An Alisa Review: Switching Places (Kiss of Leather #8) by Morticia Knight

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Tai wishes Master Lucas wasn’t such an adamant Top, but he’s also crushing on the sweetly submissive Elliot. Could he have it both ways?

 

Tai has hit a wall in life. From all outward appearances, he’s the guy who has everything—looks, personality and money. But the modeling gigs are drying up and he still hasn’t found that specialsomeone to call his own. The part-time work at Kiss of Leather is quickly becoming full-time to prevent the drain on his dream-business savings.

Elliot fell for the stunning Tai from almost the moment he met him. If he wasn’t so self-conscious about the weight he’s recently put on, maybe he could work up the nerve to make a move. However, not only is he a virgin who’s never done a scene before working in a BDSM club, but he’s also sure that Tai has a thing for Master Lucas. There’s no way he could ever compete with the handsome silver fox.

When Master Lucas confesses to Tai that he doesn’t only see him as a hookup and offers him a contract, there are a ton of considerations. They both realize that serious compromises would have to be made for them to have a relationship. But what if they found a third, a sub who could bottom for Tai and also do TPE with Master Lucas? Once the idea takes hold, Tai knows just the perfect boy for them both. Even better? He’s right there at Kiss of Leather, and Tai can’t wait for Elliot to turn them all into a throuple.

I have loved the Kiss of Leather series and this was another great story in it.  We start with Tobey and Hunter’s house warming party before seeing more into Tai, Lucas and Elliot’s lives.  Tai and Lucas have been dancing around their feelings for a long time but when faced with trying to make an exclusive relationship work they know there are some big barriers to overcome.  Elliot is so sweet and just wants to help and serve all those around him but knows he needs to find someone for himself and stop admiring from the sidelines.

I have loved Tai in the previous books and was excited to see him finally get his story.  Lucas’s acceptance of Tai’s behavior and attitude is one of the things that shows that love will come even when you don’t expect it.  I hated seeing Elliot get hurt when he was trying to find something for himself but I loved that it gave Tai and Lucas the chance to pamper him and grow their relationship.

I liked this story as I have the series but this one was much more insulated than the last few and we didn’t really see much other than these three working everything out together.  Much of the story was told from Elliot’s or Lucas’s viewpoint and I felt much more connected to Elliot and invested in his happiness than Tai or Lucas.  It seems they found a good common ground for them all to have an equal relationship but didn’t feel that there was much shown to see them really navigating their relationship once it started.

The like cover art by Erin Dameron-Hill and the visuals of the characters and that it follows the pattern for the series.

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 152 pages

Published: February 27, 2018 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-78651-648-0

Edition Language: English

Series: Kiss of Leather #8

A Stella Review: Found (Hamilton’s Heroes #1) by Annabella Michaels

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

As a former USAF pararescueman, Jeremy O’Brien is used to following orders, no questions asked. So, when Micah, his boss at Hamilton Security, asks him to take on a special case, he readily accepts. Micah’s instructions are simple, find the man in the picture and bring him back to Chicago.

Seven years ago, Zane Wilkinson left the hospital against doctor’s orders, only to suffer a final, devastating blow that left him with no choice but to leave the only place he’d called home. Feeling heartbroken and empty, Zane moved from town to town just trying to survive, while never letting anyone get too close.

In a chance encounter, Jeremy finds himself crossing paths with a man who fits Zane’s description. His instincts tell him that he’s on to something, but Micah warns him that he needs to be absolutely sure. Jeremy sets a plan in motion that will allow him to get closer to the man he believes to be Zane. However, the closer he gets, the more he likes the man and begins to question why he was sent to find him.

Will Jeremy be able to follow through with his orders without becoming too attached? Or will he realize that in his search for Zane, he’s found so much more than he bargained for?

Found by Annabella Michaels is exactly the type of story I love to read. Althought I’m always curious about new to me authors, I was a little afraid when I started this novel, since the last new to me authors I read lately delivered very poor books. From the beginning I understood Found was going to be a winner. I was pleasurable surprised by the writing, engaging and well done, it sucked me into the story and it made the reading easy. I literally couldn’t put the story down for a minute.

The main reason why I loved it so much lays in the characters, I adored them till the end, they were what I look for in my romances. Zane with hiis hurting past, scared in the heart and in the face, with his guard always on. Nonethless when Zane and Jeremy met, something happens.  I liked how Zane and Jeremy knew their feelings and overcame the misunderstanding (let’s call it like this, I don’t want to share too many details) like the adult and smart persons they are. The feeling they shared were clear and pure, I felt their hearts, I saw how good they were, not just together, but in their jobs and with their friends and coworkers. I was soon caught in the novel and it actually didn’t happen from some time, but I stayed up till morning to finish it.

I have to say the plot was what I was expecting and this is the only reason why this is not a five stars review. I saw the surprise element coming a mile away, still that part was so emotional I obviously shed a couple of tears.

Found is the first book in the Hamilton’s Heroes series, I can’t wait for more. And since this was the first novel I read from Annabella Michaels, I had a look at her previous works and discovered this new release is connected to (at least) one book in her other series Souls of Chicago, I have to read it now!

The cover art by Jay Aheer is not a favorite of mine, I like the artist style but this one don’t work for me, I don’t know why.

SALE LINKS:  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 192 pages

Published February 23rd 2018

ASIN B079V2XCYC

Edition Language English

Series Hamilton’s Heroes #1

A Free Dreamer Review: Celestia by J.D Evergreen

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Rating: 1 star out of 5

Celestia has just lost its king to a suspicious illness. The king’s death has thrown the realm into chaos and a dark mage uses their power to influence the citizens, brainwashing them to do his bidding. A war is started, and it is left to Taliah and her friends to restore the rightful heir to the throne and stop the dark powers that fight against them.
But to win Taliah will have to risk everything…

An adventure that will force her to:
Learn something that can’t be taught, Fight a creature no one knows exists, And discover an heir no one can find.

Every turn she makes unravels an intricate plot designed to corrupt and control the people of her world. And Taliah finds herself surrounded by brainwashed people who are shadows of what they once were.

One false step will corrupt her mind forever and destroy the last hope of their quest for freedom.

A war,
A mystery,
A romance,
And a journey that will change the fate of a world.

Join the story! Scroll up now to buy!

This book is very hard to review for me. Normally, I always finish a book I get for a review, no matter how much I dislike it. But “Celestia” was an exception, sadly. There was just no way I could possibly finish this book. And not because I hated it so much, but simply because the text is not fit for publication.

This is a prime example of the pitfalls of self-publishing. There’s no objective quality control, anybody can publish whatever they want. In this case, the editing was non-existent. The story starts in past tense, but switches to present tense after a few lines. And then it just keeps switching back and forth. Often, one sentence starts in past tense and ends in present tense. Within the first 5%, I encountered at least one plot hole. At that point, I just had to give up. I tried, I really did, but the text as it is, is unfit for publication and unreadable.

It’s such a shame, because I do believe “Celestia” has potential. Otherwise I wouldn’t have agreed to read it in the first place. If there ever is a properly edited version of this book, I would love to give it a try again.

This proves once again that professional editing is NOT optional. There’s a reason why every somewhat decent publisher relies on professional editors. Even world-bestselling authors need editors. Proper spelling and grammar is the very least any published text should offer. The occasional typo can be forgiven but anything more than that seriously takes away from the enjoyment of reading. In this case, the lack of editing made it impossible to even read the book.

Cover: The cover is beautiful, a real eye-catcher. I love it.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book details: ebook, 254 pages

Published February 1st 2018 by J.D Evergreen

Chris E. Saros on Writing, Research, and her first novel Semblance by Chris E. Saros (excerpt and giveaway)

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Semblance by Chris E. Saros
DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Buy Links:

DSPPublications  |  Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Chris E. Saros here today on tour with her first novel Semblance. Welcome, Chris.

 

Hello! Chris E. here to say “hi!” and introduce myself. Semblance is my first published work and I am very proud of it, had a wonderful time writing it, and can’t wait to share it with all of you! Thank you to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for this wonderful opportunity.

How much of yourself goes into a character?
Basically, all of my characters are at least a little piece of me. How could they not be? They came from the
depths of my imagination. However, it is amazing how much a character can take on its own life. You can write a scene and the character will do something or say something that totally shocks you. That is the true test to prove the character has become their own person.

Character development is hard though, and maintaining individuality is a practiced art. I remember one of the first short stories I wrote, all the characters were just different versions of me. The main character was me but then the secondary character was the me that said all the things I wanted to say but the real me was too cautious or shy to say it. Then the supporting characters were all me in places I wanted to be. After I reread it, I decided there was not enough diversity to take the story further. Every character was essentially the same! It was a learning experience and one I needed to be able to grow into the author I am today.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Basically, I write what I want to read. I have a true love for men with guns (fictional guns – I’d probably faint in real life), a whole lot of confidence, derisive wit, and just a touch of vulnerability. I mean, doesn’t that just seem hot? However, I have zero knowledge about guns. They scare me in real life and I have never shot one. I did a bit of research into them and have a standing appointment with a friend to take me shooting so I can experience the kick and power first hand. I am pretty apprehensive about that research.

The problem with research, or I guess I should clarify, the problem with online research, is that it can, many times, take you down a rabbit hole. I will start researching what kind of drug they use to sedate a patient in a hospital, next thing you know I am signing up to become a wildlife rehabilitator and learning Hindi. Main thodi thodi Hindi samajti hoon. So, I can’t imagine what my writing schedule would be like if I had to rely on research to write, say a historical drama. I try to stick to what I know as much as possible and then research the small questions, this helps keep me on task.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I think everyone to an extent likes happy ever afters and happy for nows to a degree. We like to end with a positive feeling because so many of us read to escape because we don’t want to focus on the bad or end in the sad. However, one of the things I love about books that don’t have HFNs or HEAs is that it comes unexpectedly. We are so used to the happy ending, we go into the story and even though the possibility is there, we don’t expect the main character to die or the love to simply fall apart to some unfulfilling end. We expect the best to happen. Part of the anticipation is the speculation on how the story will work out in the end because there is no way you can see it having a happy ending the way it’s currently progressing. But, what a shockingly wonderful surprise when things end on a completely unexpected note.  And sometimes you need a good tragedy to help you truly appreciate the happy endings.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I have always been a fan of romance, only not usually for romance’s sake. I like romance, but I am much more interested in the surrounding story. I am more of an action girl myself but throw in a sweet love story to go with it and I am hooked.

As a teenager I was reading everything from RL Stein, Christopher Pike, Stephen King, VC Andrews, Norah Roberts, and David Morrell. It is quite the variety. As an adult I have very similar tastes maybe a little more expanded. As an adult I go through romance kicks more often than I used to. That goes for books and movies. Every once in a while, you just have to get a Nicholas-Sparks-style cry on (I can’t be the only one he reduces to blubbering tears…right?).

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I was incredibly skeptical of the ebook format when it came out. My dad had bought me a Kindle for Christmas when it was the big new thing and I returned it. I couldn’t imagine reading something that didn’t smell like paper. I liked to touch the pages in my hands and hold the book, it just felt more personal. But then there were a couple of books that I wanted to read that were only in ebook format. I reluctantly downloaded the kindle and nook apps on my phone and started reading.

What a change. Suddenly paper books felt like 50-pound weights. They are clunky and awkward and don’t have the convenience of a library at my fingertips.

I still have a precious few books that I can’t imagine reading in ebook format because I have such fond memories of reading it for the first time. And, while I still have a large library of paper books but a lot of the time I opt for the easy route and do the ebook. I am also a big fan of the buy the paper book get the ebook free. I think that is a wonderful way to enjoy the reading experience in both formats. You can have the convenience if you want it, but you can also feel the book in your hands and enjoy the words on a complete organic level.

 

Blurb:

Drake isn’t looking for justice. He’s not interested in doing what’s right. He’s after one thing and one thing only: revenge. That means taking down the Boredega drug cartel—and the shadowy, seemingly invincible man who heads it—even if he goes down with them.

Drake plans to destroy the cartel from within, and he uses his nightclub, Semblance, as a front for money laundering and drug trafficking. He’s sacrificed almost everything to complete his mission, and just as he’s getting close, he’s derailed by flirtatious bartender Scotty, who offers Drake a glimpse of the happiness he’s missed by pursuing a personal vendetta. Scotty might be irresistible, but Drake has come too far to turn back now. He’ll have to find a way to keep Scotty safe, fend off persistent prostitute Natasha, feed tips to the authorities, and edge his way closer to the upper echelon of the cartel, where he can finally strike. He’ll need to do it all while keeping his intentions covert—and he’s not the only one at Semblance with secrets.

Excerpt:

He found him in the back room leaning over a shelf, reading the labels on a couple of bottles. Drake took a second to admire the scene, drinking in the long powerful legs and the nice tight ass showcased by the black pair of slacks that pulled snugly in all the right places. It took everything he had in him not to reach out and touch Scotty. The lure to do so was strong, but he squelched his temptation. There wasn’t time for such distractions.

Clearing his throat, he stepped into the room and leaned back against the wall, crossing his arms over his chest. Scotty quickly stood at the sound and picked one of the bottles he had been reading.

“Yes, my liege?” Drake asked. He couldn’t keep the amusement from his voice.

Scotty’s brow shot up into his hairline. “Are you really going to act like there isn’t a big problem hanging out behind the bar?”

“Big problem?” Drake said, playing dumb.

Scotty’s glum look didn’t lighten at all with Drake’s humor but instead darkened a degree. He took a step toward Drake and pointed the bottle at him like a large scolding finger. “That kid shouldn’t be behind the bar! He doesn’t have the first clue about what’s going on. He’s never mixed a drink before in his life, and he thinks he’s Jerry Thomas.”

“Who?”

“Jerry Thomas! Blue Blazer? He used to…. No, never mind. It doesn’t matter. The point is, the kid shouldn’t be behind the bar. He should be out waiting tables or something.”

“Aw, give the kid a shot. He’s only been at it a few days. I’m sure he’ll catch on. Besides, I don’t foresee him staying on the job for a long time.”

“Great! So he’s another one that I get the pleasure of training and as soon as they start to catch on, they up and leave? Really?”

Drake shrugged. They always did fine even with Tony’s boys cluttering up space. He made sure to schedule an extra hand while they were working to pick up any slack.

Scotty sighed at Drake’s shrug. “If you were just going to hire whatever crazy wackadoos that wanted a job, why did you take all the time and effort to interview me?”

“Wait,” Drake said, holding up a hand, “can we take a minute to appreciate the fact that you used the term ‘wackadoo’ in a sentence?”

“Drake!”

“Okay! I’m sorry. I am. But I told Frankie that I would give the kid a shot. Besides, he has been helpful on the busy nights at least busing. He’s only broken about six bottles and four glasses. And I took half his tips to pay for those. So, I’m sure he will start to get the picture.”

Scotty let out another drawn-out sigh and grabbed another bottle to go with the first.

“I took so long interviewing you for a couple of reasons, but mostly because I wanted someone who had excellent skills behind the bar and would be able to handle any crazy ‘wackadoos’ that may end up back there with them. I needed someone with both a great disposition and work ethic to handle whatever problems may transpire. You fit the bill. I have faith that you can handle any piece of work that comes trotting into this club.”

Scotty’s face slowly lost the tight lines creasing his forehead as Drake spoke, his glare lessening into more of a frown than a full-on glower.

“Fine, I’ll put up with him for a while longer.”

“Okay, good, because I wasn’t really giving you a choice,” Drake said, a teasing lilt to his voice. He started to head back out front to make sure everything was set for the day but turned when Scotty said his name. “Yes?”

Scotty was looking down, kicking at a piece of paper or some other speck on the floor. He looked like a small schoolboy playing innocent. After a moment of silence, Scotty lifted his head just enough to peer through his bangs with a face that belied any innocence Drake might have seen in him. The look was pure seduction.

“Don’t think that I don’t remember about our unfinished business.”

“Un-uh.” Drake had to clear his throat before continuing. Man, he had the most beautiful eyes. He could get lost in them. Scratch that—he was already lost in them.

What was going on? Oh, right. “Unfinished business?”

Walking close enough to put a hand on Drake’s chest, Scotty smiled. “You know exactly what I’m talking about. You said you had a lot on your plate, so I’m giving you time to work through it, but we’ll finish what we started.”

About the Author

Chris E. Saros lives in the beautiful Mitten State, surrounded by the exhilaration of the Great Lakes. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, reading, ministering to her cats’ needs, and watching TV. An avid traveler, she loves immersing herself in different cultures, discovering new foods, and meeting new people. Always game for a new adventure, she covets stimulating experiences such as working on locally filmed movies, coaching students in after-school activities, and spending time spoiling and sugaring-up her nieces and nephew to keep her status as “the fun aunt.” Though ideally an optimist, Chris E. is intrigued by the darkness life has to offer. Using writing as an outlet for her darker nature, she loves constructing characters and tossing them into dangerous situations, just to see what happens.

Social Media:

Giveaway

ebook giveaway for Semblance the author’s  first book. Leave a comment  about, “What was the wildest rabbit hole you followed while researching something specific on the web?”.  Make sure you leave your email address where you can be reached if chosen.

 

BLOG TOUR Found (Hamilton’s Heroes #1) by Annabella Michaels

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Found Release Blitz Information
Author- Annabella Michaels
Title- Found: Hamilton’s Heroes Series Book 1
Genre- MM Romance
Release date- February 23
Cover artist- Jay Aheer of Simply Defined Art

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Buy Links

US: http://amzn.to/2HvFYrY

UK: http://amzn.to/2oifQs9

AU: http://amzn.to/2oi2KLr

CA: http://amzn.to/2EytbTR

Blurb

​As a former U.S.A.F. Pararescueman, Jeremy O’Brien is used to following orders, no questions asked. So, when Micah, his boss at Hamilton Security, asks him to take on a special case, he readily accepts. Micah’s instructions are simple, find the man in the picture and bring him back to Chicago.

​Seven years ago, Zane Wilkinson left the hospital against doctor’s orders, only to suffer a final, devastating blow that left him with no choice but to leave the only place he’d called home. Feeling heartbroken and empty, Zane moved from town to town just trying to survive, while never letting anyone get too close.

​In a chance encounter, Jeremy finds himself crossing paths with a man who fits Zane’s description. His instincts tell him that he’s on to something, but Micah warns him that he needs to be absolutely sure. Jeremy sets a plan in motion that will allow him to get closer to the man he believes to be Zane. However, the closer he gets, the more he likes the man and begins to question why he was sent to find him.

Will Jeremy be able to follow through with his orders without becoming too attached? Or will he realize that in his search for Zane, he’s found so much more than he bargained for?

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Excerpt

He was smart and sexy and fun to be around, and I looked forward to our time together, probably more than I should. In fact, I knew I shouldn’t be getting as close to him as I was, but I couldn’t seem to help myself. When I was away from him, I spent all my time thinking about him and when I was with him, I was happier than I could ever remember being. He had some strange sort of hold on me that I’d never experienced before, but I had to admit that I kind of liked it.- Jeremy

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I am married to my high school sweetheart who let’s face it, is a saint for putting up with me all of these years. Together we have been blessed with the chance to raise two amazing human beings and so far, we haven’t screwed it up; I’ll let you know for sure later. I love watching movies, cooking, going to the beach and spending time with my family and best friends. I am an obsessive reader who is a complete sucker for a good love story but loves to feel a broad range of emotions throughout a book. I think real life is hard enough and so my books offer twists and turns, but always with a happy ending.

Social Media links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/annabellamicha1

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011438515157

Annabella’s Sexy Souls – https://www.facebook.com/groups/233274880449097/

Blog – annabellamichaels.blogspot.com

 

Release Blitz – Room For Recovery (Hearts & Health #4) by DJ Jamison (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 77,000 words approx.
 
Hearts & Health Series
 
Volume 1 Books 1-3 – Universal Buy Link
 
Blurb
 

Blurb

Beau James isn’t out, but he’s not fooling anyone. When he’s cornered by two bullies, he’s rescued by none other than the broody Wade Ritter, who he’s crushed on from afar. Despite their family connection, Wade has resisted all of Beau’s attempts at friendship — until now. His protective streak gives Beau an opportunity to get past Wade’s prickly exterior.


Wade considers Beau to be a quasi-cousin. He’s been careful to keep Beau in that box because he is too tempting to a gay boy determined to remain in the closet after his coming out went all wrong. But when Wade sees bullies harassing Beau, he offers to help. Little does he know this small crack in the walls around his heart is the opening Beau needs to move in and change Wade’s life.


After years off the rails, Wade realizes there’s room for recovery. If he can face hard truths about his sexuality and love himself, he might be able to love Beau too.


Room for Recovery is part of the Hearts and Health series. It contains cameo appearances by other characters in the series, but it can be read as a standalone.

Excerpt
 

Beau James was trashed. Eyes glazed, words slurred, inhibitions gone, full-on trashed.


He balanced on the orange-and-brown plaid couch in Barry Gleason’s basement, a cup of beer sloshing in one hand as he tried to dance to rap blaring through Barry’s speakers. Tried to dance, as in, couldn’t dance to save his life. It was painful to watch — Beau thrust his slender hips completely off-beat — but it was also hard to look away.


It was hot in the small room with so many bodies crowding in, and Beau’s curly hair was frizzing into a halo around his flushed face. A halo for the angel, Wade thought sarcastically. A sheen of sweat made Beau look as if he were glowing. Or maybe that was the huge smile on his face, beaming his care-free, drunken joy to everyone in the room.


Even Wade wasn’t immune.


That smile did squirrely things to Wade’s insides. It always had, which was why he worked so hard to make that smile disappear when they were together.


He’d known Beau was gay from the moment they met three years before. With puppy dog eyes full of adoration, Beau’s crush on Wade hadn’t been subtle. Wade tried to keep his distance — because annoying or not, Beau was cute — but that was easier said than done when their families were intertwined. Wade saw Beau for Sunday dinners with the James family, for Thanksgiving and Christmas and birthdays in between.


And now, as the drunken star of Barry Gleason’s party.


Barry’s parents let kids drink, so long as none of them drove, so his house was the go-to party spot. Wade didn’t often come to these parties, but Anna had dragged him out and promptly disappeared to gossip with her friends on the cheerleading squad. He tried not to feel too relieved about that. He wasn’t in the mood to have an armful of girlfriend.


Glancing around, he noticed a couple of guys holding up phones, taking pictures or videos. Beau was going to be embarrassed come Monday morning.


“Take it off,” someone called.


“Strip show!”


Beau laughed and fluttered his eyelashes. “I don’t get naked with a guy before the second date!”


“Knew he was gay,” Jeremy Krantz said. “Fucking gross.”


Wade was afraid things might get ugly if Beau didn’t get home soon. He had perfected the art of avoiding Beau, so he searched the room for someone who might know him. Beau mostly hung with the same two friends. Wade scanned the room and spotted Beau’s friend, Nathan something, near the television, where a video game was under way.


Nathan was tall, with dark, messy hair and skinny as a skeleton. Wade mostly remembered because of his height-to-weight ratio. Taller even than Wade, he towered over Beau when they stood side-by-side. Usually a cute, freckled blond girl stood between them, but he didn’t see her.


Nathan held a game controller, and Wade realized he was one of the players. Two others were seated in gamer chairs low to the ground.


“Dude!” a familiar voice said. “I didn’t know you could do that!”


Wade wasn’t surprised to see Shane tucked away in the gamer’s corner. His best friend was addicted to video games. He was more surprised to see Anna in the other chair, fumbling with a remote.


“How do you fire? I forgot which button to hit.”


Shane leaned over and nudged her index finger onto the A button. His hand lingered on hers a fraction longer than necessary, and Wade narrowed his eyes. Was his best friend trying to make a move on his girlfriend?


He wasn’t jealous, exactly. He’d been relieved not to have Anna all over him tonight. It was more the principle of the matter. He shelved his irritation for the moment and turned to Beau’s friend.


“Hey, man, uh … you hang with Beau, right? You’re Nathan?”


The guy was focused on the game, and it took him a minute to respond.


“I go by Nate.” He spared a look at Wade, then did a double-take. “Why?”


There was a hint of suspicion to his voice that made Wade wonder what Beau had said about him.


“Uh, well, Beau’s pretty smashed.”


Nathan hit the pause button, and Anna protested loudly, before she noticed Wade standing there. She smiled brightly and jumped up.


“Hey, you. I thought I’d lost you to a love affair with the wall.”


Wade rolled his eyes. She thought she was funny. She was, which was part of her appeal. If only the rest of her appealed to him. Try as he might, he couldn’t get excited about the thought of the make-out session they’d have before he dropped her off at home later.


“Beau’s wasted?” Nate said, sounding incredulous. He turned, taking in the room, and his eyes popped wide. “Holy crap!”


He rushed off, and Wade watched him intercept a guy trying to hand Beau yet another beer. There was laughter and boo’s as Nate coaxed Beau off the sofa and led him toward the door. Wade couldn’t hear their words, but he could tell Nate was pissed as he flipped off someone and pulled a stumbling Beau out the door.


Disaster averted.


Anna wrapped a hand around his bicep and leaned close. “I’m done playing games. You want to get out of here?”


Wade cut a glance to Shane, who stared at the television, despite the game still sitting on pause. He seemed to be avoiding watching them together, and Wade felt a fleeting sense of guilt. He knew, even before he saw them together tonight, that Shane was into Anna. But Shane had the hots for everyone. Wade didn’t take it seriously. Now, he wondered.


“You want to come out for a burger, Shane?” he asked.


“I can’t drive,” Shane said. “I drank too much.”


“I’ll drive. We can get your car tomorrow.”


“Okay.” Shane unfolded himself from the chair. “If you’re sure I’m not going to be in the way?”


“Come with us,” Anna said easily enough, which was another reason Wade liked her. She was easy-going and genuinely a nice person. “It’ll be fun. Wade’s pretty to look at, but he’s not much of a conversationalist.”


“Fuck you say?” Wade said, though he wasn’t really offended. When she looked as if she was about to apologize, he added, “I’m not pretty.”


Anna and Shane busted up laughing, and Wade headed for the door.


Before they got in the car, Shane pulled him aside. “You’re sure I’m not a third wheel? You could just take me home.”


“Would you stop? I’m pretty sure we both like you enough to hang out for a burger before we tear off our clothes.”


Shane rolled his eyes. “Thanks so much for your patience.”


“No problem. What are friends for?” Wade joked.


But for all their playful banter, Wade was beginning to think that if there was a third wheel in their little trio, it might actually be him.

About The Author

DJ Jamison worked in newsrooms for more than 10 years, which helped tremendously when she began her series centered on The Ashe Sentinel, a fictional small-town newspaper in Kansas. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, two sons and three glow-in-the-dark fish.

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