Entangled Amara and USA Today bestselling author, Tawna Fenske, are revealing an excerpt from JUST A LITTLE BET, the second book in the adult contemporary romantic comedy series, Where There’s Smoke, releasing October 26, 2020. See below for information on the book and series, preorder links, and an exclusive excerpt.
About the Book
Title: JUST A LITTLE BET
Series: Where There’s Smoke Series #2
Author: Tawna Fenske
Publisher: Entangled Amara
Release Date: October 26, 2020
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | GooglePlay
Some fires never burn out.
After a night of too many drinks, smokejumper Tony Warren and his best friend, photographer Kayla Gladney, come to the realization that they’re both bad at love. They even tried dating each other, but that crashed and burned, too. Now he’s got the hangover from hell and the certain conclusion he’s just a shit boyfriend. But Kayla thinks he’s a straight-up commitment-phobe.
So they make a bet—they’re going to hunt down his exes and decide once and for all why he’s so unlucky in love. Terrible boyfriend or commitment-phobe. Why does either answer feel like he’s still losing?
But between roadside burgers and late night detours, they discover some fires never burn out—like the one slowly smoldering between them. And suddenly losing feels a whole lot like winning again.
She was still talking with the bartender as he approached.
“I really don’t need all these,” she was saying. “It was just a joke. A silly bet.”
Tony slid onto the barstool beside her, none too graceful in his movements. His shoulder jarred hers, sending a strange jolt of electricity down his arm. “What’s a silly bet?”
Kayla gestured to the glasses. “I bet a bunch of the guys you and Becca had split. Sorry.”
He shrugged, not too concerned about it. “I’d bet against me, too.”
“I wasn’t betting against you, exactly—”
“Are you going to drink these?” He picked up one of the shots, which smelled vaguely like cinnamon.
A memory rippled through him—the cinnamon pine cones his mom tucked in baskets around the house at Christmas. His dad used to bitch about it, complaining the house smelled like a damn cinnamon bun, but five-year-old Tony had loved it.
He set the glass down quick, feeling his stomach pitch.
Kayla was studying him. “Wow, multiple beers and a shot? Since when do you get your drink on like this?”
“Since when is everyone my mom?”
There was some irony. His mom would be the last person to give a shit what he did, but Kayla didn’t need to know that.
No one did.
Kayla nudged one of the glasses in front of him. “I suppose you earned it.”
“By getting dumped, or by adding another notch to my shitty-boyfriend belt?” Which was probably the same thing.
“You’re not a shitty boyfriend.” She cocked her head, considering him. “I mean, yeah, you’ve got issues. Not that I have any room to talk on the relationship front.” Something dark flittered over her face, but it was gone before he could comment. “Anyway,” she said. “You’re a dude with serious commitment issues. Can’t fault a girl for not wanting to sit around indefinitely twiddling her thumbs.”
“I don’t.” He didn’t blame a single woman who’d dumped his sorry ass. Hell, he’d dump himself if he could.
He picked up the shot glass and knocked it back. The liquid burned hot and viscous down his throat, and he swallowed to make the feeling go away.
When he set the glass down, Kayla was watching him. “You good?”
“Yeah. Thanks for that.”
“You want the rest? I can drive you home.”
He looked at the shot glasses. Three more, each teeming with spicy liquid. He really shouldn’t have any more.
But the date on the calendar behind the bar had his heart wadding itself up in a tight ball. “How about a drinking game?” he heard himself say.
Kayla cocked an eyebrow. “A drinking game? Do you want to pretend we still have fake IDs, too?”
“Humor me. I need to earn those shots fair and square.”
She laughed, and Tony’s chest warmed at the sound. That was…different.
But it didn’t mean anything. Just some laughs with his best friend, plus the beers and cinnamon whisky he’d had already. What was that rhyme from college—beer to liquor, never sicker? Maybe the Fireball was a bad idea.
“Sure,” Kayla was saying. “What did you have in mind?”
“One of the rookies told me about this new one—did you ever play Flip, Sip, or Strip in college?”
Kayla surveyed the bar, and Tony noticed how blue her eyes were. Bright, like the sky as he pitched himself through the door of the aircraft. He thought about that breathless free fall and felt dizzy.
“Not that I’m opposed to public stripping,” she said, “but let’s not get kicked out of this place.”
“No, that’s not it—the clean version is called Flip, Sip, or Post.”
Kayla sipped something that looked suspiciously like water. “How does that go?”
Tony combed his brain to remember. “You start by flipping a coin. You can go first, since you’re a lady and all.”
She rolled her eyes. “Such a gentleman.”
He grinned, pretty sure she was kidding. “I call heads or tails, and if I’m right, it’s my turn to flip. If I’m wrong, you flip again. This time, if I get it wrong, I have to answer any question you ask me.”
“Any question?” Kayla lifted a brow. What did that mean? It’s not like they hadn’t bared all their secrets to each other.
Okay, not all his secrets. Maybe this was a bad idea.
“Wait, no,” he corrected himself. “You answer the question if I get it right.” Or something like that. He was definitely messing this up. “Anyway, on the third flip, if I guess right, I take a shot.”
“And if you guess wrong?” she asked.
“You get to pick any social media platform or person and choose what I have to post or text.” Yeah, definitely a bad idea. But he trusted Kayla and knew she wouldn’t have him do anything too mortifying. “Like you tell me I have to text the third name in my contacts and say, ‘I like the smell of my own armpit.’ Or post to Facebook about how Mariah Carey is my favorite recording artist. That sort of thing.”
Kayla laughed, blue eyes flashing. “Take the booze out and the clean version sounds like a middle school game. This should be interesting.”
He’d been starting to think this was dumb, but that spark in her eyes had him thinking twice. Damn, she was pretty. No, not pretty—fun. Fun to be around. That’s what he’d always loved about her.
Kayla rummaged in her purse and pulled out a quarter. “You ready?”
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About the Author
When Tawna Fenske finished her English lit degree at 22, she celebrated by filling a giant trash bag full of romance novels and dragging it everywhere until she’d read them all. Now she’s a RITA Award finalist, USA Today bestselling author who writes humorous fiction, risqué romance, and heartwarming love stories with a quirky twist. Publishers Weekly has praised Tawna’s offbeat romances with multiple starred reviews and noted, “There’s something wonderfully relaxing about being immersed in a story filled with over-the-top characters in undeniably relatable situations. Heartache and humor go hand in hand.”
Tawna lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband, stepkids, and a menagerie of ill-behaved pets. She loves hiking, snowshoeing, standup paddleboarding, and inventing excuses to sip wine on her back porch. She can peel a banana with her toes and loses an average of twenty pairs of eyeglasses per year. To find out more about Tawna and her books, visit www.tawnafenske.com. .