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Sometimes The One you’ve been looking for…
is the one who’s been there all along.
Reason #1: Finn is Maggie’s best friend. They don’t have secrets. Which means they know exactly how disastrous they would be as a couple. They bicker, they annoy each other, but they also have one hell of a good time together. Outside the bedroom, of course. Why would they risk ruining a great thing just to satisfy years of curiosity?
Reason #2: Finn is stable and secure while Maggie acts on any wild hair she gets. She’s always looking for her next adventure. But it’s been a while. Everyone around her is moving forward with their lives, leaving her floating alone in open waters. And when she’s offered the job of a lifetime in Key West—hundreds of miles from their hometown of Shell Grove, SC—it’s too enticing to resist. Besides, it’s not like she’ll ever be the kind of woman Finn would want to settle down with anyway.
Reason #3: Losing Finn would destroy her. That’s exactly what would happen if they ever took things too far and it blew up in their faces. But ever since that job offer was put on the table, Finn is putting a whole lot of other stuff on the table, too. Suddenly, Maggie and Finn are forgetting all of their rules. And she’s wondering why it’s taken them so long to be bad when it feels this good.
Maggie wants more adventure? Fine. Finn will give her all she can handle. She’s avoiding commitment? No problem. He’ll keep his thoughts on the subject to himself. But he’s not letting her take that job in Key West. She has no idea what she’d be throwing away. It’s taken him a long time to see things clearly, too, but his vision is 20/20 now. And he’s not letting his best friend—who might just be the girl of his dreams—go without putting up the fight of his life. All he has to do is show her he can be so much more than just the BEST FRIEND.
Finn stepped through Maggie’s back door and immediately ducked, dodging the flying tennis ball at the last second. Without that fourth cup of coffee, that sucker would have nailed him right in the damn eye. As it was, he was alert—and jittery—as hell.
Don’t give the caffeine all the credit.
Tossing his keys on her kitchen counter, he hesitantly walked across the tile floor, approaching the living room with caution. There was… Shit, he didn’t know what to even call the wide assortment of household items littering her floor. There was obviously a purpose to it all, but that was a code only Maggie could crack. Entering her Alice in Wonderland of a mind made The Butterfly Effect look like a walk in the park.
“What the hell am I looking at right now?”
Maggie’s head whipped in his direction, whisps of her dark hair plastered to her temples where she was sweating. “Canine calisthenics.” She stated it like he was dumb for not seeing it with his own eyes. “The vet says Berkeley’s weight is teetering right on the edge. Gotta keep my boy in shape, Jamie Lee Curtis and John Travolta style.”
“Isn’t that the movie where they spend an entire scene air-humping each other from across a room?”
He dodged another tennis ball that came flying at his head.
“Leave it to you to only remember the tawdry details of an 80s classic.”
The closer he looked at the objects around him, the more shapes he could make out. She had created her own makeshift obstacle course for their four-legged pet. Canine apparatuses of her own invention were set up throughout the house. As was always the case with Maggie, there was a method to her madness. One only she understood, but there was something to be said for it.
Finn rolled his eyes. “Just so you know, the vet only says that so you’ll keep coming back. He’s more interested in checking out your ass in your spandex pants than whether Berkeley’s put on a pound or two. Trust me, his weight is fine.”
A new song came over the speaker that Berkeley seemed to recognize because his tail started wagging like crazy. Maggie caught him when he excitedly stood up on his hind legs, and they proceeded to dance in the middle of the living room.
Finn only just noticed the matching leg warmers they were wearing. And headbands.
“Since when is my dog a Shakira fan?”
“Since always. He’s part Colombian, after all.”
“We found him on the side of Highway 21, Mags. Pretty sure he didn’t hitchhike from Bogotá.”
“But his spirit animal did.”
“He is an animal.” When Maggie swerved her hips, he swore Berkeley mimicked her. Finn scraped his hands down his face, groaning. “Look what you’re doing to my dog. He’s going soft on me. He didn’t even bark when I entered the house without knocking.”
“Why would he bark at you?”
“He wouldn’t have known who it was when the door first opened.”
Berkeley dropped back down to all fours and copied Maggie when she started twirling in circles. “If anyone is softening up this dog it’s you with all those steaks you’re feeding him. Why do you think he’s having weight issues?”
His molars ground together. “He’s not having weight issues. The vet is having infidelity issues. Dude is married, yet he’s drooling over you like Berkeley does when I pull our steaks off the grill.”
“Ribeyes or porterhouses?”
“What does it matter?”
“If I’m going to be compared to a steak, it better be the finest slab of meat on the market.”
For whatever reason, the moment she said those words, Finn’s eyes dropped straight to her ass. He wasn’t even conscious of the action. Some otherworldly compulsion—likely a demonic possession—seemed to take hold of him. She had on a pair of those ungodly tight pants women wore when they worked out. There were slits cut in the spandex that were made of a sheer, mesh material, and her top was one of those dri-fit tanks that had a built-in bra thing. Maggie still always wore a brightly colored sports bra when she worked out, though, regardless of any built-in material. She couldn’t exactly go without one, considering how…ample…her chest was.
Why was he thinking about her chest size? Or her bras? For fuck’s sake, he only looked because Maggie talking about being compared to a steak had the words prime meat flashing like a goddamn neon sign in his head. Holy shit, he was as bad as the vet. An actual Neanderthal.
The next words out of his mouth proved it to be true.
“You know you’re filet mignon, Mags.”
She tripped over a couch cushion and stared at him in shock.
Melanie grew up in the Midwest, but she loves living in the Southeast (where the beaches are!) now with her husband and daughter.
Melanie’s other passion is traveling and seeing the world. With anthropology degrees under their belts, she and her husband have made it their goal in life to see as many archaeological sites around the world as possible.
She has a horrible food addiction to pasta and candy (not together…ew). And she gets sad when her wine rack is empty.
At the end of the day, she is a true romantic at heart. She loves writing the cheesy and corny of romantic comedies, and the sassy and sexy of suspense. She aims to make her readers swoon, laugh out loud, maybe sweat a little, and above all, fall in love.
Go visit Melanie’s website and sign up for her newsletter to stay updated on release dates, teasers, and other details for all of her projects!