Protect Me Not (Un)Professionaly Yours, #2 by Natasha Ander’s is NOW AVAILABLE!
Some temptations are just not worth the complication.
Victoria Hollingsworth does not need a surly, uncommunicative bodyguard cramping her style, following her everywhere, and intimidating any would-be male callers. She’s a florist for goodness sake, not a princess or a pop star. Having a massive, mysterious bodyguard always hovering is an inconvenience. And yet… there he is, Tyler Chambers, her unwanted protector, ultra-serious, no-nonsense, and off-the-charts hot. Vicki doesn’t want, or need, him as a bodyguard. Yet, disturbingly, he may be everything she wants, and needs, in a man.
Ty hates his current long-term assignment. It’s mind-numbingly tedious. Vicki Hollingsworth is a pain in the butt who talks too much, laughs a lot, and frequently tests his patience. And her life isn’t exactly filled with intrigue and action. Ty is ready for this job to be over. He has a couple of months left before reassignment. So close to being out of here he can taste it. The last thing he needs is to suddenly find his cute-as-a-button charge irresistibly attractive. She’s not his type. Wholesome, adorable, and sweet, Vicki is the kind of woman who needs long-term commitment. And all Ty has to offer is a few short weeks of far-from-wholesome pleasure.
How much chaos can one little florist introduce into his regimented life? Ty is about to find out.
“Hey, Garrett,” I returned with haphazard enthusiasm after he made it to the circle booth and nudged me over with his hip. Garrett and I used to be close. We were the same age and had been the best of friends until hormones, other friends, and teenage angst—mostly mine—caused us to drift apart somewhere around age fifteen. We’d remained cordial to each other during our high school years, often running with the same crowd and sometimes even hanging out, but we’d no longer been best friends. I hadn’t spent a lot of time alone with Garrett over the last decade and a half; he’d blown out of Green Valley after graduation to go to college, then enlisted in the Marines right after. He’d been back for about four years and the laws of small-town living dictated that I saw him all the time. Small talk was our thing now—chitchat, a gathering of mutual friends here at Genie’s, the occasional family barbeque, that kind of stuff. “I got stood up, there are too many assholes named Chris in Green Valley, and now I’m totally freaking drunk and alone.” I felt like I could admit it to him. Garrett had always kept my secrets, and he’d know everything soon enough anyway.
His gaze warmed on me as his easy smile slid to the side. “Well, whoever he is, he’s a fool. And, weirdly, I’ve only met one Chris who was worth a damn. The rest? All pricks. So, it seems like you’re better off.” He was decisive as he stole my water and took a sip with his eyes twinkling at me over the rim of the glass. I watched him set the glass down and my own eyes narrowed as his grin broadened and his dimples deepened within the dark whiskers that covered his square jaw. He was close to having a full beard. He was also pretty dang close to being the finest man in the whole stinking bar too. He leaned in, right into my space. “You should have stayed married to me,” he murmured into my ear, then his eyes met and held mine as he pulled away. My eyebrows hit my hairline and I barely managed to prevent my jaw from dropping before I shot back a response that I hoped conveyed the proper amount of flippant wit
and not the fact that he had completely flabbergasted me. He hadn’t flirted with me like this when I saw him at the Piggly Wiggly last Saturday. No, he surely did not. “We were six years old, Garrett. I don’t think it was legally binding, since your dog performed the ceremony. Plus, you never even gave me a ring. Ring Pops don’t count.” I mean, two could play at whatever strange game this was clearly becoming.
Instead of answering me right away, he winked and studied my face with a grin. That wink hit me right between my eyes like a Nerf dart from our days of yore—I didn’t just see it, I felt it. Bam! Tingles shot from my head to my toes. My brain scrambled inside my head and my mouth opened to say something smart, but nothing came out. Freaking tequila! I shook my metaphorical fist at the liquor that had stunted my normal standard of witty banter.
“But we pinky swore it, Coop.” His comically exaggerated pout was adorable. I felt my cheeks heat as I found myself staring avidly at his mouth in lusty contemplation, rather than just merely reading his lips. Why had I never noticed how full and bitable his lower lip was? I bet it was tasty too. “Remember how we spit into our palms to seal the deal?” he asked. I shook my head while my eyes roamed all over every inch of him I could see above the table.
“How soon they forget.” His chest rose and fell as he let out a huge sigh, and to my shame, my eyes bugged out at the sight. All my thoughts fluttered around in my brain like drunk, demented butterflies. Why was winky-flirt Garrett messing me up? I decided to place the blame on the tequila instead of the fact that he was looking ten different kinds of hot tonight. I finally managed to haul my gaze from his broad chest, which was currently testing the strength of his black T-shirt, and back up to his whiskey brown eyes that were still freaking twinkling at me.
Ugh! There was nowhere to look on him that wasn’t sexy, damn it.
And was he flirting with me?
We’d known each other since babyhood, for crap’s sake. We used to take baths together—me, him, and Mr. Bubble. We’d never flirted before. Ever.
“4 – You don’t have to be healed to be loved, Stars!”
PUBLICATION DATE: September 28, 2021
This is a wonderfully written small-town romance about two childhood best friends who find themselves in a situation where they share one kiss that has them thinking there might be more than just friendship between the two of them.
I really love the friends-to-lovers trope. I love the history, the friendship foundation, the already established trust, and of course the constant worry of “what if this doesn’t work out” will our friendship survive or will it be awkward, or lost forever?
Molly and Garrett were sweet together. I loved Molly’s quirky character (her internal dialogue was really funny), her shyness, and her loyalty and the love she has for those she claims as her own.
Garrett was just an amazingly patient and kind character. He was perfect for Molly and he understood and listened to her fears and respects why she acts the way she does.
The growth of their relationship from friends to lovers was a great read and a wonderful journey. Molly and Garrett’s chemistry was believable and I really enjoyed their story.
“An ARC of this book was provided by SmartyPants Romance in exchange for an honest review.”
Forrest for the Trees (Green Valley Heroes,#1) by Kilby Blades is NOW TOURING!
Forrest for the Trees, an all new slow burn small town romance from Kilby Blades, is LIVE in Kindle Unlimited!
Forrest Winters isn’t just a federal fire marshal; he’s a thorn in Ranger Sierra Betts’s side. The way he swings his big axe, fixes her with his chameleon gray eyes, and talks about his jurisdiction has a way of breaking her concentration. He has a way of showing up everywhere he doesn’t belong, including Greenbrier Ranger Station. And he really needs to quit stealing her bacon bites.
When a series of suspicious fires, an underhanded co-worker, and a cagey Parks Police Chief threaten her job and the park itself, Sierra grudgingly agrees to partner with Forrest. Their side investigation may be her best shot at preventing the framing of an innocent man. But can his firefighting expertise and her detective skills lead them to the real arsonist before Forrest breaks her with his charm?
‘Forrest for the Trees’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone and is book #1 in the Green Valley Heroes series, Green Valley Chronicles, Penny Reid Book Universe
This is definitely my favourite books of the year! I loved the characters! I loved the writing style of Kilby Blades. This was the first book I’ve read from her and it certainly won’t be my last! What a wonderful story and an absolutely great start to a series! I hope Kilby Blades continues to write with SmartyPants Romance because she friggn nailed it!
I loved the mystery of who was setting the fires, the “good ol’ boy” politics and how an African-American woman had to navigate through ALL the blocks that were set up against her.
But, the chemistry and bantering between Forrest and Sierra was wonderfully, so wonderfully written and engaging, I couldn’t put this book down until the absolute end. I love the enemies-to-lovers trope, it’s one of my favourites and Ms. Blades brought these characters full-circle to the absolute best ending.
I can’t wait to read more from this author and I can’t wait to read the next installment in the series!
“An ARC of this book was provided by SmartyPants Romance in exchange for an honest review.”
“Do you walk around with bacon in your pocket or something?” Sierra asked.
Forrest gave Everest a final rub and rose to his feet. “I reckon it’s just good, old-fashioned Southern charm.”
Reaching toward his face, he pushed up the temple of his sunglasses until they sat on top of his head. Forrest looked down at her, smirk on his face, as usual, having his fun. Only, for Sierra, there was nothing fun about the heat that rose to her ears every time his gaze set on her, clouding her thinking with his smoky eyes.
Forrest’s eyes weren’t just gray, and they weren’t “just eyes.” His gaze was penetrating and clear, with dark lashes that matched his dark hair. His irises were never the same, though whatever their hue at any given moment, a dark charcoal ring that looked like drawn pencil outlined the lighter color, adding intensity. Today they shone brightly—the color of wet shale—a stark difference from the last time she’d seen him. They’d turned dark, like slate, when he’d talked about the fires. There was something wondrous, and magical, and devastating about watching the way they changed.
“What are you doing in my neck of the woods?”
Forrest chuckled and crossed his arms. “Your woods again, huh?”
Sierra mirrored his posture. “‘Neck of the woods’ is a Southernism. I know how y’all like your sayings.”
He laughed again, his voice rich and deep—another thing about him she had the bad habit of replaying in her mind.
“Better than a pig likes slop.” Forrest’s eyes twinkled.
It made Sierra grateful for her own sunglasses—windows to her soul, and all. She didn’t want to think what Forrest might notice if he really saw her then. He would never stop gloating if he knew of her susceptibility to his allure.
“You never said what you were doing here,” she pointed out.
“Following up on some potential fire hazards. Just being vigilant. You know how it is …”
Sierra nodded. “I do.”
“I was just down at the ranger station …” he began haltingly. “I wanted to thank you for what you left me—you know, my fire marshal snacks.”
Sierra bit her lip against her own smile. “You liked that, huh?”
“Not just me. The guys thought it was pretty funny.”
“You told me you could read, so I figured …” She trailed off innocently, and shrugged.
After their last conversation and his repeated, willful ignorance of her Tupperware marked specifically as being “Ranger Snacks,” she’d brought in a smaller Tupperware labeled “Fire Marshal Snacks.”
“Sad thing is, a different fire marshal must’ve beat me to it,” he continued. “Imagine my disappointment when I opened the container and it was empty.”
“Oh, no!” She feigned shock. “What did you do?”
“Picked up the phone and called Ed Ellis. Asked him to put out an APB to track down whoever had my bites.”
“Then you helped yourself to the ranger bites, I’m guessing.”
He made a production out of looking distraught. “They’re not as good as fire marshal bites, but I had no choice.”
He didn’t take his gaze off of her. When heat rose again in her ears, she knew she had to go. Plus, if she didn’t get moving, she really would be late.
“Nice to see you, Marshal Winters.”
His smirk melted into a half-smile. “Always a pleasure, Ranger Betts.”
About Kilby Blades
Kilby Blades is a USA Today Bestselling author of Romance and Women’s Fiction. Her debut novel, Snapdragon, was a HOLT Medallion finalist, a Publisher’s Weekly BookLife Prize Semi-Finalist, and an IPPY Award medalist. Kilby was honored with an RSJ Emma Award for Best Debut Author in 2018, and has been lauded by critics for “easing feminism and equality into her novels” (IndieReader) and “writing characters who complement each other like a fine wine does a good meal” (Publisher’s Weekly).
During her career as a digital marketing executive, she moonlighted as a journalist, freelanced as a food, wine and travel writer and lived it up as an entertainment columnist. She has lived in five countries, visited more than twenty-five, and spends part of her year in her happy place in the Andes Mountains. Kilby is a feminist, an oenophile, a cinephile, a social-justice fighter, and above all else, a glutton for a good story. Follow her everywhere @kilbyblades.
Key Change (Common Threads, #3) by Heidi Hutchinson is NOW LIVE on KU!
Key Change, an all new slow burn rockstar romance from Heidi Hutchinson, is LIVE in Kindle Unlimited!
Before Hannah was a 9-5 working, dinner making, homebody, she was Ashton James: a paparazzi-stalked pop star with more enemies than friends.
These days she has one priority: keeping her sister safe and away from the public eye.
Hannah was doing a great job, until the pesky little brother of an ex-fling discovers where she is, and wants her help launching his career.
Now she has to trust Johnny—whom she betrayed in more ways than one—to protect her whereabouts. Johnny may have an infuriating moral compass and the timing of a storybook hero, but is he immune to the temptation of revenge?
Johnny’s focus has always been his music business, and a bad influence like Hannah is the last thing he needs at work, or around his brother.
But some things are too powerful to be stopped. For someone like Hannah, second chances—in life and in true love—don’t exist. She didn’t think so, at least.
Johnny is about to prove her wrong, and being wrong has never felt so right.
‘Key Change’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #3 in the Common Threads series, Seduction in the City World, Penny Reid Book Universe.
So… I finished this book earlier today and I was in total love with the story. I wanted more Johnny ( Johnny is literally too good to be true).
But, I wanted more of Hannah!
Hannah is possibly one of my favourite characters ever written because she speaks of her past mistakes (we all have them). Her regrets (ditto). And, how she was in the “time before”. The time when she’d had enough of trusting the wrong people, giving in to her addiction to cope, and being a selfish bitch. She was a person who was mean, cold, and used whatever she needed and whoever she needed to get what she wanted at (that time).
Now, after literally walking away from her (then) life, she’s trying so hard to be a better person, to make better decisions. But, she second-guesses her decisions, she lives in self-loathing, and regret. She can’t see that she deserves to be happy and that she’s a good person.
She’s now living in the “who she’s wants to be” period. Her honesty is humbling. Her reactions to situations are true. Her self-doubt and questioning if she’s doing the right thing are honest and raw.
Of course, as a part of her personal growth and healing period in the present time, she would have to run into possibly “the one that got away” and who she also kinda destroyed at the same time because he was so good and pure.
Seeing Johnny after so many years, and their journey of discovery of “their new relationship” together was a wonderful, and engaging experience.
I will tell you that this book is not erotica, but the authors build up in Johnny and Hannah’s chemistry before they found “their moment” in the library is something that poets have written about.
johnny and Hannah’s journey after their moment is wonderful, terrifying, and absolutely beautiful.
I loved this book, and I highly recommend reading it.
“An ARC of the book has been provided by SmartyPants Romance in exchange for an honest review. “
Oliver To catch a thief… you have to think like a thief. And Rian Beaumont was my mark. I’d start by stealing her kisses. But I already knew that wouldn’t be punishment enough. The only crime I committed was almost stealing her from my brother, and for that, I served my time. She thought she knew me, but she had it all wrong— I was nothing like my brother. To prove her wrong, I was going to steal her heart and make her mine.
Rian Oliver Wexler might not have been the one that ruined my life five years ago, but he basically drove the getaway car. The only thing more dangerous than kissing the enemy… sleeping with the enemy. Good thing I had no intentions of doing either. But Ollie had a pesky habit of sticking his nose— and his lips–where they didn’t belong. Even though I’ve already learned my lessons about falling for a man like him. Because with a Wexler brother, it was never only your future on the line . . . but your heart too.
Totally Folked (book #1 in the Good Folk: Modern Folktales series) by Penny Reid is NOW AVAILABLE!
One unforgettable night leads to an unlikely shared connection, and unlikely connections never go unnoticed by the good folks in Green Valley, Tennessee. . .
Totally Folked an all-new small town romantic comedy filled with humor and heart from New York Times bestselling author Penny Reid is available now!
Jackson James follows the rules. He has to. He’s a sheriff’s deputy in a super small town with a super big personality. However, strict adherence to the law during the day has been enjoyably balanced by rakish rules at night. Jackson, typically happy to protect and serve (and serve, and serve), starts questioning the value of wayward evenings when they begin to feel more like being waylaid rather than getting laid. Could it be that Green Valley’s most eligible—and notorious—bachelor longs for something (and someone) real?
Mega movie star Raquel Ezra follows only one rule: always leave them wanting more. Strict adherence to this single rule has served her well. Studio execs, reporters, audiences, fans, lovers—no one can get enough of the smart, savvy, and sexy bombshell. But when “generous offers” begin to feel more like excessive demands, years of always leaving has the elusive starlet longing for something (and perhaps someone) lasting.
When Raquel abruptly returns to the quirky Tennessee hamlet, her path crosses with the delectable deputy with whom she spent one unforgettable night. Unfortunately, scandal and intrigue soon follow. Raquel and Jackson must decide which is more important: following their rules? Or, at long last, finding something real.
TOTALLY FOLKED is a standalone, contemporary romantic comedy novel and book #1 in the Good Folk: Modern Folktales series.
Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers, Knitting in the City, Rugby, and Hypothesis series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.
Dream Spinner, an all new action packed standalone with heat and heart from New York Times bestselling author Kristen Ashley, is out now, and we have an excerpt just for you!
In this steamy and emotional contemporary romance from a New York Times bestselling author, two damaged souls must overcome the pain of their pasts to have the love they’ve always dreamed of.
After years with no one but herself to rely on, Hattie Yates has finally met the man of her dreams. But she was taught from a young age that it was hopeless to dream. There was only success, failure was not an option and it had terrible consequences. Now, the thought of another disappointment petrifies her. But when a suspicious phone call leads to more trouble than she can handle, there’s only one man Hattie trusts to help . . .
Axl Pantera knows Hattie is the only woman for him—and so does Hattie. Yet despite the attraction burning between them, Hattie refuses to let Axl in. The former soldier is determined to woo Hattie into letting down her walls, yet when danger comes calling, he finds himself battling for more than her heart. Axl will do anything to prove to Hattie that they’re meant to be, but first, he’ll need to keep her safe.
In answer, Hawk tipped his head to the chair opposite his desk and tossed his phone on the top of it.
Since Hawk rarely sat, the men who visited him didn’t either.
But for this, Axl closed the door behind him after he entered, moved to a chair, and put his ass in it.
Hawk watched this, and he hesitated, but then he joined him, sitting behind his desk.
“Is everything cool?” Hawk asked.
“I got a sitch. Personal. And I was hoping you might talk it through with me. Maybe have some insight.”
“Hit me,” Hawk invited.
And there was one of the bennies of working for Cabe “Hawk” Delgado.
He was a good boss, generous with his knowledge, gave credit where it was due, didn’t get in your face if you fucked up and held up your hand that you did…
And he had time for you even when he didn’t.
“I met Hattie’s dad last night.”
Hawk’s lips thinned.
His boss might not be in on their chats, but not much happened with his crew that Hawk didn’t know about.
So he knew about Don Yates.
“I got blindsided,” Axl told him.
“How?” Hawk asked.
“He loves her, Hawk.”
Hawk held his gaze a beat before he sat back in his chair.
This was going to be a conversation.
Hawk’s voice was lower when he inquired, “He loves her, and he hits her?”
Axl shook his head. “I got no excuse for that. Or the verbal abuse he keeps doling out. What I know is, recently, he called her a whore.”
“Jesus,” Hawk clipped.
“She didn’t tell me that. She told Ryn, Ryn told Boone. And I got it from Boone. But before…” He paused, then got to it, “I can’t step in with her dad. She knows their relationship is dysfunctional. She feels beholden. I could only have her back. Until I heard that. Then I shared I was going to have to have words with her father.”
“Good,” Hawk murmured.
“Then I got there, and the man was practically beaming, he was so fuckin’ happy Hattie brought her boyfriend over to meet him.”
“Fuck,” Hawk grunted.
“So we sat down. He gave me the ‘What do you do for a living’ and ‘How’d you meet my daughter’ gig. I answered. All was good. Then I told him I couldn’t have him upsetting Hattie like he did by calling her a whore. He tried to explain it by saying he was in a bad mood. I told him, in future, if he was in a bad mood, he needed not to take that out on Hattie.”
“On your first meeting,” Hawk noted.
“On our first meeting,” Axl confirmed.
“Which happened…what? How long have you been seeing her? A few days?”
“You laid down the law with your woman’s father the first time you met him after you’ve been with her a few days,” Hawk laid it out.
“Christ, Axe, you don’t fuck around,” Hawk muttered.
Kristen’s novel, Law Man, won the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award for best Romantic Suspense. Her independently published title Hold On was nominated for RT Book Reviews best Independent Contemporary Romance and her traditionally published title Breathe was nominated for best Contemporary Romance. Kristen’s titles Motorcycle Man, The Will, Ride Steady (which won the Reader’s Choice award from Romance Reviews) and The Hookup all made the final rounds for Goodreads Choice Awards in the Romance category.
The Beach Reads Box Set is FREE on Amazon until May 31st and available in Kindle Unlimited! If you miss out, don’t fret…you’ll be able to pick up your bundle for only $1.99 between June 1st and June 22nd! And then it goes away forever…
★ ★ELEVEN BOOKS INCLUDE ★ ★
ATTRACTION by Penny Reid THE LEGACY by Dylan Allen ARROGANT DEVIL by R.S. Grey FLIRTING WITH THE FRENEMY by Pippa Grant BROKEN MILES by Claire Kingsley ALWAYS ONLY YOU by Chloe Liese RESTRAINT by Adriana Locke I DARE YOU by Ilsa Madden-Mills TAPPING THE BILLIONAIRE by Max Monroe THE WORST BEST MAN by Lucy Score SOMEONE ELSE’S OCEAN by Kate Stewart
..From Penny Reid
I did a thing AND managed to keep it a secret…
The Beach Reads Box Set is ALIVE!!!!
What the WHAT?!
Eleven of my extremely talented author pals and I got together to bundle some of our contemporary romances. In celebration of Memorial Day and the upcoming summer reading season, this special anthology features stories that are perfect for fun in the sun.
A gift to our readers and a great way to introduce you to new authors to love, grab this beach bundle before it’s gone! The Beach Reads Box Set is FREE on Amazon until May 31st and available in Kindle Unlimited!
If you miss out, don’t fret…you’ll be able to pick up your bundle for only $1.99 between June 1st and June 22nd! And then it goes away forever…
★ ★ELEVEN BOOKS INCLUDE ★ ★ ATTRACTION by Penny Reid THE LEGACY by Dylan Allen ARROGANT DEVIL by R.S. Grey FLIRTING WITH THE FRENEMY by Pippa Grant BROKEN MILES by Claire Kingsley ALWAYS ONLY YOU by Chloe Liese RESTRAINT by Adriana Locke I DARE YOU by Ilsa Madden-Mills TAPPING THE BILLIONAIRE by Max Monroe THE WORST BEST MAN by Lucy Score SOMEONE ELSE’S OCEAN by Kate Stewart
Another SURPRISE: Grab the Hypothesis Series for FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
The Hypothesis series is hanging out in Kindle Unlimited for the summer! That’s right people, all 6 books are there for your consumption. If you haven’t taken the Penny Reid train to New Adult Romance Town, welp…now’s your chance!
If you want to be prepared for your next Green Valley fix, you can pre-order Totally Folked, Book #1 in the Good Folk: Modern Folktales Series on all platforms across the internets! I am so excited for you all to read Jackson and Raquel’s story ❤
I swear I am not the kind of person who gets her cell phone caught in places that require an ER trip and an OBGYN.
But, apparently, I am.
I’m also not the kind of person who spends all her time thinking about the guy who got away.
But, apparently, I am, too.
Starting a new life in Boston isn’t supposed to include repeatedly embarrassing myself in public, meeting a crazy blond woman who has ties to the band Random Acts of Crazy, and definitely isn’t supposed to include wallowing in a past I thought I’d left behind four years ago.
But, apparently, it does.
And the drummer for the band, Sam Hinton, is the boy I loved in high school and who disappeared with my heart. Now he’s back, better than ever.
Second chances aren’t supposed to make scars disappear and hearts mend.
But, apparently, they can.
If you trust enough.
Fate took their lives by storm four years ago and put an unbreachable gulf between Sam and Amy. Can time really heal all wounds…or are some scars too deep?
The second book in the Random series (after New York Times and USA Today bestseller Random Acts of Crazy), Random Acts of Trust is a romantic comedy that explores the love between one man, one woman, and ends with one Happily Ever After (and no cliffhangers or chickens).
Random Acts of Fantasy just 2.99
You ever really think that you’ll win the lottery? Meet Mr. Right? How about two Mr. Rights?
Somehow the universe is handing me everything I want (except for that lottery part…), and I don’t like it. Not one little bit. Because just when you get all your dreams handed to you on a silver platter, that’s when an airplane dumps its sewage on your house. Or your mama’s diabetes takes a bad turn. Or your mobile phone gets stuck in your hoohaw.
(What? It happens…)
Boring old average me got everything I wanted already, moving from small-town Ohio to big-city Boston to follow my heart. So when the fancy invitation offering me a pile of money to come with the band, Random Acts of Crazy, to perform on an island resort and be their manager arrived, I thought it was a cosmic joke. Enough money to help my mama get what she needed, five days in sunny paradise, and a shot at greatness for the band? Unreal. One big shoe was waiting to drop. On my head.
Just like no one really ever finds a man wearing only a guitar standing by the side of the road hitchhiking and ends up falling in love with him and his friend and moving halfway across the country for true love, no one gets an invitation to come to what turns out to be a resort where people make what me and Joe and Trevor do together look like a chaste peck on the cheek. But…
It was her turn to look disgusted this time. “Do you even speak?”
I nodded again and she shook her head in disbelief before reaching over the space between us and snatching the cigarette out of my mouth so fast I didn’t see it coming. I stood there dumbfounded. People didn’t snatch shit away from me. People were scared of me. Not this brave girl. I should have known.
“Smoking is disgusting.” She said it quietly like it didn’t matter, but I could tell it did to her. She bent over and put the butt out on the driveway before standing up again and shoving it in her pocket.
I smirked. “You gonna keep that?”
Her eyes ignited with anger. “No, I’m going to throw it in the trash because I’m not a litterbug.”
Shaking my head, I muttered under my breath, “Fucking litterbug.” She was being cute. The girl with the too long legs and too big mouth that I couldn’t get out of my mind was fucking cute, too. I was screwed.
I wanted to full-on smile at her cuteness, but I held my happiness close to my chest. God knew it always came with a price. And I was done paying.
“You kiss your momma with that smoke mouth?” she asked snarkily, clearly pissed off about my smirk.
I lowered my head and took a step back, running a hand through my dark hair. I wanted to tell this girl things. Things I had no business telling her, like that I didn’t kiss my momma with anything anymore. Instead, I asked the question that had been plaguing me since she’d seemed surprised it was me who had left the notes.
“Who did you think it was?”
Her face screwed up in confusion. “What?”
I stood straighter and licked my lips before answering. “Who did you think left the notes?”
I was feeling strangely vulnerable in that moment waiting for her answer and I didn’t like it one bit. Why did it matter to me who wrote her or didn’t? Or who else thought she was the most intriguing thing ever? For fuck’s sake, she was just another rich bitch from the island. Why did anything about what she was about to say matter to me at all?
She bit her lip again and I still wanted to reach over and pull it from her teeth. It was sexy that lip bite, innocent even, and for some reason that made it all the more attractive.
“I don’t know.” Her brow furrowed in thought and she looked away, almost like she didn’t want to tell me the answer to my question. But then her eyes landed on mine again. “I thought it was the other guy—”
“Boone?” I interrupted loudly.
A disgusted look crossed her face. “God, no. Not him. The blond. The other guy.”
I let out a long breath accompanied by a sarcastic chuckle. “Grady?” That guy didn’t even graduate high school and she thought he knew anything about astronomy. I would have laughed if the whole thing hadn’t annoyed me so much.
Her eyes brightened. “Is that his name?”
I pulled out my pack of cigarettes again. “You like him or something?”
I walked out into the street and lit my smoke far away from her.
She started to follow me. “Where are you going?”
“But I don’t even know your name!” she yelled and stomped a foot.
I almost smiled again.
About the Amie
Amie Knight has been a reader for as long as she could remember and a romance lover since she could get her hands on her momma’s books. A dedicated wife and mother with a love of music and makeup, she won’t ever be seen leaving the house without her eyebrows and eyelashes done just right. When she isn’t reading and writing, you can catch her jamming out in the car with her two kids to ’90s R&B, country, and showtunes. Amie draws inspiration from her childhood in Columbia, South Carolina, and can’t imagine living anywhere other than the South.