- N. N. Light
Just Call Me Confidence by Stella Grae is a Spring Break Bookapalooza pick #romance #giveaway
Title: Just Call Me Confidence
Author: Stella Grae
Genre: Erotic romance
Jenna Craig is a 40-year-old freshly-minted “hot momma” looking for a little love in her post-divorce life. After a night out with her cougar tribe, she wonders whether she’s still got “it”—the double-takes from the college clowns at the bar quickly put her doubts to rest. Though she may be alone, she knows she’ll never be lonely.
Jenna’s newfound confidence is buoyed by some swim club eye candy: Travis the lifeguard. Hot trysts in the locker room leave her wondering if she might want something more. When her naughty, new boy toy introduces her to his friend, Collin, Jenna is engulfed with waves of emotion that she thought she might never feel again. With two younger men vying for her heart, will she choose the perfect guy for right now, or the man who could give her another shot at love?
The experienced Ms. Craig is certain of one thing: She better bring the confidence to pull off the choice of her desire.
Outfitted in my sleeveless sundress and wedge sandals, I strut into the swimming complex across from Collin’s dorm. Save the occasional coaching voice, the pool area is relatively quiet, except for the sound of water being paddled and pushed under the swimmers. It’s nearly 8:45 p.m. and practice will be ending soon. I’m hypnotized watching the relays. He is a beautiful, powerful swimmer, his great guns and long strong legs propelling his body through the water like a dolphin. He is strong and lean, his muscles taught from the constant intense workout. From the safety of the upper deck of bleachers, I lust after him—the star in a naughty peep show of young college athletes. I resist the urge to wave, or even move, waiting for him to discover me. I stare at him, drinking up his fine toned, wet body thrusting across the endless length of the pool. I gather the full skirt of my strapless sundress between my legs and slip off my underwear, throwing it behind me in the bleachers with a naughty laugh. I spread my legs open, hoping he might see—everything. Suddenly, Collin stretches his neck and shields his eyes from the pool floodlights, staring high into the darkened bleachers. We smile at exactly the same time.
“Hey! I see you up there, spying on me. I’m coming up there to get you!”
Collin hoists himself out of the deep end of the pool and takes the steps—two at a time—until he reaches me. His abs are ripped, tight, and tempting. I have to remember we have an audience. I bite my lip to remind me to stop staring. I let my fingers brush against him and linger. A wave of ecstasy washes across his face.
“What do you have there?” he whispers with a sideways glance, reaching down to adjust himself.
“I brought a picnic. I wanted to see you. Wednesday was just jungle hot, and I knew I absolutely could not wait to see you again, to touch you again, to taste you.”
His lips part in a sexy smile, amazed at his luck. “Wow! I don’t know what to say. This is a first.”
“Is there someplace where we can go?”
Before he can answer, a brunette sidles up behind him, playfully pinching at his sides. “You going out with us?” she demands, snubbing her nose at me. She is territorial and guarding the space she shares with him, her knee jutted between my body and Collin’s.
“Uh, no, not tonight. I’ve got other plans. Tell the guys maybe next week, or wait...” he grins my way, remembering our plans. “Probably not next week either. I’ve got other plans.”
“Oh,” she answers, deflated.
I extend my hand to her. “Hi, I’m Jenna Craig.”
“I’m Samantha—Samantha Jordan.” Her shake is weak and clammy.
Collin smacks himself in between the eyes. “I’m sorry ladies, I spaced out! Samantha, Jenna is...” he lingers over his words, “my new girlfriend.”
“Hmmm. Well, I’m his coach, and ex-girlfriend.”
She punctuates her words with laser focus on the ex. Clearly, she’s not over him, and with good reason. History between people is important, and in many relationships, keeps couples together, especially if that history includes children. But, unfortunately, Samantha has yet to learn that history usually means nothing in the case of twenty-something growing pains. He is growing up into the man he wants to be, and growing apart from her.
Collin swipes his hand down his face. He is in an awkward position and rattles on about how he and Samantha coached the Kinweld High School swim team together for several seasons. However, it’s not enough to break her death stare on me, so I decide to try and kill her with kindness.
“Well, Collin and I were just about to have a picnic. There’s plenty here if you’d like to join us.”
“No thank you,” she passes icily. “I’ve got to be heading out.” She tromps down the steps in defeat.
Several minutes pass before Collin says anything, instead awkwardly wringing his shoulders with his hands. “Sorry about that. It’s still kind of weird, you know, being around the ex. I guess I should have told you, but...well, we really hadn’t gotten there yet.”
“I understand. It’s okay. I have an ex, too, you know, and I have to see him every week, but it doesn’t mean that I’m into him, even though I still do care about him.”
I watch a light bulb go off in his head. “Yeah, that’s exactly how I feel. I want her to be happy, but we just can’t be happy together anymore. It’s been hard on her, though, trying to put distance between us when we have to see each other every week.”
“It gets easier, just give it time.” I pat his tush.
“You are so easy to be with Jenna. I think that’s why I like you so much.” He reaches over and pushes the hair off of my neck, kissing it then moving to my mouth. “I am so glad you came by this evening. I had wanted to get this off of my chest for the last week. That was really nice, what you offered to Samantha. Did you really mean it?”
“Well, of course. We’re all grown-ups here, aren’t we?”
Thank goodness for ulterior motives—and for the darkness of the bleachers.
We perch high in our loft, discussing the trials and the kids, and anything else that pops into our minds, including my unfortunate Crazy Chicken dining disaster and its aftermath. It truly is easy being with him, too. For the first time since my divorce, I think, Here’s someone who might actually deserve the love I want to give, albeit with a lot of trepidation.
“Want to go down to the locker rooms?” He nudges me.
“I guess so. We won’t get in trouble will we?”
“Nah! I know the guard. He won’t even notice.” We launch down the steps, stopping for a detour at the edge of the pool. I peel my clothes off, a hot pink bikini underneath, and I jump in. He follows me. We laugh and he kisses me, and we giggle, lingering by the pool, kissing and nervously looking over our shoulders. From the corner of my eye, I see Samantha’s blue and green jacket darting out the door.
Buy Links (including Goodreads):
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/just-call-me-confidence-stella-grae/1142958506?ean=9781509248223
If money were no object, where would you go for a Spring Break vacation and why?
If money were no object I would go to the Pacific Northwest—Vancouver Island. While it’s not so warm that one could traipse around naked, it’s got a little of everything I like: warm, sunny days for hiking in the pristine forests, cool nights for fires (#romantic), cozy lodges with quiet time for reading and writing (those stories don’t write themselves!), and delicious food and wine, plus a spa for pampering yourself. One of my dream destinations!
Why is your featured book a must-read this spring?
Just Call Me Confidence is not only a lighthearted, sexy book to read, but one that makes hope hot. The protagonist, Jenna Craig, is learning to traverse her post-divorce life and what she discovers is this: It’s great to take those lemons and make lemonade, but you need to use your own recipe. Her self-confidence comes from the ever-evolving stories that she reframes for herself. That kind of hope is hot!
So, not only does this story have naughty, hot love scenes but it comes with an uplifting message: Don’t give up hope that through your crisis, you will find your confidence.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.
Runs April 1 – 30, 2023.
Drawing will be held on May 1, 2023
Stella Grae is an unassuming English professor, copyeditor, and copywriter living in Lexington, Kentucky. She’s the author of the short story “Power Play” that was originally published in the website erotica journal Oysters and Chocolate. In her spare time she enjoys sipping on bourbon, nibbling cheesy grits, and philosophizing about love and sex in her blog, “Bone Up,” which can be found on her website: stellagraeerotica.weebly.com…along with other sexy tidbits. This is her first erotica novel.
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