Hung Up on You
Publication date: January 14th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Julia is single and happy, thank you very much. Try telling that to her happily-coupled bestie, though. She’s so determined to pair Julia off, she brings an extra guy friend along on a weekend getaway, in what’s clearly a set-up attempt. Julia’s interest is immediately piqued by sweet, sexy, nerdy Zack. There’s just one problem: he’s still hung up on his ex. Big time.
Despite knowing that – and despite her attraction to him – it doesn’t stop her friends from throwing them together every other second, insisting they’d make the perfect couple. But Julia is determined to friend zone him. At least until he suggests they pretend to date to get their respective friends off their backs.
At first, their fake “dating” is more friendship than fireworks. But as they get closer, the lines begin to blur between them, and Julia realizes she has to either shut down her developing feelings for Zack or let him in. The question is: can she fully trust him with her heart? Or does his heart still belong to his ex?
Marie Landry’s life revolves around books; when she’s not writing them, she’s reading them, taking pictures of them for bookstagram, or blogging about them. An avid reader from a young age, she loves getting lost in characters’ worlds, whether they’re of her own making or someone else’s. She particularly loves coming-of-age stories with as much of an emphasis on self-discovery as on romance…but don’t leave out the romance!
When not doing bookish things, Marie can be found daydreaming (in general, but often about traveling through Europe), marathon-watching shows on Netflix, and taking photographs. She lives in a cozy apartment in Ontario, Canada with the best roommate ever, and only sometimes imagines it’s actually a flat in London.
Title: Bohemian Girl
Series: A Southern Girl Novel
Author: Georgia Cates
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 5, 2019
That’s all she was when I agreed to play a part in deceiving her.
And then the unexpected happened.
I yearn for her skin against mine.
I crave her scent on my body.
I want to make her laugh and then moan.
And I do… in secret.
I promised my business partner I wouldn’t touch his sister.
But I broke that promise.
Our little dirty weekends together are no longer enough.
I want my bohemian girl in my bed every night.
She wants a ring, marriage vows, and babies
… all things that I can’t give her.
Our romance is explosive.
Our love, epic.
Our ending, miserable… unless I bend.
If I don’t bend, I’ll break.
Releasing January 9, 2020
Releasing January 30, 2020
Georgia resides in rural Mississippi with her wonderful husband, Jeff, and their two beautiful daughters. She spent fourteen years as a labor and delivery nurse before she decided to pursue her dream of becoming an author and hasn’t looked back yet.
When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing. When she’s being domestic, she’s listening to her music and visualizing scenes for her current work in progress. Every story coming from her always has a song to inspire it.
I’ve loved Liam for years. I left, but who knew the one thing that tore us apart would also be what brings us back together.
The fourth book in the Savage Brothers MC– Tennessee Chapter from USA Today Bestselling Author, Jordan Marie is available now!
I was sent to Florida on a mission. I’m here to help my club and my brother.Devil has been through hell, he’s found happiness with his old lady and I want that for him. He has the life I’ve always wanted and tasted once… briefly.
I never dreamed trying to find someone for my club, would lead me back to my past, and to the only woman I’ve ever loved. Ellie Lane. I claimed her as mine and gave her everything I had. Losing her nearly destroyed me.I don’t know if I’m strong enough to let her go twice.
Walking away from Liam was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s been over a year and each day leaves me aching and empty.
Every day we make choices.When it comes to Liam, I’m pretty sure I made the wrong one. I never expected to see him again.
I still love him. He still wants me.
I’ve dreamed of a second chance. It happens in fairy tales, right?Although, I’m pretty sure the princess never got her prince under a hail of gunfire…
Download your copy today or read Fury for FREE with KindleUnlimited
About Jordan Marie
I’m just a simple small town country girl, haunted by Alpha Men who talk in my head 24 hours a day.
I knew I wanted to write when it became clear I couldn’t be happy with just viewing other people’s stories. I always wanted to rewrite them.
Like why did Jack have to die? Why couldn’t Rose move her butt over? Because that was a huge piece of wood she was on, people.
Happy Endings should be fought for, but they should always happen. Mine might take some curves and twists, but they eventually get there.
Having published over fifty stories, it always feels surreal that this is my life. Hitting USA Today had me crying for days, but nothing is more special than hearing from readers that they loved one of my books.
Visit my website to join my newsletter, send me a note, or check out my books!
Connect with Jordan
~🔥~ MIchelle’s Review ~🔥~
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another great addition to the Savage Brothers MC. This second chance read has everything you want in a great book. Wonderful characters, secrets, danger and excitement.
Fury and Ellie get their chance at love again and what a bumpy ride it is. As much as I love 99% of the characters in this read I hate Ellie’s sister just as much. Not convinced we’ve seen the end to her evil ways but I would love to slap the crap out of her.
The author gave us an amazing story and the way she told it had me engaged in the story all the way through. Loved it!
Two sisters. One unsolved murder. A sickening plot for revenge.
Kiss Me With Lies, an all-new edge-of-your-seat romance from S.M. Soto, is available now!
When Mackenzie Wright attends her first real high school party, held somewhere deep in the woods of her small California town, no one expects to wake up the next morning to news of a gruesome murder. Especially not her own sister’s.
Just one unsolved murder and whatever’s left of the now deserted town.
Mackenzie has spent years with her sister’s death weighing heavily on her shoulders, but it isn’t until she stumbles across a photograph that changes everything for her. The memories, everything from that night, come flashing back in high-speed technicolor and Mackenzie soon finds herself obsessed with the truth.
Determined to find out what really happened to her sister, Mackenzie relies on that one photograph to give her the answers she needs by embedding herself into the lives of five of the wealthiest men in Los Angeles. Consumed by her need for revenge, Mackenzie infiltrates the world of the rich and elite, only to come face-to-face with an alluring complication in the form an elusive playboy.
When enemy lines are drawn, Mackenzie has to choose between her loyalty to her sister and the man who has stolen her heart.
Download your copy today!
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Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2Lt40b0
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2m7sDQo
Pre-order the stunning conclusion, Bury Me with Lies!
Releasing February 28th
Watch the Trailer:
I don’t know how much time passes, but it’s long enough that it dawns on me Winnie is still gone. She’s no longer in the spot she was when she left to go mingle. She’s nowhere to be found actually. My stomach sloshes as I sway when I climb to my feet. I realize I may have consumed way too much beer. I’ve obviously overestimated myself and my drinking abilities.
My legs feel weird, and I’m pretty sure if I bit my tongue off right now, I wouldn’t even feel it. Everything feels blissfully numb. In my drunken state, it takes me a while to process the loud voices being directed at me.
“Hey, you! Get over here!”
When I pick my gaze up, hazy vision and all, my eyes settle on the group of hulking guys standing not too far away from me, and it’s then I realize the rowdy group is talking to me. My brows pull down, or at least I think they do, and I look over my shoulder, trying to see if these jocks can be talking to anyone else, but, sure enough, I’m the only one here.
One of them barks out a laugh at my actions.
“Yes, I’m talking to you. Get over here!” The voice is deep. A guy’s voice. When I find the source, my stomach clenches because I recognize who the voice belongs to. Trent Ainsworth. All-around asshole, hot jock, and one of the five Savages of Humboldt County.
Yeah, that’s right. I said Savages.
Honestly, I think they’re more in line with devils.
Because that’s exactly what these assholes are in our small town. Each of their ancestors is a founding family. They’re like great white sharks, swimming amongst a sea of us trout. Or are we sardines? Jesus. I can’t even think straight anymore.
Trent’s bastard, jock rich friends call themselves the Savages. Town royalty. Amongst other ridiculous nicknames.
Why? No one really knows.
They’re like a rabid pack of wolves—the strongest of their pack. They stick together, though it remains unknown who, out of the five of them, is the alpha.
Over the years, I’ve watched them from afar. I’ve heard the rumors, and even though they can be just that, rumors; part of me never truly believed it. They were constantly up to no good. If there was a brawl at school or at a party, everyone already knew who was behind it. If there was a commotion in town late at night, the rest of the people in Ferndale knew to stay indoors. If they destructed town property, the sheriff and the rest of the police were never anywhere to be found. If there was a girl in town who swore one of the five had hurt her, nothing would happen. Every single one of them walked around like they didn’t have a single care in the world—and I guess in a way, they didn’t. They were rich as sin, and had mommy and daddy’s money to get them out of any kind of serious trouble.
It was obvious I didn’t know much about them. We didn’t hang in the same circles and certainly, they didn’t even know of my existence. But what I do know is, they’re trouble, wrapped in beautiful packaging.
Want to know how I know they’re trouble? Madison has been trying to get on their radar for years. One night. She just wants one night with any of the relentless Savages who run this town, but I guess none of them have shown any interest in her yet. They’re selective assholes who think they’re more powerful than God.
I’m not sure what that says about them—the devils—for turning her down the way they have.
I swallow the sudden lump in my throat and force my legs to walk over to them without any drunken mishaps. Of course, that’s too much to ask for. The tip of my beat-up, white Converse snags on air, I guess, and my body hurtles forward. Dizzying colors blur before my eyes—a blend of angry orange, vivid green, and hazy brown. I see the ground coming toward me, but I can’t seem to stop it from happening. Suddenly, strong, warm arms wrap around me, and I’m no longer falling.
“Whoa.” The voice chuckles. “Take it easy. You all right, sweetheart?”
I look up, my vision splitting on the figure holding me. There’s two of him standing before me and I can’t seem to focus my gaze, no matter how hard I try. Trent Ainsworth is gorgeous in his own right, but up close and personal, he’s a living god. His face breaks out into a grin as he stares down at me and brushes a stray hair off my round face. His finger grazes my freckled cheek, and my heart lurches in my throat.
“What’s a beautiful girl like you doing out here alone?” His pretty eyes search my face for answers.
Beautiful? Did he really call me beautiful?
Blushing under the weight of his gaze, I fumble with my words.
“I-I’m not … b-beautiful … you’re not … this isn’t … a-alone …”
When Trent chuckles, I’m distracted by the bobbing of his Adam’s apple, but he helps me stand straight, and I notice his hand lingers on my wrist. He’s something larger than life, with the way his whole hand engulfs my arm. I hear his friends, the rest of the hellish crew, laughing behind him, probably at me, but I don’t care.
He thinks I’m beautiful?
He noticed me?
How did this gorgeous guy notice me before my sister? It’s almost too good to be true.
Trent glances over his shoulder, and his buddies laugh some more before he turns back toward me. “Want to get away from these assholes and talk?” he offers. I dart my gaze over his shoulder and realize I’m nodding as I stare at his formidable friends.
“C’mon,” he says. Wrapping his hand firmly around my wrist, he leads me away from the fire and deeper into the woods. A voice in my head screams not to follow him, but I do. This is the one thing I can have that Madison hasn’t had. Trent Ainsworth.
He noticed me. He wants to talk to me. Alone.
Trent surprises me by stopping just before the entrance into the woods, so we still have a clear view of his friends and the rest of the party.
“Finally,” he breathes, resting his back up against the trunk of one of the many redwoods here. “It feels good to get a little peace and quiet. I was getting tired of pretending to have fun.”
His words make me smile. My lips itch to spread across my face, showcasing my braces, but I fight it, opting for a closed-lip smile instead.
He was pretending, too?
“So who did you come here with?” he asks. I realize he’s trying to have a conversation with me.
I clear my throat, moving my foot through the dirt anxiously. “My friend Winnie dragged me here. This is the first party I’ve ever been to, and honestly, I’m not all that impressed.”
Trent laughs. It’s deep and husky and so freaking hot.
“Ouch. You realize the guys and I put this together?”
My cheeks heat in embarrassment. Crap.“I’m sorry,” I say, cringing.
He chuckles again. “Don’t apologize. You’re being honest, and I like that. Not many girls are honest nowadays.” His eyes roam my face, and my heart continues its quest to burst out of my chest. His gaze drops down to the cup I realize I still have clutched in my hand. “First time drinking?”
“How can you tell?” I tease, my lips twisting with amusement.
He shrugs. “You have this pretty flush on your skin. It looks cute.”
I dart my gaze down to my feet, trying like hell to hide how happy his comment makes me.
“Hey,” he says. His hand lightly touches my chin, forcing my gaze back to his. Before my eyes settle on his, I take in the tattoo on his inner forearm—the one he and all his friends have. It’s a skeleton key with an actual skull outlined and an eye with a triangle around it that rests on the skull’s forehead. It’s kind of creepy. “Don’t hide from me, Mackenzie. You’re absolutely gorgeous.”
My breath catches as I stare into his eyes and watch as they fill with heat. So much heat, I feel something stirring in my stomach. The sensation is one I’m not familiar with.
Wait—he knows my name? I don’t have the guts to ask how he knows my name. He’s one of the elite. I’m sure they know everything about everyone here in Ferndale.
“Thank you,” I breathe out in a rush of air. Trent glances toward the bonfire, and I try to follow his gaze, but his next words have my heart seizing in my chest.
“Can I kiss you, Mackenzie?” His hands are already on my face, pulling my mouth toward his, and his body is already leaning closer. My nipples pebble against the material of my bra. It’s such a foreign sensation, one I’ve never experienced before, yet I find it titillating all the same. I say yes before I can think better of it.
His lips graze mine lightly at first. I’m so flustered and buzzed, I let out an embarrassing moan into his mouth when he deepens the kiss. I taste him—a mixture of beer and gum. I feel his hands gliding along my overheated skin, and I can smell the burning logs from the bonfire. I can vaguely make out the sound of hollering laughter, but I can’t tell where it’s coming from, and the truth is, I don’t even care. His hands find their place along my hips and slide down my thick thighs, toying with the material of my sweater dress. When his fingers make contact with the skin of my inner thigh, I slip my arms around his neck, and I kiss him. Hard.
This is my first kiss, and if this is how all first kisses go, I will never complain another day in my life. This doesn’t even seem real. It’s too perfect, too intimate, too much like a dream. I don’t ever want—
“What the fuck is going on?”
I jolt away from Trent at the sound of her voice. I’d know it anywhere. Hell, it haunts me in my dreams. And when I get up every morning. Slowly, I turn on my heel and face my sister, who looks completely unhinged. I’ve never ever seen her look this angry. And sadly, all that anger is directed at me.
“What in the actual fuck do you think you’re doing, Mackenzie?”
I open my mouth to say something, but before I can get words out, Trent steps closer behind me, resting his hand on my hip.
“Leave us alone. We’re in the middle of something.”
Madison doesn’t acknowledge Trent. Instead, she continues to glare daggers at me. Her anger is written all over her, and I can read every thought that crosses her mind.
How dare you.
He should be mine.
He’s supposed to be mine—they all are.
“God, what did you do, promise him a fucking blow job to get him over here with you? You’re disgusting, Kenz,” Madison spits. “And you …” She focuses her wrath on Trent now. “If you go any further with her, you’re going to regret it come tomorrow morning when you realize just how low you stooped while drunk. I think those shots have you mistaking one sister for the other. Come near her again, and I’ll hurt you, Ainsworth.”
My throat constricts at her words, and tears burn my eyes. How can she be so mean? So vile? We’re sisters, not enemies. Is it really so bad that Trent would want to kiss me instead of her? There are four other friends she can have. Why can’t she let me just have this one thing?
Madison is the queen at everything she does. She has everything, while I’m always shoved in the corner, forgotten about in the shadows.
“Screw you, Mads,” I choke out, fighting back embarrassing tears.
She laughs at me and crosses her arms over her ample chest. “If you don’t go home with me right now, I’ll tell Dad what a little slut you’ve been tonight. How do you think he’ll react when he finds out I caught you having sex?”
I blanch. “What? But I—”
“Who do you think he’ll believe?” She’s right. He’ll believe her. It’s always her.
Blowing out a sad sigh, I turn toward Trent just as he bends down, his lips grazing my ear. “My friends and I will be here all night. Sneak out and meet me at the kissing rock once you can get out, okay?”
I back away and look up at him. I’ve never snuck out before. The thought has never even crossed my mind, but I know tonight will be my first.
“Okay.” I smile secretively before I turn on my heel and follow my sister.
The whole way back to her car, she’s mumbling angrily under her breath. In my drunken state, I should be worried about her driving, but we don’t live far. Our house is only a few blocks away.
“Ugh!” She brusquely growls. “I can’t believe you would stoop this low and do this to me.”
“Me?” I damn near screech. “Why is it so hard for you to get along with me, Madison?” I yell. “Why is everything always about you? You have everything already. Why can’t I have this one thing? He noticed me. Maybe he actually even likes me. Why can’t you just let me have this? Why do you have to ruin this for me, too?”
“Newsflash, Mackenzie, he doesn’t like you. He isn’t interested in you. He wants me. He’s just using you to get to me.”
I laugh darkly. It’s such an odd, foreign sound as it bursts past my lips. “Bullshit. You wouldn’t be so angry if that was true. You hate that he chose me over you. You can’t believe he wants to meet me at the kissing rock tonight and not you!”
She stops walking and turns to me with fire in her eyes. “He told you to meet him at the kissing rock tonight?”
I nod smugly. “He did.”
Her lips curl into a sneer. “Get in the car. We’re going home.”
The drive home is silent and awkward. When Madison parks in the driveway, the look she shoots my way makes me want to cry like a frightened little girl. That’s the power of Madison’s glare. She has the capacity to eviscerate and kill with a single glance.
“You’re going to go inside and be the good girl everyone knows you are. This isn’t you, Mackenzie. Stop trying to be like me.”
“I’m not trying to be you,” I mumble.
“Oh, yeah? Trying to take Trent from me says otherwise. Just get inside before I make the next year of your life a living hell.”
“Where are you going?” I ask as I push the door open.
“To meet Trent at the kissing rock, of course.”
My stomach bottoms out, and my heart shatters. “But …”
She smirks in satisfaction. “We all know I’m the hotter sister everyone wants—might as well give Trent a night he’ll never forget.”
“But he said me. He wanted me. He won’t sleep with you after tonight. I just know he won’t.”
Madison laughs. “He’s drunk, Mackenzie. He doesn’t care about you, or who shows up at the rock. He just wants to fuck, and we all know you can’t do that. Now shut my door.”
With tears swimming in my eyes, I do as she says and shut the door.
When I walk into the house, I know my parents are sleeping because all the lights are off. I climb up the stairs and head straight to the shower. The tears fall in hot streams, and I cry freely without fear my sister will hear and use it against me somehow.
Why is it always her?
She gets everything while I get nothing. I’m always the afterthought. The loser. The nobody. I don’t know why I thought tonight would be any different.
I climb into bed, inflamed ankles and all, and sob into my pillow until I drift off to sleep.
When I wake up the next morning, it’s to a shrill scream coming from the kitchen. I run downstairs, and my feet slow on the final steps when I see two police officers, and in the kitchen near the front door, my mom is on her knees with tears streaming down her face.
Sheriff Keller stands in front of her with an expression that makes my stomach sour.
“We’re sorry, Monica.”
His next words have my stomach hollowing out and the blood draining from my face.
Body’s been identified.
Found at kissing rock.
I shake my head, trying to make sense of what he’s saying. It can’t be. There’s no way.
“We’re looking into all possible leads on what could’ve happened to your daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Wright. Her body showed signs of trauma as well as …” he clears his throat, “as well as signs of assault.”
“What does that mean?” my father asks, voice hoarse.
Keller sighs. “Michael … it means she was raped.”
“My baby!” my mom screams, and the sound of it rains nails down my back. I sway violently on my feet and clutch the banister rail for support as realization sets in.
My sister was murdered.
Her body was found at the kissing rock.
The very last place I was supposed to meet Trent and his friends last night.
Madison wasn’t supposed to be found dead at that rock this morning. It was supposed to be me.
About S.M. Soto
S.M. Soto was born and raised in Northern, California where she currently resides with her son. Her love for reading began when she was a young girl, and has only continued to grow into adulthood. S.M. lives for reading books in the romance genre and writing novels with relatable characters. She refers to herself
as a bit of a romance junkie. S.M. loves to connect with readers and eat copious of donuts that will surely lead to her demise.
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My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This story is one that will grip you, consume you and blow your freaking mind. It has everything from murder, deceit, suspense to some super hotness. It is not only panty melting at times, but it will keep you on the edge of your seat and have your mind all over the place trying to put all the pieces together. The Epic cliffhanger leaves you with that WTF? moment and screaming at the author NOOOOO…..you can’t leave me hanging until February. I just don’t think that I can wait that long. This book is so unputdownable, but S.M. Soto always seems to make her books that way for me. Mackenzie and Madison’s story just comes to life right before your eyes and makes you feel like you have crawled into those pages and are part of the story. Gosh….Baz has won me over and I am sooooo hoping that he is a good guy and doesn’t break my heart by being on the wrong side of things. As for the other guys, Trent, Marcus, Vincent, and Zach, well…let’s just say their bully ways adds so much to the story and leaves you with the want to slap them all at one time or another in the story. I can’t wait to get the rest of this story and see how all the pieces of the puzzle are going to come together. I really highly recommend that you one-click this one and I can promise you that you won’t be disappointed. Overall this is a more than 5 mind blowing stars for me. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED!!!!
“Enemies to lovers is one of my most favorite romance set ups. The two are a match made in sexy, angsty heaven.” — Jay Crownover, New York Times bestselling author
Enemies, an all-new emotional, enemies to lovers romance from New York Times bestselling author Tijan, is available now!
Gorgeous and charismatic, he became the town’s football god, while I became the town’s invisible girl.
He went to a Division 1 school for football, while my father was fired by his father.
His team won the National Championship, while my mother died the same day.
He was a first round pick for the NFL …
… while I made the worst decision of my life.
Now I’m in Texas trying to pick up the pieces of my life.
But, Stone is here.
Stone is everywhere.
It doesn’t matter that disaster has struck my life again.
It doesn’t matter that he’s the one trying to console me.
It doesn’t matter that he’s the nation’s newest football obsession.
Because for me, he always has been and always will be my enemy.
Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/EnemiesTijan
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2P5s9p1
“Do not think I won’t pick you up and throw you in my truck, head first and everything. I’m two seconds away.”
I stopped and stared at him.
Shit. He meant business. He was glaring at me with eyes that said, “Do not fucking fuck with me, you fucking twit.”
I sighed. I’ll try reasoning instead. “You’re going to drive me to your house, and then I’ll pack whatever I need and call a cab to take me all the way back to where I’m paying rent. It’s not worth it. Just let me grab a cab now.”
A savage curse bit out, and then his eyes flashed.
His singular warning had been when he told me he was two seconds away. In a flash, he grabbed me, and I was airborne, right into the back of his truck. But he wasn’t done. He leapt up, grabbing the seatbelt over me, and pulled it around me,
clicking it in place. He had the door shut, locked, and he was already going around the front before I could even push myself upright and then start to reach for my seatbelt.
By then, he was inside, the engine on, and he shoved off into traffic.
“This is stupid.”
“You’re right. You’re being stupid.” Cursing, he ducked down as a car sped past us. They knew he was driving because they came up on his driver’s side, their phones up and ready to go. It was a car full of teenage girls. “Dammit.”
“Where do you live?”
He opened his mouth, then caught himself. His eyes narrowed in the rearview mirror. “Why?”
I just smiled. “No reason.”
He continued to study me in between still watching the road, and with a soft growl, he shook his head. “I’m not buying it. What? You’re going to tell those girls who are trying to get a picture of me?”
“What’s the difference? I’ll know when you take me to your house. What’s stopping me from posting it on Twitter, or even posting your phone number?”
A litany of curses spewed from him, and the back of his neck was getting red. I was having a heyday with this. It was more fun than I could remember having in a long time.
Until he announced it, “I liked your mom.”
“Your mom.” He moved into the far lane, settling back.
I was thinking we had a bit of drive from here, and he settled an arm back on the passenger seat headrest.
“I always liked her. She made me cookies and muffins. And I remember when she tried to teach us to bake cakes from scratch. You were horrible and your cakes tasted terrible, but we’d lie to you. Both of us.”
“You did not—” But I was remembering, and even I hadn’t wanted to taste my cakes.
A tug at my mouth. “She’d wear that ugly yellow apron. She hated that apron.”
“What? I loved that apron. Always felt like it was sunshine. Made me feel warm, even in the winter.”
I noted softly, “That’s why she wore it. For you.”
His eyes lifted to the rearview mirror, holding mine a second again. He swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down. “Yeah.” His voice came out raspy. “She was a good woman, and a good mom. She was a good wife. I could always tell.”
I snorted. “Why? Because she wasn’t wasting away like yours?” Then, I winced. That sounded even bitchier to my own ears, more than I thought it would be. “Shit. I’m sorr—”
“Because you guys laughed.” He kept on talking about my family, ignoring what I’d so blatantly pointed out about his own, his face hard. “My parents laughed when they were drunk, and only when they had a party. When there were other people there to laugh with, never the two of them, never the three of us. I was their only kid. I wouldn’t have known better except I half grew up in your home, too, and what I remember the most about growing up was that you guys laughed.”
My throat burned.
“Yeah, we did.” I looked out the window. A hollow feeling starting to dig in my chest. “Until she died. We didn’t laugh much after that.”
“You laughed until then?”
I nodded. I felt the chinks in my armor widening.
I remembered how he did adore my mom. The two acted as if they were conspiring together during our baking lessons, and any time he was in the house. He congregated around her. She congregated closer to him.
“You’re the son she never had.” Then, feeling bad about my shot at his mom, “Your mom cooked for us. I remember that one time she tried to teach us to make lasagna.”
He cracked a grin, barking a laugh. “You sucked at that, too. I never knew lasagna noodles could come out hard like rocks until yours.”
Fuck him, but I was grinning. I couldn’t help myself.
Those were good times, good memories before the shit ones came. And they came soon after that lasagna disaster.
He quieted. “It wasn’t the same. My mom versus yours. We had baking lessons at your house once a month, every first Sunday. My mom tried to teach us how to make Caesar salad, the only second cooking session she gave us, and that one we all got fine. It’s hard to screw up.”
“Says you. You’re perfect at everything.”
He didn’t reply.
I didn’t expect him to. It was true. He knew it. I knew it. The entire nation knew it.
Then from him, “Not at being a friend.”
My stomach kicked.
Hell no. No way. He wasn’t getting back in. No fucking way.
“Oh. God.” I groaned, throwing a hand up to hit my forehead. “Can we not? Can we save the dramatics until I’m able to call a cab to take me back to my place? For real. Enough bonding or whatever it is we were just doing.”
He growled, “You are such a goddamn bitch.”
I retorted, “And you are such a goddamn prick. Drop me the fuck off!”
“With fucking pleasure!”
He gunned the engine, shooting forward in traffic, and weaving until we were nearing my exit. When he took it, I relaxed. The rest of the way was tense and silent, and I knew both of us couldn’t wait to be rid of the other. Then he pulled over to the curb. He didn’t make a move, his only action just unlocking the door.
His head was turned halfway to me, his jaw clenching over and over again.
I shoved forward, my head only swimming a little bit as I climbed out of his truck. Once I shut the door and turned around, he’d already hit the engine, tearing away from the curb.
I only had the clothes on my back, on the side of the street, but I’d never been so fucking grateful to be away from him.
Now, turning to the house I wasn’t sure I was still invited to live in, I saw that all the lights were off. Lovely.
Tijan is a New York Times Bestselling author that writes suspenseful and unpredictable novels. Her characters are strong, intense, and gut-wrenchingly real with a little bit of sass on the side. Tijan began writing later in life and once she started, she was hooked. She’s written multi-bestsellers including the Carter Reed Series, the Fallen Crest Series, and the Broken and Screwed Series among others. She is currently writing a new YA series along with so many more from north Minnesota where she lives with a man she couldn’t be without and an English Cocker she adores.
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~🏈~ Michelle’s Review ~🏈~
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Sports romances are one of my favorite genres, add written by Tijan and it’s one of my top books of the year.
These characters Stone and Dusty are some of the best I’ve read about in a while. They are enemies, known each other since they were children, misunderstandings have one time friends hating each other.
This is one of those books that you can’t put down. This story grabs you and the characters lasso you in. I absolutely loved it. You definitely need to read this one!