No one knows the man behind the face.
Cooper Sutton loves nothing more than living up to his reputation as a playboy. That is until he meets Selene Davis in a coffee shop. Unlike the girls he's known before, she doesn't fall for his good looks and witty charm. She makes him work for every bit of her time and attention.
Haunted by memories of his childhood sweetheart, Cooper doesn't believe in love, marriage or monogamy. And much to his delight, neither does Selene. She appears to be his perfect match. Until she changes the rules of the game. And he finds himself knee deep in a committed relationship.
When the stakes are raised, Cooper's faced with a decision. Can he put the past behind him and move forward with Selene, or will he push love and happiness beyond his reach forever?
Due to language and sexual content, this book is intended for mature audiences.
I lean across the bar and give the pretty girl behind it my sexiest, flirtiest smile. She's been checking me out all night. If I play my cards right her soaking, wet panties will be off in a matter of minutes.
"What are you doing from now until the sun rises?" I ask leaning on the bar to get closer to her.
"When I'm finished cleaning up, I'm going home to my boyfriend and then hopefully getting some sleep," she says pretending she has no interest in me.
I shake my head as I run my eyes up and down her rocking body. "You mean you're going to go home and fuck your boyfriend. Lucky shit. Wish I was tapping some of that."
"Come on, Cooper." Noah puts his hand on my shoulder and tries to pull me away from the bar. "Party's over, we're the last one's here. Sorry about him," he says to the beautiful bar tending wench as if I did something wrong. "He had a little too much to drink."
"Don't fucking apologize for me, you cock sucker." I laugh at the name I just called him. Noah sure as hell doesn't suck cock. Pussy maybe, never cock, that would be my father. And to add insult to injury, he just professed his undying love and affection for his boyfriend in front of a shitload of witnesses. Me? I want the girl.
"Look at her, man." I extend my arm out toward the beautiful red head. The red heads I've been with have been crazy-sick in the sack. I doubt she'd be any different. I can see the wild abandon in her eyes. "Hey baby, ever been with two guys at once? We could do it now, before you get on your way. You, me, and my buddy. We don't even need to go far. Right there behind the bar works for me. I could bend you over and . . ."
"Cooper! What the fuck is wrong with you!"
I let out a long sigh. Where the fuck did Lexi come from? I'm not going to hear the end of it now.
"Don't worry. I got him." Noah answers.
"I liked you so much better before she cut off your balls." I point to my sister, then look back at him. "Fucking prick. You're going to get some tonight, too. Aren't you?" I shove his shoulder, not quite alright with the idea of him leaving here and fucking my sister. "So listen, red." I focus again on the girl who's pants I want into. "Take a look at these abs and tell me you don't want to oil me up and get slick between the sheets." I unbutton my shirt, but for some reason, instead of looking at me, she walks away to wipe down the opposite end of the bar.
"Come on, Cooper. You need to get out of here. You're embarrassing yourself and your father."
"I'm embarrassing my father? Me? Are you serious? He's the one that just married a dude. A fucking dude! He's the one that should be embarrassed. I'm doing what I'm supposed to, I'm looking for some sweet pussy. How the fuck am I embarrassing myself? Unless, is that why you're with Lexi? Is it really me you’re trying to get with? Because dude, I don't . . . I mean I love you and all, but not in that way."
"You fucking wish you could snag someone as hot as me."
"Fuck, Noah. You're serious aren't you? You fucking want my cock."
He shakes his head. "You're a real dick, Cooper. You know that?"
"I'm all dick," I say, my eyes on the girl again. "Long, hard, dick, ready to go all night long." I say loud enough for her to hear me.
Noah isn't laughing as he pulls me away from the bar, away from the place the sexy vixen and I eye fucked. If only she'd get me off, then I could end my night on a high note. I don't remember the last time that happened. I let out a long breath.
"I was going to fuck her until you came along," I scold my friend.
"No, you weren't. She was just being friendly in hopes of getting a better tip."
"You don't know that."
"Lexi, can you hang with your brother a minute?"
She crosses her arms over her chest, glaring at me, while Noah goes back to talk to the girl I want riding me through the night. That shit just isn't fair.
"You better get your shit together, Cooper. Time is running out. You can't act like a selfish, self-centered prick forever."
"Fuck you, bitch."
Noah's back and he's in my face. They're like a tag team, these two. And I hate it.
"Watch how you talk to her, Cooper."
"She's my sister, so if I want to tell her to go fuck herself, that's my right."
"And she's my girlfriend, so if I want to kick your ass in her name, that's my right."
"You know, Cooper, this is one of those times I wish to hell that you weren't my brother, and that my boyfriend didn't have any association to you, because I truly believe you brought out the worst in him."
"What are you getting all bent out of shape over?"
"Dude, you fucking offered me up in a threesome."
I wave it off like it's no big deal and turn to my sister. "Like I'd let him in on the action. You really think I'd do that? You think I'd even let him look at her damn tits knowing he's with you? It was a test. If he jumped at the opportunity I'd have to kick his ass."
"I think you're so fucking out of your head right now, you don't know what the hell you're doing, so yes, I think you meant it."
"Even if I did, it's not like he's never been with anyone before you. He's had his share of tits and ass."
My sister lunges for me, but Noah grabs her around her waist and keeps her from making contact. I'm not sure what she'll do if she gets her hands on me. Maybe that's why I’m taunting her. I want to feel something, anything but the emptiness that has taken residency in every fucking cell of my body since I walked out on Selene.
"Enough of this. I've worked too hard to get her to leave the past where it is. Get your head out of your ass, Coop." Noah says with my sister wrapped in his arms as he walks away.
"Where are you going?"
"To our room," Noah says looking back over his shoulder. "I suggest you do the same."
I flip him the bird before they stop short and Lexi pulls her phone from her clutch purse.
My heart leaps from my chest into my throat. I don't move. The world is standing still, the red head forgotten. I listen to my sister talk to the girl I lost. To the girl I hurt so bad she won't take my calls; to the girl that left me empty and stole what little of a heart I had left.
"Oh my God. I'm in California, but I'll be home as soon as possible. Please, call me if anything changes."
I can't help myself, I rush at my sister and grab her by the shoulders as if my life depends on the information she just got, and it very well may.
"That was Selene?"
Lexi glares at me. Her green eyes are filled with tears. Fuck, this isn't good. I can feel the emotion pouring out of her. Why isn't she saying anything? I need to know what's happening with Selene.
"Is she okay? What's going on?"
Lexi doesn't answer. She stares me down.
"What Lexi? What the fuck is going on? Tell me!" I'm in her face, yelling, ordering her to tell me. I don't want to wait another second to know. The anticipation has me freaking out like a fucking teenager.
"Like you give a fuck about her, about anyone but yourself."
I'm breathing hard and heavy. "Don't fuck with me, Lexi. Not about her."
"Fine. You want to know? She's in the hospital, Cooper. She went to pick up her prenatal vitamins from the pharmacy and some punk was looking for a fix. He had a gun . . ."
My fingers squeeze tight around my sister's shoulders because I can't breathe. I can't fucking breathe! The air just left my lungs. It left the whole fucking room. Maybe even the whole planet. I have a mass growing in my stomach of nerves and anxiety. My throat is constricting because I still don't think I'm breathing. I dig my fingers into her flesh, because I'm holding on for dear life. It's the only thing I can do. I'm fucking helpless. Selene needs me right now and I'm no fucking use to her. Instead, I'm thousands of miles away when I should be at her side. I'm here, and here is too fucking far.
"Did he hurt her? Please, let her be okay."
"She's not okay, Coop."
I had to have heard wrong. "But that was her on the phone just now, right? RIGHT?" My heart is pounding a mile a minute. Why is my sister torturing me like this? Why isn't she just spitting it all out?
After what feels like forever Lexi answers.
"She's not conscious. I don't have the details."
"Please, No!" The words leave me in a whisper. I'm not even sure I can speak until I hear a gut wrenching cry. It takes a minute before I can make out what's being screamed. I reach up and hold my head as the realization dawns on me that it's me, screaming into the nothingness of the night. It's me screaming the only word my mind will process. "SELENE!"
I drop to my knees and call out for her again. I yell out as if doing so might magically make her open her eyes, or better yet, make me appear at her side and shove all the bad stuff away, like it's been nothing more than a dream.
Noah pulls me back to my feet and wraps his arms around me, pulling me into a guy hug. "It's okay. She's going to be okay."
I don't answer because I can't. I can't formulate words. I can't breathe, and I'm scared shit it's never going to be okay again. I hold on to Noah and nod. It's all I can do, and I'm afraid if I let go my knees are going to cave in. I hold him tight. Tighter than I ever held onto anything, including Selene. I stay there, holding him, allowing my emotions to keep their strangle hold on me, because I can't breathe, and I can't move. I want to rush to her side, but I'm across the country, which at this moment is as good as the opposite end of the world.
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About the Author
Danielle Sibarium YA and NA author grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her childhood, she transported herself into a fantasy world full of magic and wonder. Books were the gateway between her play world and reality. On any given summer afternoon she became Snow White sweeping and cooking for the dwarfs, or Cinderella waiting for her prince.
In 2004 Danielle won Honorable Mention in the Southern Heat contest. In 2007 she collaborated with Charlotte Doreen Small to write songs for her CD More. Danielle wrote the lyrics for Take My Hand, and Goodbye, while Charlotte contributed the melody.
Danielle graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with honors, and currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and three children.
In October 2011 Danielle released her debut novel For Always. She has since released And Forever, the sequel to For Always, The Heart Waves Trilogy, To My Hero: A Blog of Our Journey Together, Into You, Regret Me Not, Man Up Party Boy, and Man Up playboy.