*** READ MY 5 STAR REVIEW HERE ***
Series: 44 Chapters
Author: BB Easton
Release: October 18
Because BB Easton had so much fun writing her bestselling, award-winning memoir, 44 CHAPTERS ABOUT 4 MEN, she decided to give each of her four men his own steamy standalone. SUIT is Ken’s book—the hilarious, heartwarming tale of how BB finally got over her bad boy phase and found happily ever after with…gasp…a guy in a tie.
“Since when are you into guys in ties? You only like guys who look like they rob guys in ties. At gunpoint.”
It was true. By 2003, my type had been well-established. There might as well have been a giant sign on my heart that said, “Good Guys Need Not Apply.”
Which is exactly why I had to friendzone Ken Easton. The man was a former football star, smelled like fresh laundry instead of stale cigarettes, and had more ties in his closet than tattoos on his knuckles. Pssh. BOR-ING.
But the more I got to know my hunky study buddy, the more questions I came away with. Questions like, why doesn’t he date? Why does he avoid human touch? Why does he hate all things fun and wonderful? The psychology student in me became obsessed with getting inside Ken’s head, while the spoiled brat in me became obsessed with getting inside his heart.
In 2003, I found the one thing I love more than bad boys…
A good challenge.
*SUIT is Book 4 in the 44 CHAPTERS ABOUT 4 MEN spin-off series, but it can be read as a complete standalone.
I had just settled in for a long night of staring at the TV, fighting off Jason’s yuppie friends’ blatant sexual advances, and pretending like I knew jack shit about football when something by the door caught my eye.
No, not something.
Time slowed down.
An invisible wind machine roared to life.
And Jason’s newest arrival waltzed in with the grace of a Grecian god.
Or perhaps a fallen angel, considering his wardrobe.
Jason’s mystery guest was tall and lean and dressed in black from head to toe.
He shrugged off his black wool coat and draped it over an armless chair in the entryway. He shoved the rolled-up sleeves of his black button-up shirt a little higher above his elbows, exposing two well-defined forearms. His shirt was tucked into a pair of black slacks that looked soft, not starched, and hung casually low on his hips. And as he turned and glided toward the living room, he reached up and loosened the knot on a stylish, skinny black tie. Above that tie, I was pleased to discover a jaw line that rivaled Captain America’s, cheekbones for days, and short, light-brown hair that flipped up in the front effortlessly, just like the end of his button nose.
He looked like a bad boy with a good job and a great body, and I was definitely in the market for one of those.
I canceled my pity party, slurped the drool back into my face, and formulated a plan. I was either going to fall onto the floor at his feet and fake a seizure or pretend to be choking so that maybe he’d give me the Heimlich maneuver. Either way, I was positive that it would end with him thinking he’d saved my life and us forming an instant, unbreakable bond.
I was about to make a dive for it when I heard Allen, one of the regulars at Jason’s apartment, shout, “Ken!”
I looked around.
Ken wasn’t at the party. I would know. Ken was my Gatorade-drinking, athletic-wear-wearing, smartass-comment-making, kind-of-cute-if-you’re-into-clean-cut-jocks-which-I-most-definitely-was-not, sometimes-study-buddy. He wasn’t—
My mouth fell open as Allen bounded into the living room, his bowl cut and big glasses bouncing on his head as he charged toward Jason’s newest arrival with his arms outstretched. “Bring in it, bro!”
With a last-minute duck and lean, Mark McGrath-in-a-tie completely evaded Allen’s attempt to tackle-hug him, smirking as his stocky four-eyed friend nearly crashed into the coffee table.
Oh my fucking God. It’s Ken.
I suddenly had no idea how to act, what to do. Ken was my pal. I should have at least been able to least say, What’s up? but I just sat there, hiding in plain sight, waiting for more signs of Ken-ness.
He’d already avoided human contact like a ninja.
He walked into the kitchen and pulled a Gatorade out of Jason’s fridge.
Then, that GQ-looking motherfucker with the black shirt and the black tie and the sexpot hair and the aqua-blue eyes turned and looked out over the living room…at me. I think I leaned forward and sighed with dreamy hearts in my eyes before I remembered that I was supposed to smile or…something.
There was nowhere on the couch for him to sit, so my first instinct was to get up. I was going to go over there and talk to him. I could do that, right? We were friends.
I’d only taken three steps across the living room floor before I totally freaked out. Taking a sudden, unexpected right turn, I bolted out the back door onto the balcony. In January. With no jacket.
Like a fucking moron.
The vibe outside was totally different. White party lights hung from the ceiling and the local alternative rock radio station was playing on Jason’s outdoor speakers. Whereas inside it had been loud and bright and warm and chaotic, outside it was dark and cold and still and melodic. A brooding song by Linkin Park was just ending, so I curled up on Jason’s cushy outdoor loveseat, lit a cigarette from the pack in my pocket, and enjoyed the moment as much as I could while slowly dying of hypothermia.
The moment didn’t last long. Within the first three seconds of hearing the next song I was already considering throwing myself off the balcony. As if it wasn’t bad enough that I’d committed to sitting outside the freezing cold, staring at the apartment across the parking lot where my entire life had gone to shit, the universe thought it would be absolutely hilarious to make me listen to “Falling Star” by Phantom Limb—the song Hans had written for me when we first started dating.
It had been their first and only radio single. Phantom Limb was dropped from their record label soon after we broke up due to low album sales, but that didn’t stop the local radio stations from playing “Falling Star” every fucking hour on the hour.
With nowhere else to go, I sighed and surrendered to my fate.
As I listened to the lyrics, really listened to them, it was as if I was hearing the song for the first time. It didn’t make me sad. In fact, it made me giggle. And then laugh. And then cover my own mouth to shut myself up so that I could listen some more.
“Falling Star” wasn’t some epic tale of fated destinies and true love like I’d made it out to be in my mind. It was about a girl who was meant for bigger things than her lover. He’d tried to keep her small, but in the end, she exploded into a supernova, leaving him in the dust.
“You like this song?” I jumped, my hands still clasped over my mouth, and turned to see Mark McKen closing the door behind him. He was wearing his coat and carrying mine.
A smile split my face wide open. I didn’t know who I was happier to see, Ken or my coat.
Handing over my shiny maroon flight jacket, Ken said, “It’s kinda whiny, don’t you think?”
I burst out laughing as I pulled my coat on like a blanket. “It’s whiny as shit!” I cackled.
I scooted over to make room for Ken on the loveseat, but he retreated to the opposite side of the balcony, just like always.
Never too close.
“So, what’s your favorite band?” I asked, taking a drag from my cigarette as if I wasn’t in danger of losing my fingers to frostbite.
“Sublime,” Ken answered without missing a beat.
Snort. “Sublime? Shut the fuck up.”
“What’s wrong with Sublime?”
He was serious?
“Nothing!” I backpedaled. “They’re awesome.”
“Then what is it?” Ken arched a brow and leaned against the balcony railing, enjoying watching me squirm.
I enjoyed watching him watching me squirm.
“Um, literally all they sing about is drinkin’ forties and smokin’ weed.”
“And child prostitution,” Ken deadpanned.
“Oh right,” I giggled. “How could I forget about ‘Wrong Way?’”
“I don’t know. It’s basically the greatest song ever.”
“Hey,” I said, distracted yet again by his appearance. “I like your outfit. Why’re you so dressed up?”
God, I hope that didn’t sound as creepy as it felt.
“I had to work. I’m usually off on Sundays, but a buncha assholes called out because of the Super Bowl, so I had to go in for a while.”
“Guess that’s the problem with being the boss, huh?”
Ken was the general manager of a movie theater, but he refused to let me come see any movies for free because I’d called him an asshole one time.
“Yeah, especially when all your employees are fucking teenagers.” Ken smirked. “No offense.”
“Whatever,” I scoffed, throwing a pillow at him from Jason’s loveseat. “I haven’t been a teenager in months.” I had terrible aim, but Ken reached out and caught the projectile before it flew over the railing. The movement was so effortless I think he could have done it in his sleep. Ken smiled and pretended like he was going to bean me with it, then tossed the pillow gently onto my lap as I squealed and covered my face.
Lowering my hands, I tried to give him an eat shit and die look, but one corner of my mouth wouldn’t quite cooperate. It kept pulling up instead of down.
BB Easton lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia with her long-suffering husband, Ken, and two adorable children. She recently quit her job as a school psychologist to write stories about her punk rock past and deviant sexual history full-time. Ken is suuuper excited about it.
I should have known it was only a game.
I should have known he was too good to be true.
He’s nothing but a player…
He’s a player.
He plays the bass with expert fingers. He plays women with intoxicating charm. And he’ll play me with the ease of a virtuoso.
Who better to teach me to play than the master himself?
I’m his model student, front row, pencil sharp. Pick up lines? I’ve got them. Free drinks? By the dozen. Kissing? Let me grab my chapstick.
But the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that there’s so much I don’t know. Like why his touch sets off a chain reaction straight to my nethers. Or how I’m certain each kiss is the best I’ll ever have, until the moment his lips take mine again.
There’s so much I don’t know.
Like the fact that I’m only a bet.
But we are what we are. He’s a player, through and through.
And I’m the fool who fell in love with him.
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The night flew by, time speeding up and sliding past with nothing to mark the hours but his laughter and my smiles and our bodies bouncing around the parquet like we had nothing in the world to do but dance. I had no idea how late it was until “New York, New York” came on with the house lights.
Sam hooked me under his arm and guided me out into the chilly fall evening. Like an idiot, I’d come without a jacket, and I tried to play it off like I wasn’t cold. A shiver wracked down my spine, betraying me.
He shrugged off his leather jacket. “Here, wear this.”
“B-but then y-you’ll be cold,” I said, shifting away from him in an effort to stop him. “Look, it’s n-not even cold. It’s f-fake cold. It’s only what—like, sixty out? M-my body is j-just being drunk and d-dumb.”
“Val.” The word was a gentle warning. He held out his jacket like a matador. “Put it on.”
“N-no,” I said with a laugh.
He shook it once like he was taunting me. “Toro.”
I giggled, stumbling a little as I brought my hands to the top of my head, pointer fingers to the stars. “Olé!” I cheered as I charged. But instead of running through his jacket, I found myself in his arms.
I didn’t know how it happened. The jacket was there, and then it was gone. But instead of being laid out on the sidewalk like I should have been, Sam’s arms were hooked around my waist, our bodies winding together and twisting from the force of his catch. And then I looked up, and time stretched out in a long, still moment. His eyes on my mouth. Mine on his. His nose millimeters from mine and his mouth so close, if I turned my head just right, our lips would brush. The warmth of him was everywhere.
I wasn’t cold anymore. I was on fire.
So I said the first thing that entered my empty mind.
“Are you going to kiss me, or am I gonna have to lie to my diary?”
The moment broke with our laughter, filled the air around us, stopped my chugging heart. He pressed his lips to my forehead.
I sighed. “I guess that’ll do.”
He hooked his jacket over my shoulders, taking a moment to look over my face, watching his fingers as he tucked a loose curl behind my ear. “Come on. Let’s get you home. You did good tonight, Val.”
“Thanks to your expert advice.”
But he smiled. “Pretty soon, you’ll figure out you didn’t need me at all.”
And I smiled back and pretended like it was possible that statement held an iota of truth.
About the Author
Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life — a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey.
From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.
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