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Still Not Love
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Not the heck again. I’ve had my alpha-jerkface fix.
I’m about to go nuclear.
How could I ever forget my first?
Maybe I always wanted to know why, but not like this.
Even worse, we’re snowed in with my VIP father and his scary friends.
From Wall Street Journal bestselling author Nicole Snow – a category five enemies-to-lovers swoon-storm. Watch what happens when irresistible alpha charmer has to fight to win back the woman who got away. Full length romance novel with a Happily Ever After squeal or ten.
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Tale as Old as Time (Faye)
Let me tell you one thing.
Belle, I most certainly am not. Even if she just so happens to be my favorite fairy-tale heroine.
Don’t get me wrong – I love being a librarian. Every book is an entire hidden world waiting to be discovered, one page at a time.
I get the pleasure of endlessly introducing people to new things. My happiest days are when I get to see a kid discover how much they can love reading when I pick the perfect book for them.
What I love most about my job, though, is the smell of old pages, binding, book glue, ink, leather.
Guess what part I hate most?
It’s that the scent of a library is lacking. It doesn’t have the smell of gunpowder and hot, stinging adrenaline that really gets my blood going.
That, plus sometimes, it’s too damned quiet.
That’s how it is today until the glass double doors out front slam open, letting in a hint of crisp Portland air that’s half winter, half asphalt, and one hundred percent crunchy granola.
I glance up from checking the condition of a few returns before re-shelving as the commotion starts.
Over a dozen men in black suits rush the room in militant quickness, all of them nearly identical carbon copies of each other: sharp-cut hair, sunglasses, and those little clear coils of earpieces stretching down to their collars. They bark orders to the library patrons as they sweep in, flanking the perimeter, commanding startled, confused people to clear out.
With how they’re dressed, the air of authority they give off, no one even questions it – not even the library managers, who find themselves herded out in a flurry of surprised little gasps, tumbling into the crowd streaming toward the exit.
I sigh, grinding the heel of my palm against the bridge of my nose, and set my books down.
God damn it, Dad.
Sometimes, the whole Secret Service schtick is a little too extra.
But at least he knows how to make a selfishly dramatic entrance.
And he really pulls off the drama now. Because once the library’s clear of everyone but me, two Secret Service agents hold the double doors open like they’re announcing the entrance of a king. America may not have royalty, but a U.S. Senator is pretty damn close.
The other agents swarm the single-room space, almost too big for the small, cozy, brick-walled area, an old house that was converted to a library some time during the fifties.
When Dad walks in, I can almost hear the grand fanfare.
Especially when, as he passes, the two agents holding the door salute him with a barked, “Mr. Harris!”
My father comes gliding across the room like a razor, cutting the space. If the Secret Service agents are black daggers, he’s a sword.
All tall, sharp-edged, and PR-ready, his suit the color and hardness of steel, his eyes like polished jade blades. Sometimes I look at this man, with his silvered, backswept hair and stern jaw, wondering who he is and how we’re related.
I don’t see my father in him, even if I know he loves me and would do anything to protect me.
That’s the whole reason I’ve been squirreled away in this cozy little piece of Portland like a secret waiting to be discovered.
But in him, there’s something missing. Like the man who used to carry me around on his shoulders disappeared, leaving behind a skin that some dark, cold, grim thing shrugged on over its tense, bristling shape.
Yet, there’s nothing cold about the way he reaches for me when I stand straight with a fond, exasperated sigh and round my desk to approach him. He pulls me into a hug, wrapping me up in his tall frame, resting his scratchy beard on the top of my head as he holds me tightly.
“Faye,” he murmurs, his voice as scratchy as his trim beard, deep and raspy and comforting. “You look like you’re doing well.”
I lean into him, squeezing him tight. “Well, until you barged in with the entourage, I was bored.”
“Boredom is good for your health.”
“Is that what they’re saying in your top secret briefings? Or is it just the latest science fluff piece you read on your way over?” With a laugh, I draw back, looking up at him. “What’s with the theatrics? This is pretty heavy, even for you. Feels like you’re about to usher me into a panic room. Or pull some kind of Liam Neeson stunt. Look, Dad, if you want me to keep a low profile, you can’t do stuff like this at my job. I don’t know how I’m going to explain it tomorrow.”
“You won’t need to,” he says, voice firming, and he takes my arm gently in one knobbed, large hand. “This isn’t your job anymore.”
I blink. “What? But I –”
“Faye, there’s no time to explain. Especially not here.” His gaze darts around, and I can see his old military training in that look. He’s assessing the perimeter, expecting danger, looking for any access holes, points of egress, vulnerabilities.