Hawk by Amber Malloy
General Release Date: 24th August 2021
Word Count: 59,896
Book Length: NOVEL
Tech Guru Lexi Waters needs to snatch her company out of the grasp of her greedy ex-husband. The only problem is the restraining order that keeps her away from the business she built from the ground up. With no money left to her name, Lexi is forced to go back to Chicago and face the first man to ever let her down—blues legend Sugarfoot Moe Waters, her father. While she’s stuck fixing up his crappy bar, the last thing she needs to deal with is a pushy, arrogant professional hockey player—Hawthorne Maze, aka Hawk. Hopefully the gorgeous distraction won’t derail everything she has worked so hard for.
From the outside looking in, Hawk’s life seems perfect. Professionally, he’s at the top of his field, and personally, he has his pick of any groupie. Orphaned by teenage parents, he only knows is that his mom is white and his dad black. Other than that, there are only two people he considers family—his childhood friend Gavin Knox and geriatric bar owner Moe. He thinks he knows everything about the famous blues artist, but the sudden appearance of his hot-ass daughter is not only unexpected but also unwanted. Contemplating retirement, Hawk needs to figure out what to do next, but fate keeps throwing the sexy egghead Lexi in his path.
Reader advisory: This book contains incidents of revenge porn, racial slurs by minor characters, and scenes of blackmail and emotional abuse.
As Lexi Waters’ advanced coding class put the finishing touches on their latest assignment, she flew her fingers across the screen of her phone a million miles per hour. Drowning out the click clack sound from more than a dozen girls pounding away on their keyboards, she polished off her last text.
“Okay, girls!” she hollered over the noise while pushing away from her desk. “We’ve got fifteen minutes left, but I wanted to say…uh—” Flashing lights drew her attention toward the window. A police cruiser turned into the community center’s parking lot. Shit! Standing up, she slid her phone into the back pocket of her jeans before she stepped in front of her students.
“Girls, code has been one of the biggest joys in my life, and you guys will never know how much you truly mean to me…” Lexi took in each one of the girls’ faces, wanting to commit every detail to memory. “I’ll be taking a little time away, which means I won’t be able to teach the class.” Groans filled the room at her announcement. Lexi had been with some of these girls since their tween years.
Do not cry. Do not cry. Swallowing the emerging lump in her throat, she encouraged herself to keep it together for a smidge longer.
“Miss Tracy will be taking over for the foreseeable future.” Lexi steadily ignored her phone buzzing in her back pocket. “She will help you tie up the loose ends on your video game concepts, starting with the plot all the way down to character development.”
“But we wanted to do it with you,” the best coder in the group whined.
“Uh, don’t worry,” Lexi’s assistant Tracy groused. “I’m not standing here or anything.”
Limited on time, Lexi refused to acknowledge the little feud that had been brewing between them for weeks.
“Trust me. You guys are in good hands. You’re all set for the Fire Code submissions, and… Well”—she took a deep breath because goodbyes were always hard—“every single one of you is intelligent, awesome and there’s nothing you can’t and won’t do. Now make me proud!” She pounded her fist in the air with more enthusiasm than she actually felt.
Chairs scraped against the tile floor, the sounds bouncing off the concrete walls as the girls unexpectedly rushed her. Lexi stumbled back from the weight of their enormous group hug. For a moment, she allowed herself to open up, and lowering her head on top of her students, she soaked up all the good feels.
“Ms. Lexi.” The smallest in the class reached up and pulled something out of the messy bun piled on top of her head. “You have glass in your hair.”
“Oh?” She took the chunk out of the girl’s hand. “Mirror broke.” With assistance from her soon-to-be-ex-husband’s golf club—she had smashed it into a million pieces. She was snatched out of the warm comfort of her hugs when the community center secretary waved from the small window in the door. “Okay, time to go. Take care, girls.”
Determined to not get emotional, Lexi slipped away from the girls’ surprisingly strong grips. Grabbing the doorknob to open the door, she turned back to wave goodbye, leaving her home away from home.
“Waters,” Lexi corrected the nervous woman. She needed to distance herself from her ex-husband’s name ASAP.
“The community center’s director doesn’t understand…”
Flinging the piece of mirror into the janitor’s cart on her way past, Lexi tuned the woman out. Josh had always loved her hair long, but the weight of her curls had grown into a burden. Lexi couldn’t wait to change it. She had narrowed down the haircut she wanted to either a symmetrical chic or a perfect Toni Braxton à la Betty Boop pixie cut.
“Ms. Stewart!” a couple of boys on the basketball court yelled.
She waved at the teens, fighting off the mist in her eyes. The kids were about the only thing she wished she could take with her.
“I’m sorry. What did you say?”
“The officers wouldn’t tell me what they wanted to talk to you about,” she nervously babbled, “but I put them near the back door like you suggested.”
“Did you get the numbers that I sent you?”
As they walked through the corridors of the enormous Inglewood Center, the secretary fumbled with her phone. It took every ounce of Lexi’s patience not to snatch it from her hands. “Moe’s Blues and Jazz, Sugarfoot Moe Waters and or Simone, the manager of the club, correct?”
“Yes, perfect,” Lexi told her.
“And forgive me for being obtuse, but why did you send me these numbers?”
“Bail money.” She walked into the administrator’s front office. Thankfully, there was an exit away from the classroom, where none of the kids could witness their mentor’s arrest. #superembarrassing. “If you would be so kind as to call them and let them know that I will need to be bailed out, that would be awesome.”
“The asshole I will soon be divorced from froze all my assets.” She shrugged. “So, yeah, there’s that.”
“Lexington Stewart?” Two officers waited for her.
“Waters,” she corrected the cop. All she’d done was smash every breakable item in Josh’s secret hideaway. Considering it was her hard work that had paid for that crap, it technically shouldn’t have been a jail-able offense.
“Lexington Waters, you have the right to remain silent.” The stocky officer who demonstrated a severe case of Napoleon complex grabbed her arm a little too harshly and handcuffed her.
For a minute, it crossed her mind to feign innocence, but she was super guilty, because…
Fuck Josh. That’s why!
About the Author
Amber Malloy dreamed of being a double agent but couldn’t pass the psyche evaluation. Crushed by despair that she couldn’t legally shoot things, Amber pursued her second career choice as pastry chef. When she’s not writing or whipping up a mean Snickers Cheesecake, she occasionally spies on her sommelier. Amber is convinced he’s faking his French accent.
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