Almost perfect the lockl.., p.1

Almost Perfect (The Locklaine Boys #3), page 1

 

Almost Perfect (The Locklaine Boys #3)
 


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Almost Perfect (The Locklaine Boys #3)


  Table of Contents

  Front Matter

  Other Books By Jessica Prince

  Dedication

  Prologue

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Epilogue

  Acknowledgements

  Find Jessica at

  Almost Perfect

  The Locklaine Boys series

  by Jessica Prince

  Copyright © 2016 by Jessica Prince

  All rights reserved.

  Visit my website at www.authorjessicaprince.com

  Editor: Erin Garcia

  Cover Designer: Tara Sivec

  Interior Design & Proofing: Jill Sava, Love Affair With Fiction

  No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book 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

  THE PICKING UP THE PIECES SERIES

  Picking up the Pieces

  Rising from the Ashes

  Pushing the Boundaries

  Worth the Wait

  THE COLORS NOVELS

  Scattered Colors

  Shrinking Violet

  Love Hate Relationship

  Wildflower

  THE LOCKLAINE BOYS (a LOVE HATE RELATIONSHIP spinoff):

  Fire & Ice

  Opposites Attract

  Almost Perfect

  THE PEMBROOKE SERIES (a WILDFLOWER spinoff):

  Sweet Sunshine

  Coming Full Circle

  A Broken Soul – Quinn and Lilly’s book (coming February 2017)

  DEADLY LOVE SERIES

  Destructive

  Addictive

  Obsessive – Aldo and Carmen’s story (coming April 2017)

  OTHER TITLES

  Nightmares from Within

  CO-WRITTEN TITLES:

  Hustler – with Meghan Quinn

  To every woman who has wanted her very own unicorn:

  Never settle, he’s out there waiting for you.

  I’VE ALWAYS BELIEVED in unicorns.

  Not of the “mythical horse with a long-ass horn on the top of its head that screams ‘stabbing hazard’” variety. That would be silly.

  What I’m talking about is even more mythical, more wondrous than a stupid pony with a weird growth on its forehead.

  No, what I’m talking about is the perfect man with the perfect penis that knows exactly how to use it Every. Single. Time.

  Now that’s magic.

  Fuck the stupid horse.

  Now, I understand that there aren’t many women in the world who believe in this majestic creature. They’ve been burned one too many times. Either the man seems perfect in every way, then you get him into bed only to be disappointed by his lack of skills or his micro-penis, or you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum where the dude is packing an anaconda and can make you speak in tongues, but every time he opens his mouth you find yourself wondering if jail time would be worth it because he’s just that big of a douche.

  Side note: If a woman’s smart, she’ll settle for the former category. At least that guy is a decent human being. And with any luck, you could teach him a few tricks in the bedroom that will give you what you need at least fifty percent of the time. But all too often, women settle for the asshole. I should know. I’ve been one of those not-so-smart women a time or two myself.

  But back to unicorns. Now I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself ‘silly Devon, unicorns aren’t real.’

  Oh, but they are. They so are. And no, before you ask, I’ve never been the lucky bitch who dated a unicorn. But my best friend is! And let me tell you, seeing her so unbelievably happy is totally worth the occasional bitter twist of jealousy that makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth every so often.

  And if spotting one unicorn wasn’t enough, the bastard is from a whole line of unicorns! It took me a few months to get used to all the perfection that was the Locklaine bloodline, but seeing as my BFF decided to shack up with her very own Locklaine unicorn, leaving his unicorn cousin homeless before offering up the spare bedroom in my apartment, I didn’t really have any other choice but to suck it up and deal.

  In the past, I would have been all over trying to snag Collin Locklaine for myself. The guy was gorgeous, charming, gorgeous, employed, gorgeous, funny, and gorgeous. And yes, I know I repeated gorgeous like a gazillion times, but that’s just how hot the dude is.

  Unfortunately, before we became roomies, I’d just had my heart stomped on by another jerk-face bastard who didn’t deserve me, so I’d been on a self-imposed Man Strike. And if that weren’t bad enough, Collin was still all kinds of hung up on his stupid bitch of an ex-fiancée.

  There was a time when I might have had a teensy-tiny little crush on him, but the longer we lived together, the easier it was for the two of us to fall into that renowned friend-zone. And while it might have stung at first that he wasn’t trying to get into my pants, we eventually formed a bond that, I must admit, was pretty freaking awesome.

  But here’s the problem.

  I’m a girl.

  That means I’m prone to being overly emotional at the most inopportune times. It also means that when I have a dude living under the same roof as me, who just so happens to check off every box on my What Devon Wants in a Man list, feelings are bound to eventually pop up.

  It isn’t ideal, but it’s life.

  And if my life had proven anything to me, it was that men wanted that perfect damsel-in-distress-never-wears-yoga-pants-in-public, fragile female that they could protect and cherish. They didn’t want the loud, sometimes (always) vulgar, independent woman who could change her own flat tire and thought elastic waistbands in pants were the tits.

  Another side note: I’m totally that last one.

  So the fact that I was living with a unicorn who pined after his perfect ex-fiancée, even though she was obviously a dumbass, eventually went from all fun and games to a complete, punch-you-in-the-gut pain in my ass.

  Because I wasn’t the perfect woman that men like Collin Locklaine wanted. Hell, I was barely even Almost Perfect.

  So I’d happily painted myself with the friendship brush and gone on about my merry way. Besides, I was totally off men for the foreseeable future. Especially the ones of the hottie-roommate variety that were suckers for a woman who needed to be saved.

  After all, I hadn’t gone through a whole slew of shitty boyfriends just to settle. When I finally found The One, it would be a man who loved me for exactly how I was.

  Almost perfect and all.

  I WOKE WITH a start to the sound of pounding against the wa
ll right above my head.

  “Son of a bitch.” I grinded my teeth as I turned my head to look at the time on the alarm clock on my bedside table. Five-fifteen. I didn’t have to be up for at least another hour. But thanks to those inconsiderate assholes next door, I was awake.

  “Richard. Oh, Richard!”

  The headboard from my cousin’s bedroom in the apartment next to mine banged against the paper-thin wall we shared. Waking up to sex noises when you haven’t been laid in months was bad enough, but waking up to your cousin’s sex noises, as he gave it to his girlfriend before the sun had even risen, took disturbing to a whole new level.

  Unable to take another second of it, I threw the covers back and stood from the bed, padding on bare feet out of my room and through the still-dark apartment. I made sure to keep quiet as I pushed Devon’s bedroom door open and tiptoed to the edge of her bed, conscious to not wake her as I pulled her girly comforter back and slid in between her sheets.

  “Collin? What time is it?” Her voice was low and raspy from sleep as she turned her head to look over her shoulder.

  “A little after five,” I whispered, curling the pillow up beneath my head for optimal neck support. “Go back to sleep.”

  “Mmm,” she hummed, still only half awake. “They’re at it again?” she asked, knowing exactly what had brought me to her bed at such an earlier hour. This wasn’t our first rodeo. In the three months we’d been roommates, I’d probably snuck into her bed for a peaceful night’s sleep at least a dozen times. Which reminded me, I really needed to talk to the goddamned landlord about the issues with the thin walls.

  Her tiny frame wiggled close as she lifted her feet and tucked them beneath my legs for warmth. I’d grown used to her shoving perpetually frozen toes beneath me, whether it’s on the couch, or on the random occasion I had to crash in her bed to escape Richard and Delilah’s sexcapades. It didn’t matter what the temperature was, her damn feet were always ice blocks. “Swear to God, I’m going to break that damn headboard one of these days,” I grumbled as I wrapped my arm around her waist and pulled her back against my chest. Having her warm, soft body flush against mine helped to relax me enough for sleep to begin tugging at my consciousness once more.

  Her body shook with laughter as she snuggled down further under the blankets. “I bet they break that thing themselves before you ever get the chance. Those two are like freaking rabbits. I kind of hate them.”

  I chuckled against her hair, the faint scent of lavender wafting up around me. “Feeling’s mutual babe. Now go back to sleep. We’ll work on payback once the sun’s up.”

  “Deal,” she murmured. Seconds later, she was out like a light.

  I wasn’t too far behind. The whole cuddling in bed thing with Devon was a nice bonus that came with being roommates. She was on some weird self-imposed fast when it came to dating, and I was still stinging from my own personal breakup. Neither of us were in a place where long-term relationships were at the forefront of our minds, and knowing that, we could give each other the basic human comforts that most people craved, like a warm body to sleep next to without the concern that things could get weird.

  Before Devon, I’d honestly though it was impossible for men and women to be strictly friends. I’d seen it all through high school and college, girls getting their hearts broken because they were unable to maintain a platonic relationship with someone of the opposite sex. It was something I’d always been glad to avoid since I’d been with Brianna, my ex, for as long as I could remember.

  But Devon was something altogether different. She wasn’t overly emotional like most women. There didn’t appear to be a fragile bone in her body, and the last thing she appeared to need, or even want, was a man taking care of her. She was definitely nothing like any other woman I’d ever known. It was a breath of fresh air. And as I slipped out of consciousness I thought to myself that more women should strive to be like Devon.

  I WAS IN a seriously shitty mood. And it was all my best friend and boss’s fault.

  Did they not understand the torture of waking up with another man’s morning wood poking into your butt when you’re on a Man Strike? I mean, I’m only so strong. I hadn’t had sex in nearly four months, and there were no prospective suitors anywhere on the horizon for me.

  To say I was horny and irritable was putting it mildly.

  After my last boyfriend Matt dumped me because I couldn’t be the soft spoken, delicate woman he wanted, I’d all but given up on men. So waking up this morning with a six-foot-three, two-hundred-and-some-odd-pound wall of chiseled muscle intimately pressed against me was so not ideal.

  “I hate you,” I informed Delilah when she came sauntering up to my desk at work, dressed in an adorable red halter dress with big white polka dots that made her look like a fifties pin-up. She looked far too bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but I guess early morning sex nearly seven freaking days a week would do that to a woman. “Like really, really hate you.”

  “Aw, poor baby,” she cooed sarcastically, but smiled as she sat a venti white mocha from Starbucks on my desk — her form of an apology that I was more than willing to quickly accept. Snatching the coffee up, I put the cup to my lips and drank, letting out a sigh of pleasure once the caffeine hit my system.

  “Okay, you’re somewhat forgiven. But for the love of God, at least pad the damn headboard!”

  “Wait…” Delilah’s head tilted to the side as she surveyed me. “I know for a fact you can’t even hear us from your bedroom, so what’s got your granny panties in a twist?”

  I scowled up at her, narrowing my eyes so tightly they were almost closed. “First of all, stop stealing my sayings. You’re too cute and innocent looking, they don’t work for you.”

  She nodded sagely. “Noted.”

  “Secondly,” I lifted my middle finger in the air, “it’s not me who’s being subjected to your and Richard’s kink fest. It’s Collin. Which means the poor guy’s only choice is to either puncture his own ear drums or climb into my bed in the middle of the night. Which option do you think he chooses?”

  “He gets in bed with you?”

  “Stop looking at me like that,” I said with a roll of my eyes.

  She tried to blank her face, but failed miserably. “I’m not looking at you like anything,” she lied, pushing her cute black glasses up her nose.

  “Yes you are. You’ve got creepy hopeful eyes. Stop it. It’s not like that with me and Collin. We’re just friends who occasionally sleep in the same bed because our neighbors are inconsiderate assholes.”

  It was her turn to roll her eyes. “Whatever. I just think it would be cute if the two of you got together. I mean, think about it, my best friend dating my boyfriend’s cousin?” I could see her trying her best to hold in the excited squeal that wanted to work its way up her throat.

  I clapped my hands and sarcastically replied, “Maybe we could have a double wedding and honeymoon. It would be totes amazeballs!” Delilah’s smile quickly died and she scowled at me like I’d just dashed all her dreams.

  “You know, you’ve been an even bigger pain in my ass since you started this stupid strike of yours.”

  “It’s not stupid,” I argued, even though, after this morning’s erection incident, I wasn’t quite sure I believed that myself. “I’m tired of settling. Guys either want me to be something I’m not or they’re too intimidated by an independent woman. So sue me for taking a break.”

  She propped her polka-dotted butt on the edge of my desk and crossed her ankles to keep from flashing the whole office. “All I’m saying is I think you and Collin could be really cute together. You guys get along great, and you’ve already established a solid friendship.”

  It was the same thing I’d been hearing since practically the time he’d moved in with me. I loved Delilah’s huge heart, but her trying to play matchmaker was likely going to drive me to alcoholism, and since I’d been all but living off of Ben and Jerry’s since I split with Matt, the last thing I needed was a
nother vice. Especially one that contained so many calories. B&J was already doing enough damage to my thighs and ass as it was.

  Shit, I really need to start running.

  Just the thought made me shudder. Because… running. Who in their right mind did that by choice? Maybe if I pretended I was being chased by a bunch of zombie clowns I’d be able to struggle through it.

  As if she wasn’t already pushing hard enough, what she said next just crossed a line. “You’re never going to meet a man if all do you is pig out on ice cream and binge watch Outlander every weekend.”

  I gasped in outrage. “You leave my Jamie Fraser out of this! You don’t understand what we have. It’s special.”

  She snorted and laughed at my dramatics. “Know who’s just as cute as Sam Heughan? Collin Locklaine. And I think I remember Richard telling me their family was originally from Ireland centuries ago… but I might have just dreamt that part.”

  “Okay, first,” I held up one finger, “the Highlanders are Scottish, not Irish. Learn your geography. And second, Collin Locklaine is not as hot as Sam Heughan…” I actually had to think on that when Delilah gave me a look that said ‘and clearly you’ve been sniffing glue’.

  “Okay, well, he is, but that doesn’t mean anything, because even if I wanted to make a move on the guy he’s still totally hung up on Brianna,” I said her name with a sneer. Since getting to know Collin really well, and being pulled into the crazy circle of friends that encompassed all the Locklaine boys, that was the only way any of us women referred to his stupid bitch of an ex-fiancée. “You just don’t make a move on a guy who’s twisted up because of some other woman. I might as well just stamp ‘Heartbreak Welcome’ on my forehead.”

  Delilah’s brows furrowed in confusion. “I thought he was over Brianna. Richard said he’s been dating.”

  I scoffed and took another sip of my coffee. “He’s been on two dates. Two. And he came home before 9:00, complaining, after both of them. He says he’s putting himself out there, but trust me, he’s really not. He’s just going through the motions to get his family off his back.”

 
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