Evie Mitchell eBook Reality Check (EBOOK)
Evie Mitchell eBook Reality Check (EBOOK)
Evie Mitchell eBook Reality Check (EBOOK)

Reality Check (EBOOK)

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Warning: This book is inspired by reality TV, strong scotch, and lumberjacks. So, get thee a man, a camera, and settle in — this read will have you questioning if hate is really such a bad thing.

Liv
Unemployed, homeless and pregnant - not how I intended to spend this Thanksgiving.
To be fair, I quit my job, and no one could have predicted the flood in my apartment.
The baby? Well, that's on me.
A tipsy hook-up at my brother's wedding, a failed condom, and suddenly I'm stuck with my nemesis, Ian Campbell.
The man is infuriating - he looks like a red-haired Big Foot, is built like a lumberjack, and acts like a refined laird of some crumbling castle.
He's confusing, irritating and... kissable?
No, no way. There is absolutely no possible universe in which I'm falling for the Sasquatch... right?

Ian
Liv 'The Harpy' Larsson is pregnant with my baby. How the good god did that happen?
I mean, I know 
how it happened. Those memories don't seem to want to quit.
But now she's in my house. And my car. And at my work. And we're going to pregnancy classes and buying diapers, and she's suddenly not so much a harpy as happy.
Wait. No. Do I 
like Liv? Is this... love?

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Liv

"And so," I said, holding up my glass and tilting it toward the happy couple. "In summary, welcome to the family, Ella. Sorry, you got stuck with my useless lump of a brother. But at least you get me."

Laughter exploded around the tent while Gunnar, the groom in question, rolled his eyes, subtly flipping me the bird. 

"To Ella and Gunnar!" I declared, ignoring my brother’s antics. 

"To Ella and Gunnar!" The room toasted, glasses clinking, laughter, and conversation swelling. 

I sat down, lifting my glass to take a sip of the sparkling wine, heart aching with gladness, hope, love, and a little envy that my brother had finally found his one. 

My younger sister, Astrid, leaned over, laughter on her lips. "Great speech."

"Thanks. I thought you'd enjoy the roasting."

The wedding ceremony had taken place in Gunnar and Ella's yard, the altar positioned out to face the ocean. It had been beautiful, sentimental, and above all, them. My brother and his beautiful bride pledging to love one another forever under a clear blue sky. 

The reception had kicked off immediately. A large tent covered in garlands and fairy lights provided some protection from the afternoon sun. Now that darkness had fallen, the long picnic tables that were covered in white fabric and pretty lights created a magical backdrop for this perfect night. 

The caterers were food vans, and guests were invited to help themselves. There were no assigned tables, no formal placemats, just good food, great music, and lots of laughs. 

"Great wedding." A plate of food landed beside me with a thump, the accompanying body settling onto the bench seat taking up any available space. 

"Really?" I asked, raising an eyebrow at the intruder as he squirmed his way in, his thigh pressing against mine. "You couldn't have found another table? Any other table?” 

Ian Campbell grinned at me, his teeth flashing through the red hair of his unkempt beard. "Look around, love. There's not a space to be had."

I glanced about, seeing the truth of his words. With gritted teeth, I turned away, reaching for my wine glass. 

He lifted a slider, managing not to drop a bite in his crazy beard.

"How's the junk TV going?" he asked a moment later, spearing a forkful of potato salad. 

I arched an eyebrow. "Excuse me?"

Since when do you care?

"Ye're still doing those reality TV shows, yeah?"

I crossed my arms, bristling. "I didn't realize we were small-talk kind of people."

"Settle down, Harpy." He lifted his beer, taking a sip. "I'm just being polite."

"Don't. It doesn't look good on you."

He chuckled, turning to give me his full attention. 

"Are you saying something else does?"

"Yes.” I pushed to a stand, giving him my chilliest smile, the one I saved for misogynists, criminals, and people who didn’t like puppies. And Ian. "Death looks great on you."

I turned on my heel, walking away as Ian's laughter followed me. 

I made it to the dance floor just as the singer cleared his throat, drawing attention to the small stage. 

"And now, the first dance. If the bride and groom will take the floor?"

I watched my brother lead his bride to the dance floor, blinking back tears as they began to sway to a cover of Unconditional by Freya Ridings. 

"They're gorgeous," Astrid whispered beside me, wiping tears from her cheek. 

"Yeah, they are." I leaned into her, wrapping my arms around her middle. “They’re perfect.” 

As the song wound up, we all clapped, laughing as Gunnar tipped Ella back in a graceful dip before pulling her back into his arms for a kiss. 

We cheered and catcalled, Ian raising two fingers to his mouth to let out an earsplitting wolf whistle. 

With a smile a mile wide, Ella swept her arm out, inviting us to join them on the dance floor. 

I looked around, catching sight of my father leading my mother onto the cleared space. My heart gave a little flop as he pulled mom close, holding her tight. 

Oh, to have a love like theirs. 

Forty years on they still looked at each other with hearts in their eyes. 

The singer started back up, doing a slowed down less country and more soulful rock cover of Kane Brown's Thunder in the Rain. 

"Come on." My brother, Erik, lifted Laura's hand, pressing a kiss to his fiancé's knuckles. "Let's dance."

On his other side, Gabby, my youngest sibling fiancé, led him onto the dance floor, cajoling Rune with a shimmy of her shoulders, setting her breasts jiggling. With a sigh and a roll of his eyes, he pulled her into his arms, bending to kiss her. 

Astrid leaned closer, sighing. "It sucks to be the single ones."

"Preach." 

"I wanna dance too."

"Come on then," I told her, linking our fingers. "Let's dance."

Stepping out with a laugh, we slung arms around each other, swaying together in time to the music. 

"This playlist is very country!" Astrid called as the singer transitioned into Sam Hunt's Body Like A Back Road. 

I nodded, laughing as Rune allowed Gabby to grind up against him, his body moving from side to side in what I could only call an awkward white guy shuffle. Beside him, the local Sheriff and his wife, Honey, ground together, their bodies pure magic as they performed a kind of flamenco-cross-country swing. 

"Come on." A hand caught mine, skilfully spinning me away from Astrid and into the thick chest of a giant. "Let's give the good Sheriff a run for his money." 

I'd later blame this moment on shock – really, it was the only reasonable explanation for what happened next.

Ian and I danced. We moved around the dance floor in tandem, our bodies coming together in a way that felt intimate and sensual. We were in sync, perfectly so. 

I hated it even as I loved it. The two emotions coalescing into a frustrating burn. 

The world fell away as he guided me around the dancefloor, his body pressed to mine. 

"Just because you can dance doesn't mean I like you," I told him as Ian twirled me out and pulled me back in.

"You know I'd never presume that ye'd find me even the least bit palatable." He grinned, twisting me this way and then that, his hands warm and confident on my hips. "Even I'm not that stupid."

And therein lay the problem. Ian Campbell wasn't stupid. Not even a fraction. Not even close. The man completed degrees in his spare time, for goodness sake. And he did them for fun. Fun!

"Ye ready, lass?"

I blinked. "For?"

"The finale."

He dipped me, catching my neck and guiding me low. Around us, the crowd erupted, clapping and cheering as he gently lifted me back up, my body sliding along his. 

"I hate you," I whispered, glaring at him even as my body gave a little shiver. 

His eyes flashed with amusement and something darker. "The feeling, I can assure ye, is entirely mutual." 

With a fake laugh, I tossed my hair, stepping back from him, clapping and joining in the festivities, throwing off the faint kick of attraction that had begun burning in my belly. 

No way in hell am I attracted to Ian Campbell. 

"Here." Astrid handed me a glass of water, grinning as she watched me suck it down. 

"What?"

She gave a half-shoulder shrug. "Nothing."

I glared over my glass. “Bullshit."

She laughed, turning away. "You know what they say, hate and love are two sides of the same coin."

I rolled my eyes, watching as Ian claimed another partner, doing with her what he'd done with me. 

Only, it really has to be said, far less impressively. 

I shoved that thought aside, pressing the cool glass to my warm forehead. 

It's just the wedding vibes getting to you. You're tougher than this Liv. 

Feeling suddenly over warm, I moved through the crowd seeking the cool night air. Outside the tent, I blended into the shadows, following the twinkling fairy lights that led down a short walk onto Ella and Gunnar's private beach. 

With a sigh, I made my way to the old wooden boathouse, laughing when I found the inside similarly lit with lights and some bedding.

"Oh, Ella." I shook my head, knowing this had to be the work of my sister-in-law. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that she'd set this up, likely expecting that there would be at least one wedding guest who'd need to crash the night after consuming too much alcohol. 

"Liv?"

I turned, finding Ian coming down the beach, his shoes in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other. 

I sighed, plucking one of the blankets from the bed and wrapping it around my shoulders as I walked to meet him, the sand cool beneath my feet. 

"Couldn't leave me alone for five minutes?"

His lips quirked, one bushy eyebrow cocking. "I'd say it's the other way around, lass. You’ve found my bed."

I paused, suddenly registering the masculine scent coming from the blanket around my shoulders. 

"Oh." 

He grinned, gesturing towards the small dock. "Come sit with me?"

I'd never be quite sure why I followed him. Maybe because he asked rather than told. Maybe because I felt a little melancholy. Either way you looked at it, I ended up sitting beside Ian, sharing his wine. 

"You ever feel lost?" I asked, finding myself suddenly morose as we stared at the moonlight shimmering on the waves. 

I felt rather than saw Ian turn, considering me in the dim light. "Depends."

"On?"

"If I want to be lost or not."

I laughed, glancing at him. "You want to be lost?"

"Sure. The best adventures start when the trail ends."

"Are you a hallmark card?"

He grinned, sipping from the wine bottle.  

I processed his words, turning them over in my mind. 

"You know, sometimes you can be a decent human being."

"Sometimes?" He bumped me with his arm. "Hardly a recommendation." 

"Aye," I said, trying to imitate his accent. "And ye'll do well not to push yer luck.”

He laughed, lifting the wine to his lips and looking back out at the ocean. "Do ye want a family, Liv?"

I shrugged. "I haven't really thought about it."

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

"Why not? A pretty lass like you should be beating the men away."

I reached for the bottle, plucking it from his hands and sucking down a sip. "I've got a goal. I've worked hard to get where I am." 

"As queen of reality shows?" 

I frowned. “Is that judgment I hear?"

He shrugged, taking back the bottle. "Always thought you were better than that."

I bristled, part of me angry at his judgment, another annoyed that he echoed my own thoughts. "We all start somewhere. My plan isn't to be in reality forever. Well, not the entertainment reality anyway."

"No?"

"Mm. I wanna move into film. Movies and documentaries. I want to show life in all its strange forms.” 

"Really?"

It was my turn to bump him. "Don't sound so surprised."

He caught my chin, turning me to face him, his gaze searching mine. "I'm not surprised, Liv. I'm pleased for ye. It's been a long time since you sounded so excited." 

I swallowed, pulling away from him and turning to look back out at the water, attempting to hide how much I wanted this. 

"Yeah… well… it's gotta happen first. I should know in the next few months once they go through all the interviews and whatnot."

"And I have no doubt you’ll make it so. If nothing else ye're persistent."

I laughed, moving to shove him, but he shifted, catching my hand and pulling me into him. 

"W-w-what are you doing?" I asked as he bent his head. 

"Kissing ye." 

With that declaration, he closed the gap between us, pressing a hot, rough, demanding kiss to my mouth. His tongue took advantage of my surprise, slipping between my lips and stroking mine with delicious intention. 

For a moment, I remained stiff, shock holding me rigid against him. Then he made a noise, a mix between a groan and a grunt, and I melted, kissing him back. 

Oh, God. Why am I enjoying this? This is Ian. Ian! You hate Ian! Stop, Liv! Abort! Abort!

But it appeared I didn't need to like him to want to sleep with him. 

"Fuck," he muttered, pulling back slightly to trail kisses down my neck. "Ye taste like the devil."

I huffed out a laugh, his beard rasping against my skin in a way I'd never have thought I'd find arousing. "You're one to talk."

He bit the seam of my shoulder, immediately licking away the sting. "Shall we do this, lass? Or am I to leave you now?" 

I glanced back at the boathouse and the cozy bed inside. "We can never tell another soul. One and done."

"Of course." He grinned. "No one'd believe us anyway. Ye hate my guts too much."

He stood, helping me up, pulling me into his arms and kissing me again. 

"Gonna fuck you into next week," he muttered against my lips. "Gotta get this outta our systems."

A deep ache began to pulse between my thighs, my body tightening at his words. "Then you better get this over with."

He boosted me up, my arms and legs automatically wrapping around him, holding on as he walked us to the tiny cabin, his rigid cock a teasing heat between my legs. 

I'd blame it on the wine. Or the ocean setting. Or perhaps the romance of a perfect wedding. I'd blame the next hour on anything but what it was – pure animal attraction. 

In a fumble, we stripped each other, lips tasting newly revealed skin. I expected missionary Ian pounding over me and perhaps a small tingle of an orgasm if I were lucky.  

I got an explosion. 

He pushed me down, flipped me over, pulled my arms forward, and covered my back with his front. 

"Gonna fuck ye dirty," he whispered against the shell of my ear. "Yell if it gets too much."

With that, he pulled back, one hand still holding mine in front of me, his other rolling on a condom. 

"I don't have all night," I complained, my wet arousal coating my thighs. 

Instead of answering, he slapped a palm against my butt, immediately cupping the area and rubbing the sting away. His teeth grazed my shoulder, nipping at the sensitive skin. 

"For once in ye life, shut your mouth and let me fucking work."

I opened my mouth again, a retort on the tip of my tongue, but Ian beat me to the punch, sliding his cock into me, thrusting hard and fast, violently seating himself, possessing my body. 

"Fuck!" I gasped, throwing my head back, my body clenching and clutching at his intrusion. "Fuck!"

"Good?" He asked, a dark chuckle on his lips. 

"Shut up and keep moving."

He answered my demand with another spank, my pussy clenching around his long member. 

"Ah, I see you like a little pain with ye pleasure."

He let go of my hands, lifting me up. 

"What are you—" I broke off, my body bucking as sensations ratcheted through me, each building rapidly. He pulled my nipples, pinching my areolas with just the right amount of pain to send me spiralling. 

"Ian!" 

His body began to move, his cock thrusting in and out of me, hitting all the deliciously sensitive nerve endings.  

Oh, God, how is this so good!? 

Ian pulled back slightly, moving a little, changing his angle. My eyes rolled back into my head; a strangled moan ripped from my throat. 

Holy God of Thunder! 

He answered me with a grunt, picking up his pace, his body rough and heavy, the weight and heat of him adding to the moment. 

I felt like a peasant girl being ravaged by a conquering laird. My pleasure secondary to his release.

The thought tipped me over, my body spasming as wave after wave of hot, heated bliss crashed over me, every nerve in my body filled with liquid heat. 

"Ian!"

"Fuck!" 

He slapped my ass, sending me into another pleasurable spin. 

"Fuck you," I grunted, pushing myself back against his cock. "Stop spanking me."

"Stop enjoying it."

Ian abandoned my nipples, one hand fisting in my hair, the other sliding down my body to find my clit. 

"Ye're gonna come again, Liv. And this time, I'm coming too."

He pulled my head back, tipping my face until he could suck on my neck. His fingers circled, teasing then stroking even as his cock ground into me, the rough friction turning me into a whimpering mess. 

As promised, I came in a wet, messy moment of utter perfection. Biting the inside of my cheek to keep from screaming, I arched back, offering myself to him in filthy submission. 

Fuck you, Ian Campbell. 

I hated him. I loathed his power over my body. I hated every minute of this. 

So good. So goddamned good. Again, again, again!

I slipped forward, my body crushed by his as he came, dropping us both into the bed. 

We lay for a moment, gasping for breath, his weight pressing me into the mattress, reality intruding. 

Ah, reality check, Liv. You just fucked Ian. Ian, who you hate. Ian, who hates you. Ian fucking Campbell. 

Shit.  

He rolled off, giving my ass a little spank. 

"Be right back. Gotta take care of the condom."

He walked to the bathroom, closing the door. 

I lay like a stunned mullet, still and silent, shocked by the pleasure still bouncing through my body and the stark reality that I'd just had sex with Ian. 

Well, shit. 

I scrambled up, tossing my dress over my head and grabbing a blanket to wrap around myself and hide my braless state. In a mad dash, I found my shoes but couldn't locate my underwear – bra or panties. 

I heard Ian flush the toilet, the faucet turning on as he washed his hands. 

Go, go, go!

I left, heading back up to the party, finding the majority of wedding guests were still dancing the night away. 

Acting as if I hadn't just had the most mind-blowing sexual experience of my life. 

I left the party, heading inside Gunnar's house to clean and find some underwear. I met Astrid at the door. 

"Hey, you okay? You disappeared."

"Mm, fine. Just needed to cool down."

Astrid laughed, slapping my shoulder. "You really burned up that dancefloor. Pity you hate Ian so much. You guys looked amazing together."

With a gulp, I nodded, baring my teeth in what I hoped was a sarcastic grin. "Yeah, such a pity." 

I cleaned up and then returned to the party, finding myself spinning around the dance floor with my father. 

"One day, this will be you, Livvy," he said, gesturing around the tent. "You and some dashing young man set to carry you away."

My gaze caught on the far side of the tent, Ian's red hair sticking out amongst the blonde, black, and brunette. 

He stood leaning against a table, arms crossed, a small smile on his lips, his hair wild, beard crazy, his jacket discarded, leaving him in black suit pants and a white collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his biceps.

Why is that so attractive?

Our gaze met, caught, held. 

As Dad continued to get sentimental, I watched Ian, some foreign feeling taking up residence in my chest. 

Finally, the song finished, and Dad let go of me to clap with the rest of the crowd. I did the same on autopilot, unable to break Ian's stare. 

He inclined his head towards the entrance, one eyebrow arching in question. It was a blatant invitation, a request to join him once again. 

With deliberation, I turned my back on him, drawing the last of my shredded dignity around me, putting space between us. 

Back in your box, Ian. Back to the other side of the picket line. 

"Another?" I asked my dad, lifting my arms in question. 

"Always for my second favorite daughter." 

With a laugh, I let him take the lead, whirling me around the dance floor, grinning at all his jokes. 

When I next looked back, Ian was gone.

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