I am a total cornball, but when I look back over the last four years since ONE WEEK GIRLFRIEND came out, I can’t believe all the goodness that came from that one little book. So. Much. Goodness. And I had no clue. My first post on my website appeared on December 31st, 2012. I said something along the lines of, “I have a feeling 2013 is going to be a good year!”
A complete understatement. 2013 was an amazing, outrageous, scary, anxious, wonderful, fabulous year. With the release of ONE WEEK GIRLFRIEND, my career completely changed. My life completely changed. And I have the readers to thank for that. Drew + Fable too, for sure, but also the readers. Here’s a snippet from a post I made a week after ONE WEEK GIRLFRIEND released:
I must confess. This has been the most amazing, exhilarating week ever. The support I’ve received from readers and reviewers, bloggers…it overwhelms me to the point of happy tears, I swear. I never expected this reaction to Drew + Fable. I certainly didn’t think it would happen this fast. The book only came out a week ago and it’s ranked 171 at the Amazon Kindle store! OMG!
I was just so freaking thrilled with the response! I’d never felt so much reader love before. It was great. But I must say…with my career changing so dramatically, I also took on a lot of projects. I also wrote under another name so I had contracts to fulfill for Karen too. It became overwhelming. I was stressed. I don’t really remember the summer of 2013. My family went on and did all sorts of things and I either stayed home and wrote or I was traveling. By late 2014 I was exhausted, not in the best health and I felt disconnected to my children. So in 2015 I started to slow down (my family would laugh at this but I really did slow down. Sort of). In 2016 I consciously took time off. Something I hadn’t done in YEARS. And peeps, it’s been nice. I’m closer than ever to my family, I feel good and I still somehow had eight books release between my two names in 2016. Crazy!
This year though, it’s sort of a blank slate. And that excites me. All the new possibilities to write something different. Though yes, of course, there are books coming. I have SAFE BET out today, I have another FRIENDS book coming very soon and I also have a YA thriller coming out in early 2018 from Entangled Teen. Otherwise, I gotz nothing. And I’m okay with that.
But enough about my sappy ramblings. SAFE BET is out today! The fourth book in The Rules series, this book is really a mashup between The Rules series and the One Week Girlfriend series (the story involves Sydney, who’s Gabe’s (IN THE DARK) sister and Wade, who’s Owen’s (FOUR YEARS LATER) best friend. Plus, Drew + Fable are all over it. All. Over. It! They play a huge part in this story and I hope all the Drew + Fable fans enjoy the little glimpse into their life. It was so much fun going back to their world. It always is. Hey I might write a story someday with Drew + Fable as the grandparents. You never know peeps!
You can grab SAFE BET for only $2.99 here: Amazon US | iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
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Sydney Walker’s new job is perfect. As the live-in nanny to the most famous quarterback in the NFL and his beautiful wife, she couldn’t have it any better. Their kids are adorable. Her bosses are more than generous. Plus, there are hot football players at the house all the time. Life can’t get much better than this.
Until her life turns into an absolute nightmare. The media is abuzz with rumors that she and her boss Drew Callahan are having a torrid affair. Everyone knows the truth—except the public. So Drew’s wife Fable comes up with the perfect idea.
She creates a fake relationship between Sydney and one of the rookie players on Drew’s team. Wade Knox is forever indebted to Drew and Fable and readily agrees to the set up. Pretending to be in a romantic relationship with the sexy nanny for a week—how hard can it be?
Crazy how it only takes one week for two people to fall head over heels in love…
(This mash-up new adult romance features characters from both the One Week Girlfriend series and The Rules series.)
Hey peeps! We’re two days away from the release of SAFE BET and to tide you over until then, I have a little sneak peek for you to read! Hope you enjoy!
Have you preordered SAFE BET yet? It’s only $2.99!
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“Drew!” Fable calls, waving him over. “Come meet Sydney.”
He starts to head over there and when he sends me a look over his shoulder, I reluctantly follow him. I really don’t need to be involved in this scenario, but I just can’t tell him that, can I? It would be rude. And I’m never rude to Drew and Fable.
“Sydney, this is my husband, Drew. Drew, this is Sydney Walker. She’s going to be our new nanny,” Fable says, sounding pleased. She looks over at her husband with a little wince. “I hope you don’t mind that I went ahead and hired her.”
“Of course I don’t mind. I trust your judgment.” Drew turns to greet Sydney. “Good to meet you,” he says as he gives Sydney a firm handshake. She’s staring up at him, her lips slightly parted, her eyes wide. Full on awestruck, which is typical. He’s a superstar. That’s how most people look at Drew when they first meet him.
“Hi,” she squeaks, her cheeks going pink as she releases Drew’s hand. Her gaze slips to mine, and then flitters away. But that one quick glance was like a sucker punch to my gut.
The nanny is beautiful.
I take a deep breath, shoving my hands in my jeans’ pockets so I won’t do something stupid—like try to grab her. She has pretty blue eyes and a full mouth that’s made for kissing. Her curves are even lusher than I first realized. She has full hips and a tiny waist and shapely legs. But I can’t worry about pretty nannies right now. I have to concentrate on work.
It still blows my mind that I might play for the NFL. That football is my job. I’m a lucky son-of-a-bitch.
“Sydney, this is Wade Knox. He’s an old family friend,” Fable says, knocking me from my thoughts. I blink and look down to find Sydney smiling up at me, interest clearly showing in her gaze. Hmm. “Wade, this is Sydney.”
“Hey Sydney.” I shake her hand, electricity pulsing between us the moment our palms touch. She jerks her hand away from mine as if I burned her. Guess she felt it too.
“Nice to meet you,” she murmurs as she takes a step back. Like she needs the distance.
Even more interesting.
We make small talk for a few minutes before Fable takes Sydney back to the house, and the moment the door shuts behind them, Drew’s talking.
“The nanny’s cute,” he observes, his voice way too nonchalant.
“She looked at you like she thought you were cute, too.”
I roll my eyes. He never says stuff like this, so what’s his deal? “Cute? What are you doing? Trying to play matchmaker?” I send him a pointed look. “Give me a break. I don’t need the distraction.”
* * *
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Happy New Year my friends! I am so excited for 2017’s arrival. This year has been hard on many. It’s felt like a battle much of the time, and for those of you who feel battle-worn and run down, fear not! A fresh start can be inspiring. Seize this opportunity, grab hold of 2017 and all of its shiny newness and make it your year!
This is good advice for my precious Amanda Winters from the FRIENDS series, don’t you think? Ah, I adore Amanda. She’s a part of all of us, right? I mean that in the best possible way, as in she’s the average girl who’s just trying to get ahead. The loyal friend who works hard, studies hard, has a decent family, has been crapped on by her ex-boyfriend and her ex-best friend and is still trying to rise above it all. Haven’t we all dealt with a situation like that in life? I know I have…
I wrote ONE NIGHT last summer and posted it on Wattpad as a freebie serial/prequel to the Friends series. I also now have it available at all retailers for FREE. But here’s a little secret — while I was writing JUST FRIENDS, a certain someone grabbed hold of me every time he walked on the page and whispered in my ear, “Write my story. I deserve it more than these other jerks who are so damn rude to each other.” That was, of course, Mr. Jordan Tuttle. And I realized he was right. I knew I needed to write his story. And I’d already planned on writing ONE NIGHT but…
One afternoon, Jordan seriously grabbed hold of my brain and said, “YOU MUST WRITE THIS SCENE BETWEEN AMANDA AND I. NOW.” So I put everything on hold and I did write it, from Amanda’s point of view. I thought, well I can use this for ONE NIGHT. Yeah. Totally. So I’m not wasting words. But guess what? I didn’t use it for ONE NIGHT. I totally wasted those words! What the hell is wrong with me? They’ve sat on my computer since May. This is a travesty.
Well, travesty no longer! Rejoice peeps! Here is the-never-before-seen scene between Amanda and Tuttle. It starts abruptly and ends abruptly and for that I’m sorry but…I hope you enjoy. This is what I always imagined really happened when those two got together in his room the night of the party at his house in June. Right after she discovered stupid Thad and her stupid best friend Tara hooking up. Tuttle drags her into his room and consoles her. Cos you know. He’s been secretly in love with her for years. *swoon* Jordan Tuttle is my favorite. And if you haven’t read their story in MORE THAN FRIENDS yet, I highly suggest you check it out.
Enjoy! (p.s. – I’ll be posting this on Wattpad too if you prefer to read it there)
* * *
“Take your revenge out on me.” He smiles as he leans against the headboard, his gaze locked on mine as he spreads his arms out wide, as if he’s offering himself to…me. “I’m all yours.”
I stare at him, stunned stupid. He…can’t be serious, can he? “You’re trying to trick me, right? Some of your friends are hiding out in your closet or in the next room. And the minute I make a move on you, they’re going to bust in and take photos and spread them on Snapchat or whatever.” I’ll become the biggest joke at our high school and I’ll have to beg my parents to let me test out and go to college early.
He cocks a brow. “You were planning on making a move on me?”
Of course, that’s all he would focus on. He wishes I wanted to make a move on him.
“No! Purely hypothetical.” I shift away from him, ready to leap off his bed and run out of his room but he’s faster than me. He grabs hold of my thigh and pins me in place.
My gaze drops to where he grips my thigh. His hand is huge, the fingernails trim and clean. Why I notice this, I don’t know, but I’ve always picked up on the details. And every little detail I’m noticing about Tuttle? I like.
Must be the alcohol. Has to be the alcohol. He made me stop drinking almost a half hour ago but my head is still spinning. Maybe that’s because he’s touching me, his fingers curled around my leg and I swear his touch is burning into my skin.
Burning me up inside.
“Don’t leave,” he murmurs, his grip gentling. I lift my head, my gaze meeting his once more. And what I see there is kind of crazy. He looks…sincere. Like he really wants me to stay with him in his room.
If he tries to make a move on me, I’m outta here. No way am I going to become a Tuttle conquest. I bet he keeps a tally of all the girls he’s brought to his room. I’m probably girl number five hundred and ninety two.
“I shouldn’t stay.”
“But I want you to.”
“Do you always get what you want?”
“I do.” He smiles and oh God, it’s a downright evil smile—wicked and full of promise—promise I can’t begin to wrap my head around. I may have a teeny bit of experience thinks to Thad and his fumbling hands in the back seat of his car, but he’s not smooth like Tuttle.
Not even close.
“I’m not. I swear.”
“Why do you want me to stay?”
“Well, you’re beautiful.” He drops his head, like he can’t face me after that admission and I’m afraid I might hyperventilate because ohmygod Jordan Tuttle just told me I was beautiful. “And I really like listening to you.”
“Listening to me?” I frown.
“Especially when you say big words.” He lifts his head, his intense gaze meeting mine.
I grimace. Now he is seriously mocking me. “Give me a break.”
“I’m serious. I’ve been in honors classes with you throughout high school, Amanda. Or did you not notice?” The pointed look he sends me is rather…challenging.
And hot. Oh so hot.
Of course, I noticed. Who doesn’t notice Jordan Tuttle? But I never really paid him any attention. He’s a football player and I’m in band. He’s popular and I’m not. I’m smart and…huh.
So is he.
But he doesn’t like girls like me. I’m boring and my chest is sort of flat and I’m too tall and on the skinny side. I eat like crazy yet it doesn’t matter, I can’t gain any weight, but my legs are long. Yeah, I have decent legs so maybe that’s what he likes about me?
Oh, who am I kidding? He doesn’t like anything about me. He’s just being nice. He’s got a drunk girl in his room who’s not his type and he’s trying to let me down easy.
“Pretty much every girl I meet, every girl who thinks she wants to be with me, it’s like they try to sound dumb on purpose. It’s so weird. They put on this act, as if they think I like them stupid,” he explains, his voice so soft and low I have to lean forward to hear him.
“Do you?” I ask. Oh God, he’s stroking my thigh, his fingers feather light and causing goose bumps to rise. I’m sure he can see them. Feel them. I try my best to pretend his touch doesn’t affect me, but my eyelids feel suddenly heavy. I want to close my eyes and focus everything on that one spot where Jordan Tuttle is touching me.
This is a moment to savor.
“I never gave it much thought before.” He hesitates and his fingers tease the hem of my shorts. “But you don’t act like that.”
I give in to the urge and close my eyes, pressing my lips together when he shifts, his shoulder brushing against mine, his hand still on my thigh, branding my skin. His other hand touches the side of my neck, his fingers sliding around until he’s cupping the back of my head. When I open my eyes, he’s right there, so close I can see just how beautiful his blue eyes are. Just how beautiful everything about his stupid perfect face is.
“You don’t act scared of me. You’re not impressed either. You’ve flirted a little tonight, though that’s not normal.” He smiles, his fingers tightening around my nape. “You’re just…you. Always consistent. Always Amanda.”
“Is that a bad thing?” I ask.
“No. Fuck no. It’s a very, very good thing,” he murmurs just before his mouth is on mine.
Oh God, his mouth. Chills race over my skin the moment our lips touch. He holds me still, his fingers curled around my nape, his other hand sliding beneath the leg of my shorts, higher up on my thigh. I don’t protest, I don’t pull away. I just let his fingers and his mouth work their magic on me.
And his lips are truly magical. I open for him, his tongue flicking, stroking mine before he retreats, his mouth capturing my bottom lip and gently tugging. I suck in an audible breath and I swear I feel him smile against my lips before he’s taking our kiss deeper, his mouth persuading mine open. Our tongues circle, his hand slides into my hair and I am so close to falling apart just from an overwhelmingly delicious kiss that clearly, Thad was doing it all wrong when we were together.
A whimper sounds low in my throat and I can’t believe I made that noise. I can’t believe Jordan Tuttle is kissing me. That I’m sitting on his bed with him and there’s a huge party happening just on the other side of that closed door yet he doesn’t care. I don’t care either.
He’s with me. He’s kissing and touching me, pulling me so close that somehow I end up on top of him, right in his lap. I break the kiss first and lean back, taking in our position. I’m straddling him and his back is against the padded headboard, his hands dropping to my hips, his lips damp and swollen and so freaking tempting as he watches me. His broad chest rises and falls rapidly and I realize he’s just as affected by our kisses as I am.
And that sends a heady spiral of power through me. That I could affect him this strongly, Mr. Popular Himself who’s probably kissed at least five hundred and ninety one girls before me.
“Why’d you stop?” he asks, his voice hoarse. He clears his throat, his fingers slipping beneath my T-shirt to touch my bare skin and a shiver runs through me.
“I, uh.” I clear my throat too because I have no idea what to say.
“It wasn’t any good?” He frowns. He looks truly perplexed and it is so stinking adorable I just go on pure instinct as I move in closer until our mouths align.
“It was perfect,” I whisper against his lips just before I kiss them. Too perfect, I want to shout at him. Who kisses like this? Granted, before Tuttle I’ve only been kissed by two boys in my life so far.
And he is by far the best. He deserves a first place medal in kissing. A scholarship to the college of his choice for kissing. Seriously.
His mouth moves hungrily over mine, his tongue busy, his hands busy too. They slide up my back, over my bra before they come back down, so agonizingly slow. As if his fingers are trying to memorize my skin. As if he’s trying to learn everything about me by touch.
I shiver again. It’s like I can’t stop shivering. I scoot in closer, my knees tight against his hips, my hands…
I don’t know what to do with my hands.
Now it’s Tuttle’s turn to break the kiss first.
“Touch me,” he murmurs, like he can sense I have no idea what to do next.
“Where?” I ask like an idiot.
“Fuck, Mandy wherever you want,” he says, groaning before he kisses me yet again. It’s like we can’t stop. We’re addicted to each other’s lips. His mouth is plump and skilled and delicious. And when I slip my hands into his thick, soft hair he moans against my mouth, as if he likes the way I’m touching him.
So I touch him a little more.
I play with his hair. I cup the side of his face, trace the firm line of his jaw. I grip his shoulders and I swear they’re as broad as a mountain. I slide my hand down the front of his chest, my fingers spread and catching on the fabric of his shirt. His skin is hot and hard beneath the thin cloth and when he tears his mouth from mine, I wonder for a brief instant if I did something wrong.
But no. I did it right because he tilts away from the headboard, one hand on my hip to keep me in place while the other tugs at the neck of his T-shirt, pulling it right off before he tosses it on the floor.
I gape at him, taking in the acres of newly naked boy chest. Wait, not boy chest, man chest, because Jordan Tuttle is built like a god. Like the most beautiful Greek statue anyone had the privilege to see in person.
Closing my eyes, I take a deep breath and tell myself to get a grip. It’s just a chest. It’s just Jordan Tuttle’s naked torso. No big deal. I can handle this.
He grabs my wrist and sets my hand on the center of his chest, so I can feel his heart racing beneath my palm. And oh my God, it’s racing as hard as mine, maybe even more so. I curl my fingers, my nails scratching lightly against his skin and he hisses out a breath as if I burned him.
“Open your eyes,” he demands and wow, he sounds so forceful, so commanding, so incredibly hot, I do as he says immediately.
His eyes glitter in the dimly lit room. “Can you feel what you’re doing to me?”
Well. I wasn’t going to mention it, but yes. I’m fairly certain he has a you-know-what that’s sort of poking me. But I was trying to ignore it. Because I don’t know what to do with it.
Hello, I’m Miss Only One Boyfriend In. Who wasn’t that great of a kisser and felt me up in the most awkward way possible in the back seat of his mother’s old Camry. That’s me. I don’t know how to deal with this gorgeous sexy boy and his perfect, intoxicating lips and body and voice and…
I need to stop. My rambling thoughts are getting me nowhere.
When I say nothing, he says again, “Can you?”
I nod. Remain quiet.
“If you want me to stop, I will.” He takes a deep breath. “I’m not going to push you, Mandy.”
“Tuttle, I…” I stop talking when he rests his fingers against my lips.
I frown, then almost sigh with pleasure when he strokes his thumb across my bottom lip.
“Call me Jordan.”
Right. His name.
“What were you going to say?”
“I don’t know.” I shake my head, confused. So confused. Maybe I’m still drunk. Though I’m most likely drunk on Jordan Tuttle’s mouth and touch more than anything. It’s dim in his room already, but shadows cross his face, making him look dark and mysterious and I can’t figure him out.
“Do you want me to take you home?” he asks solemnly.
Slowly I shake my head. I’m still touching his chest and his heart hasn’t calmed. I splay my fingers across his developed pecs, notice the way his eyelids waver when I do that.
Another surge of power rushes over me. He likes when I touch him. I want to feel him touch me like that too. I want to feel us pressed close, skin on skin.
Oh, just the thought makes my cheeks warm and I sink my teeth into my lower lip.
“What are you thinking?” He smiles, just the tiniest curve of his mouth and I look down, afraid to stare into his eyes. He’s like a mind reader or something. It’s weird.
He slips two fingers beneath my chin and tilts my face up so I have to look at him. “Tell me,” he murmurs, his thumb stroking my chin.
“I want.” I release a shuddering breath and shake my head. “Oh God, please don’t laugh at me.”
“I would never laugh at you,” he says, his voice so serious I know he means it. “Tell me, Mandy.”
No one has called me Mandy in years. Not after I demanded that they all call me by my full name in the beginning of eighth grade. I was such a bossy little bitch then.
“I want you to take off my shirt.” I say the words so fast they slur together and he seems surprised. Then pleased.
So very, very pleased.
“Sit up straight,” he says and I do as he asks, my bent legs still straddling his hips, though now my spine is rigid and I feel like I’m towering over him. He grabs the hem of my T-shirt and oh so slowly starts to push it up.
His fingers skim my sides.
His mouth lands on my stomach in a brief kiss, so softly I gasp.
His fingers trip over the edge of my bra and I remember I wore it special for stupid Thad. Thinking what…tonight was going to be the night I give up my virginity to my precious boyfriend? Yeah, that didn’t work out like I thought.
God, I am so lame.
Instead, Jordan is the lucky boy who gets to lay eyes on my fancy Victoria’s Secret bra I bought just for this night. It’s turquoise with lace trim and a tiny blue bow in the center and it pushes my boobs up so they appear bigger than they really are. The bra is a liar but I can look past that. It cost a lot of money, not that I care.
Especially now that Jordan’s pulling my shirt up, exposing my chest, the bra. His gaze is locked on my boobs and his voice is the tiniest bit shaky when he says, “Lift your arms.”
I raise my arms above my head, then bend forward so he can tug my shirt off. The position causes me to press my chest directly against his face and oh my God, he’s kissing my cleavage. His mouth is hot against my skin and yes, he’s really kissing me. Gently. So light it feels unreal. Like I’m dreaming. Like this really isn’t happening to me.
But it is. It so is and it is so freaking awesome I can barely stand it.
“You smell so fucking good,” he murmurs against my chest and I thrust my hands into his hair, holding him to me. I tilt my head down so I can watch too and it is truly the most fascinating thing, witnessing Jordan licking my skin, tracing the edge of the bra cup with his tongue. My entire body is trembling. Hot. Between my legs I’m throbbing and without thought I shift my hips and rub against him.
“Jordan,” I whisper and that seems to really set him off because his fingers go to the back of my bra, working the snap undone and the cups loosen. He leans back, pulling the straps down my arms, discarding my beautiful, expensive bra onto the floor before returning his focus on my chest.
And this is the moment when I start to feel inadequate.
“Stop.” I cross my arms in front of my chest, covering my small breasts. My cheeks are hot. My entire body is hot. No boy has seen me like this ever. I don’t get topless for anyone. I’m not the girl who gets casually undressed in front of her friends. That sort of thing freaks me out.
So having Jordan Tuttle staring at my chest for even a millisecond is a total freak out moment.
“Amanda.” His deep voice reaches inside of me, shakes me up. He touches my cheek, slips his fingers beneath my chin and forces me to meet his gaze. “You’re beautiful.”
I shake my head, ignoring the way his sweet words make my body tremble. “We shouldn’t do this.”
He frowns. It’s not fair that even when he’s confused, he’s adorable. “You want me to stop.”
No. “Yes.” I shake my head, then correct it with a nod. “Yes.” My voice is firmer. “We should stop. I should go home.”
The disappointment flickering in his gaze sends a dart of hope through me, which is stupid. I shouldn’t be happy he’s disappointed, should I? “I’ll take you home.”
“I can find another ride—” I start but he silences me with a look.
“With who?” When I say nothing, he nods, his mouth set in a grim line. “That’s what I thought. I’ll take you home.” He gently pushes me off his lap and I go willingly, somehow keeping my arms still crossed in front of my chest. He hands me my bra—embarrassing—then my shirt and he turns away so I can get dressed in privacy.
He’s a gentleman. Who knew?
I keep my eyes on him as I hurriedly get dressed. Noting the way he runs his fingers through his hair in frustration. How he takes a deep breath, holding it for a moment before he lets it out. He goes to his dresser and swipes a few things off the top of it—I assume his wallet and keys—before he says, “Are you decent?”
“Yes,” I murmur, feeling incredibly stupid in this moment. I mean seriously. I made him stop. The hottest guy in school kissed me, undressed me and I put a halt to it because of my insecurities and fears.
If I could kick myself, I totally would.
He turns around, the grim mask falling from his face when he spots me. “Mandy.” I stand stock still as he approaches, then stops just in front of me. “Are you okay?”
Another nod in the place of words because I’m afraid I’ll say something stupid.
Without hesitation he pulls me into his arms and just holds me. And he feels so good. Solid and warm and strong, his still-racing heart beating rapidly against my ear. I wrap my arms around him and cling tight, closing my eyes. This moment might never happen again. I probably won’t see him until school starts. I have no reason to see him for the entirety of the summer. This is my one last chance and I blew it.
Funny, though, it’s a chance I never knew I had.