Title: Only The Pretty Ones
Author: Karen M. Bryson
Genre: Romantic Crime Fiction
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.
She was the pretty one. She was the one who was taken.
Maxie Ford’s sister, Ella, has vanished.
When the police refuse to investigate, Maxie decides to take the law into her own hands.
With the help of a drug dealer, “Mickey Finn” Donovan, Maxie dives into the seedy underworld of the city in search of Ella.
What she discovers is a trafficking ring that abducts college girls for wealthy and high-powered men, and a legal system that is so corrupt no one is willing to stop them.
It’s the first time I’ve been out of my apartment in nearly a month and a drunk frat boy is engaged in a rambling conversation with my breasts.
I’m twenty-six. I’m getting too old for this shit.
I wonder if he’s even noticed that my knockers haven’t responded to any of his questions. The guy reeks of booze and cigarettes. All I want to do is escape, but he has me trapped between the end of the old wooden bar and the wall.
When he finally makes an effort to glance up at my face I feel like he’s focused on my chin. “What did you say your name was?”
He wobbles like a newbie surfer trying to ride his first wave. When he attempts to perch on one of the bar stools, he ends up falling on his ass.
My sister, Ella, talked me into accompanying her tonight. Normally I wouldn’t be caught dead at a sports bar frequented by the overprivileged college crowd. But Ella pleaded, and I didn’t want her to go alone.
I’m a poster child for the bad things that can happen to women when they’re left alone with drunk college guys. That’s why I prefer to limit my face-to-face social interactions to my sister, my best friend, and the mail carrier.
“I know you said you didn’t want to drink, but I brought you one anyway.” She hands me a glass filled with cheap beer.
How do I know it’s cheap? It’s the color of piss and smells worse than a portable potty on a hot summer day.
I place the glass on the edge of the bar. “Thanks anyway.”
“You could at least try to fit in.”
The problem with her request is that I’ve never fit in anywhere.
My sister is a freshman at my alma mater: Big State University. I graduated five years ago. My parents wanted me to attend one of those prestigious private universities that line the northern East Coast. I had the grades to get in, but lacked the social savvy to succeed in the Ivy League. I chose to attend a less prestigious institution where the only criteria for admission is a pulse. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. The school isn’t second rate, but it’s also not the Harvard of the Florida Gulf Coast as some of the administration would like prospective students to believe. I thought I’d blend in better at someplace like Big State University. I was wrong. I was just as much of a misfit there as anywhere else.
The bar is packed with Big State University students. It may be a different decade than when I was a student, but the social stratification is still the same.
And I’m still a misfit.
“Fitting in is overrated.” I glance down at the drunk frat boy who took the tumble. He’s fallen asleep on the filthy, beer-soaked floor in front of me. At least I think he’s asleep. I kick him in the ribs just to be sure he’s still alive. He moans in response. “This is not my idea of fun.”
Ella ignores my disparaging remarks. She glances around the bar. “I don’t see Sean anywhere.”
Sean Harrison is the guy who invited Ella to meet him at the bar tonight. He’s the guy she’s been talking about nonstop for over a week. The way she’s built him up I expect nothing less than a Prince Charming who is going to sweep her off her feet.
Of course romantic gestures like that only happen to girls in fairytales. They don’t happen to girls who hang out in grungy sports bars frequented by Big State students. We’re lucky if the guys we go home with remember our names the next morning.
Ella bites her perfectly-pink bottom lip as her bright blue eyes scan the bar. “He said he’d find us.”
“Find you. He said he’d find you.”
My younger sister has always been the pretty one. Long blonde hair. Sparking sapphire eyes. Perfect features. Being pretty is the reason she’s holding a beer in her hand when she’s only eighteen. When she wants something, men rarely tell her no.
“Why are you always so down on yourself?”
Because when people can’t think of anything else to say about me, their go-to line is at least she’s smart. As if that’s a compliment. That’s what people say to parents when they have a kid who is awkward and unattractive.
“I’m a realist.”
“No, you’re a cynic.”
“Enough about me. I thought we were talking about your Prince Charming.”
Karen M. Bryson is known for writing new adult, love in midlife, contemporary romance and romantic crime fiction with a little spice and lots of heart. She is a winner of the prestigious RONE Award for Excellence in the Indie and Small Publishing Industry.
Karen is also an award-winning/optioned screenwriter.
When she's not at her computer creating spicy stories Karen likes to spend time with her husband and their bloodhounds. Karen has previously written under the pen names REN MONTERREY, SAVANNAH YOUNG, SIERRA AVALON and USA TODAY Bestselling author DAKOTA MADISON.