Coming January 30th

*All unedited and subject to change before publication*

You can preorder Taming Him here

“Well, I better grab something to eat to soak up this alcohol before I end up like Nat during Frat week.” I wink in her direction as Adam tilts his head to give her a side-eye.

I eye the buffet like it’s the best thing I’ve seen all year. It’s full of pastries, fruit, and yogurts on one end and hot items on the other. I grab a few pieces of sausage and a spoonful of scrambled eggs before heading over to the other side.

As I’m walking toward the fruit platters, I notice a couple guys with full plates making their rounds from the hot and cold sections. They’re acting like they haven’t eaten in days. I smile internally at the thought of these two bulky guys eating enough for four. They definitely aren’t from around here. Though they’re both good looking, I find myself eyeing the blond. He’s got the faintest blue eyes and his t-shirt is stretched across his muscular and wide chest. Not half bad actually.

The blond says in a very noticeable southern accent and suddenly I’m finding myself a little flushed at the thought of him saying my name with that accent.

“Dude, these ain’t nothing like Mama’s pancakes, but they sure smell good.”

“Yeah, I can tell the maple syrup isn’t homemade either, but I can’t complain when we’re in the Keys.” They both chuckle as they continue piling food on top of food.

And they live with their mama. Great. I always know how to pick ‘em.

I’ve dated a man, or rather boy, who was highly dependent on his mother and as much as I like a guy to be respectful to his mom, being a mama’s boy isn’t the quality some think it is. In fact, it became borderline annoying.

Just thinking about how my ex would have to text his mother goodnight after we had sex sends shivers down my spine. Maybe that makes me the weird one, but there needs to be a healthy balance.

I take my seat with Natalie and Adam a few tables away from where the southern men are sitting while trying to shake the images of my ex from my head. Natalie’s discussing how she swore she saw a Kardashian sister in the bar last night and Adam’s pretending to add to the conversation by throwing in some ‘uh huhs’ and ‘mm hmms’.

Just as I stab a sausage links and shove it into my mouth, I feel a shift. Natalie looks up over my shoulder with wide, dreamy eyes and I know a body is standing at my side.

“‘Scuse me, ma’am?” I hear the southern accent and immediately feel the hairs on my neck rise.

I chew as quickly as I can and swallow it down, nearly choking when I try to speak. “Uh, yes?”

Up close, he’s even bigger looking. Well over six feet tall, and I can almost see his ab muscles through his shirt.

“I was wonderin’ if you could help settle an argument between my friend and I?”

I blink up at him, mouth gaping open. “Sure.” I clear my throat, realizing what he’s doing. I’ve heard dozens of pick-up lines start out just like this. It usually ends up being something super cheesy. By the smirk on his face, I’m almost willing to bet him and his friend are arguing about how pretty I am and want me to settle the argument by saying which one I’d go on a date with.

“Well, my friend over there was wonderin’ if you think I’m good-lookin’? I told him there’s no way you’d admit to how seductively charming I am, but he thought if I came over and asked, you’d have no option but to be truthful.” He stares at me for a moment as I remain silent. “So what do ya say? Is he right?”

Natalie snorts in the background, laughing while covering her mouth with her hand. Adam’s grinning and shaking his head as if he’s thinking, poor bastard.

“Hm…” I decide to play along, tilting my body around him to get a look at his friend. He tips his head at me with a wide grin. Then I direct my eyes to the guy in front of me and act like I’m giving it serious thought. Clearing my throat, I gaze my eyes back up to his. “Tell him I’ve seen better.”

Natalie can’t contain herself anymore and totally loses it. This guy’s friend overhears the conversation and starts laughing.

“That hurt,” he teases, placing a hand over his chest. The corner of his lips tilt up in a small grin.

“Sorry, but I’m sure there’s plenty of ladies around here that’d be happy to mend those wounds.” I wrinkle my nose at him to soften the blow. He then bows his head down, slouches his shoulders, and begins to slow walk away back to his friend.

“You think I’m attractive though, right?” the friend shouts from his table and the blond punches him in the arm to silence him.

“Jesus, they’re relentless,” I mutter so only Natalie and Adam can hear.

“Oh, c’mon! Give ‘em a bone,” she quips.

I roll my eyes at her in response and pop a piece of fruit in my mouth.

“You know the only way to get over a guy is to get under another one,” she teases, her voice carrying throughout the entire room.

I nearly choke on a grape and almost have to give myself the heimlich.

“Natalie!” I whisper-shout. “Swear to God, I can’t take you anywhere.”

Adam’s smiling and trying to hide his laughter behind a forkful of food.

“This is your fault,” I point my finger at him. “You just let her roam around free without any kind of restrictions or muzzle.”

“Don’t look at me,” he defends. “You knew her before I did, which means you let her be this way long before I came around.”

I chuckle in defeat.

“What happened to having fun this vacation?” Natalie ignores us and changes the subject. “Those were some cute southern guys who wanted to show you how to ride their mechanical bull. I bet you can last all eight seconds even.”

Choking again, I give up and put my fork down. “I’ve gotta stop eating around you. I never know what will come out of your unfiltered mouth.”

“I bet he’s hung like a horse too,” she states dreamily, looking past us toward their table.

“And I bet if you asked nicely, they’d even let you ride them bareback,” Adam adds fuel to the fire, getting another laugh out of Natalie.

“You two suck,” I say, pointing my fork at them. I stand up, taking my plate, and push my chair in. “I’m going back to my room where I can eat without dick images being forced into my head.”

“Okay, but don’t forget we have a couples massage at ten!” she shouts, still laughing, as I walk toward the elevators.

I wave a hand up in the air and salute with my middle finger.