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Contemporary Romance

Excerpt: Reckless Kissing

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Chapter 1

Saturday, November 18, 2017, 1:39 a.m.

Stop thinking about it.


You need to go to bed, Holiday.

You are getting up in—I turn my head just enough to read the clock that’s stated on my DVR directly underneath the TV—in exactly four hours.

And you have a plan.

Get up at 5. Hit the snooze. Get up at 5:15. Hit the snooze again. For real get up at 5:45. Make some toast, then clean up. Dress. Head to Penn Station and take the Amtrak to Renssealaer where Dad will be waiting to make the fifteen minute drive to their home in Colonie. I’ll say hi to Mom, then head up to my old room to unpack and relax.

I won’t see him.

Okay, maybe I will see him.

It’d be impossible not to see Joe Mahoney.

Joe’s their next-door-neighbor after all.

But it’s not as if Joe’s ever gone out of his way to say hi to me when I come to visit. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like me.

He sure seemed to like you last Christmas when he was kissing you. With tongue.

Shut up, I tell that annoying inner voice of mine. That inner voice can be a real bitch at times, especially when I’m writing. I’m a historical romance author and set my books in Regency England. I have six books and three novellas under my belt so far, and my last book, the last in my most recent trilogy, was my best-selling book to date. I actually made the USA Today Bestselling list for the first time and I was only three hundred books away from hitting the NYT. I was sooooooo close. My agent was super excited as was my editor and publisher, and they want to really push my next series, which will be centered around a big family. The first book is set to launch in June.

I’ve already turned in the book, tentatively titled All About the Duke, back in September. My editor gave me edits-slash-revision letter in mid-October. At the time, when I received the email and read through the revision letter, I thought: not bad, I’ve got this. Every author gets a revision letter, and if they don’t, then it’s my firm belief they’re lying through their stinking teeth. And I’ve had revision letters before and have knocked them out of the park. So, I totally thought this edit would be like the others. A few weeks, some wrangling, some stress, but the book would be much stronger and I’d love it even more.

And, at first, it was going swimmingly. Easy. I had no doubts I had this. I don’t know what happened, but something happened whether I got too in my head or I hit a snag, and now, every time, I open up my document, I just think: I suck; no one is going to read this; I’m a fraud; I should quit all the things and ughhhhhhh, I hate this. My critique partners remind me this is my process every single time, but I don’t know . . . it feels different this time and I’m seriously worried that I’m not going to meet my deadline that’s two weeks away. Especially since I’m only twenty thousand words into my revision.

So I’m stressed, as is clearly seen by the mountain of discarded Hershey’s kisses wrappers, the empty cartons of ice cream, and the amount of Chinese takeout I’ve ordered in the last few weeks.

I should cancel. I should stay here and write. I can skip Thanksgiving. My parents might be disappointed, but they would understand. They know how much stress I’m under. Plus, there would be zero chance I would run into Joe at all.

But then I remember my mom’s promise—which, honestly, was more of a threat—to me. If I didn’t come up for Thanksgiving, then they’d just come down here. And everyone would follow. My younger sister, Valentina, and baby brother, Noel. My multitude of aunts, uncles, cousins.

They would follow through on this. They’ve done it before. Two years ago, when I didn’t come up for Easter (due to a deadline), my whole family showed up, thankfully a week after I turned in the book. But still . . .

I have no desire to share a bathroom with Uncle Ernie ever, ever again. Let’s just say ear wax, and leave it at that.

I have to go home. I know this. It’ll be relaxing. I’ll have some decent home-cooked meals and maybe go out to dinner with my family. I’ll see everyone and be able to cuddle with our dog, Frank.

And I won’t have to see him. Joe won’t spend the holiday with us again. That was just a one-time thing.

I definitely know this, though. I certainly won’t kiss him.

Never, ever again.