I persuaded my best friend that I should be her first…
More Than Possess You, an all-new friends to lovers steamy novella in the A More Than Words series from New York Times bestselling author Shayla Black and 1,001 Dark Nights is available now!
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shayla Black returns with a new story in her More Than Words series.
I’m Hayes Elliott. Since second grade, I’ve had one best friend, Echo Hope. When she graduates from college, of course I have to give her something amazing. Since I’ll be on a business trip to Maui, I’m bringing her along for a week of fun and sun. But once she sheds her long skirts, serious buns, and combat boots for bikinis, I can’t deny how stunning she is…and I can’t stop wanting her. Worse, she’s determined to lose her V-card—and has asked one of our man-whoring buddies to pluck it.
I’ve got to step in.
It’s underhanded, but I offer to do the job properly. Since I’m no one’s Prince Charming, I have no intention of following through. Suddenly, the kisses start and the clothes come off…and I can’t remember why I’m not supposed to make her mine in every way. Or why I shouldn’t be in love with her. But if I want Echo for more than a vacation fling, I’ll have to fight. And she’s about to find out how determined I am to upgrade my best friend to wife.
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I scowl. Echo almost sounds like… No. She can’t possibly speak from experience. Who the hell would she be in love with that I don’t know about?
Then I remember she’s “talking” with Xavian.
Anyone who called me a player would label Xavian Costa a man whore. She can’t have real feelings for him.
If I confront Echo head-on about how stupid falling for Xavian is, she’ll bristle. So I try to be sneaky. “I haven’t talked to X much lately. What’s up with him?”
“Besides finals, nothing new. But he’s stoked that we’ll all be boarding the plane for Maui on Saturday. He was thrilled that, despite being an intern, he was included in the bonus trip for top performers.”
Xavian is killing it in the office. He’s got a natural gift for making money, so I’m not surprised. But she sounds almost proud of him, like a girlfriend.
“And thanks again for taking me along as your plus one. I’m so excited I bought two new bikinis!”
For Xavian to look at? The thought makes me frown even more. But I act casual.
“Of course. Hey…” I bump shoulders with her. “You’re my bestie. I had to give you a graduation trip worth remembering.”
“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. The plane ticket alone must have cost a fortune. But I promise, I won’t keep you awake at night snoring.” She winks.
“You don’t snore, shortcake.” I’ve been camping with her about a million times, so I know. But by now, she’s usually found half a dozen activities for us to appreciate the scenery and make memories—a nature reserve, a challenging hike, a sunrise picnic on the beach—something. But we’re six days away from the biggest vacation of our lives, and not a word. “Tell me what you have planned for paradise.”
“Sun and water!” She closes her eyes and takes in a deep breath, like she can already smell the ocean.
“I meant for us.”
Echo turns to me with a shrug. “I thought we’d chill. Besides, I wasn’t sure how much you’d have to work.”
“I only have two mixers all week. We’ll have tons of time for other stuff.”
But her voice suggests that isn’t good at all. What the hell is up? Does she have some surprise for me and doesn’t want me guessing, like Christmas before last?
“So we’ll think of some things,” I prod her. “Right?”
Her easy reply should make me feel better. Instead, I’m wondering if she’s planning to enjoy paradise with someone else.
Fuck, I know I’ve been busy lately and spending a lot of my free time with Jayci—mostly because she’ll try anything in bed and could suck the brass off a doorknob—but the thought of Echo and me drifting apart fills me with something like panic.
“What do you say we have a pre-trip graduation party on Friday night? We don’t leave until two in the afternoon on Saturday, so—”
“I can’t.” Echo tears her gaze away. “I’ve got…something else.”
Like? Her vague refusal fills me with dread. “A date?”
Shifting closer, I take her chin in my hand. “Then what? Talk to me. Tell me what’s bothering you.”
“Nothing. I just need to, um…take care of something before we go.”
About Shayla Black
Shayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nearly eighty novels. For over twenty years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold millions of copies and been published in a dozen languages.
Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past eight years.
Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her daughter, and two spoiled tabbies. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.
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