Monica Murphy, Sarah Robinson’s blistering-hot series debut introduces the
Kavanagh brothers—mixed martial arts fighters who work hard, play hard, and
love with all their hearts.
family’s gym, Legends, MMA star Rory Kavanagh is used to being in the
spotlight—until a gruesome leg injury knocks him out of the cage. Rory is left
feeling sidelined in more ways than one, battling the inner demons that come
with losing the one shot at his dreams. Then Clare walks into his life and
gives him a new dream: winning her heart. There aren’t many new faces in
Woodlawn these days, but this tough, beautiful stranger makes Rory want to get
his life back into fighting shape.
able to tell anyone what really brought her to the close-knit Bronx
neighborhood where she just started bartending. But her life’s on pause and her
past is catching up fast, try as she might to move on—with new friends, steady
work, and a chiseled alpha male trying to get her attention. Even though Rory’s
more than a little intense, she can’t deny that her heart beats faster when he
looks at her with those soulful silver eyes. Clare thought she was done with
love, but Rory might just be man enough to show her she thought wrong.
author of The Photographer Trilogy and the Sand & Clay rock star series. A
native of Washington, D.C., Robinson has both her bachelor’s and master’s
degrees in criminal psychology. She is married to a local police officer who is
just as much of an animal rescue enthusiast as she is. Together, they own a zoo
of rescue and foster animals.
-READ THIS EXCLUSIVE EXERPT-
Well, if it isn’t our long-lost brother,” a familiar voice said a few minutes later, as he meandered into the neighborhood bar that everyone he knew frequented. A hand clasped his shoulder. “Shit, Rory, where the hell have you been?”
Rory inwardly groaned as he turned to face his younger brother, Quinn Kavanagh. Rory wanted to wipe Quinn’s smug smirk off with his fist. He had been sporting that same cocky attitude since the moment he popped into this world, a trait that Rory found uniquely irritating.
Now I remember why I’ve been avoiding this bar, Rory thought as he forced a smile at his brother.
“Just stopping in for a quick drink, Quinn,” Rory said, attempting to make clear that he wasn’t interested in socializing.
He headed over to the long wooden bar that wrapped around two sides of the small pub and stood before walls of liquor bottles and televisions. Several bartenders moved around swiftly, filling drink orders and talking with the full crowd that O’Leary’s always attracted on weekend nights. Rory found an empty stool down at one end, far away from the door, and
quickly staked his claim.
He saw Cian, who had worked at O’Leary’s for as long as he could remember, and nodded his head to him. Cian nodded back and put up his hand, indicating he would be over in a minute, as he finished serving the group of college-aged kids at that end of the bar. The door to the kitchen swung open and a short, petite blonde ambled through carrying a large bucket of ice that seemed much too heavy for her small frame to manage.
Rory smiled slightly as he lifted one eyebrow, watching her with interest while she carefully poured the ice over the liquor bottles that sat in a metal bin below the bar’s surface. She huffed and her face was slightly red at the task, but she still managed to completely empty the bucket’s contents evenly around each of the glass bottles.
He took advantage of her being distracted by her task to stare at her shapely legs, which disappeared under a short skirt barely longer than her small apron. Her skin was delicately pale and smooth, and he wondered what it would feel like to slide his fingers up the length of those legs. His eyes traveled up her body, disappointed that the thick, blond ringlets dangling halfway down her back were also hiding most of her face as she leaned over the bar. He wanted to see her perfectly sloped nose, catch her eyes with his, and see what her small pink lips would look like when they smiled.
Something about this woman was intriguing him, although he couldn’t pinpoint what.
Her work completed, she exhaled loudly and plopped the empty bucket at her feet, taking a breather. Rory chuckled lightly, finally grabbing her attention.
“You laughing at me?” She put her hands on her hips, daring him to make fun of her.
Her eyes narrowed as she spoke, but he was still able to catch a glimpse of the dazzling emerald color that contrasted against her light skin and golden hair so perfectly.
“Wouldn’t dream of it, mhuirnín.” A smile spread across his face as he watched her saunter over to him, her full, pink lips tightly pressed together in irritation.
“What’s that mean?” she asked when she reached him, standing across the bar with her arms folded across her chest and one hip tilted higher than the other. Her tone was defiant and he loved the feisty spirit she exuded.
“Mhuirnín? You’re all questions today. I’ll answer your question, if you answer mine.” Rory concentrated on keeping his speech normal and not slurring his words. He might have had a bit more to drink tonight than he had intended.
She turned away from him, looking back down the length of the bar and drumming her fingers on its surface.
Rory could sense her nervousness. He already missed her green gaze and silently begged her to turn back to him. There was something about her that stirred a protective instinct in him, a feeling entirely foreign toward anyone who wasn’t family. She was smiling, but there was an undercurrent of pain breaking through her friendliness.
He didn’t like it.
“I guess that’s fair,” she relented, turning back to him and leaning against the wall.
“I haven’t seen you here before. What’s your name?” His question was simple, but the desire in his eyes was not as he licked his bottom lip and admired how perfectly her uniform hugged her curves, even on her small figure.
“Clare Ivers. I’m new in town. Needed a job.” She shrugged, not divulging much, but he felt a sliver of hope when he saw that the smile on her face had yet to disappear.
He knew that she could feel his attraction toward her when he saw the blush creep up her cheeks. The smile she couldn’t push away told him she was enjoying their banter as much as he was.
Despite her clear interest, there was a hint of disapproval as he watched her eyes roam over his torso. It was a look he was way too familiar with from the last year. Rory worried he might be slurring his words or sounding more drunk than he felt.
Wouldn’t be the first time, he thought.
“Your turn.” She pointed at him, biting the corner of her lip in an attempt to hide her smile.
“Mhuirnín means sweetheart. If you’re going to work in Woodlawn, Clare, you gotta learn some Irish.”
“Is that right? I guess I’ll have to find a good tutor then,” she taunted, before turning on her heels and sauntering off.