by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Lost Boys #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Devlin Calvary makes his own luck. Orphaned as a young child, he was taken in by a crew of bookies and gamblers—and they became his family. They’re the reason Dev’s running a trendy bistro, living in a high rise, and enjoying the good life with a string of women who never ask for too much. Until, one night, he finds out how much it hurts to trust the wrong people. Rena Lewis sticks to the straight and narrow, determined not to slip up again . . . like the terrible night of partying four years ago that ended in tragedy. A waitress at Oak & Sage, she knows that sleeping with her boss is not a smart move. But when Dev shows up on her doorstep, beat up and clearly shaken, Rena’s not about to turn him down . . . or kick him out of bed. Dev reawakens something primal within her—a need to go wild. And Rena soon finds out that the heart she’d sealed away years ago still has the power to fight for love.
Ah, I love Jessica Lemmon and always manage to become caught up in the stories she writes. Fighting for Devlin the first in her Lost Boys series grabbed me from the onset and ready to save Devlin. Swoons, feels and heat made Fighting for Devlin the perfect evening escape.
Coffee dates with Fighting for Devlin
- First date: We meet Rena and Devlin at his restaurant the Oak & Sage. Rena lost the love of her life when she was eighteen and has not date seriously since. Devlin had a rough childhood, but now owns the restaurant left to him by his father. By all appearance Devlin seems to be living the good life with fancy suits, car and high-rise apartment. He can have any woman he wants, but looks are deceiving. Rena seems like a whole some good girl, and she is certainly trying to be..but is that really living? Lemmon drew me in and has me interested in both characters and discovering what is really going on in Devlin’s life. I am all in. Rena is attracted to Devlin and her awkwardness around him is adorkable.
- Second date: Flirting has begun and we are finally getting the deets on Devlin. While some of his actions have me wanting to slap him in the back of the head, I have gone soft for him. Especially after seeing the way, he deals with the man who helped him when his father died. He has a code and I appreciate that. Something goes terribly wrong and he ends up on Rena’s doorstep beaten and needing to borrow a phone. The chemistry between them sizzles and Devlin awakens the bad girl within Rena. Their relationship is interesting, both have closed themselves off from the world and slowly we see the other seeping into those carefully constructed walls. I want all the barriers down, so I am gearing up for date three. Secondary characters added to the story and I am looking forward to their stories. Lemmon delivers heat and oh-la-la is it is smokin’ hot.
- Third date: Devlin wants Rena, in fact, I think both of them realize what they are feeling but hold back and keep their emotions in check. I like that Rena does not push but neither does she cling. Things get complicated when Delvin’s secrets and family matters enter the picture. Both characters spend time evaluating themselves and I love that this was not a “you fix me” type romance. Lemmon added depth, and the events felt realistic. Of course, she put us all through the ringer a little in search of our HEA, but I was delighted with the way this date wrapped up.
Fighting for Devlin delivered heat, an engaging romance and flawed, loveable characters. I am looking forward to Falling for Caden releasing in December of 2016.
Read Chapter 1 of Fighting for Devlin
The first time I’d seen Devlin Calvary, I held my breath until my chest inflated like a party balloon. Today hadn’t been any different, considering the moment I saw his profile as I strode in, I ducked my head and ran for the kitchen. He was like the sun: hot, and he made me squint if I looked directly at him.
Other than the flooring good looks of the man who was my boss, my new job had started without a bang. Oak & Sage hadn’t hit a dinner rush yet. My Nazi-like trainer, Melinda, and I were attempting to stay occupied while (according to her) out of shift manager Chet’s sight.
“How can anyone take him seriously with that slur?” she spat. Melinda spat everything. She reminded me of an angry cat most of the time.
I frowned, dusting the broad leaves on one of the fake plants lining the top of the empty booths where she and I were cleaning. Well, where I was cleaning. She was gossiping about everyone she laid eyes on. I didn’t like her all that much, but she was the only co-worker I really knew here. I missed my friends at the recently gone-out-of-business Craft Palace. Right about now, we’d be opening a shipment of new scrapbook paper and dishing about the cute delivery guy.
“What if he dated a girl with an ‘S’ at the beginning of her name?” Melinda said, an evil smirk on her face. “Like . . . Sarah. ‘Sthara, you’re stho sthexthy.’”
I tried not to laugh, but it was funny. Mean, but funny.
“Nervous about tonight?” she asked as I moved to the next plant. “It’s your first time alone.”
“No, I think I can do it.”
“It’s a lot of pressure. Don’t underestimate a Thursday. It’s usually twice as busy as Friday but in fewer hours. Plus, you have a three-table section.”
I glanced at her uneasily.
“And your tables aren’t in the direct path of the kitchen, so you’ll be double-timing it back there most of the evening.”
I blinked at her. “Are you trying to freak me out?”
She smiled, her eyes holding a lazy-cat look, then her gaze slid over my shoulder. I watched as her smile turned . . . something. Almost lusty. Then I realized why.
Crazy as it sounded, I could feel whenever he approached. I clutched my dust rag when his low, commanding voice washed over the air and etched into my skin.
“Melinda, help the hostesses roll some more silverware, will you?”
Devlin Calvary. General manager of Oak & Sage, though I would swear he couldn’t be much older than my twenty-two years. The youngest man I’d ever seen in charge of my paycheck was dressed in a suit. He always wore suits rather than the khaki-and-button-down-shirt combo Chet wore. I guess to show he was in charge. But let me tell you, Devlin didn’t need a suit to alert anyone of his authority.
I ran a gaze up and down the length of his lean body, appreciating his height, broad shoulders, and the air of power and control ebbing off him like expensive cologne.
When his long, dark lashes gave me a once-over, I felt my throat close off. I’d been introduced to him in passing when Chet hired me. Devlin hadn’t done more than tip his chin in acknowledgment then.
And he hadn’t spoken a word to me since.
“Sure thing.” Melinda started, then pointed to me. “Unless you’d rather Rena do it. She really doesn’t know how to do much of anything else.”
I glared at her, but she didn’t see me, as she was attempting to blind him with the bazillion-watt smile pulling her shiny, red lips. Devlin’s bored expression remained; his chiseled jaw stayed firm.
“Just you. Rena’s . . . ” He lifted his brows and studied the rag I’d clutched against my chest like a handkerchief. “. . . petting the plants.”
Melinda snapped her head toward me, her dark blond ponytail flicking behind her like the end of a very short whip. He walked away and I continued “petting” the fake orchid in front of me as I watched his legs eat up the long aisle leading to the kitchen.
“You may as well forget about whatever fantasy you’re cooking in your head.” She sneered at me.
I shook my head in fervent denial—like I suffered any delusions that someone as hot and powerful as Devlin might look at me twice. I knew who I was. I wasn’t the type of girl who snagged the attention of a guy like him.
“He doesn’t date the help,” she continued. “He flirts with me, but I’d never.” She cut a look in the direction he’d disappeared, biting her lip. A brief flicker of longing lit her hazel eyes before she muttered, “I don’t have any interest in him.”
Oh, the lies she told. I rolled my eyes as she turned and walked to the hostess station. I knew damn well that Melinda, or any of the other females in this restaurant, would trade an ovary to be under Devlin’s intense blue-eyed stare for fifteen minutes.
To be under him, period.
I cut through the clatter of silverware and tinkling of crystal glasses wearing a smile on my face. Oak & Sage restaurant had been my second home for as long as I could remember. My dad opened it when I was in diapers, and I’d cut my teeth on the corner of table 31. You could say I was born into this life. Along the way, I had inherited another.
We were busy tonight, even by Thursday standards. I smoothed my tie and buttoned my jacket. As I stepped out of the way of an incoming server with a platter of ribs, I nodded at the guy sitting at table 31. Benny was one of the regulars, his shirt buttons nearly popping as he polished off the end of a very large piece of chocolate cake. He lifted his fork to signal he had money for me, but my sights were set on Sal Crawford: the older man at table 36.
Mr. Crawford sawed into an overcooked rib eye—why patrons insisted on ruining a forty-dollar steak by ordering it well-done was beyond me—and gestured at his wife who primly flaked her salmon and listened with half an ear.
I’d never be the kind of prick to say I had it all, but I had it pretty damn good. When my father died, he left Oak & Sage to me. I was eighteen at the time and his friend, Sonny Laurence, taught me the ropes of running a restaurant. Thanks to our history, and my being Sonny’s go-to guy in this small town, I knew every degenerate who placed bets within a fifty-mile radius.
But “degenerate” wasn’t a term I’d use to describe the Crawfords. They were wealthy, thanks in part to me, I reminded myself as I approached the table. Which made this visit almost pleasant.
“Devlin,” he greeted, cheeks rosy from the bottle of Merlot on the table. At my arrival, his wife perked up, batting her lashes and adjusting her pearls. Never mind I’m thirty years her junior, Annabelle Crawford would have me for dinner instead of the fish if I said yes.
He patted his mouth with a black cloth napkin as I leaned over the table and winked at his wife. “Anna. Looking beautiful this evening.” My lips tipped into a wry smile and her hand landed on mine.
“Oh, you.” She toyed with one of her earrings. Women were one of the things I was really good at. The other was what I did to them to make them howl. Too bad for Anna. Another ten years closer to my age and I could’ve had her clawing the bedsheets.
“I believe we have business to attend to,” I told Sal. Mrs. Crawford fished a small compact from her giant purse and patted her nose, intent on ignoring this part of the meal.
He nodded, his lips twitching slightly at the sides. I made people nervous. Not that I was some massive block of muscle with a thrice-broken nose or anything, but I was the man with the power. I carried the weight of Sonny Laurence, and had a frame that was six-two and two-twenty to back that up. In a town like Ridgeway, Ohio, reputation was worth more than any fortune Crawford could amass.
“Next time”—I reached into my jacket pocket and Sal’s eyes widened the slightest bit—“I’ll be the one collecting from you.” I proffered an envelope with curly gold script on it that read, Gift Certificate, but we both knew it contained a few cool thousand Crawford had won fair and square. “Sonny says hello.” Which was code for, Call him to place a bet today.
Sal smiled, getting the message, and accepted the envelope. Mrs. Crawford shut her compact with a snap. I pressed my palms together in typical manager-of-a-restaurant fashion and said, “Your meal is on me this evening.” I raised a brow at Sal. “I’m sure I’ll see you again soon.” I flicked a glance at the envelope.
“A pleasure, Mr. Calvary.” He nodded. Once. A sign he’d be calling Sonny later to give back some of those crisp hundreds in his hand now.
I turned for Benny’s table to relieve him of the eight hundred dollars he owed Sonny feeling the slightest bit smug. Sal had addressed me as Mr. Calvary. Twenty-four years old and I garnered more respect than an orphaned kid from West End had ever dreamed. But this was the game.
Thanks to Sonny, a game I’d mastered.
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