5 Words to Describe Marco Vieri (and the excerpts to prove it!)
I’m very excited to be at Great Minds Think Aloud to celebrate the release of my newest contemporary romance, Her Forbidden Hero. This book features a friends-to-lovers story involving a wounded Special Forces veteran and his best friend’s little sister—two story lines I personally love and hope readers will, too!
I thought I’d spend some time introducing you to the hero, Marco Vieri, who might just be my favorite hero I’ve ever written! So, I’ll give you five words that describe him, and then an excerpt to back each of them up! Here we go:
“Any chance you’re going to explain the silent treatment?”
He glared her way, then set the empty dishwasher racks off to the side on the floor.
“Marco, I don’t understand—”
“You got that right.”
“Got what right? I don’t even know what we’re talking about. All I know is you’re kinda being an asshole and I haven’t the foggiest idea what I…”
The words died in her throat as Marco abruptly turned, stalked across the space behind the bar, and flipped up the counter in front of her. She retreated as he stepped through the gap, and then he grabbed her by the arms—firm enough that she knew he had her, but not enough to hurt.
“How many times did you get grabbed out there tonight? Huh?” He pushed her back one step, then another, until her spine came flush against something unyielding. He braced his hands on the wall above her shoulders and towered over her, six-foot-three-inches of pissed-off versus five-foot-four-inches of turned-on. “How many guys laid their fucking paws on you?”
Alyssa could barely breathe, let alone respond. Her heart was a speeding train in her chest. How had he even known what had happened on the floor, anyway? Besides, she’d handled it. Kim had prepared her for the rowdy ones, plus you didn’t grow up in a violent household without knowing how to dodge some unwanted contact. The self-defense classes she’d taken in college taught her the rest. So what if one guy kept putting his arm around her shoulders when she leaned in to take his orders and another grabbed her ass? No blood, no foul, and all that.
“I can tell you this goddamn much. There is at least one man in this town who is lucky to be alive tonight.”
“Marco,” she whispered.
He pounded his fist on the wall. “I can’t…you c-can’t…” He shook his head.
“Marco,” she said again. “I’m okay.”
He stared at her a long moment, blue eyes blazing and his breathing hard. Slowly, he leaned in, his tongue flicking his bottom lip.
Alyssa’s mouth dropped open. Oh, God, how many times had she dreamed of this? She tilted her head and held his gaze, her whole body alive with anticipation. Her hand fisted in his shirt, pulling him in or pulling herself up—she wasn’t sure which.
While Alyssa was still sweet—and still Brady’s younger sister—she wasn’t little. She wasn’t a girl. She should be off-limits—no, she was off-limits, for so many reasons—but his body didn’t seem to be getting the message.
Truth be told, his body wasn’t the only one ignoring what ought to be accepted fact. Her presence, her touch, the kindness and acceptance in her eyes—all of these offered the promise of comfort in a way little else had this past year. Her laugh and her positivity uncovered a part of him—the old Marco—he’d been unable to find in the darkness and confusion of his damaged mind. Problem was, he saw the idolization in her eyes, too. While she thought she was looking at the guy she’d known four years ago, and for a lifetime before that, she had no idea he was
only half the man he’d been.
And when she figured it out, seeing the realization on her face would slay him.
Even if she could grow to accept who he was now, would it really be fair of him to ask her to accept less than she deserved?
Because Alyssa Scott deserved it all.
The guy staggered but clearly wasn’t taking no for an answer.
Marco developed tunnel vision as his hand cranked down on the guy’s shoulder and whipped him around. His right fist cocked back and exploded forward, busting open the man’s cheekbone on impact. The scumbag stumbled before crashing onto his back.
Marco was on him in an instant. Voices sounded in the distance as he wailed on the asshole who had dared touch the woman he loved. Jesus, what would’ve happened if he’d come out five or ten minutes later?
“Marco! Stop! Come on, Marco!” A thick arm wrapped around his neck and jerked him back. Marco swung. “He’s down, man. He’s down,” said the voice.
Marco’s heart was a wild thing in his chest. His gaze scanned for Alyssa, but he couldn’t find her in the crowd of spectators. When had all these people gotten here?
Every day, Alyssa became more and more appealing to him. Her looks, her smile, her big heart—everything about her lured him in, made him want more, made him want it all, with her. Which was just not fucking possible.
Hating the realization, Marco watched her enter the dining room and approach one of her tables. Much as he wished otherwise, he was too damn jaded and broken for someone as young and hopeful as Alyssa. Sure, it might be okay for a few months, but what about in a year or five years? His bitterness and pain would wear her down until he saw it reflected back to himself through her eyes. And that would kill him.
They walked into the break room and found a table of food and three guys already digging in. Everyone looked up from their plates and their collective surprise at his appearance in the break room was nearly a tangible thing. Making friends hadn’t exactly been his main objective. Then the men’s attention shifted and everyone gave Alyssa an appraising glance that made Marco want to put his arm around her. Was the V-neck cut of her shirt a little low or was it just him? He just barely resisted the protective gesture and instead forced himself to make introductions.
“Guys, this is Alyssa Scott. Pete just hired her as a new waitress. Alyssa, this is Tommy, Eric, and Van.”
She grasped the back of the chair next to Eric. “Hey.”
Eric rose and gestured to the chair. She stepped away and he pulled it out for her, both of their cheeks pinking as she sat.
Marco eyeballed Eric, groaning internally as he saw the awe settling onto the younger man’s face. Fucking perfect.
So, did I make my case?
If so, tell me which of the five pieces of evidence you most enjoyed and why! Oh, and GIVEAWAY!: I’ll offer one commenter who leaves their email address an ebook of Her Forbidden Hero. Good luck!
And thanks so much for reading! ~Laura Kaye
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About Her Forbidden Hero:
You always want what you can't have...
She's always been off-limits...
Former Army Special Forces Sgt. Marco Vieri has never thought of Alyssa Scott as more than his best friend's little sister, but her return home changes that...and challenges him to keep his war-borne demons at bay. Marco's not the same person he was back when he protected Alyssa from her abusive father, and he's not about to let her see the mess he's become.
...but now she's all grown up.
When Alyssa takes a job at the bar where Marco works, her carefree smiles wreak havoc on his resolve to bury his feelings. How can he protect her when he can't stop thinking about her in his bed? But Alyssa's not looking for protection--not anymore. Now that she's back in his life, she's determined to heal her forbidden hero, one touch at a time...
About Laura Kaye:
Voted Breakout Author of the Year in the 2011 GraveTells Readers’ Choice Awards, Laura is the bestselling and award-winning author of over a half-dozen books in paranormal, contemporary and erotic romance. Hearts in Darkness is the EPIC eBook Award Winner for Best Novella and HOLT Medallion Award of Merit Winner for Best Romance Novella, Forever Freed is the NJRW Golden Leaf Winner for Best Paranormal of 2011 and is a finalist for two GDRWA Booksellers’ Best Awards, and North of Need, the first book in the Hearts of the Anemoi series, is a finalist for a FF&P PRISM award, was named GraveTells’ Best Book of 2011 and won their 5-STAR Gold Heart Award, and won Sizzling Hot Read of the Year at Sizzling Hot Books. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.