The Ultimate eBook Bundle
The Ultimate eBook Bundle
- Purchase the E-Book/Audiobook
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Discover the magic of all of Laura Burton's best-selling RomComs.
Three RomCom series + Two Novellas + Bonus Collection for ONE low price!
Start with the Be My Fake Fiancé Series with book 1: Love Me Like You Mean It
Then go into the Love is a Mystery series, with book 1: Flirting with my Enemy
Curl up with My Christmas Date
Then finish up with the Surprised by Love series, starting with book 1: The High School Reunion
You may enjoy the bonus Truth or Dare collection any time.
Included in the Bundle
- The High School Reunion
- The Terrible Personal Shopper
- The Makeover Surprise
- The New Girl Next Door
- My Christmas Date (Novella)
- Flirting with my Enemy
- Married to my Boss
- Love Me Like You Mean It
- Love Me in the Spotlight
- Love Me I'm Your Princess
- Love Me One More Time
- Bonus Truth or Dare: The Complete Collection
Grab THREE series, TWO novellas and a BONUS collection for ONE great price!
NOT available anywhere else!
The New Girl Next Door Synopsis
The New Girl Next Door Synopsis
Do you ever feel like the universe is conspiring against you?
That's how Chessy Scott feels when she discovers that her secret crush and next-door neighbor, who also happens to be a single dad, is the father of one of her kindergarten students. Talk about forbidden fruit!
But it gets worse. Every time Chessy tries to get close to him, he seems to push her away. That is, until the incident.
One night, while taking a shower, Chessy is terrorized by a giant spider. In comes her neighbor, shirtless and wielding an axe. He may be grumpy and standoffish, but he's also her hero.
As they spend more time together, Chessy wonders if there could be something more between them. But there's a catch: his ex-wife is the principal at the school where Chessy works. If they pursue a relationship, Chessy could lose her job.
Thankfully, Chessy has her two older sisters to help her navigate this crisis. They always say that love conquers all, but is it true?
If you're a fan of grumpy/sunshine romance and single dads, you'll love The New Girl Next Door. With witty humor and heart-pounding romance, this book will have you swooning from start to finish.
Heat level: No spice, but all of the sizzle and innuendo.
Chapter One Look Inside
Chapter One Look Inside
“Happy birthday, Chessy! I can’t believe our baby sister is thirty now.”
“Don’t, you’re making me feel old.”
I’m on a three-way call with my older sisters, Leila and Lucy. As usual, they’re fussing. I smile to myself.
“Have you got a bucket list?” Leila asks. Before I can reply, Lucy butts in.
“You should add a trip to New Zealand. I can’t even begin to tell you how beautiful it is here.”
I sigh, picturing Lucy and Wyatt—Lucy’s fiancé—hiking in lush green mountains, probably dressed up in Lord of the Rings cosplay. I almost chuckle out loud at the thought of several Arwen and Aragorn couples wandering around Hobbiton right now.
Lucy is so lucky to have found a man willing to do fun things like that with her.
“How is Wyatt treating you?” I ask, swooning at the thought of a man sweeping me off my feet and taking me somewhere fancy.
Lucy doesn’t reply right away, giving Leila the perfect opportunity to insert her thoughts. “How do you think he’s treating her? The girl found herself a billionaire who is just as crazy about geeky stuff as she is. And soon, they’re going to get married! At the Plaza hotel, no less.”
“You make it sound like I won the lottery. Like it was easy. It wasn’t. And planning a wedding is stressful.”
My smile grows at the sound of irritation in Lucy’s voice, and my attention wanders to my empty apartment as my sisters start to bicker.
“…and anyway, you can talk. Blaze isn’t exactly poor, is he? Didn’t he just order himself a new Bugatti?”
There’s a pause, and I can just picture Leila’s face growing red while she does a lot of rapid blinking. Things will escalate if I don’t chime in, and the last thing I want right now is to listen to my sisters argue.
“Cut it out, you two. It’s my birthday. Leila, you’re still in the country. Fancy going out?”
There’s a big, breathy sigh as Leila inhales another sharp breath. Her puffy red cheeks flash through my mind’s eye.
“Sorry, Chessy, the doctor put me on bed rest until I have the twins,” she confesses, sounding pained.
I’m not super surprised. The last time I saw her, she was in full waddle mode. A few steps made her break into a sweat.
I can’t deny I’m disappointed, though. Before my sisters settled down, we always went out on my birthday. And this one is a big one.
“Shoot. Well, I can come and take care of you!” I offer, thinking that at least we can eat junk food and watch our favorite Friends episodes in bed.
“Actually, Blaze is home and he’s—”
I fail to stop a groan from escaping me. The last thing I want to be on my thirtieth birthday is the third wheel.
Being in the same room as Blaze and Leila has become even more nauseating lately. You’d think a high-risk pregnancy would calm him down, but surprisingly, the man can’t keep his hands off Leila’s pregnant curves and takes every opportunity to grope her.
I’m all about romance and that, but as a bystander, it’s gross.
“Sorry, Chessy.” Lucy’s voice makes me jump. I forgot she was even on the call. She’d been so quiet for the last few minutes. “We’ll celebrate when I get back, I promise.”
“No worries. I’ll speak to you guys later.”
I pretend to be cheerful as I end the call, not wanting my sisters to know how let down I feel.
As the baby sister of three girls, I can’t help the need I feel to please people. And I spend a lot of my energy manifesting my dreams.
Well, I used to spend time manifesting.
Now… Not so much.
Until recently, I haven’t had a reason to think I won’t get everything I want out of life.
Then my last boyfriend stole from me—a new low.
And I’m not talking metaphorically here. He didn’t steal my heart or anything. No. He took my wallet instead.
The worst part? He did it at a family BBQ, giving everyone a good show of what a low life he is. My brother-in-law kicked his butt right in front of everyone. I looked like a joke.
My older sisters have always disapproved of how fast I jump into relationships. After that episode, they think I suck at character judgment too.
But I refuse to stay down about it for too long—Leila and Lucy have made monumental changes in their lives and their dreams are coming true.
If they can find their happy endings, so can I. I know it, deep down.
Tonight, though, I can’t help but let in a little anxiety about “what if?”
Leila is about to have two adorable babies, and Lucy is off with her fiancé on a month-long Lord of the Rings-themed vacation.
Then there’s me.
I never thought I’d make it to thirty without a few kids running around my feet and a sexy husband by my side. But here I am, leaning over my breakfast bar and staring at a lowly cupcake with a single candle and too much frosting. I light a match and watch the flame for several long seconds. The wax drips slowly toward the frosting. In so many ways, I feel like that candle. My heart sinks even lower. I’m not getting any younger, and all I’ve ever wanted in life is to meet the man of my dreams and fill our huge house with adorable kids.
“Happy birthday, Chessy,” I say, blowing out the candle.
I don’t bother to make a wish.
It’s not all bad, I try to tell myself. I have my dream job, working as a kindergarten teacher in a good school. I mean, sure, the staffroom smells like coffee and BO, the bathroom floor is always suspiciously wet, and someone keeps parking in my space, so I have to snake around the busy parking lot to find another one. The principal kind of scares me, too. Plus, her son is in my class, which adds to the pressure. Luckily though, he’s sweet. And that’s a silver lining, isn’t it?
In fact, the kids in my class are amazing.
Another pro to my job is that I have my very own classroom with the freedom to decorate it with all the fingerprint artwork I like, to make my heart happy.
There are also all those bright, beaming smiles I get to see on those kids’ faces every day. They flood my heart with so much joy.
But right now, I’m alone in my cold apartment on my thirtieth birthday. Reality brings a sigh to my lips.
It’s Friday night.
I should put on my red dress, slap on a bold lipstick, and go out.
Enthusiasm bubbles briefly, then fizzles.
I look down at my bunny slippers, stretchy leggings, and oversized T-shirt. My dirty blonde hair in a messy bun at the top of my head.
What has become of me?
I’ve turned into Lucy. She’s the comfort-over-fashion kind of person.
I’m usually the type to devour fashion magazines and, on the weekend, spend a happy eight hours going from store to store, trying everything on.
But ever since I moved to the city, my bank has maintained a resounding no to everything fun.
I pick up my phone and check my balance again. Another huff escapes me. “I can’t even afford a freaking birthday cake,” I mutter aloud.
Sure, I have my dream job and I live in my favorite city in the world. But New York prices are sky high compared to New Jersey, and kindergarten teachers don’t get paid enough to eat, let alone do anything with their lives.
In fact, I took the stipend for medical and put it toward my rent instead. Now I’m nervous when I get so much as a paper cut, because I won’t be able to afford the doctor’s appointment, let alone antibiotics for an infection.
I glance at the bulging sack spilling over the top of the trash can and shake my head, snapping myself out of a downward spiral.
It’s my birthday. I’m not going to have a pity party in my dark, empty apartment.
My party-girl, free-spirited days are over. I’m in my thirties now, and I need to start being responsible. Starting with taking out the trash.
I tie the sack and carry it out into the hall, while I try to think up a plan to celebrate. A cheap one—so my bank balance doesn’t dip any further into the red.
It’ll most likely be one that involves consuming the last of the vanilla ice-cream in my freezer and a Netflix binge-athon.
I stuff the trash into the shoot and turn back to my apartment, my mind a million miles away, and my forehead collides with something hard.
“Will you look where you’re going?” the someone growls.
I stop rubbing my head and quickly open my eyes.
I recognize that deep, rumbly voice.
A pair of blue eyes bore into mine. I take in a square jaw, a bulging bottom lip, and a mouth positioned in a straight line.
Goosebumps break out on my neck, and I resist the urge to swoon.
His dark brows knit together, and he looks me over with the most unimpressed stare.
I flash him a nervous smile. “Sorry,” I blurt before my brain can remind me I’m not supposed to like this guy. “Didn’t see you there.”
My heart is hammering in my chest and my palms are sweaty. It’s just like every other time I’ve set eyes on him.
This is the one person in the world who hates me, and I have no idea what I’ve done to deserve it.
He also happens to be the one guy in the world who can still make me weak at the knees, despite my plan to swear off men for the foreseeable future.
He blinks. My gaze flickers to the two trash bags in his hands. I jump out of the way and fold my arms while he proceeds to dispose of them. Then he turns back, and I watch him take in my appearance. Ugh.
Suddenly, I can no longer hear my hammering heart. It’s like I’m having an out of body experience.
This is the last person I would want to bump into in my bunny slippers. I should be in my best dress and heels, with my hair curled so it’s hanging in mermaid waves over my body.
Maybe then he wouldn’t be looking at me like I’m something sticky under his shoe.
Is he really still mad about the last time we met? Annoyance builds up inside of me and I let a frown take over my polite smile.
“Why do you have to be like that?” I mumble, frowning a little. “I apologized. I don’t know where you’re from, but here it’s customary to forgive someone when they say they’re sorry.”
He snorts and rakes a hand through his dark hair. My brain races to find a list of reasons why I shouldn’t have a crush on this guy.
His white shirt lifts just enough for me to get a sneak peek at his tanned, muscled torso. I meet his eyes again, feeling a flush of heat to my cheeks. I hope he didn’t notice me checking him out.
I mean, the man is intolerable, but I’m a red-blooded woman who can notice a hot guy when she sees one. Even if he is an alpha hole.
“You’re right,” he says, folding his arms. His shoulder muscles bulge like mountains. My brows lift in surprise.
“I am?” I ask, popping a hip and twirling my hair now. I sense his apology for being rude to me is just on the tip of his tongue. Maybe I had him all wrong. Maybe this guy is actually—
“You don’t know where I’m from. And where I’m from, we don’t automatically forgive people when they’ve been obnoxious. Especially after they’ve been violent.”
I drop my arms along with my jaw. “Excuse me?”
The cheek of this guy! I can’t even.
He points to a pink mark on his forehead and my stomach tightens. Did I make that mark?
Then the guy drops his hands with a deflated puff.
“Listen, it’s been a murder of a week for me, and I already had a headache,” he explains.
I resist the urge to apologize again. I don’t want to be that woman. But my wounded puppy radar starts screaming at me and I’m flooded with an empathy that has me working on autopilot. I cock my head to the side. “Aww,” I coo. “That’s too bad.”
The guy’s jaw bulges and his eyes flash. I watch him in confused silence as he strides back to his door, which is across from mine. But then he stops, and his shoulders drop a notch. He lets out an audible breath. “I don’t mean to snap at you,” he says, keeping his back to me.
My heart flutters, sensing the agony in his voice. It’s as though every word is cutting him on the way out of his mouth.
He turns to face me and holds out a hand. I eye it, frozen on the spot for a moment. When I don’t take it, he adds, “I’m Jack.”
I study him carefully for a moment, then I take his hand and we shake. His grip is firm and his fingers are calloused, grazing my palm as we break away.
“Chessy,” I say, my mouth already dry.
My hopeless romantic body is lighting up with all sorts of forbidden signals again. Sweaty palms. Fluttery heart. Short breaths.
I hear Lucy’s firm voice in my head. Get a grip, Chessy.
Jack’s mouth lifts into a lopsided smile. “I know.”
“Know what?” I ask like a fool. Why do I always turn into a pile of goo around guys? Honestly, the second a man shows me any attention, I’m putty in their hands.
A shrink would probably blame it on daddy issues. Or in my case, absent-daddy issues.
Jack laughs and it jerks me out of my daze. “You’ve told me before,” he says.
He’s talking about the last time we spoke. It was months ago. When Wyatt proposed to Lucy—down on one knee right here in the hall like his soul couldn’t bear to wait a single moment longer before he popped the question. It was so romantic!
Jack came out demanding that we keep the noise down.
“You remember,” I say, unable to hide the admiration in my voice.
My reaction doesn’t go unnoticed. Jack’s smile drops and he clears his throat, turning serious again.
“Well, have a good night,” he says. His gaze flickers to my shirt at the last minute, and I suck in a breath, realizing I’m not wearing a bra. Is he checking me out?
“And happy birthday,” he adds, meeting my eyes again.
I look down at my shirt and spot the pin. One of the kids from my class gave it to me in the morning. It’s shaped like a pink balloon with the words “it’s my birthday” written across it.
I flush and smile back. “Thanks.”
I make a beeline for my door before I can do anything else to embarrass myself, but instead of storming into my apartment, I headbutt the jammed door instead.
I hold my head, my ears ringing. A pair of warm hands is suddenly on my arms. I’m swiveled around and two concerned eyes study my face. Seafoam blue eyes. “That was quite a bump, are you alright?” Jack asks. His face is so close to mine, I can taste the mint on his breath. My stomach flips again.
“I’m fine. Just clumsy,” I say with a giggle. I fumble with the door handle until I hear a click, then ram my butt against the door to force it open.
This time, the door obeys and swings open with a jarring squeal. My head is thumping as I offer Jack a grin, then I take two steps back into my apartment and let the door slam shut.
“You should probably put some ice on that,” Jack shouts through the door, his voice muffled.
“Thanks for the tip,” I yell, wanting to die from the embarrassment. I turn the lock and listen for the sound of Jack’s door closing. When I hear it shut, I let out a breath.
Then I spin around and survey my quiet apartment. It’s meticulously clean, with pretty pink and white cushions propped up on the couch. My phone and the remote sit in a neat line on the glass coffee table, and the only source of light is the soft, yellow glow coming from my bedroom down the hall.
Forget watching Friends, it’s like I just stumbled right into an episode. I’m no longer in the mood for junk food and TV. I pick up a bottle of red and head for my room.