Unwanted Stars by Melissa Brown
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It’s funny how the tiniest of things can change your life… an invitation, a simple kiss goodnight, a matchbook…
Auden Kelly is in need of a change.
She’s trading in her nine-to-five sales job for the adventure of a lifetime: a one year contract with a European tour company.
For one full year, Auden will get paid to see the world. What could be better? Her brother gives her a journal, instructing her to document all of her adventures as she travels from country to country. And that’s exactly what she does.
When a mysterious stranger enters her life, however, everything changes: her expectations, her priorities and her view of the world. And nothing for Auden will ever be the same.
Note: Although these books are part of a series, they do not need to be read in order
...Books in the Series...
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Ever since Daphne Harper graduated from college, all of her friends have fallen in love, become engaged and walked down the aisle. Be it a blessing or a curse, Daphne (a hopeless romantic and perpetual single girl) catches the bouquet at every single wedding she attends.
Daphne’s love life is a mess. Her first love, Mayson, haunts her heart and keeps her from pursuing happiness with any man who comes along. As she struggles to move on from the one who got away, Daphne wonders if she will ever break her curse and find her happily ever after.
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Kate Armour and Evan Maxwell fell hard and fast for each other while attending college. Their once passionate and loving relationship ended when old scars eventually tore them apart. Two years after their breakup, they're each struggling to piece together what went wrong in an attempt to move forward.
Kate, a no-nonsense bartender, must face her past while attempting to focus on her future.
Evan is stifled by his bitter heart, which threatens each and every relationship he attempts after walking away from Kate.
Will life offer them a second chance at love or are old patterns simply too hard to break?
Hadley Foster has been through a lot in her twenty-two years: the death of her beloved father, her mother’s descent into mental illness, and the loss of her soulmate, Jason Kelly, from whom she walked away years ago.
Despite all this, Hadley has remained hopeful and optimistic about life. She has been with upstanding investment banker Tucker for six years, and the future looks bright—until a trip to Europe with her best friend brings a series of events no one could have foreseen. Suddenly the brilliant future she has envisioned for herself seems to shatter before her eyes. She is faced with a stark choice: move on again, or pick up the pieces.
Back home, nerdy but handsome Jason Kelly is now a successful writer who could have anything—and anyone—he wants. But deep down, he still misses his beloved “Haddie” and dreams of winning her back.
When destiny leads their paths to cross once more, Hadley and Jason must confront not only their painful past, but what the future may hold for them both.
I was distracted from my daydreaming by the most intense eyes I’ve ever seen. The were blue, the brightest blue. Although one of them had a patch of brown next to the pupil. Tan skin, blue eyes, dark brown hair. And a stare that made me uncomfortable.
I’d noticed him before. The first day of the tour, in fact. He reminded me of Henry Cavill. Broad shoulders, tight ass, bulging muscular arms and a gorgeous face. When he smiled, he had a boyish look about him, but when his lips were pressed tight, like when he was listening to Anabelle describe the sights, he looked like an alpha male. A hot, dangerous alpha male. I’d purposely avoided him because I didn’t want to give Anabelle any ammunition towards getting me fired. And now that I knew Tom had blabbed, I felt even more determined to keep my attraction in tact. I’d purposely stayed away. I hadn’t even heard his voice yet. Was he American? Canadian? British?
But, now he was staring and I couldn’t avoid him any longer.
“Auden, right?” he asked, offering me a fresh blueberry from a ziploc bag. I narrowed my eyes at him and his choice of snack. Here we were, in Amsterdam. He could buy a brownie laced with pot or a million different kinds of sweets. But, he was munching on blueberries.
“Thanks,” I said, grabbing a couple berries from the bag and popping them into my mouth. They were juicy and sweet. Almost intoxicating.
Stop it, Auden.
“Have you worked here long? I’ve never seen you before.” It was then that I really heard his accent. British. Delicious.
“I’m new. But, why would you have seen me before?” I tilted my head in confusion.
“My mates and I like to take trips every few months. Blow off steam.” He said, popping another berry into his mouth. His lips were a gorgeous shade of peach. “And Jordan’s the best.”
“I see.” I said, pressing my lips together, not knowing what else to say. It wasn’t often that a man could get me tongue tied. But, it was happening. All I could focus on was the dimple on his right cheek when he smiled. And how his left eye had a small patch of brown within the blue.
“Huh?” He snapped me out of my daze. “Uh, yeah. I guess.”
“Don’t hear it very often.” He said.
It was then that I realized I didn’t know his. And it was my job to know it. How was I going to get out of this one?
“Campbell,” he said,“Campbell Hutchins.”
“Like the soup?” I said. As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew they were unprofessional. But, he simply laughed.
“Wow, never heard that before.” He said, running his fingers through his silky brown hair, “My friends call me Hutch.”
“Seriously?” I asked, taken aback.
“What do you mean?” He looked confused.
“As in Starsky & Hutch?” I pressed.
“You are way too young to know that reference.” He said, shaking his head from side to side.
“They made a movie reboot when I was in high school. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson…remember?”
“Right.” He said with a lopsided grin. He had such a boyish charm to his smile, it was unnerving.
“Besides, you don’t seem old enough to know the original show either. That was the seventies.” I narrowed my eyes at him. He could be in his early thirties, but there was no way he was old enough to have watched that show when it was on the air.
“Saw it in reruns.” He said with a shrug.
“Nice to meet you, Starsky.” I said with a smirk. He shook his head at me and extended his hand like the English gentleman that he was. I tried my best not to feel the electrical current coursing through every nerve in my body. This was a brand new sensation. Which is saying a lot considering my boy-crazy history. This was unique and terrifying and wonderfully exciting. “Sorry, I mean Hutch of course. So, Campbell…where’d your parents think of that one?”
“Do you always interrogate tour members about their names?” he asked with a chuckle. My cheeks turned pink when I realized I usually didn’t give a crap about people’s names or the origin of said names. But, he was different. It was like I needed to know anything I could learn about this handsome stranger.
“Just answer the question,” I said, flirting with a tilt of my head and arms crossed across my chest.
For a second, everything stopped as Campbell looked down at my feet. He smirked as his eyes climbed up my calf and to my thighs. They lingered there for just a second before continuing up to my torso, my chest and finally my face. When our eyes met, he grinned and I suddenly felt as naked as the day I was born.
“Tradition.” He answered. When I looked confused (because obviously I’d forgotten the question since he’d studied every inch of my body as if he wanted to devour me). “I’m named after my great grandfather. He was kind of a hero in my town.”
“Where are you from?”
“Um, no. Try again.”
“What do you mean?” he asked with a chuckle.
“I’m from the states, pal. I know when someone’s from Joi-zee and when they’re not. And you clearly are not. Where are you really from?”
He threw his beautiful head back in laughter, that dimple once again making a grand entrance on his cheek. Something twitched in my belly—desire, I think. Until I realized he was laughing at me.
“And you call yourself a tour guide? The island of Jersey…one of the Channel Islands…” His voice trailed off as he leaned his forehead in my direction. If he could read my mind, this is what it would say:
You know those moments when you really just want to crawl in a hole and forget your poor excuse for a life? Yeah, this was one of those moments. I could never get that moment back. I could never convince this gorgeous man that I was not only aware of the Channel Islands, but had probably been to one or two of them as a child. I just wanted to slink back to the tour bus and hide behind the seats. So not like me. I didn’t let men get under my skin. Hell, I got under their skin. Who was this guy?
“Uh--Of course,” I said, stumbling on my words. “I was just kidding.”
Just then, I was saved by another member of the tour. A mousy brain haired American girl named Becca.
“Excuse me, Auden. Anabelle needs you.”
“I’d better, um…go,” I said.
“Until we meet again,” he said with a chuckle.
Not if I can help it. The next three weeks would be agony if I had to dodge that gorgeous man every time our bus made a stop. Lord, beer me strength.
“I love this bridge. It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” I said, my voice small.
Campbell’s brow knitted in concern, “Auden, is everything all right?”
“Why do you ask?”
“You seem distant. Did something happen today? With Anabelle?”
“No,” I said, looking out into the water, “just thinking.”
“About me?” he said, a smug grin plastered to his handsome face. I shook my head in amusement, cracking a smile without meaning to.
“Perhaps,” I said.
“Look,” he said, “all kidding aside. I’m into you. You must know that by now.”
“But, your job means everything to you. And it’s not fair of me to ask you to risk it.”
I said nothing, hoping he’d continue.
“So, if you want to call this off. If you want me to leave you alone. Just say the word.”
The thought of missing out on whatever this was with Campbell was more than I could handle. Without hesitation, my head shook as I focused my eyes on his.
“I’m into you, too,” I said. “A lot.”
Campbell closed the space between us, whispering into my ear, “Then be with me.”
I swallowed hard, closing my eyes and listening to his words. Craving them, wanting more. Wanting his hands on me. Knowing that’d be next to impossible out here in the public eye. Knowing that finding actual privacy would be just as impossible.
His hand was warm in my grip. I squeezed it in solidarity, wanting him to know his desire for me was reciprocated. He placed a gentle kiss on the tip of my ear, before leading me across the stone bridge.
Hand in hand, we walked, gazing at the water, the tourists and the shop owners of the market. We didn’t say much, which felt odd at first. But, the silence between us became soothing and calm. His hand in mine, the way his thumb grazed over my fingers was all I needed to feel content.
Street lamps were the only light to be found by the time the water bus was back in our sights. Campbell stopped walking. His eyes were on fire as he took me in with his eyes. His need for me was obvious.
“Come with me,” he said, pulling me to the side of a building. One small street lamp shined dim with burnt orange light. I leaned my back against the stucco, feeling it’s cold, bumpy texture. Campbell placed his hand against the building, just above my shoulder. His other hand pressed to my hip.
“I can’t let you go yet,” he said, his eyes searching mine.
Brave Auden finally decided to make her appearance.
“Good,” I said, lifting my chin. His eyes widened, pleased with my response.
“Why?” he asked, exploring my neck with his lips.
“Why what?” I asked, playing dumb, yanking back on the control once again.
“Why is that good?” he asked, placing gentle kisses along my jawline.
“Because…” that simple word hung in the air for several moments. Campbell continued to seduce my skin with his lips and I did my best to slow down my breathing.
“Tell me,” he said.
“Tell me,” he repeated.
“I want you,” I said. The words left my mouth in a whisper.
Campbell stopped his kisses and I could feel his cheek against my neck. It was puffing out, forming a satisfied smile.
“Tell me again,” he said, pulling back, gazing into my eyes.
I swallowed, unsure if I should say it again. But, terrified at the thought of not saying it.
“I—I… I want you.” I said, my eyes narrowed. I was trying desperately to hide my fear, my anxiety, my lack of self-control around this man.
“You’re exquisite,” he said, his fingers running down the sides of my cheeks before he cupped his hands to them and kissed me. Hard.
His tongue entered my mouth immediately and I stroked him with mine. Delicious strokes that left me wanting more. And more. His fingers weaved through my hair, pulling gently at the base of my scalp. My back dug into the stucco, but I didn’t care.
Harder and harder, he pressed me into the building, my arms wrapped around his neck as his hands wandered down to grip my ass, hoisting my legs around him, my heels digging into the small of his back. He was hard beneath his jeans and it excited me. The feel of him beneath me was intoxicating.
Campbell pulled his mouth from mine, pushing me up further so that his lips were level with my chest. Slowly, he unbuttoned the top buttons of my tunic, exposing the lace of my bra.
“So sexy,” he said, running his fingers across the lace, causing goosebumps to rise along my arms and legs.
“Say it again,” I said, enjoying his appreciation of my body.
“You’re so fucking sexy. I can hardly stand it.”
“You want me, don’t you?” I asked with a smirk.
“You know I do,” he said, before dipping his head into my chest, stroking the skin beneath the lace with his tongue. A moan escaped my lips as I pressed my hips into his arousal.
The water bus let out three long sounds of the horn.
“Shit,” Campbell said, knowing that was the signal for last boat of the night.
“Last call. We’d better…um, we should probably go,” I said.
“I know, but…”
“I know,” I said, pressing my forehead to his. “I know.”
Slowly, he lowered me to the ground, buttoning my top for me and smoothing down my hair. Such a gentleman. He was practically devouring me just a minute prior, but when reality resurfaced, so did his chivalrous nature.
We ran to the water bus, hands again interlocked. But, when a few members of the tour hopped on the boat, my hands jumped quickly to my lap. We remained detached all the way back to our hotel, saying a casual goodbye for the night, knowing the tour members eyes were upon us.
About Melissa Brown
I have always been fascinated with books----ever since I was a little girl sitting in front of my record player, following along with my huge 12x12 storybooks.
I love books---everything about them. I love reading them, being surrounded by them in bookstores and libraries, and most recently, writing some of my own.
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