A SURE THING (The Donnigans Book 1) by Marie Harte
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Meet the Donnigans
With the eldest Donnigan brothers adjusting to civilian life, their younger sister constantly in trouble, and their little brother clueless about life in general, falling in love is the last thing on anyone’s mind…
Can this Bossy Badass Marine…
The Marine Corps was everything Landon Donnigan ever wanted in life…until a bullet sent him home with a medical discharge. Teaching a self-defense class at the gym is old-hat for a marine, but when he meets sexy Ava Rosenthal, his combat skills are useless for protecting his heart.
Be her Mr. Right?
Ava can take care of herself and likes quiet, bookish men—not muscular warriors who think women need to be coddled. But Landon is more than he seems, and when they come together, the results are explosive.
Worst day of the friggin’ year. Seattle had its doozies, but this one by far smacked of depression. In addition, it had been overcast and miserable all day, with rain continuing into the early evening. A glance around the surprisingly crowded gym full of men and women made Landon Donnigan wish for a return to the scorching heat of Afghanistan. Better that than the danger of desperate singles looking to hook up on Valentine’s Day.
God save me.
Though life in the Marine Corps had been fraught with risk—and not the bullshit emotional kind of risks—he’d enjoyed his time both overseas and in the States. During his service, he’d thought a civilian life behind a desk would be worse than anything he might imagine. Now he took his current job in stride, pleased to be useful once more.
But Valentine’s Day surrounded by flirting singles, in a gym no less? Sacrilege. He did his best not to make eye contact with anyone, especially the small group of women who kept looking his way. With any luck, they hadn’t noticed him, their attention on his supposedly charming younger brother standing next to him. He placed the hand weights he’d been using back on the rack, figuring he’d cut himself a break on his workout, just this once.
His brother glanced over his shoulder at several of the staring women. “Is it just me? Or do you feel almost hunted right now?” Gavin waved, and they waved back. “I mean, I have to be here. I’m a trainer. But shouldn’t all these women be out with their significant others celebrating with flowers and chocolates? I thought lonely women on V-Day stayed at home, sobbing into their Earl Grey and fighting their twenty-plus cats for bonbons. Kind of like you on any night of the week—alone and lonely.”
“You’re an ass.”
Gavin chuckled. “Yeah, I am. I’m kidding…about the women.” He ignored the finger Landon shot him. “Seriously though, most of the women I know are either out with friends or pissed off at men in general and sitting at home.”
“Like Hope, you mean?” Landon drawled. Their little sister had supposedly broken up with her latest dickhead boyfriend yesterday. God willing, the next guy she dated wouldn’t be so toxic.
“Yeah. Like Hope.” Gavin nodded. “No worries, Bro. Hope’s situation will work out.” Gavin took after their father in looks and temperament. Dark-haired, too laid-back, and for some reason, was well-liked by the ladies, who continued to watch him.
Landon followed his brother’s gaze to the attractive group. “They seem interested. Why not go ask ’em out?”
“No way in hell.” Gavin frowned. “We don’t fraternize with clients. Mac’s orders.”
“Really? Because you’ve got a mess of opportunity right over there.”
“That group is way too loaded for my blood. And by loaded, I mean richer than shit. They’re looking for a boy toy to play with. And rumor has it they break their toys.” Gavin glanced around him, then murmured, “Mac didn’t actually say I couldn’t date gym members. But when I tell them that, they leave me alone. I mean, they don’t want to get me fired from my job.”
With any luck, Gavin would hold on to this one for a while. The last two jobs hadn’t gone well. Landon wasn’t the only one adjusting to civilian life after the Corps. He subtly leaned closer to Gavin. Good. No scent of alcohol on little brother’s breath tonight.
“Smart excuse,” he said, trying to cover the sniff check.
“Smart. That’s me.” Gavin didn’t do smug as well as he thought he did. Not like their youngest brother, who’d come out of the womb smirking at life in general. “But why are you here? I’d have thought you and Claudia would be getting romantic. Hell, man, it’s Saturday. You can’t use work as an excuse.”
Landon shrugged and retrieved his towel and water bottle from the floor. “I thought I told you we broke up. We were never more than friends anyway.” Intimate friends. He’d been smart enough to end their casual relationship two months ago when Claudia had been hinting about changing their status to something much more serious. He’d been getting bored, and her constant neediness grated on his last nerve. As if Landon had time for more trouble when he had so much work to do fixing his dysfunctional family.
“Yeah? That’s not what I heard.” A pause. “From Claudia.”
Crap. “She’s been to the gym lately?” She’d quit when they’d broken up. Landon had only seen her once since then. Just last week. They’d exchanged a pleasant greeting, nothing more.
“Yep. Heard her talking to Marsha about you yesterday, as if you two were still an item. Then she told me to say hi from her.” Gavin smiled wide. “So hi.”
Landon glanced around, praying the woman hadn’t arrived tonight. He hated hurting anyone, and he’d been surprised she’d taken their “friend” breakup so hard. Which only reinforced the notion he’d been right to sever the relationship in the first place. Dating should be fun, not a minefield. He’d had enough of those to last a lifetime.
He scowled, feeling hemmed in. Jameson’s Gym was supposed to be his refuge in this chaotic, civilian world. Landon appreciated the hell out of the owner giving his brother a job. Mac Jameson seemed to be a stand-up guy. He’d been a master sergeant in the Marine Corps before doing permanent damage to his knee, ending his time early. They shared that connection—common core values, an appreciation for discipline and order, and medical bullshit ending a guy’s dream.
“Mac here?” he asked.
Gavin shook his head. “Seriously? You’ve seen his wife, right? She’s hot as hell. No doubt they’re hanging at home for some ‘alone time.’” Gavin sighed. “I miss uncomplicated sex.”
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Award-winning author Marie Harte has been writing professionally since 2005. She’s both a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author and has written over 100 books and counting. Marie writes books with heat, humor, and character.
She writes independently and for several publishers, to include Sourcebooks, Samhain, and Loose Id. Though currently writing contemporary romance, she also writes paranormal and romantic suspense.
Before turning to writing full-time, she earned a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University and spent several years in the United States Marine Corps as a communications officer.
Marie currently lives in Central Oregon with her family. There’s nothing she likes more than finding a good book to read and a great cup of coffee to drink.
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