Today we are celebrating the release of Do You Like My Wiener? a non-expert’s no-nonsense guide to dating by Brenda Rothert. With laugh-out-loud mishaps and heartfelt advice, bestselling romance author Brenda Rothert shows readers that while dating these days can be the worst, great men aren’t just fictional. Check out the links below to grab your copy now!
Do You Like My Wiener?: a non-expert’s no-nonsense guide to dating by Brenda Rothert
With laugh-out-loud mishaps and heartfelt advice, bestselling romance author Brenda Rothert shows readers that while dating these days can be the worst, great men aren’t just fictional.
Ladies, we’ve all been there…a good first date is wrapping up and we’re sure a second date is likely after a great goodnight kiss beside our car. He’s tall, funny and charming. FINALLY a good one. He asks to get in the car, which seems natural since it’s cold outside. And then, once inside, another kiss, and he exposes himself and asks us if we like his wiener.
Wait, what? You haven’t been there? Guess that one only happened to me. What about the guy who spends most of a first date complaining bitterly about his ex-wife? The one with the guy who cops to his criminal record over dessert?
Dating these days can leave a girl frustrated and disgusted. But fear not, I’m here to help. I’m a veteran dater, having spent a fair amount of time in the cheap-cologne scented trenches. And while I am admittedly not an expert, I can help you avoid my mistakes.
I’ll show you how to prepare yourself for dating, how to spot the red flags and how to laugh off the misadventures you will inevitably have. And hopefully, how to avoid an awkward wiener encounter of your own.
Do You Like My Wiener? delivers exactly what it promises–a no-nonsense guide to modern dating from a non-expert who’s been “in the trenches” more than once. It’s a quick read and very funny at times, but still has some very solid advice to offer without comepletely overwhelming and/or scaring those who are still trying to work up the courage to get (back?) “out there”.
Not that that’s me, or anything.
(Spoiler: it totally is. OMG, things were so different in the 90s! Dick pics weren’t even a thing yet. I really wish they still weren’t, but what can you do?)
While Ms. Rothert doesn’t talk about specific apps/services here, in contrast to the last dating book I read, she still gives some good, general suggestions for best practices across the board. She continually stresses the importance of believing in yourself and knowing your own worth, and making sure that the guys you choose to be with know it too. She also talks about the importance of surrounding yourself with a “tribe” of trusted friends who can give you honest feedback and support as you navigate the often scary and frustrating but (hopefully!) just as often rewarding world of dating. By the end of the book, you’ll feel as if Ms. Rothert herself is at least an honorary member of your own personal tribe–and really, really hope that the first date she describes in her book never ever happens to you. 😉
Rating: 4 stars / A-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.
TAMING HIS HELLION COUNTESS (Lustful Lords, #2) by Sorcha Mowbray is coming next Tuesday, May 22!
A duty bound earl and a jewel thief might find forever if he can steal her heart…
Robert Cooper, the Earl of Brougham must marry in order to fulfill his duty to the title. He’s decided on a rather mild mannered, biddable woman who most considered firmly on the shelf. But, her family is on solid financial ground and has no scandals attached to their name.
Lady Emily Winterburn, sister of the Earl of Dunmere, is not what she seems. With a heart as big as her wild streak she finds herself prepared to protect her brother from his bad choices, even if it means stealing from the Ton. But marrying their way out of trouble is simply out of the question. What woman in her right mind would shackle herself to a man, let alone one of the notorious Lustful Lords?
Cooper’s carefully laid plans are ruined once he must decide between courting his unwilling bride-to-be and taming the wild woman he caught stealing–until he discovers they are one and the same. And when love sinks its relentless talons into his heart? He’ll do anything to possess the wanton who fires his blood and touches his soul.
Sorcha Mowbray is a mild mannered office worker by day…okay, so she is actually a mouthy, opinionated, take charge kind of gal who bosses everyone around; but she definitely works in an office. At night she writes romance so hot she sets the sheets on fire! Just ask her slightly singed husband.
She is a longtime lover of historical romance, having grown up reading Johanna Lindsey and Judith McNaught. Then she discovered Thea Devine and Susan Johnson. Holy cow! Heroes and heroines could do THAT? From there, things devolved into trying her hand at writing a little smexy. Needless to say, she liked it and she hopes you do too!
Celebrate this reveal by entering the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Blood Oath (Blood Oath #2)
by Amanda McCrina
Release Date: June 19, 2018
The aftermath of what happened in the capital has shaken Torien to the core. Battling self-doubt and bitterness, he must find his resolve as he is sent back to Tasso to quell a violent uprising on the Road.
But Torien will need more than resolve to navigate the deadly path before him. His troops are inexperienced and his new adjutant untrustworthy. A series of murder attempts leaves the whole camp on edge. As the threat of mutiny builds, the mission seems doomed before they even reach Tasso—and Torien is beginning to suspect it was meant that way. He and his men are being set up to fail.
With his best friend in the hands of the rebels, his commanding officer refusing to negotiate a peace treaty, and his own men ready to turn on him at any moment, Torien must decide once and for all how much he’s willing to sacrifice for an empire he no longer believes in.
Amanda McCrina has studied in Italy, taught English in Japan, and currently tutors Latin in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her BA in History from the University of West Georgia, and is now pursuing her MA. She writes stories that incorporate her love of history, languages, and world travel. She drinks far too much coffee and dreams of one day having a winning fantasy-hockey season.
Today we are sharing the release of CUPCAKE EXPLOSION by Bethany Lopez. Cupcake Explosion is the fourth book in the contemporary romance series, Cupcakes. Check out the purchase links for the book below, and links for the previous books in the series.
Cupcake Explosion by Bethany Lopez
For the first time in a long time, life is good. I’ve got a smokin’ hot motorcycle man as my fiancé, the best friends a woman could have, a couple of great kids, and things have been relatively quiet on the PI front.
You know what that means… the other shoe was bound to drop sooner or later…
Just when I was ready to settle down and plan the coolest wedding Greenswood has ever seen, the shit hit the fan, and hit it hard.
My friends are fighting, Cade’s been out of town doing God knows what for the club, and my sweet little twins are turning into hair-pulling pre-teens with more drama than my old daytime soaps.
I feel like I’m being pulled in a million directions, and I’ve been going so crazy that Elin’s swear jar is near to overflowing. I’ve been eating cupcakes like a woman possessed, and if I’m not careful, there’s going to be a Cupcake Explosion… in my pants.
WARNING: THIS BOOK CONTAINS FOUL LANGUAGE, SEX, SOME VIOLENCE, AND SHENANIGANS. IF NONE OF THAT BOTHERS YOU, GRAB A CUPCAKE AND READ ON!
I shut the door and prayed there was no evidence of my investigation as I followed her into my living room.
“Carmen’s here?” she asked, looking at the two wine glasses, cheese board, and our discarded electronics.
Carmen was still in the kitchen. I could hear the strain of her voice, but luckily couldn’t make out the words.
Hopefully, Bea didn’t have supersonic hearing.
“Yeah, we were just hanging out. And, don’t beat yourself up, I was busy most of the day with the Wilkes.”
“Oh, right, the future in-laws are here. I can’t wait to meet them,” Bea said with a grin.
My friends had all loved hearing about our escapades with Cade’s parents in Hawaii. How his mom always seemed to know when we were about to have sex, the time we accidentally skinny dipped together, and when Elin found Cade’s mom’s vibrator.
“I’m sure you’ll all love each other,” I said wryly, then asked, “Want a glass?” Pointing at the wine.
“Sure,” she said, as Carmen came back into the room talking.
“He’s on his way and happy to help,” Carmen said, then stopped in her tracks when she saw Bea.
“Who’s on the way?” Bea asked curiously.
“Bran,” I replied, then tried to keep the conversation going by sing-saying, “Her boyfriend.”
“Oh, stop, he’s not my boyfriend,” Carmen argued, playing along.
“Oh, I didn’t know you’d given him a second chance, that’s great, Carmen. I’m happy it worked out this time,” Bea said.
I hurried to grab her a glass and came back as Carmen said, “It’s still pretty new. I don’t want to jinx anything.”
“I can’t wait to finally see you guys together, you know, since you made it official. Did you say he’s coming over now?” I asked.
“Can you ask him to pick up some McDonalds? I’m suddenly jonesin’ for a quarter pounder with cheese, no onions.”
“Oh, yeah sure, I’m hungry, too. You want anything, Bea?”
“I’m good,” she said, then looked pointedly at the cheese board.
Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. She’s a lover of all things romance: books, movies, music, and life, and she incorporates that into the books she writes. When she isn’t reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible. Some of her favorite things are: Kristen Ashley Books, coffee in the morning, and In N Out burgers.
We’re a little under a month away from the release COLD BLOODED by Toni Anderson and we can’t wait! Check out the awesome trailer below and preorder your copy now. Romantic suspense lovers – this is the series for you!
About COLD BLOODED
Available June 12th
Searching for the truth…
Disgraced investigative journalist Pip West is devastated when she discovers her best friend’s body face-down in a tranquil lake. When cops and federal agents determine that her friend overdosed then drowned, Pip knows they’re mistaken and intends to prove it.
Special Agent Hunt Kincaid doesn’t trust journalists and has no patience for Pip’s delusions, especially since her meddling could reveal why the FBI is interested in her friend’s last days. The dead scientist worked at the cutting edge of vaccine research and might have a connection to a new, weaponized, vaccine-resistant anthrax strain that just hit the black market.
…just turned deadly.
Pip is thrown off her game by grief and her unexpected attraction to the handsome federal agent. Hunt battles the same unwelcome pull, determined to resist the heat that threatens to consume them both. But the more Pip digs, the closer she gets to both the sexy FBI agent, and to a bioweapons terrorist who’s more than capable of cold-bloodedly sacrificing anyone who gets in his way.
New York Times and USA Today international bestselling author, Toni Anderson, writes dark, gritty Romantic Suspense novels that have hit #1 in Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, the Top 10 in Amazon and Kobo stores, and the Top 50 in iBooks. Her novels have won many awards. A former Marine Biologist from Britain, she inexplicably ended up in the geographical center of North America, about as far from the ocean as it is possible to get. She now lives in the Canadian prairies with her Irish husband and two children and spends most of her time complaining about the weather.
Toni has no explanation for her oft-times dark imagination, and only hopes the romance makes up for it. She’s addicted to reading, dogs, tea, and chocolate.
From New York Times bestselling author Laura Kaye, comes the second standalone title in her Warrior Fight Club series, FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S HIS. Check out Laura’s note below and the beautiful cover! Then join the Warrior Fight Club world today!
A note from Laura Kaye:
I’m so excited to share the beautiful cover art with you for Fighting for What’s His, because this story has a whole lot of things I love:
A sexy, bad-ass veteran hero!
A feisty and independent heroine who won’t hesitate to stand up for herself!
A forbidden, best friend’s younger sister conflict which is always so delicious!
A forced-proximity situation that creates all kinds of sexual tension!
Check, check, check, and check! And then this gorgeous art to pull it all together – check it out! And I hope you’ll preorder your standalone romance today and join the world of the Warrior Fight Club!
About FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S HIS (Warrior Fight Club #2, 8/7/18):
This fight club has one rule: you must be a veteran…
Resisting her only makes him want her more…
Private investigator Billy Parrish is good at three things—fighting, investigating, and sex. MMA training with the other vets in the Warrior Fight Club keeps his war-borne demons at bay—mostly, and one night stands ensure no one gets too close. But then his best friend from the Army Rangers calls in a favor.
Shayna Curtis is new to town, fresh out of grad school, and full of hope for the future. With a new job starting in a month, she’s grateful when her brother arranges a place for her to stay while she apartment hunts. But she never expected her roommate to be so brooding. Or so sexy.
Billy can’t wait for Shay to leave—because the longer she’s there, the more he wants her in his bed. To stay. He can’t have her—that much he knows. But when fight club stops taking off the edge, Billy lets down his guard…and starts fighting for what’s his.
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Blasphemy, Hard Ink, and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. Laura also writes historical fiction as the NYT bestselling author, Laura Kamoie. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.
Ten things I wish someone had told me about being an author…
10) There are times you will be a slave to word count. Especially if you are unendingly wordy like I am! Especially if you write YA or MG, sub-genres where the word counts are particularly restricted. You may suffer bouts of anxiety as you watch the word count creep up, running calculations to determine where the number you’re likely to reach by the time you type “the end.” You may long for the days of writing fifty-plus chapter fanfics with nary an editor telling you to keep it in check. But. There’s something to be said for pushing yourself to accomplish more with less. To infuse every sentence with meaning. To “trim the fat.” To kill your darlings, in the name of a more polished, efficient, more riveting story. It’s difficult, but there are very few instances that I’ve ended up truly missing what I’ve cut.
9) You will realize using the word “stet” is the epitome of cool. Trust me on this. The first time I received copy edits to review, I had to google what the editors were talking about when they inquired “change or stet?” (FYI: let it stand, used as an instruction on a printed proof to indicate that a correction or alteration should be ignored) It didn’t take long before I was confidently typing “stet for voice” and feeling like the biggest literary badass on the planet.
8) Just because you’re a published author, you can’t necessarily pull off writing the stories or characters that you want to. It took me a little while to figure this one out, and a bit longer to accept it. But at the end of the day, a great idea doesn’t necessarily translate into a great story… written by me. Maybe, from an industry-standpoint, it doesn’t behoove me to switch to a different genre at this point in my career. Maybe, my idea’s top-notch, but my style doesn’t guarantee a successful execution of my ideas. Maybe, even with a knowledgeable crew of sensitivity readers on board, my life experiences are too different from my character’s to allow me to successfully convey his or her story. For any of these reasons, sometimes stories never make it from your mind to the page. And that’s okay. There will be more, stories that will work for you, stories that will see the light of day.
7)Every reader counts. It’s hard to fill seats and it’s hard to sell books. There are always going to be more well-known authors out there, and there will always be a slew of books releasing each season. I’ve attended author events where the authors have outnumbered the attendees, where I’ve spent more on gas money getting there than I’ve recouped in book sales. It doesn’t matter to me anymore. If one reader shows up, if one person takes the time to meet you in person and tell you what they’ve enjoyed about your story, it’s worth it and you’ve succeeded. You’ve moved someone. It’s quality, not quantity, and every single person who’s spent time with your words and appreciated them, to me, is invaluable.
6) Your fellow authors are your friends, not your competition. If you’d told me this back in the day, I’d probably have given you a wry smile and a “suuure.” Now, I wholeheartedly believe this. There is no one – no one – who will “get it” – the struggles, the heartbreak, the frustrations, the impatience – the way your fellow authors will. They will be your cheerleaders, your sounding boards, your own private pro-bono marketing team. They will be one of the treasured things you take away from this game.
5) You will never perfect your craft. I swear I’ve written about five blog posts to the tune of “it’s an art; not a science.” Usually after I’ve botched some manuscript big time or gotten a delicately worded email about why what I’ve come up with just isn’t working. You learn a thing or two as you go – about what works, the technical aspects of novel writing, how to craft a strong beginning and multi-dimensional side characters – but you will never get your hands on the secret formula. It doesn’t exist.
4)It’s quite possible that no experience will ever trump “the call.” Or the email, as was the case for me. Listen, I have experienced dozens of wonderful, almost too good to be true moments since receiving the call – receiving my first pass pages and seeing my story actually look like a book, taking my first ARC out of the envelope, holding my first hard-bound book in my hands. Each of these is phenomenal; don’t get me wrong. But nothing tops that moment when you realize, for the first time ever, after years of hoping and dreaming, that someone is actually going to print your book. When it comes to you, take pictures, journal it, pop the champers, and savor every last second. Because it’s life on steroids, and you need to stop whatever you’re doing to soak it all in.
3)You will bite your tongue. A lot. But… but… Gah! So many times you want to say “but.” To the reviewer who missed the point, to the person who DNF because they couldn’t stand your character before she underwent the amazing character development to come, to the keyboard warrior on twitter tearing you a new one. You can’t. It’s unprofessional and bad manners. You have to bite your tongue and you have to live with it. You will wait for your skin to thicken (you’ll wait a WHILE) and remind yourself you can’t win them all. And… it may never get particularly easy. But you’ll do it.
2) It never gets old. I used to worry about this. That I would run out of stories, that writing books would lose its magic, that once I accomplished publication, it might lose some of its luster. It doesn’t. It never gets old. I love every book as much as the one before it; they each hold a special spot in my heart the way children do. The magic never fades.
1) At the end of the day, you’ll do it ‘for the love of the game.’ Next week, I’ll have four books out and a few translations here and there around the world. I’m not rich. I can’t quit my dayjob. There are no movie deals I’m waiting to announce. And none of these realities have ever made me think, not even for a second, that I’d like to walk away from writing. Give me the bad reviews. Give me the returns column on my royally statement. Give me the rejected manuscripts. Pile it up, pour it on, take your best shot. You’ll never kill the joy of writing for me. It’s intrinsic; it’s what makes you a writer long after you’ve become a published author. And really, nothing can take that away.
Karole lives outside of Philadelphia, PA with her loving husband, exuberant little girl, and smiley little boy. She adores YA Romance, because it would be awesome if life in general had a requisite feel-good happy ending rule. Vices include obscene Haribo gummy consumption, addiction to Starbucks NF vanilla lattes, and tendency to hoard Bath and Body Works 3-wick candles.
The Game Can’t Love You Back Karole Cozzo
Publication date: May 15th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Eve is used to being the odd woman out. As the only girl on her school’s baseball team, she knows exactly how to put sweaty, macho baseball players in their place, and she’s focused on one thing and one thing only—being the best pitcher she can be.
But when a freak accident forces her high school to be absorbed by the neighboring town, Eve has to contend with a new group of guys who aren’t used to having a woman on their team. And the new team’s star pitcher, Jamie, has no interest in being ousted from his throne. He can’t afford to give up his starting slot to a new pitcher—even worse, to a girl.
As the competition between Jamie and Eve starts to heat up, so does their attraction to each other. Can they keep their heads in the game, or will they end up getting played?
Grace Harper is a pro at handling the unexpected—which comes in handy when she inherits the ranch she ran away from years ago…along with a young, autistic stepbrother she’s never met. And because nothing ever goes easy for her, Grace finds her frustrating, sexy ex-flame, Noah, taking care of JJ. But if she’s getting out of this nowhere town, she’ll have to find a way to keep from throttling Noah—without kissing him first.
Noah Taylor may be enemy number one to Grace, but she needs his help. He knows the girl he used to love is still there, beneath the heels and fancy clothes, so he’ll help her—and keep his distance like she says she wants. Only the more time they spend together, the closer he wants to get. Graci has no intention of staying, but she belongs in his arms—he just has to prove it to her.
She looked around at the bareness, her gaze eventually shifting up to the loft, still filled with hay. And memories. Memories she wanted to forget but couldn’t, like the bittersweet memories of Noah. Her friend, her knight, her once-upon-a-time everything. Goose bumps ran up her spine. This loft had been their kingdom, where they’d dreamed big when they were small. Later, it became a refuge, where they experimented with alcohol. And each other. A place where they planned their escape, where they—
She whirled around at the sound of his voice, as familiar as if she’d heard it hours—not years—ago. But the man standing in front of her wasn’t the boy she’d left behind. Dark stubble had replaced peach fuzz. The lanky, thin frame she remembered had morphed into broad shoulders and hard muscle. Hard-work-earned muscle, not gym-sculpted. His stance was confident, proud. Imposing.
He stared up to the loft and then shifted his focus to her. “Remembering old times?” The mischievous glint in his eyes hadn’t changed, nor had other things. His hair was still thick and black, one random curl hanging over his forehead. His dark blue eyes were still as deep as Lake Tahoe. His lips? Firm, full… Were they still totally kissable? Her mouth dried at the thought, and heat sprawled through her stomach, then lower.
What was wrong with her? She wasn’t a teenager anymore. This was the guy who’d broken her heart, pulverized it. And it wasn’t like she was Celibate Celia in New York, pining over him. Noah Taylor shouldn’t affect her body, shouldn’t affect her anymore.
And he shouldn’t be here.
This trip was supposed to be in and out, nice and easy. Sell the ranch, scoop up JJ, and skedaddle.
Noah’s gaze rolled down her body, lingered on her too-high heels, then climbed back up. “The City’s treated you well,” he said.
Bronzed abs peeked through the rip in his dirty T-shirt. Reno had treated him well. Very well. Not that she’d ever admit it, especially to him.
A fun and heartwarming debut!
Though Grace, the main character, isn’t always the easiest person to like (I dare you to read this all the way through without yelling at her in your head about the choices she thinks she “has” to make at least once), Ms. Sky does a great job of showing how Grace grows and changes as a character. Her stepbrother, JJ, is wonderfully written–his love of animals and genuine vulnerability made him one of my favorite characters in the book. Noah, like Grace, made some questionable decisions, though admittedly his were mostly seven years earlier–in the present time of the story, he’s a strong and protective, even though a bit too quiet, character.
Even though a bit more conversation between Grace and Noah could have alleviated much of the drama, this was still an entertaining read from a new author that I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more from. Plus, there were animals 🙂
Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About JoAnn Sky:
JoAnn Sky writes adult contemporary romance and young adult romance with a magical twist. As J.A. Sky, she writes children’s books. For more information about her children’s stories, go to: www.dogsandbooks.com.
JoAnn is a member of Romance Writers of America and its YARWA and Golden Network chapters. Her manuscripts have seen success in various RWA-sponsored contests, including as a Golden Heart® finalist in 2014 (YA category) and 2017 (Contemporary Short category). Originally from the Midwest, JoAnn currently lives in northern Nevada with her husband a.k.a. love of her life, three teenage children, and three crazy rescue dogs.
JoAnn is represented by the fabulous Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency.
JoAnn’s Media Links: Author Website
Author Twitter: @JASkyBooks
Author Facebook: JASkyBooks and Author page: authorjoannsky
Map of the Heart
by Susan Wiggs Series: n/a; standalone Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance Publisher: Avon Books Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Widowed by an unspeakable tragedy, accomplished photographer Camille Palmer has made her peace with the past and is content with the quiet safety of life with her teenage daughter, Julie, in a sleepy coastal town. Then the arrival of a mysterious package breaks open the door to her family’s secret past. In uncovering a hidden history, Camille has no idea that she’s about to embark on an adventure that will shake her complacency and utterly transform her.
Camille, Julie, and Camille’s father, Henry, return to the French town of Henry’s youth, sparking unexpected memories for him—recollections that will lead them back to the dark days of the Second World War. And it is in the stunning Provençal countryside that they will uncover their family’s surprising history.
While Provence offers answers about the past, it also holds the key to Camille’s future. Along the way, she meets an American historian who stirs a passion deep within her—a feeling that she thought she’d never experience again.
Brilliantly written and infused with Susan Wiggs’s trademark style, this hugely popular author has created her biggest, most powerful story yet in MAP OF THE HEART—an instant New York Times bestseller on the hardcover list. MAP OF THE HEART beautiful and heartfelt novel that celebrates the bonds of family and pays homage to the sacrifices of the past.
A car’s headlights swept across the front of the house, and crushed shells crackled under its tires. She glanced at the clock—nine p.m.— and went out onto the porch, snapping on the light. Her heart flipped over. Mr. Ponytail Professor was back.
“Did you forget something?” she asked when he got out of the car. “My manners,” he said.
What the . . . ? “Pardon me?” “Do you drink wine?” he asked.
“Copiously. Why do you ask?”
He held out a bottle of rosé, the glass beaded with sweat. “A peace offering. It’s chilled.”
She checked the label—a Domaine de Terrebrune from Bandol. “That’s a really nice bottle.”
“I got it from a little wine shop in the village.”
She nodded. “Grand Crew. My father was one of their suppliers. He’s retired now.”
“He was in the wine business, then.”
“He owned an import and distributing firm up in Rehoboth. And why are we having this conversation?”
“I came back to apologize. I got halfway across the bridge and started feeling bad for yelling at you, so I turned around and came back.”
She caught herself staring at him like a smitten coed with a crush on her professor. She flushed, trying to shake off the gape-mouthed attraction. “Oh.” An awkward beat passed. “Would you like to come in?” She held open the door.
“Thought you’d never ask.”
In the kitchen, she grabbed some glasses and a corkscrew. What was he doing back here? “Actually, you did forget something—your sunglasses.” She handed them over.
“Oh, thanks.” He opened the wine and poured, and they brought their glasses to the living room and sat together on the sofa. He tilted his glass toward her. “So . . . apology accepted?”
She took a sip of the wine, savoring the cool, grapefruity flavor of it. “Apology accepted. But I still feel bad about your film.”
“I know. You made a mistake. I should have been more understanding.” He briefly touched her arm.
Okay, so maybe he wasn’t such a jerk. She stared at her arm where he had touched it. Why was this stranger, whose one-of-a-kind film she’d ruined, taking care of her? Watching him, she tried to figure it out. “I’ve never screwed up a project like that,” she said.
“So what happened?”
“Everything was going fine until I got a phone call from the local hospital that my daughter had been brought in by ambulance. I dropped everything and ran out the door.”
“The girl I met earlier? Oh, man. Is she all right?”
“Yes. Yes, Julie’s fine. She’s upstairs now, online—her favorite place to be.”
“So what was the emergency?”
“She was in a surf rescue class—most kids around here take it in ninth grade. She hit her head and got caught in a riptide.” A fresh wave of panic engulfed Camille as she pictured what could have happened.
“Thank God she’s okay.”
Camille nodded, hugging her knees to her chest. “I was so scared. I held myself together until . . . well, until you showed up. Lucky you, getting here just in time for my meltdown.”
“You should have said something earlier. If I’d known you rushed off because you got a call about your kid, I wouldn’t have been such a tool.” He offered a half smile that made her heart skip a beat.
At least he acknowledged that he’d been a tool. “Well, thanks for that, Professor Finnemore.”
“Call me Finn.”
She took another sip of wine, eyeing him over the rim of her glass. “You look like a Finn.”
“But not a Malcolm?”
“That’s right. Malcolm is totally different.”
He grinned, flashing charm across the space between them. “How’s that?”
“Well, buttoned down. Academic. Bow tie and brown oxfords.” He laughed aloud then. “You reduced me to a cliché, then.”
“Guilty as charged.”
“Want to know how I pictured you?” Without waiting for an answer, he rested his elbow on the back of the sofa and turned toward her. “Long dark hair. Big dark eyes. Total knockout in a red striped shirt.” He chuckled at her expression. “I checked out your website.”
Oh. Her site featured a picture of her and Billy on the “about us” link. But a knockout? Had he really said knockout? He was probably disappointed now, because on this particular night, she didn’t look anything like the woman in that photo.
“You look just like your photo,” he said.
Wait. Was he coming on to her? No. No way. She should have looked at his website. Did history professors have websites?
She saw something flicker across his face, an expression she couldn’t read.
“Go ahead,” he said. “You can look me up on your phone. You know you want to.”
She flushed, but did exactly that, tapping his name on the screen. The information that populated the web page surprised her. “Ac- cording to these search results, you’re a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a former intelligence officer. You’re now a professor of history at Annapolis, renowned for tracing the provenance of lost soldiers and restoring the memories to their families. You’re an expert at analyzing old photos.”
“Then we have something in common. If you ever come across something mysterious in a picture, I can take a look.”
She couldn’t decide if his self-confidence was sexy or annoying. In the “personal” section of the page, it was noted that he had been married to “award-winning journalist Emily Cutler” for ten years, and was now divorced. She didn’t read that part aloud.
“I’m renowned? You don’t say.” He shifted closer to her and peered at the screen.
“I don’t. Wikipedia says. Is it accurate?”
“More or less.” He grinned. “I don’t know about the ‘renowned’ part. I’ve never done anything of renown. Maybe choosing this exceptional wine. Cheers.” He touched the rim of his glass to hers and took a sip.
About Susan Wiggs:
SUSAN WIGGS is the author of more than fifty novels, including the beloved Lakeshore Chronicles series and her most recent, instant New York Times bestseller Family Tree. Her award-winning books have been translated into two dozen languages. She lives with her husband on an island in Washington State’s Puget Sound.