On The Plus Side by Alison Bliss- Review

reviewOn The Plus Side

Synopsis

Big girls don’t cry. They go after what they want.

Thanks to her bangin’ curves, Valerie Carmichael has always turned heads-with the exception of seriously sexy Logan Mathis. Just Valerie’s luck that the object of her lust-filled affection is also best friends with her overprotective brother. But Valerie’s determined to get Logan’s attention…even if it means telling a teeny little lie to get a job at his new bar.

Logan can’t remember a time when Valerie didn’t secretly fuel all his hottest fantasies. Now the curvaceous she-devil is working behind his bar, tempting him every damn night. It’s only when he finds Valerie’s naughty things-to-do list that Logan decides to break every rule in the book-by making each red-hot deed a reality.

No one warned them that they were going to fall this hard. And no one warned them that sometimes the smallest secrets can have the biggest consequences.

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I love this series and the amazing women that are portrayed in it. Val was a smart, sassy and confident woman and it was refreshing to read. I got very frustrated with her brothers and sometimes Logan. This was a very fun and very steamy read. I highly recommend checking out this series and all of Alison Bliss’ books. You will not be disappointed.

My Favorite Quote

 

copy-of-excerpt

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Other books in the series

About the Author

Alison Bliss grew up in Small Town, Texas, but currently resides in the Midwest with her husband and two sons. With so much testosterone in her home, it’s no wonder she writes “girl books.” She believes the best way to know if someone is your soul mate is by canoeing with them because if you both make it back alive, it’s obviously meant to be. Alison pens the type of books she loves to read most: fun, steamy love stories with heart, heat, laughter, and usually a cowboy or two. As she calls it, “Romance…with a sense of humor.”

Website  •  Facebook  •  Twitter  •  Goodreads

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On The Plus Side by Alison Bliss – Release Day

Title: ON THE PLUS SIDE

Author: Alison Bliss

Series: A Perfect Fit, #2

On Sale: June 27, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Add to Goodreads

Big girls don’t cry. They go after what they want.

Thanks to her bangin’ curves, Valerie Carmichael has always turned heads-with the exception of seriously sexy Logan Mathis. Just Valerie’s luck that the object of her lust-filled affection is also best friends with her overprotective brother. But Valerie’s determined to get Logan’s attention…even if it means telling a teeny little lie to get a job at his new bar.

Logan can’t remember a time when Valerie didn’t secretly fuel all his hottest fantasies. Now the curvaceous she-devil is working behind his bar, tempting him every damn night. It’s only when he finds Valerie’s naughty things-to-do list that Logan decides to break every rule in the book-by making each red-hot deed a reality.

No one warned them that they were going to fall this hard. And no one warned them that sometimes the smallest secrets can have the biggest consequences.

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THE A PERFECT FIT SERIES

SIZE MATTERS, #1

ON THE PLUS SIDE, #2

MORE TO LOVE, #3

Series Page on Goodreads

Valerie Carmichael needed a drink. A strong one. Because it was the only way she envisioned herself getting through the night.

An elbow nudged into her side, bringing her thoughts back to the crowded bar. “I can’t see anything through all of these people,” Brett said, scanning the room with his eyes. “Come on, let’s go to the other side so I can get a better view.”

Sighing, Valerie trudged behind him without a word.

When Brett had asked her to attend the grand opening of Bottoms Up, a new bar in their hometown of Granite, Texas, she’d hesitated to say yes. Sure, she was curious what the inside of the recently remodeled bar looked like and had no doubt the place would be jam-packed with handsome, available men. But it was still the last place on earth she wanted to be.

She knew better than to hang out in bars with her older and only—thank God—brother. Every time she’d done so in the past, the nights had always ended the same way. Brett would spend the entire evening hovering over her like a rabid pit bull, daring any single guy with a glint in his eye to look her way. Because Valerie turned heads. She always had.

Oh, she wasn’t silly enough to believe she looked like some gorgeous supermodel with a lean, trim figure or anything. She definitely didn’t. But she had a pretty face, banging plus-size curves, and a lively personality. And that was good enough for her. Valerie was just…Valerie. And damn proud of it.

Across the room, Sam and Leah emerged from the dense crowd, with a beer bottle for him and a glass of water for her. Apparently, Leah was still on that damn diet and counting calories so she would fit into her wedding dress. Though why she didn’t just buy the dress in a larger size was beyond Valerie.

Leah blinked at the sight of her. “Val? What are you doing here? You said you weren’t coming.”

Valerie shrugged. “I changed my mind.”

“Are you feeling okay?”

“Yeah, sure. Why?”

“When you said you didn’t want to go out, I assumed you were sick. You never turn down a night out.” Leah placed her palm lightly against Valerie’s forehead. “You sure you don’t have the flu or something?”

Valerie laughed and pushed her friend’s hand away. “Oh, stop it. I just didn’t feel like getting dressed up. I’m getting tired of the whole bar scene.”

Then Valerie’s heart stopped, along with her lips. Oh God.

Brett stood there talking to a tall, dark-haired man who had one thumb hooked in the front pocket of his jeans while he leaned comfortably against the wall with his right shoulder. She couldn’t see the other guy’s face, but she didn’t need to. Valerie recognized all six feet, two inches of him. Logan Mathis.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alison Bliss grew up in Small Town, Texas, but currently resides in the Midwest with her husband and two sons. With so much testosterone in her home, it’s no wonder she writes “girl books.” She believes the best way to know if someone is your soul mate is by canoeing with them because if you both make it back alive, it’s obviously meant to be. Alison pens the type of books she loves to read most: fun, steamy love stories with heart, heat, laughter, and usually a cowboy or two. As she calls it, “Romance…with a sense of humor.”

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The Sergeant’s Protection by K. Langston – Review

reviewThe Sergeant’s Protection

Synopsis

Protection: a person or thing that prevents someone or something from suffering harm or injury

Sergeant Justin Cunningham just completed one of the most dangerous missions of his life, facing off with a notorious drug cartel. Blood was shed and sacrifices were made, but the risk had been worth it because there he found Selena Del Marco, the drug lord’s daughter, who possessed an endearing innocence that could not be tainted.

Not even by the corruptive world she lived in.

Trapped beneath her father’s iron fist for most of her life, Selena often dreamed of escape but would never attempt it for fear of his deadly wrath. After all, watching how her mother died would forever haunt her.

However, her prayers were answered one fateful night and with it came freedom and protection.

Now she can finally start building a life of her own, and as the days pass she longs for Justin to be a part of it. But right when things begin looking up, a new danger lurks, exposing a secret that will turn her newfound life upside down.

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My Thoughts

I knew that I was going to love Justin when I met him in the last book and I knew this was not going to be an easy journey for either of them, but I loved every word of this book.
It was sexy, full of heart, and a great read. I love this family and the amazing brothers that are loyal, kind hot as soon, and amazing partners. Check out this whole series you will not be disappointed.

My Favorite Quote

 

copy-of-excerpt

amazon1nookibooks

Other books in the series

About the Author

K lives in the deep south with her husband of 16 years, their two children and fur babies, Sadie and Birdie. She released her debut novel Because You’re Mine in September 2013 and has since released three follow-up books in the MINE series. Her newest series, Brothers in Blue, is packed full of romance and suspense and features six alpha brothers.

She was also a contributing author to the USA Today Bestselling anthology, F*cking Awkward and co-wrote Unlawful Justice with fellow author and friend, KC Lynn.

Oh, and she had dinner at Colleen Hoover’s house once.

Where she stole a roll of toilet paper as a souvenir.

Because she’s the shit.

Her most recent release, Sylvie is a standalone contemporary romance about a woman fighting to survive life.

And love.

When she’s not penning her next story, you can find her nose buried between the pages of a good book or she’s on social media because look. SQUIRREL!!


Website  •  Facebook  •  Twitter  •  Goodreads  •   Amazon  •  Instagram

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The Sergeant’s Protection by K. Langston – Release Day

SIX BROTHERS

EACH HOLDING A DIFFERENT BADGE OF THE LAW

EACH SWORN TO SERVE AND PROTECT

Synopses

Protection: a person or thing that prevents someone or something from suffering harm or injury

Sergeant Justin Cunningham just completed one of the most dangerous missions of his life, facing off with a notorious drug cartel. Blood was shed and sacrifices were made, but the risk had been worth it because there he found Selena Del Marco, the drug lord’s daughter, who possessed an endearing innocence that could not be tainted.

Not even by the corruptive world she lived in.

Trapped beneath her father’s iron fist for most of her life, Selena often dreamed of escape but would never attempt it for fear of his deadly wrath. After all, watching how her mother died would forever haunt her.

However, her prayers were answered one fateful night and with it came freedom and protection.

Now she can finally start building a life of her own, and as the days pass she longs for Justin to be a part of it. But right when things begin looking up, a new danger lurks, exposing a secret that will turn her newfound life upside down.

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The Officer’s Promise (Brothers in Blue #1)
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The Detective’s Trust (Brothers in Blue #2)
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Placing my hand in the center of his stomach, a shiver races through me at the distinct contrast. He may be all hard planes and tight muscle but it’s encased in smooth, tan skin.

 

Warmth.

 

My mouth waters to know what his skin tastes like because he always smells so incredible.

 

Intoxicating.

 

My mind swirls, his distinct manly scent bringing all my senses to life. I silently thank the heavens I’m not standing up; otherwise, I would fall flat on my face. Instead, my instincts take over. I lean forward, dropping a kiss right above the waistband of his jeans. I’ve never been so bold.

 

          Brazen.

 

But he brings something out in me. Something I can’t describe much less comprehend.

 

It only begs to feel.

 

His abs tighten in response and I revel in the effect I have on him so I do it again.

 

“Jesus, Selena,” he hisses, cradling the back of my head with his hands. “I can’t handle that mouth on me right now. Not when I want you this much.”

 

“I want you, too,” I whisper.

 

“It takes every ounce of control I have not to lay you down and find out just how deep I can bury myself inside of you. But I want your first time to be perfect.”

 

“As long as it’s with you, it will be.”

 

I gaze up at him, the power radiating off of his body is hot and thick, penetrating the air around us, but instead of being intimidated or afraid, I seek refuge in it.

 

          Crave it.

 

This man. This powerful, beautiful man would never hurt me. I knew that the moment I met him. The moment that I looked into his soulful eyes. The moment he grabbed my hand and refused to let go.

 

The rustle of fabric fills the room as he rids me of my dress and my bra before laying me back down. His mouth finds my chest once more, the center of my breast, moving down.

 

Down.

 

Until he’s found my bare calf. He kisses the skin there but I feel it everywhere.

 

Between my legs.

 

At my very core.

 

Branding himself across my heart.

 

Burrowing his essence into my soul.

 

His lips move upward, toward the side of my knee. Each kiss singeing the edges of my self-control. Every action is measured and fluid as if he’s done this very thing a million times before.

 

As if my body answers only to him.

 

Then his mouth hovers right above my panties, his warm breath tickling my skin. “You smell so good. I could spend hours worshiping this body,” he says, dragging his hand up the outside of my thigh to splay across my hip. Lowering his head, his tongue darts out, dragging it right along the seam, driving me to the edge of insanity.

 

Finally, he does what I long for him to do. Curling his fingers around my panties, he pulls them down then wads the scrap of fabric in his hands and brings it to his nose before winking at me and tucking them in his back pocket. My heart pounds wildly against my chest, the erotic act setting off fireworks in my blood.

 

Then he slowly spreads me wide, placing his hands on my inner thighs to hold me open as his mouth covers me, his tongue dipping low to collect the very last of my inhibitions. My hands find purchase in his hair, fingers digging into his scalp in an effort to anchor myself, but it is no use, he sends me catapulting across the dark sky in a display of brilliant, fiery light. The universe no longer exists.

 

Only us.

 

This perfect moment.

 

Dropping tiny kisses to my trembling thighs, he shifts to stand up and pulls his wallet from his back pocket, placing it on the bedside table. Then he unbuttons his jeans, pushing them off along with his underwear. His eyes stay locked on mine as he retrieves something from his wallet but I dare not look away to find out what it is. I don’t want anything to steal this moment.

 

The only light in the room is the faint bedside lamp but it’s enough to define every angle and ridge, putting his raw beauty on full display. He’s breathtaking, muscles cording and constricting as he strokes himself, holding my gaze. I’ve never felt more beautiful, more desired than I do right now.

 

About the Author 

K lives in the deep south with her husband of 16 years, their two children and fur babies, Sadie and Birdie. She released her debut novel Because You’re Mine in September 2013 and has since released three follow-up books in the MINE series. Her newest series, Brothers in Blue, is packed full of romance and suspense and features six alpha brothers.

She was also a contributing author to the USA Today Bestselling anthology, F*cking Awkward and co-wrote Unlawful Justice with fellow author and friend, KC Lynn.

Oh, and she had dinner at Colleen Hoover’s house once.

Where she stole a roll of toilet paper as a souvenir.

Because she’s the shit.

Her most recent release, Sylvie is a standalone contemporary romance about a woman fighting to survive life.

And love.

When she’s not penning her next story, you can find her nose buried between the pages of a good book or she’s on social media because look. SQUIRREL!!


Website  •  Facebook  •  Twitter  •  Goodreads  •   Amazon  •  Instagram

 

Salvaged by Jay Crownover – Review

reviewSalvaged

Synopsis

Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancée who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.

Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.

The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.

goodreads

I knew going in that this book was going to be different. It was two broken people that healed each other, but this story was so powerful and beautifully written that is so different that what Jay normally writes. If I didn’t already have Jay Crownover as an auto buy author this book would have clinched that. It was a powerful and beautiful story.

My Thoughts

e When I started this book i was in the middle of a  2 month long reading slump. Nothing was catching or holding my attention. I would read here and there but just bits a pieces before I would find something else that could keep my attention. I should have known that it would be Jay Crownover that would snap that slump.

I have been reading about this crew since Rule came out, and loved every word, devoured every page and loved every couple. I knew this one was going to be different. I knew this was the last book in the series, so I already knew it was going to be an emotional read and knowing who it was about and seeing bits a pieces of their story through out the other books. Even knowing this did not prepare me for the amazing story that was written.

Hudson Wheeler and Poppy Cruz are both damaged, but really good people. It was fitting that their story was last and also one of the roughest in the series. Neither had easy lives but when they found each other it was amazing. The lone wolf and the ghost of a girl both came to life and opened up to the world. I loved every word of this book and read it from start to finish. I cannot recommend this book enough. It was full of the feels, full of healing, full of steamy moments, and a full restoration of two beautiful broken souls.

My Favorite Quote

 

copy-of-excerpt

amazon1nookibooks

Other books in the series

About the Author

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her dogs.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Salvaged by Jay Crownover – Excerpt

 

 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jay Crownover continues her delightfully sexy Saints of Denver series with the next thrilling standalone, SALVAGED! Order your copy today!

 

 

Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancée who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.

Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.

The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.

 

 

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I rounded the corner at the end of my block and came to a halt. The puppy took that as a sign that we were done playing outside and started jumping all over my lower legs and pawing at my shins. He whined at me until I picked him up, and as soon as he could reach my face, his little tongue started darting all over my chin and cheeks. I wondered if he could feel the tension that made my limbs stiff and the anxiety that tightened all my muscles. I felt my breath catch in the back of my throat and there was no stopping my eyes from rapidly blinking to make sure what I was seeing was real and not a figment of my imagination.

He looked like one of those black-and-white art prints that hung in every diner and restaurant I’d ever eaten in. The one that was a throwback to another era when cool was something you had to cultivate and couldn’t buy on Amazon. He was leaning against a black-and-silver car that looked like it should be on the cover of a hot-rod magazine and not parked on a busy and crowded Capitol Hill street. He had on dark jeans and a dark canvas jacket that had the logo of his garage embroidered on the front. His ankles were crossed on the curb in front of him and one booted foot bounced up and down, giving the impression that he’d been waiting for me for a while. His arms were crossed over his chest and his eyes were locked on mine as I stood still, unsure what to do. He had an effortless kind of charisma that radiated off of him. It was equal parts intimidating and irresistible. I was unsure if my feet wanted to rush me toward him or run me as far from him as possible.

The puppy made the decision for me. Seeing another human, and thus another opportunity for pats and rubs, he threw his wiggling little body out of my arms before I could react. He hit the ground with a little yelp and then bolted right for Wheeler. I let out a gasp and took off after him thinking I could catch the end of the leash that was trailing behind him. I didn’t want him to run into the road or veer off into a yard where he didn’t belong. I was light-years away from being able to handle a confrontation with a hostile stranger that didn’t want the puppy in their space.

I didn’t need to worry because Wheeler pushed his long, lean frame off the polished side of the car and reached the scrambling animal within just a few strides. He crouched down as the puppy hurled himself into his arms and scooped the excited bundle up in one fluid motion. Then he was rising back up to his full height, which meant he was towering over me when I made my way over to where he was standing. I was embarrassed at how out of breath I was. I was supposed to be stronger than I was before, but I could hardly handle a little jog up the block or the way my heart raced at the sight of him.

I shook my head and put my hands on my hips as I looked up and into those arctic eyes. He was scratching the puppy under the chin and looking at me from under lashes that had the barest hint of red to them. “Why don’t you have a coat on?”

It wasn’t what I was expecting but his question reminded me that I was cold and that the lightweight hoodie that had the Saints of Denver logo on it wasn’t doing much to keep the bitter chill in the air off my skin. The shirt came from the tattoo shop where both Rowdy and Salem worked and was probably the most exciting garment I had in my closet. It was the only thing I owned that was bright and colorful. I rubbed my arms up and down and fired my own question right back at him. “What are you doing here?”

The puppy barked like he was telling me not to be rude but I was unsettled by Wheeler’s unexpected appearance, and not the typical unsettled that I struggled with because he was a man that I didn’t know. It was the kind of unsettled that made parts of my body I forget could react to an attractive man feel warm and tingly. The kind of unsettled that had me involuntarily leaning closer to him as he started to shift so that he could pull his heavy jacket off one arm without letting go of the dog.

“I wanted to talk to you about the dog. Did you find someone to take him yet?” He shifted the puppy to his now bare arm as I watched the endless amounts of ink that covered his skin move and flex as he shook his other arm free of the coat.

“Uh…not really.” The truth was I hadn’t really put that much effort into finding someone because I didn’t want to let the puppy go. In just a few days I’d grown surprisingly attached even though I knew I wasn’t allowed to keep him in my apartment. I’d already asked since Dixie was allowed to keep Dolly, but the landlord informed they were grandfathered in before the laws surrounding pit bulls in Denver changed. My little guy wasn’t that lucky.

My response made Wheeler chuckle. He stared at me silently as he held out the coat he’d taken off in his free hand.

“Put this on.” I stared at him like he’d suddenly started speaking Russian until he shook the coat again and frowned at me. His voice was serious and left no room for argument when he repeated the command. “Put this on, Poppy.”

 

 

About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her dogs.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Salvaged by Jay Crownover – Release Day

 

 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jay Crownover continues her delightfully sexy Saints of Denver series with the next thrilling standalone, SALVAGED! Don’t miss this amazing new novel and grab your copy today!

 

 

Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancée who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.

Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.

The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.

 

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ADD SALVAGED TO YOUR GOODREADS

 

 

 

 

I didn’t want her to be scared of anything ever again.

Things at home had been rocky, rougher than class-five rapids in winter, but I was paddling for my life and prepared to ride it out. I couldn’t let go. I wouldn’t let go. I saw Poppy the day she walked through my shop and I started to feel how sore my hands and my heart were from holding on.

Her head was down, focused on the tips of her shoes. Her shoulders were hunched over and her long hair hid her face. She was skinny, so skinny, nothing but skin and bones. She was nothing that I should have noticed, not because she was clearly doing everything in her power to be invisible, but because I was supposed to have my eyes locked on my future and doing whatever I could do to salvage it. But I did notice her and I couldn’t look away once I did.

She was obviously terrified, clearly out of her element and uncomfortable, but it wasn’t her unease that called to me…it was her loneliness. I could feel it filling up the space that separated us. Stretching, growing, expanding until it was all I was breathing in and exhaling back out. It was bitter on my tongue and heavy across my skin because I knew the feeling well. I lived with it pressing me down and pushing me forward every minute of every day. The reason I was so set on the way things had to be, the reason I was singlemindedly set on settling down and building a life with the girl that was slipping through my fingers was because I never again wanted to be as alone as this girl was. I didn’t want to be left and forgotten. I’d barely survived it the first time.

I did my best to sell her a car that was as beautiful as she was…a classic with clean lines and a flawless finish. She picked something practical and boring but that was ultimately safe and reliable. I understood her choice but it grated and annoyed me long after she left the shop. When she wasn’t standing in front of me, she should have been easy to forget; after all, everything in front of me, everything I had been working for and toward, was falling down in front of my eyes. My world was collapsing in on itself and everything I thought I was so goddamn sure about turned out to be nothing more than lies and illusions. In the middle of all of it, I couldn’t forget her sad eyes and shivering, shaking form. Her loneliness clung to me, unshakable and unforgettable. I didn’t think I would see her again and against my better judgment I often found myself wondering how she was doing and if she had gotten a handle on all the things that seemed to be crushing her under their inescapable weight.

I was wrong about seeing her again, just like I was wrong about thinking that doing everything in my life differently from how my mother had lived hers would ensure my happiness and a future built on an unshakeable foundation. I was wrong about hard work and sacrifice being enough. I was wrong about holding on when what I was holding on to desperately wanted me to let go. All I was left with was bleeding palms, rope burns around my heart and scars on my soul.

The next time I saw Poppy Cruz it was my loneliness that was filling up the space, suffocating me, choking me, making me forget to handle her with care. I was nothing more than a vast, open wound. One that was raw, aching, throbbing, and leaking my heart and shattered emotions out everywhere. I felt like I’d lost everything, like my entire life had been nothing but a waste of time, nothing more than building blocks knocked over with the swipe of a careless hand. The girl I loved didn’t love me back, my future was ultimately nothing more than a fuzzy, fractured blur. I couldn’t see anything clearly other than waste and ruin.

But I saw her. And I saw that I scared her.

It was the last thing I wanted to do but my loneliness was just as big and just as consuming as hers was. It spread out, hungry and angry, looking to consume anyone that might try and challenge its reign.

I tried to pull myself together, apologized because I knew our paths would cross again now that she lived next door to my best friend. I didn’t want to be another man that she was terrified of. I locked the loneliness down, wrestled it into submission, and tried to quiet down the wild inside of me that was howling, screaming at the loss of its mate. I wanted to be nothing more than gnashing teeth and tearing claws but I swallowed those instincts and allowed myself to be like a kicked puppy that just wanted to whimper and cry.

Poppy had been through more than I could imagine. She was the one I couldn’t look away from, but even then, she managed to slip past me and disappear. She looked like honey but she moved like a ghost. I memorized everything about her even though she hardly let me see her face.

I wasn’t supposed to be looking at anything other than how to salvage the mess my life was in, but she was all I could see.

 

 

 

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About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her dogs.

 

 

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