After being nearly left at the altar, Chloe rebounds in one perfect, mind-numbing night of passion. But Grayson is way too much, way too soon. Panicked, Chloe takes off without a word, then regrets it for months.
Then Grayson storms back into her life, but this time he’s not alone. Chloe soon learns there’s only one word for watching your soul mate hook up with one of your best friends: Hell.
Scroll down to read an exclusive excerpt of chapter 8 of my steamy new adult romance, Midnight Heat.
Title: Midnight Heat
The second standalone in the Firework Girls Series
The waiter has cleared away our platters, but we’re in no hurry to leave. The girls and I are chatting happily when I get a text from my brother.
Bobby: Almost there.
Me: Okay. We’re in the Sandbar finishing up appetizers and cocktails. You’re welcome to join us if you like.
I don’t get an answer back and take to checking the open patio doors that lead toward the lobby.
A minute later someone I know does walk through the doors. But it isn’t Bobby.
Walking smoothly onto the patio, his eyes sweep the area like he’s looking for someone. His eyes land for a moment on Sam. There’s a brief flicker of recognition, but then he sees me and instantly stops short.
I don’t think my heart is beating anymore. I know I’m not breathing. I’m confronted with such a confusing array of emotions I feel physically slapped.
I can’t move at all. He looks as shocked as I feel. There’s a sudden sharpness in his eyes. Anger. And it’s directed right at me. Oh god.
There’s this moment when I’m torn between wanting to run away in horror after what I did to him, and wanting to launch myself into his arms and beg him to forgive me.
This is what happens in the next moment.
Sam glances toward the door and says, “Oh, there he is!”
It happens in slow motion and is as confusing and disorienting as a dream. Sam hops out of her chair. His eyes go to her and his expression changes. He looks like he’s still trying to recover from his shock, but he does a fair job of it. Better than me. I’m watching it all unfold with my mouth hanging open. He’s smiling. At Sam. I don’t understand why until she goes up to him and puts her arms around him and kisses him right on the lips.
That’s when my heart stops again and I look away. I can’t breathe. My heart hurts. It really hurts and I don’t think it’s beating.
Oh god, can a person die from shock?
She leads him back to our table and I hitch my mouth into a smile, trying to look normal. Do I look normal?
“Girls, this is Grayson,” Sam says. “Grayson these are my girlfriends, Ashley, Chloe—” his eyes flit to mine and I try to look normal, am I still smiling?—“and the lovely bride, Isabella.”
Then I remember. He’s met them before. Everyone but Sam. He and Mr. Greek God came right up to our table there in the Perched Owl.
The girls apparently don’t remember because they say some variation of the whole “nice to meet you” routine.
“Where’s your stuff?” Sam asks him.
His eyes flick away from mine and he looks at her. My Grayson is looking at My Sam and her arm is still around his waist. I can’t feel my body.
“I left my suitcase in the car,” he says. “I figured I’d find out where our room is first.”
Oh my holy fucking god, if you have any mercy, strike me down right now.
“I’ll take you,” she says, leading him away. She glances back over her shoulders and gives us a wink.
I watch them go. He doesn’t turn back. They just disappear, on their way to get his suitcase and take it to their room where Sam’s going to do god knows what to him.
I take a sip of my water with trembling hands. I really can’t breathe.
“He’s cute,” Isabella says.
“He looks kind of familiar,” Ashley says.
I look at her in alarm.
She catches my expression and gives me a look of concern.
Oh, did I forget to keep the fake smile plastered on my face?
I pull my lips into a smile but it feels funny. Am I smiling?
I stand and give a fake laugh. I even bat my hand at her like an idiot and say, “Of course, of course. Yes, I’m fine I just have to… go to my room for… something.”
I’m walking away from the table on unsteady legs.
“Uh… okay,” Ashley says. “See you at dinner.”
I raise one arm in acknowledgement but keep walking.
I exit the patio and make it to the sprawling lobby. It’s when I’m stuck waiting for the elevator that I realize I might see him.
I glance around but they’re nowhere in sight. At his car maybe? Has she been to his house? Has she been all over his house the way I was?
I punch the button again. I don’t want them to come in and see me standing here but I don’t know where else to go. I just have to get to my room.
The elevator dings and I squeeze through as soon as the gap is big enough to admit me. I’m punching the round “7” button before the doors even finish opening.
I punch it again. “7.” Then the “Close door” button. Why do those never, ever work? What’s even the point of them? I glance at the lobby again, which I have a clear view of because the doors are still all the way open. I still don’t see them. As I’m pummeling the “7” button, the doors finally close and I’m on my way.
As I clear the lobby level, the glass back of the compartment opens up to provide a view of the grounds and, as the car goes higher, the coast. I was enjoying this view earlier, when I’d checked in and brought my suitcase up to the room, but I keep my back to it now. I’m gripping the brass hand rail and bending part way over.
I can hardly think. All I can see in my mind is Grayson and Sam kissing each other hello then walking off together. My Grayson and my Sam.
The car dumps me out on the seventh floor and I rush down the hallway to my room. I fumble with the key card—red light, red light, green—and swing the door open. When I shut it behind me, I collapse against it and slide all the way down to the floor.
Grayson is here. He’s here at Isabella’s wedding with Sam and I think I’m going to just have to stay here in my room forever or else catch a plane to Bermuda or something. What in the hell just happened?
I sit there stunned, my heart pounding soundly in my ears, when there’s a sharp rap at the door.
I jump and let out an audible gasp.
I freeze, my heart falling down on the job again as it stops beating.
What if it’s Grayson? What if it’s Sam?
I sit there frozen another few seconds. There’s another knock, this time followed by Ashley’s voice, “Chloe? You okay?”
I scramble to my feet and open the door enough to peek out and verify it’s really her and that she’s alone.
“What’s going on?” she asks.
I open the door all the way and gesture her in. She comes in, giving me a questioning look, and I close the door behind her. Still hanging on to the door knob, I close my eyes and take a deep breath, trying to steel myself.
“Chloe—” she begins.
“It’s him.” I grasp my hands together and hold them to my chest. “He’s the guy.”
“Who? What guy?”
“Grayson.” I don’t know that I’ve ever said his name aloud. Not since I was with him. “Sam’s guy.”
“Yeah, who is that guy?” Ashley asks. “He looks so familiar. Did he go to Hartman with us?”
I shake my head impatiently. “We met him and another guy at the Perched Owl, remember? On the night of my—”
“—Not Wedding!” she says, her eyes lighting up as the mystery is solved. “That’s right!” Her expression falls again, trying to figure out what that has to do with my distraught state.
“He’s the guy.”
A look of dawning falls over Ashley’s face, followed by a look of horror. “Oh my god.”
I put my hands over my face. “What am I going to do?”
“He’s the guy?”
I nod, my hands still over my face.
“The guy you slept with?”
I groan. “What am I going to do?”
“Okay,” Ashley says firmly. I slowly lower my hands to look at her. “Okay,” she says again, “let’s just… think for a minute.”
She leads me over to the bed and we sit down.
We both take a deep breath.
“So…” Ashley begins, then stops. “Um…” she says, then nothing.
I nod. What in the hell can either one of us say?
“Like an addictive TV show where you feel like you’re friends with the characters and are glued to every development, Midnight Heat is just that enveloping.” – Self Publishing Review
Finish reading Midnight Heat, second standalone in the Firework Girls Series today: