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Rescue Me (Heathens Ink, 1)
It was just supposed to be a fun night at the club, drinking and maybe hooking up with a hot guy...until tragedy struck.
Get this emotionally charged hurt/comfort romance FREE this weekend only!
From Ashes is coming August 22nd!
“When the broken man with scarred skin walked into Heathens, asked for a job, and showed me a sketch of a phoenix, it felt like fate.”~ Adam
It started with an anonymous post by someone who didn't want to live anymore. I read it over and over again, unable to get it out of my mind. What if my brother Johnny had posted something like this before he'd taken his own life? Would someone have been able to save him?
I've been living a lie for 16 long years and I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to keep it up. And when a beautiful, broken man walks into my tattoo shop asking for a second chance at life, I know I'll never be able to turn him away.
“When I was so far down I couldn’t even see the light, a stranger reached in to save me”~ Nox
I didn't have anything to live for, until a kind stranger pulled me back from the brink. With physical and emotional scars I have nowhere to turn now but to that same stranger who saved my life without realizing it. But as my feelings for Adam grow, will I ever be anything other than a surrogate for the brother he couldn’t save? Am I even worthy of his love?
**From Ashes is the third book in the Heathens Ink series, each book in the series CAN be read as a standalone
CAUTION: this book contains graphic descriptions of domestic violence and drug use that may be disturbing to some readers.
Every cell in my body is crying out for Nox. Our hands grasp and fumble in an attempt to undress each other, like if we can’t be naked together in the next thirty seconds we’ll die.
The pace at which we lose our clothes could probably set a land speed record.
Nox’s eyes roam over my body, and when they graze my abdomen they widen. He reaches out with a trembling hand and I look down to see what he’s so fascinated by. His fingers brush a tattoo I got last year when we were talking online. I forgot for a second that I even had it.
“From ashes we rise,” Nox murmurs, tracing each word with a trembling finger. “When?”
“Last year. Even when I only knew you through a screen there was something about you I couldn’t shake. I wanted to save you from yourself, but it was more than that. I was so drawn to you but I was also afraid of what would happen if I couldn’t convince you to come here. When you told me these words they stuck with me and I just had to get them inked, in case…” My voice gets away from me and I have to clear my throat to continue. “In case you didn’t make it here. In case an online chat was all we’d ever have.”
Nox’s eyes glisten and instead of words his response is to lean over and kiss the inked words on my skin. Then he trails his lips up my pecs until he reaches my neck. He wraps his arms around me and when his tongue flicks my ear lobe my restraint snaps. I tackle him onto the bed.
Going Commando is finally live and on Kindle Unlimited!
Click HERE to get it now!
Synopsis“I never thought I could want anyone as much as I wanted Nash, then I met you” ~Royal
When I was sixteen I was afflicted with a terrible curse...I fell in love with my straight best friend. I never thought I’d move past my feelings for Nash and find someone who could love me in return, until the day a gorgeous marine plopped himself down in my chair and asked me to ink him. I’m falling fast for Zade, but my feelings for Nash are still very real. When life starts getting complicated and Nash speaks the words I never thought I’d hear, the only thing I want is for us to find a way to make this work...together.
“What if I told you, you'd never have to choose?”~Zade
I thought I’d stay in the Marines for life, that was the plan. But after a traumatic event I couldn’t make myself re-enlist when my contract was up. Confused and unsure what to do next I called up my best friend for a place to stay. What I didn’t count on was my best friend’s boyfriend practically throwing a sexy tattoo artist at me to keep me busy. Royal is everything I’ve ever wanted and his roommate, Nash, is starting to grow on me, too.
“A few weeks ago I thought I was straight. Now I'm sandwiched between two sweaty men. Can't say I do anything half-assed.” ~Nash
Of course I’ve noticed that my best friend, Royal is crazy good looking. I have eyes, that doesn’t mean I’m into guys. Although, when I start to notice that his new boyfriend, Zade, is pretty hot too, that makes me start to question things a little. Not to mention the dreams I keep having of the three of us together. I’m willing to try if they are.
**This is NOT a love triangle, just good old fashioned man-on-man-on-man love
**Every book in the Heathens Ink series can be read as a stand-alone, but it’s way more fun to read them in order.
“Come on dude, let’s get you home and get you some water and Advil to head off the hangover you’re bound to have in the morning,” my best friend, Nash, suggests as he puts an arm around me to keep me from falling over.
Real talk for a second...I’m not that drunk. But if exaggerating your state of drunkenness to get your straight best friend to put his arms around you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
I’m not some creepy asshole, I swear. I’ve been cursed with a crush on a man I can never have. What a cliché, right?
“You good?” Nash asks once I’m in the car.
I allow myself a brief moment of staring at the gorgeous man before I tear my gaze away and nod to let him know I’m fine.
“You guys all set back there?” Dani calls from the driver seat.
Dani is one of the most kick ass women I’ve ever known. Being the only chick working at a tattoo shop full of rowdy men, I was skeptical at first that she’d be able to put up with us. But she gives as good as she gets and isn’t afraid to put us in our place when necessary.
I find myself squished between Nash and Gage, one of the guys we work with at Heathens Ink. Adam, the owner of Heathens, rides in the passenger seat.
We’ve had a tradition since Nash and I started our apprenticeships at Heathens four years ago. Every Thursday night all of us go out for drinks after we close up the shop for the night. A few weeks ago this ritual was put on hold when one of my closest friends, and another tattoo artist at the shop, was the victim of a hate crime at a bar.
My gut still twists when I think about how close Madden came to losing his life. If it hadn’t been for a chance meeting with a fireman and former Marine at the bar that night, I’m not sure Madden would still be alive.
Anyway, we decided to bring the Thursday night tradition to Madden this week now that he’s had a little time to heal. And, after we all had a few drinks in us it was like old times again.
“Feeling okay? Not getting carsick or anything are you?” Nash checks.
“I’m alright,” I assure him, patting his strong thigh and then forcing myself to pull my hand back instead of leaving it resting where it feels so damn right.
When Dani pulls up in front of Nash’s and my house we both stumble out of the car, waving goodbye over our shoulders as we head for the front door.
“Hold on, I need a cigarette,” I tell Nash, plopping down on our front porch and fishing my pack out of my pocket.
“You promised you were quitting,” Nash says in his stern dad voice.
“No, you told me I should quit. I just stopped arguing.”
“Royal,” Nash sticks out his bottom lip, giving me his best pouty face. Little does he know that fucking pouty lip makes my dick ridiculously hard.
“Ugh, fine.” I shove the cigarettes back in my pocket without getting my nicotine fix.
I hold my hand out so Nash can haul me back to my feet, and he doesn’t disappoint. He pulls me up with more force than
I was expecting and I stumble into him, catching myself on his firm chest.
“Sorry, too rough,” Nash chuckles.
I don’t know why, but I can’t seem to make myself take a step back. And, Nash isn’t rushing to put any distance between us either.
I grant myself a moment of indulgence, looking up at my best friend, imagining what it would be like if he could be mine.
Before I know what’s happening the distance between our lips is disappearing. Whether he’s the one leaning closer, or I am, I couldn’t tell you. I’m too concerned with the feel of Nash’s breath against my lips to care who’s initiating it.
Nash looks down at me, his deep blue eyes shining and slightly glazed...and just like that the moment is broken.
I push against his chest to get him to release his grip, then I take a step back and force myself not to look back at his tempting mouth. I may have been pretending to be drunk, but it’s clear Nash really is.
When I have enough composure to look at him again, I notice a slight frown, and a furrow between his brows.
“Water then bed, right?”
“Right,” Nash mutters in a daze, following me into the house without another word.
Click Here to get a free short prequel to my brand new Heathens Ink series! Meet the Men of Heathens Ink: Madden, Adam, Royal, and Gage. Inked skin, damaged psyche's, and all kinds of dirty. You do not want to miss this M/M and M/M/M series of book. Rescue Me release date will be announced soon!
I'm so excited to share Matthew and Jax's story with you guys! Closet Case is the first M/M installment of the Sexy Nerd Boys series and I just know you guys will love it.
Live on 2/24!
Click HERE to add it to your TBR!
That awkward moment when you accidentally fool around with a closet case. I have a strict policy against dating closeted guys. Confused straight guys? Absolutely. Guys who don’t mind being out and proud? Duh. But closet cases are a hard pass. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt with a giant picture of a broken heart on it. It would be a lot easier to stick to my dating rule if Matthew Hart could be slightly less irresistible.
Being a closeted gay college football player is not all it’s cracked up to be. After I broke my high school boyfriend’s heart by refusing to come out of the closet, I swore off serious dating. I don’t want to hurt anyone like that again, and I’ll admit I’m protecting my own heart in the process, too. It was a lot easier to stick to my no dating rule before I laid eyes on Jax Greene. He’s exactly my type in every possible way. If there’s even the slightest chance that history won’t repeat itself, I want to see where things might lead. Convincing Jax to give me a chance though might be the toughest play I’ve ever made.
**This book is the first M/M installment of the Sexy Nerd Boys series, but can be read as a stand-alone. Recommended for 18+ due to language and all kinds of hot sex
*please note this sneak peek is unedited*
Typically, waking up to the deep, pleasured moans of another man would mean it’s a great fucking morning. Unfortunately, these particular moans are coming through the walls, and are accompanied by the far less appealing, higher pitched, female cries of pleasure.
I grumble to myself as I gather my blankets closer to my bare chest, cursing my cold, empty bed. I grab my phone to check the time and decide it’s a reasonable hour to get up and take a shower before class.
Wincing as my feet meet the icy floor, the moans from the other side of the wall reach a crescendo and I consider giving them a round of applause just to be a dick. Chase and Lila are good roommates, noisy morning sex aside. They pay their portion of the rent on time, they keep the place pretty clean, and it’s nice to come home to an apartment that isn’t empty.
Their situation is pretty weird since he’s had a secret crush on Lila since before they officially met, and thanks to a weird twist of fate she ended up as my roommate. They’re still working out what all the sex means to them. But that’s not my story to tell.
I turn on the shower and bounce to generate heat as I wait for the water to reach the perfect temperature- which for me is just shy of scalding. I glance down at my half-hearted morning wood and contemplate tugging a quick one out. But, I can’t muster the necessary enthusiasm.
Something about the long, cold winter is getting to me and I get the feeling it’s the fact that all my friends have someone to cuddle up to during the cold nights and I’m riding solo.
The frigid January morning grips me by the balls as I make the trek to my first class of the spring semester.
As soon as I enter the lecture hall I’m flagged down by one of my teammates. Jinxy-so named for his abundance of superstitions regarding winning streaks- is the tight end for the football team.
“Hey QB,” Jinxy greets me with a fist bump. I slide into the empty seat behind him and listen as he starts to fill me in on his winter break.
I pull my hat down in an attempt to shield my ears from the frigid breeze. As I walk with my friends Lila and Hadley, on my way to pick up my very best friend Aubrey before our morning anthropology class.
“You know what I’ve been thinking,” Lila says to Hadley, eyeing me in a way that lets me know whatever “we” should do has something to do with me. “We should introduce Jax to…”
“I was thinking the same thing. Get Ravi off his case about needing a boyfriend,” Hadley agrees with a conspiratorial smirk.
“My ears are burning. Are you ladies trying to fix me up with some big hunk of man?” I ask with a mixture of amusement and hope.
“Yeah, the only thing is he’s not out,” Hadley laments. I frown and shake my head ‘no’ fast enough to give myself whiplash.
“Sorry, I don’t do closet cases. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt. Never again
“Oh there’s my girl,” I say, waving at Aubrey as she trudges through the snow towards us.
Hadley and Lila share a confused look at my wording.
“What? Just because I don’t want to put my dick in her doesn’t make her any less my girl. She sure as hell doesn’t belong to the dickrag she calls a boyfriend, he’s too busy sticking it in anything that moves.”
“Jackson Greene I cannot believe I let you talk me into a class before nine in the morning. I hate you,” Aubrey berates as she nears.
“You love me, now come give me some sugar.” I pull her in for a hug and a sloppy kiss on the cheek before letting her go.
“You guys are kind of weird,” Lila notes with a laugh.
“You’re weird,” I shoot back with juvenile satisfaction.
“And on that note, this is where we leave you. Our class is that way,” Hadley says pointing to the left. I give the girls a hug and Aubrey and I head to the right.
“Could that guy be any more gay?” Jinxy says- halting his story about a girl he banged on New Years- as a girl and guy enter the classroom.
I roll my eyes and force my fists not to clench at his comment. My best friend, Hadley, told me I should just tell the neanderthals on the football team that I like guys and if they have a problem with it they can get fucked. But, it’s attitudes like Jinxy’s that have kept me in the closet.
No way I’ll have a shot at the NFL if I come out. We’ve come a long way in this country in the past few years, but there’s still a stigma on homo’s in the locker room. Can’t say I blame them entirely, although I’ve always been careful to keep my eyes forward and I’d never dream of hitting on any of my teammates.
Athletes aren’t my type. Not that I’m against all the rippling muscles or anything. But, if I had to describe my type I’d say he’s exactly like the guy who just walked in. Short, full beard, thick rimmed nerd glasses, and a mop of messy curls on top of his head that looks like he just rolled out of bed.
He catches me staring as he makes his way to a seat, he gives me a brazen wink and makes a kissy face at me. I can’t help but laugh. Dude has some balls, playing flirty with a ‘straight’ football player. My dick immediately takes notice, thickening in my pants.
“What a fucking perv,” Jinxy declares, giving the guy the finger.
“Do you even know him?”
“His name’s Jackson, I think. I sat next to him last semester in my English credit, he was always making passes at me.”
“For real?” my eyebrows go up. That’s more than fucking ballsy to repeatedly hit on a guy who’s made it clear he’s straight.
“Hey Sean, didn’t know you were in this class baby. Are we finally going to stop dancing around this attraction we’re both feeling?” Jackson taunts from a few rows back. Jinxy’s jaw clenches and his face turns red. I stifle a laugh. Jinxy’s such an idiot, the guy’s not hitting on him, he’s pushing his buttons.
Jackson notices my smirk and gives me an acknowledging head nod. I nod back before turning to face the podium as the professor gets ready to start his lecture.
I'm so excited to share Hard to Resist with you today! This installment of the Sexy Nerd Boys series centers around Hadley- who you might remember as Eve's roommate in Naughty Angel- and Ravi. Ravi is a sexy Indian boy with a love of Star Wars and writing Sci-fi, but he isn't very good at dictating his own life. He let his parents push him into a pre-med major, and he let his best friend warn him away from the one girl he's been in love with since he was sixteen. To be fair, that girl is his best friend's twin sister. But when Ravi and Hadley end up sharing an apartment he's going to find that she might just be too Hard to Resist.
And for those of you who've been following the Sexy Nerd Boys from the beginning there are some cameo's from the rest of the gang as well ;)
Once you read it I'm sure you'll be wondering, so I'll go ahead and let you know now- YES, Matthew is getting his own book ;) and I'm excited to do a foray into M/M romance for that crazy man.
Check out what some bloggers are saying about Hard to Resist:
"If you are looking for a funny sexy romance then you have found it." ~ Rockstar Book Muse
"Every character in this series is written exquisitely, baring their soul to the reader but I think this story of forbidden love and true friendship is my favourite in the series." ~ Click Book Blog
"Ever had a book that made you so giddy and happy inside. Ever had a book that made you feel like you are floating in a cloud and simply get lost in a sky filled with clouds. Well, Hard to Resist by K.M. Neuhold made me feel" ~ Romantic Angel Book Blog
"K. M. Neuhold has an uncanny talent for building sexual tension and creating funny, down to earth characters that will keep you coming back for more." ~ Rochelle's Reviews
Worth the Wait is free this week only! Check out a brief excerpt below and then be sure to get your free copy and let your friends know too!
Sweat pours off of me as I slam my fists into the heavy punching bag. Peace floods my body as I revel in the stinging flesh of my knuckles. Left, left, right, left. I tune out everything else around me. All of the other sounds of fist on flesh, the smell of sweat, they’re all a million miles away. It’s just me and the punching bag. It’s just me and my residual rage being poured out in the form of sweat and violence. Perfection.
I’ll tell you a little secret, I have enough of them I can spare one now. When you wake up in a hospital bed with the realization that you narrowly escaped death you’re a changed person. Before the accident I was weak, but now I’m strong. The one thing I swore to myself when I walked out of that hospital was that I would never let anyone hurt me again. I’ve already been hurt enough in my life. I’m not going to be a victim anymore. At least not a victim to anyone but myself, but that’s a different issue altogether.
“Abby!” I stop mid-swing and grab the swinging bag to steady myself. I drag in deep breaths. My lungs burn with the effort to get enough oxygen into my body. I turn my gaze to the middle aged man who owns the gym. Ironically, his name is Jim.
“What’s up?” I ask breathlessly, keeping a conspicuous amount of distance between us. Jim is a nice guy and he’s never done anything to make me think he’s trying to creep on me, but, well...let’s just say I have ‘issues’ with men.
“Wow, you were really focused, I’ve been trying to get your attention for ten minutes. The ladies who signed up to take your self-defense class are waiting,” He informs me, gesturing towards a group of mostly college aged girls standing in a group outside of one of the classrooms.
I nod and grab a towel to wipe some of the sweat off of my face before heading over toward the women.
“Hi there, sorry to keep you ladies waiting, I was a bit absorbed,” I apologize with a laugh.
“You were amazing over there,” One of the girls says in a quiet, awed voice.
I look over at her with a smile. She’s small and meek with dirty blonde hair and a mousy face. She’s the kind of girl you would see and forget about thirty seconds later.
“Thank you,” I acknowledge before gesturing for everyone to make their way into the classroom. It’s really just a private gym area used to teach different classes like yoga, tai chi, and self-defense.
Once everyone is in and I’m standing in front of them I take several deep breaths to calm my nerves.
Why did I agree to do this? I hate public speaking. And, it’s not like I’m an expert or anything, I just got into kickboxing last year, after the accident. It’s been working a hell of a lot better than therapy, if you don’t count the recurring nightmares and the fact that I still don’t want a man to touch me. Well, you know what they say: you can’t win ‘em all.
“I’m so glad that you’ve all decided to take your safety into your own hands by taking this self-defense class.” I jump right into the class with my prepared speech.
Once I get through this I have to tackle getting my things moved into my new apartment. This is going to be a friggin’ exhausting day.
“So everybody let’s pair off and we’ll start right away with practicing some techniques.”
Limerence: the state of infatuation.
Infatuation: a shortlived but intense attraction to another person.
What constitutes short-lived? A week? A month? A year? I’m thinking three years is probably past the grace period to describe something as short-lived. The intense part though? Yeah, I’ve got that covered.
The rhythmic pounding of feet on pavement has always been soothing to me. Finding that perfect pace where you can zone out and just run. There’s nothing like it.
I often let my mind wander during these bi-weekly cross-country runs with the track team. I think about the future; mostly what I wish it would be instead of what it will be. And I spend a lot of time doing my best not to think about…
“Hadley Parker,” Greg Peterson says reverently to a sophomore, whose name I can’t remember, a few paces ahead of me. “I’m telling you man, she is so fucking hot.”
I bite my tongue until I taste blood. Greg Peterson is too big of a tool to have the right to even say her name.
“Isn’t her brother, Chase, crazy overprotective?” the kid asks.
Hell yeah, Chase is overprotective. As far as he’s concerned, no one is good enough for his sister. Not even his best friend in the world...that would be me.
“I guess so, but she’s like a secret agent or some shit. She’s really good at sneaking around so big brother doesn’t kill a guy,” Greg says with a laugh.
Bile rises in my throat. This doesn’t sound like a hypothetical have you seen that chick’s rack type conversation. He obviously has been with Hadley. Not that it’s any of my business who Hadley is sneaking around with.
Having a ridiculously inappropriate crush on your best friend's twin sister really sucks.
Dex and Remy
It’s Baby Time
I’ve been tossing and turning all night long, unable to get comfortable. It’s not surprising I can’t get comfortable, with my belly big enough to have its own zip code. Somehow Dex has managed to sleep through my shifting and grumbling. He’s snoring peacefully beside me, making me smile.
I never thought this would be my life; nine months pregnant with a gorgeous man in my bed...and I’m happy about it! Don’t get me wrong, I’m fucking terrified. But, I’m happy too. Ridiculously happy, in fact.
A sharp pain in my lower abdomen makes me gasp. My hand flies protectively to my stomach as I gasp from the sensation. After a second the pain recedes a little but doesn’t end entirely. I attempt to sit up and feel a sudden rush of wetness between my legs.
What the hell? Did I just pee myself?
“Dex,” I reach over and shake his shoulder, trying not to let myself panic. Is something wrong with my baby? “Dex, wake the hell up.”
Dex blinks awake with confusion.
“What’s up wrong?”
“I don’t know, it hurts and something’s wet. Dex, I’m scared.” The words are difficult for me to admit but as the pain spikes again I can’t hide my fear. Dex sits up, suddenly wide awake, concern etched in his face. He reaches out and puts a hand on my belly, before speaking to me in a soothing tone.
“Everything’s okay darlin’, take a few good deep breaths for me.”
A sob escapes my throat as I try to do as Dex says, but find it nearly impossible to calm my panicked breaths. His comforting hand moves to my back and starts rubbing comforting circles.
“Breathe for me, please. A few nice deep breaths,” he instructs, still calm as a damn summer day. How is he not as freaked out as I am right now?
“Daddy?” Maya appears in the doorway looking sleepy and concerned.
“Everything’s alright princess. I need you to be a good girl for me and go get your shoes on.”
“Are you okay mommy?” Maya asks me, still standing in the doorway. I’ve finally managed to start taking deep breaths like Dex instructed, and the sound of Maya calling me ‘mommy’ spreads warmth through my chest. She started a few weeks ago, right after she started preschool and realized the other kids mostly had two parents. She came home and asked Dex if I was her mommy. He explained to her that she never lived in my tummy like the new baby does, but if she wanted to call me mommy she could because I love and take care of her like a mommy.
“Maya, princess, mommy is okay. I need you to go get your shoes on because the new baby is coming now so we need to go to the hospital.”
Maya complies, padding out of the room to find her shoes.
“I’m having the baby now?” I ask, another shot of pain gripping me.
“I think so,” Dex says before kissing my shoulder tenderly and climbing out of bed. He comes around to my side of the bed and helps me up.
“I’m scared, Dex.” I admit, barely above a whisper. He gives me a sympathetic smile then smooths my hair down.
“You’ve got this Rem.”
I give him a skeptical look and absentmindedly rub my stomach. I’m about to push a human being out of me. What the hell was I thinking getting knocked up?
“I’m going to be there with you every step of the way.”
I’m still not convinced, chewing on my bottom lip.
“Plus, you don’t really have a choice. Our little girl is coming right now whether you’re ready or not,” there’s a hint of amusement in his tone that actually relaxes me a little. I nod with resolve and waddle to the dresser to pull on a pair of sweatpants. Dex yanks on a pair of jeans and grabs our ‘go bag’ before ushering Maya and I out of the house.
Dex calls his mom on the way to the hospital to tell her to meet us there. She’s going to pick up Maya from us and then bring her back to meet the new baby once it’s out of me. Good god, I feel like I’m about to live through a scene in Alien.
“Seriously Rem, you’ve got this.” Dex puts a reassuring hand over mine.
“Easy for you to say, you’re not pushing a human being out of your junk today.”
“Fair enough, but I promise it’s going to be worth it.”
Seventeen hours and a ton of cursing and sweating later our baby girl is born. When the doctor passes the wrinkly pink miracle to Dex there’s a distinct sheen of tears glistening in his eyes. He kisses her fuzzy head and whispers to her all kinds of promises about never letting anything hurt her.
Then he looks up and our eyes meet, emotion wells in my chest and prickles my own eyes.
“You did amazing darlin’. Are you ready to hold our little jelly bean?”
I nod wordlessly, not trusting my voice at the moment. I open my arms and Dex arranges her for me.
“We never did decide on a name,” Dex says, sitting beside me and gazing down at our daughter in my arms.
“What about Callie?”
“I like it, she looks like a Callie,” he agrees.
After a few more minutes the nurse says she’s going to take Callie to the nursery so I can rest and Dex goes to get Maya and his mom. Before he leaves he kisses me hard and gives me a sneaky sort of smile I can’t decipher.
“Okay, princess, I think she’s waking up. You remember what you’re going to do?” I ask, kneeling down in front of Maya in the hallway outside of Remy’s hospital room.
“Yes daddy,” she smiles proudly and holds her hand open to me. I take a deep breath and place the ring in her hand before turning her to face the room and waving her in. She scrambles up onto the bed as Remy blinks awake.
“Hey baby girl,” she opens her arms to let Maya snuggle up to her.
“Do you love me mommy?” Maya asks with her best ‘getting what she wants’ look. I do my best to keep from laughing at the blatant manipulation I’ve got my five year old daughter doing on my behalf.
“Of course I love you, Maya.”
“If you love me, then will you marry my daddy?” She smiles widely and opens her hand to hold the ring out to Remy. I hold my breath and step into the room, bracing for a reproach but hoping for an enthusiastic ‘yes’.
Remy gasps at the sight of the ring and then looks towards me. She squints her eyes with accusation.
“I believe Maya asked you a question, darlin’.”
“This has to be the most Machiavellian proposal ever contrived.”
“You said I couldn’t propose while you were pregnant. I respected your request,” I point out. “Now, are you going to leave my princess hanging or what?”
Remy rolls her eyes but I see the hint of a smile playing at the corners of her sweet lips.
“Yes, I’ll marry your manipulative yet sexy father,” she tells Maya, plucking the ring from her hand and sliding it on. Then she pulls Maya in for an embrace.
“Can I get in on that?” I ask, but instead of waiting for a response I squeeze onto the bed and wrap my arms around both my girls. The timing is perfect because the nurse arrives seconds later with Callie and my world is complete.
“Maya, meet your new little sister.”
Maya’s eyes are wide as she gently touches Callie’s tiny hands.
“I’m going to teach her so many fun things daddy.”
“She’ll like that princess.” I kiss Maya, then Callie, and finally Remy. My heart is so full I feel like it might burst.
“I’m really glad you stormed into my apartment that day and called me on my bullshit,” Remy whispers.
“Any time my beautiful impossible girl, any time.”
Nikki and Lee’s first kiss
As soon as she steps onto the stage all eyes are on her, including mine. She’s petite and delicate looking but at the same time she has this presence that draws me in. Her long dark hair cascades down her back in perfect waves and her green eyes sparkle with excitement or intoxication, maybe both. The music starts up and she grabs the microphone like she owns the
“This was never the way I planned, not my intention. I got so brave drink in hand, lost my discretion.” Her voice caresses the lyrics perfectly, she elicits hoots and hollers from the audience. Her eyes lock on mine and it’s like I’m caught in a trance. She winks at me and begins to belt out the chorus. “I kissed a girl and I liked it, taste of her cherry chapstick…”
My heart flutters in my chest and I can’t take my eyes off of her. Her song ends too soon and the trance is broken. As soon as she steps off of the karaoke stage she’s met with a multitude of horney college guys all asking to buy her a drink. She slowly makes her way in my direction with the hoard of guys following her. My hands are shaking, what am I going to say to her if she comes over here?
“Please let me buy you a drink beautiful?” One of them asks her as she approaches my table.
“Thanks, but you’re wasting your time, I don’t swing that way. And, spare me any lewd comments about how your dick could turn me straight because that shit makes me gag.”
I can’t help but laugh. Her gaze lands on me sharply and the twinkle in her eye intensifies.
“See, she knows what I’m talking about. Now scurry along boys I don’t want any of you cramping my style while I offer to buy this sexy lady a drink.”
“No thanks,” I respond, peeling the label off of the beer I have in front of me.
“Come on, I’m not looking for anything other than to make every man in here jealous that I had the privilege of buying the most beautiful chick in here a drink and they didn’t,” She coaxes.
“Well, when you put it that way.” I relent with a smile.
“Excellent, come sit at the bar with me, I like to be near the supply,” She says with a laugh. I abandon my table and my warm beer and follow her to the bar for a fresh drink.
“Two rum and cokes,” She orders for us when we get to the bar. For a girl who can’t be any taller than 5’1” and probably weighs eighty pounds soaking wet she sure knows how to get her way.
“I’m Nikki by the way,” She finally introduces herself.
“I know, we had sociology class together last semester, I had a bit of a crush on you.”
How is it possible I had never noticed her.
“Yeah, but you were always talking to that one really douchey guy, Trevor of something like that.”
I cringe at the reminder.
“I have bad taste in men,” I say vaguely. The truth is that I realized not too long ago that the reason I have bad taste in men is that I don’t actually like men. Nikki watches my face for a few seconds as we both sip our drinks.
“I lied, now that you’ve accepted the drink I think you owe me a night of debauchery” She says with a flirtatious smile.
“It would take a shit ton more alcohol for that to happen,” I laugh, trying to ignore the excited electricity that is suddenly buzzing over my skin.
“Barkeep!” She shouts banging a hand down on the bar to get his attention. “I require one metric shit ton of alcohol so that I might get into this young ladie’s undergarments.”
I feel my face turning bright red but I can’t help but laugh.
“A metric shit ton?” I ask incredulously.
“Ah yes, a metric shit ton is more than a standard shit ton by a conversion factor of 2.87,” She explains in a serious tone.
“You are...something else.” I laugh and shake my head.
“I hope something good?”
I bite my bottom lip and smile at her in a way that I’m sure can only be described as flirtatious. Am I really doing this? It suddenly occurs to me that there are tons of people here, watching and judging.
“I should actually get going,” I say in a rush, jumping up and knocking the bar stool over.
“Wait, Lee.” Nikki reaches towards me.
I wave her off and turn to flee.
“Thanks for the drink,” I shout over my shoulder as I shove my way through the crowd.
As soon as the warm night air hits my face I stop and take several deep breaths. I can’t believe I was flirting with a girl in front of a room full of people. My parents would’ve died of a friggin heart attack if they’d seen that.
“Lee,” Nikki’s voice breaks the silence of the night. “I’m sorry if I came on too strong,” She says, approaching me slowly.
“You didn’t. I’m just...nervous,” I admit with a self deprecating laugh.
Nikki stops right in front of me in the quiet parking lot and my breath catches in my throat. She looks so soft and beautiful in the moonlight, it makes my heart hurt. My stomach starts twisting itself into knots.
She tilts her chin up and meets my gaze. There’s a charge in the air like something is going to happen. I want something to happen. I want to know if it would feel different, if it would feel right.
For five years I’ve jumped into bed with any guy who gave me the time of day, trying to prove to myself that I’m straight. But, it never felt right. At a certain point I need to know if it’s because it’s not right for me or because I haven’t found the right guy. I tentatively reach over and brush a stray strand of Nikki’s silky hair behind her ear.
I lick my lips and her eyes focus on my mouth. I wonder what her lips taste like, I wonder what she kisses like. Would it be like the slobbery, unskilled kisses I’ve had with so many men? Or, would it be like the smooth, overly practiced kisses that make me wonder where the passion is? I lean forward slowly and she meets me half way with her lips.
Our kiss is tentative at first. Her lips are soft and warm and taste like cherries. I can’t help but think back a short while earlier when she was singing the Katy Perry song on stage.
Her teeth graze my bottom lip teasingly. I ease my tongue out to explore her mouth. Our tongues tangle and my breath quickens. This isn’t like any other kiss I’ve ever had. Her delicate hands run through my short hair and pull me even further into her lips.
So this is what a kiss is supposed to feel like.