I am SUPER thrilled to share with you guys that Meant to be Different, book two in the Meant To Be Series, is going to be released July 9th! To celebrate I am going to share an excerpt from the book every other Monday leading up to the cover reveal and preorder. And today is the first day for that, so without further ado… meet Wyatt and Georgia:
Wyatt lifted the hat from his head, ran his fingers through his hair, and pushed it back down with more force than was necessary. He pressed his fingers in the corners of his eyes and rubbed at the gritty sand collecting there. A weighty sigh preceded his push away from the cherry desk that was so massive it took up nearly a third of the space of the small office he’d created off the edge of the biggest barn.
It was a space intended for whoever he deemed worthy of entrusting with the day-to-day operations of the ranch so he could focus on his true passion, the competition. A mythical person who had yet to present themselves in the dozens of interviews he’d conducted. The very same ones that were now on hold like everything else in his life at the moment.
He crossed the room and flopped onto the futon, a pathetic, second-class choice that somehow turned into a five star hotel quality bed when it was occupied with Gigi. He turned his head and buried his nose into the pillow that still held a trace of her scent.
Groveling was going to become his newest hobby if her responses were any indication. The middle finger emoji she sent most recently instead of an actual reply was his favorite.
Tanner and Wyatt always had a stronger bond than their other brothers and he was grateful Tanner and Izzy both welcomed him to stay at their house for as long as needed while his own was under construction. Being under the watchful eye of his parents at this stage of life was pretty low on his list of desires right now. Somewhere below taking another ride on Crosshair, one of the nastiest bull’s he’d ever encountered, and slightly above having each toenail removed.
Despite their bond, confessing all to his brother – something that was sure to happen as soon as Mr. Fix It caught onto the fact something was off – wasn’t an option either. Because Tanner could fix this. Their father could fix this. Both of them would in a heartbeat. Family trumped any and everything for the Carlisles and Wyatt was grateful most of the time for their unwavering support.
But taking their help would mean Wyatt would be left to be the screw-up who couldn’t make it on his own in the real world. The Carlisle brother that wasn’t capable of handling a real job that didn’t involve taking his shirt off to model jeans or getting his ass handed to him by a fifteen hundred pound angry beast. Yeah, that was a title he was pretty damn sure he didn’t want to wear.
His feet dangled over the end of the short mattress and he tossed his hat on the floor beside him. Darkness enveloped him as his lids closed, numbers ping ponging through his brain.
“I’m getting really tired of chasing after a stupid freaking cowboy more than a decade after I swore I’d never even think of him again. This is basically the opposite of getting me to trust you again.”
Her voice cut through the avalanche of dark thoughts consuming his mind and was a much needed balm to his aching heart and wounded pride. Gigi had a way of fixing him, even when they weren’t together. Even when the only way she was present is when he pulled her picture out of his wallet or cued up the one he’d saved after he stalked her social media one drunken night. The same site he visited far more than he would ever admit.
And the one where he saw his Gigi wrapped up with some blonde haired, overly tanned creep for months on end. He’d breathed a sigh of relief when the asshole disappeared. Right around the same time her location changed too. Back home to North Carolina. That had been a damn good day.
He partially opened one eye and drank in the beauty of a furious Gigi. One of his favorite sights. “I’m not too hard to find, Angel. If I’m not with you or Tanner… well there aren’t too many places for me to go.”
A string of muttered curses accompanied her fingers raking through her hair. “Insanity. Wyatt Carlisle brings chaos, frustration, and total insanity with him everywhere he goes.”
Reflexively he reached for his discarded hat and plopped it on his head as he moved into a sitting position before pushing against his knees and standing. “And you bring hunger, desire, and every other thing I need to feel better. What’s your point?” He gripped her hips, pulling her close before his hands moved to flatten against her spine and align her body against his.
Her lashes fluttered for a brief second before she shoved him away. “You’re missing a huge issue here, Cowboy. You bailed once, when you do it again it doesn’t help your cause, it hurts it. If you’re dealing with a problem and we are supposed to be…” The incomplete sentence hung in the air between them. The title he wanted taunting him from its unspoken hiding place. “Friends, then we need to talk. Instead you take off. Again.” She sighed and dropped her forehead against his shoulder. “I need you to talk to me when something’s going on and I really need you to not run.”
Pain lanced through Wyatt’s chest with her words. It wasn’t what he was trying to do. This was one hundred percent self-preservation and injured pride. “Shit, I’m sorry.” Apologies were becoming his most repeated phrase. Whether it was desperation to bring something good into his world or sheer stupidity, he never really figured out, but the next words tumbled from his mouth without any input from his brain. “If I promise to stop running will you promise to give us a real chance?”
The widening of her hazel eyes – not to mention the loss of the comfort her body offered him when she took three steps away – was confirmation he’d said too much.
Gigi wrapped her arms around her abdomen. “I have reasons, Wyatt. I’m not just trying to get revenge on you.”
He called himself every kind of asshole he could think of and closed the space between them. His arms pulled her close and she quickly locked her own around him. “I’m sorry, Angel. I’m just… frustrated as hell right now. I’ve been staring at every account, every expenditure, every payment and I can’t seem to make sense of it. There’s nearly fifty thousand dollars missing that I can’t account for.”
“What would you say if I told you that I could fix this? At least a temporary band-aid that will give you time to talk to your insurance agent—and an attorney I might add—without screwing up your timeline.” Her brows lifted in a silent challenge.
The corner of his mouth twitched. “I’d say I always knew you were an Angel, but that might be a miracle just slightly out of your grasp.”
She rolled her eyes with an exaggerated sigh. “Do you want to know or not? This deal might expire if you’re gonna pull the Rhinestone Cowboy routine.”
“You always did like giving me options.” His brows popped twice.
Gigi moved to dig in the small container sitting on his desk before producing a silver coin. “Flip ya for it? Heads I tell you my plan and you don’t give me shit, tails I let you figure this out on your own.”
He tilted his head back and laughed, releasing her before rounding his desk and reaching into the drawer. “Now, Angel, this is my life, my career, and my future.” Our future, he corrected in his head, but wasn’t sure that was something he was confident enough to speak out loud. “We need something a bit more grown-up than flipping a coin.”
She lifted one shoulder. “We’ve always done pretty well with it in the past.”
Wyatt held a pack of cards between his fingertips. “Poker, Angel. Something this serious requires a serious game.”
A mischievous grin curled her lips and every nerve ending on his body took notice. The wicked promises the small gesture offered nearly wiped his mind clear of the looming threat to the future he was so carefully constructing.
“If we are playing poker, let’s make it really interesting, Cowboy.”
He swallowed his suddenly parched throat three times. “What’d you have in mind there, Gigi?”
She leaned across the desk and plucked the deck from his hand. “Strip poker. Winner gets to decide what our next step for your ranch is and where we end up tonight.” Her tongue darted out to run along her bottom lip. “I have a lot of ideas.”
The answer was quick, easy, and required absolutely no thought. “Deal me in.”