Hollywood consultant Renly Cooper is fed up with relationships. His recent breakup with a leading lady played out across the tabloids, and the former Navy Seal is more than ready to focus on his new position as an agent at the elite Stark Security agency. He’s expecting international stakes. Instead, his first assignment is to protect one of Damien Stark’s friends from a stalker. A woman who, to his delight, turns out to be one of his closest childhood friends.

After a foray into online dating puts tech genius Abby Jones in danger, she needs a bodyguard, and her business partner, Nikki Fairchild Stark, enlists help from Stark Security. When the assigned agent turns out to be her best friend from junior high—and her first crush—she’s thrilled to discover he’s even more delicious now. She hopes one sexy night can turn into more, but Renly is firmly in the friends-with-benefits camp.

As the threat to Abby increases, she tries to keep her growing feelings for Renly at bay. But as the sparks between them burn even hotter, can they go from friends to lovers when the first order of business is simply to keep Abby alive?

Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.

Book Type:

Contemporary Romance

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Excerpt: Memories of You
By J.Kenner

Excerpt: Memories of You

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J. Kenner comes a new story in her Stark Security series. MEMORIES OF YOU is out tomorrow, but you can read a sneak peek below!

“I’m being paranoid,” I say as I walk down Wilshire toward Java B’s, a local Los Angeles coffee house that recently opened up in Santa Monica, right near my new office. “They were probably just wrong numbers, right?”

“Sure, Abby,” Lilah says, the sarcasm coming through my earbuds loud and clear. “Because that’s what people who dial a wrong number do. They don’t just hang up. They stay on the line and mouth breathe like the low-life cretins they are. And then they call a zillion more times in a two-day period.”

It’s a typical Lilah answer, and even though she’s right—I’m probably dealing with an actual creep and not a wrong number—it makes me feel better.

I ask her to hang on as I head into the coffee shop and get in line to order. She starts humming the theme from Jeopardy, and I roll my eyes and ignore her as I wait for my turn to order.

I met Lilah Barrett on the first day of my sophomore year of high school. I’d been working up the courage to tell Renly Cooper, my childhood bestie, that freshman year had been hell because I’d developed a huge crush on him. And rather than just deal with it, I’d avoided him. Not that he’d noticed. He’d been too into sports and debate and theater, whereas I was the tech geek who hung out in the STEM wing and wrote computer games instead of doing my homework.

I’d been hoping to man up and let him know that I missed hanging out with him, and that even though we didn’t live next door to each other anymore, that I was hoping we could still be friends. I wasn’t sure if I was going to own up to my crush, but Renly always had a knack for reading my mind, so I figured he probably already knew that part.

I was nervous as shit, just standing there waiting by his locker, when this fairy-like wraith of a girl came up and started fiddling with the combination lock.

“Um, are you getting something for Renly?” I’d asked.

She’d turned pale blue eyes on me, then said, “Wow, there’s a lot of orange in your aura. What’s stressing you out?”

I should have said it was none of her business.

I should have asked why she was getting into his locker.

Instead, I word vomited my life onto her, ending with the fact that I was waiting for Renly to basically tell him that my teenage hormones were under control and that I missed my bestie.

“Oh, wow. That really blows. Maybe you can track down his new phone number and tell him? Hanging on to that kind of emo baggage can really mess with your aura, and yours is already funky.”

I ignored the aura bit but dove straight to the heart of the matter. “New phone number?”

She shrugged. “They told me at the office that the guy assigned to this locker moved out of town. So I guess it’s mine until graduation. Sorry about that.”

Renly and Red had been doing the Divorced Parent Dance that summer, pushed off to stay with their dad up north, even though they didn’t want to go. It turns out that while they were away, their mom had pulled up stakes and moved herself and the boys down to Houston, which meant I hadn’t seen him since he’d left in June.

The whole situation sucked, but at least it meant that I didn’t have to pretend to be over my crush when I was around him. Not exactly a plus considering I was still missing my friend.

The upside was that I gained Lilah. And despite the fact that we’re so different—or maybe because of it—she fast became one of my closest friends.

Now we’re neighbors, too, as I rent half of a Santa Monica duplex that she inherited from her parents after they died in a helicopter crash our first year at UCLA.

“A latte?” she says once I’m back on the street. “I thought you were cutting down on caffeine.”

“No, you said I should cut down on caffeine. And I said I’d try. Today, I need frothy, caffeinated comfort.” I take a sip and sigh with pleasure. Then I frown when I remember why I need comfort in the first place.

“How many calls today?” she asks.

“Seven today. Five yesterday.”

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