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About the author:
Allyson Starr has a dirty mind and she decided to make good use of it. She likes her music loud, her men hot, and her stories scorching. Sightings have been reported around Las Vegas, but Allyson thinks of herself as a gypsy soul. She loves hearing from readers!
What inspired you to write your book?
Gemma and Bret popped into my head while I was stuck in traffic one day, and wouldn’t leave me alone until I told their story. They were a hell of a good time to hang out with.
Here is a short sample from the book:
The clock was ticking. Less than ninety days. Five million dollars. One winner. My dad had concocted the reality show from Hell. But there was no camera crew, no confessional, and no actual competition. Just me versus Bret.
No way was I letting him get that money. He’d blow it all on his stupid band, drugs, and sleazy sex. I wanted to use it to save animals. I was never one to whine about life being unfair, but this was an excellent example of just that.
I joined Bret on the back deck. “Did you know about this before Mom read the will?” I asked. He stayed home tonight, probably too shell-shocked to go anywhere after that calamity. Unless he was in on the fix the whole time.
“No. How would I have known about it? The lawyer had the will until today.” Bret curled his lip in disgust. We were polishing off the rest of the rum punch and probably shouldn’t be talking about this tonight. Or ever. It was ridiculous, and we were letting it have power over us.
“Maybe Dad told you.” I wasn’t backing down from my conspiracy theory. “You’ve been awfully nice to me lately. And…” The way he’d touched me when he put the sunscreen on. I caught myself before I said that out loud, but shivered just thinking about it.
He slammed his hand on the table. “And what? I’ve been nice to you because we’ve been going through some serious shit lately, and I thought maybe we could be adults and put our past behind us. Not because I was trying to scam Dad’s money out of you.” Bret scoffed, shaking his head. “But if that’s not what you want, fine with me. No love lost here, Gem. And you can kiss that money goodbye. I’ll wipe my ass with it before I let you have it.”
I couldn’t see Bret anymore. There was just a black hole in the middle of my red-hot rage. “How can I just magically forget everything you’ve done to me? Like poof, it doesn’t exist anymore?”
“What did I do to you?”
“Let’s see. You fucked every one of my girlfriends. They’d come crying to me after they figured out you used them…” He’d string them along enough that they’d think he actually cared about them. Every time. The impact hurt like hell when they fell out of the clouds with no warning. I knew, because they landed on me.
“We were having a good time.” The black hole shrugged. “Maybe they weren’t really your friends in the first place.”
That comment wasn’t easy to ignore. “Whenever a guy was interested in me, you suddenly became their BFF, and they never talked to me again. I didn’t even have a boyfriend until college.” And then I tore a page out of Bret’s book and made up for lost time in a hurry. What can I say? I learned from the best.
He leaned forward, smirking. “Did you ever consider maybe they were using you to get to me? That they never wanted you in the first place?”
Oh, I was going to kill him. “So you’re gay now?”
“I don’t limit myself, Gem.”
I scoffed. “That’s for sure.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Don’t tell him about the videos. “Nothing.” I took a deep breath and tried to calm down. “Listen, Bret. I need that money. I’m over two hundred thousand dollars in debt from NYU, and I can’t get a job doing anything more than scooping up dog shit until I go to grad school, which is completely out of the question right now.”
“I need it too. I’m an artist,” Bret said, completely straight faced.
“You’re an asshole. I had to go to the food pantry before I left New York. Do you know how that feels?”
“Yeah, actually. I do.”
“Bullshit, rock star.” He’d been on tour for the better part of two years. He was really going to try to go toe to toe with me on this? No way.
“The tour was for publicity. Do you know how expensive it is to bring a production of that scale to another continent? The band gets paid last. After the crew, the record label, and the fucking accountants. If we get paid at all. There are days I don’t fucking eat.”
“Don’t liquid diets count?”
Bret grinned. “At least I own my choices. We all do what we need to do to get shit done.” His gaze fell back to its regularly scheduled programming. My cleavage. “Are those real?”
He did not just ask me that. “What?”
“Your tits.” Oh yes, he did.
“Really? That’s all you can think about right now?” So typical Bret, to ask me if I had breast implants in the middle of a knock-down, drag-out argument. “And you haven’t stopped looking at them since you got here.”
He shrugged. “You’ve got great tits.”
“Of course they’re real. I don’t have any money to modify my body parts. And what’s wrong with you? You’re my stepbrother. I can’t believe you fucking said that.” If he only knew how I thought about him, he’d make my life a living hell.
“Like I said before, all it means is that my dad married your mom. I never considered you my sister.”
“Tell me about it.” I had to walk away from him. I didn’t want him to know how much it hurt that I couldn’t have him in any capacity. And even worse, that I wanted him any way I could have him. I leaned against the railing and watched the filter bubble in the pool.
Bret followed me. No surprise, since he had no regard for boundaries. Or decency. Or anything else civilized people held dear. “I don’t know what you do with your money,” he said softly.
I turned around to face him. I only came up to his shoulders. His T-shirt strained against his chest, and the heat radiating from his body in the night left dew on my skin. I lifted my chin. “How are we going to do this? We could split it down the middle. Fuck the lawyers. It’s the only thing that makes any sense.”
Bret shook his head. “That’s no fun. And if Dad wanted that, he would’ve written it in the will that way. He chose this for a reason.”
“Fine. Whatever. You’re flat broke. So am I. What do you propose?”
“Exactly what Dad would want us to do. We’re going to work for it. Whoever needs it more gets the money. But whoever wins gets it because they proved they deserved it.”
Fuck. It was like Dad was here, saying those words. It was exactly what he’d want. I’d always respected his work ethic, and it made me strive to be better. No matter what the sacrifice. If I wanted it that bad, I’d get it. But this was insane. “You’ve got to be kidding me. How are we going to do that?”
“Let me untie your dress.” That tone was back—the low one that vibrated deep in my body.
“What did you just say to me?” All my nerves instantly went into overdrive. My skin tingled like fireworks breaking in low clouds. I had no idea what the hell he was thinking. The tension between the two of us had been insane since he came home, but I thought it was just me, on edge about the videos. There was no fucking way I was going to do that. Bret lived in a fantasy land, in his tour bus bubble, and this was not how rational adults solved problems.
No matter what Bret thought about our relationship, we were related. Sure, it was just by marriage, but we called the same man Dad. I looked up at Bret, gearing up to tell him exactly where to go, but I couldn’t say a word when I saw his eyes. Heavy lidded with lust, steely and determined. I knew one thing—Bret was willing to work for what he wanted, too.
I understood why perfectly sane females turned into putty in his presence. Bret Starling was going to be the death of me.
He took half a step closer. He knew he had me. “You say you’ve got the real deal going on under there? I want to see them.”
“And you’re pretty hot when you’re disgusted.” He grinned. “Show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.”
I rolled my eyes. “I’ve seen your nipples a thousand times.” All I could think about was sucking on those silver rings. Damn it. There was no winning this argument.
“That’s not what I’m talking about.” He looked down, his tongue playing with the inside of his bottom lip. Electricity danced in his eyes like a heartbeat.
“I’ve seen that, too. You’ve got your shit all over the internet.” I scoffed, calling his bluff. It was the perfect chance to own up to watching those videos and keep the ball in my court. “Shouldn’t you leak a sex tape if you want to get famous and make money? Isn’t that how it’s done? You don’t make any money on Tumblr, dumbass.”
Bret stepped even closer to me. “What did you think?” he asked, his voice husky.
This close to him, I could hardly breathe. He looked down at me, lips parted, waiting for my answer. He managed to completely unravel me without actually doing anything. Besides pissing me off. “I couldn’t stop watching you,” I whispered.
And there went my lady balls, rolling away from me, along with my self-control and any shred of decency. Right into the gutter, where they belonged.
He leaned in, and I tried to prepare myself mentally for the kiss. This was insane. What was about to happen would change everything.