by: Samantha Chase
Series: The Shaughnessy Brothers
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebook Casablanca
Sometimes the love that's closest to you is the hardest to see.
Quinn Shaughnessy's two older brothers have found their true loves ... but Quinn's not about to join that parade. Nope, as he tells his best friend Anna, there's a lot more to life than getting tied down to one person. He's positive tomboy Anna will be on his side - except she's inexplicably developing other interests - even dating! Suddenly Quinn is seeing Anna in a very different light.
Quinn has been Anna's buddy since they were both five years old. She can tell him anything - except the one big secret she's been hiding for years - that she's fallen in love with him. Now Anna is determined to make a life for herself that doesn't include pining for Quinn. Falling in love with your best friend? Easy. Telling them how you really feel? Impossible.
“It’s been very entertaining watching you,” Riley Shaughnessy said with a cocky grin.
Quinn glared at him over his beer. “And why is that?”
“Well, it was impressive watching you strike out with all the bridesmaids. Really. I think it has to be some sort of Shaughnessy record. Epic, really.”
“I guess you missed the memo saying they were all married,” Riley said with a wicked grin.
“Oh, and you knew this ahead of time?” Quinn snapped.
Riley nodded. “Oh yeah. I got the low-down from Aidan weeks ago. I’m surprised you didn’t bother to inquire about it.”
“Yeah, well…some of us genuinely have real work to do and don’t have time to think about asking in advance if there are any potential hookups.”
Riley’s smile faltered a little. “So now I don’t work?”
“Shit, Ry, don’t start this again.”
“No, come on. Tell me how it is I don’t have a real job. Please,” he said sarcastically.
Quinn sighed loudly. “I’m not doing this here, okay? I don’t know what your deal’s been for the last six months or so, but trust me when I say we all wish you’d get over it. No one’s doubting you or your job or your career, talent, or whatever.”
“Your comment a minute ago says otherwise.”
“Look, you come over here and start mocking me and I’m not supposed to mock back? Seriously? What the hell?”
“Okay, fine. Let’s just drop it.” Riley looked around the yard and then gave a low wolf whistle. “Look at little Anna Hannigan. She’s grown up all kinds of nice, hasn’t she?” he said with a grin. “Hard to believe she’s the same tomboy who used to come around and play ball with you.”
If Quinn had thought he was angry with his brother a minute ago, it was nothing compared to now.
“I know I saw her at Dad’s birthday party, but I don’t remember her looking so…hot,” Riley said. “And when did she get so curvy?”
It wasn’t until Riley went to step toward Anna that Quinn reached out and grabbed him. “Stay away from Anna,” he said, his tone so low it was a near growl.
Riley arched a brow at him. “Is there a problem?”
“Right now? Specifically? You.”
Riley chuckled. “I don’t think so. I find it interesting how you’ve spent a large portion of the night hitting on married women—”
“I didn’t know they were married!”
“Whatever. But you spent a large portion of the night hitting on them when you’ve clearly got a thing for our little Anna.”
Quinn released him immediately. “You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. I don’t have a thing for her…or anyone.”
“Um…I think I do,” Riley teased. “Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t put it together sooner. Dad’s birthday party, tonight… It all makes sense now.”
“Ry,” Quinn warned.
“So what’s the problem? Why are you wasting your time hitting on married bridesmaids?”
“I already told you, I didn’t know—”
“No one cares,” Riley interrupted. “Why waste your time when you’ve got a thing for Anna? She’s had a crush on you since forever.”
“What? What the hell are you talking about?”
“Oh, dude, come on! How could you not know?”
“Anna and I are friends. That’s it,” Quinn said defensively.
Riley shook his head. “So delusional. Seriously, we all know it. She’s been crushing hard on you for years. How could you not have noticed? You can’t possibly be that oblivious.”
Quinn didn’t know what to say. Hadn’t Anna accused him of the same thing a few hours ago where his father and his family were concerned? Was it possible he had missed out on the fact that Anna had feelings for him too?
He shook his head. No. It was impossible. If Anna had feelings for him that were beyond friendship, he would have known. They spent too much time together and he knew everything about her; he knew what she was thinking even before she did. There was no way Anna saw him as anything more than a friend.
Looking across the yard, he spotted her. She was wearing a nearly nude-colored dress that hugged her like a second skin. He couldn’t help but frown. For years, Anna had favored jeans and T-shirts. Ever since she left the pub and started working in real estate, she was changing. And he didn’t like it. Her clothes…her hair… Clearly he hadn’t been paying attention because the woman walking around the yard right now bore little resemblance to the girl he’d grown up with.
In some ways she was the same, but he was beginning to feel like he was losing her—like she was slipping away. And he wouldn’t be able to tolerate that.
Anna Hannigan was beginning to make him crazy in ways he’d never fully imagined, and if he didn’t get a grip on it soon, Quinn wasn’t sure what would happen.
“From the look on your face, I can see this may be brand-new information to you,” Riley said from beside him, humor lacing his tone. He clapped a hand on Quinn’s shoulder. “Just remember this, big brother—she’s a beautiful woman and she’s only going to sit around and wait for your dumb ass for so long.”
Quinn wanted to argue, but he didn’t know what to say. Up until today, he had never even imagined the possibility of him and Anna being anything more than friends. But after the whole bikini incident and now seeing her in that dress…well, he wasn’t so sure he’d be able to think of anything but.
But the thought of losing her as his best friend? He wasn’t sure he could handle it.
“Fine, stay there and think, Romeo,” Riley said with a smile. “I’m going to go over and get reacquainted with the lovely Anna.”
It would have been easy to grab his brother by the scruff of his neck and haul him back, but what was the use? There was no way he was going to make a scene in the middle of the party. And knowing Riley, his bodyguard would be all over Quinn in the blink of an eye and that would really ruin the party.
With nothing else to do, Quinn walked over and got himself another beer and sat in the corner.
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan's Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40's to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.
When she's not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.
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