Crappy job. Yes.
Take back an annoying ex. Definitely no.
Hit on the sexy new firm partner looking him over…maybe?
For Aaron Cambrian, life is lived by checklists. No matter how promising, everything – jobs, potential partners, cars, drinks, food, etc – needed to meet all his criteria or he walks away.
Everything changes one night at the cocktail bar when his best friend challenges Aaron to abandon his list and ask the first hot guy who catches his interest if he can buy him a drink.
Thanks to his old nemesis alcohol, Aaron takes the dare! The next thing he knows, he finds himself in the condo of an absolute stranger! It was supposed to be one drink. One accidental kiss… Good thing he’d never see the guy again.
Wrong! When the sexy new partner at Kimball & Marks law firm turns out to be the hot stranger, Aaron is faced with a life-changing decision: keep the checklist or lose the hottest, most frustrating man who ever stole his heart.
Publication date: January 12th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, R
Elliot beamed victoriously. “Get that sexy little ass up, go find yourself a guy, and ask him to buy you a drink.” He scooted close, throwing an arm over my shoulders. “And that delectable thing,” I followed the manicured, freshly painted fingernail to a man at the opposite end of the bar, “has had his eyes on you all night.”
I didn’t remember the exact details, but I did remember the guy’s good looks. Maybe some hipster glasses and sideswept dirty-blonde hair? Who cared? My liquid courage had my ass getting up and strutting to Mr. Sexy Thing. His eyes followed each move I made, inflating my ego the closer I got.
Heat hit my cheeks, cock standing at attention when he took a drink, staring over his glasses’ frame. Those eyes were wild. Hungry. And I was the lucky fucker getting devoured by them.
Damn, he really is watching. I nearly stopped and returned to my seat. Through the haze, I remembered thinking I’d never been looked at like that. Should I really be doing this? I glanced at Declan who’d found me and glared like he was daring me to keep going. Confidence renewed, I picked up the pace.
“Hey there,” I said, leaning a hip against the bar.
Mr. Mystery raised his eyes to meet mine. “And hello to you, too.” Even through the fogginess, I recalled the timbre of his voice.
Holy shit, and I thought Declan had a hot tone. Compared to this guy, Declan … well, didn’t compare. This guy blew my ex’s sophistication and cockiness away with only one sentence!
Before I lost my nerve, I asked, “So, you come here often?” Did I really just say that! “I mean…” Oh, come on, he only said hello! Get a fucking grip!
“I know what you meant,” he said with a laugh. “No, I’m just visiting.” With the grace of a wildcat, he turned his attention back to his drink, tongue teasing the liquid on his lower lip. “Why? Do you come here often?”
“What? No. I mean…” My heart pounded in my ears. I wasn’t sure if it was his mocking or the sexy way he looked me over, but the confidence I’d built up slowly deteriorated. I was in “quit with the small talk and fuck me” mode in two seconds. How had he turned everything around with only a few words? “If you aren’t from here … where … are you, um…”
God, what is wrong with me?
“Miami,” he replied. “Why don’t you join me? Perhaps allow me to buy you a drink to calm your nerves?”
I did what Elliot dared me to, but I wasn’t ready to let Mr. Hipster Frames charm me out of my jeans.
Time to take back over. I sat and leaned on my forearms, gingerly letting my knee brush his in an “I’m open for business” manner. “Sure, but only if you play a game with me. Win and you can buy me a drink.”
“And if I lose?” he replied, clearly enjoying the challenge.
I shrugged a shoulder. “Then I walk.”
“Hmm.” A devious smile curved his lips. “Sounds good.” The glasses came off. I watched him close them, set them down, and turn to face me. Thick lashes and dark green bedroom eyes pierced through the Scotch-induced amnesia. “But, how about we up the ante? How about if I win, I buy you a drink and get you to come home with me?”
A gasp escaped me, piercing my lust-addled brain. It was like he read my mind—or maybe my actions, I wasn’t sure at that point—though I was too nervous to ask him for the last part. “O-okay. If you lose?”
The devious smirk widened. “I let you use me to make whoever is sitting at that table,” he gestured his head and eyes to my ex, “incredibly jealous, and you can walk. Deal?”
Is he for real? He knows what I am up to and doesn’t care? I can’t put this guy in any category on my checklist so far.
Every alarm, red flag, and warning sign went off in my brain. The last thing I remembered was telling him he had a deal.
This book appears to be from a previously published author, using a pen name, to which I was a bit surprised. This book gave me the appearance that it was from a debut author. There were definitely some areas that felt choppy and lacking in explanation.
I do love that cover though! This is proof that a cover does not have to have a man with his shirt off holding a puppy, (or an axe, or gun or whatever tool of their trade is) but with some other great visuals can be extremely appealing.
I did like the storyline…poor Aaron who’s been having a life, but trying to get it on track. Maverick, an English attorney taking over as partner in an NYC firm. Side characters of Elliot and Josh, Leslie and Frankie and even Travis, we didn’t get a whole lot of background on, but they kept popping up making the story interesting and moving it along.
However, there were just several things that didn’t work for me. Every time Aaron mentioned his books for his college courses, he calls them “college books”…I’ve never heard anyone say that. It threw me out of the story. We also find out very briefly that Declan (small spoiler here) has physically abused Aaron, but other than Aaron being afraid, being sucked back in by Declan in the past, it is really never addressed. It’s only mentioned one time, and briefly at that. And honestly, Maverick was kind of a controlling bastard sometimes, but then super crazy vulnerable. It was a dichotomy that made me wonder what he would be like in 3 months, 6 months, a year.
I did love that Aaron was attending college, wanting to become a chef (although the relationship with his father, a famous chef himself, was odd) but wanting none of the paparazzi. And he had the sweetest dog in Roxxie who he made sure to not forget as he began the relationship with Maverick.
I was never bored with the book, but definitely found myself questioning a few things as it continued on.
3 pieces of eye candy
A multi-published author of mystery, both Urban and Paranormal, Stormie returned to her love of romantic comedy and contemporary romance. If you love spicy, humorous, and near-erotica stories featuring sexy male protagonists and the men who love them, then look no further. Stormie’s paranormal mystery won quarterfinalist in Screencraft’s novel to screen contest and is a competing finalist in Chanticleer’s International book awards. When Stormie isn’t busy dishing out a new, hot romance, she’s busy blogging her love of books and helping writers become authors.