Mixed Up, a Sexy New Enemies-to-Lovers Romance by Emma Hart

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About Mixed Up

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00022]Hiring my brother’s best friend was not on my to-do list.

Neither was he.

Expanding my dirty cocktail bar into food was supposed to be easy, except finding a chef in my little town of Whiskey Key is anything but.

Until Parker Hamilton comes home—bringing his Michelin starred chef’s hat with him.

He has no work. I need someone like him in my new kitchen.

There’s just one problem: I hate his cocky, filthy-mouthed, sexy-as-hell guts.

Even if I might want him. Just a little…

Working for my best friend’s sister? Not on my to-do list.

She’s another story.

Whiskey Key was supposed to be a relaxing vacation, except I haven’t reached the heights I have by lying in a hammock drinking cocktails. So when Raven Archer is desperate for a chef, I offer up my skills.

I’m bored. She needs what I can give her.

Except there’s a problem: I’ve always hated her.

Her and her big, blue eyes, sassy mouth, and killer curves.

If only I didn’t want her.

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An EXCERPT from MIXED UP

The sound of my phone buzzing on the nightstand was loud, jarring, and very, very annoying.
It wasn’t the most pleasant sound in the world to wake up to.
Groaning, I rolled over and batted my hand around on the top of the nightstand. Then, I realized the bed was vibrating. It was a mammoth effort to open my eyes, but somehow I managed it so I could look down the gap between the cupboard and my bed. Just like I assumed it was, my phone was wedged between the leg of the bed and the wooden side of my nightstand.
I fished it out with my finger. The moment it was free, it stopped ringing.
Of course it did.
I picked it up and looked at the screen. Ryan. I frowned—it was early for him to be calling…wait, no it wasn’t. It was seven-thirty. I’d overslept.
No sooner had I finished the thought than my phone buzzed again. It was Ryan.
“What do you want?” I demanded, answering the phone.
“Did you oversleep?” came his response.
“Maybe. I was tired. What do you want?”
He laughed. “Have you seen Parker?”
“You just woke me up. Do you think I’ve seen Parker?”
“Shall I call back when you’ve had coffee?”
“Can you get to the point of this irritating conversation?” I shoved the covers to the side and swung my legs out of the bed. I hadn’t bothered to throw any clothes on before I’d fallen asleep last night.
Ryan sighed. “Ilsa said Parker didn’t go home last night. She came over this morning when his car wasn’t in the drive and asked me if I knew where he was. I don’t, and you’re the last person I know who would’ve seen him, so I’m calling you.”
I jerked around and looked at the other side of the bed. Messy and unkept, but no Parker.
“No idea.” I swallowed and glanced at the floor. His clothes were gone, too. Only mine remained. “Hold on.” I put my phone down and checked the notification bar. There were no messages from him, so if he wasn’t here and hadn’t gone home, maybe he was downstairs?
I threw an oversized shirt on over my head and quickly pulled some panties up my legs before grabbing my phone again.
“I don’t have any messages from him,” I said, opening my bedroom door. “I can’t hel—” I finished on a scream, because the missing man was standing shirtless in my kitchen.
“Raven?” Ryan said into my ear right as Parker glanced over his shoulder at me. “Are you all right?”
“Ssshhh—shit!” I held my finger in front of my mouth. “Spider!” I said to Ryan. “I walked into the bathroom and there’s a big spider in my tub.”
Parker rubbed his hand down his face and shook his head.
“You’re screaming at a spider?” Ryan’s amusement was evident in his restrained tone.
“It’s a big one. It scared me.” I slammed my bedroom door behind me. “I just locked it in there.”
“It’s a spider.”
“You’re not helping.” This was the worst lie ever. “I need to get rid of it, so I have to go. If I haven’t heard from you by the time Parker starts work, I’ll tell him to call his mom. Bye!” I hung up and threw my phone on the sofa like it was on fire.
“What the hell was that about?” Parker asked, spatula-flipper thingy in hand.
“You’re still here!” It came out as more of a squeak than anything.
He stared at me for a moment. “Yeah, but I’m kind of stuck on the fact I’ve been both a stubbed toe and a spider this week.”
I sunk my fingers into my hair. It was messy, and my fingers got caught on some small knots as they threaded through the locks. “Ryan called and woke me up.” I summarized the phone call. “And I panicked when I saw you, because I didn’t know you were still here.”
“Why wouldn’t I be here?”
“I fell asleep and thought you left!”
He shook his head, turning back to my cooker. “I fell asleep, too. I didn’t wake up until your alarm went off this morning.”
“Why didn’t you wake me up? I’m late and I have to put orders through today.”
“You didn’t move,” he said. “So I shut it off, took a shower, and came to make breakfast.”
Now that he’d mentioned it, I could see his dark hair was wet. “Okay, well, you need to call your mom and tell her you aren’t dead or anything.”
“I’ll text her soon. I can’t do it right after Ryan’s called you, can I? That won’t look suspicious at all.”
“Half an hour. Say I left you a voicemail to see if you were coming into work because you were MIA and you realized you forgot to tell her you weren’t coming home.”
“The fact I have to tell her I’m not coming home is, in itself, ridiculous.”
“And that’s why I live alone.” I smiled and pulled a bottle of water out of the fridge. “What are you making?”
“Omelets. Yia-Yia left me omelet seasoning so I thought I’d try it.”
I peered over his arm at the pan. “Where did you get the the ingredients?” I knew for a fact I didn’t have eggs in my fridge.
“Downstairs.” He glanced at me as if the answer was obvious. Which it was, honestly. “Your fridge is both impressively empty and sadly understocked.”
I shrugged and leaned against the counter. “I don’t eat breakfast unless I’m forced to.”
Parker slid the omelet out of the pan and onto a plate in one smooth movement. Then, he picked up the plate, and held it out to me. “Well, I’m forcing you to eat.”
I might not have been a big breakfast eater, but I wasn’t going to turn down food.
“I can deal with that.” I smiled and reached for the plate, but before I could take it, he swung his arm out wide where I couldn’t reach it. “Hey!”
He grabbed the front of my shirt, yanking me toward him. I’d barely righted my footing when he dropped his mouth to mine and planted a slow, easy kiss on my lips. Releasing me like he’d done nothing out of the ordinary, he put the plate back between us and also handed me a knife and fork. “Morning.”
I snatched the plate and cutlery before he could take it away again. “Thanks. I think?”
He laughed as I sat at the table. “Your good morning was screaming at me. The least you could do was kiss me.”
I rolled my eyes and stabbed my fork into the cheesy, melty, eggy goodness. “You should have announced yourself. Left your pants on the floor or something.”
“I’ll remember that for next time.”
“Next time? This is going to happen again?” I was teasing him, because let’s be honest. There were worse things in life than having sex with a hot guy, then waking up to find said hot guy making you breakfast while half-naked.
“Yep. I’ll just remember to call my mom first.”
I laughed, then moaned as I finally put the first forkful of breakfast into my mouth.
Parker side-eyed me. “If you want to finish your breakfast in peace, don’t do that again.”

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Meet Emma Hart

emma-hart

By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies—usually wine—and writes books.

Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.

She likes to be busy—unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

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Checkmate: This Is War, by Kennedy Fox – Prologue Reveal!

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BOOK 1 EBOOK

Title: Checkmate: This Is War

Series: Checkmate Duet #1

Author: Kennedy Fox

Genre: Enemies to Lovers Romance

Release Date: October 3

Goodreads

Synopsis

Travis King is the worst kind of asshole.

He taunts me for being a good girl and mocks my high standards.

He’s cruel, crass, and has enough confidence to last two lifetimes.

And I hate him.

It wouldn’t matter so much if he were avoidable.

But considering he’s my older brother’s best friend and roommate, I see him more than I’d ever want to.

His sculpted abs and gorgeous eyes are wasted on such an arrogant man, which makes me hate him even more.

Even though I’ve had a crush on him since I was ten, the feelings weren’t mutual and he’s made that very clear.

He’s always loved getting under my skin and one night against my better judgment, I let him in my bed.

I’ve succumbed to his manwhore ways, but that doesn’t change a thing.

Because the King is about to get played at his own game—and lose.

Checkmate.

Beautiful exotic young woman

Young handsome macho man with muscle abdominal and open jacket sitting in armchair.

Excerpt

PROLOGUE

VIOLA

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, lived a young princess who awaited a prince who would give her everything she ever dreamed of… love, passion, loyalty. He’d be the sweetest, kindest, most heartwarming gentleman a girl could ever ask for. And he’d be perfect.

…Excuse me while I vomit.

There is absolutely, positively, no way that a man like that exists on this earth. I used to think he was, but of course, I was proven wrong. I was young and naive, and didn’t know any better.

And he was Travis King.

I remember how clear the sky was as I sat on my rooftop outside of my bedroom window. Summer was fading away and the start of my seventh grade year was right around the corner. The stars were super bright and as I counted them, I heard Travis’ father screaming from the house across from mine. He did that a lot and occasionally, I’d see Travis through the window of his bedroom. He’d put on his headphones to tune out the yelling, as if it was something to which he was accustomed. But that night he didn’t go to his bedroom. He ran out of his front door, slamming it behind him, and began pacing his front yard. I swallowed, watching him intently as his hands balled into fists at his sides.

When the Kings moved across the street from us, Travis and my older brother, Drew, instantly became best friends. They were both going into their first year of high school and I was sad I wouldn’t be at the same school as them anymore. Well, mostly about Travis. Drew had made it very clear he didn’t like his little sister tagging along, but Travis never made me feel like I was a nuisance.

As I watched him kick the dirt on the sidewalk, he looked up at me. His lips were turned down and I could see the anger in his eyes. My breath stilled as he watched me watch him, and I was certain he’d tell my brother I’d been spying on him.

Instead, he walked across the street, climbed up the trellis and sat down next to me. He stayed silent for a long while, but then he finally turned and spoke.

“I hate my dad sometimes.”

“Why does he get so mad?” I asked.

He looked away and rested his arms over his bent knees. “He drinks. Sometimes too much.”

“Does he hurt you?” He didn’t look at me. “Or your mother?”

He winced. “No. Just yells.”

We sat in silence, both lying on our backs as we looked up at the sky above us, the stars so bright and big.

“You can sit up here anytime, you know? My parents won’t mind.”

“Drew would,” he said matter-of-factly. “He’d call me a pansy.” He chuckled.

“Drew calls everyone that.”

He laughed again.

I turned my head and looked at him. “I don’t think you’re a pansy.”

Travis tilted his head and looked into my eyes and everything went serious. I watched his throat move, swallowing hard. He licked his lips and moved in close. Feeling his breath against my skin made me so nervous, I instinctively turned my head.

“Are you excited about going into high school?” I spit out, trying to change the subject, looking back up at the stars. I could’ve sworn Travis was about to kiss me. It would’ve been my first kiss.

Moments passed and he finally responded. “Yeah, I guess. It’ll be nice getting back into basketball season and staying late for practices and games.”

I knew what he was implying without saying the words. Less time at home.

“Why do you think she puts up with it?” Curiosity got the best of me, and I could no longer keep it in. “Can’t she leave him?” I asked.

He shrugged. I supposed it wasn’t that simple for adults, but to me it just sounded like common sense. Why would anyone want to be with someone that treated them like crap?

That wasn’t the last time Travis snuck up the rooftop and sat with me under the stars. We shared details with each other that we hadn’t shared with anyone else before. It was our secret little spot where we could talk or just sit and stare up at the sky.

It was easy.

He wasn’t my brother’s best friend.

I wasn’t his best friend’s little sister.

And the lines between us weren’t blurred.

I was only twelve years old, so I truly believed prince charming existed. As I grew older, I came to realize he never really did. Because if he did, he most certainly wouldn’t be available. And he most definitely wouldn’t be interested in a girl like me. I’m not saying that because I want anyone to tell me otherwise, but if such a man existed, he’d have no chance with me anyway. Because for some only-God-knows-why reason, my heart only beats for one man. My pulse only increases when he walks into the room. My cheeks flush and my body hums when he looks at me. I feel the blood in my veins as my skin heats from his very existence. He’s the epitome of perfection.

…Too bad a decade later, he’s a complete asshole.

Travis King.

He’s no knight in shining armor; more like a royal jackass. He may look like a prince on the outside, but on the inside he’s a cocky, arrogant womanizer that I want to shove over a cliff.

All right, that might sound dramatic and all, considering I just confessed my feelings about him, but those are feelings of hate…not love.

From being head over heels for him as a young girl to loathing him as a woman, Travis King needs to remember the golden rule—never admit defeat.

It was game on.

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About the Author

Kennedy Fox

Kennedy Fox is a duo of bestselling authors who share a love of You’ve Got Mail and The Holiday. When they aren’t bonding over romantic comedies, they like to brainstorm new book ideas. One day, they decided to collaborate together under a pseudonym and have some fun creating new characters that’ll make your lady bits tingle and your heart melt. If you enjoy romance stories with sexy, tattooed alpha males and smart, independent women, then a Kennedy Fox book is for you! Both authors are from Manhattan living the glamorous bachelorette life, or perhaps they’re just confusing themselves with an episode of Sex and the City (Total #Girlcrush SJP). Either way, they’re looking forward to bringing you many more stories to fall in love with!

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