Welcome to my stop for “In the Pages of a Good Book” Blog Hop. This hop revolves around friendship and bonds.
Sadly, most of the friends I have near me locally, don’t share my passion for Romance stories, so many of the greatest friendships have been made online. I’ve had the pleasure of finding readers from all around the world who love a lot of the same books/authors as I do. Through the numerous talks about each character, the heroes that we all lust after, I’ve come to know so many people whom I’ve come to care about and have met a few face to face through different conferences. I’ve learned a lot from many of these friends and cherish the love of reading we all share.
I think my favorite friendship in any of my books is that of Olivia, Holly, Jessica and Candy in DARE. The group of ladies mean so much to me. I loved writing their story.
Here’s a little glimpse into their shenanigans. *g*
DARE Excerpt © Kacey Hammell,2014
“It’s Liv’s birthday.” After a wink at Jessica, and Candy, Holly shuffled her chair closer to Olivia.
With trepidation, Olivia scowled at her friends. “What are you three up to? Holly, what else do you have up your sleeve?”
Brunette, feisty and always up for a party, Holly Walsh laughed. “Absolutely nothing. Whatever would give you an idea we were up to something?”
Olivia was certain she was batting her eyelashes like a naughty little girl, but with the lights low she couldn’t confirm it. Even the beams flickering over the dance floor did little to shed illumination on the table they were at.
“I know you guys. You’re always up to something on one of our birthdays. On Jessica’s, you made me go to that party.” Olivia looked at Jessica and saw her flinch.
Jessica’s last birthday had been enjoyable…for the most part. They’d gotten together at her place, watched old movies and drank Chardonnay until they could barely walk. They’d gifted her with a spa day, complete with mud baths, facials and massage. Everything was fine until they went to a Jack & Jill for two of their college friends later that night. Much to Jessica’s shock and embarrassment, her old college crush, Brock, also attended—which none of them told her about.
Though she’d steered clear of him, Brock had cornered her out in the backyard, among some trees and shadowed by darkness. Jessica had returned in a huff, red-faced, her clothes a bit askew. They’d left soon after. Jessica never divulged what had really gone on out there but she’d let it slip that she prayed to never run into Brock Daly again.
“Oh, come on,” Holly’s voice drew Olivia from her thoughts. “We didn’t mean any harm and Jessie knows it.”
Jessica nodded. “Right. But it’s your birthday. Tonight’s all about you.”
“Thank you. I’m glad we could celebrate it together.” Olivia meant every word; she lifted her glass in a toast to her girls, and smiled. There was nothing like an evening with best friends to turn a bad day into something pleasant.
Even if they’d make her do something stupid…
“As if we’d have anything better to do on your birthday. Besides we have our traditions,” Candy interjected, smirking.
Before Olivia could say anything, Holly rushed on. “Yes we do. But first, open your gift. It’s the perfect present, you’ll love it.”
She was more than curious to see where her friends might be sending her. Giddy, she smiled. She wouldn’t turn down a vacation.
She grabbed the envelope from Holly, ripped the bow off the back, and pulled out a birthday card.
A naked, bare-chested hunk donned the front cover. Though it was just fabulous muscles, no face or head, her heart did a flip-flop just seeing such gorgeousness in front of her.
Hmm, what wonderful abs. What I wouldn’t give to find a man as yummy as this one…
Laughing, she gave his chest a smooch, which caused them all to cheer. Opening the card, she pulled off a pink gift card where it was taped.
She’d never heard of it, and the tagline, Finding Everything One Needs and Wants…One Piece at a Time did not provide any clues. Plus the address wasn’t familiar. And it sounded like a furniture store to her.
As she opened her mouth to speak, the waitress set more drinks in front of them. She should have told Candy not to buy her another drink. Three Long Island Iced Teas were more than enough.
She glanced around the table. “Okay, girls, I’m curious. I’ve never heard of this place. What is it?”
“It’s a woman’s adult store. Lingerie, dildos, clamps, flavored lotions. Everything a girl needs for herself,” Candy replied.
Olivia frowned, picked up her drink and emptied it.
Jessica tried to look busy as she sucked the olive from the martini’s toothpick.
Of all the presents for her friends to get her—she cried a little inside that it wasn’t a vacation—their so-called gift was something that would never cross her mind.
She arched a brow, and looked at each of her friends in turn. “Well I suppose Leroy is getting a bit old.”
The girls’ eyes widened, then they all burst out laughing.
“I told you she’d love her gift!” Holly giggled. “How old is Leroy now?”
Olivia tapped a finger on her chin. “Probably four or five. Poor thing hasn’t died of sterilization yet.”
“With three hundred dollars, I’m sure you’ll find others to take his place.”
“Jesus!” Olivia gawked at her pals. “Three hundred dollars. You guys shouldn’t have spent so much! I mean, come on, that’s more than I’ll ever need in…toys.”
“Remember, they have lingerie too. Nothing better than some silk and lace against a woman’s tits and clit,” Candy joked and clicked her glass against Olivia’s.
Olivia’s head spun. She wasn’t sure if it was from the alcohol or the thought of shopping for lingerie. Not like she had a man in her life to show it off to.
But she had promised herself that she’d get out more. Maybe find her kind of right man and fall in love. Her parents had been married fifty-two years. She believed in love and marriage. It would happen when it happened.
She did yearn for male companionship from time to time. But as she watched the sea of bodies writhe against each other on the dance floor, the men and women flirt at the bar, she didn’t want to enter the ‘dating pool’ for any amount of money.
The singles scene was hell. From her standpoint, no one searched for Mr. and Mrs. Right anymore. They only wanted the ‘Right Now’ relationships and to play the field. While Olivia wasn’t one to get on a soapbox and lecture about safe sex, she didn’t agree with the freeness of having it with a lot of people, either.
Very particular about whom she let into her life, and bed, Olivia had only had three lovers. All were men she trusted and had known for months before the relationship turned physical.
Which was why she trusted Leroy, her red rubber boyfriend, that she kept tucked away in the nightstand beside her bed. He didn’t talk back, never let her down, and was never unfaithful.
“And of course, you know that’s not all. You have our dare, don’t forget!” Jessica exclaimed.
Olivia blinked, Jessica’s statement registering.
Her mouth suddenly felt like paste at the mention of their yearly ritual.
Heart lodged in her throat, she stared at her grinning friends, all of whom were obviously very pleased with themselves.
“Okay, let’s have it.” She put the gift card in the back pocket of her jeans and leaned her elbows on the table.
Since college, the girls always issued dares. Some had been harmless, though some had also been downright crazy. Hell, Candy had lost her virginity on a dare, something she was still pleased about to this day. Holly had dared her to sneak into the football team captain’s dorm room and steal his boxers.
When ninety minutes had passed, the girls had headed to the Fraternity House to find out what happened when Candy descended the front steps, grinning like a fool. The jock—Olivia couldn’t remember his name now—had yelled from the window and let something drop from his hand. They were all shocked when Candy’s purple bra landed on Jessica’s shoulder.
“You need a man in your life, Liv,” Candy said, smiling.
A shiver of unease slid down Olivia’s back.
“Yes, yes, Candy, we know,” Holly grumbled. “You have lots. But tonight isn’t about you. We’re only talking about one night for our Olivia. A happy evening and happy trails the next morning. She needs s-e-x. That’s why we want her to have a man.”
“Hey,” Olivia interjected, insulted, and the dare forgotten. “I can find my own man and sex—which I can say out loud instead of spell it—is not an issue for me.”
“Right, Leroy, we know,” Candy groused. “But Mr. Red isn’t flesh and blood. You need a real man, just for you.”
“All right. I’ll play along. Where is he? What’s his name?” She scanned the room, wondered if this flesh-and-blood male was hidden in the wings.
“We don’t know. That’s for you to decide,” Holly said.
Olivia frowned. “What do you mean, for me to decide? Explain.”
“Well, we’re calling a dare.” Jessica blushed.
They were confusing her with the talk of a date and a dare. What did they have in com…
Oh god, they wouldn’t!
“Look…” Olivia began.
“No, too late.” Holly grinned, slapping the table. “It’s issued. As soon as Jessie said it, it was done.”
She should have just stayed home. A quiet evening of reading or watching TV, or lounging in a bath full of bubbles with candles flickering and jazz music playing wouldn’t have led to this.
Olivia raised her head, glared at Candy. “I won’t. No.” She adamantly refused.
Holly sat back in her seat, arms folded. “I told you she wouldn’t do it. She’s chicken.”
Olivia’s hackles rose. Damn, Holly. She knew she hated to be called chicken. She just didn’t see the point in forcing her to go out with someone. He was probably a computer geek with a high IQ and square-framed glasses. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but it was not the vision of her kind of date.
“Olivia, come on,” Jessica implored. “We’re not going to dare you to do anything that will totally upset you. We just want you to find a man for the evening—for tonight—and have a bit of fun. You never just kick up your heels and let loose.”
“A night of fun? Tonight! You mean for me to do the dare tonight? Come on, where am I going to find a guy to hang out with all night?”
Her friends, though she wouldn’t call them that at the moment, gazed around the bar. Olivia shook her head. “No. Absolutely not. I am not picking up a guy in this place. I don’t see one guy I know or have seen before.”
“Chicken,” Holly grumbled, loud enough for Olivia to hear.
Olivia turned her head and shot daggers Holly’s way. “Shut up.”
“The official dare, Holly, if you please,” Candy piped up.
“Olivia must find a man—of her own choosing—and spend all night with him. Just the two of them, and she must not leave his presence before eight tomorrow morning.”
Olivia dropped her head into her hands, wanting to scream.
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Lots of giveaways are happening through the blog hop. Here’s some info…
FROM ME: Leave a comment below about one of your longest friendship, and you’ll be entered to win a backlist ebook and a swag pack that I’ll mail to the winner directly. I’ll choose THREE winners.
Win a Kindle … a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway for Authors Only … a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway for an assortment of other goodies from gift cards to ebooks … a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now, it’s time to hop on to the other participating blogs. Have Fun!
An InLinkz Link-up