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Over the din of clinking ice and lively conversation, the entire bar heard waitress Brandee Hanson wail, "Dumped in a text message? Really?"
Suddenly the place quieted. Heat crept up her neck, and she dropped her BlackBerry into her apron pocket. She was about to slink off to the ladies' room when Sadie Maven, the owner's eccentric aunt, waved her over to the booth she regularly occupied.
"Have a seat, dear. Let me do a quick reading for you-on the house." Sadie was already shuffling her tarot cards.
Brandee slumped onto the opposite bench and set down her tray.
"I had a premonition about you just now." Sadie winked. "It might make you feel better."
Brandee sighed. "I'm all for feeling better. Just don't talk about my love life. I've sworn off men."
"Since just now."
Sadie spread the cards across the table. "Pick one."
Brandee pulled one card from the middle and turned it over. On it was a picture of a couple entwined in a passionate embrace, and the text beneath proclaimed: The Lovers.
"Ah. I was right. You'll meet your true love soon. In fact, he could be the next man to walk through that door." Psychic Sadie nodded toward Boston Uncommon's Charles Street entrance.
Brandee gazed at the door expectantly. It swung open and a tall, blond, broad-shouldered hunk of a man breezed in.
Oh no. It couldn't be. "One-Night Nick? Are you kidding me?" She burst out laughing.
Sadie shrugged one shoulder. "You never know..."
Brandee picked up her tray and returned to work, still chuckling and shaking her head.
"What put that smile on your face, beautiful? Besides seeing me, of course." Nick Wolfensen grabbed a stool and sat on it backward. Even with the stool's height, his big feet hit the floor. His powerful thighs bulged under his blue jeans. That wasn't the only bulge she thought she saw.
Brandee knew her regulars and Nick was a good tipper. She'd play nice, even though Sadie's omen sat uncomfortably in the back of her mind. "Just something Sadie said. I think I've served her one too many White Russians."
"Well, you haven't served me at all, girl. I'm parched."
"What can I get you?"
"Whatever Sam Adams you have on tap."
"Coming right up."
Usually Angie would get Nick's beer, but the bartender looked engrossed in a conversation. Brandee lifted the part of the bar that flipped up and strode in. "It must be your evening off. You're not in uniform, and you're ordering a brew."
Nick frowned. "Yeah, kind of."
His set jaw and the twitch in his cheek told her she shouldn't pursue the subject. She simply grabbed a frosted mug and held it at an angle under the tap like Angie had shown her. It created less froth and made room for more beer.
When she set it in front of him, his cocky smile returned. "Ah, you're a good girl. I'd sing ‘Brandy' but you've probably heard it a few thousand times."
"Yeah, thanks for not doing that." Brandee played the song in her head, and when the words pointed out what a good wife she would be, she scurried away, mumbling, "Well, I gotta get back to work."
She grabbed a clean rag and wiped down a table that didn't need it. Over her shoulder she caught Nick unabashedly admiring her rear end. She quickly moved on to another empty table and made sure she was facing him. As soon as she bent over to reach the surface, her V-neck dipped. Now he was gazing at her cleavage like he might drool. She bolted upright.
Oh, my Fruity Pebbles. Why can't he turn around?
Nick rose, left his beer on the bar, and strolled over to her. He leaned down so he could whisper in her ear. "When, Brandee?"
She tried to look casual. "When what?"
"When are you going to let me show you the time of your life?"
She smiled, thinking what that might entail, but quickly schooled her expression. "I'm not that kind of girl."
He tried to look innocent, but she knew it was an act. Players like Nick scared her. Not that it stopped her from fantasizing about him. Handsome, charming, intelligent, and dangerous. Whether she had just been dumped or not, he wasn't the kind of guy she needed right now-or maybe ever.
Nick backed up a step. "What are you talking about?"
Brandee rested a hand on her hip and tried to look uncompromising. "I know your reputation. They don't call you ‘One-Night Nick' for nothing."
"At least I'm honest about it. I never lead girls on by saying, ‘I'll call you,' then leave them to wonder why I didn't. A lot of guys do. I treat a woman to an awesome night she'll never forget. I'm just not interested in getting tied down right now."
She lowered her voice. "Look, I'm not saying I want to get married either. But casual sex isn't my style."
He feigned shock, then boomed in his baritone, "Who said anything about sex? Of course if that's what you want, I'd be happy to oblige."
"Oh, my Playboy penthouse... Lower your voice, dammit." She glanced around, but people seemed to have lost interest in her. They continued their own conversations or preoccupation with the football game. Thank you, Tom Brady.
"What's your penthouse got to do with anything?"
She chuckled. "I don't live in a penthouse. I live over the bar. That's just something I do when I'm shocked. Instead of saying, "Oh my God-I substitute some other word or words for God."
"Are you religious? Don't want to take the Lord's name in vain or something?"
"Heck no. It's just way overused. I don't want to wear it out." She faced Sadie, who she knew took an interest in all the waitresses' love lives. Sadie shuffled her tarot cards with a knowing smile on her face.
He chuckled. "I'm not going to lie to you, Brandee. I think you're sexy as hell, and redheads are my weakness, but if you can't allow yourself a night of fun without some damn commitment..."
She sighed. "It's not like that."
"Then what is it?"
She couldn't put her feelings into words. Sure she'd like to have a good time, but was one night worth the trouble and expense of getting a full body wax and a mani-pedi and buying a new outfit? She needed her tips to pay for her photography supplies. A night with the handsome cop would probably steal her breath away, but she didn't want to risk losing her heart too.
He waved and walked away. "Forget it."
By the time he had retaken his stool and started watching the game, Brandee regretted her hesitancy. Damn it all, Nick was hot. His blond hair was growing out just enough to curl around his ears, and his sapphire blue eyes were impossible to ignore. A suspect wouldn't stand a chance against that intense stare. Hell. She didn't stand a chance when he looked at her with those gorgeous eyes.
Still, "No casual sex, no matter how tempting the guy might be" was a good policy. She did want to fall in love and get married some day. Even a protected one-night stand could result in a life-altering "accident." And if that happened, it would not be with a playboy like Nick Wolfensen.
A man who only dated to have a night of fun with a different woman each time must be extremely superficial. How satisfying could that be? What would make someone do that? Had he been hurt so badly he didn't want to risk it again? She couldn't think of any other reason.
Sadie caught her attention and held up her empty glass, calling for another.
Oh my pickled herring...that woman can put them away. But her nephew owned the bar and he'd told the staff to keep her happy. Not only did Anthony seem genuinely fond of his aunt, but she was good for business. To sit at her booth and have a tarot card reading, the patron had to meet the one-drink minimum.
When Brandee delivered Sadie's fourth White Russian, the fortune-teller said, "You know, my Dmitri was like that once."
She smirked. "You should know better than to feign innocence with a psychic."
Brandee rolled her eyes. "Fine. So, you had a commitment-phobic boyfriend."
Sadie shuffled the cards again. "It wasn't that as much as he wanted to be free when the right woman came along. He really didn't like the idea of hurting anyone." She flipped over a card. "I think your Nick is doing the same thing."
"First of all, he's not my Nick."
Sadie pushed the card across the table toward her. "If you say so."
Brandee glanced at the card, then stared more closely. It was the same one. A man and a woman entwined in a passionate embrace. The Lovers.
Oh, my heartbreak...I'm toast.
"What's got your jockstrap in a twist?" Konrad asked.
Nick sat across from his twin brother, with a big mahogany desk between them. "It's nothing." He reached out and ran his hand over the polished surface, glancing at the gleaming brass plate that read Dean Konrad Wolfensen. "Jeez, I can't visit you without feeling like I've been sent to the principal's office."
Konrad laughed. "Maybe you were there too many times when we were kids. What's going on?"
Konrad's jaw dropped. "The force?"
"Yeah, what else do I have to quit?"
Nick fidgeted in his seat. He couldn't very well say his brother's high-profile court case had damaged his credibility, could he? Just because they looked exactly alike and Konrad had incurred public wrath and humiliation, Nick couldn't be absolutely sure that was the only reason his honor had been questioned-more than once-even though he had done nothing to deserve it. He hated the idea that it might be his brother's fault.
"I was butting heads with some of the guys."
Nick shrugged. "Nothing in particular. John Q. Public has been pissing me off too."
"Are you sleeping?"
"You look like you've lost weight."
Nick glanced down at his baggy Dockers. "Yeah, maybe a little."
"Sorry, Bro. I hate to say it, but it sounds like symptoms of depression."
Nick laughed. "Me? What do I have to be depressed about?"
Konrad gave him a sympathetic smile. "You just stood up for me as my best man. Maybe without realizing it..."
"You think I'm jealous? Of you?" Nick was about to let out another bellowing laugh, but he thought better of it. He didn't want to insult his brother-or his new sister-in-law. Roz was a great girl and Konrad had found his true mate. Marriage was right for him. Nick didn't want to settle for less than that, and he didn't have to. He just had to be patient-correction-more patient, but it better not take much longer. At one hundred and one years old, Nick's secret wish was to find the right one without being attached to the wrong one.
"So tell me about quitting the force after nine years. It can't be over a few personality clashes."
Nick shifted uncomfortably. "What are you, my shrink now?"
"No, of course not, but you called and said you wanted to see me."
"I was bored."
Konrad leaned back in his big, oak armchair. "You were bored? You interrupted my workday because you were bored?"
"Hey, sorry I bothered you." Nick rose, ready to walk out.
"Stop. I didn't mean to run you off. You're here now, and I'm sure you weren't in the neighborhood. Newton isn't exactly around the corner."
"Nah, you're right. I should let you get back to work."
"Not if you need me. Look, I know you're not telling me everything. What's going on?"
Nick let out a long sigh. Konrad was right. There was more to it than just quitting his job. His lifestyle didn't hold the same glamour it once had, but he didn't dare voice that thought. Everyone was quick to tell him he needed to find a nice girl and settle down. Better to blame his boredom on job dissatisfaction. "I need to work for myself. I'm tired of taking orders, but I don't want to give them either."
"Then you're kind of fucked."
"Not necessarily. I thought of a way to work for myself without taking on a bunch of pesky employees. I'm getting my PI license."
"No, public idiot. Of course private investigator. I'd be perfect for it. With my experience as a cop, I know the law-and how to get around it. As a paranormal PI, I can corner a niche market. There aren't any others in Boston."
"I don't know," Konrad said. "Public idiot sounds a lot more fun."
Nick snorted. "Well, I've made up my mind. I'm going to be a paranormal PI. There's only one thing left to do. I need three upstanding citizens to vouch for me."
"So that's why you're here?"
"That and to see my brother and his lovely wife."
"Stay for dinner. I'll give Roz a call." Konrad picked up the phone.
"If it's no trouble. Since she's an attorney, I was hoping to ask her to be one of my three upstanding citizens."
"I'm sure she'd be honored."
"I'll get out of your hair and see who might be hanging around the teachers' lounge. Is it okay if I stop back later to see what she says about dinner?"
"Why don't you wait a minute? Then you won't have to interrupt me twice."
After a brief conversation, Konrad ended the call with a whispered endearment. He grinned and hung up.
A pang of envy took Nick by surprise. Damn it, maybe he and everyone else is right. All I need is the right girl...wherever she is. So why is it taking so long?
"Roz said she'll thaw another steak. Not to worry. You're always welcome."
"Thanks. Well, I'll let you get back to work. What time should I show up at your apartment?"
"Six would be good."
"I'll be there. Meanwhile, I'll see if I can find two more upstanding citizens who will vouch for me."
Konrad rose. "What about me?"
Good God. How can I turn down my brother's generous offer without offending the hell out of him? My identical twin brother, who got busted for the biggest art heist in history, won't go a long way toward credibility. Even though he was proven innocent, people will believe what they want to believe.
"I think you're too close. I mean, really...it's like getting your mom to say what a good boy you are."
"Yeah. I can see that. Well, good luck finding any of the fifty pack members who love you to attest to your character."
Nick smiled. Yeah, there are advantages to being in good stead with one's werewolf pack-at last. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who believed in my brother's innocence.
Posted April 8, 2013
Oh my boiling bunny, Ashlyn has done it again! This woman is a literary genius. No one can mix erotica, humor, and slap-stick like Ash can. I really can't wait for the next one in this series!
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 6, 2013
Very poorly written story. There are a couple of funny punch lines but nothing to make you laugh out loud. The author writes the characters reactions to events and situations in a way that is completely unrealistic. For example, the main female character sees her "soul mate" shift within the first 30 pages of the book and even captures it on camera and then a mysterious tornado in the city swipes her camera away. You would think she would be freaking out and in total shock and disbelief? Nope, the whole thing just gets brushed under the table and let go. There was barely any character development, no distinct personality traits between the characters (all that I remember is that one of them loves white russians and the other is a pissed off ex girlfriend). I'm grinding my teeth getting through this book, its just not worth it. The sex isn't even hot.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 5, 2013
I have never written a review n I have to say this book was horrible. all around. from the plot to the characters to the romance. really noy worth the money n I only finished it bc I paid the money
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Posted March 9, 2014
Reviewed by Robin
Book provided by NetGalley for review
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book
I usually enjoy a good paranormal story concept. Going by the title I thought I may have found a good paranormal romance. But….
Brandee an aspiring photographer works as a waitress as Boston Uncommon. Coming from a bad breakup she really isn’t in the market for another relationship. So she decides to swear of men. Sadie the resident psychic lets Brandee know that the next man through the door is her true love. A skeptic Brandee takes what Sadie says in stride because through the door comes Nick. Or as he is known by everyone as ‘One Night’ Nick, love em’ and leave em’. Nick is also an ex-cop turned PI.
I loved the whole concept behind this story. Boston Uncommon is a safe haven where those that are paranormal have a place to hang out with others of their kind. I liked that the bar is owned by a Vampire and that werewolves, shape shifters, wizards, witches and so on could come and put things aside and be friends somewhat. What didn’t work for me was that humans worked there and were oblivious to those around them being paranormal. To me I would have thought that they could come and be safe in their own skin and not have worries. Yet things were still secretive so what it the purpose of said Safe Haven. The characters weren’t real strong in their own right. I think too many were introduced at one time therefore giving into the fact that the main ones weren’t developed that well. A brief introduction on some of the characters would have been fine than develop more in the next story and so on as the whole bar idea is definitely a winner.
I also felt that the dialogue was a bit forced and unnatural at times. Nick seemed kind of like a Neanderthal most times. What with things like; ‘hun’, ‘babe’ after just starting to form a relationship. ( I think I would punch him if he spoke to me in that manner.) For what should have been more Alpha male he wasn’t. I really didn’t feel the chemistry/spark needed to move this relationship along.
Overall I enjoyed the story line but would have liked more focus on Nick and Brandee’s relationship and less on some of the other characters and story lines that the author was trying to introduce.
Posted November 10, 2013
Apper. Rosy gray fur white tipped ears and tail. One white paw.strong legs. Blye eyes.
Per. Meet her:)
Likes & dislimesmeet her
Crush.... cant say
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Posted November 6, 2013
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Posted May 29, 2013
If you are looking for a fun, light read the Flirting Under the Full Moon is exactly what you are looking for.
I love Brandee's quick euphemism's and Nick's protectiveness,even though he does take it a bit to far sometimes...that's a male for you.
There are plenty of different characters in this first book that can be used to stretch the series (hint hint).
I didn't really pay any attention as to whether this was billed as a new series or not, but it is a new series, just happens to be connected to another series. Some people can be way to picky...must be nice to be perfect.
I highly recommend this series and I also recommend the Strange Neighbors series.
Posted May 5, 2013
Posted April 29, 2013
Men have dumped Brandee every possible way and she wants nothing more to do with them, Nick is drool-worthy; known for his one-night stands and feels Brandee is his soul mate. They are the perfect match for each other if they can get past a few hurdles: like the paranormal world and oh yeah, Nick being a werewolf. Author Ashlyn Chase has created is a wonderful light-hearted romance that is zany, fast-paced and filled with great characters. The secondary characters are all quirky and lovable with my personal favorite being a very temperamental Mother Nature. The dialog is snappy and quick with quite a few laugh out loud moments. There are twists, turns aplenty but instead of confusion I found the mayhem is what made the story exciting and special. Over-all Flirting Under a Full Moon is delightful afternoon read for anyone wanting a fun escape from reality.
I was provided a copy of the book by BTS eMag for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review – all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Stars - 3 , Flames – 3
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