Love Me or Leave Me Book One
Published: November 2018
Genre Information: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Friends-to-lovers
Length: 12,000 Words
When his long-time crush Nikki gets dumped, Michael decides to make his move. She’s the perfect girlfriend — so perfect so that she’s never single for long. Michael knows his window of opportunity is limited. It’s now or never.
When her best guy friend Michael breaks all the rules and kisses her at the bar, Nikki’s stunned. Michael’s the guy Nikki always turns to when her heart is broken — again. He’s a friend, a confidant, and, best of all, he’s safe. She can tell him anything. But once the shock wears off and she has time to sort out her feelings, she decides he’s worth the risk. Time to find out just how compatible they really are!
“You really think tonight is the best time?”
Even though his brother couldn’t see him, Michael rolled his eyes. They’d had this discussion multiple times. He wasn’t interested in hearing it again. After lifting his ass off the nylon upholstery, Michael dug his wallet from his back pocket and fished out a twenty to pay the cabbie. “Now is the best time. Yes.”
“But she just got dumped today.”
Michael snorted. He doubted she was the one who got dumped.
Nikki had texted him partway through his work day to inform him her boyfriend had been cheating on her, and tonight she wanted to let off a little steam. Their friends were meeting at Club Ivy. She wanted to know if he was free.
From that point on it had been nearly impossible to focus on work. Tonight he’d finally have his chance with Nikki.
“He cheated on her, Jer,” he told his brother through the phone. “I think she did the dumping.”
“Still, it’s fresh. Why don’t you wait a week or so? You don’t want to crowd the poor girl.”
“I can’t wait, and don’t ask me why, because you damn well know why.” Nikki never stayed single long. Each time one of her relationships came to an end Michael had given her space, all the while plotting his move, and each time he waited too long. The last time she was single was over a year ago. He’d promised to give her a week, then he’d ask her out. Turned out a week was too long.
“I don’t want to see you get your heart broken.”
“I’m a big boy, Jer. I can handle it.” And if she rejected him, well, he’d cross that bridge when he came to it. “Look, I got to go. I’m there.”
The cab pulled up to the entrance of the club. A line was already beginning to form at the door. A few men were scattered among the hordes of women in tight dresses and plunging necklines, all waiting to be let inside. Michael handed the driver his bill and told him to keep the change.
He pulled the handle on the door and stepped into the refreshing evening air. Through the phone his brother said, “Whatever happens in there tonight, good luck.”
“Thanks,” Michael replied before disconnecting the call and pocketing his phone. He knew despite Jer’s worry he really did hope for the best. Jer was the only one who knew how hung up on Nikki Michael was, and understood how miserable he was watching from the sidelines as she steadily dated men who were all wrong for her. Men who weren’t him.
Heading to the back of the line he was stopped by a sugary sweet voice calling his name.
“Michael!” Candice, one of Nikki’s friends, nearly tripped as she stalked toward him on high heels she had no business wearing. Aside from the fact that she was nearly five seven without them, she was too clumsy to even consider putting her feet in anything other than a short wedge heel.
“Hey.” He greeted her with a kiss on the cheek, happy she was now in catching distance if she stumbled again.
Her grin was wide. “Tonight should be a blast!”
He certainly hoped so. “Should be.”
“Nikki, Riley, and Scott are already inside.” She wiggled her phone. “They texted to let me know where they’re sitting.”
Sitting? So they hadn’t started dancing yet, just getting a good buzz going. He hoped a few cocktails would help his cause, not hinder it. “What about Heath?” Michael wondered as they inched closer to the entrance.
Candice shook her head. “He’s not coming.”
Heath and Scott had attended elementary school together. Michael had met them through Triple A hockey. He’d met Nikki and Candice when they tagged along to watch the games.
“Candi Cane!” A loud hoot came from several feet away as a group of five more women approached. Candice greeted them before introducing Michael. They all worked with Candice and Nikki. He was pulled into uncomfortable hugs with these women, whose perfume choices clung on the air and nearly choked him. He smiled politely but quickly forgot their names.
Tonight he had one goal. Nikki.
Inside the club Candice led the way toward the back where their group of friends had congregated. Rather than a booth they’d pushed two tables together and sat overlooking the dance floor. In the middle of the group Nikki was sipping at a dark liquid in a tall glass. After everyone said hello, several of the women separated from their group, heading to the crowd around the bar.
Michael pulled up a chair near Nikki and straddled it. Resting his arms across the back, he stared at her. She glanced over. Those blue eyes, framed by dark eyeliner, were startling in their clarity. Her lashes were thicker than normal, her lips plumper. He wanted to taste them.
Want a little more of a sneak peek? I’ve got a bonus scene for Michael and Nikki on my blog. You can visit read it here.