Nice Girl to Love: The Complete Collection by Violet Duke
Publication date: July 31st 2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
The • Nice • Girl n. 1. female of the species who never does anything or anyone bad: Hands-off, she’s a nice girl. 2. the woman that men take home to meet mom: Find my son a ‘nice girl to love.’ SEE ALSO: a good girl; girl scout; Abby Bartlett
This is the complete Nice Girl to Love serial romance collection, which contains: Resisting the Bad Boy (Book One), Falling for the Good Guy (Book Two), and Choosing the Right Man (Book Three).
THE ONE SHE NEVER THOUGHT SHE COULD KEEP…
Abby Bartlett is the quintessential nice girl. Between teaching, volunteering, completing her PhD, and helping her best friend raise his daughter, Abby never gets the chance to be anything but nice. That is, until the all-wrong-for-her man she’s only ever known from afar starts daring her to simply take that chance for herself. His sage advice? Try something wild and fast. Preferably him.
An unbridled, hotshot attorney with a not-so-little black book, Connor Sullivan has earned himself quite the bad boy reputation. But in his defense, he’s a very conscientious one. He knows far too well that sometimes in life, love isn’t enough…or worse, not even a factor at all. To avoid that misery–and repel the drama–Connor has a firm ‘nothing over a month’ rule. Who knew a nice girl would be the one to make him want to break all his rules?
THE ONE SHE NEVER HOPED SHE COULD HAVE…
Abby is well aware that everyone thinks she’s in love with her best friend Brian. He is, after all, the type of man a nice girl should be with—the polar opposite of the bad boy—the kind of guy who didn’t let his wife’s decade-long illness stop him from showering her with a lifetime of love every second until her dying day. But everyone’s wrong; she couldn’t possibly be in love with him. Because she’s never once allowed herself that option.
It’s taken a while but Brian has finally come to terms with surviving the woman he spent half his life loving, a third of it losing. Truth is though, he wouldn’t have ‘survived’ any of it really had it not been for Abby—sweet, incredible Abby—the woman he’s never once had to picture his life without, never realized he couldn’t truly live without. Until now. Now that he’s finally able to love her the way she deserves, the way he knows she wants to be loved…by his brother. Who’s giving him exactly one chance to speak now or forever hold his peace.
A DECISION SHE NEVER DREAMED SHE’D HAVE TO MAKE…
And now it’s up to Abby to decide between the bad boy wanting to start a life with her and the good guy fighting for the life they’ve already built.
Nice Girl to Love (The Complete Collection)
© Violet Duke
Abby went mute as she felt Brian’s tongue lash across her skin, sensitizing the nerves to levels beyond pleasure.
If he didn’t stop, there was a good chance she’d pull the towel he was wearing right off.
“Do you want me to take it off?” he asked, his words tickling her skin.
Yes. “No,” she stammered, unable to take her eyes off the portion of the towel that was tucked at his hipbone. Just one good tug—
“I was talking about the ice, sweetheart. But if you have other things in mind…”
Ice? What ice? “Oh! Ow.” The burning of the ice at her ankle finally filtered through to her brain. “Yes, actually, can you take it off? I’m a wuss when it comes to icing my injuries.”
Brian quickly pulled off the ice and rewrapped her ankle before resuming his massage. “So back to the other things you wanted me to take off,” he teased.
Okay, seriously? It was a really good thing the man had never flirted with her before because she was certain she’d never have survived it, especially not when his hands were kneading her muscles into butter.
“You’re impossible,” she complained thickly, though it came out more like a purr. His massages should be illegal for how good they felt.
She blinked slowly at him and started wondering idly what was so wrong with him losing the towel. A fuzzy smile drifted across her face.
“Damn, you’re going to fall asleep on me aren’t you?” Brian’s voice floated over her hair softly as he pressed a smiling kiss to her forehead. “Go ahead and rest, sweetheart. You had a pretty eventful afternoon.”
With that, he stood and walked over to the linen closet for some clothes.
He was heartbreakingly handsome. Always had been. But ever since he’d gone back to coaching afterschool to supplement his teaching income, he’d gotten even burlier from the added lifting sessions before practice. It was almost unfair. Superhuman, really. His build was now more impressive than the average underwear model’s physique—a standard issue Sullivan trait it seemed—though every other aspect of him remained far gentler and way more mellow than Connor.
She’d never thought of mellow as being the new sexy. But it so was.
And nice was the new hot. With two T’s.
Hearing Brian’s soft chuckles echoing in the room, she realized she must have said the last couple of sentences out loud.
“I think you’re ‘nice with two T’s’ too, Abby,” he whispered before kissing her on the cheek. “Sweet dreams, honey.”
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Connor leaned back, stuffed, and frankly surprised at how good of a time he was having simply talking with Abby. “Doesn’t sound like you have that much time for yourself. What do you do for fun?”
She got up to grab them another two beers from the kitchen. “Honestly, I’m a homebody. Never got into the nightlife scene here. Plus, by the time I was twenty-one, I was basically babysitting Skylar all day every weekend, and nearly all my weeknights. Since that pretty much carried on clear until last year, I guess my idea of fun is hanging out with her. Lame, I know.”
He felt like he was talking to a martian. He hadn’t realized she’d spent even more time babysitting Skylar than he had. And he knew for a fact—from Brian’s complaints about it—that she hadn’t taken a single cent from them for babysitting.
For God’s sakes, she was just so nice.
“So you don’t do anything just for yourself? Just for fun?”
“Well, I have been privately executing my mission to learn how to cook the most beloved dishes from every country in the world,” she returned with a smile. “That’s fun.”
It was possible baby bluebirds helped her get dressed in the morning.
She was just that sweet.
“You’re driving me crazy.” He swept an arm around her waist and lifted her right up onto his lap.
He slid a hand into her hair, rubbed a thumb over her heated cheekbone as he brought his lips to within inches of hers. “I shouldn’t want you this much. You’re everything I’m not, and I’m everything you couldn’t possibly want. I know I should leave you alone, but I just can’t. I can’t stop myself from wanting you.”
Her breathing had grown so erratic, he was actually starting to get concerned. “Say something, sweetheart. I’m baring my soul here.”
“I shouldn’t want you either,” she whispered, “but I do.”
His arms locked around her, instinctively staking a claim on her. Mine.
The two words were his only anchor keeping him in the reality he maintained for himself. He had to be brutally honest with her, with them both. “I meant what I said earlier, Abby. I’m never going to break my one-month rule.” Feeling like the lowest piece of scum, he hammered that last nail in, “Not for anyone. Not even you.”
She was silent for a long while, and Connor started preparing himself for the rejection to come.
“I know our fifteen minutes of friendship are up but can I ask you something as a friend? Will you answer me as one?”
He tensed. “I’ll try.”
She chuckled. “Again with the copout.” Raising her warm doe eyes up to his, she asked quietly, “If you weren’t trying to get in my pants, if you were just my friend and I asked you what one thing I could do to stop being ‘a nice girl’ for just a little while, what advice would you give me?”
That was easy. “I’d tell you to try something new. Something that excites you. Something that’ll take you from zero to sixty just as fast as it could take you back to zero whenever you were ready to return.”
“Something wild and fast...” She loosened her death grip on his shoulders, slid her hands down his back slowly. “That’s good advice.”
He saw her gaze travel down to his lips and it took everything he had not to kiss her right then and there.
“Are you volunteering, Connor? To be that something wild and fast for me to try?”
“No,” he replied raggedly, “I’m insisting. Requiring.” He dropped his forehead against hers. “Asking.”
Her eyelids dipped down, veiling her reaction from him.
And so he waited.
“I can’t do a whole month with you.”
He blinked in surprise. That, he hadn’t been expecting. “Why not?!”
“It’s too long.”
Well, he did ask.
A touch indignant, he argued, “You said you don’t do one night stands. Now you’re saying a month is too long?” He knew he was getting overly worked up but he couldn’t help it, she was being irrational. His brain started firing on all pistons, every combat cell in his body taking a front seat like they always did when he was about to do battle in the courtroom. “Or is it just one month with me that’s too long?”
He felt thoroughly insulted.
“It’s not how you’re making it. Being with you would be like…ice cream. The most decadent ice cream I could ever imagine. I’d be hooked after the first bite. And if I didn’t discipline myself, I’d...overindulge.”
“Until it made you sick?” He wasn’t really good with metaphors.
A smiled peeked through. “No, until it was all I’d want to eat, all day, every day.”
What the hell was wrong with that? “And if you overindulge on the ice cream…”
“I’d be in a sugar coma, incapable of doing or thinking of anything else. But you.”
Call him a bastard but hearing that felt good.
Violet Duke is a former professor of English Education who is ecstatic to now be on the other side of the page writing wickedly fun contemporary romance novels. Besides writing and feeding her book-a-day reading addiction, she can often be found tackling reno projects with her power tools and trying pretty much anything without reading the directions first, or cooking ‘special edition’ dishes that laugh in the face of recipes. Violet lives in Hawai’i with her two cute kids and similarly adorable husband.
Interview Q&A with Violet Duke
Q: Tell us something unusual about yourself.
A: I have a fairly rare brain condition that was actually one of the mystery cases on the show House.
Q: What did you do before becoming a full-time writer?
A: I was a professor of English Education at the University of Hawai‘i. Before that? Hahahaha. I’ve been a hotel tour agent, an athletic trainer (yep that photo with Shaq on my website is real), a school teacher, a legal secretary, a fiscal officer, an editor, a florist, a tuxedo salesperson, a web designer/graphic artist, and a seamstress. *beams*
Q: What’s your poison?
A: Beer and tequila. And yes, I went through extensive training in both at ASU. ;)
Q: In your bio, it says you’re from Hawai‘i. Which island do you live on? Can I come visit?
A: Born and raised! I live on the island of O‘ahu and yesss come visit me!!! One of my favorite things to do is to make friends with folks on the plane ride home and tell them all the best places to go! I love showing off my fair state so hop on over here and say hi!
Q: If you had to write a dating ad for yourself how would it read?
A: Besides, “Don’t mind my husband, he tags along everywhere?” ;) Mine would probably read: “I take my steaks rare (still mooing), my marshmallows well done (charred and on fire), my fish raw (as sashimi), and my poi without sugar (auwe!).”
Q: How would your closest friends describe you?
A: Allergic to the big city. *grin* In fact, they talk about it often. Mostly because in the second year of my PhD program in Arizona, I went off to live in a cabin in the woods. There were exactly three human beings in a ten-mile radius, no hot water, and an outhouse. It was awesome.
Q: What’s something folks would be surprised to learn about you?
A: I’d say they’d be surprised at my music choices. I’ve been a hard core country fan since high school. Lol, back then, I was like an endangered species in Hawai‘i. Aside from that, I have a long standing love of 90’s booty/club music. Seriously, I’m one of those crazy folks you see spastically dancing in their car while driving. Notice how I say that in the present tense… ^_^
Q: Name one of your guilty pleasures.
A: Jack’s two tacos for 99 cents (no judging).
Q: Do you believe in love at first sight?
A: Absolutely. I also believe in love at first talk…as was the case for me and my husband. A former student gave him my number but I refused to be normal and go on a date with him because I was frantically finishing my dissertation at the time. I even refused to meet him in person because I was certain that would distract me beyond saving. So, the stubborn man simply called me every night instead. And in the span of less than a month, we talked on the phone daily and fell hopelessly in love. We got engaged weeks after we finally met in person, and were married a few months later.
Q: What are you working on right now?
A: I’m working on the spin-off of the Nice Girl to Love series. It’s a single standalone novel starring the guy that Abby doesn’t choose in the end of the trilogy. I’m head over heels in love with this story. *sigh* And fun trivia—my awesome fans came up with and voted on the heroine’s name in that book!
Q: What’s next on the horizon after the Nice Girl books?
A: My Cactus Creek series—three novels and three novellas set in the fun town of Cactus Creek (which you’ll see little mentions of in the Nice Girl books). The first book (Love, Chocolate, and Beer) will be out January 2014. I had the BEST time doing research for that book! ^_^ In fact, the entire series has involved a lot of research, which I love, and I’ve had a blast outlining the stories so far. They aren’t connected to the Nice Girl books (though I may slip in a few familiar cameos here and there), nor are they serial romances. All the next dozen nor so books I have planned are either standalone novels or novellas.
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors of all time?
A: Judith McNaught and Jude Deveraux were the two ladies who started me on this epic journey of loving all there is about romance. From there, I fell hard and fast for Elizabeth Lowell—I’ve devoured every book she’s ever written.
Q: Is it true you have a book-a-day reading addiction?
A: Yep! Depending on my writing schedule, some days it’s more like two or three books. Though I fought getting an ereader for years (I love holding print books), about two years ago, my hubby got me one and I have since seen an exponential growth in my addiction. LOL.
Q: Describe the method to your madness (in terms of writing).
A: Honestly, my process is more madness than method. My alpha controlling nature requires that I take a ton of notes and do charts and beat sheets to get my story (and brain) organized. From there though, it’s very organic…or maybe Frankensteinian is a better description. :) Often, the story will change dramatically in the final, final editing stage. Those huge changes usually come when I’m ‘in the zone.’ Since I like listening to Japanese music when I’m writing (go figure), apparently, my hubby can tell when I’m in the zone because he says I’ll be clacking away on the keyboard whilst belting out the lyrics. Don’t ask me how my brain can both write in English and sing in Japanese at the same exact time—let’s not poke the monster…I mean muse.
Q: Would you have made the same choice Abby did between the bad boy and the good guy?
A: OMG, I’m not touching that question with a ten-foot pole! (She says while nodding vigorously)
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