Thursday teaser: The Collection

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Romantic comedy by Kayla Dawn Thomas

Tequila twang hit the back of my throat. Fighting the urge to grimace and twitch, I grabbed my glass of orange juice and took a slug. The alcohol warmed all the way down while the juice softened the blow. I smiled at the bartender, signaling I needed another round.

A short man with wide shoulders, a thick neck, and beefy arms took the stool beside mine. He looked like a brick. His hair was buzzed so short on his squarish head, it almost hid the gray beginning to sprinkle through it, and a close-fitting gray t-shirt created the illusion of a younger man. But I had an eye for male smoke and mirrors.

The bartender brought him a beer from the tap. He took a sip and then looked over at me and my fresh glasses of tequila and orange juice. “Interesting combo,” he said. Then his eyes slid over my fitted, white halter dress. He didn’t know the tie was cutting into my neck. I’d cinched it down tight in a desperate attempt to keep the girls corralled. I never knew when I’d have to launch into action.

“It works,” I replied. I had no desire to get into a conversation with this guy. I had a job to finish tonight. I checked the time on my phone. My “let him sweat break” was almost over, and there was no doubt in my mind Mr. Mendoza was sweating right now. I tipped back my second shot.

The Brick ordered a tequila and orange juice for himself and a round for me. What the hell. My job barely bordered on legal, so why not drive a little tipsy while I was at it.

We clinked shot glasses. I sipped my orange juice and watched him experience the combo for the first time. He smacked his lips. “Pretty damn good. Thanks for the tip.”

“Thanks for the drink,” I said, reaching for my purse.

“I’ve seen you in here before. I just haven’t been brave enough to approach you,” the Brick said.

I glanced over to where his left hand rested on the bar, noticing the white tan line in place of a wedding ring.

He ran a hand over his buzz cut as an excuse to flex his biceps. I pressed my lips together to suppress a laugh. Over the last couple of years, I’d learned a lot about the antics guys use to impress women. When one took a moment to dissect them, they became outright hilarious.

“Can I order you another round?”

Photo by Miguel Andrade on Unsplash

“No. I have to get back to work.”

His eyes bugged a little. “You get to drink on the job?”

“I work for myself.”

He nodded like he got it, but I doubted he did. Next thing I knew, he was setting one of his meaty paws on my forearm. Despite its size, his touch was gentle. “Look, I can’t let you go before I ask you something.”

“Shoot.” I was pretty sure I knew what was coming. This wasn’t my first rodeo. In fact, these moments were what kept my HOA fees paid and expensive bags on my shoulder.

“I’m a personal trainer.” That explained the muscles. “And to keep up on what’s new in the industry, I go to conferences a few times a year. There’s one in Chicago next weekend.” He kept his eyes on the thumb stroking my arm. Aw, he was nervous.

“Anyway, I would love it if you came with me.” With the words out, he felt brave enough to look me in the eye.

“Is that so?” I arched one of my expertly waxed brows. Had his wife attended any of these conferences?

A flush spread across his cheeks, and he moved his hand to my hip. “Yeah.”

My phone dinged, signaling a new text message. I glanced at it. Mrs. Mendoza was ready for her delivery.

“I’ll think about it,” I said. “Do you have a card?”

While I paid for my first two rounds, he whipped out his wallet and eagerly slipped a card for a well-known meathead gym into my hand. “Call me.”

“Oh, I will,” I said, turning so his hand grazed my butt. I gave my hips an extra little wiggle as I left the bar. He’d hear from me, but Mrs. Brick would hear from me first.

The Collection

Think twice before you slip off that ring, boys.

Arriving at her parents’ house for an impromptu visit, Jenna Ray gets her own surprise when she finds her father lip locked with a strange woman. Then, her brother-in-law defiles her sister’s car with a waitress in a parking lot. Jenna Ray snaps the night she discovers her mentor with his receptionist wrapped around his waist and proceeds to dump the guy in nothing but his boxers at his wife’s feet. Discovering her hidden talent to seduce, Jenna walks away from her IT career and reinvents herself as a vigilante seeking justice for women who are too tired and hurt to stand up for themselves.

A side effect of the job is losing her ability to trust any man. So, when she finds herself getting lost in Thad Benson’s hypnotic blue eyes, Jenna fights the attraction with all she’s got. But Thad’s a patient man, who’s up to the challenge of taming Jenna.

With a cast of quirky friends, clients, and family, the Jenna Ray Stories will have you laughing and cringing at Jenna’s predicaments.

Get it on Amazon.

Kayla Dawn Thomas

has been telling stories since she could talk, telling her wild tales to a jump rope until she learned to read and write. Her mother was relieved when she made the transition to paper.

Today Kayla writes contemporary romance, weaving her experiences growing up on a cattle ranch into her work as well as whatever is striking her funny bone or curiosity at the moment. When Kayla isn’t writing she enjoys swimming, reading, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

Learn more about Kayla and her books at her

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