Texas Bad Boy

By: Jean Brashear
Texas Heroes: The Gallaghers of Morning Star

Book Three

Everyone thinks Lacey DeMille is the next thing to royalty, a society girl with beauty, brains and money—but sexy Texas bad boy Devlin Marlowe knows better. Twenty years after being exiled in disgrace for daring to want her, the boy from the wrong side of the tracks has sweet revenge in his grasp…for only he knows that her whole life is built on a lie.

And revenge may be more costly than either of them can imagine.


Houston, Texas

Nineteen years ago

Moonlight drifted over her skin like the kiss of a lover. Devlin’s hands weren’t quite steady as they traced Lacey’s tender curves. With a reverence he hadn’t expected to feel, he brushed his lips against hers.

When Lacey gasped softly and tightened slender fingers in his hair, every last vestige of Dev’s desire for revenge flew away. Who her father was and how much Dev hated him didn’t matter anymore. All that mattered was that after this night, they would be forever changed. Forever bound.

“Dev?” Her voice trembled as his hands had.

“Shh, it’s all right. You’re so beautiful, Lacey.” At eighteen, his experience was not vast, but it was far greater than hers. He smiled, rewarded by the answering curve of hers, that lush, full mouth that drove him crazy.

“You’re the one who’s beautiful.” She trailed her fingers across his chest, and Dev thought he might die of pleasure.

“I’m a guy. I can’t be beautiful,” he protested.

She laughed faintly. “Shows what you know. If you could see yourself the way I see you…”

He wanted to ask what she saw, this girl who had everything, whose father kept Devlin’s family in thrall like a feudal king oppressed his serfs. But he didn’t really want to know—not tonight, when she was heaven in his arms. All that mattered tonight was that she wanted him—enough to make him her first. Her last, if he had anything to say about it.


He paused, looking solemnly into her wide, innocent silvery eyes. “Are you sure about this?”

He could see the pulse beating in her throat, feel the tremor of her nerves. His heart sank, but this was too important—she was too important—to rush.

Then she smiled, and the fear vanished. “I’m only afraid because I don’t know what to do. I want it to be you, Dev. Only you.”

His throat tightened. Lacey DeMille, the River Oaks princess, wanted Devlin Marlowe, the bad seed from the wrong side of the tracks. Dev kissed her with all the wonder he felt. Then he sat back on his heels in the moon-silvered gazebo and imprinted her on his memory for eternity—the girl he would never forget.

Lacey reached for him, and he bent to press another kiss as his hands began to unbutton his jeans—

“Lacey, is that you?” her father called out. “Is someone with you?”

The magic shattered under harsh, blinding light.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Charles DeMille’s voice fractured the night, bludgeoning its beauty with jagged, angry blows.

Lacey screamed, shrinking from the flashlight’s glare, wrapping her arms around her body.

Dev grabbed his t-shirt and slipped it over her head. He moved in front of her to protect her.

Her father knocked him to the ground with a roar of rage. “You worthless piece of trash—I told you to stay away from her. Who do you think you are, putting your filthy hands on my daughter?”

Dev jumped up to defend Lacey, but she scampered away from his touch as though it were poison. He tried to catch her gaze, but she was sobbing hysterically and grasping for her clothes.

“You can’t do this. Lacey and I—we’re in love.” Defiantly, Dev faced his nemesis.

“Love!” Charles DeMille’s laughter was a harsh bark. “You’re not fit to lick her boots.”

Dev waited for Lacey to speak up, to tell her father that it was true, that she loved him as he loved her, but she didn’t look at him, didn’t say a word. “Tell him, Lacey. We’re going to be together. Come with me now, tonight. I’ll take care of you, I swear I will.”

But Lacey only looked frightened.

Her father laughed at Dev as he had for three years, ever since the night Dev’s father had died in disgrace and everything had changed. “You can’t even take care of the family you have, can you, son? You’ll never amount to anything, and you damn sure won’t ever get near my daughter again. I’ll kill you if you try.”

Dev stared at the ground then, his mind roaring with rage at being humiliated in front of Lacey. He’d tried to care for his family, but DeMille held all the cards.