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Guarded Love - eBook

An angsty steamy enemies to lovers romance

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★★★★★ Omg!!!!!! This was a wonderful book, I loved it as much as Lourde and Barrett’s story. Magnus is Devine, I love how he brought her walls down and healed her. He’s also hilarious and I enjoyed reading about his strong character and kindness. Loved the writing, it truly is a beautiful love story! - Soraya, Goodreads

SYNOPSIS

Evelyn

He is an arrogant jerk. 
The last of the single hunkholes and, unfortunately, my partner for the wedding of Lourde and Barrett.
I'll probably kill him before the week is up.
I should despise him.
But the more time we spend together, and the more he stares at me like he wants to be with me, the more I question why I hate him.

Magnus

She's a stubborn pain in my ass.
Barrett's sister, Evelyn, is grating on my every nerve. Not only are we stuck together for the wedding, but now I'm her carer too.
I should dread spending time with her, especially since she's nothing like the women I'm usually with.
Except there's something about her.
Something I can't quite articulate.
And I feel compelled to stay.


Standalone with HEA. Books are best read in order as the characters are interconnected.


CHAPTER ONE LOOK INSIDE

There I was.

Fucking furious when I should’ve been admiring the view from the spacious, genteel lobby of a
gorgeous resort in the Hamptons, with sparkling water spread out beyond the floor-to-ceiling
windows lining the far wall.

Yachts and sailboats bobbed on the bluest water, gleaming in the
sunlight. An entire week of activities was planned, all leading up to the wedding of my brother,
Barrett, to the love of his life.

And we were in a holding pattern since my wedding partner decided schedules didn’t apply to
him.

It seemed like Magnus Miller was determined to get on my last nerve, the way he had been
since we first met. The man found a way to rub me raw. This morning was no exception.

Getting
a jumpstart on the day was Lourde’s suggestion. She wanted to maximize our time sailing on
the yacht Barrett had rented. So, we arrived last night to set sail early today. It just seemed like
the logical thing to do.

The worst part was everybody else was so busy being wrapped up in wedding excitement and
each other that they didn’t seem to mind. For them, it was enough to hang out together, joking,
laughing, and looking forward to the week ahead. Maybe they were used to him treating
schedules like suggestions.

Not me.

Apparently, I hadn’t spent nearly enough time with him.

I looked around, trying to find him in the small clusters of people moving in and out of the hotel’s
café and the restaurant a little further down from the lobby. Maybe he’d come down for a quick
bite before heading out. It would be easy to spot him as tall as he was, but he was nowhere to
be found. Selfish, immature, narcissistic asshole.

Every minute he kept us waiting without bothering to let anyone know if he was even on the way
down from his suite made me less inclined to want to spend that time.

The most infuriating thing about him, really, was his intelligence. It would have been easy to
dismiss him as nothing but an empty-headed playboy and move on. I’d met plenty of men like
him in the years since my brother’s hard work and success had moved us both up the social
ladder. More money than brains, always looking for the next good time. Eye candy.

Why couldn’t Magnus have been one of them? Instead, we had plenty to talk about when he
was sober and acting like a human being. Discuss. Debate.

I liked the debating way too much.
“He can meet us down at the launch.” Barrett was too busy floating on cloud nine to care much
about schedules and planning. I wanted him to get angry at Magnus when he eventually
showed, but really, Barrett was so completely happy—he had every reason to be. A beautiful
fiancée who would be his wife by week’s end and a baby on the way.

With Lourde at ten weeks, there were no visible signs yet, but she had a way of resting her hand
on her flat belly. I doubted she knew she was doing it. In the same way I would sometimes
touch the scars on my thigh from my wound and subsequent surgeries without thinking about it.

They were always there, always present in my mind.

It was Barrett’s turn to drape an arm around her waist and place his other hand over her
stomach. “You sure you’re going to be okay? The boat won’t make you nauseous or anything?”
Love dripped from his voice, making me smile despite my bitter state of mind.

We had certainly grown up with full-color examples of a terrible marriage. Putting it mildly. The fact that he was willing to take a chance and was being rewarded so richly should have given me hope. But my smile was hollow. Even a little forced. That would never be me.

“Where is Magnus?” I must have voiced my question a little too loudly since all eyes turned to
me.

“Hey.” Olivia turned away from her boyfriend to touch my arm. “Are you all right?” she asked,
and Ari, who stood behind her, frowned my way.
I didn’t have a chance to give her an excuse before Barrett turned his full attention on me.

“Come here for a second,” he ordered, leaving no room for choice, gently pulling me away from the group.

“You don’t even have to ask,” I whispered.
“But I will,” he argued, and for a younger brother, he had a way of protecting, caring, and even overpowering, making anybody wonder which one of us was older.

“I’m fine.”

“Are you sure about that?” His forehead wrinkled with concern that was touching, making me
feel awful for being so grumpy.

I forced myself to take a deep breath, loosening the tension that crept into my muscles when I
wasn’t paying attention. “I’m positive,” I reassured him. The last thing I wanted was for him to be
worrying about me.

“Because if you’re having pain, you don’t need to come along. You can hang back here, go to
the spa, go for a swim.” As if I would go for a swim. As if I would let anyone see my wounded
leg. “You could just get some rest,” he concluded. “Are you sure this isn’t too much for you?”

I loved him. I loved his concern. And I couldn’t pretend he hadn’t taken care of me—no, he had
gone above and beyond in every way. I could never begin to pay him back. There was no way I
would live long enough to balance the scales.

I was not an invalid, dammit.
I wasn’t some pitiful creature who needed to hang back while everybody else had all the fun.
I had already done enough of that, anyway. Nearly fifteen years’ worth.
It was the love that helped me stay on an even keel. “I’m fine. I really am. I want everything to
be perfect for you, that’s all.”

His concerned expression turned to a bright smile I was getting used to seeing. “Everything is
already perfect.”
“I have to admit. It’s still kind of strange seeing you like this.” I folded my arms, looking him up
and down before offering an approving nod. “It looks good on you.”

“Do you want to know something, sis?” His gaze drifted over to where Lourde chatted with her
friends, Pepper and Olivia. “There are still days when I want to pinch myself.”

“No, don’t do that,” I warned him with a grin. “You wouldn’t want to wake yourself up from the
best dream you ever had.”

“Good point.” Satisfied, he wandered back to his fiancée. It was like he could only be away from
her for so long before the need to touch her again was too much to resist.
Lourde and the other girls went out of their way to make me feel welcome and wanted in their
tight group. It meant everything after spending so much of my life on the outside. Observing.
Rarely taking part.

However, I knew something they didn’t know. No matter how much time we spent together or
how kind they were, I would always feel separate. Like there was an invisible wall between us, I could always observe how they floated carefree through life. That was how it had always been.

Even before the incident—my name for it—I always felt different. I’d do my best to be cheerful
around my friends and classmates to cover the constant uncertainty and unhappiness of my
home life. That’s what happens when you have a parent who makes it their mission to remind
you how worthless, ugly, and stupid you are. I used to sit in school and wonder if everybody
could see it on me like a brand or a tattoo.

The shame.

The pain.

“We’re going to have to go without him.” Lourde shrugged and gave my brother an apologetic
look, tugging her dark locks and twisting the ends like she was anxious. All thanks to the selfish jerk Barrett loved like a brother for some odd reason. “Sorry. You know I don’t want to exclude him, but we only have the yacht for so long.”

“Then let’s move,” I suggested. “I know I would love nothing more than to kick back on a yacht right about now.”

Preferably without an impossibly handsome jerk ruining my sense of peace with his crummy attitude and chiseled jaw.
Barrett caught sight of something over my shoulder, a bright, relieved smile spreading over his face. I knew exactly why. “Finally! It’s about time.”

“Yeah,” Connor teased as he slung an arm around Pepper’s shoulders. “It’s not like we don’t
have an itinerary or anything.” The amount of sarcasm that laced his voice made me smile. At
least someone had said something.

His presence lifted the hair on the back of my neck in the most unfortunate way. I turned around to find Magnus sauntering through the lobby, a man with not a care in the world. “What?”

He had the nerve to look surprised at the attention he was getting, though I would’ve imagined he
was accustomed to it. He had to be at least six-foot-five and had the chiseled, flawless face of
an angel. If angels made it their business to mess around and screw anything that moved.

“What do you mean, what?” Connor laughed, shaking his head. As my brother’s best friend,
who was also close to everyone else, it probably came as no surprise that Magnus would
behave this way. “We’ve been waiting for you, that’s what.”

“Sorry, everybody,” he half-assed apologized, but he didn’t look very sorry as he held up his
hands in a defensive gesture. “I got a little held up.”

Ari laughed, rolling his eyes. “I think we all know what that’s code for.”

Sure enough, a
statuesque blonde appeared out of nowhere and wrapped her arms around Magnus from
behind.

There was no excuse for the rush of pure heat that ran through me at the sight of her—of them
together. She was beautiful, half-dressed in what was probably what she wore last night when
they met, and obviously smitten. “I almost missed you,” she purred while pressing her body
against him. “Why did you run off?”

Meanwhile, the guys were busy trying not to choke on their laughter while the girls rolled their eyes, giggling softly at Magnus’s horrified reaction. Clearly, he was not planning on seeing her again. Definitely not here, in front of everybody.

“Help him,” Lourde whispered to Barrett, who only shook his head and snorted at his friend’s
discomfort.

“No way,” he whispered back. “This is too entertaining.”

That was not the word I would’ve used. Not even close. Sure, I couldn’t stop watching, but it
wasn’t because I found anything particularly funny.

“You should invite your friend,” Ari offered, and Olivia elbowed him in the ribs while choking on a
laugh. He only said it loud enough for us to hear as Magnus’s little friend was still too busy making eyes at him and pouting her inflated lips to notice our presence.

“I told you. I have activities to do today. I have to go now. Everybody’s waiting for me.”

“That matters now?” I asked nobody in particular, but Lourde’s friend, Grace, giggled.
To my mixed horror and amusement, Magnus patted her rump. “I had a lot of fun. Maybe I’ll see
you around this week.”

“Ouch.” Barrett grimaced while the other men groaned.

“What is she, a racehorse? Next thing
you know, he’ll be calling her a good girl.”

Finally, I could take no more. Let them think I’m a bitch. I cleared my throat loudly enough for
the blonde to stop humiliating herself.

“What’s the deal? Are you going to keep holding us up forever?”
Magnus’s dark brows pinched before turning back to the girl. “Like I said. They’re waiting for me. I have to go.” He wasted no time untangling himself from her before joining us, shrugging in the
face of everybody’s amusement.

“We’ve been here for less than twelve hours. You waste no time,” Connor accused, and I couldn’t tell if he approved or not.

“Life’s too short to waste time,” Magnus defended.
“Unless it’s somebody else’s time you’re wasting, right?”

I very deliberately checked the clock hanging on the wall above the reception desk, then looked back at him.
“We’ve been waiting
forever.”

“Sorry, Mom,” he replied, having the nerve to smirk. “But thanks for getting me out of that. I owe
you one.”

His blasé attitude only deepened my disgust. “What about the girl you left standing there? What
do you owe her?” I questioned, my eyebrows raised.
“Apart from the four orgasms I gave her last night?.” He shrugged, his thick shoulders rising
beneath a white button-down, giving me a blank look.
“Ugh!” I spewed out in disgust.

“Come on, already.” Pepper shot a look between us, then took Connor’s hands in hers and dragged him toward the back doors facing the marina. “We’re wasting time, and I want to show
you the bikini I bought for laying out on the yacht.”

“I hope the chef fixed something good for breakfast.” Magnus had the nerve to wink a deep blue eye my way. “I worked up an appetite last night. And this morning.”

“You’re disgusting,” I hissed out while we brought up the rear of the group. The only two single people there, we walked with a good deal of room between us while the others held hands,
teased, and kissed.

“You’re the only woman I’ve met recently who thinks so,” he fired back with a grin that made me
want to push him into the water.

The worst part was knowing he was right. He oozed charm and was hot as sin. But he would
never in a million years look at me like he looked at those many other women he’d charmed.

And I couldn’t help but hate him for it.

“You’re disgusting,” I hissed out while we brought up the rear of the group. The only two single people there, we walked with a good deal of room between us while the others held hands, teased, and kissed.

“You’re the only woman I’ve met recently who thinks so,” he fired back with a grin that made me want to push him into the water.

The worst part was knowing he was right. He oozed charm and was hot as sin. But he would never in a million years look at me like he looked at those many other women he’d charmed.

And I couldn’t help but hate him for it.

★★★★★ This was the best of all of this series! Loved the full circle moment it gave the readers to Evelyn & Barrett's childhood trauma. This book is a lovely page-turner. Honestly, it's my favorite love story of all the Men of Manhatten couples! - Heather, Amazon

TROPES:

❤️ Best Friend's Sister

❤️ Forced Proximity

❤️ Enemies-to-lovers Romance

❤️ He falls first

BOOK(S) INCLUDED:

✔️ Guarded Love - eBook

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What’s Your Desire?

Whether it be enemies-to-lovers or forced proximity, Missy Walker’s bundle has you covered. Hear from Missy herself about her favorite tropes!

Why you need these books.

There are hundreds of spicy authors out there, but only one Missy Walker. These stories are unique because they are born not just from her imagination but also from the real-life fantasies of her readers. So why invite her into your bedroom?

Forbidden Romance: Meet the taboo men of your dreams through your favorite literary tropes.

Sexy Encounters: Enjoy intricate details of those secret meetings that keep you up at night.

Endless Love: Feel a sense of satisfaction at the end of every book with the HEA you deserve to read.

Hear from Missy’s, erm, “highly satisfied” readers!

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Customer Reviews

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C
CJ
It’s over…

Once again I am searching for a series that is both engaging and devastating as the characters reveal themselves. I have laughed and cried with Evie and Magnus every page and now they’re gone and I miss them 😉

Missy Walker Author

Guarded Love - eBook

€4,95

“You’re disgusting,” I hissed out while we brought up the rear of the group. The only two single people there, we walked with a good deal of room between us while the others held hands, teased, and kissed.

“You’re the only woman I’ve met recently who thinks so,” he fired back with a grin that made me want to push him into the water.

The worst part was knowing he was right. He oozed charm and was hot as sin. But he would never in a million years look at me like he looked at those many other women he’d charmed.

And I couldn’t help but hate him for it.

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