EXES AND O’S Non-Exclusive Excerpt
As I contemplate curling into bed to escape reality with a trusty book, there’s a soft knock at the door. “What?” I grumble.
“Tara, please open the door.”
Against my better judgment, I open it the tiniest crack. Trevor is still in his coat and boots, his chest heaving, his hair disheveled like he’s run his fingers through it a thousand times.
“I’m not talking to you until you tell me the truth,” I warn.
He tips his head back, as if to see me from a different perspective. “You want the truth?” he asks, his voice strained.
“That’s all I want,” I whisper, my hands on either side of my cheeks to cover the redness.
He sighs. “You were right. I—have feelings for you.” The declaration knocks the wind out of my chest. I tamp down the urge to ask a million questions, letting him continue. “Big feelings. To the point where I don’t even know what to do with myself half the time. I’ve tried to get you out of my head for months, but your stubborn ass just won’t leave.”
“I’ve wanted to tell you so badly. Every single day since I realized it.”
“Why haven’t you?”
“Because I’m scared that I can’t give you what you need.”
“What do you think I need?” I ask, my voice barely above a whisper.
“You want a full-on fairy tale. The perfect guy from your books. Marriage. Kids. Everything. And you deserve it all. But what if I’m not capable of giving that to you?”
I consider that. I think about all the exes who’ve made me similar promises in the past. How empty their words were. How it all meant nothing. Because in the end, they all left.
“But what if you are?” I counter. “I don’t need another man who makes elaborate promises they can’t commit to, Trevor. I need someone who’s going to be open and honest with me. I want someone who is willing to try.”
A sigh that sounds like relief escapes his lips. “If there’s anyone in this world I want to try for, it’s you,” he whispers.
My chest caves, and my eyes mist. Somehow, those words mean more to me than any elaborate declaration of love from my exes. “We’re really doing this?” I confirm.
“I’m going to give this everything I have. I just . . . I might need to take thing slow. Slower than you’re used to.”
I nod. “I can do slow.”
He regards me, his lip tilting in a smirk. “Can you, though?”
“Yup.” I cover my face to hide my half-lie, and he laughs.
“You’ve already come up with baby names, haven’t you?”
My heart swells. We’ve been in a relationship all of a minute and already Trevor knows me better than any guy I’ve ever been with. “Maybe. But you’re right. We’ll go slow. Glacial slow. No marriage or baby talk. And just kissing. We’ll keep it G-rated.” I press my hand over my chest in a vow.
He’s quiet for a few beats as his eyes search mine. For a split second, I’m certain he’s about to walk it all back. “Maybe not G.”
“No? Would you prefer PG? Just light pecks and hand-holding?” I tease.
“At least PG-13, smartass. Get over here.” Before I have the chance to pounce, he pushes the door open, crosses the threshold, and pulls my wrists from my face. And then, his lips collide with mine. Hard.
Excerpted from Exes and O’s by Amy Lea Copyright © 2023 by Amy Lea. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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date published: January 10, 2023
pages : 398
audiobook narrator: Natalie Naudus
audiobook length: 9 hours and 37 min
Romance-novel connoisseur Tara Chen has had her heart broken ten times by ten different men–all of whom dumped her because of her “stage-five clinger” tendencies. Nevertheless, Tara is determined to find The One. The only problem? Classic meet-cutes are dead thanks to modern dating apps. So Tara decides to revisit her exes in hopes of securing her very own trope-worthy second-chance romance.
Boston firefighter Trevor Metcalfe will be the first to rush into a burning building but the last to rush into a relationship. Love just isn’t his thing. When his new roommate Tara enlists him to help her reconnect with her exes, he reluctantly agrees. But Tara’s journey is leading him to discover his own new chapter.
The more time they spend together, the more Tara realizes Trevor seems to be the only one who appreciates her authentic, dramatic self. To claim their happily-ever-after, can Tara and Trevor read between the lines of their growing connection?
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