Authors: N.J. Young
Evernight Publishing ®
2016 N.J. Young
Artist: Jay Aheer
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is
No part of this book may be
used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission,
except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any
resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or
dead, is entirely coincidental.
S.E.A.N.—My non-judgy, supportive, loving group of sisters. I couldn't love you
more, you hookers!
Love With a Price, 2
Copyright © 2016
down Main Street from her apartment, Linzee Felton took in the Christmas
decorations. Garland and red bows lined the quirky little shops, and the lampposts
along the street were adorned with large decorative snowflakes.
was thrilled to have scored the job of head chef at Price Bar & Grill, the much-anticipated
new Ethan Price restaurant, but she’d been a little wary about moving from
Chicago to the small town of Oakville.
for a moment despite the cold, Linzee gazed through the window of a shoe store
as she absently ran her finger along the sturdy brick building. The shopping
possibilities were just one reason Linzee was pleasantly surprised to find she
loved the quaint little town.
moving to Oakville, she’d had no idea it was a haven for artists. The eclectic
culture of the little town made moving a few hours away from her daughter a
little more bearable. Not that her daughter Georgia needed her mom now that she
was a sophomore at Northwestern.
wind picked up a bit, bringing Linzee’s attention to the chill in the air. She
wrapped her coat a little tighter around herself with her free hand and
clutched her heavy coffee mug with the other. Since she lived so close to work,
carrying her giant coffee mug down the street had seemed reasonable. Well, it
had in her early-morning, pre-caffeinated brain fog.
middle-aged woman passed her, and offered a large smile as she said good
morning. Linzee smiled back. Everyone was so friendly here. She was enjoying
being able to take a breath since she didn’t have to worry about running into
her douchebag ex-husband every time she turned a corner in Oakville.
light flurry of snow swirled around her as she started back down the street. Cupping
both hands around her mug for warmth, she stopped to gaze at the beautiful
pictures in the front window of a photography studio. Christmas was in less
than two weeks, and the studio featured a display of holiday photographs
including one of the Kansas City Plaza Lights, as well as a photo of a little
girl hanging an ornament on a small tree.
was the photo that struck her. The photographer captured the child’s beauty,
innocence, and wonder. The name in the corner said F. Price
. Price, hmm.
Was the photographer related to her new boss?
The deep voice startled Linzee, causing her to spin around so fast that she
stumbled backwards. Strong arms reached out to steady her. The feel of hard
muscle and the scent of woodsy aftershave combined with virile man gave Linzee
an immediate warm feeling. She looked up ... and up ... into sparkling blue
warm feeling immediately gave way to a swarm of butterflies as she took in the
man in front of her. Dark hair peeked out beneath a blue knit cap, and a five o’clock
shadow adorned his strong jaw even though it was only nine in the morning. When
he smiled, revealing perfect white teeth, Linzee felt as if she were looking
into the sun. My God, it should be illegal for a man to be that freaking
gorgeous. He left her breathless.
you okay, sugar?”
sexy rumble of a voice was like a cherry on top of six feet of perfection.
Reluctantly, Linzee pushed away from the stranger, feeling every day of her
forty years. This man was obviously much younger than she was. And the last
thing she wanted was to be known as the new town cougar ogling hot young guys.
fine. You just startled me is all.” Crap, did she really sound that breathless?
She tucked a red curl behind her ear and really wished she’d done a better job
that morning of taming her frizz.
sure? You sound a little ... out of breath.” His eyes lit with amusement, and
Linzee felt her teeth grit. He was laughing at her. If it’s one thing she
couldn’t handle, it was a man making fun of her. She’d had to deal with that
enough when she was married.
said I’m fine.” With one hard shove, she backed away, startling the man in
front of her as the coffee in her cup sloshed all over his navy coat.
She sighed. This was not starting out to be a good morning.
lucky it’s thirty degrees outside. If that coffee had been steaming hot, I
might’ve sued you.”
me? It was an accident. Are you ...” He was teasing her.
Calm the fuck down, Linzee. He’s just teasing.
She took a deep
breath. “Look, I’m sorry. I’d be happy to pay to have your coat cleaned.” Her
humiliation growing by the second, Linzee was afraid to look up into the man’s
eyes. Instead she was mentally crossing her fingers for the sidewalk to just
open up and swallow her whole.
strong hand reached out and cupped her face, tilting her head up. How could his
hands be so warm when it was so cold outside? The man looked into her eyes, his
amusement gone. “I’ll tell you what. I’ll forget about the cleaning bill if you
tell me your name and agree to have dinner with me tonight.”
brows rose in surprise. Dinner? This man was obviously out of her league. His full
lips curled into a flirty little smile, and his eyes—those blue eyes that could
draw you in and never let you go—held an emotion she couldn’t quite recognize.
God. Realization hit Linzee. Of course. This was a man who snapped his fingers
and had women falling at his feet. If he wanted a woman in his bed, it probably
didn’t take him two seconds. Turn on the charm, and women would be lining up to
take their pants off for him. Well, not her. If he thought she was some sort of
charity case—a chubby older woman who would just give him a quick lay—he was wrong.
mind that her mouth watered at the thought of feeling those strong lips on
hers. Never mind that the thought of wrapping her legs around him made her
insides go all melty.
backed away, out of his reach, and hoped her voice sounded firmer than she
felt. “Are you serious right now? I do not pick up strange men!”
damn smile was back. “Well, maybe you should try it, Miss...?”
None of Your Damn Business. I have to go. I’m late for work.” With that, she
turned around and stalked off down the street.
Don’t look back, Linzee. Don’t look back.
Price grinned wider as he watched the redhead stalk down the street, admiring
the way her round ass swayed in her jeans. He’d love to get his hands on that
ass. Well, more than his hands. He’d cup those beautiful round cheeks and pull
her close as he sank into that sweet pussy. He’d been close enough to her to
know she smelled like strawberries. Did she taste like strawberries, too? Damn,
he’d bet that pussy was sweet. And so fucking hot.
wanted to hear the sounds she made when he had his mouth on her. She sure was a
little firecracker. She’d do more than whimper. Foster would bet anything he
could make her scream.
she was so cute. More than cute. She was fucking beautiful. She had to be new
in town. He certainly would have remembered seeing her walk down Main Street
with all those curves that made a man forget his own name. Her creamy skin,
rosy lips, and fiery green eyes stirred his insides in a way he didn’t quite
recognize. When he’d seen the curvy woman standing in front of his studio, he’d
stopped to admire her for several moments before he’d finally said something.
She was enough to brighten his moody morning.
watched her as she studied the photograph in the window. Her eyes had been wide
with wonder, and he’d immediately found himself wishing he had his camera to
capture the look on her face.
sighed as the gorgeous woman disappeared around the corner before he fished the
keys out of his pocket to unlock the studio door. Yeah, finding out who the
firecracker was? Definitely going at the top of his to-do list.
shrugged out of his coat as his eyes strayed to the photograph on the far wall,
and his good mood evaporated in an instant. The photo of a woman holding her
premature infant was good ... but apparently it hadn’t been great. Before
Foster could sink any more into his self-pity, his phone rang. Recognizing his
brother’s ringtone, he pulled the phone out of his pocket and answered as he
walked to his office in the back of the spacious studio.
you’re up early. It’s only nine.” Since his brother had moved back to town,
he’d spent every moment with his girlfriend, Tori Bennett. The two were holed
up in Tori’s apartment most of the time. It was a wonder the poor girl could
Tori come to her senses and decide she fell for the wrong brother?” Foster
smiled as Ethan growled over the phone.
you, Foster. If you come near my girlfriend, I will kick you square in the
laughed. Tori was his sister Becca’s best friend, and he viewed her as a little
sister as well. But it sure was fun to flirt with her, especially now that it
had the added benefit of annoying his younger brother.
man,” Ethan continued before Foster could goad him any more, “I was hoping you
could come over to the restaurant this morning and take some pictures. Luke and
his crew are going to be there, and I really want to capture every step of the
renovation for marketing. We need all the promo we can get before it opens on
Damn. Foster had completely forgotten he’d
promised Ethan he’d take pictures today. “Uh, this morning?” He was really
hoping to get the few photo shoots he had scheduled out of the way and then
head down to Quigley’s for a drink. “I have some family holiday shoots, so I—”
cut him off. “Look, I happen to know your shoots aren’t until later. Becca
checked the calendar on your phone.”
made a mental note to flick his nosy little sister in the back of the head. She
never could stay out of his stuff.
you can’t just pull back. I know how sensitive you are, man. If you don’t want
to talk to me about it, talk to Dylan.”
of his four siblings, Foster had been the closest with Dylan. However, all of
the Price kids were a tight-knit bunch.
“There’s nothing to talk about, man. I didn’t
. “End of story.”
heard Ethan’s frustrated sigh on the end of the line. “Whether or not you win
the Donovan Photography Award doesn’t prove anything. You’re a brilliant
artist. Are you really going to let a group of people you don’t even know
define your worth?”
don’t want to talk about this. No offense, but I’d prefer not to start my
morning discussing my failures.”
Foster,” Ethan growled, and then conceded. “Fine. Get over here, then, and take
some damn pictures. You can meet my new head chef. She’s probably already
there, working up a menu for the festival next week.”
shook his head, and decided having a distraction this morning was probably a
brother was crazy. As if the holidays weren’t stressful enough, Ethan was
organizing a holiday food-and-wine festival. Foster had to give it to him,
though. It really was a great way to build anticipation for the new restaurant.
People would be lining up before the doors opened.
said good-bye to his brother before he went to get his camera bag and choose
the proper lenses. He grabbed his jacket on the way out, figuring he’d just
walk over to the restaurant and try to get his head in the game. It was just
right around the corner in the same direction the redhead had walked. Foster’s
mouth tipped up. Maybe he could figure out exactly where she worked.