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I met Nazareth Armstrong when I was eighteen years old. From the beginning, my brother warned me to stay away from him. Told Naz to stay away from me.

Our hearts didn’t listen.

I shared one magical night under the stars with my brother’s rival, thinking it was the start of a once-in-a-lifetime something.
But one awful moment ended it all.

Years later when we meet again, we’ve both pursued our dreams, lived a little, found success…but never found love. What began as a tiny flame when we were young now threatens to consume us. I’m more drawn to Naz than ever, but his complicated history with my brother makes whatever this could be…nearly impossible.

But Naz accepts impossible as a dare.

Through his clever maneuvering and dogged determination, I find myself on a yacht with him and his friends cruising through the Mediterranean. It’s a whirlwind set ablaze. Away from reality, surrendering to the tender heat of his touch, I forget that everything could burn.


EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: The Close-Up

Kennedy Ryan

AVAILABLE NOW

Book Series:  ,

Set in the dynamic worlds of professional basketball and entertainment, two of Kennedy Ryan’s beloved series—HOOPs and Hollywood Renaissance—collide in a new tale of forbidden romance, and I have a little sneak peek for you.

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Excerpt

Damn.

I didn’t get to see Takira blossom from the girl I met in high school into the gorgeous, confident woman standing in front of me. Thanks to social media and my nagging curiosity, I got to see some things from a distance. I kept loose tabs on Cliff. None of what happened was my fault, but he clearly laid blame at my feet. I sometimes looked for ways I might help, might be able to intervene with some opportunity that would get him back on track, but he snorted and shot up all his chances. You can’t save an addict from himself. Ultimately, he has to do that, but every time Cliff occurred to me, so did his sister.

“Naz,” Takira says, blinking up at me in surprise. “Hey.”

“I was looking for you earlier. Thought you might be hiding from me.”

“Hiding?” She twists her lips into a grimace. “Not unless chilling by the pool is considered hiding.”

“So you weren’t about to leave without saying goodbye?”

She glances down, her smile chagrined. “Well, maybe I was about to do that.”

Mascaraed lashes paint shadows on her cheeks. Her makeup is flawless—vibrant blue and green and purple eye shadow, fuchsia-colored lips, dark, dramatic brows winging over her bright eyes. A strapless body suit lovingly molds every breakneck curve and bold line. Her shoulders, a rich shade of mahogany, gleam under the warm overhead light in the hall. Her arms look strong, but soft and rounded. A small diamond “T” dangles from a gold chain linked around the slim column of her neck and rests in the shallow well at the base of her throat. 

My assessment of her is leisurely and thorough. I’m taking my time and taking in every detail down to her backless high heels and the nude color painted on her toes. I’ve never been a foot man, but she could convert me to any part of her body with just a crook of her finger. She’s obviously a woman who invests in herself, who takes care of herself. As a man who makes a living taking care of my body, I appreciate this. Any man who wins a woman like Takira would be blessed. 

“Damn, Naz,” Takira huffs out a laugh. “You always this bold with it? You don’t be trying to hide your interest, do you?”

“I’m rarely this interested.”

Her dark eyes snap up to mine, searching for the truth I know is there.

“I gotta go,” she says, not addressing my last comment.

“Could I get your number? You live in LA now, right? Maybe we could—”

“I don’t think so.” She slides her eyes to a point over my shoulder. “That’s probably not a good idea.”

“Why not?”

“I think you know.”

We stare at each other, stewing in the shared memory, not only of the night we bared our hopes to each other but of the night that followed. The night that changed everything for me and for Cliff.

A couple stumbles down the hall, kissing and not really paying attention. They bump into me and pull apart to study us.

“Sorry.” The woman giggles, her blue eyes a little glassy. I recognize her as one of the models from today’s show.

“You finished in there?” The guy nods to the bathroom where Takira stands in the door.

“Oh.” Takira steps out of the way, clearing their path. “Yeah, sorry.”

“Thanks,” the model says, grabbing her partner’s hand and dragging him inside, slamming and locking the door behind them.

“I think that’s my cue to go,” Takira says, turning to head up the hall.

I grasp her wrist, being careful with the strong, slim bones captured between my fingers. She looks from that point of contact between us up to my face.

“Five minutes,” I say.

She blows out a long sigh, her expression resigned, and nods. “Five.”

A few people wander into the hall to wait for the bathroom. Judging by the grunts and pants coming through that door, they might be waiting a minute. I don’t miss the speculative glances some send my way. You don’t catch me chasing nobody. A monk I’m not, but you won’t find me trending. I keep a low profile. So me standing in the hall practically petitioning a woman for five minutes of her time… I don’t need folks in my business like that.

Not releasing Takira’s wrist, I lead her farther down the hall and to a flight of stairs. I glance over my shoulder to meet the question in her eyes.

“Just a little privacy,” I tell her.

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Hollywood Renaissance - Recommended Reading Order

(standalone stories with interconnected characters)

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