Bad Cruz, an all-new romantic comedy with off the charts chemistry and sure to make you fall in love and LOL from Wall Street Journal bestselling author L.J. Shen is available now!
I would say Dr. Cruz Costello is my archenemy.
But that would require acknowledging one another, which we haven’t done in over a decade.
He’s the town’s golden child. The beloved quarterback-turned-physician.
I’m the girl who got knocked up at sixteen and now works at a diner.
He is Fairhope royalty.
I get my monarch dose from tabloid gossip.
When our siblings get engaged, Cruz’s parents invite both families to a pre-wedding cruise.
Except Cruz and I find ourselves stuck on a different ship from everyone else.
Cue ten horrible, insufferable days at sea with a man I cannot stand.
(My fault, of course.)
But when the alcohol pours in, the secrets spill out, and I’m left with one question:
Can I take another chance on love?
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This whole day made me feel super prickly, but I still went with it. Unfortunately, I had no say in this, since I had lost a bet.
Then there was Trinity and my parents’ wrath to think about. And the fact Bear deserved a mother who didn’t look like she practiced the most ancient profession in the world.
Also, privately, I could admit I really, really liked the Anthropologie dresses.
“I think I’m starting to get a feel of what you’re into,” Cruz said when we got out of the store, which by the way, smelled like a new car and someone’s upscale bathroom.
I ignored his observation. I already felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman without being told I was on the cusp of self-discovery and inner transformation.
Next, we went to Free People, where I grabbed a few pairs of pants and some casual shirts and jackets. Then we went to a bohemian boutique, something small and not too pricey, and Cruz splurged on two pairs of sandals for me—both orthopedic but surprisingly not hideous—and a little purse that didn’t look like a tie-dyed squirrel.
I didn’t thank him one time during the entire shopping trip, careful to remind him that it was his idea, not mine.
Finally, around two in the afternoon, when I was ready for my lunch (more like in danger of eating my own arm), he stopped in front of Prada.
He jerked his chin inside. “Ladies first.”
“Are you crazy?” I glared at him. “I’m not really going to let you buy me anything from there.”
I knew I’d joked about it the other day, but I also joked about having Benicio del Toro’s babies, and I sure as heck was closed for business.
“It’s an outlet.”
“It’s outrageous,” I countered. “I don’t care how much money someone has, a five hundred dollar scarf is excessive.”
“Say that to my Kmart shoes. They’ve been servin’ me well for three years and counting. Even when I work double shifts.” I was surprised my feet didn’t slap my face for lying.
“I try not to converse with inanimate objects as a general rule. Why do you even care? It’s my money. I get to decide what I want to spend it on.”
“Why would you want to spend it on a semi-stranger you don’t even like?”
“This semi-stranger I don’t even like is about to become my family. Besides, I’m a shitty tipper.”
We were blocking the entrance to Prada, but that was all right, because no one but us seemed irrational enough to wander in.
There was also a guard at the entrance. A flipping guard. It made me want to throw up. I would never, ever walk into a store where some people might not feel welcome.
People like my mom.
Or like me, for that matter.
“Ugh, don’t remind me.” I thumbed my nose at him, adamant to put up a fight. “I’d hate to be associated with you. You may ruin my reputation.”
“Your reputation’s in the shitter,” he reminded me kindly.
“Yeah, well, maybe it’ll find your kissing technique there, since it seems to be in the same destination. What the hell was that about yesterday?”
I was a master of misdirection.
“You enjoyed it,” he said calmly.
Lord, I had.
And not only had I enjoyed it, but the fact that it had been sweet and intimate and not filthy and carnal had completely disarmed me. I still felt my pulse against my lips. Both pairs.
Mental note number one hundred and sixty: Charge. That. Vibrator.
About LJ Shen
L.J. Shen is a USA Today, Washington Post and Amazon #1 best-selling author of contemporary, New Adult and YA romance. Her books have been sold to nineteen different countries.
She lives in California with her husband, son, cat and eccentric fashion choices, and enjoys good wine, bad reality TV shows and catching sun rays with her lazy cat.
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