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Unbreak My Heart: Cole

By Marie Rochelle



Description

From the first moment Lauren Lake laid eyes on the handsome Cole Brady, she never wanted anyone but her older brother’s best friend. She just knew if she gave him enough attention Cole would finally notice her. All she had to do was be patient and let things happen. Well, her persistence finally paid off, but not in the way she dreamt it would.

His good looks always drew women and it was something Cole Brady was proud of until Lauren started getting an unexpected crush on him, but he wasn’t about to return her feelings. She was too young and inexperienced for him. He didn’t want to break her heart.

However, one night he did the one thing he vowed not to do and now he swore to do everything in his power to win back the woman he was secretly falling in love with.


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Excerpt

Chapter One

Sitting inside the crowded church, Cole Brady relaxed on the first pew church watching as his best friend got married. Maxwell Reed stood in front of a minister and recited his vows to a beaming Fancy Shayne. He knew that Maxwell had been in love with Fancy for well over a year, but he hadn’t acknowledged his true feelings until Fancy started working for him at his ranch, and then a string of events had almost made him lose her.

What in the hell was he going to do now with Maxwell getting married off too?

He wasn’t going to have anyone to drag to the Tycoon Club with him now. Troy was married to Headley and now they were the parents of an adorable little boy that they named Troy Christian, Jr. He loved his little godson to death, but he could tell that the new baby was his other best friend’s world. He heard that Troy was even thinking about hiring someone to take over some of his long hours at work so he could be home with Headley and his son more.

He’d gone over to Troy’s house last night and he still couldn’t believe the incredible change in his friend. Troy used to be the ultimate playboy. Troy didn’t stay with one woman more than a ninety-day trial period. But that was before the gorgeous and sassy Headley Rose blew back into town. She had been clueless to the fact that Troy had set up the entire scheme about her father so he could win her heart and put a ring on her finger.

Now, Troy constantly walked around with a permanent smile on his stupid face. Troy hadn’t thought about visiting his old stomping ground since he had gotten married. Out of the three of them, he was the only one who still went there… but it wasn’t the same there without Troy and Maxwell to laugh and joke around with.

Shit! He wasn’t interested in making a new bunch of friends at the club because his friends knew how he was and didn’t hold it against him. He was the biggest flirt out of all of them. He purposely didn’t date the same woman for a long period of time because he wasn’t interested in getting married or making babies like his two buddies. Staying single and having a new girl on his arm every other night was the way to go.

“Fancy looks so gorgeous up there, doesn’t she?” Headley Christian whispered in his ear. “I was beginning to worry that Maxwell might not ever come to his senses and ask her to marry him.”

“Yes, she does look beautiful. I think the two of them finally realized that they couldn’t live without each other,” Cole replied back looking at Headley. “You know how it was when it came to you and Troy. He wasn’t going to stop until he got you to marry him. I think he was obsessed with it. I’m just glad it was the two of them and not me.”

“Oh, come on,” Headley whispered back and then glanced down at the sleeping baby in her arms. “You know that you’re ready to take that big plunge like Troy and Maxwell. You just need the right woman to make you see it. You can’t stay single forever. Don’t you want one of these precious gifts?”

Cole’s stomach knotted up at the thought of being confined home with a nagging wife and crying babies. No, he was fine with his life the way it was. He was single without a care in the world and no one to answer to but himself.

“No, the marriage thing isn’t for me. I’m very happy with the way I am. I’m not planning to ever get married. Besides, I have a godson so I don’t have any need for a child either. Anytime I get the urge for a baby I can come over to your house and play with Troy, Jr.”

Headley shook her head at him like she didn’t believe what he was telling her. “I’m not going to get into this with you right now because I want to hear the service, but at the reception we are going to have a very long talk.”

“I’ll probably be busy dancing, so I may not have time for a lecture from you,” Cole said, hoping to warn off Headley before she tried to give him so more advice about his love life.

“Don’t you dare try to avoid me, because you know that I’ll tell Fancy and she will get on you too.” Headley gave him a stern look before focusing her attention back on the ecstatic couple in front of them.

Cole wanted to argue, but he knew it would be for the best if he just kept his mouth shut. It was a good thing that Troy was Maxwell’s best man or he might want to give him some unwanted advice too. Why couldn’t all of them understand that he wasn’t interested in changing how he was? He was happy with the road his life was taking.

Stop lying to yourself, his mind taunted. You know that you want the same things that Troy and Maxwell have now: a loving wife waiting for you at home with a beautiful baby in her arms and maybe another one on the way.

Troy tried to shake the thought from his mind, but it wouldn’t leave. He couldn’t let his thoughts wander onto that subject or he would never be able to leave it. His buddies didn’t seem to understand that he had lost his only chance at something special a long time ago, and he wasn’t going to be fortunate enough to get a second opportunity with the woman that he had loved and lost.

Lauren had been so in love with him when she was younger, and he had laughed at her feelings and then cruelly tossed them back into her face. He hadn’t realized the enormous mistake he had made until it was too late. Now, he was dating endless women trying to find that emotion he felt anytime he was fortunate enough to be around Lauren.

Maxwell and Troy thought he was still going to the Tycoon Club to drink and flirt with the waitresses, but truthfully he was going there to see her. He liked watching how Lauren interacted with the customers when she was in town visiting her stepbrother. Tommy was still in the dark about the crush Lauren had on him when she was a teenager. However, if Tommy had ever found out that he was thinking about seducing Lauren .

The shit would have hit the fan.

Tommy was always getting on him for dating the waitresses at the Club and then dumping them only after a couple of months. His friend sure in the hell wouldn’t want him playing around with his little sister. No, that wouldn’t sit well with Tommy at all. He was very protective of Lauren, despite the fact that his father was no longer married to her mother.

I need to leave my memories in the past and find a way to move on from Lauren, Cole thought. She wasn’t even interested in him anymore anyway. She had proved that the time he had rushed back from Kentucky after talking with Fancy to see her and she completely ignored him to spend even more time with Ty.

The last time he was at the club Lauren didn’t even flirt with him like she usually did. Instead, she just walked right past him like he wasn’t even in the same room with her. Her actions had hurt him more than he cared to admit, but he had plastered a smile of his face and flirted with the first pretty woman that walked past him.

Okay, he would get into his issues with Lauren later on when he was alone. Right now, he came to this wedding to see his best friend, Maxwell get married to the love of his life.

Pushing Lauren to the back of his mind for the moment, Cole gave his full attention back to the wedding in time to see Maxwell lift Fancy’s veil and then kiss his new bride like she was the most important woman in the world to him.  

Cole tried to shove the instant jealousy he felt surging at the couple back down, but he couldn’t do it. He was mad that it wasn’t him up there with Lauren taking those vows and making her his forever.

When in the hell had he screwed up his life so badly? For once in his life, the one woman that he wanted wasn’t interested in him. Shit! He had to find a way to chance that and fast. He hated to admit it, but Headley was right. He did want a wife and family and there was only one person that could give it to him.

He wasn’t going to spend another year of his life sleeping with women who didn’t matter to him. Lauren was home and he was going to make sure that she became his wife. He wouldn’t allow her to keep dancing around the attraction that came to the surface anytime they were within touching distance of each other.

 

****

 

“Why are you sitting here all by yourself? I know half the single women here would love to be dancing with Mr. Cole Brady. So are you going to tell me what is going on with you?” Fancy Reed asked, easing down into the seat next to him. She was about six weeks away from giving birth and Cole thought he had never seen a more beautiful bride.

“I was just so upset by the fact that you married Maxwell instead of me that I wanted some time get over my broken heart,” Cole joked.

“Cole, if I didn’t know you so well I would take your comment seriously,” Fancy laughed as she rubbed her stomach. “Now, are you really going to tell me what is up with you? You know that I confessed my darkest secrets to you about Maxwell and other things all the time.” Fancy removed her hand off her stomach and placed it on the table.

Reaching out, Cole placed his hand on top of Fancy’s smaller one. He was really going to miss talking to her. Fancy was the first woman he had ever been friends with and sex hadn’t been involved. He would do anything for her, no questions asked.

“Sweetheart, we aren’t going to get into my problems at your wedding. I’m surprised that Maxwell even allowed you this close to me in the first place on your special day,” Cole said. “The last time we had a conversation it didn’t end of the best note.”

He watched as Fancy glanced away from him and looked over her shoulder at Maxwell and found him watching them. “Maxwell knows that I have a mind of my own. Besides, he knows that we are only friends. Furthermore, I think he needed to talk to Troy about something,

So he suggested that I come over here and talk to you. Can you believe that? See, my husband isn’t as hardcore as you think he is,” Fancy said as her eyes reconnected with his. “He’s actually a pretty good guy when he wants to be.”

Cole loved the happiness he saw in Fancy’s expression and heard in her voice. His best girl friend had been in love with his buddy for so long and it was finally good to see them together.  

“Maxwell is every bit as hardcore as I think and probably a little more,” Cole corrected, knowing he was right and Fancy was wrong, but he wasn’t going to tell her the last part.

“You are so…” Fancy stopped talking to him as something behind him caught her attention.

“What are you looking at?” he asked.

“Hmmm…I’m not sure if you really want to know,” Fancy replied, softly.

Frowning, Cole spun around in his seat and instantly his eyes zoomed in on Tommy and Lauren over the near the gift table as they placed at medium size blue box on it. “I didn’t think she was going to be here. I heard that she had was going back home to see her mother,” he whispered more to himself than Fancy.

Lauren was the last person he wanted to see on a day like this, but he couldn’t stop how his heart skipped a beat when her eyes found his across the room before she hurriedly looked away.

He couldn’t take his eyes off her as she whispered something to Tommy and then headed over in their direction. Fuck, he wasn’t ready to deal with Lauren tonight. She had been haunting his mind too much lately; therefore, he might not be able to control what came out of his mouth.

“Cole, this could be your chance to fix things with Lauren,” Fancy whispered right before Lauren stopped next to their table.

“Congratulations, Fancy. You look absolutely gorgeous in that dress. I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to attend the wedding,” Lauren said, totally ignoring him like he wasn’t even sitting at the same table.

He was going to stop her from doing that to him. The first time was cute and maybe a little funny, but now she was taking it step too far. He wasn’t invisible to anyone, not even Lauren.

“Hello, Lauren. How are you doing tonight?” Cole asked as he cut into the conversation getting Lauren’s attention off of Lauren and on him instead. “You look stunning in that indigo dress. It really shows off how beautiful your skin is.”

“Mr. Brady, I’m doing well. Thank you so much for asking. How are you doing tonight?” Lauren asked as she finally decided to look at him. She ignored the rest of his comment like it never left his mouth.

Hazel eyes narrowed as Cole bit his tongue from snapping at Lauren. He had already told her to stop with that ‘Mr. Brady’ shit. He wasn’t that much older than her and the only reason she did it was to get a rise out of him.

However, tonight was Fancy’s big day and he wasn’t going to let Lauren sucker him into losing his temper. He would find a way to deal with her later and without a doubt he would get her back for that little remark. Just the thought of the different ways he might make her pay brought a smile to his lips. Lauren didn’t know who she was dealing with.

“I’m doing fine. Thank you so much for asking. I see that you aren’t here with your date from the restaurant. Did he stand you up?” If he had anything to do with it, Lauren’s date would disappear permanently.

Laughing, Lauren shook her head. “I see why Fancy likes you so much, Mr. Brady. You are so funny. No, my date from the restaurant had to work, so that’s why he isn’t here. However, I’ll be sure to tell Ty that you asked about him.”

The corner of Cole’s mouth lifted up into a slight smirk. Lauren better stop while she was ahead because she was a little fish trying to swim in the larger ocean with sharks. He would hate to have to gobble her up before anyone else decided to take a bite of her luscious body. She might have forgotten what she asked him to do all of those years ago, but he hadn’t. It was a thought that constantly stayed in the back of his mind.

“Cole, I think I better go. I see that my husband is about to head in this direction,” Fancy said making him realize that she was still there.

He had honestly forgotten all about her when he started talking to Lauren. How could he not? Lauren was just so damn stunning. Halfway the time, he forgot about most things when she entered the room.

Standing up, he pulled out Fancy’s chair and then helped her up. “Are you sure that there is only one baby in there?” He joked running a hand over her round stomach in the wedding dress.

“Hey, stop teasing me,” Fancy scolded. “I know that I look like a whale, but that doesn’t mean you can be mean to me on my wedding day.”

“Honey, you know that being pregnant has made you even more gorgeous than you already were. That’s the main reason Maxwell had been by your side so much. He doesn’t want another man stealing you away.”

“My husband doesn’t have to worry about me leaving him for another man. I’m so in love with him that I don’t see any other man, but him.” Fancy gave him a kiss on the cheek then whispered in his ear.

“Be nice to Lauren. She isn’t as tough as she’s trying to pretend she is.” Stepping back, Fancy gave him a stern look and then she walked away from him over to Maxwell. Which meant he was finally going to have some alone time with the delectable Lauren.

“Would you like to dance?” Cole asked as he turned back around, but he was stunned to find Lauren was gone. After taking a quick around the reception, he saw that she was no longer there.

What in the hell was going on? Lauren had left without saying a word to him.

“Damn it! I have to find a way to stop Lauren from leaving. It’s getting really old,” Cole muttered to himself.