Author: Stacey Agdern
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Publication date: June 1, 2023
Series: Last Girls Standing #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Judith had no idea what had possessed her to agree to meet (Asher) after class. In person. And she couldn’t help but spill the beans to Liv when they met for a brunch at Eggs and Ohs on Saturday.
“I don’t understand this,”Liv had said as she bit into her breakfast burger. “You were so dead set against sitting down with him in public. Now you are, and not that I’m upset with you, but I want to know why.”
“It’s the principle of the thing,” she said as she cut into her omelet. “I wanted to set ground rules for our interactions, and if it means one coffee and one cupcake, which I deserve, then fine. I mean, I’m going to have to deal with him anyway, and I do want him to help Shimon.”
“Just don’t order any hot beverages you’d be tempted to spill on his head.”
Judith smiled. “No. I’ll order a white-chocolate mocha, which I’d never spill on anybody on anybody on principle.”
“Those have always been your gold coffee standard. Okay. But I’m still confused,” Livvy said. “What exactly are you going to discuss with him?”
And that was the question that illuminated her brain like a neon sign. What the heck was she going to talk about with him? “I don’t know. Set guidelines like keep interactions at a minimum? Be very clear about personal space?”
Was she? She shrugged and added more milk to her coffee. “I don’t even know,” she said, raising her hand in a gesture of surrender. “Why are people like this?”
“You’re looking to have a philosophical discussion with him?”
Judith shook her head at her cousin and took a long drink of her coffee. “I don’t want to talk with him at all, but I have no choice. Which means I have to use lines like ‘We need to be very clear in our interactions, and oh by the way, I volunteered you to be the subject of my nephew’s project.’”
“None of that ever works, you realize. People only say lines like that in dramas, romance novels, or movies, and even then, the boundaries they set fall faster than gravity.”
“I have to believe something works. Otherwise, I’m in deep trouble,” Judith replied.
“I guarantee what you’re proposing isn’t going to work, Judith. Can I suggest something?”
“Of course you can,” she said. “Doesn’t mean I’m going to take your advice.”
“I totally get that. This is what I think.” Livy paused.
“Don’t just ask for a favor. Make this guy a bargain. Give him one favor.”
Her answer was immediate. “No. I can’t do that. I don’t want to give him anything. Sharing the date with him is enough.”
Livvy raised an eyebrow. “Why can’t you offer him a favor? And don’t say ‘Leah’ if you’re not involving her in any of this.”
Which took her primary answer out of the running. “I just can’t,” she said. “Date’s enough.”
Livvy shook her head and took a bite of the burger. Which meant that her cousin saw a flaw in the logic of the situation. “Out with it,” Judith said, having had enough of the silence and the waiting. “What’s the problem?”
“Sharing the date is not at all enough,” Liv finally said. “This man is not going to see sharing the date as a favor to him because he was going to have his Bar Mitzvah on that date no matter what you did. And he absolutely isn’t going to do this favor for you for free. He’s going to ask for something, and you have to be prepared for something ridiculous unless you offer something in return.”
A bargain. Of course, the aspiring mayor of Briarwood understood this bargaining stuff, and she might have a point. “Fine,” Judith managed, pushing the words past her teeth, letters clinging tightly to her incisors. “I have to offer him something. Maybe I can offer to manage a project for him?”
“That,” Livvy said after a minute, “is the most reasonable thing you’ve said all afternoon. There’s one other thing I would suggest, though.”
“Just be prepared for him to take you up on it,” Livvy said. “Guy like that, having his Bar Mitzvah now? He’s going to want to build something, do something. Some kind of project meant to fill his days. Or the thing he’s been dreaming of, aside from the Bar Mitzvah. Who knows? But it’ll be something, and you’re going to have to help him.”
With her luck, the project would be something personal. He’d come up with some ridiculous half-brained scheme that she’d not only have to decipher but also execute. Because that was her life. But all she told Livvy—and all she focused on—was the fact that she’d deal with all of it in order to put a smile on Shimon’s face. Even if it meant meeting Ash Mendel in a coffee shop.
About the Book:
Sharing isn’t caring when it comes to your big day.
Judith Nachman loves working as a project manager at the Mitzvah Alliance charity, and after five years, it’s finally her turn to have the bat mitzvah of her dreams. Judith is enjoying every single moment of the process—until she learns she has to share her day with the annoying hockey player who derailed her sister’s career.
Retired hockey player Ash Mendel is determined to start an organization to support Jewish athletes, and the first step is to have his bar mitzvah. He’s not sure what he wants his day to look like, but he knows he definitely wants forgiveness from Judith, the woman he’s sharing the date with.
But Judith’s nephew needs to interview an athlete, and Ash needs professional advice for his foundation, so they exchange favors. Except as they get to know each other and their worlds start to mingle, Ash and Judith will have to decide whether sharing their lives as well as their B’Nai Mitzvah is the best decision they could make, or the biggest mistake of their lives.
About the Author:
Stacey Agdern is an award-winning former bookseller who has reviewed romance novels in multiple formats and given talks about various aspects of the romance genre. She is also a romance writer. C. She lives in New York, not far from her favorite hockey team’s practice facility.
Social Media Links:
@nystacey on twitter
@sagdern on instagram and tiktok
/staceyaagdern on facebook