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314 pages, ebook
First published November 12, 2018
"I can blame my work. I can blame my past relationships. I can blame my upbringing. But the truth of the matter is that I don't want to assign any blame. I don't have to. I'm allowed to enjoy sex. I don't have to be broken or fucked up."
“To be clear, I had plenty of insecurities. A laundry list of them. But I didn’t speak these insecurities. I didn’t put that noise out in the world because it didn’t need any validity.”
"Okay, let's start over." I reached across the table, my hand outstretched. "I'm Stella Allesandro and I zone all the way out on my morning walks. I blame *NSYNC."
Cal laughed, but he didn't release my hand. "I'm Cal Hartshorn and I approach women by mowing them down to see if they like being underneath me."
"I'm not really a flowers-and-proper-dates girl," I said, fully aware of his thigh muscles
tightening under my hand. "I'm more of a burgers-and-football girl, to be honest. Baseball or hockey since we're in the off-season. Basketball too. Burgers, sports, nothing proper. I'm not proper."
Cal rested his forehead on my shoulder with a quiet groan. That sound, it was more intimate than a kiss. It belonged to private spaces where no one else could listen in. But we'd already forgotten about the rest of the world. We were alone here, me and Cal, and I wasn't smitten. I wasn't lovestruck. "Marry me, Stella. Marry me and bear my children."
His hand skated up my arm and over my shoulder to cup my face, and just like that, I was kissing a man I'd met an hour ago.
I was connected to Stella in ways I couldn't see and barely understood but I knew it changed everything.
This woman was all kinds of headstrong, and I walked a line between admiring the shit out of it and wanting to club her over the head and drag her back to my prehistoric cave.
If all I wanted was for Cal to take me to Pound Town, we would've checked that box earlier this morning. Right there in the back of his SUV, nice and proper like the goddamn lady I was.
“I want more than tonight.”
“It was never tonight,” I replied, the words quick and rough. “You didn’t come here for tonight.”
No, I wasn't putting on my ass-kicking heels or barging into any hospitals. That wasn't my style. I didn't wait on men and I didn't wait for them either. I had my pick of dicks if I needed one and I didn't need one today....
This was no simple chemical reaction. This wasn't a basic attraction. There was a string tied between us, a fine thread drawing us together. It reminded me of the old transatlantic telegraph cables, the ones originally laid in 1858. They ran from Valentina Island in western Ireland to Heart's Content, Newfoundland. Those cables reduced the travel time of communication from ten days via steamship to minutes. Those cables shrunk the world. They changed everything. That was how I felt right now. Like I was connected to Stella in ways I couldn't see and barely understood but I knew it changed everything....