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Cheap Trick (Dawson Family #4)
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Danielle Cross has spent her whole life running from breakups and troubles. She’s never stayed in the same place for long…until now.
The moment she walks through the doors of Logan Dawson’s bar, there’s an attraction between them neither can deny.
And when Danielle needs a date to her sister’s wedding, Logan is the man for the job. A cheap trick to fool her family is a small price to pay for a weekend in paradise.
Playing pretend is easy. The hard part? Trying to convince yourself the feelings are only fake.
CHEAP TRICK is a full–length, friends-to-lovers/fake fiancé, standalone romance novel. Coming May 16th.
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One year ago…
Someday, I’ll stop lying to myself. When I say I’m going to get my life together, I’m going to actually do it.
Someday…just not today.
I pull PJs out of my suitcase and sit on the bed, looking around the room. It’s been over ten years since I’ve been here, and everything is exactly the same, from the pale yellow wallpaper to the faint smell of lavender that fills the house. Gathering up my PJs and toothbrush, I silently move through the hall and into the bathroom, changing and getting ready for bed.
It’s been one hell of a day, and I’m exhausted. But of course, as soon as I lie down, I’m wide the fuck awake. After tossing and turning for an hour, I get up and go into the kitchen, finding a bottle of wine in the back of the pantry. I uncork the wine and take it onto the back porch, taking solace in the quiet chorus of crickets.
The screen door slowly creaks open, startling me. “Can’t sleep?” Grandpa asks, stepping onto the porch.
I shake my head. “It’s probably the jet lag.”
Grandpa laughs. “I didn’t know you’d get jet lag traveling from Connecticut to Indiana.”
I nod. “There’s like an hour time difference. It might take me weeks to get used to this.”
Grandpa’s eyes go to the bottle of wine in my hand. “Are you sure you’re okay, kiddo?”
I force a smile, trying hard to hold up the front that I’m A-okay. It’s what I always do, but right now, I’m just tired. “Yeah, I am.” My fake smile grows wider.
Leaving’s always been an option, and it’s what I’ve done over the last few years. When Roger and I broke up, I applied to grad school two states away. When grad school got hard, I took time off to work and build my resume. And when I got let go from my job, I spent three months volunteering in Costa Rica.
And here I am in Indiana.
“Really?” Grandpa’s knee cracks as he crosses the porch, sitting on a rocking chair next to me. “Because those who are fine don’t sit alone in the dark drinking cheap wine out of a bottle.”
I let my eyes fall closed for a few seconds before taking a breath and turning to my grandpa. “I wanted to warn Diana and keep her from being disappointed later in life, but I get the blame for Peter being a Grade-A douchebag and it cost me my job…it feels like I failed. And then when I look back at my life, I see there’s been a lot of failure in there.”
“How lucky you are that you get to fail. You can only fail if you’re living, and that’s not something you should ever take for granted.”
Tears burn at the corners of my eyes, and I bring the bottle of wine to my lips, taking another drink.
“And you know what else is good about failure?” Grandpa asks. “After each failure, each fall, you get up and you try again. And you might fail again, but you get back up. Each and every time, you get back up.”
Throat tight, I nod and look out at the farmland. There’s a barn not far from the house, and two of the three horses have their heads hanging out the open Dutch doors. I’ve always considered myself more or less scrappy and have been able to climb and crawl out of some shitty situations. But once I’m standing on my own two feet again, I’m lost. “I don’t know where to go after I get back up.”
Grandpa smiles. “Let’s start with getting you a decent drink.”
“There’s a place open around here?”
“Eastwood is a small town, and every small town has at least one good bar. And I mean one. Getaway is open until three of or four AM some nights,” he says, waving me back into the house.
“Grandpa!” I exclaim, faking shock. “You stay out until three AM? I thought I was going to be the crazy partier rocking the ship here. You’re gonna have me beat.”
“I could drink you under the table, kid.” He gives me a wink. “Go change and meet me in the truck in five minutes.”
“Deal,” I say with a laugh. Normally, I’d do my hair and makeup to go to a bar, but tonight I don’t give a damn. I throw on jeans, a black top, and red heels. I cave and put on mascara and lip gloss, but I’m still ready in just about five minutes. I comb my hair with my fingers as I walk through the old farmhouse and outside, getting in the passenger side of my grandpa’s old pickup truck.
“Lucky for us, the bar isn’t far from here,” he says and pulls down the driveway.
“Isn’t everything ten minutes from anything? The town is small, right?”