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       Chased by Love (Love in Bloom: The Ryders): Trish Ryder, p.1

           Melissa Foster
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Chased by Love (Love in Bloom: The Ryders): Trish Ryder


  CHASED By Love

  The Ryders

  Love in Bloom Series

  Melissa Foster

  This is a work of fiction. The events and characters described herein are imaginary and are not intended to refer to specific places or living persons. The opinions expressed in this manuscript are solely the opinions of the author and do not represent the opinions or thoughts of the publisher. The author has represented and warranted full ownership and/or legal right to publish all the materials in this book.

  CHASED BY LOVE

  All Rights Reserved.

  Copyright © 2016 Melissa Foster

  V1.0

  This book may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including graphic, electronic, or mechanical without the express written consent of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

  Cover Design: Elizabeth Mackey Designs

  WORLD LITERARY PRESS

  PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

  The Ryders

  The Ryders are a series of stand-alone romances that may be enjoyed in any order or as part of the larger Love in Bloom series.

  Seized by Love (Blue & Lizzie)

  Claimed by Love (Duke & Gabriella)

  Chased by Love (Trish & Boone)

  Rescued by Love (Jake & Addy)

  Swept Into Love (Gage & Sally)

  A Note From Melissa

  I have been excited to write Trish Ryder’s story since I wrote Cash and Siena’s book (FLAMES OF LOVE, The Remingtons). Trish is just as feisty as I imagined she’d be. Growing up with five brothers made her strong and independent, and the perfect match for uber-alpha rock star Boone Stryker. I hope you love them as much as I do!

  Be sure to read past the end of the book for a sneak peek of the next Braden novel, complete book list, and information on a sexy new stand-alone romance novel you won’t want to miss, TRU BLUE.

  NEVER MISS A RELEASE or GIVEAWAY: Sign up for my newsletter

  The Ryders are part of the Love in Bloom big-family romance collection (40+ awesome books). You can jump into the series anywhere. All Love in Bloom books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels or as part of the larger series. The characters from each family appear in other Love in Bloom subseries so you never miss an engagement, wedding, or birth. For more information on the Love in Bloom series visit: www.melissafoster.com/LIB

  Download your FREE Love in Bloom series list here

  Download your FREE family tree and more reader goodies here.

  For my readers

  Table of Contents

  The Ryders

  A Note From Melissa

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Epilogue

  —Ready for more Ryders?—

  Excerpt: CRUSHING ON LOVE (The Bradens)

  Excerpt: Wild Boys After Dark: Logan

  BOOK LIST

  Chapter One

  “I’M GOING OVER. Should I go over? Tell me I shouldn’t. Or should I?” Trish Ryder clutched her cell phone, pacing inside her trailer on the set of her latest film, No Strings. She’d been trying to study her lines all night, but her co-star, famed rocker Boone Stryker, had a full-blown party going on at his trailer, and she could barely think past the noise.

  “It’s midnight and you have to be on set in seven hours,” her best friend, Fiona, reminded her. “You’re the star, so yes. Get your ass over there and pull a diva.”

  Trish stopped cold. “But I’m not a diva!”

  “Of course not, but you know that’s what his groupies will think, which you do not care about. Right?”

  “Right.” She nodded curtly, but she did care. She cared a lot, and Fiona knew that about her. She’d worked hard to keep a professional reputation clear of any diva attitude or impressions, and she didn’t want to blow it for a self-centered rock star making his film debut.

  Fiona groaned, and Trish heard her friend’s fiancé, Jake Braden, say, “Give me the phone.”

  “Do not give him the phone.” Trish paced again. She adored Jake. Not only was he an amazing stuntman, but he treated her bestie like a princess. But Jake, like each of Trish’s five brothers, had the protective alpha thing down pat, which meant he’d want to take care of this for her.

  “Like I have a choice?” Fiona giggled, and Trish heard them struggling over the phone.

  “Trish?” Jake’s tone made her name sound like a command she should salute.

  Trish Ryder saluted no man. “No, it’s Mary Poppins.”

  “Okay. Well, listen, Mary,” Jake said without missing a beat. “March your pretty little ass over there and tell the guy to straighten up. If he gives you any crap, call me back, and I’ll come to the set and knock some sense into him.”

  Of course you will. “Thanks, Jake, but I can handle it. I just wasn’t sure I wanted to stir up trouble. He’s already messed up so badly, the whole crew knows the film’s on thin ice.”

  “Even more of a reason for you to set him straight,” Jake said. “You don’t have to be a bitch. Just be your normal, confident self. He’d have to be a real dick not to rectify the situation.”

  She sighed, and heard Jake pass the phone back to Fiona. Maybe they were right. She was a well-respected actress, and this was Boone’s first film. Maybe he simply wasn’t up to speed on film-set etiquette. Obviously, since in the span of a few weeks he’d missed the preproduction meeting, showed up late to the set, and screwed up too many scenes to count.

  “I’m back. You okay?” Fiona asked.

  “Yes. No. I don’t know, but I’m going over. You guys are right. If I’m awake all night, I’ll be the one messing up tomorrow, and I don’t need the director upset with me.”

  After Trish ended the call, she set her phone down beside a copy of Rolling Stone magazine. A picture of Boone, shirtless, graced the cover. She’d read the article. She’d read every article about Boone taking on the role in No Strings, and they all said the same thing. Boone Stryker is everything fantasies are made of: warm brown eyes that say “help me,” “do me,” and “you’ll never forget me,” body ink indicative of a troubled soul, and an insurmountable dedication to his craft.

  They left out self-centered asshole with no respect for anyone but himself. And based on his behavior, she wasn’t even sure he had that.

  Well, guess what? It’s time to grow up.

  Her phone vibrated with a call from her eldest brother, Duke. She groaned. Damn it, Jake. You’ve got a big freaking mouth. Sometimes being a little sister sucked—even at almost thirty years old. She let the call go to voicemail. She wasn’t in the mood to deal with her overprotective eldest brother, who was ten years her senior. When would he learn that having ovaries didn’t mean she needed looking after?

  She stormed out of her trailer, assaulted by the sounds of rock and roll coming
from across the lot. Groups of scantily clad women and shirtless men, smoking and drinking, created a buffer between Boone’s trailer and the rest of the world. Trish stood and watched for a moment, trying to spot Boone among the mass of swaying bodies. She couldn’t imagine living with groupies around all the time. It was no wonder he showed up late and was never prepared. How could anyone deal with this and concentrate on anything?

  She tossed her hair over her shoulder and lifted her chin, squaring her shoulders like she wasn’t nervous at all. She was an actress. She could do this, and Jake was right. There was no need to be a bitch. She’d act calm and cool, and hopefully Boone would respond reasonably. Cool. Yeah, right. She didn’t usually have trouble with confrontations, but the badass rocker struck chords she’d never had tweaked before, and he did it with little more than a glance, which was horribly embarrassing. She couldn’t deny the rush of heat that consumed her every time their eyes connected. Unfortunately, as hot as their chemistry was off set, when she and Boone were acting, he became cold, like he didn’t want to feel the heat. In an effort to keep the situation from becoming even more uncomfortable, she’d kept her distance when they were off set. She hated that this would be their first real interaction. But that was on him, she decided, and set out across the lot, hoping to get this over with as quickly as possible.

  The smell of cigarettes, weed, sweat, and sex hung heavily in the air. She pulled her arms in close, turning sideways to fit between less-than-accommodating people, and weaved through the drunken mob toward his trailer. She scanned the crowd for Boone, trying to ignore the way men and women were eyeing her up. She was used to being looked at, and she wasn’t generally judgmental, but the groupie vibe and raunchy smell made her feel like she needed a shower. Stat!

  “Hey, babe,” a long-haired guy said as she squeezed between him and a busty brunette.

  She forced a smile and pushed past, making a beeline for the trailer door. It seemed ridiculous to knock, given the scene she’d just waded through, but she knocked anyway. No one answered. She knocked again, louder, and when no one answered, she tried the knob. Locked. Perfect. The asshole was probably passed out naked with a harem of women. An icy chill rushed down her spine. Yuck. She pushed her way back through the crowd, determined to give him hell tomorrow, regardless of how it affected the movie. This was bullshit. How could he sleep with all that racket?

  “Trish?”

  She startled at the sound of Boone’s voice coming from the direction of the parking lot and spun around. He had the most sensual voice she’d ever heard. It didn’t matter if he was singing or acting, it affected her every time. It was deep and rich, and somehow rough, demanding both attention and intimacy. She tried to steady her racing heart with a few deep breaths as she drank him in. He held his guitar case in one hand and sported a half-cocked smile. He had beautiful full lips, and despite everything, the mere sight of his perfectly bowed mouth made hers water. His faded T-shirt clung to every muscle in his insanely defined chest. Lust chased frustration up her body. She had the inside scoop on his selfishness and still she wanted to fell him like a tree and devour him limb by perfect limb.

  She swallowed a puddle of drool, drew her shoulders back again, and set a hand on her hip, hoping to mask her attraction. His smile turned smug, and his eyes lit with a spark of intel that made her gut twist. Bastard.

  “Did I wake you?” She might not have been able to mask her attraction, but every word she spoke was laden with sarcasm.

  He ran a hand through his hair and sighed, as if he were bored with the conversation. Or maybe with life.

  “Wake me?” he said with an arched brow. “I just got here.”

  She glanced at the crowd and pointed to her ears, indicating the blaring music there was no way he could miss, and glared at him. “You just let your groupies run wild like this while you’re not even around?”

  He strode toward her, his piercing dark eyes sucking her right into his vortex. He stopped when they were toe to toe, filling the air with his confident arrogance and making it hard to breathe, much less concentrate.

  “I had no idea they were partying. I’ll shut it down. But for the record, no. I don’t let my groupies run wild.” His gaze roved over her face, and she narrowed her eyes, hoping he couldn’t see the way every sweep sent waves of heat to all her best parts. “You went over there?”

  “Some of us take this movie seriously. I can’t prepare with that noise going on all night.”

  Boone raked his eyes down her body, causing her to nearly combust. A sinful smile curved his lips as his eyes began a slow stroll north, over her hips, lingering on her breasts, and bringing her traitorous nipples to attention, greeting him like a long-lost lover.

  “Pretty woman like you shouldn’t scowl so much.” His rich voice slid over her skin like a caress, leaving goose bumps in its wake.

  God, she hated herself right now.

  Unwilling to give him the upper hand, she flashed a haughty smirk and returned his assessment with a lecherous leer of her own, drinking in every inch of his athletic build, from his bulging biceps to the ripped abs evident beneath his clingy shirt, all the way to the formidable package at the juncture of his powerful thighs. She lingered there, brazenly licking her lips.

  He leaned in close—so close she thought he might kiss her. And damn it to hell, she wanted him to. Lust and challenge pulsed between them, thick and alive like a third heart. She shifted her eyes away and noticed a gorgeous platinum blonde standing in the shadows behind him. Embarrassment and something that felt far too similar to the claws of jealousy dug into her.

  Her eyes shot to Boone, but before she could say a word, he said, “I’ll take care of the noise,” and stalked away with an arm around the blonde.

  **

  “JESUS, BOONE,” HONOR said in a hushed and excited tone as they approached the crowd around his trailer. “The two of you looked like you were going to detonate. And I mean that in the hottest way possible.”

  Honor reached for his guitar, and he handed it over without responding to her comment. Yeah, he knew all about the sparks igniting between him and his gorgeous co-star, but he also knew how he was messing up the movie for her, which was why Honor West, one of his oldest and closest friends, had come to see him tonight.

  As they approached the crowd by his trailer, the group of women stumbled toward them. Boone held up his hands. “The party’s over. Everyone out.” The women stopped in their tracks, their shoulders drooping along with their eager smiles. The string of pleas and promises that followed fell on deaf ears. Boone was sick of dealing with groupies who didn’t give a hell about anything other than their ten minutes of fame. They’d sell their souls for the chance to brag about partying with the band or sleeping with a rock star. He’d given up sleeping with groupies a few weeks after he’d started, and he’d given up partying with them a short while later. About the time he got sick and tired of being treated like a commodity.

  “Sorry,” he lied. He’d made a mistake telling Benny, the bass player for their band, Strykeforce, he could stay with him for a few days. When Benny had taken off, he’d left his groupies behind. Boone had gone to meet Honor after filming, mistakenly assuming they’d leave. He made a mental note to call his manager and have them amp up security.

  When everyone finally cleared out, he sank down to the couch in the trailer beside Honor. “Remind me to give Benny hell.”

  “You always give Benny hell. He’s not going to change. He’d forget his head if it weren’t attached. Luckily he’s a creative genius. Like you.” She rested her head on his shoulder. “Besides, Benny doesn’t matter right now. You do. Are you going to be okay with this role? Do you want me to change my schedule and stick around?”

  “No, but thanks for coming out and talking me off the ledge.” He scrubbed a hand down his face, wrestling with the guilt and anger the movie had unexpectedly dredged up. Or more specifically, the emotions Trish dredged up every time she was in character as Delia, h
is character Rick Champion’s strung-out girlfriend.

  “We’ve all come a long way from the ghetto,” Honor said softly, her pale green eyes soft and supportive. “Can I say that? The ghetto? I hate being politically incorrect. Benny told me to stop calling it that and call it the ‘projects,’ but we didn’t grow up in the projects.”

  He sighed. “Fuck political correctness. The place was a ghetto. Don’t let anyone else tell you where you grew up. That kind of stuff pisses me off. Like the people out in LA don’t want to believe places like that exist, or giving it a more acceptable name like the ‘projects’ makes it seem better. Like being poor is contagious.”

  “Says the man who hides his hometown every chance he gets.” Honor tucked her white-blond hair behind her ear and smiled, softening the truth.

  He gave her a deadpan stare. “To protect my mother.” At least with his success his mother and youngest brother, Lucky, didn’t have to live a life of poverty, even if they’d chosen to remain in the area where he’d grown up.

  “I know. I’m just giving you crap. Anyway, I’m proud of all of us, and I know Destiny would be, too. She’d want you to do well in this movie. She’d want all of us to be happy. You know that.”

  All of us. There was one less of them now. He closed his eyes and rested his head back against the cushion, remembering all the years they’d struggled. Boone’s parents had married at seventeen, when his mother found out she was pregnant with him. They’d been poorer than dirt when he was growing up, and lived so far from the right side of the tracks he wasn’t sure there was a right side. But what their family had lacked in money, they’d made up in love. Honor and Destiny hadn’t been as lucky. Destiny had turned to drugs to escape her druggie parents’ abuse, and Honor had turned to Boone and their tight-knit group of friends.

 

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