Finally Found You
Book 1 in the Trouble with Mackenzie Series
The moment Presley Mackenzie walks into her kitchen only to find her boyfriend in a sweaty encounter with another woman on her kitchen counter, she vows to give up men forever. Between her testosterone-heavy day job in the gaming world, her broken heart, and her need to grow into her own shoes, dating just isn’t important.
Mason Sutton not only just got dumped by the woman he thought he’d spend the rest of his life with, but now he finds himself healing beside the woman his brother cheated on. He’s spent his entire life living in his brother’s shadow only to find himself wanting the one woman he can’t have.
As Presley and Mason soothe each other’s hurts, they find themselves falling for each other even as they fight it. But as they learn to forgive and fall in love, their pasts come back to haunt them and the future they thought they could have starts to crumble before it can take hold.
Finally Found You
It is said that a kitchen counter can harvest more bacteria than a toilet bowl.
Knowing that, Presley Mackenzie figured it would take more than bleach to get her friend’s ass print off the countertop after the woman finished having sex with Trent.
Trent, as in Presley’s boyfriend.
At first, Presley wasn’t exactly sure what she was witnessing. Yes, that was her kitchen counter. Yes, that was her friend, Stacy—former friend, now that she thought about it—with her skirt hiked up around her waist. Her now ex-friend had her shirt open, her bra glaringly red against her fake-tanned skin. That same ex-friend had her arms back, her hands clinging to the edge of the breakfast counter where Presley had once loved to eat and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee in the mornings.
She wasn’t sure she’d be able to do that anymore.
Eat there, that was.
She’d never had sex on her kitchen counter. In fact, she’d never had sex anywhere except for her bedroom.
With the lights off.
And her back to the mattress.
Trent had always frowned on doing something as improper as giving into one’s urges. He liked things done on time, quietly, and quickly. In his case, the latter was spot on every time. The irony of what he frowned on made her want to scream since the man currently had his pants around his ankles, his belt buckle clanging against the tile with each thrust, as he banged her friend. The woman had one leg wrapped around his waist, the other on his shoulder. It seemed her hours in yoga were paying off.
Not that she truly cared how flexible Stacy was.
No, right then, Presley wanted to crawl in a hole and hide. Maybe if she did, she’d wake up and find out it was all a very bad dream. Hiding might not be the bravest thing, but it beat having to deal with this.
God, she didn’t want to deal with this. For a moment, she wished she could walk back out and forget what she’d seen. Maybe even go back in time and stop at the store for milk or something so Trent and Stacy would have been done.
Burying her head in the sand wouldn’t work though.
It never did.
Trent moaned then gripped Stacy’s breast, plucking her nipple.
“Oh, yeah, Stacy. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.”
Nope. Not a dream.
Trent needed a new phrase while getting his groove on—or whatever the hell this was. Just saying.
Why the hell was she thinking about Trent’s sex phrases while he fucked Stacy? It wasn’t like Trent ever spoke during their times together. No, he merely panted a bit before grunting, his eyes closed or off in the distance. He never gave her the same eye contact he was giving Stacy.
What a bastard.
Stacy’s blonde hair shone brightly under the warm lights Presley had put in the kitchen. She hadn’t known Trent had a thing for blondes. After all, her shoulder-length brown tresses were nothing short of boring. Not that she cared. No, she’d never had a problem with the unruly mass of curls, waves, and straight pieces that decided every morning which way they would go. Most days it was all three. She just pulled it up in a ponytail or stuffed it under a hat and called it a day.
She didn’t need the two-hundred-dollar dye jobs Stacy had every four weeks.
Or so she thought.
She wasn’t going to compare herself. Not when Trent was still pumping like a lunatic and Presley didn’t have any ice cream in her hand.
“I guess I should have called to say I was coming home early,” Presley said, surprising herself. “Or maybe that was you two. Coming that is.”
Well, look at her go, making jokes while she wanted to run and hide. Good job.
Stacy looked over, a wide smile on her face before forming that perfect “O” as she came.
Trent, on the other hand, looked over, scrunched his face, and then pumped one last time before he froze. His lip lifted in a snarl, one eye squinted, and he moaned a weird grunt before pausing.
Yep, that was Trent’s sex face.
And yet her heart felt as if someone had ripped it out and put it in the blender at the sight of the two people she should have trusted the most on her kitchen counter.
“You’re home early,” Trent said calmly. He then pulled out of Stacy, took off the condom, and waddled over to the trashcan.
He bent over—so not an image Presley ever wanted to see again—and pulled up his pants. Stacy hummed a bit as she righted her clothing, and Presley seethed.
Why were they acting so calm?
Shouldn’t they be looking a little ashamed? Shouldn’t they be trying to hide themselves? What the hell?
Nope. She was done. So freaking done.
“Get out. Both of you. Just get the fuck out of my house.”
Trent raised a brow. “Honey. Please. Don’t make a scene.”
“Yes, darling,” Stacy purred. “It’s unbecoming.”
Presley’s hands shook, and she tucked them in the pockets of her hoodie. She knew she looked like some grunge reject next to Perfect Stacy and Polished Trent, but grunge was who she was. Presley of the hoodie and jeans.
The person Trent had dated for over a year.
And yet, apparently, he’d been screwing Stacy as well. There was no way from the way they were acting just then that this was a one-time thing. Oh no, not with that cat-in-cream look on Stacy’s face.
“I said get out. We’re done. All of us. I don’t care what you have to say, but I’m not going to stand here and listen to your excuses.”
She loved this man. Loved him. She’d told him so, and he’d said it back to her, but he had to have been lying. There was no way someone could truly love one person and fuck another person on the first person’s kitchen counter.
There had to be a rule about that somewhere.
If not, she was totally going to make one.
Damn it. She veered off track. Again.
“I don’t want to see you. I don’t want to listen to you. I need you to leave and never talk to me again. Then I need to see about getting my counters replaced.”
“Honey, if you’re getting your counters replaced, you’re going to want to get your bed replaced, too.”
Presley blinked, her mind going blank. Her bed?
They’d screwed each other in her bed?
If she was the type of person to hit another, she would have done it right then. However, she was a Cancer, meaning she reined in the urge to slap that smirk off of Stacy’s face and took a deep breath. She would be the better person.
Then she’d find a way to mend her broken heart.
Because, no matter how much it sucked to say, Trent had totally ripped into her in every way possible.
Her eyes stung, and she forced herself not to cry.
No. She wouldn’t give them the satisfaction.
“Leave. Now.” Her voice wasn’t so strong this time, and she had a feeling from the look in Trent’s eyes that he knew it.
“We will talk about what you just saw later, Presley,” Trent drawled in that smooth, condescending tone of his. “You’re just not thinking clearly. Once you do, you’ll realize that what you saw was a mistake, and what needs to happen in the future revolves around you and me.”
“Hey!” Stacy screamed.
“I’m so not dealing with this,” Presley mumbled and went to the phone. “I’m calling the police in ten seconds. If you’re not off my property by then, face the consequences.” Her words might have been strong, but she was numb.
She thought she was going to marry Trent. She’d even thought about babies and new houses, and a future filled with his smile.
That damn smile.
Her heart ached, and her chin wobbled.
Trent met her gaze then nodded. From the look in his eyes, she knew he didn’t get it. Knew he didn’t understand what he’d done wrong.
He pulled a screaming Stacy by the elbow out of Presley’s house, quietly closing the door behind him.
He’d acted so…civilized.
Her boyfriend had just cheated on her in her own house, and now Presley had to deal with it.
With the phone in her hand, she shuffled to the front door and locked it. Then she dragged herself to the living room and sank into the couch. There was no way she’d be able to sleep in her bed.
The first tear fell, and she choked on a sob.
Trent had cheated.
Cheated with her friend.
That sharp pang ricocheted off her heart again, and she sucked in a breath, tears falling freely now. A hollow ache spread from deep within, and she shook, her hand clinging to the phone. She’d call her friends. Soon. She’d do whatever she was supposed to do in a breakup and move on because she wouldn’t let this kill her.
But, oh God, it hurt.
It hurt so freaking much, and she didn’t want to think about taking that next step.
She wrapped her afghan around her and laid on the couch, tucking her knees to her chest. She’d deal with it all. Later. Right then…right then, she needed her tears.
Needed to let herself feel the pain.
She’d trusted and loved, and he’d broken her.
She wouldn’t love again.
No way. There would be no more taking that leap.
Presley Mackenzie was off love forever.
Mason Sutton tugged on his tie for the fifth time that night before checking his watch. Again. Where the hell was Lorena, and why had she asked him to come at a certain time if she wasn’t going to show up on time?
Well, that was just like Lorena, he supposed. She liked to make grand entrances, show up fashionably late, and be the center of attention. When they first started dating, he hadn’t noticed it, but as the months passed, it started to get on his nerves. One moment, she was the soft and petite woman he’d grown to love, and the next, she was throwing her hands up in the air, lamenting the fact she was turning thirty.
The dreaded thirty.
She’d reached and passed that milestone two years ago.
Not that he’d actually tell her that. He valued his life. And his balls.
He took a sip of his beer. His head hurt from his long day at work and the fact that he was waiting for Lorena to show up after she’d demanded he be there. Normally, he wouldn’t acquiesce to her every wish, but he hadn’t had dinner yet and he was hungry. Plus, she was his girlfriend. If she wanted to go on a date, it shouldn’t have been a problem.
Jesus, what was wrong with him? He liked Lorena. Loved her in fact. She’d moved into his place three months ago, and he figured they were on the road to a proposal. Maybe he should have been a little more enthusiastic about it, but he was comfortable with Lorena. He didn’t need much more.
Great. Now he sounded like an asshole. He just needed to finish his beer and get some food in his stomach. Then he wouldn’t sound like an uncaring ass. He was thirty-two and ready to settle down. Lorena was the perfect woman for that. All soft curves and fire. He wouldn’t be bored with her, that’s for sure.
He loved her. He couldn’t forget that. Even when she decided to keep him waiting at restaurant bar because, as usual, she wanted to keep him on his toes.
Damn it. He drained his lone beer for the evening since he was driving then checked his phone again. What if she’d been in an accident? Here he was being an ass about her being late, and she was probably stuck in a ditch somewhere. He quickly left cash on the bar for his drink and the tip then got up so he could figure out what to do.
As soon as he pulled his jacket on, Lorena strolled in.
It was more of a prowl with the sway of her hips and the pout on her face. Once she reached his side, she swept her coat off her shoulders and laid it over the chair.
“You’re here,” he said, grateful she was okay. If she’d been hurt when he was inwardly complaining about her, he’d never forgive himself. Though now that he thought about it, she looked perfectly healthy and had, therefore, made him wait on purpose.
That familiar anger churned in his belly, but he ignored it. There was a reason she was late. There was always a reason.
“Yes, Mason, I’m here,” she purred as she put her hand on his chest.
Out of the corner of his eye, Mason could see other men in the bar rake their gazes over Lorena’s curves. He was a possessive bastard when it came to what was his, but Lorena loved the attention. As long as the others didn’t touch and knew Lorena was his, Mason would ignore the leering glances and eye-fucks when it came to Lorena and her clingy red dress.
“Let’s get a table, then,” he said then leaned down to brush his lips over hers. She turned her head at the last moment so he caught her cheek.
What the fuck?
“Mason, we must talk first.”
He blinked. That didn’t sound good. No, that sounded like a kiss-off, but she wouldn’t be so brazen as to ask him to dinner then dump him in public. He paused, rethinking that last statement. No, making a public spectacle of the both of them was the perfect Lorena thing to do.
Son of a bitch.
“Let’s take this outside, Lorena,” he ground out through clenched teeth.
“No, no, darling. I’ll make this short.” She batted her eyelashes over the big brown eyes he used to love to get lost in, and he felt a quick slice across his heart.
“Mason, this isn’t working,” she said in a clipped tone.
She stuck out her lower lip then sucked it back in. Mason had no idea if she really cared about what she was doing or if she just wanted the spectacle. Jesus Christ, this couldn’t be happening.
“Lorena, let’s talk about this in private.” The vein at his temple was pounding, and he wanted to pull her out of the building so people couldn’t see what she was about to do. He honestly didn’t know if he cared if she broke up with him and made him look like an ass. No, he just didn’t want her to make herself the center of attention as she did so. Damn it. That was exactly what she wanted.
He’d be upset later about what was going on, but right then, he was fucking pissed.
“No, Mason. I’m done with you. You’re not who I thought you were.” Her voice trembled for effect on the second sentence, and he held back the urge to shake her. He’d never hurt a woman before, and he wouldn’t do it now, but Jesus.
“I have no idea what you mean by that,” he snapped. “I’m the same person I always was. You, on the other hand…”
In retrospect, he should have expected the slap across his face. He blinked, working his jaw.
“You don’t get to speak in that manner about me. I’m Lorena Van Cross, and you’re merely Mason Sutton. Never forget that.”
“I’m out of here, Lorena.” He surprised himself at how calm he sounded. People had stopped drinking around them, their attention solely on him and Lorena.
Exactly what she wanted.
“You were supposed to be further in your career. Instead you’re a gardener.”
He was an award-winning landscape architect, but whatever. He needed to get out of there. Now.
“’Bye, Lorena. Have fun with whatever the hell you’re looking for.”
“You don’t walk away from me, Mason Sutton. I’m walking away from you!”
“Good luck with that.”
He stormed off, ignoring the curious and pity-filled glances. He was sure any one of the numerous men who’d had eyes on Lorena would comfort her. She’d be in her element.
Not with him.
He paid the valet, got in his truck, and then beat his head against the steering wheel.
That was not how he’d expected to spend the night. Not at all.
The anger that filled his mind flared again at the thought of the stunt Lorena pulled, and he had to grip the wheel harder so he wouldn’t punch something and damage his truck. He knew he’d feel like shit later as the reality of what had just happened settled in.
Right then, though, the only thing Mason knew was that he was done.
He’d taken a chance on love and failed.
He wouldn’t be doing it again.
No matter what.