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Excerpt from Barreled Over

The set-up: Beck and Ava Grace are guests at a s’mores party hosted by Quinn and Amelia O’Brien (the main characters from All the Right Places)

Beck’s marshmallow had turned a nice golden brown, so he pulled it from the fire pit and carefully removed it from the skewer. Hot to the touch, the melted marshmallow oozed over his fingers as he placed it on the chocolate and graham cracker stack.

“What kind of s’more are you making?” Ava Grace asked.

As he pressed a graham cracker on top of the marshmallow, he thought about ignoring her question. He didn’t want to be drawn into conversation with her. It was bad enough he had to sit next to her and pretend not to notice the lacy waistband of her pastel pink panties when she leaned forward to toast her marshmallow.

Good manners eventually prevailed. “I’m a traditionalist. Plain graham crackers, milk chocolate, and vanilla marshmallow.” He sucked the marshmallow from his fingers before asking, “What about you?”

“I’m a non-traditionalist,” she answered with a smile, rotating her skewer over the fire pit. “Chocolate graham crackers, dark chocolate, and peppermint marshmallow.”

“That’s adventurous,” he gibed.

She glanced at him, the flames of the fire bringing out the gold in her eyes. “Under the right circumstances, I can be very adventurous.”

“Hmm,” he replied noncommittally while his cock demanded to know two things: what were the right circumstances, and how adventurous was veryadventurous?

He looked toward the fire pit, and when he noticed her marshmallow was getting a little too done, he tapped her forearm. “Your marshmallow’s burning.”

She immediately pulled it from the flames and began to ease it from the skewer. She hissed when gooey marshmallow got all over her hand.

“Dang, that’s hot,” she murmured, raising her fingers to her mouth.

As she licked the pink stickiness from them, blood rushed to his groin, his cock throbbing with every beat of his heart. He mentally reminded himself to avoid situations that involved Ava Grace and sticky or creamy foods.

In fact, he needed to avoid all situations that involved Ava Grace. Period.

He couldn’t think straight with her around. Earlier this evening, he’d almost kissed her, and a crazy, stupid part of him—his dick—wished he hadn’t pulled back. His dick wanted to know if she tasted as good as she smelled … if her petal-pink lips were as soft as they looked.

Trying not to think about her mouth and all the adventurous things she could do with it, he took a big bite of his s’more. As he chewed, he tried to recall the last time he’d eaten one. Probably back in high school, before everything turned to shit.

“You seem to be an expert marshmallow toaster,” Ava Grace noted, a teasing lilt in her husky voice. “How’d you gain that experience?”

“I went camping a lot when I was little, and we always toasted marshmallows over the fire.”

The memory made him a little sad. Even after all these years, he still missed his dad. Nothing could fill that void.

“So you learned by example,” she said as she built her s’more.

“I guess you could say that.” He leaned back in the Adirondack chair and propped his ankle on his knee. “Did you go camping when you were a kid?”

“No. I’ve never been camping. But I’d like to go someday. Sleeping under the stars sounds so romantic.” She flashed a teasing smile at him. “Maybe you can take me.”

Strangely, the thought of taking Ava Grace camping sounded like fun. He had no doubt she’d have plenty to say about the outing, and she’d deliver those observations in that sexy, wry tone that both amused and aroused him.

And after the sun went down, he’d build a blazing fire and stretch out under the stars. He’d pull her on top of him and watch her as she rode him, her head thrown back, her eyes shut, and her thick hair streaming behind her.

Fuck.

“Sleeping under the stars is not as romantic as it sounds,” he growled, trying to convince himself. “The ground is hard, and the bugs are vicious.”

Her smile widened. “How else am I going to achieve your level of marshmallow-toasting expertise?”

He lowered his voice. “I’ll let you in on a little secret that might help…”

“What?” she asked eagerly.

“Toasted marshmallows are even better when you douse them in bourbon before you put them on the fire.”

Her eyes widened. “Isn’t that dangerous? Don’t they catch on fire?”

He chuckled. “Sometimes. But usually the fire just caramelizes the sugar in the bourbon and the marshmallow. Kind of like using a kitchen torch on crème brûlée.”

“Oh,” she breathed. “I get it. That does sound yummy.” She pursed her lips. “You know, there are all kinds of marshmallow flavors now. Lemon meringue, cinnamon, coffee. I wonder how a bourbon marshmallow would taste?”

“I’m going to go out on a limb and say it would taste pretty damn good.”

“I think I’ll play mad scientist and come up with a bourbon marshmallow recipe to include in our cookbook.”

Our. He liked the way that sounded. Like they were a team.

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