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Shatter (Unbreakable Bonds #2)
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Maverick trauma surgeon Ashton “Snow” Frost keeps the world at a distance, relying only on his three closest friends to keep him connected. But when a ghost from their past returns to Cincinnati, Snow stands to lose everyone he loves. Framed for murder and reeling from attacks on his friends, Snow is pushed to his breaking point.
Jude Torres won’t let the doc shatter. The paramedic has been attracted to the doctor since he first laid eyes on him at the hospital, even if the arrogant, solitary man doesn’t fit into any of his plans. One hot, reckless kiss shows that Snow isn’t who he appears to be. And one night together will never be enough. Jude will fight for the doc.
Fight to keep him whole. Fight to keep him safe. Fight to simply keep him.
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The bar gave new definition to the word “dive”.
Ashton “Snow” Frost sprawled in the most unrelentingly painful chair he’d ever sat in and tried not to look too closely at his surroundings. Either the decorator had been into early seventies drug den or the place had been tucked into this corner of Covington, Kentucky since before he’d been born. Some nineties grunge band grumbled from a jukebox near the restrooms and the high number of college kids swilling beer at the long, battered bar and around the pool tables surprised him. And depressed him. He wouldn’t even be able to salvage his original plan to get laid tonight—the crowd was too young for his tastes.
The evening wasn’t an entire bust, though. He watched his friends across the room, visible despite the crowd. They’d grabbed one of the pool tables, and from the disgruntled expression on Andrei Hadeon’s face as he pressed the cue stick against his forehead, Melissa Ward was kicking his ass.
Lucas Vallois and Ian Pierce sat on barstools on either side of a raised pub table, both laughing. Probably because they all knew Rowe’s wife was a shark and it seemed nobody bothered to warn the Romanian. Snow couldn’t help but grin. Lucas and Ian didn’t blend though they were similarly dressed to everyone else in jeans and boots. Ian, despite his short stature, looked like he’d stepped off a runway in his untucked blue shirt and sharp, brown blazer. And Snow couldn’t believe Lucas wasn’t even cracking a hint of sweat in his cashmere sweater in this sweltering place.
Apparently the owner didn’t mind wasting money because the bastard had the heat cranked too high, forcing the staff to keep the front and back doors open to let a little cool air in. Snow shifted in his seat and glared at Rowan Ward, who sat next to him at the large table he’d reserved near the back of the bar. “You know what, Ward?”
Rowe turned green eyes his way and frowned as he pulled at the neckline of his black sweatshirt. Perspiration darkened the red hair around his temples, making it curl. “What?”
“I figured out what’s wrong with this bar. I’m neither blind nor deaf. ”
Rowe smirked and wiped a drop of sweat rolling down his temple with a paper napkin. “It’s popular with some of my employees, so I thought we’d try it out. Come on now, doc. The place has ambiance—even you have to admit that.”
Snow shot him a glare. “It has wood paneling.”
“I always liked wood paneling. My granddad had this old hunting cabin in Colorado with paneling in every room. I think it gives a place a homey feel. I loved it there.” He picked up his mug of beer and took a huge swallow, then tilted his glass toward Snow. “And the brew’s cheap.”
“That’s because it’s shit beer.” Snow turned back to catch Andrei leaning over a pool table and chuckled when he saw Lucas watching as well, focus firmly locked on his former bodyguard’s ass. It was a really nice ass, so he didn’t blame him.
Rowe had followed Snow’s gaze and shook his head. “It’s wild, isn’t it? Turned my straight employee gay. That’s some superpower Vallois has.”
“Doubt he was ever completely straight.” Snow slouched, hooking his elbow over the back of the chair. “I walked in on them a couple of weeks ago and caught a bit of the action. There was nothing holding the Romanian back. So fucking hot.” Snow waved one hand at Andrei as he straightened from his shot. “Look at him. I would have worked to turn the man fully to my side as well.” Lucas didn’t admit that he was exclusively sleeping with his ex-bodyguard, but it was obvious that’s what was happening.
Rowe nudged him. “You saw them?”
Snow heard something in his friend’s tone that made him look closer. Genuine curiosity made Rowe’s eyes wider than normal and there was something in his expression Snow had caught before a couple of times, but years ago prior to Rowe meeting Mel. Like he was interested, but not sure he was entirely comfortable with it. “Is that something you’d like to see yourself?” he asked, narrowing his eyes to study his friend.
Rowe’s eyes flitted away before he casually shrugged. “I love my wife. You know that. But I’m not blind and those two are ridiculously gorgeous—so it had to be something to see.” He leaned closer so he could lower his voice. “Did you see who’s the top?”
Snow had been taking a drink of his beer and he sucked it in so fast, he choked. He never expected to hear those words cross Rowe’s lips. As foul as he could be, Rowe had never demanded details or even shown interest in knowing them. Of course, over the years, Snow and Lucas had been pretty damn graphic in their sexual comments, happy to volunteer details. Rowe never had to ask.