Home > Fearless Heart (Starlight Cove #3)

Fearless Heart (Starlight Cove #3)
Author: Brighton Walsh








Generally speaking, I didn’t mind a well-placed hand on my ass.

Loved it, actually. Though, generally speaking, when said hand was on my ass, I wasn’t usually at the grocery store, in broad daylight, in the view of dozens of Starlight Cove’s residents and busybodies. And, generally speaking, the person copping a feel wasn’t old enough to be my grandmother.

“Mabel.” I raised a brow at the woman who stood next to me in all her neon-orange glory, her hair a mass of short gray curls around her head, then glanced to where she had an entire handful of my ass. “Much as I love getting felt up, Aiden and I have a little league practice we need to get to, so can you finish up?”

“What? Oh!” Mabel, Starlight Cove’s gossip, troublemaker, and self-proclaimed news broadcaster, pulled her hand away—much slower than someone who was caught groping another person should have—and a sly smile swept across her mouth. She could’ve been anywhere between sixty-five and eighty-five—I valued my life far too much to ask—and there was no doubt she’d learned a thing or two in that time. Namely, that she didn’t give a single fuck.

“Should I leave you two alone?” my brother asked dryly. Aiden—second eldest of the McKenzies—stood off to the side, arms crossed. He hadn’t bothered to change out of his work clothes after leaving the family resort in the very capable hands of our baby sister. He didn’t concern himself with the fact that he was going to look ridiculous in a white button-up and dress pants on the baseball mound as fifteen eight-year-olds ran circles around him and screamed their heads off.

“Hey, I gotta get it where I can,” I said, winking at Mabel as she strolled away with a little shimmy in her step, her gaze still glued to my ass and not what was in front of her.

Aiden rolled his eyes and grabbed two baskets before handing one to me. “We both know ‘getting it’ is the least of your problems.”

I pressed my lips together, not saying a word in response. Getting it? No, that wasn’t a problem. Had never been. It was almost sad how predictable it had all become; I’d bet my entire life savings I’d have at least one number before I left the store.

But being interested in it? That was my problem—recently anyway. Though, “my” was pushing it, considering my dick was the one with the issue. Apparently he was no longer interested in a mindless escape. No longer at all up—pun abso-fucking-lutely intended—for entertaining the various women in our picturesque pocket of Maine. For some unknown reason, the not-so-little bastard had suddenly become discerning. Discerning, but without an ounce of self-preservation.

Because the one woman he had become obsessed with? She’d just as soon cut him off before she ever played with him.

So, yeah. You could say my dick and I were at a bit of a crossroads, and who knew how long it would be before we were on the same page.

“Get your head in the game, man,” Aiden said, snapping his fingers in front of my face. “It’s no fun to win if it’s not a challenge.”

I focused back on my brother. He looked bored, but I knew better. When it came to competition, he was ruthless—much like the rest of us McKenzies—and he was going to try his hardest to wipe the floor with me. I’d return the favor, of course, especially when a lost bet in this family meant a fallout ranging anywhere from humiliation—there was still video floating around from senior year when I had to naked limbo outside the girls’ locker room for losing at mini golf—to body modification—I was the proud owner of a pierced dick, thanks to a not-so-friendly competition with my youngest brother, Levi—and everything in between.

“Mabel would have to do a lot more than grab my ass for me to be too distracted to kick yours.”

“Keep dreaming,” Aiden said. “Let’s lay out the rules and get started.”

I scoffed and mumbled, “Of course he’s gotta have rules.”

“Rules make it so you won’t win on a technicality.”

I blew out a long sigh. “Fine. We’ve got ten minutes to find the best snack and meet back at checkout. Then we’ll have the kids do a blind taste test after practice. The team decides who wins.”

“Winner gets bragging rights, obviously,” he said. “But what about the loser?”

We never bet money—besides the fact that none of us were exactly rolling in it, where was the fun in that?—and what ended up on the line varied with each competition, not to mention each competitor. But there was one thing he and I had been struggling with that I absolutely did not want to handle, so it was the obvious choice.

“Loser has to plan and coordinate the fundraiser for new team uniforms.”

Aiden let out a groan and scrubbed a hand down his face.

With a grin, I lifted a shoulder. “If you don’t think you’ll win…”

“Fuck off. Time starts now.” Without waiting for me to respond, he took off to the left with a focused intensity that was pure Aiden.

I turned in the opposite direction, set on doing the same, and nearly plowed down the person who’d been standing directly behind me. I reached out to steady them. “Sorry about—”

But my words caught in my throat when I got a whiff of too-strong perfume, one I was all too familiar with. Unfortunately. Without even looking, I knew exactly who was invading my personal space. Chelsea Dread. Yes, that was seriously her last name, and yes, that should’ve been the biggest red flag in existence warning me away. Alas, teenagers were idiots, and I’d been no exception.

“Oh, Ford!” Chelsea said with false surprise. “Funny running into you here. I feel like I haven’t talked to you in forever!”

“Not nearly long enough,” I mumbled.

Because she’d never been able to read the room, she continued on as if I were interested. “I’ve just been so busy lately, what with the preparations and all. I hope you’re not too upset that I didn’t send you an invitation.”

“An invitation to what?”

She blinked up at me, her face a mask of confusion as if she didn’t understand my question, and breathed out a laugh. “To my wedding, of course.”

I scratched my jaw, squinting one eye as I stared down at her. “Why would I be upset about that?”

She tossed her hair over her shoulder, a cloud of her cloyingly sweet perfume smacking me in the face with the power of a two-by-four, and looked at me with pity. “I just know how hard this must be for you. Seeing me—the one who got away—moving on. Marrying someone else.”

I snorted, not bothering to try to hide it. There was exactly one woman in the world I couldn’t handle marrying someone else, and it sure as fuck wasn’t my ex-girlfriend from high school who’d set me on my path of singledom, thanks to the horror that had been a relationship with her.

“I promise you,” I said, “I am not even slightly upset about this. I’m happy for you and Larry.”



She let out a soft, sympathetic huff and stuck out her bottom lip. “I just love how brave you’re acting about this whole thing.”

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