Review: Tell Me How This Ends (Tell Me #1) by Victoria De La O

Title: Tell Me How This Ends
Author: Victoria De La O
Series: Tell Me #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Brothers Jude and Ryan McAllister are inseparable. When Jude stepped in to raise Ryan after the death of their mother, it became the two of them against the world. But the scars it left were bone-deep. Then Lizzie Price comes along.

Lizzie hopes Ryan’s kindness can help heal her wounds from a toxic relationship. But when she meets Jude, their powerful attraction makes him difficult to resist. The problem is, Lizzie doesn’t realize Jude and Ryan are brothers, and they don’t know they’re falling for the same girl.

By the time the truth comes out, everyone is in too deep. Ryan is in love, Jude is in denial, and Lizzie wants both brothers. All of them agree that no one deserves to get hurt. But love and desire have a way of testing even the strongest bonds.

My Review:
I cannot believe this book is a debut work because it is an absolute triumph and Victoria writes like a seasoned pro. I am blown away by the complex characterization, witty prose, intense emotional connection, and the overall exemplary execution of this story.

I hope to God we don’t have to wait too long for the next book because I am already DYING to read it, especially after that little sneak peek we were given at the back of this book. I’m also really happy to read that the other brother is getting a book too because I would’ve been upset if there was no potential for him to get a HEA.

I don’t like giving away spoilers in my reviews so I’ll try to keep this spoiler-free even though it’s quite difficult to talk about the relationships without giving anything away.

Lizzie has relocated to start afresh after a toxic relationship that almost destroyed her. Having grown up in a houseful of brothers, she needs to forge her own path in life and start making plans for her future. She is naturally wary of boys after her most recent experience but has had a little crush on Ryan, a boy with a stutter who is in one of her classes. She plucks up the courage to ask him to tutor her as a way of starting something with him.

As this happens, she meets Jude on a night out with her girlfriends. Jude is hot with a player rep and he’s currently bedding one of her friends. It’s immediately obvious that Jude and Lizzy share an intense chemistry but she won’t give him the time of day. After a steamy dance, they agree to stay away from one another because he can’t give her what she wants and she doesn’t want to take a risk that he might change his mind because she can’t afford to get hurt again. So they walk away from one another.

Lizzie’s relationship with Ryan is hotting up and she really likes him. He is hot, sweet, and adorable and the type of nice guy you have no hesitation in bringing home to meet the folks.

She discovers he is Jude’s brother when she wanders into Jude in the kitchen of his house in the middle of the night. This is the part where everything turns extremely messy and I’d love to delve into it but, as I said, I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone.

The three main characters were expertly crafted with flaws and weaknesses that were gradually revealed. The inner dynamics of this tangled relationship were fraught with delicious tension and conflict that had my heart racing and my stomach tied into knots. I knew how I wanted it to end, had a strong sense of how it was going to end, and I could scarcely read it in parts because I was so caught up in the beautiful torture, but I adored every single page and I really didn’t want the story to be over by the end.

Jude and Lizzie were both very selfless people who cared deeply about Ryan. Ryan was secure in Lizzie’s love because Jude did such an admirable job of raising him after his mother and uncle died. My heart broke for Jude – he was always willing to sacrifice his own happiness for his brother, even if it was killing him on the inside. Lizzie was the only person who seemed to be able to get through to him, to connect to him in a way he never even knew he wanted, but he couldn’t have her.

Lizzie, for her part, wanted to do the right thing but it was so hard. I love how the author explored the notion of being able to love more than one person at the same time. It’s never happened to me but I’ve always believed it possible. The fact that the two boys in this love triangle were brothers only added to the story. It felt so impossibly tragic at times and although my heart lapped up all the angsty-drama, I worried it would all be too much.

The ending did kinda go as I expected but it was heartwarming because I wanted that brother to reach that conclusion, to do the right thing by his brother, even though it was hurting him. Bravo.

My only complaint (and it’s not really a complaint) is that when they finally get their act together (after they leave the nightclub) the scene is completely skipped over and we are given a recap by Lizzie the next morning. OMG! I was waiting the entire book for that! That was a little disappointing but it still doesn’t detract from the fact that this was an utterly addictive read. I literally CANNOT WAIT to read the next two books.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book as supplied by the publishers via Netgalley. All the opinions expressed are my own.

Cover Reveal Saving Brad


I am excited to officially reveal the cover for Saving Brad, the fifth book in the Kennedy Boys series. Scroll down for the cover and the blurb, pre-order your copy at a special discounted 0.99 price, or pick up the previous books in this series if you haven’t read them yet!

Saving BradSaving Brad (The Kennedy Boys #5)
By Siobhan Davis
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: New Adult
Release Date: October 2017

Blurb:
An enemies-to-lovers romance from USA Today bestselling author Siobhan Davis. Standalone with an HEA and no cliff-hanger.

Brad
I’m in love with my best friend’s girl.
She knows it. He knows it. Everyone knows it.
Faye will never be mine, but try telling that to my stupid heart.
An endless rotation of girls streams in and out of my bedroom in a desperate attempt to forget her, but nothing eases the horrid ache in my chest. Rejection isn’t anything new for me, but it hasn’t gotten any easier.
Until she reappears in my life. Like an out-of-control tornado. Storming in, all fierce and angry, ready to steamroll everything in her path. Rachel is trouble with a capital T bundled in a gorgeous, sexy, Irish package.
She pushes all the wrong buttons, and I can’t decide if I want to yell at her or kiss her.
I should steer clear.
But I’ve never been very good at taking my own advice. Especially when it comes to girls I can’t have and shouldn’t want.

Rachel
I need to escape.
To put as much distance between me and that monster so I can start living my life.
Yet, even the vast Atlantic Ocean isn’t enough to sever the connection. To allow me to forget how he’s ruined me. His hold is more than just physical. He has a vise-grip on my head and my heart, and I can’t breathe, can’t think, can’t function.
So, I do everything to blot it out.
Until he reappears in my life.
Brad McConaughey. So hot. So infuriating. So in love with my best friend.
Every word out of Brad’s mouth makes me want to throat punch him or kick him in the nuts.
But he makes me feel, and I hate him for it. A part of me might actually love him for it.
I should keep my distance, but like destructive magnets, we are drawn together.
This isn’t going to end well.
I know it. He knows it.
But we’re powerless to resist.

You can find Saving Brad on Goodreads

You can pre-order Saving Brad exclusively on Amazon
It will be available to read with Kindle Unlimited once released.

Previous books in this series
Finding KylerLosing KylerKeeping KylerLoving Kalvin

The first three books have to be read in order. The books after that can be read as a standalone and have an HEA and no cliffhanger. The Kennedy Boys series is free to read in Kindle Unlimited and book one Finding Kyler is currently available for only 0.99$ on Amazon

Review: Still Jaded (Jaded #2) by Tijan

Title: Still Jaded
Author: Tijan
Series: Jaded #2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Sheldon, Bryce, and Corrigan ruled their school until a killer wanted to rule them. Three years later, Bryce’s back home from Europe the local celebrity jock. Corrigan’s busy running his fraternity and Sheldon’s about to be pulled back into the social world of drama. With the killer killed, who’s trying to hurt Sheldon this time? Or maybe it’s someone closer than she wants to admit?

My Review:
This book turned my stomach into knots, and I honestly felt a terrible panicky feeling in my chest while reading it. This series is like a sick addiction, one I just can’t get enough of even though half the time I want to scream and yell and throw a few things around the room. These characters infuriate me but I’m obsessing over them. It is like the most extreme car-crash TV multiplied ten-fold with an extra dollop of highly-emotive angsty drama on top. These characters have few redeeming qualities, and they can in no way be described as positive role models, but they are strangely endearing all the same.

I spent the first half of this book feeling sorry for Sheldon, the middle part screaming at Bryce, and the last part scratching my head in utter confusion over the apparent connection between Sheldon and Corrigan. I adore love triangles and this one is frustratingly good. I like that Tijan explores the theme of actually being properly in love with two guys at the same time. And it’s not lust or insta-love as these three have been best friends for years. I know some people don’t believe it’s possible to be in love with two people at the same time, but I think it’s credible. Gosh, it cranked the awkwardness level to new heights but I lapped it up. I started to have some sympathy for Bryce toward the end even though he still acted like an ass with that bloody supermodel.

The stalker subplot is good but very much in the background and I’m expecting that to develop in the final book.

I liked seeing a different side to Corrigan and it seems fairly clear that she has already chosen him even if she doesn’t realize it. I’m not sure how I feel about that. There was no clue to this connection in the first one so I find it weird that she might love him more than Bryce. If subtle clues had been evident in the first book, it would be more believable. The other issue I had is that all of the time the three of them spent in Barcelona isn’t relayed for the reader which is very bizarre because the supposed issues in their relationship arose from that chapter in their lives. We are told bits and pieces but otherwise it was glossed over. It would have made more sense if book two focused on that time and this was book three etc.

Glaring editing errors, some plot holes, and timeline issues grated on my nerves too but there is no way I can rate this less than 5 stars. Any book that ties me into so many knots and has me up half the night thinking about the characters and the plot is worthy of top marks. Dying to see how this series closes out now!

My recommendation comes with a health warning – only for those who enjoy high-stakes drama, despicable characters with little moral compass, and angsty emotional romance.

Blog Tour: Sin (Vegas Nights #1) by Emma Hart


Today is my stop during the blog tour for Sin (Vegas Nights #1) by Emma Hart! I’ll review the book and share some teasers with you!

Title: Sin
Author: Emma Hart
Series: Vegas Nights #1
Rating: 3.75 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Damien Fox lived up to his name. Cunning, sly, and dangerous, fifty percent of Vegas’ strip clubs were his.
Whatever he wanted, money, attention, women, he got.
And now he wanted to buy my bar, no matter the cost.
I wanted him to go to hell on a first-class ticket.
He played a dirty game, and I followed his rules. I let him think he would win.
Despite our differences, it was clear to see that we were no more than two broken hearts colliding in the darkness.
Closed off, sexy, and holding a pain that would crush a lesser man, he was the ultimate sin.
One I couldn’t deny myself, even though I knew better than to trust a fox…

(SIN is book one of the Vegas Nights series. Each book in this series is a standalone novel.)

My Review:
Emma Hart is one of the best writers of comedic romance and Sin was no exception. For me, the best thing about Sin was the great characterization and the hilarious, witty banter between our couple.

Damien comes across as a total douche at the start but an endearing one all the same. He is relentless and focused and Dahlia adopts a firm stance, one from which she never backs down. However, she is powerless to resist his charm and soon our couple is fighting genuine feelings for one another.

I enjoyed the gradual build up of their relationship and how they both struggled to drop their barriers and open up to one another. When they did, it was great, and I was totally rooting for them. Their chemistry was electric and the sexy times were smokin’ hot and extremely well written. I definitely felt the tension and the attraction and it smoldered on the pages of my Kindle.

Family dynamics play a part in this story and I was dying to know why Damien’s father was so insistent on purchasing Dahlia’s bar. I was expecting there to be some hidden family secret in the background that was going to threaten their love and I was actually disappointed that we never received an answer to this question, and was perplexed by the lack of an anti-climactic moment. For me, this dented my enjoyment of the last quarter of the book – it was lacking in tension and closure. That doesn’t detract from the fact that it was a highly enjoyable read, and one I would still recommend, but it is the reason why this isn’t a five-star review. The writing is superb and it flows well and our two mains are easy to root for.

I’m intrigued by Perrie’s story but torn over whether I’ll read her book. I did enjoy the sample at the back of Sin and I have huge sympathy for her situation, however, I find the premise very hard to swallow – Perrie had options and she didn’t need to follow the path she did. If it had been a year or two I could accept that but after eight years? Not so much. My personal view is it’d be much easier to swallow her pride and accept money from her brother than do what she does. And how is that setting the right example for her daughter? I’m not convinced, but I’ll mull over it.

Thanks to the author and Inkslinger PR for providing an ARC of this book which I have voluntarily reviewed.

About the Author:
By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies—usually wine—and writes books.
Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.
She likes to be busy—unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

Links:

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Review: The Failing Hours (How to Date a Douchebag #2) by Sara Ney

Title: The Failing Hours
Author: Sara Ney
Series: How to Date a Douchebag #2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Zeke Daniels isn’t just a douchebag; he’s an a**hole.

A total and complete jerk, Zeke keeps people at a distance. He has no interest in relationships—most a**holes don’t.

Dating?
Being part of a couple? Nope. Not for him.

He’s never given any thought to what he wants in a girlfriend, because he’s never had any intention of having one. Shit, he barely has a relationship with his family, and they’re related; his own friends don’t even like him.

So why does he keep thinking about Violet DeLuca?
Sweet, quiet Violet—his opposite in every sense of the word.
The light to his dark, even her damn name sounds like rays of sunshine and happiness and shit.

And that pisses him off, too.

My Review:
Man, this series is so funny and so well written. I love it. The blurb is apt for this one – Zeke is most definitely a level above douchebag and I didn’t like him in the last book although I was open to changing my opinion. And change it I did! I adored Violet and how she demanded respect from said douche. I loved seeing Zeke struggle to change but wanting to so badly. There are tons of laugh-out-loud moments and plenty of steamy romantic moments as well as drama and angst galore, so, yes, this one was right up my alley. I’d love to read Elliot’s story next although he doesn’t fit with the general douchebag theme and there was no more mention of further backs at the back so I guess it’s a wait and see for now.

Highly Recommended Read.

Review: Expiation (Touched Saga #4) by Elisa S. Amore

Title: Expiation
Author: Elisa S. Amore
Series: Touched Saga #4
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Links:

Blurb:
One great sacrifice will end it all—but can true love ever be forgotten?
Prepare yourself for a journey with no return.

How can you look forward to the future when you know your days are numbered? Gemma has asked herself that every night since making her fateful pact with Sophìa, queen of the underworld. Three days after giving birth to her child, Gemma must return to Hell and be transformed into a Witch, erasing her past and surrendering herself to Evil. This is the price she’s agreed to pay in exchange for bringing Evan back to life and ensuring the safety of their child. Evan, however, refuses to accept her agreement. He’s convinced that together, they can overcome this new challenge. His deepest fear is different: he knows the Angels of Death will do everything they can to kill Gemma before she becomes a Witch. Pursued by unrelenting danger and dark secrets, Evan and Gemma ready themselves for the ultimate bloody battle to defend their love.
How far will you go to save the person you love?

My Review:
Initial Thoughts Upon Completion: Oh, wow, the second part of this book was enthralling and it kept me on tenterhooks the whole time! Epic finish to this wonderful saga.

Full Review:

I am still trying to process all my feelings on this book. Without a doubt, for me, this book was the most emotional of all. I felt everything – pain, longing, lust, devastation, anger, love, grief… man, I could go on and on. Great job on wrenching emotion from the reader, Elisa!

So, fair warning – this review is likely to be a little rambling and a little spoilery. I’ve tried my best not to mention anything directly but there are a few parts that might give some stuff away. I don’t like mentioning spoilers in reviews but sometimes (when I feel really emotional after a book like I am now) I find I have to discuss certain things in order to properly convey my thoughts and feelings. Read on at your peril!

The first part of this book was a little slow. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it as it was full of romantic /sexy times and I continue to love Gevan as a couple but the pace did pull me out of the story and I found myself skimming over repetitive interiority and redundant descriptions. Then we enter into the main part of the story and HOLY COW the second half was ON FIRE. I could hardly tear my eyes away from this section of the book as the action and the tension escalated.

Gemma was horrible when she transformed but I actually liked her more. Go figure. She had more backbone and the strength of her convictions. I have always felt she was a bit whiny and all “damsel in distress” and I was sick of Evan having to protect her until Brokenhearted when she redeemed herself by her sacrifice.

I felt Evan’s pain at her loss and I especially loved his chapters – I prefer his voice.

The section in Hell was awesome. I wanted to gouge Devina’s eyes out for her continual attempts to seduce Evan but it added great tension. And then she sidled up to Gemma – so manipulative! A brilliant evil villain!

I have to talk about Ginerva because she was exceptional in Expiation. I didn’t care for her much in Touched but her character development is one of the best in this series and I really loved her spirit, her bravery, and her compassion. Simon was great too.

While the twist with Peter was a good one, it didn’t really go anywhere apart from adding some further ammo for Gemma to torture Evan. I continue to believe all the high school scenes add little to the plot or character development and they could be cut without losing anything.

The battle scenes with the witches were EPIC and I loved them. I also loved how Evan never gave up fighting for her. As if I couldn’t love him any more!! He was relentless and my heart broke for all the heartache he endured.

The world building, creativity, and imagination were fantastic in this book. I love when an author factors in the minor details and Elisa did that there. Oh, I also loved the seductive nature of the witches and the sultry scenes with the soldiers and champions – nice!

(I did mention I would ramble, right?!!)

I was a little disappointed that Gemma didn’t remember Evan. When she did, it was too sudden and it was because of Simon not because of the soul connection she shared with Evan. I am a believer in true love so I would have preferred if this aspect of the plot had gone in a different direction. The other thing I was upset over was Liam. Gemma showed little regard for him in this series and that bugged me as a mother. Evan was marginally better in his behavior, but I would have preferred more focus on his importance. When that twist happened with him, it hit me out of the blue and I sobbed my heart out. So glad that Elisa made it right in the end but I still felt an acute ache in my chest while reading those scenes.

Gemma made the ultimate sacrifice in the end and it was really fitting. The epilogue was great, if a little rushed and not everything has been closed satisfactorily (can’t believe where Simon and Ginerva end up) and I’m all kinds of curious over Liam! I know Elisa is writing a spin-off series and I’m beyond intrigued to discover what and who it’s about – is it Peter? Is it Simon and Ginerva’s story? Is it something to do with Liam? I know I can’t wait to find out!

And another great series comes to an end. It’s been a rollercoaster ride of heightened emotions. Thank you so much, Elisa, for a great conclusion to your Touched Saga! I look forward to reading what you write next.

Release Day: Beautiful Mistake by Vi Keeland


Today I am giving you a sneak peek of Beautiful Mistake by Vi Keeland! First there’s some information about the book, then a teaser and an excerpt.

Title: Beautiful Mistake
Author: Vi Keeland
Series: standalone
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
The first time I met Caine West was in a bar.
He noticed me looking his way and mistakenly read my scowling as checking him out.
When he attempted to talk to me, I set him straight—telling him what I thought of his lying, cheating, egomaniacal ass.
You see, the gorgeous jerk had wined and dined my best friend–smooth talking her into his bed, all along failing to mention that he was married.
He deserved every bit of my tongue-lashing and more for what he’d done.
Especially when that lazy smile graced his perfect face in response to my rant.
Only it turned out, the man I’d just told off wasn’t the right guy.
Oops. My mistake.
Embarrassed, I slunk out without an apology.
I was never going to see the handsome stranger again anyway, right?
That’s what I thought…until I walked into class the next morning.
Well, hello Professor West, I’m your new teaching assistant.
I’ll be working under you…figuratively speaking.
Although the literal interpretation might not be such a bad thing—working under Professor West.
This was going to be interesting…

About the Author:
Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author. With more than 1.5 million books sold, her titles have appeared in over eighty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in sixteen languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

Links:

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Cover Reveal: Hate to Love You by Tijan


Today is the cover reveal for Hate to Love You by Tijan. Can’t wait to read this one!

Title: Hate to Love You
Author: Tijan
Series: standalone
Release date: August 28th
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Rule #1: No hot guys.
It might sound ridiculous. I get it. It kind of is, but college was supposed to be my sanctuary. It was my place to start over. The rumors, the whispers, and the jealousy I endured through high school would all be gone.
No one would know me at college.

Rule #2: No drama.
I’d major in pre-law. I’d make a few loyal friends. Everything would be easy breezy. No one was going to use me or hurt me. I wouldn’t let them.

Rule #3: New year. New place. New me.
Right?
Wrong.
And all because of Shay Coleman.

Football captain and quarterback, he was the big guy on campus. The cocky guy in my political science class with a smirk. I hated him on sight . . .

. . . and he was about to break all my rules.

About the Author:
I didn’t begin writing until after undergraduate college. There’d been storylines and characters in my head all my life, but it came to a boiling point one day and I HAD to get them out of me. So the computer was booted up and I FINALLY felt it click. Writing is what I needed to do. After that, I had to teach myself how to write. I can’t blame my teachers for not teaching me all those years in school. It was my fault. I was one of the students that was wishing I was anywhere but at school! So after that day, it took me lots of work until I was able to put together something that resembled a novel. I’m hoping I got it right since someone must be reading this profile! And I hope you keep enjoying my future stories.

Links:

Review: The Studying Hours (How to Date a Douchebag #1) by Sara Ney

Title: The Studying Hours
Author: Sara Ney
Series: How to Date a Douchebag #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
CRUDE. ARROGANT. A**HOLE.
No doubt about it, Sebastian ‘Oz’ Osborne is the university’s most celebrated student athlete—and possibly the biggest douchebag. A walking, talking cliché, he has a filthy mouth, a fantastic body, and doesn’t give a sh*t about what you or anyone else thinks.

SMART. CLASSY. CONSERVATIVE.
Make no mistake, Jameson Clarke may be the university’s most diligent student—but she is no prude. Spending most of her time in the hallowed halls of the library, James is wary of pervs, jocks, and douchebags—and Oz Osborne is all three.

She’s smart, sarcastic—and not what he expected.

…EVERY DOUCHBAG HAS HIS WEAKNESS.

He wants to be friends.
He wants to spend time with her.
He wants to drive her crazy.

He wants…

Her.

My Review:
Loved it. Great writing. Perfect pacing. Plot and character development was superb. The banter was hysterically funny. Sebastian is outrageous and a total ass at times but he’s a good guy underneath the exterior. James was a great heroine – loved her confidence and her morality, and her strength to live by her beliefs even if she wanted to give in to him. The chemistry and sexual tension is sublime. The ending was a little rushed, but, apart from that one very minor complaint this was an excellent read and one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. Just downloaded the next book even though I’m currently hating on Zeke, but I’m prepared to be swayed.

Sneak Peek: Beautiful Mistake by Vi Keeland


Today I am giving you a sneak peek of Beautiful Mistake by Vi Keeland! First there’s some information about the book, then a teaser and an excerpt.

Title: Beautiful Mistake
Author: Vi Keeland
Series: standalone
Genres:
Links:

Blurb:
The first time I met Caine West was in a bar.
He noticed me looking his way and mistakenly read my scowling as checking him out.
When he attempted to talk to me, I set him straight—telling him what I thought of his lying, cheating, egomaniacal ass.
You see, the gorgeous jerk had wined and dined my best friend–smooth talking her into his bed, all along failing to mention that he was married.
He deserved every bit of my tongue-lashing and more for what he’d done.
Especially when that lazy smile graced his perfect face in response to my rant.
Only it turned out, the man I’d just told off wasn’t the right guy.
Oops. My mistake.
Embarrassed, I slunk out without an apology.
I was never going to see the handsome stranger again anyway, right?
That’s what I thought…until I walked into class the next morning.
Well, hello Professor West, I’m your new teaching assistant.
I’ll be working under you…figuratively speaking.
Although the literal interpretation might not be such a bad thing—working under Professor West.
This was going to be interesting…

An excerpt from Beautiful Mistake:

The class was completely empty. I wasn’t even sure he knew I was still in my seat. If he did, he was good at ignoring me as he packed up his laptop.
“Contrary to the rumors you’ve probably heard, I don’t bite.”
I jumped when he spoke. Now that the lecture hall was no longer filled with students, the acoustics of the large space bounced his deep voice all over the walls.
I stood and began my walk of shame down to the front of the classroom. There was no doubt I owed the man an apology, even if he wasn’t a professor—a professor who would be my new boss for at least the next fifteen weeks. I wanted to kick myself in the ass for not apologizing last night before I left the bar. Now it would seem like I was only doing it because of the situation I was in.
Which was true, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t want it to seem that way.
I took a deep breath. “I’m so sorry about last night.”
His face was unreadable. “I figured you might be, right about now.”
“I obviously thought you were someone else.”
“So I assumed. You thought I was the asshole. The one with the big dick, was it?”
I shut my eyes. For the last ninety minutes, I’d replayed the entire exchange from last night over and over in my head. I thought I’d remembered everything I said, but apparently I hadn’t. When I reopened my eyes, Professor West was still watching me. His stare was pretty damn intense.
I started to babble. “My friend Ava went out with this guy Owen for a month or so. He was full of shit from day one, but she didn’t see it. Actually walked up to her when she was leaving work one night and said, ‘Do you mind if I walk you home? My mother always told me to follow my dreams.’ She fell for it, the entire act, from the first day. Then one Saturday, he was supposedly out of town on business, and she was across town running errands for her mother. She took a shortcut through Madison Square Park on her way back from the grocery store and ran into him. He was with his wife and kids.”
“And you thought I was him, apparently?”
I nodded. “She came in during my shift and started drinking Long Island iced teas. When Owen walked in, she pointed to where he was standing and said he was the one in the blue shirt.”
“And we were both wearing blue shirts, I take it?”
I couldn’t help but smile, thinking of Ava last night. “Actually, no. Ava’s not much of a drinker. Turned out she was more sloshed than I thought. Owen’s shirt was brown—not even black that could be mistaken as navy or something.”
I saw Professor West’s lip twitch.
“Anyway, I’m really sorry. I barely gave you a chance to speak, and then when I realized what had happened, I was so mortified I didn’t even stop to apologize.”
“I accept your apology for last night. Even though you shouldn’t be approaching a man in the hallway to tell him off alone, your intentions were admirable.”
I should have shut up and been grateful he’d accepted my apology. Should have. “Why can’t I approach a man in the hallway?”
He leveled me with a stare. “Because you’re five foot nothing in a loud bar, and no one would have heard you if I’d dragged you into the men’s room and locked the door.”
I folded my arms over my chest. “I can take care of myself.”
“I didn’t say you couldn’t. I said you shouldn’t put yourself in those situations.”
“But you insinuated that I couldn’t by making that statement.”
He zipped his leather bag closed. “Ms. Martin, I just accepted your apology for calling me an asshole last night. Would you like me to retract that acceptance?”
God, I really was an idiot. Being around this man seemed to turn me into a psychopath. “No. I’m sorry. I acted like a jerk, and I’d like to start over, if that’s possible.”
He nodded. “Everything prior to this morning is forgotten.”
“Thank you.”
“But this morning is not. I won’t accept lateness. Don’t let it happen again.”
I swallowed. “It won’t.”
He lifted his worn, brown leather laptop bag over one shoulder. “Meet me here at five tomorrow. We’ll go over the syllabus and the classes you’ll teach, as well as my grading rubric.”
That was smack in the middle of my shift, but I’d figure something out. “Okay.”
“Are you done for the day?”
“I am. I actually have to get to work. I’m covering Ava’s shift because she isn’t feeling too well after last night. We both work at O’Leary’s.”
“You waitress there?”
“Waitress, bartend, occasionally tell off patrons.”
That earned me a full smile from Professor West. God, he should do that more often. No, forget that. He definitely shouldn’t.
“I’ll walk out with you.”
We walked through the halls together and out to the parking lot. When we arrived at my car, I stopped. “This is me. So…five o’clock tomorrow?”
Professor West looked at my beat-up old Subaru. “You’re parked in a spot reserved for the Provost. You got a parking ticket.” He squinted. “Actually, it looks like you have two parking tickets. Was your inspection expired or something?”
Crap. “Umm…no. I keep an extra ticket in the glove compartment and stick it on my windshield when I’m forced to park illegally.”
His brows shot up. “Inventive.”
“Obviously it doesn’t always work.”
“Obviously.”
“They need more parking. When you’re late, it’s impossible to find a spot.”
He studied me. “Lateness is a frequent occurrence for you, I take it?”
“Unfortunately, it is.”
“Then I should clarify something I said earlier.”
“Oh, no, that’s not necessary. I won’t be late for your class.”
He took a step closer and leaned in. “I’m glad to hear that, Ms. Martin. But that’s not what needs clarification.”
I swallowed. God, he smells good.
“Earlier I told you I didn’t bite students.” He smiled, and I felt the wickedness from it shoot down to some interesting places. “I don’t. But I make no promises about not biting feisty TAs.”

About the Author:
Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author. With more than 1.5 million books sold, her titles have appeared in over eighty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in sixteen languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

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