Hey there, darling!
I’m author B.L. Olson, or Brit if I’m not in trouble. I’m a self-proclaimed hot mess who survives off a steady stream of coffee and pizza. I’m a land mermaid forever swimming in the PNW rain, where I balance writing, some semblance of a social life, and psych courses for my degree. I have been writing the stories in my head for over twenty years, but have found that writing romance that people can relate to to be my calling. Plus, I like shocking my family with whatever dirty thoughts are ransacking my brain.
Nobody just decides to be a hot mess.
I think somewhere along the way it just became who I was and I gracefully accepted the role…
I feel so utterly stuck. Unwanted by anyone I could ever see myself with and alone despite having two “roommates” who constantly hover and meddle in my life.
There are definitely repercussions for not pushing myself to be who I want to be. When I met my new next-door neighbor Wyatt, I didn’t think he would be the one to constantly challenge me. Tear me open and put me back together again in an entirely different way. The one who is dealing with his own repercussions as well…
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I turn off my car and grab my purse from the empty passenger seat. Locking up my car and stepping up onto the sidewalk, I survey my options. The neighbor to the right is the grouchy old man that never let me have my balls back when they went over the fence as a kid. I definitely don't think he would want me traipsing in his yard to climb over into mine, so that option is out. On the left side is a house that was vacant for a few months, but a moving truck had arrived just a few days prior, so something tells me someone could very well be living in the house now.
If that is the case, I could always knock on the door and ask if they mind me hopping over into my yard, but I have a feeling that meeting my new neighbors and asking a strange request would probably not be the best first impression. The side of the house where the fence borders my yard is graveled in and contains the garage. It is dark out, and I doubt anyone would just so happen to be out there and look out the single window, so I figure this is my fated ninja mission.
Well crap, I should have changed strategies. I'm attempting to sneak around in wedge sandals with a hurt ankle, in gravel, and in the dark. No way in hell am I going to turn my phone's flashlight on and get caught trespassing. I finally make it to the fence and try to throw my purse over as quietly as possible. Taking in the chain links before me, I have a big sigh and slowly insert my shoes into the rungs.
Climbing chain link fencing when you’re short can be a challenge on any given day, but throw in wedges and my stupid bum ankle and I am having a very difficult time. I finally reach the top and swing my leg over, gripping the fence with my thighs. There is no way I am dropping down, so my only option is to climb back down the other side into my yard.
Except that isn't really an option, because the freaking fates hate my guts and something snags against the chain link, keeping me straddled across the top of the fence. I let out a sharp curse over my luck. I only own so many pieces of acceptable work clothes and I don't want this one to be a casualty of my day.
Biting my lip in concentration, I slip my fingers between my thighs and feel my way along the top bar of the chain link fence until I finally feel the snag. It isn’t long before I realize it is my white lace thong that decided to become one with the fence. I gently try and detach it, my thighs gripped tight around the fence to keep my balance. I almost have the fabric free when I hear the click of a gun just over my left shoulder.
Cold fear slithers down my spine and to the tips of my toes.
Don’t get me wrong, I am no stranger when it comes to guns. My dad has taken me out to do target practice and we have gone to the gun range a few times as well. But this is the first time that I have ever heard that sound outside of those places. In this sort of situation. Where I am trespassing, perched on top of a fence, and trying to free my thong from it.
A gruff voice grits out, "I don't care what story you have for what you are doing on that fence, but I am going to give you one minute to get down and mosey on your way." Mosey on my way? Who the heck says that? This dude must be older than dirt.
I grip my thighs tighter against the fence so I don’t fall over and glance over my left shoulder at the direction of the voice. What I see most definitely isn't the stooped and withered man I was imagining.
What stands before me is the best damn male specimen that I have seen in our dinky small town since the day my family blew in and decided to call it home. The garage light that he must have flicked on moments before gave a backlight to this almost angelic form. Tall, dark hair and a chiseled jaw complete the perfect male package. Too bad he is pointing a gun at me.
My only goal this weekend is to ensure my sister’s wedding stays on track. As if keeping my family in line isn't enough to turn me into an alcoholic, the best man has decided I'm too rigid and argues that I'm using my job as a crutch to avoid love. Now he has pulled me into his chaotic world, and devised pranks to prove to me he's right.
At first, I fail to see how such childish antics will help me escape myself, but I quickly realize there might just be a method to his madness and Ethan Wiley may just pull off his biggest prank yet.
The one that wins my heart.
“Mother, I told you weeks ago that this place was secluded and catered more towards couples. I can’t help it if you were hoping to find yourself a wedding date when you got here. I tried telling you ahead of time so you could plan accordingly.”
Fudge brownies. My grandmother makes it worse when her attention falls on Ethan and she licks her lips at the piece of beefcake before her. “Well, I wouldn’t count me out for a date just yet, Grace dear.” Sidling up to him, she cocks a hip against the reception desk and bats her eyes at him. “How are you doing, honey? You still single?”
He chuckles lightly. “I sure am, sugar pie. I feel as if I need to be transparent with you though and tell you that I’m staying available in case your granddaughter changes her mind about me.” The devil throws his arm over my shoulder and pulls me closer to him. A whiff of his heavenly cologne softens me before his words truly register.
Is this another one of his pranks?
I push him away and try to secretly feel him up at the same time. I know the man is ripped, he scales mountains and jumps off cliffs for a living. He might be infuriating but it’s like his abs had ab babies and they just keep multiplying like bunnies.
I wanted to chase after them with my tongue. Allllllll around the yard.
Ethan reaches out to grasp my hands between his own, a flash of heat suddenly shooting to places it has no business going at the contact and slides our conjoined limbs over his clothed stomach. My fingertips feather across the contour of his chest, and I have to stop myself from slipping my hands under his shirt to continue my exploration.
“Well now. Seems like the way to your heart is through my abs, woman.” Ethan all but purrs.
I pinch him harshly and he quickly drops my hands to rub the spot to soothe it. I stamp out hotly. “How do you know I don’t have a dick under my shorts?”
“That’s an easy enough question to answer, woman. Drop your shorts and show me.”
My eye twitches in agitation. I wisely ignore his bait and attempt a more business-like tone. “Did you get your room key and the itinerary Tillie has for the wedding party? If so, you may leave us now.”
He takes a step closer to me, my obvious dismissal either going over his head or blatantly being ignored. “You better watch your back, Sadler.” Another step brings Ethan flush to me and he leans down to whisper in my ear, his warm breath tickling it. “Because sometime this weekend I’m going to get you onto yours.”
Be still my beating vagina. I don’t know whether to pant or smack him for his arrogance.
Oh wait, I do know what to do.
He’s gone before I can kick him in the balls.
Bad at Love
Beneath the stars of the Nebraskan sky, Bo Sutton and I made promises to each other that we swore never to break.
Then I did.
Now five years later, I am forced to return to the very spot where I broke both my vow and my heart, with our daughter in tow.
I never regretted my decision to protect my daughter from the same heartbreak I felt all those years ago.
Then I did.
I’m aware I’m bad at love, but when secrets come to light that reveal more than just my daughter’s paternity, I know that I am going to need to study up quickly to protect what is left of my heart.
Can Bo ever forgive me for my secrets and sins?
Can we rediscover the map we left in the stars and pick up right where we left off?
I’m rounding an aisle, a box of tampons clutched to my chest in one hand and Tessa’s hand in my other, when my entire body reverberates off someone’s t-shirt clad chest. I immediately start to apologize profusely, but when I finally make eye contact with the stranger I tried to barrel right through, I stop immediately.
Not just the words I had been speaking.
An inhale of breath swirls forgotten in my lungs, my heart is heavy in my chest, and every molecule in my body has frozen in place.
My entire system has shut down and failed to reboot because of the man standing before me.
Bo Sutton is just as I remember him, but a little more filled out and a lot more mature. His usual unruly mop of dark hair is cut several inches shorter, a trimmed beard covering a clenched jaw. He seems broader, even taller, and one hundred percent colder than the last time I saw him. Which, considering everything that wasn’t said and done, makes complete sense.
His eyes, so much like Tessa’s, are scrutinizing my face before dropping to the box clutched in my hands. I haven’t seen this man in five years, and here I am standing before him with a box of freaking tampons.
As well as the hand of his daughter.
Internal bells alarm, screaming at me to breathe and say something. Say anything that didn’t make the situation at hand any worse than it already is. Before I can, his gaze is caught by Tessa, who is clinging to my side and staring at me, confused. Probably wondering why I have been gaping at the man I clumsily ran into.
I witness it though, in his eyes. The slow recognition that she is somehow familiar. He sees her features in the mirror every day, after all. The coldness directed toward me only moments ago is taken over by shock and surprise. His broad shoulders drop, and he staggers back a moment before finally breaking the silence that surrounds us.
“Pennilyn,” Bo says breathlessly. “Who is this?” He asks, even knowing what I am about to say. She may have his eyes, but she has my long auburn hair.
“This is my daughter, Tessa.”
“How old-,” he clears his throat and gruffly tries again. “How old is she?”
I freeze at the inquisitive question, knowing my answer will forever change his world on top of my own. I raise my chin in a false act of bravery and meet his eyes.
“She's four, Bo.”
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