Mad Addiction (Crazy Beautiful #2), page 1
Copyright © 2016 by Jessica Serra Huizenga
All rights reserved.
Jessica Serra Huizenga
Visit my website at www.jshbooks.com
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Interior design and formatting by
Christine Borgford, Perfectly Publishable
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Crazy Beautiful Series
Crazy Beautiful (Book 1)
Mad Addiction (Book 2)
(Look for Book 3 Coming Fall 2016!)
While each story in the Crazy Beautiful Series can be read as a standalone book, I recommend reading them in order to fully understand the world and characters. <3
Kelley Brooks is saving herself for Prince Charming.
Ryan Blake, while charming, is definitely not a prince.
Always straightforward and realistic, Kelley Brooks and Ryan Blake know they are not right for each other. Kelley believes in fate and waiting for “the one” while Ryan prefers maintaining distance and control with unattached one-night stands.
But after indulging in a single, meaningless wedding hookup, unexpected circumstances force them into one hell of a complicated situation.
After agreeing to a fake engagement, both Ryan and Kelley must confront their pasts—and true feelings—causing them to question everything they thought they knew about family, commitment, and most importantly, love.
A lie brought them together, but will the truth tear them apart?
And what the heck does happily ever after really mean, anyway?
Books by Jessica Serra Huizenga
About the Author
For the best mom I know, my own.
Your sacrifice, encouragement, and support have shaped who I am. When my world has felt either broken or whole, you have always been my one constant.
Love up. xx
“I can’t believe you, Kinsley I-Don’t-Need-Anyone-Else Moore, actually tied the knot. The same girl who, eight months ago, told me Prince Charming didn’t exist. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.”
Despite my teasing, I lean in to give my best friend a giant hug. She looks beautiful—simple white dress, brown hair set in loose curls, blue eyes dusted with a hint of sparkly shadow, and cheeks pink and glowing—but it’s her sincere happiness that makes her truly radiant. She hugs me back and whispers so only I can hear, “Thanks for helping me believe in happy endings.”
She pulls back and smiles such a genuine smile that I can’t help but return it. In just a few short months I’ve witnessed firsthand how much Kinsley has changed, going from lonely and guarded and afraid of love to opening up, letting go, and committing to someone who is a perfect match for her in every way.
I swallow down an involuntary pang of jealousy. I really am happy for her.
I give Kinsley’s hand a squeeze before setting my sights on her new husband. “And you, sir, better take care of her, or else.” I pretend to threaten him with a stern glare, but from the way Lucas Graham looks at his bride, I know I don’t have anything to worry about.
“Don’t worry, Kell. You know I’ve got her back. Yours, too.” Lucas winks before leaning down and enveloping me in his own friendly embrace. I’ve gotten to know him better over the last few months and know he can be trusted. Last night at the rehearsal dinner he even pulled me aside to thank me for not giving up on Kins five years ago when her parents were in a car accident and her jerk of an ex betrayed her and she had nobody else to look out for her. He doesn’t have to thank me—I love Kins and will of course always be here for her—but I appreciate he took the time to acknowledge what our friendship means. After everything she’s been through, Kinsley deserves someone as good and loyal as Lucas.
Now if only I could find my own perfect prince . . .
The night is winding down so I let Lucas and Kinsley get back to mingling and make my way between the crowded tables to the bar. While she doesn’t have any family of her own, Kinsley insisted Lucas invite all of his to share in their special day. I imagine the whole idea of family means a lot more to her these days now that she actually has people she can trust in her life. I notice Eli, Lucas’ father, leading Kinsley to the dance floor, and the look of adoration on both of their faces makes me tear up.
I never guessed my friend would have any sort of wedding, let alone such a traditional one. At first I questioned why she of all people would want to get married at a swanky place like Woodwind Hills, but since she admitted it’s the spot Lucas and she first noticed each other, it makes perfect sense. Kinsley and I are pretty much polar opposites when it comes to believing in things like soul mates and fairy tale weddings . . . well at least we used to be. Now it’s as if I’m staring at my own vision board come to life.
The thing is I can’t help but feel somewhat envious of how this all ended up. Don’t get me wrong, I am one hundred percent happy for Kinsley and Lucas, but I find it ironic that up until a few months ago Kinsley didn’t even believe in love, yet here she is, marrying the man of her dreams.
I, on the other hand, have believed wholeheartedly in true love and saving myself for “the one” ever since my high school boyfriend-turned-fiancé and I broke up seven years ago. I thought we would be together for the long haul, but eventually realized it was a joke. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I still believe there is someone fate has in store for me, except never again will I try to change a guy—it’s a waste of everyone’s time. When I meet the right person to fall in love with I’ll know, but until then I’ll just have to wait. Which is why here I am, twenty-six years old, standing alone in a crowded room holding a now-empty glass of champagne.
Reality, you sure do suck sometimes.
I’m about to turn for a refill on my drink when I feel a presence right behind me. I smell the distinct, spicy sharpness of cinnamon, and I’d recognize it anywhere.
Ryan Blake, Lucas’ best friend, reaches his muscular, tuxedo-clad arm in front of me with a flute of bubbly. “I think it’s my duty, as best man of this fine affair, to keep the maid of honor company . . . and thoroughly hydrated.” He places the full glass in my hand, reaching for the empty one and placing it on a high
Ry and I first met close to a year ago when I, as her realtor, helped Kinsley rent a house from Eli. Ryan is his lawyer so we met at the lease signing, but we’ve had a few more clients in common since. Between occasional, brief work interactions and having mutual best friends, we’ve become familiar. I’ll admit I only first noticed him for his looks—his tall, athletic frame with short, dark hair that always manages to look both messy and styled, and deep, blue eyes that are always cool and enticing—but I’m sorry to report he’s not exactly soul mate material. It’s a pretty well-known fact he’s not the type to settle down. While I’ve never really heard him talk about his love life, I’ve certainly heard the rumors. The guy’s middle name should be One-Night-Stand. He always looks so laid back and sure of himself it’s no wonder women fall at his feet . . . or on his dick. Apparently he is quite skilled with that thing, so I’ve read on more than one bathroom wall. Couple that with the whole sexy, smart lawyer things he’s got going on and there’s no denying Ryan Blake is about as hot as they come.
But unfortunately his inability to commit means he’s off limits for me. Damn.
“Gee, thanks.” I take a drink of the champagne before nodding toward his own empty hands. “Aren’t you going to join me?”
He just smirks and shakes his head. “Nah. I don’t drink, so I’ll have to watch you enjoy that enough for the both of us.”
I tilt my head and try to tell if he’s lying, but something about his self-assured demeanor makes me think he’s not the type to make something up for the hell of it. “Really? Why’s that?”
He looks out at the crowd, choosing his words carefully before turning back to me. “I used to drink. Too fucking much. So, now I don’t.” He puts his hands in his pockets and shrugs, as if it really is as simple as that.
We continue to stand in silence and people-watch around the ballroom. A slow ballad starts playing, which means a bunch of couples—including the bride and groom—are snuggled out on the dance floor. I see Logan and Tristan, mutual friends of Lucas and Ryan, slow-grind with two girls who seem to be enjoying the open bar a little too much. Between the effects of the alcohol and my current mood, I must have quite the look on my face.
“So, planning any hot wedding hookups tonight?” Ryan smirks seductively.
I roll my eyes. Typical perverted man-talk. “I’m pretty sure harassing the maid of honor isn’t part of your job description. Isn’t there some slutty bimbo around to indulge your perverted fantasies?” I plaster on a fake, sweet smile. I was aiming for teasing rather than bitchy, but I’m already feeling frustrated without being reminded of my current love life . . . more accurately my lack thereof.
Ryan chuckles. “Ouch. Aw c’mon, Brooks. I’m just trying to make friendly conversation.” He leans in to rest his arm on the table in front of us. “And I didn’t mean me. There’s a guy over there that can’t seem to keep his eyes off you. Might be a good contender.”
He nods toward an attractive blond haired man talking to an elderly couple across the room. The guy has a nice smile with straight, white teeth. Completing his all-American look are two adorable dimples dotting his cheeks. We make eye contact and he grins at me.
I take a moment to assess my reaction.
Nope, no butterflies. No spark. I break our gaze and shake my head. “Thanks, but I’ll pass.”
“Poor guy. You haven’t even met him. What if he’s the one and you don’t even know it?” Ryan looks at me with a mocking tilt of his head. Last night at the rehearsal dinner he was around when Kinsley and I were talking and I may have mentioned something about waiting for the right guy when she pointed out some of Lucas’ cousins. I bet he couldn’t wait for the perfect opportunity to tease me about it.
“I just know. There’s nothing there when I look at him. No . . . fireworks or anything.”
Ryan opens and closes his mouth several times, but no words come out. I think I’ve rendered him speechless. He studies me intensely, trying to understand.
“What?” I try to explain. “I don’t waste my time with random hookups when I know it won’t lead to anything more.”
He looks baffled before asking, “So you’re telling me you refuse to have sex unless it comes with a fucking marriage proposal or something?” He chuckles, amused. “Don’t tell me you’re a virgin, too.”
I’m not surprised by his unsympathetic questioning, but I am impressed with his unashamed bluntness. Most guys try to dance around the topic, but I find it much easier to lay it out up front.
“No.” Not exactly. “I had a serious boyfriend in high school and college, and yes we had sex, so you can wipe that appalled look off your face. We broke up right before we graduated, and I realized I had already wasted too many years on him knowing it wouldn’t last. I decided then that it would be pointless to screw around unless I knew there was a future with someone.” I decide to leave out the part that we were engaged when I found out Jake was really just a lying sack of shit. I think back to a few months ago when I saw Ryan at a beach party and he basically admitted he has no plans to ever get serious. We may not agree on the end game, but we both can appreciate honesty. “As I’ve heard you, yourself, mention, there’s no use in setting up any unrealistic expectations.” He of all people should understand.
Ryan lets a devilish grin play across his lips. “Well this guy must have been a terrible fuck if he made you swear off sex for the past however many years. That’s a damn shame.” He gets more serious and stands up straight before formally stating, “On behalf of men everywhere, I personally want to apologize for such a misrepresentation of our general population’s skills in the sack.” He puts his hand to his chest, as if swearing a sincere oath, although a lighthearted chuckle breaks through.
I stiffen my shoulders, trying to exude confidence. This, after all, is my business, right? I can choose to do whatever I want. Or, in this case, not do.
Except when I finally hear myself say all of it out loud to someone as straightforward and unattached as Ryan Blake—and he calls me on it—it does seem kind of ridiculous.
“It’s not because of that. I just. . . .” I trail off, unable to find the right words.
“ . . . want fireworks?” Ryan cocks his eyebrow and looks softer as he finishes my thought.
I nod. “Yeah, something like that.”
“Look,” Ryan leans back down toward me. “In all seriousness, do you really think the world is going to end if you loosen up and have some fun? I mean I’m no expert, but going a few years without an orgasm has got to be against the laws of nature or something.” The way he pretends to be genuinely concerned about my O status for the sake of my well-being makes me want to laugh.
Not wanting to let him get away with it, though, I lean in even closer. “Thanks for the concern, Blake, but let’s just say I’m more than capable of keeping myself company.” I give him a knowing look, and for a second I think he’s surprised I’m willing to admit it.
He quickly recovers, getting so close I can feel his breath. He doesn’t hide the way he moves his blue eyes down to my chest and lets them linger before returning them to lock onto mine. “Oh I have no doubt, Brooks. But you’re telling me you don’t sometimes want a little company?” The way he speaks in a deep, sexy voice and his eyes go glassy make me think he’s picturing something extremely salacious. I can practically hear imaginary clothes ripping off from here.
And damn it if I don’t feel a tingle between my legs.
Already feeling emotionally frustrated and confused, I try one last time to stand my ground, although I’m not sure who it’s supposed to convince more . . . him or me.
I sigh. “What’s the point? I believe there is someone out there for everyone . . . you know, like true love and all that? No use getting distracted in the meantime. My life has a plan, and I aim to stick to it.”
Ryan leans back so we’re not so close. He appears to be contemplating what I just said. “You really think that if you have sex—una
I shrug, not sure what else to say. When he puts it like that it makes me question what I, myself, just argued. If we’re saying the same thing, how come he makes it sound so much more irrational?
“Wow. You’re mad, you know that, right?” Ryan laughs and shakes his head.
Regaining some clarity, along with a little defensive anger, I retaliate. “How about you tell me what’s so great about random, meaningless sex, then. You’d rather have a string of one night stands than feel something real and serious?” I cross my arms, throwing in an accusatory glare.
Despite looking stung for a brief moment, without backing down, Ryan continues. “Sex doesn’t have to be meaningful for you to feel something. Hell, I feel all sorts of things when I’m with a girl, and I don’t even have to know her name.” He gets a smug, cocky look, but I catch a glimpse of something else in his eyes. Regret maybe? But it passes quickly and I’m reminded of what an arrogant ass he is.
Not wanting to let him off the hook, I scoff, “You sound like some sort of sex addict.”
Ryan goes rigid and I see his jaw tick, but he remains calm and laid back when he speaks. “Addiction is a sign of weakness. It’s selfish and reckless. I promise you, when it comes to women I am nothing if not straightforward and controlled. Sex can be anything you need it to be if you’re honest and up front about it—hot, dirty, warm, loud, wild, and downright liberating. You can’t knock it till you try it, sweetheart, so until you do I can’t take what you say too seriously.”
Then he winks.
I want that to disgust me, but it has the opposite effect. What the hell is wrong with me?
“So, what? You’re telling me that I should go proposition Dimples over there,”—I motion to the man still chatting with the older couple—“for a quick romp in the bathroom before you’ll admit what I have to say makes sense?”