Today it is my pleasure to Welcome romance author Amy Andrews to HJ!
“Edits Unleashed” gives authors an opportunity to share with readers deleted scenes that did not make it through the final edits into publication.
Today, Amy Andrews will be unleashing edits from her book No More Mr Nice Guy
Thanks so much. Very excited to be sharing this outtake with you all!
Mack Kennedy – sexy animal vet and all round nice guy has suffered a major hit to his libido from his cheating ex-girlfriend. His sister Sal has been telling him he needs rebound sex but Mack just hasn’t been interested. Until Josie comes to stay……
Josie Butler – all round good girl, school counsellor, just gotten out of a very beige relationship after an equally beige marriage proposal and has booked a ticket to London to seek out some adventure. She has 2 weeks to kill with her best friend Sal and Sal’s sexy nice-guy brother.
Sal Kennedy – smart mouthed, bossy sister and best friend. It’s Sal sex-list suggestion that pushes Josie and Mack together. She’s not happy at first. But then…..
This was the original first chapter of the book. As such it sets up the writing of the list that the rest of the book hinges on. Josie is egged on by Sal (Mack’s sister) to live on the wild side and write a sex list – 10 things she’d really like to experience.
The scene was canned because it took too long to get to Mack and Josie interacting and the book defenitiely doesn’t *need* it. But it was hard to do as I just love love love this scene!
Josie Butler was officially sloshed. Not that it was her fault. Sal, her best friend of fifteen years, was virtually force-feeding her cocktails-she was merely the host. “I’m a horrible person,” she groaned.
“Rubbish,” Sal said as she plonked another frosty delight in front of her. “Drink up.”
Josie blinked blearily at the vile pink creation before pushing it away. “I’ve had enough.”
“You’ve just dumped a long-term boyfriend and packed up your entire life to move to the other side of the world in search of adventure on a complete whim.” Sal pushed it back. “You need more.”
Josie winced at the term dumped. “Oh God,” she groaned again, placing her forehead on the kitchen counter and shutting her eyes as the events of the last week swirled through her gut, along with what felt like a gallon of alcohol. “I am a horrible person. Curtis will never forgive me.”
“Curtis will be fine.”
Josie shook her head, considerably awkward with her forehead still attached to the bench. “He’s such a nice guy and I’ve…I’ve ruined everything for him.”
Sal sighed. “Maybe if he wasn’t such a dud in the bedroom you’d still be with him.”
Josie glanced up at her friend. Her eyebrows were knitted together and she looked fierce. Josie wished for a moment she was a petite blond with huge blue eyes and a don’t-mess-with-me attitude instead of being curvy and freckly, with weird looking cat-eyes. “Curtis wasn’t a…dud. He was just…conservative. Which is what attracted me in the first place, remember?” Perfect for someone happy to fade into the background. “It’s not his fault I…”
Sal folded her arms. “Was bored to death?”
Josie shook her head. She hadn’t been bored to death. Or she hadn’t realized it anyway, until that fateful day at the hairdressers. “Changed my mind.”
“You’re a twenty-five year old healthy, active woman with normal sexual appetites,” Sal said. “You deserve a healthy, active sex life. You deserve orgasms.”
“I have orgasms,” Josie protested, her cheeks growing warm. Curtis wouldn’t approve of this conversation one little bit.
Sal cocked an eyebrow at her. “I’m not talking about the ones you give yourself.”
Josie sat up straight. “Sally Kennedy! I don’t do that.” Her cheeks went from warm to fiery hot-the curse of being a redhead-because there had been the odd guilty time when she’d succumbed. But all masturbation had ever accomplished apart, from a few seconds of sordid pleasure, was an even bigger feeling of dissatisfaction and a whole lot of remorse.
“Oh, Jesus. It’s worse than I thought, then. Here.” Sal placed the pink drink in her hand. “Get that into you. I’ll be right back.”
Josie did as she was told. For once in her life she didn’t have everything laid out like the proverbial yellow brick road in front of her-more like a potholed mess leading into thick, swirling mist-so drinking seemed the easiest thing to do.
Hell, it was preferable.
She absently twirled on the bar stool, taking in the open plan areas of the small kitchen, dining, and living room she knew so well. Three small bedrooms and a bathroom branched off the hallway where Sal had disappeared. There was nothing luxurious about the apartment that lay above the Kennedy family veterinary practice in inner suburban Brisbane where Sal and her brother Mack lived. In fact, it was a far cry from Curtis’s large, modern four-bedroom, two-bathroom house. She’d loved that house-it was everything she thought she’d ever wanted. And not even the fact that it was in a country town of only five thousand people about a million miles west of buttfuck nowhere had bothered her.
She wasn’t sure when it had started to feel like a prison. Looking back, there wasn’t any one moment, she supposed. Just vague feelings of disquiet she hadn’t been able to articulate, a slow dawning she was being stifled, that she was hiding herself away in a nice, safe cocoon.
That she’d settled.
Josie took in the general untidiness that reigned around her. Two pair of Sal’s shoes by the door, her handbag and keys thrown on the coffee table, books strewn around the living room in various stages of being read, this morning’s unwashed dishes in the sink. A jumper of Mack’s thrown haphazardly over the back of the couch. Not like Curtis’s house. Everything was neat and tidy and ordered, just the way he liked it.
But there was something about this place. It oozed warmth and family. It was cozy. It was a home as opposed to a house and she envied Sal and Mack that.
She also fleetingly envied her friend’s sexual freedom, even if it had sprung from tragic circumstances. Losing her new husband and unborn baby in a car accident five years ago had changed Sal irrevocably. She’d closed off her heart, determined to never leave herself vulnerable to that kind of hurt ever again. Sal had always been an unashamed fan of sex, but now she used it as a way to deflect the hard ball of hurt inside.
Was that healthy?
Hell to the no.
But Sal had gotten on with her life the best way she could and she was whole and functional.
Still, some of the stories Sal told in that flip kind of irreverent way of hers…well, they certainly blew Josie’s mind. Which reminded her of the conversation she’d overheard at the hairdresser last week. The conversation that had changed her life. That had made her haul ass and walk away from everything that felt safe.
She’d been reading a magazine, minding her own business, when two women opposite her-mothers in their forties-had a detailed conversation about how often their men went down there. Josie had been rather scandalized that they’d talked about something so intimate so openly in such a public forum, but by the end she hadn’t even bothered to pretend she wasn’t listening. It had triggered a memory of a brief relationship she’d had in college with a guy who’d gone down on her any chance he got. Sitting in that salon reminded her how much she used to enjoy it. How intense the orgasms had been.
And it was then she realized she couldn’t do it any longer. After five years, she finally figured out she’d settled for a nice, safe guy because the opposite kind of man had made her mother’s life continually chaotic. Hell, after living through that she’d craved nice like the worse kind of drug.
Considering she counseled people for a living, her lack of insight had been stunning.
But she was suddenly, shockingly, up to speed and living a dull, predictable life wasn’t fair to her. And Curtis deserved better, too. He was a good, kind, decent man and he deserved a woman who appreciated that, who was totally into him. Not someone who was only there because he was the safe option. Not somebody who eavesdropped on oral sex conversations and got herself all revved up and frustrated at the lack of it in her life. He deserved someone who wasn’t settling.
And since the conversation in the salon, she’d been working out a way to tell Curtis exactly that when he’d arrived home and done the last thing she’d expected. He’d proposed.
He’d just found out he’d been the successful applicant for the principal position at the school where they both worked and he felt it best, as well as morally responsible, that they were married.
Had she not been in a total panic she may well have resented the less than romantic proposal, but she could suddenly see herself doing the right thing-not wanting to cause someone she cared about any pain-and just staying, being there with him forever. A married woman living a small town life.
A marriage of missionary positions and no going down. A marriage of safe. Of settling.
Both of them ending up miserable.
The dumping had been epically bad, lacking the finesse and coherent thought she was known for. And then she’d run. Run and not looked back, because safe was still what she craved.
She groaned and plopped her forehead on the counter again. She was going to hell.
“I found it!” Sal announced and Josie pulled her head up, the room lurching ever so slightly. “Took me a while,” she said brandishing a book as she walked towards Josie, “but I knew it was in that mess of a shelf somewhere.”
Josie squinted at the book through her cocktail goggles as Sal slapped it down in front of her. It was some kind of modern illustrated guide to the Kama Sutra.
“Nothing but dirty pictures and in depth descriptions,” Sal said with relish. “Let your education begin.”
Josie opened the cover and flicked through some of the pages, photos and helpful illustrations leaping out at her. “Bloody hell,” she said, shutting the book. “I think I’m way too drunk for this.”
Sal sat on the chair beside Josie and plonked another cocktail in front of her. “Nope, the drunker the better with that.” She riffed through the pages like she was looking for something in particular, then stopped and tapped a picture. “Alcohol makes anything seem possible,” she winked.
Josie blinked at the pretzel-like position. “I think I’m going to need more than alcohol for that.”
“Like a degree in Bikram yoga?”
“Like an orthopedic surgeon on speed dial.”
Sal laughed. “Could be kind of fun trying, though, right?”
Josie looked at the image again, a little flutter taking up residence in her chest. Hell yeh. She smiled at Sal. “Maybe.”
“It’s okay to want sex, to like sex,” Sal said softly.
“I know.” Aware of Sal watching her, Josie’s gaze drew back to the image of the pretzeled lovers wistfully.
Sal covered Josie’s hand with her own. “Say after me. I am a healthy, young woman with a normal sexual appetite and I deserve sexual fulfillment.”
Josie gave Sal an exasperated look.
“Don’t you believe it?” Sal asked.
Josie thought about it for a second, glancing back at the illustration. She wanted to tie herself into a knot with a man so freaking bad. “Of course.”
“Doesn’t sound like it to me.”
Josie straightened. “I do,” she insisted, her voice strong and firm.
“Well say it.”
Josie took a deep breath. “I am a healthy, young woman with a normal sexual appetite and I deserve sexual fulfillment.”
“Say it again.”
Josie repeated it, then smiled at her dearest friend.
“Now promise me you’ll say it every morning like an affirmation.”
Josie rolled her eyes. “I promise.” Maybe if she said it often enough she’d start to believe it.
“Good.” Sal smiled.
Suddenly serious, Josie grabbed Sal’s hand before she could pull it away. She looked deep into her best friend’s freakishly blue eyes. They were utterly mesmerizing.
Sal should seriously start a cult. “Thank you,” Josie said enunciating every word carefully to combat the slur. “You’ve always been there for me. The luckiest day of my life was when we moved in next to you. One of Mum’s smartest moves.”
Josie and Sal had been ten when they’d become neighbors and fast friends. Mack had been fifteen. All the Kennedy family had lived in the apartment above the vet practice back then and Josie and her mother had lived in the block of tiny one-bedroom flats next door. Sal and Mack’s parents had long since retired to the coast but the little block of flats was still there. In fact, Josie could see them if she looked out the window over the kitchen sink.
“Your mum marrying Doug was kind of smart, too,” Sal pointed out.
After a long line of losers, her mother had finally found a good guy. “Even if it did take her to the other side of the world.”
“Yeh, but think how that’s working out for you now.”
“True,” Josie admitted. “London’s going to be a very cool place to start a brand new life.”
They raised their glasses and clinked them together in a toast.
“Okay,” Sal announced as she swallowed half her drink “I’ve got an idea.”
She slid off her chair and headed to the table near the door, where the phone and answering machine sat, and grabbed writing pad and pen. “Come over here,” she said, pointing at the couch. “Bring the book. And our drinks.”
Josie obeyed, the room spinning a little as she made her way over to the cushiony leather couch, plonking down next to her friend.
“Let’s make a list,” Sal said already scribbling on the page.
“What kind of a list?” Josie peered over Sal’s shoulder. She had written I am a healthy, young woman with a normal sexual appetite and I deserve sexual fulfillment just under the header Kennedy Family Veterinary Practice that was decorated with two cute paw prints. She’d added in brackets and underlined twice, say out loud every morning-that’s an order.
“A sexual to-do list,” Sal said.
Josie frowned, realizing that she was nowhere near drunk enough for this conversation.
Sal handed her the notepad. “Write it,” she said. “Ten sex-ay things you’d like to do with a guy.”
Josie’s stared at the page askance. “You mean positions?”
“Not necessarily, just anything you can think of. Dirty, Smutty. The kind of stuff you have erotic dreams about. And don’t tell me you don’t do that either, Josephine Butler, because I’ll believe that even less.”
Josie glanced down at the book on the coffee table lying open at that page and squirmed. Bloody hell, was she actually going to do this? “Well, I think that’s gotta be number one,” she said, tapping the image.
“Totally. Although maybe it should be number ten. That’s hardly sex 101. You need to work up to that one.” She grinned.
Josie frowned. “Doesn’t have to be according to my level of expertise does it?” Because that would be a very sad list.
Sal burst out laughing. “Of course not. Just write whatever comes to mind.”
A bunch of things came to mind and her cheeks reddened again. Not because they were particularly dirty and smutty but because they weren’t overly adventurous at all. It was kind of pathetic, actually.
“Come on,” Sal urged. “What else.”
“Um… What about…bondage?”
“Like being spanked?”
Josie blanched. “No.” God no. That might be trendy in a post Fifty Shades Of Grey world but it just didn’t appeal. “Something light, like…um…being tied up?”
Sal clapped. “Good.”
Josie wrote it down and then followed it with the next thing that came to mind.
“Talking dirty…?” Sal frowned.
“You said whatever came to mind,” Josie said defensively.
Sal held up her hands. “Hey…okay, no judgement.”
Josie didn’t believe that for a moment. Sal was the Queen of smut talk.
She looked at the list and reached deep inside her for something outrageous. Something Sal-worthy. A fantasy she’d sometimes used to help her get across the line with Curtis drifted into her head. Her hand shook as she put it into words. Threesome.
Sal whistled. “Ménage. Now we’re talking.”
Josie decided she didn’t want to know the story behind the enthusiasm in Sal’s voice but there was something liberating about being able to admit this stuff. To normalize it. She barely hesitated with the next long-buried fantasy. Sex tape.
“Good,” Sal said as she took a sip of her drink. “Just make sure you’re the only one who has a copy.”
Josie faltered for a moment, imagining her naked bits plastered all over the internet. She almost slashed a line through it but decided she’d wait til Sal went to bed to do it. Hell, who was she kidding? After Sal had gone to bed she was burning the whole damn list! “You know I’m not really going to do any of this stuff right?” Josie said.
“I know, I know,” Sal said. “It’s just a…fantasy list. Just for fun.”
“I think you’re getting the most fun out of this,” Josie grouched.
“Confession is good for the soul, my dear.” She clinked the rim of her glass against Josie’s. “Come on, what’s next?”
Josie thought for a moment then wrote public fornication. What the hell-in for a penny, in for a pound.
“Ooh, that is a good one,” Sal said.
Josie smiled at the admiration in her friend’s voice. Next she wrote screaming orgasm.
“You’ve never had a screaming orgasm?”
Josie sighed. “Not for a looong time. Curtis wasn’t very…” In front of her much more sexually adventurous friend, Josie felt embarrassed to even say it. “He didn’t like a lot of…vocalization.”
Sal shook her head and Josie was pretty sure she caught a muffled dud as Sal took another swig of her drink.
“What about a vibrator?” Sal suggested. “Don’t suppose you have one of those?”
Josie didn’t bother to confirm or deny, just wrote get vibrator on the list.
“That’s eight,” Sal prompted after Josie had stared at the list for long moments.
“I saw this show once where this couple used to dress up and pretend to be other people and pick each other up in a load of different places. It looked like a lot of fun.”
Josie blinked at her dead serious friend. She couldn’t believe they were actually talking about this stuff with an illustrated sex guide in front of them. Suddenly, the whole thing seemed hilarious and she laughed. Sal laughed, too, but when they were both done, Josie added role play to her list.
“Lucky last,” Sal announced. “What will it be?”
“Easy,” Josie said and wrote the word that started all this. Or at least attempted to. It was a hard word to spell stone cold sober-nigh on impossible with several fruity cocktails addling her sense. She crossed it out twice before starting again.
“Here,” Sal said whisking the pen out of her hand and writing it down, spelling it correctly.
“Of course you know how to spell it.”
“There are some words that deserve that level of respect.”
“Hey, I’m a good speller,” Josie protested. “I won the school spelling bee six years in a row. But it’s not like it’s on the national curriculum spelling list.”
“Well it should be.”
Josie chuckled at the thought. “Can you imagine it in a spelling bee. ‘Yes little Johnny, your word is cunn…cunnli…cunnil…'”
Sal cracked up. “You can’t even say it.”
“Yeh well…it’s as hard to pronounce as it is to spell.”
“Not hard to enjoy though.” Sal sighed.
Josie sighed, too, remembering the times she’d been on the receiving end. “Agreed.”
“So Curtis didn’t-”
“No, he didn’t.” She doodled stars around the list. “Not that I’m blaming him. I mean…men shouldn’t feel like they have to if it’s not their…thing, you know? It’d be pretty awful if your heart wasn’t in it, right?”
“Did you go down on him?”
Josie blushed. “Yes. Sometimes. But-”
“Curtis never heard of quid pro quo, then?”
“He wasn’t exactly into me doing it either.”
Sal snorted. “A guy not into blow jobs? That’ll be a first.”
“He was raised by puritanical grandparents where hard work and clean living were revered and fun of any kind was frowned upon. He’s a good guy, Sal.”
“I know.” Sal reached out and gave Josie’s hand a squeeze. “And he will find someone who likes sex the good old fashioned way every second Thursday. He’s just not for you. Now”-she stood-“who can I set you up with to get that list started in the next two weeks?”
Josie rolled her eyes. Sal couldn’t be serious. “I’m not doing the list.”
“No more nice guys,” she continued ignoring Josie’s protests. “Someone really filthy. A bad boy. A guy who when he looks at you, you know he already has you undressed and is nailing you in a grubby alley somewhere.”
Josie swallowed at the imagery. It shouldn’t turn her on. But it did.
A bad boy.
She knew from growing up with a mother who was perennially attracted to bad boys that they weren’t stayers. But for a sex list? They were perfect. Her mother’s heart may have been permanently broken but she’d never ever seen Mum come out of her bedroom with anything but a huge smile plastered on her face.
A bad boy. Now, that was tantalizing.
But…wait. No. It wasn’t a real list. “I’m not after a boyfriend, Sal.”
“Bloody hell, of course not.” Sal’s recoil at the suggestion bordered on comical. “I’m not talking about a boyfriend. I’m talking about rebound sex. Lots of rebound sex.”
“Yeh, you know, fun, short, sweet. Temporary. A guy to help you get over the guy. To get you ready for the next guy. You don’t stay with rebounds. That never works out. They’re not boyfriend material.”
Josie shivered as she allowed her brain to go there for a second before pulling herself back. “I’m not doing it.”
“Oh come on. Just try a couple of things.”
“Hmm,” Sal said, collecting their glasses and heading to the kitchen. “Mack will know someone.”
Mack? Good guy Mack? As if. Absently, Josie reached for his jumper hanging over the back of the couch and brought it to her face. Hell, he even smelled like a good guy. And besides she didn’t want to be set up. She wanted to have two weeks hanging with her best friend before she embarked on her great adventure, without worry over asking some guy-some bad boy-to dislocate a hip for her.
Glad for a chance to redirect the conversation, Josie said, “Where the hell is that brother of yours anyway?”
“He got called out to one of his beloved horses. He’ll probably be gone half the night, if I know him. Ever since he got head-hunted by the government to take part in the national Hendra virus study it’s been all about the horses.”
“Hendra? That’s the bat virus thing?”
Sal nodded. “Yes, it’s fatal to horses and can be transmitted to humans. They’re developing a national action plan for it.”
“That sounds very prestigious.”
“Oh it is,” Sal agreed. “He always was a kiss-ass.”
Josie laughed at Sal’s fond deprecation. Mack Kennedy was the least kiss-ass person she knew.
Sal held up the jug of cocktail mix. “Another?”
“Oh God, no. If they took a sample of my eye fluid I’m sure they’d find alcohol in it.”
Sal shrugged and poured herself one before heading back to the couch.
“So how is Mack doing?” Josie asked.
Sal huffed out a frustrated sigh. “Fine. He says. But I know he’s still hurting from that deceptive bitch’s betrayal. I mean how could you cheat on Mack for fuck’s sake? You couldn’t find a more perfect guy if you created him in a lab.”
He was one of the world’s good guys. Great with people and animals alike. Funny and gentle and honorable. Like Curtis, in a lot of ways. But not fucked up by his upbringing.
“Still not forgiven Cynthia?”
Cynthia and Sal had been really close for the two years Mack and she had been together. But no one was a more fierce protector of Mack than Sal. Probably because he’d been there for his sister every step of the way when her world had crumbled down.
Sal took a swig or her drink. “I hate her with the fire of a thousand suns.”
Okay. Not forgiven. “She cheated with her ex, wasn’t it?”
“Yes. Because Mack was too sweet, too good, too nice. Too perfect.” Sal made air quotes with her fingers. “And because she felt pressured by all his amazingness, she slept with her Grade-A asshole ex.”
Josie shook her head even though part of her sympathized with Cynthia-she’d been with a nice guy, too, and she’d been bored to death… “Sounds like she wasn’t good enough for him anyway.”
“She wasn’t. But now his heart’s been stomped into the ground and he’s completely sworn off women. He’s living like a freaking monk and she’s made him so much…harder. I hate that.”
Mack? Hard? Josie couldn’t imagine it. “It’s only been six months,” she murmured.
“It’s too long. He needs to get back on the horse. Trust me I know.” Sal looked suddenly grim but she shook it off. “He needs rebound sex.”
There were those words again. Rebound sex.
“Actually, what he needs is revenge sex, but rebound sex sounds so much more palatable.”
Josie blinked at the thought. “I suppose that’s what Curtis will be having.”
Sal gave her a what-the-fuck look then laughed. “Oh please, Curtis wouldn’t know revenge sex if it yanked his trousers down and gave him one of those blow jobs he’s not very keen on.”
Josie shouldn’t have laughed but she couldn’t help herself. Poor Curtis. She hoped he stepped out of his comfort zone just once and had truly amazing revenge sex. Or that he at least found a nice beige woman who wanted the same things as he did.
Sal yawned. “I’m beat and I’ve got an early start.” She downed the remainder of her drink in one swallow. “I’m hitting the sack. You coming?”
Josie was too wired what with half a dozen cocktails and a sex list taunting her. “Think I’m going to beef up on pretzel sex,” she said.
“There are some other pages marked if you’re interested.” She stood. “See you in the morning.”
Putting her to-do list down on the lounge beside her and picking up the book, Josie absently bid Sal goodnight. She flicked through the pages, the images blurring in some macabre sexual dance. They were equal parts disturbing and arousing, and she couldn’t help but notice the heavy thud of her pulse as she contemplated their illicit promise. A turned over corner caught her eye and she looked at the position called “The Standing Wheelbarrow.”
Josie stared at it agape, reading the description. Bloody hell. She was going to need an orthopedic surgeon on speed dial.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Question for readers: Ever done anything you regret under the influence of one too many fruity cocktails (or whatever your poison)??
He’s done playing the nice guy…
Newly single school counselor Josie Butler just made herself a Sexy To-Do list (featuring Bad Boys only). To her mortification, her best friend’s gorgeous older brother Mack finds it…and laughs. But when Josie goes looking for some sexy fun, Mack’s nice guy side turns all hot bad-assery, and suddenly she’s pinned against an alley wall.
Hottest. Sex. Ever.
Veterinarian Mack Kennedy can’t believe Josie wants to ditch her sweet, girl-next-door lifestyle. Even worse, that she’d consider doing it with anyone but him. When she leaves for London they’ll go back to being ‘just friends’ but until then, he’s going to show her just how bad nice guys can be.
Multi-award winning and USA Today bestselling author Amy Andrews is an Aussie who has written fifty romances from novellas to category to single-title in both the traditional and digital markets for a variety of publishers. Her first love is steamy contemporary romance that makes her readers tingle, laugh and sigh. At the age of 16, she met a guy she instantly knew she was going to marry so she just smiles when people tell her insta-love books are unrealistic because she did marry that man and, twenty odd years later, they’re still living out their happily ever after.
Amy works part-time as a PICU nurse and spent six years on the national executive of Romance Writers of Australia where she organized two national conferences and undertook a two year term as president. She loves good books, fab food, great wine and frequent travel – preferably all four together. She lives on acreage on the outskirts of Brisbane with a gorgeous mountain view but secretly wishes it was the hillsides of Tuscany.
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