Books, Writing

Fireworks & Flames — A Happily Ever Austen Excerpt #MFRWhooks

Love is a lot closer and more complicated than Marty ever dreamed.

Rash and Rationality is a modern gender-swapped friends-to-lovers Sense & Sensibility, set in a cozy bookshop.

In this excerpt, Marty’s invited Brandy to his family’s backyard party. He rescues her from an errant sparkler and starts to think maybe she’s more than just a friend.

A soft gasp had him turning. The kids found a new sacrifice to their fire god, poor Brandy trying to blow out the sparklers they held near her face.

She gave it her all, her cheeks puffing out like a chipmunk’s for air. But it was all for nothing. The kids giggled like mad, demanding she try harder, and damned if she didn’t answer that call.

Oh shit! Marty dashed forward and drew back her hair. Her profile pivoted to him for a second, before the kids shook their sparklers closer. “You looked about to turn into a sparkler yourself, there,” he said, to explain why he was holding her hair.

God, it was so soft. He rested his hand right above the nape of her neck, her mahogany hair lying in his palm. The longer he stared, the more distracted he became by the glisten of her dark locks as she moved. An urge to bunch up the ends and tickle them over his face walloped him in the back of his head. What?

“Thanks. I’d look terrible bald,” Brandy said, between huffs and puffs.

He twisted to the side and stared her up and down. At first, it was just to try and visualize her without her mass of hair, but his gaze found its way down through her cleavage, which even one of those lacy undershirts couldn’t hide. Coughing, Marty said, “I think you could pull it off.”

Gah! Realizing what he was doing, he turned to the kids and shouted, “Okay, you little terrors. That’s enough. Go find someone else to torture.”

They pouted but scampered at his command. “I swear, I don’t have nephews and nieces, but demons with access to incendiaries.” Marty released his hold, watching the waves fall back to rest across her naked shoulders. There was probably a strap there, but he couldn’t see it through her forest of hair. Or maybe he didn’t want to.

She smiled at him and rolled her hands through the thick locks. “They’re just having fun.”

“Do you like kids?” he asked, completely out of the blue. Obviously it was to her, as she stumbled back a step, but to him as well. He’d never brought up kids with her before because…it didn’t matter. To their job—not many little kids hung out in a dusty old bookstore without any fun coloring books or dinosaurs.

“I do,” Brandy admitted, her hair combing slowing down. “I mean, I always wanted to have a couple. Maybe three. But…”

Her pause turned into a cliff with Marty dangling off the edge. Shit, why did he ask about that? The urge to apologize, to try to joke about how Eldon was under the microscope with their mother, danced through his head. But he knew that’d only make her feel worse. Brandy drifted her head down and tapped a toe into the ground.

She needed someone to talk to. To listen to her. To hold her and tell her everything would be okay.

“I should go check on Janeth.” He chickened out.

Not even a sign of pain lingered on her face as she gazed at him. “Yes, of course. Keep her away from the fire hazards too.” She smiled as if gritting through a chipped tooth and Marty turned away.

He caught sight of Janeth moving on past the churro photoshoot to the cake. Before he left Brandy, he said, “I’ve always wanted kids, too.”

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