Since September by @AFictionalHubb1 is a Beach Reads Event pick #beachread #romance #giveaway
Title: Since September
Author: Allison Martine
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romcom/Women’s Fiction/ChickLit
Most brides dream of planning every last detail of their wedding. Not Olivia Markham. She’d been down the aisle once already and regretted that decision, along with every other judgment call connected with her unfaithful ex. But she also never planned on falling for Adam Burkhardt, who proposed sooner than anyone could have guessed.
So when Adam suggests letting their mothers suss out the particulars for their big day, Olivia agrees, hoping it will assuage their mothers’ trepidation towards their upcoming union. She even relents to having a bachelorette weekend, for the sake of her friends.
Olivia shall endure more nuptial nonsense and play bride once again.
They should have eloped.
“Hey,” she protested, “these aren’t even dirty,” but she put her arms up to let him slide the T-shirt over her head.
“They will be if I leave you in them,” he pointed out, then stripped her shorts as well. He took off his own T-shirt while Olivia fiddled with his fly, both of them kicking off their clean-enough sneakers before tossing the last items in the load and heading up the stairs in just their underwear. They bypassed the first floor and went straight to the upper loft.
An hour later, Olivia’s stomach grumbled and they determined that missing the brunch was acceptable but missing eating was not, and she threw on his National Parks T-shirt—who was she kidding, it had been hers since Austin—and they went downstairs. Olivia pawed through the pantry to find bread to make toasted cheese sandwiches while he went down to transfer the laundry and bring up everything that hadn’t ended up in the wash—including their phones.
“More messages,” he said, handing her the phone while she tossed a half stick of butter in the pan for the sandwiches. It sizzled and slid around the skillet. She had to force herself to pay attention to the bread as she laid a thin square of cheddar on each slice, distracted as she was by the sight of Adam in nothing but his boxer briefs. If she let herself stare too long, the butter would scorch and she’d probably burn down the loft. She looked away and handed him back the phone.
“Read to me?” she asked, and he nodded, scrolling on her phone to find the end of a message chain. He laughed, made a grumble, and she turned to look at him. “What?” she asked.
“Just a bad idea, nothing.”
“Whose bad idea?” she pressed.
“Melinda’s,” he said. “Don’t worry about it.”
She added top slices of bread, flipping the sandwiches as they absorbed all the sizzling butter. “Well now I am worried about it. Spill.”
“She seems to think we should do the bachelor/bachelorette weekend in Vegas. You never told her, I guess.”
“That I hate Vegas?” Olivia stated. “I mean, it’s never come up. So, no.”
“You never told me, either, you know.”
She cocked her head at him, glancing down at the cheese oozing out the sides of the sandwich. “You know,” she argued.
“I do,” he said, giving a little shrug, and she had to tear her eyes away from his shoulders. God, he didn’t realize how distracting he could be. Put a shirt on, man. Not that she wanted that, either. “And I don’t.”
“What?” she asked, now genuinely confused. She grabbed the spatula and scraped out both burnt sandwiches—burnt to perfection, she decided, and handed one plate to Adam.
He muttered a soft thank you, as if nobody’d ever fed him before Olivia had, and she wondered if that was true, in a way. His mother didn’t strike her as one who’d made a lot of homecooked meals, and from what she knew of his ex-fiancée, she doubted she would know how to boil water. Not that Olivia was Julia Child reborn, but she had cooked for her ex, had tweaked recipes to suit his preferences; could find her way around an oven. Toasted cheese was hardly gourmet.
“I mean,” he said, chomping on the sandwich, “I know you hate Vegas, only because of the look on your face. In Texas. With Dolores and Lorrie and Eddie in the lobby, dealing Blackjack before we went to the Pit? And I knew not to press it then. And after that,” he continued, taking another bite, “whenever we talked about eloping, I always knew Vegas was off the table, because I wasn’t going to marry you at a place that obviously had made your shit list.”
She smirked, biting into her own sandwich, and waved him on. He’d stopped to poke through the refrigerator, handing her a can of coke before taking one for himself. She popped the top, and he went on.
“But you never did tell me why you hated it.”
He wasn’t wrong. So much of her life had been boxed up, sealed tight with packing tape, and ignored in the darker parts of her memory. She’d promised herself in Austin she’d tell him the whole story but had never actually gotten around to telling him all of it.
Because it wasn’t just some general soured nostalgia for a place she had once been with the man who’d committed himself to her and then committed adultery. It was too raw for that; too specific. She set down her sandwich and the coke.
“Bourbon,” she stated. He looked at her blankly, unsure if this was part of the story or something else. “If I am going to tell you this, I need bourbon.”
He shoved the last bit of the first triangle in his mouth and turned to the upper cabinet where they kept the liquor, which wasn’t much, but they always had bourbon. He poured them each a tumbler, and Olivia took a hefty swig before settling herself down on the couch. She didn’t think she’d be able to stand through this tale. She didn’t want to try.
“You should take one now, too,” she suggested, “so you don’t hate me when the story’s over.”
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
“Okay, I normally never think sequels are as good as the original, but this book is totally an exception. I absolutely LOVED the sweet, spicy romance in Dibs, and Since September really kicks it up a notch. Not only is the romance between Adam and Olivia even more delicious than before, but we also get the added drama of wedding planning, which, as we all know, can be a ridiculous affair. If you love juicy, gasp-inducing, hold-on-to-your-mimosa drama, you will not be disappointed.”
-5-star Amazon Review
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Allison Martine is a multi-genre novelist, focusing on literary and speculative fiction, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction. Her debut novel, dibs, was named a Finalist and Reader’s Choice Category Leader for Romance in the 2020 Kindle Book Awards, and won Best RomCom in the 2021 N.N. Light Book Awards. Her newest release, Climb the Salmon Ladder, launched May 23, 2022. She hosts the literary podcasts, TO THE MOON, ALLISON, and co-hosts VOX VOMITUS. Replays for both shows can be found on most platforms including YouTube and Spotify. 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.
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