Welcome Peeps to the final installment of the PROLOGUE & CHAPTER ONE blog tour sneak peek of THICK LOVE!! I hope for those following along with this FIVE part installment sneak peek are enjoying this prologue & chapter one of Thick Love. If you haven’t been following be sure to go back to the beginning of the tour and read the sneak peek in order! You can find the schedule further down in the post so that you can read in order.
Now sit back and enjoy this final installment sneak peek. Be sure to enter the giveaway. Definitely pre-order this awesome book to get your hands on it on the release date of August 31st. Happy reading.
Title: Thick Love (Thin Love, #2)
Author: Eden Butler
Genre: NA | Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 31, 2015
He doesn’t ask their names.
He doesn’t deserve to know them.
Ransom Riley Hale’s friends think his life is charmed: first string as a freshman on a championship-winning college football team. A father with two Super Bowl rings. A mother with platinum albums and multiple Grammies under her belt. But that brilliant shine on the surface hides the darkness beneath; it’s all Ransom has ever known.
Despite the shadows he walked in, once there was a blinding light fracturing the darkness. It brought the promise of hope and happiness. He’d been careless, filled with pride and stupidity and lost that light. Ripped it from the world.
Now, the shadows are dimming again. Aly King surges into his life threatening to pull him from the darkness. She is everything Ransom can never be again. Her light feels too warm, promises him that there is more waiting for him beyond the shadows.
But the shadows are relentless, resurfacing when he thinks he is safe, and Ransom knows he must keep Aly from them too before he pulls her down into the darkness with him.
✾ Thick Love – Chapter One Sneak Peek ✾
You didn’t get choices at this place. You got insistence. The staff meddled, they treated us all like celebrities because we dominated on the gridiron. I’d never get used to it no matter how much time I spent on the field.
In my room there was quiet, or at least there was the promise of it. But with that solace comes the eager demands thrown at me with a look, by the nagging tone of my teammates and that constant reminder in my father’s voice that this time in my life will only come once. Dad had lectured long about bonds to be made with the men who’d battle on the field right next to me. He’d sworn those friendships would last a lifetime. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I went back out to join the revelers.
“I’m telling you man, this ain’t some common titty bar.” I hated Trent Marshall’s stupid grin and the loud pitch of his voice over the club music. Earlier tonight, he’d sulked, pissed that Red’s friend hadn’t been interested in him. It was his idea that we all leave the crowd at the campus party.
Trent’s stupid laugh made my eye twitch and I tried to hold back the glare as that laughter kept getting louder. He had sandy brown hair cut scalp short except for a stupid layer of fringe that he’d flip out of his eyes with a toss of his head like he couldn’t bother with a trim or to manage his shaggy bangs with his fingers. No matter how much of an idiot he looked like, Trent wasn’t wrong. Summerland’s Burlesque Review was anything but a strip club. I’d only been there twice before, but each time felt that as soon as we moved behind the mahogany doors, we’d jumped back in time.
Every corner of the club was draped in rich, red textures like it was circus day at the Moulin Rouge. Red velvet draped the walls in fat swags, hardwood floors looked like melted chocolate under the deep, billowy couches. Settees cornered around the round stage in soft, black leather. Even the bite of sweet pipe smoke and very old bourbon added to the character of the place almost as much as the showgirls in their corsets and fishnets, or the aerialists overhead outfitted like glittering elves, swinging from the rafters on trapezes festooned with silks.
Marshall’s obnoxious whistle at the brunette on the stage dancing behind a white fan brought my attention back from the atmosphere and reminded me that I was in the company of a jackass.
Mike Richard, a thick lineman with no neck and more hunting dogs waiting for him back in Mississippi than any one man should have, nudged Marshall, tugging on his shoulder when the idiot got a little too close to the entertainment. “Easy, man. You’ll get us tossed out.” But Marshall didn’t listen to Richard and he continued to wolf-call at the woman on the stage.
Trent was a dick. Since the first day in spring training when he sauntered onto the field like he owned the damn campus, I’d wanted to pop the smirk off his face. Like just then, sitting in the plush leather seats of that posh club, the crowd more highbrow than I was used to with their designer suits and cocktail dresses, I debated again how I could smack Marshall one good time without pissing anyone off. Maybe if he was drunk, no one would notice. A few shots of whiskey and the guy would get wobbly. I could pass off a swing against his jaw as me trying to keep him from falling onto the stage in a drunken attempt to grab at the dancers in front of us.
He wasn’t worth it. Not worth the shit I’d catch from the other five or so teammates with us or the giants manning the door, glaring at Marshall as he hooted and hollered up at the stage. An especially thick set giant, sporting a tailored-cut black suit complete with silver cufflinks, moved closer to our table and blocked Marshall’s view from the stage.
“Move, man. I can’t see.”
But the bouncer didn’t flinch, barely stepped aside when another man approached. The new guy rearranged the toothpick that was sticking out of his mouth and smiled around it, enough that I spotted a gold cap on his left molar. Classy.
“Fellas, please.” Toothpick’s quick nod had a skinny waitress with not enough up top to fill out her corset hustling toward us with a tray full of shots.
She smiled, offering something a little more than a shot with that expression, but I waved her off. “I’m good.” A shrug of my shoulders and that smile stayed frozen on toothpick’s face, like maybe he expected my refusal. Maybe he thought he could stare me down, as if an all gold-toothy smirk and wannabe gangster swag would somehow impress me. It didn’t.
I was going to correct him. I was going to remind this guy that I had two last names, everyone knew that, but before I could, Trent interrupted with a slap to my back that was sharp, loud, and had me flexing my fist so I wouldn’t take a swing at him. “Riley-Hale. Shit, Timber, you must be the only asshole who doesn’t watch ESPN.”
That’s when the name registered. Timber Ironside. Local drug supplier who liked to pretend he was Tony Montana without the millions or the smoking hot girlfriend. Timber would never be Scarface, but he had plenty of friends, and in New Orleans, the right friends could make life very awkward for someone who was pissing you off. Just like Trent was managing to do.
“Asshole?” The toothpick broke between Timber’s teeth.
“Hey, man, it’s cool.” I promised him, hoping that my body was big enough to cover Trent’s loud laughing when I stood in front of him and that my smile didn’t look practiced, that Ironside bought I was trying to make excuses for the idiot I’d shown up with.
Pretending to like people that got under my skin wasn’t my thing, but I still offered Ironside my hand and held my breath until he took it, hoping to deflect any drama before it started. “We’re all good and everyone knows that it’s Marshall here who’s the asshole.” When the dick in question flipped the bird at me, I pelted him with a wadded napkin from the table. “And he drinks too damn much.”
Ironside waited, measured my smile like he was waiting for me to flinch. I didn’t and when he realized I wasn’t going to back down, the man finally relented.
“Drunk assholes are this city’s specialty.” Even his laugh—louder than Trent’s, even, a sound meant to grab attention—grated on my nerves.
Ironside slapped my back like he knew me, then, like we were comrades sharing a private joke that everyone else was too stupid to get. I didn’t like his casual approach or the way he nodded his head at me, how he guided me away from my teammates, assuming I’d be cool with his familiarity. But when I tried moving his hand off my shoulder, getting some distance between us, Timber sent a glare back toward Trent. It was a small threat, silent, but I wasn’t thick. My father was a two-time Super Bowl winner. My mom was a successful songwriter who had famous artists courting her like she was a first round draft pick. I’d seen Ironside’s type my whole life. They wanted to collect influential friends. They wanted to impress those friends with their money and clout. Turning down the wannabe gangster’s instant friendship would cause more shit than it was worth.
“Listen, man, I’ve been hearing a lot about you.” His voice was even, subtle, but Ironside had an air about him that made a knot twist in my gut. Something was off, I knew, he probably got that I knew it too, but that didn’t stop him from playing his game.
“That right?” Arms crossed, feet planted on that rich hardwood, like I’d wait all night to hear whatever bullshit flattery Ironside was about to level at me.
“Hell, CPU used to be my old stomping ground.” The man was barely six foot, thin, and wore a designer suit with frayed hems, like he’d worn it so often the threading was loose. Everyone knew Ironside wasn’t broke. The rims on his Charger were twenty-twos, chrome and so clean they looked like mirrors. But his was newly-earned money, loosely held, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he was scrambling for pocket change before the end of the month. That he was somehow in charge of things in this club struck me as weird. He didn’t seem the type with that much juice.
“Oh?” I finally said. “When did you graduate?”
“Nah, school wasn’t my thing, but I ran a few rackets on campus back in the day.” I waited for an explanation, ready to call this asshole on his bullshit. “Kid stuff really, before I knew what I was doing.” He dismissed the truth with a nod and led me down a narrow hall with more red velvet and marble edging around the hardwood. “The point is, this city loves a good game. Any game. And they love their heroes. Kona Hale is the fucking king around here. Hell, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know.” This wasn’t new information to me. God knows how often my dad’s name got mentioned when people met me, but that didn’t seem to be Ironside’s point.
We stopped in front of large wood door guarded by a thug sporting a pair of black Raybans. “I’m just saying, people around here, they got big hopes for you. If you’re anything like your daddy, you’ll be king here too.”
“No, I’m not…”
“And we like to treat our kings like a different kind of royalty.” He pushed open the door without a second glance at the bouncer, directing me inside the room before I could put up much of a fight. “I got something extra special for you, Ransom. You’ll like this.”
“Listen, man, this isn’t really my thing.”
“Trust me,” he said, slapping my back in that pseudo-friendly way again. “You’ll like it. Stay. Have a seat.” When
I made to move anyway, the man frowned, insulted. “I insist.”
So not worth the shit.
The lights were low and the room was draped in black velvet. Muted marble covered the floor in beige and gray checks that stretched around the small stage in the center of the room. Timber gestured to the red chair in front of the stage with its high-back cushions and walnut tapered legs.
“Shit,” I told myself, knowing what was coming, instantly feeling guilty for the poor girl who’d been talked into dancing for me. Summerland’s wasn’t a strip club. There wasn’t a Champagne room, or so I thought, or dancers willing to make your lap their personal stage if you kept the dollar bills flowing. It was about the art form, the seduction of the dance, the tease and talent it took to make the audience titillated and entranced. Yet I knew Ironside had convinced some girl that she was just a body for me to enjoy. He was just standing there, grinning at me like the Cheshire cat who’d eaten tempting, gooey cream.
I was going to walk out. I even took a step away from the stage. But then, the music started—and a slow, sultry voice I knew well began to sing. A voice filled the room, a voice that I’d been obsessed with at fourteen, all but convinced that Rockabilly music was the end-all, be-all. Imelda May. Her voice was the drugging hum that mesmerized me, that hooked me so the leg I saw, long and covered in midnight fishnet, yanked me forward on an unseen line. Then a knee hanging from red silk, the side of a hip, the small waist and after that, I only remember sitting down in that plush fabric and thinking, for the first time in two years that I badly wanted to take something that wasn’t mine.
✾ Books in the Thin Love Series ✾
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August 24th → Totally Booked Blog
August 25th → Short and Sassy Book Blurbs
August 26th → The Book Vigilante Reviews
August 27th →
Shh Mom’s Reading Litstack
August 28th → As the Pages Turn
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