With A Hitch by RC Boldt
Release Date: March 19th
With A Hitch, an all-new standalone contemporary romance by RC Boldt.
She’s playing it safe. He’s playing for keeps.
Growing up in the foster system, I learned the hard way that lasting love doesn’t always come easy. Dating in the modern era can be daunting; the bar scene and dating apps leave you wondering if there’s any hope in sight.
That’s where I come in. Helping you break the “swipe-right” cycle, I’m dedicated to matching you with the love of your life.
Finding Mrs. Right for Dax Kendrick should be a piece of cake. Except nothing about this man is simple.
The NFL has given me more than I ever imagined—a roof over my head, food on the table, and a chance to provide for the family who sacrificed everything while I chased my dreams.
Maintaining a squeaky-clean image for my sponsors when my paycheck and the fruits of my endorsements are all the women want is a hefty challenge.
I’d nearly given up when I hired Darcy Cole. Yet the more I’m around her, the less I care about finding my perfect match.
Because it might be right in front of me.
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* * *
“Where’s my favorite girl?” I call out, entering my childhood home.
“I’m here, Uncle Dax!” my niece, Violet, hollers through the house just before her quick footsteps follow.
My parents refused to let me buy them a new house once I started putting money in the bank. Mom didn’t want the neighbors to think she and Dad thought they were better than anyone else. This means my parents, my sister, and niece, all still live in the fifteen-hundred-square-feet home I grew up in.
I did pay off their mortgage as well as my sister’s student loans before I set up a college fund for my niece, much to their dismay. But let’s be honest, it’s the least I could do for a family who’s always been there for me.
Dad refused to retire from the hardware store, but I at least got him to agree to go from full-time to part-time a few years ago. It took some aggressive bargaining, but when I’d shown him how well the account I’d started for them with my financial planner had been doing, he’d finally relented.
“Hey! I thought I was your favorite girl!” another female voice protests.
“Well, I don’t know,” I hedge. “Depends on if you made any chocolate chip cookies.”
My mother promptly swats at me with a laugh, the little crinkles at the corners of her eyes becoming more pronounced. The guys always say I resemble my mom, and even though I know they say it in more of a shit talking, you look like your mama kind of way, it’s still true. She and I have the same smile, and although her skin is darker than mine—my dad’s the odd man out in the family with fair white skin—there’s no mistaking me for being her son.
I pull her close for a hug, and she pats my back, mumbling, “I swear, you just keep getting more muscles every time I see you.” The top of her head barely reaches my shoulder, and her dark hair seems like it has more gray threaded in it each time I see her.
“Don’t give him a bigger head than he already has.”
My eyes catch sight of Violet and my sister, Ava, entering the small kitchen. Mom releases me, and Violet rushes past her mother intent on getting to me first. I bend and scoop her up in a big hug.
“Uncle Dax, I missed you.” Her whispered words wrap themselves around me.
“I missed you, too, love bug.” God, I swear, she’s growing like a damn weed lately. Once I set her on her feet, she starts talking a mile a minute.
“Oh my gosh, Uncle Dax! You’re not going to believe what happened the other day in gymnastics camp. That girl I told you about—the one who was saying my hair was weird and stuff—well, I finally had enough, and I did what you told me to do.”
All eyes are suddenly on me. Trust me when I say this is not what a man wants in this household because it normally means I’m in deep shit.
“Uh, remind me again what I told you?” I say slowly, praying to God above that I hadn’t made some idiotic, off-the-cuff comment as a joke, and she took me seriously.
Violet gives me one of those old people are so forgetful looks. “You said I could use sarcasm because most people who are mean and rude don’t understand it, and it’ll go over their head and be a beautiful inside joke for you and everyone else who doesn’t have shit for brains.”
“Violet,” my mother and Ava say in unison, flashing me a stern look.
Violet grimaces. “Sorry. But I was quoting him.” Then she picks right up. “And then you said I should let it roll off my shoulders like it doesn’t bother me.” She grins happily. “Well, I did a combination of the two. And she’s totally left me alone ever since.” My niece pumps a fist in the air. “Go Team Kendrick!”
“Way to go!” We exchange a high five. Sobering, I school my face in a stern expression. “Remember not to cuss, though. It’s not ladylike.”
Her sweet face peers up at me, so adorably cute with such seriousness that it takes all my effort to not break into a smile. “How about ‘crap’?”
“Uh…” I flick my eyes to Ava, who makes a face before shrugging. “I think that one can be okay, as long as it’s not overused.”
Violet nods. “Noted.” God, this kid is such an old soul sometimes. “I’m going to practice my backflips for gymnastics some more out back.” In a flash, she’s gone.
I sag against the counter. “Man, two minutes, and I’m exhausted.”
My sister sidles up beside me and snickers. “As if Mr. Gatorade himself ever gets exhausted.”
I toss her a sharp look. “Seriously? One advertising campaign for a sports drink, and you’re giving me sh—”
“Ahem!” our mother clears her throat pointedly.
“Crap.” Mom nods in approval, and I continue. “About it?” I place a palm flat against the center of my chest, feigning sadness. “Where’s the love?”
She shoves at me playfully. “You get enough love from all your admirers.”
Mom huffs. “You need to settle down with a nice woman.”
“Speaking of a nice woman…” I press my lips thin, trying to figure out how to best tell them I decided to use a matchmaking service, but decide to throw caution to the wind. “I hired a professional,” I blurt out.
As if in slow motion, my mother turns around slowly from where she’s stirring something on the stove. My sister’s jaw goes slack. And they both gape at me.
Just the reaction a guy wants.
My mother’s expression is horrified. Not quite what I was expecting, but then again, she’s always been a spitfire.
“Dax Allen Kendrick! I forbid it!”
I rear back, confused as hell. “Why would you forbid it?”
Her jaw drops, and she gasps indignantly. “Why would I forbid it?!” She turns to my sister, her voice increasing in volume. “Why would I forbid it?!”
“Say it again, Mom. Not sure we heard you the first time,” my sister deadpans.
If my mother didn’t have a freaking wooden spoon in her hand, I’d let out the laugh aching to break free. I got to know that sucker really well through my early years, and even though I’m older, I don’t put it past my mother to come at me with that thing.
Speaking of which, my right ass cheek starts to throb in remembrance at the mere sight of that spoon.
I hold up my hands. “Calm down, Mom.” Shit. I didn’t expect this reaction. “Look, she’s great at what she does and—”
The hand holding the wooden spoon rises another inch, and I flinch in response. “Don’t you tell me what she’s great at, young man!”
I look at my sister, silently pleading for help. She merely shrugs, wide-eyed, with an I don’t pretend to understand her look.
Great. I’m left to fend for myself once again.
“Can you just put that thing”—I gesture to the spoon in her hand—“down, so I can explain?”
My mother’s lips purse like she’s just bit into the sourest of lemons. Her eyes practically spew fire at me. “Fine.” Her tone is curt. “But you’re not too old to get swatted with it, young man,” she warns with a pointed look.
My hands fly to my ass protectively, and my sister snorts. I glare at her, and she simply sticks her tongue out at me in response.
Some things never change.
“Okay, so Ivy, Becket’s wife—”
My mother’s expression instantly softens. “Such a sweet girl, that one.” Then with a stern look, she adds, “You need to find someone like that.”
I draw in a deep breath, praying for patience. “Ivy’s business partner, Darcy, runs a matchmaking service and—” At the odd expression on my mother’s face, I stop. “What’s that look for?”
“Oh, honey.” She lets out a long sigh before spinning around to tend to the saucepan on the stove.
I stare at my sister expectantly. Her lips twitch as though she’s attempting to restrain a smile. I wave her on. “Say it.”
She snickers. “Mom thought when you said ‘professional,’ you meant prostitute.”
I whip around to stare at my mother. “Are you serious?!” What the hell? “You really think I’d hire a freaking prostitute?”
“Apparently so,” my sister chimes in with a smirk.
I toss up my hands in exasperation. “I can’t believe you think I’d resort to that.”
“Well,” my sister starts, “you have been single for a while.”
“That doesn’t mean I’d hire a prostitute for fu—” Mom’s head whips around in warning, and I correct myself quickly. “For God’s sake.”
“What’s a prostitute?”
Fucking hell. Violet’s just come back inside.
“Nothing.” That’s my mother’s response.
“A person who makes bad choices.” My sister’s no-nonsense response.
“A woman who sells—” This time, I really do get swatted with the wooden spoon. As if it doesn’t sting enough against my bare forearm, I now have a line of pasta sauce on it too.
I grin and make a show of licking the sauce off my skin. Mom hates that.
She raises the spoon threateningly, and I hold up my hands in surrender. “I just want to be loved. What’s a guy have to do to get some love these days?”
“Pretty sure you already know what you have to do to get some love,” my sister mutters under her breath.
I jab an index finger in her direction and give her a sharp look. “Watch it, or I’ll tell Mom who broke that angel statue she brought home from a garage sale.”
Ava’s expression morphs into astonishment. “You swore you’d never bring that up!” Her lips curve suddenly in a devious smile. “As long as I never tell Mom what happened to that pair of booty shorts she got you for twenty-five cents.”
“What shorts?” my mother asks.
I stare at her in complete disbelief. “Seriously? You’re more worried about the hideous shorts that put my junk on display than the statue she broke?”
My mother sputters. “But you said you loved those shorts!”
I glance up at the ceiling, hoping for divine intervention, which, of course, never comes. “Mom,” I say with exaggerated patience. “The shorts were cut so high I would’ve had to wax.”
“Well, you could’ve said so,” she huffs, turning back to the stove. “They were a great deal.”
“I’m sure they were a steal for a quarter.” My sister snickers at my sarcastic response, and we burst out laughing.
Our mom’s been a fan of garage sales for as far back as we can remember. Sometimes she brings home some decent stuff, but more often than not, it ends up being some hideous “treasure.”
Hence the shorts.
“You two are gonna get it!” Mom warns, raising that infamous wooden spoon once more.
Man, it’s good to be home.
About RC Boldt
RC Boldt enjoys long walks on the beach, running, reading, people watching, and singing karaoke. If you’re in the mood for some killer homemade mojitos, can’t recall the lyrics to a particular 80’s song, or just need to hang around a nonconformist who will do almost anything for a laugh, she’s your girl.
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