Welcome to the blog tour for JUST A LITTLE BET, the second book in the adult contemporary romantic comedy series, Where There’s Smoke, by USA Today bestselling author, Tawna Fenske. See below for information on the book and series, buy 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.
He cleared his throat. “Got any plans today?”
“I need a shower, and then some errands. There’s this book I started reading, the one my sister sent me, and actually—” She paused, and Tony seized the chance to grab the water glass again. God, he was parched. “Actually,” she continued. “I’ve been thinking about my situation and your situation and how similar they are. I never thought so before, but after what you said last night—”
“What did I say?” He chugged more water, hopeful some hydration would wash his memory back into focus.
“You want to get married.”
Tony choked on his water, spattering the soft peach duvet all the way to the foot of the bed. He coughed and heaved, waving Kayla off as she jumped to her feet and made a grab for him.
“I’m fine. I’m fine,” he wheezed. “Don’t give me the Heimlich.”
She sat back on the edge of the bed with a worried look. “Are you okay?”
Eyes watering, he set the empty glass on the nightstand. “What exactly happened last night? Did I propose to you or—”
“What? Oh, God—no!” Kayla laughed, bouncing on the edge of the bed. “I’m so sorry. I should have phrased that better.”
Still fighting to catch his breath, Tony set his glass on the nightstand. He should definitely be wearing pants for this. And putting some distance between him and Kayla’s spandex-clad breasts.
“What the hell did I say?” He flung off the covers and hoisted himself from the opposite edge of the bed. “Marriage? Did I say something about getting married?”
“You did.” She tipped her head to the side. “Are you telling me it was the cinnamon whisky talking?”
“That depends on what I said.” He bent down and picked up his jeans, straightening just in time to catch her eyes on his ass. At least he wasn’t the only one appreciating his best friend’s form.
She grinned as he buttoned up his fly. “You told me you’ve always wanted the wife and kids and family and the whole mess.”
“I don’t. Absolutely, I do not.” He didn’t, right?
“Whatever.” She waved a hand like that wasn’t the point, but wasn’t it? “Look, whether you want to get married someday or not, the fact remains that you can’t seem to keep a relationship for more than a few weeks. Don’t you want to figure out why?”
“Not particularly.” Only…maybe he did? “Look, I’m just bad at relationships.”
“Right, but why?” She tucked a few strands of hair behind her ear and smiled. “The book my sister sent—it’s a self-help book called Go Get It! The Life You Want, The Love You Need, and it got me thinking about relationship stuff and my issues and your issues and—”
“I have issues now?”
She rolled her eyes. “Of course you have issues. Commitment issues. Duh.”
She said it like the fact was obvious, but Tony wasn’t so sure. “Maybe I’m just a shitty boyfriend.”
“As someone who dated you for a brief window of time, I beg to differ.” She folded her arms over her chest. “In fact, I’d make a wager.”
Tony scrubbed a hand through his hair and wished he had a toothbrush. “Isn’t it a little early in the morning for making bets? The last bet you made ended with me drinking way too much cinnamon whisky.”
She shrugged, unfazed by his grouchy bullshit. One of countless reasons she was such a good friend. “You know how we talked about you joining me on this road trip?”
“Yeah,” he said slowly, struggling to keep up. “It’d be cool to see some of those old fire zones again.” Plus he’d be there to watch out for her, something he’d never in a million years admit to a woman who took pride in being self-reliant. “I do love road trips.”
“Right, so here’s the idea: What if you really did come with me? I take my photos, you give me your insights about the fires, and we make it our mission to settle a bet along the way.”
He eyed her. “What is this bet, exactly?”
“A bet about the reason you’ve got no relationship sticking power.”
“I’m not seeing the connection.” It was possible he’d pickled his brain.
Kayla just smiled. “I get to pick the forests I’m photographing for this thing. And I was thinking how so many of your exes are near the sites of old fires.”
“Not all of them,” he muttered, feeling more than a little called out. “I’ve dated plenty of women around here.”
“Right, but there are tons to pick from near fire zones. Your college girlfriend outside Boise—or what about that professor up in Washington? Or flings from your years as a Hotshot, like that preschool teacher or the one who got married last year. Heck, Becca even has a piece of the puzzle.”
He blinked at her. “How do you remember all my exes?” They’d talked about it, sure, but he never realized she was paying so much attention.
She ignored the question as she smoothed her hands down her spandex-clad thighs. “You’re erecting all these barricades, walling yourself off as a means of self-protection, but—”
“What language are you speaking right now?” She sounded like a damn self-help book. Probably the one she’d been reading. “And why is this all about me?”
“Fair point,” she agreed. “I’ve got work to do, too. That’s exactly why it makes sense for us to team up on this. On figuring out our shit.”
“Maybe I like my shit the way it is.” Only he kinda didn’t.
She knew it, too. He could tell by how she looked at him and softened her voice just a little. “You’re so convinced you’re just a bad boyfriend,” she said. “And maybe that’s true. Or maybe you’ve got commitment issues you need to address. That’s my theory. Either way, all those women have the answers.”
“So what’s your idea? We’d just—interrogate my exes or something?”
“Not that, exactly. It’s a work trip, so obviously most of our time would be spent checking out the forests and taking pictures and driving. But what if we met up with some old girlfriends along the way? A casual lunch here and there, and maybe we just happen to probe a little to find out where they think things went wrong between you.”
He stared at her, hardly believing his ears. Maybe he was still drunk. “And you’re thinking they’ll just—what? Open up and give me all this insight into why I’m a bad boyfriend? Why would they do that?”
“Are you kidding?” She laughed. “What woman wouldn’t want a chance to tell a guy how he screwed up?”
Tony frowned. “That’s encouraging.”
Get Caught Up on the Series
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. .