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Not So Goode (Goode Girls #2)
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I’ve done everything right, my whole life. I never snuck out, never partied, never drank, never even had a high school boyfriend. Got all the best grades, got into all the best schools. I received not one, but TWO Ivy League University degrees. Had the paper-perfect fiancé, the paper-perfect life.
And then it all fell apart. My fiancé cheated on me with my boss. I quit my job, left my fancy upper-crust Boston condo, dumped my cheating fiancé…quit my entire life basically. Took to day-drinking and bingeing Netflix.
And then my younger sister Lexie calls me in a panic. She needs me to come rescue her, but won’t say from what, just that I need to come get her…at her university…in New York. Which leads Lexie and I on road trip across the country.
We form the no-bra man-hating day-drinkers roadtrip club…membership two.
And then I…ummm…overindulge just a little bit, at a country music festival. Get harassed by assholes. Have to be saved by tall, dark, and handsome man named Crow.
Crow turns my whole world upside down. He shows me what real pleasure is. Shows me what I’ve been missing my whole life…what a man can and should do to make a woman feel really, really good.
He’s bad. Dangerous. Wild. He has a bad mouth, hard fists, and a dark, mysterious past. And a talented tongue. And hands I find myself wanting all over me, in a desperate way I thought was only real in the romances I read. And now, suddenly, I find myself wanting a wild mustang of a man, an untamable force of nature…and wondering if there’s room in my safe, orderly, good girl world for him. Or if maybe I can learn how to be…not so good.
~ ~ ~
She’s everything good and sweet and innocent in the world, and I’m a hard-fisted brawler, an outlaw with a bloodstained past. I’m the exact, polar opposite to everything Charlie Goode is. I want her—I want her quick mind and her soft skin, her sexy curves and her sharp tongue. I want her body, and I want her soul. But I can’t have her. When she finds out about the bloody, violent truth of my past, she won’t want anything to do with me. She’ll run away as fast and as far as she can, because I’m not meant for a sweet, innocent thing like her.
Until then, though, I plan on getting her a little dirty. Showing her some of the wild side where I live my life. Take what I can get, and enjoy the ride, and worry about the state of my heart later.
You know what they say about the best laid plans, though.
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A panicked call from my sister in the middle of the night.
I‘d ended the call, thought about my course of action for a hot minute, and then I’d thrown a bunch of things together, knowing in the back of my mind that I might not be back in Boston for a while. If ever.
And then here I was, on the highway to New York state, at seven-forty in the morning.
Call it serendipity.
I was on my second large cup of gas station coffee, and I’d already eaten two bear claws. Between the caffeine and the sugar, I was pretty buzzed. I didn’t normally indulge in junk food like this, but I wasn’t normally woken up at three in the morning by a hysterical sister begging me to come rescue her…from what I wasn’t entirely sure.
I called Lexie again once I was on the freeway, headed to Sarah Lawrence College where she was a student—I’d managed to talk her into going back to bed and getting some sleep, but still hadn’t gotten any kind of concrete details from her about why she was so upset.
So, to recap, at 3 a.m. my middle sister, Lexie called me, sobbing hysterically and begging me to come rescue her. This was unusual in many respects, as Lexie simply did not cry, ever, no matter what. She never ever asked for help, no matter what, and she would not accept help from anyone, about anything, ever. She was vehemently, obstinately, comically independent, and had been since she was a little girl. She’d broken her ankle on the trampoline once, when she was seven or so, and had refused Dad’s help—she climbed down off the trampoline, gritting her teeth as hard as she could, refusing to even sniffle. She had hobbled on her own to the car and had refused a hospital wheelchair. At no point had she allowed so much as a single tear to fall. My second sister, Cassie, was much the same, but she was a little less stubborn about it than Lex. Cassie would show emotion, but explosively. She pent it up and kept it shoved down until one little thing would set her off, and she’d rage and stew, and then it would be over.
Lex? She was pure ice, all the time, at least when it came to pain, whether physical or emotional. She had very few moods: she was either happy and cheerful and energetic, or angry in an ultraliberated hardline feminist righteous kind of way, or even-keeled and focused, or a hypersexualized take-what-I-want party animal sort of way. Sad, scared, worried, nervous, frustrated…none of these applied to Alexandra Goode.
So, this call from her, sobbing and outright scared and borderline nervous breakdown? This was apocalyptic and very worrying.
And she refused to tell me a single thing over the phone.
Not one single detail.
A dozen scenarios ran through my head—most of them centered around the possibility of her being pregnant. I couldn’t think of anything else that would cause this kind of panic in her. She was…adventurous, sexually, to say the least. Just don’t use the “shame” word around her though, or she’ll verbally flay the skin off your bones. She could make grown men cry with just a few words.
Mere mortals should stay away.
So, the point here was that she did what she wanted and god help anyone who even thought of judging her.
Mom and I both have always worried that despite how careful she was about birth control and contraception she would eventually turn up pregnant. So that’s where my mind was focused as I drove.
But I didn’t want to assume—I couldn’t afford to. If I were to show up at Sarah Lawrence with a brain full of assumptions Lexie just might, in her current state, disown me.
Or worse, unload both barrels into me, and I was dealing with my own crisis of identity and future, and I just didn’t think I could handle a Lexie Goode tongue-lashing.
So I did my best to just focus on staying awake and getting to Sarah Lawrence in one piece with an open mind.
I finally arrived and navigated my way through the picturesque East Coast campus. As I got closer to where I vaguely remembered her dorm building being, I turned down the radio so I could see better. Ha ha.
I recognized her building—I have a pretty excellent visual memory, and this looked familiar. I’d only been here for a few minutes, once before, when she first transferred here from U-Conn.
I parked, consulted my message thread with Lex for the building and room details and verified I was in the right place. I grabbed the coffees I’d purchased at my last pit stop, and headed inside. At her door, I knocked, three times, firmly.
A long pause.
A raspy voice. “Who is it.” This, despite the peephole in the door.