Read Full Package Online

Authors: Lauren Blakely

Full Package (19 page)


ive months

he apartment hunt
didn't last long this time.

Nothing was cursed. No one was crazy. I didn't have to sell a spleen or a kidney, either.

As it turns out, all I had to do was remove a piece of a chandelier from a guy's forehead and then stitch it up without a trace.

Kevin hooked me up. Who knew that one day Aquaman would stumble into my ER with a three-inch shard of glass in his forehead, and a beautiful bond would form. I'd fix his face and send him on the path to safer sexcapades. He would wind up engaged and return the favor by connecting me with some of his real estate contacts. One of his real estate guys found a one-bedroom for us in Chelsea that costs an arm and a leg. But somehow we're making it all work, doing our best every day.

Josie's bakery is thriving. Her afternoon specials have lured in many new customers, and they're loving her mini cinnamon buns, the chocolate peanut butter brownies, the candy sushi, and even the grapefruit macarons. Nothing with raisins, though. Thank the Lord.

But tonight, she's not cooking.

I am.

Not gonna lie. Cooking has never been my forte. But learning has. I tracked down some recipes, watched a few videos, practiced a couple of times, and now I'm making her dinner.

I whip up the pasta primavera I've planned for the menu. It's a simple dish, but it's her favorite, and seeing as she treats me like a king in the kitchen, I want to treat her like a queen.

When she walks in the door to our home, she lifts her nose high and inhales. “Mmm,” she says in a sexy purr. “Smells good. Somebody's getting lucky tonight.”

I leave the kitchen, wrap an arm around her waist, and kiss her. “Had I only known cooking dinner was the way to get in your pants, I'd have done it sooner.”

She laughs and drops another kiss on my lips. “Can you imagine? You'd be getting it three times a day instead of once or twice.”

Yeah, we're regulars.

Every night. Sometimes every morning, too, even though we rarely get out of bed at the same time. But that doesn't hinder the pursuit of orgasms, since synchronized wake-up calls aren't necessary for sleepy morning sex, and that's a habit we both enjoy.

After she sets down her purse and washes her hands, we eat the dinner I made. When we're done, I clear my throat. “Josie, there's something I want to tell you.”

Her eyes widen. “Yes?”

I clasp my hand over hers, then frown. “It's about dessert. I have bad news.”

She goes along with my trumped-up concern. “You baked a cake and it fell? You used too much salt in the brownies? Wait. No. Don't tell me you made something with raisins.”

I shudder. “Never. But I want to be truthful with you.” I inhale deeply, piling it on. “The crème brûlée on the menu? I didn't make it with a crème brûlée torch. In fact, crème brûlée is really fucking hard to make. Confession—I bought it.”

She cracks up and runs her hand through my hair. “I forgive you, and I won't even throat-punch you.”

I gesture to the kitchen. “Any chance I can trouble you to grab it, though? I just need to gather up the plates.”

“Of course.” She rises and heads to the kitchen, and with lightning speed, I race to the couch, grab a board from underneath it, and carry it ever-so-carefully with my steady hands to the table.

When I set it down, every tile I laid out earlier is still in place.

And when Josie emerges from the kitchen, I'm in place, too—down on one knee, with a jewelry box in my hand.

She gasps and points to the table, her mouth falling open. She gawks at the Scrabble board. The words on it don't connect with each other like in a crossword puzzle. But they don't have to. I'm not trying to win a double-word score. I want to win her heart forever, and that's why four words, and four words only, are spelled out. I say them out loud. “Will you marry me?”

I flip open the box and present a sparkling diamond ring. “I love you madly, Josie Hammer. Will you be more than my roommate, more than my girlfriend? You're already my best friend. Will you be my wife?”

“Yes,” she says, and throws her arms around me, kissing me as tears fall down her cheeks. “I can't wait for you to be my husband.”

“Me, too,” I say, taking out the diamond.

She holds out her hand, and I slide the ring on her finger. “I guess I'm the one getting lucky tonight,” she says with a joyful grin on her face.

The same is true for me, especially since every night, after we engage in our favorite hobby, she lets my hand be Lyle Lyle.

Soon, that hand will have a ring on it.

Another Epilogue

little later

et's say
, for the sake of argument, that you've fallen madly in love with your best friend. You'd thank your lucky stars you took the chance on living together, right?

If we hadn't been stuck between the rock and the hard place of New York City real estate, I'm not sure we would have combusted the way we did. Living in a mere six hundred square feet with Josie made it impossible to miss what was right in front of me—the woman of my dreams.

I used to think I was the king of compartmentalizing. I thought I could handle romance the way I have to treat my emotions about a patient. But moving in with my best friend taught me that some things are better when they're not separate.

Like desires and actions.

Lust and feelings.

Love and sex.

One used to go
The other went
. But everything collided head-on with Josie, smashing together in a potent blend. Looking back, am I ever glad she needed a boob friend the night she slipped into my bed. That one night led to this great love, and now she's my wife.

Sometimes she calls me the full package, the thing she said she was looking for. “I love your brain, and your heart, and your smile, and I especially love
part,” she'll say, then she'll get a little frisky. Which is fine by me. “But most of all, I love that you're my terrible-singing, innuendo-delivering, sweets-loving, big-hearted Doctor McHottie husband who takes care of me in every way.”

And you know, I've got it pretty bad for my bold and daring, bright and beautiful, heart-on-her-sleeve, Scrabble-loving, cherry-scented wife who takes care of me, too.

I could say she's the full package, and that's all well and good.

But what she truly is . . . is a gift.


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Curious about Chase's siblings? Mia gets her own story in HAPPY TRAIL, coming in the fall! But first, want to meet Max and Henley Rose? In May you can get your hands on
, where you'll get inside the mind of Max Summers. Here's a sneak peek . . .

across the row of sleek, shiny automobiles, my jaw nearly clanging to the floor.

No way. No fucking way.

The beautiful brunette.

With the long legs.

Killer body.

Smart mouth.

Attitude for miles.

She sports a streak of grease on her cheek and grips a wrench in her hand.

And she grins at me like the cat who has eaten the canary's whole damn family then finished them off with a dish of cream.

She looks at me like she's already won.

But she has no idea who she's up against.

Game on, Henley Rose.

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ote to reader
: If you've read WELL HUNG and you're wondering how Chase's story fits into the overall timeframe — FULL PACKAGE takes place between the first and second epilogues of WELL HUNG. You know what I mean :)


y next hot
, sexy, sweet standalone is THE HOT ONE! This is a dual-POV second chance romance and it releases March 14th!
You can find THE HOT ONE here

is Prologue

, I didn't drop my drawers the first time I saw her again. More like my balls.

The ones in my hands.
Juggling balls.

Here's how it went down. Picture a Sunday morning in Central Park. A perfect summer day. The grass was green, the breeze was warm, and I'd just spent the last few hours getting acquainted with turtles and frogs at the children's zoo because I was an awesome uncle. And Carly's one cool seven-year-old.

The kid loved all creatures great and small, but especially the ones that jump and crawl, so I took her to the enchanted forest part of the zoo. When we finished, she tugged on my shirtsleeve, batted her hazel eyes, and asked ever so sweetly for an ice cream cone.

Like I stood a chance at resisting her.
Clearly, she got her good looks and charm from me, even if I'm technically her first cousin once removed since she's my cousin's kid. But, whatever. All the awesome parts of her must have filtered down from my side of the Nichols clan.

With her hand in mine, we strolled across the grass near the running path, hunting for the nearest ice cream dealer.

And then Carly did that thing little kids do.

She shrieked for what seemed like absolutely no reason. Next, she pointed to an impossibly tall dude wearing a beret while juggling two Rubix cubes, two orange balls, and a small green beanbag.

“He can do five, Uncle Tyler!” Carly shouted, her eyes going wide.

“Five isn't too shabby,” I said with a shrug.

She turned to me with a questioning stare. “I've never seen you do five before.”

“That's because I haven't shown you all my tricks yet.”

“Can you really juggle five balls?”

I scoffed. “Please, I can do that my with eyes closed.”

I didn't put myself through law school juggling for nothing.

Just kidding.

You can't put yourself through law school juggling anything but insane class schedules and lack of sleep.

Carly arched an eyebrow. So did the juggler, as he kept up the cascade of his quintet.

“I want to see. Show me,” Carly urged.

Yeah, Carly's a chip off the old block. She's all about challenging me, and I'm all about rising up to the challenge.

The stick-thin guy with the beret raised his chin. “Have at it, man.”

With clockwork precision, he let the balls fall out of orbit and into his palm. Next, the Rubix cubes. Then the beanbag. He stepped closer, handed me the objects, and flashed a crooked, put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is grin.

Game on.

Packs of runners jogged along, cyclists wheeled over the black asphalt, and roller bladers whizzed by on the concrete. With my feet parked a hip's width apart, I stood at the edge of the grass, getting a feel for the items, palming them, weighing them, and then one, two, three, four, five, I whisked each one up into the air in a long oval arc. Round and round, in a perfect five-ball cascade.

Carly clapped, then demanded more. “Yes, close your eyes now!”

I groaned. What was I thinking? Juggling with eyes closed is fucking hard. But, I could pull it off for a couple seconds, I guessed. My special skill. I obliged my niece's request, pulling off a few quick blind ovals. Five seconds later, after I'd clearly proven that I'd mastered that party trick, since any successful man needs at least a few party tricks at his disposal, I opened my eyes.

And I saw a vision from my past.

A blond beauty, with long legs, a lovely round ass, and a high ponytail swishing back and forth across her shoulders. She ran along the path in tiny orange can-I-peel-them-off-with-my-teeth-pretty-please running shorts. And that face. Dear lord, that stunning face of an angel. High cheekbones. Deep brown eyes that knew me like no one ever had. Those red lips, shaped like a bow. Fuck me, the things she could do with those lips. The things I taught her to do with that sinful mouth.

She sure as hell knew how to use it, and I don't just mean in the bedroom. We used to talk about anything and everything.

I'd recognize Delaney anywhere, not just from all the times with her, but from my dreams too. My dirty, filthy dreams from college.

Days with her. Nights with her. Best time of my life. That woman was full of spark. Full of fire. So damn passionate. And look at her now.

Jesus Christ.

Who the hell said it was acceptable to become even hotter?

It had to be illegal to be that smoking hot.

She wasn't alone. She ran with two other chicks and a couple of dogs.

And as for me? Fast on his feet, quick with a word, never met a situation he can't talk his way out of? Scratch all that right then and there. Because I dropped the cubes. I dropped the beanbag. And I dropped the orange balls in a pile of wreckage at my feet.

My jaw fell too.

But the best part? All that came out of my mouth was a muffled

Yup. Eight years later and all I could utter was a monosyllable.

Height of my mother-fucking unbrilliance.

She rolled her eyes, and shook her head as she trotted past me. Over her shoulder, she called out: “How's the juggling working out for you now, Tyler?”

Oh, zinger, how you slay me.

The lady won.

The lady killed it.

“Great. I kept it up,” I shouted.

Then, she gave herself away for a sliver of a second, and if I were in court, I'd have known then I had her. She let her gaze linger far too long. Giving me that patented you-were-in-my-fantasies-last-night
look that I knew so well as her eyes roamed down my face, my chest, and yeah, there, right fucking there to her favorite part.

that part.

But this wasn't a courtroom battle.

Because when she cast her pretty brown eyes to my niece after that, I saw Delaney adding up the years in the span of a nanosecond. Computing possibilities. “Looks like you sure did,” she said, deadpan all the way.

She snapped her gaze from me, zeroed in on the path in front of her and sprinted.

With her friends and the dogs flanking her, and me with my balls, and my jaw, and my composure splattered on the dirt, she tore past me, leaving me in the dust.

To say I'd been thinking of her every day for the last eight years would be a lie. To say I'd gone those eight years without ever once thinking of her would be an even bigger lie.

But I sure as hell didn't expect to run into her one fine Sunday morning in the park. I wasn't prepared. I wasn't ready. And my first thought was to catch up and explain that I hadn't ditched her to have a kid. Closing the distance would have been easy. I can run like the wind. I can put one foot in front of the other and hoof it. But I had my favorite person with me and no way was I going to drag Carly in a chase after a girl I once loved like the sun.

Still, I tried.

I grabbed her hand and yelled. “Delaney!”

She didn't even turn around, and soon she was a speck rounding the bend.

I suppose, in retrospect, the last words out of my mouth when I dumped her shouldn't have been, “It's too hard to juggle classes and you.”


'm cursed

There's no other explanation for this
that happens to me every time I get close.

I'm not talking about horseshoes close either.

I mean every single time I take the rabbit out for a ride.

The bunny makes it clear it needs a certain stallion to get over the hump.

Do bunnies even like horses?

I don't know, but it pisses me off that my traitorous body seems to need one man, and one man only to fly off the cliff.

I don't ask for this kind of sexual haunting. Hell, I don't even believe in ghosts. But the ghost of boyfriends past has been inhabiting my fantasies for years. I try like hell to rely on Henry Cavill, Chris Hemsworth, or Michael Fasbender. I mean, really.
Michael Fasbender
. And we all know what he's packing.

But nope.

My brain won't bend to his Fas.

I've learned to stop fighting it. I just go with it when my ex pops into my solo flights. I grit my teeth and bear it, and let him join Bunny to take me to the magic land. Then I turn off the pink toy, tuck it into the drawer, and drift asleep, satisfied, but not entirely satisfied either.

That's how it goes when the biggest and littlest Os come with double-A assistance and have for the last year and a half. I kid you not. Have you seen the men in New York City? They are fine, but most come with some kind of baggage, and I'm no longer interested in carrying theirs, so I've been on a nightly love and dating diet. More like a 500-day fast. So Bunny and I have gotten a lot closer. Sometimes, we make it a double.

And in the mornings, I pretend I didn't get off to Tyler Fucking Nichols.

That man.

That cocky jerk who broke my heart.

But even if he inhabits my naughty imagination, I do take some solace in knowing I'm over Tyler. I'm so over the way he ended things eight years ago. I've moved on, thank you very much. This is purely a physical possession, nothing more. Hell, it's not really a surprise that my mind wanders to his particular talents, given the way he owned my body when we were younger. But, I sure as hell wish I could find the trick to eradicating him from the guest list of the parties I host with my battery-operated nightstand drawer friends.

One Sunday morning, I stumble upon the key to exorcising him.

Here's how it all went down.

I popped out of bed, washed my face, brushed my teeth, pulled my hair into a ponytail, and tugged on my running shorts.

A little later, I met up with my good friends Penny and Nicole at the entrance to Central Park, and we began our training run for a 10K race we're doing in a few weeks. I figured it would be just another morning jog, followed by a plate of two eggs, any style with a strong cup of coffee at my favorite sidewalk cafe, The Charming Breakfast Spot.

Instead, I saw


Of all things, the man was juggling.

The spitting image of irony.

At the edge of the grass by the running path, he spun five objects in an oblong blur with the most adorable little brown-haired girl by his side.
Who looked just like him.

And in the blink of an eye, I seethed.

I ached.

As I ran, I broiled. I went from zero to 60 miles per hour of hurt in mere seconds. All I could think was the bastard had found a way to juggle in the end. I couldn't believe he'd moved on so easily after me. And he didn't just rebound to another girlfriend. He leveled all the way up to fatherhood.

The worst part? The absolutely, completely, horrifically unfair part? He was still so goddamn handsome, with that chestnut hair I wanted to run my hands through, that square jawline I could have touched all night, those lips made for kissing me everywhere.

In last night's unbidden appearance in my mind, he sure as hell had. He'd been my first in that department; he was still the best.

At that and at everything.

Look, any woman who says she doesn't rate her lovers is a liar. She might not have a whiteboard with a numbered list, or a diary with rankings. But we all know who rocked our world and claimed our bodies.

He was the one for me. Top of the list. End of the line.

But no more.

That'd be the end of his voodoo sex tricks on my brain. Tonight, I'd kick him out of my head, no matter what it took.

“Look,” I hissed to my girls. “It's Tyler The Juggler Nichols.”

Penny's amber eyes simulated moons as her mouth fell open. She jerked her head to Tyler. “Holy smokes, he is hot,” she whispered, as she ran with her little chihuahua trotting along with her.

I could so trip her for that. But I loved her too much, and her dog as well.

“He's not hot,” I muttered, as I breathed hard from our pace.

But Tyler Nichols was indeed a specimen, just like he'd been when we were in college. From the day we met in an advanced poli sci seminar, the man hooked me, he lined me, he sinkered me. He was my best friend, my boyfriend, my most fearsome competitor, my greatest ally, and my first love.

Then he'd broken my heart, and a few weeks after that my ego shattered too, smashed to bits too when he'd finished me off at a debate tournament.

That was devastating . . . and yet, at the same time it wasn't. But before I could linger too long on all the ways my future shifted during the tumultuous ending to my senior year of college, the present shifted too. When Tyler opened his eyes and met mine, the expression in his was priceless. He blinked, then recognition flashed in those dark brown irises.

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