Tempting tristan, p.1
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       Tempting Tristan, p.1

           Melissa Foster
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Tempting Tristan


  New York Times Bestselling Author

  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.

  TEMPTING TRISTAN

  All Rights Reserved.

  Copyright © 2016 Melissa Foster

  Kobo Edition

  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

  Cover Photography: Michael Stokes

  WORLD LITERARY PRESS

  PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

  A NOTE TO READERS

  I’ve am thrilled to bring you Tristan and Alex, two sexy, big-hearted alpha heroes. When I met Alex and realized how his tragic past consumed him, I knew he needed a love like only Tristan could provide. And Alex has just as much to offer for his man. I hope you enjoy their sizzling love story as much as I do.

  Sign up for my newsletter to keep up to date with new releases and to receive a free short story.

  More Harborside Nights Books

  Catching Cassidy

  Discovering Delilah

  Harborside Nights is just one of the series in the Love in Bloom big-family romance collection. Characters from each series make appearances in future books, so you never miss an engagement, wedding, or birth.

  Love in Bloom Subseries Order

  Snow Sisters – Book 1 FREE

  The Bradens – Book 1 FREE

  The Remingtons – Book 1 FREE

  Seaside Summers – Book 1 FREE

  The Ryders | Harborside Nights

  Wild Boys After Dark | Bad Boys After Dark

  Download your FREE Love in Bloom ebooks

  Table of Contents

  Cover

  Title Page

  Copyright Page

  A Note to Readers

  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

  Excerpt from Tru Blue

  Excerpt from Bad Boys After Dark: Dylan

  Book List

  Acknowledgments

  About the Author

  CHAPTER ONE

  Tristan

  LIVI BURSTS THROUGH the door from the outdoor dining area of the Taproom, the restaurant and bar where we work. She slaps a drink order on the bar and scowls at me and Charley, the other bartender. “There’s a storm brewing outside, but it’s nothing compared to how much I hate you both right now.”

  We were in for heavy rains, but hopefully they’d hold off until after closing time. I glance at the order. “Because of two rum and Cokes?”

  She rolls her pretty green eyes. “No, Tristan. Because the hottest man on the planet just parked his motorcycle and he’s heading in here. All of my female customers are drooling, and I’m sure you’ll see a flock of them coming in any minute now. Meanwhile, I’m stuck outside and soon I’ll have a pier full of empty tables.” She grabs a handful of napkins and waves them at me with a smirk. “Drool rags.”

  “Dibs,” Charley says as she whips up a cocktail.

  I laugh and hold my hands up. “I’m on a hiatus from all things male, so be my guest.” My ex, Ian, is a self-absorbed ass, and I was an idiot for letting him treat me like shit. Which is why I’m taking a break from men—even if it kills me. It’s been weeks since we broke up and I moved into my buddy Wyatt’s house. Wyatt and his twin sister, Delilah, own the Taproom. They inherited it when their parents were killed in a car accident a little more than a year ago.

  “I’m sure he’s straight anyway,” Livi says. “The guy swaggers like a stud.”

  “Hey, gay guys can swagger like studs,” I tease.

  “I know that.” Livi peers out the pass-through window to the outside seating area and tosses her blond hair over her shoulder. “You’ll see what I mean. He’s a total badass.”

  I tend to my customers as the girls discuss the badass hot guy, and when the front door opens, I can’t help but let my eyes drift over. Livi and Charley fall silent, ogling what truly might be the hottest guy on the planet. Linebacker shoulders fill the doorframe. The godlike creature is carrying a shiny black motorcycle helmet in one very large hand. His white T-shirt is stretched so tight across his chest I can see every ripple of his shredded abs, and his deliciously defined biceps are seriously struggling to be set free from his short sleeves. Tear, baby, tear.

  He steps inside and runs a hand through his dirty-blond hair. Deep-set, brooding eyes slide over the customers sitting at the bar, sweep over Charley and Livi, and finally land on me. Charley whimpers, and Livi makes a sound in the back of her throat, both mimicking what I’m feeling, though my mouth is too dry to make a sound.

  He swaggers, full of hard-core attitude, to the vacant stool at the end of the bar, giving me a clear view of his perfect ass—and catching the attention of nearly every woman, and several of the men, in the place. My cock twitches, reminding me it’s been way too long since I’ve gotten laid.

  The pretty brunette seated next to Hot Guy leans in close, says something, and he flashes a crooked smile, which softens his hard edges but doesn’t take anything away from his rough vibe. His hand cruises through his hair again, and he slaps a sketchbook on the bar. Pulling his massive arms up onto the bar, he nearly knocks into the pretty brunette. He apologizes and pushes his stool farther way.

  Livi groans and shoves another order pad in the back pocket of her jeans as I finish making her order. “I swear I’m going to go to bartender school.”

  “Hands off. I have dibs. Besides, you have that pen pal from overseas,” Charley reminds her.

  “Jason is my best friend, not my pen pal. And you don’t sleep with best friends, especially when they’re a million miles away.” Livi lost her mother to cancer when she was fourteen, and although she doesn’t talk about that time of her life much, I know Jason has been there for her ever since. She takes her drinks and heads out to serve her customers.

  Rusty, one of the waiters, sidles up to the bar, shaking his head. “The new guy has my female customers’ panties in a bunch. Table four wants to send him a drink with the message”—he speaks in a high-pitched tone—“‘We’d like to take you for a ride.’” He scoffs. “Lucky bastard.”

  “Oh, no, they are not.” Charley turns her back to the bar and pushes her boobs up so they practically tumble out of her tight black V-neck shirt. She’s usually a Levi’s girl, but tonight she’s wearing skinny jeans. I wonder what’s up with that. “I’m on him.” Charley waggles her dark brows. “I mean, I’m on it.”

 
What is with you tonight?” I have to ask. This pushiness is new. She’s usually the girl who assumes hot guys are all hung up on themselves and barely gives them the time of day.

  Charley sets her eyes on the guy who’s got my briefs in a bunch. “Just feeling competitive.”

  I serve a few customers, keeping an eye on Charley’s flirting. Harborside is a close-knit beach town, but it’s also a college town, which makes it a party town. We get aggressive and handsy transients from time to time, and more than once Wyatt and I have had to step in.

  Charley’s pulling out all the stops, leaning over the bar, touching Hot Guy’s hand. She’s beautiful, funny, and smart, studying marine biology and working two part-time jobs. She has a nose for bullshit, and her patience for stupidity hangs by a very thin thread. Given the amount of time she chats the guy up, I assume he’s got more than looks going for him.

  She turns to fix him a drink as I tend to a group of scantily clad women waving me over. I toss my bar rag over my shoulder and flash my own pearly whites. “What can I get you ladies?”

  “Your phone number?” the redhead says with a giggle.

  Tips are tips and flirting’s the name of the game. “Barking up the wrong tree, sweetheart. But if I were straight…” I say coyly and take their order, ignoring their offers to turn me straight. If I had a buck for each time I’d received that ridiculous offer, I’d be rich.

  Charley nudges me as she fills another drink order. “He’s not giving anything up. All I found out was that he just got into town last week.” She shrugs. “He’s no dummy, though. The guy’s got brains and brawn. A wicked combination. He seems nice, but very closed off. It’s yet to be seen how rough he is. He might be lock-you-up-in-the-basement rough, or maybe he’s just sexy-as-sin rough.”

  “You can tell that much from, ‘Hey, wanna hook up?’”

  “Tsk.” She places her hands on her hips, and with a snap of her chin she tosses her brown hair over her shoulder with an impressive amount of attitude. “You know me better than that. I did not ask him to hook up. I was just checking him out and staking claim. In case I’m interested. But he’s so focused in that sketchpad, I can’t get him to give me the time of day.”

  I steal a glance at the guy, who’s watching us intently. “Seems like he’s into you,” I say, and before she can respond, a loud group of girls comes through the door and flocks to the bar. I assume they’re the customers Livi mentioned. The fact that they’re just now coming in means Livi took her sweet time taking care of their checks. Hopefully she has a slew of new customers to take care of. I know she needs the tips.

  The rest of the night is a mad rush of keeping up with drink orders and overzealous girls vying to pick me up. I can’t help but notice Hot Guy’s occasional snicker at my dismissal of the girls’ advances.

  Livi whips in from the pier for one more glance a few times instead of using the pass-through window, and whispers with Charley. Charley touches base with the hot guy, giggling and flirting, as do several of the women who are standing around him. He smiles, comments here and there, then turns back to whatever’s got his rapt attention in that notebook.

  As we near closing time, customers clear out, and Hot Guy is still sitting at the end of the bar in deep concentration. A bearded guy who had parked himself at the bar for the last half hour is standing by the door, watching Charley.

  “Char, what’s up with that guy?” I nod to the guy by the door.

  She traps her lower lip between her teeth and waves to the bearded guy. “Can you close out the notebook guy for me?”

  “Sure,” I say, reassessing the bearded guy. “I thought you hated beards. What’s up?”

  “Don’t laugh.” She leans in close, her hair tumbling forward, curtaining her face as she whispers, “Blind date.”

  We’ve worked together for a long time, and I know Charley has her pick of guys. “Why? And on a Tuesday night?”

  “Why does the day of the week matter?”

  I shrug.

  “The kind of guys I’m meeting on my own haven’t really been my type.” She smiles at the guy by the door. “Brian has a master’s in natural resources. I think I can overlook the beard for a guy I’ve got something in common with. He seems nice enough, right?”

  “I guess, but if you had this blind date set up, why were you flirting with him?” I nod toward the guy at the other end of the bar.

  She sighs. “If you must know, ever since my sister fell in love with Sam, I’ve been hoping to find the same kind of relationship. Sam Braden was a bit of a bad boy before he and Faith got together, so I thought maybe…”

  She looks back at the guy by the door, who definitely has kinder eyes than the broody biker. “But I’m not sure bad boys are my type. I’m more of a nice, smart, no-skeletons type of girl. And Mr. Mysterious over there”—she nods to the guy with the notebook—“hasn’t cracked under my flirtatious pressure, so I’m thinking his skeletons might be too big to keep contained. But I would never know that unless I tried, now, would I?”

  She pats my chest and I set my hand on hers, holding her there while I eye Brian one more time. “Fine, but it’s still a blind date. How’d you meet him?”

  Charley presses her lips into a thin line.

  “Please tell me you didn’t meet him on Tinder.”

  “No! Geez, Tristan.” Her cheeks flush. “He’s one of Brooke’s friends.”

  Brooke Baker owns an Internet café on the boardwalk called Brooke’s Bytes. I’ve been friends with her for years and I trust her judgment explicitly. “Okay, but keep your phone on and call me if you need me. In fact, text me when you’re home for the night so I know you’re not lying bloody in an alley somewhere.”

  She rolls her eyes. “Ian has no idea how badly he messed up by losing you. Not that he deserved you in the first place.” She reaches up and hugs me. “I’m not leaving until we close, but I promise I’ll text you. Even though I think you should spend less time worrying about your friends and more time finding some new guy to take that jerk’s place. The right guy is going to be very lucky to have you.”

  My gut clenches at the mention of my ex. I should be over all the shit he did, but some hurts run too deep to be easily cast aside. Unfortunately, almost everything Ian did was hurtful, from ignoring me to making me feel like an imposition. Man, I sound like a pussy. My self-esteem definitely took a pounding, but I’ll never put myself in that situation again. I shove those thoughts aside for the hundredth, and hopefully the last, time. Charley heads toward the bearded guy, and I make my way down the bar. The blond guy’s still laboring over his notebook. His jaw is tight, and his eyes are narrowed in concentration.

  I grab the empty bottle in front of him. “Last call. Can I grab you another beer?”

  “Sure, thanks.” He’s too engrossed in whatever he’s drawing to spare me a glance, but he’s got one of those in-control voices that makes me want to thank him.

  I bring him his beer, and he lifts intense admiral-blue eyes that connect with mine and momentarily steal my breath. When he flashes that sexy crooked grin, heat flares between us, and I wonder if he’s bisexual. Or maybe just curious. We get our fair share of those around here, too. Straight guys looking to experiment for a night. Not my thing.

  “Thanks, man,” he says, and reaches a hand across the bar. “Alex.”

  His handshake is firm and his hand is rough, like he does manual labor. My sex-deprived brain moves straight to how those strong, rough fingers would feel wrapped around my cock.

  Wyatt comes through the door with his girlfriend, Cassidy, tucked beneath his arm and calls out my name, rescuing me from my ridiculous straight-guy fantasy.

  “Be right there,” I tell Wyatt.

  Wyatt kisses Cassidy and heads into the stockroom.

  Alex knocks back half his beer in one gulp and tears a piece of paper from the back of his notebook. He quickly scribbles on it, folds it in half, and passes it across the bar to me. “I’ve got to go. Would you—”
>
  I snag the note. He’s clearly not gay and looking only for a favor. “Sure, I’ll give Charley your number.”

  There’s no mistaking the seductive darkness staring back at me. My entire body electrifies.

  “It’s not for her,” he says in that commanding voice that makes every part of me stand at attention. “It’s for you, Tristan.”

  Did I tell him my name? He probably overheard it. Either way, it sounds hot rolling off his tongue.

  He rises to his feet, our hands still touching. When he reaches for his helmet, our physical connection breaks, but the tantalizing heat remains.

  “Call me.” Alex takes a few steps away and looks over his shoulder. That mind-numbing grin sends another blast of heat below my belt. “See ya around, T.”

  Wyatt comes back into the bar and sets a bottle of champagne on the counter. “What’s up with Alex?”

  I’m still trying to process that Alex isn’t straight. The endearment he used, and the way he said it so confident and casually, as if we were old friends, makes my mind stumble again. T?

  “You know him?”

  “Wasn’t that Arty’s grandson, Alex Wells?” Wyatt asks. “I only met him once a few years ago, but I’m pretty sure it’s him.”

  Arlene “Arty” Bindon was a local sculptor who lived in a bungalow down the beach. We’d met a few years ago when I was out running. Unfortunately, she passed away over the winter. She was a tiny woman, about five feet tall, with frizzy gray hair that always looked windblown. From the moment we met I was drawn to her sassy nature and creative outlook. She reminded me of my own grandmother, who passed away when I was just a kid. Arty and I became close, and I checked on her when we had storms, brought her groceries every so often, and sometimes I drove her to appointments in town. She talked often about her grandson, who was in the military. She used to say, He’s a good boy, like you.

  I glance down at Alex’s number, seeing the brooding biker with new eyes. “I thought he was just passing through.”

  “Maybe he is.” Wyatt drapes an arm over my shoulder as Brandon comes into the bar, guitar in hand, followed by Delilah and her girlfriend, Ashley, and two of our other friends, Jesse and Brent Steele. Brent’s also carrying his guitar. “Are you done, or do you want to talk about Alex some more? Because I have huge news.”

 
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