Saturday, October 6, 2018

Just This Once by @MiraLynKelly - New Release and Giveaway @SourcebooksCasa

Just This Once
by Mira Lyn Kelly
Series: The Wedding Date, #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 2, 2018

He can’t have her.
So he moves in with her…
What could possibly go wrong?

As heir to a chain of luxury hotels, Sean Wyse III always gets what he wants. So when he sees a freeloading roommate taking advantage of his spunky best friend, Molly Brandt, he doesn’t hesitate to step in. He kicks out the roommate…and moves himself in.

Molly loves quality time with Sean, but spending nights with him one wall away threatens to wake the crush she thought she’d gotten over. A crush Sean knows nothing about, which might be a problem…considering how hard Sean’s been working never to think of Molly that way.

Molly wanted him out of her apartment.

Sean had promised her brother he’d stay.

And now his best friend had started playing dirty to get her way.

“Moll, don’t,” Sean warned through gritted teeth.

Instead of springing off him and retreating to her side of the couch the way he wanted, she cocked her head and looked down at him. “Something wrong, Sean?”

Her knees were on both sides of his hips, and his hands were balled against the cushion so they didn’t fist in the shorts covering her ass. Yeah, something was wrong. And it got even more so when she rested both her hands on his shoulders and sat back on his thighs. Because another inch and she’d be right there.

His molars ground together. He couldn’t think about it. About how close she was. About how it would feel to have her pressed against him like that.

Except he was totally thinking about it, and worse, he was thinking about it while he stared into those bright blue eyes.

And now there was less than an inch between him and Molly figuring out exactly what kind of victory she’d scored with this little stunt. If she knew, she’d do it again. She’d push further. And he’d let her, because as much as he didn’t want to, he liked this.

“You’re playing with fire, Molly. Enough.”

“Am I?” she asked, watching him like she wanted the one thing he knew better than to give her.

It wasn’t real. He knew it.

And even if it was, neither of them would ever act on it. Because Molly wasn’t disposable. She wasn’t someone he could take the edge off with and then walk away from like he did with all the other women. Not even if she kept looking at him the way she was right then.

Her lips parted, and the pink tip of her tongue peeked out to wet her bottom lip.

This was bad.

He could move her if he needed to. But then he’d have his hands on her hips, and what if he touched her thighs? What if he finally found out how it felt to have his fingers splayed wide across them, to feel how strong they were when they flexed? What would happen if his hands slid higher—

Her shriek cut through the fantasy that was rapidly spinning out of control.

“Sean!” she gasped, rising fast from where she’d been sitting back on his thighs, her hands clutching at his shoulders as she shifted in a panic from one knee to the other, which wasn’t helping the situation in the slightest, because all that shifting around while she was practically mashing her chest into his face was sending the wrong signals to a part of him that wasn’t very rational to begin with.

“Molly, stop!” he barked, capturing her hips with his hands and jerking his head back from a place that had been just the perfect amount of soft and sweet—and fuck, how was he going to keep that shit from following him into the shower?

Molly stopped her squirming and, safely out of his erection’s way, glowered down at him, her face a very satisfying shade of beet. “You… That… I… It…” She sucked in a breath and scrunched her eyes closed, apparently giving up on the completely unnecessary recap.

About time the tables turned here. He knew he shouldn’t be thinking about the fact that his thumbs had brushed those sexy hip bones of hers or that the way he was holding her, half suspended above him, was feeding the part of him that liked a little control.

Because this was Molly.

And clearly she’d gotten more than she bargained for.

“Yeah, you straddled my lap, Moll. I’m a guy. What the fuck did you think was going to happen?”

When she opened her eyes again, all that saucy confidence was gone, and a part of him missed it. But the greater part of him recognized the woman looking down at him as the best friend he wasn’t seeing enough of lately. The one who, despite all her hard edges and bluster, had a vulnerable side she didn’t trust to many people.

“Yeah, but…you’re you. And I didn’t think…” Her eyes cut away, and she blushed even harder. Christ, she was so uncomfortable, it was killing him. Even if she’d brought it on herself, he couldn’t watch her squirm. So he said the only thing he could think to make it better.

“Don’t freak out. It’s a physiological thing. Nothing else. You put any woman across my lap like that, and the man downstairs is going to get involved. It’s not about you.”

And shit, not only was that a lie, because it most definitely had been about her, but he also realized what a world-class dick thing it was to say. He opened his mouth to apologize and say he didn’t even know what—but she was nodding like that flimsy-ass explanation had actually made her feel better.

“Okay, so we’ll just forget about it then. Pretend it didn’t happen.”

He sure as hell was going to try, but he wasn’t holding his breath. Because for the first time in a dozen years, he knew exactly what Molly felt like above him. How soft and sweet those modest curves were against his cheek. How easily he could hold her. Guide her—yeah, forgetting about it wasn’t happening any time soon. But pretending? Sean was a master at maintaining a facade.

Only… “This shit stops now, Molly. Keep it up, and you’re going to start something we can’t just forget about and pretend didn’t happen. Is that what you want?”

Pinching her lips between her teeth, she shook her head.

“Me either,” he said, finally releasing his hold on her hips and helping her up. Probably something he should have done immediately. Definitely. “You mean too much to me.”

Friends to lovers is always a fun read and throw in that this is also a best friend’s little sister trope and there was a lot to like about this book.

I really loved the friendship that Molly and Sean had. They gave each other space to just be who they were with no expectations or demands. And for Sean, who is always under the spotlight of his family and work demands, this is something that he knows is rare to find. Molly’s had a secret crush on Sean since she was 15, but she knows he is looking for a partner who fits into his world of business and society, something that she doesn’t have the pedigree or schooling to do, so she’s carefully put those feelings into a box and locked them away, knowing she can never be the one to fill that role in Sean’s life. Even though Sean knows Molly is everything he wants in a partner, he could never see bringing her into his world since the demands would force her to compromise who she was, and the person who Molly is, is the person he needs in his life to keep him grounded and give him the space he needs to just be himself.

When circumstances have Sean moving in with Molly, who is dead set against that idea and just wants him to move out, and Molly figures that flirting with Sean will make him uncomfortable enough to pack his own bags and high-tail it back to his hotel apartment, neither is truly prepared for the intense feelings that surface…and boy you could feel the sparks between these two! And when they decide that “just this once” will be enough to scratch the itch, well nothing could have prepared them for just how deep their feelings for one another truly go. I really loved how they tried to commit to going back to being just best friends – but when even the knitting channel couldn’t help them get back into the friend zone “just this once” turned into “just for now”, and if Sean was going to have his way, it would turn into “just forever” – if only he can get Molly on board with that!
“Time for some negative reinforcement.” Rolling his head against the cushion to look at her, he asked, “You ready for this?”

She laughed, enjoying the return to a state of full disclosure with her best friend. “I don’t know, what are we talking about?”

Grabbing the remote, Sean scrolled through the offerings. “Brace yourself, Moll. This is going to be rough.”

A close-up of what looked like a half-finished sweater lit up the screen as a woman’s gentle lilting voice ran like nails down a blackboard, immediately drawing every muscle in Molly’s back tight. “No,” she snapped, reaching for the remote and failing when Sean’s hands planted against her forehead and the other held the remote out of reach.

“Sorry, Moll.” He laughed, fighting her off. “It’s for the greater good. Drastic times, drastic measures and all that.”

Squirming, she stuffed her bare foot into his armpit and wiggled her toes. “You sound like a girl,” she taunted at his shocked squeak. “I will not watch this knitting show. I work three jobs, Sean. My downtime is precious.”

“All the better,” he countered, dropping the remote behind the couch to catch her foot. “Every time we get a case of the wayward thoughts, we turn this shit on as punishment. Pretty soon we’ll be safely back in the land of Platonicia.”
One of the things I really enjoyed with this book was the extended cast of characters and their influence on Sean and Molly’s relationship. This is a close-knit group of friends that look out for one another and can always be counted on - even though they tend to get all up in each other’s business at times! Max’s reaction to finding out his baby sister was hooking up with his best friend was no surprise, but neither was his reaction once he calmed down and realized that who better than Sean, his best friend, to trust his baby sister with. Sean’s parents were just awful as were some of his business associates, so it was easy to see why he needed Molly to keep him grounded.

The story itself kept a good pace and the author does a nice job of bringing her characters to life. The ending for me wasn’t as tight as it could have been – I was a bit confused at first as to how things were playing out and I wish there was a bit more dialogue between Sean and Molly to wrap things up. I did enjoy the humor throughout the book – these two were a lot of fun together and had me laughing quite often.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and look forward to more in the series!

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book I received from the publisher from NetGalley.

USA Today bestselling author Mira Lyn Kelly grew up in the Chicago area and earned her degree in fine arts from Loyola University. She met the love of her life while studying abroad in Rome, Italy, only to discover he’d been living right around the corner from her. They live in rural Minnesota.

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