Title: Take a Chance on Me
Author: Jaqueline Snowe
Genre: Steamy Contemporary Romance
The first rule of living with your childhood best friend—don’t sleep with them.
Kate Zell and Brody Carlson have been best friends since elementary school. Their relationship had always been easy. Both of them loyal to a fault, they had been there for each other through everything: heartbreaks, hangovers, and tragedy. So when Kate needs a place to stay for three months, Brody doesn’t think twice about agreeing. After all, they had known each other forever. What could go wrong living with his closest and oldest friend? Apparently, everything. Three months in a small apartment becomes more than complicated. Brody shouldn’t be attracted to his dorky best friend…he most definitely shouldn’t. That would be absurd. She’s a relationship girl and he’s more a one-night-sans-clothes kind of guy. One drunken dare of strip poker changes everything. Suddenly, two people with too much to lose play a dangerous game. The unapologetic playboy and the girl-next-door have a choice to make, if only their pasts didn’t keep getting in the way of their future.
Brody kept his hand on my knee the entire ride home. The entire drive that made the ten minutes feel like thirty. I didn’t know what to make of that…but I liked it. I sneaked a glance at him in the back of the Uber.
“What’s with the smile?” I had the perfect buzz going and wanted to continue once we got back. “We have beer, right?”
He flicked his gaze to me and sucked in a cheek for a split second. “Yes, we have beer. And I’m smiling because we tied.”
“Tied?” I frowned. “Oh fuck. The bet. We did tie, didn’t we? Shit.”
“It means tie breaker once we get back. I can’t wait to beat you. I have a hell of a lot of ideas on what I would dare you to do.” He looked at me with lowered lashes, and the back of the compact car felt the size of a suitcase.
I couldn’t speak. I nodded. What the hell’s happening? Is he flirting?
“I take it your silence means you’re afraid. I get it. I’m hard to beat.”
That comment pulled me from the mental breakdown. “Game on, Brody. Game on.”
He never moved his hand from my leg until we dashed out of the car, laughing and insulting each other like we always did. He opened the door and ushered me in with his hand on my back. It sent warmth all the way down my body.
“What’s your choice of game, KZ?”
“What, you’re not going to suggest strip poker?” I quipped back, dropping the beer opener at my brashness. What the fuck did I say?
Brody stopped in his tracks and stared at me for a full minute. I prayed he’d misheard me. That was like inviting the devil to bed.
“Uh, I meant. Well…” I stuttered.
Brody closed the distance between us. He removed the beer from my hand slowly. He brought the same large hand to my waist and clasped. I trembled. Shit. Shit.
“Do you want to play strip poker with me, Kate?” His voice was so, so low. It was deep, and moisture pooled between my legs within seconds. Each syllable of his timbre shook me. He lowered his lips to my ear. “I’m in…unless you’re too chicken.”
I pushed him in the chest, the adrenaline from a couple of drinks blending with my incessant need to win. “I suggested it. I’m not backing out.”
He chuckled, the sound strained. “Okay. I’ll get the cards.”
And so it began.
I was playing strip poker with my oldest friend. His chest glistened in the light, and I fought the urge to stare. He had lost his hat, shirt, shoes, and only wore low-hanging swim-trunks. “I’m impressed, Kate. You’re better at this than I thought.”
“Yeah, I’m kicking your ass.” I gave him a smug look. “I can’t wait to win and dare you to do anything I want.”
“Yeah? We’ll see. Show me your cards.” He raised an eyebrow when I lost the round.
“Shorts, take ’em off.”
I ran my tongue over my teeth, gathering courage. Whoever lost the next round would be bare. It would cross the line we’d drawn years ago. My fingers trembled as he shuffled the deck. I was nervous, hell, but there was more excitement. Curiosity. The promise of more. “Next round…can’t wait,” I teased.
His mouth dropped open a bit, but he dealt the cards. We placed our bets. “Flip ’em, KZ.”
I did and gasped. I’d lost…again. I met Brody’s gaze and shook at the heat in it. “Top. Or bottom. Your choice.” His gruff voice assured me that this was rough for him too. Neither one willing to back down. Neither sure what the fuck was happening.
I didn’t speak. I took a long drink of the beer, and with shaking fingers, I undid the top part of my bikini. The fabric slid down my chest, my nipples on high alert as the two triangles fell to the floor. My chest heaved at the tension, and nothing could’ve prepared me for the expression on Brody’s face.
Nothing in the world.
One cheek twitched, his mouth was slack, and his eyes… They were almost charcoal. My body tingled, and I suddenly knew what I wanted if I won. I wanted to know pleasure. From Brody and his magic hands. I cleared my throat. “Next hand?”
He didn’t respond. He continued to stare at me, nostrils flaring and jaw jutting out. He stayed like that for a million seconds, or so it felt. I ran a finger down the center of my chest, dragging it over my peaked bud. I had no idea who the fuck I was at the moment, but I knew I needed Brody to put his hands on my body. Right then.
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If money were no object and there wasn’t a pandemic circling the world, where would you go for a Spring Break vacation and why?
I would go to New Zealand and live outside. Every picture seems breathtakingly beautiful and it is on my bucket list to see the hills and mountains where they filmed scenes in Lord of the Rings.
What’s your favorite thing about Spring and why?
I’ve always been a fan of thunderstorms. I used to live in the Midwest and springtime meant the coolest clouds formations and the smell of the air right after a good storm is incredible. Nothing is quite like that fresh scent.
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Jaqueline Snowe lives in Arizona where the "dry heat" really isn't that bad. She identifies as a full-blown Gryffindor and prefers drinking coffee all hours of the day. She is the mother to two fur-babies who don’t realize they aren’t humans and a new mom to the sweetest baby boy. She is an avid reader and writer of romances and tends to write about athletes. When she isn’t headfirst in a book, she loves spending time with her baseball-loving husband.
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