I wrote the book Be Careful What You Wish For in response to readers asking for it, based on their feelings about the short story of the same name (that story appeared in my book Quickies). The short story–at its heart–deals with cheating and karma, but I knew I wanted to explore a bigger theme in a full-sized novel, and that was surrounding the issue of trust. Here’s a blurb and a chapter from the book, and this book is going to be the first part of a series (I’ve planned three other books).
Forbidden desire is just the beginning…
Jessica, a college student struggling with day-to-day bills, is given an offer she can’t refuse. A married woman who is convinced that her husband Kage is cheating on her offers Jessica enough money to repair her dying car in exchange for Jessica’s attempt to destroy the woman’s marriage.
Jessica succeeds but discovers something else–she and Kage are soulmates, destined to find each other.
But as they attempt to carve out their places in each other’s lives, Jessica finds herself plagued with doubts, and she begins to suspect that Kage is once a cheater, always a cheater. Can their relationship survive or was it doomed from the start?
The following excerpt is for readers 18+
Chapter Four from Be Careful What You Wish For (April 2014)
Later that night, I was in a different bar (just a couple of blocks away from the one that employed me). I was wearing a black vinyl miniskirt and a snug red tank with black thigh high boots that matched the skirt. My makeup was a little heavier than usual (okay, a lot heavier), and I wore my hair down. I knew I looked good, but I hoped I didn’t look too skanky. I didn’t want to be a complete turnoff.
No…it would be good if I did. Then I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about anything.
Lindsey and Steph (our other roomie) had questioned my outfit and especially my makeup. I stood in front of my full-length mirror before I left our apartment, and it felt a little surreal. Yeah, that was me there—dark brown hair, pale green eyes accentuated with the false eyelashes I’d donned—but I looked different. I’d never thought I was a girl who could look hot, but with Lindsey’s help, I’d accomplished the impossible.
I thought I looked irresistible, but only time would tell.
An hour later, sometime after seven, I sat at the bar scoping out the place. It wasn’t the kind of bar I would ever choose to go to on my own. There were a lot of rough-looking guys there—bikers, body builders, jocks, probable gang members. It was a bar for men. In fact, the only other woman I’d seen was Fay, and she’d gone to great lengths to make sure she wasn’t visible.
So, you’d think being the only woman in a bar, I’d be getting hitting on constantly, but that definitely wasn’t the case. I think it’s because I was an outsider. Women just didn’t come here, and the regulars figured I’d take the hint if I wasn’t encouraged. At least, that was the vibe I got.
It felt like a man cave. It wasn’t a gay bar. It was men engaged in manly banter, drinking, pool, and darts. They were doing things with their bros, and hos shouldn’t have the gall to bother them, invading their territory when they weren’t welcome.
Well, too bad. I was, no matter what that place felt like.
I again spied Fay sitting in a booth across the bar. She was wearing a black wig and sunglasses. Yes, I’m completely serious. I couldn’t believe she wanted to watch while I tried to tempt her husband. I was becoming more and more convinced that the woman was sick. From my vantage point, I could see her if I turned completely around, but the boys at the pool table I could see just by looking to my side.
And, my God, they were all hot, but Kage was smokin’. He would have been the guy I’d wanted out of the three even if I hadn’t been on a mission to destroy his marriage in exchange for car repair. And Fay’s pictures hadn’t included all the tattoos on his arms. Holy hell. The guy was gorgeous and was flipping every switch I had without even knowing it.
I sucked in another breath. No, I wasn’t trying to destroy his marriage. I couldn’t think that way. Instead, I was testing his faithfulness, and he could turn me down.
I slammed the shot in front of me, hoping it would give me more courage, and then paid the bartender to have his cocktail waitress take a drink to the man in my sights. (Aha! A cocktail waitress. A comrade in arms!) I was sending over a shot for him, one of tequila. Fay had told me it was one of his favorites, so it would be a great way to break the ice. I was biting down, my jaw clenched tight, feeling way more nervous than I should, and I considered ordering another shot of my own. But I had to watch his response. And when she took the drink to him, a short conversation between them ensued, but he looked over at me and nodded, then slammed the shot. I smiled.
But nothing happened. He smiled back and said thanks, but then went back to his pool game.
Yeah…it might have been the man cave vibe, but I got the feeling Kage’s reaction was more than that, that if this guy was cheating, he had a special someone. He should have jumped on my invitation. Maybe I wasn’t his type.
But I wasn’t ready to give up yet, and I knew Fay wouldn’t let me off the hook this early on anyway. She would demand eight hundred dollars’ worth of effort. So I asked the bartender to send Kage and his three buddies another round of the beers they were finishing up, and I paid him for that too.
I should have asked Fay to pay for all expenses as well, because the drinks were adding up quickly. Maybe I’d try to negotiate that later. But my thought with blowing more money on multiple drinks was this: If the guy whose attention I was trying to get was blowing me off, maybe I’d have to get his friends’ attention instead. This time when the waitress took the beers to them and the guys started to look over, I was already on my way to their area in the bar. No way I was going to try to put a little extra sway in my step, because I’d likely fall over in those tall boots. It would have helped the image, but falling on my ass wouldn’t. It wasn’t worth the risk.
When I arrived at my destination, I didn’t look the hot guy named Kage in the eyes…not yet. He’d had his chance, and now I had to play a little hard to get. So I looked over at the tallest guy and said, “You guys looked a little parched.”
“We were, little lady. What did we do to deserve this attention?”
I smirked, not ready to give up my secret yet. So I shrugged, trying to appear coy and teasing. “Let’s just say I hate drinking alone.” I got closer to the tall guy with long brown hair and said, “Mind if I watch you guys play? I mean…it seems like this is kind of a guys’ night, but…”
“I’m cool with it.” He spoke with authority as though he were speaking for the other guys. But the smiling guy with long blonde hair and the guy with short spiky blonde hair didn’t seem to mind, either. In fact, I caught the spiky blonde guy checking me out when I looked over. But the guy I was here for…I was pretty sure his wife had it all wrong. He was avoiding me like I had Ebola and examining the table so he could set up his next shot.
“I guess I should introduce myself. I’m Jessica.”
The spiky blonde guy came around the pool table and offered his hand. “Jason.” I took it and he seemed reluctant to let it go. Maybe my plans had worked too well. “The big tall guy there is Mark, and the dude next to him we call Diesel. Mr. Quiet’s name is Kage.” I shook Mark’s hand—nice and warm—followed by Diesel, and then turned and Kage was finally looking at me. And that did it. I felt like I was going to melt. Jesus. His eyes were warm, almost caressing, and even though he still seemed reserved, I could tell he wasn’t as big a dick as he’d first acted. In fact, when he took my hand in his, he held mine firmly but not hard. It felt almost possessive, and I could tell my smile was waning as my eyes searched his. Aha. So he was interested. I felt then like I wouldn’t be able to catch my breath.
But he was still going to play shy. Mark said, “We’re just gonna keep on playing. You can watch if you want.”
Jason grinned, continuing to stand next to me. “I just hope you bring me a little luck.” I stood back a little and watched them play a while. I’d definitely wrecked whatever flow they’d had going. I was a fifth wheel. I didn’t feel unwelcome, though; in fact, I felt a little like a princess whose attention they were trying to steal, but they were having to adjust to the feel I brought to the group. I hadn’t counted on the group testosterone factor, but when Kage had blown me off, I’d hoped to use it to my advantage. I was now hoping I hadn’t overplayed my hand.
As I stood watching them for the next few minutes, I was starting to feel like I was failing at my mission. By the same token, I didn’t want to just drape myself on hot guy Kage. I knew that if I came on too strong, I would blow it. The guy was married and was trying to stay faithful, and if he wasn’t, he’d hit on me before the night was over.
So I came up with a plan. I needed to spend most of the time flirting with someone else, and I chose Jason. Jason was a cutie with this spiky blonde hair and striking blue eyes, but he wasn’t my type, especially when there was a rocker type like Kage around. Still…I decided to flirt with him as much as he flirted with me, and later I’d make my move. I needed Kage to see me through someone else’s eyes as desirable and attractive, and Jason managed to do that. I needed to keep it friendly and light, though, because I didn’t want Jason to start hitting on me in earnest.
“How hard is it to get the ball in the pocket if you’ve been drinking a lot?”
He chuckled. “Let’s just say my playing gets worse as the night goes on.”
We kept up a light banter but I was looking for my opportunity to make a move on Kage. He hadn’t seemed interested as yet. I hoped Jason’s feelings wouldn’t be hurt, but surely all these guys knew. After all, whom had I bought the shot for first?
Well, they were no dummies. After that game, Mark jabbed Diesel in the ribs and told him to help him “fetch another round” of beers. “You in too?” he asked me and I nodded. Jason then excused himself to “take a piss,” and that left me alone all of a sudden with Kage.
He was setting up the table for the next game, and I couldn’t tell if he was trying to keep his distance from me or not. I moved close to him. I didn’t touch him, didn’t want to completely blow it, but—because I knew Fay was watching—I didn’t want to be accused of not trying hard enough. “So…do you really like pool? ‘Cause you act like you’d rather be anywhere but here.”
He looked up at me and grinned. Oh, shit. That was a panty melter. I felt my heart start beating just a little faster, as though I’d been power walking. “Let’s just say it’s been a rough week.”
I smiled back. “Well, it must be in the air, because I’ve have a shitty week too.”
“It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t Jason and me against Mark and Diesel. They’re the better players and they’ve beaten us twice now. Guess it’s a good thing I just play for fun.”
I looked down at his hands. He had tattoos past his wrists. God, was that sexy. I noticed that he wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. I couldn’t tell by glancing if he ever did. I panicked momentarily, wondering if I had the right guy, but I knew I did. He was the same guy who had been in the picture. I had the right person. I was just questioning myself, and I knew that was probably normal, especially considering I was going against everything that felt right to me.
I took a deep breath, trying to push those thoughts out of my head. His hand was on the triangle, rolling the balls around. I asked, “So what else do you do for fun?”
“You mean besides playing games I’m no good at?”
I smiled at him again. His eyes were probing mine. What was he looking for? I couldn’t get my lips to move at first. “Yeah.”
His lips curled up on one side. Yes, he was definitely assessing me, and I was starting to get the vibe that maybe Fay was right. I swallowed, and I would have bet anything at that moment I looked like prey. He probably was sleeping around on her. I’d have to make sure he used a condom, because God knew what nasty things his dick had touched.
I was captivated by his charms, though, and I almost didn’t care that he was cheating on his wife, simply using me to get off, playing me for a fool. There was something magnetic about him, and I just didn’t give a shit. He swallowed and my eyes were drawn to his Adam’s apple. He was wearing a chain around his neck. Oh…I wanted to kiss him there, lick the line that chain made, but I wouldn’t want to stop and loop back up. No, I’d want to keep kissing lower and lower. But I realized I was staring and forced my eyes back to his. They were smoldering now, almost ablaze, and he said, “Well…when I’m not working, I have a little fun playing in a rock band.”
No. He was teasing now, right? “Are you kidding?”
He smiled again. “No. I was lying when I said it was just for fun. It’s not. I’d rather do that than anything else.”
I had a hard time taking in a breath. “What do you play?”
Oh, if he couldn’t tell he had me by the throat, he was an idiot. “I’m the lead singer. But I play bass too.”
Shit. I was done for. If I had any real weakness, it was for rock stars. Robb had been a drummer for his rock band. His band wasn’t the greatest, but I didn’t care, because they looked so hot onstage. And now I had this sexy semi rock god in front of me, and he was starting to feel like he was mine for the taking. And I was sure Kage’s band was better than Robb’s, even without even hearing them.
And that was all it took. We engaged in a real conversation focused on music. By the time Jason returned, he knew he didn’t stand a chance with me, because Kage and I had hit it off. As though the shot of tequila wasn’t enough for him to know my interest, I’m sure the way my eyes had glazed over were confirmation.
“So what kind of rock do you play?”
“Oh, my God. You’re yanking my chain!”
He smiled again. “I’m not.”
“You are. You must have seen the tattoo on my forehead that branded me a sucker.”
He started laughing. “Okay, Jessica.” Oh. That sounded like a purr to my ears and I took a deep breath, hoping my eyes didn’t look ravenous. “Tell me some of your favorite bands.”
“Killswitch Engage.” He nodded. “Asking Alexandria.”
“Nice. What about The Devil Wears Prada and Blessthefall?”
“Oh, yeah. They’re both awesome.”
“They are.” He grabbed his beer mug and finished the drink I’d bought him.
“My fave, though?”
“Bullet for My Valentine.”
He nodded. “I’ve seen them in concert.”
“Yeah, the last time they came to Denver. They’re great live. But I’ve seen Asking Alexandria and Blessthefall in concert too. Nothing like live music.”
I nodded in agreement, and it was about that time that Jason joined us again. I smiled at him for a brief moment and saw the look on his face—he knew he’d “lost” to Kage. It wasn’t thirty seconds later that Mark and Diesel also returned, and they brought me a beer too. The guys started playing their next game and even invited me to play along, but I knew I’d just complicate matters…although I wouldn’t have minded trying to figure out how to get Kage to help me learn how to play.
We continued talking about music and the other guys joined in once in a while, but it was mostly just Kage and me, the other guys remaining in their own conversations. It was incredible, because the one constant for me in my life was always music. It was the one thing that had never let me down, had never made promises it couldn’t keep, and it had gotten me through a lot of bad times in my life. So finding that this hot guy felt strongly about music too was icing on the cake. For that brief time, I even forgot for a while that he was married. He was just a guy I was extremely interested in. The feeling was mutual too; I could tell. We got so into our conversation that once or twice one of the other guys had to remind Kage to play his turn. That was odd, because I knew guys liked and needed their bonding time. Of course, I had come along and messed that all up…and it felt like Kage and I had known each other forever.
It was around ten o’clock when Mark said, “Man, I gotta call it a night.”
Jason and Diesel agreed.
Kage said, “It’s not that late, pussies.”
Diesel said, “Yeah, well, we gotta work in the morning, unlike some guys…”
“I still work forty hours a week, man. I just do it faster than you.”
Diesel flipped him off and he grinned again. Yeah, it was a winning smile. I was captivated. After the guys left the bar, telling me it was nice to meet me and then doing guy goodbyes with each other, Kage excused himself to go to the men’s room. First, though, he asked, “You okay to drive?”
He’d only seen me drink a couple of beers, but I thought it was sweet that he’d ask. I tried to look cute and seductive, puckering out my lower lip a little. “I could drive, but I didn’t bring my car.” I felt better about not lying. I was avoiding using my car at all costs, and Steph dropped me off on her way to Walmart. I figured I could get a ride home from Fay if the plan failed.
Kage nodded. “Hmm.” And then he was off to the restroom. He’d grown more reserved since his friends had left, and I was bummed, because we’d hit it off so well.
But I knew—it was now or never. I took a deep breath and slammed what was left of my beer, then walked through the doorway that led to the hall. It wasn’t long before he came out of the men’s room and I got close to him. At least if he turned me down now, I could tell Fay without feeling like a liar that I’d given it my best shot. I’d never been so forward with a man before, but I’d promised to test his resolve. I placed my hand on his chest to stop him from moving forward. “I think we need to get out of here.”
I was so close to him that I could have felt his breath on my cheek at the right angle. And there was that magnetic pull. I wanted him so badly, even knowing the filthy distasteful facts. But he placed his hands on my shoulders. Oh. This was it. He was getting ready to reject me. Part of me felt a huge weight slide off my back. I could sleep tonight, knowing I hadn’t made him break his sacred vow. And, connection or not, I would get over him. “Look, Jessica, you seem like a nice girl, but there’s something I haven’t told you.” He took a deep breath as if to find his willpower. “I’m married…and I can’t cheat on my wife.”
I couldn’t look him in the eye anymore. While I felt glad on the one hand and disappointed on the other, I also felt something else: ashamed. I felt like a homewrecking whore, and I dropped my eyes. I couldn’t look in his anymore. His hands were a little too tight around my shoulders, though, and that kept me focused, so when I looked down, I saw that he could probably be persuaded with a little more effort. That magnetic pull I felt toward him? Well, he was feeling it for me too.
And the greedy side of me, the part that wanted this man worse than I’d ever wanted anyone else, decided to act on that. I got closer to him and got up a little on my tiptoes so I could breathe in his ear. “Your lips say you can’t…but your cock says something else entirely.” And in that second, I cupped his package in my hand. It couldn’t have been any harder. I heard and felt a hot breath of air escape his lips and then he did push me away. I was impressed that he had that kind of willpower, because mine was completely gone.