Here's a short excerpt from Past Regrets, book 2 in my Love and Friendship series. Book 3 is due out in September.
Past Regrets by Shelley Munro
Love and Friendship series: book two
Never look back…unless that’s where your heart belongs.
Julia Maxwell was a seize-the-moment party girl until the night she spent with up-and-coming rocker Ryan Callander. From that moment, she was a one-man woman. Pity he hasn’t kept with the program.
Tired of the secrets that have kept her out of the press and Ryan’s fans happy, angry with mounting evidence of infidelity, Julia is older, wiser, and determined to divorce his cheatin’ ass.
Ryan’s long European tour had more than its share of hard knocks—one of which landed on his head when he was mugged. Divorce papers waiting for him at home are a shock that fills in some of the holes in his sketchy memory. But it could be too late to salvage his marriage.
If Ryan thinks flirtatious smiles, seductive touches, and hot-and-heavy kisses are going to smooth things over, Julia’s got a hammer with his name on it. To her surprise, he picks it up, determined to rebuild a bright future for both of them. But the past is lurking with some missing pieces that could bring their hearts crashing down.
Warning: Contains a pissed ex-stripper turned burlesque dancer, a bunch of nosy friends and a smooth-talking rocker with one thing on his mind. Stripper poles and skimpy costumes may be involved.
“Are we in agreement?” Julia asked after running through the final items on the list she’d made during the day.
“Brilliant,” Susan said with a trace of awe. “I love the idea of branching out into classes and doing hen’s nights is a stroke of genius.”
Christina nodded. “Are you sure the burlesque will work? Are there other places that do it or are they strictly strip clubs along K’ Road?”
“I did a bit of quick research online. There are no places offering burlesque performances in the area, but it’s big overseas. I thought burlesque might widen our appeal and get more women in the place,” Julia said. “What’s taking Connor so long?”
She took two steps toward the door and came to an abrupt halt. Her pulse roared in her ears like a thundering train, shock threatening to buckle her knees. She staggered a couple of steps before reinforcing her shaking limbs enough to bear her weight.
“Ryan?” she croaked.
“Julia!” Ryan crossed the room in seconds flat and grabbed her into a tight embrace before she could react. His familiar scent rolled over her, masculine with a hint of spicy green and the outdoors. He pressed her head to his chest, apparently content to hold her against his trembling frame. For long seconds she let him, too stunned to react. Then her shock gave way to fury, and she lashed out with her foot, kicking him in the shin.
“Ow!” He released her abruptly, an aggrieved scowl distorting his pretty face. “What did you do that for?”
Cripes, she’d broken her foot, not that she’d admit it to him. She gathered the pain and hurled it back in harsh words. “You can’t come waltzing back after nearly a year and expect me to welcome you. Didn’t you receive the divorce papers?”
“I don’t want a divorce.” His blue eyes bored into her. Determined. Steady. He glanced at their avid audience. “Maybe we should take this somewhere private?”
Julia dug in her heels, feeling contrary. He had no right to burst into her life again. And as for orders—forget it. She squared her shoulders and glowered at him. “They’re my friends. They can hear anything you have to say to me.” Aw, heck. Ryan. She’d thought she’d hate him… No! She did hate him. “You cheated on me.”
“When did Julia get married?” Susan asked.
Curiosity buffeted Julia in waves, coming at her from all directions. Great. Just great.
She lowered her voice, steeling herself against his charisma. One look at his dark hair, blue eyes and strong runner’s body and her willpower seeped through the soles of her favorite high-heel pumps. Go figure.
“I can’t talk to you now. We should discuss this with our lawyers present.”
A total contradiction of her previous words. Off-balance, surprise and a tinge of outrage ran hotly through her veins, yet she wanted to grab him and lay one on his sexy lips. She wanted to lick along the tail of the dragon winding around one biceps and explore the scaled body tattooed on his shoulder. How could he do this to her?
“I’ve never cheated on you.” Her fault this was playing out publicly, his determined expression told her. He’d wanted to do this in private. The stubborn man didn’t move an inch, didn’t shift his intent gaze from her. “I haven’t slept with a woman since our last time together.”
“That’s a lie.” She’d seen the pictures of him with other women, heard the gossip. Hell, the husband-stealing slut had even spoken to her on the phone. Ryan’s cell phone. Anger and betrayal pumped through her again, the wound as fresh as the day he’d broken her heart.
“Caleb, tell her,” Ryan said, without moving his gaze off her.
Caleb stepped forward, tall and dark and so much like Ryan they were often mistaken as brothers instead of friends. Heat suffused her cheeks, memories of the three of them cavorting in bed blindsiding her.
Julia closed her eyes, hoping the two men were a fanciful mirage.
Unfortunately, her life lacked magic. When she opened her eyes, Ryan and Caleb still stood right in front of her, silent, stubborn sentinels.
“Why would I believe him?” she demanded. “He’s your best friend. He’d lie if you asked him.”