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Extras Category: Bonus Scenes

Bonus Scene: “Trauma,” an additional scene from Fierce Dancer

The following scene takes place after Chapter 49 of Fierce Dancer and before Chapter 50. In the 1 to 3 months after the raid of f*ckbucket’s estate. This scene will obviously contain spoilers for Fierce Dancer and you shouldn’t read it if you have not read that book.

Fierce Dancer is book 9 in the 82nd Street Vandals series that began with Savage Vandal.

Note: This scene is brought to you because of a Review Challenge. What is that? And also, please be aware that spoilers may lie ahead.




It was a beautiful day. The sun warmed my face and I’d tucked the hat on after Rome squinted at me then the sky. Yes, I could get a sunburn if I wasn’t careful. The hat and the sunglasses were protective, but I was enjoying sitting there on the sun-warmed concrete steps while he worked on his project.

I’d almost hated the idea of leaving the clubhouse earlier. No, not almost. I’d definitely hated the idea. I wanted to be there for Vaughn, for Freddie, for Jasper and Liam. There was so much still to do. Kellan and Mickey were both overdoing it. Everyone was. They needed me to be there, but Rome said we needed to go out.

He looked right at me and said, “I need you with me.”

Five words detonated all of my resistance. He waited patiently while I made a point of telling everyone. Liam and Kel got texts cause they weren’t there. Then Liam called Rome and all Rome had said to him was, “No,” before he hung up again. I didn’t ask what Liam wanted to know, but I could guess.

None of us wanted to be out of sight of the others for too long. None of us. I wasn’t the only one holding on tight. The need to protect them wasn’t going anywhere and I caught all of them checking on me as regularly. Were we holding on too tight?


I didn’t care. I needed to hold onto them and I needed them holding onto me in return. It was who we were. Yet, even understanding that, I tilted my head back so I could soak up more of the day’s heat. It was quiet here in the abandoned park with just the hum of traffic in the distance. I thought I could hear kids, but they weren’t coming down to the court with its cracked and broke pavement.

This was the first spot Rome had taken me all those months ago when I fist came to stay with the Vandals. Stay—like I’d been a guest. I mean, I was a guest to them but not to me. Oh, it didn’t matter anymore. We’d seen things differently and now we didn’t. But this had been the first place Rome took me when he helped me get out of the clubhouse.


It had been a lot colder that day, but I’d savored the time then. Even more, I’d gotten to enjoy him painting and it had been so beautiful. Then later the Diamonds had shown up and Rome protected me. Their arrival had nearly spoiled a beautiful day.


Being back here after all this time was kind of revelatory. I knew my place and my value. I belonged here. It never occurred to me that Rome hadn’t come back to finish the piece he’d been working on, but it didn’t seem any different from the day when we’d been here. Once I was settled, he went to work and now, that beach scene grew following the landscape around like a crescent to where a city rested in the distance.

So beautiful.

A scrape of a shoe alerted me to a new arrival and I twisted. The sun was right in my eyes but another step and Bodhi’s shadow blocked it out. Relief bounced through me. It had been a few weeks since I’d seen him. He’d been stabbed at least twice and Mickey had to dig four bullets out of him.

I pushed to my feet and went straight to him. “I hope you’re a hugger,” I warned him before I offered him one. Thankfully, he didn’t reject it or act like it was unwelcome. Instead, he just returned the hug with the same care I offered it. Then I leaned back to study him.

“Hey PPG,” he said then looked past me. “Rome.”

I twisted to find Rome studying us both then he tilted his head as his gaze met mine. Did I need him?

I smiled. Always. But Bodhi was a friend and Rome could keep painting if he wanted.


He nodded then lifted his chin toward Bodhi before he turned back to his work.

I retreated a step and glanced at Bodhi again, he wasn’t looking at me but at Rome and the artwork. “He’s good.”

“The best,” I agreed. When I motioned to the steps, he followed me over and then sat down with care. If I hadn’t been watching for it, I didn’t think I’d have noticed the stiffness. His movements lacked some of the casual, almost fluid grace, he usually moved with and who could blame him? “How are you?”

“I’m fine,” he said it almost automatically, like he’d had to answer the question many times. “Healing.”

“I’m glad. I was worried about you and I’m so sorry you got hurt.”

“I’m not,” Bodhi answered with a shrug. “We got the son of a bitch. You’re better, yeah?”

I turned that over in my head, the question, the feelings— “Mostly,” I admitted. “And I have time now.”

Time to heal. Uncle Fuckbucket was gone. He couldn’t hurt me ever again. The nightmares might never go away fully, but knowing he couldn’t come back? That was good.

That was real good.

“Then worth it,” Bodhi said.


“Thank you,” I told him. “I don’t know if I’ve really ever said it before—maybe I did.” So much had happened. “But thank you. For Pinetree. For finding my mom. For coming here to help. For caring about Freddie. Thank you for all of it.”

Bodhi nodded. “You’re welcome.”

So simple, yet, so much was there.

“I’m gonna go now,” he said, almost conversationally. “I came to see Doc, he wanted to check the wounds. Told me to take it easy. I will, got things to do though. Not sure when I’ll be back this way. You guys are okay now.”

Freddie and me. Yeah, I heard it. “I’ll take care of him,” I promised. I didn’t need to understand the bond between Freddie and Bodhi. It existed. They cared. That was all that mattered.

“If he needs me,” Bodhi said, locking gazes with me. “Or you do. Call. I’ll always come.”

“You’re a good friend.” A great one. “You know the same goes for you, right? If you need us?”


“What Starling said,” Rome interjected without looking away from the art. “You’re not a Vandal, but you’re one of us.”

Bodhi studied Rome for a long time, saying nothing, then he looked at me and smiled. “One of them.”

“Us,” I corrected. “One of us.”

“I like it.” He stood, the stiffness reflected in the way he stretched. “See you around, PPG.”

“You too, Bodhi.”

Then he walked away, drifting out the way he’d drifted in. He didn’t have to come here to say goodbye. But I bet he’d already talked to Freddie, probably before he came here. Talked to him and made sure he was okay. Looking away from where Bodhi went, I went back to watching Rome paint.

We all had trauma. We were all healing.

We had the time to do it now.

“He’s never going to call us,” I said to Rome. “Is he?”


Rome paused, head half-turned so he could look at me. “We’ll help him anyway.”

I grinned.

Yes we would.

Bonus Scene: “Beguiled,” a missing scene from Savage Vandal

The following is a previous unseen flashback for Savage Vandal. The scene is referenced later, but we don’t actually see it occur on the page. If you’ve read Savage Vandal, you know that Vaughn was also undercover during Emersyn’s show when it arrived in Braxton Harbor. This is part of how he started that job and when he saw her for the first time.

Savage Vandal is book 1 in the 82nd Street Vandals. To read more, Vicious Rebel is book 2.

Note: This scene is brought to you because of a Review Challenge. What is that? And also, please be aware that spoilers may lie ahead.



The crew had spent the previous two days, unpacking every bit of their equipment while also going over the items for maintenance. While the location had items they would use including fly wheels and winches, the show traveled with their own ropes, silks, and harnesses, not to mention beams and cross-bars.

Day one of being hired meant a crash course in set safety that basically involved don’t run into anything, pay attention to where you put your feet, and if you broke something, it was coming out of your check. There was also one rigger who seemed to understand how everything needed to be set up to work correctly.

When the crew chief assigned me to his team, the rigger had given me long, studying look. “Big guy. Can you pull your own weight up on a rope?”

“Yep,” I answered. Better to keep conversations to a minimum, at least until I had a better idea of the political landscape. Jasper was working for the venue itself. Kel got a job driving her around so he could be close. I was the one tasked with getting to know their crew.

So far, most of them were just normal people. A mix of guys and girls, the crew all had various specialities with some crossover. The biggest issue I saw was…

“Hey big guy,” John, the rigger, said from where he was standing at the door that lead out onto the stage. “I need you up in the catwalks. Check the rig ties, then we’re going to do some pounds per pressure tests.”

“On it.” There were two ways to get up to the catwalks, both required a little eeling on my part. One was an open ladder that led to a relatively small hatch onto the walk. The other was a small hatch to get into there ladder area, but easier to get onto the catwalk.

Squeezing myself into the chute, I rolled my head from side to side once past the tighter fit. Up I went, aware of the faint vibrations in the metal. The walks were bolted and cross-chained. At the same time, they were thin and designed to blend into the darkness up here. During a performance, lights strung lower than the walks would keep them obscured.

I started on the eastern half, checking then rechecking every single tie off. According to the rigger, we had to set up a dozen different base points. Each one could be used to drop or drape a silk depending on what our performer decided she was going that night. She rehearsed regularly and liked to change up the show so that visitors coming multiple nights got to see something different.

Made sense.

There were also set-ups for duo performances, though he indicated that there were no silk duos scheduled on the call sheets. She would have to do a duo with her partner on the ground, then she would ascend and finish the show when she fell back to him.

With that in mind, I didn’t want a single rope to come loose. Each tie meant a layer of security. While she might way next to nothing, torque and force along with velocity was still a sing. Three steps from the next tie, it hit me I wasn’t alone up here.

“Sorry,” I said and the woman who’d been standing there as still as the shadows she occupied swung her head to glance at me. Dark hair fell in one long cascade from a ponytail. Without a trace of cosmetics, she looked almost painfully young. The fact she was levels of starvation skinny irked me. Her clothing hid her ribs, but I’d bet every dollar in my tip jar that they would be on display.

“It’s okay,” she murmured, keeping her voice hushed. “I’m not supposed to be up here yet. I’m not supposed to be at the theater yet.” With that, she pressed a finger to her lips.

“I didn’t see you, so you couldn’t possibly be here.” It was one of the easiest offers I’d ever made. The speed of the smile flashing over her face didn’t leave me long to savor it, but I had a mental polaroid that I wasn’t going to let go of anytime soon.

“Thank you—I know you didn’t see me, but can you make sure that the ties for this one here and the one closest to the stage hatch on the east side have a link.”

A link. “You want a harness to be able to travel between them?”

“Yes and no, the pulley for the silk attachment. If I can make it swing from one to the other, it will help with one of the moves I want to do. It only has to go the one way—but that also means it’ll need to be reset between shows.”

That wasn’t a problem. “That’s not on the tech sheet.” John had been pretty specific.

“No, because they told me there wasn’t a safe way to do it.” Something, she clearly didn’t believe. Head canted, I moved a little closer to her, but more so I could study the other platform and the rig there then the rig below me. To hook one to the other would require a way to swap “tracks” or in this case ropes.

Doable. But it could take a few hours to make sure it was one hundred percent safe.

“Sorry,” she apologized again. “I didn’t mean to ask you for something beyond your job scope.”

“Nothing to be sorry about,” I said, then drank in the sight of her. Diminutive, and young as she might be, there was a sense of power around her. Power and confidence. “Give me a couple of hours to work out something that will let you switch without risking a tear or break. But I can do it.”

Might take more than a couple of hours, but they didn’t get to rehearse in the venue until the next night. “Thank you,” she said and sunshine kissed both syllables. The warmth in her grin was an embrace I wanted to lean into. “I’d offer to hug you, but I’m not here.” It was an easy flirt, a careless one that promised nothing at all. Still…

I chuckled. “Well, if you were here and offered, I’d tell you to wait until I delivered.” With that, I winked and she grinned again. Below, John shouted something and I narrowed my eyes, but when I turned back to the dancer—she was gone.

Pivoting, I swept the catwalks with a searching look. She could be hiding in a shadow but still—she was just gone.

Never here.

There—a faint hint of perfume amidst the competing scents of sawdust, polish, and metal. She’d been here. It was the briefest of interactions and I already missed her.

Missed her and wanted more.

Bonus Scene: “Conventional,” an additional scene from Merciless Spy

The following is an additional scene that took place in Merciless Spy between chapters 29 and 30. This scene was referenced in Chapter 30, but we didn’t actually see it happen.

Merciless Spy is book 7 in the 82nd Street Vandals series that began with Savage Vandal. To read more, Reckless Thief is book 8.

Note: This scene is brought to you because of a Review Challenge. What is that? And also, please be aware that spoilers may lie ahead.




The last thing I wanted to do was take Hellspawn out and expose her or Rome. At the same time, I also didn’t want to disappoint Mom. Dad was right, I’d been keeping my distance. While it was on purpose, it had absolutely nothing to do with pushing them away. Telling myself that hurting them would keep them safe didn’t work for me. So, Sunday, I scheduled a private table for brunch at Rodin’s.

Mom’s delight when I called her with the name promised it had been the right call. Hellspawn’s smile when I told her agreed. So, here we were, with me dressed in a suit, sans tie while Hellspawn chose a white floral print high-low dress. The blue and green florals added to the ethereal air around her. The strappy heels added a bit of height and I eyed the bare arms but she held up a simple white sweater.

“You’re too pretty to take out,” I rumbled. That dress had a sash in the front and looked wraparound. I wanted to tug it and see what would happen. But she held up a finger.

“Uh-uh,” she scolded. “We’re meeting them at eleven. We don’t have time for what you want and for me to get ready again.”

I grunted. Before I could answer, Rome walked out to join us. Surprisingly, he was in a button down shirt, and slacks. No jacket or tie, but he looked more than presentable. The running shoes were not quite the right attire, but I wasn’t going to criticize. “Why is your shirt the same shade of blue as the flowers on her dress?”

“Because I asked Starling to match.” Rome shrugged and she grinned.

“You look wonderful.”

“It itches.”

Crossing over to him, she tilted her head. “May I?”

He nodded and she checked his collar, then slid her finger around. A tiny rip and she came away with the interior label. Finished with that, she smoothed it down again.


Rome seemed to consider the question, then he nodded. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Turning, she threaded her arm through his and looked at me. “Ready?”

I pulled out my phone and aimed it at them, then I snapped a picture. Her eyes were bright, the cosmetics she’d chosen were simple and barely noticeable except for the faint blue around her eyes. Rome even looked pleased, though his smile was faint. When she crooked her finger, I went to her obediently and handed Rome my phone. Then she posed with me.

Finally, we did a selfie and I stared at the three photos in my gallery with a small shake of my head. The impulsive thought was more enjoyable than I realized. I liked having her there. I liked having her with us. Hell Rome hadn’t even protested the photo.

Right, more pictures.

“Okay, let’s go.” I checked my gun. They couldn’t wear one, but Hellspawn had two in her purse. It was a big bulky thing that Rome usurped before we were even a step out of the apartment. But it meant they had weapons with them. The added security around Mom and Dad should help, but I didn’t want to leave an angle uncovered.

“It’s going to be fine,” Hellspawn soothed me. “Your mom seems really nice.”

“She is,” Rome said without missing a beat. “Pushy too. But always smiling and kind.”

That—described Mom to a T so I just chuckled. “I know it will be fine, but they’re right, I’ve never introduced them to a girl I liked before.”

“You never had Starling before.”

And that… was accurate.

I met Rome’s gaze over his head. He was completely relaxed. Also not something he usually was where my parents were concerned. Dipping my gaze to Hellspawn, I found her watching me with a small smile. “What?”

“You’re nervous.”

I was not.

“It’s cute.”

I scowled.

Her laughter, however, was delightful.

They were already there when we arrived and Mom beamed as we walked into the private room, I’d requested. It was bright, filtering in sunshine from the private atrium and we were blissfully alone save for the staff.

“Liam, oh, you did bring Rome…” Mom smiled at him after she pressed a kiss to my cheek. “May I?”

I was ready to intervene, but Rome dipped his head. “One,” was all he said. He’d allow one kiss and for a moment, real joy shone in Mom’s eyes as she pressed a kiss to his cheek.

“Thank you, dear boy.”

He nodded then Mom looked at Emersyn and my hellspawn matched her grin for grin. “Come along with me young lady.” She held out her hand. “You are officially my favorite person.”

“Hey,” I protested as Hellspawn took her hand easily.

“Hush, she made sure I got to see both of you today and that you didn’t find an excuse to duck out. So she is going to sit next to me and we’re going to have a wonderful lunch.”

Dad laughed as Mom tugged Hellspawn away and Rome followed like a magnet. I got it. I wanted to go too. But Dad clasped my shoulder before shaking my hand. “Go with it, son.”

“It’s going to make her happy, isn’t it?”

“It already has. Family, it’s all she’s ever wanted to give you too. A nice, normal family.”

Normal was weird.

Nice…but weird.

©2023 Heather Long

Bonus Scene: “Secrets and Souls,” a new addition for Farewells and Forever

The following is a new scene that would take place in Chapter Twenty of Farewells and Forever.   If you haven’t read Farewells and Forever, this scene will clearly contain spoilers for the book.

Rules and Roses is Book 1 in the Untouchable series. To read more, Changes and Chocolates is Book 2.

Note: This scene is brought to you because of a Review Challenge. What is that? And also, please be aware that spoilers may lie ahead.

“Secrets and Souls”


Life was weird. It could go from being ridiculously busy to almost too routine. Other times, it could be so full it was overwhelming and still leave you aching as you missed the people who weren’t there. Then there were days like this—when your best friend helped you with a secret plan with no questions asked.

“How are you doing?” Rachel asked. “We can take a break.”

“Oh don’t you start,” I scolded, despite my amusement at the question and dropping a hand to rest on my hip. “We’ve been doing this for twenty minutes. I’m hardly going to wilt like some delicate fucking flower.” As it was, we’d barely even started taking pictures.

“I will if I want to,” Rachel countered, mutiny filtering into her expression. “You were tired when you got here.”

That was an accusation.

“Yes, because it was a long drive and I still have to pee every thirty seconds.” I wouldn’t deny it. “That does not make me hapless or on the verge of collapse.” Archie had wanted to drive me in and he’d only stopped fussing when Jeremy took over the driving duties. 

“No, but you are very pregnant. I mean—” She straightened and swept a hand in my direction. “Girl, there is robust and full of life and then there’s you.”

“Thanks.” I wasn’t sure if it was my baleful expression or my tone, but Rachel cracked up. Warmth flooded her eyes and her smile expanded. Both managed to puncture my irritation with her. “Seriously, thanks.”

“You are welcome. It doesn’t hurt that you’re fucking beautiful,” Rachel said with a wink. “It also lets me indulge you when you decide to get cranky.”

“You’re lucky I love you,” I teased her and she grinned without even an element of irony.

“Oh, I’m very well aware of how lucky I am—I almost wish I could work so that I could be a fly on the wall when you show them these pictures.” She hid her face on the last, snapping another picture as I tilted my head. Almost eight months pregnant. If you’d told me I would go out of my way to document this moment, I’d have laughed.

Everything was swollen, from my feet to my hands. It was hard to sit to lay down to stand—pretty much anything. And I constantly had to pee. At the same time, there was a thrill involved in every step of the way. The guys were…

“Perfect,” Rachel murmured as the snap of her camera brought me back. We were in the city. It was a surprise gift for the guys—all these photos—and Rachel had helped me with the secret keeping, going so far as to arrange a private shoot at the studio. She’d also done my hair and make-up with the help of her girlfriend. It had been my first chance to really sit and talk to her. I liked her.

A lot.

Still, the fewer who had to keep our secret, the less chance it had of getting out. Her girlfriend slipped off and left the two of us to do this and Rachel had a dozen different ideas from the sweet to the sexy. Since I trusted her, I let her set the tone.

“What’s perfect?” I asked, turning to face her. The baby shifted and I dropped my hand onto my stomach to soothe him or her. We’d voted three to two to wait and see. The guys argued constantly about the idea of a boy or a girl. They were in love with the idea of a girl. Right up until they remembered that boys like girls and then they’d all get growly and scowly.

It was adorable.

A laugh escaped me and Rachel grinned as she snapped another photo. “Your expression was perfect and now it is again—want to share what dirty thoughts are going through your head?”

“They are not dirty thoughts,” I said with a sniff but it did little to diminish her smile. “I’m just happy.” I really was. As uncomfortable as being pregnant was, I liked looking forward. I liked anticipating… I liked how the guys were alternating between excitement and irritation with each other and the process.

The prospective grandparents weren’t much better and Rachel—for all she gave me hell—she’d been thrilled for me from the moment I told her I was excited. Thrilled and supportive.

I wouldn’t trade a single moment of it. Not even…

All at once the whole bubble seemed to tremble and Rachel lowered the camera. “Frankie?” Concern reflected in her eyes and her tone.

“Do you think, if Maddy had this kind of support I do now when she was having me…”

“No,” Rachel said abruptly and I blinked. “Your mother could have had all the support in the world, she chose to walk away from all of it. She made it about her, not about you, not about the future. She made selfish choices.”

I swallowed, rubbing my hand against my abdomen. “I wish…” I did and I didn’t. I had Kelly. She wasn’t my mother, but she was a mom and she showered me with affection whenever I let her. I had Sara, Ian’s mom. I had Carly and Alicia—and even Klara. I had a lot of maternal figures who wanted to be there, but none of them tried to be Maddy.

None tried to take her “place.”

“I wish…” Closing my eyes, I had to fight back the sudden surge of tears. Most of the out of control emotions had eased in the last couple of months. But there were still momentary crying jags and wild laughter. “I shouldn’t—” I couldn’t complete the thoughts.

They were selfish.

One more snap of a camera and then Rachel caught my hand and tugged me over to the windows. The city sprawled out beyond. I swallowed around the lump in my throat.

“There is no should and, of course, you wish,” Rachel said in a tone that brooked no arguments. In fact, it was so absolutely reasonable and no nonsense, it demanded I focus on her. “You miss your mom. You wish you could connect with her right now. That’s okay and you have every right to feel that way—”

Tears burned in my eyes. “Sometimes it feels so stupid and others…”

“I know,” Rachel said with a sigh then she wrapped an arm around me and leaned her head against mine. Closing my eyes, I rested on the strength she offered. “I wish she’d been a way better mom to you so she could be here right now. I wish you could have every goddamn thing you’ve ever wanted.”

I sniffled, then summoned a smile. “My life’s not so shabby…”

“No,” Rachel said, agreeing with me. “It’s not.” She didn’t have to say anything else. As much as it irked me to miss Maddy, I did—but it wasn’t Maddy I missed so much as who Maddy could or maybe should have been.

“Love you, Rach.”

“Love you too,” she whispered.

We stood there for a few more minutes while I got my wild emotions back under control. The tears evaporated, slowly, and the ache in my soul eased.

Finally, Rachel blew out a breath as she moved away and I didn’t miss how she dabbed at her own eyes. Right, time to get a grip for both of us.

“What’s next?”

“Topless photos. I want to enjoy what pregnancy has done to your breasts and we can take pictures that will make those idiots you married drool.”

I laughed. This was what inspired the photo shoot in the first place. I’d seen photos of Demi Moore years earlier and the imagery had always stuck with me.

“Fair warning,” I said as I dried my own tears. “Big boobs hurt.”

“Beauty is pain,” she deadpanned.

We locked eyes for a long moment before we both cracked up. Yep, life could be painful too but it was also full of moments like this.

Moments I wouldn’t trade for anything.

©2023 Heather Long

Bonus Scene: “Unhinged”, a Dirty Devil alternate PoV

The following is an alternate PoV from a scene that takes place in Chapter 30 of Dirty Devil. The original scene takes place in Emersyn’s PoV, this takes us into Freddie’s head. If you haven’t read Dirty Devil, this scene will clearly contain spoilers for the book.

Savage Vandal is Book 1 in the 82nd Street Vandals series. To read more, Vicious Rebel is Book 2.

Note: This scene is brought to you because of a Review Challenge. What is that? And also, please be aware that spoilers may lie ahead.




I glanced up at the imperious command. It was the middle of the day. Still early, I was waiting on Boo-Boo to get here but she was late from whatever appointment she’d had.

“Come,” Bodhi repeated and I glanced to where the staff disappeared. No one was even looking at us. I pushed up from the table and went right behind him. “Grab clothes from your room.”


“Your pretty pussy girl needs you.”

I stopped asking questions. I stopped worrying about anything. We left the day room and I slid into my room grabbed an extra shirt and then I was back out again. Where was Boo-Boo? Bodhi had picked up a bag, I had no idea where he’d gotten it from and I didn’t ask.

“She needs to leave here,” Bodhi said as he strode down the hall toward a wing I hadn’t made it into before. “Today.”

“How?” We needed a plan. I wasn’t “ready” to get us out of here, but I was beyond ready to make it fucking happen no matter how we had to do it.

“Leave,” Bodhi said as he used a keycard that opened the heavy doors to the medical ward. Where—you know, I didn’t care where he got it. He had it. “Past the cells, there’s a way out down there.”

Past his room.

Okay, I could get us down there. It didn’t require secure cards.

“Do you know where they store our shit?” I swallowed the next question as we passed a nurse. She didn’t even glance in our direction. Bypassing one open door, I caught sight of a table with restraints. Nothing in that room looked—friendly.

Or safe.

Most of the doors were closed and I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad. A flickering light in one corner seemed an ominous sign.

“Yes,” Bodhi said and I dragged my gaze back to him. Yes—oh, our shit.

“They took all my stuff, including phone. Can you get it and the bag I had?”

Bodhi looked thoughtful. “Maybe.”

Better than no.

Not once on this whole trip had he even slowed his pace. The door he opened this time went into an office… My gaze went to the bloodied body on the floor even as movement pulled my attention across the room. Pale and shaky, she leaned against the door jamb like it was the only thing keeping her up.

Blood was all over her.

“Holy shit, Boo-Boo,” I headed straight for her. “Fuck me. What happened?”

“He touched me.”

I froze mid-step, then glared down at the body on the floor.

“He’s dead?” I needed to know.

“Definitely dead,” Bodhi confirmed. “We can do it again, though. Maybe cut the head off. I did that once. It’s messy. But not as messy since he’s already dead. Shouldn’t gush too bad.”

I almost wished he wasn’t dead. I wanted to make him hurt.

“I killed him.” Boo-Boo’s broken voice wrenched my attention back to her.

“Well,” Bodhi said. “Maybe. You weren’t sure. I definitely killed him.”

He’d found her in here. He’d found her. He’d helped her. Then he came to get me.

That was all that mattered.

‘“It doesn’t matter right now, Boo-Boo. Are you hurt?” I studied her. “Is any of that blood yours?”

Next, we needed to get out of here. Bodhi brought her pants, I had a second shirt. I nudged her back into the bathroom more for her privacy. The words “he touched me” kept circling in my head. Bodhi was a friend, but Boo-Boo was everything.

Get the blood off her.

Get her changed.

Get her out of here.

Then I wanted to kill everyone that had anything to do with this place.

“I want to go home.” Those soft words dug into my soul.

“Home—home or…”

“The clubhouse. Liam’s. Home.”

I couldn’t help but smile. We’d never wanted her to leave. I never wanted her to leave. “Good. That’s where you belong. Okay. Let’s get you changed.”

Everything in the bathroom stayed clinical. That was what she needed from me. No jokes or stupid comments. We’d do that later. Her bare feet worried me.

“It’s time,” Bodhi said.

“Yeah, we need to go. We’ll get you shoes out there.” I didn’t want her to get hurt.

Bodhi was already on the move. He was right. If we strode out of here like we belonged, we could do this. He’d come through on everything else. The guy was unhinged but he was my kind of people.

I clasped her hand. “Stay with me, okay, Boo-Boo? No running off. Trust me.”

She grabbed a stapler of all things. “I promise.” But I didn’t ask. If she wanted it, then we were taking it.

The alarms started screaming.

Yep, Bodhi was definitely unhinged.

Thanks, man.

Now to get Boo-Boo the fuck out of here.

©2023 Heather Long

Bonus Scene: “Beating the Blues,” A Mad Boys Deleted Scene

The following is a deleted scene from Mad Boys. This scene takes place after Ramsey decides to take Jonas and KC off-campus for a break.

Problem Child is Book 1 in the Blue Ivy Prep series. To read more, Mad Boys is Book 2.

Note: This scene is brought to you because of a Review Challenge. What is that? And also, please be aware that spoilers may lie ahead.

“Beating the Blues”


I fired off a message to Aubrey before I got changed.

Me: Going out with Jonas and Ramsey. Some place called Jack’s Escape. Bowling might be involved. Want to come with?

She didn’t make me wait long, the phone lit up even as I changed out of my t-shirt for a henley. Off campus meant layers and I didn’t want to show any bruises.

Aubrey: Do you need me?

The response was telling on a couple of levels. Hugging the leggings to me, I sat down on the edge of the bed and tilted my head from side to side. My brain kind of hurt. I’d had a headache for a week but it was better. I was just—tired. Part of me didn’t want to go out at all. I’d rather just curl up in the bed and hide here.

It was why I had to go.

That and for the first time since I got out of the hospital, I’d seen real animation in Jonas. I didn’t think he was sleeping, at least not well. More than once I’d woken up in the middle of the night and he’d already been awake. Or maybe he’d just never gone to bed.

Me: I’ll be okay. I think I want to go. Need a break. You know?

Me: Go have fun. You’ve had a lot of KC duty lately.

I set the phone down and then pulled on the leggings. It was a little like pulling on armor. Casual clothes, no uniforms. Not concert clothes either.

Aubrey: Forrest and I can change our plans. I mean it. If you need me, I’m in.

I loved her.

Me: I know. I think I’m okay. I want to be. So I’m going to be.

Make up your mind, set the goal, and the rest will follow.

Me: Love you. Have fun.

Aubrey: You too. Talk later.

It wasn’t a request. I sent her back a thumbs up and a kiss blowing emoji. Then I stuffed my feet into warmer Uggs before slipping in the bathroom to braid my hair. I’d tugged a little knit cap over it, the beanie worked with the rest of the outfit and it completely hid my hair.

I loved my hair, I refused to change it. At the same time, I needed to disguise it. Jonas waited for me out in the sitting room, his frown was instantaneous. “You’re worried about being seen.”

We were going to have a good time, I reminded myself. It was going to be great. I was okay. That was my mantra, and I planned to stick with it. I went for my jacket and the crossbody purse. “I want to just go and have fun and not deal with worrying about photos or people interrupting us.”

All true.

Jonas’ frown deepened.

“Its going to be great,” I told him. “I insist. You’re taking me out.”

His eyes narrowed, a hint of suspicion in them. “Technically Ramsey is taking us both out.”

“Semantics,” I said with a shrug and some of the worry in his expression eased. When he joined me to grab his jacket, I bumped his shoulder. Like me, he’d dressed in casual clothes, though he’d gone for a t-shirt. It put his tattoos on display and I did like looking at them. Another reason for my Henley—my tattoos got noticed as much as my hair. Most of the time I didn’t care.


Today I just wanted to relax.

“We’re going to have fun, right?”

His smile erased the rest of the dark cloud on his face and he nodded. “If it gets to be too much, you’ll tell us?”

My stomach chose that moment to growl, loudly, and I grinned. “I think we might need to feed me.”

He nodded solemnly. “We’ll grab snacks on the way…”

Jackets on, we headed out and descended the stairs. There were other students out and about, but I didn’t pay any attention to them. Jonas kept putting himself between me and everyone else. It was sweet. Ramsey waited near the exterior door and it was—unnerving to see him dressed down. I kept forgetting what he looked like when he wasn’t wearing a dress shirt and tie.

Good was how he looked. There was no sign of Lachlan and relief bled into me. Better. Ramsey studied me for a beat. “You sure you’re up for this?”

“She’s great,” Jonas said, flashing me a quick smile. “But we need to feed her before her stomach assaults us.”

I had to laugh because…well, I was starving. “I think you’re both safe, for now.” My stomach gurgled and Ramsey’s lips twitched. “But I make no promises if we don’t get something soon.”

“Then let’s go,” Ramsey said. “We can grab burgers on the way. It’s an hour to Jack’s anyway…”

An hour? My grimace made Jonas laugh and he pulled open the outer door. “Ramsey doesn’t drive like an old man. We can probably get there faster.”Ramsey just rolled his eyes but his smile relaxed me as did Jonas’. Right, we were going to have a good time.

As promised, Ramsey stopped at the burger place right next to the highway. Jonas had climbed in the back with me rather than ride shotgun with Ramsey. His droll look had cracked me up. We all got burgers, fries, and I went for a chocolate shake. We didn’t talk much, but bit by bit, the tension seemed to drain out of me. The food definitely helped.

When we got to Jack’s Escape, it was every bit the loud, garish, brightly neon lit up place you could imagine. It really didn’t seem like the guys at all. Jonas, on the other hand, seemed to brighten as well.

“KC,” he said as we headed inside. “What do you want to do first? You get the first pick. I got second. Then you again…”

“What about Ramsey?”

“I’m good,” Ramsey said, dryly. “Clearly I’m just here to pay for things and drive.”

I bit my lip.

Jonas cocked his head. “Fine, Ramsey can go after your next turn.” It seemed like a genuine concession on his part and the smirk on his face was downright adorable.

“Generous,” Ramsey said with near hysterical exaggerated graciousness.

“You’re welcome,” Jonas retorted.

I was hard pressed to not laugh, then they both glanced at me. Right, I needed to pick something to do. “What about…”

©2023 Heather Long

Bonus Scene: High On Her, an additional PoV for High Note

The following is an additional PoV for a scene from High Note. This particular conversation took place off page but happens prior to the guys setting out from the house after they let Cash out.

Kill Song is Book 1 in the Cardinal Sins series. To read more, First Chorus is Book 2.

Note: This scene is brought to you because of a Review Challenge. What is that? And also, please be aware that spoilers may lie ahead.

“High On Her”


I took one last look out the front window just in case Vienna happened to appear. I knew that she wouldn’t. Fletcher was right, something was wrong.

Behind me, Cash bounded down the stairs with too much pep in his step with Fletcher right on his heels with a wipe, removing his fingerprints from the rail.

My eye twitched at his blatant disregard for leaving traceable DNA. As an FBI man, he should know better, or he was purposely leaving a trail.

At least when he approached me, his lack of stench made being in his presence more bearable.

“We need to start with checking out Sandra Jane’s house. I can look for signs of a struggle and rule the place out. It may possibly tell us where Dark Saint went And I’d like to get my hands on those journals,” he said more under his breath as he searched the room. I wasn’t sure what he was looking for. He’d already had his dirty hands all over everything.

My eye twitched again at the level of deep clean our house was going to require to be back at Vienna’s standards. I appreciated Fletcher’s efforts but it just wasn’t the same.

I flattened my expression as I squared my shoulders. We weren’t leaving the house. What if we missed her and she did come home? I also didn’t trust Cash enough to take him off the property.

Cash’s brows dipped over his eyes when we didn’t answer. “You’re not going to find her here. You let me out of the cage for a reason—”

“Hey, hey, hey.” Fletcher stepped between us when Cash took a step toward me. He chewed on his lip as he glanced between us. “Big guy,” he started off softly, “I don’t like this anymore than you do, but we have to do something. We need to follow his lead.”

“We don’t trust him. Not that much.” I shook my head and crossed my arms. We could do other things to find Vienna.

The corners of Fletcher’s mouth quirked up. “I have an idea…” He shot a quick look at Cash, then faced me so Cash couldn’t see the blooming smile. It wasn’t genuine, not really. The shadows surrounding him were too strong, but he was trying. For me.


“Fuck no,” Cash grimaced then sneered at Fletcher.

I held the black cloth draped over my hands as I waited for him to accept the blindfold. Fletcher’s idea was a good one. If he was blindfolded and in the trunk, he couldn’t cause any unnecessary trouble for us and it would give us a chance to see if we could trust him.

We weren’t leaving the house otherwise.

“Do you see the look on Rick’s face?” Fletcher pointed at me. “You have to pick your battles. Blindfolded and in the trunk or back in the cell. Your choice.” He stood tall and looked down his nose at Cash even though he was shorter.

Cash pressed his lips in a thin line as he moved his gaze from Fletcher to me, then to the trunk. The battery light in the garage cast a pale orange glow over his face, giving him a sinister air that wasn’t present in the house.

It didn’t matter, between Fletcher and me and the lessons from Vienna, we could get him back to his cell if need be. But if he could help get Vienna home…

I inhaled a deep shuddering breath. Whatever my feelings for him, if he could help, I had to try. Vienna was most important and she needed us right now.

“Fine. Give me the damned blindfold.” He held out his hand but I ignored it.

Stepping around him, I placed the folded cloth over his eyes, checking to make sure it covered a wide swath so there would be no peeking. Then I knotted it carefully so it didn’t catch in his hair. Vienna wouldn’t want me to be unduly cruel.

Once it was secure, Fletcher had the trunk open and waved a hand like the trunk was something other than…a trunk. “Go ahead, Fed. Your seat awaits you.”

Cash snorted but reached out a hand and patted along the edge of the opening before climbing in. He was a large man and had to be creative with how he fit in the trunk. If he were anyone else, under any other circumstance, I might feel bad.

Fletcher slammed it shut, then stepped back to be in line with me. We both studied the trunk, waiting to see if Cash was going to give us any problems.

“Well, if we decide he’s a liability we don’t need, we can always go off roading and kill him one rough bump at a time. I’m sure his hard head has a limit before his brain gets scrambled.”

“I can hear you,” Cash stated drily.

We exchanged a smile. It was time to find Vienna and bring her home.

©Heather Long and Blake Blessing

Bonus Scene: “So What,” a Problem Child Alternate PoV

The following is an additional PoV for a scene from Problem Child. A lot of conversations and scenes happened off page in this book particularly because the majority of it is written only from KC’s PoV. This scene takes place between the prologue and chapter one as the boys discuss the arrival of Kaitlin Crosse at their school.

Problem Child is Book 1 in the Blue Ivy Prep series. To read more, Mad Boys is Book 2.

Note: This scene is brought to you because of a Review Challenge. What is that? And also, please be aware that spoilers may lie ahead.

“So What”

“Grab your food before you sit down,” Ramsey called from his bedroom. He’d been in orientation for most of the day. Lachlan had been at practice, and I’d been in one of the studios working. I’d still be there if Ramsey hadn’t sent Lachlan to drag me back for dinner. The smell of beef, sausage, and pepperoni not to mention onions, red sauce, and so much cheese sent my stomach growling and tempered my irritation.

A roll of paper towels came sailing toward me and I caught it one-handed as I flipped open the boxes. Three different pizzas. One for each of us. The last one was the fully loaded supreme. It had a little bit of everything. I didn’t bother with a plate, just carried the whole box and my soda over to the living room. There were boxes stacked up by the door—Ramsey’s books—and more next to his unused second bedroom.

I had already killed a slice by the time Ramsey emerged from the bedroom. He’d taken the time to shower, and dressed in a t-shirt and shorts. Lachlan snorted as he carried his own pizza box in. “It’s still early for off-duty, Ramsey, isn’t it?”

“Shut up,” Ramsey retorted.

“Love you too big brother.” Lachlan smirked at me and I shook my head.

Ramsey, however, wasn’t playing. He walked out with his pizza box, then returned to the kitchen for more cold sodas.

“You could stock beer, you know,” Lachlan told him.

“I could,” Ramsey informed him as he dropped into his chair and popped the can open. “But you would still be too young to drink it.”

Snickering, I rolled another slice together before I took a bite. Course, then I had to wipe my hands off to open my drink.

“So why are we here? Cause—” Lachlan checked his watch. “I have a date that should be on campus in an hour.”

On campus? Payton was coming back early? I grimaced. Hopefully, he’d go to her room. All the noise canceling headphones on the planet weren’t enough to shut out her screech.

“Cancel your date, we have more important things to sort out before the school year starts.”

I frowned. “What happened?”

“Unless someone died,” Lachlan said. “I’m going. You might like living like a monk, I’d prefer something besides my hand to get off with…”

The bland look Ramsey shot Lachlan was in no way as neutral as he might like to think it was. In fact, there was a vein throbbing in his forehead. “We have a problem this year. The following information is not for public consumption. I’m telling you two and you two only.”

I wasn’t the only one straightening. Disbelief filtered into Lachlan’s expression. “Who are you and what did you do with my stick up his ass brother?”

Ramsey’s aggrieved sigh was almost funny. Almost. But he really did look unhappy. The last time we’d had this kind of conversation, it was about Mom and Gibs getting married—finally. I still wasn’t sure what I thought about that. It made her happy and I liked Gibs. He’d been in our lives forever, so it seemed like a good call.

Still, Ramsey hadn’t been upset about it so much as circumspect. Whatever it was he didn’t like about them getting married, he hadn’t really shared. He just wanted us to know before the news broke. Also, we’d needed to take three days to go to the wedding itself.

“Kaitlin Crosse will be coming to school here this fall. She moves in next week along with one of her bandmates—Aubrey Miller.”

“What the fuck?” Lachlan asked, his feet hitting the floor with a distinctive thump. “Since fucking when did the little narcissist enroll?”

Scrubbing a hand over his face, Ramsey shook his head. “This year, that was part of the meetings I had today was to go over the new rules and to remind us that there are nondisclosures as part of working at the school.”

“Fuck her, I didn’t sign a goddamn nondisclosure,” Lachlan said as he slumped back in the chair. “She doesn’t want her face in the news, maybe she should stop showing off all the damn time.”

“She’s performing,” I supplied. “Not showing off. They are supposed to stand out then.” Still… she was coming here? “I’m surprised Gibs didn’t tell us.”

“Maybe he doesn’t know,” Ramsey suggested, though he didn’t sound certain. “She wasn’t at the wedding.”

“No, she was on tour,” Lachlan said the last with such disgust, I made a face. “She hasn’t made time for him in years. Why would she bother now?”

“How does she have time to come to school?” I didn’t understand that. “They were in Europe most of last spring into summer?”

They were, right?

I was pretty sure they were in Europe during the wedding. I’d checked her Instagram. I probably shouldn’t have. But i’d kind of hoped she would show up and surprise Gibs.

But nope.

“I don’t care,” Lachlan said. “She’s probably counting on riding her popularity for grades.” He shut his pizza box with a half-slam and stood. “If that’s all we were talking about, then I’m out. I can get my dick sucked and enjoy the person doing it without worrying about Kaitlin fucking Crosse.”

“Lach—” Ramsey stared at him. “We need a plan. Because all personal feelings aside, she’s going to be a student here and we have to respect that.”

A chuckle escaped Lachlan. “No, you have to respect that. I’m here for another ten months, then I’m gone. I don’t have to respect shit. She can’t even be bothered to show up for her father’s wedding or send him a damn holiday card. I don’t owe her shit. So—you two figure it out and I’m going to get laid.”

Then he stalked out, slamming the door behind him.

“Fuck,” Ramsey swore before he looked at me.

I wasn’t really sure what he wanted me to say. “You okay?” was about all I could come up with.

“No, but I’ll manage,” he answered more honestly than I think he was even comfortable with because a grimace quickly followed the statement. “I need you to keep your distance from her.”

“Why?” I wasn’t that worried about meeting her. “We’re her stepbrothers,” I reminded him and that just seemed to sour his mood further. “What does it hurt?” At the end of the day, Gibs had done a lot for us. “Maybe we can help Gibs out—”

“Jonas, what we don’t know about this girl? It’s a long list. What we do know? Not so pretty. You have enough issues and if she’s the hard partier the news makes her out to be, she would be a bad choice for you.”

“But not Lachlan?” I wasn’t irritated. My meds were working and I had my counseling sessions. I wasn’t planning on falling into drinking or drugs or even fighting… Then again, I hadn’t really planned on all the fights the year prior either.

Ramsey didn’t even try to dispute it. “If I tell him to keep his distance, he’s going to try and get in her pants and park there.”

I didn’t laugh, cause it wasn’t funny. At the same time…

“He has someone to suck his dick,” I reminded him and Ramsey made the same face I did.

“Some things, I don’t need to know…just do me a favor? Keep your distance. Keep it at least until we know more about her? She’s made it pretty clear she wants nothing to do with Gibs and Mom, and her absolute and total absence at the wedding or even bothering to send a card drove that point home.”

I sighed. “Maybe she just doesn’t like us?” We hadn’t done anything to her.

“She doesn’t know us enough to make that call,” Ramsey countered. “Either way, keep your distance. Focus on your junior year and keeping your shit toegther.”

“What about Lachlan?”

“I’ll keep an eye on him, but if you see him—”

“With her?” I chuckled. It was Lachlan. He was going to do what he wanted. “Yeah, I’ll tell you. Then again, maybe she can humble him.” It was trying to make a joke, but it wasn’t funny. Kaitlin Crosse was an enigma. Her father was one of the best guys I’d ever known. I admired him and more than once, I wished he was my dad not that I didn’t love my father—but I liked Gibs.

A lot.

She’d shit on him.

“They are due here in a couple of days, they’re moving in to the dorm next door. They got one of the nicer suites.”

Lucky bitch. We’d gotten them too but we’d been here. She was getting it on move in? Yeah, her name had privileges.

Suddenly, my appetite was gone. “Did you tell Gibs?”

Ramsey didn’t answer, that in and of itself, was an answer.

“Should we tell him?”

“I don’t know,” Ramsey admitted. “A part of me says yes and a part of me says stay out of it. Technically, not supposed to discuss it with anyone.”

Yet, he was making sure we knew. Making sure we weren’t ambushed.

Maybe she was nice. Maybe she wasn’t.

“So what,” I said before I reached for another slice of pizza. “So what if she is coming to our school? We were here first.”

That mattered, right?

Raising his drink to me, Ramsey shrugged. “Good attitude. We’ll go with that for now.”

But his expression didn’t shift much and he didn’t relax. Ramsey was worried about her being here. Lachlan storming out didn’t say he was unaffected either.

I couldn’t really blame either one.

“Maybe she’ll flake out before the first quarter is over…” She wouldn’t be our first celebrity.

Not all of them lasted.

“Maybe,” Ramsey said but he didn’t sound confident.

I supposed we could always make her leave…



Bonus Scene: “Treasured”, an alternate PoV for Dangerous Renegade

The following is an alternate point of view for a scene that took place in Dangerous Renegade. If you’ve read Dangerous Renegade, then you know the original scene was told from Freddie’s PoV. This is Emersyn’s

Dangerous Renegade is book 6 in the 82nd Street Vandals series that began with Savage Vandal. To read more, Merciless Spy is book 7.

Note: This scene is brought to you because of a Review Challenge. What is that? And also, please be aware that spoilers may lie ahead.



Milo punching Ezra made so much sense and at the same time— “Liam…” I didn’t want any of them to fight. I was still sore, and Rome was bruised up. Even Liam sported bruises. We’d just made it safely home. I really didn’t want Milo getting hurt. Liam could stop him. He had before and there was already blood dripping.

With a grunt, Liam muttered, “Fine,” and stalked forward. I didn’t smile, but relief still feathered through me. Liam would take care of them. Lainey frowned. She hated when any of them told her what to do and Ezra was being a bit of a dick. Then again, it wasn’t anything new for Ezra. At the same time, I was getting used to the brawling. These guys were all physical and intense. They filled every room they were in and there was no mistaking the threat they offered to everyone else.

But I was safe here.

That safety resonated within me.

“Come on,” Freddie said pulling my focus from the fight. “Let them figure this out. You probably want to shower and change. Then I can watch, and it will be a much nicer show.”

The last line punctured the bubble of tension and I grinned. Freddie was a master of deflection. At the same time… I liked it when he played with me.

“Lainey?” I didn’t want to leave her to deal with the chaos on her own. Then again, I was pretty sure she could handle it.

“No,” she said. “Freddie is right, you should go grab a shower and change. Your doctor friend probably wants to go over all your injuries.”

“I’m fine,” I assured her. Mickey giving me an exam was not at the top of my list. I ran a hand down Rome’s arm. “You okay?”

“Go,” he said, then gave Freddie a look. Even as I took Freddie’s offered hand, I glanced at the guys. But even Jasper shooed me to go and Vaughn lifted his chin. They were fine.

They were fine and we were back.

Rome was safe.

Relief spilled through me as they got Milo and Ezra separated finally. So when Freddie gave me the lightest of tugs to go, I went. His fingers were warm against mine and his grip was light, but very much there.

Once we were upstairs, he headed straight for Kellan’s room. Mine was still tucked in between Kellan and Rome’s and the only door to get inside was via Kellan’s.

“Okay, I can wait out here.” He squeezed my fingers.


“Yes, Boo-Boo?”

Pivoting, I faced him fully. “Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For wanting to LoJack me. I think it’s really sweet.” It really was. Maybe it should be more weird. But I didn’t want to be lost any more than they wanted to lose me.

A flush touched his face. “I just don’t want to lose you.”

“You won’t.”

“Pinky swear?” His dare as he raised his pinky only made my smile widen. I hooked my pinky around his and drifted closer. Freddie was very much my safe space, I wanted to be his.

When his gaze dipped briefly to my lips, I made the leap. “Kiss and makeup?”

“We didn’t fight,” he said the words almost too slowly, but he didn’t retreat and his eyes didn’t show even an ounce of fear or reaction. His pupils were steady even if his breath seemed to come a little faster.

But then my heart was racing too. “Then pinky swear and kiss to seal the deal.” It was an offer, but I wanted to kiss Freddie. I wanted him to kiss me. I wanted it to be okay if we did.

Then he dipped his head and he brushed his lips against mine so lightly I barely felt them. Yet, they were so soft, that barely there and gone again feeling just left me hungry for more. I leaned into him, tightening my pinky around his. I wanted to tell him touching was okay and to make sure he was okay with it.

His kiss started as just a brush against one corner of my mouth, then the other. But he didn’t pull away and I parted mine half-tempted to press deeper into the kiss when he kissed me for real. It wasn’t just a sip, but a full drink. The sweep of his tongue, darting against mine sent all the hairs on my body to stand on end then I couldn’t breathe for the want of him.

He tugged my hand up to his chest and pressed my palm to his heart. The invitation to touch, the embrace, the slow, deepening strokes of his tongue as he sealed our lips together sent my pulse galloping. This was everything and I savored the connection. Freddie was here.

He was alive and holding me and we were both safe. Safe to explore and to feel.

To kiss.

As much as I wanted for more, I didn’t fight him when he lifted his head. This was a lot of contact. A connection we both needed, or at least I did, but the intimacy took time and it took a lot to trust.

That he could, at all, with me was something I treasured.

I treasured him.

“Welcome home,” he whispered and my smile grew.

“I’m really glad to be here.”

“LoJack,” he said firmly.

And a thrill went through me. The possessiveness and determination in that one declaration made me laugh.

“LoJack. We’ll find you the best.”

Lifting my hand from his chest, I brushed my knuckles against his cheek. I kept the touch light, but I wanted to feel the hint of stubble. Another reminder that I was here. We were here. “Wait for me while I shower?”

“Forever,” he promised.

Another laugh slipped free. “I’ll try not to take that long.” Then I made myself let him go and headed into my room. I didn’t close the door. I didn’t need to, I trusted Freddie.

I wanted him to know I trusted him too. After I got some clean clothes, I blew him a kiss and the depth of emotion in his eyes threatened to undo me.

Blowing out a breath, I headed into the bathroom. I was so damn glad to be home.


I was home.

I was treasured.

I treasured them.

I treasured him.


Bonus Scene: “Blue Moon,” a Mad Boys Additional PoV

The following is an additional PoV for a scene from Mad Boys. Although Mad Boys was told via multiple PoVs, there were still moments that happened off page. The following scene between Jonas and Lachlan is one of them. It takes place toward the end of Mad Boys, following KC learning about Gibs performing the song she wrote with Jonas.

Problem Child is Book 1 in the Blue Ivy Prep series. To read more, Mad Boys is Book 2 and Party Crashers is Book 3.

Note: This scene is brought to you because of a Review Challenge. What is that? And also, please be aware that spoilers may lie ahead.


“Blue Moon”


Blue Moon

“The problem with being a celebrity is everyone thinks they know you better than they do. Stalkers fall into the same category, but most of them are harmless.”

Those words were on a permanent loop inside my head. They whispered at me from my dreams, haunted me while I was awake, and every single time I caught sight of her blue hair moving away from me? Yeah, they were right there as a permanent reminder that I’d screwed up.

Fuck, it was so much more than a screw up. It might not be so bad if I’d actually fucked up on my own. Instead, I’d been blown out of the water by someone else dropping lit dynamite into it. Now, I flopped around on land, gasping for a second chance—or maybe it was my third chance—like it was the air I needed to survive.

“Hey,” Lachlan said, snapping his fingers right in my face. I jerked my head back and glared at him.

“What the fuck?” The snarl escaped before I could stop it. Lachlan had been up my ass for three days. While KC may not be talking to me and barely acknowledging that I was alive, she seemed to be actively avoiding him. So when he wanted me to hang out, I let him take me off-campus. The last thing she needed to deal with was Lachlan in our suite.

“A table just opened up,” Lachlan said, nodding to the pool table on the far side. We’d put in the request when we got here. “Let’s go.”

I picked up the cold glass of soda I’d ordered but hadn’t been drinking. It was sweating as the ice melted. The Rockston Arcade wasn’t exactly a bar, although they did serve alcohol and bar food. Music throbbed out of the speakers, video games lined the walls, more than one oversized television aired sports from around the world and there were pool tables.

It was like a dive bar that cost too much money to actually be a dive bar, but it wasn’t fancy enough to be an upscale sports bar. Lachlan liked it cause you didn’t have to be twenty-one to get in, just twenty-one to get alcohol.

Not that he didn’t know a guy. He knew a few. But him and Ramsey didn’t drink when I was out with them. My meds meant alcohol wasn’t the best idea. Ramsey didn’t really drink a lot either.

At the table, I set my drink on a high top next to it and checked the cue sticks while Lachlan racked up the balls. The music shifted and changed to a different group. I didn’t recognize this one, though the song seemed familiar. They’d been playing mostly classic rock, so at least I wouldn’t hear Torched just pop up.

That just added to the sense of melancholy. How the hell did I fix this with KC? I hadn’t given the song to Gibs but I didn’t think she’d believe me if I told her. If anything, she’d barely even seemed to acknowledge when I was there. In the meanwhile, all I could think about was how her lips felt beneath mine and how soft they’d been.

Only to have that sweetness soured by the hurt in her eyes.

“You want to break?” Lachlan asked and I shrugged. I didn’t even want to be here. But he insisted and I didn’t want him bugging her, so here we were. “Right, try to contain your excitement.” He eyed me but I didn’t say anything. With a sigh, he took a long drink before he headed over to the table.

The first crack of the cue ball slamming into the triangle formation sent the balls scattering. He sank a solid in the corner right pocket. He sank the next two shots neatly but completely scratched on the third.

I didn’t say anything, just eyed the table and took the easier shot for getting the two ball into the side pocket. We played the first game almost silently. He took that game. Then I got the break on the second and I won that one. It wasn’t until the third that, Lachlan stepped right into my path when I would have gone to line up my shot.

“Don’t,” I told him as I met him stare for stare.

“You need to talk,” he said and I snorted. “What? Just cause I’m not all huggy feely like Ramsey doesn’t mean I don’t get it.”

I just stared at him.

He sighed. “You’ve been a wreck for weeks—”

That made me raise my brows.

“You and Ace aren’t as tight as you were.”

I said nothing.

“I want to know you’re okay. Ramsey is worried about you.”

Which was why we were out and off campus tonight.

When I continued to say nothing, he scowled. “Fine, if I win this game, you tell me what happened.”

I didn’t agree.

I didn’t disagree.

He also didn’t win.

His annoyed half-growl as he set his cue stick aside did make me grin though. “I’m going to get drinks and order food. Rack us up again. Best out of five and you tell me.”

Whatever helped him sleep at night.

When he wanted best out of seven, I almost laughed.

At midnight, he shot me a dirty look. “You could always try the racing games.” I nodded to the wall of them on the far side. “If you want a better chance…”

“You’re a dick,” he muttered, but he was already half-smiling as he turned way and I snorted.

Huh. I was being a dick and he—wasn’t.


Also, kind of nice.

He slid into the seat of the old-style arcade game. The metal pedals took some force to slam down and the controls were kind of shit.

They were still fun.

He was crowing when he won the first race.

“Best two out of three,” I informed him and he narrowed his eyes as he glared.

“Fine,” he said, then cracked his knuckles. “I’ll get it out of you one way or another.”

He also couldn’t hide his own smile. Sometimes, Lachlan wasn’t so bad.


©️ Heather Long, 2023