Home > Forbidden Promises (The O'Malleys #4)

Forbidden Promises (The O'Malleys #4)
Author: Katee Robert

Acknowledgments

 


Sometimes I figure it’s a little weird that I thank God first and foremost in all my dirty books, but I wouldn’t have this mind if not for Him, so I’m running with it. This was one of those books that seemed to write itself, where I was just as shocked as anyone by some of the stuff that came out of Jude’s mouth. God gave me this sense of humor and love of all dirty-talking heroes, and I thank Him daily for it.

A huge thank-you to my fabulous editor, Leah Hultenschmidt, for letting me hit for the fences with this book. I am so grateful for your trust in me, and I’m not even the least bit sorry that you had to read the sexy scenes on an airplane next to strangers. Drinks are on me next time!

Endless appreciation and thank-yous go to the team at Forever. You’ve given me amazing support, from those outstanding covers to copyedits to promotion, and this series wouldn’t have been half as successful without you.

The seed of this book was planted a couple of years ago on a writers’ retreat in Cannon Beach, so thank you to everyone who came on that trip! I had a blast walking the same beach that I imagined for Callaway Rock, and navigating the truly terrifying trip back to Portland alive! We should do it again soon!

Thank you to my reader group, The Rabble. I know I’ve been teasing you with Jude and Sloan excerpts for what feels like forever, and your enthusiasm made the experience that much more amazing. Thank you! I hope Jude and Sloan’s story was worth the wait!

The process of writing a book—especially a book that is as immersive as this one was during the drafting process—can be hard on the people living with the author. So last, but certainly not least, all my love and thanks to Tim for putting up with my zoning out, never complaining about having to come up with dinner on the fly, and kicking me out of the house on a semi-regular basis to go out and do the things that real, live people do. Kisses!

 

 

Chapter One

 

You have…no job experience. In anything.”

Sloan O’Malley did her best not to wring her hands when faced with the incredulous expression of the woman sitting across from her. Her potential future boss. Around them, the little diner bustled with early morning customers, either coming in before their day got started or ending their night shift. It felt like every single one of them was staring at her.

She realized she hadn’t answered the question that wasn’t a question and cleared her throat. “I’m a hard worker, and I learn fast.” Sloan hoped it was true. She’d never had to put herself to the test, and it was slightly horrifying to realize just how sheltered she’d been when it came to actual life skills. “Please. I need this job.”

The money her brother Teague had sent would last a few more weeks, but she didn’t want to lose that precious cushion. Besides, she was so incredibly tired of sitting around while life passed her by. That was why she’d escaped her family to begin with, slipping out like a thief in the night and traveling from Boston across the country without a word to anyone. They would look for her—she’d be a fool to believe otherwise. And if Teague had to send her more resources, it would be too easy for her father to find her. Seamus O’Malley was a cold-hearted bastard who had millions in the bank and all kinds of unsavory connections. One daughter had already slipped his control, and Sloan wasn’t sure his pride could take another hit.

She had to stand on her own two feet for the first time in twenty-four years.

She just hoped she wasn’t about to fall flat on her face.

Taking a deep breath, she tried to produce a convincing smile. The owner of the diner, Marge, did not look convinced. What could Sloan possibly say that would make the woman hire her? “Marge—”

“Here’s the deal.” Marge sat back. She was an older woman with a no-nonsense face creased with laugh lines that spoke of a life well lived. Her graying hair was pulled back into a bun, and she wore serviceable clothes and a nondescript apron. She seemed like someone who could take anything life threw at her. “You look like trouble, and the last thing either I or this town needs is trouble.”

Sloan tried not to wilt at that, but Marge wasn’t through. She sighed. “But I have a thing for strays and you’re nothing if not that. I’ll give you a shot. You screw up, you’re done. You’re late, you’re done. You bring any unnecessary drama to my door, you’re done. Got it?”

She could hardly believe what she was hearing. “You’re hiring me?”

“Isn’t that what I just said?” Marge shook her head and pushed to her feet. She had to be nearly six feet tall and she was built like a linebacker. “Show up tomorrow morning at seven. Dress comfortably, because I’m not going to be sending you home if your shoes pinch your feet. You complain—”

“I’m done.”

A small smile graced Marge’s lips, then disappeared as soon as it’d come. “Yep. Now, get lost. You’re distracting the menfolk and these fools have places to be.” She turned and walked across the diner to the counter and snapped her fingers at the cook through the gap in the wall where the food was delivered. “Hurry up, Luke. You know damn well that the judge has places to be and he’ll be wanting his breakfast as soon as he walks through the door.”

Sloan got up and hurried out the door. I got the job! Her first impulse was to call Teague and tell him, but she had to remind herself she was only supposed to call in case of an emergency.

She missed her family, missed knowing that they were just a phone call away if she needed them. She hadn’t counted on that.

She headed for the beach, needing to burn off her pent-up energy. With the way the interview had gone, she’d been sure Marge was going to tell her to get lost. She’d even prepared herself for it. To have the woman do exactly the opposite made Sloan’s head spin. She’s taking a chance on me and she doesn’t even know me. Sloan could hardly believe it. In her world, people didn’t take chances on strangers like that.

Except that wasn’t her world anymore.

This was.

The sea air cleared some of the static in her head. She’d spent her entire life in Boston, but the ocean felt different on this coast. Wild. Free. Vast beyond comprehension. She slipped off her shoes and dug her toes into the sand.

Callaway Rock was about three miles from one side of the town limits to the other, all of it stretched out along the beach. The little house where she was living was on the southern outskirts, and the diner was smack dab in the middle. It might have been smarter to drive over, but she liked the walk. There might come a time when she didn’t crave the sand beneath her feet and the ocean breeze in her face, but that day wasn’t today.

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