RIPE FOR TROUBLE
by Autumn Piper
The biggest mistake she didn’t quite make just sauntered back into her life.
When Ivy Leeds takes a publicity job in her hometown, few things have changed…but Ridley, the bad boy of her graduating class, has cleaned up his act. Or so everyone else thinks. After hearing him and his friend practicing pickup lines, she has her doubts.
Ridley Tucker can hardly believe his eyes when Ivy, the president of the Brainiac Club, comes back to town. Some things never change—she’ll barely give him the time of day, and she still looks as good as she did that night at Prom.
Living in a small town means avoiding someone is nearly impossible, and those most worthy of avoidance turn up in such awkward places…Content Warning: High school flame revisited plus reformed bad-boy equals combustion suitable for adults only.
He felt like a fool, standing in the hallway just past the ladies’ room, but this was one of those desperate times.
She came out right between the songs he’d played. Perfect.“Ivy.”
She whirled and faced him. And sighed at him like he was a piece of junk mail. “Yes, Ridley?”
He pushed off the wall and moved close to her as Complicated began playing. “Remember this song? When we danced to it?”
She squeezed her eyes shut like her head hurt. A lot. “Yes.”
He moved close enough he could smell her, a bit of melon coming off her hair, and something vanilla. “I remember it too. It was…it was a good dance, right?”
She tried to step back, but he put his arms around her and looked down into those blue, blue eyes. “If you say stop, I will. I promise.” He moved a little with the music and she stiffened. He kept swaying, and pressed closer, the music’s rhythm pulsing in his chest. Like last time, she curved into him, soft and perfect. Jesus, was it possible she felt better in his arms now than she had that night at prom?
He wanted to bury his hands in that big twisty bun, free that miles-long hair, but she’d probably get mad. He moved his hands down and clasped her ass. Damn.
She groaned. “Ridley.” She pulled back and looked up at him. “This is a bad—”
No time to waste. He laid one on her. Hot, hard, and hungry, to let her know how crazy she made him. She tasted like beer, felt like the Fourth of July, all hot and explosive.
She broke the kiss and turned her head to the side, pushing out of his arms. “Stop. God. You taste like straight tequila. You’re drunk, aren’t you?”
He shook his head. No way was he drunk. Completely capable of consent. “No.”
“Gotta appreciate that irony, right?” She stepped back. “Sorry, but ‘I can’t take advantage of you when you’re under the influence.’ Turnabout’s fair play.”
She rushed off as the final strains of their song wound down.
Born and raised in itty-bitty Rifle, Colorado, Autumn Piper studiously avoided trouble…but is now inclined toward it, particularly in her novels. She thinks the best things in life are funny, and the runners-up, romantic.
An admitted carb addict, Autumn writes, edits, manages two teenagers, one husband and many supersize houseplants, and does the cooking and cleaning when forced to.