Tempting the Best Man - By J. Lynn Page 0,1

hard not to with his masculine beauty, easy candor, and downright illegal dimples. As a boy and into adulthood, Chase had a fierce protective streak that could make a girl’s heart do a little flutter in her chest. He was the type of guy who would rip off his shirt in the middle of Snowmageddon and give it to a homeless person on the street, but there’d always been this raw, dangerous edge to him.

Chase wasn’t the kind of guy anyone messed with.

Once in high school, a boy had gotten a little too frisky with her in his car parked outside her parents’ house, and Chase had just been leaving when he’d heard her muffled protests as a hand went somewhere she didn’t want.

After that run-in, the guy didn’t walk right for several weeks.

And the occurrence pretty much cemented a puppy love that just wouldn’t die.

Everyone and their mother had known she had it bad for Chase throughout high school and the first two years of college. Christ, it was a well-known theory that wherever Mitch and Chase were, Madison wasn’t too far behind. Sad as it was—and it was pathetic—she had attended the University of Maryland because they had.

Everything changed her junior year in college, the night he’d opened his first nightclub.

After that…she did everything in her power to avoid Chase. Not that it worked or anything.

One would think in a city as overpopulated as Washington, DC, she’d be able to avoid the rat bastard, but oh no, the laws of nature were a cruel, unrelenting bitch.

Chase was everywhere. She’d rented one of the smaller apartments on the second floor of the Gallery, and weeks later, he’d bought one of the penthouses on the top floor. Even on family holidays, he and his brothers had seats at her parents’ dinner table, since they treated the Gambles like a flock of sons.

Working out at the gym, he’d be there pumping iron early in the morning while she did her daily pretend-run on the elliptical. And when he got on the treadmill? Oh, wow, who knew calf muscles could be so sexy? It wasn’t her fault that she stared and maybe drooled on herself a little. Had maybe fallen off the elliptical a time or two when he’d lifted his shirt, revealing abs that looked like someone stuck paint rollers under his skin for crying out loud, and wiped his brow with the hem.

Who wouldn’t be driven to distraction and take a tumble?

Hell, if Madison went to the local grocery on the corner, he’d be there, too, feeling up the peaches with his wonderfully long fingers—fingers that no doubt knew how to strum a guitar just as well as they knew how to work a woman into the height of sexual frenzy and then some.

Because she did know—oh, did she ever know how good he was.

Of course, half of DC probably knew how good he was with those hands of his by now.

“You have that look on your face.” Bridget raised a brow at her. “I know that look.”

Madison shook her head in denial. She really needed to stop thinking about his fingers, but there was no escaping her childhood crush—the embodiment of every fantasy she’d ever had. An infatuation she never grew out of and the reason why no other guy lasted longer than a few months, though she’d take that little ditty to the grave.

Chase was the Antichrist to her.

A really, unbelievably hot Antichrist…

Suddenly it was way too warm, and she tugged on the edge of her blouse and scowled at the invitation. It was only four days in the romantic, upscale vineyards. Hundreds of people would be there, and even though she had to deal with Chase during the rehearsal and wedding, she could easily find creative ways to avoid him.

But the nervous flutter in the pit of her stomach, the excitement that hummed in her veins, was telling a whole different story, because seriously, how was she going to steer clear of the only man she’d ever loved…and wanted to maim?

“Toss me that employee directory,” Madison said, wondering if Derek might be available after all.

The drive to Hillsboro, Virginia, on Wednesday morning wasn’t a pain, since everyone else was streaming into the city for his or her daily commute, but Madison was driving as though she was auditioning for NASCAR.

According to the three missed calls from her mother—who thought Madison had been kidnapped in the big, bad city and was now being held for an ungodly sum

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