Today I’m sharing a teaser from book one in the Talk Nerdy to Me series, Nerdy Words. If you like cosplay and romance novels, this is an excerpt you’ll want to read!
When Olivia Sands walks into the hottest bar in Cascade Falls, she’s swept away by the cosplayers, gamers, and larpers. The atmosphere at Nerdvana is truly a haven for geeks, and Olivia can picture herself spending every weekend at the nerd-themed hangout. Or at least, she could before she finds out the bar’s owner is none other than Dustin Bradshaw, her first crush and the man who fled her life with no explanation four summers ago.
Of course, the years have done nothing to eliminate the magnetic pull between them, and now that they’re thrown together again they’re helpless to fight their attraction. Between working on her bespoke costume business Cosplaymates, attending grad school, and planning her future, Olivia doesn’t have time for dating. But Dustin will stop at nothing to finally make her his, once and for all.
Nerdy Words is book one in Talk Nerdy to Me, a series centering around the romances that blossom between bar staff and customers at Nerdvana.
“Do you even know who I’m supposed to be?” I asked. I hoped he didn’t think I’d just come to the bar in this get up. I mentally crossed my fingers that he’d figure it out without any hints from me.
“Of course, I know who you are, Lady Indy. Your costume is perfect,” he praised as his eyes raked over me.
“Well, you can thank Jamie. She let me borrow her hat, pants, and belt.” My cheeks heated under his appreciative stare. I guess I had my answer as to whether or not Dustin would like my outfit.
“Hmm. Maybe she deserves a raise. Thanks to her help, I get to indulge in a fantasy.” He wiggled his eyebrows at me.
“You’re making a lot of assumptions tonight.” I made a tsking sound, even though my pulse leapt. The thought of learning Dustin’s fantasies was a total turn on.
“I can’t help it. All I can think about is peeling those clothes off and worshiping your sexy body,” he said as he pulled me closer.
He planted a kiss on the side of my neck. As his mouth traveled lower his thumbs stroked the base of my throat. I rolled my lips inward and stifled a moan. God, I wanted him. I didn’t know how I was going to get through this night. I was already becoming rapidly turned on.
Dustin pulled back and cupped my face. Our gazes held and his eyes looked soft. I shifted my gaze to flicker over his face. His expression was gentle and a little hopeful.
“You haven’t ever let anyone in, right? Because your mom told you how important it was to stay single, so you didn’t repeat her mistake? Well, I’ve not let anyone in since Madison. Since you’ve been told to avoid relationships, you probably don’t know how to let someone in. I’m rusty, since it’s been so long for me, but maybe we can take this slow and figure out how to let each other in?”
My skin prickled with fear. What he’d said was sweet and, in a way, I wanted to let him in. In another, very real, very strong way, I wanted to get out. I wanted to leave and not look back. Dustin’s heart had been scarred badly. I didn’t want to add to that wound, but worried that somehow, I would. Even if my intentions started out good, deep in my bones I knew that I’d add to the battle scars on his heart.
“I…I don’t know if I can, Dustin, and I realize that’s an incredibly shitty thing to tell you after you’ve shared so much with me. It’s just a lot of pressure to put on someone who has no relationship experience.”
He shifted, pulled away from me slightly. His expression turned darker. I thought I read hurt and maybe anger on his face. He turned and I watched his jaw flex. “Can you at least think about it? Think about whether what we have when we’re together is worth taking a chance?”
His expression softened, the anger gone and replaced by tenderness. He trailed his fingers down my arm and I resisted the urge to let out a shiver. His touch made my resolve slip. Damn it, was that enough? The physical thing we had going on, was that enough to take a risk? I didn’t know the answer. All I knew was that I wanted to both lean into his touch, bask in it, and flee this situation. God, I was a chicken shit. But, all he’d asked me to do was consider it. I could at least do that. I owed him that, after he’d bared so much of himself to me.
“I can think about it, Dustin. I want it to be worth it, I do…”
“I get what you’re saying and also what you’re not saying.” He moved his hands from my body and shifted, putting distance between us. I straightened my hat and tried not to get the wrinkles out of my blouse. Dustin busied himself straightening the office. It seemed like he was doing it so he didn’t have to speak or even look at me. I probably deserved his reserved behavior, but it still stung a little.
“Maybe I should take off. We’ve been back here a while. I should let you get back to work.” I fiddled with the fedora on my head, feeling more than a little ridiculous wearing the get up now. Somehow the mood between us had shifted and I didn’t know what to say or how to make it better. I couldn’t tell him that, yes, I’d give us a chance. I didn’t know how I felt about that. It would be unfair to make a promise before I knew what I wanted. “I’ll call you.” I hated the way the phrase sounded, lame and like I was making excuses.
“Yeah, okay,” Dustin said tightly.