Home > Bad Cruz

Bad Cruz
Author: L.J. Shen


Title Page


About This Book




Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four



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From Wall Street Journal bestselling author L.J. Shen comes a romantic comedy that will make you fall in love…or at least stumble your way to it, laughing.


I would say Dr. Cruz Costello is my archenemy.

But that would require acknowledging one another, which we haven’t done in over a decade.


He’s the town’s golden child. The beloved quarterback-turned-physician.

I’m the girl who got knocked up at sixteen and now works at a diner.


He is Fairhope royalty.

I get my monarch dose from tabloid gossip.


He’s well-off.

I’m…well, off.


When our siblings get engaged, Cruz’s parents invite both families to a pre-wedding cruise.

Except Cruz and I find ourselves stuck on a different ship from everyone else.

Cue ten horrible, insufferable days at sea with a man I cannot stand.

(My fault, of course.)

But when the alcohol pours in, the secrets spill out, and I’m left with one question:

Can I take another chance on love?



“When women go wrong, men go right after them.”—Mae West.



“True love is singing karaoke ‘Under Pressure’ and letting the other person sing the Freddie Mercury part.”—Mindy Kaling.



To the real Mrs. Turner. You can have the Freddie Mercury part any day of the week.



The important thing to remember is that I, Tennessee Lilybeth Turner, did not try to kill anyone.

Look, I’m not saying I haven’t contemplated killing people in the past, nor am I virtuous enough to declare that I would be terribly sad to learn if some people (fine, most people) in this town found their unfortunate, untimely demise.

But taking a person’s life?


That’s something I am one-hundred percent incapable of doing.

Mentally, I mean.

Physically, I could totally take a bitch down if I put my mind to it. I’m in pretty good shape from working on my feet all day carrying twenty-pound trays full of greasy food.

Emotionally, I just couldn’t live with myself if I knew I’d made someone else’s heart stop beating.

And then there’s the going to jail part, which I’m not super hot on, either. Not that I’m spoiled or anything, but I’m a picky eater, and I’ve never had a roommate. Why start now?

Plus, I sort of reached my sin quota for the past three decades. Killing someone at this point would be—excuse my pun—overkill. Like I’m hogging all of the bad press Fairhope, North Carolina has allotted to its citizens.

There Messy Nessy goes again. With her out-of-wedlock baby, throat-punching tendencies and spontaneous murders.

(I shall explain the throat-punching incident in due time. Context is crucial for that story.)

So, now that it is established that I definitely, certainly, unquestionably did not try to kill anyone, there is one thing I should make clear:

Gabriella Holland deserved to die.



There was a ninety-nine point nine percent chance I was going to kill someone in this diner this sunny, unassuming afternoon.

The teenager with the yellow Drew hoodie, colorful braces, and stoned expression deliberately dropped his fork under the table of the red vinyl booth he occupied.

“Oops,” he drawled wryly. “Clumsy me. Are you gonna pick that up, or what?”

He flashed me a grin full of metal and waffle chunks. His three friends cackled in the background, elbowing each other with meaningful winks.

I stared at him blankly, wondering if I wanted to poison or strangle him. Poison, I decided, was better. Might be a coward’s way to kill, but at least I wouldn’t have to risk a broken nail.

My gelled, pointy, Cardi-B-style nail art was precious to me.

His neck, decidedly, was not.

“Don’t you have hands?” I popped my pink gum in his face, batting my fake eyelashes, playing the part this town gave me, of the airheaded bimbo with the big blonde hair who was barely literate and destined to serve them burgers for eternity.

“I do, and I’d love to show you what they’re capable of.”

His friends howled, some of them rolling into a coughing fit, clapping and enjoying the show. I felt Jerry, my boss, glaring at me from across the counter while wiping it furiously with a dishcloth approximately the same age as me.

His gaze told me not to “accidentally” spit my gum into their fountain soda (Tim Trapp had it coming. He’d insinuated I should become a hooker to put my son through college). Apparently, we couldn’t afford the legal fee nor the problematic reputation.

Jerry was the owner of Jerry & Sons. The only problem with this wonderful name was that there were no sons.

I mean, there were.

They were alive and everything. They were just lazy and burned their unearned paychecks on women, gambling, alcohol, and pyramid schemes. Exactly in that order.

I knew, because they were supposed to work shifts here, and yet, most of the time, it was just me.

“Gotta problem, Turner?” Jerry chewed on tobacco. The leaves gave his teeth a strange hue of urine-yellow. He eyed me meaningfully from across the counter.

Dang it.

I needed to bite the bullet and just do it.

But I hated horny teenagers who only came in to check what was under my dress.

Jerry’s waitresses (or: me. I was the only waitress here) wore pretty skimpy dresses because he said it got them (again: me) better tips. It did not. Needless to say, wearing the uniform was a must. White and pink striped, and shorter than a bull’s fuse.

Since I was pretty tall for a woman, half my butt was on full display whenever I bent down in this outfit. I could always squat, but then I ran the risk of showing something even more demure than my tuchus.

“Well?” Yellow-hoodied boy slammed his fist against the table, making utensils clatter and plates full of hot, fluffy waffles fly an inch in the air. “Am I going to have to repeat myself? We all know why you’re wearing that dress, and it ain’t because you like the breeze.”

Jerry & Sons was the kind of small-town diner you saw in the movies and thought to yourself, there’s no way a crap-hole like this truly exists.

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