My Beautiful Neighbor
by Piper Rayne
Book 1 in The Greene's Series
Who’s the mystery woman who just walked into my brewery?
I’m not the only one from my Alaskan small town asking themselves that question. But I’m positive, I’m the only one in Sunrise Bay undressing the pretty blonde in my head. Everything about her, from her make-up to her high heels says she’s a fish out of water.
Whispers and speculations run rampant until the secret of who she is gets uncovered. Then the rumor mill goes into overdrive when she announces she’s staying to open a bookstore in the building next to mine—throwing a big wrench into my plans to buy that empty building.
I quickly find myself in a tug-of-war since my business partner/brother is upset she’s ruined the opportunity to expand our business. I try to keep my distance, but I’ve got one sister with a gossip column on the local radio station and two meddling grandmas setting me up as a tour director.
And now I kind of like the idea of our new neighbor staying. But small-town life isn’t for the weak—time will tell if she has what it takes to be one of us.
Don't judge a book by it's cover. Don't judge a book by it's title if it's cheesy.
I'm going to keep repeating it, and maybe one day I will follow my advice more often.
I will give Piper Rayne some points though. These covers are much better than The Bailey's series.
The titles are sort of reminiscent of porn movies, though.
My Beautiful Neighbor was great! Will it be my favorite of the series? No. I still enjoyed it.
The slow build up was done perfectly, with just enough flirting and banter to hold me over till we got to the juicy stuff. Cade and Presley are both interesting characters, and work really well with one another.
Also, just how it was in The Bailey's series, some of the best parts of the book are moments when The Greene's are together. The banter and love between the family is great, and I love that Ethel is now getting her chance to set up her grandchildren like her best friend Dory did with her own.
If you loved Piper Rayne's The Bailey's series, you will also love The Greene's. There is a bit of a crossover (as Ethel's best friend, Dory is often with her, as well as Callista, Rome and Harley's daughter, who plays soccer with Rylan) so you will get random updates on The Bailey's. But it's the Greene's time to shine, and I gotta say, I'm really enjoying the series so far.
Cade: “Sure, I’ll just jump over the casket, interrupting the entire service, and say, ‘Hey, sorry about your mom, but her store? How much do you want for it?’”
I whisper to my stepbrother, Jed.
Jed: “I meant after the service is done. I’m not a complete asshole.”
I cock my eyebrow, and he snickers. My dad turns around and gives us his classic glare. The one that says, “shut the hell up.” We both shove our hands in the pockets of our slacks and bow our heads. Once the prayer is over, the preacher says, “Amen.” Cade: “To what do we owe this honor?”
I ask since Rylan took over my remote for the game.
Hank: “Your brother wanted to spend the night.”
My dad tosses Rylan’s soccer bag in the corner.
Hank: “Can you take him to soccer in the morning?”
Cade: “And you two?”
I ask, not really wanting to know.
Hank: “We’re going on a date night.”
My dad slaps Marla’s ass, and I gag.
Hank: “Grow up.”
He shakes his head at me. Jed: “How’s Calista?”
Jed elbows him.
Rylan: “Stop it. She’s annoying,”
he says, but there’s a flush to his cheeks that makes me smile.
Jed: “You can’t stop the Greene genes, kid. Women love us,”
Jed says, his thumbs flying over the controller. Cade: “I’m out of here.”
Jed: “Don’t get lost and end up licking Presley’s honey pot, okay?” Grandma hops in right after, next to Dori, leaving me as their chauffeur with no one in the front passenger seat.
Cade: “Um. Grandma?”
Ethel: “Oh, our friend will sit there so she can see the sights. I’m old and I can’t be moving around so much. The more I get up and down from your truck, the more likely I’ll break a hip. And then someone will have to wipe my ass. Do you want that job, Cade?” Cade: “Television show or movie?”
Presley: “Neither. I’d read.”
Cade: “There you go. On the couch or in the bathtub?”
Presley: “How is that going to help you figure out what would make me happy?”
Cade: “It’s not. I was just hoping you said bathtub so I could get a visual.” If she thinks we’re gonna come up with some new game, she’s mistaken.
I played broom soccer one time and got hit in the balls so many times, I’m still worried I can’t have kids. Presley digs her hand in the bin. She reads it and cringes. She holds up a finger to signal that it’s one word. The elderly people all say one out loud. Thankfully they’re playing along. Presley stands with her legs pressed to one another, her hands together in prayer and her head bowed.
Woman 1: “Praying,”
Presley shakes her head and thinks for a moment, looking at the timer Leann flipped over. Presley sits on the floor, crosses her legs, rests her arms on her legs with her palms facing up. She closes her eyes.
Man 1: “Buddha?”
Woman 2: “Is she bald with a big belly?”
Leann: “Let’s be nice,”
Leann says, trying to keep them in line. Presley shakes her head, looks at me, then holds up her finger to signify for them to give her a second. She stands and bends forward, her palms on the floor and her ass up in the air, giving all the men a show. Some of their eyes bug out and literal drool falls from the corner of their mouths.
Man 2: “Doggie style?”
Presley looks up in disbelief, mouth dropped open. I bite my lip and my inner cheek. Hell, I’m about to rip out a section of the hair on my arm, trying not to laugh.
Woman 3: “You’re such a dirty old man,”
Man 2: “You weren’t complaining the other night,” She takes off her bandana and wraps it around her neck. Her blonde hair is pulled back into two braided pigtails.
Presley: “Can I use Cade?”
Leann: “Go ahead,”
Presley comes up next to me and shows me the piece of paper.
Presley: “If you get on all fours and I get on your back, I think they’ll get it.”
I raise my eyebrows.
Cade: “With these dirty minds, they aren’t going to think this.”
I point at the piece of paper. She shrugs as though she doesn’t have another choice, so I push off the table and get down on my hands and knees.
Man 1: “Oh, I like this,”
Presley swings one leg over my back and sits with her legs hanging off, bouncing up and down as she grabs the collar of my shirt.
Person: “What kind of kinky stuff is your grandson into?”
Ethel: “Cade, sweetie, what are you doing? "
Man 2: "Is that a sexual position I don’t know?”
the man who called out doggie style asks, tipping his glasses down as though he needs an extra good look. Once she’s gone, I venture into the back and find Adam on a chair, staring at the wall, his earbuds in his hand.
Presley: “Hey, Adam,”
He doesn’t look at me. Then I hear music coming from his earbuds. I pick up one and hear a love song. Oh boy.
Adam: “You ever hear that song that just takes you back?”
he asks, never looking at me.
Presley: “Can I have your phone?”
I ask, looking around for it and not seeing it. This situation is starting to warrant an intervention.
Adam: “I lost my virginity to this song.”
Presley: “Okay, TMI. I don’t need to know that. And I don’t need the reminder when I hear that song too.”
Adam: “Lucy was so scared. I made this whole romantic scene that night above my dad’s garage. He never knew and we lied to our parents…”
Can I please stick my fingers in my ears? I grab the earbuds out of his hand.
Presley: “Adam, I know it’s hard.”
He looks at me squatting next to him.
Presley: “Heartbreak is never easy, but you gotta get out there. Go through the motions at least until time works its magic. Clara was just here, and she asked me to go to duo night. Want to come with us?”
He sits up straighter and nods.
I ask, surprised I didn’t have to talk him into it.
Adam: “Yeah, I know you’re right. It’s just facing the damn townspeople…”
He shakes his head.
Adam: “They give me these looks like I’m ready to shatter.”
I sit on the floor, bringing my knees to my chest.
Presley: “Can I be honest?”
Presley: “They might look at you like that because it looks like it’s true.”
He sighs and runs his hand through his hair.
Adam: “I hate how much I miss her.” Presley: “My very own Mr. Clean,”
Cade: “Want to role-play? You put on the overalls and I’ll strip off my shirt. We can play a game of you missed a spot.” Cade: “We could entertain a friends with benefits relationship.”
He quirks an eyebrow.
Cade: “Maybe work it out of our systems. Could be we’re not even sexually compatible,”
he says as though he’s thought about it before.
Presley: “You could have a small dick.”
Cade: “Or you could lay there like a dead fish,”
I shrug because you never know.
Cade: “Though I sense the way you rode me like a cowboy at Northern Lights Retirement that I’m probably wrong on that count.”
I shrug again, fighting a smile. His idea has its merits. Sexual satisfaction with no emotional entanglement? No further complications to my life. The denial of wanting Cade Greene is slowly becoming unbearable and something is going to give.
Presley: “I guess we have our answer then.” Jed: “Relax, I don’t wanna fuck her. But what if it doesn’t last? I mean, if anything is evident, it’s that she’s not from around here. What happens if the bookstore doesn’t take off? Do you think she’ll try again with another business? Can she even afford to? She ran away from home once… what’s to say she won’t run away again? You’re a Sunrise Bay lifer, but is she?”
Cade: “She doesn’t have to be.”
I finish my beer and walk around to wash my glass.
Cade: “There are no strings.”
He hops down from the counter.
Jed: “You’re a smart guy, always did better than me in school, and even I don’t believe that.”
Whether my brother believes it or not, it’s true. Presley didn’t expect me to spend the night last night. She lectured me about bringing her breakfast. She’s getting her own car. There are no signs that she wants anything more than my dick.
Cade: “It’s working for us,”
Jed: “One day you’re gonna be knocked on your ass when this goes to shit.”
He disappears down the hall. When someone knocks on the window, I turn toward the front. It’s Presley. She gives me a small wave. I head over and open the doors of the brewery.
Presley: “Hi. I just wanted to thank Jed for putting up my awning and give you this.”
She hands me an envelope with the word rent in girly script on the front.
Cade: “I told you—”
She puts up her hand.
Presley: “I feel the need to make the point even more pointed that I’m just a tenant.”
Cade: “You don’t have to pay to stay there.”
Presley: “Oh, and I asked Zoe if she wouldn’t mind giving me a ride to the car rental place tonight. It’s on her way home, so that way I’m not disturbing you.”
Jed comes walking out from out of the back.
Presley: “Hey, Jed, thanks again for helping Adam with the awning. I really appreciate it.”
Jed: “No problem.”
He pretends he forgot something and goes back down the hall. But she’s already walking away.
Presley: “See you later.”
I call after her. She puts her hand in the air.
Presley: “I’ve got a million things to do. A new shipment just came in. See ya.”
I watch her open the door of her shop and disappear inside.
Jed: “Things already went to shit, didn’t they?”
Jed asks as if he never left.
Jed: “Leave it to Reese to screw it up for you.” Presley: “Don’t sweat it, Cade, I was just as naïve as you. I knew the stakes and the game I was playing. But I’m done. So you don’t have to gently break my heart by dodging me anymore. I’m giving you the out you’re looking for.” Dad gestures toward all the gravestones.
Hank: “All of these people lived life. Some had their lives cut too short, like your mother. Some lived until they were a hundred. The problem is, you get one life and you have no idea how long it will be. You might as well live it. Some things work out how you hope, and some don’t. Even if it doesn’t work out how you want, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.”
He stops at a gravestone. It reads Benjamin Oliver and I calculate the birth to death dates, figuring out he was only eighteen when he died.
Hank: “I went to high school with Benny.”
The name Benny rings a bell. A car crash, I think.
Hank: “I always think about what he missed out on, dying so young. He never got married, had the blessing of having kids, seeing them grow up, watching them make bad decisions.”
He raises his eyebrows at me.
Hank: “It puts things in perspective. You can be dead and not living, but you can also be alive and not living too.” Cade: “Marla, we have one extra chair,”
She’s mixing the salad and her smile dims.
Marla: “Oh, yeah, sorry.”
Cade: “Is someone else coming?”
She shakes her head.
Marla: “No, you can take it away. I thought someone might be joining us.”
She sighs and goes back to mixing her salad.
All my siblings and stepsiblings groan.
Nikki: “How on Earth are you the oldest?”
Cade: “What am I missing?”
Chevelle steps over to me with an exasperated expression.
Chevelle: “The speech and the letter were supposed to put some sense into your brain to make up with Presley. The chair is for Presley!”
She throws her arms in the air.
Chevelle: “It’s a lost cause. He’s going to die alone.”
Tears spring from Chevelle’s eyes and Marla is quick to hug her.
Cade: “I’m not gonna die alone. Jed will be next to me,”
I say, but no one laughs. Jed finishes swallowing a pull from his beer.
Jed: “Hell no. I’m not wiping your ass.” Hank: “Son, you’re stronger than this.”
Dad puts his hand on my shoulder.
Hank: “It takes a strong heart to love again.” Presley: “You and Dad gave me a great life. And maybe it’s my genes, why I love it here so much. Maybe it has nothing to do with biology. But I’m happy here in a way I wasn’t in Connecticut.”
Mom: “Even though that boy broke your heart?”
Presley: “That’s the good thing with broken hearts—they heal.”
Eventually. She kisses my forehead.
Mom: “I’m not sure when you became the wise one.”
Presley: “As soon as you held me in your arms.” My mom pats my knee.
Mom: “I’ll handle this.”
She walks over to the door while I shut myself in the bathroom. Sooner or later, I’ll have to face him, but not right now.
Mom: “Hello, Cade,”
Cade: “Hello, Mrs. Knight. I don’t think we officially met the other night. I’m Cade Greene.”
Mom: “Oh, I know who you are.”
Cade: “I suppose you do. Is Presley here?”
There’s a pause.
Mom: “She is, but she’s not here for you. You’ve done enough.”
I hear a hand land on the door.
Cade: “Please. I just need a few minutes. That’s all. I’m an idiot.”
Mom: “You are,”
Mom says, and I bite my lip to keep from laughing.
Cade: “I love your daughter. Please let me tell her.”
I suck in a sharp breath.
he yells into the apartment.
Cade: “Please talk to me. I love you. I know I’ve been so stupid, but if you give me ten minutes, I’ll explain it all. And if you still hate me and want nothing to do with me, then I’ll drive to the airport.”
What is he talking about? Why would he drive to the airport? My hand wraps around the doorknob.
Mom: “I’m sure you’re a good man, but sometimes things can’t be mended. And in truth, if you didn’t realize you loved my daughter until you lost her, I’m not sure I’m on board with you talking to her now.” Cade: “I’m scared. I’m scared that if I admit these feelings I have for you and let myself sink into them, there’s a chance that I could lose you. I don’t want to feel that kind of pain again.” He dips his head but pauses right before his lips touch mine.
Cade: “And don’t feel like you have to say you love me back. I’ll totally wait.”
Presley: “Once you set everyone in Sunrise Bay straight and declare your love for me, I’ll get back to you on the I love you thing. Maybe you can put up a banner downtown or something.”
He laughs, tilting his head back. I grab his shirt and pull him toward me.
Cade: “I love you too.”