I wrote this book for people who have lived through what Aidan calls their “worst things” that’s ever happened to them and come out the other side whole or want to come out whole. I wanted to write about hope and courage and, most of all, love in the face of grief, sadness, and loss. And I wanted to do it with some humor and dignity for the characters.
Former social worker Roxie Fisher believes she’s cursed to never find happiness. An invitation to Cupid’s Café isn’t going to change that. All the same, what else does she have to lose?
Widowed accountant-turned-firefighter Aidan Craig never turns down a dare. An invite to Cupid’s Café is an offer he can’t refuse. He never expected the social worker who helped him through his darkest days. Now she’s the one struggling and he’s compelled to help.
They experience an immediate attraction, but Aidan swore never off relationships and Roxie can’t imagine daredevil Aidan being interested in her. Will they both lose out on a chance at true love?
When they climbed into the truck, he started it and she turned to him, a frown puckering her brow. “Did I do something wrong?”
“Of course not. You’ve been perfect. Why?”
“Because you’ve been really quiet since we started taking the camp apart. Is something bothering you?”
I might’ve screwed up and fallen for you. But, he couldn’t say that. He still didn’t know what to do and he didn’t want to lead her on. Wasn’t that what he’d been doing, though?
The first time they made love, it just happened. But, after that? He’d been actively pursuing her since then, trying to seduce her, to prove to her he wanted her.
Even though it would make him a lousy human being, he wished he could say it was because she’d presented him with a challenge. But that wasn’t it at all, no matter what he’d tried to tell himself.
He glanced over at her. “Nothing wrong here.”
Reaching over, he switched on the radio and they listened in silence for the better part of forty-five minutes.
They’d be at her house soon. She sat on her hands, looking down at her feet. She looked uncomfortable, and that was his fault. He hadn’t said a damn thing to her the whole way home.
When they arrived at her parents’ house, Aidan climbed out of the truck and fished her backpacks from the back of the truck.
“It’s fine. I can carry those,” she said.
“I’m taking them in for you, Rox. No arguments.”
“But… then I’ll have to introduce you to my parents.” She glanced back at the house, then back at him, shuffling her feet.
“So, let’s go. What’s your mom’s name?” He started up the concrete walk leading to the front porch, expecting her to follow.
“Meredith.” She hadn’t moved.
“What are you waiting for?”
“An act of God. Earthquake, volcano. A lightning bolt or something showy.”
He went back to her, put a hand on the small of her back and gave a nudge. “Come on. What about your dad?”
“Oh, you can’t meet my dad. Like, literally. He doesn’t talk to me, so if I take you in there, plant you in front of the TV and say, ‘Daddy, this is Aidan, the man I’ve been sleeping with,’ he’ll nod and say, “Uh-huh.’ There’s no point.” She stopped halfway up the walk.
“Why doesn’t your dad talk to you?”
“It’s complicated. He doesn’t know how to handle me being depressed. So, he… doesn’t handle it at all.”
It wasn’t that something seemed off here, it was all a little screwy. Like he wasn’t seeing the whole picture, just bits and pieces. He took her by the arm and tugged a little. “I’m carrying your backpack inside. Let’s go.”
“I carried it out of the house without your help when we left.”
“You weren’t my girlfriend then.”
She stopped, and even him pulling on her arm didn’t budge her. “So, I’m your girlfriend now?”
He inhaled, ready to deny it, to say he’d misspoke, but the words didn’t come. His lungs deflated like a balloon. Yeah, that’s pretty much where things stood. And maybe that wasn’t so awful. Maybe it could even be a good thing. “I… Let’s just get you inside. I want to meet your mom.”
Just then, an older woman stepped out on the porch. She looked like Roxie, with the curls and the green, almond shaped eyes. “Come on in, you two. You’ve been creeping up the sidewalk for ages.”
Roxie’s legs started working again, and Aidan followed her up on the porch. Her mom wrapped an arm around Roxie’s waist and pulled her close.
“Aidan, this is my mom, Meredith. Mom, this is my friend, Aidan Craig.” He couldn’t help but notice she didn’t call him her boyfriend. He should’ve talked to her before declaring them in a relationship, he knew that.
Meredith held out a hand to him and he shook it. “Nice to meet you, Mrs. Fisher.”
“Oh Lord, don’t call me that. Meredith is just fine.”
“Meredith.” He gave a nod and a smile, while he berated himself internally. Why had he called Roxie his girlfriend? Because that’s what they’d been acting like, maybe. They’d made love again just hours ago. In a world where he hadn’t lost his wife, where he hadn’t sworn to never become involved with anyone again, he’d be happy to call her that. Now, it made him happy, but it also scared him.
Author Landra Graf is joining me to give away two intertwined heart necklaces and two $10 Amazon Gift Cards.
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Lori Sizemore writes sexy and snarky romantic comedy. She adores all things story and geeks out about craft books, writing classes, and how-to blog posts daily.
When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her family, playing video games, or crocheting. Sometimes all three at once, as she’s a master multi-tasker.
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