Title: Almost Perfect
Series: The Locklaine Boys (Book 3)
Author: Jessica Prince
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy
He has a hero complex. She’s an independent woman.
When they come together, it’s going to be epic.
Devon McMillon wasn’t looking for a knight in shining armor. She didn’t need a man to rescue her or take care of her. She just wanted someone who would treat her as an equal and love her for who she was. Unfortunately, even in a city as big as Manhattan, finding a guy who wasn’t intimidated by a strong-minded, slightly outspoken woman was proving harder than expected.
Having fallen in love at the age of fifteen Collin Locklaine was convinced he’d already found the woman he was destined to spend the rest of his life with. That was, until she pulled the rug out from under him and ended their relationship. He’d taken care of her, been her protector. And now he was forced to start over again.
A man with a hero complex and a woman with a fierce independent streak should never work. However, fate has other ideas. Besides, sex that good can’t be a fluke, right? With an attraction like theirs, Devon and Collin have no other choice but to dive in and see where it leads them. Only one thing is certain. When they finally come together, it’s going to be epic.
***This is Book 3 in the Locklaine Boys series, a spin-off of Love Hate relationship. They are interconnected standalones.***
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“Shh,” I hissed. “You have to be quiet. Collin can’t know you’re here. I didn’t tell him, and he might get pissed and kick you out.”
The small, pathetic whimper tugged at my heart, and I reached down to pick the squirming bundle of fur off my bedroom floor, tucking her close to my chest. “It’s okay,” I cooed to the puppy. “I’ll talk him around. Don’t worry.”
It probably would have been smart to discuss adopting a puppy with my roommate before I actually went to the SPCA and got him, but obviously, I wasn’t making the best decisions as of late. I still hadn’t been one hundred percent decided when I stopped by the shelter, but when I walked past her cage and saw her sad, lonely eyes staring up at me, I just couldn’t help myself. She looked how I felt. It was fate. I knew she was destined to be my puppy, so I didn’t hesitate. I adopted her right then. I just hoped Collin didn’t completely lose his shit when he finally discovered my little secret.
She whimpered again and stretched her neck out to lick the underside of my jaw. “You hungry, baby girl?” I giggled when her little puppy teeth started nipping at my chin. I placed her on the floor and pulled out the doggie bowl I’d just purchased — along with a shit ton of other puppy items — and dumped in a scoop of dog food. Picking up the matching water bowl, I stood and headed for the bedroom door. “Now you be quiet, okay? I need to go get you some water. I’ll be right back.”
I left the bedroom thinking that having a conversation with a dog like it was an actual person might mean I needed to get a life. I’d just filled the bowl full of water when the front door flew open so fast it crashed into the wall behind it, causing me to jump and slosh the contents of the bowl all down the front of my silk blouse.
A second later it slammed shut, followed by a loud, “Devon!”
“Jeez, will you relax,” I muttered, yanking a wad of paper towels off the holder to try and soak up some of the water that was falling down my front. “I’m right here.”
My eyes had been pointed down at my drenched top, so focused on my task that I hadn’t caught the fiery, determined expression on Collin’s face as he continued toward the kitchen until he was right on me. I let out a startled gasp when his hand suddenly shot into my line of sight, snatching the paper towels out of my grip.
“What the hell?” I blinked and looked up to find his face only inches from mine. My heart rate spiked at the close proximity. My skin began to tingle, and I stumbled back on my heels to try and create some distance. “What’s going on? What’s wrong?”
With every step I took back, he followed until I was pinned against the kitchen counter. Collin’s hands bracketed my hips, giving me no room for escape. His voice was gruff and rumbly as he declared, “This shit ends.” Then dipped his face so we were nose to nose and growled, “Today.”
The sudden burning sensation in my lungs alerted me to the fact that I’d been holding my breath. Pulling in some much-needed oxygen, I stuttered, “W-what?”
Collin ran the tip of his nose along mine and the sensation made my entire body melt. My knees threatened to buckle and my head went loopy. “Uh… w-what are y-you doing?”
“I’m sick and fucking tired of you freezing me out.”
Okay, well, those words were enough to chase the warm, gooey feeling in my belly away. I put my hands to his chest and pushed, but it was like trying to move a wall. “Collin—” I spoke in a low, warning tone.
Unfortunately, he didn’t care that I wanted him to step back. He wasn’t finished. And what he said next was a massive hit to that steel-reinforced wall I’d been working to build around myself. “I miss touching you.”
At the feel of his lips sliding along my cheek, my eyes fluttered closed. “I miss holding you whenever the hell I want,” he whispered against the shell of my ear, causing me to tremble. “You’ve been giving me the silent treatment for too goddamned long.”
“C-Collin…” That time I spoke his name in a completely different tone. Needy, pleading, almost desperate. “I don’t… what’s happening right now?”
I could have sworn his tongue darted out and flicked my earlobe. “What’s it feel like?”
Then the moment was broken by a sharp, yappy bark that was coming from my bedroom.
Collin’s entire body jerked back. “The fuck was that?”
“Uh… Collin. It’s—”
Before I could get the words out, he was on the move, rounding the counter that separated the kitchen and living space, and heading down the hall toward my room. “Collin, wait,” I panted, chasing after him. “I can totally explain!”
He had the door thrown open as I hit the mouth of the hall, and I knew, by his reaction, he’d found the source of the noise when I was about two feet away.
“Holy fuck!” He stumbled back and hit the wall. “Jesus Christ! What the hell is that?!” he shouted, still moving backward along the wall. His terror-filled eyes were on my poor puppy as she trotted out and followed after him. “Shit! It’s moving! Devon, get me a broom or baseball bat or something to kill it with!”
“No!” I rushed down the rest of the hall and skirted past Collin, scooping my precious baby off the floor and holding her close. “Don’t you dare!”
“Jesus, Devon, don’t touch that thing! It could have rabies or something.”
My eyes narrowed in a vicious glare. “She doesn’t have rabies. And she’s not a thing. She’s a puppy.” I cuddled her trembling body close and tucked her under my chin. “And stop yelling. You’re scaring her.”
He stood frozen for several seconds before finally asking, “Are you kidding? That’s not a dog, Dev. That’s some sort of rodent.”
Holding on to my shaking dog with one arm, I reached out and punched Collin with the other. “She is not. She’s a cross between a Chihuahua and a Boston Terrier.”
His eyes got wide as he looked from my dog to me. “Bullshit!”
Okay, so he wasn’t completely off the mark. “The people at the animal shelter think she might have a little American Hairless Terrier in her, too.”
“The pound?” he asked incredulously. “You adopted this thing?”
“Stop calling her a thing,” I ground out. “Her name is Pogo.”
I smiled down at her when she reached up and licked my jaw again. “It’s because she looks like she’s bouncing on a pogo stick when she walks.”
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Born and raised around Houston Texas, Jessica spent most of her life complaining about the heat, humidity, and all around pain in the ass weather. It was only as an adult that she quickly realized the cost of living in Houston made up for not being able to breathe when she stepped outside. That’s why God created central air, after all.
Jessica is the mother of a perfect little boy–she refuses to accept that he inherited her attitude and sarcastic nature no matter what her husband says.
In addition to being a wife and mom, she’s also a wino, a coffee addict, and an avid lover of all types of books–romances still being her all time favs. Her husband likes to claim that reading is her obsession but she just says it’s a passion…there’s a difference. Not that she’d expect a boy to understand.
Jessica has been writing since she was a little girl, but thankfully grew out of drawing her own pictures for her stories before ever publishing her first book. Because an artist she is not.
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