Title: Love on the Line
Author: Laura M. Baird
Genre: Contemporary Romance
AJ finds it hard to trust another man’s intentions after being duped and dumped, so the last thing she wants is another in her life. But her friend has other ideas and sets her up with the perfect guy—through a chat-only service.
Hesitant at first, AJ is lured in by the deep, sexy voice and fun banter that easily becomes a nightly habit. As their bond grows and she begins to fall hard for him, they make plans to meet face-to-face.
With love on the line, will AJ decide to forgive him when he confesses to being part of the set-up?
Kayli had taken a cab over to AJ’s to visit and retrieve her car, and Jen had arrived only moments ago looking fresh as a daisy stretching toward the sun.
“Well, if you had both just listened to Momma Jen, you’d have had a fabulous night with a fabulous guy or two, and wouldn’t be ripping each other with comments like that.”
“After all these years, you know we’re not built like that,” AJ said.
“And after all these years, you’d think some of my influence would’ve rubbed off on you two,” Jen replied.
“At least I talked with a guy,” Kayli said weakly.
“That you did,” Jen confirmed. She then turned to AJ. “Now, you. You wanna tell me what’s really bothering you? Why you couldn’t stay to even talk to a cute guy who seemed interested in you?”
“Cute? The man was more than cute, he was gorgeous! Probably another smooth-talking player who took one look at me and said, ‘my next target.’”
“Oh my God, AJ, really? Is that how you see yourself?” Jen sat forward on the edge of the lounge chair where she was sitting. “If so, then you really don’t think much of yourself at all. And to judge another person based on looks alone?”
“Seriously?” AJ stood from the couch and began pacing her own living room. “It’s a natural reaction! You see a person and instantly make a judgement based on their appearance, their demeanor. You can’t tell me that isn’t true, because I’ve never seen you with an ugly person. All your conquests are physically attractive men.”
“My conquests?” Jen sputtered and stood while Kayli sat passively, eyes wide, head toggling between the two women.
AJ faced off with her friend. “Yes, conquests, because you go through men like shit through a goose. But hey, as long as you’re enjoying life and nobody’s getting hurt, right?” She waved her hand around in front of her. “Well that’s not me. I can’t go from guy to guy to guy.”
“I’ll have you know, which you really should already know—I don’t go from guy to guy to guy. Sure, I have fun, but I’m not some tramp who sleeps with anything having a pulse and a dick!”
Kayli jumped up between the two women. “Hey, hey, stop!
This is not like either of you at all! Now sit!”
AJ and Jen snapped back, clearly surprised at Kayli’s authoritative attitude. When both women sat in a huff, Kayli continued. “Now, Jen, we know you aren’t a tramp, and we know you care about AJ, but sometimes a gal has to find her own way back at her own pace.” She faced AJ next. “And AJ, you need to stop with the self-pity and pick up that pace. Yes, you were used and hurt, but that’s over and it’s time for you to be you again. You can’t live in solitude forever.”
“Pot, kettle, black,” Jen muttered, earning her a glare from both AJ and Kayli.
“Yes, well, that may be,” Kayli started, “but I’m no good with men because I like women.”
The room grew so quiet one could hear a church mouse fart. “Uh, come again?” AJ asked softly.
“I knew it!” Jen exclaimed, causing AJ and Kayli to wince. “Oh, you did not,” Kayli said.
“Okay, I suspected, but that’s neither here nor there. Why on earth did you keep this from us? We’re supposed to be the best of friends!”
“Yeah, well, I guess I’m a slow learner myself, only truly realizing within the past year.
But this isn’t about me, this is about AJ.” Kayli turned to AJ. “Honestly, AJ, by not letting go of the shit show that was Brad, you’re letting him hold power over you still, and that’s not you. It’s time you moved on, met a great guy, and became happy.”
“Why does my happiness have to revolve around finding a guy?”
“Again, you can’t live in solitude,” Kayli said. “Isn’t it more fun when you can share experiences with someone else? And I’m certainly not gonna be your girlfriend.” She smiled and winked at AJ, causing her and Jen to snort with laughter.
“Yeah, finding someone is so much easier said than done.” AJ slid back against the couch nearly pouting. “And Kayli, I love you no matter who you want to love. Just know that.”
“Ditto, sweetheart. We love you and want you happy, too.” Jen stepped to Kayli and gave her a quick squeeze.
“Thanks,” Kayli said. She sat next to AJ again when released by Jen, who then walked toward the kitchen.
Jen reappeared holding AJ’s phone. “Okay, so, maybe finding a guy can be easier said than done, and I’ll tell ya how.”
AJ eyed her friend skeptically and asked how.
“So, there’s this online site called Flirt Chat, where people register to just talk to others based on similarities. You know, you program in all this information about yourself and then you seek out others who have the same qualities, interests, whatever.”
“Okay,” AJ said hesitantly. “And you’re telling me this, because…?”
“Well, because I registered you there, and I picked out a guy for you to talk to, and I’ve just alerted him you’re going to give him a call.” Jen began hitting the screen on AJ’s phone, obviously punching in numbers to contact this guy.
AJ sprang to her feet. “Oh, you did not! No way, Jen. What the hell?”
Before she knew what was happening, Jen handed her the phone, kissed her cheek, grabbed Kayli’s hand, and hauled her out the door, laughter ringing out.
What’s your favorite part about being a romance author?
My favorite part about being a romance author is bringing my characters to life! I love crafting stories with an array of emotions, actions, and scenarios, hoping that my readers feel as if they’re part of it all. Whether I write sweet or erotic, I want my readers to feel a connection to the story. And whether it’s something readers can personally connect with or simply read for the luxury of escape, have some laughs, that’s magical.
Here’s my tip to add romance to your love life:
Have fun, be spontaneous, and key in on the small things. Hubby and I have plenty of laughs together, acting goofy much of the time. We’ve learned that going with the flow is easier and less stressful, because too often carefully constructed plans rarely go ‘as planned’. And it’s truly the little things that matter… like surprising him with his favorite treat just for the heck of it, or when he always warms up the shower and tells me to go first. I love when he grabs my hand as we’re walking, and he gets a kick out of me singing at the top of my lungs while dancing around the living room. And you can be sure I give him plenty of sexy shimmies.
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Runs February 1 – 29
Drawing will be held on March 2.
Growing up shy and introverted, I turned to books and reading to occupy my time. In grade school I started penning poems, then short stories, and into adulthood, I knew I wanted to write novels. But that came later… after serving in the U. S. Army, meeting my husband, moving from one side of the US to the other, raising two sons, and becoming a dental hygienist. After writing for many years, I finally got serious about my pursuit, began submitting, and in 2017 my publishing dreams came true. Since then I’ve had fourteen romances published with three publishers, had a short story included in an anthology which benefits The World Literacy Foundation, and have several works of poetry and prose published at Spillwords.com
When not writing, reading, or working, hubby and I continue to have fun together after thirty years, enjoying our sons, a new grandson, and hope to fulfill our dreams of travel.
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