Jenna is trying to start over after a devastating divorce. Luckily, she has her sister, Jill, by her side. Here's an excerpt with Jenna and Jill ...
“He was flirting with you!”
Of course, I’d told Jill all about my run-in with the cute cop.
“No, he wasn’t. He was making fun of me.”
“That’s called flirting.”
Our waiter set our drinks down on the table between us. I’d opted for a glass of wine while Jill went with a colorful concoction with a suggestive name I couldn’t recall.
“Can I get you anything else?” he asked, directing his question only to my little sister.
She smiled up at him and, had he been a cartoon character, his heart would have burst right out of his chest and landed in her lap.
“No thanks,” she began, taking in his name tag before finishing, “Brandon. I think we’re good, but I’ll let you know.”
Brandon floated back to the bar and I raised my eyebrows at Jill. She fiddled with her straw and did a double take when she caught my look.
“That poor boy is going to have to walk around with a serving tray over his crotch the rest of the night. The least you could do is put your boobs away.”
She looked down at her low-cut top, which revealed generous amounts of cleavage. Jill always was a giver. “This is a perfectly appropriate outfit. We’re at a bar, not Sunday school. He’ll be fine.” She reapplied her lip gloss and smacked her lips together. “And, besides, this brings me back to my point.”
“You had a point?”
That earned me a scowl. “Flirting. You need to learn to do it, and you need to learn how to recognize it.”
I knew she was right. If my phenomenally awkward attempts with Erik and Kyle were any indication, I sucked at it. And I’d thought the cute officer was belittling me, which was the last thing I needed. I had a lot to learn, apparently. I groaned. “I’ve never had to flirt before.”
It was true. Mike had done all the wooing and flirting, and I’d bought it all, hook, line, and sinker. Before him, I’d been a bumbling teenager where flirting consisted of lip-biting, stuttering, and sloppy tongue kisses behind the gym. I hated to think that was the extent of my knowledge on the subject.
“It’s past time you learned. Chug that wine and we’ll practice.”
I looked at her, appalled. “First of all, you don’t chug wine. Second, you’re not allowed to flirt. You have a boyfriend.”
She waved me off. “Hank doesn’t care. He knows I flirt. I can’t help it,” she claimed, as if flirting were akin to Tourette’s syndrome.
I sipped my wine at a respectable pace while Jill scanned the bar. “Ooh. How about him?” she gestured with her chin toward some vague spot behind me.
I whirled around and did my own scan. “Which one?”
“No!” Jill whisper-yelled through clenched teeth. “Stop doing that! Jenna, have you ever heard of subtlety?”
I realized she was probably right, so I dutifully faced her again. “Sorry.”
She rolled her eyes at me. “Pretend to get something out of your purse, and while you’re turned around, sneak a glance at the guy with the black t-shirt. He’ll be at your two o’clock.”
This was beginning to feel like military reconnaissance, but what did I know?
Copyright 2018 Sylvie Stewart
The New Neighbor by Isabelle Peterson
Finally, Erik’s moving day arrived. Erik had been keeping me up to date with all that was happening at his new place, and even I was excited about this move. Gradually, I saw the Erik I’d once gotten to know return.
I arrived at Erik’s condo promptly at 8:00 a.m. with coffee and pastries from the bakery across from where we worked, and I’d seen Erik go there on more than one occasion.
“Oh thank God. You are a lifesaver,” Erik said when he opened the door and saw me holding the small carrier with two cups of coffee. He didn’t even notice the bright yellow bakery box with doughnuts I was holding. “I don’t know what I was thinking, but last night, I packed up the coffee maker.”
“Not gonna lie,” I replied. “This will be my fourth cup,” I told Erik as I offered him the other coffee. “Cream and sugar, right?”
He knitted his dark brown eyebrows together and squinted his brilliant blue eyes at me. “Yeah. How did you know?”
“Powers of observation. Seen you put your coffee together in the break room.” And your coffee habit has become my coffee habit, I silently added remembering how I never drank the stuff before I started work at First Bank.
We stepped into his condo and I had to make a concerted effort to tear my eyes from Erik in his running shorts and tight-fitting, faded Green Day concert T-shirt. Fuck, he has sexy legs! Begrudgingly, I turned my focus to the condo. It was a fantastic, open concept high-rise with an incredible view of the city. Now I understood why his place had been so easy to sell. Erik had been busy with boxing up his life and along the walls were organized stacks of clearly labeled boxes. I knew Erik was a meticulous man, but seeing it like this, in his house, just made me smile.
“Mmm,” he moaned taking a sip of the coffee, and the sound headed straight to my groin.
Stop it! I warned my dick. It was going to be a long day if Erik’s one little moan was going to be giving me a boner.
Project Paradise by Phoebe Alexander releases 1/31/18.
As previously mentioned, I love my kids.
There, I have to repeat that, lest you think I'm a bad mom. But for fuck's sake, why is it they have to argue over every single little thing? I swear they would argue about whether or not the sky is blue. I walked into the living room to find a full-on debate about which is better: tater tots or French fries.
My kids know better than to fight loud enough to disturb my time with my precious Kindle. Those smutty books I read are really the only escape I have from my monotonous job as chef, cleaning lady, and taxi service. Besides, I was getting to a really good scene...the hero and heroine were finally going to do it!
Sometimes I can't believe I have a college degree in interior design. I don't think I need a degree for arbitrating fights about processed potato products.
“What's going on in there?" my Mom voice boomed across the room as I stomped in. "You—over there!" I pointed to my son, directing him toward the corner near the window. "And you—over there, I pointed to my daughter, “what seems to be the major issue here?”
“Aubrey hit me,” Aidan claimed, his dark brows furrowed and jaw ticking.
“I did not!” my daughter screamed back, her fists firmly planted on her hips. You gotta love it when your kids look like perfect miniatures of you, and Aubrey certainly does. Right down to the indignant fist-on-hips pose.
“Are you two really fighting about fried potatoes?” I questioned, my eyes darting back and forth between the two of them.
Sheepish smirks crept across their faces. “Yeah, sounds pretty stupid when I put it like that, doesn’t it?” Aubrey shot a daggery look across the room at her brother. In turn, he stuck his tongue out at her. Ah, yes, sibling rivalry at its finest.
“Tell him to stop sticking out his tongue at me!” my daughter screeched at an eardrum-bursting level.
“Look, I am having a Mommy Day over here, trying to read my book, and you two are ruining it. I don’t care who is Team French Fry and who is Team Tater Tot, and I don’t care who started it. I am ending it RIGHT NOW. Both of you go to your rooms, and I don’t want to hear a freaking word from either one of you till dinner, where we will not be indulging in either of the aforementioned potato products. You’ll be lucky if you get more than bread and water to drink!”
Aidan shook his head while Aubrey began crafting some crocodile tears. I could see them shining in the corners of her eyes as she prepared to wail about how unfair I was being. “Nope, not one more word. Go!” I yelled at them. Their chins lowered, eyes downcast, the two made their way down the hall to the staircase in an orderly single file.
“Damn kids,” I muttered under my breath after they left the room. I was about to blame David for knocking me up, but then I remembered I begged him for kids. He hadn’t really been on board with the whole offspring thing, but I had reminded him how cool it would be to have mini versions of us roaming around with our DNA they could pass on to future minions of their own. Yeah, real cool, I chuckled as I made myself comfortable again in my reading chair.
Being married to an architect has its perks. Since we moved into 6 Juniper Court, we’ve made quite a few improvements to our house. David built me the most amazing reading nook. It seriously looks like something from a Pinterest board with its floor-to-ceiling mahogany bookcases; thick, luxurious velvet drapes, and literally the most comfortable chaise lounge I have ever had the pleasure of lying on. There’s a small desk where I pay our bills and write both titillating and scathing book and product reviews (depending on which is warranted, of course). I also pen a blog from that desk: Valley Archer Design. In some ways it’s an anti-mommy blog because it features high-end shit that most kids would probably destroy. Now that my kids are older, I can actually have nice stuff again, so that is pretty awesome if I do say so myself.
So where was I? I asked myself as I scanned the open page on my Kindle. Oh, yes. The heroine just made some coy, but not particularly subtle remark about how she wouldn’t mind getting to know the hero better. It’s implied that she meant without clothes. Well, duh.
My eyes grew wide as the hero proceeded to ask the heroine what she would think about his business associate joining in on the action. What will she say? Will she be into it? I wondered as my gaze quickly danced across the lines of text at a record pace.
Oh, my god, she’s into it! I cheered as the heroine led the two men down the hallway to her bedroom. She lit two candles and told the men to make themselves comfortable. I felt a tingle traipse down my spine and straight into my core as my thighs clenched together. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.
I repositioned, spreading the Kindle on my lap, and my hand absentmindedly wandered into the space between my hips, which was beginning to burn with desire as the scene in her bedroom unfolded before my eyes. Clothes began to fly off. Certain male appendages came gloriously springing forth from unbuttoned trousers. Bosoms heaved. Soft gasps filled the air.
Holy fuck, this is hot, I thought as I continued to devour each and every succulent word. I was finally getting to the point where the heroine spread herself on her back, imploring the two dashing, well-muscled men to have their way with her when I heard the garage door squeak open.
Oh no! I tossed my Kindle onto the chaise as I scrambled to my feet. David was home. Early, no less. And I hadn’t even started dinner yet. Shit!