This chapter has the good stuff!
Let's have a lookie-loo at what's in this magical piece of literary goodness known as the newsletter:
  1. Greetings and salutations
  2. Pact with a Heartbreaker, chapter 13
  3. What even am I doing with my life? 
Hiya, friend!
Did you miss me last week? Apologies for the missing newsletter, but life happened. Between my oldest's birthday, a family vacation, and my dad landing in ICU, writing got put on the back burner. If you were one of those who emailed wondering if there was something wrong with your subscription, fear not! You're still signed up and will get the remaining chapters (two more if my estimations are correct).
If you tried to clickity-click in the last newsletter, you probably found a few of the links were broken. So sorry! Thankfully I had a couple readers email me and let me know so I was able to get them (hopefully!) fixed for this one. If you can't get where you want to, please shoot me an email and let me know!   
As a reminder, from now until early September, I'm releasing a beach read novella via weekly installments right here for free! Chapter 13 is below, so keep scrollin'!
Pact with a Heartbreaker can be read either as your first foray into Havenbrook, my fictional southern small town, or after you've read Second Chance Charmer because I'm crafty like that. 😉

In case you've missed any previous chapters, you can get caught up here. If you're not a fan of reading books in a serialized manner, Pact with a Heartbreaker will be released on its own sometime in the fall.
Quick disclaimer: in order to get these chapters to you every week, they are raw and unedited, so thank you for excusing any mistakes! 

Chapter 13

Mac couldn’t sleep. Given she’d just had the most amazing sexual experience of her life—twice—she should’ve been out like a light. Instead, she stared at Hudson like a creeper, watching the smooth lines of his face as he breathed deeply in sleep. Where peace had eluded her, he seemed to be wrapped up in it, the normally taut lines of his face and jaw relaxed and soft. 

She couldn’t help herself from reaching out and touching him, running her fingers down the edge of his jaw, rough from his stubble. She traced the outline of his lips, her mind flashing back to everything they’d done to her in the past few hours as a bolt of heat shot down between her legs. He’d made her come multiple times tonight, and still she wanted more. She was selfish and greedy, but she couldn’t find it in herself to be embarrassed or ashamed of it. 

Instead of waking him as he’d suggested she do after their last round and before he’d promptly fell asleep, she curled up next to him. Resting her ear over his beating heart, she closed her eyes and breathed him in, trying to exhale the ache that had settled deep inside her ever since he’d told her his plans.

How could she miss him already when he was right beside her?

Her heart broke a little more at the reminder of what she faced in one measly day. How could she possibly fit in everything she wanted with him into a little over twenty-four hours? She couldn’t. She couldn’t even if they had twenty-four years

She hadn’t tired of his presence in the past decade-plus they’d been friends. She was certain she wouldn’t given any amount of time in the future. And now that she knew their chemistry rivaled a science lab, she had no doubt they’d be explosive together in the best possible way.

But they weren’t meant to be.

Mac’s daddy had never served in the armed forces, but Hudson’s had. And for as much time as she and Hud had spent together, Mr Miller had been like a second father to Mac. She’d been heartbroken right along with Hudson and his family when they’d gotten the news of Jack’s death. 

She was going to spend the next four-plus years worrying sick over Hud—there was no way around it. She knew exactly what could happen to those who served their country. Exactly the devastation wrought if the worst imaginable outcome came to be.

And Hudson? Well, she knew him well enough to realize he’d be splitting his attention on what it needed to be focused solely on—his safety and wellbeing—and what he had waiting for him in Havenbrook. 

He’d be preoccupied already with his momma and sister. But adding her to the mix? Adding a new relationship to the mix? He’d be distracted so much his life—or the lives of those serving with him—may actually suffer because of it.

A tear slipped out of the corner of her eye as she bit her lip to quiet the sob that wanted to break free. She couldn’t be the reason he was distracted. She wouldn’t be the reason his safety was compromised simply because she was being selfish. 

Attempting to maintain a new relationship was difficult enough, but add in long distance and daily threats to his safety…to his life? It was too much. 

The realization of what she had to do cracked her heart in two, split her right down the middle. Especially when she’d had a taste of exactly what she’d be giving up. 

There was no stopping the flow of tears now as they dripped on to Hudson’s bare chest. She curled in to him, knowing it would be the one and only time they’d sleep together like this. Because she had to do what was best for him, what would keep him safe and have him coming back to her. 

Even if it meant breaking her own heart. 




A rumble of thunder shook the windows of the cabin, pulling Hudson from sleep. Memories of the past few hours flickered through his mind and a smile lifted the corner of his mouth. Sweet merciful fuck, he’d actually gotten everything he’d ever wanted, and it had been better than he’d even dreamed. 

True, he wouldn’t be home for several years for them to actually enjoy each other, but they’d make it work. It’d be difficult—he had no doubt of that—but if anyone could make it, it was them. He had no idea what would come after she graduated—where he’d be…where they’d be—but they’d figure it out. Together. Just like they’d done everything.

He stretched, eyes still closed, and reached over, intent on pulling Kenna’s naked form atop him and continuing what they’d only barely started last night. He’d love to hear her breathy moans in his ear while rain battered the windows and lightning brightened the sky. When all he found next to him was bare, cool sheets, he cracked open an eye. The sporadic bursts of lightning were the only illumination in the space, but it was enough for him to find Kenna sitting at the edge of the bed. Her knees were pulled up to her chest, one of his shirts stretched over them and cocooning her inside. 

He glanced at the clock, noting it was a little after four in the morning. What the hell was she doing awake? Reaching for her, he wrapped his hand around her ankle and tried to tug her to him. “What’re you doin’ up? C’mere.”

She didn’t answer for long moments, and when she did, it wasn’t with words. Her soft sniffle, like she’d tried to stop it from happening, might as well have been a gunshot in the room. His spine snapped straight as he sat up and scooted closer to her, brushing the hair back from her face. 

“What’s wrong? What happened?” Worry prickled along his spine, fear that he’d pushed her too hard, too fast, but the thought left as quickly as it came. She’d enjoyed herself and what they’d done, had even ridden him and taken what she’d wanted the second time. 

Lightning streaked through the sky, illuminating the interior of the cabin and Kenna’s face. It was stricken, tears shining in her eyes, and the sight nearly split his heart in two. 

“Hey. What is it?” he asked, tugging her to him. He didn’t stop until she was in his lap, her cheek resting against his chest, his chin settled on top of her head. He wrapped his arms around her like he’d done a hundred times before, but it felt different this time. Weighted. Wonderful, despite her sadness.

Instead of answering, she shook her head against him, the wetness of her tears on his skin making his gut clench in worry. 

“Kenna. Please. Talk to me.”

“I don’t think we should do this,” she whispered, the words barely audible over the boom of thunder that shook the cabin.

“Do what?”

She pressed her hand against his chest and pushed away, far enough so their eyes could meet. Gesturing between them, she said, “This. Be together.”

A knife to the heart would’ve been less painful. 

He snapped his head back, shock reverberating through his system. A million questions ran through his mind, but the only one he could utter was, “Why?”

“I want it, Hud. I want you.”

“Then what’s the fucking problem?”


Circumstances?” He coughed out an incredulous bark of laughter. “What the fuck do circumstances have to do with anything?”

“I know you.” She covered his mouth with her fingers when he opened it to reply. “Shut up and let me say this.”

He clenched his teeth, his jaw tightening as he forced himself to be quiet and listen to what she had to say when all he wanted to do was kiss her to shut her up, to stop the words from coming out of her mouth.

“I know you,” she said again, “and I know how you’ll be. You’re gonna try and make sure everything is okay for us back here—for your momma and your sister.”

“Of course I will,” he said through her fingers.

“And there’s nothing I can do about that. It’s already gonna split your attention from where it should be—on your safety.”

He gripped her wrist and pulled her hand away from his mouth. “I don’t get what any of that has to do with this. With us.”

“I can’t stop you from being you.” She reached up and cupped his cheeks, running her thumbs along them. “I wouldn’t want to. But I can stop you from spreading yourself even thinner. From splitting your focus even more.”

“My focus will be fine.”

She cocked her head to the side. “If you have your momma and sister to worry about, while also trying to maintain a relationship with me while you’re in the middle of God knows where, how much attention will you have left to focus on you? On your safety?”

“Enough,” he said sharply, his tone harsh in the otherwise quiet room.

“It won’t be, and you know it.”

“You think I wouldn’t be tryin’ to maintain our friendship while I’m there? A relationship is no different.”

“It is, and you know it. Our friendship doesn’t need to be maintained. It just is. And it always will be. I need you to go over there, firm in that certainty. This is different. It’s new and unknown, and I don’t wanna pile that on your plate.”

“We’re great together, Kenna.” He shifted her so she was straddling him. “You know we are.” 

“I’m not sayin’ we aren’t great together.” She gasped when he found her bare ass under his shirt, biting her lip as he tugged her forward until his cock pressed against her. “I’m sayin’ I don’t want to be the reason something happens to you. Because you were distracted.”

“You’re gonna be a distraction one way or another.”

She shook her head, even as her lips parted. He’d worked his shirt up and off her, pulling her close enough so her hard nipples rasped against his chest. “Not like that. I can’t. I ca—” She cut off on a moan when he sucked a nipple into his mouth, causing her to arch against him. “Hudson. This doesn’t—”

But he slanted his mouth over hers, cutting off whatever she was going to say. He hadn’t dreamed up how good it’d been between them. How hot, how explosive. They were more than great together. They were fucking perfect. And he was going to spend however long he needed to reminding her of that, showing her exactly what he needed her to see. 

Because he’d be damned if he lost her before he’d ever really had her.


I swear I didn't realize how angsty this would be when I set out to write it. But never fear! You can gather up your pitchforks and head on over to my reader group, the Brigade to discuss this chapter and rag on me about how mean I am. Gossip on all things Havenbrook is welcomed and encouraged.

The boys and I visited my in-laws last weekend, and it was a short, but super fun trip. For the most part, we stayed at my husband's aunt and uncle's house in the middle of nowhere—no wifi, shoddy satellite TV, and actual roosters cock-a-doodle-doing at ass o'clock. In other words: the perfect recipe for unplugging. While unplugging, I downloaded a crapton of audio books from one of my favorite apps—Hoopla—and listened to so many good books last week. I was on a Jenn Bennett binge and really enjoyed Starry Eyes. 🤩 = 😍

We made time to head into town and go to a movie (Alpha...the entire thing was in subtitles *blink* *blink*). Plus, I couldn't say no to my absolute favorite ice cream from B&G Milky Way (strawberry cone with crunch). We also drove around and hopped over to the falls the town is named after.

Other than that, I've been super busy watching To All The Boys I've Loved Before approximately eleventy times. #sorrynotsorry WHO'S PUMPED FOR THE POSSIBLE SEQUEL?!


As always, I love to hear from readers! Reply to this e-mail or swing by Twitter, Instagram, or the reader group on Facebook to keep up with me between releases! 
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