Author: Tawna Fenske
Publisher: Entangled (Amara)
Release Date: February 25, 2020
Genre: contemporary romance / romantic comedy
Featuring Tawna’s favorite excerpt for this week’s Sunday Snippet
As the other guys kept bantering about dinner, Grady’s phone buzzed on the ground beside him. He picked it up as a flush of heat washed through him when he saw her name on-screen.
Willa: Glad you’re okay. Looking forward to date 2.
Grady smiled, then stopped himself. Date two would be nice. The day after that would be less nice. That would mean the end of his time with Willa, something he wasn’t looking forward to at all. He thought about that as he chewed, then tapped out a reply.
Grady: Does hiking count as a date?
He shoveled up the last of his dinner and stood to gather plates, but Tony snatched his and started toward the creek. “You did ’em last night,” he said. “You’re on for breakfast, though.”
“Deal.” Grady sat back down and peeled off his boots. The sun was almost gone, so he might as well crawl into his bag. Night came fast out here in the woods, and he was exhausted enough to fall right to sleep the second his head hit the pillow. The ground. Whatever.
The instant his phone buzzed, he was wide awake again.
Willa: Murder’s not a big turn-on.
Huh? Grady looked at the screen, then scrolled back up to his last message.
Grady: Does killing count as a date?
Sh*t. Damn autocorrect. Or maybe he should blame his sooty fingerprints, which sometimes caused the mistyped words. Probably ought to clear that up quick.
Grady: Sorry, phone is an a**hole. Does HIKING count as a date?
He wriggled into his sleeping bag as Tony ambled back into camp and started packing away the cooking gear. The others had already crawled into their bags as stars pricked holes in the black velvet sky one poke at a time. A perfect crescent moon hung by a thread in the corner of his field of vision, and Grady rolled onto his back to admire it.
His phone vibrated again and he held it up to check the incoming message.
Willa: Hiking? Because you haven’t gotten enough exercise lugging a million-pound pack around the woods?
He smiled and typed out his response, wondering if she was in bed, too. Did she sleep naked? She had with him, but maybe that wasn’t her normal state. Maybe it had just been a convenience thing, since they’d woken up several times in the night to touch and stroke and—
Grady: Hiking fire lines w/a heavy pack = not relaxing. Hiking river trail w/a beautiful woman = very relaxing.
The response bubbles popped up immediately, filling Grady’s chest with a surge of anticipation.
Willa: Will be on lookout for beautiful women 😉
Willa: Also, no. Hiking is not a date.
Then a pause like she was trying to figure out why. Grady kinda wondered himself.
Willa: Exercise is NOT romantic.
Hey, that worked for him. A little weird, but okay. Grady smiled as he read through her messages. This banter, it was nice. Not the same as talking with her in person, snuggled on her sofa with Willa’s warmth tucked against his body. Still, he could get used to this.
Grady: How’s your week?
Willa: Workload heavy. Drama with Dad. The usual.
That was interesting. She rarely brought up her father, and he thought hard about his response, not wanting to scare her away.
Grady: Is your dad okay?
Willa: Fine. Work’s crazy with RFPs. Trying to land Tranquility Villa and TechTel. Two companies I really, REALLY want.
Two reallys? It sounded personal. Grady made a note of it, wondering if he should push. He’d love to know more, to understand what drove her so hard.
Grady: Crossing all fingers and toes you succeed.
Willa: Thanks. Same.
Grady looked at the words again, wondering what he could add. If there was any way to help relieve her stress.
Grady: Massage. That’s good for relaxation. Hey, spa date! Real date or no?
Truth be told, he’d never had a professional massage. An old girlfriend used to hound him all the time about signing up for some couples’ massage class. It sounded hokey at the time, but somehow it sounded more appealing when he pictured Willa stretched out on that table, her bare back tapering down to slim hips and her breasts peeking out around the edges of her ribs, just waiting for his hands to—
Willa: Depends. Are you doing the massaging or are we talking day spa?
Grady: Whichever IS NOT a real date.
He pictured her laughing, and it felt good knowing he was responsible for that imaginary laughter. Rolling onto his side, he waited for an answer, wondering if his teammates could see him over here tapping like a middle school kid with a crush.
Willa: We’ll talk when you’re back if I still need to relax.
Huh. Evasive. Or maybe not. Willa wasn’t the type to play games, so maybe that’s all there was to it. Either she’d feel like getting a massage or she wouldn’t. She’d give him another date or she wouldn’t.
This was not how dating usually went for Grady. How many times had the tables been turned, had the women in his life been the ones hounding him for more time, more attention, more dates? How had he become the pursuer of a woman who seemed like she could take him or leave him?
Grady: I know something else that’s good for relaxation.
The instant he hit Send, he second-guessed himself. Did that sound dirty? That wasn’t how he’d meant it, so he hurried to text again.
Grady: Meditation. My sister says it’s been a game changer for her.
There, that was good. Just a friendly suggestion, something that might help her feel better. And that’s what this was about, really. He wanted Willa relaxed and happy and—
Grady frowned at his phone, trying to make sense of her response. He scrolled back up and nearly pissed himself.
Grady: Masturbation. My sister says it’s been a game changer for her.
Sh*t. Sh*t, sh*t, sh*t. Damn autocorrect. Or dirty thumbs, whatever. He hurried to reply.
Grady: Autocorrect, sorry. Meditation. It’s supposed to be really relaxing.
A long pause, then a response.
Willa: I can assure you it’s not.
What? He scrolled back up, horrified to see what his phone had done this time.
Grady: Autocorrect, sorry. Menstruation. It’s supposed to be really relaxing.
F*******ck. His thumbs flew over the screen, correcting his latest faux pas.
Grady: God donkey! M-e-d-i-t-a-t-i-o-n. My sister swears by it.
He read his message three times and corrected the donkey thing to “goddammit” before hitting Send this time.
Willa responded with a series of smiley faces.
Willa: I kinda liked your first suggestion best.
About the Book:
Willa Frank has one simple rule: never go on a date with anyone more than twice. Now that her business is providing the stability she’s always needed, she can’t afford distractions. Her two-date rule will protect her just fine…until she meets smokejumper Grady Billman.
After one date—one amazing, unforgettable date—Grady isn’t ready to call it quits, despite his own no-attachments policy, and he’s found a sneaky way around both their rules.
Throwing gutter balls with pitchers of beer? Not a real date. Everyone knows bowling doesn’t count.
Watching a band play at a local show? They just happen to have the same great taste in music. Definitely not a date.
Hiking? Nope. How can exercise be considered a date?
With every “non-date” Grady suggests, his reasoning gets more ridiculous, and Willa must admit she’s having fun playing along. But when their time together costs Willa two critical clients, it’s clear she needs to focus on the only thing that matters—her future. And really, he should do the same.
But what is she supposed to do with a future that looks gray without Grady in it?
About the Author:
When Tawna Fenske finished her English lit degree at 22, she celebrated by filling a giant trash bag full of romance novels and dragging it everywhere until she’d read them all. Now she’s a RITA Award finalist, USA Today bestselling author who writes humorous fiction, risqué romance, and heartwarming love stories with a quirky twist. Publishers Weekly has praised Tawna’s offbeat romances with multiple starred reviews and noted, “There’s something wonderfully relaxing about being immersed in a story filled with over-the-top characters in undeniably relatable situations. Heartache and humor go hand in hand.”
Tawna lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband, step-kids, and a menagerie of ill-behaved pets. She loves hiking, snowshoeing, stand up paddle boarding, and inventing excuses to sip wine on her back porch. She can peel a banana with her toes and loses an average of twenty pairs of eyeglasses per year. To find out more about Tawna and her books, visit www.tawnafenske.com.To learn more about all of Tawna’s books, visit www.tawnafenske.com
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