YOU DID IT!
My readers—you!—put Reckless on Amazon’s Top 20 books and I’m beyond grateful and humbled. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
I want to share Chapter One with all of you that haven’t read it yet! Everyone needs a little Boone Mason in their life! 😉
“If you don’t hear from me in twenty minutes, I’m probably dead.”
My Audi roars as I hit the gas. The sound drowns out my brother’s reaction to my statement—one I’m sure he’ll discount as dramatic.
In all actuality, it probably is a little dramatic. What are the odds that I meet my Maker on a random Saturday evening because a woman is at my house? I’d say that the odds are in my favor.
I knock on the faux wood on the car door to be safe before hitting the gas again, enjoying the push back into the seat from the accelerator.
Coy sighs. “Are you done?”
He sighs again.
“Are you done?” I mock him as I pilot the car around a huge tree branch in the street. “My life is on the line here, and you act like you don’t care. All you do is sigh.”
“Oh, cut the shit,” he says, trying to hide a chuckle. “Where are you going, anyway? Our whole family is still here besides you. Are you coming back?”
I flip on my turn signal and press the brakes. “I don’t know. Let’s see if I live.”
My home, a riff on an Italian villa, looks no worse for the wear as I pull into the driveway. I stop at the garage and hit the button to lift the door. Then, just as quickly, I rethink my actions and punch the controller again.
I might be fairly certain this whole thing is going to end up fine, but why take unnecessary chances? There’s no need to ask for trouble. Garages are where the serial killer hides and stabs you in the back as you get out of the car. I’ve watched enough movies to know that.
I take a deep breath and survey the area.
The flower beds appear to be undisturbed. There aren’t any cars that scream trouble parked in front of my house, and there is no smoke or broken glass or faces peeking through the blinds. No red flags whatsoever.
Good, but weird.
“Sarah, the lady that lives to the west of me, called and said that a woman was climbing into my bedroom window a little while ago,” I say and slide out of the car.
“I’m being serious,” I tell him.
“I’m sure you are, but isn’t this normal behavior for you?” Amusement laces his tone. “Because, for the record, this is exactly how I envision your life—women leaving through the front door while others scale the walls to sneak in the back.”
I shake my head as I shut the car door behind me. “That’s not been a thing since I was in high school.” I pause. “Well, there was the one instance last year—but that’s irrelevant.”
“Sounds pretty damn relevant to me under the circumstances.”
“It’s not. A girl I was with wanted to try some reverse-knight-in-shining-armor role-play shit, and …” I cringe as I realize how stupid this sounds. “Anyway, you get the picture.”
This is my life.
He chuckles. “What I get is the fact that you’ve lived a better life than I have, and I’m the damn rock star of the family!”
“Rock star? That’s a stretch,” I joke.
“Oh, fuck off.”
We laugh at the same time.
Out of my four brothers, I’m closest with Coy. There are just eighteen months between us, and due to the way our birthdays are situated, we were only one grade apart. We’ve had the same friends, the same experiences, and played on the same sports teams growing up. He gets me. And I get him … which makes it super easy to rile him up.
“If I get murdered, I fully expect you to sing hymns at my funeral,” I say. “Make it sappy and super over-the-top, or I’ll haunt you.”
“You’re not getting murdered, dumbass. Settle down.”
A cool breeze ripples across my face as I stare up at the house.
Sarah has been known to exaggerate a time or twenty, but she sounded so certain when she called. I was sure I’d find some obvious evidence of trespassing and could justify calling the police, but I can’t. There’s nothing.
I almost wish there was something off. It would be easier to deal with. Now I’m just left with various possibilities, and I don’t particularly like any of them.
It could be a scorned lover, but I make it a point to end relationships on good terms, so probably not. This is a good neighborhood, so I doubt it’s a flat-out robbery. The only robbery that I know of around here involved the role-play girl and a game of cops and robbers that had nothing to do with actual theft.
Still, when I take into account the fact that the house isn’t burning to the ground and the possible scenarios I’m facing, I have to go with Coy’s theory—no matter how unlikely it seems.
I scratch the top of my head as I think it through. “Man, if I walk in and a naked woman is waiting for me in my bed, I’m going to feel like an idiot. I legitimately raced over here and risked points on my license that I can’t risk because I half expected to see busted windows.”
Coy snorts. “I’d prepare for feeling like an idiot.”
I start up the stairs. “Have any tips to get me started?”
“Very funny.” The line muffles for a moment and I hear our older brother, Oliver’s, voice. “Hey, Ollie wants to know why your alarm system wasn’t on.”
“Oh, great. You told Oliver.”
“He wanted to know what was going on, and I think he has a very valid question.”
I roll my eyes. “I don’t know. I think I forgot to pay it.”
“Seriously, Boone? At least put the important stuff on auto-pay.”
“You can do that?”
I’m not sure what Oliver says to Coy, but that’s probably for the best. They both start laughing.
“I’m glad you guys find this so funny,” I mutter as I stare at the door.
While I’m ninety percent sure this is some kind of misunderstanding, there’s still a ten-percent chance it isn’t. And the possibilities are endless.
“What do you want us to do, Boone?” Coy asks. “Stay on the phone with you? Call the police? Tell Mom that you’re scared and have her call you and hold your hand? What am I doing here?”
“Nothing. Just … I just felt like someone needed to know what was happening. Just in case.”
He exhales. “Great. But could you call someone else the next time you think you might die because you haven’t thought through a situation? Now I have to sit here and avoid Mom because she knows I’m talking to you and she’s going to want to know what’s going on.”
“So, tell her.”
“Tell her what? That you’re not coming back to family night because you’re getting your dick sucked? I’d rather not.”
I make a face. “I’d rather you not tell her that either. Just hang on, and let’s see what happens here.”
“I’m pretty sure my wife won’t appreciate you rattling off some woman’s measurements, brother.”
I press my thumb onto the keypad. A green light blinks, and the lock frees. A click shoots through the air.
Coy and Oliver laugh again on the other end of the line. It distracts me from the potentially life-or-death situation I’m dealing with.
“Here goes nothing,” I mutter. “I’ll call you back.”
“Oh, hell. Keep me on the line. Just in case.”
“No. I tried to call you in case I needed help, but you—”
I step inside the entryway and ignore my brother. Cool air envelops me, along with the scent of lavender from the little night-light thing that my housekeeper put in an outlet the last time she was here.
The decorator pillows from the couch are strewn across the floor. A pizza box sits open on the coffee table, and a pile of clothes are tossed across the loveseat that faces the fireplace.
Everything looks just as I left it, but something feels different.
I wrap my hand around my neck and try to unwind the knot that’s slowly forming.
“Coy, I gotta go.”
I end the call before he can continue.
The brief description from Sarah—that the intruder was totally my type—didn’t help pinpoint who the woman might be. Nor did the fact that Sarah thinks she might’ve seen the woman before but isn’t quite sure.
“They all start to look alike at some point,” she said.
I squeeze the back of my neck again, my heart thumping in quick succession, and listen for some indication of the intruder’s location. Just as I start to second-guess not having a witness if things don’t go my way, a sound from the kitchen makes me jump.
I spin around.