Slammed by Victoria Denault – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Victoria Denault who is celebrating the book birthday of Slammed, part of the San Francisco Thunder series and the Romance Pick for Amazon’s Best of December 2017! Congratulations, Victoria. Enter the giveaway at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the first book in the series Score.

Eli Casco is on the brink of having everything he ever wanted. He’s just been called up from the minor leagues to play goalie for the San Francisco Thunder hockey team. And he just had the most mind-blowing night with the woman of his dreams. But now that he’ll be in the same town, she’s completely shutting him down.

Dixie Braddock loves her job as a publicist for the Thunder. But as much as she’s always enjoyed doing the long-distance flirting thing with Eli, dating him now would ruin her hard-won reputation, just when she’s up for promotion. He’s the last distraction she needs on top of team shenanigans and an ailing father. But the more time they spend together, the harder it is to keep to her hands-off policy-especially when Eli is making all the right moves to play for keeps.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“It’s raining!”

“So? Are you made of sugar, sweet Dixie?” he asks and keeps pulling me down the street. “Live a little. Be a little reckless.”

So we walk, on a Sunday night in the pouring rain, down the dark, almost abandoned streets. And somehow, for the first time in a very, very long time – since before my father’s diagnosis, since before my double life working in PR, since before I decided I had to be a glass-ceiling-busting corporate badass – I feel completely at peace. And maybe it’s the rain, maybe it’s the way the water is slipping down over my soaked hair and dripping into my ears and drowning my common sense or washing away my well-thought-out life goals, but all I want to do is kiss him.

We start to walk by an alley so I step into it, pulling him with me. And then with all the strength I have, I grab him by the front of his jacket, shove him against the damp brick wall, rock up on my toes, and kiss him. My lips cover his perfectly. And our tongues move together with matching need and urgency. He reaches up and cups the side of my face as he pulls away just enough to talk. “Do you know what you’re doing here, sweet Dixie? What about the rules?”

“I’ve played by the rules enough today.” I let my hand slip between us and palm the front of his jeans. “I think it’s time to give this reckless thing a chance. Just for tonight.”

I start to lower his zipper, and the way his eyes widen makes me smile. I kiss him again, tugging on his plump bottom lip for just a second as it ends and I slip my hand into his open fly. My fingers brush against his shaft and he punches his hips forward. “You should come home with me.”

He wraps his arm an arm around my waist and lifts me, spinning us around so it’s my back against the wet bricks. “We’re supposed to be reckless here.”

His breath tickles my neck, and then I feel his lips on my earlobe. “There’s nothing reckless about fucking at home.”

“Everything about us is reckless,” I remind him in a whisper.

“Then let’s act like it.”

About the Author:Victoria Denault loves long walks on the beach, cinnamon dolce lattes and writing angst-filled romance. She lives in L.A. but grew up in Montreal, which is why she is fluent in English, French and hockey.

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Game On by Victoria Denault – Spotlight and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Victoria Denault who is visiting with us today to celebrate the release of her newest book Game On. Enter the giveaway to win a copy of the book.

“I don’t break hearts. I break headboards…”

When it comes to scoring in the pro hockey league, Alex Larue is crushing it—with the hot puck bunnies. He’s the life of the party, the guy with all the jokes… and the one whose Party Guy mast keeps the real him well hidden. The last thing he needs is anyone finding out about his troubled past, or the nightmares that haunt him still.

Brie Bennett is less than impressed by Alex from the moment she meets him. And even though he insists on volunteering at the charity she runs, she doesn’t trust him. He’s hiding something…but so is she. She’s not just the rich privileged New York princess he thinks she is. The animosity between them is undeniably addictive and as their worlds keep colliding it becomes supercharges with something else—attraction. But if they stop playing games and let each other in, they both might lose.

Enjoy an Excerpt

I look around at Alex’s sparse apartment. There’s a sectional, an ottoman, but no chairs, bookcases or pictures. The nook for his bedroom only contains one three-drawer dresser. His bedside lamp is on the floor beside the bed because it doesn’t have night tables. “You don’t seem to like things.”

He shrugs, and those deep blue eyes find mine. “I don’t have a lot of things from my past worth holding on to.”

Oh, this man… I reach up and gently cup the side of his face. He grasps my hand and I think he’s going to pull it away, but he doesn’t. He holds it to his face and pushes into it. He’s like a puppy looking for love, and I want desperately to give it to him. But he won’t let me.

“And you seem to want to throw away things now that are worth holding on to.” I force myself to step back and start walking toward the front door because if I don’t leave now I’ll let things happen that are going to mean more to me than they should. Than he wants them to. But his words stop me in my tracks.

“I don’t know how to be a boyfriend, Brie.” The look of pure confusion on his face would be comical if we were still talking about his inability to run a dishwasher. But we’re talking about feelings here. “The only thing I’ve ever committed to was hockey and even it tried to reject me. Hell, in a way every time I get traded, I feel like it still is. But it’s a thing, not a person. Hockey doesn’t have a choice, but you do.”

I start to walk back into the kitchen as he turns away from me to look out the window. “People who have had the choice to keep me in their lives never have.”

Thank God he’s turned away because I actually press my palm to my heart to keep it from cracking. Holy shit. I have no idea how anyone would walk away from him – the man and his big, broken heart –because what I want to do is run to him. “Give me that choice and I’ll change your track record.”

He grunts and turns back to face me. “You’re this amazing, stubborn, gorgeous woman who wants more than the one thing I know I can give. And as much as I suddenly, for the first time in my life, want to try and give more, I’m so fucking clueless as to how.”

I walk right up to him so we’re toe to toe. “You want to know how? You just do it. You let me in. You take the chance, like you do every time you step onto the ice. You don’t know if you’ll win or lose, but you play the game anyway and you take the shots on net even if you don’t know if you’re going to score. So tell me you want this. Take the shot.”

He nuzzles my hand and but then turns his face and kisses my palm. When he turns back to me he looks so serious it’s startling. “I want this.”

I smile. It’s not big, but I feel it inside me from my toes to the roots of my hair. “Game on?”

He smiles back, raw but darkly playful. “Game on.”

About the Author: Victoria Denault loves long walks on the beach, cinnamon dolce lattes and writing angst-filed romance. She lives in LA but grew up in Montreal, which is why she is fluent in English, French, and hockey.

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Top Five Summer Vacation Destinations by Victoria Denault – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release of Score the first book in Victoria Denault’s San Francisco Thunder series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Top 5 Summer Vacation Destinations
1 – Ocean Park Maine. I spent every summer of my childhood and a lot of the summers in my adulthood going here – and I was married here. It holds some of the best memories of my life. It’s quaint, old fashioned, kitschy with a stunning beach at one end and a pine forest at the other.

2 – San Sebastian, Spain. It’s got an amazing beach and the most incredible tapas that I’ve ever eaten in my life at the bars in the Old Barrio area of town.

3 – Biarritz, France. Another scenic coastal town with a totally relaxed yet sophisticated vibe. Amazing architecture too.

4 – New York City. I love the diversity and hustle of this city. It truly feels alive. I can’t do more than 3 or 4 days here, but I always miss it once I’m gone.

5 – Los Angeles. It was my number one go-to vacation place for years before I moved here. I love the sprawl of it. I love the history (Laurel Canyon, Sunset Strip, Venice Beach). I love the vibe – you feel like you can do or be anything here. And the weather, I adore the weather! I pinch myself every day that I get to live in this magical place.

He’s used to winning, but now he’s playing with his heart.

Jude Braddock. Hockey god. That’s how everyone sees him now. But when they were teenagers, Zoey knew him as the kid who didn’t have enough nerve to make a move on their one and only disastrous date. Seems he doesn’t have that problem anymore, though. According to the rumors, he’s with a different woman every night. After a rough divorce, the last thing Zoey needs is more heartbreak. But Jude’s cocky, playful attitude is mighty hard to resist.

Jude knows he isn’t built for long-term relationships. But he’s getting sick of women pounding on his door in the middle of the night looking for a rematch. When Zoey comes back into his life, it’s like fate has given him a second chance. He’ll do anything to make her happy again. Is this what love looks like? He has no idea. All he knows for sure is that this time, he’s playing for keeps.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Still staring at my blank phone screen, I stumble toward the door and of course I walk straight into someone. Of course. Because to- day is going to be shitty in every possible way. Luckily, I manage to avoid getting chai latte on either of us; it barely spills over the lid and only dribbles onto my hand.

“I’m so sorry!” I say at the exact same time she does, and I look up to see a familiar face staring back, but I can’t place it.

She blinks azure eyes and then her whole face lights up. “Zoey? Zoey Quinlin? Oh my God!”

She’s hugging me before I realize what’s happening. I wrap the hand not covered in latte around her back and return the embrace. She pulls back, still holding my shoulders, and smiles. “Holy crap! It’s been over ten years! Oh my God.” She pauses and glances around before adding in a softer voice, “It’s Dixie. Dixie Braddock. You used to babysit me at my family’s summer cottage in Maine. You were friends with my brother, Jude.”

“Holy shit! Dixie Braddock?” I can’t believe it. The last time I saw her she was thirteen. Wheat hair; pink, suntanned skin; freckles across her nose and chronically scabbed-up knees from trying to keep up with her older sisters and brother, who were all daredevils on their bikes and skateboards and surfboards. Babysitting them—well, the girls, anyway—for the two years I lived in Maine was a highlight of my summers. And so was seeing their brother. Shit, I hadn’t thought of Jude Braddock in a while. I find myself smiling now that I am.

“You live in San Fran?” she questions as she takes my elbow and leads me over to the counter and hands me a napkin for my latte- soaked hand.

“Yeah. Stayed local after college,” I explain as I put down the latte and wipe my hand. “And you live here?”

She nods, her sleek blond bob moving like a curtain around her face. She looks close to the tiny thing I babysat but much more refined and beautiful now. I do the math: she’s only twenty-four, but she looks more put together than any twenty-four-year-old I’ve known.

“Yeah. I went to school for sports media, then interned with the San Francisco Thunder hockey team, and they hired me full- time this year.” Her eyes dart around, and her voice drops again. “Jude plays for them, so I use my mom’s last name, Wynn, so no one thinks he got me the job. He didn’t.”

“Jude is in San Francisco?” I don’t know why I felt the need to say that with such breathless shock. I knew he made the NHL, but I had thought he was playing in Milwaukee. That’s where he was last time I Googled him, which was three years ago, before I married Adam.

“Yeah. Got traded a couple years ago,” Dixie explains. “So how’s your family? Where’s your dad preaching now?”

“He’s retired. Mom and Dad are in Sacramento,” I explain. “My brother, Morgan, is a teacher here in San Francisco.”

“Morgan!” She laughs and her cheeks turn a little pink. “Sadie, Winnie and I had such a crush on your brother when we were little. Remember we used to keep begging you to invite him over when you were watching us?”

I nod and can’t help but smile back. Yeah, that memory hasn’t faded. The Braddock girls wanted my brother to come over, but I never invited him. Not because he was gay, which I already knew at that point, but because if Morgan was around, he would tease me about gawking at Jude, which I always did if he happened to come home before Mr. and Mrs. Braddock’s date night ended.

Dixie glances at her phone in her hand, and I realize we both must have been looking at our screens when we collided. She frowns. “I have to go. I have a meeting at the arena in twenty.” She puts a hand on my arm again. “But I would love to catch up with you, and I know Winnie and Sadie would too. They’re going to be in town this weekend. Would you be able to do brunch?”

“Yeah, I can do brunch,” I reply and am shocked at how excited I am at her suggestion. I haven’t really done much of anything social since the separation. I kind of lost touch with a lot of my friends after marrying Adam and adopted his circle of friends. And they all promptly orphaned me after the separation. I didn’t care much because I didn’t feel up to social interaction, but suddenly this seems like a pleasant distraction from my reality. The Braddock family was one of my favorite parts of my childhood.

“Amazing!” Dixie almost squeals. “How about tomorrow. Eleven?”

I nod. “Where?”

“You pick.”

“MKT?” I blurt out because it’s in my hotel and I’m too flustered to think of anything else. To be honest, I don’t even know what they serve for brunch.

“Great! Sadie loves that place, and she’s normally impossible to please.” She hugs me again. “See you tomorrow! Winnie and Sadie are going to be so excited!”

And then, before I can even lift my hand to wave, she’s back out the door. She never even got a coffee, but she doesn’t seem to notice. I’m more dumbfounded and confused than I was from the phone call with Minerva. The Braddocks are here. Well, at least Jude and Dixie are here. In San Francisco. Where I live. When the hell did that happen?

I look around the coffee shop to make sure there’s no one else from my past lurking around. A teacher, a neighbor, another sister of an old unconsummated love. Although Jude was my only unrequited love, but he did have three sisters. Whom I will be having brunch with tomorrow. Crazy!

I slip out of Peet’s and concentrate on the clicking of my heels as I make my way back over to my office. I finally take a sip of my jostled latte. It’s barely warm but the caffeine still manages to clear my head a little. Not enough that eagle-eye Marti doesn’t notice something is up.

“Everything okay?” she wants to know as she stands at her desk, gathering things she needs for her day and placing them in her bag. “You look more out of it than you did before the coffee.”

“I ran into someone I haven’t seen in a long time,” I murmur, and for some reason Jude’s seventeen-year-old face floats through my head, not Dixie’s from this morning. “The last time I saw her was in Maine eleven years ago, so it was surprising.”

“Wow.” Marti takes a break from filling her Michael Kors satchel with listing flyers. “Small world, huh? I love when that happens. Unless it’s someone I hate. Was it someone you hate?”

“No. Not at all,” I reply and drop down gently into my seat. “She and her sisters were sweethearts. Seems like they still are. I’ll definitely find out, because I’m having brunch with them tomorrow.”

“Cool.” Marti isn’t paying attention anymore. Her eyes are focused across the room on Parker McDavid, who is the owner of our company. He’s midforties, tall with a dad bod that is oddly at- tractive, probably because he covers it in perfectly tailored designer clothes. His dark hair is graying in all the right places, like George Clooney’s, and his eyes are warm and his smile is kind. But he’s an astute businessman who expects a lot from his Realtors, and Marti is constantly trying to impress him. I am too, if I’m being honest, but I’m new. She’s not new, but she’s still hungry.

“I’m going to tell Parker about the deal I just closed, and then I’m off for a condo showing,” Marti explains and barely even waves good-bye as she hustles toward the kitchen Parker just disappeared into for his morning croissant and English Breakfast tea.

I open my laptop and pull up my email, determined to keep my mind focused on work. I need to send a follow-up email regarding the potential Haight listing, but my brain is bouncing from Adam to Dixie.

One future encounter I’m dreading—confronting Adam—and one I’m looking forward to—seeing the Braddock sisters. But the one that isn’t destined to happen is the one that fills me with excitement I haven’t felt in a long time—the potential that since I’m meeting three Braddock siblings I might also run into the fourth: Jude.

About the Author: Victoria Denault loves long walks on the beach, cinnamon dolce lattes and writing angst-filled romance. She lives in L.A. but grew up in Montreal, which is why she is fluent in English, French and hockey.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Google Play, iBooks, IndieBound, or Kobo.

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The Final Move by Victoria Denault – Launch Day

12_8 The-Final-Move-Launch-Day-Blitz

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release of the final book in the Hometown Players trilogy, The Final Move.

12_8 Denault_One More Shot_E-BookReleased June 2, 2015

They say you only get one shot at making your dreams come true. Jordan is determined to take two.

Drafted by the NHL at eighteen, Jordan Garrison was headed for fame, and there was only one person he wanted to share it with—Jessie Caplan. He was crazy in love with her, and had finally told her so. They shared an amazing night . . . and then everything fell apart.

Jessie tries not to think about the night she gave herself to Jordan-or how he broke her heart. She tries not to think about it, but she does. Especially now, when she’s staring into his sky-blue eyes for the first time in six years. After so much time and torment, she can’t tell if she loves him or hates him. But Jordan has learned enough to know a connection like theirs is rare. He was lucky to find Jessie once. No way will he lose her again.

12_8 Denault_Making a Play_E-BookReleased September 8, 2015

He’ll do whatever it takes to win—on and off the ice.

Luc Richard is the hottest player in the NHL—and it has nothing to do with hockey. His racy relationship with his supermodel ex set the tabloids on fire but nearly put his career on ice. To avoid being traded, Luc agrees to take a break from the spotlight—and from women—and spend the off-season at home in Silver Bay, Maine. It’s the perfect plan… until he reconnects with Rose.

Rose Caplan is tired of being shy, sweet, and safe. She’s ready for passion, romance—and Luc. Having loved him longer than she can remember, she’s finally ready to prove she’s not the same innocent little girl he once knew. Off the ice Luc doesn’t do games, but this new Rose makes him feel like playing a little dirty. If he’s really got a shot at her heart then he’s not just playing to win. He’s playing for keeps.

12_8 Denault_The Final Move_E-BookReleases today!

Hockey legend Devin Garrison thought he blew his shot. But his relationship with Callie Caplan just went into overtime.

Sexy, rich, and one of the biggest stars in the NHL, Devin Garrison has always been the one who had it all. That is until his marriage falls apart and he realizes he has to start over. If he’s honest, there has only been one woman who ever really excited him-Callie Caplan. They shared a night that was hotter than the late-summer sun, but in an instant-Callie was gone, pretending it never happened.

Callie Caplan isn’t the wild child people think she is. It’s true she’s avoided relationships, but only because she’s seen how crazy love can be. And her messy, imperfect life is crazy enough without opening her heart to a man-even one as picture perfect as Devin. But when fate brings them back together-just as they need each other most-Devin is determined to convince Callie that what she’s feeling is real. And this final play may be their chance at forever . . .

Enjoy an excerpt from The Final Move:

I make my way down the hall into the kitchen and find her lying on the wicker couch in the little glassed-in porch that’s attached to the kitchen and has French doors that lead onto the back deck. Her eyes are closed.

I wander to the fridge. “I’m hungry.”

“That’s because you were too busy being Mr. Perfect Beautiful Hockey God to chow down on all those yummy appetizers,” she tells me without opening her eyes.

I smile. “Mr. Perfect Beautiful Hockey God?”

“Oh, shut up. You know it’s true,” she replies in a flat tone. “You should be the face of the NHL. They should put you on billboards in Times Square. You’re hot and your charm levels are through the roof.”

I’m laughing now as I grab an apple out of the fruit bowl and start devouring it. She falls silent and I worry she’s going to pass out. I don’t know how if she’s just tipsy or full on drunk.

“Callie?”

“Mmm?”

“How was the barn thing different than daring Cole to kiss you?” I want to know. “I mean in both cases you were testing our limits.”

“Uh-huh,” she agrees in a sleepy voice. “But like I said I’ve never been attracted to Cole. I’ve thought you were drop dead gorgeous since I was ten.”

I feel like someone dropped a piano in the center of the room. Or even more accurately in the center of my brain. It’s like something just went boom and all my thoughts were blown clear out of my head.

She’s been attracted to me since she was ten. Me? The sexiest, wildest, craziest, strongest woman I have known in my life – the very essence of everything I never thought would ever want anything to do with me – has been attracted to me for over thirteen years.

Wow.

She’s quiet again. I put down the half eaten apple, walk into the little glassed-in room and stand above her. Her eyes are still closed. Her arms are above her head, anging over the arm of the couch. Her hair is fanned out on the cushion she’s got her head on. The pale pink eye shadow on her eyelids is glittering in the dim light and her lips are pink and glossy like she recently licked them.

“Callie,” I start softly. “That night I was on the road trip… did you do what you said you’d do?”

Her lids flutter but she doesn’t open her eyes. “What are you asking me, Devin?”

“Did you warm yourself up to thoughts of me?”

“Did you take that cold shower that night?” she questions back, eyes still closed, body still motionless.

“No,” I reply honestly. “I took a warm one the next morning and jerked off to thoughts of you.”

I blame the champagne. I blame the bold, dirty words and the inability to stop them from coming out of my mouth on the champagne.

“Then we’re even because I did it too,” Her eyes flutter and her lips twitch, almost smiling. “And for the record, I’m going to do it again tonight.”

Her eyes finally open just enough to peer up at me as I crouch down beside her.

“You won’t have to tonight,” I tell her and press my lips to hers.

About the Author:12_8 victoriadenault_mary-costa-photographyVictoria Denault loves long walks on the beach, cinnamon dolce lattes and writing angst-filled romance. She lives in LA but grew up in Montreal, which is why she is fluent in English, French and hockey.

Buy One More Shot at Amazon, B&N, iBook, GooglePlay, Kobo, or BAM
Buy Making a Play at Amazon, B&N, iBooks, GooglePlay, Kobo, or BAM
Buy The Final Move at Amazon, B&N, iBooks, GooglePlay, Kobo, or BAM

One More Shot by Victoria Denault – Spotlight

6_2 One-More-Shot-Release-Week-Blitz

This post is part of a virtual tour organized by the publisher.

Favorite vacation destination
1. San Sebastian, Spain.

It’s got one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen, friendly people and an amazing old town filled with fun tapas bars with the most amazing food I’ve ever consumed.

2. Ocean Park, Maine

If you looked up ‘quaint’ in the dictionary you’d see a picture of this little town. A lot of the cottages and buildings are exactly the same as they were in 1881 when the town was founded. It’s got a Soda Fountain and the tiny little grocery store has the best cinnamon buns and lobster rolls in the state. It also has an amazing 7-mile beach. I spent my summers here growing up and I got married here. It’s where my soul lives.

3. Biarritz, France

Amazing beach. (Do you see a theme in my choices?) incredible surfing (body and board), and incredible architecture. Also, great food and the best coffee I’ve ever tasted.

4. Grand Bend, Ontario.

This is a must if you are in college, especially in Canada. Had one of the best girls’ weekends of my life here. I recommend going Victoria Day weekend (which is the weekend before Memorial Day weekend) you’ll be able to have an epic spring break-like experience in 3 short days. I often think I should write about my adventures here, but they’re so crazy I don’t think anyone would believe me.

5. Los Angeles, California

I live here now but before that I used to come here three or four times a year. The weather is amazing, there’s beaches and mountains and a celebrity sighting every five minutes. Also, if you’re a TV and movie junkie like me every area has a ‘set’ to visit. For example, if you’re in West Hollywood drive by the houses where they filmed Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween. In Venice, visit the locations from the show Californication. In Torrance, check out Buffy Summers’ house. Really, LA is full of fun adventures.

6_2 Denault_One More Shot_E-BookThey say you only get one shot at making your dreams come true. Jordan is determined to take two.

Drafted by the NHL at eighteen, Jordan Garrison was headed for fame, and there was only one person he wanted to share it with-Jessie Caplan. He was crazy in love with her, and had finally told her so. They shared an amazing night . . . and then everything fell apart.

Jessie tries not to think about the night she gave herself to Jordan-or how he broke her heart. She tries not to think about it, but she does. Especially now, when she’s staring into his sky-blue eyes for the first time in six years. After so much time and torment, she can’t tell if she loves him or hates him. But Jordan has learned enough to know a connection like theirs is rare. He was lucky to find Jessie once. No way will he lose her again.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I’m carefully placing a glass on the drying rack when a sliver of light appears in the hallway. Jordan’s childhood bedroom door creaks open. I glance up to see Jordan padding down the hall in nothing but a pair of navy blue flannel pajama pants.

“Water,” he says, smiling slightly.

I watch him make his way to the fridge, taking in his body. It’s quite the sight with all that perfect porcelain skin wrapped around tight, hard, lean muscle. He takes the Brita pitcher out of the fridge and then turns back to me. I blink and give my head a small shake.

“Hangover prevention,” he explains, holding up the pitcher.

“Ah,” I say, trying as hard as I can to look at anything other than his smooth, muscled chest. Or at his toned shoulders and arms, which have always been my favorite physical part of him.

He walks right up to me, standing only a few inches away. I can feel the heat from his bare skin through the fabric of my sweater. I tilt my head up as he reaches behind me with one of his impossibly long arms and pulls out two glasses from the cupboard above my head. Still smiling his lopsided, dimpled smile, he places the glasses on the counter to my left, then takes a small step in that direction to fill them both with water.

He hands me one of the glasses. Our fingers brush and I feel a tingle shoot up my spine as my belly clenches. I take a big gulp, almost choking. I’m suddenly feeling completely out of sorts—sure, I’ve had a couple of daiquiris and a glass of champagne, but I don’t think this feeling is from the alcohol.

I put the water glass down next to the sink and turn back to the last champagne flute. Jordan jumps up and sits on the counter be- side the dish rack.

“So, Cole and Leah,” he says, and sips his water. “Another one bites the dust.”

I laugh. “Those two have been in love since they were sixteen. It makes perfect sense.”

I place the flute in the dish rack and look up to find him staring at me with really intense eyes. I have a feeling I look the exact same way. The air in the room feels thick and heavy all of a sudden. I avert my eyes and notice he’s flexing and unflexing his hand.

I reach out and touch it tentatively. “Is it still sore?”

He nods wordlessly. I carefully remove his tensor bandage and turn his big mitt so the palm is facing up. I start to massage him gently. His eyes close and he sighs.

I work diligently on his thumb joints and the pad of his hand and then move to the fingers. I’m swiftly slammed with the memory of how those fingers felt inside me so many years ago. Not just the pleasure of it but the comfort of it—the way he felt so incredibly . . . right. All these years later, even after all the pain and drama, I still can’t forget that feeling . . .

“I don’t know how they did it,” I hear him say softly, pulling me from my thoughts.

“Did what?” I ask as I move my fingers to his wrist.

“How they didn’t fuck the whole thing up when they were teenagers.”

I realize he’s back to talking about Leah and Cole.
“I fucked it up,” he says.
My hands stop moving along his wrist. I stare at the soft blond hairs on his arm, unable to look up. I’m terrified I’m reading way too much into his words. I don’t want to look at him and have him see how hopeful I am. I don’t want to admit I’m hopeful.

I swallow and shrug, fighting to calm down the hormones raging in my body. “They really love each other. They just never forgot that, I guess.”

“But I really loved you,” he says in a voice so deep and angst- ridden I barely recognize it. “And I’ve never been able to forget it either.”

About the Author:6_2 VictoriaDenault_Mary Costa PhotographyVictoria Denault loves long walks on the beach, cinnamon dolce lattes and writing angst-filled romance. She lives in LA but grew up in Montreal, which is why she is fluent in English, French and hockey.

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