Release Date: March 21, 2016
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
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From USA TODAY BESTSELLING authors of Cruel and Beautiful, A.M. Hargrove and Terri E. Laine bring a new full-length standalone New Adult Contemporary Romance. This novel includes mature content, not suitable for younger readers. (Rated R)
Womanizer, Man Whore, Player, Heartbreaker are all familiar names to Ben Rhoades. He prefers Money Man or Sex God, but he doesn’t let other people’s opinions rule him. And he’s only gotten worse without his compass, his best friend, whose devastating death at a young age has taught him a valuable lesson about not getting too close to anyone … ever. Until one smart and stubborn woman with eye-catching curves throws him for a loop and refuses to be tamed.
Samantha Calhoun has her life on track even after the shattering break-up with the guy she’d thought she’d wanted to marry. With her chin held high, she focuses on her career, building her business and making a success of it all. Only a chance meeting has her lost in a set of alluring steel gray eyes that have her steps faltering and her heart leaping out of her chest. Forewarned by not-so-flattering rumors plus his no-holds-bar rules, she tries desperately to play his game while guarding her heart.
Only they have no idea of the journey they’re about to undertake when their lives collide. Ultimately they’ll tackle the biggest test of their lives because she is his game changer. The one, who through the ensuing wreckage, can domesticate the mess of a man that he is.
Cruel and Beautiful
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There is finality to the sound of the door closing behind her. A sort of tormenting peace knowing the end has come. It’s not like I should have expected things to go on this way for long. How could they?
I stare holes in the walls as if I can still see her, the one woman I let in.
Sweeter than peach cobbler, she hardly has a bad thing to say about anybody—until now. Her parting description of me, beginning with ass and ending with hole, reverberates through my hollow heart, as I stand here rooted to my spot. I’m not even shocked, as this isn’t the first time I’ve been on the receiving end of that sentiment. I’m only surprised because I don’t think I’ve ever heard her so much as mutter a single curse word before. And the first time I do, it’s aimed squarely at me.
My hands tighten around a tumbler filled with amber liquid before I toss back its contents hoping for oblivion or something close to it. This road is so familiar. Only this time is different. I never cared like I do now. She means more to me than a quick fuck. Hadn’t I been about to tell her just that? How could things have gone wrong so fast?
Don’t be a dumbass. You can still fix this.
Instead, I stubbornly stay embedded to my spot because nothing can change the outcome. It’s a truth she and I know will haunt me until my last breath. And it’s created a wall between us I’m unable to climb … even if you gave me a damn ladder.
I’ve never been much of a risk-taker when it comes to matters of the heart. I can fill a bank account with a number having many zeros behind it from my astute choices in the market. But I can’t be a man a woman stays with. Hadn’t I warned her about that too?
Unable to see past my own shitty existence, I long for her to come back. I want to believe it’s all been some kind of mistake and I can forget what I know to be true. As the seconds continue to tick by, the inevitability that things are really over sinks in. My window of opportunity quickly closes as fast as her car door slams and the engine fires to life.
She’s so close, yet miles away. The longer I let the minutes expand between us I know distance won’t make the heart grow fonder. But maybe it’s for the best. Love, or whatever masquerades as it, just isn’t enough for the dirty, fucked up truth. Right when things were better than I ever expected, facts messed it up.
Groaning, I launch the crystal glass worth a small fortune at the door I can’t seem to force myself towards. A beautiful show of light plays off the shards as they cascade down in an explosion of fireworks. Visually, it’s what I feel inside as desolation constricts and then obliterates my chest because the best thing I ever had is gone … leaving me with only the certainty I’m meant to be with her.
I love you, I whisper for the first time and in place of goodbye. She left me and will never hear it. I can only pray we both survive what’s to come.
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One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager A. M. Hargrove realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn’t do something soon, it would be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life. So she rolled down the passenger window of her fabulous (not) company car and tossed out her leather briefcase. Luckily, the pedestrian in the direct line of fire was a dodge ball pro and had über quick reflexes enabling him to avoid getting bashed in the head. Feeling a tad guilty about the near miss, A. M. made a speedy turn down a deserted side street before tossing her crummy, outdated piece-of-you-know-what laptop out the window. She breathed a liberating sigh of relief, picked up her cell phone, called her boss, and quit her job. Grinning, she made another call to her hubs and told him of her new adventure (after making sure his heart was beating properly again).
So began A. M. Hargrove’s career as a Naughty and Nice Romance Author.
Her books include Adult, New Adult and Young Adult Romances, including, The Guardians of Vesturon Series (Survival, Resurrection, Determinant, reEmergent, and the novella Beginnings); Dark Waltz and Death Waltz (The Praestani Novels); The Edge Series (Edge of Disaster, Shattered Edge, and Kissing Fire); The Tragic Series (Tragically Flawed and Tragic Desires); Exquisite Betrayal; Dirty Nights: The Novel; and The Hart Brothers Novels (Freeing Her, Freeing Him, and Kestrel).
Please find her at www.amhargrove.com.
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Terri E. Laine
Wife and mother of three, I’ve always been an avid reader. In my early years, my best friend and I would tell each other stories over the phone when we were bored. We called them our “soap operas” and generally revolved around whatever boy we liked at the time.
Over five years ago, I got this crazy idea to write a novel and try to publish it. And the rest is history. This journey has been a blessing, and a dream realized. I look forward to many more memories to come.
Find more about me and social media links at http://www.terrielaine.com.
Love and Cancer. It sounds like a horrible mix, right?!
Not this time around. Yes, A Mess of a Man is an emotionally charged story but more so, it is a beautiful romance about two people whose lives are changed by forces beyond their control.
Ben Rhoades is awesome. I loved this fabulous manwhore!! Not only is he charming and sexy but he’s loyal and dependable. Kind. Sweet. He lost his best friend to cancer and it killed him emotionally. He’s desperately trying to find his new normal but it’s hard and he feels like very few people get what’s it like to lose your best friend.
Samantha Calhoun enters his world like this bright and lively life force – she captures his attention and they are drawn into each other’s lives. She understands Ben’s pain and brings happiness back in his life.
Their romance sweeps you off of your feet and you’re giddy over their connection. It’s passionate and fierce. Except you know, in the back of your mind, that at some point the bottom is going to drop out and that your heart is going to break.
Because Samantha might have the one illness that is an absolute deal breaker for Ben.
I loved A Mess of a Man – it’s really an intense and poignant story. I absolutely recommend that everyone read this romance. It’s well written and moves alone swiftly – hours had passed before I remembered the real world.