When Hailey Harper left her family farm to enroll in veterinary school, she had a plan: keep her head down, ace her classes, and most importantly... don't upset the uncle paying her tuition. Translation? Don't piss off his dramatic, self-absorbed daughter, Danica, even if she's a nightmare to live with.
Falling in love with her cousin's rock star ex-boyfriend was definitely not part of the plan.
As the drummer of a now-famous rock band, Mike Madden could have any girl he wants. He's sweet, funny, romantic, talented--and the only guy that's ever made Hailey's heart do cartwheels in her chest. The more she gets to know him, the harder she falls, but Hailey knows they can never be more than friends… because Danica wants him back, and she'll fight dirty to win.
Mike is falling for Hailey too, but Danica's threats and his rock star life-music video shoots, international tours, obsessed fans-could tear them apart before they've even begun. Hailey isn't sure she's the one for him, but Mike's waited years for a girl like her… and he'll do anything to prove it.
At a door near the back corner of the room, my fun-loving cousin marches right up to the first security guard she sees, who also happens to be approximately five zillion times her size, with muscles made of stone and a face to match. “Who do I need to talk to to get backstage?”
At her bossy tone, Muscle-man lifts an eyebrow. “The Easter Bunny?”
“No one’s allowed backstage.” The arms he crosses over his chest warn that he isn’t messing around.
“I’m with Mike,” Danica lies, and after studying her for a moment, Muscle-man laughs.
“Sure you are.”
When Muscle-man just smiles at her like she’s a petulant child, Danica resorts to acting like one. She demands to see his boss and threatens to get him fired. When that doesn’t work, she resorts to curse words. And when those have no effect, all hell breaks loose.
She’s torpedoing her finger into his chest and shouting something about his inbred gene pool when I try to pull her away from him. But Danica is on a rampage, and all my efforts get me is a hard shove that nearly knocks me on my ass. At five-feet tall, one hundred and three pounds, I’m not exactly in a position to throw my weight around, and I don’t make a second attempt to try. I’m rubbing my tender collarbone when the security guy picks my assailant up off her feet, and I helplessly follow as he carries her outside.
After serving as an armrest for a sweaty gigantor inside the club, after obliterating my eardrums in front of the world’s biggest speakers, after getting knocked around like a bratty child’s toy all night, all I want is to take a hot shower and crawl into my own bed to sleep for a week straight. Instead, I stand on the sidewalk outside of Mayhem, frowning at the furious look on Danica’s face as she glares at the big metal door the security guard just shut behind him.
She came here for one thing, and I know she’s not leaving until she gets it.
“You didn’t have to push me,” I mutter, and her eyes flare.
“You should’ve had my back!”
“And done what? Bite his ankles?”
In her four-inch wedge boots, Danica towers above me. I stare way up at her, trying to remember the girl who played dolls with me up in my parents’ hay loft. But she’s lost somewhere behind fake lashes and fifteen years of getting everything she's wanted.
“You’ve been nothing but a bitch this whole time,” she snaps, and I sigh and pull my shirt away from my skin again, letting the cool night air dry the sweat beaded on my lower back. There’s no point in trying to defend myself. In Danica’s mind, she’s always simultaneously the victim and the hero, and as her non-rent-paying roommate, I’ve learned to just accept that.
I appreciate everything she’s done for me. I do. If she hadn’t been the little voice in her father’s ear, persuading him to fund my schooling and begging him to make some calls to get us enrolled, I’d be home mucking stalls, not following my dreams. Her dad pays all of my bills—my tuition, my insurance, my living expenses, all of them. And while I suspect that Danica’s sudden interest in my life wasn’t entirely genuine—she’d flunked out of college before, and I think her dad was only open to the idea of her going back if she was living off-campus with a responsible roommate, AKA her boring farm-girl cousin—I owe her. I owe her the roof over my head and the massive student loan debt I don’t have.
When her phone rings, she wastes no time dismissing me to answer it. “Katie?” she says. “Guess who just got kicked out of the fucking club. Yes! Because this asshole bouncer wouldn’t let me backstage.” She gives me a dirty look. “Just stood there doing nothing. I know! No, she didn’t even try. Getting a place with her was stupid.”
An icy chill slithers up the back of my neck, and I chew the inside of my lip. Because of my uncle’s insistence that I focus all of my energy on school right now instead of also finding a part-time job, I have no income. My only “job” is not pissing off his daughter. And it’s a job that I’m learning I am very, very bad at.
With my mouth shut, I slink away before my mere presence can enrage Danica further, and when she asks where I’m going, I make up the lamest excuse ever. “To read this flyer over here.”
A resident of South Central Pennsylvania, JAMIE SHAW's two biggest dreams in life were to be a published author and to be a mom. Now, she's living both of those dreams and loving every minute of it. When she's not spending time with her husband and their young son, she's writing novels with relatable heroines and swoon-worthy leading men. With her MS in Professional Writing and a passion for all things romance, her goal is always to make readers laugh, cry, squirm, curse, and swoon their pants off, all within the span of a single story. She loves interacting with readers, and she always aims to add new names to their book boyfriend lists.
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MEET THE HERO—MIKE MADDEN
Readers fell in love with drummer Mike Madden from the very first book in this series, MAYHEM, when it became clear that he wasn’t like the rest of the guys in the band: Mike never took advantage of the fact that groupies were throwing themselves at his feet; instead, he was always waiting for “the one.” Mike had his heart broken back in high school, when his band was just starting to pave their way in the music industry, but that never damaged his belief in true love. He was never looking for a one-night stand—he was looking for his future wife, the woman he would spend the rest of his life with. He waited for her through RIOT, he waited for her through CHAOS, and he finally meets her in HAVOC, when he finds Hailey Harper waiting with her cousin outside of his tour bus.
The fact that her cousin is his ex-girlfriend—the same one who broke his heart in high school and now wants him back—complicates things... a lot. But no one ever said Happily Ever Afters came easy...