Guess who read 8 books so far. Me, of course! 🙈 I will be off to a tiny little vacation. I am stepping outside house after almost a year (except for small city visits) 😅 and I can’t wait to be in my vacay mode! Make sure you’re follow me on Instagram because I’ll be sharing a lot of pictures there 💜
Now coming on to the post, today’s my stop for the blog tour of Mismatched in Mayhem hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to reveal the excerpt of Mismatched in Mayhem.
Book Title: MISMATCHED IN MAYHEM
Author: L.E. Rico
Publication Date: January 13, 2020
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC (Bliss)
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Welcome to Mayhem, Minnesota, with its sweater-wearing cats and ultra-competitive trivia nights. Where love really does conquer all…if you’ll let it.
Walker O’Halloran is finally ready to shed her “wild child” persona. Bartending at her family’s pub, babysitting her adorable niece and nephews, and getting her degree during the day. What she doesn’t do is date–or even think about dating. Ever. Until he walks into her bar, looking like a former Mr. Quarterback of the Football Team and Student Council President all rolled into one. No, thank you.
Mason Stevens has a secret—and it prevents him from knowing if someone is truly interested in him, or just what he can do for them. Until he meets Walker. She’s the first person in ages who doesn’t recognize him, and her grouchy attitude feels like the greatest challenge of his life. And he’s ready for it.
But the more time they spend together, the more he’s desperate to come clean—it’s just never the right time. Until the paparazzi do it for him…
When he glances back down again, he finds me staring. At him.
“Come here,” he says quietly, opening his arms to me.
For a second, I fell bashful, and it’s such a foreign feeling for me. I loathe the feeling of vulnerability. But it’s not just a feeling. It’s what I am. And somehow, that’s never a problem when I’m with him.
I step forward and he draws me against his large, broad body, making me feel delicate and fragile—like a bird. A bird he could easily crush. I know this now. But I go to him anyway. Because my heart won’t let me not go to him. So I stand on my tiptoes, wrapping my arms around his neck, and pressing my lips to his. This is my answer to his apology. This is my promise to him. This is the moment that finally frees me from the self-imposed curse that’s plagued me for so long.
When we finally stop kissing, we’re still attached—every part of me touching every part of him. We’re staring at each other, and I feel an intensity between us that sends a wave of heat throughout my entire body. He puts his hands on either side of my face, stroking my skin with his thumbs.
“How’d I get to be so lucky?” he whispers, more to himself than to me.
“I don’t… What do you mean?”
“You have absolutely no idea, do you?”
I don’t. Maybe I’m dense, but I don’t have any clue what it is that he’s trying to tell me. “Mason, I don’t—”
Before I can finish, he’s scooped me off my feet and into his arms. “Johnny Walker Black O’Halloran, you have well and truly stolen every bit of my heart. And, if you’ll have me, it would my great honor to spend tonight showing you just how much that means. Just how much you mean to me.”
I want to believe him. But…
“Look at me,” he commands, sensing my reluctance. “Look at my face.”
I do, scanning every inch from forehead to chin.
“Look in my eyes.”
I do, settling my gaze there.
“Do you see it?” he asks. “Do you see how much I care for you, Walker?”
My acknowledgment comes slowly. It’s a nod that arrives only when I do see it for myself.
“I do. And I…I think I…I might…”
His lips are on mine again before I can struggle with the words for too long. And then, I press my lips against his ear, and I whisper.
I head to the only place where I seem to be able to clear my head. The roof. At nearly two in the morning, the entirety of Main Street is dark and deserted. I sigh and close my eyes, hoping maybe I’ll doze off. And I do…but then I’m dreaming that someone is calling my name. It takes a few seconds to realize that it isn’t a dream. Someone really is calling my name.
“Walker! Are you up there? Walker!”
Startled, I jump up and follow the sound to the edge of the roof overlooking the alley between our building and the one next door. Looking up at me is Mason Stevens.
“Mason? What are you doing here?”
“I have to talk to you. Can you please come down here?”
I shake my head.
“Uh-uh. No way. Go home, it’s late.”
“Please! Just let me talk to you.”
“I am not coming down.”
“Okay, then let me come up and see you there…”
“Dude! You’re not listening to me. I don’t want to talk to you. There’s nothing to say.”
“Of course there is! I have to explain about Cassandra. And I know what my mom said to you at the pub. Walker, there’s so much I have to say to you. Please, don’t make me do it from down here.”
I’m about to turn around and go inside when he does something incredibly bizarre. He grabs the long drainpipe that runs down the side of the building. And he starts to climb.
“Hey!” I holler down at him. “Hey, stop that!”
“Walker O’Halloran, I love you!” he’s saying as he passes the first floor windows and starts on the second floor.
“Mason! That thing is not going to support your weight. Stop! Please! Just go down before you kill yourself!” I hear myself getting louder and shriller. A light comes on across the street in an apartment over the newspaper office.
“No. I won’t stop. Not until we get our H-E-A.”
“Happily ever af—”
I presume he was going to say “happily ever after” right up until the moment that the brackets holding the pipe against the brick façade break free and the pipe starts to bend backward, taking Mason with it.
“Oh, shhh—” I hear him mutter just before I lose all sense of time and place.
He’s falling. He’s high enough up that he’ll surely break his back, or his neck, or crack his skull open. Oh, sweet Jesus, he could die! He came here to see me and I wouldn’t let him up. So he climbed the wall…and now he’s going to die! I’m going to kill someone else.
“Mason!” I hear myself screech as he continues his backward descent, still clutching the pipe with his arms and legs.
It’s all happening in slow motion and, for a brief second, he’s almost horizontal, like a pig hanging off a spit at a luau.
“Mason!” I shriek again, running back and forth along the ledge of the building, my eyes scanning the roof around me for inspiration. But there’s nothing. And it’s too late, anyway.
I can only watch in horror as he falls out of my reach. And out of my life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award-Winning author Lauren Rico also happens to be one of the top classical music broadcasters in the country. Her voice is heard nationally on SiriusXM’s Symphony Hall channel, as well as on radio stations in New York City, Charlotte, and Tampa. She’s even been known to accompany travelers as they fly the skies over Thailand, Oman, and China as part of the in-flight entertainment on several airlines. Her love and passion for classical music have allowed her to breathe new life into the stories of the great composers.
And now Lauren is telling some stories of her own…
Beginning with her erotic thriller, Reverie (Harmony House Productions, 2016), she set out to “put the sexy back in Bach,” creating a riveting tale of passion, deception and redemption set against the backdrop of an international music competition. She rounded out the trilogy with Rhapsody (Harmony House Productions, 2016) and Requiem (Harmony House Productions, 2017).
From there, Lauren partnered with Entangled Publishing, LLC, to create the first in her Symphony Hall series of romance novels, Solo (Entangled Publishing 2017). Her most recent release, Mistletoe in Mayhem, is the third in the five-book Whiskey Sisters series (Entangled 2018). Upcoming projects include two more Whiskey Sisters romances, a follow-up to Solo and a super-secret, as-of-yet-unnamed thriller.
Lauren hopes to bring classical music to a new audience by showcasing it in twisty, steamy stories that grab the reader and keep them turning pages — and YouTubing the music — into the wee hours.
When she’s not on talking on the radio or typing on her laptop, Lauren enjoys time with her husband and spectacularly spoiled mini-schnauzer.