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USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn brings more humor and heart with the fourth novel of her Getting Lucky series: a story about breaking curses and finally finding that swoony feeling.
I’m single . . . so single it’s painful.
Yup, ladies, Brig Knightly–that’s me–is still a lonely bachelor, stumbling through the streets of Port Snow, looking for the girl he’s supposed to end up with.
That is until my brother, Rogan, presents me with the opportunity of a lifetime. The Summer of Love, a secret pen pal program in Port Snow is looking for applicants and I’m the perfect fit.
I couldn’t sign up fast enough.
I found myself quickly falling in love with a pair of red lips at the bottom of a letter. Just like in the movies . . .
Life could not have been better, that was until I started hanging out with Ruth Barber. Starting a new business right next to my shop, I found myself gravitating toward her. Her smile, her humor . . . her tea sandwiches.
My attraction for Ruth came in full force, leaving me dazed, confused, and *ahem* excited.
As new feelings for two women come to a screeching halt, I have to figure out who to choose. But when I discover my pen pal is Ruth, it might be too late.
All I want in life is to experience that swoony feeling . . . but I think I might have just missed my chance.
Hands stuffed in my pockets, I look at Reid while nibbling on the corner of my lip. “But—”
“Brig, I swear to God,” Reid says, dragging his hand down his face while we make our way past Jackson Square, toward Café Du Monde. “Do not ask about your penis turning green one more goddamn time. We all looked at it. It’s flesh colored. Any signs of green you might have seen was from the shit lighting in the bathroom. Now, drop it.”
“Yeah, okay,” I sigh, even though I don’t feel convinced.
Something happened last night.
Something that has left me shaking in my shoes—because I don’t wear boots—wanting to rip my pants down repeatedly to make sure things are still intact.
Two days ago, I turned twenty-one, and to celebrate the youngest Knightly’s freedom to hold a beer in his hand legally, my three brothers took me to New Orleans to party in style. And we did . . . up until last night, when the depths of hell tried to swallow us all whole.
Mom warned us, saying, “Don’t get into any trouble.”
My dad slapped the back of our heads before we left and told us to use our brains.
Even our sister, the oldest and wisest of the Knightly children, stared us in the eyes and told us not to do anything stupid.
And yet, we failed all of them.
Have you ever been to New Orleans? Neither had I, but I’d heard great things about the place. Drinking in the streets and peekaboo boobs on every corner.
Beignets and rice and beans.
Sounded like a great time.
But after doing extensive research before the trip—I like to plan ahead—the one thing I wanted to avoid, the one thing that made me extremely nervous, was the voodoo magic prevalent on the grimy cobblestone streets.
You know what I’m talking about. The dark stuff, the chilling life-altering spells that can change you as a man . . . as a human.
*Whispers* Black magic . . .
We did a great job avoiding any and all scary things, until last night, when I inadvertently ran smack dab into the palms of evil.
Shocking news: I was drunk. I couldn’t tell if I was walking on cobblestone streets last night or lobster rolls—that’s how far gone I was—so when I stumbled over a palm reader’s table and broke it, I wasn’t exactly aware of the severity of my mistake.
She roared with displeasure.
Her eyes tore through me with veritable hatred that shook me to the tip of my dick.
And her gangly fingers rattled while she spoke vehemently.
Terrified out of my wits, I held up my palm while my brothers tossed her twenty bucks and asked her to read it.
I wish I could remember what she said.
The future she spoke of is all a blur at this point. Pretty sure she said something about how incredibly handsome I am and how I outshine my brothers with the curves of my jaw, but I can’t be quite sure. The boys deny that part of the story, but they don’t deny the stark hatred that spit like venom from the petrifying woman’s mouth.
My brothers, of course, didn’t make the situation any better by making fun of her predictions. They actually sparked the flame that set the fire. I might be telling this wrong—you know, completely wasted and all—but the moment the palm reader turned an evil shade of hate, I felt every ounce of fun-loving booze seep from the bottom of my feet and out into the streets, sobering me up to the point of understanding.
In a whirlwind of vengeful movements, her arms waved about, the wind swirled around us, trash from the streets danced around my jean-covered legs, and the palm reader’s eyes turned yellow—I confirmed that fact with all three brothers this morning.
Indeed, her eyes were yellow.
And then she said something I will never forget . . .
This wretch of a wench cloaked in the devil’s garb took our fate into her own hands and punished us with broken love.
If you know me at all, you’d know that would cut deep to my very being.
Then Reid said something about her telling us our dicks were going to fall off or turn green; can’t be sure, because I was stunned. Stunned with the notion that my entire life goal of getting married and becoming a doting husband was quickly stripped from my soul and set into blazing embers, never to be seen again.
The miscreant cursed the one thing I strive for as a man . . . that swoony feeling of being wrapped up in a warm, safe relationship with a woman.
And I can’t shake it.
No matter what my brothers say, no matter how many times they tell me to drop it, I keep worrying. I keep remembering the whirl of evil that was cast upon us. I keep trying to decode the meaning of it all.
Are we truly cursed?
“There’s a table over there,” Griffin, my oldest brother, says, making a beeline toward the back corner of the incredibly busy beignet-making icon. We came here for their famous beignets when we first arrived and decided to indulge one more time.
We catch a flight to Port Snow this afternoon and before we get back to our gossip-loving town, I want to set some things straight.
Taking seats, we quickly put in an order for beignets and a café au lait each, and when the waitress leaves, I say, “Can we talk about last night?”
Reid groans and slouches in his chair. He’s in a shit mood, and I’m not sure if it’s from the phone call he got last night that he’s not talking about or if it’s because he’s hung over. Maybe a combo of both. “Can we not?”
“Aren’t you worried?” I ask, looking around at my brothers. I can’t possibly be the only one who’s concerned here.
But it seems like I might be.
Griffin is texting. His wife, I’m sure.
Rogan is staring at the trifold menu on the table.
And Reid is rubbing his eyes with his palms, looking like he wants to be anywhere but here.
“Uh, hello? Do you guys not remember what happened last night? The whole alarming witch in a cloak thing, waving her dangly bone fingers at us. Table-breaking, palm-reading curses being flung about like beads off a balcony? Ring a bell?”
Griffin sets his phone down and lets out a deep breath. His tone is the even, oldest-brother sensible voice. “We were drunk last night, Brig.”
“Yeah, we were, but it doesn’t negate the fact that we all woke up with the same story this morning. She cursed us. You’re telling me none of you are concerned?” I glance around to all three pairs of blue eyes, the same blue eyes I share, and none of them are returning the look. Which tells me they’re not willing to admit they’re just as scared as I am.
I poke Rogan in the side. “Hello, are you listening?”
“Trying not to,” he says, his fingers pressing to his left eye. “Fuck, my head is pounding.”
Rogan is my second oldest brother, the quiet and annoyed one. He’s had a rough go at life and barely cracks a smile anymore. He’s more interested in punishing himself for the decisions he’s made in the past than in parting the dark cloud that hangs over his head so he can experience the world. As a retired football player, if pushed too hard, he’s been known to fight back. I think I’ll pass on leaning on him now.
“Griff.” I turn to the reasonable one in the group. “You saw it all, the way she spouted off that little limerick about broken love. She came up with that out of nowhere. It rhymed and everything. Who does that? Who wishes broken love on unsuspecting tourists? Frankly, it’s fucked up.”
The waitress drops off our food and drinks. We give her a mumbled thank you before she takes off to serve another table in the busy outdoor seating area.
Mouth full of beignet and powdered sugar coating his lips, Griffin says, “If she was half the palm reader she said she was, then she would have known that I was already married and this curse she set upon us was flawed. Yeah, was it strange that there was wind whipping around when she raised her arms—”
“The wind was weird,” Rogan says.
“Wind freaked me out,” Reid grumbles while bringing his coffee up to his lips.
“Now you chime in,” I say with an eye roll.
“Can I finish?” Griff asks, sounding annoyed. We all silence ourselves with bites into our beignets. “The wind was a strange coincidence, but I also think she was deranged. There’s no merit to what she said, and I think we would waste time thinking about it anymore than we have. Let’s just enjoy breakfast and then get the hell out of here.”
“Agreed,” Rogan says.
“Yeah,” Reid murmurs.
They all shoot me a death glare, and I snap my mouth shut.
I’m outnumbered, and even if I try to press it, they’re not going to change their minds. They’re chalking this experience up to what seems like a drunken it-was-all-an-illusion-we’ll-soon-forget night.
But just a quick glance around the table, and I don’t buy it.
Keeping to themselves.
They’re thinking about it just as much as I am.
Listen to me, to the words I have spoken.
From this day on, your love will be broken.
It isn’t until your minds have matured
That the weight of this curse will forever be cured.
Might not seem like a big deal, but I have a bad feeling our worlds are about to be flipped upside down.
And boy, were our lives flipped.
Griffin lost his wife.
Rogan’s high school sweetheart re-emerged with a vengeance.
Reid’s restaurant, his pride and joy, was stolen from him.
And me . . . well, I haven’t been in a relationship since the fateful day when my taut and beautiful ass tumbled over a palm reader’s table. Just bad luck? That everything good, everything we loved was taken away from us?
It was the curse, but surely things would improve on their own. Wouldn’t they?
From this day on, your love will be broken.
About the Author:
USA Today Bestselling Author, wife, adoptive mother, and peanut butter lover. Author of romantic comedies and contemporary romance, Meghan Quinn brings readers the perfect combination of heart, humor, and heat in every book.