Undertow (Coastal Elite #2) Read Online Sam Mariano

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Bad Boy, Billionaire, Dark Tags Authors: Series: Coastal Elite Series by Sam Mariano
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Total pages in book: 53
Estimated words: 51131 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 256(@200wpm)___ 205(@250wpm)___ 170(@300wpm)
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Currently featured in the Bully God anthology! Will release on its own with a bonus chapter from Parker's POV summer 2022!

HAYDEN

Cheerful, doe-eyed, mildly neurotic—Gemma Cane is not at all my type, but when the brown-eyed beauty stormed into my office, all fired up and wearing the garb of a belly dancer, I couldn’t tear my gaze away.

She was seeking justice, but I had something else in mind.

She couldn’t afford me, but I had other ideas about that, too…

GEMMA

Arrogant, cocky, an outright bully—Hayden Atwater is the sort of man I usually go out of my way to avoid, but when my horrible neighbor stepped way over the line, I wanted to crush him, and to do that, I knew I’d have to fight fire with even hotter fire.

The notoriously cutthroat lawyer was the first weapon I could think of, but the last man I should trust. I realized that as my anger subsided and I registered the predatory gleam in his stormy ocean eyes.

I left his office empty-handed, but now, he won’t leave me alone.

I know there can never be anything between us and we are completely impossible, but that word isn’t in Hayden’s vocabulary. If there’s no room for him in my life, he’ll make room. But then, disaster strikes.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************

Chapter One

Gemma

Eyes straight ahead. Just pretend you don’t see him.

It’s not unusual for my shoulders and spine to be straight when I’m driving. I’ve been dancing since I was four years old, so I know the importance of good posture.

Unfortunately, good posture isn’t the reason for my straight spine as I drive down the road I live on. Tension is. I can feel it building in my shoulders and gathered in my upper back as I get closer to my driveway.

A place that once brought me feelings of peace and contentment has been tarnished with inky dread. I used to love coming home from work. Now it’s like this every time.

A shame, too, since it’s such a pretty drive.

The road I live on is lined with similar-looking homes—monuments that the people living inside have fulfilled the elusive American dream.

I’ll admit the houses in the neighborhood are very nice.

The people? Not so much.

Especially Brent Hartley and his awful wife, Lisa. If their garage door is even open when I’m driving home, I tense up. Right now, Brent is standing at the edge of his driveway in black shorts and a white T-shirt, a navy blue baseball cap covering most of his short dark hair.

I don’t turn my head to let on that I even notice him as I pass, but I can feel his gaze shift in my direction.

Ignoring him even harder, I drive past the next house, then turn left into my own driveway.

My house is a little different from the rest, but it’s still a lovely home, and I was so proud to move into it with my daughter. I could never afford a home like the rest on this street. I shouldn’t even be able to afford to live near them, but I purchased this empty lot in the coastal town of Baymont, California, many years ago when my daughter was just three years old. I bought it when her father and I were still together, and I had dreams of us being a typical, happy family. Back before I knew what a disappointment he would turn out to be.

The dream home never happened, not while I was with him. Not soon after, either.

At times, I was tempted to sell this plot of land. I desperately needed the money, and I almost caved when the developer that bought up all the land around it offered me close to double what it was worth.

At first, I couldn’t understand why he wanted my little plot of land so badly, but then these big, beautiful homes started going up all around it, and I realized the truth. My little plot was a pimple on the face of this lovely, upper-class neighborhood. They wanted to pop me so I’d go away and they could build another beautiful, expensive house.

I didn’t sell, though.

When he realized I wouldn’t sell, he made me a different offer: they would build me a home just like the others on this street—a stripped-down model, of course—and they would sell it to me at cost so I could afford it. It wouldn’t have the interior upgrades and higher-end finishes, but even a base model of a Darington home was more than I could ever dream of.

For years, I’d owned this lot, and finally, I would have a dream home to put on it.

It seemed like a dream come true. I couldn’t wait to live in this beautiful, family-friendly neighborhood. It’s a safe place, a cul-de-sac, the absolute ideal. My daughter could make friends with the other kids in the neighborhood and go to an amazing school. It would be a great place for us to live.

Boy, was I wrong.

When Brent Hartley and Jayden Todd came walking up my driveway the first time they caught me on my lot, they seemed welcoming, if a little sexist. They wanted to know when my husband would be around since they hadn’t seen him yet. When I explained I didn’t have a husband, thought bubbles seemed to hang in the air over their heads with a burning question: Then how did you buy a house?

All by my little ole self.

I didn’t say that, of course, because I didn’t want to start off on the wrong foot.

The developer had asked me not to tell any of the neighbors about the deal he gave me on the house. He didn’t want anyone to get jealous or feel ripped off, and I wouldn’t want them to feel that way, either. If it mattered enough to him to have a uniform neighborhood that he was willing to build me such a beautiful home at such a reduced price, I could certainly repay the favor by keeping my mouth shut.

I smiled and explained to my new neighbors that I was a single mother of a teenage daughter, and we couldn’t wait to move in. We had been renting before, so this was our first home. I didn’t explain how I could afford it, and although I could tell they wanted to, they didn’t come out and ask.


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