Man handler, p.1

Man Handler, page 1

 part  #3 of  Man Cave Series

 

Man Handler
 


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Man Handler


  SHARI J. RYAN

  Copyright © 2018 by Shari J. Ryan

  All rights reserved. Except as permitted under US Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

  The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

  Edited by: Lisa Brown

  Cover Design and Formatting: MadHat Books

  Table of Contents

  About the Author

  Also by Shari J. Ryan

  Acknowledgments

  Disclaimer

  Praise for Shari J. Ryan

  Prologue

  CHAPTER ONE

  CHAPTER TWO

  CHAPTER THREE

  CHAPTER FOUR

  CHAPTER FIVE

  CHAPTER SIX

  CHAPTER SEVEN

  CHAPTER EIGHT

  CHAPTER NINE

  CHAPTER TEN

  CHAPTER ELEVEN

  CHAPTER TWELVE

  CHAPTER THIRTEEN

  CHAPTER FOURTEEN

  CHAPTER FIFTEEN

  CHAPTER SIXTEEN

  CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

  CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

  CHAPTER NINETEEN

  CHAPTER TWENTY

  CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

  CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

  CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

  CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

  CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

  CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

  CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

  CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

  CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

  Epilogue

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  About the Author

  Shari J. Ryan is an International Bestselling Author of heartbreakers and mind-benders. Shari was once told she tends to exaggerate often and sometimes talks too much, which would make a great foundation for fictional books. Four years later, Shari has written eleven novels that often leave readers in tears, either from laughing, or crying.

  With her loud Boston girl attitude, Shari isn’t shy about her love for writing or the publishing industry. Along with writing several International Bestsellers, Shari splits her time between writing and her longstanding passion for graphic design. In 2014, she started an indie-publishing resource company, MadHat Books, to help fellow authors with their book cover designs, as well as providing assistance with the self-publishing process.

  While Shari may not find many hours to sleep, she still manages to make time for her family. She is a devoted wife to a great guy, and a mother to two little boys who remind her daily why she was put on this earth.

  Make sure you join Shari’s Twisted Drifters Reader Group at: http://bit.ly/2e17FsX

  Also by Shari J. Ryan

  Man Handler

  Man Flu

  Last Words

  Manservant

  Raine’s Haven

  Spiked Lemonade

  Queen of the Throne

  A Heart of Time

  A Missing Heart

  A Change of Heart

  No Way Out

  Ravel

  House of Tinder

  TAG

  The Schasm Series

  COMING SOON

  Darkest Perception

  Acknowledgments

  I’m so appreciative of the support I continuously receive from my immediate team, readers, reviewers, beta team, and bloggers. After being in this industry for almost five years, it’s taken me a while to find my place, but I’m surrounded by so much love that I couldn’t feel luckier if I tried.

  Linda, you keep me moving in the right direction and I can’t thank you enough for where you have taken me over the past few years. Your support and friendship mean the world to me!

  Lisa, thank you for attention to detail and thought you put into all my edits. You must have my voice in your head morning, noon, and night haha. Sorry about that!

  Julie…my goodness, my life would a mess without you! You keep my head above water and remind me to eat. You are the first to tackle my words and the last to make sure it’s perfect. I can’t thank you enough for the time you offer me. I love you!

  Samantha, thank you for your hours of help, tearing apart my silly mistakes and helping me tighten up my story. And of course, if it weren’t for you Betsy Blue would have only had one role in this book. Thank you for reminding me of why I started the Man Cave :).

  My beta ladies, I’m so grateful for our discussions and banter. You have all become amazing friends to me and I hope you’ll never leave!

  Twisted Drifters, bloggers, readers, and fellow authors, you make this industry grow on a daily basis, and our support for one another is pure love for a stranger and their words. I love what I do because of you. Thank you for loving me enough to read what’s inside of my crazy head.

  To my family: You have been so supportive of my journey, and I’m forever grateful.

  My boys—you’re starting to feel intrigued by my books; opening the front cover and glancing at the words you can now make out. Please, for the love of our family, don’t read my books. You’ll understand why someday :). Love you!

  Josh, I know what you’re thinking … I’m the best man handler in the world. Well, I’m happy to be that person for the rest of our lives. I’ll happily tell you what’s what and how to live because I know you love that—like most men. So, sit back and let me take control of everything. You’ll see, things will turn out jusssst fine. Just kidding. It’s all about equality and stuff. Love you! ;)

  Disclaimer

  If you are easily offended by profanity or sexual content, this book may not be for you.

  However, if you enjoy expression through profanity and hot scenes, you might love this book! I’ll throw in there that I don’t have a filter, so I made the scenes as true to life as possible (from my imagination, of course).

  This book does personify my real life in any way, except the main character’s attitude … maybe … a little.

  Praise for Shari J. Ryan

  Shari's writing style is fabulous and she will make you smile and giggle throughout. Man Handler is rom com not to be missed and I can't wait to see where Shari takes her next "Man."

  KELLY, EARLY READER

  5 STARS FOR MAN HANDLER!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, THIS BOOK!! The story is Rom Com perfection, with all the fun banter, sexiness and fantastic characters. Scarlett is a sassy city girl that gets replanted in the country still living like a city girl. Austin is a hot country guy that works as a nurse. These two meet and oh my do they have a story to tell you. Shari J. Ryan is one of my favorites, she can write anything to perfection.

  RHONDA, EARLY READER

  This has been my favorite stand alone out of Man Servant and Man Flu. RomCom is becoming one of my favorites to read!

  LATONYA, EARLY READER

  Oh my goodness!! This book!!! I just, omg!!! I absolutely positively loved Austin and Scarlett!!! And the secondary characters including Jack, Scarlett’s Mom, Brendan, and Kalvin! The mix of these characters together was one amazing adventure filled with laughs and just seriously I loved it!!!

  KAITLYN, EARLY READER

  Lisa, Linda, & Julie

  My books would be nothing without you.

  Your friendship and support mean the world to me.

  Never leave me. EVER!

  xoxo

  Prologue

  SCARLETT

  Ten Years Ago

  There are days in my life when I wonder how I got to exactly where I am. It’s not like when I’ve been zone
d out while driving for a half hour and can’t figure out how I’m still alive; it’s more curiosity about what steps I skipped that landed me in certain situations where I don’t want to be. I’ve been told time and time again that if I do things the right way and don’t take shortcuts, it’ll pay off. Well, I’m calling bullshit on all that.

  It’s Freshman Orientation day, and I’m standing in front of the school, looking up at this daunting, aged building as if it’s going to swallow me whole at some point in the next four years. I have this unsettled feeling of unease, at least partly because I’m not sure I made the right life decision, which sucks since it’s the first life decision I’ve been able to make for myself.

  “Scarlett. You okay, babe? You look lost in that head of yours again, but um, I’m going to head over to my dorm and check things out. Are you going to be cool for a bit?”

  “I’m fine, Teak. I’m going to check into my dorm too,” I tell him.

  Overbearing boyfriend? Check.

  “I’m so glad we did this together because I honestly think we’re going to have the best four years ever.” Teak kisses me on the cheek and jogs off toward the men’s dormitory, hooting into the distance. No one else is really making noises or shouting with excitement, but I think Teak has this idea of what college is supposed to be like, and he can only visualize the fraternity part of the experience.

  A Stalker-like boyfriend, who wants to share every single college experience together? Check.

  The moment I’m alone, a sense of freedom overwhelms me, and for the first time in my life, I know I’m in control, even if it’s only self-control.

  My story is one of a girl who was raised with a silver spoon in her mouth. However, as soon as I learned what money could do to a person, I spit the damn spoon out and refused to follow in the footsteps of a man who only sees life in dollar signs. So here I am, the only person who would likely turn down a full ride at college in exchange for freedom. If I let Dad pay, it would only be an extension plan for his ownership of me, and there was no way I could feed into that any longer. I want to start my story at the beginning—my beginning, which means rejecting what looks easy and never turning back. In other words, having a smothering boyfriend at the beginning of my story is not going to work out too well. For him. I’ll deal with that shortly, though.

  I use my paper map to search for the location of my dorm, finding it on the other side of the grassy quad. At least the dorms aren’t co-ed, which is pretty much the only thing working in my favor for this fresh-start thing I’m attempting. I realize I’ve done this to myself. Despite the fact that I’m not the—I want to be near you, next to you, taste you, breathe you in, and sniff your butt—demented part of the relationship I’m in, I haven’t taken the necessary move to break free from it. I was set to take off in my own direction to college … alone, but Teak insisted on going to the same university. Almost as soon as I (stupidly) told him I was going to Hartford University, he “luckily” got in too, and here we are … together, forever at last, or whatever it is he’s chanting in his head right now.

  “Scarlett!” I hear from behind. “Babe, wait up.”

  I turn and readjust the bags on my shoulder. “Did you forget something?” I ask him. I’m honestly not sure I could sound less interested if I tried, yet he doesn’t seem to pick up on this. He hasn’t picked up on it since I lost interest in him when I found out he was going to this school too.

  “I just want to see where you’re living. Gotta check the place out and make sure it’s good enough for my woman,” he says with a wink that looks more like a twitch. Maybe it is a twitch. It would explain some things.

  The caveman-type boyfriend who beats on his chest while claiming his woman? Check.

  “Teak, I’m fine, really, but thank you.” I keep walking, but he follows.

  “Is something wrong?” he asks. “You sound kind of cold. I can warm you up, babe.”

  I sound kind of cold. Do I look cold? Because it’s a hundred degrees and 80 percent humidity. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just you.

  A boyfriend who keeps using pickup lines a year after being a relationship with the same woman? Check.

  “Oh my God,” I say through gritted teeth. I squeeze my hands into the sides of my head. “No, I just want to find my own way right now, okay? That’s all.”

  “Oh,” he says with cynical laughter. Because clearly, I sound like I’m joking, as far as he’s concerned. “Ooh, I have an idea. Later, we choose a place to meet up and then pretend like we’re strangers. It will look like a typical Freshman instalove hookup, and everyone will think we’re like the hottest couple on campus for the rest of the year. Plus, that could be sexy and fun to pretend like we’re just meeting, right?” He pulls my hair behind my back and wraps his arm around my neck. “God, you’re so cute.” He just keeps talking and talking and talking, but all I hear is blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, I can’t live without you. I need you, I want you, give me more.

  The guy who feels like a relationship needs to be spiced up after only a year … at nineteen years old? Check. I can’t imagine what our future would look like in ten years.

  I let out a loud huff of air. “No, Teak. I want to go find my dorm.” Is it just me, or am I just saying the same thing but in different ways, over and over?

  “Well, now I really want to come. It sounds like you’re avoiding me or hiding something. What’s going on with you, Scarlett? You’re making me nervous.” I’m making him nervous because I want to locate my dorm on my own, and he feels the need to follow me rather than find his own dorm.

  Insecure and jealous for no reason? Check.

  “Do you hear yourself?” I ask him. “You sound nuts.”

  “I sound nuts because I want to make sure you’re taken care of?”

  “Yeah, I don’t need to be taken care of,” I tell him. My face is getting hot, and I just want this conversation to end. I want this whole thing with Teak to end. All of it. He needs to go away. Now.

  “Scarlett,” he chuckles. “Every woman needs to be taken care of. Don’t you realize how lucky you are to already have a man who wants to protect you and make sure you’re safe?”

  Oh my God. Am I the only one who can hear this utter craziness right now? I knew he was way more into me than I’ve been into him over the past year, but he’s taking things too far right now. College was supposed to be our forced breakup, and that obviously didn’t work out as I hoped. Originally, I figured if I just waited out senior year, I wouldn’t have to hurt him. Then he got into this school, and procrastination took over. Handling a situation “tomorrow” was my typical way of handling things, but not anymore. I clearly let things go past the point of a sane return. In fact, not only do I not want to spend every second of my life with Teak, I just want to be alone, maybe even forever. Who knows? I might want to be a cat lady. Those cute little pets do not have testosterone-laced attitudes, or say things like: ‘Every woman needs to be taken care of.’ Just, no.

  When a boyfriend begins to act and sound like my father, and I realize … oh shit? Check.

  “Um, I can’t do this,” I tell him.

  “You can’t do what, baby-girl?” He asks, placing a kiss on my neck, and I feel like I’m about to lose it. “Want to go test out our new bed?”

  I shove him off of me. “Space. I need space.” Our bed? What?

  “Are you okay?”

  “No, Teak. I’m not okay. I mean, yes, I am okay, so I don’t need to be taken care of.” I place my hand on his shoulder that’s well over a foot above my head. “I’m a big girl. I got this.”

  He’s looking at me like I’m adorable. What the hell is wrong with him? Does he understand what I’m saying? Maybe he’s too tall, and the words can’t make it up to his ears so they are just entering his dick. That would make all the sense in the world.

  “I love you, though. Why are you acting like this?” he asks.

  A boyfriend who speaks straight from the heart of his dick? Check.

&nb
sp; “I’m not acting like anything. This is the beginning of my life, Teak. My life.”

  “Okay? Do you want help carrying your bags or something?”

  I groan because he is dense. Stupid can be cute for a little while, but right now, stupid is putting things way too nicely. It’s not cute anymore. It’s just really, really annoying. “Look, my mother stayed home for the last eighteen years, watching me. Just watching me. She cleaned, cooked, did the errands, and got an allowance from my dad every week while she probably worked harder to keep the house in one piece and me alive than my father has ever worked. She was a ‘kept woman,’ as my dad would tell her, and she’s miserable. Like, she daydreams about soap operas coming to life kind of miserable. Do you know how sad that is, Teak?” Of course, she’ll never admit it because she doesn’t want to seem ungrateful, but that is not who I am or who I want to be.

  “I’m confused. So, you don’t want to be a wife and a mother?” he questions.

  “No, Teak, I do, but I can have it all, and I’ll make sure I get it all. Me. I will do that myself. I don’t want to be someone’s possession. I don’t want to be controlled or taken care of when I can do things on my own.”

  “You know, some men take care of a woman because it makes them feel good. It makes them happy,” he says, clearly confused. I know he cares about me, but he has a self-absorbed, obsessively controlling, jealous streak, and I’ve had just about enough of it.

  “I’m glad for those men, and if you’re one of them, I’m sure there is a woman out there who would just love to be taken care of like that, but I’m not her.”

  “So, what, you want to be a dude or something?” His eyes, nose, and mouth contort with unfathomable confusion.

  A boyfriend who can’t take the comment: “It’s not me, it’s you,” the right way, then questions my choice of sexuality? Check.

  “No, Teak, I want to be a woman who isn’t under someone’s control. I’m at college where I should be allowed to “find myself” and work toward a career so that, if and when, I get married and have kids, I’m equally able to contribute. That’s what I want. I don’t see what’s so weird or confusing about wanting this normal kind of life?”

 
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