Roughing It With Ryan
The first book in the South Village Singles series, 2003
I’m so excited about this book, as it’s the first in my three-book Temptation miniseries SOUTH VILLAGE SINGLES. I loved the idea of writing a series about three friends who make a vow of singlehood. And I started thinking about the sexy, irresistible men who could tempt them to break that vow. Just what kind of man would it take to break a vow between friends-especially since we’re talking about strong, independent women! Guess you’ll have to read on to find out.
I hope you enjoy reading Suzanne’s story-and have fun with her as she tries so hard to resist the very charming Ryan. Be sure to catch Nicole’s story in
P.S. I love to hear from readers! You can reach me through my Web site www.jillshalvis.com or by writing me at P.O. Box 3945, Truckee, CA 96160-3945.
Kelsey, this one is for you.
You might be my oldest, but you’ll always be my baby.
SUZANNE CARTER glanced between the apartment-for-rent ads and the balance in her checkbook. No matter how much she squinted, added or subtracted, she was pretty much S.O.L.
With what she had, she’d be fortunate to get a place that had four walls and a roof, never mind such luxury items as hot water and a bathtub.
And yet, anything would be better than where she currently lived, which was nowhere. As of this morning, her fiance-ex-fiance, she reminded herself, her very ex-fiance-had politely stacked her things outside the apartment they’d shared. Honest to God, she’d thought he’d been kidding.
Until her key hadn’t worked. Seemed the joke was on her. Damn if the joke wasn’t always on her.
In any case, she’d finally realized the truth. She was relationship cursed. If she hadn’t been, then she could blame any one of her other ex-fiances-there had been three in total, not that she was counting-for the relationship failures, but the fault was hers alone. She seemed to possess the single-handed ability to destroy a good man. She’d destroyed Tim to the point he’d cried every night, wanting her to talk about her feelings,
Not that Tim hadn’t helped commit their relationship to doom by getting caught performing sexual gymnastics against the front door with his cleaning lady. But he’d pinned that on Suzanne as well, saying his heart had been so broken by her distance and lack of commitment that he’d needed the release.
This latest relationship disaster only confirmed in her own mind that she was cursed. And so, as of this moment, she was vowing to give up men to save them from herself. Too bad no one could save
Everyone said Suzanne needed some regimentation. Well, everyone but her father, from whom she’d gotten her “lack of.” Just ask her mother.
The ad she’d circled boasted a
Being a Monday, South Village was hopping in a way she still couldn’t get used to. When she’d been young, the area, just outside of Los Angeles, had been little more than an outdated, neglected area of commerce, the buildings all falling apart, the homeless camping on the corners. Then some historical committee had come along, and the next thing Suzanne knew, the place had incorporated and rebuilt itself, creating a delightful cosmopolitan area that people came from all over to visit.
It was considered
She managed to park her not-even-close-to-a-BMW at the correct address and pulled her sunglasses down her nose to get a better glimpse at the building. It didn’t help. No matter how she looked at it, the view was the same.
Bad. The building’s turrets, mock balconies and many windows, while charming, couldn’t quite disguise the fact that it needed major repairs-or demolition.
However, this was South Village, which meant that on either side of the falling-off-its-foundation-dump sat beauty personified. For blocks in either direction, all the other once decrepit old buildings had been restored to their former glory.
Not that she could afford one of
Which, really, by the age of twenty-seven, she should have learned already. “So. It’s come to this,” she said to the building in front of her, and slid out of her car.
The bottom floor appeared to be meant for commercial use, though its glory days were long past. There were two storefronts, with surprising potential given the picture windows and brick work, but both were vacant and dark, the area out front overgrown with weeds.
Since the apartment listing read
And it was shimmying and shaking like crazy.
In her next breath, a man dropped right out of the thing. And not some normal man either, but a tall, dark, leanly muscled man, and given his scowl, she could add
Straightening his broad shoulders, she got a quick impression of wavy sable hair and deeply tanned features while he stared up at the tree. Still not noticing her, he shoved his sunglasses up on his head, then put his big hands against the huge trunk and…pushed?
Suzanne’s gaze dropped from the back of his head to his now straining body in shocked curiosity. For the life of