Cherry Lane by Kristen Proby
From New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Kristen Proby comes an all-new small town romance set in her beloved Huckleberry Bay series, Cherry Lane!
Sometimes, love is waiting in the most unexpected of places.
Zeke Cross is a big city guy who finds himself living in the smallest town on the face of the earth, running an auto repair shop with his best friend. Not just running, but owning. He’s not used to sleepy little towns. He craves noise, excitement, and people. And yet, he’s grown to love the town of Huckleberry Bay, and the people who have welcomed him into the fold. Almost everyone has been kind and accepting of the outsider.
Everyone except Cherry Dubois.
Cherry is a small town girl, and she misses the sleepy community from her childhood. Now, her home is overrun by move-ins, who seem hell-bent on bringing big city ideals to her little town, and ruining what she’s always had. Her neighbor, Zeke, is the most annoying of all, with his loud music and arrogant attitude. How is she supposed to think when he’s around? Sure, he’s handsome, but that almost makes it worse.
Then Cherry needs Zeke’s help, and she finds out that the big city guy isn’t all that bad, especially when he has his hands on her and makes her forget all the reasons why she doesn’t like him. But at the end of the day, will she be able to trust this man to stay for good, or will her worst fears come true?
**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**
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Keep reading for a look inside Cherry Lane!
“Listen, I know we don’t get along—despite this little moment of truce. You don’t have to do this.”
“It’s true, you drive me crazy. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be neighborly.” He pushes his hand through his hair in agitation. This is the Zeke I know. “Maybe we can work out a trade.”
I take a step back, appalled. “No.”
“Jesus, not that kind of trade, although you’re hot as fuck, and I wouldn’t complain.”
I’m pretty sure my jaw just hit the floor. Zeke thinks I’m hot?
“I was thinking that maybe you could put a hold on the nagging while I offer you my hot water.”
“I don’t nag.”
He laughs and rubs his fingertips into his forehead like he’s completely frustrated.
“You nag more than my grandmother, and that woman could have won an Olympic gold medal if it were a sport.”
“What do I nag you about?” I prop my hands on my hips and narrow my eyes at him.
“What don’t you nag me about?” He shakes his head. “’Turn the music down, Zeke. Stop laughing so loud, Zeke. Jesus, Zeke, when was the last time you checked your mail? It’s overflowing in your box. Zeke, you parked like crap again.’ I’m telling you, I get real sick and tired of my name.”
I can only blink at him. Do I really sound like that? Do I bitch at him constantly?
“Well.” I sound stiff as a board, but I can’t help it. I’m mortified. “I will stop doing that. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. And thank you for the offer, but I’ll pass. I can go to my parents’ house. I appreciate your help tonight. Have a nice evening.”
He frowns. “Now, you just sound like you have a stick up your ass.”
“What do you want from me?” It comes out in an exasperated shout. “Christ Jesus, Zeke, have you ever considered that I nag because you do those things all the goddamn time, and it’s inconsiderate? No, I’m sure you haven’t. You just think I’m a tight-ass bitch who likes the sound of my own voice, not a human being who has jobs and responsibilities of her own. But it’s fine. I’ll keep my mouth shut from here on out and suck it up. I’ll invest in some noise-blocking earbuds and park in the visitor parking so I don’t have to deal with your shitty parking jobs. I really do appreciate you being so nice to me tonight. It was a pleasant surprise, but I won’t expect it to continue. See you around.”
“God, you’re so damn exasperating.”
“Same goes, Zeke.”
We just stand there for several seconds, breathing hard and glaring at each other, and then the next thing I know, Zeke closes the gap between us, cups my face in his hands, and kisses me.
Like, kisses me.
It’s hot and demanding, as if he’s been thinking about doing it since the minute we met, and he has months-and-months-worth of pent-up sexual aggression to get out.
And, surprisingly, I don’t mind at all.