The Rules of Dating My Best Friend’s Sister by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 3, 2023
From New York Times bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes a new standalone romance.
Rule number one for dating your best friend’s sister: Don’t.
Just don’t do it.
Especially when your best friend is dead and the last thing he made you promise him was that you’d keep an eye on his little sister, but not too good of an eye.
As a musician whose longest committed relationship was six weeks, I, Holden Catalano, was the last guy on Earth who should’ve been messing around with Laney Ellison.
The super smart girl whom I affectionately dubbed Lala since childhood was always off limits.
Though that didn’t stop me from thinking about her over the years, especially those times when the two of us would sneak out onto the roof and talk for hours after my buddy fell asleep. It was innocent, but I’d always held a torch for her.
After Ryan passed away, I vowed to always protect Lala. That included protecting her—from me.
Now all grown up and a scientist, Lala needed a place to stay when she accepted a temporary research position in New York. I thought I did the right thing by offering her an apartment in the building I co-owned with my three friends.
Except having her close by reignited all of those old feelings.
And things started to get complicated.
Especially since she was engaged.
And especially since, lately, I’d noticed something more in her eyes. Desire.
Lala didn’t exactly look at me like the platonic brother figure I was trying so desperately to be, even though I wanted her more than I’d ever wanted anything.
Yet, I was being good—on my very best behavior.
But you know what they say…all good things must come to an end, right?
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“What the hell?” He stood on the other side of the door. “Where’s the doorknob?”
I leaned down and spoke through the hole where the knob used to be. “It’s in here with me. The lock jammed, and the knob came off in my hands when I tried to pull it open.”
“Alright. Give me a minute. I need to run next door to get a screwdriver.”
“I have one now! I picked it up after the beeping incident, so I wouldn’t need to bug you again. It’s in the top drawer in the kitchen!”
“Okay, great. Hang on.”
Two minutes later, the door popped open. It wasn’t until I saw Holden’s face that I remembered I was only wearing a tank top and underwear, sans bra.
He gulped and took a long look before turning his head. “Sorry. I didn’t realize you weren’t dressed.”
I wasn’t the only one scantily clad. Holden had on only a pair of boxer briefs, his beautiful tanned skin and carved six pack on full display for my eager eyes, yet again. I couldn’t stop myself from staring. Silence ticked by until Holden turned his head back, probably to see why I’d grown quiet. “You oka—”
My eyes rose to meet his, but not before he’d caught me ogling him.
I shook my head and laughed nervously. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to stare. I just hadn’t expected you to be in your underwear either, I guess. It caught me off guard.”
Holden ran a hand through his hair. “Yeah, I’m sorry if I checked you out, too.”
I should’ve just left the bathroom and covered up with a robe, but something about being near this man made me say and do things that were completely out of character. “Would you mind if I…looked a little more?”
Holden’s brows shot up to his hairline. “You want to check me out?”
My face heated. I shook my head and looked down. “Oh my gosh. I’m so embarrassed. I think the lack of sleep and stress from being locked in here made me a little bonkers. It’s just that maybe we both have some pent-up curiosity about what we look like as adults. I mean, I’ve only stolen glimpses of you without a shirt on since we were teenagers in my backyard pool. And you certainly haven’t seen me in a skimpy bottom and no bra since then. I guess I was thinking if we took a good, long look, once and for all, we might get it out of our systems.”
Holden stared at me. I could see the wheels in his head spinning. Eventually, his eyes dropped to my chest. “You have no bra on…”
I shook my head. “No bra.”
He swallowed. “Let’s do it.”
He nodded. “Fuck yeah. I’m going to hell anyway. Might as well enjoy the ride down. But you have to stay in the bathroom, and I’ll stay on this side of the doorway.”
“Okay.” I bit my bottom lip. “You look first.”
“Why don’t we look at the same time?”
I nodded. “Good idea. How long should we do it for?”
Holden shrugged. “A minute?”
“Do you have your phone?”
“No. I thought someone broke in and you were being attacked. My phone was the last thing on my mind.”
“Mine should be on the coffee table. Do you want to grab it so we can use the timer?”
Holden walked away and came back ten seconds later. “What’s your code?”
“Zero, seven, one, three.”
He started to type and then froze before looking up at the ceiling. “That’s the day you’re getting married, isn’t it?”
Holden cursed as he went back to typing. “I’m so fucking going to hell.”
He called up the clock app and then turned the phone to show me. The countdown was set for one minute. His finger hovered over the green button. “You ready?”
Holden pressed the button, and we began to openly ogle each other.
Copyright © 2022 by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
About the Authors
Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles are currently translated in twenty-seven languages and have appeard on bestseller lists in the US, Germany Brazil, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Three of her short stories have been turned into films by Passionflix, and two of her books are currently optioned for movies. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.
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Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of contemporary romance.
She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son, and beautiful daughter with autism.
With over two million books sold, she is a 21-time New York Times bestseller and the author of over twenty novels. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages and can be found in bookstores around the world.
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Find more books:
http://www.penelopewardauthor.com and http://www.vikeeland.com