A brand new de Vincent novel is out now from author Jennifer L. Armentrout, and I have an excerpt for you.
“I am not a teenage girl pining after an older guy any longer. Trust me.”
She stared at him for several moments, unsure of how to even proceed with this. “I don’t know what you want me to say then?” And she really didn’t. “I didn’t come here for Gabe. I came home to help my parents. If being here is going to be such a huge problem, then you need to hire someone else. I’m sure my father will understand.”
Devlin was quiet for a moment. “You know . . . how things work here. You know what is expected.”
“I do.” She wished her face would stop flaming and that this conversation was already over.
The eldest de Vincent watched her intently. “The last thing my brother needs right now is another complication.”
Another complication? What? Her stomach dropped. “What does that mean? Is something wrong with him?”
That was apparently the wrong thing to ask, because his eyes narrowed. She didn’t regret asking the question. While she felt like an utter fool whenever she thought about Gabe and seeing him again was not something she was looking forward to, she still cared for him.
How could she not?
Gabe was completely off limits, always was and always would be, but they’d had been . . . friends once. Even with the age difference, he’d respected her. He’d been kind to her, and he used to bring her smoothies, surprising her with different flavors. Some he’d made himself. Others he picked up from her favorite shop when he was coming back from the city and knew she was there. He’d been there for her, more than once.
But she’d ruined all of that, so Devlin really had no reason to be worried that she had any plans that concerned Gabe. He was not going to welcome her with open arms, and Nikki was going to do everything in her power to avoid him as much as humanly possible.
“I hope we have an understanding,” Devlin said without answering her question.
He hadn’t backed off. “Good to know.”
Nikki nodded slowly, hoping beyond hope this awkward as-hell conversation was over and she could retreat somewhere for a few moments to repeatedly punch herself in the lady bits for past crimes.
“Dev.” A voice called from the hall. “Where in the hell are you?”
Her heart stopped in her chest when she heard the voice. No. Oh, sweet baby Jesus, no.
“Speak of the devil,” Devlin muttered under his breath. His gaze lifted to the ceiling while Nikki was close to hyperventilating and maybe even passing out. “Gabe. I didn’t know you were coming home today.”
“Change of plans.” The voice neared.
Nikki looked around wildly for a place to hide. Would dive-bombing under the raised couch that no one ever sat in look strange? Yes. Yes, it would, but she was not ready to see Gabe.
Not after this conversation.
But it was too late.
There was nowhere to hide, and Devlin was turning around. She couldn’t see the doorway because of how broad Devlin was, but she squeezed her eyes shut nonetheless.
I can do this.
It’s no big deal.
I’m not a teenage girl anymore.
Her pep talk wasn’t helping her very much.
“What are you doing in here?” Gabe asked, and God, his voice sounded just like she remembered. Deep. Smooth. Lightly accented. “Oh, you have company.” A shocked sounding laugh came from him. “Sorry to intrude.”
She almost laughed at the idea that she and Devlin could be together, but she managed to squelch it because it would probably sound a bit crazed.
“Yes, I do have company.” Devlin stepped to the side. She didn’t see him, because she still had her eyes closed, but she’d felt Devlin move.
And then, “Holy shit.”