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.