Bad Boys for Hire_Ken_Hawaiian Holiday, страница 1
Bad Boys for Hire: Ken
Bad Boys for Hire Series #2
Amiga Brook Press
Bad Boys for Hire Series
Bad Boys for Hire: Nick (Excerpt)
Going Hearts Over Heels - Excerpt
Reading List (Amazon)
"The sweet, the sassy, the restricted, the douchy... all mixed together in a sexy, hilarious soul melting mix!"
After Jolie Becker is left at the altar, her friends secretly hire a handsome beach bum to cheer her up.
When an accident ends his professional surfing career, Ken Cassidy wants nothing more than to land an acting role. Little does he know, his best acting job will be helping a jilted bride get her confidence back.
Everything changes when love kicks in. Will Jolie believe Ken’s feelings are real when she discovers he's the hired help?
Bad Boys for Hire are fun and exciting stories where love is unexpected, but always delicious. They can be read standalone, but for greater enjoyment, please be sure to check out the other books in the series.
Book #1: Ryker & Terri (Motorcycle Club Romance)
Book #2: Ken & Jolie (Hawaiian Vacation Romance)
Look for Book #3: Nick & Carol (Christmas Romance)
Bad Boys for Hire Series
Ryker, Book #1
Ken, Book #2
Nick, Book #3
© 2016 by Rachelle Ayala
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real events or real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
All trademarks belong to their respective holders and are used without permission under trademark fair use.
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Created with Vellum
To Joëlle Beebe, you fill my life with beautiful pictures and stories. Thanks for bringing your sparkle to my fan club.
“Bad Boys for Hire, how may I help you?” Rex Carter fumbled with his phone and dropped it on the gym mat next to a pile of weights. He’d been bulking up lest his girlfriend think of hiring one of his new line of male stripper bad boys.
“Hello, anyone there?” a female voice chirped. “I’m in need of a bad boy, right away.”
Bad Boys for Hire was an entertainment service putting clients together with role-playing actors, and Rex was always getting emergency requests, most of the time for fake boyfriends and party dates.
“Rex Carter here, just a minute while I find a quieter place.” He ambled from the weight room to the deck in back of the club. It overlooked a parking lot bordered by a trickling creek.
“Mr. Carter,” the female said. “I’m Nikki Chu, but I’m not calling for myself.”
Uh oh, one of those. Rex leaned over the balcony and sucked in a breath of fresh air, preparing himself for the comforting hems and haws to assure the potential client of confidentiality.
“Go ahead, let me know what your friend needs.”
“This is an emergency,” Nikki said. “We have a wedding in progress—a wedding without a groom.”
Rex moved the phone from his ear and stared at it. Over the years, he’d gotten some strange requests for his escort service, but this one took the wedding cake.
“You’re looking for a substitute groom?”
“Yes. All the guests are sitting in the ballroom. The bride and her bridesmaids are assembled. The father of the bride is pacing the hallway. Everything is a go, but we need a groom.”
“How much time do we have?”
“The mother of the bride is singing a special to hold the guests, but with the way her voice wobbles, I’m afraid people will be leaving soon. By the way, the bride doesn’t know her fiancé is missing.”
“That’s horrible. How do you know he won’t show up?”
“We have him hogtied in one of the suites. He was caught with his pants down. There’s no freaking way we’re letting our best friend marry a cheating imposter who’s only after her for her family’s money.”
“You want her to marry a stranger instead?” Rex leaned further over the balcony.
A brunette swished her fine ass out of the gym and walked toward her car.
“Of course not. It’s only for the ceremony. They don’t have to sign the marriage certificate. Oh, please, hurry. Here she comes, asking me for something borrowed.”
“Great, I’ll order a groom to go,” Rex said, holding back a whistle at the sexy lady who was getting into her convertible.
“I’ll text you the address. Send a blond man to match the groom, but please hurry.” Nikki’s voice lowered. “The flower girl’s already starting down the aisle.”
“Caught you, jerk.” A fist walloped Rex, sending the phone spinning from his hand.
It landed smack in the backseat of the convertible as it drove below him.
“Hey, stop. Stop!” he yelled at the brunette. “My phone. You have my phone.”
The car stopped and backed up.
“What did you say?” the brunette lowered her sunglasses.
Before Rex could answer, his girlfriend, the one who’d punched him, picked up his legs and flipped him over the balcony.
His arms and legs spiraling, Rex belly-flopped into the backseat of the car. Pain exploded over his body, but at least he had his phone.
Jolie Becker felt like puking. Yes, puking. She was trussed up in her tight wedding gown, strangled with beads, and tottering on stilts—er, stiletto pumps.
And she was left all alone in the hotel room while her good for nothing bridesmaids went in search for wedding essentials—something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.
Shouldn’t all of these precious things have been planned beforehand? What happened to making a list and checking it twice, thrice, and more? This was her day, and everyone was supposed to be on hand to pamper her and help her settle her jittery nerves, not have her stress out over details.
Not that she trusted anyone to do her makeup. She was, after all, a makeup artist, and she was very particular about the quality and purity of her cosmetics. She also did her own hair—not easy without the three way mirrors she had at her salon, but then aga
To top it off, she didn’t even have a bouquet!
Her maid-of-honor, or actually newlywed matron of honor, bestie Terri Martin Slade, had delivered her flowers to another wedding party, and if what she heard in the hallways could be believed, her other bridesmaids were faring no better.
Nikki Chu was in charge of the wedding photography, but instead of setting up the cameras, she was dealing with a scheduling problem. Leanna Rivera, the baker, was busily patching cracks in the wedding cake, and Sherelle Edwards, who owned the catering company, had to roll back the finger foods for the reception, because she forgot Jolie and half of her family were allergic to shellfish.
Which was why Jolie Becker, the bride, was left all alone minutes before her impending wedding.
“Stay put,” they’d said, as one by one, her mother, her auntie, and four best girlfriends in the whole wide world, had disappeared.
That had been at least an hour ago.
Jolie blinked at herself in the mirror, wondering how her groom, Warren Wayne, was faring. He would be at the front of the assembly, shaking hands and joking around with the groomsmen. He, at least, would know what the hold up was about. Maybe they were missing a preacher, or her father had spilled punch on his tux, or the ring bearer had lost the pillow with the rings.
It was terribly unfair for the bride to be in the dark. Why wasn’t anyone coming back for her? For all they knew, she could be slitting her wrists or puking her guts out.
She swallowed bile and rushed to the door. It opened with a crash, and her matron of honor, Terri, barged in with a trailing bouquet of bright blue forget-me-nots.
“This was the best I could do,” Terri said. “The concierge screwed everything up when they directed my delivery man to the Booker-Wang wedding instead of the Becker-Wayne wedding. Seems his accent is hard to understand.”
“Blue? Blue?” Jolie stomped her foot, wincing as she turned her ankle. Drat these heels. “My wedding theme is pink. Fifty Shades of Pink!”
“There’s not a pink flower left in the shop, or within the entire fifty-mile radius. You ordered all available shades of pink.” Terri jiggled the blue forget-me-nots. “Believe me, Booker and Wang were unhappy about the pink, but they went ahead and used the flowers already—unless you want me to ask if Mae Wang has tossed the bouquet yet.”
“I hate blue.” Jolie grabbed the bouquet.
Behind Terri, her other three bridesmaids filed into the room, looking harried and dejected.
“At least we covered two bases here.” Smart-mouthed Sherelle pushed her glasses up across the bridge of her nose. “You’ve got your something blue and something new. I was able to scare up an assortment of meatballs for the reception. Fresh from the slaughterhouse.”
“Meatballs?” Jolie shrieked. “Whoever heard of meatballs for a reception?”
“There’s lamb, beef, chicken, and even vegan ones,” Sherelle said. “Not a shellfish in sight. Entirely kosher, too.”
“Okay, okay, fine,” Jolie turned to her other two bridesmaids. “Are we ready?”
“Cake’s patched up.” Leanna strutted by, shaking a spatula. “I filled in all the paw prints. No one will notice.”
“She was brilliant,” Nikki said. “She even put a doggie biscuit on top of the biggest crack, so if anyone sees the paw print indentations, they’d think it was part of the design. And don’t worry, I can Photoshop everything else.”
“Yep, yep, yep.” Leanna preened her dark, luscious hair and jutted her triple-D bosom toward the mirror. “I’ll say, I do look good in ruffles, like frosting on a cake and just as lickable.”
Nikki groaned and Sherelle rolled her eyes. Terri, who was a plus size gave Leanna the finger. “Nikki, can you Photoshop the ruffles from my dress?”
“Remember, change the color of my dress to rose,” Sherelle said.
“I want slimmer hips,” Terri added. “And don’t make me too pale or washed out.”
“Seriously, girls.” Jolie snapped her fingers. “Rather than worrying about the Photoshopping, we need to get going.”
She, of course, had no need to be Photoshopped. She was a slim size six, had lustrous multihued red hair with blond highlights, and being a makeup artist, she’d blended her colors perfectly—all except for the blue flowers she had in her hands.
“Actually I take that back, Nikki.” Jolie shook the bouquet as if it were her fist. “Make these pink forget-me-nots, and I’ll toss the bouquet your way.”
“Okie dokey,” her roommate chirped. “I can do wonders with Photoshop.”
“Including Photoshopping the groom,” Sherelle gave her a thumbs up. “Nikki’s a wiz.”
“Yes, please, give him a tan and make sure to whiten his teeth.” Jolie’s spirits lifted. The wedding was about to happen. Everything was okay now that her best friends were here. “You all are the best friends a girl could ever have. Bumblebees sting!”
The five fast friends, all members of their preschool Bumblebee dance troupe, turned their behinds toward each other and bumped.
“But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?” Ken Cassidy held the script with one hand while puffing out his chest to project his voice. “It is the east, and Juliet is the sun! … Arise, fair sun, and, and, kill—”
His landline phone rang, and Ken held his breath. These days, no one called except for telemarketers, robocallers, and bill collectors. They could all wait.
He walked into his bedroom and shut the door. The summer theatre season was starting soon, and he needed to get his lines down if he were to play the role of Romeo. Problem was, he couldn’t focus or concentrate without getting a headache.
After glancing at the script, he threw it on the bed and stood in front of the mirror. He was handsome enough to be a Romeo, objectively speaking. Blue-gray eyes, sandy blond hair, and a year-round tan thanks to his professional surfing career—one which ended when he suffered a concussion after being pummeled by a fifty-foot El Niño-spurred wave at an extreme surfing competition.
Here he was, washed up at twenty-nine. His balance was off, and he suffered dizzy spells, which meant he couldn’t even wait tables while trying to land an acting role.
Ken opened the window, took a breath of fresh air, and recited the lines from the beginning of the scene. The morning sunlight filtered through the majestic redwoods lining the creek behind the complex. Tiny saplings peeked from beneath the thick trunks of the old growth, oblivious to their bleak prospects, given the lack of sunlight and space to grow. What choice did they have?
The wipeout was one of the worst in surfing history and Ken had been damn lucky to survive. All it meant was that one door had closed, and therefore another one had to open. During high school, he’d balanced his time between surfing and theatre. He’d had his day in the surf, now it was time for drama and playacting—if only he could remember his lines.
“Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, who is already sick and pale—”
The phone rang, clanging like an electronic bell.
“Aren’t you going to answer it?” his sister’s voice sounded from the hallway. “Could be someone important.”
He opened the door and stepped around Carol’s wheelchair. “I haven’t even auditioned yet, so it’s not anyone offering me a role.”
“You never know,” Carol said, wagging her head. “You’re more talented than you think.”
“Said by my lovely sister.” He bent and gave her a kiss on the temple, then jogged toward the phone.
Carol was two years older than he and a brilliant software developer at one of the hottest internet startups in Silicon Valley. While he was getting his head banged up, she’d broken her back in a hiking accident when she fell off an icy trail on Mt. Baldy.
There was no question he would come to live with her and help her get around. She worked from home, and with Ken around to do the grocery shopping, cooking, a
Ken grabbed the handset before voicemail kicked in.
“Hello, Ken Cassidy here.” He always identified himself so Carol’s coworkers wouldn’t think she was living with a guy—well, a guy who wasn’t her brother.
“Rex Carter,” the man on the line said. “I’ve got a job for you. I need you right now.”
“Okay.” Ken looked at the Fitbit health monitor he wore. “What’s the emergency?”
“A bride needs a groom. You have to get to the Rose Hill Hotel right away.”
Ken wiped his hand through his hair, shaking his head. “Won’t she know I’m not the real groom?”
“It doesn’t matter. Her parents are bigwigs. Movers and shakers. Head surgeons at Stanford. You get the picture. The guests won’t know. One thousand dollars if you pull this off. A bridesmaid will meet you with further instructions. I’ll text you her name and number.”
The dial tone droned through the vacant line. Rex had hung up.
“What was that all about?” Carol creased her forehead. Her bright green eyes were wide and curious.
“Looks like I’m about to get married.”
Ken parked his sister’s van in the visitor’s parking area of the posh hotel. Tall spires of Italian cypress lined the marble driveway leading to an artificial waterfall which cascaded over a series of rock ledges.