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Honorary Bloggers K. Evan Coles & Brigham Vaughn: Food Talk + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Food Talk

by K. Evan Coles & Brigham Vaughn

As we discussed topics for this this blog post, the conversation got derailed (as it often does) by talk of food. First K. Evan mentioned that she was making overnight oats. This segued into Brigham’s dinner plans of turkey burgers with curried mayo and garam masala roasted potato wedges. From there it went into a discussion about what Brigham should do with a bunch of milk that needed to be used up before it went bad. Homemade ricotta cheese and pumpkin rice pudding were discussed and recipes researched. We debated the merits of bubble tea, tapioca pudding, and Champorado, a Filipino rice porridge made with cocoa powder and coconut milk.

We have conversations like this often, both for IRL purposes and for character writing. In the end, we realized we might as well write a blog post about food, one of our mutual loves. After all, clearly our minds were on the topic, so why not focus on something that we clearly spend a lot of time talking about.

K. Evan calls herself a “super food fan” and Brigham is a self-described foodie. Both of us enjoy both cooking and baking as well as eating, and especially sharing the food we make with others. Our newsletter even has a section for recipe sharing. We wholeheartedly enjoy others doing the cooking, too, especially foods we’re not easily able to make ourselves. To us, food is just all sorts of fun.

We’ve had to research a different genre of recipes for “The Speakeasy” books, namely cocktails and mocktails. The characters in the books frequent an uptown speakeasy in Manhattan called Under, and the bar becomes a sanctuary of sorts for a growing circle of friends to connect and share their experiences. Under serves as both hang out and haven for the characters, and the drinks served there and throughout the plots are as varied as their personalities.

Some of our characters want something fabulous with four liquor and a fancy garnish, like the Lita Grey Cocktail. Others crave a more straightforward kind of drink, like the Cuba Libre or a great Scotch served neat. We also write characters who abstain from alcohol and some who drink sparingly to avoid medication interactions. For them we’ve become acquainted with lots of gorgeous mocktails and infused waters, many of which have migrated into our personal lives (neither of us finds writing while imbibing actual alcoholic cocktails to be particularly productive).

To be sure, our books contain references to food, too. Our characters cook with and for each other, and some do a little more teaching if they find their partner in crime is best known for burning water. The characters definitely dine, too, and enjoy sharing meals in groups. Some of the characters are even willing to set their differences with friends and family aside—at least for a little while—when it comes time to cozy up to the table for some good food and conversation.

Food is so often a universal language that brings people together and helps them connect. The connections in our books might occur over a boisterous dinner featuring a big group eating homemade Guinness beef stew, but they might also happen in a more intimate setting, like an impromptu picnic of cookies and beer for two on someone’s half made bed.

We can go a little overboard with the descriptions, which we suspect occurs if we’ve been writing while hungry. As our beta readers go through a book, they often make suggestions to trim a section that involves food or remove some of the details of a meal the characters are eating. We writers then typically debate the comments at length before we cut anything out. Because food.

We know there are readers out there who are much less interested in every last detail of the food and drinks the characters enjoy, so we want to keep it balanced. Setting the scene is important, but we also want the scenes to help develop the characters and move the plot forward. In the end, we want to tell a really great story, and we do our best to determine how many words we spend on everything in it.

Incidentally, we have plans for a book about a chef in the near future. Our tendencies to go cheerfully overboard with the food talk may come in handy then!

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Release Blitz: Ryker by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey + Excerpt & Giveaway!

Ryker by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey

Ryker is hockey royalty, Jacob is a poor country boy. Can two vastly different people find common ground and become the men they want to be?

Ryker comes from a long line of championship-winning hockey players. Playing college hockey to develop his game is his only focus, and nothing will stand in the way of him working to become the best player. He has no room for relationships, people that point out his flaws, or anyone who calls him on his dreams. He certainly has no place for love, and meeting Jacob is nothing but a useful distraction on the side. After all trying to get his Owatonna Eagles teammate into bed is less work and more play. When tragedy rocks his family, his charmed life crumbles, and the only person he can turn to is the same one who claims to hate him.

Jacob Benson has only known hard work and stifling conservative values his whole life. Born and raised in the small rural community of Eden Crossing, Minnesota, he’s the only son of a hard-working but struggling dairy farming family. Jacob is using his skills in hockey to finance his way to an agricultural science degree. These four years at Owatonna U. will probably be the only time he has to enjoy life, gain acceptance about his sexuality, and live openly before his inevitable return to the farm. Running into a pretty rich boy like Ryker Madsen is putting a damper on his enjoyment of life away from home. Ryker’s flip, conceited, carefree attitude grates on Jacob’s every nerve. So why, if Ryker is everything he dislikes, does he want nothing more than to explore the sinful dreams that his annoying teammate stars in every night?

Available at: Amazon

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I Love You, Johnny Darling by Jere’ M. Fishback: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

Blogger_Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt from I Love You, Johnny Darling

by Jere’ M. Fishback

Our first week of classes had ended, and my head spun like whirligig in a gale. Most days I only attended three hours of class, but then I had so many reading assignments that I was usually at my desk with my nose in a book at least five more hours a day. For the most part, the material wasn’t too difficult with the exception of my physical science course.

Science and I had never gotten along; I always struggled with it in high school. Now, at the university, I could stare at the same page in my physical science text for a half hour or more, but nothing sunk in. My brain didn’t want to comprehend what I was reading or the diagrams I looked at, and it was frustrating.

Ben and I seemed to get along well. Like me, he didn’t know a single person at the university. Each day, we ate breakfast and dinner together at the cafeteria connected to our dorm. The food was okay. Most weeknights, we spent an hour in the lounge on our dorm floor, where we shot pool or watched a little TV. Ben had a subscription to the Orlando Sentinel, and after we both read an issue, we discussed the events of the day.

Right then, Richard Nixon was trying to appoint an ultra-conservative guy named Clement Haynsworth to the US Supreme Court, but the Democratic-controlled senate was balking at the appointment. It looked like the New York Mets might actually win the National League pennant, something no one had anticipated when the season began. And activist students were trying to organize a nationwide “moratorium” on college campuses to protest the Vietnam War, so a lot was going on.

This will sound perverted—I know—but the best part of my day came when Ben took his evening shower. In our room beforehand, he undressed completely, and when his briefs came off, I stole glances at his private areas while my mouth turned pasty and my crotch tingled. Once he was naked, he wrapped a towel around his waist and left for the shower room with his toiletry kit in hand. Fifteen minutes later, I was done jerking off into a tissue and Ben was back, smelling of soap and shampoo. He’d peel off his towel and reach into a bureau drawer for a fresh pair of briefs while I stole more glances.

Aye-yi-yi.

I’d never lived with another guy, so I hadn’t been exposed to male nudity on a daily basis like that. In high school, I’d taken one mandatory year of PE, which involved showering with my classmates, but that was in a smelly locker room with a bunch of sweaty guys and the whole thing was nasty.

With Ben, it was different. It was just him and me in our room, so the situation felt…intimate.

And Ben was so damned sexy. I loved the way his body tapered from his broad shoulders to his narrow waist. I liked the dark hairs on his calves that reminded me of raindrops tumbling toward his ankles. His genitals enchanted me, of course, but his best feature was his butt—two cream-colored melons as smooth as porcelain. When I walked to classes, I often found myself thinking about Ben’s body, and sometimes I’d go stiff in my chinos—no joke.

Every evening, usually around nine, Ben’s mother called him on our room’s wall-mounted phone. She did most of the talking and Ben spoke to her with a gentle tone. He always reassured her that everything with him was good, that school was going well, and he and I were getting along fine.

One evening, after one of those phone calls, Ben lay down on his bed. He stared up at the ceiling with his hands joined behind his neck. Then he drew a breath and let it out.

I was at my desk and looked up from my American Institutions text.

“Is something wrong?” I asked.

Ben wore briefs—that was all—and his genitals bulged beneath the cotton. “I wish my mom wouldn’t worry so much about me. I know why she does—it’s because of my brother. She’s afraid she’s going to lose me, too, that I’ll get run over by a bus or something. I know she means well—I try to be understanding—but sometimes, I feel suffocated.”

I didn’t know what to say. My mom had never been the clingy type. Even as a child, I’d had more freedom than most kids my age. I made my own decisions on everything, from whether to attend church to what clothing I wore to school.

Since arriving at the university, I hadn’t even spoken to my mom. Long-distance calls were expensive, especially on weekdays, so Mom and I had agreed that she would call me at 8:00 p.m. every Sunday, when rates were the cheapest.

“It’s probably tough on your mom, having you live away from home for the first time,” I said. “But after a while, I’m sure she’ll get used to it.”

Ben looked at me and scowled. “Not her.”

An hour later, we were getting ready for bed. Both of us brushed our teeth down the hall at a row of sinks. After Ben rinsed his mouth out, he pulled an orange plastic bottle from his shaving kit. He uncapped the bottle and dropped a pale-yellow tablet into the palm of his hand. Then he placed the tablet on his tongue and bent to gulp water from the tap.

I’d seen Ben do this several times and was curious what the pills were for.

One day when Ben wasn’t around, I did something sneaky. I unzipped his shaving kit and plucked out the bottle. The label had Ben’s name on it and also the logo of a Merritt Island pharmacy. The name of the drug Ben took was called imipramine.

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Author Q&A: Karen Botha: Excerpt & Giveaway!

Please welcome Karen Botha to The Blogger Girls!

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

OK so now I sound like one of those beauty pageant queens wanting world peace, but seriously, if I could stop all these bitter idiots from blowing each other up just because we don’t all have the same opinions, I’d be pretty smug about that. Oh, also, all this stoning women to death kind of stuff that goes on. Nope. Not good. I’d like to be able to stop that too. Is that two powers? I could combine them surely, there’s a lot of great stuff coming out of that, I must be able to, right?

If you could trade places with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

Elliott in the Commitment series without a second thought. He’s the racing driver and racing is my passion. I love to watch the races, the run up, the interviews, I inhale the YouTube videos about developing cars and testing, about the driver market. I just love it.

So, to be able to get behind the wheel of any powerful car and take it around a track at high speed would be awesome. He’s also a nice person, so I’d be super chuffed with that.

If you could sequester yourself for a week somewhere and just focus on your writing where would you go and what would the environment be like?

I have an affinity to Norway and you’ll read about that in Commitment too (there’s a theme, maybe these characters are just part of my multiple personality.) Anyway, to be up in the mountains away from the world with awesome views would be the perfect spot for me.

What’s the one thing, you can’t live without?

My husband. If I really have to stop being so soppy and choose an object which is what I guess you mean, then I’d go with a good old bottle of Chablis.

What internet site do you surf to the most?

This makes me sound really boring, I’m sorry and a part of me thought I should perhaps think of something more interesting, but then you won’t get to know me. So, here goes; Facebook. I know, how old? It’s not even like many of my personal friends are on there much anymore, they’ve all migrated. But it’s where I hang out with my writing friends and I’m constantly learning about my craft in the forums. What can I say? It’s true!

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three author guests be and why?

I think my first one will shock you because he’s not that well known. And also because my writing is so light, but I loved Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. It’s set in India and that country is one of my favorite places in the world, so I guess there’s a big tie there for me.

My second author would be Karin Slaughter, just because she writes a lot and always keeps me guessing which is no mean feat as my brain is fairly twisted. I didn’t realize how badly until I started writing plot twists that no-one sees coming.

Then, my final author would be a 17-year-old English chap called Lewis Hine. He wrote ‘Looking to the Stars’ which is about his fight with an incurable brain tumor and how he battles not only with the illness but with not allowing it to dominate the person he’s trying to grow into.

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Book Review: Strays by A.J. Thomas

Reviewed by Ami

Title: Strays
Author: A.J. Thomas
Series: N/A
Heroes: Jory Smith/Malpheus Pelle
Genre: MM/Paranormal
Length: 210 Pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Available at:  Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: Orphaned at a young age and raised in the foster system, Jory Smith has no idea he’s half incubus. He only knows he has the power to heal people, making himself sick in the process. Exploited by a crooked faith healer who sells his abilities and his life to the highest bidder and then left for dead, Jory flees, falling into a job at a small-town café where he can put his lifelong obsession with baking to good use.

But the minister who exploited him wants him back.

Exiled hellhound-turned–bounty hunter Malpheus Pelle has no idea why his human client wants him to track down an incubus. Jory is traumatized and afraid to touch anyone, an emotional handicap that could prove fatal for a demon who requires physical contact. Needing answers, Mal concocts a disastrous plan: pretend to date Jory to uncover the truth. Unfortunately, his plan never included dealing with an ancient demon assassin, Jory’s orgasmic pumpkin cookies, or losing his heart to the incubus he’s supposed to be hunting….
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Of Sunlight and Stardust by Riley Hart & Christina Lee: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Of Sunlight and Stardust

by Riley Hart & Christina Lee

Cole woke up on the couch alone, his knee stiff, his mouth dry, and Tanner nowhere in sight. Panic rose inside him. Had he made Tanner uncomfortable by falling asleep beside him? His eyes had felt so heavy, along with his heart, after the journal entry.

He looked around and noticed that nothing seemed out of place, the coffeepot still empty, so maybe Tanner had simply gone up to bed.

He stood up by varying degrees, working the kinks out of his muscles and especially his knee before going to take a leak. He still felt clammy from the rainstorm the night before, so he changed into different jeans and reached for one of the newer T-shirts he’d purchased that were laundered weekly and folded for him on top of the dryer.

When he didn’t hear Tanner stirring anywhere in the house, he looked out the window and noticed that his truck was gone. Christ, had he scared him away, or had there been some errand that needed to be done?

Guess he’d find out when Tanner returned. He hoped it wouldn’t be awkward between them after all they’d shared yesterday. Maybe they had become way too chummy, and it was time for him to finish the job and be on his way.

The idea of that made his chest heavy and tight. He’d miss Tanner, and maybe a little of this town. And Tom and Charlie. Christ, what a strange thought. They were only men in a journal.

Before Cole made his way outside, he briefly considered making breakfast for Tanner, but his stomach protested the thought. If there was any awkwardness between them, that might make it worse.

He decided it was time to assess the roof damage from the outside, especially after that wicked rainstorm. He retrieved the ladder from the shed and positioned it against the side of the barn. He carefully climbed a few rungs until he was able to view the burned-out parts in the center of the roof. He imagined Tom and Charlie creating the fire, maybe with some bottles filled with rags dipped in gasoline. He shook his head because something felt off. Why not just leave town quietly and make a life elsewhere?

His fingers stretched toward the rotted wood, which immediately crumbled in his hand. The roof would need a new plywood foundation before nailing down shingles; in fact, he might need to do a complete tear-off, which would be time-consuming for one man, but he was up for the task, just like he was for repairing the back wall, though it helped to have Tanner’s assistance during some of it. He could almost picture the barn restored to its original grandeur. He’d ask Tanner about some new paint, maybe a more modern red. Or was he only stalling—finding more things to do around here?

Just as he was climbing back down, he heard Tanner’s truck pull into the yard. He stood frozen on the last rung of the ladder because Tanner’s driving seemed a bit haphazard, like maybe he was angry or in a hurry.

As soon as the truck was in park, Tanner stormed out of the driver’s door and pointed an accusing finger in his direction. “When were you going to tell me?”

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Risking It All by Morningstar Ashley: Exclusive Excerpt!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Risking It All

by Morningstar Ashley

Danny had a little more than two hours before Jaden got there, and he had plans for them. Not the plans his dirty, sex-starved mind clearly had, but something Danny hoped Jaden would think was fun.

Each time they got together, they played SoR, and they had a blast and even managed conversation in between, learning new things about each other. Those new things had been good, showing them as much as they were different, they also had a lot of core things in common. Danny wanted that again.

With each new piece of information he learned about Jaden, Danny liked him more. And the more Danny learned, the more certain he felt of himself around Jaden. The shine of the rich, city guy was still there, but now Danny saw beneath the surface of that shine. Saw a guy who was just like Danny. The differences between them mattered less and less.

In a short amount of time, Jaden had become important to Danny. Another friend, someone he trusted, someone he wanted to be around. But the connection was more than what he felt for Mac or Allie. If he was honest, the more scared him but thrilled him all the same.

Danny wasn’t fooling himself. He knew whatever was going on with him and Jaden, in the end, wouldn’t be anything else than what they had now. Danny would have to be dumb to think it could be. But the connection, the want, was there, and he wanted to roll around in it, soak it all up for as long as he could. It made him happy. Happier than he’d been before.

And wasn’t that a kicker. Something new in his life made him realize how unhappy he was before. No, he was happy before Jaden, but not he realized he could be happier, could be more fulfilled. He could have something just for himself. Something he could hoard and keep, not share or giveaway like every other part of himself and his life.

And for that reason, he had been keeping this thing—friendship?—with Jaden a secret from those closest to him. Didn’t that make him feel like a shit? But he tamped it down, far. He deserved a little of this, a small thing no one else knew. His own corner of the world which brought him giddy, full feelings.

And it was okay because Danny knew once Jaden left to go back to Boston, he wouldn’t feel so complete and full again.

With that depressing thought, Danny walked back out to his gazebo and continued working and dreamed and indulged in those same happy thoughts to his heart’s content. Taking advantage of what he had now was the best option he had.

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Release Blitz: Buyer’s Remorse by DJ Jamison + Excerpt & Giveaway!

Buyer’s Remorse by DJ Jamison

Will love persevere when the truth comes out?

Lee

I changed my name, but I can’t change what I did. My brothers died, and I spent three years in witness protection. Returning to Fields, where I once hid out, feels right. Seeing Miguel again feels even better. But when a dead body interrupts my tour of a building for sale, my start isn’t as fresh as I’d like.

Miguel

I’ve been trying to curb my habit of leaping into bad relationships, but when Lee comes back to town, he’s hard to resist. Kids are dying, and life’s too short to shy away from a good thing. But will Lee’s mysterious past come back to bite me?

Between police questioning and trials of trust, it’s far from smooth sailing. If we don’t figure out who’s selling synthetic drugs and convince the police Lee is not their man, we may all have a severe case of buyer’s remorse.

Buyer’s Remorse includes hurt/comfort, second-chance romance, and mystery themes.

Available at: Amazon

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Release Blitz: Lucky by Garrett Leigh + Giveaway!

Lucky by Garrett Leigh

Dominic Ramos is a Premiership football player with a secret. There are no trophies for being gay in his game. Locked into his rep as the meanest defender on the pitch, keeping his secret is soul-crushing, but love has no place in his sport, even if his soft heart craves it.

Lucky Coleman is on his knees when he meets a man with more money than sense. It’s a Grindr hook-up for cash, not a love match, but dreaming of his desperate, kind eyes earns a place amongst his numerous bad habits.

Meeting once was risky, twice pushes Dom’s courage to the limit. Losing Lucky seems inevitable, but his tight grip on his image counts for nothing when Lucky starts to fall.

Catching him could cost Dom everything, but if he can set his heart free, getting Lucky long term might be a risk worth taking.

Available at: Amazon

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Love Spell by Mia Kerick: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Love Spell

by Mia Kerick

I put what you might call mega-supreme effort into choosing my outfit for tonight. End result: I look kinda fab—thankfully, not so much ratchet, although I am rocking mean side bangs. Torn black jeggings, an oversized baby-pink hoodie saying, “Real Men Wear Pink,” and my bubblegum-colored Chuck Taylors. I’ve applied a touch of guyliner, but I was liberal with the Cherry ChapStick.

Overall effect? I look fabulous enough to meet the Queen of England. Which just so happens to be on my bucket list.

When I get to Jazz’s place, I park the car, pinch my cheeks, and momentarily wonder if I should have gone for a more sophisticated look— silky gray button-down shirt and black pointy-toed boots, my hair thrown up in a casual man bun. But it’s too late for that now. I get out of the car and stand in front of Jazz’s apartment building.

Pop, shrug, and stare… First things first.

I climb the stairs.

Is this a date? Or is it merely two dudes hanging out?

I knock five times.

Seems like the right number of knocks.

I stop and wait.

The door swings open, and I’m presented with the tear-filled eyes of a familiar little brown-haired girl.

“Hiya… J-Jazz told me to answer the door.” She sucks in a deep wobbly breath. “C-cuz he’s cleaning up the nail polish.” Her next breath seems to cause her entire chest to swell up. And then she releases a sob.

“Hey, kid, what’s the matter?”

“I sp-spilled all of the…the Orange-Orange nail polish…o-on the living r-room rug.”

“That is a disaster, truly.” I speculate on whether she’s upset the Orange-Orange polish is now gone or that it made a mess on the rug. I make my best guess. “Do you have a lemon-yellow nail polish and a cherry-red? Cuz if you do, I can make you JoJo Takes a Chance Orange polish. I’ve done it before.”

“JoJo Takes a Chance Orange nail polish?” She examines me quite skeptically while tugging on one tiny pigtail. “Why the ‘takes a chance’ part?”

“Cuz my name is Chance, and if you give me a chance, I think I can make you a color way better than Orange-Orange. I’ll make you a color even better than my hair!” Okaaaayyyy…so my claim might be a slight exaggeration seeing as my tangerine locks totes rock, but I’ll say anything to stop her tears.

With that, JoJo takes my hand and pulls me urgently down the hall.

In the living room, Jazz is on his knees bent over a wet spot on the floor, scrubbing away with a Hello Kitty toothbrush. He looks up at me. “I told JoJo to let you in. I’m busy trying to put an end to a crisis.”

I step closer to look down at the spot he’s working to remove on the gray rug, thinking I have the very same toothbrush hanging in my bathroom at home. Okaaaaay…so maybe I don’t miss the way his biceps tighten up with his efforts. I’m not blind. “I think you got the stain up.”

Jazz nods. “Problem is, we don’t have no more…um…bunches of oranges nail polish, or whatever, and I think JoJo’s heart mighta’ been set on it.” He looks desperate. “Don’t spaz, Jo. I can paint your nails blue. You’re into the color blue, right?”

I turn to JoJo, who just so happens to be glaring at her brother. “It’s almost Halloween, Jasper! Blue won’t work!

Time to step in and save a couple of asses. “Go get your nail polish—you have red and yellow, right?”

The girl nods at me seriously.

“And if you have any gold tones with glitter, or even shiny silver, grab them too. And a plastic cup, if you have one, and a couple of toothpicks.”

She runs off to do my bidding, and I call after her, “Bring clear polish, too! A topcoat is the secret to a lasting manicure!”

Finally Jazz stands, still looking down at the wet spot on the rug.

“Whatcha gonna do, Chance?”

“I’m gonna save the freaking day.” Jazz looks bewildered, so I add more slowly, “I’m going to give JoJo a manicure.”

For the next hour, I occupy myself with blending various polishes together in a tiny paper cup, helping JoJo stir it up with toothpicks until we have the perfect shade of orange, and finally painting her fingernails JoJo Takes a Chance Orange. Jazz sits beside us on the floor as we work at the coffee table. He’s very quiet and keeps looking back and forth from JoJo to me.

When I’m finished, JoJo stands up, spins around twice, and fans her fingers in front of her. “This color is way better than Orange-Orange! This color is…so glittery!” She prances around the very plain living room, and it looks like so much fun I’m tempted to join in. “JoJo Takes a Chance Orange is the best color in the world!”

“Try the universe, hun.” I wink at her.

Jazz appears more baffled than usual, but he still manages to instruct his sister, “Well, don’t mess it up, Jo. Sit down on the couch and stay still”—he hands her the remote—“and watch them Dalmatians ’til I fix ya supper.” He sneaks a glance at me. “You can watch 101 Dalmatians with JoJo if ya feel like it. She’s kind of obsessed by Cruella de Vil these days.”

Although I have my own private obsession with Cruella de Vil, I shake my head and follow Jazz into the kitchen.

“Was thinkin’ maybe I’d make pizza tonight.” His face turns pink, and it hits me he’s embarrassed.

“Can I help you with it?” Make-your-own-dinner-night is nothing new to me. Jazz’s face grows still brighter. Its hue now approaches an appealing fuchsia that brings to mind pink Starbursts, which everyone knows are the best ones. (Sorry, yellow Starbursts.)

“Hangin’ out here can’t be no fun for you. I bet you wish you didn’t even come over.”

I send him a baffled glance of my own, which is a first. “I was thinking pretty much the exact opposite of what you just said.”

“Chance, you got all dressed up nice, and ya smell real good, and ya came here, probably thinkin’ we’d watch a Rated R movie and get take-out Chinese, or something cool like that. But you get here and get stuck paintin’ a little girl’s nails, and then you have to eat homemade pizza and watch 101 Dalmatians.

“I want to eat homemade pizza.”

“Dunno why.”

To be candid or not to be candid, that is the question.

Don’t give it all away, Chance, you are so-o-o not an open book. But…but Jazz looks so sad.

“Jazz, usually I eat take-out food alone in my bedroom. Believe me, eating homemade pizza with you and JoJo will be a treat.”

Jazz is easy to read. He tilts his head and studies me, probs wondering why I eat my meals alone in my room. “’Kay.”

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