Today I’m revealing my next release: Restless, Book 5 of the Brazen Bulls MC series. Restless is Jay’s story. For the whole series thus far, he’s been lost in the shadows of his father and brother. It’s time to bring him into the light.
I really love Jay. He’s much deeper, and different, than the front he puts on for the world. When he meets a woman who sees past his facade right away, the world opens up for him. He has so much more to offer than even he knows yet.
If you’re on Goodreads, you can add it to your TBR now as well.
Here’s the description:
Like his older brother, Jacob Jessup is a legacy patch in the Brazen Bulls MC. Their father, Rad, was a legend in his time, and he left big bootprints to fill. Though his brother fills them easily, Jay has always struggled to measure up.
He hasn’t found where he fits in the club, and he hasn’t found a way to earn anyone’s respect. Not even his father’s. He’s sure no one thinks he’ll ever be anything but a screwup. Stewing in his failures and resentments, he’s grown bitter and combative.
One night, after getting bounced for fighting at their usual haunt, Jay and his buddy wander into an unfamiliar corner bar. Behind the taps is a beautiful woman who catches Jay’s eye at once, but there are about a hundred reasons he couldn’t possibly have a shot with her.
Petra Maros has built a comfortable life for herself. She owns her business and her apartment, she has a community of good friends and a loving relationship with her doting father. She isn’t living her dream, but she’s made something good and real of her life nonetheless.
Her father is struggling, though, and the consequences of his mistakes threaten to upend his life and Petra’s. She’s doing everything she can to pull him back from the brink, but she’s alone in the effort and losing hope.
One night, a couple of young guys swagger into Petra’s bar. They aren’t her usual clientele, and they look like trouble. But as they sit down and strike up a conversation, she realizes she might have judged them too harshly. One in particular draws Petra’s attention; he’s brash and full of attitude, but there’s something soft in his eyes.
At first glance, Jay and Petra are the unlikeliest of couples. But what’s on the surface is just the cover of the book. Love comes when they settle into each other’s story.
And a preview scene:
On the way back to Gertrude’s, Jay decided not to think too much about what he was up to. Whenever he had too many thoughts, he got snarled in them all and couldn’t make sense anyway. Better to follow his gut, and his gut had led him back.
When he came up on the bar, the sign was off and the windows dark. Fuck. Missed his chance, if he’d had a chance at all. That sucked.
With no other place to go, he rode past the intersection, meaning to turn at the next one and resume his trip home. But he saw the entrance to the alley behind the bar and, trusting his gut, turned into the alley. Maybe there was an employee lot or some—yep. A little blacktop span, big enough to hold about four cars and the dumpster.
A BMW R 1250 RS was parked tight against the building. One car was parked on the lot itself: a late model Volvo Cross Country. White. That was also a very boring car, but the odds were decent the girl drove it. She didn’t seem like the crotch-rocket type. The other bartender did, though.
Also, the ‘COEXIST’ and yellow equal-sign stickers seemed consistent with what little he knew of her.
Fully aware how totally creep-tastic this behavior was, Jay pulled onto the lot and parked. He’d try not to scare her, but he had to know. He’d just come out and ask if she was gay, and, if not, if she was into him, and she’d probably disappoint him, but at least he’d know. Then he could go on home and be disappointed. Fitting end to the day.
At least it would be late enough his old man would be asleep by the time he made it home.
He sat on his bike, fucking around on his phone, for about ten minutes before the steel door swung out on squeaky hinges. And there she was.
She didn’t notice him right away. With a big leather bag, some kind of cross between a purse and a gym bag, hanging on one shoulder and a box propped on the other hip, she turned right away and closed the door, then used two different keys to turn deadbolts. It took some coordination to manage her burdens and get the door locked.
He’d been raised to help where help was needed, especially to help women, kids, old folks, and anybody else weaker than him, so he could practically feel his father standing behind him, wondering why he was just sitting here while the girl propped the box between her hip and the brick wall beside the door. But if he got too close, he knew she’d be scared. So he stayed put and tried to ignore his father’s phantom judgment.
Door locked, she got a better hold on the box and headed to her car. As the automatic hatch began to rise, she finally saw him—and froze. Eyes wide, mouth open. Then her mouth snapped shut, and Jay could see her trying to think how she’d get to safety. She glanced quickly at her car, and he could almost really see her think of diving into the hatch.
“I’m not gonna hurt you,” he said and swung off his saddle. Staying close to his bike, he added, “I’m not a stalker.”
“Okay …” she said after a second. “Just … for future reference, lurking in the shadows at two o’clock in the morning behind a woman’s work is a good way to get mistaken for a stalker. Also, for more immediate reference, Dre lives right upstairs and really likes guns.” With a backward nod of her head, she indicated the sole lighted window on the back of the building, a double set on the second floor.
All Jay could see was ceiling, a spinning apartment-grade ceiling fan, a bit of dark red wall, with a shadow from maybe a big plant.
“The other bartender. Really tall, looks like they eat nuts and bolts for breakfast?”
“Her name is Dre?” Yeah, that tough-looking chick was tall for a woman, but only like his height, and he just nudged past six feet in boots. Which bugged the fuck out of him. Duncan and Zach were both about six-three in socks. Even Pop had an inch or so on him. He literally did not measure up.
“Their name is Dre, yes,” she said. “Why are you lurking in the shadows behind my bar, Jacob? If you’re not a stalker.”
A cattle prod zapped him at the sound of his full name. He thought of himself as Jay, but he didn’t really have much of a care about how he was called. His parents usually called him Jake, Zach used Jake or Jay, the Bulls called him Jay or JJ. JJ was the name on his kutte. He answered to it all equally. But the only time anyone—almost always his parents—ever called him Jacob was when he was in trouble. His sphincter clenched hard when his mother screamed JACOB CONRAD JESSUP!, but that hadn’t happened in a long while. Maybe moms didn’t use the three-name thing when their kids were grown.
Also, how did she know his—oh, right. ID.
But he didn’t know her name. He’d never thought to ask.
“I don’t go by Jacob,” he said now, taking a couple steps closer. She eyed his movement suspiciously but didn’t back off.
“Are you Jake, then?”
“That works. What’s your name?” He took another step.
She made note of that step and met his eyes again. “Why are you here?” she asked, ignoring his question.
He heard the undercurrent of fear in her voice. She was hiding it well, but she was worried.
“I had a question. Wanted to ask it.”
Feeling too weird to think of a slick way to ask, he just asked. “Are you gay?”
That made her back up a couple steps. It surprised him, that those three words would be what made her actually, openly afraid, until it dawned on him: she’d moved on from worrying he was a stalker to worrying he was preparing to perpetrate a hate crime.
“Why are you asking?” she asked before he could say something to assure her he wasn’t a gay-basher.
“Because I’m hoping you’re not.” Whoa, his stomach did that twisting thing; usually he only felt that when he was pulling his piece.
Her head fell to one side, and she almost smiled. “Are you hitting on me, Jake?”
Not sure if she was flattered, enthusiastic, or amused, Jay prepared himself to deal with ridicule and took another couple of steps. Now, if he stretched, he could touch her car. Not much more than the hatch separated them.
“How would you feel about it if I was?”
Relaxing, she set the box in the back of her wagon, and then the bag. “I’m older than you, you know.”
Well, that was definitely not ridicule—and it suggested that she was not, in fact, a lesbian. And, while she didn’t look it, he’d figured she had to be a little older; she owned the bar, and twenty-three, his age, was pretty young to be a business owner.
“I figured. It doesn’t sound like you hate the thought of me making a move. So you’re not gay?”
“I’m bisexual.” A weird look cramped her face briefly, and she cast a look back and up, to that lighted window. Then she turned to him again and smiled. His cock perked up and took notice. There was a chance here.
She walked around the open hatch, right to him. She came with such determination, and it was such a reversal of her wariness, Jay didn’t know what to do, how to react. When she put her hands on his chest and pushed, he went backward, until he hit the side of her car.
“I remind you,” she said, staring into his eyes, “that all I have to do is yell one time, and Dre will be at that window, locked and loaded.”
Too confused—and wildly turned on—to make words, Jay nodded.
“So kiss me, and let’s see.” She put her hands on either side of his head, curled her fingers to grab his hair, and pulled his head to hers, stopping with just a couple inches between their mouths.
His head spinning, his stomach churning, Jay grabbed her hips and pulled her against him. She gasped when their bodies met, and she smiled. He could feel her breath over his lips. Somehow that itself, not even a kiss but the potential of it, was so intense he could feel his muscles and skin tighten and all the hairs on his body stand up.
“I don’t know your name,” he said, keeping his voice soft and low so the electric moment continued uninterrupted.
“It’s Petra,” she breathed.
He’d never heard that name before. “Is that, like, Russian?”
That question was a dumb one for sure. The moment cooled—it didn’t end, but she tipped her head back a little, to focus on his eyes again. Her fingers unwound from the strands she’d been pulling and slipped farther back on his head. She was smiling—and damn, what a pretty smile she had.
“Greek. Do you want to draw our family trees, or do you want to kiss me?”
That was an easy answer. Jay erased all the space between them and put his mouth on hers.
He tried to dive deep right away, push his tongue in and taste all of her, but she eased back, closed her mouth a little, and kept the kiss light, like a tease. He could feel her trying to lead him, to make him kiss her the way she wanted to be kissed. So he took the instruction and followed along.
Holy shit, she was good at this. Even with hardly any tongue, this kiss was practically sex. Her mouth moved gracefully, sometimes entirely under his, sometimes slipping over his bottom lip to claim it. Sometimes her tongue teased over his lips. Jay felt like he could hardly keep up. He was actually lightheaded.
At some point, the cut on his lip opened again. He felt the sting and tasted blood, but he didn’t care. When she tasted it, too, and tried to lean back, he threw his hands up to hold her head where it was, to keep her mouth with his. Her hair caressed his fingers like the softest silk.
He’d never had a kiss like this in his life, and he didn’t want it to end. He wanted to be standing right here, doing exactly this, when the sun rose.
But then she closed her mouth and turned her head. No more than an inch or so, just enough so her mouth was no longer on his but on his cheek instead. They stood like that, both quiet. She seemed as unwilling for the moment to end as he was.
And what was happening? How did a PG-rated kiss have him so spun? He’d barely had his tongue in her mouth but he was so hard he hurt and was right at the edge of shaking with need.
Petra was the one who finally broke the moment. She tipped her head back and smiled up at him, pale eyes twinkling in the muted light from the apartment above. What color were they?
“If I let you follow me home, will you behave yourself?”
“What does that mean? How do you want me to behave?”
“No means no. Stop means stop. And when I say it’s time for you to go, you go. Will I be safe with you?”
A question rose suddenly in Jay’s mind: Will I be safe with you? But that was a stupid, humiliating question, completely unwarranted and uninvited, and he shoved it away. He could take care of himself just fine. This little bit of a woman was no threat.
“Totally safe,” he answered.
“Do you want to come home with me, Jake?”
He’d sworn off going to girls’ homes, but who the fuck cared about that. He wanted to go home with this one.
As an answer to her question, he kissed her again.
©2022 Susan Fanetti