It's time for some Bookstore Love...In the next month, Sarah Nego and I are releasing the Bookstore Love duology. These two standalone series books take place in the bookstore, Em-Dash. The heroine for book #1, Crazy Love, is Kali, the owner of the bookstore. The heroine of book #2, Tasty Love, is Val the owner of the bakery in the back of the bookstore.
It's no secret that bookstores have a special place in my heart, but WOW...I adore these two books so much.
They feature two of my favorite tropes...Crazy Love is a enemies to lovers story, while Tasty Love is a second chance at love story. I hope you all love them as much as I do!
She has secrets that need to stay hidden. He’s digging into her life and her heart. Now they have to work together to organize the Aspenridge masquerade ball. It’s going to be a disaster.
When Kaliope Winters opened Em-Dash, the local bookstore, she did it because of a pure love of books...and the need to stay under the radar. But the vlog hottie stealing her wifi keeps making her blow her cool, which isn’t good, because she doesn’t need to draw his attention. He’s too gorgeous, too charming, and way too nosy.
When Tennyson Helms started his YouTube channel, he planned it to be temporary, not his forever career. Now Ten is trying to prove he’s got the chops to make it as an investigative journalist and thinks Kali will be his next big story. She’s acting way too suspicious. Unfortunately, he can’t decide if he wants to investigate her or kiss her.
Enemies-to-lovers takes a whole new meaning when the masks are dropped...
The Bookstore Love duology...
- Crazy Love
- Tasty Love (coming November, 2018)
I settled into the deep-red velvet club chair with a relieved sigh. Quiet . . . finally. The tension in my shoulders released. I’d been carrying that since I’d stormed out of my house.
Closing my eyes, I inhaled the distinctive scent of books, paper, and words. This right here was a perfect moment. If only she would walk through. I eyed the closed door to her office.
She hated me, but since discovering her, I’d realized I had a masochistic side.
I liked pissing her off.
When her eyes began to flash, my blood started to flow to all the right places.
I should be thanking my clueless roommate, who had driven me here, instead of cursing him.
If I had to go hide out some place in Aspenridge, there were a lot worse places than this tiny corner in Em-Dash, the local bookstore. Here in this corner, under the gilt wood sign identifying this part of the store as Platform 9¾, I’d found my escape, my secret place to work, my place to create, my place to fantasize about the sexy owner who’d otherwise never give me the time of day. Although she liked to give me a hard time.
She never failed to let me know how much I annoyed her, but if annoying her was what it took to get her to lay those beautiful eyes on me, then I was just the guy for the job. I could be obnoxious with the best of them. It was my secret superpower that had kept me labeled as the class clown instead of the nerdy dweeb who got beat up and stuffed into a locker. And for the last few years, I’d managed to make that pay off because it had brought me my YouTube following.
So, yeah. I was basically dipping the tips of her pigtails in ink to get the girl to notice me, but if it worked . . . I shrugged. I could be okay with looking the role of the fool.
Luckily for me, the store was almost always deserted, although that didn’t bode well for the long-term security of my newly claimed workspace.
How did this store stay open and stocked? They always had the newest titles on the shelves but few, if any, customers. If I didn’t know better, I’d say the owner had to be channeling some of the Harry-Potter witchcraft that she was so obsessed with to produce profit. But since that wasn’t the way the real world worked, there had to be something else at play.
The entire store was decorated with the HP theme . . . lots of black-stained wood, gilt letters, and the distinctive touches that signified the various houses from the popular series. It should have seemed childish, but instead it came across as elegant and even kind of cozy.
It was the perfect place for me to escape and write. I opened up my iPad to a new doc and began typing.
Ten with Tennyson – Episode 87
Top Ten Reasons to Live Alone
Beginning: Hello, my minions. Today we’re going to talk about something almost every person out there has to deal with at some point in time. Roommates. The scourge of adulting everywhere. If you are one of those who has never had to deal with this life-blow, consider yourself a lucky bastard—and note (side-eye the camera)—I hate you even while I wish I was you.
Unfortunately, roommates are a fact of most of our lives. But you don’t have to live in this hell-on-Earth forever. Today I’m here to share with you why it’s so important that you rectify this heinous situation as quickly as humanly possible. In other words, find yourself a sugar-daddy/momma, or make sure you’re setting yourself up in a job that makes more than minimum wage.
Reason Number One.
If you don’t come up with another circumstance, you could be condemning yourself to twenty years to life living with a roommate, although this one will call you his bitch. Roommates tempt a person to murder, and that’s never a good solution. Prison means a roommate for life. (Shudder)
Reason Number Two.
Every guy out there likes porn. Admit it guys, you may tell your girl or guy otherwise, but we all know it’s the truth. But it’s just plain creepy when it’s live-action inside your house. Getting horny from your roommate's girl’s orgasmic noises is guaranteed to make breakfast awkward. Trust me on this. (Grimace with distaste)
I shifted uncomfortably as that particular memory reared its head.
Aiden, my roommate, wasn’t that bad. In fact, I really liked him. That was why I still lived with him. There were just times when he got on my nerves, like when he was having loud, awkward sex on our couch when I walked in the front door. It was better to vent my frustrations through making fun of the situation on my show than confronting him and causing a big fight.
Overall, I liked to keep the peace, be the nice guy. Here in her bookstore was the only place where I let my other side out to play, the one who wanted to push her buttons, actually encourage a fight.
Where was the little diva/vixen?
I glanced around the empty bookstore, and the cover of a book on rock climbing caught my eye. What would it be like to be doing that as a career rather than making my life as a YouTube vlogger? Hell, I could get one of those GoPro cameras and do vlogs about my adventures on the edge of a rock face. That had to be more exciting than my current job of making up inane top-ten lists.
Maybe if I broke that story on . . .
I looked up into Val’s open, smiling expression. The baker at Em-Dash had girl-next-door good looks with red hair; a bronzed Latina, porcelain-smooth complexion; and dark eyes.
Unlike the owner of the store, who haunted my every dream, Val was actually the nice one in the duo. It would be so much easier if I could crush on her. Hell, Val would probably say yes to a date. If I dared to ask Kali, the odds were good that I’d lose some fingers.
But it wasn’t Val’s open smile that caught my attention. No, my attention focused on the delectable aroma coming from the muffin she held on a plate in her hands. Immediately my mouth watered.
“Tell me that’s for me?” I was already reaching for it, not even waiting for her answer.
She laughed. “Yes. I need you to be my guinea pig. I made this new raspberry cheesecake mocha chip muffin for the girls in the book club, but I’m not sure it works. Will you taste test it?”
I had it shoved halfway into my mouth before her words computed. “Book club? Today?” I asked the question around the delicious muffin melting in my mouth. I moaned at the burst of sugary goodness. “Oh, my god, this is so good.”
My heart rate leapt. The one black blight—albeit a gorgeous one—on my utopian existence in this small corner of the bookstore stalked out of the back room, shooting daggers at the innocent baker.
I rose, ready to step in front of Val to protect her from the wrath of Kaliope DeWinters—chaos in every sense of the word and the owner of Em-Dash.
Her mother had named her correctly as the Queen of Chaos. Kali was dark to Val’s light, wrath to Val’s open smiles, a goddess of vengeance circling the edges of the room, ready to smite any unwanted visitor to her store.
God, she was sexy as hell.
She glared at me even while she lectured Val. “If you feed the wildlife, they come back. I’ve warned you about that.”
Yeah, she didn’t like me much. Her silvery eyes flashed when she was in a temper, and I liked getting under her skin, especially when the result made her even more beautiful. I definitely had a masochistic streak.
She presented herself to the whole of Aspenridge as a normal, respectable shop owner, but I’d seen glimpses of other that made my investigative brain stand up and take notice.
Under her cardigan sweaters, I’d seen little peeks of tattoos.
Even her bookstore, decorated in the benign Harry-Potter theme, gave me a sense that there was much more to Kali DeWinters than she wanted the world to know. It was like the Harry-Potter front was there to divert attention from the reality that she was so much more Slytherin than Hufflepuff.
I, for one, wanted to dig, find out all her secrets, find out what she hid under her layers of respectability and clothing. I was pretty positive that she had a serious wild-child underneath. That intrigued me.
“Oh, come on, Kali.” Val shook her head at her business partner. “Ten doesn’t hurt anything. If you keep driving off our customers, especially the good-looking ones . . .” She waved a hand toward me.
My face heated red. Val thought I was good looking? I studied Kali closer. Did she think so, too? But I couldn’t read anything like that from Kali. My stomach sank a little bit. She just continued to look annoyed . . . at me.
“The girls from the book club are going to start hanging out over at Outdoor Highs for their fireman fix,” Val continued.
Outdoor Highs was the clothing store on the other side of the street that catered to backpackers. The unfortunate result of its clientele, who were usually in the mountains without access to a shower, meant that it smelled much more like body odor and feet than the cinnamon and vanilla that wafted throughout Em-Dash. The women in town tended to avoid it.
I stopped their discussion. “Wait a minute. Book club is today? I thought that was on Thursdays.” And it was Monday. I sure as hell didn’t want to be subjected to the embarrassing comments from the book-club horde. Nothing made a guy feel more like he didn’t measure up than to hear a group of women drooling over the number of abs the local firefighters had on them. I tried to stay fit, but . . . damn.
In every other city in America, book club meant getting together to discuss the merits of one author’s style of writing over another, or hypothesizing about the symbolism the author meant to include in the text. Those were the kinds of book clubs I always imagined my mom attending with her lady friends.
This was not the case in Aspenridge. No, here, book club was a reason for the women of the village to gather and ogle the fire station studs as they washed their fire trucks. The meetings were legendary, and almost every guy in town resented—or hell, if we wanted to be really honest, envied—the guys they focused on for that lust. Although I’d heard rumblings from the married set that evenings on book-club days were the highlight of their week.
Information to be filed under facts you never wanted to know about your neighbors.
Val raised a mischievous, gleeful eyebrow. “Hawke found some rust on one of the new trucks, so now the boys have to wash twice a week.” She let out a lusty sigh. “I do love rust.” She cleared her throat and tried to fake an innocent expression. “And books. It’s always about the books.”
I snorted. “Yeah, you can keep lying to yourself all you want, but the fact is this entire town knows what book club is really about.” I was talking to Val, but I focused on Kali, letting the challenge show in my expression.
She narrowed her eyes at me and rested her hands on her hips, which pulled her sweater just enough that I got a tiny glimpse of black ink at her neckline.
My mouth went dry. I wanted to see more so bad I almost ached. I wanted to strip her clothes from her body. My dick began to thicken, and then she opened her mouth.
“Since you know all about it, you can leave.” She nodded her head toward the front of the store. “Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.” She turned on her heel and marched back to the rear of the store.
She really didn’t like me much. To be honest, she really wasn’t very nice. She’d never win a Miss Congeniality title, but for some reason, that worked for me. God, I was an idiot, but an idiot who would jump at the chance to earn one of her rare smiles, learn what makes her tick, and get into her pants.
She was sexier than sin, and I wanted to sin. With her. And that was why I couldn’t stay away from her bookstore, no matter how much she insulted me.
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