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Gemini Group #2
by Riley Edwards
Kennedy Lane was in trouble and she only knew one man who could help. But when she went in search of her childhood friend, the owner of Gemini Group, she found his sexy teammate Jameson instead. The man was positively broody, and brash, and most certainly rough around the edges, and possibly the most distrusting person she’d ever met. He was also hot, and bossy, and when he forgot to be a jerk, he was sweet. The problem was, he wasn’t interested in her—not personally. Jameson had one mission—keep Kennedy safe—a directive he’d made crystal clear.
As the pressure to sell her land increases, the team quickly realizes just how far the greedy land developer will go in his quest to steal everything Kennedy loves. Nothing is off limits and no one is safe. Lines blur when Kennedy’s life is on the line and Jameson can no longer deny he’s fallen for the woman he never dared to dream existed. Now time’s running out—literally—and it’s up to Jameson to save the woman he loves.
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Jameson Grant was sitting on an old stump drinking a beer, looking at his buddy and former teammate’s old yellow barn. He was hot, tired, and his body ached from old-fashioned manual labor. He was doing that while thinking life was good—and since Jameson hadn’t had all that many really good days in the last fifteen years, he was thinking life wasn’t just good—it was fucking fantastic.
Cold beer, no neighbors for miles other than his best friends who lived with him on the old Swagger Farm, and of course Nix and McKenna who lived on the other side of the woods that surrounded the property. But other than that, no one. Nothing but the summer corn crop to his right, and a soybean field to his left.
He was living a goddamn country song and he couldn’t have been happier.
Business was good, money was rolling in, not that he needed much, but it was always nice to have.
So, life was perfect for Jameson Grant and it was about damn time.
His head tipped back, he took a few more swallows of the icy brew, and his attention went to the rumble of an F150 driving up the lane. The truck passed the house and continued the last quarter mile up to the barn, and suddenly Jameson’s life wasn’t so great.
He hated visitors. The only thing he hated more was when someone came calling unannounced. He watched as the pickup slowed, and he was happy to see it was filthy, that the seventy-five-thousand-dollar truck was used for working and not just for showboating. Said a lot about the truck’s owner.
Jameson hated when people showed off their money. Like anyone gave two shits you could afford a luxury vehicle. Or more appropriately, the bank owned it, and they were really living paycheck to paycheck like the rest of the population, yet pretending they were highfalutin’. He’d seen enough of that shit to last a lifetime.
It was safe to say, Jameson didn’t like much. People accounted for the majority of his gripes. That was because he’d learned the hard way that people sucked. They robbed, they lied, they cheated, and they killed. It was the last part he struggled with the most. Some could say he, too, was a killer and they wouldn’t be wrong.
He had indeed taken a life, many, as a matter fact. One did not serve as a Navy SEAL for nearly fifteen years and not earn the black hashmarks he now had. One didn’t carry the burden of death and wonder if everything he’d done would be forgiven when he knocked on the Pearly Gates. Perhaps Jameson Grant would be an unwelcomed, unannounced visitor, the kind he detested so much.
Whatever was in store for him on the other side, was something he spent a good amount of time trying not to think about. And right then, as the driver of the pickup was opening their door, wasn’t the ideal time to be thinking about his morality.
The sun was setting and the last rays of the day were glaring off the windshield, making it impossible to see the occupant. Jameson stood and squinted as he waited for the driver to make an appearance. And when she did, the glimmers of light highlighted her shiny golden hair and Jameson was extra-pissed.
He’d seen her arguing with a man in her front yard, not two weeks ago. She’d been relieved when Jameson had appeared on the street, and with nothing more than a glare from Jameson, the man who had been yelling at Kennedy took off. She’d tried to show her gratitude by inviting him in for an iced tea.
Christ, an iced tea. For a moment, Jameson had thought he was living in Mayberry and not a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Though by the look of the town, and the feel of it too, he might as well be on the lookout for Sheriff Andy Taylor and Barney Fife.
Though, the last man that had served as sheriff of Kent County was a dirty piece of shit who’d tried to kill McKenna, Nixon’s woman. Thankfully, that scumbag was six feet under where he deserved to be. He’d been terrorizing the county for two decades. Just thinking about Sheriff Dickhead Dillinger made Jameson furious, and yet again reminded him why he disliked most everyone.
“You following me?” Jameson barked.
Kennedy jerked back in surprise before she smiled.
Good God, the woman was lethal. Her smile alone was enough for Jameson to break all his rules and ask her to sit and stay awhile.
“Hey. Jameson, right? How ya been? I’m actually lookin’ for Nixon. He around?”
Her musical voice floated across the barnyard and just as it had done the first time he’d heard it, it slammed into his chest, making him feel funny.
“Yeah. I need to talk to him.”
Jameson had no clue why he was being nosey. It was out of character for him and he knew he should just tell Kennedy, Nix wasn’t there and be done. But he couldn’t stop himself from wondering why she wanted to see his friend.
He told himself it wasn’t jealousy and he was just looking out for a buddy who didn’t need a very beautiful woman causing trouble for him. And Kennedy Lane had trouble with a capitol T written all over her.
“Heard he set up shop,” she answered. “I know most the gossip you hear around town you can’t believe but I thought I’d take a chance and see if it’s true.”
“And what’d you hear?”
“That he’s some sort of PI.”
That wasn’t entirely true, but it wasn’t false either. Gemini Group did more than private investigations.
“Why do you need a PI?”
Kennedy’s smile faded and she unnecessarily looked around the yard. They were alone. Holden was at the office where he spent most of his time. Weston and Chasin were taking their Saturday to go kayaking on the Chester River. Nixon was at his house with his woman and her siblings. So that left Jameson alone on the farm to finish painting the roof of the old milking parlor.
It had taken a shit-ton of man hours and elbow grease, but the old farm had been restored to its former glory. No more peeling paint, rusted tin, falling down barns, and the forest of weeds and grass had been mowed down. The place looked great, and he was happy to help. Nixon had been seriously depressed when he’d come home and found his father’s farm in disarray after he’d passed away.
Nixon Swagger loved his old man and the land he’d grown up on. After Nix had separated from the Navy his plan was simple; come back to Kent County, fix up the house and barns and rent out the land. Then he was supposed to go back to Virginia Beach and they were going to start their business there. But he’d met McKenna. Everything had changed for him and he decided to stay. And if Nixon was there, the rest of them would be too. They were a team.
“You remember the guy who was in my face at the Tea Party?” she asked.
Jameson remembered. He’d been walking around the street fair and when he couldn’t take another minute of the crowd and people bumping into him, he’d split and taken a walk down a residential street. He was enjoying the solitude until he saw Kennedy and the man. He was indeed in Kennedy’s face yelling at her, and the beauty was yelling right back.
The first thing Jameson had thought was, he was impressed the woman was standing her ground and not taking shit from a man who towered over her and outweighed her by at least a hundred pounds. It wasn’t muscle that accounted for the size difference, the man had looked like he’d never met a cheeseburger he didn’t like and had never seen in the inside of a gym. Or knew that such a facility existed.
His next thought was, she was crazy. She should’ve gone back into her house and called the police. People did fucked-up things, especially in anger, and the man had looked furious. But so had Kennedy.
“Yeah, I remember him.”
“Well, he’s a pain in my ass. I guess I don’t need a PI to find him, since I know who he is, I just need something on him to make him stop. I was thinking that maybe Nixon could find that something.”
“You wanna blackmail him?”
“Blackmail’s an ugly way to put it. I don’t want anything from him other than for him to stop harassing me. And men like Reggie Coleman don’t stop just because you ask them to. And most especially if you’re a woman.”
Jameson’s eyes narrowed and his body went tight. “What do you mean, especially if you’re a woman?”
All sorts of crazy thoughts were floating through Jameson’s head. Ones that made him want to mete out violence. Was the man sexually harassing Kennedy? Had he physically hurt her?
“Reggie’s a good ol’ boy. You know the kind.”
“No, I don’t know the kind,” Jameson lied.
He did know plenty of men who behaved like assholes because they thought just because they were male they could treat women like they were inferior. It was bullshit, it went against everything Jameson believed in. Even though he hated most things, one thing he never wavered from was women were precious and should be protected and treated as such. And just because he felt the need to protect them didn’t mean they weren’t equal. As a matter of fact, in Jameson’s eyes women would always be superior to men.
“He’s a land developer and he lives by the notion, you don’t pitch the bitch.”
“What does that mean?” Jameson had never heard the phrase.
“When he’s working his contracts trying to pay pennies on the dollar for land he’s trying to strong-arm the owner into selling, he never speaks to the woman. Even if she’s the landowner. He’ll try to circumvent her and go to her father, brother, male cousin, hell even a friend if it means he can speak to a man.”
“He was talking to you,” Jameson noted.
“Only because my dad’s dead, I’m an only child, I have no cousins local, he tried approaching my friends’ husbands and they all told him to take a hike. So that leaves me. As you saw, he’s not happy about it, and even less so since I’ve told him to fuck off more than once.”
“You told him to fuck off?”
Jameson was impressed, Reggie Coleman sounded like a dick.
“Well, yeah. I didn’t start out being so crass. I tried to politely decline his absurd offer but he likes being told ‘no’ by a woman only slightly less than having his balls twisted. So after the twentieth time of him coming around I finally told him to fuck off.”
Jameson couldn’t help it, his lips tipped into a smile.
“You had first-hand knowledge on his thoughts about his balls being twisted?”
“I see your point, I don’t. Perhaps Reggie Coleman enjoys that sorta kink. You never know what floats someone’s boat. Now that you mention it, I could see him getting off on it.”
Jameson couldn’t help it, he was enjoying the woman’s banter, so he continued to engage even though he knew he should just tell her Nixon wasn’t there and send her on her way.
“I didn’t mention anything. You’re the one that seems fascinated with the man’s balls.”
“Ew. That’s gross.” Kennedy’s face scrunched in disgust and Jameson chuckled.
Needing to steer the conversation back to something more appropriate—and to a topic that didn’t make Kennedy’s sharp wit come out along with cute gestures that made Jameson want to laugh—he moved along.
“What’s he want?”
“My land,” she answered.
“Yep. He bought the farm behind me when Mr. Nickels passed away. His widow didn’t want to sell, but after a year of not being able to find someone to rent the property to who could till it, she had to. Her only son lives in New Jersey and he never had any interest in farming. The land taxes were coming up and she couldn’t afford to pay them from her social security. Not to mention you can’t leave nearly four-hundred and fifty acres unattended. She was growing a weed crop and the farmer next to her was pissed.”
None of that meant anything to Jameson. He had no clue why a neighboring farmer wouldn’t be pleased the fields next to him were growing weeds and didn’t understand what any of it had to do with Kennedy’s land.
Luckily, she continued. “Now that he owns the land behind me, he wants mine, too. I only have fifty acres but I have the most street access.”
“I take it you don’t want to sell. Even at fair market value.”
“Over my dead body. That land is mine. I’ve worked hard for it. And I’m not selling to anybody, but most especially not to that snake so he can turn it into a development.”
Jameson was taken aback at the vehemence in Kennedy’s voice. Gone was the sweet lyrical tone. And in its place was steely determination. He was impressed and more than a little curious about the feisty woman who’d fight to keep her patch of land.
It was out of inquisitiveness he asked his next question, an offer he hoped didn’t bite him in the ass. But he’d decided the moment she’d stepped out of her truck and smiled at him he was going to ask it. Even before she’d told her tale of woe.
Now he had an excuse for his odd behavior, and the truth was, Reggie Coleman sounded like a man who needed to be taught a few lessons. Luckily for Kennedy, Jameson was a good teacher.
“Wanna go on up to the house?”
“The house, Kennedy. The place you passed on your way up here.”
“Smartass,” she said with a smile. “You think Nixon can help me?”
There was that jealousy again. Jameson tamped it down and answered.
“Yeah, I think we can help you.”
Jameson wasn’t entirely sure why he put so much emphasis on the we, but for some crazy reason it was important to him. Almost as important as her accepting his invitation.
Allow us to introduce you to
Riley writes heart-stopping romance with sexy alpha heroes and even stronger heroines. Riley’s favorite genres to write are romantic suspense and military romance.
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Meet Riley Edwards on a more personal level!
1. How long have you been writing romance?
My first book, Nightstalker released in 2016.
2. What romance genre do you write?
3. What heat factor do you write? How many chili peppers on a scale from 1 being mild to 5 being scorching hot.
My books run from a four to off-the-scale scorching. Each hero is different. Some like it on the sweet side others like it down and dirty—with a healthy side of sexy talk.
4. How many books have you written so far?
I’ve written twenty-five, twenty-two have been published. Five books complete the Red Team. Four books complete the 707 series. Two books complete the Collective duet. Two books have been released in the Gold Team series—the next one releases October 15. Five books have been released in the Next Generation series. One book has been released in the Gemini Group series—the next releases September 24th. And a standalone Romancing Rayne.
5. Have you written any series, and if so, how many?
All of my books are written as standalones in a series—no cliffhangers. The only true standalone I have is—Romancing Rayne. That book was a special project, a fanfiction based on Susan Stoker’s beloved Ghost and Rayne from her Delta Force Heroes series. It was an honor to write the story of their much anticipated honeymoon.
The Red Team and the Gold Team are both based in Susan’s Special Forces: Operation Alpha universe. All of those books feature some of Susan’s most popular characters. The 707 series follows a group of Army Special Forces heroes as they find love. I loved those characters so much I wasn’t ready to let them go and started a spin-off series, the Next Generation. My new series Gemini Group is a mix of my normal suspense and heat but it’s in a small town setting. The Collective—Unbroken and Trust was originally published as a part of a larger series. A group of ten authors got together and fashioned a huge universe where our characters crossed over into each other’s books. The series is awesome. Each book is a standalone but if read in order the reader will find breadcrumbs we’ve left helping solve the mystery of a deranged serial killer on the loose in San Francisco.
6. Are you a plotter or a pants-er?
I’m a fly by the seat of my pants-er. I never know where my characters will take me. Which makes writing the book awesome. The story unfolds for me the same way it does for the reader. Each new sentence a surprise.
7. Describe your writing space.
Well… I have a beautiful office. The walls are a muted gray, my favorite novels all perfectly displayed in black bookcases, it’s quiet and peaceful. But I do not write in there. I write in my garage on a card table. Crazy, right? But there are no distractions. (I’m a squirrel the small thing will take me out of what I’m writing.) The wall in front of me is boring white, my internet connection leaves something to be desired, and it’s downright uncomfortable in the summer. I figure if Steve Jobs founded Apple in his garage I could write in mine.
8. Who is your favorite fictional character, and why?
Clarice Starling. Jodie Foster’s character in Silence of the Lambs. My dream job when I was younger was to be an FBI Profiler. I grew up in Los Angeles when Richard Ramirez known as the Night Stalker was terrorizing the county I lived in. I can still remember how scared I was, how my dad nailed all the windows shut. I thought then and still do how amazing it is, that there are people out there smart enough to dissect the actions of evil. I wanted to be Clarice. She was tough but scared.
9. Does your spouse read your novels?
No! Though he does help. My husband is former Navy and worked as a private contractor. So when I need military jargon, battlefield tactics, help with explosive devices, ballistic information, he’s always around to answer my questions. Which is probably the only thing that has kept Homeland security from raiding my house. Some of my internet searches are a little scary.
10. Tell us about your new release.
Jameson’s Salvation (Gemini Group book 2) is about two people who both have tragic pasts and the differences in which they deal with those heartbreaks. Jameson closes himself off, is disgruntled, and prefers a life of solitude. Kennedy is his opposite. She chooses to trust, be kind, go out of her way for others. And when the two collide sparks fly. They battle their personal demons together as danger closes in threatening their newfound relationship.
11. How did you come up with the title?
Jameson’s Salvation at its core is about letting go of the past. Moving forward. Healing. Learning to trust and love. Both characters need Salvation.
12. What genre/troupe does this book fall under?
Romantic Suspense with a side of small town romance.
13. What heat factor is it?
Book Review of “Jameson’s Salvation” Coming Soon