was sucking on her tits right there in front of everyone. The girl’s head was thrown back as she held his head to her chest.
“Oh god,” Bethy said beside me.
“Your friend is a bit of an exhibitionist,” I said, looking away from the action in front of me to Bethy, who was watching horrified.
“She’s lost her mind. I don’t know what’s gotten into her lately,” Bethy said, covering her eyes. “I do not want to see that.”
Laughing, I reached over and took her hands from her face. “Take a walk with me. Maybe they’ll be done with this when we get back. We can miss the actual public sex.”
Grant Carter did everything in his power to convince Harlow Manning that he was a good guy. More than a smooth-talker and someone she could trust. He had to overcome his reputation as a playboy, and his history with Harlow’s half-sister, Nan, a woman with a reputation of her own.
Harlow had taken the chance, falling hard and fast for the guy who thrilled her with his all-consuming desire. After a lifetime of avoiding bad boys like Grant, she had opened herself to the possibilities of love…
But a life-changing secret has torn them apart, and now Grant and Harlow must decide if they have enough fight to make it work – or if the pain of betrayal has permanently destroyed their future.
Why couldn’t it have been my motherfucking heart? Why did it have to be my baby girls? I had been asking this question since the day they told me and Emmy that there was an issue with Harlow’s heart. I would have moved heaven and earth to take that from her. But just like I couldn’t save my Emmy. I couldn’t save our daughter.
She was stubborn and she was so fucking brave. That damn hard head of hers had been something I admired. Until she decided she was gonna have a baby. I knew she’d never abort it. Wasn’t in her nature. She had been trying to save the world since she was three years old. She always put others before herself. She preferred the people she loved over her wants and needs.
It was one of the things that made her so damn beautiful. Just like my Emmy. And she was all I had of my Emmy. The light in Emmy’s eyes had been gone for so long. Every day I visited her I hoped to see her eyes light up with understanding and she would come back to me but that never happened. Not once.
The only way I could see that light was to look at our Harlow. Our little miracle. And now, she was lying back there on some goddamn hospital bed with tubes in her and barely hanging onto life.
All I could think about on the flight here was how I was going to wrap my hands around Grant Carter’s neck for doing this to her. He hadn’t thought about her safety he had thought with his fucking dick. And my sweet Harlow loved the man. She wanted his kid. And he let her do it.
Rush had tried to talk to me and calm me down before Grant got back out here from seeing the baby that could have very likely just killed my baby. He said Grant was a wreck. That he had been standing there like a man possessed watching the door for a sign of Harlow. For any word.
He was scared. Good. Motherfucking GOOD! He should be. Maybe death was too good for him. A life empty and void because the woman who owns you is gone is hell on earth. That was what he deserved. I’d lived it and I knew what it was like. Death would be too easy for him.
I glanced back at Dean who was sitting with Blaire talking, then found where the rest of the band had found places to sit. When I’d gotten the call they had all shown up at the airport with me. They loved my girl too. She was their family. There was a good chance they’d kill Grant.
“Kiro,” Grant said and I jerked my head back around to see the man responsible for this. He was wearing a pair of blue scrubs which meant he’d probably been back to see that baby that took my Harlow from me. The dark circles under his eyes and the pale color of his face didn’t make me feel any better.
“You killed my, baby,” I snarled unable to not take out my pain on someone.
Grant tensed and Rush was there in between us immediately. He looked fierce and ready to take me on.
“She’s alive. She’s fighting because that is what she does. I don’t give a damn who you are I will have your ass removed from this hospital if you can’t keep it together. I’m sorry you’re hurting. I know you’ve got to be scared as shit. But so is he,” Rush said pointing at Grant. “He’s fucking terrified. Losing her would destroy him. He’s already breaking apart. So don’t come in here throwing shit around and accusing him of anything. He stood by the woman he loves when she was determined to have this baby. He couldn’t force her to do something she’d never get over.”
Dean came up beside his son and put a hand on Rush’s shoulder as if to make sure I knew I wasn’t going to be able to attack Rush either.
“The boy looks like he’s been through hell. Harlow wouldn’t want this. She would want you to be here for each other. You know that, Kiro.” Dean said in a stern tone.
They were all on the boy’s side. He could have stopped this. My baby wanted to give him a baby. She loved that baby because it was his. So hell yes I blamed him. He should have used a mother fucking condom.
“He didn’t protect her. He could have saved us all this with something as simple as a damn condom.”
Grant closed his eyes and I saw him tremble. Apparently he knew that too. He was taking the blame. Good. He needed to know if we lost her he killed her. Him. He didn’t take care of her. She trusted him and this was what happened.
“He didn’t know about her heart until the day she left him. She was pregnant before she left. She just didn’t know it,” Rush explained.
I already knew that. I didn’t care. He still should’ve used a condom. Respect a girl like Harlow and protect her from your dick. It’s fucking courtesy.
“Where the fuck is Mase? His ass should be here,” I said, angry that the brother she adored wasn’t here. Waiting.
“I’m right here asshole.”
Rosemary Beach Series by Abbi Glines Reading Order
I haven’t read a book by Abbi that I didn’t give 5 stars to. Her writing and well developed characters and story lines suck you into every story. These are books I come back to over and over. The Rosemary Beach series is one of her absolute best! Get ready to develop a Rush Crush (and Woods, and Grant….)
Fallen Too Far
The wealthy son of a rocker. A tough farm girl from Alabama. Two step-siblings from different worlds. One summer in Rosemary Beach.
The last thing Blaire Wynn wants is to move in with her father’s new family in Rosemary Beach, Florida. She has no choice. Blaire’s mother has passed away after a long illness, leaving behind a mountain of medical debts and no way for Blaire to keep their small Alabama farmhouse.
Driving into the wealthy resort town in a pickup truck with a pistol under her seat, Blaire knows she’ll never fit in. She’s even more disappointed to discover that her father has left for Paris, leaving her with her new stepbrother, Rush Finlay. The cynical, condescending, and unapologetic son of an infamous rock star, Rush is as spoiled as he is gorgeous—and he immediately gets under Blaire’s skin.
But as the summer goes by, Blaire begins to see a side of Rush she never expected, and the chemistry between them becomes impossible to ignore. Unknown to her, Rush has a secret that could destroy Blaire’s entire world. Will she find out what he’s hiding before she falls too far?
Rush has earned every bit of his bad-boy reputation. The three-story beach house, luxury car, and line of girls begging for time between his sheets are the envy of every guy in Rosemary Beach, and Rush handles it all with the laid-back cool of a rock star’s son. All he needs are his best friend, Grant, and his sister, Nan.
Until Blaire Wynn drives into town in her beat-up pickup truck with a pistol under her seat. The Alabama farm girl instantly captures Rush’s attention once he discovers that the angelic beauty is his new stepsister, but he vows to keep his distance. Even if she needs his help. Even if he craves her.
Because Rush knows why Blaire is all alone in the world, forced to ask for help from the father who abandoned her three years ago. And he knows if he gets too close it will destroy Nan, who has a secret connection to Blaire.
He has every reason in the world to stay away from her. Find out why he doesn’t.
Just when Blaire allowed herself to fall for her stepbrother, Rush, he revealed a life-altering secret so devastating that she couldn’t forgive him. Unable to face him again, Blaire leaves the promise of true love behind in Rosemary Beach and returns to the comforts of her small town in Alabama, wanting nothing more than to put the summer behind her.
But unexpected news complicates Blaire’s plans, and she’s forced to trust the one man she shouldn’t. Trapped between Rush’s fierce desire to win her back and her own sense of self-preservation, Blaire doesn’t know if she’s doing the right thing…or if she’s making the biggest mistake of her life.
Della Sloane is not your average girl. Yearning to break free of her dark and sheltered past, and the memories of the illness that claimed her mother, Della plans a solo road trip to experience real life on her own terms. But the trip is nearly cut short in the little beach town of Rosemary when she realizes she can’t even pump her own gas—until Woods Kerrington shows up, more than willing to help out a pretty girl in need.
Woods’s family wants him to settle down with a wealthy woman in pearls, but he can’t resist this carefree girl in cutoffs passing through town. A one-night stand should have been enough, but months later, Woods can’t get the irresistible Della out of his head.
When a twist of fate brings Della back to Woods, all signs point to trouble if they don’t keep their distance. Neither is truly free, and a relationship could destroy both of them. With their hearts on the line, Della thinks the safest bet is to walk away. But Woods isn’t about to let that happen…
Things haven’t been easy for Blaire and Rush. The couple has been tested by the revelation of shocking family secrets and a surprising event that forced them to come to terms with their future. Yet there has never been any doubt: their love knows no limits, and they’ll do whatever it takes to stay together.
Now they’re ready to settle down in Rosemary Beach and build a family. For Blaire, it’s a fantasy come true. But while Rush has promised Blaire forever, his loyalty to his spoiled and manipulative sister, Nan, strains their would-be happiness. Rush is ready to be a family man, but which family will he ultimately choose?
Della is determined to be strong for Woods, even as she’s quietly falling to pieces. No matter how far from home she’s run, the ghosts of her past have never stopped haunting her. Struggling to hide her true feelings from Woods, Della fears she can’t be his rock without dragging him down into the darkness with her. But is she strong enough to let go of the last thing holding her together?
Grant made a huge mistake getting involved with a girl with venom in her veins. He’d known about Nan’s reputation, but still he couldn’t resist her. Nothing makes him regret the fling more than meeting Harlow, who sends his pulse racing. Yet Harlow wants nothing to do with a guy who could fall for her wicked half-sister—even if there are no strings between Grant and Nan. Grant is desperate to redeem himself in Harlow’s eyes, but did he ruin his chances before he even met her?
After fighting his way into Harlow Manning’s heart—and revealing a side of himself no one had ever seen before—Grant Carter destroyed his own heart by giving in to his greatest fears and doubts. Months later, he’s stuck in a miserable routine. Work relentlessly. Beg his best friend Rush for news about Harlow. Avoid all other friends. Leave nightly voicemails for Harlow, pleading with her to come back to Rosemary Beach. Fall asleep alone. Repeat.
Miles away, on her brother’s Texas ranch, Harlow can’t bring herself to listen to Grant’s voicemails. Though she wants to be with him, and knows he regrets letting her go, she doesn’t know if she can trust him. When he discovered the truth behind her sheltered upbringing, it shattered their relationship, but the secret she carries now has far greater consequences. Can she risk giving Grant one more chance, or will the gamble ultimately destroy her?
Bethy Lowry was unraveling long before her boyfriend drowned in a riptide trying to save her after she’d had one too many drinks—again. A trailer park kid working as a cart girl among the wealthy patrons of Kerrington Country Club, Bethy has always been impressionable. But five years ago, before she earned her reputation as a hard-drinking, easy girl, she had spent a single summer with Tripp Newark that changed her life forever…