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Extras Category: Bonus Scenes

Bonus Scene: “Big Brother, Little Sister,” 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 including several of her calls with her brother. I wanted to be able to dig deeper into one of these chats. If you’ve read Problem Child you know it is written exclusively from KC’s PoV, whereas this scene is written from her brother Bronson’s PoV.

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.

“Big Brother, Little Sister”


I texted Mom I was home as I jogged up the steps to the house. Her response was immediate with a quick task list of chores, including checking the crock pot for dinner. She would be late. Loved me. I fired back a loved her and then I was inside. I’d barely changed clothes when my phone vibrated.

KC: Home?

Right, shit. Yeah. She’d messaged between my last two classes and I told her I’d call when I got home. Where were my earbuds—there they were. I fished them out of the side pocket of my backpack and shoved one into my right ear before I headed for the kitchen. The stew smelled fantastic. I hadn’t been hungry before I walked in the door and now I was starving.

After hitting her contact, I shoved my phone in my pocket. It barely rang once before she answered.

“Oh thank fuck you’re home,” she muttered.

“Well, good afternoon to you too,” I teased as I sailed into the kitchen. “I am definitely home and open for business. What’s up?”

“I hate this place.” The level of vehemence was very not KC. Really not her. She’d been so excited about the school. She even got excited about homework. I figured that would wear off after she got there but this was…well, I wasn’t sure what this was.

“Yeah?” I tested the waters. “This is the same school you spent all of last year talking about? Like the best school for privacy and for education, and they’d been willing to take all of your homeschooled credits.” That was her too, right?

“Yes, they are and they were supposed to be and the school is great but the people—Bronson…the people suck.”

I dug into one of the drawers for a ladle to get some stew out then opened the dishwasher. Right, I needed to empty that but food first. “You know, it’s probably just the adjustment period.”

“I wish,” she grumped. KC didn’t call to bitch and complain. Not really. Sometimes, I had to pry it out of her like it was a state secret and I needed the right code words. “I’ve been here two months and it just keeps getting worse. The first douchebag was a problem, but the second and third ones? C’mon.”

“Douchebags?” I prompted, cause that was a clue. Clearly. The smell of the stew was killing me. I got out some bread and butter then spooned up a bite that I had to blow the steam off of before I shoved it in my mouth or I’d scald my tongue. Was probably gonna scald it anyway…

“I’ve told you about the douchebags, right?” There was a definitive bounce sound like she’d fallen on her bed or sat up. One or the other. What time was it there? I swung my head to look at the clock. Almost eight.

“If you did, it couldn’t have been memorable…”

“Ugh.” The drama in that single syllable followed by the exhale of breath was so audible that I had to swallow a snicker. “The douchebags three. Started with the dick I met like day one of classes or right before classes. I dunno. It was fast. But he was in our dorm and just—he’s a dick. He stared through me like I wasn’t there. Was kind of rude. But fine, whatever, he doesn’t like me. I don’t expect everyone to like me.”

I squinted a little at that. It bugged her when people didn’t like her and she didn’t know why. Occupational hazard of living her life under a spotlight and a microscope, but I let that go.

“He’s in all of my classes. Well most of them. He gets ruder. We got paired for an assignment and I fucked up, I forgot parts of it cause—I had to leave for a few days. Mom.”

That needed no further explanation. Jennifer Crosse was an amazing actress and a beautiful woman. Most of the time, she was a shitty human. My opinion, not KC’s and not my mom’s opinion of her. My mom just thought she needed to be in therapy.

Right walking away from that landmine.

“So, that is on me. We had an assignment we were partnered on, and he turned it in but made sure to tell the instructor I’d flaked so I got a zero on that and academic probation.”

I winced. “Shit.”


“That explains him.”

“Does it?” She didn’t seem to think so. “I don’t get him at all. He hates me, Bronson. I mean, like I ran over his puppy, hates me and I don’t know why.”

“Some guys lack social skills. Maybe he has a crush on you.”

Her snort was so damn derisive it was funny. “You know the whole the boy who likes you will pull your pigtails is a misogynistic way of excusing bad behavior from guys and conditioning it into girls from a very young age, right?” The deadpan delivery of Mom’s description had me snorting now.

“You know, I have heard that before.” This time I didn’t bother to hide my chuckle. “Doesn’t mean he may not be as open and in touch with his feelings as you are.”



“Bite me.”

“Nah, I got stew. So tell me about the other dickweeds.”

“Douchebags,” she corrected and I swallowed a smile with another bite of my stew.

“Douchebag Two—he’s a TA Bronson. He’s supposed to be like you know a part time instructor. He acts like I kicked his cat and I’m the most high-maintenance actress in Hollywood. I honestly don’t think I could offend him more if I did spit in his face.”

“That’s my sister, winning friends and influencing people. Teachers are supposed to push us…”

“He changed my schedule,” she said in a tone even angrier than she used when she said her set order had been rearranged by management. Ut oh. “Canceled one of my classes, pulled me from classes that I liked and shoved me in other ones, so I would have a free hour every day for tutoring. Also, he thinks I’m an entitled, overbearing, Hollywood princess.”

I winced. “Maybe you’re reading too much into it.”

“He called me that. To my face.” There was no drama or magnification in that statement, just a kind of empty bewilderment. “I don’t know what I did. He acts like I’m putting him out and I’m an ungrateful bitch because he’s taking so much time for me and I’m imposing.”

Yeah—that was a little fucked up. “Maybe he’s just one of those guys who lacks interpersonal skills?” Harder to fish up that.

“Douchebag Three?” Maybe this one would be better.

“Oh—him.” Nope, definitely not better cause there was real hostility there. “This asshole—he shows up when I’m running every day. He shoved me in a pond. He harasses me. He even cut my bra like he wanted a good look at the girls before he took off.”

He did what? I was not a violent guy.

Nope. Mom taught me from day one, do not act out. Do not give in to my temper. Do not show aggression. The world had a thing against black guys who stood their ground. Being half-anything wasn’t going to protect me from prejudice.

But this guy? I was going to beat his ass.

“Fine, he’s a grabby douchebag, I’ve dealt with those before. But then—”

But then? “What did he do?”

Then she told me about the costume party and her first kiss—and that it was this guy.

Right, Mom was going to kill me. Could I get to the East Coast and kick this dick’s ass?

“The thing I don’t get,” she said finally. “I’m trying really hard to be understanding and to adapt. I mean this is what I want. To go to school. To be normal. Is high school really like this?”

“High school sucks,” I pointed out. “You’re not even going to normal high school. I know why you picked that place, but you’re going to school with a lot of entitled rich dicks, clearly. Mom would tell you that was an assault, you know that right?” Cause she hadn’t told Mom, if she’d told my mom? Oh, I’d have heard that nuclear reaction.


“KC, no maybe about it. It’s an assault. No one should have to deal with that. I’m tempted to buy a bus ticket today…”

“Don’t,” she said, and I could practically see her sitting up to stare at me. “You can’t afford to miss classes and Jackie would kill us both.”

No, she’d probably be right up in their face if she knew this was going on.

“And don’t tell her?”

I grimaced. “Lying to Mom is never a good idea.”

“It’s not lying if we just don’t tell her.”

“Right, KC, that’s called a lie by omission. I also don’t like the idea some guy is doing that to you. Period.”

“I can take care of myself, I promise. I just—I’m frustrated, Bronson. I thought this would be better than it is and Mom is—well she’s Mom and I miss Yvette. Aubrey’s here and she’s amazing, but we don’t even have classes together now. I feel like I’m getting everything I wanted and I hate all of it. Kind of makes me entitled.”

“Nope, makes you human. But the douchebags? I’m on your side with them. The first two—maybe they are just dicks. But number three? I want his name and to kick his ass.” There, I said it.

“I love you too,” she said and the smile in her voice settled me. Some.

Still pissed. “You’re really all right? I mean it, like you’re not afraid to walk out your door? And he didn’t hurt you more than what you described?”

“No,” she said. “I promise.”

“You didn’t report him, did you?” Why was I even asking that question? No, if it had been Aubrey who was pawed, she’d have lit that school on fire. “KC, promise me something.”

“If I can…”

“Don’t protect the school or the douchebag. Protect yourself.”

Cause she could. She just had to remember to do it. She sighed. “I just wanted to be normal…” Then she let out a little groan. “Okay, enough about me. Tell me about you.”

We were not done talking about this. “I’m awesome. That’s all you need to know.”

Her laugh wasn’t even forced. “And so humble…”

“You don’t have to be humble when you’re the best. You taught me that.”

When she flat out snorted in the middle of her laugh, I relaxed some. She sounded more like her. Didn’t make me worry less, but I’d keep an eye on her and I had Aubrey’s number.

Maybe she could get me the name of Douchebag Three.

©2023 Heather Long

Bonus Scene: “Dreamy and Devoted,” an additional Legacy and Lovers moment

The following is an additional scene from Legacy and Lovers. It takes place after the end of this particular book and prior to Farewells and Forever.

Legacy and Lovers is Book 11 in the Untouchable series. To read more, Rules and Roses is Book 1.

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.

“Dreamy and Devoted”


Laughing, I made my way off the dance floor while fanning a hand toward my face. The club was amazing, the music was fantastic—but even better, everyone was here. My friends. My family. I glanced down at the rings on my finger—my fiancés.

That sent a little thrill through me. At the bar, I found a spot where air conditioning was actually blowing downward. Stopping there, I tilted my head back to let the coolness wash over me.

“What can I get for you?”

When I opened my eyes, the bartender was standing there. “Water, please. Ice cold.”

He chuckled. “Coming right up.”

If I had alcohol right now, I might throw up. I’d danced with the guys, multiple times. Danced with KC. Danced with Chloe. Danced with Dad. Even Alec and Craig had gotten pulled into the action. It was all so overwhelming and at the same time—amazing.

“Hey,” Rachel said as she slid up to the bar next to me. “You good?”

Sweat gleamed on her brow and her lips were a little swollen. I didn’t make any comments on that because she was still working on her and that was the important part. The bartender brought over the ice water and I grasped it gratefully as Rachel ordered one for her and a soda. Holding up a finger, I downed about half the glass.

Between the chill of the water and sitting under the fan, I didn’t feel like I as overheating as much. “Oh, I’m fine—just hot.”

Rachel laughed. “You’ve been hot forever, why is that an issue now?”

I rolled my eyes even as I laughed. She grinned and when her water got there, she clinked her glass with mine.

“Cheers, gorgeous,” she told me. “I still think you’re nuts for taking on four of them, but they might almost be worthy of you if they keep spoiling you the way they are.”

“I adore them,” I reminded her. “They’re perfect just like they are.”

She made a gagging sound, then grinned. “I’ll give them credit, they make you smile and that’s the important part.”

“I miss you,” I confessed and she sniffed.

“Of course you do, because I’m awesome.” She managed to hold the arrogance for all of five seconds before we were both cracking up. Another couple of drinks and I was almost not boiling alive when she added, “Are you happy? I mean for real? This is—” She motioned to the club, the Greek themes with its columns and nooks, the dance floor and the stage.

“It’s Archie,” I reminded her. “And yes, I am happy. Like—no caveats happy.”

“No caveats?” Rachel raised both eyebrows. “That’s something.”

“Right?” When Dad and Eddie asked me out to dinner tonight, I’d had an idea that something might happen. Archie’s was the only proposal left, but… “It’s everything,” I admitted. “Rach, I have a family. A huge family. Not just Dad and Kelly and the kids, though that’s so cool. I have Jeremy and Eddie—I couldn’t imagine Eddie being ‘family’ but he is. Then the guys…they’re everything. We’ve had some ups and downs, but they’re still my best friends and they love me and I love them—”

“You know there might be something wrong with you,” she teased.

“Maybe, if there is, I don’t want to fix it. Because there’s also you.”

“Saving the best for last,” she said, grinning.

“Absolutely, Mr. Thorns.”

That cracked her up all over again. “I still think I could give these guys some tips but after today, I might have to admit Archie’s got the romance and showmanship down.”

Laughter bubbled up through me as effervescent as the champagne that had been flowing since Archie “popped” the question. “He does,” I said.

“Okay, all dreamy swooning aside—this what you want? Marriage to all four of them? You guys are ready for it?”

“Can anyone be really ready?” I asked before I drained the water and the bartender slid another over to me. I mouthed thank you and he winked at me before Rachel groaned. “What?” I said swinging a look at her.

“He’s flirting with you.”

I held up my hand. “Sorry, I’m taken.” We stared at each other for a beat and Rachel’s lips trembled.

“But you noticed he was flirting.”

“I didn’t care,” I said, rather than admit that I wasn’t really paying attention to the bartender. Nice guy brought me water. So what if he winked? He wasn’t one of my guys.

“That was the right answer,” Jake said as he slid up behind me and wrapped his arms around my middle. Thankfully, I wasn’t dying from heat stroke but even if I was, I’d still have leaned back into him.

Eyes closed, I just drank in his nearness as he pressed a kiss just behind my ear. “Rachel.”


I cracked my eyelids open to find Rachel giving us an indulgent smile.

“Looking after our girl?” Jake asked.

“Always,” she said. “Also, you look ridiculously happy.”

I grinned.

“Don’t hate,” Jake teased and I elbowed him. He gave a gentle oomph then squeezed me lightly. “Fine, we love Rachel, we just don’t tell her that. We’re much better at the snarking and the threats.”

“This is true,” Rachel agreed. “Now, go away, I want time with my BFF before you guys drag her back out to the dance floor.”

“I was thinking of stealing away to a private room,” Jake mused. “Maybe celebrate a little more personally.”

Rachel made a gagging sound.

“Don’t worry,” Jake said, still grinning. “You’re not invited.”

“Oh my god,” I laughed and tilted my head back to look up at him.

“Too much?” His eyes were practically dancing and I smiled as he brushed his lips to mine.

“Nope,” I promised. “You’re perfect.”

“No ma’am, that’s you. But I will let you girls have a drink. I’m gonna threaten the bartender so he doesn’t flirt with you again.”


“Hey? It’s me.” Then he winked and gave me another kiss before he slipped away and when I glanced back at Rachel, she was laughing.

“Ridiculously happy,” she commented. “And I am glad. I still don’t think anyone is ever going to be good enough for you, but those four come the closest.”

“They’re perfect for me,” I said. “They’ve always been perfect for me, even when I didn’t see what they felt or were asking me for.”

Her expression softened. “Want to go find a table with our waters and gossip for a bit?”

“You have anything good to tell me?” I raised my brows. Her smirk was adorable.

“Maybe, you’ll just have to work at getting it out of me.”

The bartender had brought over two fresh glasses with ice water and no winks. Scooping them up, Rachel and I weaved through the crowd. There were well-wishers and more than one quick side hug as we climbed the stairs to the second level. It was definitely cooler up here.




“Damn,” Rachel said, lips quirking. “Foreplay, Frankie. Foreplay. You want me to come clean with the details, you need to work me up to it.”

I rolled my eyes and laughed. “You’re terrible.”

“And you love me, so don’t bitch.”

It was true, I did love her. “Fine…have I mentioned how beautiful you are to me?”

“That’s better,” Rachel said and when she winked, I held up my left hand.

“Still taken.”

“Don’t I know it.”

There was a beat and then we were cracking up all over again. I caught Archie’s eye from across the room and he raised his glass to me where he was talking to Eddie and I grinned, before I blew him a kiss. Coop had Trina on the dance floor and Ian was—there he was, he was dancing with Chloe and she was laughing.

I couldn’t adore them more if I tried.

“So damn gone on them,” Rachel commented.

“Yep,” I admitted. “One thousand percent.”

©2023 Heather Long

Bonus Scene: “Song Sung…who?” a Kill Song alternate PoV

The following is an alternate PoV for a scene that opens Kill Song. If you’ve read Kill Song, you know it is written in multi-PoVs and the first chapter is from Merrick’s PoV. The first meeting between Vienna and Merrick is life-altering for both of them. With that in mind, I wanted to revisit their first meeting from Vienna’s PoV.

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.

“Song Sung…who?”


It took some effort to let my marks convince themselves they are the ones luring me away from the illusion of safety. Some took far less effort than others. Tonight’s target had already decided they wanted a quickie in the alley before they’d walked over to where I was sitting. From the moment they latched their gaze on me, I’d been the entree in whatever meal they promised themselves.

That meant taking my time so that I didn’t look overly eager. That got noticed, not just by the mark but the people around them. It also meant not seeming too reluctant because they might move on and that wouldn’t do either. Ultimately, The game had to be played with patience because when he coaxed me out of the doors and slammed me against the wall—well, my mark was quite enthusiastic about where he thought the night was going.

Using his hand as a necklace wasn’t high on my list, but it definitely gave him the illusion of control. Head tilted back, I all but bared my throat. It was harder sometimes than it seemed to let big men think they had all the power. Even more difficult, not snapping his fingers in three places so he learned that you didn’t touch when you hadn’t been invited.

The whiskey on his breath overpowered the peppermint he’d palmed to his mouth before he dragged me out the door. The stink was hardly attractive. With his thumb adding pressure to my throat as if he needed to strangle his dates, I pressed one hand to his chest. His pulse was hardly racing, though it had begun to accelerate and there was no disguising the tent in his pants. Especially when he pressed said erection right to me.

The man didn’t have that much to be proud of, layers of clothes or not. When he dipped his head for a kiss, I turned my cheek at the last moment. It brought his wet lips to rest against my skin. The smell intensified but I blocked that out. Fortunately for me—and I supposed him—I did not have a weak gag reflex.

“Open up, sweet lips,” the man mumbled. “I want a taste before I shove my dick down your throat…”

“So attractive,” I said, my tone idle though kissed with disdain. “Not that I think your dick can reach my throat, but it’s good to have goals.”

The taunt set a match to his temper and his hand closed tighter around my throat and he lifted. Oh, that was better. With my feet off the ground, it wouldn’t take much to turn this around. I’d been taking deeper breaths, then more shallow—panting like I was as eager as he was—it helped to flush out he carbon dioxide. As long as he didn’t crush my throat, what was a little strangulation on my way to answers.

“Bitch,” he muttered and I slapped him. It wasn’t really any kind of painful for him. I barely made my palm sting. The rake of my nails over his eye though—oops—that had to sting. The point was to put on the show. Then he backhanded me with his free hand even as he released me. I dropped to my feet and hit the wall at the same time.

He was right where—

A second body slammed into my mark’s and he was ripped away from me.




A pure mountain of a man, all dark shadows rippling as his fists flew. The distinct, meaty sound of flesh impacting on flesh peppered with the crack of bones played like a brutal symphony. I don’t know what I expected, but the mountain brought down my mark with such brutal lethality that I was almost transfixed.

I didn’t know the newcomer. I couldn’t see him, but I understood bodies and how they moved. I didn’t know this man or his body. The heavy scent of copper joined the whiskey, trash, and faint stink of brackish water.

Bones gave way to wetter thumps. My mark never got a chance to make a sound. Not really. If anything, the only noise in the alley was the cadence of fists slamming into my target and the harsh huffs of breath that rent the silence. Finally, he stopped swinging long after my mark had stopped resisting.

I was pretty sure the mark was dead. As annoying as that was, he wasn’t what captured my attention. The man at my feet, decorated in splattered blood, stared up at me with almost no expression. Then like the sun gradually peeling back the shadows, he smiled.

“It’s okay,” he reassured me. “I’ll keep you safe.”

At that moment, I wasn’t sure whether I should be entertained or furious. I’d been after this mark for a while and now he was gone and at my feet, the man who’d taken him from me looked so earnest and pleased with himself.

He’d saved me.


(c)2023 Heather Long & Blake Blessing

Bonus Scene: “Blue Ace,” a Problem Child Alternate PoV

The following is an alternate PoV for a scene from Chapter 5 that took place in Problem Child. If you’ve read Problem Child you know it is written exclusively from KC’s PoV, so I thought I’d come at one of these encounters from Lachlan’s angle.

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.

“Blue Ace”


“…did you see the new Kincaid’s? I would kill for a pair from the first run, but Daddy already said no. First, I have to show some ‘obvious effort,’” Payton all but rolled her eyes as she conferred with Vivian. They were locked arm-in-arm as they studied images shared on their favorite designer’s Instagram. I swore, it was like losing IQ points just listening.

“We can totally send him an update,” Vivian suggested. “You have the emergency card, just order a set and ask for forgiveness later.”

“Maybe,” Payton murmured. We’d left the dining hall earlier, mostly cause the girls wanted to gossip. Blane smirked as Payton cast me a hopeful look. “I do have a birthday coming.”

Yep, subtle. I rolled my head from side to side, easing the stiffness. I needed to get back on my regimen. The last couple of weeks had been irritating. Mom was on a tear about something and Dad had a big court case. I was ready to head back here before summer break was over.

Frankly, I liked the school better than home. Pretty sure J felt the same and fuck knew Ramsey lived, breathed, and shit this place. A flash of color in the hallway snared my attention. Was that…

“Are you kidding me?” Vivian said with an almost indignant snort. “Who sleeps in a hallway?”

“Oh, fuck,” Blane said with a laugh. “I know where she can sleep—but she wouldn’t get much rest there.” The locker room talk around the blue-haired rock star had been getting dirtier and dirtier. Not that I minded, hardly the first chick we’d all thought about fucking. The bets for who would get in her pants first would be coming soon.

Vivian glared at Blane as he eyed Kaitlin Crosse. She was the only chick in school with blue hair despite all the rules and regulations for appearance. Hardly a first, plenty of us had tattoos even if we didn’t advertise, but those were all things covered up. She wore hers out where everyone could see it.

“I swear this school is going downhill,” Payton muttered. “Rock star trash does not belong here.”

I spared her a look but she wasn’t even focused on me. She was glaring at KC where she sat on the floor next to the lecture hall door, arms wrapped around her book bag like it was some kind of teddy bear. It was—kind of sweet.

Payton stalked forward and kicked her. Classy move. Head tilted, I waited to see what the blue-haired menace would do. Thick lashes lifted to reveal a stunning pair of blue-eyes. I’d seen them in plenty of photos over the years, but there was something hypnotic about looking at them in person.

“You do know that this isn’t a park bench, right?” Payton’s shrill voice cut through the air, but I didn’t drag my attention away from those gorgeous eyes. The awareness flooding them beckoned to me.

“This is a school,” Payton continued, enunciating each word clearly, “not the back row of your low-rent concerts. You don’t just go to sleep out here. That’s what your room is for. Idiot.”

Sleep fled those eyes and they hardened. Not gonna lie, the attitude filling her expression sent a pulse of wild lust to bounce right through my system. “Bitch, our concerts have never been low-rent. I guarantee you the tickets cost more than that red whore lipstick you’re sporting.”

Not laughing took effort. She wasn’t wrong about the shade of Payton’s lipstick, then Vivian tossed her red soda all over KC. The splash of crimson was vivid against her white shirt and jacket, highlighting the outline of the lacy bra she had on underneath.

Payton laughed. It was a grating sound, but I paid less attention to her comment of “Remind me to call the janitors next time. They know better than to let the trash just lay in the halls…” than I did the way those sexy blue eyes frosted with fire. Could fire be icy and hot at the same time?

She rose to her feet, graceful and menacing as she stripped off the jacket. It gave me an even better view of her slim, athletic figure. “You really should be kinder to yourself. Calling yourself trash is a negative affirmation, no matter how accurate…”

The little jerk Payton gave almost made me laugh out loud. Fire and ice. The verbal slap landed even as the chime sounded for us to get to class. The door opened and the teacher stepped out. His gaze swept over all of us before he glanced at the Blue Ace standing there all defiant.

“Good afternoon. Are you all right, Miss Crosse?”

“I’m great,” she declared with a smile. “Just need to get cleaned up.”

“Excellent. Miss Webber,” the teacher said, snapping his attention to where Payton and Vivian were both videoing the event. Petty little shits. Still…that meant I could savor the way Ace made that red-stained shirt work for her. “You know better than to film on campus. Let’s see it…”

Too late. She’d uploaded it and gave the teacher a false, oops of a smile. I ignored Payton. If she got nailed by administration, not my problem. I did twist to track Ace’s movements as she strolled away from us. It was definitely a stroll. No anger marred her movements, it was like she couldn’t be bothered with the likes of us.

Fuck that was hot.

©️ Heather Long, 2023

Bonus Scene: “Carnal”, an additional PoV for Dangerous Renegade

The following is an additional scene that took place in Dangerous Renegade. If you’ve read Dangerous Renegade, then you know Emersyn spent three days at Liam’s after the two of them finally hit the sheets. This is a scene focusing on their first morning together from Liam’s PoV.

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.



A soft sigh and a groan snapped me from asleep to awake. The shift of the bed next to accompanied by a low, drawn out cry pulled all of my attention. Hellspawn faced me, with Rome behind her. He had a hand on her breast and another on her clit as he thrust into her from behind.

The strain on her face, the soft “o” formed by her mouth was a gorgeous sight. Rolling onto my side, I caught Rome’s gaze but he just lifted his chin before returning all of his attention to the woman in our bed. So determined to swallow all the sounds of her own pleasure, Hellspawn writhed and moved.

Every thrust from Rome had her twisting her hips. The feel of her when she did that to me was fucking amazing. I leaned forward, blew a teasing breath across her neglected nipple and her dark eyes fluttered open. I waited for her to focus on me.

Surprise flickered through her drowsy pleasure followed by delight. The delight beckoned to me like a lighthouse in the storm. I swooped in to kiss her, teasing that same breast while Rome tended to the other.

Their movements grew more frenetic as I kept up the kiss, breaking the contact for only brief seconds to gasp some air and then her cries escalated. Rome’s thrusts stuttered as she gripped the back of my neck and his very sharp grunts had me lifting my head to watch as the orgasm rolled over her.

Hellspawn strained and then shuddered only to tighten her fingers against my nape. Another little sound escaped and they collapsed together. I settled on my side, drinking in the sight of her. Pink flushed her chest and her cheeks.

Even in the low light of the sun filtering through the privacy shades, she looked radiant. With light fingers, she traced my face even as she curved her free arm behind her to hug Rome.

“Good morning,” I said, grinning slowly. My own erection was definitely hard as a stone. Morning wood had nothing on this.

“Hi,” she whispered, her voice ragged. Her light touch drifted down my chest to my dick and she wrapped her hand around the base. The touch was almost too light, so I bumped against her palm as she began to stroke in an agonizingly tender way.

“Going to torture me this morning?” I teased, more than content to just enjoy the sight of her like this. As soon as she rallied, I planned to pin her to the bed for another round.

Who was I kidding? I wasn’t planning on letting her out of bed for at least twenty-four hours.

“No,” she said, laughing and it was the siren call of that lyrical sound that drew me in. “Just trying to recover…this was an amazing way to wake up.”

“Compliments of my brother.” The quip earned another smile, this one even brighter than the last.

“Thank you, “ Rome said, without irony as he lifted his head and pressed a kiss behind her ear. “You’re welcome.”

Her laughter escalated. She twisted, still giving me lazy pumps while she kissed Rome. It did something to me to watch them together, the way she kissed him and the absolute unabashed openness.

My mirror loved her without reservation or demand. The fact she seemed to not only reflect those same emotions but welcomed me into that knot of affection tying them together…

When she broke from Rome she leaned forward and I met her kiss with the same firm gentleness. It turned hotter and more demanding. I dragged her to me and she gave a soft cry and a shudder. Rolling over, I angled myself and slid home she wrapped around me and indulged me in a long, slow, and lazy pursuit of our pleasure.

The sound of the shower running intruded on our carnal good morning haze. “Need to get up,” she mumbled and I ran my hand down to her ass and stroked it in slow circles. That she could let me touch her was an amazing gift. Even more, that she was so boneless and relaxed against me.

“You don’t need to do anything,” I told her. “When Rome is done, I’ll carry you in there and wash you myself.”

Her swift inhale and the surprise dancing across her expression as she lifted her head satisfied something truly primitive in me.

“When I care about someone, Hellspawn, there’s nothing I won’t do for them.”

Her smile softened as she studied me. “You know, you have given me that impression.”

“Good,” I said firmly. Course, when we did make it to the shower and she went to her knees for me, I forgot how to breathe.

“You should know,” she told me, eyes dancing. “When I care about someone, there isn’t anything I won’t do for them either.”

Fuck. I forgot how to think and my legs were definitely the ones shaking when she finished. We eventually left the shower, but Hellspawn didn’t bother with clothes. I turned up the heat to make sure she was comfortable and then we went to have breakfast with Rome.

An hour later, I coaxed her back to bed and I had zero plans of letting her out of it. Rome promised to be back later and that was fine.

More than fine.

“Liam…” She groaned during one sweaty break while I trailed an ice cube along her spine.

“Too much?” I’d hardly been gentle. Even when I fought to be, she fought me back and it was so damn easy to get lost in her.

“No,” she whispered. “But I think you might be stuck with me. Not sure I can move.”

I grinned.

“Fine by me,” I promised then kissed her. “Rome will tell the boys.”

Her sigh only added to my humor. “I don’t know how long I can stay.”

“We have time,” I soothed her. “Where you go… I’m going to follow.”

No more denials. No more running—unless it was to her.

<hr />

©️ Heather Long, 2023

Bonus Scene: Daughters and Discovery, a Hank alternate PoV from Graduation and Gifts

We’re celebrating 500 reviews on Graduation and Gifts. As always, this scene naturally contains spoilers for the series up through Graduation and Gifts. This is an alternate PoV on the scene that opens the book.


“I was looking for Frankie Curtis,” I said, eyeing the young man who opened the door. A boyfriend? Probably. Though that came with its own kind of twist to my chest. She was so damn grown already. Right, get it together Hank. “I’m Henry Jackson.”

The guy answering her door went stiff, his eyes narrowed, and there was no mistaking the cool assessment in his expression. I couldn’t see past him into the apartment and I didn’t press except, he kept staring.

“I did get the right apartment?” Did I get the address wrong? “Sorry, if I’m coming by late. I drove here straight from the airport and I got lost once.”

Coming late? Yeah, eighteen fucking years Hank. The mental scolding didn’t do me any favors right now. I could nurse the guilt of missing my daughter’s whole life later.

“No,” he said slowly, some warmth sneaking into the chill of his voice. “You’re at the right place.” He glanced over his shoulder once, but didn’t move. I had a feeling, that door wasn’t going to budge if he didn’t decide to open it.

It seemed to take an eternity before he nodded and backed up a step. Then she was there. The slender, athletic build with a wild fall of golden blonde hair. Holy shit, she looked like Maddy. But where Maddy had a cool, almost cold edge to her there was nothing of that in this girl’s cautious manner.

And her eyes…. the rich, warmth of verdant green. Goddammit. Hate for Madeline Grayson swelled in my chest to the point it threatened to suffocate me. Frankie reached for her boyfriend’s hand and she lifted those eyes to meet my gaze steadily.

“I’m Frankie,” she said with a half-smile, her unease at all of this communicated itself perfectly. Oh sweet girl… me too. She went to extend her hand and hesitated. “I mean, yes, I’m Frankie. Would you like to come in Mister—or is it Professor…”

I clasped the offered hand before she could withdraw it. Her palm was a little sweaty, but then again so was mine. I could handle a lecture hall full of kids and wrangle all three of mine—one would think this wouldn’t be so damn hard.

“Hank,” I told her. Meeting her like this was both a shock and a wonder. I’d missed so damn much, but look at her. Look at the way she faced me even when her own fear was there. “Call me Hank.”

Would I prefer Dad? Fuck yes I would. That would take time though. Time and effort. I’d been absent for all of her life, but that wasn’t her fault. If I needed to earn that trust with her, the I would damn well be patient and take the time.

“And I can come in or we can go somewhere. I don’t want you to feel cornered or ambushed, just… You called and you mentioned graduation and I thought if you were reaching out that maybe you wanted to meet me and I’ve wanted to meet you.”

The words spilled out in a rush, but I wasn’t kidding. I wanted to meet her. I had since the attorney contacted me. She’d called…

Focus Hank, I snapped at myself mentally. She called. Maybe I jumped the gun a little but, actions spoke louder than words.

“I did want to—Yeah, it’s fine, come in.” She beckoned me indoors even as she backed up. The air was warm outside and the interior much cooler.

“You have company,” I said, catching sight of the others in the apartment. It wasn’t just Frankie and her boyfriend. They had friends over. “I’m interrupting.”

“It’s fine, these are my boyfriends, you’d have to meet them anyway.”

These are my…

Wait. “Boyfriends?”

She nodded, the corners of her mouth curving into a real, if shy smile. “Yeah, that’s Jake and…”

“Ian Rhys, sir,” the young blond offered even as he extended his hand. We shook hands briefly, then the second blond approached.

“Coop Brennen,” he said, grinning. “Boy next door and resident best friend as well as boyfriend.”

Frankie laughed. “Smart ass.”

“Benton,” Jake said as he took his turn for a handshake.

“And I’m Archie,” the fourth said, moving forward to stand next to Frankie. He was a dead ringer for his father, Maddy’s on-again, off-again…what was his name? “Standish.”

“Eddie Standish’s kid.” It wasn’t a judgment, but it was like falling into some kind of time warp. I’d seen Maddy and Eddie together. We weren’t friends, I’d been a TA and they’d been in one of my classes.

Where Maddy had been cool and dominating, Frankie radiated warmth and affection. Standish’s kid wasn’t like him either. There’d always been a wariness to Eddie. A discomfort like he wasn’t always sure where he stood, but his desperate love for Maddy had also been clear—even if they cheated on each other regularly.

“Unfortunately,” Archie said with a half-smile. “Hopefully you won’t hold that against me.”

“Not at all,” I assured him even as Frankie leaned into him. I didn’t miss the flicker of fear over her face as he spoke. Then again, who knew what they knew after all of Maddy’s lies… “Just surprised,” I admitted and then glanced at Frankie again. She was… I could picture her when she was the twins’ age almost too easily. She reminded me of Chloe, of who Chloe could become when she grew up and it was both heart wrenching and utterly magnificent. “I’m going to make this weird and keep staring, just ignore me for a bit. I promise I’ll get over it.”

“It’s okay,” she said with a laugh. “It is weird. I mean… Are you looking to see how I’m like you or how I’m like her?”

Five minutes with her and I didn’t see Maddy anymore. Yeah, some surface similarities, genetics more than anything else. But she was not like her mother at all. “More me than her, I mean, you’ve got her coloring. But those are my mom’s eyes and that little—crinkle right there at the corner of your right eye? That’s us too. Jackson family trait. We all do it.”

The most adorable of open grins spread across her face.

“Yeah, see,” I said, glancing at her circle of guys who kept a watchful eye on the both of us.

They were protective, it shown in the way they all stood, one foot angled toward her. Jake and Ian were both ready to block, that was clear from their posture. Coop seemed the most relaxed, but Archie made up for that in how he kept a very focused gaze on me.

“I’m making it weird. Kelly told me I do that because I talk, talking is my thing and I get chatty and then—well, everything kind of comes out jumbled. Great when you’re lecturing, can keep the room engaged, not so great when you’re meeting your adult daughter for the first time and she has no idea who you are.”

Right, definitely making it weird. I needed to get this under control

“He is so Frankie’s dad,” Coop said in a low voice, before he pressed a kiss to her temple. “If it’s all right to call you, Hank, sir, why don’t we all sit and I’ll grab some coffee. We could order in food if you’re hungry. We pretty much decimated the leftovers already.”

“Hank is fine, boys,” I said, taking the offer of a lifeline. I wanted time with Frankie and she had… “Boyfriends,” I muttered, then shook my head. “That’ll take a little getting used to. Chloe’s all of seven and she’s not allowed to date until she’s thirty.”

I let them take their seats first, then chose the love seat to be closer to her. Meeting my daughter for the first time. The world had shifted when Maddy reached out to me saying she was sick and she needed to find a paternal match.

First it was outrage, then worry, and ultimately, disappointment. If the tests excluded me, that was good, I didn’t miss out on a child’s life… then Frankie’s attorney called.

Maddy lied to me, not once, but twice. I’d missed out on so much and my whole world flipped upside down.

“Chloe is your daughter?” Her soft question grounded me.

“See, there I go… yes.” I shifted forward to pull my phone out of my pocket. Then I flipped through the photos app to pull up a picture of all of us. The twins and Alec all got their mother’s coloring, but Alec looked a lot like me. “This is Kelly, she’s my wife—she’s also looking forward to meeting you. I thought about bringing everyone, but Kelly insisted that it should just be us at first, then when you’re ready you can come meet your siblings.”

The little catch in Frankie’s breath, the flash of her teeth over her lower lip, and the way her knuckles went white where she gripped Archie’s hand were all tells.

“If you want,” I rushed to assure her. “No pressure. I mean, yes, this is pressure me showing up, but really no—I… I wanted to meet you. I’m very sorry I didn’t know about you. She never told me. Not until she asked for a DNA sample because you were sick.”

Worry darkened her expression.

“I know you’re not,” I continued keeping my focus on her. “Mr. Wittaker explained. Of course…” I cleared my throat as emotion clogged it. “I’m sorry about that either way. And I’m very glad you’re not sick.”

“No.” Apology coated every word. “I’m not. And I’m sorry she made you think I was.”

“Yeah well, that was then and this is now and when your attorney called, I was… I was surprised but I told him I’d already done a sample and I didn’t mind doing it again. Apparently, once I agreed to it, the lab released the results. I told him, I wanted to speak to you and that I would welcome any contact.”

“He told me,” she admitted. “I wasn’t… Okay confession time, I wasn’t sure about meeting you. I had no idea…and Maddy and I aren’t… Well we’re not close. She didn’t tell me anything about you either.” Her nerves were right there and holy shit did I feel that. “And maybe I was a little afraid.”

Right, my little girl was afraid. Get your shit together, Jackson. Didn’t matter what came next. Time to make it better for her.

Missed the first eighteen years, and I didn’t want to miss another moment.

Bonus Scene: Guys and Games, a Frankie bonus scene for Hangovers and Holidays

The best part of vacation is the games we play. This scene naturally contains spoilers for the series up through Hangovers and Holidays.


Making up our own rules to play the various board games had been hilarious. We’d done everything from strip poker to kiss trivia—I was pretty sure my lips were a little bruised from Jake’s earlier winning streak at the trivia game.

“Why are we playing this one?” I asked as I looked at the stack of question cards they’d put in front of me. Also, I wasn’t gonna comment on the “Frankie Trivia” game that Archie had added to the back of every “card.”

“Cause it’s fun,” Ian said with a slow smile. “And some people can’t decide whose turn it is to sleep with you so we’re wagering on it.”

Laughter bubbled up through me. “Maybe I should get to pick and we don’t sleep in my bed, I come sleep in one of yours.”

That got me more than one interested look, but Coop just winked. “Nah, this is more fun. I mean we all know you’d pick me cause I’m your favorite.”

Giggling, I enjoyed the pair of pillows that winged right at Coop. He managed to catch Jake’s but Archie’s smacked him upside the head. Not even missing a beat, Coop settled both pillows next to him.

“Mine now.”

“Right,” Archie said. “For that, you get skipped in the first round.”

“Seconded,” Jake said with a smirk and Ian hid a laugh.

Coop flipped them both off. “Like I said, I don’t need to ‘win’ her affections, I’ve already got them.”

I reached for my coffee and took a sip as they mock-glared at each other. “Speaking of which,” Ian said, raising his voice just enough to talk over them. “Who is going first?”

“If we go by age, it’s Jake for youngest,” Archie suggested. “Or you for oldest.”

Before this could devolve into wrestling or more, I raised two fingers. “Why don’t I just go first with asking the questions and you guys get to write down the answer? Then reveal it at the same time.”

“That’s ridiculously fair, Babe,” Archie said with a slow grin. “You sure I can’t bribe you into something more slanted in my favor.”

“Nope,” I teased and he laughed.

“Fine,” he gave a mock sigh and then they were passing out the little whiteboards Archie had found in the game closet. Grandpa Ted had stocked this place well. I glanced around the cabin, I almost hated the idea that we would have to leave it at some point soon.

I loved it here.

The fire crackled in the hearth and the scent of pine from the tree just added to the overall effect. Touching my tongue to my teeth, I flipped over the first question and giggled.

Coop’s handwriting. No wonder he was certain he had an edge.

“What is my love language?” My face warmed as I read the question. It had nothing on the scorching heat in their eyes.

One by one, they flipped their answers.

Archie’s just said, “Coffee.”

I burst out laughing.

Coop’s read, “Acts of service.”

Ian had written, “Patience and forgiveness.”

Jake wrote, “Your huge ass heart.”

“Technically,” Coop retorted, “We all said the same thing.”

“Archie said coffee,” Jake argued.

“Which is an act of service for our lovely girl here.”

I couldn’t help it but laugh. “You all get a point. Next question…”

There was grumbling but they erased their boards in prep. I caught the twinkle in Ian’s eyes. I got the feeling he was enjoying the grumbling as much as I was.

“What is the most romantic thing I have ever done for you?” The flush on my face went to my neck on this one, but I was also curious as hell.

They flipped their boards at the same time. Every single one said the same thing.

“Forgave me.”

Now I was going to cry.

“Ah,” Archie said as he leaned forward. “No tears. It was romantic as fuck—the second most romantic thing you ever did was say yes to a date. I’d say that was first, but it took a while to get you to notice we were asking.”

I sniffled, my tears fading some into a weepy laugh. “Fine, everyone gets a point. This is a terrible game.”

“I like it,” Jake said, nudging my leg. “You need to hear things like this more often.”

I stuck my tongue out at them but their expressions remained indulgent. “At this rate, we’re all five going to be sleeping in the same bed.”

“Told you, I’d win,” Coop said, his grin firm and smug.

“Next question.” I blinked at this one then re-read it. The handwriting was definitely Archie’s and his grin spread. He had to know. Such an ass.

Adorable ass, but still.

“What is my favorite food?”

Groans and laughter greeted the question. They answered with varying forms of coffee, chocolate, coffee and chocolate. Coop added “me” to his and I laughed so hard, he gave himself an extra point.

There were another five or six questions and the guys were neck and neck. Arguably, even when their answers were different, they weren’t wrong. I had a feeling this was not going to solve our” who was sleeping in my bed tonight” conundrum and I didn’t mind it.

Maybe we could all camp out down here again.

“Last question,” I said because we were on the last card. “What is my favorite memory of our relationship so far?”

The briefest of hesitations as the guys glanced at each other. “Individually or as a group?” Archie asked.

As one, Coop and Jake said, “Group.”

They nodded then started writing. I took another drink of my coffee as I watched the four of them, the fire warming the room, their faces flushed from laughter and their eyes bright.

I didn’t doubt their answers, but right now? This was my favorite moment. My favorite memory.

My favorite guys.

© 2023 Heather Long

Bonus Scene: Payback and Pals, a Rachel bonus scene for Songs and Sweethearts

Congratulations on hitting 500 reviews on Songs and Sweethearts. The funny thing is after a while it does become a challenge coming up with bonus scenes for these guys cause we’ve covered so much. So I did a little sidestep over to Rachel, cause who doesn’t love our girl? Christmas, a trip home, a blast from the past—good times, right? Also, this might be a little spoilery if you haven’t read S&S. But only a little.


Christmas in Texas was an experience. One not everyone appreciated. A part of me enjoyed getting away from the bitter cold in New York. You got on the plane wearing layers, stripped most of them away after you landed. Texas was not New York.

I had to cover up some other layers while I was here. Visits home on the holidays could mean a lot of things. Fights. Tears. Tears and fights. Drinking. Cold, unforgiving silence. Laughter, music, and boozy fun. You just never knew what it was going to be. So for a few days, I could pack away my personality and just make peace.

At least I had an exit strategy these days. A timetable. The light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t four years and a graduation away. Uncle Basil greeted me in baggage claim. His bloodshot eyes were a concern, but he didn’t smell like a distillery. So—improvement?

“Hey,” I greeted him with a hug. “Where’s Mom?” Yeah that was a loaded grenade of a question but Basil just gave me a kind of careless shrug after he kissed my temple.

“Your cousin is pregnant,” he warned me and the disdain beneath the words feathered out.

My cousin? “Basil, I have fourteen different cousins. Can you be more specific?” I shouldered my camera bag more tightly. My wallet, cash, phone, and more were also stored in my purse which was in my carry-on. Since I got two, I made sure my camera bag was with me.

He gave me one of those looks that had me grimacing.

“She’s fourteen.”

“Fifteen on her last birthday,” he said with a sigh. “Old enough to be messing around, too young to understand the consequences. She’s so damn proud of herself. Gonna marry her pimply-faced baby daddy and raise kids. That’s now her goal in life.”

Kill me. I could hear it coming…

“Your mother has gone to try and talk some sense into her sister—” Dorothy Ann was also his sister, but I didn’t correct him. Dorothy Ann and Basil didn’t speak. As far as I knew, they hadn’t exchanged a single word in my hearing for most of my life. They didn’t even mention each other by name.

“Besides being a grandmother, what sense does she need?” I spotted my bag and went for it. Basil followed along amiably, taking a hold of my carry-on bag by the handle so it bumped along with us.

“Oh the usual melodrama,” he said, his tone so filled with disgust it was hard to ignore. “Her life is over, she’s failed her, and she disowned the girl already.”

Fuck. My. Life.

“She threw her out?”

He just gave me a tired look. “She had sex out of wedlock and is now pregnant. She’s stained the whole family with her heathen behavior.”

Kill. Me.


“Where is Rain now?” Why was I even asking? His bushy eyebrows went up. She was at home. “Fuck, she’s staying in my room, isn’t she?”

He gave me a sorrowful sigh. “We’ve got some of Ohio down…”

“Thank you for the warning. They opened a new hotel, right?”

“Already booked your room. Making your mother pay for half of it, I got the other half.”

“You didn’t have to do that.”

“No, we did. I’d have booked my own room if she’d let me get away with it. No need for both of us to drown in the madness.”

The temptation to see if I could just fly back to New York was strong, but—it was the holidays. Frankie deserved some time with the guys by herself and I had to visit family to shut them up for a few months.

This was what I did. I’d just rent a car while I was here. And honestly, Christmas in a hotel sounded way preferable to all the family drama. I’d probably rescue Rain for part of it though. Make sure she actually had time to think with everyone shouting at her about what she had to do.


Fuck that.

Three days later, I was sitting in a booth at Mason’s, drinking a shake and reading on my digital tablet. I’d spent the morning finishing my Christmas shopping for the family in between taking Rain to a doctor’s appointment. Afterward, she’d asked me to take her to her boyfriend’s place.

Yep. My house had become ground zero and she just wanted to see the pimply-faced kid she was dating. I got a good look at him too. Granted, not my type, but his genuine happiness at seeing her hadn’t been faked. But they looked so young it just made me want to bang my head against the table.

Her words of this is what I want circled endlessly in the back of my head, so I went for the dirty, dirty smut of gang bangs and enemies to lovers to just get away from it. Just because it would not be my choice, didn’t mean I could disrespect hers even if I wanted to shout but you’re a baby too!

The door jingled and I spared it a brief glance like I did whenever anyone wandered in on the quiet afternoon. Mason’s wouldn’t be hopping with the after school crowd when school was out. The glance up and then down again had been automatic, but I blinked as I tried to refocus on the screen in front of me before glancing up again.


Fuck. I hadn’t imagined it.

“Sharon,” I said in as neutral a tone as I could muster. Two plus years past all that shit in high school and I still had no fucks to spare for her. This cunt had made Frankie’s life hell and she was grinning at me like we were long-lost pals?

“Oh my god, look at you!” And of course, she crossed right over to my booth then invaded my side of the booth in a cloud of eye-watering perfume and breath mints. She gave me one of those awkward size-squeezes of a hug. “You don’t mind if I join you? I mean I can’t stay for long. I just slipped in for a drink before I headed to the mall.”

Yay me.

She didn’t wait for me to answer before sliding into the seat opposite me. A waitress who looked as painfully young as my cousin wandered over and took her order for a diet coke and onion rings then wandered away. I took a drink from my shake and Sharon shook her head.

“You aren’t worried about the freshman fifteen?”

I snorted. “Not a freshman.” And with all the walking I did in New York? No, it wasn’t a concern. Besides, I let myself have cheats when I wanted them. Starving yourself just made you hangry and bitchy.

Not that Sharon needed help.

“That’s true,” she said with a sigh, then the waitress was back with her soda. After she left, Sharon stripped the paper off her straw. “How is—where did you end up going?”

“Away,” I said succinctly. “Where you should consider going now.”

She laughed. It was uneven and a little hollow, but she laughed. “You always were a blunt thing. I promised I wouldn’t stay long, but we haven’t caught up in ages. We used to be friends, remember?”

Was she legit scolding me right now? For fucking real?

Thankfully, the waitress brought her the greasy onion rings. Now, if I were a real petty bitch, I’d give her shit about the deep-fried foods.

While I might be a bitch, I wasn’t that petty.

“We were never real friends,” I corrected her after the waitress left. Poor thing would probably curl up and die if someone looked at her cross-eyed. Better to keep her out of the line of fire.

“Now that’s just bullshit.” She actually looked offended. “We were all friends, you, me, Maria, Patty, Cheryl—”

She broke off on the last.

There was a name missing from her list.

Among many others, but a very specific name.

“I just want to be polite and catch up.” Now the note in her voice went more than a little strained.

“Okay, let’s catch up then, but let’s not pretend we were friends, Sharon. You were a social climbing, backstabbing, selfish, overbearing, and mean fucktwat in school. Most of those are fine, I’m definitely a little selfish and more than a little mean. I’ve even been known to be overbearing, but I never tried to deliberately stab a so-called friend in the back or climb over her to get to a guy.”

Nor would I ever.

“And furthermore,” I continued, cutting her off when she would have interrupted and pointed a fry at her. “You tried to terrorize someone you once called a friend. Trust me when I say you don’t have the first fucking clue what it is to be a friend. Fortunately, you were unsuccessful in all your little attempts to character assassinate and drive a wedge between Frankie and her guys.”

All pretense of politeness fell away from Sharon’s face and her lips compressed. “We don’t need to discuss her.”

“Oh, but we do, you see—she is my friend. She has been a better friend to me than I was to her at times. She put up with a lot shit, a lot. And all you did was capitalize on her misery and try to make it worse. Thankfully, you failed. But you did give them a lot of meaty material.”

“What…?” Confusion clouded her gaze.

Like I said, I wasn’t a petty bitch. “Bound Hearts? Surely you’ve heard them. Great album. The group is touring right now. All the rage on TikTok with clips from their debut.”

“Yes,” she said slowly, and I just grinned before I took a bite of my fry. Comprehension took a minute but watching it slowly ripple over her face was really delightful. Totally improved my day.

“Meaty material, and they’re happier than ever. Maybe we should thank you for holding their feet to the fire.” I made a show of thinking about it. “The guys really closed ranks around her the more you tried to tear her down, the more they lifted her up.”

Her smile was sickly thin and quickly fading.

“Nah, scorpion is gonna scorpion. But she’s happy and in love and they adore her and you’re—well—you.”

Without a word, Sharon slid out of the booth and left her onion rings untouched and her soda barely drunk.

“Aww,” I said with mock-concern. “Leaving so soon? I thought you wanted to catch up.”

“You’re such a bitch.”

I grinned. “Yes, I am.” She only scowled in response and stalked toward the door. Guess I was getting stuck with the bill for her food. Excellent investment. At the jingle of the door, I called out, “Merry Christmas!”

With a glare, she all but stomped out to her car and I cackled to myself. Not petty in the slightest. That felt good. Even money said she would listen to every single one of their songs and try to dissect which part was a reference to her. That was gonna live rent-free in her head for a while.

I pulled the onion rings over and took a bite out of one before turning my tablet back on to resume reading. The holiday was already looking better.

Bonus Scene: Radiant and Reunited, A Bonus Scene for Changes and Chocolates

Congratulations on hitting 500 reviews for Changes and Chocolates all of you! And in honor of Stephanie Heinritz’s birthday, I saved this bonus scene just for her. Jake coming back from Germany was a great moment for Coop and Frankie (Jake too) reuniting the three of them once more. It’s not a long scene, but it is a fun one. 


Summer heat rose in radiant waves from the sidewalk and black-topped roads before it was even ten in the morning. We’d barely gotten our bags unzipped and the new beds set up so Louisa and Becca could get their naps in before I’d asked Mom if I could take my bike over to Frankie’s and Coop’s apartments.

“You should probably wait another couple of hours,” she told me and I stared at her. “They’re still at school.”

Oh. Right.


Thankfully, I didn’t spit that last word out. They still had another week of school before summer break here. “I forgot.”

“I know, help me unpack the stuff for the kitchen and as soon as school is out, you can ride right over there.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Oh, and Jake?” She motioned to the fridge. “Remember I need to go shopping, tomorrow we’re going to the junior high. They said you can try out for the football tea—”

I crashed into Mom and hugged her. I half-picked her up. “Thank you!” She’d promised she’d reach out to them to see if there was a chance for me to try out for the junior high team even though it was late into the spring and they’d begin practices over the summer.

Her laughter was a sweet sound, one we didn’t get to hear that often anymore. She kissed me on the top of the head and I hustled into the kitchen. A lot of our gear and stuff had been left in storage when we’d gone overseas, so Mom had it delivered the day we came in.

It took me almost the whole two hours to get the full kitchen unpacked. Fortunately, I remembered exactly where Mom liked everything. One thing I could thank the military for, I could pack and unpack in nothing flat. I was already changing my shirt when Mom said school was out. They had to take a bus home so I would have time to make it the mile and a half to their places on my bike.

“You sure you don’t want me to drive you?”

“I’m good,” I told her. “You don’t want to drag the girls out anyway.” I kissed her cheek. “Is it cool if I stay there for dinner?”

“As long as you don’t invite yourself.”

“I won’t!”

New keys in my pocket, I was out and on my bike before she could change her mind. It was weird how familiar everything was. We’d been gone almost three years. Almost. But I knew exactly where to go and I picked up speed as I raced along the sidewalks, crossed streets, and then along a back way to where they lived.

I didn’t even question that they were still there. They had to be. Frankie was probably going to punch me in the nose and Coop was going to make fun of me. I caught sight of the yellow bus ahead and kicked up the pace.

Cutting across the grocery store parking lot, I found the little alley that cut right through their back fence into the apartments’ parking lot and I skidded to a halt right in front of the back stairs that led up to Frankie’s apartment. Ahead of me, at the top of the drive, I caught sight of golden blonde hair as she bounced off the bus.

Coop was right behind her. She pivoted without missing a beat, walking backwards and from the way her hands were moving—she was giving him hell. I dropped the bike and started up the hill. They were about fifteen steps away when Coop’s head jerked up, he stared right at me.

“Holy shit—”

Spinning around, Frankie stopped almost as abruptly as Coop did. I grinned at them. How mad was she going to—

I barely had time to finish the thought before she slammed into me at speed. The hug actually knocked me back a step. Man, she’d gotten taller. So had Coop. All arms and legs, Frankie squeezed me. Then she pulled back and wow—the blow caught me right in the cheek and my eyes watered.

“You asshole,” she said.

“Yep,” I said with a wince. “That’s me.”

“I missed you.”

“Nope, I can pretty much tell you that you didn’t.” I rubbed my face but she hugged me again and all was forgiven.

“So,” Coop said as Frankie checked my face then pulled away again. “We were just arguing about pizza and movies since her mom is working late and my mom is gonna be late cause Trina has scouts tonight.”


“Yep,” Frankie said, then grimaced. “Sorry about the punch.”

“Nah, I deserved it.”

I really did. I hadn’t written them. Not once. I was an asshole.

“You did, but I am still sorry.”

I hooked an arm around her shoulders and dragged her to me. “Pizza and movies?”


She bounced against me and Coop laughed.

“Welcome home,” she told me, then gave me a quick kiss to the cheek. “I’m gonna go feed the cats and change. Meet you guys at Coop’s!”

Then she was gone, running like we were chasing her. I stared after her for a minute, a stupid grin on my face.

“She’s still my girl.” Coop informed me.

“I’ll get her back,” I promised.

He laughed, then punched me in the arm. “Good. She’s missed you.”

I’d missed them too.

Bonus Scene: Inked, a bonus PoV for Vicious Rebel

1000 reviews. 1000! That’s a lot. I love how much y’all love Vandals. Truly. I can’t tell you how much I love writing this series. So, for your reading pleasure and because you voted over in Team Mad for more Vaughn (or all the Vaughn is what I think you said), here is your bonus scene. This will contain some spoilers for Vicious Rebel, clearly. So do not read if you are not caught up. Also, this is likely going to fall into the NSFW category. coughs You’ve been warned.


Dove’s harsh breath and the slam of a door knocked some of the glorious haze off my release. Hers too apparently because one moment she was wrapped around me and the next she pushed those tiny hands to my chest to get me to move. With a groan, I dragged myself to the side. Leaving her slick cunt was not my idea of something to hurry, but she slipped out of bed and hurried to the door.


I hauled myself up, but she was already out of the room naked with my cum dripping down her thighs. No way in Hell was she rushing out there alone so I got my shit together and was a half-step behind her.

“Easy, Sparrow,” Kel said as he caught her. While he didn’t drag her back, he did pick her right up off the ground and turned her from the door.


“I know.” He used his soothing voice, one he would rely on when Jasper was too close to the edge but Dove’s crushed expression shredded my fucking heart. Yeah, I came to apologize and yes, we’d had sex. None of that was something that should ever make her feel bad. “Let him go for the moment.”

“He’s right,” I told her and ignored the brutal look Kel shot my way. Yeah, he blamed me for some of this. While he wasn’t wrong, I didn’t actually care what they all thought right now. Dove was the important one. Those doe eyes cut to me and a glimmer of tears flashed in them. Yeah, I couldn’t handle the crying right now. Especially if we were the ones making her cry. “C’mere, Dove.”

“Vaughn…” That was misery. Pure and simple. I hated hurting my brothers too, but Jasper needed to calm the fuck down. His possessiveness had gotten out of control.

“I know, c’mon.”

When Kel set her down, careful of where he’d put his hands, I just scooped her up. Ignoring Kellan for now, I carried her right back into her dark room and kicked the door closed. First, she was already shivering from the cooler temperature out there. Or maybe it was just a reaction to the overwhelming emotion.

We needed to dial this shit back before we really scared her off.

“Put me down,” she ordered as soon as I had the door closed.

“I will,” I promised, but I didn’t set her down until we reached the bed. Then I turned on the light. Because some conversations were meant for the dark. This was not one of them.

“I need to get dressed,” she told me before she scooted to the end of the bed.

“I wish you wouldn’t.” I could pull a Jasper and order her, but I wouldn’t. As it was, I took a seat on the bed and got out of her way. Her reaction down in the warehouse over the fight said a lot more about her strength and her fragility than anything else. The urge to wrap her up was right there, but we couldn’t smother her.

No matter how much we wanted to do it.

“I have to go after him…”

“No,” I said. “You don’t.”

Whirling, she glared at me. “You didn’t see his face.”

“I don’t have to have seen his face,” I told her, focusing on the fire in her eyes. “I know him, Dove. I know how angry he probably was.”

“Then why are you so calm?”

“Because he’s Jasper. Anger is his love language, sometimes.” I sighed. “That sounds bad. He’s very possessive where you are concerned. Finding you here—with me? Probably drove home the point that he doesn’t get a say in what you do.”

“Or who?” The dry challenge there pulled a reluctant smile from me.

“No, he doesn’t get to decide that Dove. If you want me, I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere.”

“And if I want him?”

“I won’t deny you what you want.” I spread my hands, but at least she wasn’t trying to get dressed anymore. She just stood there with the t-shirt in her hands. “Or who.”

Shock rippled over her face. “Why?”

“Why won’t I deny you?” Cause I wanted to be sure what she was asking.

Something frustrated and helpless flickered over her face as she spread her arms. “I don’t understand you guys.”

“Come here, Dove.” I held out a hand to her and curled my fingers in invitation. For a moment, she hovered there—suspended between action and inaction. The need to help her was a knot in my gut. But she needed to reach out to us. The shirt fell from her fingers as she crossed to the bed.

When her palm glided over mine, I wrapped my hand around hers and gave her a gentle tug. She came right to me and I pulled her onto my lap. She framed my thighs with her own as she straddled me. The dampness from earlier left us both sticky, but I didn’t give a damn about that.

With light fingers, she explored my chest and the ink on my shoulders and my arms. “I don’t like that I’m the reason he’s hurting.”

“You’re not,” I told her and when she kept her gaze on my chest, I slid a finger under her chin and lifted her eyes to me. “You are not the reason. Jas has his own issues. Those aren’t on you to fix or to apologize for.”

“But—” She broke off and went back to staring at my tattoos. When she moved to the shield, I shifted my arm so she could run her fingers over it. “But he looked so hurt.”

“I imagine he did. He wants you a lot. He wants you to want him.” I took a breath. “I think he wants you to want him only.”

Those dark eyes lifted to mine.

“I want you,” I told her. “I’ve made no bones about that.”

“Well…” The barest hint of a smile curved the corner of her mouth.

“Bone, Dove,” I teased. “Not boner.” She bit her lip, but it didn’t keep her smile from flashing over her face. “My point is—I want you. I’m okay if you want him too. Jas will be—eventually. Just let him get out of his own way.”

“Vaughn…” There was no mistaking the troubled note in her voice. “This is all very—different for me.”

“So we figure it out.” Because while I’d never been opposed to sharing with the guys, it was definitely different for all of us to want one girl. We did. Whether they owned up to it yet or not. We all wanted her and we’d wanted her for a long time. Maybe that level of intensity was too much for her.


But Jas—we needed Jas to get to this realization on his own. She needed him. Hopefully it wouldn’t involve me having to knock his head in to get some sense in there.

“Just like that?”

“Just like that,” I confirmed. The brush of her fingers dancing over my tattoos pulled my attention to my chest again. “Do you want me to tell you the stories of these?”

“Yes.” No hesitation.

I grinned. “Before or after, I make you ‘bone’-less once more?”

It was a gamble, but the tension vibrating off of her made the spot between my shoulder blades itch. When I cupped her cheek, she leaned right in and then her mouth was on mine.

Good answer.

©2022 Heather Long