The Jackpot Screwer (Love in Dayton #2) - Nikki Ashton


Wow, what a joy it has been writing this the second book in the Dayton Valley series. I had no idea when I started how much I would grow to love these characters. Therefore, my first thanks go to the Maples, Jackson and Delaney families for talking to me and pretty much creating yourselves. I only hope you the reader love them and their craziness as much as I do.

Obviously, this book isn’t all down to me. I write the words and rely on a whole host of other people to get it out to you, the reader. So, here come the thank yous.

My alpha team - Donna, Lynn and Sarah. Without them and their guidance on plotlines and keeping me on the straight and narrow you could well be getting a murder mystery set on a pig farm in Norfolk—nothing wrong with that but not what I promised to write.

My beta readers, Cal, Sophie, Kimberley and Leanne who were the first to read the finished book and luckily loved it. A note to everyone—Carter belongs to Sophie and she will fight you for him if the need arises!

Anna Bloom for her usual work of excellence in the editing department. You have no idea how many times you could have been reading the words real and evidently but for her.

Lou Stock for the absolutely gorgeous cover. It is Bronte to a T. Also, thank you Lou for finding me the star who is Flora Burgos. Thank you, Flora, for getting my Texan right and being so sweet and kind.

I have to mention my Carter muse—I have no idea why I do this because they never see it. However, thank you to the gorgeous redhead, Ken Beck. You sir are a vision to behold and you can certainly stroke my puppies any day of the week.

Mr. A also gets a mention. His encouragement and love are sometimes what keep me going. The days when things are getting a little dark in the book world, he reminds me why I write—because I love making people smile. His words and the offer to pour me a rum and coke usually get me focused again.

As usual I want to thank you the reader. You may not always read the acknowledgements, but you really should. Be assured almost every writer will thank you because we couldn’t do this without you. Writing is hard work and lonely at times and we don’t always please everyone, no matter how hard we try. We are human and will make mistakes. We are emotional and get upset when people don’t like our words. We are however appreciative of every one of you for taking the time to read our books. So, thank you and here’s to a better future for all of us.

“Lollipop, open the damn door.”

“Go away, you pickle stealer.”

I swung around to face my best friend. “What the hell is she talking about? Why is she going on about me stealing some damn non-existent pickle?”

Hunter shrugged but had a huge, teeth flashing grin on his face, which was totally unwarranted. We were outside my girlfriend's house because only an hour ago she ended our relationship. In the local bar of all places. I had no idea why, only that she’d accused me of being a pickle stealer and said we were over – she doesn’t even eat pickles!

What made it worse was that it had all happened in front of my sister and best friend, who’d recently started going out. They were sickeningly loved up and had just returned from a quick sex session. Where they’d had sex, who the hell knew, but while they both had satisfied and smug grins, I was shrouded in misery and trying to reason with Bronte.

“This is not funny, dick head,” I hissed at Hunter. “If my sister ended things with you because you’d stolen her invisible pickle, I doubt you’d be smiling like that.”

“One, I would never steal Ellie’s pickle, and two, what the fuck? Lollipop?”

“And?” I asked, frowning at him. “You don’t have a cute nickname for Ellie?”

He colored a little and moved to bang on the Jackson’s door. “Bronte, just come out and speak to him.”

“What is it?” I asked giving him a wink, my misery momentarily forgotten as I tried to work out what nickname he could have for my sister. “Tell me, I won’t repeat it.”

Hunter rolled his eyes. “Yeah right. It’s marginal who’s the biggest gossip in this town you or Mrs. Callahan at the gas