SLIDING HOME | 11/3/20
This friends-to-lovers story is steamy, hot, and takes place in Phoenix during the summer. Two childhood friends must live together for the summer and and for the first time, they are both single, cannot back down from a dare, and partake in an innocent game of strip poker...only, the game changes everything.
I might be biased by an Old Fashion might be my favorite drink of all time. It hits you hard in the chest (in a good way) leaves a great after-taste and goes down so smoothly.
The characters in this story will stay with you after you finish and they are rough around the edges (much like this drink) but it's all worth it in the end.
Like the title, Whiskey Surprises, this book pairs real well with a nice whiskey on the rocks. The two main characters find each other in a bar, drinking whiskey, and things progress rather quickly from there.
My go-to drink is a whiskey and ginger ale since I'm not brave enough to go straight on the rocks.
It didn’t matter how many damn to-do lists I had, or how many of those items I checked off—I could never sleep the night before the big event. My Rusty Nail, the best drink ever created, burned my throat in the perfect way and the adorable bartender slid me my second glass. He defined eye-candy with his plucked eyebrows, chiseled jaw and styled hair, a bit too young for the looks he was throwing my way. I had no issues with being a cougar, but there were lines I wouldn’t cross. He was one of them.
He flipped the towel in a dramatic fashion and I hid my snort. In a practiced move perfected by long nights with big tippers, he leaned over the bar onto his strong arms and batted his long lashes. He dipped his head slightly to the side and met my gaze. “Mama, what’s a pretty thing like you doing sitting at a bar alone?”
“Drinking. Strong, independent women are the new wave.” I scanned for a name tag and not at all over his uber-defined pecs. Tony grinned but leaned closer and crooked his finger for me to lean in. I wasn’t rude, so I appeased him.
“You must have a lot of confidence to sit alone.”
I tilted my head to the opposite angle and added a bit of attitude to my voice. “Incorrect. I have a lot of desire to drink alone.” I held up the glass. “Cheers, Tony.”
He got the hint and took his charm elsewhere. I closed my eyes and hummed in pleasure at the rich taste of Scottish whiskey and Drambuie. The honey and citrus combination almost calmed the nerves dancing around in my belly. Some people handled pressure fine. I did not. Stress began in my gut and spread throughout my limbs, making me second-guess every decision I had made regarding the event. Every decision. Like, why didn’t I order red polo shirts for the staff? Did I bring enough socks for the week?
Right, it didn’t matter. But my nerves got the better of me and whiskey was the answer to any question. I took another sip, the pain in my chest growing at the severity of my situation. I pinched the bridge of my nose, hoping to relieve some of my tension, but failed. I continued to replay my boss’s words. If I said them enough, then maybe they wouldn’t be true—if we didn’t make our threshold in revenue this year, then I wouldn’t have a job.
Being single at thirty-two when every goddamn person I knew had two-point-five kids and a house with four dogs and a partner was annoying. I loved my friends, coworkers, family—the whole lot of them. Even my younger brother who rarely showered had found a human who wanted to spend his life with him. I could handle their jabs about my personal life and if I was confused. But being single and unemployed was not a route I wanted to head down. Nope. No thank you.
It wasn’t as if I was awful or un-dateable. I took care of myself, ate healthily, worked out and had a normal amount of confidence and above-average conversational skills. I just didn’t like wasting time on small talk when I had to help run a multimillion-dollar Silvas car show. Ain’t no time for relationships when a wild ride in the sack suffices. Plus, why force a relationship if I knew it wasn’t going to work?
“You look like you’re trying to solve all the world’s problems,” someone said next to me. The voice was deep, a guttural masculine rhythm. It startled me a bit and I set my glass on the bar before giving the stranger my attention.
“Excuse me?” His deep voice drew me in, instantly sending heat all the way down to my core. It made no sense to have this reaction to a voice, and I had to see if it matched his face.
I bit back a groan. It matched. Good god. Testosterone and sex just oozed off him in waves. Delicious waves. His jet-black hair went well with his soft hazel eyes and tan skin. Lines appeared on the edges around his eyes—a sign he lived a happy life. His jaw was sharp and defined, and his day-old beard didn’t hurt either. I grinned and adjusted my position to face him. His gaze moved from my face down to my legs. His nostrils flared twice and awareness burned through me while he continued his perusal back to my mouth.
Ten points to me for shaving and wearing the summer dress. Maybe it was the spark in his eyes that challenged me. Well, could be my feisty personality. But instead of going easy on the handsome man, I slowly ran my tongue over my teeth and tilted my head. “I said try again. That line you used is not original. I’ve heard it an obnoxious amount of times.”
He bit down on his bottom lip, doing nothing to hide his amusement. He raised his eyebrows and leaned an inch closer. “Do you find yourself at a bar alone drinking a gentleman’s drink often?” He transformed that smirk into a lazy smile that showcased two dimples. The goofy grin clashed with his broad shoulders and intimidating suit and tie but I sure as hell wasn’t complaining. Dimples were my kryptonite.
“I prefer to not classify drinks by gender. I drink what I like. We all should do what we like. Life is too short. But to answer your question, yes.”
He nodded and didn’t ask before sliding onto the bar stool next to me. His cologne teased me, the masculine scent like leather and mint and something…woodsy. I wanted to scoot closer and drag my fingers over his firm pecs, but refrained. I wasn’t sure I liked the guy, but my body didn’t care. He ordered an Old-Fashioned and winked when he held up his glass. “Clearly, we have great taste in drinks. To the whiskey of the world.”
We clinked glasses and he held my gaze throughout the entire sip. His throat moved and desire shot through me. It was such a simple gesture—a man taking a drink. But he did it so much better than all the other men I’d met at bars. He held it up, taking his time smelling the rich liquid, releasing a small moan. His long fingers made the glass seem so much smaller and ideas flew through my head as to what he could do with those hands… I cleared my throat and took another sip.
I didn’t have time for commitments of any kind, not with the Silvas car show lasting the next five days, but a fling with a stranger could help with the stress. It had been at least a month since I’d had an orgasm not produced by yours truly, and before I could rationalize my thoughts, my skin tingled in anticipation. I readjusted my legs, crossing the right over the left, and enjoyed his reaction. He followed the motion with his eyes and ran his tongue over his bottom lip, his mouth a little slack. Yeah, I had nice legs and was proud of it. I opened my mouth to speak but he beat me to it.
“You’re direct. I appreciate that.” He grinned again, the heat in his eyes unmistakable.
“Why waste time on small talk and fake conversations?” I pursed my lips at him and took my time studying every feature on his handsome face. The strong forehead, the slightly crooked nose, the dusting of gray around the temples giving him a beautiful silver fox look… My nipples tightened with need when he leaned closer—not enough to touch me, but enough for the air around us to ripple with tension. I ran a finger down my neck, drawing his attention to the low dip of my dress. He hummed in approval and I swore his cologne got stronger.
“Can I walk you back to your room when we finish our drinks? I know you’re independent, but I’d like to offer my help removing your dress.”
I smiled, held up my glass and downed the rest of the amber liquid. “How about I walk you back to your room and I help you remove your clothes?”
His eyes lit up with delight and he mirrored my action. Not two seconds later, our glasses were empty and I slid off the tall bar stool. He requested our drinks be charged to his room and he put his hand on my lower back to guide me toward the elevator. I was tall for a woman, two inches shy of six feet, but the handsome stranger still had half a foot over me. My limbs trembled at every small gesture. When he dug his fingers into my lower back, I felt it in my toes. He carefully brushed my hair off my shoulder and when the pads of his fingertips touched my skin, electrifying tingles broke out. My body was a puddle of hormones and lust.
“How long are you in town?” His throaty voice sent chills down my back as he pressed his lips against my ear. He had a commanding tone, strong and deep in timbre. I had no doubt he’d have a wildly successful career as a phone sex worker.
“Five more days,” I replied when the elevator doors pinged, announcing its arrival. My speech wasn’t recognizable with its hoarse tone. I cleared my throat. “You?”
The air stilled when the door shut. It was just the two of us in the small hotel elevator, my pulse racing as anticipation built inside me. My panties were soaked and I wanted nothing more than to have my way with the handsome stranger. “What floor should I push?”
“Tenth.” He brought his fingers to my neck and eased my long blonde hair off my shoulder. He trailed the delicate skin behind my ears, down my neck and the exposed part of my back. I shivered when he pressed his lips right where my spine met my neck. “Mm. Your skin is beautiful.”