Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Release Day Gina L Maxwell

Amazon  ~  B&N

Published:  March 31, 2013 by Brazen an Entangled Publishing Imprint
Series Rating:  N/A - 3rd and 4th books are not out yet 
Book Rating:  5 out of 5 stars but it's more like 10 

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

How is the Sex?  
Hot, Steamy, Sensual, Dominant yet Tender

How are the Story Lines? 
Gina L Maxwell makes you see, smell, 
feel and hear everything as if you are inside the book 

Would you read it again? 
Most definitely YES
ebook and paperback are both required 

Book Blurb:

          He has seven days.....and seven rules to break.
District Attorney Vanessa McGregor firmly believes that structure and order are the stuff that dreams are made of. Happiness can be planned - and it starts with seven rules she's laid out for her future. But as she's organizing her best friend's wedding in Hawaii, all of Vanessa's best-laid plans are about to meet their match in a wickedly hot MMA fighter...Jackson "Jax" Maris is focused on surfing, training and fighting. That is, until he opens up his big mouth, and finds himself having to pretend he's engaged to his little sister's best friend, Vanessa. When they're force to share a romantic bungalow, however, their little charade suddenly takes a turn for the seriously sexy. And while Jax is definitely not part of Vanessa's long-term plan, he has seven days - and seven naughty nights - to turn her seven-rule plan upside down.


Jackson "Jax" Maris.  Yum.  Dark and Delicious.  

He's introduced to us in Seducing Cinderella as the protective older brother of Lucie Miller.  From the moment I heard that phone call between brother and sister, I wanted to know more about Jax. 

When we meet Jax and Vanessa, they don't get off to the greatest start.  As a matter of fact, they seem to be complete opposites.  But the spark is there from that first moment.  And boy does it fuel a fire.  I looked up the definition of spark.   Here's what I found:  


  1. A small fiery particle thrown off from a fire, alight in ashes, or produced by striking together two hard surfaces such as stone or metal.
  2. A lively young fellow.
  1. Engage in courtship.
  2. Emit sparks of fire or electricity.

The spark - it started a fire.   

A fire of passion.  

A fire of desire.  

A fire of lust.  

Truth be told a full blown blaze.  And I felt the heat.  Phew... is it hot in here right now?  Thinking back to all of the love scenes.  WOW!  I truly felt like I was right there in every scene.  Lurking.  Watching.  Wanting.  Waiting.  Feeling - oh how I felt this book.    

I laughed with Vanessa at moments of humor and I cried with her too when there were moments of sadness.  Vanessa is just as amazing as Jax.  She holds her own.  She's strong, beautiful and independent but you can totally get that she does want someone to take care of her and treat her as she deserves to be treated.  Special.   And yeesh does Jackson treat her just as she deserves.  

This book delivers everything I want in a great read.  There's funny banter, rough and tumble angst, a little bit of MMA action, some great spots all over the island and love scenes that knocked my socks off and then put them back on just to have them knocked off again.  

Jackson "Jax" Maris has indeed stepped up to being my #1 book boyfriend.  I'm confident he will top your list as well.  

Happy Release Day Gina! 

I love your writing, please don't EVER stop.  

If you'd like to connect with Gina L Maxwell, follow her on Facebooktwitter and her website 

Follow Enchanting Ella on Twitter and like her Facebook Page.  

Still curious?  Read her bio.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Enchanting Ella: The Piracy Fight

Fighting the good fight.  

It gets tough.  It gets old.  Let me first preface that this post is in no way religious or political.  This is my take on the world.  Take it for what it's worth.  
 I was raised by good parents.  Raised to know right from wrong.  Raised with morals and values.  Every day I continuously experience dark, evil and wrong in this world.  It's always present.  It's always there.  The only way to fight the dark is with light.  I'm reminded of Harry Potter and one of my favorite lines/quotes from that book series.  

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times

if one only remembers to turn on the light.

Why are we finding so many closed groups and clubs all over the internet downloading and pirating ebooks?  Facebook has become rampant with so many of these new groups giving out these books all while everyone seems to want to pretend they don't know this is wrong?  This is illegal.  This should have consequences.  What part of - here's a free song, dvd or ebook for you to have doesn't seem suspicious?  Or is it that we just now live in a world where everyone thinks they are owed something for nothing?  

Where does this all end?  Does it ever end?

It's a sad circumstance.  Not sure if it will ever go away or if there will ever be a day where there is no piracy.  We have to band together though and try our hardest to fight the good fight the best we can.  Light can vanquish the darkness.  We just have to believe.  And isn't that at the heart of the reader.... the ability to believe?  

Here's another great blog post regarding piracy in the ebook world.  Maybe this might trigger something for someone or help in some way possible.  Best of luck to all my author friends.  Here's hoping spreading the word does some bit of good.  


Follow Enchanting Ella on Twitter and like her Facebook Page.  

Still curious?  Read her bio.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Katie Ashley Release Day - Music of the Heart

Summary of the book:  

For Abby Renard, the plan was supposed to be simple—join her brothers’ band on the last leg of their summer tour and decide if she’s finally ready for the limelight by becoming its fourth member. Of course, she never imagined stumbling onto the wrong tour bus at Rock Nation would accidentally land her in the bed of Jake Slater, the notorious womanizing lead singer of Runaway Train. When he mistakes her for one of his groupie’s, Abby quickly lets him know she sure as hell isn't in his bed on purpose.

Jake Slater never imagined the angel who fell into his bed would resist his charms by promptly kneeing him in the balls. Of course, the fact she seems like a prissy choir girl makes her anything but his type. So he is more than surprised when after betting Abby she wouldn’t last a week on their tour bus, she is more than willing to prove him wrong. But as Jake’s personal life begins to implode around him, he finds an unlikely ally in Abby. He’s never met a woman he can talk to, joke with, or most importantly make music with.

As the week starts comes to a close, neither Abby nor Jake is ready to let go. Can a sweetheart Country songstress and a bad boy of Rock N Roll actually have a future together?

Happy Release Day Katie Ashley!


Follow Enchanting Ella on Twitter and like her Facebook Page.  

Still curious?  Read her bio.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Enchanting Ella: More Confessions of a Book Addict

I always dislike admitting I have a problem.  But, I have a problem.  I am now a book addict.  I've confessed before in a post about my one-click addiction.  It now also extends to having several different locations for my books.  Not only do I have a Kindle app on my iPad, but I have an actual Kindle.  I also have a Nook app that I store books in on the iPad, and I can't fail to mention my iBooks app too.  

I actually realized I had an issue when I recently made a decision to buy paperbacks of the books I absolutely love.  I was researching my apps and discovered that I've repeated purchases within the 3 different apps where I have my books.  <insert blood curdling scream here> 

I know right!?!  How?  How can you repeat purchases?  

Obviously I'm so NOT organized.  I need a better organization system to know what I've purchased and where.  In my book club that I'm in, someone mentioned a spreadsheet.  I think a spreadsheet is a wonderful idea.  Provided I update said spreadsheet.  I also had a suggestion to use Goodreads.  That's a part of my routine, however it also demands you update your shit.  I think this has been my challenge.  

So I've decided I need a book assistant.  Any takers?

How do you keep track of your purchases?  

Do you often lose track and duplicate books?  

Follow Enchanting Ella on Twitter and like her Facebook Page.  

Still curious?  Read her bio.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Interview: Author Amber Lin on "Selling Out" (Book 2, The Lost Girls Series)

Book Release Date: February 19, 2013
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

"Selling Out" is book 2 in The Lost Girls series

Enter Below to Win
a $75 gift card 
to Amazon, B&N, or All Romance

How are the sex scenes?

How are the story lines?
Dark, gritty, sad, and believable.

Would you read it again?
I already have.

Back of the Book

Shelly Laurent escapes her life as a high-class escort, but against her better judgment she takes the scared young Ella with her. In retaliation, her pimp and his dirty cops frame them both for murder. On the run, Shelly turns to the one man who could be her salvation: Detective Luke Cameron. She doesn't know if she can trust him or if he's just a mirage, but she needs his help to free them all.

With a heart forged in fire and irreverence born of necessity, Shelly fights Ella's demons--and faces her own. She throws light on the shadows of Chicago's underworld, challenging everything she knew and the man she's come to love. Together, a prostitute and a cop fight for truth stronger than secrets, hope deeper than deception, and a bond more enduring than betrayal.

Interview with 
Author Amber Lin

Hi Kristin! Thank you for having me on Ravishing Romances.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Amber Lin, author of Giving It Up, which RT Book Reviews gave 4.5 stars and called “at once, scary and sexy in all the best ways.” I’m here to share my new release, Selling Out, featuring a high class call girl and a by-the-book detective with the Chicago Police Department.

1. Shelly. Finally! Giving it Up received such great reviews were you ever worried Selling Out wouldn't live up to the hype?

Well, now I am.

LOL, kidding. But not really. I was awed by the reaction to Giving It Up. It touches on some controversial issues, but it was amazing how many people really appreciated or even related with Allie. If I recall correctly, when I first spoke with you before Giving It Up was release, I tried to talk you out of reading it. I did that more than once! I’m the anti-promo. But I’m so glad you did read it and gratified that you enjoyed it.

I definitely felt some anxiety before writing Shelly’s book, because I loved her character and wanted to do her justice. Maybe due to these nerves, I took a break to write a small town romance, which is coming out from Carina Press this fall. When I began writing Shelly’s book, her voice just flowed, so to speak. I enjoyed writing her parts in Giving It Up, and for Selling Out, the whole book was a pleasure to write.

I think writing is equal parts skill, perseverance, and magic. There’s something electrifying about channeling a whole different person, with their unique background, their skills, their personality, and even more so when it’s someone as dark and complex as Shelly.

2. So Shelly is (was) an escort and she's now a heroine. Why such a damaged character?

So my flippant answer to this question is: why not such a damaged character? Though it’s actually a serious answer, because that’s how this series was started… in fact, that’s why I started writing at all. Write the book you want to read is advice commonly given to writers, and that’s exactly what I did with Giving It Up and then Selling Out.

I’m a huge fan of the romance and erotica genres, but as a reader, I’ve gravitated towards darker books. It’s hard to explain why I like them so much. Sometimes I like to be moved by a book, really moved, to sadness. I like books that rip my heart out. But also, dark books can be the most hopeful. To think that such a damaged character, who’s been through so much, can reach an HEA is the ultimate optimism.

I know that not everyone wants the bitter with the sweet, but I’ve always been a dark chocolate kind of girl. For me, it’s achingly romantic to think of an escort like Shelly, who’s experienced the worst of what men can do, finding happiness and love ever after.

3. How far is the series going? Are there more books? And how is your historical romance coming along?!

The series is called The Lost Girls and there will be a third and final book. Although he’s not the Lost Girl in question, I’ve been calling it Philip’s book, because he’s a bit of show-stealer. As for the heroine, you’ll meet her in Selling Out. I’ve been working on a little something with Rose, Colin and Philip’s sister, but that will likely be a freebie or on my website or something.

As for my historical romance, unfortunately, it’s on hold. I wanted to focus on my contemporaries, because I do love writing them and the market is hot. I’m pretty new as an author so I want to establish myself before branching out. I’ve got a few open projects at the moment, the sequel to the small town romance, another cowboy short, and a new contemporary series that is… wait, that one’s still a secret. Oops J

Historicals will happen, though. They whisper to me in my sleep. Plus, my husband was teasing me with the idea of visiting Europe this year, so I’d get to see some sights first-hand. I’ve got a bookcase full of research books but it’s so abstract. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

Thanks for having me, Kristin!

View the Trailer

Review in 
30 Seconds

I really enjoyed Selling Out. I had a harder time relating to Shelly than expected. But considering her tragic past and profession--you'll never hear me complain. Luke was a surprising character for me. His issues were unexpected and leveled the playing field. It wasn't necessary for the story, but it was necessary for Shelly. Luke's friends also gave great, light-hearted moments, along with Shelly's "sure, blame the hooker" jokes. 

This is the second book in Amber Lin's The Lost Girls series and it's possible the "shock" of a dark and gritty romance has worn off...leaving a realistic (yes, realistic), believable, tragic-turned-love story about people who live life wishing someone would just "look down."

I will read Amber Lin for eternity.

Review provided by: Kristin Anders

“Shh,” I murmured, stroking his back. 
“Shelly, goddammit.” 
But his protests fell away as I pressed my breasts to his arm and my tongue to his ear. His harsh inhalation sounded broken, shattered, or maybe that was me. 
I tasted salt and man, earth and spring. Slow licks alongside his lobe and upward, more suggestive than sensation, but for a man like this, anticipation would be everything. Or so I had imagined, all the times I had dreamed of it. 
A small sound escaped him, somewhere between a grunt and groan. I took it as encouragement and smoothed my hands along the hard planes of his shoulders, his chest. Not anywhere near the bulge in his jeans, because this wasn’t about pleasure—it was about wanting. 
Anything to get closer, I let my knees slide apart around his side, the faint heat of his body a shock to my core. His hands clenched and opened on his knees, and again, the muscles rippled beneath his darkly tanned skin. Was he restraining himself from touching me or pushing me off?
“Baby, no,” he groaned, letting his head fall back onto my shoulder. 
No, I would never deserve to have him as more than a sex partner. And he had never fucked me, though I knew he wanted to. Every time he saw me, his eyes would darken and my stomach would bottom out, but we’d never touch. But maybe for one brief inconvenient moment, while the door was open and the young woman beyond it needed help, we could pretend. Maybe it could be enough. 
I shut my eyes tightly and pressed a kiss to his temple. Pretend, just pretend. I would give him the sex he had craved, and in return, he’d give me memories. It would be a payment, just the same.
“You want this,” I whispered.
He shuddered in my arms; it was like hugging a wild animal, one who could just as easily maul me as cuddle.
“Can I touch you?” he whispered. “Please.”
It unraveled me, that plea. As if he understood that a little bit of my soul slipped away every time someone touched me. As if he would cherish the part I gave him.
I scrambled away from him as if burned, breathing hard. No. 
No one understood, which was exactly the way I liked it. I ran a shaking hand over my face to smooth away the panic.
Sure, he knew the score better than most people. He had worked the beat as a patrol cop and then as a detective. Life as a high-priced escort wasn’t glamorous; it was sweat and blood sprinkled with glitter. But he didn’t know the full extent, and I prayed he never would. Henri didn’t sell bodies; he gutted them.
I panted against the headboard, unable to walk away but unwilling to beg. Luke remained carved in stone where I’d left him sitting on the edge of the bed. The air pulsed with doubt and longing—with sex.
“I want it to be real between us.” He spoke low and hoarse.
A quiet sound escaped me. Every caress, every pinch. Every slur ever spoken. “It’s always real. That’s the problem, Luke. It’s always too damn real.”
He hung his head, and I thought for a moment I heard him say I know, but the moment slipped away, the sweet intimacy sailed away like clouds on the horizon—never really mine.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Blog Tour Stop - Broken by Christa Cervone

Broken by Christa Cervone 
Released 2/28/13 ~ Self Published 

Amazon   ~  B&N

Garett's POV 
Exclusive Scene from one of the visit's to see Helen, Leila's Doctor:  

“Garrett, tell me how you and Leila met?”  Helen asked inquisitively.
My eyes shifted in Leila’s direction and she was staring at me.  I gently ran my hand over her thigh, flashing her a quick smile then turning my attention back to Helen.
“We met through a friend,” I responded emphasizing the word friend.​
Helen quickly picked up on that.  “Why do you say friend that way?” She asked giving me a half smile.
“Leila, has never told you this story?”  
Helen’s head turned slightly towards Leila.  Her entire body tensed up.
Running my hands through my hair I laughed.  “Leila dated one of my friends before we started dating.”
“And your friend didn’t mind that you started dating his ex-girlfriend?”  Helen asked surprised.
I smiled at Leila. “Nah.  She wasn’t his type.”
“His type?” Leila blurted out.
“Come on Babe, you have to admit you were too good for him.”  I couldn’t help but smile at her.
“Well now you really have me intrigued,” Helen said, crossing her legs.
“You want to tell the story?”  I asked.
“No.  By all means have at it.”  Leila exhaled heavily rolling her eyes.
I knew she was annoyed at me for bringing this up, but I didn’t understand why.  She never liked talking about how we met.  
A huge smile appeared across my face as I began to relive our first meeting.
“Hey Ma, I’m home,” I yelled into the living room as I passed through the kitchen throwing my lunch box onto the island that was in the middle of the room.  
“Garrett?  Is that you?”
“Yeah Ma.  It’s me.  Who else would it be?”
“Sean and some girl stopped by about a half hour ago.  Sean said to call him when you got home.”
“Okay Ma.  I’ll call him when I get out of the shower,” I said as I stepped into the bathroom.
Fuck! I totally forgot Sean wanted to set me up with his ex.  
Sean and I had two totally different tastes in girls.  Sean liked the cheap looking girls who tried really hard to look good but fell short.  I was into the more natural beauty.  One who didn’t need to try to look good, one that was just beautiful.  
How the hell was I going to get myself out of this one?  
I stood under the showerhead letting the hot water beat down on me.  Today had been a long day at work.  Our busy season was over, so it was a lot of standing around.  I began racking my brain on how the hell I was going to get out of meeting this chick.  Sean only lived a few streets over and he would show up if I told him no.  He had been talking about this for over a week.  I’m not sure why he was hell bent on setting us up.
Turning off the water, I grabbed a towel from the hook on the back of the door wrapping the towel around my waist.  Opening the bathroom door, I quietly snuck into my room.   The last thing I needed was my little brother realizing I was home.  He was only nine and always wanted me to play video games with him.   That kid was a video game junkie.  When I was his age, my mother forced me to go outside and play with my friends.  I guess that's what happens when you have three children.  You kind of just give up after the third one.
I ever so carefully shut my door behind me, no sooner had I pulled on my jeans my cell was going off.  I could tell by the ring tone it was Sean.  This kid was relentless.
“What Up?” I said answering my phone.
“What hell man.  Where have you been?”  
“Sean, I just got out of work.  It’s only 3:30,”  I said annoyed.
Completely ignoring the irritation in my voice, Sean asked,  “So are you coming over or what?”
“Or What?” I replied laughing.  “I don’t know, Man.  You and I don’t have the same taste in girls.  I think I’m going to pass.”  
Sean’s voice went to whisper, “Dude, you gotta get over here.  She’s totally into you.  She saw the picture of you.”
“Picture?” I repeated.
“Yeah, the one that is on your fridge.  She’s not like the other girls I have dated.  She is definitely more your type.”
Letting out a huge sigh. “Alright!  I’ll come over.  But, I swear to God if she is some cheap floozy that you dated I’m going to kick your ass right in front of her,” I said laughing, hanging up the phone.
I put my new Drop Kick Murphy’s shirt on then dried my hair with a towel.  I ran my fingers through my hair to get it out of my eyes and I headed back downstairs.  
I peered into the living room.  Like usual my mother was watching her soaps as she liked to call them.  “Ma, I’m going over to Sean’s for a while.  I probably won’t be back until around eleven.”  I reached for my jacket that was hanging on the coat rack by the door.
“Okay.  Have fun and don’t get into any trouble,” she called to me as I walked out the back door.  
My poor mother, I had given her a run for her money when I was younger.  I was an unruly teenager that skipped school and snuck out of my room at night to go party.  There were even a few times the cops brought me home.  I think I single handily aged her twenty years.
Since turning eighteen, I had definitely tamed my ways.  I was now working a full-time job and if I didn’t show up, I didn’t get paid.  So, I made sure I was there every day.  I had just bought a car and had to pay for car insurance.    
It was a cool November day and as I walked to Sean’s I stopped at the corner store for a pack of cigarettes.   Yet another thing that drove my mother crazy.  She was always bitching at me to quit.  My father had smoked for years until he finally gave it up.  To be completely honest I don’t even know why I started smoking, and I have tried to quit on several occasions but I just keep going back.  
I was now standing at the end of Sean’s driveway. I took one final drag of my cigarette then flicked it into a puddle on the side of the road.  Feeling myself getting nervous, I ran my hand through my hair and began walking towards the house.   I didn’t want tonight to end up a disaster.  There is nothing worse than being set up with someone you can’t stand.  I slowly walked up the steps and hesitantly walked through Sean’s door.
Sean and I had been friends since we were kids and I didn’t even bother knocking anymore.  I was told by his mother just to walk right in.  As soon as I stepped into the kitchen I was hit by a wall of smoke.  Sean’s parents were heavy smokers as well as heavy drinkers.  His mom, dad, and uncle were sitting at the kitchen table playing cards.
“Hey Garrett,” they all said in unison barely even looking my way.
“Hey everyone,” I said smiling.  “Where’s Sean?” 
“I think he’s on the back porch,” Sean’s uncle answered.
“Oh okay,” I said turning around to go back out the door I just walked in.
“Garrett,”  Sean’s mother said to me in a whisper motioning with her hand to come over to her.  “He’s with a girl out there,” she said smiling.  “This is the first girl he has ever brought home.”
“Well, I hate to break your heart Mrs. T but they are not dating.  That is why I am here.  Sean wants to set me up with her.”
I could see the disappointment in her face as I broke the news to her.  Sean had told me in confidence that he would never bring home any girl that he dated.  He was embarrassed by his parents.  They were alcoholics and he never knew what he was walking into when he got home.  
“Well Garrett she is very, very pretty,” she smiled at me.  I could smell the cheap whiskey on her breath. “I think you two would make a beautiful couple.”
“Don’t get carried away, Mrs. T.  I’m only meeting her, not marrying her,” I laughed.
“You say that now Garrett, but I met Sean’s father when I was fourteen years old.  And look at us now,” she said grinning ear to ear.
“That’s right Kathy.  You are the love of my life.  I knew it the first time I laid eyes on you,” Sean’s father said.
Awkwardly, I began backing out of the kitchen before things got really weird.  “It was really good to see you guys.  I’m going to find Sean.”
“It was good to see you too, Garrett.”  
I shut the door quickly and shook my head.  I really did feel bad for Sean having to deal with his parents who were drunk all the time.  It was a miracle he actually had his head on straight.
As I rounded the house I heard Sean’s laugh.  “No you are doing it wrong.  You gotta do it like this.”
I froze dead in my tracks.  Sean was right.  She was definitely my type.  Her hair was brown and wavy falling to the middle of her back.  She wore very little makeup, and she was on the petite side but everything about her was proportionate.  The jeans she was wearing hugged her body in all the right places.  She had a black hoodie on and pink Chuck Taylors on her feet.  I stood there quietly watching her for a moment, taking her in.  
I cleared my throat to make my presence known.  
“Bout time you got here.  I was trying to show Leila here how to hacky sack.  She’s never even heard of it before.  Can you believe that?”  Sean said in complete disbelief.
“Yeah, actually I can believe it,” I said as I walked up to them.  “Hi, I’m Garrett.”
“Hi, I’m Leila,” she said softly pushing her hair behind her ear.
She had the most beautiful blue eyes with the perfect amount of eye makeup to accentuate them and her smile was almost angelic.  
“So you’ve never hackied before?”
She shook her head.
Taking the ball from her.  “Here let us show you.”
Sean and I took a few steps back.  I threw the ball up in the air hitting it with the inside of my shoe in the direction of Sean.  We did this back and forth several times demonstrating to Leila exactly how to do it.  
“You think you can handle it?” I asked, smiling at her.
“Yeah, I got this,” she said with cockiness in her voice.
“Then bring it,” I replied egging her on throwing the hacky sack in her direction. 
I loved a girl with a little spunk and I could tell already she had spunk.
Without even batting an eye Leila kicked her leg out hitting the sack with the tip of her sneaker.  The hacky sack went flying and hit Sean in the head.  
“What the?” He laughed.
“Heads up, Sean,” Leila said smirking at him.
In complete astonishment I said,  “Sean, did you see that?  I think we may have just been played.”
“Oh please,” Leila laughed.  “It was beginners luck.”
The three of us hung out in Sean’s backyard for a good hour playing hacky sack until it became too dark to see anymore.  
“You guys wanna come in?  We can order a pizza or something?” Sean asked.
I looked at Leila waiting to see what she was going to say.  I was definitely intrigued by her and wanted to spend more time with her.  
“Yeah, sure,” she responded glancing over at me.  “Are you going to stay too, Garrett?”
“Hell yeah!  Pizza is my favorite.”
She gave me a coy smile.   
“Come on let’s get you inside it is getting cold out here and you must be freezing with only a hoodie on.”  
“I’m okay,” she said leaning into me.
We climbed the two stairs onto the back porch and I pulled my cigarettes out of my pocket.  
“Eeewww. . .  You smoke?” Leila said with a look of disgust on her face.
I laughed a little.  “I take it you don’t?”
“Oh God.  No way,” she blurted out.
“Why don’t you go inside and find Sean.  I am going to smoke my cigarette and I’ll meet you inside in a few.”
“Okay. . . Suit yourself.  You know those things are going to kill you?”  She said as she closed the door behind her.
As I lit my cigarette, her words ran through my head.  I took my first drag then exhaled “Fuck.”  I threw the cigarette onto the ground, putting it out with my foot.  
The door opened from behind me.  “Garrett the pizza is going to be here in like five minutes,”  Sean said as he walked up and stood next to me.  “So?  What do you think of her?  She’s cute.  Right?”
“She’s more than cute.  I’m just wondering what the hell she saw in you,” I laughed patting him on the back.
“We better get inside before my uncle starts hitting on her.”
The three of us sat in the living room eating pizza and playing cards.  Leila was a horrible card player and only knew a few games.  Sean and I tried to teach her poker but she gave up after one hand.  We ended up playing Go Fish.  I had this shit eating grin on my face as I dealt the cards.
“Why are you smiling at me like that?”  Leila asked suspiciously.
“Oh, I don’t know probably because I am sitting here playing Go Fish.” I winked at her.
Laughing back she said, “Hey there is nothing wrong with Go Fish.”  
“You are right there is nothing wrong with it.  It’s just I haven’t played this game in years.”
“Well, I play it all the time with the kids I babysit.  You’re lucky I don’t have my Old Maid cards with me.  I’d whoop your ass at the game,” she laughed, pushing her leg into mine.  
Our eyes met and I couldn’t help but keep staring.  Her eyes were mesmerizing to me.  I needed to find out more about this girl.  
“You wanna take a walk?”  Finally came out of my mouth.
“Sure,” she said in barely a whisper as she was still staring into my eyes.
I stood up holding my hand out to her.  “Come on.”
“Sean we are going for a walk,” I said looking at Sean.
Jumping up off the couch Sean said, “Cool.  Let me grab my coat.”
“No Sean.  Leila and I are taking a walk.  You’re not invited.”
“Oh. . .  Okay,” Sean said with disappointment in his voice.
Taking Leila by the hand.  “Come on.  Let’s get out of here.”
“Okay,” she smiled.
We slowly walked down the street holding hands.  “So Leila.  Tell me about yourself.” 
“There’s not much to tell.  I’m a junior in high school, I love photography, and I babysit.  That’s about it.  What about you?”
“I’m the oldest of three boys.  I live still live with my parents and I work full-time at a paper company right down the street.”
“Wow, we live thrilling lives,” she laughed.
“Ha! Yeah, I guess we do.”
“So you live around here?”  Leila asked.
“Yeah, I actually live in that huge house on the corner over there.”
“Holy shit!  That is a huge house.”
“Yeah, it used to be a two family house.  My parents turned into a one family.” I laughed. “How are you getting home?”
“I’m not really sure.  I’ll probably have to call my mom.”
I stopped walking.  “I can drive you home if you want,” I said smiling at her.
She quickly looked down at the ground kicking a rock.  “Sure,” she said quietly as she tucked her hair behind her ear.
“We’ll walk to my house and I’ll drive you home.”
I walked as slowly as I could trying to delay getting to my house.  I wanted to spend more time with her, learn more about her.  She told me about her photography and how much she loved taking pictures.  Her entire face lit up as she talked about it.
Before I even realized we were standing at the foot of my driveway.  “Well. . . Here we are,” I sighed heavily.
I rounded the front of my car unlocking and opening the passenger’s side door for her.  Once I knew she was in, I carefully shut the door behind her.  My car was an old piece of shit and sometimes the doors stuck.  I was praying they wouldn’t tonight.  
I opened the driver’s side door and slide in behind the wheel.  “So, where am I going?” I asked her as I turned the ignition.  My radio began to blare The Drop Kick Murphy’s.  Leila began to cringe at the loudness of the music.  
Quickly, I turned the volume down.  “Sorry.  I didn’t realize it was that loud.”
“What the hell was that?”
“You’ve never heard of The Drop Kick Murphy’s?” I gasped.
“Nope.  They sound like pirates,” she laughed.  
I began to laugh. “Yeah, I guess you’re kind of right they do.  Don’t they?”
We both laughed as I backed out of my driveway.
She told me the directions to get to her house.  I was trying to figure out a way to keep her with me longer.  But nothing was coming to mind.
As we were coming up on a Dunkin Donuts I asked, “You want to stop for a coffee or hot chocolate?”  I had noticed she had shivered a few times.  
“Nah, I’m good.”
“It’ll warm you up.”
“This may sound really weird.  But I don’t drink anything hot.”
“You what?”  I said flabbergasted.
“Yeah, you heard me right.  I don’t drink anything hot.  Not coffee, tea or hot chocolate.”
Giving her a puzzled look. “What do you drink then?”
She then gave me that beautiful angelic smile again.  “Diet Coke.”
I laughed loudly.  “Did you just say Diet Coke?”
“Yup.  It’s my vice.  I drink it first thing in the morning to wake me up.”
“Yuk!  Soda in the morning?”
“Well that is how I feel about coffee.  I can’t stand the taste let alone the after taste.”
Nodding my head.  “Fair enough,” I said.
“My street is just past that light,” she said pointing.
I anxiously ran my hand through my hair.  The thought of her slipping away was gnawing at me.  Think, Garret, Think.  I screamed at myself.  I quickly remember about a party that was going on at Wales Park this weekend.
“My street is the next one,” she said waking me from my train of thought.  “I’m the third house down on the left.  The one with all the lights on.”
I pulled into her driveway and put my car in park.  We both sat silently as she unbuckled her seat belt.
“Well thanks for driving me home.  I’m sure my mother would thank you as well.  She can’t wait for me to get my license,” she said politely.
“Oh, I didn’t realize you didn’t have your license yet.  How old are you?” I asked.
Smiling she responded, “I just turned sixteen at the beginning of the month.  Only six more months and I can get my license.  I can’t wait.”  
“Well since I missed your birthday that means I need to take you out this weekend so we can celebrate.”
“You didn’t even know me when it was my birthday.  Why would you take me out for it?”  She laughed nervously.
I moved my body closer to hers.  “Well, I was trying to make up an excuse to see you again.  But since you just called me out on it.”
“Oh, sorry,” she said innocently moving closer to me.  
“I really want to see you again, Leila,” I said softly.
“I would like that,” she whispered back.
I inched my face closer to hers.  “How about Saturday Night?  I’ll take you out to dinner.  Where ever you want to go.”
She nodded her head.
She then moved her face closer to mine and gently brushed her lips up against mine.  I slowly pulled her into me pressing my lips harder to hers.  I’d been waiting all night to kiss her.   I wasn’t expecting her to make the first move.  
“Leila, is that why you don’t like Garrett telling this story?  Because you made the first move?”   
Helen’s voice brought me back to reality.  I could feel myself smiling at the thought of our first kiss.  I turned my attention to Leila waiting to hear her response.
Leila sighed.  “It’s not that.  I just hate people telling stories about me when I am sitting right here.”
“Well I think it’s a brilliant story and I loved how you told it, Garrett.  Thank you for sharing,”  Helen said smiling.

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