Ryder Blythe is is a disaster. A red-headed, tattooed, dirty-talking disaster. But that doesn’t stop Sloane Harris from being totally and absolutely attracted to him. She knows he’s bad news, but she can’t fight the way she feels.
Plus, it’s hard to avoid him since he’s her best friend’s fiancé’s brother. But Sloane can’t ignore the issues Ryder has following his unintentional overdose. Ryder flirts with darkness and Sloane’s not sure if she can fight being dragged down with him.
It seems like only a matter of time before Ryder will self-destruct. Is Sloane willing to take that risk? Or will Ryder finally get his life together and become the man she needs?
“You’re staring at me again,” I said.
“I know. I can’t help it. You’re an interesting and extraordinary person.” Well, I wouldn’t go that far.
Our cupcakes arrived and distracted both of us.
“F*ck me gently with a chainsaw, this is so good,” I said as I took a bite of the Oreo cookie. All of the cupcakes here were filled with extra frosting, so it oozed out when you bit into it.
“Holy sh*t,” Ryder said, taking a bite of the Red Velvet. He got frosting on his nose, and I laughed.
“You’ve got a little something on your nose,” I said.
“Get it for me?” he asked. I thought about wiping it with a napkin, but used my finger instead.
“Thanks,” he said.
“No problem.” We went back to our cupcakes, and I considered ordering more because they were just so damn good.
“Life will never be the same,” I said. “This is all your fault. Now I’m going to be addicted to this place, and I will have no money because I spent it all on cupcakes. I’m going to get so fat. Are you happy now?” I asked, scraping the last of the bits of cupcake off my plate. I thought about licking the crumbs, but that seemed like a bad idea in public.
“You know, I think they deliver,” he said, wiping his face with a napkin.
“Shut the f*ck up right now. You are kidding.”
He held up the menu and pointed to the part that said they delivered anywhere in the city.
“You bastard,” I said, grabbing the menu from him and typing the number into my phone so I could use it to call anytime I wanted cupcakes, which would be always.
“How about I buy you another round? Drinks and cupcakes.”
I shook my head. “No, you bought the tea and cronuts. It’s my turn to pay for something.”
He sighed heavily.
“If this was a date, which it isn’t, you could pay. But it’s not a date. So you lose, fire crotch,” I said.
He choked on his seltzer water and sprayed it over the bar. That earned him nasty looks from those around us, but the bartender just handed us a stack of napkins with a smile.
“You two are cute together,” she said.
“Who, us?” I asked.
“Yes, you. How long have you been together?”
I looked at Ryder, wondering how we should handle this. He just put his arm around me and turned toward the bartender.
“Three months,” he said. “It’s our anniversary.” The f*ck? I gave him a stunned look and he just winked at me.
“Isn’t that right, baby?” Ugh. I hated it when guys called their girlfriends baby. It was so degrading. Or at least I’d thought it was degrading. But that was before Ryder called me baby and it made me feel all giggly.
He squeezed my shoulder, as if asking me to play along. Oh, what the hell.
“That’s right, sweetie. Three glorious months.” I smiled at the bartender, and she leaned in so she wouldn’t be overheard.
“How about I bring you something special? On the house.”
“Um, sure,” I said. “That’s so nice of you.”
“Really, thank you,” Ryder added.
She waved off the thanks. “It’s nothing. I’m just a fan of people in love. I think it should be celebrated, especially with cupcakes. I’ll be right back.”
She vanished and came back a few moments later with a cupcake that was so large, it was the size of three normal cupcakes. There was something stuck in it that she lighted which turned out to be a small sparkler.
“Congratulations,” she said, and then headed off to take more orders. The people around us all stared.
“They probably think it’s one of our birthdays,” I said to Ryder.
“Probably. We should blow that out before it sets something on fire.” He had a good point. He picked up the sparkler and doused it in the rest of his seltzer water.
“That’s one way to do it,” I said, and picked up my fork. The cupcake was vanilla with a creamy white marshmallow frosting, and it was filled with what was almost like raw cake batter with sprinkles.
“How is it?” Ryder asked, watching me as I chewed and swallowed with relish.
“Have a bite and see,” I said, pointing to his fork.
He did and banged his fist on the table. “Damn, that is good.”
We slowly ate the rest of the giant cupcake. Good thing I didn’t eat dinner or else I might not have managed it. I finished my third bellini and leaned over on the bar. It was probably dirty, but I didn’t care.
“You happy we came here?” he asked, pushing aside the now-empty plate.
“Happy. Full of cake. Same thing.”
Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world’s worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting (this one time, she was tweeted by Neil Gaiman). She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.