I know I've mentioned Ruined, my January release that I am so, so, so excited about. But I've never really done much with it here and that is about to change. Starting today, every Friday I'll put up a snippet from Ruined so that you can get to know Ethan Frost, the hero of the book. Today's snippet lets you meet him just as my heroine, Chloe does.
But before we get into that, here's the blurb so you know just what it is you are getting into ;)
He was the last man I should love … but the first I ever could.
Ethan Frost was a visionary. A genius. Every woman’s deepest, darkest fantasy—even mine. And, somehow, I was his.
He stole into my life like a dream. Turned my reality upside down and made my every desire come true—especially those I never knew I had. He demanded everything I had to give. Gave me everything of himself in return.
But dreams don’t last forever, and ours was no exception. Because my nightmares were darker, and my wounds deeper, than I could ever reveal. And much as Ethan wanted to protect me, the secrets we didn’t know we shared could only tear us apart.
And here's the snippet:
“I’m sorry to bother you, but I’m ready to order now.”
The trainer looks up at the sound of my voice, his dark blue eyes immediately zeroing in on mine. That’s when I realize he wasn’t as oblivious to my presence as I’d thought. He’d been testing me as surely as he’d been testing the other employee, waiting to see how each of us would handle the situation.
The knowledge gets my back up. It’s just a stupid drink, just a stupid little power play, but I don’t enjoy being manipulated. Even over something as ridiculous as a drink.
“No need to order,” he says, pressing a lid down onto one of the cups before sliding it across the counter at me. “You can have this one. It’s the Ethan Special.”
“No, thank you.” I don’t even glance at the cup. “I’d prefer a Hawaiian Sunrise.”
“How do you know that’s what you’d prefer? You don’t even know what’s in the Ethan Special.”
Judging from his behavior, I’m thinking grass of the non-wheat variety. And since this is my first day, I’m not exactly prepared to risk it, no matter how hot he is. “I don’t have to know what’s in it to know that I’m in the mood for—” I glance back at the menu. “A refreshing blend of strawberries, bananas, pineapple juice, and orange sherbet. None of which appear to be in the drink you just made.”
“This drink has strawberries in it. Seven, to be exact.”
Thirty-eight blueberries and seven strawberries. Is this guy for real? There’s a part of me that’s intrigued despite myself, but I’m not about to let him see that. So I just look down my nose at him and answer, “One out of four ingredients is not what I would call a perfect match.”
“Is that important to you?” he asks, one dark eyebrow raised. “That things match up perfectly?”
Absolutely. I’m obsessive about it, really, making sure things fit exactly where they’re supposed to. Making sure the ’s are all dotted and the ’s are all crossed and the rules have all been followed. Tori calls me OCD, but it’s not like that. It’s not the routine of doing something a certain way that appeals to me. It’s the order of the end result that I crave, the knowledge that things are exactly as they should be.
And while I’m aware that sounds a little crazy, it’s actually what’s kept me sane the last six years. Ever since Brandon—
I slam that door shut before the memories leak out from where I’ve buried them. No way am I going to think about him again ever, let alone on what is the best day I’ve had in a very long time. No, I’m going to focus on keeping things simple. Orderly. Easy. After all, I’m not one to rock the boat just to see what falls out.
I don’t tell any of this to him, of course. Instead, I raise one of my own brows and say, “You’re the one who counts the blueberries in his drink. All I’m trying to do is get what I ordered sometime before the dinner rush.. Which, incidentally, starts in”—I make a show of glancing at my watch—“approximately four hours.”
“So, we’ve got plenty of time then. Why don’t you pull up a bar stool and we’ll get to know each other a little? I don’t have anywhere I need to be.”
The guy next to him—the trainee—makes a choked little sound in the back of his throat. But he doesn’t say anything, just takes a drink from the second Ethan Special cup, so I don’t bother looking over at him. Especially since every instinct I have is screaming at me to keep my eyes on the guy in front of me. That looking away would be akin to admitting a defeat I am suddenly hell-bent on avoiding.
“Well, that makes one of us. I, however, have a meeting in fifteen minutes that I can’t be late for.”
“Hmm. That certainly puts you at a disadvantage then, doesn’t it?”
“Why? Because I have a job that actually requires me to perform the duties that are in my job description?”
This time the noise the trainee makes sounds somewhere between a cat hacking up a furball and a hyena in its death throes. “Are you okay?” I finally demand, still not taking my eyes off his trainer. “Because, frankly, I’m getting concerned.”
He makes the sound again, then slaps his chest hard before taking another long sip from his drink. “I’m good, thanks.”
“Glad to hear it. I was beginning to think he’d poisoned you.”
“I never poison anyone on the first day. The second day, however, is an entirely different story.”
“I wouldn’t go around admitting that to anyone. It makes you—and Frost Industries—culpable if anyone ever suffers so much as a mild case of food poisoning.”
He steps back then, looks me over from top to toes. “God. You’re one of the lawyers, aren’t you?”
Hope you like it! And don't forget to check back next week :) Have a great weekend.