Author Allison Martine
Genre Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy
Not tonight, Olivia.
Olivia’s ex-husband shut her down so many times before the cheating bastard left her that Olivia lost count. She didn’t realize she’d also lost the ability to banter, interpret body language, or accept that a man could find her desirable. None of that should matter when she leaves for a two-week training for her new job with the Ranchers, an outdoorsy nonprofit, but when her co-worker adds ‘halter top’ and ‘bikini’ to the official pack list, she has no idea what to expect on this trip.
It certainly wasn’t a perky blonde roommate who thinks their training is like spring break, but with a paycheck. It wasn’t the after-hours hot tub. It absolutely wasn’t the man with a rumble for a laugh who shows up on her flight and introduces himself as the colleague she didn’t know would be her companion for the next two weeks.
When blondie calls dibs on that same colleague, Olivia just wants to stay out of her way, but her colleague has ideas of his own. Ideas which involve Olivia, the hot tub, and shared sips of bourbon.
“Did I miss anything tasty at dinner?”
His voice was low, both in volume, because the room was starting to fill up, and he wasn’t trying to be heard over a crowd, and in octave, because that’s just how he spoke, and there was absolutely nothing suggestive in what he said. Nothing at all. He probably couldn’t help how his lips looked while speaking. Lips have to move when you speak. It’s a scientific fact. Olivia banished the thought that the only thing she missed at dinner that she thought was tasty was Adam.
“Nope,” she said instead, telling herself to think of lavender fields and Dolores’s cackle and anything but Adam’s face, entirely too close to her own.
“Did you save me some dessert?” he wrote. She blanched. She wanted to look at his face, try to read his expression. It probably would make it worse.
“You didn’t ask,” she scribbled, “or I’d have snuck out an ice cream cone in my pocket.”
There. That wasn’t suggestive. It was plainly silly. Right? Crap, she didn’t know how to do banter anymore. Didn’t know what was funny and what crossed the line. Where the heck was that line anyway? She was afraid Adam had moved it while she wasn’t looking.
A low rumble indicated he’d found humor in her suggestion. There. That wasn’t so hard. She just needed to keep her mind out of the gutter. For the next two weeks.
The last hour crept by wearing steel-toed boots. Olivia didn’t want to be that kid, staring at the clock, but she had zero interest in the later exploits of Sir Hilary Hyrum Robards, no matter how illustrious they might have been. Near the end of the hour, Adam scrawled, “hot tub?”
She knew what he meant. He had to know the snacks and copious amounts of booze were for the afterparty, and the afterparty was at the hot tub.
“Lorrie got you bourbon,” she wrote. He looked at her, raised his eyebrows. He didn’t need the question mark. “Eddie’s idea.”
“Good bourbon?” he asked. She gave the slightest hint of a shrug.
“Wouldn’t know,” she scrawled.
“If it’s good, I’ll give you a sip of mine.”
That settled it. He was going. She was expected to join him.
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An Orange County, California (almost) native, Allison studied at the University of California, San Diego, and obtained her Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine University School of Law. She practiced as an attorney for nearly a decade. Allison now writes literary science fiction as “A.M. Hubbard” and romance as “Allison Martine.” She’s been interviewed by podcasts around the globe, contributed to various writing blogs, and regularly co-hosts the video podcast, Vox Vomitus, which goes live each Wednesday. Replays can be found on most platforms including YouTube and spotify.
An Orange County, California (almost) native, Al
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