Exclusive Excerpt by Adriana Locke

Exclusive Excerpt
I sat on the bank of the pond and watched Max cast his line into the water. Fishing had never really been my thing. By the time I got the line and pole and hook all sorted out, I was usually too pissed off to actually fish. For something that was supposed to be relaxing, it was annoying as hell. But Max loved it, so when he came to the cabin in Payson with me, I humored him... meaning I drank Corona and tried to not look bored.
Max was off in his own little world, thinking about shit the way Max did.
Fucker thinks way too much.
“What are ya thinking about over there, asshole?” I asked, reeling my line in. I thought I felt the tug of a fish, so I reeled faster, trying to keep it from clamping down on the worm. I had zero interest in actually catching a damn fish - that would just be a bigger pain in the ass.
I took a sip of my beer and checked my phone. Cell coverage was bad and I was worried as fuck that Jada would call and I wouldn’t get it. I didn’t really want to leave her in the Valley to start with, but she was really excited about Heather coming to town. She and Kari were throwing Jada a baby shower. They wanted the house to themselves - some shit about being the last time they’d be able to be together without a baby.
“Relax, man,” Max said, looking at me out of the corner of his eye. “She’s gonna be fine.”
“How do you know? Shit happens. I leave for a weekend with your dumb ass and something will happen. That’s how it works.”
Max laughed and shook his head.
I’d never actually been pissed at him before, but there was a day for everything.
“Fine line, Quinn. You’re walking a fine line.”
He twisted his black Saints cap around. “Seriously, Cane. She’s having fun. Kari’s there and she’s a nurse, for heaven’s sake. Just relax and have some fun, too.”
I raised my eyebrows and smiled exaggeratedly. “What? We aren’t having fun?”
Max snorted and took his line out of the water. “I can hardly contain myself.”
“I know it’s not my company that’s boring you. It’s probably this fishing.” I took another sip of my Corona. “You want to go to town? Find some chicks at the bar? I didn’t really have you pegged as that kind of guy these days, but don’t let me stand in your way.”
I knew damn good and well he wasn’t about to do that, but I had to do something to get a rise out of him.
“Fuck off, Alexander,” he grumbled.
I stood up, stretching out, feeling the afternoon sunlight on my face. I loved it in Payson. If it wasn’t for Alexander Industries, I’d try to get Jada to move to the cabin. It was so peaceful and I loved that I could just sit outside and not hear a damn thing.
“I think we should retire up here some day. You can build a cabin over there,” I said, nodding to the acreage I owned next door, “and we can just sit here and shoot the shit.”
His chest rumbled with the laughter he was trying to hold back.
“Come on,” I said, standing. “You know you can’t live without me. And it’s not like Kari and Jada are ever going to want to be apart, either.” I downed the rest of my beer and licked my lips. “Yeah, the more I think about it, the more sense it makes.”
Max reeled his line in and turned to look at me. “We’ll see.” He shoved his hands in his pockets and shrugged.
“What’s going on, man?”
He shrugged again.
I wasn’t sure what was happening with Max. He always knew what to do. He had shit planned out months in advance. Hearing him say, ‘We’lll see’, being undecided, wasn’t right.
At all.
“All joking aside, you alright?” I asked.
“Yeah. Everything’s fine.”
He shrugged yet again.
“You need guidance? I’m here for ya.”
Max rolled his eyes, but smiled. “If I need help from you, I’m fucked.”
I couldn’t help but laugh because he was right. I wasn’t known for my decision-making skills. I relied on Max to be the voice of reason. If he lost that ability, we were both fucked.
“Nah, really. Everything’s alright. Same shit, different day.” He headed to the house and I followed, glad the fishing shit was over.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I’m at a place in my life where I’m ready to settle down. I don’t want to go to a bar and pick up a girl, like you said earlier-”
“I know that,” I said sarcastically, cutting him off.
“I know ya do. But that’s my point - I don’t want to do that shit. Kari’s it for me, Cane. She’s my girl.”
I really didn’t see the problem. “So, your point?”
He blew out a harsh breath. “Every time I try to get closer to her, she pushes me away. I’m not sure she wants the same things as me.”
“Whatever, fucker,” I laughed.
“It’s true.” Max shot me an irritated glance.
“Why in the hell would Kari not want to settle down with you? I mean, you’re probably alright looking, I guess. You aren’t me, but you’re aren’t bad,” I grinned cheekily, making him shake his head. “You make good money. You’re way too nice for your own good. You love the hell outta her and her sister is married to your best friend. So explain to me why in the fuck she wouldn’t want you?”
He shrugged sadly, making me feel like a piece of shit for pressing the issue.
We entered the garage and hung up our poles. He sat his on the rack and turned to me, a look of determination on his face.

“After almost a fuckin’ year, I still can’t figure it out,” Max said, his eyes narrowed. “But I will. I have to.” 

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  1. I LOVE the back and forth banter. I'm excited to read this

  2. This is awesome! Can't wait to read part 2

  3. LOVE THIS! I adore Cane and Max's bromance!

  4. So excited to read this book! Can't wait for Max!

  5. Thanks for the post, I love bromances! haha This is a great scene between Max and Cane, it gives me a bit more about Max and makes me even more excited to read his and Kari's story! Thanks for the chance to win this fabulous prize!!!

  6. This totally excited me! Can't wait!

  7. So excited for this!!!

  8. Enjoyed the excerpt! Thanks so much for the giveaway!!

  9. Cindy Callender -Very excited to read this book! Thanks for the opportunity!

  10. I Cannot wait for March 1st. One more week then Max is Mine!!!!!!

  11. I feel like I am sitting on the bench such as Andy Griffith did in Brad Paisley's song "Waiting on a Woman"...except I sit waiting for our sweet, southern, sexy Max!!!!!!!

  12. Cannot wait for this to come out!

  13. This sounds really good!

  14. Cannot wait for perception to come out! Sounds like a book I will not put down.

  15. Sounds so so good can't wait for this!!

  16. Cannot WAIT for Sunday!!! So excited for book 2!!!

  17. So close Max your going to be mine shortly!

  18. Read Exception, fell in love with Cane....but I figure the Cowboy Max will steal my heart away!