Release Blitz

Sprinkled with Love Bachelor Bake-Off #3 By: Jennifer Faye – Romance Author

What does one do with a matchmaking cat named Romeo?

SPRINKLED WITH LOVE
Bachelor Bake-Off #3
Jennifer Faye
Released Feb 21, 2017
Tule Publishing

What does one do with a matchmaking cat named Romeo?

Spirited and beautiful, Jillian Parker is one of Marietta’s newest business owners. Still, her mother worries about Jillian’s bare ring finger. So in order to give her mother something else to fuss over, Jillian adopts a cat named Romeo. He turns out to be anything but a docile lap cat.

One snowy night, Romeo makes a break for it. With Jillian right on his heels, they have a near miss with a passing pickup driven by Avery Wainwright, one of Jillian’s closest friends. A rodeo accident has the sexy cowboy returning home to recuperate, and he’s not happy about it.

So when Avery finds himself lassoed into the Bachelor Bake-Off, he turns to the one person who has always helped him out—Jillian. But will teaching him to take chances outside of the show ring have them both discovering that their feelings for each other run much deeper than they ever imagined?



Award-winning
author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming contemporary
romances with rugged cowboys, sexy billionaires and enchanting royalty.
Internationally published with books translated into nine languages. She is a
two-time winner of the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the CataRomance
Reviewers’ Choice Award, named a TOP PICK author, and been nominated for
numerous other awards.
Now
living her dream, she resides with her very patient husband, amazing daughter
(the other remarkable daughter is off chasing her own dreams) and two spoiled
cats. When she’s not plotting out her next romance, you can find her curled up
with a mug of tea and a book.



Book Blitz

Solitary Man by Diana Benefiel.

Title: Solitary Man
Author: Diane Benefiel
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Release Date: November 6, 2016
Blurb
On a battlefield in Afghanistan, Sgt. Ryder Bronson makes an oath to protect his dying friend’s wife from a rogue cop—and from the passion that will threaten to overwhelm them both.

ALONE…

After surviving a deadly Taliban attack on his unit, Sgt. Ryder Bronson returns home to fulfill a promise—to keep his dead friend’s wife safe from a scandal so dark that it threatens her life. But protecting her from a distance is essential. To be in close contact with Brenna McMurtrey means fighting the guilt and desire waiting to destroy him. Being honest with her would reveal more than his heart can bear.

TOGETHER

Over a year after the death of her husband, Brenna is finally ready to move on. Yet, just as she begins to push past the grief and start living again, danger rises at every turn. Several close calls prove she is the target of a sinister scheme. Nowhere is safe, especially not home. Her next-door neighbor appears to be watching her, a handsome if bad-tempered stranger who seems everywhere at once—and whose gray eyes hold an ocean of tragedy. Even if he is capable of protecting her, a part of Brenna will still be in jeopardy. The part that believes she can never love again.
Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Excerpt
Trying to shake off the hollow feeling, she clicked through more photos. One grabbed her attention, had her frowning. It was a selfie, Kenny outside on a blazingly bright day, standing in front of a tent and holding up a thermometer showing the temperature at 122 degrees. But it was the man standing several feet behind him that had her peering closely. Out of focus, the soldier stood in profile, sunglasses on against the glare. An army t-shirt revealed a muscular build and dark hair cut military short. She studied the photo but couldn’t be one hundred percent sure. It could be him, but maybe not. She clicked the mouse to move on to the next image.

She’d almost gotten to the end of the file when she found the image she’d been looking for.

Kenny had sent it after he and his sergeant had met with tribal leaders. Out of respect for their hosts, he’d said, the soldiers had dressed in the loose-fitting garb commonly worn by Afghan men. Both looked sunburnt, Kenny’s light brown hair nearly bleached blond by the sun. The wind had obviously been blowing; she could see dust billowing behind them, and they’d pulled white fabric from their tunics over their mouths and noses. She couldn’t look away from the man standing next to her husband. Slate gray eyes unrelieved by blue over sharp cheekbones. Ryder Bronson looked at her out of the photo, his arm slung loosely around Kenny’s shoulders.
Oh God. It was him. He’d served with Kenny and never said a word. Warring emotions drove her to her feet. Brenna hit print before storming out of her house and across the yard. Fury propelling her, she ran down her driveway to the gap in the split-rail fence and crossed onto Ryder’s property, the sheet of printer paper clutched in her hand. She approached the house and heard music, gritty metal, reverberating loudly through the late afternoon. At his front door she raised a fist and pounded. “Ryder! I want to talk to you!”
Waiting, barely able to contain the emotions surging inside her, she was afraid she would explode into a thousand pieces if she didn’t find a target for her anger. Ryder Bronson made a perfect target. When the door remained firmly closed, she seethed. She’d just bet he was hiding in there like a coward. “Ryder!”
Sucking in a deep breath, she tried to calm her racing heart. Even the knowledge that if she saw him in that moment she’d do more damage than Wade had inflicted didn’t deter her. About to knock again, she suddenly realized that the music wasn’t coming from inside the house, but from behind it. She strode around the side of the house to an open gate. Stepping through, she rounded the corner to the backyard then drew to a halting stop.
A sunroom had been built onto the back of the house and the windows were open to the outside, exercise equipment arranged around the room. Her attention zeroed in on Ryder, standing with his back to her at a chin-up bar. She stepped closer, stopping just outside the window, the music drowning out any sound of her approach.
His shaggy hair reached almost to his shoulders and he wore only a pair of athletic shorts riding low on his hips. He raised his arms, gripped the bar and, muscles bulging, sweat glistening, pulled himself up, held, then lowered back down. He had a beautiful back with wide, muscular shoulders tapering to a taut waist. A tattoo of an army insignia rippled on his right shoulder blade as he repeated the process without pause. Dismayed, Brenna realized she’d gone from raging anger to a belly-deep hunger in under ten seconds.
She wasn’t about to admit to that hunger being lust, but it sure felt like it. She tried to bring back the fury. Feeling anything close to lust for a man who wasn’t her husband, for a man who’d lied to and confused her, only made her angrier.
Wavering, unsure whether to confront him or just go back home and eat a gallon of ice cream, she found the decision made for her. A dog let out a bark from inside the room and Ryder dropped to the floor and turned to the window. He caught sight of her as two dogs tore out of the open doorway, barking furiously.
“Bruno, Winnie, shut up!”
Brenna put out a hand to the dog now busily sniffing her shoes, glad to have something to look at that wasn’t Ryder’s chest. The music cut off and in the sudden silence she lifted her head. He walked to the doorway, gaze locked on hers, wiping the sweat dripping from his forehead with a shirt wadded in his hand. A rough scar marred the skin high on his left shoulder. Throat dry, she swallowed convulsively at the play of muscles as he shook out the shirt. He raised a brow in question. “Want water?”
She shook her head. He pulled the shirt over his head before crossing the room, where he reached into a mini fridge. Returning to the doorway, eyes on hers, he tipped back the bottle, throat working as he swallowed. Screwing on the lid, he stepped across the threshold.
She took a hasty step in retreat. “Never mind. I changed my mind. I don’t want to talk to you.”
“Then why are you here?”
“Because I was going to talk to you and now I’ve decided it’s not a good idea.” It really wasn’t a good idea because confusion, need, and anger all mixed together to make her feel like a seething mess.
“Chicken.”
“Chicken? I am not chicken.” She backed up another step. “I just made a mistake coming over. People make mistakes all the time. I bet you even make mistakes. I came over to talk to you, and now I’ve decided not to.”
A shiver raced down her spine and she realized her emotions were too close to the surface. “I’m so mad at you it would be better not to talk to you right now.” Still in retreat, she held up a palm when he moved closer. “Go back to doing…” she fluttered her hand and gulped a breath, “to doing that, that muscle thing, and I’ll go back home. I’ll see you then. I mean, not then, but later.”
“Do you know you talk too much when you’re nervous?”
“I’m not nervous, I’m mad.”
“I think you’re nervous. You may be mad too, but I think you’re more nervous than mad.”
“I should know whether I’m nervous or mad. Never mind. This was a really bad impulse. Good-bye.” She turned to flee but he reached out and grabbed her hand. When she stilled, he wasn’t looking at her face. He stared at her arm, his thumb brushing across the sensitive skin where the bruises left by Wade’s fingers showed as dark smudges. Pulsing energy followed his touch along her arm. She was surprised there weren’t little crackles of electricity wherever his skin contacted hers.
“I need to go.” She felt her belly quiver.
“What’s a really bad impulse?” Even as he said the words he took the crumpled sheet of paper from her other hand. She held her breath as he let go of her and opened it. He stood motionless, studying the image. Steady eyes raised to meet hers.
“I’ve wondered if you’d figure it out.”
The soft-spoken words let loose something inside her, a wall that had held back all of the anger over Kenny’s death and the feelings of betrayal by Ryder. Without conscious thought, she raised a fist, pulled it back, and landed a solid punch in his stomach. He let out a grunt.
“You lied to me.” She let loose with another punch but this time her fist slapped into his palm as he caught it. She pulled back her left and let fly, striking him on the shoulder.
“Damn it, stop hitting me.”
She hiccoughed, then gave up trying to hold back the tears. “I don’t hit people. I never hit people.” Tears streamed down her cheeks, and she punched him again, attacking with emotions too long pent up. “You lied to me,” she sobbed. “You lied. You knew Kenny and you didn’t tell me.” She jerked her right hand free of his grip. Her breath heaved as she redoubled her efforts, fists pounding against his chest. He quit trying to stop the blows, instead pulling her closer, arms encircling her shoulders and making it impossible for her to get any leverage behind the punches.

“Shush, Brenna, darlin’.” He uttered the soothing words, hands moving in calming movements over her shoulders and down her back.

“Don’t you ‘shush, Brenna’ me. I’m on to you.” Her words were muffled because he’d pulled her against his chest, locking her arms against him, her cheek resting over his heart. He held her close and she took a deep breath to steady herself, his scent filling her head. Even when her mind screamed that this wasn’t right, that he wasn’t Kenny, for just a moment she let herself give in to the overwhelming need to be held. She wrapped her arms around his waist and hung on, eyes squeezed shut as a last shudder shook her body.
Author Bio


Born and raised in Southern California, Diane Benefiel likes nothing better than summer. For a high school history teacher, summer means a break from teenagers and early mornings spent immersed in her current writing project. She writes what she loves to read – emotional, heart-gripping romantic suspense novels. With both kids living (mostly) out of the house, in addition to writing, she enjoys camping and gardening with her husband. Diane is an active member of two RWA chapters, East Valley Authors and Orange County. She loves hearing from readers.
Author Links
Sale Blitz

Luke Steel

DIRTY IN CHARGE

BY: LUKE STEEL 

It's .99 and free on Kindle Unlimited.

<br />

SYNOPSIS:

People fear me. People bow to me. I'm used to being recognized

everywhere I go.

When she literally ran into me—inside my own house—it was

clear she had no clue who I was.

I expected that to piss me off.

It did the opposite.

I'd only meant to play with her a little, flirt a bit… tease. This was

my home turf, after all; getting her alone would be easy. I can have any woman I smile at, why

should she be different?

Then she learned I was a billionaire. That I was the brother to

the groom for the wedding she was in charge of planning on my estate. The risk of losing her

job was too much for her; she changed gears, became all business.

She thinks she can resist my charms?

It's too late. I want her… and I always get what I

want.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:


Review by Barbara

Mr Steel has written another dandy! His stories are so much

more than just erotic romance (oh don’t get me wrong, they fit that bill to a tee as well), but they

also tell a wonder story with characters that are very believable and charismatic. That is

especially true in “Dirty in Charge”; in the humble readers opinion this new author's best to

date. 


James Blake has opened the family estate to host his little

brother’s wedding and the entire week of the wedding has been turned over to an event

planning company. This is how James meets Emma. Emma is the brains behind the weekend’s

events, even if she’s not technically the one in charge. From the second James and Emma

meet, the chemistry is off the charts. But she has a job to do, one she takes Very Seriously and

that includes not “messing” with the clients. But as hundreds descend on the house for a week

full of outings and wedding events can James distract her or at least get a little time with her or

will she stick to her guns? This is a wonderful short story that will have you smiling, laughing

and sighing as you tag along through the magical wedding week at Blake House. I highly

recommend 1-clicking NOW!

Review by Lee Ann

Talk about good, best offering yet by Luke Steel, this one has it

all, hot as in flaming sex, HEA, a damn good storyline. I am impressed.


Emma and James just have that something, that spark that turns

into a wildfire! Just can't wait to see the next story offered this one, couldn't put it down. Five

flaming hot stars.

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<br />

ALSO AVAILABLE

HUNGRY BOSS 

Amazon — >  http://amzn.to/2kvhDWP

Business doesn't have to come before pleasure.

When we hooked up, I didn't know who she was and I didn't

think I'd see her again.

Then she sat down across from me in the

boardroom.

Emma. My rival. A woman I have to crush under my thumb, a

woman I want to steal everything from. And a woman who makes me throb– makes me ache to

just wrap my hands in her thick hair again.

Taking over her company was all I wanted.

Now I want more… so much more.

I'm going to take everything Emma has and make it

mine.

Hard Boss

Amazon — >  http://amzn.to/2kLCo54

I'm as hard as they come. No one can unravel me. And then

SHE came along…

Lucy was supposed to be like every other assistant out

there—quiet, skilled at predicting my needs, and definitely not a walking distraction. How can

she make it so hard to focus on my work? I hate it.

And I hate how much I want her.

Worse, no matter how I try to scare her off with my crisp attitude,

she stands up to me. Her backbone is turning me on as much as catching her bending over the

desk, skirt stretched over her thighs.

Dammit.

She shouldn't get close to me. No one should.

So why am I taking her to dinner?

And why am I tying her down to my bed, making her shiver and

moan?

Lucy might ruin what's left of my heart…

Unless I ruin her first.

Follow Luke Steel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lukesteelauthor/

Available on KU

Coming Soon, Pre Order

Love Revealed

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Even though don’t ask don’t tell was repealed, do you think that gays in the military still find it hard to come out in fear that they will be judged or worse?

Available for Pre-Order and releasing on Monday 2/27. Love Revealed from JC Santo.

Cover Designer: T.E. Black Designs
Photographer: Wander Aguiar
Genre: M/M, Military Romance

BLURB: Two men brought together by chance. What was only supposed to be a one night stand evolves, and now two years later they’ve found something in one another that they’ve never had with anyone else.

Marshall Stevenson has always lived his life in the open, never answering to anyone. He owns his own successful business and has a loving family and a supportive group of friends. The one thing he wants and doesn’t have, is a real relationship. The man he’s been seeing for the past two years, has pressed to keep their causal relationship a secret due to his own insecurities; however, Marshall is ready for that to change.

Preston Clark has lived the last five years of his life afraid of people judging his sexuality. The secrecy isn’t ideal, but he has come to terms with it. His career in the Navy has been his main focus after leaving home, but Marshall changes everything. In order to be with Marshall and become the man he’s meant to be, Preston must face the past he’s been running from.

Can Marshall convince Preston to face his fears? Or will the combination of facing them and his past cause him to run away from his future?

Falling in love was easy, revealing it to the world will be the hard part.

*This book is intended for mature audiences (18 and up). It does contain explicit language and detailed sexual scenes. While Love Revealed is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone.*

Pre-order Links:
Amazon: https://goo.gl/OrDCtl
Kobo, iBooks, and B&N: https://www.books2read.com/u/mBe7rM
Add to your TBR on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2jsRRqq

#FREE, Sale Blitz

The Marine in Unit A

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✮ (¸.•´✶FREEBIE☆.•°*°•.☆

The Marine in Unit A by Kris Cook
(Mockingbird Place Book 1)

The man who has been more of a dad to me than my biological father is dead.
He rescued me from the streets six years ago—a runaway teenage boy, escaping a family who thought I was an abomination.
Now what do I do? I have no one.
My life might look great from the outside. I’m in college. I have my own apartment. I have lots of friends.
But I’m dying on the inside.
I feel so alone. Lost. Hopeless.
I’m not the kind of person to wallow in self-pity. I need a distraction.
The guy moving into Unit A may be just what I need to take my mind off of losing my dad.

****

21-year old Oliver Lancaster is attracted to 22-year old Adam Stockton, the former-Marine moving into Unit A. But attraction for the closeted man morphs quickly into something deeper, something meaningful, something that terrifies Oliver. What will happen if Adam learns about the secret from his past?

Warning: contains skinny dipping, two hot men kissing, and sexual situations taking place in a 10-unit Mediterranean complex filled with college-aged hotties.

Now Available, Uncategorized

Simple Pleasure

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Simple Pleasures
by Aiden Bates

#MM

Have you ever thought that you found the love of your life? Planned your life together, began your life together? Then watched as it was torn away?

When Ellis Connelly moves to New York City for the job of his dreams, he can’t believe his luck. As the well-paid nanny for a wealthy young surgeon, his days are filled with worthwhile work and his nights are spent socializing with the greatest group of friends. He may not be rich, but he knows how to have a good time.

Dr. Jasper Flint doesn’t have time for a social life. Between his demanding career and being a single dad, his schedule is packed, and he’s still brokenhearted over a painful divorce. After meeting his beautiful new nanny, however, Jasper wonders if it might be time to get back out there.

When the two men finally come together, life truly begins for both of them. It looks like a future of companionship, romance, and hot sex is in front of them.

So when an unexpected blast from the past shows up, and their plans come to a screeching halt, both Ellis and Jasper must prove their love to themselves and each other… a task that ends up being harder than they ever thought possible.

This book contains sexually explicit content and not suitable for anyone under the age of 18. This book is approximately 70,000 words, has a happy ending, and does not end in a cliffhanger.

Cover Reveal

Morgan Campbell’s FINN

Finn: A Bully Novella
Morgan Campbell
Genre: M/M, coming of age.
Release Date: March, 10 2017
~ Blurb ~
It all started with a doll…

All I wanted was to be a kid,
to have fun with my friends and make mistakes.
But little did I know that my father had other plans.
A daily life lesson constantly spat in my face.

Every day, for years, I’ve been told that I’m wrong.
That I’m a mistake.
That I’m a sinner.
That no matter what, I’m an abomination.
A reminder that’s been drilled into my head;
beaten into my body and soul;
like a punch to the gut;
shoved in my face,
that what I am is a betrayal to my family.
Simply for being me. Simply for being gay.

Now, all I want is to be free from this nightmare that I’m trapped in.
To find the one that got away.
The one with the hazel eyes…
All I want is to find him
so he can save me from myself.

~About Morgan Campbell~

Morgan lives in the south of Texas, going back and forth from Austin and Houston, with her husband. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose stuck in a book, cooking, baking, crocheting, and causing a general ruckus with her friends and family! Filled with an overactive imagination at a young age, she began writing her thoughts down in a journal, and the rest, as they say, is history.
~Connect With Morgan~
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Blog Tour

Caught Out!

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Caught Out Blog Tour!

Title: Caught Out
Author: Leesa Bow
Genre: New Adult/ Sports Romance
Cover Designer: Najila Qamber
New Release only .99 for a limited time!
 B&N

What reviewers are saying:
“Beautiful, passionate and addictive.”~ Goodreads reader.
“Fantastic story of second chances.”~Amazon reviewer
“The pure raw emotion from both characters in the book had me filling up with tears throughout. This is a beautiful second chance romance story, with the added bonus it features a hot superstar cricket player! I highly recommend it! Five stars.”~ Amazon reviewer

Synopsis:
Ava Walters never expected her ex-boyfriend and Indian superstar cricketer to walk into her restaurant six years after she left him. The break up almost ruined her but she refused to deny him his dream of playing International cricket for Australia.
With her life on track as co owner of a fashionable restaurant, and supporting her five year old son alone, Ava cannot risk falling for his charm a second time.
After the initial shock of seeing her again, Jardine Kumble is determined to win Ava back. His gut tells him it’s more than ‘playing hard to get’ and he intends to get answers to why she is pushing him away…

Caught Out Cover.jpg

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CO Full wrap.jpg

Fashion portrait of young sexy businessman handsome  model man in casual cloth suit in sunglasses in the street

Back view of young businessman in suit looking out of window in interior with illuminated night city view. 3D Rendering

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About the Author:
Leesa Bow loves to read and write spicy romance. She spends her spare time with her family, catching up with girlfriends in cafes, or taking long walks along the beautiful, southern beaches of Adelaide, Australia. Leesa’s love of sport has inspired her to write stories about hot Aussie heroes and the strong women they fall in love with.

Leesa is the Author of ‘Winning the Player’ and ‘Charming the Outback’. You can find her here:
Newsletter sign up: http://eepurl.com/56B_9

Brought to you by….
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Release Blitz, Uncategorized

The Haunting of Tinley Hall Release Day Blitz & Giveaway with Tania Hagan

Title: The Haunting of Tinley Hall
Author: Tania Hagan
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: CHBB Publishing
Cover Designer: Aurelia Fray, Pretty AF Designs
Editor: CLS Editing Services
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb:
Seventeen-year-old Tinley Hall takes a fall down the steep staircase in her family’s restored Victorian home. When she becomes aware of her surroundings, she realizes she might be dead and she’s not alone as her spirit haunts the old mansion that once was her home.
After meeting a handsome stranger, Tinley is forced to question if he’s really a ghost and if she’s really dead, but she knows something more complicated must be happening.
Will Tinley be able to pull herself through death’s door, back into the land of the living? Or, will she even want to?
As feelings for her companion grow into an otherworldly love affair, Tinley must decide if she’s actually found her soulmate or if she just imagined the whole thing. Either way, she’s about to face the most difficult choice of her life … and of her death.
Tania Hagan was born in Illinois, but moved to Southern California as a young teen. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a degree in Social Science and Psychology.
She began her writing career shortly after school, when she wrote for a major business magazine. She also read the nightly business report for the company’s TV news. At the same time, she produced, and reported for a weekly TV news magazine program.
After she was married, Tania and her husband moved back to the Chicago area, where she worked briefly as a stringer for a local newspaper. She also became a successful Realtor, and continued to write for online, as well as for print publications.
They have one beautiful daughter. Her dream of dreams is to eventually adopt many more children. Out of everything she’s ever accomplished, she is most proud of being a mom.
Author Links:
Buy Link:
I didn’t die easily. For me, death was pretty much like everything had been in my life—complicated and ambiguous.
The day was dragging out like any other day. My little sister had been whining to my mother about summer camp since the night before, so I did my best to avoid them. My best friend was planning to spend the night, and she and her brother had been hanging out in our pool most of the afternoon.
“I really hate him being here.” Ally rolled her eyes as she laid on her beach towel beside me. She nodded vaguely in her brother’s direction.
I looked across the pool at the boy who had just pulled his long, lean body out of the water on the deep end. He shook his head for a second, sending splashes of water everywhere. As he ran his hand through his damp, dark brown hair, I had the slightest urge to go rake my fingers through it too.
I batted away my thoughts. AJ Stockwell was the last boy I wanted to get mixed up with. Although he was undeniably gorgeous, he had run through a string of four girls during the last school year alone. When he wasn’t loving and leaving his girlfriends, he holed up in his room, building and painting ridiculous model boats. Besides all that, he was my best friend’s brother, so he was sort of off-limits from the get go.
“It’s fine, Al.” I rolled over on my stomach and straightened the back of my swimsuit bottoms. “He just cut the grass, so my dad invited him to take a swim. No big deal.”
“Ugh. It’s a big deal to me,” Ally complained. “I mean, I can’t talk about anything with him around.”
“Relax. He’ll be out of here soon, I’m sure.” I craned my neck, looking at AJ again. “Besides, he’s not bad to look at.”
“Oh, give me a break, Tinley.” Ally turned over on her belly as well. She leaned her shoulder against mine and brought her voice to a whisper. “Didn’t I tell you he just broke up with Amanda? After he dumped Natalie, and Sarah, and—”
“Yeah. I get it. You’ve warned me a thousand times about how much of a creep he is to girls. One cheerleader after another. I would never get involved with someone like him, even if he wasn’t related to you.”
“He’s like a psychopath or something. I swear. He dates these girls for, like, a minute, and then he dumps them. It’s like he’s test driving them or something.”
“Well, he’s pretty hot, so I guess he has that option.”
“Or, maybe, these girls get one look at his toy boat collection and run for the hills screaming.” Ally laughed and moved onto her knees. She stuffed her sunglasses and sunblock into her bag. “I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of this sun, and enough of you drooling over my disgusting brother. Let’s go up to your room. I want to check out my Instagram anyway.”
“Drooling? That’s extreme.” I flopped over onto my back again and sat up just as AJ walked by. “Oh. Hey.” I squinted up at him.
“You know I can hear every word you say, Ally? Your voice isn’t exactly the most discreet sound in the neighborhood.” AJ wrapped a towel around his waist as he stood there. “I have my reasons for everything I do, and spreading rumors about me only makes you look like an idiot.”
“It takes one to know one.” Ally jumped to her feet, spewing probably the oldest and dumbest comeback known to man.
“That’s just about the most juvenile thing I’ve heard you say, like, ever, Al.” AJ pulled on a tight gray t-shirt before he sat in a nearby deck chair. He nodded to me. “Hey, Tinley.”
Did he just blush? No, Tinley, that’s a sunburn.
“Hi.” I quickly threw on my cover-up before I stood up. “Um, thanks for doing the lawn.”
“No problem.” AJ shot me a gorgeous smile. The dimples on his cheeks seemed to ripple as he talked. “I know your dad’s been busy with that new book of his.”
“True.” I nodded. “I hate mowing, so it was either you or call the gardeners back.”
My parents had fired our weekly gardeners at the beginning of the summer. They were constantly leaving the back gate open, letting our Golden Retriever run free in the neighborhood.
My parents thought my twelve-year-old sister was too young to handle the lawn mower, and my dad had been busy lately writing his latest novel. Plus, my mom swore she had never mown a lawn in her life. So it was up to AJ or me. I always talked them into opting for AJ.
“Come on, Tinley.” Ally grabbed my hand and started tugging me away from the pool.
“I’ll see you around then.” AJ winked in my direction as we were leaving.
Ally dramatically rolled her eyes in response.
“If she sees you first, even from a mile away, I promise you won’t see her around,” she teased her brother.
“Again with the brilliant one-liners, Al.” AJ wadded up his towel and threw it under his arm. He touched my arm as he stood up. “Tell your folks I said thanks for letting me hang out by your pool.”
“I will.” I stood still, despite Ally yanking on my arm.
“Later.” AJ nodded to me one more time before he hopped our six-foot gate on his way out of our yard.
Ally and I tossed on our flip flops before we went through the back door. My mom was really fussy about not getting marks on the floors, especially from pool water. My dad had just restored the original hardwood throughout our Victorian-era, five-bedroom house the previous year. Homes like ours dotted the Chicago suburb of Waybridge, and my parents claimed ours was one of the most authentic restorations in the area.
I couldn’t have cared less about things like that. To me, the old home always felt drafty, and our heating and air never seemed to work as efficiently as the systems inside the modern subdivision houses. I always envied the homes where some of my friends lived on the outskirts of town. But, my parents were in love with ours, and my vote didn’t count much…