He's living the dream. He's got plenty of money, good friends, and a new woman every weekend. He made all of his dreams come true. What more could he possibly want? Turns out, the only thing he wants is a girl who doesn't want him back. Or so she says.
She's on her own and proving to everyone that she's an independent woman. Sure, her job is crap and so is her tiny apartment, but hey, it's something. Everything is going great until her old high school crush makes a move she did not see coming. She's keeping her guard up around him, despite what her secret desires say.
Did he just find love at first sight? Does he even believe in such a thing, or is this just some crazy crush?
Can she trust his words? Maybe not, but will his actions speak loud enough to change her mind about him?
*This is based on a true love story following one couple on their journey. There are descriptive sexual scenes and explicit language, making this book suitable for audiences 18+.*
Release date: September 3, 2020
Print pages: 291
Content advisory: There are descriptive sexual scenes and explicit language, making this book suitable for audiences 18+.
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
Behind the book
This book is loosely based on the love story of my husband and I. The location is a city I have always wanted to see, and all names have been changed but many of the stories and family histories are true or very close.
When You Know
"Mocha Frap for Josie. Double Chocolate Frap for Alexa." The barista calls from behind the counter, setting our drinks on the window for us. I walk up and grab my coffee and straw. Alexa is right behind me.
Yeah, that makes me Josie. A small-town girl who moved to the big city to be independent and find herself. I have no clue what exactly I want to do with my life, and I currently have no one to spend it with except my best friend Alexa. We met in the 7th grade and have been glued to each other's sides since.
I always thought I wanted to be a doctor or a nurse, someone who helps people. I enjoy helping people, but when I got to high school and realized how much a dream like that would cost and how much work I would have to put in for it, I decided I didn't want it that badly. Since then, I’ve struggled to figure out what I want to do with my life. I can’t seem to picture myself doing anything, so I focus on the moment, for now, hoping it’ll come to me eventually.
My family has always supported my dreams, though, no matter what they were. My dad is so caring, and my three big brothers have always watched over me closely. That's part of why I moved 2 hours away, to learn to take care of myself and figure out who I am without my ninja turtle brothers hovering every minute. I love them, but sometimes it can be overbearing.
Moving out on my own was tough because a big city like San Francisco has a lot of people, so it can be hard to find a home and a job. I managed to find a small, one-bedroom apartment. It's nothing fancy, but it was all I could afford, and it's close to my job. Oh, my glorious job as a hotel maid. I sure know how to live the dream, don’t I?
Alexa moved here before I did, but she had money and help from her family. She has a bigger apartment and much nicer things, which she lets me come over and enjoy with her. Lex is more like a big sister than a best friend sometimes, always watching out for me and offering her help when I need it. I don’t know what I would do without her, honestly.
"So, I got a new TV," Alexa says. "It's 10 inches bigger than my last one. Plus, I got the new Pitch Perfect DVD! Want to head back to my place and check it out, Jo?"
Alexa is bouncing on her heels and smiling at me, her big green eyes lighting up, her blonde curls bouncing off her shoulders. She's a very active individual, always running or doing some sort of exercise. She was a gymnast as a kid, so she's always been very fit. I have to admit, I’m a little jealous of that. She has a physique I wish I had and a will to stay physically active. All I ever want to do is become a couch potato for real.
"That sounds like fun, Lex." I smile back at her and laugh when she squeals and giggles like a kid, skipping to the door. We step outside onto the sidewalk and start walking toward our cars. Alexa is babbling on about some new rumors she heard lately in the overly animated way that she does.
"Oh my gosh, so I saw Jackie from high school. She got a little fat. Oh, and she has two kids. I heard they were from two different guys!" She throws her hands out and screams under her breath. Her expressions make me laugh so hard, she's always so eccentric.
As she's telling this awful story and I'm laughing at her crazy face, we pass this group of well-dressed guys. Lawyers or executives of some sort I'll bet. I recognize one of them as Brody Kohller, a popular guy we went to school with. I always thought he was cute, but he was way out of my league, and I knew I'd never have a chance. There were always whispers going around about him too, how he partied, or which cheerleader he hooked up with last weekend.
Being the good girl I am, I stayed away from party boys like him, but that didn't mean I wasn't totally attracted to him. I avoid looking at them though, and watch Alexa freak out over nothing and laugh at her.
"Oooh, girl. That cute blonde guy was staring at you like hardcore. He stopped dead in his tracks and was all ‘oh my gosh’ before his friend pulled him away," Alexa gushes at me, winking and grinning like a fool.
I turn to see if she's telling the truth, but we’ve walked too far away to see them. I have a pretty good idea who she was referring to though. I look at Alexa and give her the 'yeah right' look, "Psh, yeah, because Brody Kohller would be eyeing me. He never noticed me, not once, in all the years we went to school together. I'm nobody to a guy like that, Lex." I look down at the sidewalk as I walk away.
She hooks her arm through mine and leans her head on my shoulder. "You're not a nobody, honey. You just haven't found the right somebody who will make you their everything. Until you do, you got me, babe!" She gives me a kiss on the cheek. I laugh at her and roll my eyes. What are best friends for, right?
We go back to Alexa's apartment and decide to order some pizza before we start the movie. After getting changed into some more comfortable clothes, we relax on the couch. We sit for a while, finishing up our coffees and talking about work and life.
“I’m up for a promotion, by the way. Hopefully, before you know it, you’ll be looking at the new assistant manager!” Alexa throws up jazz hands to accentuate her excitement and I high-five her.
“That’s awesome! I need a better job before I try for any promotions. I do not want to be managing the cleaning service for a hotel. Spend my days ordering supplies and assigning rooms. Ugh.” I take a big drink of my coffee as Lex sticks out her bottom lip to show her sympathy.
“You’ll find something better, eventually. I know there are better things in your future, you just haven’t come across them yet.”
I chuckle at her, “Forever my favorite optimist.”
She smiles and shrugs a shoulder as we sit in silence for a moment. Alexa’s eyes pop open wide as she gasps, shattering the peace and quiet. “Hey! You said that cute guy checking you out was Brody Kohller? I didn’t even recognize him. He’s gotten much cuter and buffer since high school. Don’t you clean his place?”
I nod my head as I swallow my gulp of coffee. “Yeah, I do. That’s how I recognized him so easily. I’ve seen him in the building, but never in his place. I’m not allowed to enter and clean while they’re home.”
She blinks at me for a minute, and then a slow, creepy smile crawls across her face. “You should totally leave your number on his counter. The way he was staring at you, I bet he’d be all over that.”
She winks at me and giggles, and I scoff at her. “You know me better than that. He’s cute, but I doubt he’d be interested. Even if he was, I am not giving up my v-card to a guy like that!”
There’s a knock at the door, interrupting our conversation. Alexa pays the delivery guy as I set up the pizza and drinks for our movie before we flop onto the couch and stuff our faces while laughing at Fat Amy. When the movie is over, we sit and talk for a bit about it. I check my phone as I grab a drink of Mt. Dew and realize how late it is. I get up and gather my things, "I have to get up early for work, so I should really get going."
She looks up at me from the couch. "I have an evening shift tomorrow, but you want to stay over Saturday night? We can order Chinese and stay up all night watching scary movies." I can't help but laugh. We hate watching scary movies because then we're scared to even go pee alone.
"Saturday night it is, then," I say as I slip my shoes on and walk to the door. She comes up behind me so she can lock the door after I leave like she always does. We say bye and I give her a hug. She kisses my cheek, and I walk out the door and down to my car.
The drive home is short since I don't live far from Lex, so I don’t even bother turning on music. Once I get home, I strip down and take a nice warm shower, my favorite music blaring from my phone as I sing along. I blow dry my hair before laying down to go to bed. My mind is racing like it always does when I lie down, so it takes me a while to fall asleep. I lie there in bed thinking about what Alexa said.
“The way he was staring at you, I bet he’d be all over that.”
Her words circle around my brain. She says he was looking at me, but guys never notice me when I’m with Alexa. She’s the one who always gets hit on. Maybe she didn’t see right, and he was actually looking at her.
Even if he was looking at me, I’m not sure how I would feel about that. The guy never noticed me once in high school. In all the years we had classes together. Why am I so noticeable now? Would I even want to date him or give him a chance? He isn’t exactly my type. I don’t date guys who only want me for my taco. I want love, and Brody Kohller doesn’t know what love is. My eyes finally get heavy, my body relaxes, and before I know it, my morning alarm is waking me.
I get out of bed just after 5 am, groaning as I try to wake up and start the day. I brush my teeth and put on the annoyingly short maid’s dress, grabbing my favorite tennis shoes. I quickly straighten my hair and pack my lunch before running out the door. When I pull into the hotel parking lot, I enter through the back entrance, putting my things in my locker and punching in by 6 am.
I grab my cart of cleaning supplies and head for the elevator. Unlike most of the people I work with, I like to start with my top floors, working my way down as the day goes on, so with each passing hour, I get closer and closer to clocking out and leaving.
I step out of the elevator onto the top floor of the building and see a woman coming out of Mr. Kohller's apartment with her heels in her hand, like she's trying to be quiet. When she turns away from the door to put her shoes on, she sees me standing there and gives me an awkward smile, lifting her chin and walking past me into the elevator. I give her a sheepish look and quickly walk my cart to the end of the hall to clean rooms.
Most of the people who live on this floor are gone before I start my day. They're all big executives and what not, so they start their days earlier than I do and come home later than I do. Sometimes, as I'm cleaning up the rooms, making the beds, and restocking the bathrooms, I think about how nice it would be to live in such a place, but then I think about how much work I'd have to put in to afford this and it doesn't seem worth it to me. I mean, why pay for such a nice place if you're only going to be in it to sleep? Why not get a cheaper place and enjoy the extra money? I don’t understand people sometimes.
After about an hour of cleaning the other rooms in the hall, I reach the last door, Brody Kohller's. Knocking, I holler out, "Housekeeping", but I receive no response. I use my key to open the door and holler again, but once again, receive no response. I do this every single day and yet, this day feels different for some reason. Pushing the thought aside, I step into the suite and start to clean up, humming to myself as I go along.
I start with the living room since it's the first room I go into. I tidy up the pillows on the couch and straighten up the coffee table, dusting as I go along so everything is nice and clean. My eyes land on some shoes laying in strange places in the room, almost as if they were kicked off across the room. I bend down to grab them, and as my fingers touch the shoes, I hear an "mmmm" behind me.
I stand up quickly, shoes in my hands, and whirl around to find Mr. Kohller standing in the bedroom doorway in a towel, water droplets still on his bare chest. I always thought he was attractive, but I never imagined he'd be this beautiful without his clothes. His bare chest is hairless and muscular, abs well defined and screaming for me to touch them. With his arms crossed over his chest, his biceps bulge out. His bright blue eyes are looking me up and down, and he has a smirk on his long, smooth face. His blonde hair is still wet, lying flat on his head.
"Oh. My gosh, I am so sorry! I didn't hear anyone in here when I knocked. I didn't even hear the shower running. I'm so, so sorry, Mr. Kohller. I'll get out of your way."
I start babbling and fumbling with the shoes, trying to figure out what to do. This has never happened before. He's not usually here this late on a Friday, and now I'm freaking out! If he reports me, I could lose this job, and it was the only one I could find, the only one that would hire me with no experience. Who knows how long it would take me to find another one!
He chuckles and steps toward me slowly, his hands out. He slowly takes the shoes from me as he looks down into my eyes and says, "It's all right. I'm not usually here on Friday mornings, so I understand the confusion. No need to panic and run off. You can still finish up your job. I won't get in your way. I could use some more towels, anyway."
He winks at me and then goes into the bedroom to put the shoes away. His back is as perfect as his front and his towel is tight enough to outline what looks to be the most perfect man ass in the entire world.
I take a deep breath, trying to calm my nerves as I go to the small kitchen to clean the counters and relax. I check on the other bedroom, even though it’s never used, and make sure it’s still clean. When I'm done with that, I slowly walk into the master bedroom, looking around to make sure I don't walk in on him naked or something, but then I hear him in the bathroom.
I begin making the bed, and as I pick a pillow up off the floor, I find a lacy black thong under it. I gently grab the waistband with two fingers and slowly stand up, and I can feel an eyebrow go up as I wonder how someone could go without their underwear. Eesh.
I hear a laugh and look up to see him standing on the other side of the room in a pair of dark jeans that are tight enough to see every curve of his gorgeous body and loose enough not to give away the best parts.
"Sorry about that. Uh, you can throw those away. I won't be needing them." He laughs more as he walks into the other room. I glare at his back, hating his nonchalance and annoyed at how hard my heart is hammering in his presence.
As I go into the bathroom to throw them away before emptying the trash can, I realize that these must have belonged to the brunette who was coming out of his place this morning in the blue dress. This shouldn’t surprise me. It isn't the first time I've seen a woman leave his suite nor is it the first time I've found women's undergarments.
I take my time to clean up the bathroom, wiping down the counter, the mirror, and the toilet before emptying the trash can and checking on paper and towels. I walk out of the bathroom and almost bump into him as I'm walking across the bedroom.
"I'm sorry, excuse me, Mr. Kohller." I look down at my feet as I step around him and head for my cart outside the door.
"You can stop calling me that. My name is Brody. No need to be so formal, sweetheart." I stop and look back to find him giving me a seductive grin.
I know my eyes are wide and my cheeks are heating to an unholy degree. I’m going to pass out if I don’t get my nerves under control. Giving him a weak smile, I stutter, "Yes, sir. Uhm, Brody. Sorry." I step out to my cart and toss in the trash bag. I run my hands through my hair as I try to breathe.
This is so incredibly humiliating. In all my life, I never thought I’d be in such a position as this, to be ogled and sexually appreciated by Brody. Honestly, I think I much preferred being invisible to this. My heart is pounding out of my chest, my nerves are on edge, and I have no idea how to handle this situation. Part of me wants to tell him off, but the smaller part of me is begging for him to appreciate me. I need to strangle that smaller part.
Shaking my head to clear my thoughts, I grab a new trash bag, along with a few towels and rolls of toilet paper before going back. Knocking as I walk back into the apartment, I head straight for the bathroom when I see no sign of Brody. Setting the towels and paper on the counter, I quickly replace the trash bag. I put the paper in the little closet, but the towels go up on the higher shelves that I can barely reach. I'm standing on my tiptoes trying to push the towels neatly onto the shelf as I feel a body lean over me and a hand pushes the towels right into place.
He doesn't step back as I turn to face him, my eyes level with his chin, my chest is almost touching his, and I can smell the sweet mint of mouthwash on his breath. He watches me, and in a low voice he says, "It looked like you could use some help." It's almost a whisper, and I feel my heart trying to pound its way out of my ribs. My face gets hot, and I know my cheeks are burning red.
Looking up at him, I barely manage to whisper, "Thank you." I go to tuck some hair behind my ear, giving myself an excuse to look away, but as I lower my hand, it brushes down his bare chest and stomach. He physically shivers from my touch, and I'm not sure if it's a good thing or if I made him uncomfortable.
Having him stand so close to me is so confusing and thrilling at the same time. I've wished for a moment like this my whole life, even though I never believed it would happen. Let’s be honest, I’m not even remotely his type. But that tiny part of me that’s still head over heels for him is giddy as hell being this close to him, and try as I might to shut it up, there’s no denying that my body has a response to him. With my brain so muddled and mixed up over these conflicting feelings, I’m stuck in this awkward state of confusion, unsure of what to say or do next.
I look back up at him, and he's staring at me so intensely I'm almost scared. I have no idea where this is going. His hand lifts to touch my hair, he swirls a piece of it around his finger, and as he does, his finger brushes my cheek. I close my eyes as my cheek burns, tingling where his finger brushed as I hear him say, "I never got your name."
Of course he doesn’t know my name, gah, I should kick him in the shin. Just lift your foot and kick him, Josie! Instead of listening, my body stays rigid, and I swallow, my lips moving of their own volition as I fall under his spell, his fingers doing something to me as they caress my face.
My voice fails me, so I clear my throat and look up at him, this time saying it loud enough to hear, "Josie. My... My name is Josie."
I hear him whisper my name as he continues to twirl my hair around his finger. This time, when his finger brushes my cheek, he keeps it there, tracing down to my jaw and then following my jaw line up to my lips. He runs his thumb along the bottom edge of my bottom lip and his touch feels so good against my hot skin, like melted chocolate spreading over me, warm and thick, and I close my eyes to enjoy the sensation.
He runs his thumb back the other way across my lip as his other fingers settle on my cheek, and I let out a sigh, my lips parting a little.
As I hear myself sigh, I realize how completely inappropriate this is, and I stiffen, opening my eyes and pushing his hand away. "I'm sorry, Brody," I clear my throat, "Mr. Kohller, sir, I need to get back to work. I'm sorry for bothering you." I push past him and rush out the door, shutting it behind me.
How could I be so foolish!? He has to be messing with me, there’s no way he wants me. There’s no way in hell that any of that was real. I must be dreaming or something. Grabbing my cart, I jump into the elevator as quickly as I can and I don't even allow myself to let out my breath until the doors close. As I take a breath, I remind myself of all the things I’ve hated about him. I won’t let him tease me into thinking he likes me. I know that he only wants one thing; the one thing I won’t be giving him.
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