Having it all is a fantasy, right?
Carrie Shelton thought her boyfriend was too good to be true. Her best friend's brother? A guy who loved antiquing? Who cuddled on the couch while watching foodie YouTube clips and talking about artisanal spices? Who helped her accessorize her outfits?
So when he ran off with Kevin, the owner of an antique shop, right before his sister’s wedding, Carrie’s life went from fantasy to nightmare.
As maid of honor, she can’t back out of the wedding. And her ex is the best man - but now he has his own best man.
She needs a date. Stat.
Enter Ryan. Sure, he’s a hot male stripper at the O Spa where she works as junior designer, but he’s a few years younger and just, you know -- a friend.
Perfect. She needs a friend more than she needs a boyfriend.
A weekend of playing her boyfriend so she can save face is a lot to ask, but for some reason Carrie doesn't understand, Ryan's all in. Enthusiastic, even.
Especially when it comes to physical displays of affection.
Public kisses turn to private confessions, and pretty soon, Carrie can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality.
Because if Ryan's just pretending he's in love with her, then why does the chemistry between them -- and between the sheets -- feel so real?
Carrie can't settle for almost, though. She's already done that. She's not putting her life on hold anymore.
Turns out Ryan won't, either.
He's holding out for more.
Thank You For Holding is a STANDALONE in the On Hold series. You do not need to have read book 1 in the series, Our Options Have Changed, but after reading about Carrie and Ryan’s friends-to-lovers adventure, you’ll want to. ;)
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When I wake up, the room is quiet. The kind of quiet that lets you know you are completely alone. I squint at my phone and see it’s 8:15 in the morning.
Where is he? His side of the bed has been slept in, but I don’t remember him next to me. Last I recall, he was standing at the window, back turned, mind elsewhere as I undressed just a few feet away.
“He slept next to me all night and never even touched me,” I whisper slowly, trying to make sense of what’s happening.
And what’s happening is: nothing.
Of course. That’s the deal. It’s pretend. Right?
It’s hard to focus my eyes, but I type out a text: hey good morning all good?
Please let him appear with a life-support-size coffee. Please. I close my eyes and visualize him standing by the bed in sweaty running clothes, holding out a giant steaming cup and smiling down at me. Like at O, only better.
Nothing happens. I visualize harder.
Jamey used to bring me coffee in bed in the morning. I would smell it before I even opened my eyes. You know those articles that always come up online? “Ten Ways to Know Your Partner Truly Loves You”? I always read every single one, and we always got a perfect score.
He brings you coffee in bed? Check (although I was in bed and he wasn’t)
He always kisses you goodnight? Check (although it was just a kiss)
He gives you affectionate little touches? Check (although only in public)
Perfect score, 10 = Total Denial. Congratulations.
Next time I fall in love, if there is a next time, I am going to be completely aware of what’s going on, right from the start. I swear I will never be fooled again. I will learn from experience. I will know the real thing when I see it, when I feel it.
About Julia Kent
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men's room toilet (and he isn't a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three sons in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down.
About Elisa Reed
Elisa Reed is a journalist-turned-fiction-writer whose snappy, irreverent prose combines with an irrepressible zest for the simpler, and often intimate, pleasures of life to produce fun(ny) contemporary romance with a focus on second chances. New England born and bred, Elisa Reed now lives, writes, and plays in New Orleans and along the sugar sands of the Gulf Coast.