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My contribution to this years Anthology is a funny, flirty and sexy AF, friends-to-lovers novella that's sure to make you both smile and fan yourself.  


Nick and I have been friends forever. And I’ve been in love with him almost as long.

I’m nowhere near his type though, and nothing screams that more than my vanilla ways. Except lately I’m starting to feel a little less vanilla and a lot more please daddy when it comes to my bestie.

So when he makes me a bet with kinky stakes, can I really go all in?


“Dirt, Nicky, dirt. I need it now.” My eyes slit as he gives me an indecisive teasing look.

“Maybe I’ll tell you later,” he says, his eyes sparkling. I cross my arms.

“Do not make me replace all the raisins in your bran cereal with chocolate chips.” I smile when he twists his very kissable lips to the side and gives me a look.

“Try it, little girl. Try it.” The look he gives me is stern, but not quite the look he gives his subs. Maybe because I know there’s nothing coming after that look should I decide not to heed his warning. It’s still sexy though.

“The guy in 507 likes you,” he blurts and watches me intensely with those blue, blue, blue — no, I don’t stutter, they are seriously just that blue, eyes. Think aqua sea blue on a calm sunny day when you’re sleepy from a liberally poured but hella tasty margarita sitting in the shade of a palm tree and it’s calling to you, that blue blue sea… Focus, Molly!

I squint, looking up. “Who’s 507 again?” I scratch my chin making Nick tutt and grab a napkin off the food table.

“Molly, you’re a mess.” He wipes the sauce off my chin, then moves to the sink to wet a fresh napkin, coming back to wash the sauce off my fingers.

I sigh, letting my shoulders fall and grab the napkin, frustrated that I’m such a mess my sexgod roomie has to wash me up like a two-year-old.

“Is 507 the one that carries his laundry in the old microwave box?” I ask as I make myself presentable. “Or Gandalf in a speedo?”

He smirks. “While I’m sure both men have crushes on you, no, honey, neither of them. No one needs to be excited by that news.” Nick glances around, always conscious of people overhearing things that might hurt their feelings.

“Microwave Dude still lives with his mother in 509.” Another glance around and in a lowered voice, he says, “In a one bedroom.” He looks thoughtful a second. “Gandalf is nice. Triple your age but,” he shrugs, “I’ve always said you could use a daddy.”

I swat his gut and bite my lip, chewing at it as I search the room for 507. “So who is he?” When I give up and look back at Nick, his eyes are on my lips so I quickly stop gnawing at them like a hungry cannibal. Maybe 509 is my perfect match. Gah!

“Blondish, big, always at the gym. Just your type.”

I roll my eyes. “You just described yourself.”

He runs a hand through his hair and smiles. “My hair is not blond. It’s strawberry red.” He runs a hand over his tidy beard. “Like my beard. And I’m at the pool not the gym. You love jocks and this guy is one hundred and twenty percent jock.”

“The colour is strawberry blond,” I say, emphasizing the word blond. “And your beard is coppery red.” And as sexy as everything else about you. I don’t say anything about the jock thing. I don’t like jocks. I don’t like anyone but Nick. But he needn’t know that.

When he broke his arm last year skiing, I helped him trim that beard. The memory makes me swallow—hard.

He’d pulled me to straddle his lap so I didn’t have to hunch over as I trimmed it and those ten minutes with our bodies so, so, so close, his breath on me and his hands settled on my waist… goodness me. I needed a cold shower afterward which I claimed was to get all his nasty-ass beard hair off me. I want that beard hair on me, preferably attached to his face and between my… Darn, I need a cold shower now just from reminiscing.

“And 507 has the build of Bigfoot on steroids.” He looks down at himself, smoothing his button-down. “I’m a pipsqueak in comparison.”

There is no way — not even if we travelled in the Doctor’s Tardis to an alternate universe (for those non-Doctor-Who-diehards, just go with it) —that Nick would ever be called a pipsqueak.

At six feet tall, he’s the perfect athletic specimen. He plays hockey all winter, cross-country and downhill skis, and in the summer, he hikes, bikes, and plays soccer. And as if that’s not enough to convince you of his superior male form… he swims laps for an hour every morning. All. Year. Long. His lean muscles may not be bulky like Bigfoot, but they are deliciously firm. And he certainly has no trouble scooping my big butt up and tossing me in said pool. While I’m a shrimp in height, my love of chicken wings, fried food, and junk cereal as well as, my general lack of anything that constitutes as fitness makes me a little on the not so super-model-sized.

Okay, okay. I’m short and kinda chubby. Small on top, bigger on the bottom. No boobs to speak of but plenty ample in the trunk department.

“You? Pipsqueak?” I say and roll my eyes. Something my inner voice reminds me he’d call me on if I were one of his girls. He always calls them on that kind of stuff. Swearing too, which I’ve noticed I do a helluva lot more now that I know that, although only aloud; in my head I still use my usual pseudo-oaths. My poor mother would faint if she heard me when Nick was near.

Oh, I’ve got it so, so bad. So ducking bad.

“You interested?” His eyes hold mine as he waits for my answer. Something in them makes my stomach swirly and flip-floppy.

“507 doesn’t like me so there’s no point in answering that, is there?” I make a rude noise and flounce away as much as a five-foot-two-inch shrimp with a big ol’ butt and jiggly thighs can flounce.

“You should see all the looks you get when we’re out. You’re hot, honey. It’s time you face it.” I turn back to give him a ‘you’re ridiculous’ look, but his mouth, curved in a sexy grin, one that makes my heart pound, stops me.


“Even if you do a good job of hiding that hot little body. We see it.”

“Whatever I’m paying you, double it. You’re damn-well worth it,” I blurt, but he ignores my brush-off and moves closer to me, taking my chin in his hand.

“Behave.” His mouth is curved down in disapproval, his stare hard on mine. “You know how I feel about you berating yourself, Molly.”

I swallow and when he releases my chin, I look down, suitably chastised.

He leans down, closer to my ear. “But I like that you hide it.” His whispery breath tickles my neck, and then, with his lips almost against my ear, he adds, “Because I can’t stand anyone else looking.”

My lip instantly finds its spot between my teeth and I nibble nervously. I have a pretty stellar imagination, but is it possible I actually imagined all that? Then I remember my dear, dear roommate is the king of flirt. He could teach a Master Class on it. And he’s not a discriminate flirter. Nope, it’s not just tens that get his attention, even us threes get his charm. Did I mention he’s a total freakin’ sweetheart?

When he pulls back and I think the moment is broken, he reaches up, clamps my chin between his thumb and forefinger and pulls my bottom lip from my mouth. “Stop that, honey, it drives me crazy.”

I swallow. Whoa, imagination! I yank on the imaginary reins. He means crazy-annoyed, not crazy-hot, I tell myself, but my ladybits — ehh, they don’t get the message. They’re still throbbing and tingling long after Nick turns his focus on the lady from 204, who’s tapped his shoulder and is asking where he got his tribal masks.


“Peru,” I say and grab her arm. “Let me show you the ones in his office. They’re fabulous.” I lead her away so I can take a break from Nick and get my imagination under control.

He finds me, or rather I find him, twenty minutes later when I sneak into my room to escape from 204. Let’s just say her name is rightfully Gabby. And have I mentioned I’m an introvert?

Nick’s lying against the headboard of my canopy bed, his hands propped behind his head, his legs crossed at the ankle and he’s wearing a killer smile.

Sighhhhh. Hello, fantasy.

Another hard swallow and a quick stiff yank on those reins pulls me out of my dreamy trance.

“How about a wager?” he asks, shooting me a mercilessly flirty smile.



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