Chapter Reveal: Making Up – A New Romantic Comedy Coming Soon from Helena Hunting

Cover of Making Up, a RomCom by Helena Hunting

Release Date: July 16th

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Series: Standalone in The Shacking Up Series

About Making Up …

A new standalone, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy by New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting.

Cosy Felton is great at her job—she knows just how to handle the awkwardness that comes with working at an adult toy store. So when the hottest guy she’s ever encountered walks into the shop looking completely overwhelmed, she’s more than happy to turn on the charm and help him purchase all of the items on his list.

Griffin Mills is using his business trip in Las Vegas as a chance to escape the broken pieces of his life in New York City. The last thing he wants is to be put in charge of buying gag gifts for his friend’s bachelor party. Despite being totally out of his element, and mortified by the whole experience, Griffin is pleasantly surprised when he finds himself attracted to the sales girl that helped him.

As skeptical as Cosy may be of Griffin’s motivations, there’s something about him that intrigues her. But sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas and when real life gets in the way, all bets are off. Filled with hilariously awkward situations and enough sexual chemistry to power Sin City, Making Up is the next standalone in the Shacking Up world.

Other Books in the Series:

Shacking Uphttp://helenahunting.com/books/shacking-up/

Getting Down (novella)http://helenahunting.com/books/getting-down/

Hooking Uphttp://helenahunting.com/hooking-up/

I Flipping Love You →  http://helenahunting.com/i-flipping-love-you/

Handle With Care (coming August 27th)  → http://helenahunting.com/books/handle-with-care/

Preorder Links

Add it to GoodReadshttp://bit.ly/MakingUpHH

Apple Bookshttp://bit.ly/MakingUpHHab

Nookhttp://bit.ly/MakingUpHHNook

Kobohttp://bit.ly/MakingUpHHKobo

Google Playhttp://bit.ly/MakingUpHHGPlay

Amazon:

US →  https://amzn.to/2GPe7VJ

CA → https://amzn.to/2J2D7ua

UK → https://amzn.to/2XN5DUo

AU → https://amzn.to/2vnybrF

US paperback https://amzn.to/2VRfmNf

Helena’s Website (chapter will also be posted there) → http://helenahunting.com/books/making-up/

Making Up, Chapter One

Sexy Suit

Cosy 

Working in an adult toy store is the opposite of glamorous. Sure, I get a fifty-percent discount, which is a real perk, but it doesn’t offset some of the weirdness I have to deal with. Such as Eugene, one of the locals who frequents the shop on a regular basis. He came in this morning and handled all the display toys. He’s mostly harmless, but the silicone fondling is pretty high on the creepy factor. Eventually I told him I had to close up for a few minutes so I could grab lunch. The deli across the street has the best daily specials.

While I wait for my chicken shawarma, I make a mental list of all the things I need to do this afternoon: check the magazines to make sure the pages aren’t stuck together, restock the flavored lube, and wipe down everything Eugene molested with toy cleaner. Once I’ve tackled those less-than-fun chores, I can work on my assignment for my hospitality class, provided I don’t have real customers.

I glance out the window, checking to make sure Eugene isn’t loitering around in front of the store, waiting to be let back in. Sometimes he’ll stop by more than once during my shift. He’s not there—thank God—but there’s a black sports car parked in the lot. It looks nice and possibly expensive, which might mean an actual customer who will spend money.

Loki, the cashier at the deli, hands me my drinks and shawarma.

“Thanks! Have a great day!”

“You too,” Loki says to my chest.

As I leave the store, I see a man in a suit reading the sign I taped to the door. I don’t want to miss a potential customer, so I take a deep breath and mentally shift gears, putting on my best sales-person mask. I have to pretend to be a completely different person when I deal with customers, so I can get through what would otherwise be a fairly embarrassing event. Discussing the ins and outs of sex toys with strangers is not something I particularly enjoy, but it’s a paycheck, so I’ve learned to roll with it.

My root beer foams and drips down the straw while my coffee sloshes onto my hand—the lids never fit right—and my chicken shawarma dangles perilously between my pinkie and ring finger as I cross the street.

The suit doesn’t look creepy like Eugene, but then, suits can be deceiving. Half the time they think they can proposition me like a sex worker. Or they pretend the weird stuff they’re buying is a gift and not for them. Pfft. I know better.

Suit turns and heads for his car, so I call out, “Hey! You in the suit, hold on!”

His shoulders hunch, as if he’s trying to be smaller, which is physically impossible. Based on the size of him, he probably played college football. Or he has Marvel comic hero blood relatives. Either way, he’s a big dude.

He stops walking, though, which is good. I could use some sales today. The commission boost is always a plus to the shitty minimum wage. Rent is due next week, and judging by his car, he has money to burn.

My heels are skyscrapers, and everything I’m wearing is either too short or too tight to facilitate running—the Sex Toy Warehouse uniform is supposed to be sexy, aka revealing—so I awkwardly jog the rest of the way while trying to get the key to the shop out of my pocket and not drop my shawarma. The manager gave me my own set since I frequently open the store.

“Sorry to keep you waiting; plastic dicks don’t quite cut it for lunch.” Inwardly I cringe, because seriously, why did I say that?

“I would imagine they’re not all that satisfying,” he replies in a deep voice that would probably sound good whispering naughty things in my ear.

I’m not sure if he meant that suggestively or not. Regardless, I walked right into that one.

I finally look up. Dear sweet Jesus on a cloud of marshmallows, this is my lucky day. The suit is gorgeous. Like the kind of hotness that sucks the breath right out of your lungs and sends all the blood in your body rushing between your legs. It’s a good thing clits don’t react like penises, otherwise mine would be hanging out of the bottom of my shorts with excitement. I’m thankful my physical reaction is limited to damp underwear and tingles.

His dark hair is straight and cut short, parted at the side and neatly styled. He’s a cross between a mobster, and a fifties movie star. Capone and Ward Cleaver rolled together and dipped in lust. His nose is straight, lips are full, and he’s got a chin that looks like it could cut glass. His features are strong, but he somehow manages to be boyish even though everything about him screams pure, undiluted masculinity.

His tongue drags across his pillowy bottom lip and his throat bobs. I lift my gaze and meet his eyes. They’re a strange color. Not brown, not green, but some kind of honey-lemon color, ringed in emerald. Like a cat maybe. His lashes are thick and dark, like a girl’s.

I still can’t seem to get my keys out of my pocket, and my ability to think is compromised by his excessive hotness, so I tuck my shawarma down the front of my shirt, between my boobs and thrust the drink tray at him. “Can you hold this?”

He blinks a bunch of times, gaze darting to where I’ve stored my shawarma and snapping back up to my face. “Sure.”

When he takes the tray, I notice his nails are nicer than mine. Not long, but short and neatly filed. Often the men who come in here have those chewed-off nail stumps. Or there’s dirt under them. Not this guy, though.

The ching ching ching of the cash register ringing up items is a sound track in my head as I finally manage to get the keys out of my pocket. I dangle them from a finger. “Found ’em.”

“Great.” He gives me one of those half smiles—it’s pretty, like the rest of his face—and looks around nervously. It’s obvious he doesn’t want to be seen here. Unfortunately, my hands are all sweaty, so I have some trouble getting the key into the lock, prolonging his discomfort.

The air-conditioning hits me as soon as I push the door open, sending a wave of goose bumps rushing over my skin. It’s hotter out than Satan’s ball sack in a pair of too-tight briefs, which is unusual this time of year in Vegas. The contrast between the temperature outside and the excessive air-conditioning is amplified. I have a cardigan behind the cash register, but I only wear it when there aren’t customers in the store.

I take the tray back and motion for him to go ahead. As I follow him inside I remove my lunch from its safe place between my boobs. I’m starving and would like to scarf down my delicious shawarma, but I’m aware it’s phallic-looking, so I’ll have to wait until the suit is gone to avoid inviting potential penis-eating commentary, or staring.

He stands just inside the door, wide eyes darting around. He runs his hand over his chest and down his black tie, then slips it in his pocket. I hope he’s not one of those guys who plays with himself while he browses. It’s happened before. Many times. Eugene is a frequent fondler.

“I’m Cosy.” I tap my nametag. “Let me know if you need help finding anything.”

His eyes swing my way and snag on the tag pinned to my shirt over my left breast, before quickly shifting to my face. Possibly because I’m wearing a purple bra with pink hearts under my white Sex Toy Warehouse tank, and the design is visible. I was in a rush this morning, and it was my only clean bra. Also, this look tends to help with sales. Degrading? Maybe. But I can’t pay rent with pride.

He blinks a few times and rubs the back of his neck. “Okay. Thanks . . . Cosy.”

He says my name the way most people do—slowly and with uncertainty. Like he’s unsure if it’s a porn store joke. It’s not. At least he doesn’t make a pervy comment.

Suit wanders through the store, still kneading the back of his neck. He’s so uncomfortable. It’s actually rather fascinating to watch his face turn red as he rushes past the magazine rack of naked people only to stop in front of the Wall of Peen. The embarrassment blushing used to be a problem when I first started here, but once I learned how to put on my “sales mask,” it got easier. People like to stick weird things in their holes.

Suit produces a piece of paper from his pocket. He scans it, shakes his head, and mutters something under his breath. My stomach growls. I ate a granola bar at nine and it’s after two. The longer this guy takes, the colder my shawarma will get. It’ll still taste good, but it’s best right off the panini press. On the other hand, the longer he stays, the more likely he is to impulse buy.

I decide to offer my assistance, even though he hasn’t asked for it. Also, he’s hot, and his awkwardness is both cute and amusing. I check my appearance in the tiny mirror I keep by the cash register—my lipstick is perfect and my mascara isn’t smeared under my eyes, which happens on occasion when one lives in a place hotter than hell. Mission Commission commence.

I strut over to where he’s standing; it’s something I’ve had to practice so I don’t roll an ankle. “Need some help?”

Suit jumps like he’s been tasered and shoves the paper back in his pocket. “I didn’t hear you come up behind me.”

“Sorry about that.” I give him my brightest smile. “You look a little lost, so I thought I’d offer my professional assistance. Can I help you find the right dildo for your particular needs?” It comes out without being pitchy, which is fantastic.

“Uh.” He glances at the selection in front of him and then back at me. “My buddy’s getting married, and we’re having a bachelor party. I drew the short straw and now I’m here, buying a bunch of”—he flails a hand toward the shelf—“stuff.”

“Right. Okay. It’s for a bachelor party.” The world’s most common excuse, ladies and gentlemen. “Let’s get you set up with a basket, so you’re not walking around with a handful of floppy peen.”

I spin on my heel and saunter over to the baskets, internally chastising myself for the floppy part. A lot of men who come here have erectile issues and calling them out on that is bad for sales. I focus on my catwalk skills and purposely bend at the waist when I reach for one of our hot-pink shopping baskets with the phrase sin bin written in pretty cursive letters on the side. My shorts are ridiculously short, as per the recommended uniform stipulation. It’s not in writing, but it’s implied. Flashing ass cheek is just as helpful as bra visibility, according to my sales record and wardrobe correspondence study. Don’t judge.

Like a provocatively dressed, hoodless Little Red Riding Hood, I strut back to the suit, ready to have some fun. I thread my arm through his, which seems to shock the hell out of him. He’s not wearing a wedding band, so I’m not above using the flirty angle for sales on this one. The fabric of his suit jacket is extra-soft. I bet it’s expensive. I also notice how firm and defined his bicep is under all those layers of fabric. I think the cold shawarma will be worth it.

I sweep a hand out, motioning to the Wall of Peen. “I noticed you were checking out the double-headed dildos, and as you can see, we have several options available.”

“Whatever one you think I should get is fine,” Suit mumbles.

His discomfort puts me more at ease. I can totally do this. I can sell him a double-header no problem. I release his arm and set the basket on the floor, bending at the waist again for maximum impact. “Well, there really is a big difference between models, so it’s best if you can give me an idea of what you’re going to need it for.”

His eyes go wide again, and he clears his throat. “I’m pretty sure most of the stuff I’m getting should be considered gag gifts, so I don’t think it matters what it’s used for.”

“Hmm. Okay. Well, I still think we should test the models out before you decide, in case your friend does have a plan to use it.” I hold up a finger. “Gimme a sec!”

“But—”

I do another one of my graceful spins—those stupid twerk-offs my sister and I have when we’ve been drinking seem to be paying off—and strut back to the cash register. I grab the toy cleaner and a couple of moist wipes and return to the suit whose face looks like it’s about to burst into flames.

In the few seconds it takes me to grab the toy cleaner, he’s already dropped one  of the peens into his basket.

“Mmm.” I give it a slightly disapproving look and reach for the display model on the shelf. We always have a few of our most popular sellers available, so we can help our purchasers compare models.

I spray down the hot-pink monstrosity and use one of the wipes to stroke up and down the length.

“What’re you doing?” Suit sounds like his balls are caught in a vise.

“Cleaning it for you. Eugene was in here earlier, and he likes to touch all the display items.”

“Who’s Eugene?”

“Just someone who shops here.”

“And you know him on a first-name basis?”

“He’s in here a lot.”

“I bet he is.”

I wipe off both heads a second time for good measure before I thrust it at him. “Can you hold this, please?”

Judging by his facial expression, holding it is the last thing he wants to do. I let it slide through my fingers anyway, and like a good suit, he catches it before it can hit the floor.

“Nice reflexes.” I wink and pick up the sister model, giving it the same treatment. I’m aware that my actions look very much like I’m giving a hand job , which is kind of the point.

Is it the most ethical way to get sales? Probably not, but uncomfortable guys who are also turned on tend to spend a lot more money.

“Okay! Comparison time!” I use the toy as a pointer and motion to the one the suit is holding. “That one is eighteen inches versus mine, which is fourteen, now go and give it a shake!”

He gives me a look, but does as I ask.

“Great! Now see how stiff that one is compared to this one?” I shake the one I’m holding and remind myself that this is going to help me get sales. At least it has in the past.

“I guess.”

“There’s no guessing. Here.” I grab the one he’s holding—he lets it go without a fight—and shake them both again. “See, mine has way more flexibility.”

“Is that a good or a bad thing?”

Based on the number of these we sell in a week, I’m guessing a lot of people think it’s a good thing. “With the right lubricant, it can be a pleasurable experience for your girlfriend.” I have no idea if this is true or not, but that’s what the lubricants advertise. Also, I’m fishing for information.

“I don’t have a girlfriend. And even if you’re right, if I did have a girlfriend, I’d prefer to insert my own . . . body parts rather than one of these.” He motions to my hands, which are both full. “Not that my relationship status is relevant since this is all for a bachelor party. Not me.”

I give him a conspiratorial wink. “Of course it’s not.”

“Seriously.” He roots around in his pocket and produces the list. “I really did draw the short straw, and now I’m here buying all the weird shit—”

I snatch the list out of his hand and spin out of reach when he tries to grab it back. It’s fairly extensive, so either he’s not lying about the short straw, or he is lying about the girlfriend. Neither would be a first.

“Okay, well, we’ve crossed one item off your list. I’ll have you stocked up for this party in no time.” I grab the basket and one of the packaged double-headers and sashay over to the Pocket Rockets, the next item on the list.

When we get to the flavored lube, he seems at a loss. There are twenty different flavors, so instead of choosing, he grabs one of each. My commission on this sale is going to be amazing.

“Have you worked here long?” he asks after I hook him up with a top-of-the-line personal pleasure device, cleaner, and special lube.

“A couple months,” I say.

He nods, as if my answer is riveting. “Is this your full-time job?”

He finally seems to be finding some chill, which is great, so I entertain the idle chitchat. “No, it’s a part-time gig.”

“What do you do when you’re not working here?”

Oh my God. Is this suit hitting on me? I mean, he’s hot, but he’s buying a lot of weird stuff, and while he might be telling the truth about the party, he also might be lying. Still, this is fun, so I play along. “I’m a toy tester on my off days.”

“I’m sorry, what?” he sputters.

I throw back my head and laugh. He really is adorable. “Kidding! Oh my God, your face. You need to relax, Suit, you’re too buttoned up.” I tug on his tie. “I mean, I get a sweet discount on everything in the store, but who wants to test this?” I tap the black rubber fist next to the butt plugs, since we’ve made it to the end of the list.

He says something under his breath that I don’t catch.

“Anyway, I’m taking some college courses, furthering myself and my career and so forth, so I don’t have to sell this stuff to people for the rest of my life.”

“You’re in college?” It sounds like he’s choking again.

“Mm-hmm. It’s taken me a little longer to finish since I like to travel. I’ll be working for at least four more decades, so I’m thinking I should enjoy my freedom while I have it, you know? So many people say they’re going to travel when they retire. They save up all this money, and then two months into retirement they have a heart attack and die. Or they’re too old and rickety to do any of the fun stuff.”

“That’s an interesting outlook.”

“Probably not super popular either, but you only live once, right?” I point to the plug that’s roughly the same size as my head. “That’s the biggest one.”

Suit makes a face. “Please tell me people don’t actually buy these.”

I shrug. “I usually sell one every few weeks or so.”

“As a gag gift?”

“I don’t ever ask.”

He shakes his head and motions to the one beside it, which is about half the size, but still enormous. “If nothing else, it’ll function as an interesting door stop.”

After we’ve checked everything off his list, we head back to the register. He sets his wallet on the counter and flips it open, withdrawing a credit card as I scan his many purchases and bag them.

“Your total is $657.69.”

He blows out a breath and passes over his card. “He sure as hell better use some of this stuff.”

I glance at the name on the card. Griffin. Kind of different, like my name, but not as weird.

The bell over the door tinkles as a new customer enters the store. It’s another suit, but this one looks cheap and slimy. Like a pawn shop sales man or something. Ugh. Here’s hoping this one is quick so I can finally eat my shawarma, which is probably cold and soggy by now, although that’s my fault for being so thorough with Griffin. And it totally paid off.

Griffin glances at the new customer and hunches his shoulders. As if that’s going to make him any less noticeable. The receipt seems to take forever to print. I hand it over, and his long, thick, well-manicured fingers graze mine.

Goose bumps flash over my skin. The thermostat is probably set too low because the vent above suddenly blasts me with cold air, and I shiver.

He tucks the receipt in his wallet and grabs the bags. “Maybe I’ll see you around.”

“Looks like you’re pretty stocked on the sex toys, but you know where to find me if you run out of lube.” I wink, and then internally chastise myself because I have no idea what this guy is really like, and now I’ve given him the equivalent of a green light to come back and visit. Not that I’m opposed to seeing his gorgeous face, but he could be one of the crazies. Then again, maybe he’s not.

He chuckles and taps on the glass top counter. “Have a good day, Cosy. Thanks for sharing your extensive knowledge with me.” He flashes me a grin, and holy hell, I think that alone might have given me a mini orgasm.

Okay, no it didn’t. But his smile is damn pretty.

I watch him leave before I turn my attention to the cheap suit. He’s hanging out in the video section. I don’t understand why people pay money for that stuff when it’s all over the internet for free, but whatever.

Cheap suit buys two granny flicks and makes his exit. I assume he has mommy issues or something.

After he leaves, I finally have a chance to eat my lunch. As predicted, it’s soggy, but still delicious. I make random doodles as I eat and find myself writing the suit’s name over and over, like I’m some smitten high school girl. I roll my eyes. That guy is one of a million suits who fly in for a business trip, mix it with a whole load of excess and pleasure, and then go back to their regular life and talk about that trip they took to Vegas.

Doesn’t mean I can’t fantasize about him, though.

Cover Reveal: Top Secret – A NEW M/M Romance from Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

Cover Reveal Banner for Top Secret by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Great News!

Bestselling author duo Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy return with Top Secret, their first Male / Male romance in 3 years. I’ve read the ARC and it really lit my fire! It’s funny, angsty, hot and heart-warming.

I’m still burning…and you can find out why when Top Secret releases, May 7th!

About Top Secret

LobsterShorts, 21 — Jock. Secretly a science geek. Hot AF.

 LobsterShorts: So. Here goes. For her birthday, my girlfriend wants…a threesome.

SinnerThree: Then you’ve come to the right hookup app.

 LobsterShorts: Have you done this sort of thing before? With another guy?

 SinnerThree: All the time. I’m an equal opportunity player. You?

 LobsterShorts: [crickets!]

SinnerThree, 21:  Finance major. Secretly a male dancer. Hot AF. 

SinnerThree: Well, I’m down if you are. My life is kind of a mess right now. School, work, family stress. Oh, and I live next door to the most annoying dude in the world. I need the distraction. Are you sure you want this?

LobsterShorts: I might want it a little more than I’m willing to admit.

SinnerThree: Hey, nothing wrong with pushing your boundaries…

LobsterShorts: Tell that to my control-freak father. Anyway. What if this threesome is awkward?

SinnerThree: Then it’s awkward. It’s not like we’ll ever have to see each other again. Right? Just promise you won’t fall in love with me.

LobsterShorts: Now wouldn’t that be life-changing…

Q&A about Top Secret:

Q: Have we met these characters before in another book?

A: No! These guys are brand new, and we can’t wait for you to meet them.

Q: Is this story MM? Or is it a MMF / MFM / menage?

A: This book is MM.

Q: Is this a love triangle story?

A: Not really. You’ll see.

Add Top Secret to your TBR &  PreOrder!

Goodreads: https://geni.us/TopSecretGoodreads 

Apple: https://geni.us/TopSecretApple 

Kobo: https://geni.us/TopSecretKobo 

Nook: https://geni.us/TopSecretNook 

Read Chapter One of Top Secret!

Keaton

“Look,” Annika whispers in my ear. Under the table, her small hand squeezes my thigh, while her cheek gently nudges my chin toward the doorway. “He’s cute.”

“Subtle,” I tease before giving the object of her attention a cursory glance. He’s just a tall guy with brown hair, nothing special as far as I can tell. “How about we save this conversation for later?”

She rolls her eyes. “We both know there won’t be a conversation, Keaton. You like playing along, but you won’t actually go through with it.” This time she forgets to lower her voice.

“Go through with what?” one of my frat brothers asks from across the table. Tanner, Judd, and I had popped into the campus Starbucks for a caffeine fix after practice. Annika’s next class is directly across the street, so she’d come to say hi before class.

“Nothing,” I tell Tanner.

If you can call your girlfriend wanting a threesome with another dude “nothing.”

Yup, my girlfriend wants a threesome. And here I’d thought that, after six years together, Annika couldn’t surprise me anymore.

She and I have been inseparable since junior year of high school. I know every last detail about her, from her food preferences to her pet peeves. I know she gets anxiety in long lines, that she sneezes any time she gets a whiff of cinnamon, that she loves the beach but hates skiing.

What I didn’t know was that my girlfriend fantasizes about threesomes. The first time she brought it up, I thought she was kidding around. Annika Schiffer, heiress to a home-furnishings fortune, wants to bang two guys at the same time? Yeah right.

My girl is the president of her sorority, wears a pearl necklace (and not the fun kind) on a daily basis, and made me wait until we were eighteen to lose our virginities to each other. Don’t get me wrong—she’s not some uptight rich bitch with a stick up her butt. She’s fun and warm and fierce when someone tries to mess with her or her loved ones.

But she’s also… I’ll just say it: vanilla.

I didn’t think she was serious about the threesome thing until last week, when I’d asked her what she wanted for her birthday and she brought up the idea again.

I move my lips to her ear so Tanner and Judd can’t overhear. “Don’t you worry, babe, there’ll be more than just a conversation,” I rasp.

She shivers, and then flashes me a dazzling smile. Her face is flawless. Classic features, pouty lips, and smooth skin that’s just the right amount of dewy. She works hard and spends a lot of money for that skin. I’ve been in her bathroom at the sorority house, so I’ve seen all the products she puts on her face to keep it looking so perfect. Not to mention the monthly facials, which require her to fly to New York every month because this little college town we live in doesn’t have a “competent aesthetician”—her words, not mine.

It helps that her father owns a helicopter that can accommodate her monthly treks. I’m not one to judge, though. My dad has his own jet.

“I can’t wait,” she says before hopping off my lap. “Come over tonight after practice, okay, baby? I have to go to class now.”

“I’ll see you later.”

“Bye, boys.” Annika’s hand flutters in a wave on her way to the door.

“Later!” Tanner calls after her. And if I’m not mistaken, he takes a longing look at her ass.

“Dude,” I say. “If you’re going to eye-fuck my girlfriend, you could at least be subtle about it.”

“Why?” Tanner argues. “She’d be flattered. And you should know how good you’ve got it. Besides, I’m harmless.” He flashes me a big smile. “What are we doing this weekend, anyway?” Tanner asks. “The Presidential Dance-off, right?”

I shake my head. “That’s, like, in two weeks, man.”

“Really? Why did I think it was sooner?”

“Because you’re stupid,” Judd offers helpfully.

Tanner gives him the finger, before turning back to me. “Do you know what you’re doing for yours yet?”

I have no clue. And no, dancing isn’t an actual requirement for our fraternity’s presidential race. But it used to be. A few decades ago, the candidates running for frat president decided a dance-off was the only way to decide who was more fit to lead. Hence, the Presidential Dance-off was born. On our living room walls, there are old photos of well-dressed men with slicked-back hair and girls in poodle skirts on their arms.

My fraternity has long-held traditions that began well before the invention of the red Solo cup. But these days, Alpha Delta has evolved. Or devolved, depending who you ask. Instead of perfecting his twist and his mashed potato, the presidential candidate is expected to dazzle the other members by planning a kickass event. I’m talking epic. Monumental. The kind of party that will be remembered for years to come.

Although, like dance moves, I’m not entirely sure that party planning is a solid indicator of what makes a good president. Sure, frats throw a lot of parties, but there’s a social committee for that.

The role of president is actually pretty lame, according to Reedsy, our current prez. He pulled me aside after I threw my name in the race and admitted that it’s a boring gig and that I should reconsider. “So much fucking responsibility on your shoulders, dude,” he’d bemoaned.

For a moment, I’d almost bailed. To be honest, I’m only running because my dad was president of Alpha Delt in his heyday, and my granddad before him. But that’s also the reason I couldn’t bail. My father would lose his shit if the Hayworth legacy ended with me.

So I have ten days to plan a legendary party.

“Maybe I can just hire an event planner?” I suggest.

“No way.” Judd’s response is immediate. “If that fuckhead Bailey finds out, he’ll have you impeached.”

“You can’t impeach someone until he’s elected,” Tanner points out.

Still, I don’t want to be accused of cheating. What a pain in the ass this whole thing is. “We can brainstorm about this on Sunday night. We have a game to win on Saturday.”

“Oh, we’re going to win,” Tanner promises.

But I’m not so sure. Not only am I worried about the Northern Mass offense, I think my father is driving up for the game. So winning isn’t even enough. If the Northern Mass players aren’t crying into their helmets after the fourth quarter, my father will still give me hell at brunch the next day.

And here I thought weekends were meant to be relaxing.

“Fine,” Judd says. “We’ll talk about your campaign after the other meeting on Sunday night.”

“What other meeting?” I search my brain and come up empty.

“Pledge Committee,” he says, gulping the last of his coffee.

Oh, phew. “I don’t have to go to that one. I’m not on PC this year.”

“But I sent you that email?” Judd whines. “I told you I need you there. Initiation night is coming up and my committee is lame.”

“Who’s on it, anyway? What do you have planned?” Note to self: be conveniently unavailable on Sunday night. There is no way I’m sitting on the Pledge Committee again. Dealing with last year’s pledge class was a total pain in the ass.

“There’s Ahmad, who’s smart but boring. Paul, who’s just boring. Owen, who’s fun but not exactly creative. And Paxton, who’s just a tool.” He sighs. “Whatever. At least Bailey isn’t on it this time. Remember what a buzz kill he was last year? I fucking hate that guy.”

No big secret there. Judd’s had it in for Luke Bailey ever since the guy rushed Alpha Delt sophomore year. And say what you will about Judd, but he’s not an asshole unless he feels you’ve given him a reason. He’s a bro to the core—he believes in male bonding, high fives, and, in his mind, a friendship isn’t official unless you’ve bled together, partied together, and nursed your twin hangovers the morning after.

Luke Bailey doesn’t subscribe to this philosophy. The moment he scoffed at Judd’s attempt at a fist bump, he earned himself an enemy in Judd Keller.

Since then, their tumultuous acquaintanceship has only gotten worse. Luke is a cocky ass when he wants to be, and Judd hates feeling like he’s being mocked or judged.

Oh, and then Bailey banged Judd’s ex. So there’s that.

“You exert too much mental energy on that guy,” Tanner informs Judd. Tanner’s a psych major, so he’s constantly dishing out (pretty good) advice that everyone mostly ignores. “Holding onto anger isn’t conducive to robust mental health.”

“First of all, say the word robust one more time and I’ll clock you. You know how I feel about that, bro.” Indignation flashes in Judd eyes. “And second of all, Luke Bailey screwed my girlfriend! I’m never not gonna be angry at that prick.”

Ex-girlfriend,” I hedge, but it earns me a deep scowl from Judd. The two of us are teammates, and I do feel loyalty to him, but I’m also not afraid to call it like it is. “You and Therese were broken up for months.”

“Me and Therese are never broken up. Sure, we take short breaks, a hiatus or two. But she’s my girl,” Judd says tightly. “Everybody knows that.”

“Bailey says he didn’t,” Tanner says.

“That’s bullshit. He’s a liar. And now he’s trying to screw K over!” Judd growls. “He joined the presidential race to get back at me. I just know it.”

“You think?” Tanner looks skeptical. “Because that would be sociopathic lengths to go to just to spite you.”

“Yeah,” I agree with a chuckle. “Bailey’s a prick, but I can’t see him taking on the huge responsibility of running a fraternity just to flip you the metaphorical bird.” Although if I’m being honest, I don’t know why Luke Bailey is running for prez. The guy hasn’t shown much interest in frat activities since he joined us.

“He totally would,” Judd argues.

“Hey, we got class now,” Tanner reminds our sulking buddy. “We should book it over there.”

“Fine.” Judd scrapes his chair back and gets to his feet. His cloudy gaze meets mine again. “I’m serious, man. Bailey is bad news, and we need to kick his ass in this campaign. There’s no way I’m letting him be our president.”

“Don’t worry. He won’t be.”

Once my friends are gone, I let out a tired sigh. I don’t particularly care about Judd’s beef with Bailey at the moment. I have a football game to win, a campaign to plan, and a father to impress.

And a girlfriend to please.

I go up to the counter to get a refill, then settle in my cozy corner of the coffeehouse and open the app I downloaded last night. I hadn’t lied to Annika earlier—her birthday request is in the forefront of my mind. I just need to do some investigating first.

Welcome to Kink!

Add a profile pic.

Add bio.

I’d wanted to fill all this out last night, but my frat brothers suckered me into an epic session of Red Dead Redemption that lasted till three a.m. Now I quickly scroll through the camera roll on my phone until I find a suitable one. It’s of Annika and me, taken in Easthampton last summer. She looks smokin’ hot in a teeny string bikini, and my abs are looking tight, if I do say so myself. I crop out our faces and load the photo.

I skip the bio for now, because I’m feeling impatient. I want to see what this app has to offer more than I want to break my brain thinking of one hundred and forty-five characters to describe how my girlfriend wants to bang two men at the same time.

Actually, that’s pretty much the gist of it.

Still, I’m curious to check out the goods. Kink is more hookup app than dating app, and I’m pleased to discover it lets you search for users who’ve expressed interest in certain arrangements.

I click on the threesome box in the search section. There are an eye-opening number of options, combinations that hadn’t even occurred to me. Annika wants another guy, though, so I ponder the easiest combos.

m/f/m

m/m/f

My finger hovers over the m/f/m button. The other option means the men are allowed to touch, I think. It’s the moment of truth. Some guys would hate this idea. I don’t, though. I’m a scientist. Experimenting is what I do.

I even dreamt about sex with men once. Or twice. I never mentioned that to Annika. But why would I? I’ve also dreamt of meeting a dragon who smoked clove cigarettes. The things my brain invents while I’m sleeping aren’t newsworthy.

But I’d be lying if I said that Annika’s shocking birthday request turns me off. I’ll try anything once. And the app lets you click as many boxes as you want. So after looking over my shoulder once more just to make sure nobody I know is watching, I tap both options and usher in the possibility of taking a walk on the wild side.

The threesome has to be with a stranger, though. I’m certain that any one of my frat brothers would be down to help me give my girl a night to remember. Well, except Dan, who’s only down for dudes. And, well, Bailey, who thinks I’m an ass. I think he’s an ass, too, so I guess we’re even.

But I can’t do this with someone I know. What if the whole night is awkward as fuck? If it’s a brother, I’ll still have to live with him. If it’s a teammate, I’ll still have to see him in the locker room.

And then there’s the opposite scenario. What if it’s not awkward as fuck? What if I like it a whole lot?

Yeah, I don’t want my buddies judging me. A stranger for the win, then.

I lean back in my chair and start swiping.

Overnight Sensation, by Sarina Bowen – Cover Reveal!

Overnight Sensation-Cover Reveal Banner

Mark your calendar for January 22nd and be ready to experience an Overnight Sensation!

About Overnight Sensation…

Everyone knows the girl is off limits. But it’s so good to be bad.
 
There’s this girl…
Heidi and I have been trading hungry looks all year, and everything she does makes me smile. But I don’t do girlfriends, and I certainly can’t get involved with the league commissioner’s daughter. I need shots on goal, not a hookup and a widely misunderstood paparazzi photo.
Can I resist her, though? The way she teases me should be a game penalty for interference with my libido.There’s this guy…
Jason wants me, but he won’t admit it. That man looks at me the way a hockey player eyes the lunch buffet after practice–and I love it.
But when victory is finally within my grasp, I blow it and humiliate myself. Even then I can’t even avoid him–as the team intern, I’m in constant view of his hard body and cocky smile.
I need another chance. Jason Castro is about to learn the true meaning of an overnight sensation.

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A Taste of Overnight Sensation…

I’m used to being a good girl. I never refuse Daddy’s calls, and I never drink shots of tequila with the team in the bar.

Tonight, though? It’s time for a change. Take that, Daddy. And who knew I could slug back tequila like a party girl?

The problem is that I don’t know what to do next. I’ve never had a one-night stand. And every time Jason looks me up and down with those sinful eyes, I feel a little thrill of excitement.

And—fine—nerves. Although the tequila will help with that.

Besides, when you need a job done right, you’re supposed to hire an expert. And that’s what I want from Jason Castro. He’s the most notorious hookup artist on the team. He’s hot as blazes, and a real smooth-talker. I like everything about him, from his rich, bronze-toned skin to his hypnotic brown eyes.

He can talk me through it. I’m a quick study.

And I’m not a virgin. There have been boyfriends—four of them. But not one of them ever managed to… There’s no polite way to say it. Nice Southern girls aren’t supposed to speak in detail about sex. But let’s just say I’ve never been very satisfied by my sexual experiences so far.

So this is not an opportunity to be squandered. In fact, it’s time to up the ante. Just because I don’t have a whole lot of experience seducing men doesn’t mean I’m clueless about life in general.

Slowly, I ease my body a little closer to his. Two inches, maybe. Then I smile at him.

And—holy heck—the results are instantaneous. His eyes sweep down my body. And it’s almost as if he touched me with his hands, too. I feel that gaze burning me up everywhere it lands. Then he looks up again and gives me a hot smile. We’re having an entire conversation without words.

This is a revelation. I feel bold and a little wild.

“So what happens next, Hot Pepper?” he asks.

Oh my. That thumping sound is my heart taking off like a jackrabbit running a fifty-yard dash. I thought I had some more time to get used to the idea before we actually made our move.

“Are you gonna stay in Brooklyn and finish your internship, even if it causes family strife?”

“Oh,” I say slowly, because, whoops! I’m the one who’s gotten ahead. “I’ll stick with the internship. Heck, yes. I have no marketable skills.” My internship doesn’t pay very much. But I can live in Daddy’s Manhattan apartment and ride the subway to work.

“Good for you,” Jason says.

“It’s an easy decision,” I agree. “I need to start living differently, or I’m in danger of spending the rest of my life trying to please other people.”

“That’s no good,” he agrees. We’re still standing way too close together, and we’re still flirting. But I can tell he’s actually listening.

“I was deeply unhappy at school last year. And my parents didn’t care. You know what’s funny?” I can hear myself talking too much, but his attentiveness encourages me. “When I was a teenager I actually took classes on how to please people. It’s called charm school.”

His deep laugh vibrates through my belly. “To learn to be charming? I can already tell you got an A-plus.”

“That’s natural ability,” I tease. “But they taught us etiquette—which fork to use first and how to set a table for six courses. How to daintily remove an olive pit from your mouth. How to introduce two people when there’s an imbalance of power.”

“How do you do that?” he asks, leaning in just a few millimeters closer.

“You’re supposed to address the person of higher rank first. ‘Mr. Important Person, I would like to introduce Mr. Lesser-person.’ And then you offer any further details that are appropriate to the situation.” I can smell his aftershave. It’s clean and spicy. I have the strangest urge to lean in and kiss his angular jaw.

“Who knew?” He moves imperceptibly closer. “And now I’m wondering how many times I’ve been put in my place like that without realizing it.”

“Oh, please,” I tease him. “Try being the office intern for a day. I might as well wear a nametag that says, Hello My Name Is Lesser Person.”

“What else did they teach you at charm school?”

“How to foxtrot. The proper way to phrase a wedding invitation. Penmanship. How to dance with a boy you don’t like in order to save his feelings. In other words, how to be a good girl even when you don’t want to be.” The more I think about it, the more it sounds like brainwashing.

“Hmm,” Jason whispers. We’re so close together now that the word vibrates against my cheek. And then he leans in and lets his lips coast past my temple. It’s so faint that it can’t even be called a kiss. But it makes me shiver just the same.

No wonder this man gets any woman he wants. I’m practically quivering for him, and he hasn’t even kissed me.

Then his voice drops low, and he asks, “Would you rather be a bad girl, Heidi?”

Holy heck in a handbag! It’s the cheesiest line ever, but my girl parts shimmy all the same.

And then he puts his mouth right beside my ear. “Are you—” He drops his voice to barely a whisper. “—thinking of wearing white after Labor Day?”

Front Cover-Overnight Sensation