Talk Nerdy to Me Character Interview: Quinn

Nerdy Deeds Blurb

Quinn Whiteeagle, Nerdvana co-owner and burlesque performer, is falling for Jonah Stavropoulos, and that’s a huge problem. Not just because Jonah’s a customer and is developing the bar’s app. There’s something else about Jonah that makes a future with him a non-negotiable. It’s his dominant nature.

When it comes to Quinn, Jonah can’t help himself. He’ll forgo his safety, put himself in harm’s way, and make any sacrifice in order to have her in his life. Quinn resists his pursuit and that just makes him more determined to win her over.

After several dangerous encounters with a stalker, Quinn puts her pride and reservations aside and runs to Jonah’s waiting arms. He offers Quinn a safe place to stay, but makes no qualms about wanting to give her more than just temporary safety and shelter. Every protective instinct he has is activated and Jonah will fight like hell to keep Quinn in his life and in his care forever.Nerdy Deeds is book three in Talk Nerdy to Me, a series centering around the romances that blossom between bar staff and customers at Nerdvana.

Get Nerdy Deeds at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon AUAmazon CAAppleB&NKobo.

Now on to the interview!

How did you get into performing burlesque?

It was something I fell into, as weird as that may sound. My brother is a stage performer and he encouraged me to try burlesque, and by encourage, I mean he dared me to do it. I can never back down from a dare from my older brother, so I signed up for an amateur night at a club in Seattle. Once I was up there performing, it awakened something in me. I realized I was a natural performer, but also that by donning costumes I was able to embrace parts of myself that I never showed to anyone.

Sounds like an empowering experience. Speaking of dressing up, I love your look. Were you always drawn to the pin-up style?

I grew up idolizing the glamorous Hollywood icons from the 40s and 50s. Once I started dressing up on stage, I realized how much I needed to look that way all the time. The pin-up look is my calling card, but it’s more than that. I call it my armor. My pompadour, red lips, and vintage clothing make me feel strong, like a total badass. Like I could lift a car off a baby if I had to. (laughs)

Switching gears a bit, I want to talk more about Nerdvana. The nerd-themed concept is awesome. Coming from performing, how did you get into the bar business?

Yes, the concept is awesome, and I can’t take credit for that, it’s all Dustin’s, my business partner, creation. I worked as a bartender for years and when Dustin announced he was launching this project, he invited me to join him. I of course jumped at the chance, but really, bartending is just another way to perform. The bar’s it’s own special type of stage.

I can see that being true, especially at Nerdvana. Do you have a favorite area of the bar?

We’re working on a new space, the lower level is going to be amazing. We’ll have a special drink list, a DJ spinning a few nights and it’s a private gaming space for RPG and Dungeons & Dragons tournies and groups.

The lower level sounds super fun! Last question, and it’s a personal one. How are things going with Jonah?

It’s like a fairy tale. And I feel a little sappy saying that, but it’s true. It feels good to both in the same place, plus he finally stopped leaving carbs laying out around me (laughs). I really love him.

On that romantic note, if you want to know more about any of the other characters in the Talk Nerdy to Me series, keep your eye out here for more interviews. And, of course the best way to get to know everyone at Nerdvana is to grab the books!

Book one, Nerdy Words, is out now. Get it at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon AUAmazon CAAppleB&NKobo.

Find book two, Nerdy Thoughts, at Amazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU, and Amazon UKApple booksBarnes & NobleKobo.

Get book three, Nerdy Deeds at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon AUAmazon CAAppleB&NKobo.

Safe Haven, a Short Story Set During Thanksgiving

I’m a sucker for short stories this time of year, mainly because I’m usually busy until after the holidays are over. And reading short stories allow me to take 10 minutes here and there to read a romance. My short story called Safe Haven, is set during Thanksgiving weekend and follows the story of two people who reunite at their hometown bar only to learn they each nursed a crush on the other during high school. Even though decades have passed, the two are still just as drawn to each other as they were as teenagers. This short story is 10,000 words, so it’s a quick read, and it’s only .99 cents. Read on for a snippet and the blurb!

Blurb

When Roxanna Chase finds herself alone in her tiny hometown of Haven, Indiana on Thanksgiving eve, she decides to do the one thing she always swore she’d never do: attend Chatterfest, an unofficial high school reunion held every year the night before Thanksgiving at Haven’s busiest bar, The Watering Hole.

After a couple of cocktails and reminiscing with a classmate, Roxanna is overwhelmed, and a little turned on, when her old high school crush Nicholas Birch approaches her at the bar. He’s still as tall, broad-shouldered and sexy as he was thirty years ago. Since he’d dated her best friend in high school, Roxanna had always placed Nicholas in a box marked ‘hands off.’

When Nicholas admits he had feelings for Roxanna in high school, the two decide to leave the bar together and see what happens next. They quickly find that when old flames are rekindled, they can ignite into an inferno that refuses to burn out.

Snippet

“I’ve wanted to do this since senior year,” Nicholas said before he placed a searing kiss on her lips.

Roxanna let out an involuntary moan when he gently parted her lips with his tongue. She wrapped her arms around his waist while their tongues mated and stroked. Placing her hands on his broad back, Roxanna tried to pull his muscular body toward her own. It felt like she couldn’t get close enough to him, as though she couldn’t get enough of him. As though sensing her urgency, Nicholas broke his mouth free from hers.

“It’s these clothes, they’re in the way,” he told her with a seductive wink.

He pushed her cardigan off her shoulders and down her arms, allowing her to pull the garment’s sleeves off her wrists. Her camisole came next. Nicholas eased it slowly over her head. When she was standing before him in only a bra, skirt and stockings, he reached down to caress the material of her brassiere between his thumb and index finger.

“This is almost too pretty to take off. Almost.”

Get Safe Haven for just .99 at digital book retailers.

It’s Time for Beach and Poolside Reads!

As soon as the month of May arrives, I start thinking about vacations and staycations. This year I have a couple planned, and of course I can’t think about my vacation without pondering what to read at the beach or poolside.

Photo courtesy of Barnyz, Creative Commons contributor.

Not only do I like to read light, fun romances, but I also like to write them. I’ve written a couple stories about falling in love while on a tropical holiday – Caribbean Caliente and Tropical Heat. But I also have a few stories that are just light-hearted and make for the perfect warm weather escape read, like Good With His Hands, (a small town blue collar hero romance) Wild Ride, (a good girl meets bad boy romance) and Special Delivery (a bachelor auction and curvy heroine romance).

Do you have a favorite trope or kind of story you like to read? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram.

Excerpt from Nerdy Deeds, Book Three in the Talk Nerdy to Me Series!

Nerdy Deeds drops in three weeks! Today I’m sharing the blurb and an excerpt from the book. Working on book three was so much fun and I really enjoyed the dynamic between Quinn and Jonah. If you want to know more, read the blurb and excerpt below.

Quinn Whiteeagle, Nerdvana co-owner and burlesque performer, is falling for Jonah Stavropoulos, and that’s a huge problem. Not just because Jonah’s a customer and is developing the bar’s app. There’s something else about Jonah that makes a future with him a non-negotiable. It’s his dominant nature.

When it comes to Quinn, Jonah can’t help himself. He’ll forgo his safety, put himself in harm’s way, and make any sacrifice in order to have her in his life. Quinn resists his pursuit and that just makes him more determined to win her over.

After several dangerous encounters with a stalker, Quinn puts her pride and reservations aside and runs to Jonah’s waiting arms. He offers Quinn a safe place to stay, but makes no qualms about wanting to give her more than just temporary safety and shelter. Every protective instinct he has is activated and Jonah will fight like hell to keep Quinn in his life and in his care forever.

Jonah

When the opening strains of Wicked Games by The Weeknd started, I shifted in my seat. The woman on the stage moved her body in leisurely undulations in time to the slow, grinding beat. Quinn ran her hands down both sides of her body, letting her fingers skim the hemline of her black and silver dress. Her moves were deliberate, and they went along the lines of the song, full of raw emotion with a dark edge.

Her gaze connected with a few people sitting in the front row, and I was happy I’d taken a seat a few rows back and off to the side. I didn’t want her to know I was here. When Jamie, my favorite bartender at Cascade Falls’ geek-themed bar Nerdvana, had let it slip a few days ago that Quinn was a burlesque performer at Lettie’s Juke Joint, I knew I had to see her dance. I’d been flirting with Quinn for a couple months now. Or at least, I’d been trying to. She always regarded me seriously and shot me down.

But, watching her move on stage, I guess it made sense that her act was more angsty than playful. She unbuttoned her dress and slid it off one shoulder, then the other. The crowd let out hoots and whistles, myself included. Hell yeah. I wanted to see her take it off, obviously, but I was equally enraptured by the way she moved. She utterly commanded the stage, as if she were born to perform. The dress slid to the floor, but Quinn wrapped an arm around her breasts. My gaze roved over the slender waist and flare of her hips. When the lyrics of the song commanded to let me see you dance, she spun and rolled her body, tossing a sultry gaze over her shoulder at the audience. 

God damn. Her silver thong glittered under the stage lights, and I imagined what the plump globes of her ass would feel like filling my palms. I shifted in my seat. Shit, I was hard as a rock. Quinn turned again and lifted her arms above her head, rolling her hips. Her glorious breasts were covered in black pasties with silver tassels that gleamed in the lights. With an almost unnatural grace, she lifted her hands, placing a tassel in each, and tugged lightly while biting into her red lip. She let go and dropped to her knees. Leaning backward, she shimmied her shoulders in time to the beat, causing the tassels to spin in a circle. Damn, I was hypnotized. The song ended and Quinn stilled her body throwing her arms above her head then rising to her knees. She gazed at a few people in the audience and took the bills they offered. As Quinn gathered her dress from the floor, she walked off to the right, which was the side of the stage where I sat. Shit, I hoped she wouldn’t walk toward me. 

I watched as a man ambushed the edge of the stage. The guy was over six foot and massive, like he’d played linebacker in college. Quinn’s eyes grew large and I saw her mouth form a single word. 

Lance

So, she knew him? She didn’t look happy to see him here. He didn’t look happy either. His jaw was clenched and his fists were balled at his sides. What the fuck was this guy’s deal? I glanced at Lance’s mouth, reading his lips as he spoke to her. 

I’ll be outside, in the alley. Meet me there in five. I’m tired of you brushing me off, Quinn. And for God’s sake, put some fucking clothes on, you look like a painted whore.

My blood surged. This asshole. Where the hell did he get off saying something like that to her? I glanced at Quinn. She looked crestfallen, her gaze downcast, she nodded. How weird. I’d observed Quinn a lot in the past two months, and I’d never witnessed a reaction like this. She always projected confidence and carried herself in a way that let people know she had teeth and she wasn’t afraid to bite. This version of Quinn was odd. There was no way I was letting her meet this asshole outside alone. She scurried off the stage and Lance stalked away. I risked a glance at him as he passed by my table. Fury was clearly written across his face. Damn, I didn’t like this. Not one bit. I ran my hands across my face and wondered how to handle the situation. 

Get your hands on this scorching read on Tuesday, March 22, 2022!

Nerdy Deeds Release Date and Cover Reveal!

I have a release date for book three in the Talk Nerdy to Me series. Nerdy Deeds will release on March 22, 2022! Read on for the blurb!

Quinn Whiteeagle, Nerdvana co-owner and burlesque performer, is falling for Jonah Stavropoulos, and that’s a huge problem. Not just because Jonah’s a customer and is developing the bar’s app. There’s something else about Jonah that makes a future with him a non-negotiable. It’s his dominant nature.

When it comes to Quinn, Jonah can’t help himself. He’ll forgo his safety, put himself in harm’s way, and make any sacrifice in order to have her in his life. Quinn resists his pursuit and that just makes him more determined to win her over.

After several dangerous encounters with a stalker, Quinn puts her pride and reservations aside and runs to Jonah’s waiting arms. He offers Quinn a safe place to stay, but makes no qualms about wanting to give her more than just temporary safety and shelter. Every protective instinct he has is activated and Jonah will fight like hell to keep Quinn in his life and in his care.

Nerdy Deeds will be available at all major e-book retailers! Stay tuned for an excerpt and character interviews.

Talk Nerdy to Me Character Interview: Olivia

Nerdy Words blurb

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.

Now on to the interview!

So, you have a very unique career path, can you explain what you do?

Sure. I studied costume design and history, and now I’m a dramaturg. Basically, that means I work as a sort of researcher for directors, scriptwriters, and playwrights to ensure that historical details like dialog, clothing, and more are historically accurate. I love research work and putting things into historical context, so it was a natural choice for me.

That sounds interesting. Speaking of costuming, you have your own side business around that. What made you want to start Cosplaymates?

I’m just a hardcore costume nerd. I love coming up with different designs and seeing people embody characters.  

How did you get into costume design?

I’ve been a part of theater in some aspect since high school, either backstage or on the stage. It was an osmosis effect, really. Costumes, and even every day outfits, give us a chance to step out of our lives, or to play a part. 

What’s your favorite cosplay outfit?

To wear, I’d say female Indiana Jones. So far, my favorite cosplay outfit I’ve ever made is an extravagant Marie Antoinette costume. 

Last question, and it’s a personal one. You were super reluctant to date someone, but you are now. How is your relationship with Dustin?

It’s amazing. We both had some commitment issues to overcome, but we’re getting there day by day…and we’re excited to see what the future holds for us. 

 

On that very happy note, if you want to know more about any of the other characters in the Talk Nerdy to Me series, keep your eye out here for more interviews. And, of course the best way to get to know everyone at Nerdvana is to grab the books!

Book one, Nerdy Words, is out now. Get it at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon AUAmazon CAAppleB&NKobo.

Find book two, Nerdy Thoughts, at Amazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU, and Amazon UKApple booksBarnes & NobleKobo.

Teaser from Nerdy Words

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!

Blurb

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.

Excerpt

“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.

Want to read more about Liv and Dustin? Get Nerdy Words now at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon AUAmazon CAAppleB&NKobo.

Talk Nerdy to Me Character Interview: Jamie

This is the second character interview from the Talk Nerdy to Me series. Read the first one from Dustin here.

Nerdy Thoughts blurb

Jamie Kurt is the most popular bartender at Nerdvana, the hottest bar in Cascade Falls. Her outlandish cosplay outfits, wicked wit, and flare for whipping up cocktails make her a target of one-sided crushes from the Nerdvana clientele. So when a customer named Les Wyatt captures her attention, she’s torn between wanting to know more and fighting the urge to stay away.

Les  is a shy, sweet political cartoonist and larper. Jamie is vibrant, complicated, and allergic to commitment. He’s everything she shouldn’t want and Jamie’s convinced he shouldn’t get involved with her.  

Despite their obvious differences, neither of them can deny their fiery attraction and combustible chemistry. Les asks Jamie to give him a chance to show her how good they can be together through a casual relationship. As they continue to date, and feelings grow, Jamie throws up every defense she has to try to push Les away. 

But Les is determined to have Jamie any way he can and once he gets her, he has no intention of letting her go.

Now on to the interview!

What made you want to work at Nerdvana?

It’s such an awesome place. The vibe, the theme. There’s nothing like it.

How was it coming up with mocktail recipes for Nerdvana?

I loved it! I’m always up for a challenge and coming up with tasty alcohol free drinks was honestly the tits. And, best part? They’re all totally Instagram worthy, too. 

What’s your favorite cosplay outfit?

I’d have to say my Catwoman costume. I always get hella tips when I wear it. (laughs) I mean, of course I do, it’s a black leather bodysuit with stiletto boots.

How are your goals coming along with school and work?

It’s going great! I love being part of the management team at the bar, and I’m getting closer to finishing my degree. I have a business idea that I’d love to make a reality one day in the not so distant future, but I’m not going to say anything else about it right now.

How did Les make you better?

*laughs and lets out a happy sigh*
How much time do you have? (laughs) Serious answer? He made me face some of my demons. He made me realize I was running from my past and he helped me own my BS. And, he’s the absolute sweetest. I love him so much. 

On that very happy note, if you want to know more about any of the other characters in the Talk Nerdy to Me series, keep your eye out here for more interviews. And, of course the best way to get to know everyone at Nerdvana is to grab the books! 

Book one, Nerdy Words, is out now. Get it at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon AUAmazon CAAppleB&NKobo.

Find book two, Nerdy Thoughts, at Amazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU, and Amazon UKApple booksBarnes & NobleKobo.

Explosive Chemistry in Excerpt from Nerdy Thoughts

I’m sharing a short excerpt from Nerdy Thoughts, book two in Talk Nerdy to Me. One of the things I loved about writing this book was the juxtaposition of the innocent hero and experienced heroine, and I think that shows in the fun I had writing some scenes *winks*

Jamie Kurt is the most popular bartender at Nerdvana, the hottest bar in Cascade Falls. Her outlandish cosplay outfits, wicked wit, and flare for whipping up cocktails make her a target of one-sided crushes from the Nerdvana clientele. So when a customer named Les Wyatt captures her attention, she’s torn between wanting to know more and fighting the urge to stay away.

Les  is a shy, sweet political cartoonist and larper. Jamie is vibrant, complicated, and allergic to commitment. He’s everything she shouldn’t want and Jamie’s convinced he shouldn’t get involved with her.  

Despite their obvious differences, neither of them can deny their fiery attraction and combustible chemistry. Les asks Jamie to give him a chance to show her how good they can be together through a casual relationship. As they continue to date, and feelings grow, Jamie throws up every defense she has to try to push Les away. 

But Les is determined to have Jamie any way he can and once he gets her, he has no intention of letting her go.

Les

As soon as I saw Jamie exit the bar I hopped out of my SUV, I wanted to make sure she knew I was here. I walked toward the passenger door as she did.

“Hey, thanks again for doing this.” Jamie reached for the passenger door handle. I beat her to it and opened it for her, sweeping my arm wide, gesturing for her to get inside. “Do you need help? It’s kind of a tall vehicle and I’d hate for you to break your ankle in those.”  I pointed to her heeled boots and offered my open palm to her, but she brushed it off.

“I think I got this, but thanks, my good knight.” She curtseyed and gave me one of her big, flirty smiles. 

I knew she was capable of getting in by herself, but honestly, I just wanted an excuse to touch her. She’d placed her hand on my arm or over my hand more times than I could count, but that’d been different, I reasoned, as I closed the door behind her and walked around my vehicle to the driver’s side. She flirted with all the customers. Maybe I’d been stupid to fancy whatever I thought I’d read in her eyes before to be anything but her usual flirtation. 

“So where am I headed?” I asked as I fastened my seatbelt.

“Uh, fuck it, just give me your number. I can text you the address and you can put it in your GPS. It’ll be easier than me trying to explain. My sense of direction sucks balls, which is why I take public transit.” 

I bit back a smile and recited my number to her. God help me, but her potty mouth made my blood quicken. Screw the idea that women were supposed to be delicate flowers that didn’t utter a foul word. My tough as nails mom shattered that stereotype. My phone pinged. And now I had Jamie’s phone number. Hell yeah. I entered her address in my GPS and then anchored my phone on the cradle above the stereo. I glanced at the screen and listened as the robotic voice with the British accent told me where to go.

“That’s awesome. He totally sounds like Bruce Banner’s butler Alfred!”

“Um, I think you mean Bruce Wayne. Bruce Banner is the Incredible Hulk’s counterpart.” I made a tisking noise. “And here I thought you’d picked up a thing or two hanging out with us nerds every night at the bar.”

“Whatever,” she said with a dismissive wave. “Those damn comic book characters all start to run together after a while.”

“Ouch. You know comics are, like, my life, right?” I stole a glance at her, gesturing to the costume she wore beneath the coat. “And what the hell? You’re dressed like Harley Quinn. Are you telling me you’re not a fan, that it’s all just for show at the bar?”

“No, I like some of the movies based on comics. I’m just not that absorbed in the comic world, unlike some people I know who shall remain nameless.”

“Ah, that poor, nameless loser. Completely and totally absorbed in the fake comic world.”

“Hey, now, I didn’t say that. I didn’t even imply it. You’re no loser, Les.” 

She reached over and stroked the top of my hand as I shifted into second gear. My pulse leapt. Christ, what was it about her touch that drove me insane? Maybe it was the fact that she was the hottest girl I’d ever met? Combined with the fact that she wasn’t stuck on her looks and she didn’t treat me like I was a leper, like so many good-looking women did.

“That’s pretty impressive, you know?”

“What is?” I asked and stole another glance at her. She treated me to a big grin. Her expression clearly said she was up to no good. Okay, that was exciting. What was going on in that pretty head of hers?

“The way you handle your…stick.”

My balls tightened at the innuendo. I knew she meant the gearshift, but the idea of Jamie thinking about me handling my other stick made the blood course through my body, hot and rushing. I had no idea how to respond to a woman making sexual innuendos toward me. It had never happened before, and hell, maybe it wasn’t even happening now. I didn’t want to misinterpret her and come off sounding like some horny perv. 

“You mean my gearshift?”

“Yeah, but I prefer stick.” She let out a throaty giggle. Shit, was this beautiful, sexy woman flirting with me? Or just teasing me? “Double entendre aside, I am impressed. I mean, to drive a stick shift in Cascade Falls, with our hellish traffic and crazy ass hills downtown? Respect.” She thrust her fist toward me. I bumped it and felt warmth spread across my knuckles where our skin touched. Feeling like a complete fool, I roughly shifted into third as my vehicle picked up speed. 

The GPS blarred, and I was happy for the interruption. I had no idea what to say or do next. The British voice let us know we were less than a quarter mile from our destination. My heart plummeted. She’d be out of my car soon. I wanted to stay near her. She smelled like spice and a floral scent I couldn’t pinpoint, but damn it, I wanted to bury my nose in her neck and try like hell to figure out what flower it was that smelled so delectable. Shit. My cock pulsed and started to thicken behind the fly of my jeans at the thought of me getting that close to her. I did not need to get a boner in front of Jamie. 

 “Here. This is my place. Don’t even worry about trying to find a spot and parallel park. I can just hop out here.” 

 I ignored her and kept driving until I found an open spot around the block. 

 “What the—?” She gave me a sideways glance, then let out a huff when she realized what I was doing. “I told you not to worry about parking. Really. It’s fine, Les.” 

 “It wouldn’t be right to just let you out here at this hour. I’ll see you safely inside.” I finished parking and hopped out of the car. She was already opening the door and making her way from the passenger side when I reached her. Damn it, I’d wanted to be the one to open her door for her. For a moment, we stood on the sidewalk, Jamie giving me the weirdest stare, like I was a puzzle she just couldn’t figure out. 

 “Look, I understand you can probably take care of yourself and you don’t need me around to defend your honor.” She let out a trill of laughter. 

 “Oh, sweetie. I am so flattered you think I have honor worth defending.” 

 “You do. And I realize you don’t need me. Honestly, you could probably kick my ass, but I’ll sleep a lot better tonight knowing that you got in your apartment safely. So, come on.” I offered her my arm. 

 “Ever the honorable knight, to the very end.” Jamie affected a British accent and took my arm. Electricity zinged through me and I tried to keep my composure as we walked arm in arm toward her building. 

Jamie entered a code at the door and then looked at me, obviously trying to see if I’d give up or if I meant it when I said I wasn’t leaving until I saw her safely to her front door. I let go of her arm and settled behind her as we made our way up a narrow stairwell. Despite my best efforts, my gaze dropped and settled on the way her hips swayed and the roundness of her ass. 

 “Enjoying the view, my good knight?” 

 Damn, did she have eyes in the back of her head or was I that pathetic and predictable? 

She stopped in front of a door with the number nine on it and jingled her keys. I shook my head. “The deal was that I would see you safely into your apartment.” I gestured to her to unlock her door.

 “You know, Les, if you wanted to come up so badly, you could’ve just said so. I’d have gladly let you in. Still will. Just drop this bullshit chivalrous act.” She held her key poised above the deadbolt. 

“It’s not a bullshit act. I mean, I never had a sister, but I—” Oh, hell. I stopped myself just short of mentioning my mother. No need to get into all that. Jamie looked at me expectantly, still not opening her door. “What I mean is, I know you’re suspicious that I’m trying to worm my way into your place for some ulterior motive. I’m not. I just think a single woman should have some protection when she’s entering an empty apartment at three-thirty in the morning,” I said, consulting the time on my phone.

“I’m fine, Les. Besides, I have a roommate. You’ve met her at the bar. Olivia? Brown curly hair, cute as a button, great rack, and bodacious booty.” 

“I know who she is. She’s dating the owner of Nerdvana.”

“Shit, you picked up on that? And those two think they’re so damned slick.”

“Is your roommate home?”

She sawed her bottom lip with her teeth. I dropped my gaze to her plush lower lip and the bright red color. 

“No,” she said in a whisper.

“See? I can’t let you enter an empty apartment alone. So…” I gestured to her keys.

“Fuck, you’re relentless.” She opened the door with jerky movements and flung it open. “It’s perfectly safe, but please, after you.”

“You’re pissed.”

“Annoyed would be a better word for it.”

“This is a pretty sweet setup for two college kids.” I noted, as I walked in and assessed the living room and open kitchen.

“I may be in college, but I’m hardly a kid. I’m almost twenty-five.”

“Are you a grad student?”

She shook her head at me. “Look, Les, if you insist on playing twenty questions can you at least let me take these boots off and grab a drink?”

I nodded. Jamie closed the door and peeled off her coat. She unzipped the sexy footwear, letting them drop on the hardwood with a thunk and plodded the few steps into the kitchen and grabbed a glass of water. I knew I should leave, that I was probably annoying her, but I just couldn’t go yet. She rested against the breakfast bar, one bare foot on the peg of a bar stool, the other on the hardwood floor.

“I’m sorry if I was pushy, insisting on following you up, but I just feel…protective of you.”

A flicker of something resembling pain and then what looked like surprise flashed across her face, then the expressions were gone. She parted her lips and looked up at me, her brown eyes round and soft.

“Come closer to me, Les.”

Her voice was barely a whisper. I eased closer, eliminating the few feet between us until I was standing in front of her. Without her heeled boots her head only came to the middle of my chest. She reached out and grabbed the lapels of my coat and pulled me against her. 

“You’re so sweet and cute. You know that, right? You’re fucking adorable.”

Then her mouth was on mine and I was lost. Utterly lost in the warmth of her mouth, the swift glide of her tongue over my lips and into my mouth and the sweet taste of her. Her hands still fisted my coat and I wound my fingers through her hair. 

“Get this off.” She demanded and started taking my coat off.

I helped her by shrugging out of my coat and held my breath as I awaited her next move. I wasn’t sure what she wanted. God knew what I wanted. I wanted her. Any way I could have her. 

“Les, put your hands on me.”

 

Want to know what happens next? (as if you can’t guess ;D) Get Nerdy Thoughts at Amazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU, and Amazon UKApple booksBarnes & NobleKobo.

Nerdy Thoughts Release Day!

I’m super pumped that book two in the Talk Nerdy to Me series is out today! Nerdy Thoughts was a fun and challenging book to write. I put a lot of myself into parts of this book, so even though it feels a little bit like I’m exposing my innermost thoughts and fears, I’m proud to share it with the world.

Blurb

Jamie Kurt is the most popular bartender at Nerdvana, the hottest bar in Cascade Falls. Her outlandish cosplay outfits, wicked wit, and flare for whipping up cocktails make her a target of one-sided crushes from the Nerdvana clientele. So when a customer named Les Wyatt captures her attention, she’s torn between wanting to know more and fighting the urge to stay away.

Les  is a shy, sweet political cartoonist and larper. Jamie is vibrant, complicated, and allergic to commitment. He’s everything she shouldn’t want and Jamie’s convinced he shouldn’t get involved with her.  

Despite their obvious differences, neither of them can deny their fiery attraction and combustible chemistry. Les asks Jamie to give him a chance to show her how good they can be together through a casual relationship. As they continue to date, and feelings grow, Jamie throws up every defense she has to try to push Les away. 

But Les is determined to have Jamie any way he can and once he gets her, he has no intention of letting her go.

Excerpt

Jamie

“What can I get for you, sweetie?” I asked a tall redheaded patron dressed like an Arthurian knight. He pulled down his chainmail hood and leaned across the shiny surface of the silver bar. I couldn’t tell if it was a trick of the lighting or if the baby blues gazing my way were truly that rich in color. 

“Could I trouble the lady for some mead, for I am quite parched?” He asked in an exaggerated old English accent. 

I gave him a quick nod and my biggest smile. He was a larper, one I’d waited on a lot lately. His accent was expected, most of the customers who came here to use the live action role playing room refused to come out of character, even to place their drink orders. After working at Nerdvana, Cascade Falls’s hottest geek-themed bar for the past three months, I’d gotten used to the quirky—and sometimes downright odd—habits of our patrons. The men that came here might be a tad dorky and have uncanny hobbies, but none of them were ever rude or tried to grab my ass or tits. A relief compared to some of the other bars I’d worked at.

“I hope the mead is to your liking, good sir.” I said and put a beaker full of draft beer in front of him. 

When he picked up the glass vial and put it to his lips, I grabbed the ends of my short plaid skirt and did a small curtsey. I found that when I played along and humored the guys they tended to be much more generous with their tips. Leaning forward, I squeezed my arms toward my center and pushed my D cups together, causing cleavage to pop out of the top of my white t-shirt. Showing the customers a little something-something always helped line my pockets, too. I watched as the redhead’s gaze traveled from my face to my chest.

“Honey, your face is the same color as your hair. I’m Jamie. What’s your name?” 

I stuck my hand out. After a couple seconds he seemed to snap out of his daze and he brought his stare back up to my face. He clasped my hand and somehow turned an even darker hue of scarlet. 

“Maybe I’ll just call you Red. It can be my special nickname for you.” I gave him a wink and was about to turn away when he finally managed to speak.

“I’m Les. Sorry, it’s just…girls like you don’t usually talk to guys like me.” He shrugged and took another sip of his beer.

“What do you mean guys like you? Guys who larp? You should come to Nerdvana more often. Out in the real world people might not get larping or the appeal of video games, but in here it’s a whole different story.” I pointed to the row of booths across from the bar. 

Each booth butted against a wall and had a flat-screen TV attached to the end of the table. Video gaming systems ranging from the 80s to present day were installed on built-in shelves on the wall. Dustin, the owner of the bar and my boss, aptly named the place Nerdvana, and with the live action role playing room, comic book nook, and video game section, it was truly a haven for nerds. 

“You’re really cute, and in this place, you’re like a king—no pun intended of course.” I pointed to his Arthurian-esque garb. “What I’m getting at is you shouldn’t be so shy. I bet I could get you laid tonight, if that’s what you wanted.”

Les looked at me with his mouth gaping open. Damn, maybe I’d been too presumptuous. I probably shouldn’t have said so much. My roommate Olivia was always nagging me about that. I had horribly loose lips.

“Wh-who-who do you think would want to lay me?” He ducked his head and I had to strain to hear the next question he asked me. “Or is that offer coming from you?”

I burst out laughing. It didn’t matter how sweet and geeky they might seem, give a guy an inch… 

“Well, like I said you’re a cutie but…”

“I get it, you don’t do pity fucks. It’s cool. I need to get back to my game. Let me grab my wallet so I can pay for the beer.”

“Hey,” I said, and put my hand on top of his, all kidding aside. “I’m not trying to be a bitch. And I’m not rejecting you for the reason you think I am. Maybe that’s your problem. Maybe if you didn’t sell yourself short, you’d have better luck with the ladies.” I leaned forward again, this time I got so close my face was only inches from his. In doing so, it put the ledge of the bar under my sternum. I knew that the ginger cutie was getting a spectacular view of my cleavage.

“Between you and me, if we’d met somewhere else, I would take you back to my place tonight and fuck your brains out. It just so happens I’m trying to be good here. You don’t want to get mixed up with a girl like me.”

I kept my gaze trained on him, hoping he would take my advice and that maybe the next time a chick came on to him, he’d take it seriously and not brush her off. Les put down his now half-empty beaker and I couldn’t help but notice he did so with a shaky hand. Damn, he was totally adorable. I hadn’t been lying to him or just trying to flatter him in hopes of a fatter tip. A part of me wanted to take this shy guy with the deep blue eyes home with me and do wicked things to him.

“Jesus, Jamie. Don’t scare the customers. Dustin wouldn’t like that, you know.” 

At the sound of my roommate’s trilling tone I whipped my head to the left. She was sitting next to Les, but I hadn’t even seen her approach. I bit my bottom lip. I wonder how much of the conversation she’d heard?

“Liv…when did you get here?”

It was a bullshit question I used to try to gauge her mood. Not only was Olivia my roommate, but she and Dustin had been dating for the past couple months. I guess I should’ve been creeped out by the fact that my boss and roommate were shagging, but they made an amazing couple. I’d never seen Olivia as happy as she’d been since she and Dustin had become an item. 

A situation that might never have happened if I hadn’t stuck my nose into her life and told her she was making a mistake. Originally, she’d wanted to stick to her no dating in college motto when her and Dustin first started hooking up. I made her realize how pointless that rule was. A fact I tucked into my mental back pocket, should Liv decide to start lecturing me now. Maybe if she lectured me, I’d simply remind her that I’d been the one to talk some sense into her stubborn ass, and if she hadn’t listened to me in the first place, she might not be blissfully happy with Dustin.

“I’ve been here long enough to know what you’d do to this handsome knight if you weren’t on the clock.” My bestie shot me side eyes.

Shit. So, she’d heard. Oh well. Liv knew me better than anyone else. She couldn’t even claim to be surprised by my intentions.

“Look, ah, Jamie. I’ll see you around. I need to get back to the larping room.”

Before I could say anything else to Les, he turned and walked toward the two-story glass room in the corner of the bar. Damn, I guess I really had scared him. Or shocked the hell out of him. I didn’t know if I should feel confused or rejected. 

“Jamie, really? Him?”

“What? You think I don’t like redheads? Think they’re not cute as hell? ‘Cause I guess that means you’ve never seen Prince Harry?”

Liv rolled her eyes.

“Or Ed Sheeran with his oh-so-innocent looking face and that inked up body? I mean, who doesn’t love a juxtaposition like that?” 

“Wow, listen to you throwing big words around. I wasn’t referencing his hair color. You know that sweet guy’s probably never been propositioned like that before, right?”

“Propositioned? What the hell, Liv? You make me sound like a hooker.” I put a hand on my hip and did a sassy neck bob move at her. Out of my peripheral, I noticed a customer waving a couple of bills at me. I held an index finger up to the guy flashing his money, letting him know I’d get his order in a minute. “Do you want your usual?”

“Yeah, but you can wait on that guy first. He seems like he’s in a hurry.” I gave her a nod and turned toward the impatient dude. 

“I need a round for this table and that one.” He pointed to two tables behind him, then he turned toward the group in question. “Yes! You got to the next level. That’s legit, dude!” He let out a loud whoop, proud of his friend’s video-gaming skills.

Jesus, these fucking guys, I swear. Working at Nerdvana was awesome but sometimes the customers got so excited about their make-believe world, it was weird. I poured a round of cocktails for the over excited customer. He paid with several large bills and told me to keep the change, which equaled a nearly ten dollar tip.  Lucky for me, alcohol makes people generous. Most customers opt to pay the extra two bucks to drink their libations from a glass beaker—and sure, it looks cool—but it gets people hella inebriated, hella quick. Sometimes I wondered if Dustin and his business partner Quinn had really thought that aspect through when they came up with the idea. 

I poured a gin and tonic into a beaker and slid it across the counter to Olivia. Unlike some patrons, Liv knew her limits when drinking. One beaker of the classic cocktail and she was good for the whole night.

“So, what’s up with you tonight? Why are you busting my ass about a little harmless flirting? You should be doing the nasty with Dustin back in his office.”

“Whatever, that’s only happened once or twice.”

I shot my best friend a bitch, please look. She and my boss hooked up in his office more times than I could count. Not that I blamed her. Dustin’s a fucking fox. He’s a dead ringer for Adam Levine and I mean, what red-blooded woman in her right mind wouldn’t want to jump on that?

“Don’t try to make this about me, Jamie. You know I love you, right? So can I speak honestly and you promise not to get offended?”

I begrudgingly nodded my head.

“That knight was adorable, but you have to be…a bit less direct with the nerdy, shy types.”

I shrugged. “You know me, guys are like buses. One comes along every ten minutes. So, I screwed things up with Big Red. Now I know what to do next time I’m attracted to a cute, bashful dude. I gotta wait on some people. Catch ya later?”

“Of course.” 

My coworker, Sara, had been on her break, but she came back in time to start marking drinks for one of the groups. She’d treat me to her infamous stink eye if I didn’t stop talking to Liv, like, this second. I turned to walk to the other end of the bar, but Liv grabbed my hand before I could escape. 

“Are we good?”

“Always,” I said with a squeeze of her hand. 

That was the thing about our relationship, we made each other better. I encouraged Liv to be more adventurous and uninhibited. I had a tendency to be chaotic and, yeah, I’ll admit, flighty. She consistently called me on my bullshit and challenged me to rise to my potential and I loved her for it.

If you want more Nerdy Thoughts, it’s available at at Amazon US, Amazon CA, Amazon AU, and Amazon UK, Apple books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo.