Monday, June 8, 2015

Official Announcement

Just wanted to let everyone know that At Last is now Live on Kindle!
 (Paperback will be available shortly) 
Here's the link.

Maya Tenney just wants to feel safe again. She never would have pictured herself as a woman who runs from danger, but being put in the hospital by a violent man has made her realize that staying alive is more important than her pride. She'll even move in with the grouchiest man she knows if that will scare off her ex.Tristan Jensen knows what it's like to deal with heartbreak, but he's not okay with anyone who hurts women. He's intrigued with Maya but he's done with women who manipulate and use others. Will these two be able to get past their misconceptions of each other or will they let pride destroy what could be a great love story?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Cover Reveal Time!

Just waiting on the last edits now. 
Should be live next week!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Let's Celebrate Summer!

To celebrate Summer,
 I've decided to put a few of my books on sale. 
Who doesn't need a Kindle full of romance to go with that suntan lotion and the smell of chlorine?

All of these books will be on sale for $.99 all Summer long-

Here's the Amazon link.

Grab this one here.

Purchase here.

To buy.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

First Chapter from my newest, Book 3 in the Love and Weddings Trilogy, At Last

I asked for help on Facebook with the title for my newest book and a few people said that they thought At Last (Think Etta James) would be awesome. I agree! So to celebrate picking a title, here's the first chapter. Enjoy, my friends!

Chapter 1- Roommates

                Maya looked over her shoulder one last time before putting her groceries in the back of her car as a cold feeling crept over her. She wasn’t sure if the constant feeling of paranoia was her instincts trying to keep her safe, or if she was in fact, finally going crazy. She sighed tiredly and slammed the trunk down before returning the cart. She scanned the parking lot of the grocery store again as she reached for her keys and spotted a dark shadow moving away from the light by the corner of the building and paused with a frown. She swallowed nervously and hurried back to her car. It was probably nobody she knew.
                But then again …
                Paranoid or not, it was better to be safe than sorry. She locked her car doors as soon as she got in and drove quickly out of the parking lot and out onto the road with a squeal of tires. It had been a month since she’d kissed Pule Matafeo because she’d been certain Carter had found her. The very next day Pule’s police car had been trashed. Unfortunately, Posey Tyler had been arrested for destruction of a Police Vehicle. Maya snorted at the thought of Posey taking spray paint to Pule’s car and sticking a switch blade in his tire. The girl was head over heels in love with the Pule. Everyone had assumed Posey had lost it out of jealousy because she’d seen her kiss Pule, but there was no way a little quiet thing like Posey would turn to violence.
                Not, that had been all Carter.
                She shivered silently as she automatically touched her lips. Violence came so easily to some people. And violence came especially easy to Carter Ellison. They’d only been together four months when he hit her the first time. She’d broken up with him immediately and threatened to call the cops on him if he came near her again, but he’d wheedled his way back into her life and she still couldn’t figure out how he’d done it. Two months later, he lost his temper again and gave her a black eye. At that point, she smartened up and told her family and her friends and the police what was going on. She had put a restraining order on him, but that had just enraged him and he’d come after her while she was walking home after a night out with her friends. She’d ended up with three broken ribs, assorted cuts and abrasions and a concussion because he’d kicked her repeatedly in the head. If a neighbor hadn’t heard her screams and called the police, she’d be dead.
                Maya drove through the streets of Fircrest and smiled cynically at the quaint little town and all of the happy people who walked through life feeling safe and free. Would she ever feel safe again? She’d started to. After moving to Fircrest six months ago, she’d thought she’d gotten away from Carter. She’d left Dallas behind and hadn’t looked back. She purposefully picked a small little town far away so Carter would never find her. All she wanted to do was live in peace.
                 But in her bones, she knew he’d tracked her down.
                Maya pulled in front of her Condo she rented month to month and tried to get a grip on herself. Living in fear constantly was draining emotionally and physically and she was so tired of being scared. She glanced behind her, to see if she’d been followed and then hurried out of her car, grabbing her groceries and running up the stairs to her door. She heard the sound of a car driving slowly down the street and refused to turn around. She felt the hairs on the back of her neck stick up as she fumbled with her keys in her haste to get inside. She could feel the powerful engine of the car directly behind her and pushed the door open, slamming it shut and locking it as she began to gasp with fear. She hurried to the window and pushed the curtain aside. The car she’d felt and heard behind her was idling right in front of her condo. She couldn’t see through the tinted windows but she could feel that someone was looking at her.
                Maya covered her mouth with her hand and backed away from the window. She hadn’t been able to convince Pule that Carter had been the one to vandalize his car. She couldn’t prove that Carter was the man in front of her condo now. But her gut was telling her she was in danger and she refused to ignore her instincts anymore. The last time she had, she’d ended up in the hospital.
                She picked up her bag of groceries and walked unsteadily into her kitchen. If she was right, and it was Carter, he knew where she lived and what’s more, he wanted her to know that he knew. Scaring her to death and driving her insane was probably part of his plan. If that was the case, she didn’t have much time before he made his move. It would be so easy for him to break into her house and all she had to protect herself was a little piece of paper that hadn’t stopped him last time and some mace. She put the milk away and then sat down, suddenly too tired to put the rest of her groceries away. She rested her head in her hands and felt a wave of hopelessness surround her.
                What she wouldn’t give to feel safe again. She closed her eyes and gave in to the despair that threatened to drown her. She reached for her phone to call her mom and then pulled her hand back. No. She refused to worry her mother any more than she already had. She could call one of her friends back home. They would understand. They’d seen her in the hospital and knew what Carter was capable of. But in the back of her mind, she knew that someone had to have told Carter where she’d moved to and she wasn’t sure who she could trust anymore.
                She could call Pule and tell him about being followed home except she wasn’t sure he suspected her of making Carter up just to get close to him. Her face burned with embarrassment at the way she’d thrown herself at Pule all with the end result in mind of being protected by him. She hadn’t wanted a boyfriend. She’d wanted a body guard. And he’d seen through her from the very beginning and had run as fast as he could into Posey’s arms.
                She sighed and ran her hands through her long, brown hair and stared at the ceiling. First things first, she couldn’t stay here anymore. She glanced around the apartment she’d grown to love and felt like crying. As a teenager girl, she’d been so strong and fearless and now, here she was running for her life and living in fear. She swallowed the bitter shame and pulled her laptop over.
                She pulled up the local classified and looked over the available apartments. She wanted to stay in Fircrest so she could be close to work. There were only five apartments available in Fircrest and three of them were out of her price range. She groaned as she read the next one. Must love cats since I have seven. Nope. She closed her eyes before looking at the last apartment ad.
                Need a roommate. Can’t be weird. Can’t be a drug addict and can’t have cats. I like things quiet and by quiet, I mean someone who likes to play X-box and watch all the movies I like. I don’t mind sharing my food if you clean the bathroom. Interested? Call Tristan. You can move in immediately.
                Maya grinned at the ad and reached for her phone. Immediately worked for her. She dialed the number and waited impatiently while it rang four times.
                Maya frowned at the masculine voice. She could have sworn Tristan was a girl’s name. “Uh, I saw the ad online for the apartment. Is this Tristan?” she asked, as she began to chew on her thumbnail.
                The man sighed on the other line before answering. “Yeah, this is Tristan and no, Tristan is not a girl’s name. Look it up. Tristan and Isolde. Great literature.”
                Maya groaned and leaned her head in her hands. “Dang it. I really needed this apartment,” she said, feeling the tightening in her throat as she fought back sudden tears.
                “I don’t care if you’re a girl. You can come look at the apartment right now since I’m here. I’ve got practice in an hour though so it’s now or never. I’ve got someone else coming to check out the apartment tomorrow morning. First one with the deposit wins,” he said, yawning loudly into the phone.
                Maya blinked back the moisture and sat up straight. “Wait, seriously? You’d be okay with a girl for a roommate?”
                Tristan blew out a breath as if he was bored with the conversation. “It doesn’t bother me. If it bothers you, then I’m sure there are plenty other apartments out there.”
                Maya tapped her fingers on the table. Should she? It might be nice having a guy as a roommate. She could kill two birds with one stone. Carter would think she was living with a boyfriend and might back off. She made up her mind.
                “Give me your address. I’ll come over right now,” she said in a strong voice as she smiled.
                Tristan gave her the address and hung up without even saying goodbye. Maya stared at her phone and shrugged. Her future roommate was a little grumpy. All the better. She grabbed her keys and her purse and hurried outside, looking up and down the street for the car that had followed her. She followed the directions but gave up ten minutes later and used her maps app on her phone to find the place. She drove down towards the Puget Sound and felt a little excitement slip in. An apartment by the water would be incredible. She turned down a gravel road and stopped in front of an older house that looked like it had been built in the seventies. The flat roof and the glass made her smile as she got out and lifted her face to the salty air.
                She rang the doorbell and glanced around, noting the flowers and trees and bushes. The man might be grumpy but he obviously loved beautiful things and took care of them. The door opened suddenly and she blinked in surprise. He looked familiar. Very familiar. She frowned as she looked him up and down, noting that he had to be at least six feet two inches. His bright blond hair was cut super short and he’d grown a short beard, but there was no mistaking those silver eyes.
                “You’re Meredith’s brother, aren’t you? I’ve seen you at a couple rugby games and at the diner. We’ve met before,” she said, frowning in disappointment.
                Tristan looked back at her coolly as he crossed his arms over his chest. “Yeah, I’m Meredith’s brother and you’re the yoga instructor who’s after Pule, right?”
                Maya blushed and flipped her hair over her shoulder as she lifted her chin. “Good luck finding a roommate. I’ve decided I’m not interested,” she said with as much dignity as she could and then turned and walked away, taking out her car keys and cursing the day she’d come to Fircrest.
                “Not so fast.”
                Maya paused and looked over her shoulder. “What?”
                Tristan leaned in his doorway and narrowed his eyes at her. “You came all this way, you might as well look at the place.”
                Maya raised an eyebrow and smiled. “You have a rule against cats and I have a rule against jerks. No thanks,” she said and sighed as she realized she’d have to start looking for a new place in Tacoma. She hated driving through Tacoma’s busy traffic with a passion but it would be worth it if she could feel safe.
                “Look, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that about Pule. I get how women can get hung up over a guy and not think straight. I won’t bring up your love life. Really, you can come look at the place and I won’t say a word.”
                Maya frowned and turned around slowly as she stared at the man. He had some goofy smile on his face as if he wasn’t used to smiling and wasn’t sure how to do it anymore. He looked all stiff and weird.
                “What’s really going on? Who’s coming to look at the place tomorrow?” she asked.
                Tristan sighed and ran a hand through his bright hair. “An old college roommate who drives me nuts. He drinks, he smells and he was always having people over. I like things quiet.”
                Maya rolled her eyes and considered it. The man was grumpy and rude but that might work to her advantage if Carter ever tried to come to the door. And he was huge. Carter was only five feet ten and Tristan would intimidate anyone. Maybe she should check it out.
                “Fine,” she said half-heartedly and walked back to the house.
                Tristan’s face relaxed, not into a smile, but something that could be a close relative. “Welcome to my home,” he said as he moved back so she could walk through the door.
                Maya blinked to adjust her eyes as she walked down the hallway and into a large open area that made up the family room, eating area and kitchen.
                “I knocked down a few walls to open the space up,” Tristan said, as he flipped on a few lights.
                Maya noted the hardwood floors and the warm yellow walls and smiled. “You have good taste. It’s very inviting.”
                Tristan’s mouth quivered on the side and Maya watched in curiosity wondering if the man was incapable of smiling. She walked over to the French doors that led out to the back yard. She opened the door and stepped out onto a large patio and gasped.
                “Your view,” she whispered as she held a hand over her heart.
                Tristan moved to stand next to her and they stood in silence as they watched the boats skim across the water of the Puget Sound. “I spend a lot of time out here,” he said pointing to the comfortable lounge chairs.
                Maya walked over to the railing and lifted her face to the wind as she closed her eyes and felt something she hadn’t felt in a while. Good. She felt good, standing out here so close to the water and the sky.
                “I’m actually tempted now,” she said, opening her eyes and smiling.
                Tristan shrugged. “You haven’t even seen the room yet.”
                Maya blinked in surprise. “It’s nice?”
                Tristan turned and walked back into the house and she was forced to follow him. He led her back down a different hallway to a large room with pale blue walls and a crystal chandelier. There was a large, iron bed and an heirloom quilt that had her running her hand over the soft cotton. She turned and noted the antique dresser and the pictures on the wall that were photographs.
                She walked over and stared at the pictures of mountains and trees and turned to look at Tristan questioningly. “Yours?”
                Tristan nodded. “It’s my hobby.”
                Maya blinked in surprise and had to admit that there was more to this surly guy than she’d thought. “This room, this house… it’s amazing. But I’m curious. Why do you need a roommate? I mean, this house is gorgeous and you’ve obviously spent a lot of time and energy and money on it. Why in the world would you want some stranger to invade your personal space?”
                Tristan’s eyes went dark and gray as he looked away from her. “A few reasons. I have a dog and she needs more company than me. That, and my parents are worried that I don’t interact with other humans enough. They worry. And the rent money is going towards a boat I want to buy.”
                Maya laughed. “Just get a loan like everyone else does. You’re really going to save the money before buying something you want?”
                Tristan rolled her eyes. “I’ve seen a lot of my friends declare bankruptcy in the past few years. They all had the same theory on money as you do. I’m a little old fashioned, but then again, I own my own house and my car. Do you?”
                Maya cleared her throat and looked away. She had a few credit cards and she probably, definitely needed to be better with money.
                “Okay, I get it. You’re a recluse with a bad attitude and a tight hold on his pennies. Can I move in tonight?”
                Tristan blinked in surprise. “Really? You want to move in?”
                Maya glanced at the bed and then out the large bay window and smiled a little. “I do. Where’s the contract?”

                Tristan didn’t smile but his eyes warmed briefly as he turned and walked out of the room. Maya walked over and stared out the window for a moment before following him. Two hours later she was unpacking her clothes as she docked her phone and listened to I’m like a bird by Nelly Furtado.

(c) Copyrighted Material 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

Check this out!

So everyone has been raving about my latest cover for Free Fallin'  - here it is in case you missed it:

Sherry Gammon is the design genius behind this one. What you might not know is that Sherry is also an awesome writer as well and just does her book covers on the side.  She's got a great book that I have to mention because it's just that cool.  It's called, Not So Easy. 
Senior Max Sanchez has it all. 
He’s the star pitcher for Port Fare High’s baseball team. He’s dating the 
head cheerleader, Emma McKay, and he has a great group of friends. 

Junior JD Miller’s life is Not So Easy. 
Unlike Max, JD struggles with making friends. He’s a social misfit, and 
he’s being bullied at every turn. He’s also barely surviving. 
A tragic accident changes everything, merging their lives together, 
and Max soon learns that life is not so easy for everyone. Max works to the point of exhaustion trying to help JD survive the chaos that is his life, and his eyes are opened to a world he had no idea even existed. 
Not so Easy is a story about hope, surviving, and never giving up. 

Here's the link.
So if you're in the mood for a good book, don't miss this one. Here is some info on how to win an audio book of Not So Easy:
To celebrate the re-launch of Not So Easy (Souls in Peril) I am giving away TWO audio books!
Not So Easy (Souls in Peril) has a new cover, exciting edits, (a new chapter has been added), and now Not So Easy is an audio book, narrated by the talented Ryan Shaughnessy.
Not So Easy has a 4.9 out of 5 star rating on Amazon!

Not So Easy
Senior Max Sanchez has it all.Junior JD Miller’s life is Not So Easy. He’s the star pitcher for Port Fare High’s baseball team. He’s dating the head cheerleader, Emma McKay, and he has a great group of friends.
Unlike Max, JD struggles with making friends. He’s a social misfit, and he’s being bullied at every turn. He’s also barely surviving.
A tragic accident changes everything, merging their lives together, that life is not so easy for everyone. Max works to the point of exhaustion trying to help JD survive the chaos that is his life, and his eyes are opened to a world he had no idea even existed.
Not so Easy is a story about hope, surviving, and never giving up.

*Kindle booklove: Dani: 10 Wonderful, Amazing, Fantastic Stars This story will stay with me forever. It spoke to my soul because I know what it's like to be bullied relentlessly by kids at school and then go home and have to deal with an abusive stepfather and feel like you have nobody to turn to, nobody to trust, and nowhere to go. I know as it said at the end of the book that not all people being bullied have the same home situations but mine almost resembled Izzy's experience with some differences of course. My heart broke while reading about JD's and Izzy's story. I cried for them and their situation. I fell in love with Emma's character because she was one of those rare people with an untarnished soul who doesn't look at people and judge them by what they look like....Read the full review here:
What other are saying about Not So Easy (from the Souls in Peril series):

*Once Upon a Twilight: As I try to compose all my emotions to write this review I feel an overwhelming responsibility to do justice to this book through my review. I laughed, I cried, I felt such bewildering sadness and in the end I laughed again. Sherry Gammon takes us on an astonishing journey through the eyes of Max Sanchez. Handsome and athletic with a wonderful and supportive family, Max lives a charmed life. Even as a seventeen year old Max knows that his girlfriend Emma will be the woman he grows old with. Em's beauty and brains are only out shone by her inner compassion and kindness. Max already recognizes that he can learn from her sweetness and tolerance. For the full review click her (Warning: SPOILER ALERT!)

* Dani of Wonderful, Amazing, Fantastic Stars. This story will stay with me forever. It spoke to my soul...This book is amazingly written and so awesome. I will never forget this book. It got me deep... I recommend it to everybody with children, children, and adults alike. Everybody should read this amazing book.

*Camelia Skiba: Sherry drives the reader to real emotions masterfully creating trials, conflicts and doubts. You'll cry and laugh, ache and root for these heroes. I also liked the messages that come with this book, that life is worth living, that we should never give up and we should always try our best.

* Cindy Bennett: Souls in Peril is seriously one of the best books I've ever read. It had me in turn laughing and crying, my heart aching for all the characters involved.
Gammon's writing is full of humor, sorrow, realism, and pulls you into places you might not want to go, but will be happy you did when all is said and done. I HIGHLY recommend this book!

* Momma's Books. Brandy: If I could rate this book a 10 I would but Goodreads as well as amazon will only allow a 5. So it is 5+++++++ It was such an emotional read for me. It took me less than 24 hours to read this book once I started I could not put it down. I am honestly at a loss for words to explain how I feel about this book. But I will try so here I go… You will be taken on an emotional ride and your heart will hurt more times than not. You will wish you could just jump into the book and just rescue JD. I know I absolutely fell in love with Em she is the sweetest and kindest kid. I can only hope that my children turn out to be like her... It is absolutely AMAZING! Read full review (and check out the old cover;) here:

Donna~ The Romance Cover Heart wrenching, sobbed and sobbed through this book, so many familiar circumstances it was like reliving my school life all over again...very sad, very emotional but unfortunately oh so very true. A fabulous book, that puts you through an emotional wringer..not my usual romance but a great YA book that had some very important messages throughout the book...brilliant.

More reviews here, here and here
Purchase Links

Not So Easy ebook is specially priced for the next few weeks as I introduce the exciting audio book
More reviews here, here and here.

Here is a fun interview with my narrator Ryan Shaughnessy

1 Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? I’m from a cornfield an hour and a half southwest of Chicago and the oldest of three children. I was high school valedictorian and passed the CPA exam after obtaining a Masters degree in accounting. Then I followed my dream and moved to Los Angeles to make a career in acting and not from a cubicle. Every day brings a new adventure!
2. What do you do when you are not acting/narrating? Every day I’m doing something that relates to my acting. Whether it be auditioning, shooting, or social networking, the acting never stops. Even when I’m watching shows on Netflix, I watch certain shows that would appeal to my age demographic.
3. What is your favorite smell? Mom’s pot roast coming from the slow cooker when I travel back to Illinois.
4. What was your first acting project? There were the spring concert shows in grade school, but my first main gig was in the summer before my 8th grade year where I was the ventriloquist’s dummy in the radio show in a production of “Annie”.
5. How/Why did you get into acting? I love entertaining people. After getting a feel of making so many people laugh with my lines, I was hooked. Looking back, I wish I would have pursued in sooner, but I didn’t realize I could make a career of it because of how and where I was raised.
6. If you had 24 hours to live, excluding spending time with your family, what would you do? Skydive, ride in a hot air balloon, bungee jump off a bridge, and take my family to the gorgeous beaches of Thailand
7. What is your favorite kind of cheese? Pepperjack
8. Is there any particular actor or book that influenced you growing up or as an adult? I grew up watching all the James Bond and Indiana Jones movies. It’s been a goal of mine to be James when I’m the right age. But Harrison Ford has always been an influence because he is also from Illinois and wasn’t given much of a shot at the beginning of his acting career. I feel I am very similar to him in that regard in that we both have had a chip on our shoulders to prove the world wrong.
9. Would I find anything growing in your refrigerator right now? Nope. I keep things pretty clean. If I let one thing go, it would probably be the dust in my bedroom.
10. How would you describe yourself in three words? Intelligent, sarcastic, loyal
11. Who is your favorite actor? It’s hard to pick just one. Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, Denzel Washington, Matt Damon, and Tom Hanks are at the top of the list.
12. What is your favorite part of acting and why? Your least favorite and why? Favorite: Things are always changing but yet they are still structured. You may be on the same set, but the storyline is changing and things don’t get stagnant. Worst: Rejection haha.
13. Chocolate or Brussels sprouts? I’m a fan of both actually, especially if the brussels sprouts are doused in butter.
14. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an actor? I was new to a class and the teacher thought I wasn’t taking the scene seriously. He said I wouldn’t amount to anything.
15. What has been the best compliment given to you as an actor? I took a three week intensive with a casting director, and after we finished the scene in the last week, he told me he could easily see me as a contract role on the show.
16. What is your least favorite smell? Rotten eggs
17. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring actors? If a kid from a small town in Illinois with no formal training can move across the country and find a place in this crazy entertainment world, there is no reason you can’t do the same. You will most likely need lots of patience and a strong backbone, and most people from back home won’t understand the extent of what you are doing. But you will. As long as you believe this is what you were made to do, you will find a way to make it happen.

Ryan's Links
Viral Clip:
@RynoShaughnessy (Twitter and Instagram)

Enter to win an audio book!
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Saturday, March 28, 2015

KJ's Book Nook: And The Winner Is... Oh!! And More Swoony Reviews!...

KJ's Book Nook: And The Winner Is... Oh!! And More Swoony Reviews!...: Is it just me or did this month literally FLY by?! Please... someone tell me that it was not just me!! I am so sad to see Shannon Guymon ...

Monday, March 23, 2015

1st Chapter from Take a Chance on Me (Pule's Story) AND a Free book!

     Okay my friends, it's been a busy month, but Take a Chance on Me is finished! (except for some final editing) But in the meantime, here is the 1st chapter in Pule's story to tide you over. (Sorry - you'll have to scroll down but first read my other cool news!)

     Guys, I have to tell you - Pule's story was intense for me. I heard back from one of my first readers and she says her husband was teasing her because she would be crying one minute and smiling the next. I have to admit there were a few chapters I cried through as I wrote them.  And no spoilers on this one! Seriously - when you read it, girls you better hold it in and keep it to yourself. It's going to be hard to do but I have faith in you.

     Alright, the second announcement I have is that Falling for Rayne is going to be FREE from 3/24 - 3/28/2015. FREE!!!!  (on kindle)  So help me pass the news around. Tell your friends and family and let's share the love :)  If you have a blog or Facebook or Twitter I'd LOVE it if you could help me get the news out.  Here's the link.

   And my 3rd cool news is that I was featured in a Swoon Fest. Don't know what that is? Holy Cow you're missing out. A whole month of just my books were featured including  my books from my Pen Name, Katie Lee O'Guinn.  There are drawings and prizes and Amazon gift cards and rafflecopters. PLUS - awesome interviews (of me) plus interviews of some of my best and most loved characters, recipes and the best Hollywood casting you've ever seen. You must, absolutely must check it out. Here's the link.

Without further ado - I bring you, Pule's Story:

Chapter 1 – The New Girl

                Pule Matafeo was not a man to sit back and be told what to do. Unless it was his mom doing the telling. Then yes, he was definitely that man. But Meredith Jensen was not his mother.
                “I don’t care if Cleo needs even numbers. I’m not escorting Maya, the amazon goddess, anywhere.”
                Meredith closed her eyes and breathed in deeply as she clenched her fists. Pule hid his smile and sat back to enjoy the show. Now that she was engaged to Asher, she’d turned over a new leaf and was trying to work on her patience. It wasn’t going well.
                “Look, this is Cleo’s big day and she does not need this aggravation. Just show up in a tux, smile and escort Maya down the aisle. How hard is that?” she asked in exasperation as she did the final edits on her wedding invitations. With Cleo’s wedding being that weekend and everything was practically done, she was now able to work on her own wedding preparations.
                Pule sighed loudly as Asher massaged Meredith’s shoulders and grinned at him.
                “Dude, she’s gorgeous. Why are you putting up a fight?  Every man there will be jealous of you.”
                Meredith stopped what she was doing and turned slowly to stare up at her fiancĂ© with narrowed eyes. Asher cleared his throat and kissed Meredith’s cheek. “I meant to say, everyone but me, because I’ll be your escort and to me you’re the most beautiful woman ever born,” he said in a low, tender voice.
                Pule watched as Meredith’s face softened and she pulled Asher’s face down to hers where he was subjected to a quick but passionate kiss that made him sigh for real. He wasn’t necessarily jealous, but … yeah, he was jealous. He was surrounded by people in love, getting married or having babies constantly and it was starting to wear on his psyche.
                “Cut it out,” Pule griped.
                Meredith rolled her eyes and pointed at him. “You’re doing this, Pule. Besides, Maya told Cleo the other day that she thought you were hot. You’re always complaining about your social life. Well, here we are helping you out. You’re single and gorgeous. Maya is single and gorgeous. What. Is. The. Problem?” she said slowly and with enough sass to send Pule’s eyebrow rising.
                “She’s too perfect, okay?” he said grouchily as he rested his head in his hands. “I always feel weird around her like my hair is out of place or I might have something in my teeth.”
                Asher laughed. “I know exactly what you mean. When I dated Maya I…” Asher stopped suddenly and began whistling as Meredith glared at him.
                Pule grinned. “Stop being jealous, Mer that was all for your benefit and you know it.”
                Meredith shook her head as she unclenched her jaw. “My benefit, my behind,” she grumbled.
                Asher walked over and sat down on the couch. Probably so he could be out of hitting range. “Look, the point is, Maya is a great girl. She can’t help it if she’s perfect. Just escort her to the wedding and you never have to be with her again,” he said reasonably, as he changed the subject smoothly.
                Meredith’s expression immediately cleared and Pule rolled his eyes. “I’m going to be so tense from hanging out with Maya I’m going to need a massage afterwards.”
                Meredith closed her laptop as she stood up. “And there will be hundreds of girls there volunteering for the job. Just because you have to escort Maya doesn’t mean you have to be glued to her side the entire night. What’s going on? You’re so moody lately. Is something going on at work or at home you’re not telling us about?” she asked, looking at him with concern.
                Asher narrowed his eyes as he studied his friend. “Pule, you and I promised to tell each other everything. If something’s bothering you, then you have to tell us.”
                Pule blinked in surprise and tried not to smile. Asher Murphy took his role as best friend seriously. He needed to remember that.
                “Everything’s fine, guys. Really. Being a police officer is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I love wearing the badge.”
                Meredith raised an eyebrow. “What about Tate? Is it hard working for you cousin? Is he harder on you than everyone else? Are you being bullied?” she asked softly.
                Pule stared at her in shock and then laughed. “Bullying? Mer, come on. Tate’s like my brother. He’s always looking out for me. No, working with Tate is incredible. The man brings me one of Jane’s cupcakes every day. No, work is amazing. I guess I am a little stressed at home though. My uncle Sefe just moved here from California and the house is already crowded.  I feel like I don’t have my own space anymore.  The man throws his clothes all over my bed. I’m about ready to shoot him,” he said, already clenching his teeth as he thought about his uncle.
                Asher’s face relaxed and he laughed. “I met your uncle last week at The Iron Skillet. Huge guy, larger than life and the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. He seems like a fun guy.”
                Pule sighed and ran a hand over his face. “Yeah, it’s a party all the time with Sefe. He’s my dad’s youngest brother and he was just hired on at Foss High School to coach the Football team.”
                Meredith’s face lit up. “Is he single? Because he needs to join Your One and Only.”
                Pule waved his hand in the air. “Yeah, yeah, Meredith. We all know.”
                Meredith narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously. “Has your subscription run out? You know all I have to do is ask Brogan and he’ll tell me.”
                Pule smiled brightly and stood up. “And on that note, I’ll be on my way.  Tell Cleo that I’ll be happy to escort Maya down the aisle,” he said and smiled as Meredith clapped her hands and jumped up and down.
                “Thank you, Pule!” she yelled and then threw her arms around his neck as she gave him a big smacking kiss on the cheek.
                Pule grinned and hugged her back before lifting a hand to Asher. “You two coming to cheer me on tomorrow?”
                Asher stood up and slapped him on the back. “Wouldn’t miss it. Seeing you crush bones is one of the highlights of my life.”
                Pule laughed and pretended to punch Asher and tried not to enjoy the automatic wince. He waved goodbye and glanced at his phone as he walked outside.  He had an hour before work. Just enough time to stop by the bakery and pick up a snack. Tate had today off and he didn’t want to go without a cupcake.
                Five minutes later, he was pushing through the doors. He paused and closed his eyes as he took in the smell that was so uniquely Belinda’s Bakery; chocolate, vanilla and burnt butter.
                “Heaven,” he said softly and then opened his eyes to see a girl he didn’t recognize staring at him with wide, glazed eyes. Meth addicts. They were everywhere.
                “Hey,” he said with a smile and walked over to the display cases. “Is Jane around?”
                The girl blinked as if she was in a daze. “Jane?”
                Pule chuckled. This must be her first day. “Jane Matafeo? Part owner?”
                The girl made a high squeaky sound that might have been a giggle and turned bright red. Pule watched curiously as the girl wiped her hands on her white apron and shook her head, sending her long, rich brown hair, pulled back in a ponytail swinging crazily.
                “She’s upstairs with Tele. If you need her I can run up and get her though.”
                Pule shook his head and gestured to the case. “Nah, don’t bother her. Tele needs his mama. Where are all the Matafeo cupcakes?”
                The girl was staring again. He waited for a few seconds and then asked clearly in a louder voice. “The Matafeo cupcakes? They’re gone. Did Jane make any today?” Maybe she was hearing impaired, he wondered with a frown. Or, she really was high on something.
                The girl jumped and blushed again. “Oh, Tate’s uncle Sefe came in and bought all of them. He said he wanted them for his team. He coaches the football team at Foss High.”
                Pule rolled his eyes. Of course Uncle Sefe would take all of his cupcakes. The man was taking over his life. He ground his teeth and sighed. “Fine, give me one of those One and Only cupcakes and I’ll take a strawberry shortcake one too,” he said with a frown. He’d been looking forward to that burst of caramel and toffee all day.
                “Dang, Sefe,” he muttered under his breath as the girl continued to stare at him.
                “So, um… so, what’s your name?” the girl asked, lifting her chin bravely.
                Pule glanced at her and then did a double take.  She wanted to know his name? Have mercy. The girl was so young looking. She had cute little freckles on her nose that made her look like she was in high school. She also had gorgeous, big green eyes and high cheek bones. Her mouth was wide and generous but it was the look in her eye that had him taking a step back. 
                “Pule Matafeo, at your service. And who might you be?” he asked politely.
                The girl swallowed before answering as she stared at his arms. “I’m Posey Tyler and I just moved to town this week.  So you’re related to Tate then?” she asked, leaning her hip against the counter.
                Pule grinned and crossed his arms over his chest. “You’re Wren’s little sister. I should have known. You have the same look around the eyes and mouth. You’re taller and darker than her though. I bet she’s happy to have you in town,” he said, relaxing. He loved Wren like a sister. His brother Kam had practically adopted her into the family.
                Posey’s face lit up and she nodded her head. “Wren got me this job. When I’m not working here I’m helping her out with Jackie on days she works at the restaurant.”
                Pule nodded his head and looked pointedly at the cupcakes. He needed to get ready for work and didn’t have too much time to chat. “That’s great. So how much do I owe you?” he asked.
                Posey bit her lip and hurried to the case, lifting out a red velvet cupcake and a lemon cupcake, slipping them into a bakery bag.  She told him how much he owed and he decided it wasn’t worth it to make a big deal out of getting the wrong cupcakes.  He gave her his debit card and waited for his receipt as she had to try a few times to figure out the machine. He bit his lip as he fought the urge to reach over the counter and do it himself.
                “Here you go, Pule,” she said, handing him the receipt. “Sorry about that.”
                Pule nodded with a smile and turned to leave. “Have a good one,” he called out and hurried outside.  He pulled the lemon cupcake out of the bag and took a bite as he searched for his keys.

                He smiled at the tart burst of flavor and decided to forgive Posey for messing up his order. He slipped behind the wheel and promptly forgot all about the strange girl as he hurried home.  

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