Two in the Afternoon
by Cora Cade
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
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Synopsis: When it comes to hand-to-heart combat, no hold is barred.A Day of Pleasure, Book 2
Molly Ryan survived one attack, and she’s not about to be a sitting duck for another. With her attacker harassing her from his jail cell, she packs up her life in Chicago, follows her Delta Force brother to North Carolina and gets work in a pub.
Men in uniform are definitely off her menu, but her boss’s friend, Army Ranger Callum Eversman, is one hot hunk she’d like to sample.
Home on a two-week furlough, Cal has agreed to watch over Molly as a favor to fellow Ranger Noah Harper. Accomplishing his mission without her noticing? That’s going to be tough, as any idiot can see their sparks of attraction from a mile away.
Despite her hands-off-military-men policy, Molly is tempted to indulge, just this once, in a no-strings-attached fling. No dating, no kissy face, no hearts involved. But when her past threatens her future, there’s only one man to turn to. The one who’ll risk everything—body, heart, and soul—to protect her. Warning: Contains an Army Ranger with a gruff exterior and heart of gold, a heroine with a sassy attitude, and some hot borderline-public sex.
Propping her bare feet on the edge of the ancient desk, Molly Ryan took a well-deserved pull of her beer. Before dropping her head back to ease the tension in her shoulders she closed her aching eyes and sighed heavily. It was nearly two in the afternoon, which meant she’d been locked in the pub’s office for roughly six hours, getting caught up on the weekly invoicing, payroll and upcoming supply orders.
The office had no window to enjoy the lake view, but she knew it was a glorious, sunny summer day. It was well worth the sacrifice of her Sunday off to know that she’d put a major dent in her work week, though. With Noah and Tennyson off on their honeymoon for the next two weeks, they’d left Molly in charge of more than just her normal duties.
Managing a busy pub like the Drunken Duck was enough work, but taking on Noah’s responsibilities as owner added a little more tension to her shoulders. To be fair, it was a challenge she was more than up for. Noah had left his brother, Chris, as her second in command for the duration, giving plenty of help.
She heard the service door open down the hall. Undoubtedly it was Chris to check in with her. He had a normal work week as an architect and helped out in the evenings and weekends as needed. He was likely stopping after seeing her sporty red coupe in the empty parking lot.
“Hey, Mr. Sexy Pants, I’m in the office. Bring me another beer on your way!” She couldn’t help teasing him. He’d spent the previous night fighting off advances from Lexie, his latest crazy chick, as Tenn would call her. At one point Lexie had cornered Chris next to the bar, put a slim hand down the front of his tuxedo pants, and called him Mr. Sexy Pants loud enough for half the bar to hear. Watching Chris turn ten shades of red while attempting to pull the tenacious girl’s hand from his pants had caused Molly to fall off her bar stool in hysterical laughter. Even after landing squarely on her ass and spilling her scotch down the front of her bridesmaid dress, effectively ruining it, she still couldn’t stop laughing.
As the office door opened behind her, she pushed off from the desk. The movement sent the chair whirling around, making the tiny room spin in a quick half turn.
“Hey… Oh.” Well, that wasn’t Chris standing in her doorway. Where Chris was leanly muscled, this guy looked like a hulking linebacker, with heavily muscled arms and a chest broad enough to block the sun. He had a black duffel bag slung over one shoulder, exposing the underside of a thick biceps and a heavy tribal tattoo ending at the elbow.
Intensity pulsed off of him. Light mocha skin, a smoothly shaved head, and steely gray eyes, he exuded a quiet watchfulness that was at odds with his stern demeanor. He had an obvious perpetual scowl set on his face. A face, upon closer inspection, that had a full mouth and broad features and a light scar running across his left cheek, just under the eye.
He watched her watching him, and no one spoke for a moment. Molly belatedly realized she was sitting in front of a ridiculously hot stranger in her pajamas. Not even her cute pajamas. When she’d rolled out of bed after a night of just a little too much scotch and not enough sleep, she hadn’t even considered running into anyone. Her apartment was three blocks away, the pub was closed every Sunday, and most of the town was also recovering from Noah and Tenn’s wedding reception.
Who was this guy, and where had he come from? And could she keep him?
If the vixen in black pajama bottoms with pink skulls was Noah’s new bride, then Cal was in a lot of trouble. It went against his code to covet a fellow soldier’s woman. But he was hard-pressed to take his eyes off the petite beauty with a shock of unruly auburn hair and a full, pouty mouth. She darted her tongue across a lush bottom lip, causing his libido to stand at attention.
It was well past time to stop cataloging every attribute of the woman before him, especially if she was Noah’s. “I’m looking for Noah Harper. Is he around?”
“Noah?” She shook her head, as if clearing it, before going on. “He’s not in, but I’m the manager of the Drunken Duck. Can I help you?”
It was relief, first and foremost, that washed over him. Cal was grateful he’d had a chance to speak with Noah earlier in the week. Molly wasn’t Noah’s wife, but the woman he was here to look after.
Every moment in life has a soundtrack. That first summer you had a license and your own car. The summer my husband I bought our house. The long nights I used to drive the four hours to and from our locations while we were dating long distance. That first road trip with your best friend. And all the other ones that followed.
All of the very best (and not so great) moments of my life can be associated with a specific song, artist, or album. And writing a book is no exception. So, because I believe in sharing the joys of musical inspiration, I put together a mix tape of music that represents my second release TWO IN THE AFTERNOON, book two in the A Day of Pleasure series. A story about a heroine too bull-headed to ask for help and an Army Ranger incapable of not offering it, can only be symbolized with the following:
The Fear- Ben Howard
Shake it Out- Florence + The Machine
Wait for Me- Kings of Leon
All of Me (cover)- Jason Chen and Madilyn Bailey
Falling for You- The 1975
Best Day of My Life- American Authors
Everything has Changed- Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift
Never Stop- Safety Suit
Safe with Me- Sam Smith
Boom Clap- Charli XCX
Cal, our Ranger, is perfectly summed up by King of Leon's 'Wait for Me'. That song always makes me all swoony and it's still got that rock edge that Cal would want. And our heroine Molly has some demons she needs to exorcize. Florence + The Machine's 'Shake it Out' is all about facing your past and moving on, which is perfect for our feisty Molly.
While I was working on TWO IN THE AFTERNOON I used Ben Howard's 'The Fear' as the book inspiration. I may or may not be a crazed Ben Howard fan (I'll let you draw your own conclusions on that one), and I listened to his debut album on repeat for months while working on this book. And this song is one that resonates with me personally, but also holds a great message for the overall tone of the book.
If you'd like to check out the entirety of the mix tape, you can listen to it on Spotify: http://tinyurl.com/q85s6lc
About the Author
Nestled away in a small town in Ohio, I spend my days adding delicious books to my library, snuggling with my four rotten dogs, and debating the finer points of life with the dear husband.
When I'm not tucked away with a book you can find me tapping away on my laptop. With coffee. And my iPod.
I'm currently listening to: • Mumford & Sons • Ed Sheeran • Joe Purdy • Joshua Radin • Bastille • Ben Howard