Ready for a Taste of the Newest Sweet Something?

THE ONE I’M WITH comes out this Wednesday, and I don’t know about all of you, but I’m excited. Remember that there’s a Rafflecopter Release Day Giveaway going on right now, and you can preorder your Kindle copy right this very second.

But you don’t have to wait until Wednesday to get a glimpse….

Chapter 1: Girls’ Night Out

Music blares from the Bluetooth speaker on my ddress-186249_1280resser, and I sing along at the top of my lungs as I buzz between my bedroom and the adjoining bathroom. Saturday’s long-standing girls’ night out tradition dates back to when my three best friends and I moved to Asheville, North Carolina, after our college graduation. This week’s get-together couldn’t come soon enough. Three spring redecorating jobs have kept me swamped for the past month and a half, and today I worked later than usual to wrap up a few odds and ends for my clients.

My gaze falls on the bedside clock. I slow my steps with a grimace. My ride should be here in ten minutes or so, and I still haven’t decided on shoes or jewelry to go along with the black burnout leggings and clingy thigh-length red tunic dress I’ve chosen for tonight. Normally I’d be waiting patiently on my front porch by now. But a last minute phone call right after dinner pushed the start of my night-out preparations back almost a half-hour.

Running my fingers lightly through my curly pixie cut, I duck into my closet and grab two pairs of shoes. I haven’t had a chance to wear the red heels yet, but the knee-high black riding boots would be a more sensible choice. Parking near Pack Square tends to be limited, especially on the weekend, and the boots will be more comfortable if we have to walk more than two blocks to the bar.

I put on one of each shoe and turn to the cheval mirror in the corner. Sexy sometimes trumps comfort, even if it means blisters the next morning. Hands on my hips, I lift my right foot up so I can only see the red shoe on my left. My eyes narrow, and then I switch feet. I alternate my view of the shoes a couple more times, no closer to a decision.

A phone call interrupts the music playing on my cell phone. I hobble over to my dresser and check the caller ID. My older sister, Beth.

Figures she’d call just as I’m about to head out the door.

My hand hovers over the phone. My sister calls me once or twice a month, sometimes more if I haven’t been diligent about keeping in touch. But tonight, given how crazy my week has been and how much I just want to relax with my friends and a cold beer, I don’t feel like talking to her. Pursing my lips, I press the button on the side of my phone and send Beth to voicemail. There will be time enough tomorrow to listen to her well-intentioned lecture on how it’s okay to stay home once in a while, that it’s time for me to focus as much on the direction of my personal life as I have my professional life.

Which is sister-speak for quit with the casual dating and commit to somebody already.

Easy for her to say. She married her college sweetheart, and two seconds after landing her dream job at a Manhattan talent agency, she popped out a kid who’s about as perfect as they come. Everyone expected me to follow suit.

Including myself.

But then life happened, and all my expectations evaporated.

Shaking my head, I banish those thoughts. Life is great. I like my life.

The doorbell rings, jolting me out of the morose track my mind almost took.

“Marissa!” a familiar voice shouts from my front hall.

To find out who’s at Marissa’s door, preview all of Chapter 1 here.

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