Guts & Glory: Brick
As a former Navy SEAL sniper, Brick has faced his share of intense situations, but nothing could have prepared him for his latest assignment. The king of hookups, going undercover with a ring on his left finger may as well be a noose around his neck. If that's not enough, he's paired with a whirlwind of a woman who's as outspoken as she is curvy.
Fresh off the heels of a life-changing breakup, Londyn crashes at her sister's house. To prevent knocking heads with her future brother-in-law, Mercy, she jumps at the opportunity to take the undercover job that has her “playing house” with the notorious playboy of the Shadows crew. His laid-back personality, coupled with stunning good looks, should make this a walk in the park. If they weren't trying to catch a murderer.
Brick, however, is unprepared for the intimacy that comes with living as a married couple and soon the lines between real life and assignment begin to blur. But beneath his easygoing smile there's a secret he hides from the world. One he's not sure he's willing to let it come to light.
Note: Brick is the sixth book of the Guts & Glory series, a six-book spin-off from my Dirty Angels MC series. While it's recommended to read both series in order, each book can be read as a stand-alone. As with all my books, this has an HEA, no cliffhanger or cheating.
Release date: April 4, 2020
Publisher: Double-J Romance, Inc.
Print pages: 326
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Listen to a sample
Guts & Glory: Brick
Jeanne St. James
The glass-shaking slam of the front door had all the Shadows shooting straight up in their chairs. Brick wasn’t the only one sitting around the table whose hand automatically fell to the handgun strapped to his ankle.
What sounded like a woman’s heels came down the hallway in their direction.
“Shit,” Ryder muttered. “You said she was out with the sisterhood tonight.”
Mercy’s silver eyes slid to him. “Yeah, she’s fucking supposed to be out most of the night with the rest of them.”
“I knew we should’ve had poker night at the fucking warehouse,” Steel grumbled.
“The motherfucking heat is out,” Hunter said. “We would’ve had to cancel because of blue balls. And all the women are occupied with Bella’s baby shower, so it’s the perfect time to play.”
“We could’ve worn layers,” Walker muttered.
All eyes slid to him. “And your momma could’ve dressed you up in your fucking snowsuit and mittens, too.”
Walker gave Steel the finger.
A stutter of those clicking heels was heard, a stumble, then a bang. Like Rissa had fallen against the wall.
Brick glanced at Mercy. “Jesus, is she drunk? What’d you do wrong to make her get smashed?”
Mercy frowned and surged to his feet. “Nothing. I never do anything wrong, asshole.”
Chuckles and snorts circled the dining room table where their chips, cards, ashtrays, cigars and booze were strewn.
Before Mercy could go check on Rissa’s condition, a woman burst into the room, her dark blonde hair—the same color and almost the same length as Rissa’s—a wreck. Her blue eyes—also the same color as Rissa’s—wide as she took them all in.
“Fuck,” Mercy muttered and sank back into his seat, scraping a hand down his scarred face.
“You didn’t set the alarm?” Ryder asked, grinning.
“You know I fucking did,” Mercy grumbled, then turned to face the intruder. “How do you have the fucking code?”
“From the last time I was here. Parris gave it to me.” The woman made a face at Mercy. “What? I’m her sister, not a terrorist.”
Brick pursed his lips as he took in a younger version of Rissa, but one just as curvy and whose attitude, and other similarities, could make them twins.
Gorgeous, but a pain in the ass.
Or at least, that’s what Mercy said. Not the gorgeous part, the pain in the ass part.
Though, Brick never had a chance to meet her in person. And he only half paid attention when Mercy bitched about her during their poker games.
Normally, Mercy wasn’t one to bitch. He usually kept shit to himself and let it eat at him like acid. But apparently Rissa’s sister liked to do stupid things. Or, at least, make stupid decisions.
The biggest one being, moving across the country to shack up with a man she met on the internet after only talking with him for a month.
Mercy said she was “impulsive.”
“She lets you smoke cigars in here?” Not only were Londyn’s S’s slightly slurred, but her balance wasn’t so steady, either, as she wrinkled her nose and waved a hand around to break up the smoke. “Yuck.”
“Rissa know you’re here?” Mercy growled.
Brick read the look on Mercy’s face and hoped to hell that Rissa hadn’t forgotten to tell Mercy something so important.
“No, I sent her a text when I landed at the airport... For some reason she hasn’t responded yet.”
Brick swore Mercy rolled his eyes.
Actually, rolled his fucking eyes.
Brick dropped his head and hid his chuckle.
His chuckle died when Londyn stepped up to the table, grabbed the bottle of whiskey sitting next to the pile of poker chips in the center, removed the cap and guzzled straight from it.
While Brick had noticed many similarities between Mercy’s woman and her sister, he’d also noted that her chest was just about as big as Rissa’s. And Rissa had a great rack.
Brick’s eyes swung back to Mercy to make sure he wasn’t going to die for even thinking those thoughts. He swore the man could read minds.
Luckily, Mercy was too busy scowling at Londyn, so Brick turned back to her. She had dropped the bottle for a second, took a breath and then took another guzzle.
Brick noticed he wasn’t the only one whose eyes were glued to her exposed cleavage in the deep V-necked pant-suit thingy she was wearing, or the way her throat moved as she swallowed.
“Bet it would look like that if she was swallowing something else,” Brick said under his breath, unable to contain it.
Next to him, Steel stifled a snort and dropped his head.
Mercy surged to his feet and snatched the bottle from Londyn. “Why the fuck are you here?” He slammed the bottle down next to him and out of her reach.
“I had nowhere else to go since you made Parris sell her house in Vegas.”
“I didn’t—” Mercy’s mouth snapped shut and he just shook his head.
“I can’t understand why she’d want to leave Vegas when Michael spoiled her. You’re just a big ol’ grump.”
Steel jerked beside Brick, and he had to turn his face away before his laughter got him a .45 bullet smack between the eyes.
Her red-rimmed blue eyes landed on the bottle next to Mercy. “I need a drink.”
“How much have you had to drink already?” Ryder asked, looking more concerned than amused.
Londyn lifted a shoulder. “A couple on the plane... And... maybe...”
“Right. We can figure it out on our own,” Mercy stated. “No more booze.”
Londyn’s lips parted as she stared at Mercy for a long, uncomfortable moment, then, as if she shook something loose, she clapped her hands together loudly and yelled, “Then I need ice cream! Your wife have any ice cream?” and beelined right out of the room toward the kitchen.
“Wife?” Brick’s head rotated from watching Londyn’s thick, but luscious, ass disappear around the corner to Mercy. “You get married and forget to tell us about it?”
Before he could answer, Londyn backed that caboose right up so they could only see her head tilted back, her long hair spilling down her back and the sweet, sweet ass that, if he was a dumb fuck, he’d try to tap.
But, one, he wasn’t dumb, and, two, he preferred his balls to not end up on a skewer and served for dinner.
“Oh... That’s right. I meant your girlfriend, Ryan. Over two years now and my sister still doesn’t have a ring on it.”
Then she set that train in a forward motion and disappeared.
“Damn,” Brick whispered. He picked up his beer and took a sip to hide his smirk.
“No wonder her fucking man left her,” Mercy grumbled.
“I heard that!” came from the kitchen.
“That was the fucking point!” Mercy bellowed back.
“Can we get back to the game?” Steel asked.
“Why? This is so much better,” Brick said under his breath, though Mercy heard him and shot him a look that could curl wallpaper.
“Should we just call it a night?” Hunter asked.
“I’m not leaving yet,” Brick announced. “This is too good.”
“And anyway...” Londyn announced as she came back into the dining room in record time, carrying a heaping bowl of ice cream and dragging a chair behind her from the kitchen. She worked it around the table to shove it in between Brick and Steel.
Giving each other a look, they shifted their seats enough to make room.
“He didn’t leave me. I kicked him out.” She circled her spoon around the table with narrowed eyes. “Doesn’t look like any of you eat ice cream.”
Before anyone of them could answer her, Mercy barked out, “Notice something?”
“Yeah, a whole bunch of panty-wetting men sitting at a table not eating ice cream. But, helloooo, I’ve given them up. All of you. I don't care how hot you are. How skilled your tongues are. I’m done!” She shoved a full spoon into her mouth and closed her eyes like she was having an orgasm. “Damn, that’s good.”
Yes, it was. Brick watched as she jammed the spoon into the frozen mountain again and lifted it to her mouth. His eyes were glued to her lips as they parted and her tongue darted out. Then the spoon disappeared again, her eyes closed once more, and she made a mmm sound.
Mmm. Yeah. Fuck.
His hand dropped to his lap as he wondered if she liked to eat cock as much as she liked ice cream. Though by her curvaceous figure, he guessed she liked ice cream a whole lot.
Mercy’s shout of, “No women!” pulled Brick out of his ice cream fantasy.
“What?” Londyn asked as the now empty spoon exited her mouth.
“What you apparently hadn’t noticed, Londyn, is there are no fucking women sitting at this table.”
She raised her brows. “Well, I am.” As Mercy’s mouth opened and the rest of them sat on the edge of their chairs to watch this all unfold, Londyn cut off whatever he was going to say. “Where’s my sister, anyhow?”
“With the rest of the women, where she belongs.”
Brick crossed his arms over his chest and sat back. This was better than porn. More entertaining than Heaven’s Angels Gentlemen’s Club.
“Why the fuck are you here, Londyn? Did your man kick your ass out finally?”
“You know my man didn’t kick me out. You know I kicked his ass out.” She dropped the bowl onto the table and a little bit of ice cream landed on Brick’s arm.
She noticed it, too. “Sorry.” She glanced around the table. “I don’t have a napkin.” Then she leaned over, giving him a perfect view of her tits, and licked the melting ice cream off his arm.
She licked the melting ice cream off his arm.
Who did that?
But that warm, wet tongue on his skin...
What? Was Mercy asking her why she licked his arm?
“Didn’t Parris tell you? He hit me.”
The room went electric, snapping and popping circled the table. The woman, whose mouth was again full of ice cream, seemed clueless to what she just set off.
“What’d you do?”
Londyn was now licking the back of the spoon like a cat licking its paw.
Brick’s fingers twitched near his dick.
“Why do you assume I did anything?” she huffed, then shrugged with a grimace. “I shot him.”
Spines snapped. Jaws tightened. Eyes slid around the table. That little tongue on his skin and on the back of the spoon were quickly forgotten.
Did she just say...?
“You shot him,” Mercy repeated in a scarier than normal tone.
“Well, yes.” She sucked in a breath and launched into, “I first kicked him in the balls, then I shot him.”
“Get the fuck out of here,” Steel grumbled low. Brick wasn’t sure if the man was impressed or surprised.
“He struck you once and you shot him.”
“Once was all that was needed.”
On the other side of Brick, Hunter released a long “Fuuuuck” as he dropped his head in his hands.
Mercy’s face turned thunderous. And for him, it took a lot to make it so. He was seriously pissed. The man normally went subzero cold when he was angry, not the other direction.
She leaned forward, jabbing her spoon toward the center of the table. “Okay, here’s what happened...”
Everyone—except for Mercy, who rolled his eyes toward the ceiling and kept them there—leaned forward, totally entranced.
“Poker night’s over,” Mercy muttered.
“Oh no. Fuck no. This is just getting good,” Brick announced. He wasn’t going anywhere until he heard what happened.
“Okay, so...” Londyn started, ignoring the scary look Mercy was shooting in her direction. “I thought he was my soulmate—”
“Brick meets a new soulmate every time he swipes right,” Hunter said.
Brick ignored him and kept his eyes on Londyn’s lips as she took a breath to continue her story.
“It turns out he was anything but. Because you can’t have two soulmates.”
“Says who?” Steel asked, playing along.
“Says me,” she spouted.
Brick heard a long trying-not-to-murder-someone sigh at the other end of the table. He ignored that, too.
“You can’t have a second soulmate when you’ve married your first one.”
Brick shook his head confused.
Londyn turned hers to look directly at him and began to talk, like he was the only one interested in her story. He wasn’t pulling his eyes from her to look around to see if that was true. Because fuck the rest of them, he wanted to hear it and she also now had a spot of ice cream on her bottom lip. And, for fuck’s sake, he wanted to lick it off, just like she licked his arm.
But just as hot, that little tongue of hers darted out and swept it away.
“Which one are you?” she asked, her eyes narrowed on him.
“I never met you before, have I?”
“I would’ve remembered you,” she stated.
Before he could ask why, Steel prompted her, “Soooo, you found out your soulmate was married.”
“Not just married but had a family. It turns out I was his side-bitch! For years! And I never knew.”
“So… he then used that as an escape tactic when he finally figured out you were a crazy bitch and decided he’d rather deal with his wife?”
Londyn gave Mercy a look. “No, he didn’t use it as anything. I found out by accident.”
“Then he slapped you?”
“Actually, he backhanded me.”
“Why?” Mercy asked with another impatient sigh.
“Because I threw a lamp at him and hit him in the face, busting open his eye.”
“Hold up,” Brick said, more humor in his tone than there should be. “You find out he’s a cheating dog. You crack open his melon with a lamp. He backhands you. You rearrange his nuts, then shoot him. Do I have that all correct?”
“Close enough,” she said around another mouthful of ice cream.
“Are the cops looking for you?” The last thing any of them wanted was the cops anywhere near In the Shadow Security or the compound owned by the Dirty Angels MC. That could bring trouble.
“Why would they be?”
Jesus. This woman. Was she for real? “Because you shot a man?”
Londyn waved a hand around in the air. “It was just a scratch. A warning shot.”
“What was the warning for?” he asked, still unable to keep the amusement from his voice.
“To never hit me again. And to fucking pack up his shit, get the fuck out of our house and go back to his damn wife.”
“Goddamn,” Walker mumbled under his breath. He wasn’t the only one mumbling shit.
“Do you even know how to shoot a gun?” Brick asked, finding all of this so much more entertaining than a poker game.
Londyn lifted a shoulder as the spoon scraped against the bottom of the almost empty bowl. “You point and pull the trigger.”
“That you do,” Brick said around a chuckle.
“Tell me, if you kicked his cheating, woman-hitting ass out, why the fuck are you here?” Mercy growled.
“Because I don’t want to live in New York alone anymore. I only moved there for him. I’d go home to Vegas, but Parris lives here now because of you. So... here I am.”
“Here she is,” Ryder announced loudly with an accompanying snort-laugh.
“For a visit,” Mercy said. “Like a quick layover before you fly somewhere else.”
Londyn dropped the spoon into the bowl and pushed it away. “Until I figure out what I’m going to do.”
Mercy’s lips flattened out. “While in a motel.”
Those blue eyes narrowed on the big man at the end of the table. “I doubt my sister will want me staying in a motel when you have a big, beautiful home here.”
“Along with that big, beautiful ring she has on her fucking finger, which you apparently had forgotten earlier.”
“Oh, is that an actual engagement ring? Or a just-something-to-appease-her ring?”
“She isn’t fucking needy like you,” Mercy said tightly.
“Fine,” she surged up, grabbed an empty plastic cup, moved around the table and snagged the bottle from next to Mercy. “Sorry if I’m going through some tough times and I’m needy. I’ll wait for Parris elsewhere.”
“Like at a motel,” Mercy yelled over his shoulder as Londyn rushed out of the room. When Brick didn’t hear the click of heels, he realized she was now barefoot.
He dropped his head and saw her heels under the table. They were fucking hot as hell. He had no idea how women walked in shoes like that, but he did not care.
Then he pictured Londyn sprawled on his bed, her dark blonde hair spread over his pillow, her blue eyes on him, while wearing a black lace negligee that hugged all her curves and those red fucking heels.
He lifted his gaze from the shoes to Mercy, just to jerk his chain. “You should be a little more supportive of your future sister-in-law.”
“You’re welcome to go console her.”
Brick pushed to his feet.
Mercy pointed a finger at him. “Sit the fuck down. You’re not getting a piece of that. She’s buzzed and in a position to being susceptible to your man-ho charms.”
Apparently, Mercy hadn’t been serious about his suggestion of consoling her.
“His perfect type!” Steel said, laughing and smacking Brick on the back.
“Rissa would kill me. After she killed you. So, sit the fuck down.”
“Sit the fuck down!” Mercy shouted. “Don’t even think of going there.”
“I thought you said poker night was over,” Brick said.
“It is. It was. God-fucking-damnit,” he shouted, then scrubbed a hand over his hair. “I need a fucking drink and she took the whiskey.”
Brick leaned over, plucked a can from his six-pack of Iron City. “Beer?”
“I’m not drinking that swill,” Mercy grumbled.
“Suit yourself,” he said and popped open the can, the beer sliding down his throat. His eyes sliced to the doorway where Londyn disappeared. “We playing poker or are we done?”
“Poker,” Steel, Hunter and Walker said at the same time. “We’re women-free tonight, so we need to take advantage of it.”
“A-fuckin’-men,” Ryder said, sitting back in his chair and lighting a cigar. “And who knows when the next time we’ll get to do this again. Women and children make life complicated.”
“You don’t even have kids yet,” Hunter said. “I’m the only one sitting at this table with kids.”
“Kid,” Steel corrected him.
Walker whacked him on the back and laughed. “I was starting to think you were shooting blanks, old man. Congrats.”
“It’s getting to the point where we only have poker games when they’re all at a baby shower,” Steel complained.
“As long as one of them in the sisterhood keeps getting knocked up, that should be pretty fucking often,” Mercy grumbled.
“I keep saying that the club needs to start a fucking daycare,” Ryder stated, watching the smoke roll toward the ceiling from the tip of his cigar.
“Soon they’re going to need their own school district,” Steel said.
“A-fuckin’-men to that, too,” Ryder answered.
“Z’s talking about the club running a daycare,” Mercy said, shaking his head. “A fucking strip club and a daycare. Not in the same building. Thank fuck.”
“Well, Moose’s strippers could probably use it, too.”
“We all could,” Hunter said.
“Speak for yourself,” Mercy stated.
“Okay, Frankie and I could.”
“Jesus fuck, we’re turning into the fucking women here! Can we just play fucking poker, smoke cigars and scratch our damn balls like the men we are?”
A few grunts were heard in response to Mercy’s outburst, and Brick began to shuffle the deck of cards that had been abandoned in front of him. “I’m dealing, fuckers. Ante up.”
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