Sunday, 31 May 2015

New Release: Coming to Hale by Marie James | #NEW #Erotic #Romance #debut


Title: Coming to Hale
Series: Hale Series Book 1
Author: Marie James
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release Date: May 29, 2015

The only time she trusted someone with her heart, she was just a girl; he betrayed her and left her humiliated. Since then, Lorali Bennett has let that moment in time dictate her life.

Ian Hale, sexy as sin business mogul, has never had more than a passing interest in any particular woman, until a chance encounter with Lorali, leaves a lasting mark on him.

Their fast paced romance is one for the record books, but what will happen when Ian’s secrets come to light? Especially when those secrets will cost her everything she spent years trying to rebuild.

This is a standalone contemporary novel. The next book in the Hale series is Alexa and Garrett’s story: Begging for Hale.

Recommended for readers 18 and up due to strong language and explicit sexual content.







I can feel every soft inch of her body, a sharp contrast to my hard muscles. Her eyes are no longer hooded; they stare up at me with…anticipation? No. Fear. She’s afraid of me. Too aggressive Ian, take it down a notch.

“Don’t,” I command.

“Don’t what?” she whispers, her voice trembling

“Be so disrespectful of yourself.” I tell her.

“Just stating the obvious.” Her eyes are turning from fear to more of annoyance. Lorali my feisty girl! 

I gaze down at her, fighting a losing battle, knowing I have to taste her or I’d not make it through the night.

“I think the only thing obvious about this situation is how much I want you,” I say, bending my head down to whisper in her ear. “My body is aching for you, Lorali. I want you so bad.”

“I think you’re playing some sort of game, and frankly I don’t appreciate being the object of it,” she huffs, stiffening her spine and glaring back at me.

“I can assure you this is no game for me, Lorali, although you do seem to take pleasure in denying me.” It’s my turn to grow frustrated at her. Who does she think she is putting words in my mouth, questioning my intentions?

“It’s a game to you. Find the most common person here; seduce her, then walk away, all the while laughing about how you were able to get some commoner so hot she’d drop her panties for you. You don’t want me; you want the thrill of the power that it gives you.” The irritated look on her face is increasing my annoyance.

“I don’t want you? Tell that to my cock,” I growl as I grind my erection against her.

She doesn’t even know me, how does she have such a distorted opinion of me? It may take some time, but I’ll show her that I’m not some sort of womanizer. I bend my head down further, breathing in her scent. Mmm. Lavender. Not able to deny myself a second longer, I brush my lips down the column of her neck, pausing briefly over her pulse point. I can hear her sharp intake of breath.

I pull my head back and focus on her beautiful, pouty lips, only briefly denying myself the exquisite way I know she’ll feel and how sweet her lips will taste. Having waited as long I can, I lean in, fully ready to take her mouth, simultaneously trying to talk myself down as to avoid attacking her like a rabid animal. I brush my lips against hers, using every ounce of restraint in my body.

“Stop,” she whispers, her breath ghosting against my lips.

“I can’t,” I growl as I crush my lips against hers.






Marie James, full-time working mother of two boys and wife of 11 years. I've spent almost my entire lifetime living in central Texas, with only short stays in South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida. I've always wanted to write novels and just recently had the gumption to sit down and start one. My passions include reading everything under the sun and sewing. I even listen to audio books while sewing. Coming to Hale is my debut novel and book 1 in the 4 book Hale Series. I have several other story lines worked out for other books once this series is complete. Reading and writing is my happy place. Hope you enjoy my debut novel.











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Book Tour and Review: Tricking Chase (Devils Pride MC #1) by Jessie G | #NEW #Review #MM #MC #bikers #Ds


Title: Tricking Chase
Series: Devils Pride MC #1
Author: Jessie G
Released: 8 May 2015
Publisher: Jessie G Books, Inc

Cover Artist: Andrew Reyna, Dynamic Craft Studios (http://www.dynamiccraftstudios.com)

Blurb
As Sergeant At Arms for Devils Pride MC, Tyler “Trick” Malone’s take no prisoners reputation make him one of the most feared and respected members of the club. Unbeknownst to the MC, Trick indulges his most dangerous secret, traveling out of state twice a year to trade his cut for the whip he expertly wields at a gay dungeon.

Trick’s well organized life takes a turn when he saves bar back, and terrified submissive, Chase Ward in a Georgia dungeon. With his protector and dungeon owner dead, Chase is no longer safe in the place he once called home. With the new dungeon owners circling like sharks, he desperately begs for sanctuary in the arms of his savior.

A year later, the MC is still none the wiser that Trick’s houseboy is anything more than a grateful servant. Chase knows, if the club finds out their secret, they will kill Trick—the man he’s come to rely on for everything from the food he eats to the pleasure he feels to the security he craves. Even when gratitude turns to love, Chase never expects reciprocation from his ruthless Master. After all, the only way for them to survive is if Trick remains the heartless bastard the MC knows.
Trick is positive he has it under control and having Chase around has definitely made his life easier. There doesn’t seem to be any harm in letting Chase take a part-time job at Velvet Ropes, especially after meeting privately with the owners. That is until a bomb explodes at the club, leaving Chase fighting for his life and forcing Trick to face his long hidden feelings.

Even if Chase survives, that bomb has done more than rock the foundation of the popular leather club. It’s blown Trick and Chase’s well-guarded secret out of hiding, putting their lifestyle and their lives at risk. Now there is only one thing Trick needs to do before the club gets them and that’s to get 
revenge on the person who dared to hurt his precious boy.

Authors Note: Tricking Chase is a direct spin-off of The Protector, which is book 3 in my Sizzling Miami series. Though I tried to provide enough details that it isn’t necessary to have read that book, I cannot really call this a standalone. 

Warning: Tricking Chase contains an established D/s relationship, hot guys on motorcycles, an undercover DEA agent named Snake, and a few visits from fan favorite Sizzling Miami characters.

Excerpt
Somewhere below, the doorbell rang and Ty sighed. Chase leaned in and licked his mouth, hoping to savor this moment for as long as possible. “Your gentle kisses always make me want more.”

Ty laughed at him. “Is there anything that doesn’t make you want more?”

“Of you? No.” Wanting was a constant state for him. When he was alone all he did was think about what they did together and when they were together all he wanted was to be as close as possible. If he was expected to go downstairs and show some restraint for Clay’s friends, he wanted more of this moment. “Perhaps a little spanking before I put my suit on?”

“You’re incorrigible.” Ty’s grin said he’d like nothing more than to bend Chase over the nearest surface and deliver a good hard spanking followed by a good hard pounding. He was totally on board with both ideas.

Without shame, he pushed his erection against Ty’s denim covered one and whispered, “Isn’t that what you like most about me?”

“It’s definitely one of your charms,” Ty mused, gripping his hips and taking his teasing nudge up to a full on grind. He was so close and the rough fabric on his bare skin felt amazing. All he needed was a minute, maybe less.

The heavy knock was like a bucket of ice and he couldn’t hold back the disappointed curse if he tried. Ty held him firm and continued the steady grind as if someone wasn’t trying to interrupt them. Just knowing that someone stood on the other side of the door while Ty worked to get them off drove him right back to the edge. Another knock had him groaning loudly.

“Seriously!” Clay demanded through the door.

One hand slid over his ass, grabbing Chase roughly and that was all it took for both of them. He cried out and that hand squeezed painfully, drawing out his orgasm until he was dizzy with it. Gasping for breath, he caught Ty’s evil smirk and laughed.

Still holding him close, Ty reached over and opened the door. Clay’s hostile glare made him laugh again. “Dress your boy, the party is starting without you.”

Ty snatched his swimsuit from Clay’s hand and pointed out, “We were having our own party up here until you interrupted us.”

“Yeah, yeah, there’s plenty of time for that later.”

“You’re getting real boring in your old age.” Before Clay could answer, Ty closed the door in his face. Chase took his suit and tugged Ty toward the adjoining bathroom, feeling lighter than he had in a long time.

Review
Foxy Rating = Five Stars
*ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review for the book tour

This is the first book in the Devils Pride MC and is a spinoff from The Protector (book 3 in the Sizzling Miami series) so lots of connections and although can be read as a standalone I would recommend the books are read in order as the storyline is very involving and complex but oh so engaging!

The timeline for this book overlaps with The Protector where we had already met Ty and Chase. The author has cleverly linked the two storylines together but it is still a complex storyline with multiple characters so it is not a read for the lazy reader. This author keeps you on your toes with the plot so it is fully action and passion packed!

Ty and Chase lead a D/s relationship but it is not heavily BDSM focus. The story picks up where the pair are keeping their relationship hidden but the MC where Ty is the SAA (and known as Trick) have their suspicions. Both Ty and Chase know what the outcome could mean should all be revealed. Ty is hoping his connections will help him in his constant battle to find his beloved sister Alicia. This brings in a lot of the characters from the Sizzling Miami series who join forces to help Ty.

The background story of the fight to find Alicia takes a major part in this book but even so the romance of Ty and Chase was wonderful to see revealed. It is a very loving relationship behind closed doors. Ty is a very controlling and alpha of a man, he doesn’t reveal his feelings to anyone and he finds it hard to accept friendships. Chase is a sweet and loving man but he holds an inner strength. His priority is his Master, his Ty and his overwhelming need to nurture and support him. Ty finds an unyielding desire to protect his sweet boy and nothing will ever deter him.

There is a lot in the book that I can’t really talk about in this review as it would spoil the enjoyment for the new reader as shocking revelations are discovered that had me by surprise.

This was another well written and engaging read from Jessie G and I loved the MC elements that were brought in. A fantastic book that I can’t wait to read more of, especially Snake. Five stars

Author Bio
"Wearer of Many Hats" is a title that was given to Jessie by a former employer some twenty years ago. This dubious distinction, along with the job description "everything is her fault", came after she fixed an electrical problem—during her interview—that the office had been having for years. After that, if anything went wrong, her coworkers immediately declared it her fault so she'd have to fix it. This position of importance inspired the owner to convert a closet into an office, thereby providing her coworkers endless opportunities to refer to her as “the girl in the closet.”

Today she is still the “Wearer of Many Hats” and her family has readily jumped on the “everything is her fault” bandwagon. Most mornings start at 5am, where she stumbles into her home office (which is step or two up from a closet) to tackle her personal email, watch gay porn and satisfy her Trivia Crack addiction. By six, she’s caffeinated and ready to take on the world. Wearing her favorite red power nightgown, she expertly designs websites, provides SEO and social media services, freelances as a bookkeeper, cooks, cleans and writes.

Writing has been the elusive, life-long goal that seemed to be getting further away as the years went by. It took 30+ years to achieve, but she’s decided that timing is everything. The world wasn’t ready for m/m romance back then, and now that it is, the girl in the closet has finally found her writing home.

Jessie is a firm believer in marriage equality, love at first sight, power dynamics and happily ever after. She’s a lover of strong secondary characters and series filled with families, biological or chosen. All are themes you'll find throughout her books.

Author Links


Giveaway

In addition Foxylutely is offering two ebook copies of Tricking Chase - all you need to do is leave a blog comment. Two winners will be chosen at random and each receive a copy of the ebook. 

Good Luck!


Blog Tour: Kage (Kage Trilogy #1) by Maris Black | #Tour #NEW #MM #MustRead #OneClick #MMA #review #Giveaway


Title: Kage
Series: Kage Trilogy #1
Author: Maris Black
Genre: M/M Romance
Released: 25 May 2015

Cover Artist: Maris Black

Blurb
ROUND 1 of the KAGE Trilogy

My name is Jamie Atwood, and I’m an addict. I never thought I’d say such a thing. Never had a problem being overly-attached to anything in my life. I came from a perfectly middle-class family, made good grades, and had a hot cheerleader girlfriend. But the truth is, nothing ever really moved me. So how did a guy like me become an addict?

I met Michael Kage.

Kage is an MMA fighter. A famous one. I like to think I helped him get that way.

He’s charming as hell, with looks to rival any movie star and talent to back it up. So why did he need to hire me as an intern Publicist? Simple. He has a darkness in him– like a black hole so deep it could swallow him, and me, and everyone we know– and that’s not good for business.

The first time I met him, I felt the pull. I think the addiction began at that very moment. And even if I’d known then what I know now, I would have fallen for him. How could I not? 

For me, Kage is everything.

Buy Links



Review
Foxy Rating = Five Stars
*ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

This is the first book in the Kage trilogy and what an explosive start it is. This is my first book by Maris Black but from now on she will be a definite must read for me.

Jamie Atwood is at college dating a hot cheerleader, he has a project to complete but at the last hour he still hasn’t even thought of a concept and then he sees a flyer for an MMA bout and inspiration flows. Little does he know what that inkling of a thought would lead him to!

At the tournament he comes face to face with Michael Kage Santori who is well known in the MMA world but that night he is there to observe. When Jamie sees him he is immediately drawn to this enigma of a man. He is surrounded by an abundance of female reporters all hedging for Kage to respond to them but to Jamie’s surprise he turns and directs his gaze and response to him. The air is electric and something wildly intensifying seems to have been released into the air. They engage in a conversation that illustrates it is not only Jamie that is caught up in this mystifying effect.

Afterwards Jamie is unable to forget about Kage. He is pleased his project was a winner but imagine his shock when he gets an offer from Vegas to go be an intern as Kage’s publicist. This is a great opportunity for Jamie, not only for the experience that will help in his career but also to get to know more about the enigmatic Kage.

It is around the same time that Jamie’s girlfriend ends things with him as they was something missing from the relationship. She wants to make a go of things with his buddy which to Jamie’s surprise it does not bother him one bit. So here he is dumped and on his way to Vegas!

Kage really is an enigma, nothing is really known about him or his mysterious uncle who manages him. From the kindle page I could feel the amazing tension and chemistry whenever Kage is with Jamie, even though they were ultimately just working together but then the banter and spiel turned into a friendship that bordered on something else. But there is a darker side to what Kage reveals to others. Just what has gone on in his past, what is his past and why does he have those mysterious panic attacks? Questions, questions that I am just dying to be answered!

I liked how the initial simplicity of the storyline just builds into something deeper and intriguing but at the same time so do the characterisations of Jamie and Kage. The reader is taken down a path of revelation and yearning for things to turn out into something spectacular, which it does but then whoosh, the ending left me reeling!

The passion and intensity between Jamie and Kage was scorching hot, the heat was certainly on for this sexy pairing. Some would say this borders on a GFY story but I don’t get that as I think there is a lot more to embellish with the MCs, especially Jamie.

This was an amazing and emotionally engaging read that absolutely had me hooked. A brilliant start to a fantastic trilogy. Definitely recommend you read this! Five stars

Excerpt
Kage pushed his tongue deeper into my mouth, and suddenly I was sucking hungrily at his tongue, winding my arms around his neck, and pressing my lower body against his. I was desperate to get closer, to feel through the barrier of my clothing what he had pressed against me. My hunger knew no bounds, growing exponentially with each passing second as it became clearer that this was not some fevered fantasy. This was actually happening.

And I was going to let it.

He unwound my arms from his neck and reached down to pull my t-shirt over my head so that we were skin to skin. The scrub of chest hair against my nipples was exquisite torture, and I moaned, pulling back to catch my breath.

“Fuck no, you’re not going anywhere!” Kage yanked me back against him. “I’ve waited too long for this. Been patient enough.” He covered my mouth and face with kisses, moved down to my throat, and bit the sensitive skin there until I cried out. I was overcome with passion, my breath coming in quick gasps as I fought to keep it together. I had always thought of myself as a player and a skilled lover, but I swear Kage made me feel like a virgin all over again.

“Take off your pants,” he said.

“What are you planning on doing to me?” I asked, my voice distant to my own ears as I worked my shorts down my legs, leaving my boxer briefs on.

“What I should have done when you first got here…”

“How did you know I’d let you?”

He chuckled. “I could tell by the way you look at me. Like you’re eating me alive with your eyes.”

“I don’t do that,” I protested. “I don’t even like guys.”
“Liar.” Kage shook his head and took a step back. “Get on your knees, Jamie.”

“Pardon me?”

“Don’t give me that look. I said get on your knees.”

I wanted to tell him no, that this was insanity, and that I wasn’t gay. I wanted to point out that I’d just recently had a girlfriend whom I’d fucked soundly on a regular basis. But instead I sank to my knees in front of him and waited, looking up at his unbelievably perfect body, all muscles and planes and smooth skin. The boyish face with the five-o’clock shadow, the dark locks of hair that fell loosely around his face… and that’s when I felt it. He was right. I was devouring him with my eyes, because God help me I could not get enough.

Author Bio
My name is Maris Black (sort of), and I'm a Southern Girl through and through.
In college, I majored in English and discovered the joys of creative writing and literary interpretation. After honing my skills discovering hidden meanings authors probably never intended, I collected my near-worthless English degree and got a job at a newspaper making minimum wage. But I soon had to admit that small town reporting was not going to pay the bills, so I went back to school and joined the medical field. Logical progression, right? But no matter what I did, my school notebooks and journals would not stop filling up with fiction. I was constantly plotting, constantly jotting prose, constantly casting the people I met as characters in the secret novels in my head.

Yep. I can blame my creative mother for that one!

When I finally started writing fiction for a living, I surprised myself with my choice of genre. I'd always known I wanted to write romance, but the first story that popped out was about a couple of guys finding love during a threesome with a woman. Then I wrote about more guys, and more guys, and more guys. I was never a reader of gay fiction, and I'd never planned to write it. The only excuse I have for myself is: Hey, it's just what comes out!



Giveaway

In addition to the tour wide giveaway, Foxylutely is also giving away one copy of Kage - so if you leave a comment you are in with a chance of a double bubble! 
Good Luck!

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Blog Tour and Review: Burn (Brothers of Ink and Steel #2) by Allie Juliette Mousseau | #Tour #Review #Tattoo #Fighter #Series



Title: BURN
Series: Brothers of Ink and Steel
Author: Allie Juliette Mousseau
Genre: New Adult/Sports Romance
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Liam Knight, a sexy panty-melting, hard-bodied streetfighter and renowned tattoo artist, is rising up the ranks of the UFC Middleweight Division, but he’s about to get knocked out by his past.

Quinn Kelley is a semester away from becoming a college graduate when her mother’s death sends her spiraling, forcing her to go back to her hometown and a past she can’t outrun.

Nearly a decade ago, Liam and Quinn fell in love while surviving on the city streets together, but they were torn apart by one irreversible night. Now each has moved forward without the other, but like a tattoo on the heart, absolute love creates a lasting burn.

Quinn has kept a tight rein on her emotions, but with the passing of her mother, the foundation she’s built begins to crack. Will seeing Liam again crumble her fortress to the ground, uncovering the flame that still burns? Or will it extinguish the fire forever?

Liam’s tough exterior and resentful demeanor hides more than a wounded heart. He’s tormented by guilt over what happened to Quinn—and the secret he kept, even from her. But revealing his secrets would require unearthing the all-consuming monster he keeps caged in the darkest part of his soul, the one that threatens to devour him.

When they’re given a second chance, will they let go of their fear and pride and let the flame between them become one? 

Or will the heat burn them both?


Foxy Rating = Four Stars
*ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

This is the second book in the Brothers of Ink and Steel series. This is Liam and Quinn’s story.

Quinn is back in town after a decade of living away, to arrange her estranged mother’s funeral. Quinn doesn’t quite understand herself why she is doing this as there was never a mother and daughter relationship. Her mother never cared for her or gave her love, in fact by the age of fifteen Quinn was out on the streets, homeless and battling to keep away from the local street gangs.

It was whilst living rough that she met and fell in love with Liam. From the offset he became her protector and steadfast anchor to all that was good in her life. They found salvation at North House where they forge a bond with the other guys that became the Brothers of Ink and Steel. But that happiness was drastically pulled from Quinn on one horrendous night, when she felt she had no alternative but to run. Now she is back in town and scared to see Liam again, will he forgive her and will there ever be a second chance for them?

Liam is a sexy, tatted, musclebound and renowned street fighter who also owns a tattoo parlour. He has done well for himself, to drag himself out of his horrific past of his childhood. But he has never been able to move on from Quinn. He has always carried her in his heart and could never let go of the promise of them that was pulled from him abruptly on that night.

The story is told in past and present form which I do like but on this occasion I would have liked to have seen more from the present. There were too many flashbacks and although I guessed what had happened from the prologue, it was until nearly the end that it was revealed what actually happened.

However I really enjoyed this book and found it a little different to the first one but liked how the band of brothers are included in the storyline of each book in the series. A good series to be hooked into and I look forward to the next. Four stars. 

One more hour before Josh shows up.
Maybe he’ll get distracted with Sophie and Charlie—his beautiful new family. Then he can call and apologize for missing it, and I can say, Better luck next time.
Damn I hope that happens.
I shade with snow-white opaque, platinum and charcoal and finish off the edges.
I’m actually thankful to Quinn for walking in on me this morning—I could’ve fucked up my hands bad and would’ve had to cancel this session—and doing this is the best therapy I could give myself.
“I think you’re done, man. Why don’t you go take a look?” I tell him.
He slides off the chair and goes up close to the full mirrored wall. “Holy Fuck! It’s incredible!”
“Happy you like it.” I smile and begin cleaning my area.
“Man, it’s a fucking masterpiece.”
“Thanks.”
“Aren’t you afraid if you continue fighting in the MMA, you could hurt your hand so bad you wouldn’t be able to tat anymore?” he asks.
Wow! That statement hits too close to home.
“I don’t mean nothing by it—you’re a hell of a fighter—could become a world titleholder,” he continues. “But you’ve got an amazing talent right here.”
“Thanks.” It’s just another subject and another question I don’t have an answer for.
After he leaves and my station is all cleaned up, I walk out into the waiting room.
“He was a happy customer,” Adrienne chirps.
Adrienne has been working for me since I opened the place. She and her longtime girlfriend live in the apartment above the shop. They’re great people.
“Josh just called. He’s on his way,” she says.
“Great,” I mutter and then look around at what I’ve built: black walls with red trim and black and red checkered flooring with a Persian area rug welcoming clients to sit on the black leather sofas. My artwork hangs on the walls … they’re good, but these pieces aren’t parts of my soul. Those are colors I’ve only ever let one person see. After her, I pulled the dark shades down over those windows.
“Want to talk about it?” Ade shakes me from my daze.
“No thanks. I definitely do not want to talk about it.”
“Are you going to talk to her about it?”
When I look over at her, she has her arms folded across her chest defiantly. Her spaghetti strapped dress shows off her colorful, flowered arm sleeves.
“You’re going to get on my case too?” I accuse.
“Well, you know there are no secrets here.” When she tilts her head to challenge me, the light reflects off her silver chin post. “I think fate is giving you a lucky draw from the deck, and you need to play your cards right. You’ve been pining after her for as long as I’ve known you.”
“Ade—” I begin.
“I’m not finished speaking. This is do or die, Jack—where you find out if she still has a thing for you or not. Maybe then you can get on or move on.”
“Jesus Christ, I hate all of this free advice!” I sweep my fingers through my hair.
“Free advice just means you have a family that cares about you,” she quips.
At that moment, the buzzer rings, announcing someone has opened the door behind me.
Shit.
“Welcome to The House of Ink and Steel,” Josh announces. 
“Hi there!” Adrienne coos with the biggest smile. “You must be Quinn. I’m so excited to meet you.”
“Thanks.” She sounds unsure and distrustful.
“This is Adrienne, she’s been working here for forever,” Josh says.
“Oh yeah! Since Liam opened the place.”
“It’s impressive, Liam.”
When Quinn says my name, I feel as if I could melt.
“Would you like the tour?” Josh asks her when I don’t answer fast enough.
“I’d love it,” Quinn says. “You know, I’ve watched you on Ink Master.”
She’s still talking to me.
“Really? You watch that show?” I finally turn to face her.
“Well, only when you’ve been a guest judge. Guess I’m partial to your work as an artist.” She bites her lip and her gaze drops to the floor.
It’s her shy look. Her I-want-to-hide look.
“Come on, I’ll show you the alcoves.” Josh takes her arm in his. “Talon and Ryder do quite a lot more work around here than he does.” 
As he leads her through the place Adrienne comes close and whispers in my ear, “It’s going to be alright, Liam. The universe has a way of working things through when it’s the right time.”
“At least one of us believes that.”
“Don’t be so cynical,” she scolds. “You just got handed a second chance.”
Before I can shoot her a dirty look, Josh and Quinn come back through the lobby. “Let’s get some lunch,” Josh says. “I’m famished.”
I give Adrienne a kiss on her cheek. Even though she’s just frustrated the living hell out of me, I know she cares.
We step out into the parking lot.
“I like the family SUV look you’ve got going on here,” I razz Josh, who used to drive a sleek Gillette Vertigo around. He still has it, but now he also owns a souped-up (with all the safety features) Chevy Tahoe. It has a pink flowered car seat in the back, which I’m sitting next to, along with the toys I had to push over to make room for my ass. A purple sippy cup sits in the drink holder next to Josh.
“Wouldn’t have it any other way,” he admits with a shit-eating grin.
“I’d love to meet your family.” Quinn smiles over at him from the passenger seat.
“I can make that happen,” he tells her.
Soon, though, Josh drives the scenic route around Lake Calhoun.
“Look!” He indicates the colorful snow kites gliding over the frozen lake. Before anyone protests, he pulls into the recreation area’s parking lot.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen those,” Quinn says. “It looks like a kaleidoscope.”
“Good thing we’re all dressed warmly. Let’s get a closer look.” Josh turns off the engine. “I could use the fresh air too.”
This is turning into more than lunch. Before I lose my cool, I try to get back into the state of mind I had when I was tatting the guy’s arm.
“Sounds good,” Quinn says, and that solidifies it.
We all walk out to the lake’s edge. There’s so much going on here, even in the middle of February, and it reminds me why I love this city. Vendors are serving hot cocoa and warm, freshly baked pretzels; kids are running around in full snow gear, and of course, there are the snow kites. A snow kite looks a lot like a windsurfer, only it’s built to stand and sail on ice. The colors remind me of a hot air balloon festival, when hundreds take to the skies.
“There must be close to fifty of them,” I say.
“Have you ever tried it?” Quinn asks, and I realize she’s talking directly to me.
“No. I’d fall flat on my ass.” I smile.
“Yeah, and break it, then I’d be the one carrying you home.” Josh laughs.
“Asshole.” I shove him lightly. “You know, Connor’s into it. Has his own kite and everything. He’s good at it.”
 Josh asks Quinn, “So, where are you living these days?”
“Georgia. I’ve been there the past few years.”
“Do you like it?” he prods.
“It’s hot and humid in the summertime, but the winters aren’t so bad.” She shrugs. “I sort of like the storms that blow through.”
She didn’t really answer his question.
“It’s really cool you two became such close friends.” She stares off dreamily at the kites.
“Yeah, I put up with him,” Josh quips and shoves my shoulder. “You two entertain each other for a second, I need to use the loo.”
I’m going to kill the fucker. I have no idea what to say! And obviously neither does she, as we both just stand there, painfully uncomfortable.
“Adrienne seems sweet,” Quinn finally says.
“Yeah, she’s cool.”
“How long have the two of you known each other?”
“Since I opened shop six years ago.” I watch a novice kiter fall on his ass. I know how you feel, buddy, I think.
“Six years is a long time,” she says.
“I guess.” I just shrug my shoulders. I’m now plotting the ways I’m going to kill Josh. “You never did finish telling Josh if you liked living in Georgia.”
“The people are really nice. I love the southern hospitality and big smiles. The people make you feel really welcome.” She continues, “I’ve made some great friends.”
“But?” I say, while I crane my neck towards the bathrooms.
“But …?”
“It’s an easy question, do you like living in Georgia?” It comes out more rough-edged than I intend it to. 
“Yes, I do,” she snaps back at me.
Perfect, I’ve made her angry.
Trying to save this conversation, which is already a train wreck, I try, “I’d miss the winter too much, I think, to live down south.”
“I miss the winter, the smell in the air and the prickly feel of the cold on your face,” she says, then slowly states. “I’ve been thinking for a while now about … maybe … moving back up into this area.”
It’s a big city, but not big enough. “Would your boyfriend go for that?” FUCK! Way to be subtle. And I don’t even want her to answer that! “You know, Josh is taking a long fucking time. I’m going to walk by the bathroom and see what’s taking him so long.”
I walk away fast, hoping she’ll forget that I asked her anything. Now I’m getting pissed off because I’m acting like a fucking teenager!
“Wait, I’ll go with you,” she says, catching up.
Without paying her much mind, I throw open the door of the men’s bathroom and walk inside, calling Josh’s name. When I get no answer, I come back out.
“Did you see him?” I ask.
“No.” She looks at me like I’m nuts. “Maybe he had to go to the car to get something.”
We walk together out into the parking lot, until we’re standing in the empty space Josh’s SUV had been parked in.
“Okay … that’s weird. You know, I’ll just call him.” She fumbles through her coat pockets. “He may have gotten a call from … Sophie … my phone isn’t here. Oh, shit! I just remembered, Josh asked if he could borrow my cell phone when his battery died. He must not have given it back to me.”
“I’ve got mine.” I feel my jacket’s inner lining and find only a piece of paper.
Sorry, Liam. Josh made me do itAdrienne
I close my eyes as the reality of what Josh just pulled off becomes completely clear.
“That asshole!” I look around the lot, hoping it isn’t what I think.
“What is it?”
“He drove us out here, left us on purpose, and stranded us further by confiscating our fucking phones!” I’m fuming.
How the fuck could he do that to me? What the fuck would make him think this was a good idea?
I hear a soft giggle beside me. I peer over to see Quinn trying to stifle her laughter behind her mitten-covered hand.
“It isn’t funny!” I state. “It’s a five mile hike back to my place.”
That doesn’t stop her. Her response grows from a giggle to an all-out laughing fit.
“He didn’t even fucking feed us!” I growl.
But her eyes still sparkle when she laughs, and it sounds so good and beautiful I can’t help but get sucked into it.
“You think it’s funny?” I reluctantly smile at her.
She nods with tears in her eyes.
I have to hand it to him, this is definitely one way to force us together.


Allie Juliette Mousseau is a USA Today Bestselling author.
She can always be found writing, playing in puddles with her children, hiking with her husband, or adventuring somewhere in the world. Her favorite place to write on warm days is outdoors, but when the weather gets too cold, she'll be inside at her desk inspired by the mountain view from her home office in Montana where she lives with her loving husband, children, and golden retriever. She loves to travel and lived for three years in her RV with her family while visiting the national parks and forests of the U.S. and a couple Canadian provinces. She is excited to add all of Canada and Alaska in the near future!
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