Cockpit

Cockpit

By:  K. BROMBERG  Ongoing
Language: English
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"From New York Times bestselling author K. Bromberg comes a new, sexy standalone about taking chances and finding love when it’s least expected. Or wanted. This whole contest was supposed to be easy. I know, I know. Famous last words. It’s a long story, but I messed up at work. Big time. To earn back the trust of my boss, I promised to save one of our magazines. Yep. That Hot Dad contest you’ve seen advertised all over the place was my idea. And if I’m successful, if I’m able to increase our online readership, then I get a shot at my dream job. But the one thing I never expected to happen, happened: Contestant number ten, Grayson Malone. Hello, Mr. Difficult. And did I mention sexy as hell? Unfortunately he knows me. The old me, anyway. And while we might be older now, I remind him of before. Of the woman who broke his heart, who hardened him, and who left him alone to raise the cutest little boy I’ve ever seen. But I don’t want a relationship. And I definitely don’t fall for single dads with baggage. Even ones with chiseled abs and killer smiles. But he got to me. They got to me. He and his son and their messy, crazy life. But I got to him too. I see the stolen glances. I feel the walls he built start to crumble. I recognize that there’s an unexpected beauty to the chaos in his life. And now that the contest is about to end, we’re left to decide whether the last six months were just fun or if what we have is worth risking it all?"

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64 Chapters
COPYRIGHT
CockpitBy K. Bromberg Copyright 2018 K. Bromberg Published by JKB Publishing, LLC Editing by AW Editing and Help Me EditCover Design by Helen WilliamsCover Photography Nicole Ashley Photography All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination and are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or establishments is solely coincidental.
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PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF K. BROMBERG
PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF K. BROMBERG “K. Bromberg always delivers intelligently written, emotionally intense, sensual romance . . .”—USA Today “This book will have you CUFFED to your chair until the very last page of this high-flying tale.”—#1 New York Times Bestselling author Audrey Carlan  A poignant and hauntingly beautiful story of survival, second chances and the healing power of love. An absolute must-read.”—New York Times Bestselling author Helena Hunting  “A homerun! The Player is riveting, sexy and pulsing with energy. And I can’t wait for The Catch!”—#1 New York Times Bestselling author Lauren Blakely  “An irresistibly hot romance that stays with you long after you finish the book.”—# 1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout “Bromberg is a master at turning up the heat!”—New York Times bestselling author Katy Evans “Supercharged heat and full of heart. B
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PROLOGUE
  “It isn’t what you think. I promise.”Eyes the same color blue as mine stare at me. Judge me. Scold me. The expanse of a desk is between us, but I can feel my father’s fury as if he were sitting beside me.He pinches the bridge of his nose and gives a sharp shake of his head. “Is there anything you’ve ever loved besides yourself, Sidney?”“That isn’t fair.” Tears burn as I try to swallow over the bitter pill disappointing my father has lodged there.“Isn’t it, though?”His words cut deep. But I screwed up. Again. At least that’s the only way he’ll ever see it. Frank Thorton is never one to allow room for error.“Tell me what to do, Dad. Tell me how to make this better.” My hands tremble, but I grip the arms of the chair to steady them.Thortons never show that they are intimidated.“I’ve let your mom protect you for too long. I’ve let her persuade me to give you chance after chance when you continually prove to me that you don’t deserve it.”“Dad . . 
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ONE
 “Has it really been a whole month since I’ve seen you?”Memories of martinis by the poolside and dancing till closing time in Santa Barbara flicker and fade into a subtle homesickness. “Five weeks actually.”“Ugh. It feels like forever.”“That’s only because you’ve been off playing in Seattle with your newest flavor of the month for the past few weeks.”“I like this flavor.” She laughs that coquettish sound of hers that tells me she’s having way too much fun while I’ve been here busting my ass to no end. “So, how’s the new place?”The new place is a tiny cottage I rented on the outskirts of Sunnyville. It’s cozy and homey and nothing like the sleek lines and rich colors of my condo in San Francisco.“It’s . . .”“It isn’t you,” Zoey says through her laugh, most likely from where she’s overlooking the view of the city I’ve temporarily left behind.“No, it definitely is not me.” Not the uneven floorboards that creek when I walk on them. Not the hot water that la
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TWO
 “Go pick up your mess and then you can go play out back,” I say absently to Luke as I set the colander on the kitchen counter and stare out the window. My eyes are drawn to a very nice ass highlighted by a black pencil skirt and high heels walking down my path.Sidney goddamn Thorton.I must be going out of my mind.I grit my teeth as she climbs into a white Range Rover that has windows tinted so dark I can barely make out her golden brown hair.Untouchable now, just like she was back then.I run a hand through my hair. Did I really just accuse her of trying to write an article on a nonexistent story? Paranoid much, Gray?Sure, her dad owns the goddamn magazine world, but I doubt she’s had to lift one of her perfectly manicured fingers a day in her life.Contest, my ass.Logically, I know that she was here for a reason, so if the contest is a sham, what does she really want?I stare at her car a little longer, waiting for her to pull away.Modern Family? As in the off
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THREE
 “The wall isn’t going anywhere, you know, in case you’re trying to move it telekinetically.”I look over to Rissa through our communal office space near the back of the building and level her with a glare. Her dark hair is pulled back in a perfect chignon, her flawless skin is the prettiest shade of caramel, and those eyes of hers are sharp and unforgiving.“You never know until you try, right?”She lifts her brows and shrugs absently as she tries hard not to let her resentment surface.She thinks I want her job.No worries there, Rissa. Modern is one thing I like. Family is not.“So, do we need to go over your task list again?” she asks with that motherly tone that insinuates if she doesn’t remind me, I’m too careless to remember.“You mean the one I completed last night? That list?” She stares at me for a beat, trying to gauge whether I’m telling the truth while my eyes silently warn her to back off. “I appreciate your concern, as always, but I’ve been here, .&nbs
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FOUR
 “I hear congratulations are in order.” My mom’s smile grows wider with each passing second as she stares at me.“For what?” I look to Luke, whose grin mysteriously matches hers.“Luke told me all about being a finalist in—”“It isn’t happening, Mom. It’s most likely some marketing gimmick to save the whales or something and—”“And you have something against saving the whales?” Her hands are on her hips, and Luke’s snickering because that usually means someone’s in trouble.“She said she thinks Dad has a real chance at winning,” Luke says excitedly.“She?” My mom’s ears prick up and every part of me bristles as she bends over and puts her hands on her knees to be eye level with Luke. “Who is she?”“Miss Sidney,” he continues. “She’s really pretty and nice and—”“No one.” I push Luke gently on one shoulder as my mom puts her hand on his other and holds him in place.“He was just filling me in on things you won’t,” she says with a lift of her eyebrows and that look that t
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FIVE
 “Grayson Malone.”His groan is louder than the chatter of the patrons as I slide into the open spot at the bar beside his stool. “Quit stalking me.” He keeps his head straight ahead and doesn’t glance my way.“I’m not stalking you at all.” I glance around and smile. The place is large, dimly lit, and has a good-size crowd. A line of taps sits to my right, and a shelf full of half-filled glass bottles sits to my left. Three bartenders are behind the wooden top, joking with customers as they fill one order after another.“Doesn’t seem that way.”“Bars are popular places on Friday nights. It’s a Friday night, and lucky for me, I was sitting right over there, minding my own business, when you walked in the door.” More like saw him striding across the street and then heading into the bar when I was driving home and thought it might be the perfect opportunity to hit him up again about the contest.“Lucky you.” He lifts his beer and takes a long drink of it. There’s something abo
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SIX
 I stare at the lights that are on in the old Kraft house on Olympic Street and debate whether to go knock on the door or not.She deserves an apology.I was in a shitty mood after leaving the station and seeing everything I’m being shut out of. Then she pushed my buttons when all I wanted to do was sit at the bar and enjoy my goddamn beer before going home to a quiet house. I don’t want to be part of her contest, let alone be the goddamn poster boy for it. I don’t want her friendship. I don’t want an apology for the inconsideration she showed me in high school.But I stood there in that bar with her body so goddamn close to mine, and all I wanted to do was kiss her. How is that possible? How can I despise her . . . not want anything to do with her, yet, have to force myself to walk away just so I wouldn’t kiss her?Then there was fucking Mick. Regardless of how harmless the drunk bastard typically is, he only served to complicate the matter. Forced me to be near h
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SEVEN
 The rain whips viciously against the windshield.Cochran’s voice fills my head. “Goddammit, Malone. It’s too dangerous to fly in this storm.”The thwack, thwack, thwack of the blades overhead is like a metronome to the sights and sounds.Ignoring Cochran, I turn to my crew. “Who’s with me? You don’t have to fly, but I can’t leave them out there to die.” The concerned looks on the faces of my crew as I give them the option while dispatch frantically sounds off in the background.Drunk driver in head-on collision. Four patients in serious condition. One more a trauma alert.“You aren’t going anywhere.”“Bullshit. They need us. I’ll fly on my own if I have to.”The ambulance’s lights cut through the darkness of the night. Red flashes over and over as precious seconds tick down, each one another moment less to save the patient we’re about to transport.“ETA Spiderman to Sunnyville General?” Dispatch’s voice crackles in my ear as I watch the ambulance doors open and my lone
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