(Bridges and Bitters, #1)
Publication date: May 10th 2022
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance
He hates her for some reason. She will not rest until she changes his mind.
People always like Samantha Vine. It’s kind of her thing. All the employees at her tech startup think she’s the best boss, and the community partners and investors she woos not only trust, but adore her.
Everyone likes her, except him.
Sam may have been caught off guard when she accidentally insulted science teacher AJ Trachtenberg, but she’s pulling out all the stops trying to make it up to him…and it’s not working. Offering his students a swanky field trip doesn’t win him over—it only seems to make him grumpier.
Unfortunately, grumpy looks very good on him. AJ is tall, dark, and annoyingly handsome and he’s got a giant chip on his shoulder. Honestly, his smoldering is distracting.
Sam can’t afford any distractions right now, not with the media hounding her as she tries to take her company public. Maybe she can swing a one-time naked distraction, though. That doesn’t have to mean anything, right? She’s not looking for a happily-ever-after here. She’s just trying to get him out of her head.
Alas, when it comes to business and bossy men, Samantha Vine has trouble letting go.
Fireball is the laugh-out-loud first stand-alone installment of the Bridges and Bitters series. If you love found family, hilarious antics, and off-the-charts heat, you’ll devour these sexy romantic comedies.
SAMANTHA The only thing saving me from curling in a ball and crying is the promise of meeting up with my friends. We call our little group Foof…Fresh out of fucks. It’s a sort of ridiculous name for a bad-ass group of entrepreneurs, engineers and queens of the Steel City.
I feel so at ease when I’m with them, like I really don’t have to pretend or put on a fake smile or any of that. I can actually free my fucks with these gals…and I need that, because everyone else claws at me, demanding attention I can’t spare and hurling mean words at me if I say as much.
As often as we can, Foof huddles up in the event room of our friend Esther’s bar, Bridges and Bitters, and these meetings are my recharge. Esther bought an old building in Lawrenceville and transformed it into the most amazing spot. She went for a speakeasy feel, with reclaimed wooden everything and these cozy settees. But honestly, we could meet on a milk crate by the river and I’d still walk away energized from these women.
A few days later, and I’m still reeling after I chased off Mr. Grumpy Teacher from our meeting and stumbled through the rest of my interview with the guy from Forbes. I definitely appreciate Esther’s vintage velvet furniture as I collapse in a heap.
“That bad?” She arches a dark brow at me as she moves some furniture around the room to get ready for the rest of Foof to arrive.
I drape a wrist across my forehead. “If I had a corset on, I’d be asking you to slice the laces.” She pats me on the shoulder and heads back up front to mix a batch of cocktails for us. My friends shuffle in, some of them excited about their day and others looking like they want to join me tying one on.
Logan links arms with her sisters-in-law as they make their way in. As they all chat about life, I sit up and rest my elbows on my lap, propping my forehead against my palms. “I wish I could have a do-over,” I mutter.
“Tell me about it.” Celeste Sheffield, actual grandma and the oldest member of Foof, sits next to me, patiently waiting for me to spill my guts.
I take a deep breath, thinking back over the wretched day, from the annoying call from my dad to my magazine interview not going well. I bite my lip, trying to decide the worst part of it all. “I told a middle school science teacher I didn’t think young students would gain much from touring Vinea,” I tell her. “So now this guy thinks I think his students are too stupid, because of poverty.” Celeste pats my leg in a motherly sort of way I really appreciate.
“I was just so overwhelmed with the Forbes reporter there and thinking about how much work it’ll be to prepare for going public. Who has time to prep for a bunch of tween visitors? But I guess what I said came out wrong and AJ took offense.”
Celeste swirls around the ice in her drink and looks at me. “What if you called and explained? Said you realized your mistake? You could extend your invitation to the students after all.”
I cringe. “Ugh. Apologies are the worst, though. Like, now this guy is going to know I say dumb things when I go off book.” Men thinking I’m stupid is a big, fat trigger for me after living with the Colonel. He’s so domineering and immersed in a hyper-macho military world. Everything has to be precise with him. Language, thought processes, all of it. “Can I make Logan call?”
Logan laughs and shakes her head, wagging a finger at me. “I just run the numbers, boss. You’re the one with your name on the building.”
It’s true. My name is on the damn building. So why do I feel like such an imposter all the time? I’ve spent my entire life trying to fill someone else’s shoes…I got thrust into that role after my mother died. I didn’t mean to start a company in my free time from my dorm room, but I did. Now, ten years along the way, I’m on the cusp of going public with my business-baby and I can’t drum up the ovary power to call someone and apologize?
“Gah. Fine. I know, I know. I’ll call him and grovel.”
“That’s the winning spirit!” Esther winks as she slides me a glass of something magical.
Lainey Davis lives in Pittsburgh in the USA with her 3 feral sons, 2 rescued rabbits, and 1 tired husband. She loves brooding heroes, fiery heroines, and happily ever afters.
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