The Extra Myles
(A Southern Hearts Club Novella)
Publication date: December 21st 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
NOW HIRING… Fake boyfriend for 27-year-old desperate female. Must be able to deal with pretentious, New York City socialites. Attendance at family Christmas events required. Seasonal work only. Applicants not named Myles Colson need not apply.
The position has been filled. Granted, Myles is the only man in Blair McCauley’s life capable of looking her dragon mother in the eyes and not bursting into tears. Blair will need that steel whenever her mother helpfully reminds her over a glass of eggnog that a career is pointless when she could just marry rich. Thankfully, the barbecuing, beer swilling, football watching guy’s guy doesn’t even sort of fit in with her flashy New York lifestyle.
Which is exactly the point.
Although Myles is a lot more than a former jock with a pension for frosted mugs and Sweatpants Sundays. He also happens to be a gifted artist, and Blair is helping him carve out his space in the art world. Lucky for her, she’s the only one who gets to see the man behind the pottery wheel. Sans shirt.
But when Blair and Myles both come to the realization that they’ve just been pretending at pretending, they never see what’s coming for them next.
Every time she’s around, I get all antsy and excited for some reason. Like when my Clemson Tigers complete a sixty-three-yard pass and run it in for the touchdown to win the game.
Little Miss Blair here has probably never even watched a football game in her life.
The woman breezes into the back room with all the air of a European queen. And from what I’ve read, she practically is that up in NYC. Or at least, a princess. Either way, Blair McCauley is American royalty.
And I might as well be the guy who cleans horse shit out of her family’s stables.
“Are you ever going to fix that door?” she asks in the exasperated tone I recognize.
She sounds that exact same level of annoyed every time she stumbles through my studio door that, even I’ll admit is a bitch to open.
Damn, but she’s beautiful.
Like, the breathtaking kind of beautiful. The kind of woman who deserves to have a sultry theme song play every time she enters a room. My favorite is when she gets all huffy like this. Blowing her Marilyn Monroe-styled blond hair off her forehead, planting her dainty hands and manicured nails on her slim hips, and cocking said hip out. The whole move pushes out her full, rounded breasts beneath her silk top, her tight skirt stretching across those svelte legs.
Stunning she may be, but the woman is also the prissiest, most high-maintenance, spoiled city girl I’ve ever met.
And I don’t do that type. Sure, I’ve fantasized about having this woman beneath me—a shameful number of times—but I prefer my women to be a little more kickback. Someone who’s content to sit around with you on a Sunday afternoon in nothing but ratty sweatpants, watching football without complaint. A woman who’s okay with going out in public without makeup. Someone who doesn’t turn her nose up when I don’t wipe my mouth between each chicken wing and just wait until I’m done eating them altogether.
If Blair has never watched football, then she’s damn sure never eaten a chicken wing.
I don’t know jack shit about hair, makeup, or clothes, but I know that all of hers are top-of-the-line. The material of her blouse is high-quality. Every pair of shoes I’ve ever seen her in are high heels that you just know cost a small fortune. Her purses are all designer names I’ve at least heard of—Prada, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana. I even caught a glimpse of one of her lace bras one day when she bent over, a move that about gave me a fucking aneurysm, and I definitely know that item was high-priced.
No. Blair McCauley definitely isn’t my type.
I could never afford her. The best I could do is a hot night between the sheets because a man’s bank account doesn’t matter then. When she saw my place in the daylight, that’s when she would surely saunter all the way back up to New York in her five-inch stiletto heels.
I lift an eyebrow. “Why do you presume I know how to fix it?”
She tilts her head to the side. “Don’t you work in a factory?”
I would be pissed off by the question if I knew she didn’t mean it condescendingly. For all of Blair’s quirks, she’s not a mean person. Perhaps a little naïve at times, but not rude.
I lean back on my stool, crossing my arms over my chest. Her eyes briefly flick down to my biceps before quickly averting to stare at the wall.
Now that’s something.
In all the months I’ve known this woman, in all the phone calls made and trips from New York to Charleston she’s taken, I haven’t seen much in the way of…awareness…from her. At least, not in the sexual sense. God knows I think she’s hot as hell, in the not-so-much-as-a-hair-out-of-place kind of way. But if she felt any attraction toward me whatsoever, you’d never know it.
“We don’t produce doors at a steel manufacturing plant.”
Her apple-shaped cheeks tinge pink. “I realize that. I just pegged you as a jack-of-all-trades type.”
“Because of the uniform? The dirt under the nails?”
She frowns and somehow looks cuter like that. “No. Because you don’t seem like the useless type.”
My ears perk up at something in her voice. Something almost…self-deprecating. Has someone actually told her that she’s useless?
Why does that piss me the fuck off?
She bites her lip in uncertainty, as if afraid she said something wrong. “Or maybe, you know, you can just buy a new door or something? They have those at Home Depot stores, right? I’ve personally never been inside one, but I hear they’ve got them around here.”
I chuckle because I think she’s being funny on purpose, but I can’t always tell with her. It’s almost as if she doesn’t recognize her own sense of humor and doesn’t understand why people might laugh at one of her jokes. Or sardonic quips. Either way, I aim to wipe that look of uncertainty off her face.
“No, you’re right. I can fix the door. I just haven’t had the time lately.”
Truthfully, I haven’t messed with the door because I like how it announces her entrance. And how it makes her angrily curse under her breath. And how she’s slightly out of sorts by the time she reaches me in the back room. I like seeing her hair falling across her forehead before she shoves it back into place. Like seeing the flush on her cheeks, rather than the porcelain doll look they usually have. In those brief seconds, I think I’m seeing the real Blair, rather than the polished, prim illusion she projects.
“I see.” She smooths her hands down her skirt, pushing her shoulders back. “So, how are the final pieces coming along?”
I take another swig of my beer to avoid staring at her legs in those tights that I know have that fucking seam up the back. “Firing up now. Should have them done by tomorrow afternoon.”
She excitedly starts tapping around on her phone. “Excellent. I can have them shipped up to New York before my flight back, and everything will still be on schedule for the exhibition on the twenty-ninth.”
“You don’t even want to look them over for approval before you ship them off?” I question. “You’re so sure these final pieces will be good?”
She peeks up at me through long, lowered lashes. “Not necessary. There’s no way I won’t like them.”
Scout’s honor, my dick turns to a full-blown erection at her compliment.
She actually likes my work.
Her eyes widen as her words finally sink in. “I-I mean, the others are all so fantastic, I doubt these will pale in comparison.”
If she’s trying to backtrack her apparent admiration for my work, she’s doing a piss-poor job, at least from my perspective.
And now my dick is hard as a fucking icicle.
Granted, if you stuck an icicle in my pants right now, it would melt in about two and half seconds. Even in December, it’s a scorcher down here in the South.
“Thank you,” I rasp, fighting to get all my bodily functions under control. “I hope they meet your expectations, then.”
Her eyes stay on me for silent moments, baffling me. She never holds eye contact with me for this long. It’s like she makes a point not to.
“Trust me.” Her voice is barely above a whisper. “They’ll exceed them.”
Melanie grew up in the Midwest, but she loves living in the Southeast (where the beaches are!) now with her husband and daughter.
Melanie’s other passion is traveling and seeing the world. With anthropology degrees under their belts, she and her husband have made it their goal in life to see as many archaeological sites around the world as possible.
She has a horrible food addiction to pasta and candy (not together…ew). And she gets sad when her wine rack is empty.
At the end of the day, she is a true romantic at heart. She loves writing the cheesy and corny of romantic comedies, and the sassy and sexy of suspense. She aims to make her readers swoon, laugh out loud, maybe sweat a little, and above all, fall in love.
Go visit Melanie’s website and sign up for her newsletter to stay updated on release dates, teasers, and other details for all of her projects!