FEATURE: Annie Arcane

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Annie doesn’t like long walks on the beach, getting dolled up, or HEA endings with a boringly perfect hero. She’d much rather be rock climbing, shooting guns, or ending on cliffhangers with a deliciously imperfect hero. And hugs. She likes hugs.

She also apologizes for Cale’s terrible potty mouth in the following excerpt. He’s not usually this bad. Really, he’s not…

Excerpt from Hart Broken (Cale & Mickey, Book 1)

Tonight was different.

I was the one who couldn’t sleep. I was the one who kissed my beautiful girlfriend carefully as to not wake her. I was the one who snuck out of bed in the middle of the night. And I was the one outside on my balcony at three in the morning…

Staring out at absolutely nothing. Thinking about absolutely everything. Replaying her words over and over in my head.

I couldn’t be better.

Did she really say that? How the hell could she say that?

Now, don’t get me wrong. Because I’m not implying that I don’t deserve her. Well, actually, I don’t deserve her. But no man on Earth deserves her. And I’m not saying that she shouldn’t be with me. Because I sure as hell can’t imagine her being with anyone else.

The mere thought of her with another man is enough to drive me fucking insane.

So, yeah, I’m not saying any of that bullshit about how my disability makes me a lesser man. Because it doesn’t. Not for the most part.

I’m just saying that she could definitely be better.

Life with me isn’t ideal. That’s just a fact.

First of all, I’m a compulsive workaholic. I always have been. Ever since I can remember. My ex-wife used to accuse me of neglecting her. Of putting the company before our relationship. My argument had always been that I was doing it for us. Our marriage. Our family. Our future children.

We were both right in our own way.

But she’d made a valid point. I absolutely lack balance. I’m guilty of clocking in a ridiculous number of hours at the office, even on the weekends. Although lately, I haven’t had the urge to anymore.

Second of all, spontaneity is practically nonexistent with me.

And God, I missed it. Did I ever fucking miss it.

It wasn’t just the incessant planning and calling ahead. Always calling ahead. To ensure that every venue had a ramp, or at the very least, a handrail. I had mastered the handrail, but of course, there needed to be an accessible washroom that I could actually get to as well. Because trust me, there are times when a wheelchair user can’t physically get to the fucking washroom engineered specifically with him in mind.

But yeah, it wasn’t just those instances. It wasn’t just those times. It was every time. Every time that I looked at her. Every time that she smiled at me. Every time that we were in the same damn room. Every time, all I wanted to do, all I wanted to fucking do was…

Pin her up against the wall and pound the living daylights out of her.

Does that make me sound like a chauvinistic pig? Because I couldn’t care less. I wanted her. I needed her. Everywhere. All the time. Like water. Like fucking air. And apparently, my body had a goddamn homing device built-in too. Because I felt her presence long before I heard the glass door slide open. Because I sensed her closeness long before she whispered my name…

“Cale.”

I didn’t respond. Didn’t move a single muscle. Not even so much as a twitch. Just waited. Patiently. Silently. Pretending to not have heard her. Pretending to be lost in thought.

In reality, I played this game of cat and mouse with her quite often. Too often. All the time, actually. All of the fucking time. And I was well aware that it wasn’t fostering the healthiest dynamic. Hell, I realized that it was most likely causing irreparable damage to our relationship. Breeding the type of toxicity that would put us on a one-way course. Set for destruction. Full-speed ahead. Destined for failure.

Not to mention, I knew that I was being petty and manipulative. Yeah, I knew that I was being a complete asshole. But I didn’t care. I just…

Wanted her to come to me.

I always wanted her to come to me.

“Cale,” she said again, drawing out the syllable in a drowsy, sleep-laden purr that was sexy as fuck.

In fact, she sounded so sexy that my willpower disintegrated into an instant pile of ashes. She sounded so damn sexy that my pride abandoned me immediately to prostrate itself at her perfect little feet. She sounded so goddamn sexy that she grabbed me by my fucking balls and demanded that I turn to look at her…

Holy shit.

For once, I was thankful to be sitting down.

There was no chance that I would have or even could have remained standing. Zero possibility whatsoever. Even if my legs still worked like they were supposed to. Even if my spine wasn’t completely fucked to shit. Even if I was still a perfectly able-bodied man, there was absolutely no chance in hell that I would have managed to stay on my feet. I still would have melted into a pathetic puddle on the floor…

Because I’d suddenly lost the ability to breathe.

This girl.

Leaning lazily against the doorframe, she had the silver fox fur throw wrapped loosely around her petite frame. I knew she was naked under there. She was always naked under there. Hints of her lightly bronzed skin were peeking through, exposed in the moonlight. Teasing me. Taunting me. Driving me to complete and utter madness.

“Are you coming back to bed?”

It didn’t even sound like a question. Not to me anyway.

This damn girl.

To me, it was a fucking command.

Because she had yet to release her grip on my godforsaken testicles. Because she led me all the way back to the bedroom by them. Because…

I was in trouble.

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