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Book Blog (Romance & More)

💙💜💗FOSTER AN AUTHOR 2018 💙💜💗 ~ Justlovemybooks Welcomes Author K.L. Donn ~ October 22nd – 26th! ~ #FosterAnAuthor #FAA2018 #FosterAnAuthorBlogger

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Beginning October 22nd, I will be spotlighting this amazing author!  Each day I will be a new post.  K.L. Donn has twenty books available and we will be spotlighting them here with author links, blurbs, images as well as buy links.  There may even be a a freebie too!  Be sure to check this blog each day as there will be a giveaway as well.  And that is open internationally!

You will be able to find my spotlight posts on my FB pages as well:

Facebook Blog:                                                      https://www.facebook.com/justlovemybooks/

Facebook pages:  https://www.facebook.com/Christine.Indriolo777      https://www.facebook.com/christine.michele.77920

Facebook Groups: 

Inside the Pages Pimping and Posting:https://www.facebook.com/groups/1372784379464260/

Sexy Little Books and More:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/215495178571658/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/justlovemybooks/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ItsMyLife7777

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31054192-christine-justlovemybooks-com-blog

Amazon (for my reviews):  Christine Indriolo

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K.L. Donn

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Krystal is a proud Canadian girl, hailing from Sherwood Park, Alberta. She has a strong dislike for the winter, and a love for spring. Married to her husband Steve, for 14 years, they have 4 beautiful red headed spawns ranging in ages 6-13. She has a strong love of coffee, sarcasm, and wine. (Not necessarily in that order either.)

She has been a published author for over 3 years now. With over 20 books under her belt.

Krystal loves to write about instalove between couples looking for love. She has a passion for contemporary romance and springs into menage as often as she can.

Currently, she is working on a new series about bad boy brothers who don’t know what hits them as they fall for their girls.​

Follow her:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/KLDonnAuthor/

IG: https://www.instagram.com/authorkldonn/

BB: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kl-donn

Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/klsfighters/

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2yfS3yC

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Author_KLDonn

Subscribe: http://authorkldonn.wixsite.com/menagequeen

AllAuthor: https://allauthor.com/profile/kldonn/

Goodreads: https://goo.gl/8ktfCV

YouTube: https://goo.gl/kwjCCt

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/KLDonnAuthor/

Featured post

First blog post

Professional Reader Reviews Published10 Book Reviews

Hi!

June 9, 2016

So this is my new blog.  On here I will review all the books I read.  Right now, nearly all my reviews can be found on Goodreads. As I continue to work on this blog I will sort and add my older reviews into categories. I am looking forward to this project as this is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I love to read and I love to write.  So I hope you will visit this blog from time to time and watch it grow.

Christine

Featured post

AVAILABLE NOW! ~Title: Lost King, Series: The Kings of Retribution MC #6, Author: Sandy Alvarez & Crystal Daniels, Genre: MC Romance

Title: Lost King
Series: The Kings of Retribution MC #6
Author: Sandy Alvarez & Crystal Daniels
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: November 16, 2018
The funny thing about fate—about life, is you never know what the next day holds. Live with no regrets.
Quinn Beckett, Sergeant At Arms for the Kings of Retribution MC knows life is all about what you make of it. He has dedicated years to his club, his family, his community and the members he calls his brothers. For Quinn, he couldn’t imagine life getting much better.
 
Until a chance meeting a couple of years ago with a bright, attractive doctor altered his course in life. She became his only desire—his obsession. Quinn wanted nothing more than to make Emerson his.
To outsiders Emerson Evans had all the things in life you could ever hope for; family, friends and a great career, but what they didn’t know was she wasn’t happy. All her life she chased dreams—dreams that were only partly her own. Being a doctor means everything to her, but she finds herself longing for more out of life. Including wanting a sexy, long-haired biker, who happens to be part of the local MC. The very Club that fate decided was to be a part of her life. 
She could never have foreseen that giving her heart away and loving a man so fiercely would be the source of strength she would lean on when the unexpected happens.

 
SIGNED PAPERBACK GIVEAWAY
We are sisters who both share a passion for books. Our obsession for bad boys, alpha males, angst, romance, hot, sexy, and happily ever after has lead us on a journey, a dream to not only read all the incredible stories we love so much, but to write one of our own. 
 
Both born in Illinois, then moved to Wyoming, were we spent part of our childhood before moving to Mississippi.
 
Crystal lives in Pearl Mississippi with her husband of twenty-one years, two sons and their two dogs.
 
Sandy lives in Brandon Mississippi with her husband of eleven years, and four kids.
HOSTED BY:

 

NEW RELEASE ~ Pelvic Flaws by Nikki Ashton ~ Genre: #RomanticComedy ~ Available Now!

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★*✩*★ RELEASE BLITZ ★*✩*★

Pelvic Flaws

Nikki Ashton Books

Available on Amazon: http://mybook.to/PelvicFlaws

BLURB:
Pelvic Flaws
I’m Katie Grainger, I’m 45 years old, a divorced mother of three, slightly annoying at times, but always loveable, kids and I can wet myself at the drop of hat. Actually, it’s more like a sneeze or a cough than a drop of a hat, but whatever the reason, let’s just say I am forever grateful for the invention of the ultra-thin panty pad.
I don’t have a bad life, there’s book club where I discuss the menopause with my friends, there’s Clubbercise where I wet myself and dance like my mother with my friend Mandy and there’s my work which is pretty boring, where I get to learn a lot about reality TV from my much younger co-workers. All of which makes me content – yes, I’d like more sex, but who wouldn’t when their castle hadn’t been breached for four years.
Do I have regrets in my life?
Yes, I do. I regret that my ex-husband, Carl, and I didn’t realise we’d grown apart sooner. I regret not trying more online dating when I first got divorced and I regret that my youngest, Charlie, feels torn between pleasing me and his dad. What I don’t regret is my bag breaking and spilling everything over the pizza place floor, the night Dex Michaels was in there ordering a 9inch meat feast.
What can I say about Dex?
Dex is the sort of man that dreamy sighs are made of. He’s tattooed, has impeccable pecs and amazing abs and has the most gorgeous blue eyes I’ve ever seen. He’s a true Southern Gentleman, with an accent that makes me want to wear a pair of Daisy Duke’s and ride across the range on stallion call Champion. Dex Michaels is 46 years old, owns his own Tattoo Studio, has no baggage and seems to think I’m cute. A match made in heaven – right?
Pelvic Flaws is the story of one woman’s struggle with hot sweats, mood swings and perilously poor pelvic floor muscles. It’s the story of Dex, who thinks all those things about Katie are funny and adorable. It’s the story of a romance that could turn into something big. It’s the story of what might be the love affair of the century, potentially being ruined by the baggage that neither of them knew existed.

#romanceandsmiles#releaseblitz#nikkiashton#romcom

 

📝 REVIEW📝 ~ 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 ~ Pelvic Flaws: An American in the UK Book Two ~ by Nikki Ashton ~ Genre: #RomanticComedy #OlderCoupleRomance ~ Available Now!

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PELVIC FLAWS

By

Nikki Ashton

Genre:  #RomanticComedy #OlderCoupleRomance #Over40Romance

My Rating:  5

Cover:  4

POV:  First-person dual perspectives

Series:  An American in the UK:  Do You Do Extras; Pelvic Flaws

Check out this series on Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/series/235400-an-american-in-the-uk

Purchase Pelvic Flaws:  http://mybook.to/PelvicFlaws

Pelvic Flaws Synopsis:

Pelvic Flaws, one woman’s struggle with wet knickers and sweaty boobs.

When one sneeze can ruin your day.

I’m Katie Grainger, I’m 45 years old, a divorced mother of three, slightly annoying at times, but always loveable, kids and I can wet myself at the drop of hat. Actually, it’s more like a sneeze or a cough than a drop of a hat, but whatever the reason, let’s just say I am forever grateful for the invention of the ultra-thin panty pad.

Do I have regrets in my life?

Yes, I do. I regret that my ex-husband, Carl, and I didn’t realise we’d grown apart sooner. I regret having a perm in 1993 – I looked like Roly the dog from Eastenders. I regret not trying more online dating when I first got divorced and I regret that my youngest, Charlie, feels torn between pleasing me and his dad. What I don’t regret is my bag breaking and spilling everything over the pizza place floor, the night Dex Michaels was in there ordering a 9inch meat feast.

Pelvic Flaws is the story of one woman’s struggle with hot sweats, mood swings and perilously poor pelvic floor muscles. It’s the story of Dex, who thinks all those things about Katie are funny and adorable. It’s the story of a romance that could turn into something big. It’s the story of what might be the love affair of the century, potentially being ruined by the baggage that neither of them knew existed.

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📝My Review📝:

Pelvic FlawsPelvic Flaws by Nikki Ashton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 Stars!
One of the best romcoms I’ve ever read! EVER! What a delightfully funny and heartwarming story. I connected with this book AND Katie in so many ways. I couldn’t stop laughing. If you love romcoms, I swear you will not be disappointed if you chose to read Pelvic Flaws. I can truly tell you that you are missing out if you don’t check out this book. The author is incredibly talented with writing comedy, the pace was fast and when I turned the last page, I realized I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Katie, Dex and all the entertaining, secondary characters.

Katie is a divorced mother of three, dealing with the changes of being single like a champ. While she was disappointed that her marriage didn’t last, she wasn’t heartbroken. Katie is also dealing with all the things women deal with at her age. Being in her late forties, Katie is fairly content with her life. The truth is, falling in love again isn’t even on her radar. I absolutely adored Katie and completely understood what she was going through. As a woman around Katie’s age, I totally sympathize with her.

When Katie meets Dex for the first time, it’s because she drops her purse on the floor of a local pizzeria and the embarrassing contents roll under the table where Dex is seated. Dex was a great hero. After helping Katie retrieve her unmentionables, he knows immediately that she is different from most of the women he knows. Katie is a breath of fresh air with a great sense of humor.

Between Dex and Katie, I couldn’t stop laughing. He was such a gentleman at the times he could have unintentionally hurt her feelings. Of course, when they meet again, Katie is in a situation. Dex comes to her rescue and from that point on, they slowly build a relationship. Katie is wary to move too fast because she has her kids to think about. Of course, Dex is hard to resist.

This book has everything. Fun, humor, plenty of sexy times and even some surprises that turned out to be very serious. I won’t elaborate because you should read this book for yourself. I can say, just sitting here writing this review, I want to reread this book right now. I truly loved it that much!

This is my honest and unbiased review. Thank you for taking the time to read it! 🙂

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BLURB REVEAL & ARC SIGNUP ~ Drifter by Kristy Marie is coming soon!

Drifter Blurb

Blurb Reveal and ARC Sign up!

 

What happens when a bad boy finally meets his match? Drifter by Kristy Marie is coming soon!

 

Blurb:

 

Bianca

Pretty things don’t distract me. In my line of work, a distraction will get you caught. Or in my case, blackmailed. But this isn’t the only time I’ve been hustled, and soon Connor Hayes will learn that men are only pawns in my end game. I don’t love. I hate. Even a pretty boy like him. 

Hayes

Two wrongs don’t make a right. Except when they are five-foot-seven and hotter than my exhaust pipe. So, I blackmailed her. It was either that or turn her in. And if anyone was going to put her in handcuffs, it was going to be me. Bianca Morgan stole the only woman I’ve ever loved. It’s only fair she replace her.

 

Advance readers welcome! You do not have to be a blogger to participate. 

Sign up here: 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfW0Sia_BIUNSmsqZm6MB4XjIP2grZGU6ecQFuRXetBV7xAUQ/viewform

 

 

Add Drifter to your TBR today!

 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39836170-drifter

 

Follow me to see when your favorite Marine is being released. 

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https://www.amazon.com/Kristy-Marie/e/B077CX3B81

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RELEASE BLITZ ~ Title: Hold Still, Author: Arell Rivers, Genre: Rockstar Contemporary Romance ~ Available Now!

Title: Hold Still
Author: Arell Rivers
Genre: Rockstar Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 15, 2018

 

He’s a rockstar who lost his muse. She’s a graphic designer who discovers that kickstarting his imagination is the easy part…
 
Ozzy Martinez is smoldering.
 
Ripped.
 
Tatted and pierced. Everywhere.
 
With his sold-out Vegas residency ending, he’s scheduled to record his next album soon. Only problem? His creativity—and trust—are both MIA following a soul-crushing, deeply personal double betrayal.
 
McKenna James is feisty.
 
A Las Vegas original.
 
Brunette with an ever-changing shock of dyed hair.
 
She’s vying for a spot in a national competition that will give her the funds she desperately needs to keep her mother at home. But her contest submission hinges on new songs—from the one man whose productivity has run dry. Not to mention he embodies everything she’s vowed to leave behind.
 
For McKenna, he can’t be anything more than a ticket to success. For Ozzy, she’s an honest straight-shooter with a curvy body he remembers well. But then he finds himself divulging his darkest secrets. With every confession about his past, with every heart-pounding kiss, all the reasons why a romance between them can never happen fades.
 
Until he discovers her secret.
 
And another.
 
To have a chance at a life together, they both must learn how to HOLD STILL.
For as long as Arell Rivers can remember, she has been lost in a book. During her senior year in college, she picked up a romance novel … and instantly was hooked on the genre.
Arell started writing her first novel because the characters were screaming at her to do so. The story started coming out in her dreams and attacking her in the shower, so she took to the computer to shut them up. But they kept talking.

 

Born and raised in New Jersey, Arell has what some may call a “checkered past.” Prior to discovering her passion for writing romance, she practiced law, was a wedding and event planner and even dabbled in marketing. Arell lives with a very supportive husband who doesn’t care that the bed isn’t made or dinner isn’t on the table. When not in her writing cave, Arell is found making dinner in the InstantPot, working out with Shaun T or hitting the beach.

 

Arell is a member of the New Jersey chapter of Romance Writers of America.

 

HOSTED BY:

 

NEW RELEASE ~ Say Something by Jennifer L. Allen ~ Genre: Contemporary Romance ~ Available Now!


Presents : New Release
 
Say Something
 
by
 
Jennifer L. Allen
 


 
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 
 


Seeing my ex-husband four years after the ink dried on our divorce papers was not part of my plan. Returning to the small town where we’d grown up and fallen in love to rebuild my life at the exact time he’d chose to do the same thing wasn’t part of my plan either. It was, however, the reality.
 
Back in the place where it all began so many years ago, memories of our past, both good and bad, consumed me. I’d never stopped loving him, needing him, wanting him. I couldn’t stop thinking about him, seeing him. Stolen moments told me he felt the same way.
 
But could he ever forgive me?
 
Could I ever forgive myself?
 
Infertility had torn our marriage apart, bit by excruciating bit. Was our love strong enough to put it back together?
 


Follow the Author
 
FACEBOOK | TWITTER | AMAZON | GOODREADS | WEBSITE | MAILING LISTAbout the Author

Jennifer was born and raised on Long Island, in New York. She relocated to South Carolina in 2002, where she met the love of her life. They got married in 2008, and live happily ever after just outside of Charleston with their fur-kid: a spoiled rat terrier named Daisy. When she’s not reading or writing, she works as a behavioral therapist, and is also a graduate student, pursing a Master Degree in Psychology as well as a Graduate Certificate in Behavior Intervention in Autism. She knows amateur photography, traveling, and music … it’s a bonus when she can combine all three. Jennifer is also a breast cancer warrior, having been diagnosed in 2017 and declared cancer-free in 2018. She independently published her debut novel, Our Moon (JACT 1), in June 2015.


 

 

 

Hosted by
 
RRR Promotion
 
Read Review Repeat
 


 

 

BLOG TOUR ~ Stealing Reese by Xana Jordan ~Genre: Contemporary Romance ~ Series: A Wildcat Graduates Novel

 

Presents : Blog Tour
 
Stealing Reese
by Xana Jordan
 
AMAZON

US | UK | CA | AU

 
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: A Wildcat Graduates Novel
 
Dillon
 
Playing Baseball means the the world to me. Seeing all of my close college buddies finding a good woman to settle down with should make me want that special something, too. But it doesn’t. No matter how unimportant it may seem to others, baseball is where my heart lies.
 
Being exclusive with one person isn’t something I’m interested in. I had the freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I wanted to do it. No obligations. No commitments. No responsibilities to anyone other than myself. That’s how I needed things to be. At least that’s what I had planned.
 
She took me by surprise, knocked me off base, but I didn’t have time to give in to our mutual attraction. Her decision to move on is just what I wanted, until she actually did.
 
She may be with him now, but little does he know I’ll be the one Stealing Reese.
Follow the Author
 
 
About the Author
 
Xana Jordan is an Arkansas girl who finally decided to let the stories in her head to put on paper. She loves to cook and read, and when she’s not doing those things, you can always find her writing, assisted by her cat, lovingly nicknamed Diva and Princess.
 
Her first book, Loving Noel, launched the Wildcat Graduated series, and now contains five books, with three more in the works. She has co-authored a series named Winter Haven with Michelle Rene, and its first book is titled Nixon. Three more books are being written for that series.
 
She has an amazing husband and two wonderful children who support her and keep her busy and entertained.
Wildcat Graduates Series Links and Reading Order:
 
Loving Noel
 
Claiming Xana
 
Catching Mallory
 
Entrusting Cade
Hosted by
RRR Promotion
Read Review Repeat

 

BLOG TOUR ~Only You By Marie Landry ~ #StandaloneContemporaryRomance

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Only You

By

Marie Landry

Only-You-Marie-Landry

Blurb:

When Ivy reluctantly takes a new part-time job, it’s a means to an end. Doing this favor for her pain-in-the-neck roommate means Ivy can have her apartment to herself again much sooner. The last thing she expects is Hugh—the hot Scot who just happens to be her new boss—asking her out on a date. And then another. And another.

Something about Hugh makes Ivy want to let her guard down and open up, which would be perfect if he wasn’t possibly returning to Scotland in a matter of weeks. But maybe that doesn’t matter. Maybe Ivy can learn to live in the moment and have a little fun, even if it means setting herself up for heartache later.

ONLY YOU is a standalone contemporary romance about taking chances, unexpected friendships, and holding on to the things—and people—that matter most.

Only-You-Marie-Landry-High-Alert

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41578092-only-you

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Buy links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2QW3y6c

Amazon Canada: https://amzn.to/2Dt6wME

iBooks: http://bit.ly/OnlyYouiBook

Kobo: http://bit.ly/OnlyYou-Kobo

Nook: http://bit.ly/OnlyYou-BN

Marie’s Bio:

Stay up to date with new releases, sales, promos, and other news by signing up for Marie’s newsletter. You can also join her Facebook reader group Marie’s Sweeties to get exclusive sneak peeks, giveaways, and more!

Marie Landry’s life revolves around books; when she’s not writing them, she’s reading them, taking pictures of them for bookstagram, or blogging about them. An avid reader from a young age, she loves getting lost in characters’ worlds, whether they’re of her own making or someone else’s. She particularly loves coming-of-age stories with as much of an emphasis on self-discovery as on romance…but don’t leave out the romance!

When not doing bookish things, Marie can be found daydreaming (in general, but often about traveling through Europe), binge-watching shows on Netflix, and taking photographs. She lives in a cozy apartment in Ontario, Canada with the best roommate ever, and only sometimes imagines it’s actually a flat in London.

Marie loves to chat, especially with fellow book lovers. Here’s where you can find her:

Blog: Ramblings of a Daydreamer

Instagram: SweetMarie_83 (bookish pics) or Rambling_Daydreamer (non-bookish pics)

Twitter: @SweetMarie83

Facebook: Marie Landry, Author

Excerpt #1 – Drunken rambling

Excerpt #2 – First kiss

Excerpt #3 – Best friends and awkward penguins

EXCERPT #1 – Drunken rambling

The elevator dings and the doors slide open. I almost tell him he can go now, but I have a feeling Hugh is the type to see things through, and he’ll want to make sure I get all the way to my door. We trudge down the hall and I stop in front of my door, belatedly realizing I should have been digging my keys out on the way up.

“Thanks for the ride,” I say, fishing in my purse and latching onto my keys. “And the drinks. And being kind and welcoming and friendly in general.” My body moves forward of its own volition and before I fully grasp what I’m doing I kiss his cheek. I move back so fast I slam into the wall behind me. “Oops! Alcohol brain. I must have been thinking you were David.”

“David?” he asks, his brows pinching together.

“My best friend Bridget’s David. I mean boyfriend. They’ve been together for almost a year now and we reached the peck-on-the-cheek stage early on because we’ve known each other so long. He was our boss until this past January when he moved up in the company.” I press my lips together to stop my rambling. I don’t miss the bemused look on Hugh’s face. After a deep breath, I add, “Anyway, he’s tall and hot too, except his accent is British, and oh my god I need to go inside and sew my mouth shut now.”

In the time since I started this never-ending speech of embarrassment, Hugh has crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the wall. His eyes hold a mixture of amusement and curiosity. “You think I’m hot?”

“Well, I mean, yeah. Obviously. Do you own a mirror?”

A low laugh rumbles out of him. He opens his mouth to speak, then closes it again when a scraping sound comes from inside. I can’t see any light from under the door, so maybe Celia got up to go to the bathroom and bumped into something. Or maybe she heard us talking and is coming to investigate. If she opens the door and finds me out here with Hugh, I’ll never hear the end of it.

“I’d better be going,” Hugh says. “Meredith tends to fall asleep after a night like tonight, and I’m not sure I’m up to carrying her inside her house.”

“Okay. Thanks again for everything. I’ll see you on Monday?”

“You bet.” He leans in and my heart stops for a second as I think he’s going to kiss my cheek. Instead, his hand lightly grips my shoulder and squeezes. “Sleep well.” He releases me and starts down the hall, stopping after only a few feet. “For what it’s worth, I think you’re pretty hot yourself.” After my mouth running away with me the last five minutes, I’m now stunned into silence. Hugh grins and turns around slowly. “Goodnight, Ivy,” he says over his shoulder.

Only-You-Marie-Landry

BLOG TOUR ~ Exmas by WInter Renshaw is Available Now! ~ Genre: #HolidayRomance

 

 

 

 

 

This Christmas, I’ll be getting a visit from a man in a suit, only it won’t be Santa.

Let me first say: Reed York was never my boyfriend. He was the pen. I was the company ink. Though if you want to get technical, we were more like colleagues-who-hated-each-other … with benefits.

Everything was fine until the charming jerk went behind my back, stole my promotion, and became my boss—literally overnight.

Refusing to work beneath him (professionally speaking and otherwise), I transferred 2,014 miles away to our Chicago division, and I’ve spent the past year trying to remember how much I hated his panty-melting smirk so I can forget how much I secretly loved the way his ocean eyes lit every time I walked into the room.

But he’s just announced a last-minute site visit the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and on top of that, he’s audaciously designated me as his ‘right hand gal’ during his visit. If he thinks he has a snowball’s chance in this hell at getting back in my good graces, he’s got another thing coming.

Reed York might be a man used to getting everything he’s ever wanted, but Joa Jolivet is a woman that never forgets.

He can put me on his Christmas list all he wants, but everyone knows naughty boys only get coal.

 

 

Reed has always been two steps ahead of me, though in this case, as we make our way from the L station to my car in the parking lot, he’s two steps behind.
We said nothing to each other on the walk to the train, the only sound between us was the rolling of his suitcase wheels against a pitted concrete sidewalk.
Once we got on board, he sat three rows away and on the opposite side—in front of me, even. So I wouldn’t have to worry about feeling the burden of his stare on the back of my head for thirty straight minutes.
For most of the day, he left me alone. Tending to his audits and only coming out twice that I noticed.
I don’t know what he’s planning, only that he’s definitely planning something. He’s strategic like that. Everything he does is for a reason.
We climb into my car—the same Honda Accord I had in LA, though he always drove us in his Range Rover because growing up in that area, he always knew the best ways to get everywhere, always understood how the time of day correlated with the flow of the traffic.
I start the engine and the radio blares with Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, making me jump in my seat.
Reed laughs.
I crank the volume down and adjust the heat settings.
Heading down Forthwait Street a few minutes later, I can’t help but wonder what he’s going to think of my parents’ home. It’s a 1970s split-level that hasn’t been updated since they remodeled it in the late nineties. Everything is hunter green and burgundy and oak. It’s going to be a far cry from the Malibu manse he grew up in.
At least, I assume he grew up in a Malibu mansion.
He’s from Malibu, and he’s hinted at his privileged upbringing in the past.
Anyway, it isn’t that I care what he’s going to think. It’s not like I’m trying to impress him. I’m just wondering if he’s ever set foot in a house the size of his closet that hasn’t aged in almost thirty years.
I almost find it funny, actually.
Every time we’d travel, he’d pick these upscale houses, modern places with pools and art installations and private driveways and landscaping that rivaled paradise.
This couldn’t be further from his usual fare.
We round the corner and I pull into my parents’ snow-packed driveway, parking beneath the basketball hoop where I beat my brother, Logan, in five straight games of H-O-R-S-E last summer.
It almost feels sacrilegious to have Reed here.
“I’ll walk you in,” I say, killing the engine.
He climbs out, retrieving his bag from my trunk, and I head toward the garage, typing in my parents’ anniversary into the keypad.
The smell of engine oil and frigid garage air hits my lungs and I lead him to the door in case he gets lost in this behemoth.
A moment later, we step inside, wrapped in a hug of indoor warmth.
“Mom? Dad?” I yell.
I know they’re home. Both of their cars are here.
“Reed is here,” I yell again before climbing the stairs to the next level.
I still can’t believe my mom insisted on hosting him this week. Wait. Actually, I can believe it. She doesn’t just love to host and entertain, she lives for it. And I’m sure she took one look at Reed, sized him up as a successful, attractive man approximately my age, and thought she could do a little nonchalant match-making.
Reed might be two steps ahead of me, but I’m two steps ahead of my mother.
Making our way through the living room, we pass into the kitchen. The scent of warm, soapy dishwater—a smell I’ve always associated with home—fills my lungs.
Growing up, my father was a high school math teacher and my mother ran an in-home daycare. Our house always smelled like dish soap, laundry, apple sauce, and Cheerios. I swear the walls of this place practically radiate love and warmth and togetherness.
I can’t believe I ever thought I’d be happier in LA than here.
“Mom?” I call for her again.
“Coming!” A second later, she appears from the hallway. “Sorry. Was just putting away some fresh towels in Reed’s bathroom. You’ll be staying in Joa’s old room. She’s got a full-sized bed and it’s a pillow top, so you should be very comfortable.”
“I have no doubt. Thanks again for hosting me,” Reed says.
Kiss ass.
“Oh, sweetheart, it’s our pleasure,” my mother says. “And you know, Tom is just dying to meet you. He’s a numbers guy. I assume you are too if you’re a CFO. I’m sure you two could talk shop tonight over dinner. I’m making goulash. I hope that’s okay?”
Goulash.
I swear my mom makes that every twelve days like clockwork, and she has for as long as I can remember.
Chuckling to myself, I secretly love the fact that he could be eating the finest Chilean sea bass at some Michelin-star restaurant in Chicago tonight, but he’s going to be having ghoulash with Tom and Bevin Jolivet instead.
While the two of them are distracted, I sneak out through the front door, climb back into my car, and head to my place.
None of this feels real, and the hazy cast of snow flurries against a dark gray sky only adds to the surrealness.
This is not at all how I pictured any of this going.

 

 

Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi.

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