Monday, March 20, 2017

The Struggle (A Titan Novel #3) By: Jennifer L. Armentrout


AHHHH SETHIE!!!!!!!!

I can't even stand it, I was so excited to get my hands back on that boy (ohh that sounds bad *shrugs)
I cannot thank Jen and her team for getting this puppy sent out tome for early review. Ya'll are the freaking best.

Also guys... If you haven't had the chance to meet Jen, she really is amazing. Somehow I always wind up going to a signing she's a part of every 6 months or so it seems like haha.
I met her back the first time during the 2014 Bookbash and was so awestruck...


And over the past few years it's been really fun to get the chance to see her so much (And not act like such a fangirl dweeb when I do.)
And last year I was so lucky. I went to the Savannah Apollycon and not only got to meet Jen again... But also Drew. And I have to say he is by far one of the most fun people I've met. Him and Pepe both actually.
he played right into Seth's character  and was so sweet to all the fans. Both guys and Jen were. They went above and beyond to meet everyone and there were so many pictures they took and books that got signed. I can't say enough good things about any of the three of them.










A bloody path has been chosen… 

The war against the Titans continues, and they remain determined to wreak havoc on the world, but Seth has become something all gods fear. Now the most dangerous, most absolute power no longer resides in those who have been freed from their tombs. 

The Great War fought by the few is coming… 

All may doubt and fear what Seth has become. All except the one woman who might be his final chance at redemption. Josie will do anything to prove that Seth is on their side, but fate has a nasty way of changing lives, of changing people. 

In the end, the sun will fall… 

The only way they can save the future and save themselves is by facing the unknown together. It will take more than trust and faith. It will take love and the kind of strength not easily broken. No matter what, their lives will never be the same. 

For what the gods have feared has come to pass. The end of the old is here and the beginning of the new has been ushered in…


Guys! Guys! I'm kinda not only so excited about this book because it was so good. But I'm also kinda excited because this is the quickest I've read a book in months. And maybe that means I really am back??? Thank the universe for JLA and her amazing books. If anyone could pull me from a slump it's her (Usually it's just by me rereading some Daemon hehe)

I loved Till Death. but this book drew me in and held my attention like no book has been able to in a really long time.

And lets face it. I absolutely loved getting more of Sethie!!! (And that's probably why haha)

This series has just been non stop fun and action from the start, and I can't even explain how much I enjoyed reading more of the whole Covenant gang all growed up hehe.

Seth is just an absolutely fun character. A huge dick most of the time but fun none the less. He's such a smart butt and sassy as heck. but he's just one of those characters I can't get enough of.

And we've gotten to see such a different side to him in the Titan series vs. douche canoe Seth from the Covenant days. He's still cocky and sarcastic. Maybe even more so during this one at times. But Seth has shown some of the biggest character growth that I've ever seen from a character. I mean talk about a 180 over a span of books. (But I think Seth also had this side in him from the start. There were always just people who took advantage of his need to be cared for, and that twisted him into something ugly. That is until someone truly was able to show him what compassion and love is... Even dating back to the Covenant days with Alex at points)

He's so caring and so passionate. And you can see it in every move he makes during this book. Even when he's made the wrong move.... it's out of a need to keep others safe. Even if that means keeping them safe from himself. (Or ts least him thinking he's keeping them safe. He doesn't give himself nearly enough credit in my opinion.)

And lets talk about Josie... My lord this girl. While she may not be quite the head strong bad-a Alex always is, she is such a strong and powerful character. She still has this humanity to her that can be so opposite of Seth most of the time. She's the sweet to his salty, and the soft to his hard. But when it comes time, my girl can throw down and kick some butt. I feel like she's grown a lot through these books too. She's found her strength and broken out of her shell. She's no longer the meek scared mortal that Seth tracked down in College but a fierce and loyal Demigod, and able to stand on her own in a lot of ways.

Plus her and Seth and really all the crazy characters that are back are so much fun to read. This group just meshes so well, and the funny little one liners from any number of them add that needed relief when things get really tense (cough cough Deacon and Aidan)


Also I need to a add. Apollo is a dick. Like a seriously huge dick.... I take back him being my favorite Greek god. Back to Hades I go *whistles

But Jen threw so many crazy twists and turns into this book. While I definitely had my suspicions during it (Spidey powers tingled... a lot!)
But there were times even my mad awesome guessing skills hadn't expected something. (*Gasp! yes I know... I'm off my game ya'll hehe.)

And there were also times where I was nail biting waiting to see what would happen, and ready to reach in and smack me some Sethie Pooh at times too.

The story just has all that great Titan fun
the action, the suspense, the romance... the Seth *snickers (when it comes down to briefly giving you an idea of what you're in for.)

I seriously cannot wait until this book gets in everyone's hands.... If you're a Seth fan, or even just a Covenant fan. You will love this book. (Smiles like a creeper)

My only real complaint with this book is that there's just going to be way too much time between now and when I get my hands on the next one in the series haha

I give, without a doubt (honestly it deserves like 25K) THE STRUGGLE
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐5 STARS⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Delayed Call By: Toni Aleo


So want to know when I got this beauty in my hands???
Yeah like around 10AM yesterday...


Want to know when I started reading it??
Yeah at like 1AM last night...
Want to know when I finished it???
Yup!!!! At like 10AM this morning...


Want to know how??
I GOT NO SLEEP AT ALL 😡😡😡😡😡
(No not because I was up reading. I was up reading because I couldn't sleep.)
That's what??? 9 hours or so???
I finished a book in 9 hours.... I have not done that in a really really long time. Like Christina Lauren Wicked Sexy Liar long time haha.


So I mean if ya'll need someone to tell you just how amazing these books, and the whole Assassins series in general... I volunteer as tribute!!✋✋✋

Also I need to give a huge huge thank you to Toni Aleo and the folks over at Ardent Prose for sending out this stellar ARC. I can't thank you enough 😘😘😘

Also... Just so ya'll Know. Toni Aleo is by far one of the coolest authors I've gotten to meet. I've actually gotten to meet her twice now. The first time was back at 2014 Bookbash. And I had absolutely no clue who she was hehe. I remember meeting her though, and having her sign my little notebook I used for authors I didn't have their books.
And then I got to meet her again this past October at Shameless 2016.


Which was pretty fun, considering I actually knew her books by that point, and could gush all about her hot hockey boys. That and swipe all the cool trading card swag she had for her Assassin and Bellevue boys haha
(Including at Tate Odder one!!! *Swoon. I love that fictional man so much)
But it's just been so fun going back to that first book event I went to, and seeing how much I've changed and really gotten to know so many of those authors books that I had no clue about back then.



Vaughn Johansson is the Nashville Assassins' star player. He's brash, cocky, and talented. And he isn't afraid to let anyone know it. He lives his life on his own terms, never forming romantic attachments, and only allowing his very closest to see his true, caring self.

Brie Soledad has the weight of the world on her shoulders. As the staff reporter for the Assassins, she balances her high-profile job and its heavy travel schedule with being the sole provider for her adult brother with Down syndrome. Sure, she'd like to find love. But who has time for that when there are bills to pay?

Brie has been the match to Vaughn's gasoline since the day she first held out her microphone to him. They strike sparks off each other, keeping their friends, the team, and the Assassins fans in stitches. Brie’s refusal to fawn over Vaughn sets his teeth on edge and his blood boiling. Especially in that body part... 

Brie's been let down by love before, but she knows she deserves nothing less than real, forever love. Vaughn's past has left deep, hidden scars, and there are some secrets he cannot bear to reveal. As much as Brie wants him, Vaughn may be too big a risk for her wary heart to take. But he is at his best under pressure. When the delayed call is in effect and he has no choice but to score, Vaughn always delivers.



I find myself never knowing where to start these at these days. (Although right now at this point I'm coming off being awake almost 48 hours after a sleepless night spent passing the time reading an entire book, so I may be be at that lack of sleep loopy point honestly)



But I guess a good starting point would be that I really enjoyed this book. In true Toni Aleo form... She gave us a new Assassins book that had all the drama, comedy, romance, emotional-ness (Gonna go with yeah, that's a real word hehe) and hot hockey players we've come to expect in these awesome books.

As I said, I haven't gotten any sleep in the last 48 hours, and so at almost 1:30 in the morning I was in bed passing the sleepless time reading this delightful book. Tears down my face from laughing so ridiculously hard at the characters fun banter and easy razzing. And to give you an idea of how this all went down for me. My head board doesn't attach to my bed frame because apparently the manufacturer couldn't figure out the specs of a normal bed frame height and such.... Anywhosies... so if I move in my bed at all, get out or in, laugh uncontrollably so the bed shakes... My headboard will get pushed into the wall with a loud wack! So here it is getting rather late into the night, and I'm laughing like a spastic hyena, with my headboard smacking off the wall and my cat practically jumping off the bed every time it happens. All the while my mom's room is on the other side of said wall (And how on earth the giggling and or banging never woke her up is absolutely beyond me.) But I'm trying so hard not to make noise. And yeah... I failed miserably haha.



But that's seriously the bests part of Toni's books. Her ability to have me in absolute stitches from laughing at one moment, to getting all emotional and heart achy for the characters the next. And then all sappy romantic soon after and between the other two.

Her books just have so much depth and dimension. They never are just about the hockey. Or just about the sex. Every character has some sort of personal battle they are working to over come. Giving us these amazing characters we want to root for and cheer on. And yes even want to reach in to the pages and strangle from time to time.



Toni gives us such real relatable characters. And the experiences they have are ones that anyone could be going through at any given time.



Take Brie and Vaughn.
(Don't worry I'm not going to give anything away)
But these two both have such similar back stories, and while they each were hurt in different ways as they progressed... It was their pasts and even how that past changed their futures that made you feel for them. And understand why each of them was so closed off in their own way.

But it was also just them.



Brie is such a fun relatable character. (Shush it all of you. I'm on a good female character liking kick right now. And none of ya'll can ruin it for me.) She has so much fire in her. And I love how she is a take no crap kinda woman. And will dish it back just as hard as its thrown at her.
She's no weak little female, none of the Assassins girls are honestly. They all kick butt and take names, and I adore them all so much.

But Brie while being this little hellcat also has this tender vulnerable side that she does a good job of hiding. But when it comes out your heart just kinda breaks and goes all gooey for her.
She really has gone through so much,and seeing how she came out on the other side of it and still is so fearless and fierce... I gotta appreciate that.
I related to her so much at times. And I loved that I could.

And how Brie handles Vaughn just cracks me up. Those two are such a live wire together. And man do the sparks fly. The banter between them was so quick and funny. (Hints why I was dying laughing in the middle of the night)



But most all the banter centered around Vaughn was like that. He's one of those cocky irritating as heck people that you know if you ever met in real life you'd want to smack upside the head. But he's also incredibly sweet and adorable in a super dorky way. Like with his dog Tricksie. Or his best friends. You don't see the sexy as sin star hockey player, but this doofy guy who likes to joke about his bromance with his bestie, and his strange relationship with his dog. And by far the biggest thing his kind compassionate heart.



But it's honestly not just those two that make this story so good. Its Rod Brie's brother, who is by far the sweetest character in the entire world. And just wants to be his own person despite the hand life dealt him. And his reaction with Brie was absolutely awe-inspiring and heart breaking at times. With Rod having Downs Syndrome and the medical problems that surrounded it... It made me think of my nephew who was born with Hydrocephalus. And while it's a whole different condition, it caused some mental delays that could mean my nephew would never be able to live on his own, and that just... It hit close to home I guess. 



And someone else I absolutely loved was Jansen! Like this guy. OH-EM-GEE!!! First off him and Vaughn are like the funniest freaking bromance I have ever read. EVER! As previously stated... a couple times haha.
But this man. Is literally the male fictional version of myself. Like there were parts of dialog where he would say something and I would bust out laughing because dear lord... I have either said or done the exact same things. Like if he's going to get his own book... I wanted it a week ago hehe.
He's so dang funny,and so so smart. Like everyone listen to #JensenTheWise because my man knows what he's talking about ya'll (And he's a goalie too!!! 😍😍😍)
Tate Odder will always hold the number one Assassin spot for me. But I have a feeling Jensen is going to hold a at least a top five spot by the time it's all said and done.



And if you're a fan of the series, we get a bunch of our favorites back for this installment like Shea, Ellie, Benji, etc...

There were so many twists and turns as this book went, and as always, Toni was able to pull me in from the first page and hold my attention until the last. And I found myself once again relating to so many aspects of one these books.
Empty Net is still by far my favorite. I have a really special place in my heart of that book, because it helped me through a really difficult time in my life, and I had never found a character quite like Audrey, that I saw exactly myself in. And found a part of myself I was missing by reading her's and Tate's story. But I honestly adored this book, and felt a lot of that same pull that I did back when I read EN.



I hope if anything I was at least able to convince you to go start the Assassins series with this one. Because it is by far one of the best book series out there. It ha some of everything, and you will fall absolutely head over heels for them.
And I hope I could also convince you to grab up a copy of DELAYED CALL too. Because it is such a good book, and I'm telling you... You want a good laugh session, this book will be for you. But also be prepared because the emotional-ness is all over the place on this one too haha
But it is worth every giggle, tear, and heart string pull.



I give DELAYED CALL, beyond a shadow of a doubt

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐5 STARS⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Cover Reveal: Hot As Puck (A Bad Motherpuckers Novel) By: Lili Valente




Hey ya'll I am so excited to help share the cover for Hot as Puck by Lili Valente. The book sounds so fun and funny.And I cannot wait till its release on April 3rd




Steamy Romantic Comedy/Hockey Romance
Cover Design: Bootstrap Designs
Release Date: April 3, 2017



Blurb

The NHL's biggest bad boy is about to fall for the virgin next door…

I am the world’s biggest dating failure. We’re talking my last date went home with our waitress kind of failure.

But I have an ace in the back pocket of my mom jeans—my sexy-as-sin best friend, NHL superstar forward, Justin Cruise.

Justin owes me favors dating back to seventh grade, long before he became a hotshot with a world famous…stick. So in return for my undying platonic loyalty, all I want is an easy-peasy crash course on how to be a sex goddess.

How hard can it be?

***

I have never been so hard in my life.

The things I want to do to my sweet, kindergarten-teaching, mitten-crocheting best friend Libby Collins are ten different kinds of wrong. Maybe twenty.

But I’m a firm believer in teaching by example, and by the end of our first lesson, we’ve graduated to a hands on approach to her sexual education: my hands all over her, her hands all over me, and her hot mouth melting beneath mine as I prove to her there isn’t a damned thing wrong with the way she kisses.

Give me a month, and I’ll transform Libby from wall flower to wall banger, and ensure she’s confident enough to seduce any guy she wants.

Problem is… the only guy I want her seducing is me. 

Hot as Puck is a sexy, flirty, friends-to-lovers Standalone romantic comedy from USA Today Bestseller Lili Valente.





Pre-order Links

$3.99 pre-order only price


Amazon links available on release day



Author Bio

U.S.A. Today Bestselling author Lili Valente has slept under the stars in Greece, eaten dinner at midnight with French men who couldn’t be trusted to keep their mouths on their food, and walked alone through Munich’s red light district after dark and lived to tell the tale.

These days you can find her writing in a tent beside the sea, drinking coconut water and thinking delightfully dirty thoughts.


Author Links

WEBSITE
TWITTER

Friday, March 10, 2017

Chapter Reveal: Delayed Call (Assassins #11) By: Toni Aleo




Hey ya'll *Waves
I'm so excited too get to help share chapter 1 of Toni Aleo's newest book in the Assassins Series DELAYED CALL. It will be here so soon. And if this one is like the rest of the series it should be be absolutely amazing!! Just read this chapter, if it doesn't hook you I'm not sure what will ;)


AP new - buy the book.jpg


Coming March 20th

Amazon   Nook   Kobo  iBooks











Vaughn Johansson is the Nashville Assassins' star player. He's brash, cocky, and talented. And he isn't afraid to let anyone know it. He lives his life on his own terms, never forming romantic attachments, and only allowing his very closest to see his true, caring self.

Brie Soledad has the weight of the world on her shoulders. As the staff reporter for the Assassins, she balances her high-profile job and its heavy travel schedule with being the sole provider for her adult brother with Down syndrome. Sure, she'd like to find love. But who has time for that when there are bills to pay?

Brie has been the match to Vaughn's gasoline since the day she first held out her microphone to him. They strike sparks off each other, keeping their friends, the team, and the Assassins fans in stitches. Brie’s refusal to fawn over Vaughn sets his teeth on edge and his blood boiling. Especially in that body part...

Brie's been let down by love before, but she knows she deserves nothing less than real, forever love. Vaughn's past has left deep, hidden scars, and there are some secrets he cannot bear to reveal. As much as Brie wants him, Vaughn may be too big a risk for her wary heart to take. But he is at his best under pressure. When the delayed call is in effect and he has no choice but to score, Vaughn always delivers.





   “He’s cute.”
   “She’s a sweetie, too.”
   “Oh, she’s a she?”
   “Yes.”
   “Girls don’t usually like me,” Vaughn Johansson said with his brows pulled together as he looked into the dark brown eyes gazing back at him.
They were full of such hope, wanting… And instantaneously, he fell in love.
   “Well, I think she loves you.”
   Looking up briefly at the adoption counselor, Vaughn gazed back at the little black French Bulldog and smiled. She was a cutie; her little nub tail was wiggling, and her eyes were so wide that Vaughn felt like he could fall into them. But just as quick as he fell in love, he noticed something was missing. “She only has three legs.”   
   The adoption rep smiled grimly. “Yes, she was brought in having been hit by a car, and we fixed her up. That’s what throws people off, her not being whole and all.”
   Making a face, Vaughn crouched down and took ahold of the fence as the little girl wiggled in excitement. She wanted to come through the fence. He could feel her eagerness, especially when she started to lick his hands, her eyes telling, or better yet, begging him to take her home. The thing was, she didn’t have to beg. The little three-legged dog was his from the moment he saw her. As he leaned into the fence, his nose went through the links before he whispered, “Don’t worry, girl, I’m not whole either.”
   She licked his nose before letting out the sweetest little bark, and Vaughn was hooked. Standing up, he clapped his hands together. “I scored three goals last night, a hat trick, so it only makes sense that my first dog be a three-legged one.”
   “Oh, cool.”
   She had no clue what he was talking about. “I play for the Nashville Assassins.”
   The lady, who obviously had never seen a game of hockey a day in her life, nodded happily.
   “Cool. That’s fun.”
   “You know what team that is, right?”  
   “Yeah, football. Right?”
   Vaughn blinked in dismay, but then, what did he expect? She was barely an adult and probably hadn’t been exposed to the great sport of hockey. “Hockey.”
   “Oh, I don’t like hockey,” she said, wrinkling her face up. “But the players are hot.”
   He couldn’t disagree, but then she looked him up and down with very sinful eye, and he froze. There was no way in hell he was going to prison for this jailbait, so that was his cue to get his dog and bounce. Yet, he asked, “Have you been to a game?”
   “Oh, no, I don’t have time.”
   Rolling his eyes once more, he looked back at his new girl and smiled. “Well, that’s too bad because I’m naming this girl Tricksie, and that won’t make sense to you.”
   “Oh, you want her?”
   “Yes, I do. You know what a hat trick is, right?”
   The fact that she had no clue what he was speaking of was all over her face as she only nodded. “Like tricks with hats?”
   Vaughn wanted to cry. The poor youth of the world. “It’s where you score three goals.”
   He might as well have told her the answer to the greatest unsolved math problem in the world, because she was more lost than the three blind mice. “Cool. That’s hard, huh?”
   Smiling, he shot her a wink. “For some. But for me, it’s easy peasy, lemon squeezy.”
   Her face scrunched up more. She thought he was an idiot. “That’s corny.”
   “Well, that’s because you’re ten.”
   She pressed her lips together in annoyance. “I’m twenty.”  
 “Same thing. Can I get my dog, please?”
    Rolling her eyes before popping her gum, she turned for the front. “Yeah, let’s go to the office, and Linda will get the paperwork done.”
   She started to walk away, but Vaughn didn’t move. “Can I have her?”
   Letting out a long breath, she nodded before reaching for her keys, which made Tricksie jump to the best of her ability and howl louder. A huge grin spread across Vaughn’s face as he bent down and the little girl came running for him, jumping into him and scrambling to climb up his body. Holding on to her overactive little body, Vaughn laughed as he stood, kissing her head. “I think she’s happy.”
   “That’s an understatement,” the girl said dryly as she started for the front of the adoption center, but Vaughn was in complete paradise.
   It had been a long month of looking for a companion, but holding Tricksie, Vaughn was pretty sure it had been totally worth the wait. His need for company came when he discovered he was the only single guy on the team. Everyone had girlfriends or wives and/or kids. Meanwhile, Vaughn was chilling with just an Xbox when he wasn’t working. Hockey kept him busy, but when he wasn’t at the rink, there was no one to hang with, no one to talk to, and he found himself a bit lonely. He wasn’t ashamed to say that; it was a natural occurrence when one didn’t want to put himself out there and find someone to love him. The thing about love was it was just so uncertain, and Vaughn didn’t have the time for it. But a dog, a dog loved you no matter what. Plus, he had always wanted a dog. Ever since he was a little kid, he had yearned for one, but since hockey was so expensive, his dad never got him and his brother one. Along with all the therapy and treatments his brother needed, a dog wasn’t doable. But now, now, a dog was doable.
   And Vaughn was convinced Tricksie was going to be the best dog ever.
   As Tricksie licked and barked happily, Vaughn couldn’t believe he had waited so long to do this. But then, if he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have this beautiful gem of a girl. And boy, what a beauty she was. He couldn’t believe people would turn up their noses at her, all because she didn’t have four legs. She had killer dark-as-night fur, her big, brown eyes were two huge views into her heart, and she smiled. The damn dog was smiling, tongue hanging out as she wiggled in his arms. She smelled a little musky, but that was fixable. No, this girl was the jackpot, and Vaughn was glad he had pulled the lever.
   As he walked through the doors leading to the office area—or at least, he hoped this was the right way since the lady who was helping him had disappeared—his phone sounded with a notification from his Nashville Assassins’ team app. It was probably weird that he had the app to the team he played hockey for on his phone, but he liked to know what his team was posting. Plus, he sometimes heard information from the app before he did from Coach. When he pulled out his phone, sliding the tab over, he realized this instance was one of those times.
   Jensen Monroe signed to Nashville Assassins for a three-year, three-million-dollar deal.
   “Holy shit! Tricksie, look! Uncle Jenny is coming to our team,” he said to his girlie before he laughed out loud. “You don’t know Uncle Jensen, hell, you don’t know me, but you will. Don’t worry.”
   Tricksie licked him happily, and he was pretty sure she didn’t care what he said as long as he loved her and fed her, which was his plan. His phone started to ring, and he laughed when he saw it was the man of the hour. “Jensen Monroe, signed to the Nashville Assassins for some bookoo bucks! What’s up, brother?”
   Jensen laughed softly, his voice deep. It had been deep since they were, like, thirteen. “Who the hell says bookoo still?”
   “Fuck you, dude. Congratulations!”
   “Thanks, it’s a great deal, I’m excited. It will be like old times too,” he said with a low laugh, and Vaughn smiled.
   There wasn’t a teenage moment that didn’t have Jensen and their buddy Wells in it. The three had been inseparable. When Jensen came to live with Wells’s family to play for their high school team, the three guys just clicked. They played all through high school, went to the same college, and were all drafted the same year too. Even being apart, Wells on the Avalanche, Vaughn on the Assassins, and when Jensen was with the Wild, they all stayed in contact. They were brothers. Always would be too. The guys were there for Vaughn when no one else was, and he would be forever in debt to the two men who became his brothers.
   “Wait, what happened to Dylan?”
   “He got sent down. Mrs. Adler said she wants someone she knows will win games. He hasn’t won a game since last season. I can win the games.” He wasn’t lying. Jensen was a great goalie, and it surprised Vaughn that he had come to the Assassins as a backup when he had a starting position with the Wild.
   “Why did you leave?”
    “I wasn’t happy. Yeah, I was winning games, but my contract was up and I needed a change. So I took the deal from Mrs. Adler, and I think it’s a good one. Except now I’ll be fighting the best goalie in the league for playing time.”
   Vaughn sucked his teeth. “Yeah, Tate Odder is the best.”
   “Thank you.” Vaughn laughed. “Besides, you, duh,” he said, his voice high and playful. “I hate you, but are you still single?”
   Vaughn paused. “Shit, are you telling me you’re gay too? I always knew Wells was, but I never suspected it from you. And, dude, you know I don’t bat for that team. I’m a pussy-only kind of guy.”
   “No, you douche canoe. Fuck.” He could practically hear Jensen roll his eyes, which, of course, made Vaughn laugh. “I seriously hate you, and I can’t believe I’m about to beg for this, but can I please live with you?”
   Vaughn stopped laughing as he looked down to his new ladylove. “I don’t know, man, I just got a new roommate.”
   “What?”
   “Yeah, she’s sweet, cold nose, licks a lot, and has three legs, but she’s cute as all hell,” he said as Tricksie kissed him with excitement before barking out in agreement. “And she barks. I’m not sure if it’s a lot, though.”
   “You got a three-legged dog?”
   “Yes, I did.”
    “Of course you did. Who is going to watch said three-legged dog when we are on trips?”
   “Wren,” he said simply, and Jensen groaned loudly at the mention of Wells’s baby sister. Jensen had always had a thing for her, but Wren never took notice. She was too busy with her nose in a book. Which he guessed paid off because now she was a hotshot therapist for the Nashville Assassins. Plus, Vaughn was pretty sure she batted for the other team. He had never seen her with a dude, and he had tried to sleep with her plenty. He couldn’t imagine why she’d turn him down if she were straight. Obviously.
   “Does she know this?”
   “Yeah,” he lied, and Jensen let out a long breath of frustration.
   “You never think things through, I swear. But whatever, can you get me from the airport at 9:10?”
   Vaughn smiled since he had never said yes to Jensen living with him, for the simple fact that Jensen didn’t have to ask and he knew that. Jensen knew he had a home wherever Vaughn was. “Yup, me and Tricksie will be there.”
   “Tricksie?”
   “She’s a three-legged dog, and I scored a hat trick last night.”
    Jensen paused and then laughed. “You’re insane. See you in a bit, and make sure you call Wren.”
   “Will do.”
   They hung up, and Vaughn rolled his eyes. Jensen was always the do-right kind of guy. While Wells and Vaughn wanted to go out, get drunk, and break something, Jensen would talk them down and convince them that getting drunk and playing on the back pond was a better idea. He was the last one to lose his virginity because he wanted it to be with someone “special.” He never cheated on a girl, and when he broke up with one, he felt bad. When his young marriage broke up, he took all the blame on himself. Never said an unkind word about his ex. He called his mom every day, multiple times, and he hung out with the dorky kids growing up. He was voted Homecoming King of their class because he was so sugary sweet. Not to mention, he looked like a runway model, while Wells and Vaughn looked a little rough around the edges. Still, they were best friends, and nothing could ever change that.
   When his phone rang right as he reached the doors to go sign the papers for Tricksie, he looked down to see it was Wren.
   Shit.
   “Hey, Wren,” he said, answering the phone with a big smile. “How’s my favorite therapist who won’t sleep with me?”
   “Oh, I’m just fine. But funny thing, you didn’t show up for therapy, and then I got a text from Jensen saying you got a dog and I’m watching it. Oh, and it has three legs.”
  “Um… Her name is Tricksie and she is amazing, and I don’t need therapy.”
  “You do. Tricksie. Cute, but I never agreed to watch her.”
  “Yes, you did.”
   “When?”
   “When I got you drunk the other night and stole your virtue.”
   “Vaughn Johansson, I haven’t had my virtue in a long damn time.”
   “But did a guy take it?”
   “I will kill you dead, and that’s off the record, mister,” she growled into the phone, at which he laughed. “So you have no leg to stand on, and I don’t think Tricksie can lend you one.”
   Vaughn scoffed. “You said I needed a companion. I got one, and in return, you have to watch her when I leave.”
   “I meant a woman, but fine, a dog is fine. It’s a step in the right direction, I guess. But I never agreed to this, and I travel too, Vaughn.”
   “Not all the time, though. Maybe once a month, and I can board her then.”
   “So you have a plan?” she asked, and she didn’t sound convinced because, really, Vaughn never had a plan.
   “Yup, sure do.”
   “Okay, well, add me in at nine tomorrow before morning skate, and if you don’t show up, I’ll tell your coach.”
   Vaughn’s face scrunched up. “You’re mean.”
   “I love you too. Bye.”
   She hung up, and Vaughn tucked his phone into his pocket before looking down at Tricksie. “That was your aunt Wren and she’s mean to me, but she’ll be nice to you. Are you ready to go home?”
   Tricksie began to lick his skin off, and he took that as a yes. As a huge smile covered his face, Vaughn nodded his head. He had his baby girl, his best friend was coming to his team, Wren would watch Tricksie, and he was playing for the team of his dreams. Things were good. Really good.
   And loneliness would be a thing of the past; he just knew it.   

***   

   “Who talked me into this?”
   “No one. You did that to yourself.”
   “Why?”
   “I don’t know. You’re lonely?”
   “Oh. I am, aren’t I? Shit.”
   “Yup, so may the force be with you, my friend.”
   “But I don’t want to do this.”
   “Then leave?”
   “Can’t you come with me? There’s still time. It doesn’t start for another fifteen.”
   “I’m just sure my fiancΓ© would love that.”
   Brie Soledad rolled her eyes as she leaned on the pillar of the ballroom, her eyes burning a hole in the sign that read: Speed Dating for Nashville Locals. It was embarrassing that this was what her life had resulted in, but as her best friend had said, she was lonely. Mekena Preston, though, was not lonely. Nope, she was all happy and in love with her fiancΓ©, while having a great job and a wonderful life, blah, blah, blah. And if Brie was honest, she was jealous as hell and so desperately wanted to get laid, maybe even fall in love. Get the blah, blah, blah.
   God, she wanted the blah, blah, blah. So damn bad.
   Being a hockey reporter for one of the hottest teams in the NHL, the Nashville Assassins, one would think she would be rolling in the men, but she wasn’t. Everyone treated her like a little sister or they ignored her or they treated her like shit. Well, only one did that, but that was beside the point. The point was, Brie needed more. She was happy in her career. It was awesome, she was amazing, and people loved her. She had even won an Emmy the year before; she was kicking ass. The only problem was she didn’t have anyone to share her success with.
   Yeah, she had her little brother, Rodney, but he really didn’t understand. Also, he needed to focus on his health and not on her. She was supposed to worry for him, not the other way around. Or at least, that was what she had promised her mom before she passed away from cancer a few years back. Sometimes, it was hard to remember, but she blamed that on the fact that she had no one to lean on. It was just her, with the weight of her job and her brother’s issues on her shoulders.
   And plus, she really wanted to get laid.
   It really didn’t make sense. She wasn’t an ugly girl. She was short, and maybe she could have skipped a few desserts, but then, what was life without ice cream and donuts? She had a pretty face, big blue eyes, and lips that screamed to be kissed, yet no one was kissing them. It was annoying, and pray God, this damn speed dating worked.
   “I’m gonna stay,” she said, coming off the pillar and fixing the skirt of her little blue dress that stopped right at the middle of her thighs. “I need to get laid.”
   Mekena stuttered. “Not tonight, though, right?”
   “Jesus, Mekena, I’m not a whore.”
   “Oh, you’re not?”
   And this was the problem with being best friends with a girl she met only a month ago. “I’m not. Asshole.”
   She giggled. “Fine, but please text me and let me know you weren’t killed.”
   “I’ve got my pepper spray.”
   “And your Taser?”
   “And my Taser,” she said, rolling her eyes. She wasn’t sure why Mekena was even asking; she was the one who had stuffed it in her purse the day before. If nothing else, Mekena Preston was practical and smart, very smart.
   “Good, text me when you leave.”
   “Will do.”
   “Have fun. Find your forever!”
    Brie’s face scrunched up. “That is dumb, don’t ever say that again.”
   “Hey, everyone says that when they fall in love.”
   “God, I hope I don’t.”
    “You will.”
    “I won’t.”
    “Stop stalling. Go find your forever.”
    “That’s disgusting. Bye,” Brie complained before hanging up and then tucking her phone into her pocket and taking in a deep breath. Looking around the room, she noticed there was a decent men-to-women ratio, which was good. She didn’t want to be the only chick in the middle of a sausage fest. While she wanted some sausage, she only needed one. A large one, thick, some girth, mmm… Great, now she was hungry. Pressing her hand to her belly, she rolled her eyes. She needed help.
   Or, again, to get laid.
   Maybe she should just go home with the first able-bodied man.
    When a large, round man stopped in front of her, her eyes widened. He was easily twenty years older than her thirty-two years and he was losing his hair, but he was trying to cover it with a toupee. People still wore those? Pointing at her, he smiled with bright yellow teeth. “Hey, sugar, make sure to stop at my table.”
   “Ugh, sure,” she blurted out before hightailing it to the left.
   She would not be going home with that guy. No matter how desperate she was.
   Standing in the back, she looked over the sea of people as the announcer explained what they were to do. The sad thing was, this wasn’t her first time, so she knew what to do. Last time, she hated it and met no one, but maybe this time would be different. Letting out a long groan, she shook her head. If she could be normal and meet someone in a coffee shop or at her job, that would be awesome. But she hadn’t had luck with guys her whole life.
   She wasn’t one of those serial daters or even a casual one. She dated for a reason, and because of that, she had only been in two serious relationships. Both were ended by the guy, which did nothing for her confidence. Both times she didn’t see it coming, and that alone was depressing as hell. Especially Matthew. She loved Matthew—a lot. But when her mom died, he said it was too much and left her high and dry. Not only did she have to pick up the pieces of her heart and Rod’s from her mother’s death, but then she had to pick up the extra pieces of her heart from Matthew’s departure. It was horrible, and because of that experience, she was a little scarred by relationships.
   Okay, a whole lot scarred. But she was coming up on a new year, and it was time to turn over a new leaf. She wanted the happiness that being with a guy could provide. It had taken her a long time to love herself again. After the grief was no longer overwhelming, after the pain of Matt was gone, she was ready to love once more. It was time, time for her to venture out and find that guy. The… There was no way she was saying the forever guy, but something along those lines.
   “So let’s get started!” the announcer said, and then she rang a really annoying cowbell. Taking the cue, Brie went to the first table and sat down as a guy with hair longer than hers did. He was decent-looking, but no spark whatsoever. Maybe it would come?
   “Hey, I’m Brian.” Brie smiled.
   “Hi, I’m Brie.”
   “Ha, like the cheese.”
    She blinked. “Excuse me?”
    “The cheese. I love Brie, it’s my favorite. I wonder if you taste like Brie? Wanna get out of here?”
    She blinked once more and then let out a hard laugh. “So let me get this straight,” she said, leaning on the table. “First, you compare me to cheese, and not even the most exclusive cheese, kind of midrange. And then you want me to go home with you?”
   He shrugged like that was a normal exchange.
   “Yeah.” “Yeah, no. And fuck-you-very-much,” she said, standing up just as the bell rang. Thankfully. Moving down the chair, she skipped the guy from earlier, the balding dude, and sat down as a very attractive, clean-cut guy sat down. And wowza, was he gorgeous. Big blue eyes, wonderful angles to his face, and thick, yummy shoulders. He reminded her of someone…but… Whoa, not now, Soledad.
   With a bright smile, she said, “Hey, I’m Brie.”
   “Tim, nice to meet you,” he said, matching her grin as he looked her up and down. “Let me guess, a doctor?” She laughed. “Reporter for the Nashville Assassins.” His eyes lit up. “Go Assassins!”
   She smiled as she nodded. “Greatest team in the league.”
   “Agreed, but I’m sad. I could have sworn you were a doctor. That would have worked for me since I’m a lawyer, and I need someone to deal with my crazy hours.”
   “Well, I need that too because I leave a lot.”
   “Oh, well then, hi,” he said, leaning on the table, and she did the same.
   “Hi.”
   “Family?” She nodded. “A little brother.”
   “What’s his name?”
   “Rodney.”
   “Is he in town?”
   “Yup, over at Riverdale.”
   His brows pulled together. “Riverdale? Isn’t that the old folks’ home?”
   “They also have a facility for people with Down syndrome.”
   “I didn’t know they kept retards too. That place stinks, I had an aunt die there.”
   Oh, look, there went all the attraction she even thought she had for this piece of junk. Swallowing hard, she stood slowly and then tucked her chair in. “Actually, not all people with Down syndrome have mental challenges. My brother is highly intelligent. You wouldn’t even know he had Down syndrome if he didn’t have the physical characteristics.”
   He shrugged, waving her off. “Same thing.”
   She could only blink. “You know what isn’t the same? A dick-fuck and a cuntasaurus.”
   “Um—”
   “But you know what? You’re both of those,” she yelled. “And we are done.”
   “Your loss, sweetheart.”
   “No, you piece of dog shit, it’s your loss because I am fucking amazing,” she announced before turning on her heel and walking straight out of the speed-dating event.
   Fuck guys.
   They sucked.


My name is Toni Aleo and I’m a total dork.
I am a wife, mother of two and a bulldog, and also a hopeless romantic.
I am the biggest Shea Weber fan ever, and can be found during hockey season with my nose pressed against the Bridgestone Arena’s glass, watching my Nashville Predators play!
When my nose isn’t pressed against the glass, I enjoy going to my husband and son’s hockey games, my daughter’s dance competition, hanging with my best friends, taking pictures, scrapbooking, and reading the latest romance novel.
I have a slight Disney and Harry Potter obsession, I love things that sparkle, I love the color pink, I might have been a Disney Princess in a past life… probably Belle.
… and did I mention I love hockey?


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