Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Heart Decision (Book Five of the Return to Redemption Series) by Laurie Kellogg Excerpt

A Heart Decision (Book Five of the Return to Redemption Series) by Laurie Kellogg


On her wedding night, Sabrina will share the bridal suite with one of her brother's best friends.

Which one? She has no idea!

Sabrina Fitzpatrick helped plan her dream wedding last year--for her brother and his wife. Now, she wants her own fairytale ceremony. She's tired of waiting for commitment-phobe, Detective Luke Marino, to realize she's been crazy about him since puberty. Consequently, when Luke's billionaire friend asks her to marry him, she's compelled to accept BJ Elliott's proposal, especially after he suggests their impending marriage might induce his idiot pal to finally step forward. Unfortunately, a week later, adrenaline-junkie Luke risks his life again and ends up temporarily confined to a wheelchair.

BJ would love to give Sabrina an unforgettable wedding night, but he fears she'll never be happy with him if she doesn't resolve her feelings for his buddy, first. Therefore, even knowing he could lose her, BJ persuades her to become Luke's live-in nurse--offering her one last chance to convince the man she loves to take BJ's place at the altar (which BJ doubts his friend will ever do). If nothing else, he hopes Love'em and Leave'em Luke can convince Sabrina he'll make a lousy husband.

Luke has two secrets not even his best friends know. The first is he aches for Sabrina with every fiber of his being. The second is he loves her enough to spare her the heartbreak that being his wife would undoubtedly entail. Much to Luke's dismay, his resolve to resist his buddy's fiancée is tested after Sabrina steps in as his nurse and starts prancing around in nothing but his threadbare T-shirt. If he surrenders to her seduction, it may destroy his relationship with BJ. And, worse still, if he gets a taste of loving Sabrina, how can he ever stand by and let her marry his friend?


“No, way!” Luke sliced his good hand through the air. “Have you lost your damn mind?” A man had only so much restraint. He’d go crazy having the woman he’d fantasized about night and day helping him change his underwear.
“It’s the most logical solution.” Ben pushed the wheelchair up the temporary ramp a couple of guys from the force had rushed to install over the steps to Luke’s back door. “She’s a nurse with no patients, now that she’s quit her job to marry me. And you need someone to take care of you.”
Unfortunately, in addition to sustaining a concussion and severely fracturing his left ankle, Luke had sprained his right wrist, so crutches weren’t an option for the time being. The orthopedist had forbidden him to put any weight on his ankle for the first week. Therefore, he would be bedridden and wheelchair bound for a while.
He glared up at Sabrina as she entered the house and the screen door slammed behind her, foiling Dusty’s attempt to escape. “I suppose this was your brilliant idea?”
“No, this particular brainstorm was all BJ’s.” Sabrina bent down to elevate the footrest on his wheelchair and scratched the puppy behind the ears. “Hi, there, fella. I’m sorry I don’t have your sister with me.”
Luke turned his gaze back to Ben. “I guess Sabrina didn’t tell you what happened yesterday.”
“What? That she kissed you?” Ben shrugged one shoulder. “So? You didn’t kiss her back, right?”
“It wasn’t just a friendly little peck, pal. And I didn’t exactly stop her, either.” Another minute or so, and they would’ve had a bonfire blazing between them.
“So you’re saying you liked it.”
Like was an understatement. “Of course I liked it, damn it! What red-blooded, heterosexual male wouldn’t?”
“She kisses great, doesn’t she?” Ben winked at her.
Luke did a double take. If their roles were reversed, he’d be feeding BJ his teeth right about now. “I don’t believe you. Don’t you even care your fiancée hit on me?”
“Hell, yeah.” Ben spread his hands. “But if Sabrina feels something for you, now’s the time for me to find out—not six months after we’re married. You’re such a pain in the ass, I can’t think of a better way to convince her she wants to be my wife than for her to spend a few weeks at your beck and call.”
Luke snapped his gaze to Sabrina. “And you agreed to this?”
“Why not? It’s not as if Ben’s wrong. Anyway, I’ve seen what a terrible patient you can be when you’re sick. If we hired a home health aide for you, the person would probably hold a pillow over your face inside the first hour.” She shook a Percocet tablet out of the prescription bottle into Luke’s palm.
He couldn’t wait for the medication to start working. His ankle throbbed like a son-of-a-bitch. “It’s a completely insane idea. It’s like locking a starving wolf in a cage with a defenseless lamb and tellin’ the wolf not to eat.”
Ben cast a get-real look at him. “When it comes to the opposite sex, Luke, I’d hardly call you starving. Anyway, if the two of you can’t resist each other for a few weeks, then maybe she’s marrying the wrong guy.”
“No, she’s not—because I’m not marrying anyone.” Luke’s present situation had done nothing but reinforce his conviction to remain single.
Sabrina removed a can of soda from the refrigerator and popped the top. She took a sip before handing it to Luke. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ve heard your confirmed bachelor theme song before.”
“Besides,”—Ben shrugged—“I can’t think of a better way to disillusion her about you. Relying on other people and letting them help you isn’t exactly your strong suit.”
Ben had that straight. The thought of being a burden on the people he cared about gave Luke a knot in his stomach the size of New Jersey. But what choice did he have? He did absolutely everything right-handed.
After shattering his right arm and shoulder during college and spending six weeks in a cast, the nurses at his orthopedist’s office had voted him The Least Ambidextrous Patient of the Year. They’d even printed up an official-looking award for him.
Luke tossed the pill into his mouth and washed it down with the ice-cold Coke. Ben just might be right. Maybe two weeks of him running Sabrina ragged would permanently kill any feelings she had for him.

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