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America’s Geekheart (Bro Code #2)
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Remember that time you accidentally sexted your in-laws?
Yeah. I just did that. Except worse. Now my million social media followers are reading and sharing the rude, smartass message I meant to send privately to my little sister…and I’m officially public enemy number one.
I’m Beck Ryder. Former boy bander. Underwear model. Fashion mogul. And I just buried my entire leg in my mouth—not just my foot—modern internet style, and publicly insulted my sister’s neighbor.
Also known as the woman of my dreams, who loves geeky TV shows, baseball, and giraffes, who’s just as turned on by food as I am, and who has a huge secret that I didn’t see coming.
Now it’s time to grovel and apologize publicly on social media and hope that those same followers who helped start the raging shitstorm will help calm the waters.
Because Sarah doesn’t want the spotlight. For very good reasons that I can’t tell you right now and trying to convince her to be my fake girlfriend to fix this mess and make me look like less of a jackass is worse than taking a kick to the nuts by Jackie Chan.
And I thought modeling underwear made me feel naked.
Trying to start a relationship in the era of the twitterazzi isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
America’s Geekheart is a rockin’ fun romantic comedy featuring a billionaire fashion mogul who got his start modeling underwear, the geeky girl next door with a secret the size of California, and more superstitions and secrets than you can shake a baseball bat at. It stands alone with no cheating or cliffhangers.
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Beckett Ryder, aka a man completely oblivious that he’s just mistweeted his way to being public enemy number one
Life is pretty fucking perfect.
Weather’s a glorious seventy-five degrees and sunny on this brilliant June morning. My new jogging shoes fit like I’m running on a cloud. The green leafy canopy over Reynolds Park is hitting that perfect level of shade, and I’ve got my tunes dialed up and nowhere to be until my sister’s engagement party tonight.
Ten solid hours of doing whatever the hell I want.
I’m grinning to myself as I run the familiar pathway through the city park, so glad to be back in Copper Valley. Love my job, but there is no place in the world like home.
I nod to a woman pushing a jogging stroller going the other way, and she scowls and flips me off.
Crazies are normal when I’m in LA, or sometimes in Europe, but here?
My hometown loves me.
I dial down the volume on my tunes and double-check my shirt.
Nope, nothing offensive about a Fireballs T-shirt. They might be the biggest losers in baseball, but they’re lovable losers.
I glance lower, and—yep, remembered to put pants on today. Shorts, really. My brand, naturally, but not because they’re my brand. More because I picked them to be in my RYDE fashion line because they’re really comfortable.
I might’ve been singing along to Levi’s latest hit, but I’m not that bad. Sure, I was the eye candy in the boy band Bro Code back in the day, but I can still carry a tune.
She must’ve mistaken me for someone else. Or her fingers are stuck that way. Resting bitch face knows no boundaries and can happen to even the most innocent victims. Probably not her fault.
I keep on truckin’, and an elderly woman on a bench shakes her cane at me and says something I don’t catch while her dog yaps along. I pop out one earbud.
“You’re a disgrace to good men everywhere,” she crows.
I slow and face her, jogging in place. “Ma’am?”
“Your poor momma must be ashamed.”
Ah. The underwear police. Not so unusual. While Levi went on to be a pop sensation when we called it quits as Bro Code, Cash took off for Hollywood, Tripp hung up his fame and settled down, and Davis went into hiding, I took my own route.
My post-boy-band career choices have been known to raise a few eyebrows.
“Yes, ma’am. She’s horrified. Y’all have a nice day now.” I salute her and head back down the path toward the fountain at the center of the park.
In the years since I modeled my first pair of briefs for Giovanni & Valentino, before I branched out into creating a fashion empire of my own, I’ve had my share of haters. Goes with the business.
But my momma isn’t ashamed of me.
No more than she was during my boy band days.
If anything, she’s amused. Resigned sometimes, but amused.
Ellie—my sister—gives me trouble. So do all the guys we grew up with.
That’s why I love them.
They keep me grounded.
Hell, half of them needed the grounding themselves.
The path curves, and there she is.
Okay, fine, she’s not mine. But she’s on the city’s crest, and she says home to me.
I love home, but running the Beck Ryder fashion empire—yeah, go ahead and snort, it’s funny—keeps me away a lot.
I burst out into the sunshine and make the loop around the curved sidewalk, feet pounding the concrete, mist brushing my face, the five stone dolphins around the fountain joyfully spitting water into the stone mermaids’ buckets on the second tier while a circle of seahorses blows water horns.
The early summer breeze rustles the birch and sugar maple leaves shimmering in the sunlight. The air’s clear. The sky’s my favorite blue. Flowers explode in reds and yellows and purples in the carefully cultivated landscaping that masks the downtown skyscrapers and mutes the noise of the city.
It’s my own private welcome home party from nature.
Can’t wait to be here more often.
Soon. So soon.
I circle the fountain and head back toward the path that leads to Schuler Tower and my penthouse at the edge of the park. Tomorrow, I have to get back to work—there’s always work when you’re running an empire and launching a new foundation—but today, my staff has the day off, my phone’s still on airplane mode, and the whole Copper Valley metro area is my oyster.
No phone, no work, no responsibilities.
Maybe I’ll leave the city behind and head up into the Blue Ridge Mountains for a hike. Nap up there in the fresh air. Eat. Eat some more. Get back in time for Ellie and Wyatt’s surprise engagement party.
Rumor has it they’re serving barbecue.
I haven’t had good barbecue in months.
I’m so busy drooling over the thought of real Southern pulled pork that I almost miss the yoga class.
By itself, a yoga class on the lawn by the fountain isn’t unusual. But this yoga class seems less into the Namaste and more into hurling their yoga bricks.