New Release: STRIPPED (A Ferro Family Novel) – H.M. Ward
By New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling New Adult author H.M. Ward.
The V Card. Virgin. Most of us want to punch that sucker ASAP, and hide the fact until then, but not Cassie Hale. Three years ago she frickin’ covered hers in glitter and laminated the thing, proudly telling me that she’s waiting for the perfect guy.
So when I see her half naked, tangled together, rolling around on the floor with another stripper, I’m kind of shocked. Okay, that’s an understatement. I’m enthralled. I have to know what cracked her picture perfect world and landed her here, and I hope it’s something horrible-an event that broke her the way she broke me. Because, that’s who Cassie Hale is–the woman who stole my heart and crushed it in her hand.
CASSIE (3 YEARS PRIOR)
My jackass cousin is speed-walking in front of me. She hauls through the glass mall doors and talks to me over her shoulder. “It won’t be that bad. My shift is only a few hours. You can shop the whole time and then we can meet up and hang out.”
I struggle to keep up with her long legs. Robyn is the only person who’s even close to my age that I know in this entire state. My mom sent me to Mississippi for the summer to give me a break from the city. Like I needed a break from New York? Please. She was just sick of looking at me. “What the hell am I supposed to do for that long? I don’t have money to shop for hours every day. You said you didn’t have to work, Robyn.”
“Yeah, well, I didn’t, but things changed, Yankee. Suck it up.” I roll my eyes and mutter things. Robyn suddenly stops short and glances over her shoulder at me. “Don’t be mad, but I think I have the solution to your problem.” I raise an eyebrow at her. This can’t be good. Robyn’s solutions typically make more problems. “You have nothing to do, and he has nothing to do…”
“What are you talking about?”
“He’s cute, and a friend with benefits is a promise if you hang out with him.” I must appear horrified because she gives me a funny look. I’m a couple of years younger than her, barely eighteen. “You’ve had sex before, right?”
I blink at her like she has two heads. I hiss in a low voice, “No, I haven’t and I don’t want to. Robyn, did you seriously tell some random guy to come to the mall so I’d have sex with him? Are you insane?”
A slow smile creeps across her face. “Oh my God! You’re a virgin! You’ve got to be kidding me?” She’s looking at me like I’m a toddler in a tutu—it’s that sweet endearing face. The problem is that she’s way too loud. People around us are looking as they pass by.
Just as she says it, a guy with dark hair and blazing blue eyes stops next to me. He’s smiling at her as he folds his arms over his chest. “So, I’m here. What’d you want?” The guy is beautiful, like completely and totally stunning. His face is perfection, his arms and chest are sculpted, and those eyes—are they even real? He glances at me like I’m not worth looking at and then back at Robyn. “Who’s this?” He jabs his thumb my direction.
“That’s my cousin Cassie, the virgin.” Robyn is still smiling at me. “Cassie, this is Jonathan Ferro.”
Hot guy turns abruptly and cocks his head to the side. His eyes travel over my body inch by inch before returning to my face. “Why is she a virgin?” His face scrunches when he says the last word, like it’s horrible that I’m not a slut. “She looks perfectly doable to me.”
My jaw drops open. “Excuse me?”
“Well, you do. You’re a beautiful woman.” His eyes sweep over me again as if he’s accessing whether or not he’d have sex with me, which makes my cheeks burn. He takes in my reaction and smirks. “She blushes. I love that. It’s so virginal.”
Robyn laughs and looks utterly amused. “I know, right?”
Up until that moment, I was very proud of my virgin status. I wasn’t putting out for everyone and anyone, but this guy is rattling me and I only met him a second ago. He’s arrogant and cocky and everything I can’t stand wrapped up into one beautiful body. “Hello, I’m right here.”
“I know,” he says. “With that body, I can’t see why you’d have a problem, unless…” There’s a questioning tone to his voice.
“Unless what?” I’m actually stupid enough to ask him.
“Unless you’re into girls.” He rubs his jaw lightly and looks me over again with a smile. “Is that the reason?”
“No,” I squeal a little too loudly as my face flames redder. People walking by stare at us, which makes it worse. My mouth opens and closes a few times before sputtering, “I haven’t done it yet because I wanted to wait.”
“Why?” He blinks at me like I’m absurd.
“Until I find the right person.”
“You’re waiting on purpose?” He glances at Robyn, truly entertained.
H.M. Ward is the #1 bestselling New Adult author in the world, having sold over 2 million books in 2013. This NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, USA TODAY, and Amazon #1 bestselling writer’s series include: THE FERRO FAMILY: DAMAGED, THE ARRANGEMENT, and STRIPPED; as well as SCANDALOUS, TRYSTAN SCOTT, and SECRETS. Ward was recently featured in FORBES, the WALL STREET JOURNAL, and the WASHINGTON POST.
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