Monday, August 31, 2015

Indecision by Elisabeth Grace Release Blitz and Giveaway


Do you love a man in uniform? Us too - and boy, has Elisabeth Grace supplied one for us! Jamie is sweet in the streets and sizzling in the sheets, and you most definitely want to get your hands on him in INDECISION, which is available now!

Indecision - Ebook Small


Jackie Davenport will try anything once, especially in the bedroom. Anything except falling in love. She lives a carefree existence packed full of fun, but free from emotional entanglements and that’s just how she wants to keep it. When she meets the new police officer in town, she’s unable to deny the connection between them. His over confidence and bullish ways grate on her…still she can’t help but find herself falling into his bed AND falling for him. Jamie McTavish is man enough to admit that he probably didn’t make the best first impression when he met the 911 Operator. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still sizzling sexual tension between them. He’s a man of action and he’s not content to sit on the sidelines until Jackie works out her issues. But trying to tame this tiger might be too big of a challenge for even him.

Add INDECISION to your Goodreads list here!


I pulled the cruiser into Jackie’s driveway. What the hell was wrong with me? It was only yesterday that I’d gotten her off and yet here I was, sitting unannounced in her driveway like a stalker.

If I’d thought it difficult to get her off my mind before, what had happened in the wine cellar had made it damn near impossible.

Everyone I’d talked to had said the same thing—that she’d turned down each and every cop or fireman that had asked her out. No one was sure if she was just trying to keep her personal life outside of the work environment or what, but I intended to find out. The insane pull between us didn’t leave me any other choice.

With a sigh, I unbuckled my seatbelt and glanced at the small bungalow. It was cute with white siding and black shutters. Hanging baskets of colorful flowers hung from hooks around the veranda and a kickass bicycle was leaning against the side of the house. That helped to explain why she had such a firm ass.

I opened the door to the cruiser when the front door of the house burst open, and Jackie stood there frozen, her hand held to her chest and such an expression of fear on her face that I bolted out of the car and up the front steps.

“What’s wrong?” I demanded as soon as I was in front of her.

“Wh-what are you doing here?” she asked in barely a whisper.

I relaxed a fraction once it was clear she was okay. “I figured you could use a lift to Don’s place for your car. Didn’t think you would’ve driven home last night.” I shrugged. “It’s been quiet today, so I popped by to see if you wanted me to drive you over.”

She released a pent-up breath and relief washed over her face. “Oh, thank God.”

I frowned and gripped her upper arms. “What’s going on? Everything okay?”

She glanced down at where my hands lay on her soft skin and looked back up to me, blinking twice. “It’s nothing. When I saw the cruiser in the driveway...never mind.” She shook her head.

I studied her for a moment. She was sexy just rolling out of bed with her hair thrown in a messy bun and last night’s make-up still on her face. “You sure?”

She nodded and her eyes flicked down to my hands once more. “Why are you always touching me whenever I see you?” Her voice had come out all breathy, not at all convincing me that she didn’t like my hands right where they were.

I grazed her collarbones with my thumbs, causing goose bumps to form on her skin. “I think you know exactly why.”

Giveaways and Release Festivities

Want to win? Enter via the rafflecopter below! a Rafflecopter giveaway Elisabeth Grace isn't giving away just one prize in celebration of INDECISION - she's giving away a ton more! Be sure to keep an eye on Elisabeth Grace's Facebook page this week for more information about a lot of really cool prizes you can win!

Happy Hour Book Bash

11898831_388922064650279_8324595512735517902_n Join Elisabeth Grace with Faith Andrews, RE Hunter, Livia Jamerlan, and BA Wolfe on September 1st from 6pm - 11pm EST for some end of summer fun and giveaways! Click here to RSVP to the event on Facebook!


Be sure to sign up for Elisabeth Grace's newsletter - she's releasing a new chapter of BUILT TO LAST every two weeks, which will be available to newsletter subscribers only as she writes it!

Connect with Elisabeth Grace

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Google+ | Instagram If you're US based and you want to receive a text message when Elisabeth has a new book go LIVE, text ROMANCE to 313131!

After the Storm by Faith Andrews Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Expected Release Date - September 21, 2015


Noah and Willow know not to mix business with pleasure. They've both been burned in the past, he thinks she's too young, and she definitely shouldn't hook up with her boss. So, they don't. Instead, they build a friendship, while fighting an obvious attraction.
But when Noah's called back East after a natural disaster that threatens his home and the loved ones he left behind, he's forced to face his past with Willow by his side.
Will their turbulent pasts hold them back from giving into fate? Or will the two of them realize that they've been each other's calm before the storm?

About the Author 

Faith Andrews lives in New York where she is happily married to her high school sweetheart. They have two beautiful daughters and a furry Yorkie son, Rocco. If she isnt listening to Mumford and Sons or busy being a Dance Mom, her nose is in a book or her laptop. Shes a sucker for a happily ever after and believes her characters are out there living one somewhere . . .

Social Media Links:

Giveaway - 2 ARC copies of After the Storm

Friday, August 28, 2015

Forgetting August by J.L. Berg - Cover Reveal + Giveaway

We're so excited to be able to share the absolutely stunning cover of FORGETTING AUGUST with you! Take a look:



USA Today bestselling author J.L Berg’s FORGETTING AUGUST, in which a woman, who started over, never expected her world to suddenly be turned upside down by the reawakening of the one man who could destroy it all, releases as an e-book in December 2015. More information coming soon!
Add it to Goodreads here! Preorder the paperback: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Sign up for J.L. Berg's newsletter here!

Want to Win?:

Want to be one of the first people to read FORGETTING AUGUST? Enter below for a chance to be one of the first people to get an ARC when they're available!

About J.L. Berg

J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she's not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter

Thursday, August 27, 2015

RIP by Rachel Van Dyken - Cover Reveal

On OCTOBER 20 Rachel Van Dyken brings you Rip a complete stand alone novel that fans of the Eagle Elite series will devour! With twists and turns you won't see coming, this dark romantic suspense will keep you on your toes and leave you screaming for more.

Pretty things aren't meant to be broken.
But I broke her, and now we both have to pay the price.
I'm her nightmare.
I'm her savior.
And now that I have her signature on an ironclad contract, I own her body and soul.
She doesn't remember me.
She will.
It's inevitable.
Because as much as I know I need to stay away, for fear of unlocking the memories I helped her father bury--I can't.
She was the apple in the Garden, dangled in front of me, her core so tempting and sweet. A voice whispered. Just. One. Bite.
I bit.
I tasted.
I fell.
Welcome to the world of the Russian mafia, where death, is your only future.

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!
Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866!
You can connect with her on Facebook  or join her fan group Rachel's New Rockin Readers. Her website is 

Only You by Stephanie Rose Cover Reveal and Giveaway

only you cover
Title: Only You (A Second Chance Novel)
Author: Stephanie Rose
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 14, 2015
Cover Design: Najla Qamber at Najla Qamber Designs

Only You is a STANDALONE novel in the Second Chances Series.

I spent my life searching for love, but Evan was right there all along. As gorgeous on the inside as he was on the outside, I never had to wonder if he loved me. He showed me with every glance, every sweet touch, every scorching kiss. I wanted nothing more than to give him my forever—until I found out I may not have one. Paige was the girl of my dreams. So beautiful in every way; no one would ever compare. I feared she would never be mine, and then she became my everything. I wanted to be with her for the rest of my life. I wanted her to be my forever. But love may not be enough. Why do I have to say good-bye to the love of my life? How can I let you go—when it’s always been only you?

PLEASE NOTE: Only You is a Contemporary Romance with intense language and sexual situations meant for readers 18 and up.


My eyelids were weak and heavy. All I did now was sleep, but I was still too tired to wake up. I didn’t even remember how I got here. It took a pathetic amount of strength to lift my head and glance over the tray of food. I wasn’t sure what time it was, but pretty sure it was late. Why they thought I wanted crackers now was beyond me. They can’t really expect me to eat, can they? Swallowing anything was torturous thanks to the deep open sores that trailed down my throat. Water burned, so the thought of eating anything was as appealing as chowing down on sandpaper—and would probably feel the same going down. I curled into the fetal position as I shivered and rubbed at my skin to get warm and felt the pointy bone through the flesh of my arms. I reached for the covers and winced at the pain fingers as I gathered up the scratchy fabric and pulled it over my aching shoulders. It hurt to move. It hurt to breathe. Most of all, it hurt to think. The life I wanted, with the man I wanted, haunted my dreams. You own me. Can’t you see that? You’re mine. You’re everything. I…can’t see my future with anyone else but you. I finally found what I’d been looking for my entire life, but I couldn’t keep it. The sound of voices yelling outside my hospital room snatched me out of my thoughts. I pushed myself up, panting at the exertion it took to sit upright. I leaned back on my elbows and my weak heart leaped in my chest when I recognized the voice causing all the commotion outside—the voice I’d know anywhere. “I need to see her, please.” Evan? No, no, no. I didn’t want him to see me like this. How did he find out I was here? “I’m sorry, sir. Immediate family only. This is the ICU.” “I’m not leaving. Paige? Daisy, it’s me!” My heavy head dropped to my hands. The sobs that ran through me made it difficult to breathe thanks to the oxygen tubes filtering through my nose. Pushing him away was the hardest thing I ever had to do, but I did it for him. I didn’t want to let him go. I wanted him to hold me, tell me he loved me and know he would never leave me. I wanted that so fucking much it ached. “Sir, please. She’s a very sick girl.” In time, he’d see. He deserved someone who could give him a life, children, and a future. All things I can’t offer him, no matter how much I wished things were different. He deserved better than this, better than me. The door was half closed but opened with such force that it banged into the wall and made me jump. Evan marched up to my bed and took my face in his hands. His hay colored eyes filled with tears as his hands shook. “I love you, and I’m not going anywhere.” His voice quivered with emotion, but I wasn’t sure if it was sadness, rage, or a combination of the two. “Now, you’re going to tell me exactly what’s going on. And why you lied to me—”  
About The Author
Stephanie author pic
Stephanie lives in the Bronx, New York with her superhero-obsessed husband and son. Her day job is marketing, but she always has a story in her head. This lifelong New Yorker lives for Starbucks, book boyfriends, and 80s rock After spending most of her youth watching soaps, Stephanie has an obsession with angsty drama and hot romance. She's excited to finally bring the characters she's been dreaming about to life!

Always You
Always You Cover


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tough Love by Lori Foster Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Excerpt

Tough Love - Review & Excerpt Tour  banner

We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Review & Excerpt Tour for Lori Foster's TOUGH LOVE! TOUGH LOVE is the next novel in her Ultimate Series published by Harlequin HQN. This amazing book releases on August 25th! If you haven't before, make sure you grab the other books in this fantastic series today!

Tough Love - cover

Amazon ** Barnes and Noble **iBooks ** Kobo ** GooglePlay ** Booksamillion

TOUGH LOVE Excerpt: 

Stack frowned over her raised voice. “Calm down.” Her quick glare befuddled him. “Look, all I’m saying is that you’re shaking. And your arm is burnt and—”
“And you made promises.” While looking at her arm, she added, “Sexual promises, so don’t even think of dodging out on me.” She winced when she saw the burn. “Damn it. It wasn’t hurting, but now that you’ve pointed it out, it is.”
“I wasn’t…” All her attention remained on her arm, so he gave up trying to explain that he’d only made an attempt at nobility. No way was he “dodging out,” as she’d accused.
The burn on her arm didn’t look serious. Slightly bigger than a quarter, it was red, angry, but only slightly blistered. “I can take care of that for you once we get to your place.”
“What will you do?” She held her arm to her chest protectively.
Stack felt the crooked grin pulling at his mouth. The woman would brave a car fire, dismiss any danger, but at the thought of him patching her up, she grew wary. “I have a first aid kit in the trunk,” he explained, hoping to soothe her. “We’ll put some ointment on it and wrap it, that’s all. You can take some ibuprofen for pain.”
Her shoulders relaxed. “Oh, good. Nothing too awful.”
“Nothing awful at all,” he promised. But the way she continued to study him prompted him to add, “You know I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you, right?”
“It’s not that, it’s just…” She looked at her arm again, then deliberately dismissed it. “Before we do that, I need to shower.” She licked her lips. “And so do you.”
A hint? “You’re sure you’re okay?”
Thank God. “Then how about we shower together?”
As if she’d just been waiting for him to offer, she smiled. “That would be wonderful, thank you.”
Thanking him? This time Stack couldn’t choke back the laugh.
He shook his head. Telling her she was the first woman to thank him for sex wouldn’t be a good idea.
She scowled and repeated with more insistence, “What?”
Again he took her hand, then lifted it to his mouth and kissed her palm. “Like your enthusiasm, that’s all.”
“I am enthusiastic.” She shifted her hand so her palm cupped his jaw. He’d shaved before the wedding, but now, as her thumb moved back and forth, he heard the rasp of new whiskers. “It seems like I’ve been waiting for this forever.”
Yeah, no kidding. “You’re the one who set the stipulations, darlin’.” Hell, the second she’d propositioned him, he’d been ready. But she’d spelled out the rules—most importantly that they had to wait until the night of Cannon’s wedding to seal the deal. Something about her not wanting to take the chance that they’d get together, hit a snag, and she’d end up without a date to the wedding after all.
As if she expected him to annoy her right off. As if having him as an escort to the wedding was more appealing than having sex with him.
What had burned his ass the most was her assertion that in the meantime, they should both carry on as usual, dating others, sleeping around, as if they hadn’t made an intimate deal.
Who did that?

TOUGH LOVE is part of the Ultimate series. Check out all the books in the Ultimate series today!

Ultimate Novels- cover banner

Hard Knocks

No Limits

Holding Strong

Tough Love

Fighting Dirty

    About TOUGH LOVE: 

  She's playing hard to get…to win the MMA fighter of her ultimate fantasies in a sultry new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster

Vanity Baker loves a good, clean match, but she's not above playing a little dirty. She's wanted Stack "The Wolf" Hannigan from day one. Seems as though the best way to corral the famously commitment-phobic fighter is to insist on keeping it casual. And her plan works—deliciously well—until Stack's past steps out of the shadows. Stack learned early to stay free of attachments. But with sexy, forthright Vanity, he's the one always left wanting more. Then his troublemaking family comes back into the picture, threatening everything Stack cares about—Vanity included. Suddenly he realizes they're much more than friends with benefits. He's ready to go to the mat for her…but will it be in time to protect the woman who's tamed him for good?       
Tough Love - promo banner  Praise for TOUGH LOVE: 

 “Foster brings her signature blend of heat and sweet to her addictive third Ultimate martial arts contemporary. Foster ably tosses out red herrings and also seamlessly lays the foundation for the next book in this series. This luscious tale will appeal to Foster’s legion of fans and attract new ones—even those who aren’t fans of professional fighting.”- Publishers Weekly  

Author Photo

About Lori Foster: 

 Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. Lori has published through a variety of houses, including Kensington, St. Martin’s, Harlequin, Silhouette, Samhain, and Berkley/Jove. She is currently published with HQN. Lori hosts a very special annual “Reader & Author” event in West Chester, Ohio. Proceeds from the event have benefited many worthy causes, including the Hamilton County YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter, the Animal Adoption Foundation, The Conductive Learning Center for children with spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and The One Way Farm, Children’s Home. Each year Lori donates all proceeds from one book to charity. You can see the benefit romance books here:


InkSlinger PR Blogger Banner - New

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Palm South University: Episode 1 by Kandi Steiner - Release Blitz + Review

Title: Palm South University: Episode One
Author: Kandi Steiner
Release Date: Aug 25, 2015
Find on Goodreads
Drama. Lies. Sex. 

Welcome to Palm South University. 

The weather isn’t the only thing heating up in South Florida. At a school where fraternities and sororities don’t exactly play by the rules, relationships are bound to be tested. Parties and sex are definitely key ingredients in the Palm South recipe, but what happens when family issues, secret lives, and unrequited love get tossed in the mix? 

Follow Cassie, Bear, Jess, Skyler, Erin, Ashlei, and Adam as they tackle college at a small, private beach town university. Written in television drama form, each episode of this serial will pull you deeper and deeper into the world of PSU. 

Where the sun is hot and the clothes are scarce, anything can happen.

5/5 Stars
**Received a free copy of the book in exchange for a review**
"Welcome to Palm South University!"
Told from the perspective of three people, here are the tales of the people who go to PSU. There are sortie, frats, drama, romance, and potentially, anything can happen!
Where people make mistakes and learn new things about people they know.
But beware, because everyone has a secret. 

After I finish my first drink and order another, I wander up to the group of guys at the pool table. We play for a little over an hour, drawing an even larger crowd because – clearly – we’re the most fun this joint has seen in a while. I’m cozied up and working on one of the hottest guys in the group when he informs me he has a fiancĂ©.
Buzz Killington, ladies and gentlemen.
I hang out with the group a little longer, hoping to move on to a new prospect, but they all head out before I have a chance to seal the deal with any of Mr. I’m-Engaged-But-You-Don’t-Need-To-Know-That-Until-It’s-Clear-You-Expect-To-Sleep-With-Me’s friends. Sighing, I take my place in the same barstool as before and Jarrett slides a fifth drink my way.
I hold up my hands. “I should probably say no this time. It’s almost closing time and I need to drive.”
“Not necessarily,” he offers. I eye him curiously and the corner of his mouth pulls up mischievously. He finishes wiping down a glass and hangs it above his head before leaning across the bar, his minty breath tickling my drunken senses. “You’ve been trying all night to get with that douchebag when I could have told you from the beginning that he wasn’t available. And now, you’re left with an ache between your legs that you don’t want to take care of on your own. So yes, you could drive home, get up and go to work tomorrow and just try again another night. Or,” he pauses, licking his bottom lip and dragging his teeth across the top as his eyes fall to my mouth. “You could give me your keys, jump in my truck, and let me take you back to my place so I can cure you of your current situation.”
Oh hell to the fucking yes.
Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa with her husband. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer.

Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).

When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.
Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

On Paper by Shae Scott Blog Tour

Title: On Paper
Author: Shae Scott
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Release Date: August 18, 2015


“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” William Shakespeare

Keaton Harris always thought he would be reporting from the front lines as a hard-hitting news reporter. He never expected to become a best-selling romance writer. But the job definitely has its perks, like the long line of ladies who are eager to become his muse for a night.

He doesn’t expect to meet Quinn Ryan at a book convention. He doesn’t expect to be taken with her so quickly. She is beautiful. Smart. Quiet…and totally giving him the cold shoulder.

Quinn has no interest in becoming a Keaton Harris groupie, no matter how hot he is. She learned a long time ago that playboys make dangerous playthings. But when he proves to be more than she expected she finds herself weakening to his charms.

One week. That’s all it was supposed to be. One week to have an adventure, to be someone else. It was never supposed to go any further than that.

Maybe that Shakespeare guy was on to something.

Add to your TBR on Goodreads

About the Author

Growing up an only child, Shae Scott fell in love with words at an early age, learning the best friends in the world can be found among the pages of a book.

Born in Oklahoma, she fell in love on vacation in San Francisco and ended up with a happily ever after in Missouri.

Her first book, Unfinished, was released in 2014. She currently lives outside Kansas City with a bearded man, a Pomeranian and a cat formally known as Tinkerbell Waffles. She loves rainy days, the month of February and the Kansas City Royals

A Stunning Accusation by Sarahbeth Caplin Book Blitz

Title: A Stunning Accusation
Author: Sarahbeth Caplin
Release Date: June 22, 2015
Find on Goodreads
Adelaide Scott is a 25-year-old relationship advice columnist for Stunning! Magazine. Her new boyfriend, Jordan Johnson, is a renowned photographer for Sports Unlimited. On the surface, he is everything a woman should want: Good-looking, hilarious, and charismatic. Their relationship seems perfect, and Addie slowly allows herself to consider a future with him…until his ex-girlfriend confronts them at a bar, and accuses Jordan of raping her, turning their world upside down.

It doesn’t help that her best friend and editor, Kiersten Sharp, sees rape as a black-and-white issue, with no shades of doubt. Addie is about to discover that the truth – in all its forms – is complicated, and not at all what she expects. 

I was no closer to a new column idea by the end of the workday than I was that morning. Well, to clarify, there were always ideas; just nothing worth printing that would garner the same kind of attention as the one my readers loved most. If I were truly desperate, I could always piggyback off that column and write a series of other attention-getting accessories to attract men.
It was as if I turned Tracy Cavanaugh into a pin-up doll, where I borrowed her shoes, her hair, her clothes…her things. But what would happen once I peeled that all away? Then there would be just the woman, herself, to dissect. All the inside stuff that made up who she was.
Would anyone want to read about that?
Without much difficulty, I shoved the thought away, because it was Jordan Time. He suggested Mochahitos, a place known for serving alcohol and coffee, my two favorite things (though to my knowledge, they had yet to make a drink that was both a mocha and a mojito).
“Make good choices,” teased Kiersten as I slung my bag over my shoulder. Like I needed any reminders.
Jordan was already waiting at the bar when I got there. I hope I didn’t look too eager as I set my bag on the counter and took the chair next to him. Be cool. Be Stunning. “What are you drinking?” I asked.
“Coffee-flavored stout,” he answered. “Wanna try?”
He pushed the bottle toward me. I exhaled before trying a sip because it was a stout, a drink I knew I’d hate. I don’t like beers that are thick enough to be a meal.
“It’s good,” I told him, and then signaled the bartender. “I’ll have what he’s having, please.”
“So,” Jordan said. He turned to face me. “There’s someone I want you to meet. She’ll be here shortly.”
My stomach clenched at the word she. His next hookup partner? A secret girlfriend? I supposed either possibility was inevitable, since it’s not like he ever promised me anything serious. I realized I was acting a bit paranoid. Still, it would have been nice to get a heads up before springing this new woman on me out of the blue in a casual moment.
In fact, I grew annoyed, and opened my mouth to rip him a new one, but I was interrupted.
“Hi,” chirped a child’s voice. We both looked down, and I wanted to kick myself for being so paranoid. The greeting came from to the toddler from the photo in his wallet.
“Zoe!” Jordan scooped her up, which she loved, judging by her breakout smile. “Where’s your mom? You’re too little to be in here by yourself.”
“Potty,” Zoe answered.
“Ahh. Okay. Well I guess you can chill with us while we wait for her to come back. Addie,” Jordan said. He settled Zoe in his lap and rested his chin on the girl’s head. “Meet my niece, Zoe. My favorite person in the whole world.”
“Hey there,” I said. I had to stop myself from extending my hand, as if toddlers knew how to handshake.
I’m not the best with kids, but Jordan clearly adored her. My uterus almost skipped a beat.
Not before too long, Jordan’s sister showed up. “Do you mind watching her for a few minutes, Jordy? I’m so behind on this research paper, I only need maybe twenty minutes to look some things over. Your next drink will be on me, I promise.”
“You know you don’t need to bribe me to hang out with this girl,” Jordan responded, bouncing Zoe on his lap, which made her laugh and laugh. I almost couldn’t handle this cuteness. “Hey, this is my girlfriend Addie, by the way.”
Girlfriend! Addie? Seriously? I felt as shocked as I was honored.
“Oh, wow, hey. Sorry, I’m so rude. Nice to meet you Addie, I’m Elise. I’d love to stay and chat, but I have so much homework. We’ll talk later?” She disappeared to a table across the bar before I could respond.
What just happened here?
While Jordan ordered a scone for Zoe, I nursed my drink and tried to think of what to say. “So…girlfriend, huh?” Not too eager, not too emotional. I hoped.
“Well, yeah,” He broke the scone into smaller bites for his niece. “What did you think?”
“I don’t know.” I shrugged. “You just made it seem like we were…”
“Well maybe that’s how it started.” He reached for my hand with his free one, as the other gently cradled his niece. “But I like you. I assumed you felt the same.”
Keep calm, Adelaide. I forced myself to take another swig of beer. “Of course.” As much as I’d have loved to know when he realized I was a keeper and not just a fling, I switched to another topic instead. “So Elise seems nice.”
“Yeah, she is. Just constantly tired and overworked. She finally decided to go back to school after she had Zoe, and she’s determined to graduate within a year. Not bad for a single mom.”
My next question – assuming I could have found a tactful way to put it – was going to be about Zoe’s dad, since I noticed Elise didn’t have any rings on her left hand. “You must be very proud of her.”
“I am. I’m proud of both my sisters. Emma is a junior in high school and did better on the ACT than I did. And she kicks my ass in chess.”.Now mindful of the impressionable girl in his lap whose face was covered in scone crumbs, Jordan cooed, “I mean, butt. Don’t say ‘ass,’ Zo-Zo. Uncle Jordy has a potty mouth.”
“Potty mouf!” Zoe cried, releasing a spray of crumbs. Jordan shook his head. “What can I do? I’m her favorite babysitter, but also her worst influence.”
It was hard for me to reconcile these two sides of him: Jordan, the high-profile photographer with a girlfriend list as long as my arm, and goofy Uncle Jordy, fun-loving family man, charmer of adult women and two-year-olds. I was about to say, “I highly doubt that’s true,” but was interrupted by a frail, redheaded woman who just entered the bar. She stared directly at us. I only noticed her because of the fiery brightness of her hair – the merciless eyes that locked onto mine gave me an unexpected shock. I jerked my head back to Jordan. “How long can you go before teaching her your dirtiest jokes?” I asked.
“Hmm…” He continued to hold Zoe with one arm as he grabbed his beer and took a big gulp, pretending to ponder. “Those will have to wait until she’s much older. Like kindergarten.”
“Will Elise approve of that?”
“Elise will be grateful to have someone else to blame so people don’t think she’s the one who corrupted her.”
My laugh, though genuine, was louder than I’d anticipated, as the red-haired woman’s intense stare continued to freak me out. Her gaze locked on Jordan’s back, but Jordan didn’t face her, so he had no idea. “So, you come from a family of potty mouths, I take it?”
“I wouldn’t say that, exactly. My parents…well, let’s just say, we try to hide that side of ourselves when we’re around them.”
“I see…” I stopped speaking as the woman started walking toward us. Her eyes continued to bore holes in Jordan’s back, but she wobbled as she stepped closer. Was she drunk? No, more like…nervous.
“Hey.” Squeezing Jordan’s knee, I jerked my head in what’s-her-face’s direction. “You know that woman?”
By the time Jordan turned around, she stood in front of him, close enough to almost feel her visible anger. Her eyes widened and her face grew red like her hair.
“Jordan Johnson?” she said. “Is that you?”
Jordan’s forehead creased as he stared her down. Cautious. There was a flash of recognition in his eyes, mixed with surprise, and, then, dread. He knew her. And however he knew her, it looked like he wished he didn’t. “Um, yeah. What are you doing here, Sam? I thought you moved out of the city?”
This Sam was so thin and short statured, with a baby-looking face to match, she could pass for a high school senior. Her eyes darted around like a spooked horse’s as she shook her head. “You,” she exclaimed, voice shaking while pointing a trembling finger. “You!”
“Look, Sam, I’d love to catch up sometime, but I’m kind of with my new girlfriend here.”
I relished this moment, the second time in the same hour I’d been referred to as Jordan’s girlfriend. But the euphoria didn’t last long, because the next words out of Sam’s mouth were piercing and unforgettable:
“You raped me.”
Beth is a stay-at-home author, blogger, editor, and freelancer in northern Colorado with a degree in English Literature from Kent State University and an MFA in progress at Colorado State. Her first book, Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter, ranked #51 in Amazon's top 100 bestselling books on personal growth in May 2015.