Book Blitz

Journey to New Salem by Mark Rosendorf

Journey to New Salem
Mark Rosendorf
(The Witches of Vegas, #2)
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: March 29th 2021
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

The Witches of Vegas are back, and their lives will never be the same again.

A year has passed since The Witches of Vegas saved the city from the evil Wiccan vampire, Valeria. Since then, the show has hit an all-time high. So has the romance between teen witch Isis Rivera and teenage magician, Zack Galloway.

Things couldn’t be any better for them until Isis develops seizures that cause her power to spiral out of control. Fires and earthquakes are just the beginning of the chaos caused by the misfired witchcraft. Unable to find a cure, Isis ’family journeys to New Salem, a fabled village of witches which may or may not even exist. Meanwhile, Zack ends up face to face with the only being who may have a cure…Valeria. But does he dare pay her price?

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“Two club sodas, please,” Zack answered.

“I’d like a mimosa.” Isis glanced over at Zack’s tilted head. “I’ve always wanted to try one.”

The bartender snorted. “I’m going to need to see I.D. for that.”

Isis had learned a lot about her connection to the planet’s energy and how to manipulate it. Her mom and Sacha trained her on moving objects while her dad taught her how to create illusions. Dad also knew how to use his connection to force hypnotic suggestions into people’s minds. Although he hadn’t yet taught that skill to Isis, she had seen him do it more than a few times. It basically ran on the same principle as all the other reality-manipulating powers of a witch. Time to put it to the test.

Isis reached into her pocketbook and pulled out her hotel room keycard. She looked the bartender directly in the eyes. “I am showing you my I.D. and it says I am old enough to drink an alcoholic beverage.” She focused her thoughts on the bartender’s mind. “You see my picture and my age at twenty-one. Now that you have seen my age, you can place a mimosa on the counter for me to try.”

The bartender laughed. “That was cute. Two club sodas coming up.” She reached under the counter and placed two bottles in front of Isis and Zack. “That’ll be eight bucks. You can leave it on the counter.” She then moved onto another group of customers.

“Well, damn.” Isis shook her head. “That didn’t work out at all. I guess hypnosis just isn’t my thing.”

Isis held out her open palm, pointed at the club sodas. One bottle glided across the countertop to her hand like a piece of metal being pulled to a magnet. At least that ability was still working.

“Or maybe your heart just wasn’t into committing a crime.” Zack reached for his bottle and picked it up off the counter.

“I’m sure you’re right.” Isis took a swig of the soda while staring off at the dance floor. “Still, I wonder why her blood tastes like syrup.”

“I’m sorry, what?” Zack’s face whipped her way. His eyes squinted.


“Did you just say something about tasting the bartender’s blood?”

“Did I say that?” Isis honestly couldn’t remember those words coming out of her mouth, yet they sounded so familiar.

Zack stood from his bar stool and clenched her wrist. “Isis, are you all right?”

Isis stared at the strobe light above the dance floor. Somehow, it seemed brighter, or darker. Or… something. She could hear Zack shouting her name. It echoed as if they were on opposite ends of a tunnel. A striking pain crossed her chest. Everything around her blurred, just like when she’d teleport herself to a new location. But she was sure that wasn’t what was happening. She inhaled but couldn’t catch her breath. “Zack, I think I’m not…okay…” Did she say that out loud or did she think it? Isis couldn’t be sure.

Her attention turned back to the bar from the sound of one or both bottles exploding. Her forearm stung from a piece of glass piercing her skin. Zack called out her name.

Then everything went dark.

Author Bio:

Mark Rosendorf ‘s writing is based on the personalities and experiences he has come across throughout his life, coupled with his own wild “if only I could do that” imagination. He is the author of the young adult series, The Witches of Vegas. He is also credited with The Rasner Effect series, a suspense/thriller trilogy published between 2009 and 2012.

Born November, 25th, 1974, and raised in Queens New York, Mark holds a Master’s Degree from Long Island University’s Human Development and Leadership program. He is a licensed Guidance Counselor for the New York City Department of Education’s special education district. He began his counseling career in September, 2001. Prior to that, he worked in the hotel industry.

Mark has also moonlighted as a professional magician. Today, he teaches magic and Illusion to his students in order to teach teamwork while developing their confidence.

Having accomplished his goals of becoming an author, Mark decided on an early retirement from writing. Then, one night, at two a.m., a new and unique story shot into Mark’s brain like a lightning bolt, screaming for him to write it. Mark found himself spending several nights taking notes on the characters and their stories. That is how The Witches of Vegas series was born.

The Witches of Vegas placed second in the young adult category of The International Digital Awards. It was also named one of Shelf Unbound’s Notable Indy and received a five star rating from the prestigious InD’Tale Magazine.

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Bondage Buddies by Golden Angel

 She’s got a crush, even though they’re just friends…
Bondage Buddies by Golden Angel releases April 6!


#teaser #preorder #comingsoon #bondagebuddies #mastersofmarquis #goldenangel #bdsmromance #romancebooks #romancenovels #readmoreromance #contemporaryromance #steamyreads #hotreads #bookbuzz #bookblogging #bookpromotion #booksbooksbooks 

No strings attached is harder than it seems for Master Mitch and sweet, submissive Domi…

When Master Mitch proposes becoming friends-with-benefits, Domi can’t find any downsides to such an arrangement. As a single mom with no time for a relationship, she’s content with leaving everything about her desires at the club. And despite his playboy reputation, Mitch is definitely the kind of capable Dom who can give her everything she needs.

She’s sweet, she’s sassy, and she has an incredible ability to take everything he can give her. So why shouldn’t Master Mitch want Domi for his very own? But with each scene, Mitch is surprised to find that he craves more than just Domi’s submission. Before long, it’s clear that the pair is tied up in something more binding than either anticipated. Can Mitch convince Domi that it’s safe to trust him outside of Stronghold and Marquis?

About the Author:

Golden Angel is a USA Today best-selling author, Amazon Top 50 bestselling author, and self-described bibliophile with a “kinky” bent who loves to write stories for the characters in her head. If she didn’t get them out, she’s pretty sure she’d go just a little crazy.

She is happily married, old enough to know better but still too young to care, and a big fan of happily-ever-afters, strong heroes and heroines, and sizzling chemistry.

She believes the world is a better place when there’s a little magic in it.

Release Blitz

Playing for Keeps by Jessica Prince

Title: Playing for Keeps Series: Hope Valley Author: Jessica Prince

Contemporary Romance; Small Town Romance


When it came to the men in her life, Charlotte Belmont was cursed. She’d known losers, cheaters, abusers, and criminals, so it went without saying, she stopped trusting her judgment a long time ago. Then Dalton came into her life; a good, dependable man who made her heart race and her body hot. When she felt herself falling for him, she did the only thing she could think to protect them both . . . she ran like hell. Dalton Prescott was a protector by nature, so when the woman he’d been tasked to keep safe was almost killed on his watch, he carried that guilt like a weight on his shoulders. What made matters worse was that before everything went south, Dalton had started to care for Charlotte in a way that had nothing to do with his job. She’s determined to ignore their attraction and keep him at a distance, but he’s playing for keeps and has no intention of losing. However, when ghosts from the past start popping up, bringing with them a whole new threat, Dalton may be the only man who can keep her safe this time. **Hope Valley is a series of interconnected, standalone, small town romances.**


Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited Amazon US | Amazon Worldwide


His eyes were still dancing with humor when he finally got a hold of himself and looked back down at me. “What’s so funny?” “The fact you thought you had to convince me you weren’t perfect,” he said, a chuckle still shaking his chest. “Believe me, Thumbelina, I’m well aware of the fact you aren’t perfect.” My eyes narrowed into slits when he started cracking up again. “All right,” I said snootily. “You don’t have to laugh so damn hard about it.” “You did everything you could to make my life miserable when I was put in charge of keepin’ you safe. You were loud, you picked fights constantly, you’re hardheaded, you had shit taste in music, you’re messy, and you were constantly eatin’ my yogurt, even though I put my name on it before stashing it in the fridge. Christ, baby. You pretended to have menstrual cramps just so you could sneak out on me when I was tryin’ to protect you. Straight up, you were a pain in my ass, so trust me when I say you don’t have to warn me.” I squirmed in his arms until he was forced to let me go, and took a step back, planting my hands on my hips while shooting fire from my eyes. “First off, I do not have shit taste in music.” “Babe, every one of your playlists is like bein’ trapped at the g***** Lilith Fair with no escape.” “Second,” I continued, ignoring his dig, “I’m not messy. I know exactly where everything is.” His brows climbed high on his forehead as he looked around my apartment to the piles of clothes and shoes strewn about. “I got really tired after finishing my laundry,” I defended snappily. “But I’ll have you know, they’re all clean, and like I said, I know exactly what is in each and every pile.” He grinned arrogantly, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do more, kiss it or smack it off his sexy, stupid face. “Whatever you say, sweetheart.” “And last, that yogurt was in my fridge. That means, labeled or not, it was fair game.”

Visit Hope Valley a series of interconnected, standalone romances

Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Out of My League Amazon US | Amazon Universal

Come Back Home Again Amazon US | Amazon Universal

The Best of Me Amazon US | Amazon Universal

Wrong Side of the Tracks Amazon US | Amazon Worldwide

Stay With Me Amazon US | Amazon Worldwide

Out of the Darkness Amazon US | Amazon Worldwide

The Second Time Around Amazon US | Amazon Worldwide

Waiting for Forever Amazon US | Amazon Worldwide

Love to Hate You Amazon US | Amazon Worldwide

Playing for Keeps Amazon US | Amazon Worldwide


Born and raised around Houston Texas, Jessica spent most of her life complaining about the heat, humidity, and all around pain in the ass weather. It was only as an adult that she quickly realized the cost of living in Houston made up for not being able to breathe when she stepped outside. That’s why God created central air, after all. Jessica is the mother of a perfect little boy–she refuses to accept that he inherited her attitude and sarcastic nature no matter what her husband says. In addition to being a wife and mom, she’s also a wino, a coffee addict, and an avid lover of all types of books–romances still being her all time favs. Her husband likes to claim that reading is her obsession but she just says it’s a passion…there’s a difference. Not that she’d expect a boy to understand. Jessica has been writing since she was a little girl, but thankfully grew out of drawing her own pictures for her stories before ever publishing her first book. Because an artist she is not.

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Book Blitz

Wallflower by Cookie O’Gorman

Cookie O’Gorman
Publication date: March 25th 2021
Genres: Romance, Young Adult

Wallflower (wohl-flou-erh): Identifier for someone who is shy and/or awkward. For reference, see Viola Kent.

Seventeen-year-old Viola Kent likes being invisible. Well, not literally, but she’s content being a loner, reading her books, and hanging out with the animals at the shelter. She just wants to keep her head down and get through her senior year at Durham High.

Driving Dare Frost to school every day wasn’t part of the plan.

And when Viola finds out her dad recruited Dare, his number one player, to be her friend?

Her inner Slytherin demands revenge.

The solution: Get Dare to be her fake boyfriend.

Convincing the star athlete to pretend is easier than she’d thought it would be. The hard part is protecting her heart. With every word, touch, and kiss, Viola’s feelings become more real.

The problem: Viola knows she’s falling for Dare—but he doesn’t believe in love.

This book features two sets of soulmates, one happy pooch named Hermione, so many sizzling kisses and answers the question:

Can a dork and a jock fake their way to true love?

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This had to be a dream, I thought. Either that or a hallucination.

Standing in our driveway, leaning back against my little Honda, hands in his pockets like he was Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles or something, was a guy who knew he looked good even in sweats and a hoodie.

Dare Frost.

His six-foot-three frame dwarfed my car. Dare was the last person I expected to see waiting outside my house on my last first day of high school. I was so surprised it took me a second to find my voice.

But Dare just cocked his head.

“Morning flower,” he said. “Better hurry or we’ll be late.”

I shook myself out of it. “Are you lost?”

“Nope, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.”

“What are you even doing here?” I asked.

“Isn’t it obvious?” He held his hands out, a small smile playing on his lips. “I’m here to bum a ride to school. Speaking of, could you pop the locks?” Dare rubbed his hands together. “It’s a little chilly out here.”

I laughed, couldn’t help it. “Are you crazy? Dare, I’m not taking you to school.”

“Yes, you are.”

“No. I’m not.”

Dare shrugged. “Coach said you would.”

My jaw dropped. “He did what? When? Why?”

“That’s a lot of questions,” he said. “But yeah, your dad and I talked the other day after practice. He said you’d give me a ride because we live so close to each other. Said it would be no problem. I run by your house every morning anyway. Plus, my car’s in the shop for repairs.”

“Didn’t you just get that car?” I asked.

The question made Dare smile for some reason. “You keeping tabs on me, Vi?”

I choked. “What? No!”

“Hey, no worries,” he said. “I’m not mad about it. A lot of girls do it. Just wasn’t aware you were one of them.”

Author Bio:

Cookie O’Gorman writes YA & NA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her novels ADORKABLE, NINJA GIRL, The Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder, The Good Girl’s Guide to Being Bad and WALLFLOWER are out now! She is also the author of NA sports romance, The Best Mistake.

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Blog Tour

Dark Temptation by Sarah Amelle

Title: Dark Temptation
Series: Dark Hearts Book One
Author: Sarah Amelle
Genre: Dark Romance
Release Date: March 23, 2021

With the world at my feet, I have it all. I’m respected and feared by men, wanted and desired by women. The only code I live by is my own.

Haunted by my brother’s death, all I seek is vengeance. I crave it. There’s nothing I want more than to watch his killers burn.

Then one night, everything changes when a straightforward debt collection becomes complicated. Little did I know, my collateral would be more dangerous to me than I could’ve ever imagined.

Love is something I’ve never allowed myself to even think about. It’s simply not a part of my plan. And I always have a plan, I’m always prepared. Or so I thought.

All it takes is one night for life as I’ve known it to come crashing down around me. Secrets, betrayal, and lies have led me straight into the arms of a killer.

He represents everything I hate—taking lives, while I want to save them.

But things are not what they seem and beneath all his darkness lies something I never expected. What scares me the most is that he’s breaking all the rules I ever had.

I turn around and my mouth opens and closes in quick succession when I see where that voice came from. My blue eyes meet his emerald green ones and I feel a shiver of anticipation run down my spine. He was six-foot two of tanned perfection. Jet black hair, green eyes and a body to die for. Wrapped up in an all-black outfit, which made him look more polished then every man in here. There was an aura about him that had me feeling cautious, although he did not look any more threatening than anyone else in here, there was something about him. Something wickedly alluring that had me pause in deep expectation. He looks down at me coolly, his eyebrow cocking at my reaction. He knows exactly what is going through my mind. He smirks wolfishly, showing off his pearly white teeth as he take a drag of his cigarette. I watch as his eyes devour me, and I feel my cheeks flush in response.

Eleni perplexed me. She wasn’t like the normal broads that I was used to meeting, that dropped their panties at me without me having to flash as much as a smile. I’d give her a couple of days of settling before she caved. I would make her beg for me; they always give into me in the end. I could do with a new plaything to amuse me for a while, the things that I would do to her would have her asking for more and more. I couldn’t wait to make her submit to me.

In between being a dreamer and procrastinator Sarah Amelle lives and breathes reading and writing, if she isn’t thinking about her next dramatic cliff hanger she is probably reading her favourite dark romance stories.

Sarah Amelle specialises in Mafia bad boys, especially the complicated ones with dangerous minds and even darker hearts. Her weakness is a hot alpha male and an even feistier female protagonist. After amassing almost twenty million reads across online interactive apps Sarah decided to take it to the next level with her latest book Dark Temptation part of the Dark Hearts series.

Blog Tour

Widow’s Undoing by L. Wilder

Title: Widow’s Undoing
Series: Ruthless Sinners MC
Author: L. Wilder
Genre: MC Romance (standalone)
Release Date: March 25, 2021

Frankie Sullivan was everything I wasn’t.
She was good, beautiful and strong.
She hadn’t let her past break her.
She’d held on to the hope for a better tomorrow, not only for herself but for her two boys.
She was a woman who wanted…who deserved more.

I wasn’t a man who could give more.
I was cold, broken and full of rage.
My past had broken me.
I never allowed anyone get too close.

I’d tried to fight the pull I felt towards her.
But all the little things—her smile, her light, the feel of her skin on mine—drew me in.

It was all the little things that would become my undoing.

L. Wilder has knocked it out of the park with this one. Strap in and hold on tight. This angsty, gritty, love story will break your heart and then mend it. ~Book Club Gone Wrong
Widow’s Undoing hit the pages at full speed for another not to be missed L.Wilder amazing ride! ~Jenerated Reviews
This book had me mad as hell one minute, laughing my fool head off the next and on the edge of my seat with the threat that came for the club. Thank you Ms. Wilder for another amazing book! ~A Book Lover

Leslie Wilder grew up in a small town in West Tennessee. A country girl at heart, she’s always thought that life is too short, but she had no idea how short it really was until her brother passed away in 2014. She’s always been an avid reader, loving the escape only a great book can give, and wondered if she had what it took to write one of the wild romances she’d come to adore. With the support of her family and friends, she published Inferno: A Devil Chaser’s MC, one year after her brother’s death. With him in mind, she fulfilled her lifetime dream of writing. Since then, she’s completed the Devil Chaser’s Series and continued on with the Satan’s Fury MC Series. She has so many stories in her head, and can’t wait to share each and every one.
Leslie has been blown away by the support of her readers, appreciating every message, review, and encouraging word she’s received over the past year. She looks forward to continuing this journey with them for years to come.

Release Blitz

King of Bourbon Street by Aidée Jaimes

Title: King of Bourbon Street
Series: The Mafia’s Throne Duet #1
Author: Aidée Jaimes
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: March 29, 2021

Whoever controls Bourbon Street, is King.

I was born to rule, made by my father into the ruthless Boss of the Marcone crime family. My seat, a throne made of leather and gunpowder, forged by blood.

Now, a new threat has come to challenge my position, testing me for weakness by sending me the lovely Irish Rose.
Her sweet scent is a lure, her green eyes a weapon meant to seduce me until I lower my guard. And the secrets she holds the final blow meant to bring me to my knees.

I will take sweet Rose and make her mine. But she will never infiltrate more than my bed. Never come near my throne. And I will never let her in my heart.

I am Enzo Marcone, and I am the King of Bourbon Street.

***This is not a standalone novel. It is the first book in the Mafia’s Throne duet.***

A smile quirks one side of my mouth. “Rose, why are you here?”

“I…I’ve come seeking asylum.”

Frowning, I sit up. “From what?”

“From…” She chews her lower lip as her delicate hands wring the strap of her bag. “Please let me stay with you.”

“You want to stay in my club?”

She shakes her head. “I’d hoped you’d take me home with you. The club is part of your house, isn’t it?”

My lips part, though I don’t respond, because I can’t. A battle spurs to life inside me, with my body instantly ready and primed, screaming, Fuck yes! while the sane part of my brain says it would be a mistake. It’s a trap.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t. You need to go.”

“I can’t go back,” she says in a small voice. “Not without completing my job.”

“What job?” My eyes narrow as I study her. “Rose, were you sent here?”

“Yes,” she admits, peering at her lap and chewing on her bottom lip.

“Look at me,” I command. When she lifts her gaze to me, I scrutinize her. “What were you sent here to do?”

“You’ll kill me if I tell you.”

“I’ll kill you if you don’t.”

She swallows hard, probably remembering the gun I had pointed to her head last night, then blows out a breath before she says, “I’m here to seduce you. To find a way into your home and into your bed.”

“My bed.” I laugh, thrown off by her honesty.

“Men talk after they fuck. When their guard is down.”

“What sort of information are you after?” I ask, though I can already deduce.

“Weakness. Dillon Callaghan wants to know what your weakness is.”

“Well, sweet Rose, I’m sorry to inform you that if you make it into my bed, you’ll be sorely disappointed to find I have no weakness.”

Aidée Jaimes is a Mexican American author of Historical, Paranormal and Contemporary Romance, who also writes under the pen name Haden Hudson. She lives in Florida with her amazing husband and beautiful daughter.


Blog Tour

Mister Romance by Amelia Simone

Title: Mister Romance
Series: Self Made Series #1
Author: Amelia Simone
Genre: Friends to Lovers, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 19, 2021

He’s living a double life, and she’s vowed to get a life …

Tamra Shaw
Every aspect of my life is drab. I need more than my nursing career. Nothing will change if I don’t. I’m determined to do it – three things that scare me: Reach out to my favorite romance author. Try pole dancing. Flirt a little. Nothing’s stopping me but me.

My brother’s wedding is the perfect opportunity to show everyone the new me. Now, to find a date…

Chase Hoffman
The sultry siren masquerading as a practical nurse can’t fool me. Tamra is romantic lead material. Being her date to her brother’s wedding is a dream come true. Or my worst nightmare.

There’s a reason I live my life behind a keyboard. No one wants me running my mouth without preparation. Boobs. Aliens. You never know what might pop out. Me and my blundering mouth can keep it together for one tiny favor – right?

High heat and light-hearted fun abound in this friends to lovers romance. Mister Romance is book 1 of the Self-Made Series and can be read as a stand-alone or before Mister Marriage.

Wendy’s Book Blog – “Fun Read. This is a new author to me, but I will certainly be looking out for her work in the future.”
Tasha Talks Book Blog – Fun Read. This story was so cute, funny and had me on an emotional rollercoaster.”

Jimmy and I met at the gym, and he couldn’t resist teasing me about my dinner with Tamra. “So, how’d it go, Mister Romance? Did you woo the lady?” he asked.

I shook my head at him. “You know it wasn’t like that. She’s helping me out.”

“Oh, yeah? What did she wear to dinner?”


“Was any cleavage on display?” he probed.

I nodded, and he pursed his lips and tilted his head. “I’m pretty sure she’s into you if the girls were on display. Women don’t come to a single man’s place with their boobs out unintentionally.”

Jimmy continued, warming to his topic. “I have a theory. If the boobs are on display and it’s not a natural place for said plumage, for example, a bar, then it’s premeditated boobage. That shit doesn’t just happen. Women are very aware of their cleavage game. If they’re unsure of you, they might reveal a hint. More likely they’re wearing something like a crew neck T-shirt to cover the girls up altogether. Maybe a turtleneck if you’ve really made them uncomfortable.”

Jimmy had obviously thought about women’s breasts and their meaning a lot. Which was saying something, as I was the one who wrote romance novels.

Amelia Simone is a reader turned writer based in the Pacific Northwest. Along with caring for her young family and enjoying food and wine adventures with her husband, she spends a lot of time in the backyard gardening and reading during her free time. (If you plant enough stuff, no one notices if you accidentally kill off half.)

When the weather cooperates, you can find her on her deck sipping coffee and writing her next book. Amelia believes that everyone has a little frog in ‘em, and a little royalty too. She enjoys writing light, hopeful romance about everyday people with the banter and teasing that make life fun. When the real world gets to be too much, she moves on to the sci-fi world she created for a little paranormal relief.

Release Blitz

Personal Pan by Darlene Everly

Title: Personal Pan
Series: A Comfort Food Romance
Author: Darlene Everly
Genre: LGBT Romance
Release Date: February 24, 2021

Fake dating, real sparks.

Olivia is tired of having few friends, too many responsibilities in her family’s pizza restaurant, worrying about her mother’s cancer, being second fiddle to her med student brother, and being very unlucky in love.

Her ex-girlfriend finds a new focus for her affection, and Olivia decides the safe, kind, easy option for a rebound to make her feel better is the good looking, although kind of boring, Omar. She’s sure it would all be easier if she was a pansexual girl not battling crippling social anxiety, but she keeps trying through it.

Campbell, Omar’s cousin, is new in town and happens to be a trans man. She hopes that hiring Campbell will win her points with Omar. What she doesn’t expect is to find herself relying on Campbell to help her navigate getting friends, pretend to date her so she can win Omar, and help her prepare for a pizza competition that could be the difference between her losing the restaurant and ensuring she gets everything she’s been working for.

Even more surprising, instead of a silly rebound, if she can get beyond her own fears and is willing to risk her chance at the competition she’s wants to win so badly, she might find everything she’s been looking for.

“I think he might be into you, but he doesn’t realize you even want to date. Anyone. At all,” he says and bites his lip.

Whatever the next thing out of his mouth is going to be I don’t think I’ll like it, what he just said is gutting as is. “I know… I’m not very social, but mostly I’m just busy,” I say, trying to put a light spin on what I know is a problem, my lack of real connection to anyone but this place and my family.

“I get that. You’re a boss, literally. You do a lot, and it doesn’t leave a lot of time, but that’s why I think we need to come up with a plan to let him know you want to do things,” he says, and I laugh until I snort.

“Oh, god. You heard that?” I say while he tries, and fails, to stifle a laugh. “You said, things. It was very heavy innuendo.” Which only makes him laugh harder.

“No, you know what I mean. And the snort was cute.”

My face heats in a blush that could not be timed worse. My stupid face. It always does this. Who needs to worry about choosing their words carefully when half the time your own face betrays whatever ridiculous thing passes through your head? I take a breath and try to focus back on the ominous drastic measures he thinks I need to employ in my social life.

“But I don’t know what you think I can do, short of walking up to Omar and asking him out, which I am way too freaked out about talking to people in general to ever do that,” I say, with a punch into a new pile of dough I imagine as my own personality failings.

“I think there’s a way we can let him know you like dating without you putting yourself in a position that would freak you out. He already thinks you’re great, and he’s seen you so we know he knows you’re adorable, now he just needs to know you’re willing.” He takes some of my already prepped crusts to the walk in, leaving me to think about what he’s said for a minute.

I’m adorable? That’s a new one. I would say painfully average. Brown hair, brown eyes, small and short. I suppose I have nice lips; would I date me? Hmm…

“Hey, what if,” he yells from the walk in, pausing until he gets back to help me again. When he gets to me, one half of his mouth is in that puckish smile again, it makes me stand up straighter and gulp. “What if we go on a fake date to show him you’re up for the idea.”

“Campbell! Be serious,” I say, laughing. “That would never work.”

“It would. It would cement your coolness to him, going on a few pity dates with me, and it would simultaneously prove you’re up for dates at all and that he’s into you because his jealousy would pop up.” He leans toward me across the island.

My heart does some dance moves in my chest, his plan makes me nervous.

“You don’t need anyone’s pity date, Campbell.” My face is on fire. “You know that. And there’s no way any of this idea works out the way you think.” I keep back the fact that I think this could blow up like a grease fire, the kind you can’t put out with water, but need to smother. In this scenario I’m pretty sure I would be the one to end up smothered in an inability to ever put myself out there to date again.

His face gets all melty and soft, and I want to hide, until I realize what he’s doing, “Wait, you’re practicing! Stop looking at me like that.”

He straightens up and laughs, shaking his head. Hopefully it will clear the crazy ideas from his brain. I stretch my back and refocus on my work, this whole conversation is bananas.

“Just think about it, if you decide you need my help…” he says, passing me another block of cheese to shred.

My cheeks flame again and my back tenses up. I get the feeling I’m going to be thinking about it a lot.

Darlene Everly is a writer of sci-fi fantasy, and LGBTQIA romance. She lives with her family and a growing menagerie in Northwest Washington state. She has been writing and reading for as long as she can remember, even when her stories were only shared with her notebook and pen. She took her Grandfather’s saying that “only the boring are bored” far too seriously and filled her every waking moment with worlds so she would never be bored. With more stories coming to life everyday, she hopes you’ll join her through the universes in her mind and that you’ll never get bored either.