Their Secret -EXCLUSIVE sneak peek!!!

ENTIRE first 4 chapters!!


 Their Secret


Elizabeth Reyes

#Taboo #AgeGap #SmallTown #PageTurner #Sizzling #WickedTwist #NailBiter #EdgeOfYourSeat #Unputdownable #Wow! #BookHangover #INeedMore! #SOGood! 

^^^ All things said by a few early readers! 😎


Old Friend



Rushing down the stairs, I nearly tripped over Hiccup as he dashed up past me like his tail was on fire. Crazy cat—or smart cat. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think even Hiccup sensed the unease of my dad’s impending arrival from work. We never knew what version of my dad would be walking through the door on any given night. Angry and verbally abusive, or drunk, batshit crazy and verbally abusive. 

I’d gotten so caught up with my “homework” I lost track of the time, and I was surprised my mom hadn’t called for me to come help her with supper. Halfway down the stairs I could smell the heavenly aromas coming from the kitchen.  

“There you are.” She turned to me as she pulled a casserole dish out of the oven. “I was getting ready to call you down.”

“Yeah, sorry.” I pulled plates and glasses out of the cupboard. “I was doing my homework and lost track of time.” 

Just as our gazes met, she lifted a brow. “Homework?”

I smirked, setting the dinnerware down on the table. “Well, I did finish my homework before I started with my other stuff.”

She turned back to the counter where she lifted the crock pot open as I continued to set the table. Peering at her hand brace when it clicked against the stove, I glanced up at her. “Is your arthritis bothering—” 

  “We’ll need four settings tonight.” 

She was still busy with the casserole dish to look up at me. It was only then that I noticed it wasn’t a casserole. The dish had four large twice baked potatoes in it. She slid another pan with rolls into the oven and set the timer. 

Glancing around, I spotted the other serving bowls on the counter. One had what looked like her bourbon glazed carrots—something she only ever made on Thanksgiving—and the other held a big fresh salad. There was also a crumb cake on the counter. It wasn’t homemade because it was in a box, but dinners were never this formal and we never had dessert unless it was a holiday. “Who’s coming over?”

“A friend of your dads’.”

I walked back to the cupboard to retrieve the extra setting for the table and leaned over to glance at what was in the crock pot. It was a roast. Mom rarely made roast. The fanciest dinners we ever got around here were spaghetti or some kind of casserole with lots of pasta, rice or potatoes and minimal protein, which dad got most of. We used to dine on pizza bread, frozen corn dogs or something similar and we’d do so on our own. I’d take mine to my room where I preferred to eat—away from my ever-petulant dad. 

It wasn’t until just recently that he started insisting we all ate at the dinner table. “Like a real family, damn it.” So, his suddenly inviting dinner guests shouldn’t have surprised me. But I was still curious.

  “A friend?”

Dad had never been the most approachable person in town. Though he tried hard to put up a front. The only friends he ever had over never got this kind of treatment. In fact, they rarely got invited inside. Instead, they hung out back with him, drinking beer while throwing horseshoes or playing cards, spewing out obscenities along with loud drunken cackles.

Those were the only people he’d ever let into his world. The kind he didn’t care about impressing because they were worse off than he was. Anyone else looking in from the outside thought we were a happy little family, with a respectable head of household, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

“He said it’s an old friend.” Mom glanced at me, but quickly went back to what she was doing. “Guess this guy used to work with dad when he lived in California.”

Except for the few times I’d ever spent at dad’s farm equipment repair shop, I’d rarely seen him be social and halfway pleasant while sober. But it was his place of business and he had to be as pleasant as possible if he wanted his clients’ continued business. 

“This should be interesting.” I placed the extra setting down. 

“What was that?” My mom turned to me, but I shook my head.

Just then, the car pulled into the driveway, and I started away from the kitchen glancing curiously out the window. “I’ll go wash up.” I slowed to get a better look but couldn’t see anything from my angle.

Whatever. I shrugged, continuing to the downstairs bathroom. Anyone willing to hang out with my dad, has never been anyone I’d want to be around. I’d enjoy the special dinner, then excuse myself as soon as possible. I was anxious to get back to what I was working on upstairs anyway. 

As I turned off the sink water, the most foreign sound in the world made me freeze. My dad was laughing and talking in a gracious sober tone I hadn’t heard in years. I stared in the mirror for a moment and almost laughed. The other unfamiliar voice wasn’t nearly as loud as my dad’s. I couldn’t even make out what he was saying, but it sounded like polite responses to whatever my parents were saying to him. 

I dried my hands and headed back to the kitchen. A man sat at the table facing the other way. My dad, who sat across from him, was the first to see me. “And this here is my baby girl, Camila.” 

The term of endearment caught me so off guard I didn’t turn my attention to his friend because I was busy eyeing the man at the table who said it. Whoever you are, please tell me you’re replacing my real dad, and he’s never coming back.

“Camila, this is my good friend Dante.”

I turned to Dante and the first thing that struck me was how much younger he was than I’d expected. When Mom first mentioned dad was bringing home a friend, I’d just assumed it’d be someone his age. I was no good at estimating people’s ages, especially ones out of their teens but if I had to guess, he looked to be about twenty-five. 

I smiled politely. “Hello.” 

Even as I nodded, I had to wonder why in the world this guy would want to hang out with an old guy like my dad. I could never remember my parents’ ages exactly, but I was pretty sure they were pushing, if not, in their early forties. 

“Nice to meet you, Camila.” Standing, Dante extended his hand.  

I shook it, making note of his slightly callused, yet otherwise strangely soft hand. “It’s nice to meet you too.”  

I took the seat next to him at the table. But what I really wanted to say was that I was stunned to meet him. I expected someone around my dad’s age. Maybe not as obnoxious as the friends he’s had over in the past, given the spread my mom put out. But still, he was pretty much the opposite of what I’d imagined.    

Aside from being much younger than expected, he was clean shaven, well groomed, dressed nicely in clean jeans, a short sleeved buttoned shirt and even smelled nice. Not like the blend of whiskey, BO, and cigarettes the friends Dad usually had over. Clearly, Dante went the extra mile to not only shower and appear presentable, but he even wore cologne.         

As much as my father was playing the part of a happy family man who came home to a dinner like this every night, I knew better than anyone that this was so not the case. When he got home drunk from work, which was often, I actually preferred it that way. It meant he wouldn’t be eating, which meant I was free to take my food upstairs and eat in peace.

Mom had already set the serving platters on the table, and I started to reach for one. “Not until I’ve said grace, Camila.”

With my hand frozen in midair, I stared at my dad in disbelief, and my jaw nearly dropped. I brought my hand back slowly, turning to my mom who nodded holding her hands together in front of her. Grateful that she did, because otherwise I wouldn’t have even known what to do since we’ve never said grace before, I did the same. 

Clearing his throat, my dad started, and I closed my eyes because this was as awkward as it was ridiculous. “God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for our food.”

I heard my mom say Amen, then Dante followed, sounding a little unsure with his own Amen. I opened one eye and saw my dad reach for a roll. Just like that, his prayer was over, and I had to wonder if he didn’t just Google and memorize the three sentences on his way home from work. I mumbled an obligatory Amen under my breath, but doubt my dad heard or even cared. 

Dante didn’t immediately reach for any of the food, even as my dad slopped food on his own plate like it might run out. “Help yourself.” Dad smiled at Dante. “I’m probably biased but the little wifey here is a heck of a cook.”

Wifey? Heck?

I’d officially entered the Twilight Zone. My gaze met my dad’s as I tried to make out if someone really had taken over his body. But then I saw it. His smiling eyes went from easy-going and sweet, to his usual hard demeanor. I could almost hear his silent warning. You keep your fucking mouth shut and just go along with this.

I had no clue what my dad was up to, but I knew him well enough. He was up to something. He started telling Dante about the shop. From the sound of the conversation this wasn’t the first time they’d talked about it. Dante asked about a tractor dad was working on; stuff I didn’t know, nor had I ever cared about. 

I ate quietly, not paying attention to what they were discussing. My interest in my mother’s delicious spread outweighed anything dad said. Until he dropped the news on us. But he didn’t really tell us, so much as tell Dante like it was something we already knew about. 

“The garage is all set up for you.” I glanced up in shock. Dad was too busy stuffing his face to even notice. “There’s a bed out there, and a chest of drawers for you. Even got a couple of fans set up for you, to beat the summer heat at night. No bathroom but you’re welcome to use the one in here anytime you need to.”

When I glanced at Mom, her eyes again said it all. Obviously this was news to her as well. She stared at my dad, who still hadn’t bothered looking her way. She too appeared to have been caught mid chew. When she turned to me, she started to chew again as if this didn’t actually shock her as well. 

This shouldn’t have surprised me. Not only had my dad’s drinking grown heavier over the years, so had his lack of respect for either of us. Not that he’d ever actually respected a snot nosed kid like myself but at least he used to tell my mom in advance when he was having company—which in this case apparently, he did—just left out the part about him inviting his guest to move into the garage. I used to think he kept his foul-mouthed friends outside, out of respect for my mom. But as I got older, I distinctly got the feeling they were discussing things out there he didn’t want my mom to hear.             

“I have some money put away.” Dante turned to my mom as if maybe he’d picked up on the fact that this was the first, she was hearing about this. “As soon as I’m able to find a place I can afford in town, I’ll be out of your hair.” 

“No worries.” My dad shook his head adamantly without giving my mom a chance to respond. “You can stay here as long as you need to. That’s what friends are for, right?” 

The Cheshire grin on my father’s face turned from Dante to me and then my mother. As if he hadn’t just dropped this news on us completely out of nowhere. Now his having been out in the garage for days doing what my mom referred to as spring cleaning, made sense. The man was a slob. The only reason this house wasn’t a pigsty, was because of my mom and me. I should’ve known something was up. But I’d just been glad he was spending his time out there and not inside bullying me and my mom, so I hadn’t cared.  

The conversation went back to the shop and fixing farm equipment and soon dinner was over. Dad took Dante out to see his new place while mom and I cleaned up. The moment they were out of hearing range, I turned to my mother. “What the heck was that about? Did he tell you he was gonna move his friend in?”

“Of course not.” She moved about quickly. “But he did say he’s wooing a new business partner. I guess this is his idea of wooing.” She shrugged as she loaded the dishwasher. “Dante seems nice enough. Could’ve been worse. At least it’s not one of his usual friends.” 

Mom cleaned in a rush, and I suspected she wanted to be done and in her bedroom by the time my dad returned. She stopped a couple of times to massage her hand with a wince.

“Your arthritis?” 

She nodded but as usual shrugged it off as if it weren’t a big deal. “I’ll just need to up my dose tonight.”

Frowning, I didn’t push for more. I helped her with the cleanup, and we were done quick enough. We headed to our bedrooms without any more talk of our new house guest or even the weirdness of my father’s demeanor around him. 

Wooing a new business partner. It made even more sense now. I should’ve known money had everything to do with my father being such a kiss ass. It just made me wonder how a man who’d be living in our garage could possibly help my dad financially.

Way Too Close – Prologue!

Coming September 4th! The second in the

A New Generation series

Available for PRE-ORDER NOW!

RELEASE DATE 9-4-21!!!

Amazon US

Amazon UK









Lex & Xochitl’s story 

FYI her name is actually spelled Xochitl but pronounced Socheel. Except since we are in Lex’s POV and this is his first time meeting his sister’s dormmate who he’s only heard of, he assumes her name is spelled how it sounds. It’s why you’ll see her name spelled that way in the prologue. But very first chapter of the book he’ll get schooled by her on how it’s actually spelled.

I expect to have this ready release by EARLY September. I’m just waiting on the ARC’s to be ready to go so I can choose an exact date. When that happens I will make an immediate announcement!!   

Bloggers and active reviewers who’d like to receive an ARC for in exchange for an honest review email me with your kindle address at – I expect ARC’s to be ready by this weekend!






Frumpy, short, bad teeth or skin, maybe even glasses so thick you could see into the future. Not to generalize or to be a dick, but Lex had expected to see at least one of these elements when he finally met his sister’s dormmate, Socheel. While his sister Vannah had referred to her take-no-shit roommate as lovably cantankerous on more than one occasion, and his ever-cheery sister thought it hilarious, Lex knew better. His sisters were pretty, popular, and even on the coveted cheer squad all through high school. Both the jovial identical pair were so likeable even the misfits or grumpy people, who normally would be annoyed by anyone as chirpy as his sisters, were drawn to them. Their mother called it an anomaly effect. She said, just like in romantic pairings, opposites typically made better fits because they complemented each other’s differences. But Lex had another theory about these misfits. So, he’d braced himself for meeting this bitter-for-good-reason oddball.
When the door to his sister’s room finally opened and he laid eyes on her roommate, he smiled, surprised and relieved. But before he could introduce himself to the fresh-faced, so-different-than-he-expected girl at the door, she pointed at her earpiece and tapped her finger to her lips. She then pointed at what he assumed was his sister’s bedroom, as she rushed away to a table in the front room with an open laptop, leaving him standing there at the door to let himself in.
“Yes, I have a question,” she said, before even taking a seat.
“Taz!” Vannah said, smiling big as she walked out of the room Socheel had pointed to.
Socheel turned to her with a frown, and Vannah winced, immediately bringing her hands over her mouth. “Sorry,” she whispered then turned back to Lex, motioning for him to follow her back to her room.
She hugged him the moment she was close enough. Once in her bedroom, she explained Socheel was in the middle of one of her online classes. “I always forget,” she said, giggling as they walked into her bedroom. “Her online classmates and professor have even seen me in pajamas and with crazy bedhead on more than one occasion because I’ve walked out there forgetting her camera was on. She reminded me about her class earlier when I told her you’d be stopping by.”
Lex nodded. His trip to LA had been an unexpected, last-minute one, and he decided he’d stop by and pay his sister a surprise visit since he hadn’t seen her in months. But then he thought better of it since his friend Dave would be dropping him off and coming back for him later. Lex wanted to make sure she’d be there and he didn’t get stuck waiting outside her dorm for his ride.
Leaning against his sister’s desk, he was in the middle of explaining why he was in Los Angeles to begin with, when Socheel popped her head in the open bedroom door. “I’m done.”
She glanced at Lex, showing as much interest as she had when she first opened the door for him before starting to pull away from the doorway. “Wait,” Vannah said, standing up from her bed. “You haven’t been formally introduced to my brother.” Vannah turned to him, smiling big. “Taz, this is my dormmate, Socheel.” She turned to Socheel with the same big smile. “Socheel, meet my little brother, Taz.”
Lex refrained from rolling his eyes at his sister’s descriptor for him, since despite his being younger than she was, he’d towered over Vannah by almost a foot and outweighed her by at least forty pounds for years now. But to Vannah he’d always be her little brother who she’d refer to by his childhood nickname forever. He grinned at Socheel, who barely cracked a smile.
“Hey.” Socheel nodded politely. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“All good I’m sure,” Lex teased as he took her in with a playful smirk now that he had a longer chance.
She was no runway model, but as far as he could, tell she was no oddball either. Her hazel eyes were bigger than most, and her lips were the kind he’d always had a hard time keeping his eyes off when talking to girls: perfectly plump and very kissable, despite how little he’d seen them smile so far. Even though he’d first deemed her just doable, she was what he’d always considered his kryptonite when it came to girls—voluptuous in all the right places.
His eyes were immediately on hers when he heard her clear her throat and realized he’d been caught ogling like an idiot. Those big but unamused eyes went from him to Vannah, and any sign of a smile was completely gone now. “I got that paper I told you I need to tweak,” she said, ignoring Lex’s comment altogether. “But feel free to watch the TV or use the kitchen if you need to. I’ll still be working out on the front table, but I’ll have my headphones on.”
“He gave you a chance to fix it?” Vannah asked, wide-eyed.
For the first time since he’d met Socheel, she indulged him with a breathtaking smile, so contradictory to what he’d seen earlier, given the stern first impression she’d made so far. “Yes, and you know this professor is known for being a hard ass. But I only have until three to turn it in, so I don’t wanna blow my second chance.”
“Okay, okay.” Vannah nodded, smiling big, clearly happy for her friend. “We’ll keep it down.”
“No, that’s fine.” Socheel shook her head. “Like I said, I’ll have my headphones on.”
Without even looking at him again, Socheel walked away. Before Vannah could follow her out, Lex touched his sister’s arm, confused and strangely intrigued. “Did I miss something?” He motioned toward the door. “What’d you tell her about me?”
“Oh.” Vannah shrugged. “I probably brag way too much about all my siblings.” She chuckled. “I told you her patience can run a little thin, and I seriously go overboard when gushing about you, Gordo, and Nena.”
Without further comment, they walked out into the kitchen where Vannah proceeded to chat cheerfully away about all things school related: the campus, the heavy homework load, and to his surprise, the new guy she’d started seeing. For the first time since their introduction, Socheel sort of acknowledged him in more than the obligatory way she’d done when Vannah introduced them. She’d pulled out one of the earbuds since they’d walked out there. Lex knew this because, the whole time Vannah had been chatting away, he hadn’t been able to keep his eyes from wandering onto her completely aloof roommate. Vannah mentioned something about a prank their sister was trying to talk her into playing on the guy she was seeing now, and Lex called it ballsy.
“Too ballsy if you ask me,” Socheel said, and while technically she was following up on Lex’s comment, she addressed Vannah, so it still felt like he was being dismissed as she’d done more than once already. “Any boyfriend would be mad, and understandably so, but as intense as Byron is, this can’t end well.”
Vannah argued that it was just a prank; though she did seem nervous about it. For a moment, Socheel seemed to be taking a break from her paper. She got up and walked over to the fridge, and while it was hard not to take in all her curves, Lex was mindful not to get caught ogling again. This wouldn’t be the first time ever that he hadn’t immediately won over a girl’s attention. He got that she was a college girl, and he was still a high school senior, not to mention her good friend’s brother. But this total lack of interest from any girl—a friend of his sister or not—was new to him. He was sure it was just the lack of experience when it came to this kind of reaction from girls that had his ego feeling a little bruised. But never one to pass up a challenge, he decided to take advantage of the moment to tackle it.
Even better, the phone rang in Vannah’s room, and she smiled brightly. “That’s probably Byron. I’ll be back.”
“Well, that was fast,” he said, leaning against the counter as Socheel pulled out the orange juice from the fridge, a glass from the cupboard, and poured herself some. “When Vannah left for school a few months ago, she was adamant about not getting caught up in any kind of romance, and now I hear you calling this guy her boyfriend?”
She turned to him with a shrug, and for once, he was treated to a genuine full smile. Not that piddly crack of a smile she’d offered when they’d been introduced. And boy was it something else. How could she go from being just doable to suddenly someone whose smile could involuntarily having him smiling like a goofball, in just over an hour? Though he only noticed because, oddly, her smile waned immediately when her eyes fell to his smiling lips.
“You can’t plan when, how, and who you fall in love with.” She turned back to the fridge to put the orange juice back in, but then seemed to catch herself and stopped to look back at him. “You want some?”
Not really, but at this point, he’d do anything to keep her from her laptop at least a little longer. “Sure, I’ll take some.”
She placed the juice jug on the counter and pointed at the cupboard. “Cups and glasses are in there. Have at it.”
Alright, so she wasn’t going to pour it for him. Why didn’t this surprise him? He reached for the cupboard door and pulled out a small glass but turned to her before she could head back to her laptop. “What about you?”
She peered at him over her glass, with those big eyes that got even prettier the more he got lost in them, as she took a sip of her juice. “What about me?”
He kept his eyes on her even as he poured his juice. “You looking to find love anytime soon?”
Without even attempting to hide the quick roll of her eyes, she shook her head. “I just told you I don’t believe you can plan that stuff.”
She did, didn’t she? Idiot.
Feeling stupid now, as he finished pouring the juice, he walked it over to the fridge, getting a whiff of whatever subtle but sweet fragrance she wore in the process. “I just meant are you open to it, should it present itself?”
Immediately, he was distracted when she finished taking another sip of her juice and she licked those full lips. “Any particular reason why you’re asking?”
Just like those eyes, that scent, and those curves, her licking those lips completely pulled him out of his train of thought, and he almost forgot what he’d asked.
“Huh?” He glanced up, only to be met with that same unamused expression she’d given him when she’d caught him ogling earlier.
He shook his head exasperated by what an ass he was making of himself. This never happened to him; though by the look on her face he was sure she’d never believe that. Clearing his throat, he attempted to do some damage control and brought out the big guns. He knew girls were suckers for his and his brother’s dimples.  So, he smiled big leaning back against the counter. “Maybe there is.”
For a second there, he thought it worked. She seemed stunned as their eyes locked for an instant. But it was fleeting. In the next second, she turned and started to her laptop. “Then no, I’m not.”
Vannah walked back into the kitchen, as usual smiling big. “What’d I miss?”
Lex’s phone buzzed in his pocket as Socheel took the seat in front of her laptop and once again openly rolled her eyes. “Your brother here is asking if I’m looking for love.”
Vannah immediately laughed, turning to Lex. “Oh, my God, Taz, you’ll never change.”
He glanced down at his text, frowning when he saw it was from his ride telling him he was outside waiting for him. “Not like how it sounds, though,” he said, trying to backpedal and still reeling from Socheel’s blatant and unapologetic rejection. “I was just asking because—”
“No, no need to apologize,” Vannah quipped, hooking her arm into his, and leaned against his shoulder. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my charming little brothers just as they are. Haven’t met a girl yet who they couldn’t make swoon.”
Socheel raised her hand, staring straight at the screen, but said nothing, and it only made Vannah laugh even more. “Don’t be mean. You’re different and you know it.” His sister turned up to look at Lex. “Don’t mind her. She’s a hard one to crack,” she whispered. “But I’m sure if you really wanted to—”
“What was that?” Socheel turned to look at them now with a soured expression, and even that was sexy as shit. Damn it.
Vannah overdid the teasing grin. “I said how ’bout I make us lunch?”
“Can’t,” Lex said, shooting off the text letting Dave know he’d be right out. “My ride’s here. I gotta go.”
“Already?” Vannah whined. “You just got here.”
“Yeah, but he works tonight, so we gotta get going.”
“I’ll walk you out then,” she said with a pout. They started out as Vannah turned to Socheel. “Be nice and say bye to my little brother. You know you’re probably already secretly in love with him.”
The perpetual eyeroll wasn’t missed, and Lex forced a smirk, trying to be a good sport about how things went down here today. With him living two hours away, what were the odds of him having to be around his sister’s dormmate again anytime soon, anyway? You can’t win them all, and clearly this was full proof of that.
“Safe travels,” Socheel said as Vannah walked out before him.
Lex turned one last time to Socheel as she smiled that genuinely beautiful smile she’d only extended to him one other time that day. Their eyes locked in a solid breathtaking moment, before she put her headphones on again, turned back to her laptop, and just like that, dismissed his ass—again.
What the hell?

Add to your Goodreads shelf now! 



The first in the A New Generation Series, Not Even Close is currently discounted through the release date of Way Too Close! If you haven’t already read it grab it now. Both stories are stand alone titles and can be read without the need to read the other but if you read it now you get to meet Xochitl and fall in LOVE with her! Just click on the cover above for all the links!   

Nine VS Romero




“Okay, so some of you may not know who Nine is if this is your first Boyle Heights book. The books in the series are all stand-alone, so you could go in blind or get a glimpse of him in the previous book Beast. Either way you’d still be able to follow along just fine.

“First, let me introduce our interviewer.  He needs no introduction for MOST of you. But for those of you who haven’t read his book, he’s the hot-headed alpha with this vulnerable side most didn’t get to witness until they got to be in his head in one of the last books of my Moreno Brothers series.” *Insert cover here.*

Let’s give a very warm welcome to Romero as he takes the stage. *Lots of chants, clapping, and whistling* Romero takes a seat on the dais across from me as he indulges the crowd with that famous sexy smirk. Then he all-out laughs as someone tosses her panties onto the stage. I peer out into the audience. “Ivette, are those yours?”

Nothing but giggling and laughter erupts. I turn back to Romero, feeling my face warm, and laugh nervously. “She’s one of your biggest fans.”

The biggest!” she screams from the audience.

More laughter and chanting follow as Romero smiles wide with a nod. “I know, sweetheart.” He waves out into the audience. “I recognize those chonies from past appearances.”

“Ay, bendito!”

I can’t see out into the audience because the bright lights directly on us prevent me, but I’m worried because there’s lots of gasping now. “Can someone please check on her? Get her some water or something.”

I turn back to Romero. “Welcome back to my website studio, Romero. Always a pleasure having you. I specifically reached out to you because Nine is getting compared to you by several of our early readers.”

“Yeah, I heard, and after reading his story, I guess I can see why. But I have a bone to pick with your author lady friend Jamie.” He turns to the camera with a purpose and lifts a brow. “Move over Romero?”

I clear my throat, sitting up straighter. Crap, I didn’t think he knew about that. “Well, I’m sure she meant it figuratively. She’s also one of your biggest fans, you know.” He doesn’t seem impressed by that, so I move things along. “Let’s get on with our interview, shall we?” I turn to the audience. “If you’re new to the Boyle Heights series, then you have no idea who Nine is, but that’s okay because as I said they’re all stand-alones. If you are aware of who he is, you still likely know little about him except that he’s a sexy-as-sin man-whore, with a foul mouth who can be politically incorrect a lot of the time.” I smile at Romero. “Hence the comparisons. Without further ado, let’s bring out Mr. Rudy Kealani a.k.a. Nine.”

He strolls out from behind the curtain, sporting his own sexy grin as the crowd goes just as wild as they did for Romero. He’s wearing a snug black T-shirt with jeans, so his glorious tatted arms have the audience abuzz.


He takes a seat across from Romero, saluting Romero as he sits back, and Romero lifts a chin to him. “Sup, dude?”

For a moment, I’m staring back and forth from one to the other mindlessly, until I realize what a stupid dreamy smile I’m wearing. Clearing my throat, I turn to the audience. “So, to be clear, this is more of a quid pro quo between the two to avoid spoilers of either of their books. I wrote the questions I thought might be fun for you to hear the answers to but was mindful not to have any spoilers. Except their answers are not scripted. If you know Romero, and he’s been compared to Nine, you know this might not go my way if they start improvising.” I look back at my two grinning guys. “You’ll be good, won’t you?”

“You know us best, Eli.” Romero winks.

“Yeah, that’s what I’m afraid of.” I take a deep breath, turning to the audience, and lift my hand in the two men’s direction. “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Romero and Nine as they go head to head with a quick and dirty quid pro quo. God help me,” I mumble under my breath as I walk off and take a seat in the front row.

As instructed, Romero starts. He’s already smiling too big, and it makes me nervous. I hold my breath and brace myself. “So, what’s with the nickname, Nine? And don’t give me no bullshit about inches either or I’ll get one of the ladies out there to take you backstage and embarrass you when she confirms the real number.”

Nine doesn’t even get a chance to retort when the volunteering hands in the audience fly up, waving frantically, and the giggling and laughter erupts. More panties fly onto the stage, and Nine’s head falls back in laughter.

When the laughter calms to a low roar, Romero goes on. “So truthfully, not what you tell the chicks, why Nine?”

Nine shrugs. “Started off as Nine Lives and got shortened to Nine. How’s Izzy?”

The smile flattens on Romero’s face and mine. One question into this and already they’re improvising.

“Happily married,” Romero shoots back. “How’s Dee Dee?”

Thankfully, Nine smirks. “It’s Drew to you and she’s hot as ever but spoken for.”

“Didn’t stop her from looking before.”

“Um, guys,” I say, standing up. “This wasn’t in the notes.”

Someone in the audience shushes me. Is that Theresa? My editor sinks in her seat when I shoot her a scolding look. She should know as well as I do how quickly this can go south. I turn back to the guys. “Can we just stick with the original questions? The ones I wrote?” I take it a bit further and flutter my lashes. “Pretty please?”

They both nod as Nine continues. “I’d ask the audience if they could blame Dee for looking outside that relationship, but I’ll respect Eli’s wishes and get on with this. First impression of Izzy?”

“Mrs. Romero to you. Didn’t know it then, but in hindsight, I know now I fell in love that first day at the wedding shower. Just thought she might be too uptight to give into anything with someone like me.” Without letting Nine respond to that, I already know which of my questions Romero will lay on Nine next. “You started out adamant about not being into white chicks. What happened?”

“Dee happened.” Nine smiles smugly as if he need not say anymore and he doesn’t—about that. “Still talk to Cici?”

“Nope. Still talk to Becca?”

Not on the script! Not on the script!  “Guys, no spoilers!”

Nine nods at me with a smile then turns to Romero.Touché, and hell no.

There’s only a few more questions left, and I pray they don’t come up with any more of their own.

Best moment of your life?” Nine asks.

“Too many to name, but off the top of my head, the day Izzy said I do.” The audience awe’s all at once; then the giggling starts up even as most hold their hand to their chest still. Romero turns and flashes that smirk at them but turns back to Nine just as quickly. “Worst moment of your life?”

“Can’t say without spoilers,” Nine says then adds, “But I will say some of the lowest had to do with disappointing my moms. One of the other lowest was walking away from a certain wedding, thinking that may be the end. “

Romero nods, looking serious suddenly. “Walked away from a party, feeling the same way myself once upon a time. So, I hear you.”

Nine laughs. “Yeah, except I walked out on my own. I wasn’t escorted out in handcuffs.”

“Oh yeah, funny guy?” Romero laughs and I brace myself. “Well, fiancé or not, no fucking way would I let a dude do to me what Brad did—”

“That’s about all we have time for, everyone!” I hurry up onto the stage as the moans, groans, and boos start up. “You don’t want them spoiling it for you, right?”

“I do!” several ladies yell out.

“Well, many don’t, so we’ll cut it here and thank Nine and Romero for joining us and having a little fun with us today.”

The audience more than thanks them as kissing noises start up and a few more panties make it onto the stage again. I gotta wonder if these women brought extras or if they’re really pulling theirs off.  The guys stand up and wave at the half-cheering half-booing crowd. I know exactly who they’re booing at. And it’s not Nine or Romero. >.<

“Until next time, everyone! Thanks for joining us, and don’t forget to leave a review to let everyone know what you think of Nine! Goodnight, everyone!