Broken King, an all-new second-chance romance full of heat and emotion from Bella Matthews, is now live!
I let myself have one night with him after avoiding him for years.
But one night was all it took for history to repeat itself.
Cade St. James was my past. He was the boy who stole my heart before he left for the Marine Corps. Now he’s back in Kroydon Hills, and there’s no mistaking he’s all man. A former MMA champion, running his own gym, and taking care of his adorable little girl. And I have to tell him our one night together is going to make him a father again.
Our timing has always been wrong.
I can do this on my own if I have to.
I don’t need to be saved.
I’m a King, not a princess.
I can save my own damn self.
Scarlet Kingston has always been too good for me.
She’s also always been mine.
But now, I don’t only have myself to think about. I have my daughter too.
We’ve both been burned before. And trusting another woman, especially one who’s already broken my heart, won’t be easy. But nothing with Scarlet ever was.
As a vice president of the Philadelphia Kings, grown men fear her.
And Scarlet wouldn’t have it any other way.
This woman can wear as cold of an exterior as she wants, but I’ve felt her on the inside.
She’s no ice queen.
Can we both get past the hurts from the past and live in the present?
Or are we both just Broken?
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“Amelia, I’ve got to go. I’m in the parking lot and need to go inside before I’m late.” I love my sister. Although we only officially met her a year and a half ago, she turned out to be the missing piece of our fucked up family. But since my nephew was born a few months ago, she’s so thrilled to talk to someone who isn’t babbling nonsensically back at her, she’s pretty hard to get off the phone.
“Okay. Are you still coming over after?” Maddox, my nephew, begins whining in the background, causing Amelia to jostle the phone.
It’s been a long Friday. But I cut out of work early for this appointment and am definitely looking forward to drinks with my sisters. “Wouldn’t miss it. See you then.”
Amelia helps our sister Lenny and I even out the estrogen to testosterone ratio in our family.
It will never be even.
There are five guys to three women and one five-year-old diva.
But at least now, we’re a little closer to a balance.
I enter my doctor’s office, sign in, take a seat to wait, and pull out my tablet to scroll through the emails that have come through since I left the office. As the vice president of Public Relations and Marketing for the Philadelphia Kings, there’s no such thing as time off, not even for a doctor’s appointment.
It doesn’t take long for me to clear out my inbox, responding to those that were urgent and forwarding the rest to my assistant, Connor. However, in that short amount of time, the already crowded waiting room appears to have hit maximum capacity. The sea of pregnant women surrounding me seems to be closing in. When I switched from the pill to the shot a few months ago, I was looking for something a little more user-friendly. I’d tried a few different birth control pills over the last few years, and the side effects weren’t for me.
The shot has been great.
Less migraines to deal with, and I’m a much happier woman. It would be even better if I didn’t have to come back in every few months.
But for now, it’ll do.
When a woman, who looks to be about a hundred years pregnant, sits down next to me with a toddler covered in peanut butter and jelly by her side, I hug the opposite side of my chair and pray the nurse calls me quickly.
Don’t get me wrong, kids are great. I love my nephew and my little sister.
But I love when I get to give them back too.
I’m not a woman who gushes over other people’s kids.
Most babies look more like small aliens than perfect little angels.
This . . . I take stock of the waiting room around me and grimace. This madhouse surrounding me today is just not for me.
* * *
Thirty minutes later, I’m sitting on the exam table in a stiff, pale-pink paper robe when my doctor finally walks in. “How are we doing today, Scarlet? I was expecting to see you two weeks ago for your follow-up.” She pulls up my chart on her tablet, then sits down on her little stool on wheels.
“Sorry about the delay. I had to reschedule my appointment. Something came up with work. But I’m feeling fine, Doctor Esher. No complaints. Just ready to get this exam over with and get on with my night.” Unless you count how damn cold it is in this room. I could easily complain about that. It’s not like they don’t know their patients are going to get naked in here. Would it kill them to turn the heat up just a tad?
Doctor Esher scrolls through what I’m guessing is my chart before rolling over toward the table. The smile that was on her face moments ago is gone, replaced by a purposefully blank expression. “Scarlet, have you had any issues since the last time you were here?”
“No issues. Not so much as a cough. Why? Is something wrong with my bloodwork? I wasn’t supposed to be fasting, was I? Because I had coffee before I had it done the other day. I thought you said it didn’t matter and we just needed to make sure the hormones from the shot didn’t throw off anything else.” I get migraines. Bad migraines. Sometimes debilitating ones. They started when I was in high school. I’ve tried every pill out there, and they all exacerbated the crippling headaches. The shot was my next best option. And as far as I’m concerned, so far, so good. Doctor Esher clears her throat. “Scarlet, according to your bloodwork, you’re pregnant.”
I tilt my head to the side and study her. I don’t think she’d kid about something so serious, but . . . “Is this a bad joke? I mean honestly, that really isn’t funny.”
Her face stays unmoving.
She’s not laughing.
“Scarlet.” Her tone has dropped an octave, no longer light and airy like it was when she greeted me. “This isn’t a joke. I wouldn’t do that to you. According to your bloodwork from last week, you’re pregnant. Judging by your hCG levels, I’d guess you’re about thirteen to fourteen weeks along.”
“I don’t know what to tell you, Doc. But the draft was last month. I’ve barely had time to sleep, let alone sleep with anyone . . .” I trail off as I run through my mental calendar.
The draft was last month, yes. And the month before that was nonstop, go, go, go. It always is leading up to the draft, leaving no time for any extracurriculars. I was supposed to meet up with a friend of mine in March. He flies into Philadelphia for business every few months, but his trip was cancelled. And we never rescheduled.
I count back fourteen weeks.
But . . . Oh, hell no.
Hudson’s title fight in Las Vegas was fourteen weeks ago.
Son of a bitch.
I wasn’t concerned with a broken condom.
I was covered with the shot.
What are the odds that both forms of birth control would fail? Apparently, higher than I knew.
“I can’t be pregnant.” I meet Doctor Esher’s knowing brown eyes and cringe. “I would have known by now. Wouldn’t I?”
I want to scream at her warm smile. “Not necessarily. At this point in a pregnancy, the telltale sign for most women is a missing period. But you already weren’t having a monthly period to miss because of your birth control. It’s still too early to feel the baby move for a few more weeks yet. And not everyone experiences morning sickness.”
You’ve got to be kidding me. My chest tightens as the room begins to spin around me.
I am Scarlet fucking Kingston.
I am stronger than this.
I do not panic in public.
“Could you please run the test again? I have to believe there was a mistake.” There. I sounded in control. Inside, I might be hyperventilating, but she doesn’t need to know that.
Slow deep breaths.
This has to be a mistake.
But even as I say it to myself, I think back to that night in Las Vegas and know there’s no mistake. If ever there was a man whose sperm could leap tall buildings and blow their way past all hormones in one bound, it would be his.
Bella Matthews is a Jersey girl at heart. She is married to her very own Alpha Male and raising three little ones. You can typically find her running from one sporting event to another. When she is home, she is usually hiding in her home office with the only other female in her house, her rescue dog Tinker Bell by her side. She likes to write swoon-worthy heroes and sassy, smart heroines with a healthy dose of laughter thrown in.
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