I know how much you loved the couples at Second Circle Tattoos. So for my next series, I wanted to give you more of the characters you have already come to care about. Welcome to Preload. For those who have read The Purest Hook, Preload is hero Dred Zanders' band. And yes, for all of you who wrote to me asking for the band members to each get their own stories after reading The Purest Hook, here they are. Jordan is up first and will be followed by Elliott, Nikan, and Lennon. I can't wait for you to get to know and fall in love with these men who grew up in a group home together and the women who bring them to their knees.
And for those who haven't read The Purest Hook, it doesn't matter because these stories are all completely stand-alone.
About JORDAN RECLAIMED
Now he’s made good, touring the world with the band he and his brothers formed in that crowded group home. No one but his found family really knows the man under the fame and fortune, the scars he hides behind the rockstar lifestyle. Until he sees her through the windows of the National Ballet, dancing, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem so dark.
Aleksandra Artemov ticks all the ballet boxes. Father a legendary Kirov dancer. Check. Prepping since birth for classical ballet. Check. Compulsive control over the food she eats. Check. Principal dancer at The National Ballet of Canada. Check.
But what she craves is freedom.
She craves Jordan.
Everything about him should terrify her. His size, his tattoos, his edge. But he doesn’t. He stirs her very soul. Jordan has nothing but himself to offer her, and he's never been good enough for anyone. Can he figure out how to face his own demons before he loses his light for good?
He got it.
He finally got it.
He got why John Lennon left the Beatles for Yoko.
He got why Dred wrote a love song for Pixie.
From the moment Jordan’s lips touched Lexi’s, he couldn’t imagine anything else feeling and tasting quite so perfect for the rest of his life.
He ran his tongue along the seam of her lips and she groaned, opening for him. He thrust his hands further into her hair as their tongues touched. She tasted of wine and sweetness, and he couldn’t get enough.
While her eyes were closed, his were open, unwilling to miss a single moment of what was happening between them. He angled her head, and she rose up on her toes to meet him. He thought he was going to faint as the blood rushed from his brain to his cock, which ached for contact.
Lexi’s arms wound their way around his waist, her hands finding the way under his leather jacket and sweater to rest upon his back. Skin on skin. How he wanted them to be. Naked. Exposed. Nothing between them as he made love to her in a huge bed that they could stay in for days.
Except he didn’t have a huge bed. And he didn’t have the kind of room she deserved to stay in. He had an attic. And a box under his bed that held his most treasured possessions that nobody else would understand. A secondhand copy of Scales, Chords & Arpeggios, and the first birthday card he ever received from Maisey and Ellen. Random shit nobody else would care about.
Jordan pulled away slowly and looked carefully at Lexi. Her lips were pink and plump, her cheeks flushed, her eyes wide.
“Jordan,” she whispered.
“I gotta go. Bye, Lexi,” he said. He needed to get home and then drink enough to forget about her. Banish the stupid idea swirling around in his mind that they could have any kind of relationship. He should never have kissed her. It was hard enough to walk away before, but now that he had a clearer idea of what it was he was actually walking away from, it hurt all the more.
“Wait,” Lexi said as she grabbed his arm.
The small voice in his brain told him to keep walking, but he couldn’t. Instead, he turned to see what she wanted.
Lexi grabbed a pen from her purse, the one she had given him to sign the napkin in the restaurant. She reached for his hand and turned it over so his palm was facing up and quickly scribbled something on it. When she was done, she stood on her tiptoes again and kissed his cheek.
Weakness was a new sensation, but he felt it down to his boots as, against his better judgment, he leaned his cheek ever so slightly toward her lips.
“Good night, Jordan,” she said and bounced up the porch, grabbing her hat from the chair where Jordan had tossed it.
She paused in the doorway to wave good-bye and then closed the door silently shut.
Only when he was certain that she was definitely gone did he allow himself the luxury of seeing what she had written on his hand. It was a phone number. Despite himself, he felt a murmur of excitement that she found him worthy of a second date.
Jordan turned toward home. As snow began to fall again, he hurriedly made the short hike across the Don Valley river and ravine to his neighborhood, trying to halt the avalanche of emotions because of ten hand-scribed digits.
About Scarlett Cole
When Scarlett isn't writing, she spends her time reading, hoarding mason jars, and working out to off-set an epic sour candy habit. She likes hot men, cold beer, and expensive shoes.
Having travelled the world for work and fun, Scarlett is a citizen of both Britain and Canada. A true city-dweller, she considers Toronto and Manchester home and likes to set her books in vibrant locations such as Miami and Toronto.
Rep'd by Beth Phelan at The Bent Agency, and published by St. Martin's Press.
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