FALL-ing in Love - with Mari Carr and Status Update

Release days are always fun, but the fact that I’m sharing this one with the incredible Kelly Jamieson makes it even better! I was so pleased when I discovered my newest Samhain story, Status Update, was releasing with Kelly’s Rhythm of Three. Kelly and I have had the opportunity to hang out at conferences in the past. She is fun, funny and absolutely lovely!
Status Update is the third book in a series of stories revolving around my Wine Girls (Kelly should be in this club given her love of vino—lol). I really enjoy writing books that are part of a series because it allows me to get so much deeper into the heads/lives of my characters. Their story isn’t limited to just one book. In this series, all the characters continue to appear in the other books, so I don’t have to say goodbye to them with the words The End.
The Second Chances series has been a really cool challenge for me as an author because all six of the stories take place during the same year. I swear my notes about who was where when are longer than the actual books…and I’m only halfway through the series! LOL. Fix You and Full Moon were the first two books and they are available now.
Today, Kelly invited me to share a spicy snippet of Status Update with y’all. Be sure to stop by my blog because Kelly was my guest yesterday and she shared a bit of Rhythm of Three!
“Are you happy?”
Laura didn’t know how to reply. When she’d finally gotten up the nerve to ask Mason for a divorce, happiness had been her goal. She’d spent years in a relationship with a man who had no capacity for joy. Laura suspected he was bipolar—or perhaps suffering from depression—but Mason insisted he was fine, refused to go to the doctor and blamed her for his inherent unhappiness. For years, his misery took its toll. She’d left Mason because she wanted to be happy again. But was she?
Bryan interrupted her thoughts. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that was a hard question.”
“Let’s just say I’m searching for my happiness.”
“Is that why you’re here tonight? Forgive me for saying it, but this doesn’t seem like it would be your normal environment.”
Laura laughed. “It’s not. At all. My friends dragged me along. And yeah, I think this is part of my quest to rediscover the Laura I used to be. The one who laughed and danced and enjoyed life.”
Bryan studied her face. “Is it working?”
Laura’s face hurt from smiling. She was tipsy, relaxed and she’d laughed more tonight than in the entire previous year. Running into Bryan after so many years apart was the cherry on top of an excellent evening. “Yeah. It is.”
The band announced they were taking a short break. Trina walked over to join them. “Hey, Dad. Thanks,” she said as Bryan handed her the glass of water. “What did you think of that set?”
“Best one of the night.”
Trina beamed at her father’s praise. “Wait ’til you hear the last set.”
Bryan turned toward her. “Trina, I’d like you to meet my best friend from high school. This is Laura Riley.”
“Sanders.” Laura corrected him softly. She was still torn over whether or not to take her maiden name back. With her kids grown and out of school, she couldn’t think of a reason not to, but given Katie’s unhappiness over the divorce, Laura hadn’t wanted to add yet another upset to an injury that wasn’t healing very fast.
“Sanders,” Bryan corrected.
“You’re an incredible musician, Trina. Your music has blown me away. My daughter would absolutely love that song you played a little bit earlier. Was it called ‘Soul’?”
“’My Soul’,” Trina said. “I wrote that.”
“No way! That was my favorite song of the night.”
Trina smiled. “We’re getting ready to cut our first CD in a couple weeks and I wasn’t sure if I should push for that song to be included. Now I think I will.”
“I’d buy your CD for that song.”
“Wow. Thanks, Ms. Sanders.”
“Call me Laura.”
Someone called Trina’s name and she turned toward the stage. “I have to get back up there. We’re trying to figure out which song to finish with.” Trina gave Bryan a quick kiss on the cheek. “Nice to meet you, Laura.”
“You too.”
While the band was on a break, a canned recording of dance music blared through the speakers. Will Smith’s “Switch” came on.
“Oh my God, I love this song.”
Bryan grinned and pointed to the dance floor. “Should we show these young kids how it’s done?”
Laura raised her hand to refuse. “Hell no. I’ve been told my dancing is out of style.”
“Screw ’em.” Bryan took her hand, dragging her into the throng of bodies. He grasped her waist, pulling her close. They began to move in time to the music, their gazes connected. Laura laughed when he spun her, mimicking the other dancers around them with the same bumping and grinding moves. Funny how the same too-close contact with the man-child Kevin had squicked her out, but with Bryan it was awakening all sorts of dirty desires.
Laura let the alcohol, the music, the flashing lights and the heat take over as she moved sinuously against Bryan. Her libido kicked in with a vengeance, taking her unaware. His hands on her waist reminded her of a time when sex was exciting, fun, something she looked forward to. How long had it been since she felt this way?
She twisted, wrapping her arms around Bryan’s shoulders, laughing when he placed a firm hand on her lower back and pushed her into a dip that was so sexual and hot, Laura couldn’t believe they weren’t setting off the smoke detectors.
“You look beautiful, Laura. How the hell did I miss this in high school? If I hadn’t been such a blind fool, I’d have been on you like white on rice.”
She rolled her eyes, grinning at his compliment. “We became friends when both of us were in the awkward middle school stage. Somehow I don’t think we ever managed to overlook that. You look incredible too, by the way.”
He was sexy as sin. She wondered how he’d respond if she ran her hand along his chest, maybe letting it drift even lower until she found his cock. Would he enjoy such an inappropriate touch? Would he accept an invitation to come back to her place for more?
Shit. She was starting to sound like Josie who’d developed a must-have-sex-soon obsession lately. Time to rein in the hormones.
Laura hadn’t lied about their geeky looks in school. She’d gone through a very unattractive Dorothy Hamill hairstyle phase, complete with braces, while Bryan had sported a crew cut and thick glasses. Neither of them had managed to outgrow that unattractiveness until sophomore year. By then, the friendship was solid, and neither of them was interested in messing with the status quo.
She was tempted now. Holy crap, was she tempted.
Bryan’s hands slid along her waist, finding the tiny bit of skin revealed by her lifted arms. Was she imagining the sensual stroke of his fingers?
Wishful thinking?
He pulled her closer, their faces only inches apart. Heat coursed through her. Sure, the room was warm from so many gyrating bodies in a small space, but she didn’t think it was the exercise or crowd that was leaving her so hot and bothered.
She ran her fingers through Bryan’s shaggy salt and pepper hair. He’d lost the crew cut and embraced the waves he’d cursed during their younger years. His face had matured, as he’d shed the clean-cut boy-next-door look. His jaw was rough with a five o’clock shadow and there were laugh lines around his eyes that gave his face character. In a word, he was handsome.
And she was completely attracted to him.
She wasn’t sure where those feelings were coming from. She’d sworn with her divorce that she was finished with men. Laura had had enough male moodiness and so-so sex to last her a lifetime. She’d declared good riddance and hadn’t questioned that decision.
Until now. Her sex drive had reemerged, screaming out loud and clear that it wasn’t finished yet.
Bryan’s hand slipped beneath her blouse, touching her bare back, using his strength to guide them in the dance.
It was sex to music, just as Georgie said. Laura pressed her hips closer, unsurprised to feel Bryan’s hard cock. He studied her face, then winked.
Her smile grew. “You always were a shameless flirt.”
“And you were always ready to take a walk on the wild side.”
Laura turned her face away, staring at the dancers without seeing them. She couldn’t remember being that person, but as Bryan’s hands roamed over her skin, she wanted to escape the bonds of practicality. She longed to be uninhibited, carefree…wild.
“Hey, Laura!”
Laura caught sight of Kristen approaching her, shoving her way through the crowd.
“We’re getting ready to go. Georgie overindulged on the shots and I’m afraid it’s not going to end well. Jason and Nick offered to drive us home. Okay?”
Laura stepped away from Bryan. “Sure. Give me a minute?”
Kristen took a long look at Bryan, then gave her a surprised, but approving, smile. “I’ll give you two if you make sure to get his phone number.”
Bryan chuckled at Kristen’s matchmaking as she walked away. “Exchanging phone numbers sounds like a good idea to me.”
Bryan led Laura back to where her friends were waiting. Georgie was definitely past the point of no return as Nick held her up. Kristen and Jason were settling the tab. “Looks like we better roll. Will you really join Facebook? There are quite a few of our friends from school on there and…” She paused, wondering if she was being too forward.
“And?” he prompted.
“I can send you my phone number through a private message.”
He nodded. “Yeah. I’ll join. Might be fun to see what some of the gang is up to. And I’d like to see you again. Catch up.”
“Laura?” Kristen said. “Ready?”
“Yeah.” Laura pointed her finger, making a circle around her face. “I’ll Facebook you.”
He laughed at her silly gesture, then put his pinky and thumb to his mouth and ear, mimicking a phone. “I’ll call you.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Status Update – Blurb
Some things never change. Others never stay the same. Thank God.
Second Chances, Book 3
Laura Sanders thought post-divorce life would be simple. What a rude awakening to realize that after too many years as a wife and mother, she’s stuck in a rut so deep she’s forgotten how to have fun.
Determined that this year will be different, she sets a New Year’s goal to rediscover the woman she used to be—the one who loved to dance, to laugh, to kiss.
When Bryan Sinclair spots his best friend from high school in the Blue Moon bar, he wonders how the hell he failed to notice her beauty and vitality all those years ago. Laura’s confession that she plans to experience lost opportunities tempts him into joining her on the journey.
Together they make up for lost time, in and out of the bedroom. But there’s one area in which Laura has no plans to change the status quo—her heart. And Bryan has his work cut out convincing her to take another chance. On him. On forever.
Warning: This story contains sex at Rocky Horror, sex at a Jimmy Buffett concert, sex on the stairs, sex on the dining-room table, sex on the dance floor, and even sex in a bed.
Releasing October 29, Status Update is currently available for pre-order at AmazonSamhain, and Barnes and Noble.

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