Blindsided by Brooke ebook
Blindsided by Brooke ebook
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- Enemies to Lovers
- Family Saga
Trivia night rivals Brooke Marshall and Tyler Carrington don’t get along. But when Tyler’s given an opportunity to build a vacation home business and needs design help, Brooke is the one he calls. Their banter turns to passion — but could it lead to love?
Brooke Marshall is trapped… in her home town, in her minimum wage job, and in her lack of relationships. The only thing she has to look forward to is trivia night. Her dream in fashion design disappeared when her bank account reached zero, and she feels doomed to remain in Red Maple Falls till the end of time.
Tyler Carrington grew up rich and spoiled, but is ready to get out from under his father’s thumb and make something of his own. After buying property to start a vacation home business, he dives in headfirst. Only he’s not too sure of what he’s doing. Good thing Brooke is savvy in how to make something sell.
The trivia rivals turn the other cheek to help each other out, but when an opportunity comes to Brooke to get out of Red Maple Falls, will she stay put or leave the man she loves behind?
Intro Into Chapter 1
Intro Into Chapter 1
Trivia night at Five Leaf Brewery was the only place to be on a Thursday in the small town of Red Maple Falls. Half the town was broken up into teams sitting at one of the many refurbished wood tables, waiting for the next question to be read.
Brooke Marshall looked forward to trivia night every week. It wasn’t only a chance to get together with her sister and friends but also her chance to kick Tyler Carrington’s butt. If it wasn’t for the jerk, she and her team would be the reigning champs, but Tyler’s testosterone overloaded team had a habit of swiping the title, making it impossible to be undefeated. It was always a darn sports question. She strongly believed if she had to answer sports questions then he should have to answer fashion questions. She’d love to see if he knew the difference between a pencil skirt and an A-line. Or the name of the goddess who invented the bra.
It was down to the last few questions, and Brooke’s team that consisted of her sister Layla and her friends Louise and Daisy were up by two. They just needed to hold their own and they would reclaim the trivia champion title.
Mason, the brewery’s owner and Daisy’s brother, picked up the next card. He began to read the question and before he could finish reading it the chime of a bell came from Tyler’s table.
You have got to be kidding me! Brooke’s eyes shot over to that side of the brewery only to be met by Tyler’s smug face. He held her gaze as he answered the question, an arrogant smirk tugging at the corner of his lip.
“That’s correct!” Mason said. “Another point for My Drinking Team Has A Trivia Problem.”
Brooke slammed her hands on the table, causing everyone to turn and look at her. She shot up from the bench. “That’s not fair!”
Layla let out a sigh. “Here we go again.”
“I needed a refill anyway,” Louise said as she got up and headed to the bar.
“You didn’t even finish reading the question,” Brooke said.
“Like you would have known the answer if he did,” Tyler bit back.
It may have been a sports question, and Tyler knew that was her team’s weak spot, but that was not the point. “We won’t know because you never let him finish.”
Tyler rolled his eyes. “He could have finished, given you a hint, and you never would have known the answer.”
“What’s the length of a football field?” he asked.
Her eyebrows pinched. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“It’s basic sports knowledge; if you can answer that then maybe I’d believe that you would know who holds the NFL record for the most sacks in a single season?”
She crossed her arms over her chest and turned her nose up. “That’s irrelevant.”
“Because you don’t know the answer.”
“I have nothing to prove to you.”
Tyler pushed from his seat, his deep blue eyes regarding her with utter annoyance. Good.
“You didn’t know the answer; just let it go.”
“I’m not going to let it go. You cheated.”
He threw his arms up in the air. “Seriously?”
Brooke planted her hands on her hips to show she was far from kidding. “You need to give everyone a chance to hear the question before you shout out the answer. It’s only fair.” Brooke focused her attention on the feisty redhead who became like a grandmother to her after her mother passed away. Terry always had her back. “Right, Terry?”
“Oh no!” Terry said, holding up her hands, bright red nails pointing to the heavens. “I’m going to sit this one out.”
“You didn’t know the answer!” Tyler exclaimed.
Brooke spun around. “Whether I knew the answer or not is irrelevant.”
“You’re just pissed that we’re now one question away from tying up then taking the win for the third week in a row.”
She narrowed her eyes and tilted her head. “You wish.”
“Well, if you’d shut your trap, then we might be able to finish this game and find out.”
Brooke’s nostrils flared, her hands clenched into tight fists.
“Oh boy,” Daisy said. “This could get ugly.” Daisy stood up, her blonde curls bouncing with the movement. She rested a hand on Brooke’s shoulder. “Ignore him.” When Brooke didn’t budge, Daisy turned her attention toward her fiancé who wasn’t only Tyler’s teammate, but best friend. “Nick, a little help here?”
“Ty,” Nick said, “my beer’s getting warm. Can we get on with this?”
“She started it,” Tyler said.
“Are you five?” Nick asked, which Brooke gave an enthusiastic yes to.
Daisy shot her a look, and Brooke shrugged, flashing a feisty glance in Tyler’s direction.
“Look, Hearts,” Tyler said, and the blood in Brooke’s body kicked up to boil at the horrible nickname. If it was at all possible, steam would have exploded from her ears. She’d been trying for over a decade to get him to stop calling her that, yet the bastard refused. Hearing it was the equivalent to nails on a chalkboard, but it didn’t only make her cringe, it made her see red.
“And he went there,” Louise said as she took her seat with a fresh drink.
“Don’t. Call. Me. That.” Brooke ground out through her teeth.
“Okay!” Terry stood up, and Brooke relaxed at the warmth of her voice. Terry was finally coming to stand on her side and put Tyler in his place. “Either you two cut the sexual tension and kiss or sit down and get this game over with. My bunions are killing me, and I want to get home and put my feet up.”
“I’d rather eat a bug than kiss that idiot,” Brooke lied through her teeth. She’d had a crush on Tyler since she was a kid, not that she’d admit that to the ogre. He was a jerk at his core, knew how to push every single one of her buttons, and make her contemplate a lifetime in jail just so she could choke him.
“Really?” Tyler said with an obnoxious curve of his lips. “Because I can go outside and catch a few. This time of year, there’s a variety of insects to choose from.”
“I wouldn’t want to ruin my dinner.”
Tyler lifted his phone off the table and put it back down. “Little late to not have eaten dinner by now.”
“Are you going to criticize my eating habits now?”
“I’m just calling your bluff. Besides, there are a ton of girls who would love to kiss me.”
“Just admit it, Brooke. You want me.”
Brooke retched, holding a finger to her mouth. “I’m going to throw up.”
“Brooke, sit down,” Layla said, a slight edge to her tone. It was her mom voice---the voice she’d developed after their mother died and Layla had to take over the household and two kids.
“Not until he admits he cheated,” Brooke said.
Tyler crossed his arms over his chest, his white t-shirt pulling tight across his bulging biceps. “That’s never going to happen.” Arrogance exuded from him in waves, and she wanted to smack the smug look from his pretty face, but she was afraid she’d break her hand against the strong lines of his jaw.
“Mason,” Daisy said. “Make a call here. Is answering a question before it’s completed a violation of the rules or not?”
Mason looked to Cassie, his better half, who was manning the bar this week. She and Mason switched off on reading the questions. “Cassie, what do you think?” he asked.
Cassie finished wiping down the bar and tossed the rag over her shoulder. She placed her hands on the bar and tilted her head, her reddish-brown hair, falling in waves over her shoulder. “Surprisingly, it’s never been brought up before. I say let it go this time, but in the future, make sure the question is completed before ringing in.”
Brooke harrumphed, blowing a brown strand out of her face. “Cassie’s word is final,” Daisy said, pulling on Brooke’s hand to sit down.
A victorious grin spread too wide on Tyler’s face as he sat. Brooke rolled her eyes and plopped down onto the bench. There was no use arguing now. Once Cassie or Mason made a decision, it was final. The rule would be added to the chalkboard they had set up in the far corner of the brewery after her and Tyler’s disagreements about the rules went on for over an hour one night.
“Can we continue?” Mason asked as Cassie headed over to the chalkboard and started writing.
“Please,” Betty Hayes, Daisy and Mason’s grandmother and Terry’s teammate said. “Unless you two want to borrow Nick’s office and settle things privately.”
“God no,” Brooke said.
“I’m just saying Harold and I used to fight like you two and we had the best se—”
“Grandma!” every Hayes sibling in the brewery—four out of six tonight—called out.
Betty waved her hand. “You all realize if I didn’t have sex you wouldn’t be here.”
“My ears!” Cooper Hayes called out, but the smirk he was sporting showed he was more amused than disgusted.
“At least you can drink the memory away,” Kate Hayes said, pointing to her tiny baby bump. “I’m stuck with them.”
“Don’t worry,” Cooper said. “In a few months you’ll be so sleep deprived you won’t remember anything.”
“Just like Cooper who probably forgot he has to catch a red eye in a couple hours,” Mason said. “Let’s get this game finished, shall we?”
Brooke nodded along with everyone else, but only because she didn’t want Cooper to miss his flight. He was a travel blogger turned author and started a new book tour tomorrow. She still thought Tyler had cheated, but out of the kindness of her heart, she let it slide… at least until his next offense.
The game continued for another intense half hour as Terry and Betty’s team made a comeback. Now Brooke and Tyler’s teams were finally tied and the winning question was seconds away from being read.
Mason held the card in his hand. “For the win. What are the names of Snow White’s seven dwarves?”
Brooke grabbed for the bell, but her finger nicked the edge, sending it flying across the table into Louise’s glass. She swiped for it, getting Louise’s pint glass instead and knocking it over. Louise jumped from the table as beer splashed along the wood surface and onto the floor.
A bell rang from Tyler’s side of the brewery, and Brooke froze, head tilting in his direction.
“It’s okay; don’t help,” Louise said, but Brooke would worry about Louise’s wet shirt later. Right now, she needed to focus all her energy on the hope that Tyler and his team would falter.
“Sleepy,” he said, counting it off on his finger. “Doc, Dopey, Bashful, Happy.” He paused and Brooke was ready to swoop in and finish the answer for the win.
“That’s five,” Mason said.
Brooke held her breath. If he couldn’t name the last one, her team could win it on a steal.
Tyler turned to her, dark blond hair pushed into an off-centered part and that annoying smirk forming on his face. He met her eyes, that deep intense blue full of satisfaction as he answered, “Grumpy.”
“We have a winner!” Mason announced, and Tyler’s table erupted in cheers.
Brooke collapsed onto the bench, defeat radiating from every pore. She’d lost to Tyler again. This was not happening. She’d never hear the end of it.
She looked up at Louise who was blotting her shirt while Cassie wiped down the aftermath. Daisy went and got a mop to clean up the mess pooling on the floor. Brooke shrugged. “Whoops.”
“You’re lucky I love you,” Louise said.
“Ditto,” Cassie added.
Brooke sighed. “I can’t believe we lost.”
Louise pointed to her shirt. “I can’t believe you spilled beer all over me.”
“Maybe if you didn’t get so crazy.” Layla didn’t add anything else, saying more with her silence.
“I just wanted to beat him.” Brooke said.
Layla took a sip of her coffee. Since they added cold brew coffee on tap, Layla was their number one customer. “This is a town game, not the Brooke and Tyler show.”
“I know that.”
Layla glanced at her. “Do you?”
Tyler strutted over in all his cocky glory and placed his hand and the champion mug on the table in front of Brooke.
“If you’re here to gloat keep walking. No one wants to hear it.”
“Now Brooke, don’t be a sore loser. Come on, I’ll let you buy me a drink.”
“Buy you a drink? Ha! In your dreams. Besides, if anyone was to buy a drink it should be you since you’re the one with the trust fund.”
His eyebrows, a shade darker than his hair, pulled together, his lip curled beneath the light scattering of stubble. For whatever reason, Tyler Carrington hated to be reminded that he came from money. Brooke always found it strange. She grew up poor and fantasized about having a disposable income. She had no idea why it bothered him so much. Still, it was good ammo for her whenever she felt cornered.
The arrogant glint in his eyes dimmed as he took his hand and the champion mug from the table and stepped back. He looked at the other girls at the table, avoiding Brooke completely. “Good game, ladies,” he said then walked away without another word.
Brooke might have lost the game, but she was winning the battle.