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Authors: Carrie Ann Ryan

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Her Lucky Love

BOOK: Her Lucky Love
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Her Lucky Love

Carrie Ann Ryan

http://www.carrieannryan.com/

Copyright Fated Desires Publishing, LLC

Carrie Ann Ryan

March 2013

Cover by Scott Carpenter

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locals or organizations is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the author.

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Her Lucky Love

 

Brayden Cooper has always been lucky. It’s in his blood and in the coin that he has hanging on a leather tie around his neck. He has everything in the world he could ever want, money: a job, brothers he loves, and the luck that comes with his powers. Yet he’s empty. Everyone but him knows he loves Allison, yet it’s going to take something stronger than luck to bring them together.

 

Allison Malone is exhausted. After the death of her abusive husband, her hell of a marriage is finally over and now she’s alone with her three children that are the center of her world. Long hours at work, plus mommy duty at home are taking its toll on her and that’s not the worst of it. Her late husband’s family is in town and they want her children.

 

The outsiders have secrets of their own and it’s going to take all of the Coopers, especially Brayden’s, help to save them. When trouble attacks, Allison will have to remember that she’s also a woman who needs love, and Brayden might be the one to give that to her.

 

Warning: Contains one sexy mechanic with a lucky streak, a waitress who needs to give into her temptations, and a love so fierce it’s bound to set the sheets on fire. Again.

Dedication

 

For the children and lost souls of Sandy Hook.

 

I was in the middle of writing a tough scene involving Allison’s three children when the tragedy occurred. I will never be able to look at a child or think about writing a child the same way.

 

You are always in my heart, my mind, and within my muse.

 

Rest in Peace.

Acknowledgments

 

Thank you Lia Davis for working with me on this one since I had such a tough time making sure I balanced the idea of a single mother and the love she needs to find. Also, thank you Scott for a wonderful cover. Your creativity knows no bounds.

Thank you Fatin, Kelly, Kimberly, and Charity for guiding me along the way and being my right hands. And my left.

Thank you to my Pack who keep my spirits up and have made each new release worth the stress and pains. And of course, thank you hubby for not laughing when I told you the plot for this book. I know you don’t understand paranormal romance, but you understand me. That’s all that matters.

Also, thank you to my readers for being the best readers ever. You guys help me in so many ways and get the word out. Thank you.

Chapter 1

 

“Oh, no, you mangy bastard, you can’t die on me!” Allison Malone yelled at her car as it sputtered to a crawl on the side of the road, each wheeze and cough from the engine striking her in the heart. She carefully steered the vehicle onto the shoulder and cut the engine, even as the engine thumped against the inside of the dashboard, steam fuming from the hood of the car.

“Mommy! You said ‘bastard’,” Lacy, her six-year-old and only daughter, said from her booster in the back seat, a mischievous smile on her face.

Allison closed her eyes and prayed to the gods of motherhood for patience. She used to pray to God, but she was pretty sure He’d grown tired of her and her prayers of deliverance from random juice cups, action figures, and children with sticky fingers, so she switched to someone who might actually care about the fact that she was a single mother of three.

Yeah, not so much.

Allison took a deep breath, trying not to let the anxiety of her everyday life bleed into the current anxiety of a dying—no, dead—car.

“Lacy, honey, I’m sorry. It just came out. But, remember, that’s a grown-up word. You shouldn’t say it, even to point out to me that I said it.”

Her twelve-year-old son Aiden, who was in the front passenger seat, snorted. Darn it, when had her little boy grown up? She was pretty sure he was almost as tall as her now.

“Oh, man. Mom, are we screwed?” eight-year-old Cameron asked from the back seat.

Lacy giggled at Cameron’s cursing, and Allison prayed for a double dose of patience.

Well sorry, but waiting for things to happen had never helped her in the past, and it sure wasn’t going to happen now.

“Cameron Malone, you watch your mouth.” He opened it to defend himself, and she held up her hand. “Not now, kid. We’re in a little bit of trouble right at the moment, and I don’t have time for you to be a smart mouth. Got it?”

She smiled when she said it, but noticed her voice getting a bit high-pitched at the end. Darn it, she wasn’t hiding her fear as well as she used to.

“Sorry, Mom,” Cameron mumbled and bit his lip.

Allison let out her breath and reached behind her to squeeze his knee. “Any other time, baby, and I’d laugh, but, right now, Mommy needs to figure out what to do.”

Lacy’s lip quivered, and she looked at Allison with those big green eyes that would one day have boys dropping by the dozens.
One problem at a time, Ally
.

“Mommy?”

“It’s okay, lady-bug. Just let me get out and figure out what to do.” She turned on her flashers and undid her seatbelt. “Stay here and be safe, okay? We’re on the side of the road. There are other cars coming down the curve, and the drivers may not see you. Okay?”

Cameron and Lacy both nodded, and Cam held out his hand so Lacy could grip it. Oh, God, she loved that her kids relied on each other as much as they did her. At least they had that. They might fight like cats and dogs like normal children, but at least they had that underlining love and trust that she’d been afraid they’d never have.

She was lucky.

She just had to remember that.

Allison did a quick check to make sure a car wasn’t coming—that was the last thing she needed—and got out of the car. A cool breeze tickled the back of her neck, and she zipped up her too-thin coat a bit higher.

Even though it was March and some places in the country would be enjoying spring soon, not so much in Montana. Although there wasn’t snow on the ground unless she went higher up into the mountains, the bitter wind didn’t do much for her already achy bones.

How had she ended up feeling like a sixty-year-old when she was only thirty?

She heard the passenger car door open and close, and Aiden walked over, a somewhat defiant look on his face.

Oh, yeah, three kids with way more energy than she’d ever possessed as a younger girl packed into their little bodies would add years to any gal.

“Aiden, what are you doing out of the car?” Allison asked as she bent over the hood, trying to blindly find the little rusted catch that always seemed to evade her.

Aiden rolled his eyes—an annoying habit that he seemed to be developing these days—and felt under the hood and flipped the catch.

“How did you do that?” she asked.

“Come on, Mom, it’s in the same place every time.”

Okay, her baby was turning into a typical caveman, and that wouldn’t do.

“First, watch your tone. Second, I’m going to repeat myself: why are you out of the car?”

He folded his arms across his chest and tried to scowl, but she still caught a glimpse of that sweet little boy in his eyes.
Her
sweet little boy.

Oh, God, her baby would be a teenager in less than a year.

What was that pain in her chest? Was she having a heart attack? How on earth had time passed so quickly?

She shook it off and glared at her son. She could deal with the fact that life was going way too fast later.

“Aiden?”

He let out a breath and dropped his arms. “I’m sorry, Mom. I just wanted to make sure you’re safe out here. It’s dangerous.”

Okay, so a little piece of her melted. The kid was just too cute for his own good. He was going to be way too much to handle when he got older considering how tough he was now.

She bit her lip then cursed herself for showing that weakness to her kid. “Aid, I know you want to take care of me, but I’m the mom, remember? You’re supposed to do as you’re told.”

“Sorry,” he mumbled.

“I know, hon. Okay, now as for the attitude? Watch it, okay? I’m already a little stressed, and that’s not helping.”

He opened his mouth to speak, and she held up her hand. Who knew what he’d say to defend himself?

“No, I just want you to quit it. Now, thank you for opening the hood for me. You know I hate that thing.”

She grinned, and he rolled his eyes, but smiled back.

See? All was right with the world when her babies smiled. That meant she was at least doing something good.

“You’re welcome, Mom.”

At least she’d taught him manners. That had to count for something.

Allison braced herself and turned toward her engine. Honestly, she had no idea what she was looking at, but the hissing sound and dripping from the lower left part of it probably wasn’t the best thing.

Crap.

“Mom? I don’t think we’re gonna be able to fix that.”

“Going to,” she corrected and shook her head. So not the time to worry about his grammar, considering she wanted to curse and hit something.

It looked like water on the ground under her car, so she guessed it was the water pump. The only reason she could even guess that was because she’d already had it fixed before.

This time, however, it didn’t look as if it could be repaired.

Ugh. The sound of a cash register echoed in her head at the thought of how much it would  cost to be fixed—it if
could
be fixed.

There went new shoes for the boys.

A new dress for Lacy.

Groceries…

Damn it. How the hell had she gotten in this position?

Oh, yeah. Greg
.

She held back a shiver at his name and ignored it, pushing the thought of him back into the vault deep in her mind where it belonged. She couldn’t take care of her babies and think of him. Yet, unconsciously, she wrapped her arms around her stomach, protecting herself and her womb the way she had so many times before.

No.

Stop it, Allison
.

“Mom?” Aiden asked, that familiar quiver of fear in his voice. Damn, she could never hide anything from her son.

It had been only three years since things had fractured, but they’d been strained for too long before that time.

Her fault.

She should have left before…just before.

She shook her head and put on her brave Mom-face, though she knew it looked a bit more haggard than usual.

Or maybe it always had, and she’d ignored it.

Like she tried to ignore most things.

Wow, this pity party of hers simply had to stop.

“I don’t think I can fix it, Aid. Looks like we’re walking.”

Aiden shook his head. “Call Brayden, Mom. He can tow us and get us back to town, so we don’t have to walk.”

Brayden
.

Another shiver spread over her, but this one felt like silk and didn’t haunt her.

Okay, enough of that.

Darn it. Why hadn’t she thought of calling Brayden Cooper, the town mechanic, first? Apparently she’d rather leave her car on the side of the road, available for all the poachers and their grubby little hands, even though she wasn’t sure anyone would even want her car to begin with. Was he so irresistible that she’d prefer to have her kids walk along the side of the road and risk their lives instead of calling the one man who could help—all because whenever she was in the same room with the ruggedly handsome and sexy man she wanted to melt into a puddle of bliss?

Stupid hormones acting up after all this time.

She did not want Brayden Cooper.

She didn’t have time for him

She didn’t want to want a man again.

And that was that.

But, she needed him and his truck to help her babies. He loved them already from helping out when he could, and he’d help them now.

She just didn’t want to think about the cost.

Financially and so much more.

“Okay, we’ll call Brayden. Good idea, kiddo.”

“I’m not a kid, Mom.”

“You’re still my kiddo for a bit longer. Don’t take that from me. Okay?”

BOOK: Her Lucky Love
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