Hundred Reasons (Money For Love Series) Chapter 1 – Ali Parker

Hundred Reasons (Money For Love Series) Chapter 1

Release Date: TOMORROW!

Chapter 1


My hands gripped the steering wheel while Samson rambled on beside me. He was talking a mile a minute about some girl he’d spent the night with. I tried to pay attention, to care, but after twenty minutes of his babbling, my patience was gone.

“Sam,” I snapped. “Enough.”

Samson fell silently immediately. I could feel his eyes on my face. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched his head turn away. I’d hurt his feelings.

“I’m sorry,” I said, though I wasn’t. “We just need to focus, all right? We’re almost there.”

“What is this place?” he asked without looking at me.

“Some fish restaurant,” I said. “Great location. We could make a killing off the property resale. And they’re three months behind on rent.”

“Three months?” Samson whistled softly. “Damn. That’s terrible.”

“For them.” I shrugged.

“You really are heartless, aren’t you?”

“It’s just business, Sammy,” I said.

“Don’t call me that,” Samson said sharply. He jerked his head around to face me. “You know I hate it.”

“You’re right. I’m sorry.”


I glanced at him as he turned his head toward the window again. He was upset that I’d cut off his diatribe. Samson’s sexual conquests were a source of great pride for him. He loved to tell me every detail, no matter how little interest I showed.

“So,” I said with a sigh. “Her name’s Tiffany?”

Samson immediately perked up. He looked back at me with a grin. I shook my head but shot him a small smile.

“She’s hotter than anyone I’ve ever fucked,” Samson said. “Seriously, man, this chick … Holy shit.”

“Are you going to see her again?” I asked pointedly.

“Why do you have to ruin all my fun?” Samson whined.

“It’s just a question.” I shrugged.

“No,” Samson said. “I’m not going to see her again. This train keeps moving, Declan, no matter how many stops it makes.”

“You’re a dick.” I laughed.

Samson cackled and punched my shoulder. He started talking about last night again. Like before, I tried to listen. It was important to him. As his older brother, I knew Samson worshipped me. He gave me crap for being a “boring recluse,” but he didn’t mean it. My approval meant everything to him. The least I could do was feign interest.

“We’re here,” I said as I spotted the restaurant up ahead.

“Great,” Samson said. He sat up a little straighter as I turned the wheel of my truck.

We pulled into a spot right next to the front door. Samson unbuckled his seatbelt and made to grab the door handle. I put my hand firmly on his shoulder to claim his attention.

“What?” He frowned.

“Remember to let me do the talking, all right?”

“Yes, sir,” Samson said, giving me a condescending salute.

I rolled my eyes and let him go.

We walked through the front door, and my nostrils were assaulted by a pungent fish smell. My eyes watered from the smell, but from what I could see, the décor was just as rotten as the food.

“This place is a shit hole,” I said under my breath.

“Be nice,” Samson hissed.

The hostess hurried toward us with a bright smile plastered on her face. Her lipstick was hooker red. I fought the urge to roll my eyes as I watched her look Samson up and down with interest.

My little brother resembled me only in stature. We were built the same, and our heights differed by only an inch, but our similarities ended there. My jet-black hair made his light brown look almost blond. While my eyes were icy blue, Samson’s were a subtle hazel that drew people to him.

“Hey there,” the hostess said, her voice low and husky. “Just two?”

“Just us.” Samson smiled and threw her a pitying wink.

She giggled and led the way toward a table in the center of the restaurant. As we walked, I looked around. The place was practically deserted. Only one other customer could be seen. He sat alone in the very back of the dining room.

“We’re a little short-staffed,” the waitress said after we sat down, “so I’ll be your waitress today. Drinks?”

“Water for me,” I said.

“Iced tea,” Samson said.

She nodded and hurried to the kitchen, glancing back at Samson before she slipped through the door.

“Do you have to do that everywhere we go?” I asked. “We’re working.”

“She was cute.” Samson shrugged.

“And we’re probably about to buy out her place of employment,” I said.

“You don’t know that,” Samson said. “Maybe they’ll pull themselves out of the hole.”

“Don’t get your hopes up.”

Samson fell silent. We perused the menu, but I didn’t have any plans to eat. Just the smell of the restaurant made my stomach turn.

“I’m thinking gumbo,” Samson said. “You?”

“You’ll have a stomachache for days.”

“Have you eaten here?” he asked.

“Don’t you smell that?”

“It’s a little ripe,” Samson said with a shrug.

“Rotten is the word you’re looking for.”

“Didn’t you eat dirt and twigs and shit?” Samson asked, a challenge in his voice. “How can you be afraid of a little seafood?”

“The dirt and twigs smelled better than this place.”

“Whatever you say, Sergeant Gamble.”

I shot him a warning look. He dropped his gaze back down to his menu. Samson knew better than to talk about my time in the military. It wasn’t a part of my life I liked to relive, especially not when my mind was supposed to be focused on work.

“What can I get you guys?” the hostess-waitress asked when she returned with our drinks.

“Bowl of the gumbo,” Samson said.

“Just a fried calamari appetizer for me,” I said.

“That it?” she asked.

“Is the owner in today?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

“Frank?” she asked. “Sure. You know him?”

“Not personally,” I said. “Would you mind asking him to join us?”

“Um,” she frowned nervously, “sure thing.”

“Thank you.” I smiled.

She hurried away from the table. When I looked back at Samson, his eyes were narrowed in disapproval.

“What?” I sighed.

“We haven’t even eaten yet, Declan.”


“Nothing.” He shook his head and looked away.

It was a few minutes before Frank appeared at our table. He was a short, fat man with a large bald spot on the back of his head. I could tell he was pushing sixty, but the smile on his face made him look younger.

“Hello there,” he said. “Stacy said you two wanted to see me? Have I seen you in here before?”

“No, sir,” I said simply. “Would you take a seat?”

Frank frowned. He looked from me to Declan and then back again. His confusion was evident, but he sat down all the same.

“What can I do for you boys?”

“I’m Declan Gamble,” I said. “And this is my brother, Samson. We run Gamble Realty. Have you heard of it?”

“No, I can’t say that I have,” Frank said politely.

“We specialize in refurbishment,” I said. “We buy older properties, fix them up, and then sell them.”

“Uh-huh.” Frank’s eyes lost their kind nature as understanding suddenly dawned on him.

“I know about the bills, Frank.” I stared him down. “Three months behind on rent. Water and electricity cut off twice over the past six months.”

“I don’t see how that’s—”

“Look,” I said quickly, “we aren’t here to bust your balls, all right? We know how tough things can be. The restaurant industry is a fickle bitch.”

Frank didn’t say anything. His eyes were fixed on my face. The boyish smile from before was nothing but a distant memory. I watched as he grew more uncomfortable with each word I spoke.

“What my brother is trying to say,” Samson said softly, “is that we want to offer our assistance if you’re interested.”

“Assistance?” Frank asked, turning to Samson.

“Have you thought about selling?” Samson asked gently.

Frank didn’t answer, but his attention remained on Samson. It wasn’t a surprise. Everyone preferred dealing with Samson. He was young and naïve, easily manipulated. He didn’t know how to push people. He hadn’t yet realized that friendship and business never mixed well.

“No,” Frank said. “I haven’t.”

“That’s a lie.”

Both Frank and Samson whipped their heads around to face me. Samson looked worried, but Frank was downright pissed.

“Excuse me?” he snapped. “Who do you think you are?”

“Someone who knows a lie when he hears it,” I said without emotion. “Frank, you’re in way over your head, and we both know it. There’s no way you haven’t at least considered selling this money pit.”

“It’s not a money pit!”

“It’s also not profitable,” I said.

Frank glared at me, his face slowing turning red. I’d pushed his buttons. It was time to pull back before I ruined our chances to make the sale.

“Listen,” I said just as Stacy reappeared with our food. “Think about it, all right?”

“There’s nothing to think about,” Frank said. “I have no interest in selling.”

“Thank you, Stacy,” I said. “But, I think we’d better take this to go.”

“Sure,” Stacy said. “I’ll grab some boxes.”

We stayed silent until Stacy returned. She handed a bowl to Samson for his gumbo and a box to me for the calamari.

“Thank you.” I smiled and then looked back at Frank. “Like I said, think about it. We’ll be back.”

“Is that some sort of threat?” Frank asked.

“Of course not.” I laughed. “Why would I want to threaten you? We’re here to help. When things take yet another turn for the worse, you know you’ll have someone in your corner, someone to take this place off your hands.”

Frank opened his mouth to argue, but I stood up before he could get a word out.

“Thank you,” Samson said quickly. “For your time.”

“Leave him a card, Sammy,” I said. “I’ll meet you at the truck.”

Without another word, I walked briskly to the front door and stepped outside. Samson stayed behind for a few minutes to pay the bill and undoubtedly playing the good cop to my bad.

“Was that necessary?” he asked when we were back on the road.

“What?” I asked.

“You didn’t have to be a jackass,” Samson said. “That man was clearly upset. His restaurant means a lot to him and—”

“And that’s not our problem.”

“Do you ever feel bad about what we do?” he asked. “Does it ever even faze you?”

“Why would it?” I asked.

“Because these people are losing something,” he said. “Some of them have built their businesses from the ground up. Some are forced to sell a family legacy. It’s heartbreaking, and you just waltz in there as if you couldn’t care less. You’re a total dick to them, and then you expect a thank you.”

“I never expect a thank you,” I said simply.

“Fine.” Samson shook his head. “Still. You could at least try to have some compassion.”

“Why?” I shrugged. “It’s business, Samson. That’s all. None of this is personal.”

“It is to them.”

“We aren’t them,” I said. “We don’t even know them.”

“They’re still people, Declan.”

“Look.” I sighed. “If you can’t learn to distance yourself, you’ll never be successful. This company can’t survive off compassion, all right? We make our money from buying and selling properties. It’s black and white. Simple. Clean. Cut and dry. Do you understand?”

“Maybe that’s not how I want to do things,” Samson said.

“Then, you won’t make any money.”

Samson didn’t argue, though I knew he wanted to. His youth showed whenever we had these discussions. He, unlike me, had spent his entire life sheltered from the real world. He’d never spent more than two weeks away from Virginia Beach.

Sometimes, I felt bad for being so hard on him, but he had to learn. The real world wasn’t kind. It wasn’t full of silver spoons. It was tough, and if you didn’t get tough right back, you would fail.


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  • Trish Turney says:

    I think this book will be another best seller for you

  • Nancy Newsom says:

    Your characters are very strong & opinionated especially Declan. Easy to relate to. Declan is definitely the strong military no no nonsense man. I can’t wait to read the rest of your book. Thank you Ali for all your great books!

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