An Interview with ‘Taste for Love’s’ Carlos Ortíz!


/əˈnɪgmə/ [uh-nig-muh]

noun, plural e·nig·mas; Chiefly Archaic , e·nig·ma·ta /əˈnɪgmətə/ Spelled [uh-nig-muh-tuh]

1. a puzzling or inexplicable occurrence or situation: His disappearance is an enigma that has given rise to much speculation.

2. a person of puzzling or contradictory character: To me he has always been an enigma, one minute completely insensitive, the next moved to tears.


Of all the people I met in Tia Kelly’s book, ‘Playing for Love’, the enigma, the one who intrigued me most was Carlos Ortiz. Strong, silent, terse to the point of tactless … but still, incredibly sexy, Carlos had me convinced for a while that Paige was a very, very foolish woman not to snap him up when she had a chance.

Until I realized that temperamentally, they were completely wrong for each other.

But then I wondered, ‘what kind of woman would be right for Carlos, then?’ Thank goodness I get to find that out in ‘Taste for Love’. But before reading the book, I thought it might be interesting to try to break down that steely reserve that makes Carlos the man he is, see whether I might get under his skin a little bit. So Tia Kelly consented to having him sit in the hot seat for minute and answer a few questions about life, Paige and maybe even … love.

So Carlos, let’s go right for the big elephant in the room. You’ve been extremely close to Paige for a long time, and yet romance never developed between you two. Why do you think that was?

We were always better off as friends. I’ll be the first to admit Paige is gorgeous and a beautiful person on the inside, too. She’d be any man’s dream. But from day one she and I connected like brother and sister and that’s where we remained for the most part. Besides, Paige deserved more than what I was into giving back then. I’m happy to see she finally got it.

But interestingly, you never really seemed to develop a ‘romance’ of any kind with anyone else either. Why not?

Never was interested. I didn’t have the time to give a woman long term with my career playing pro baseball. I grew up watching enough happen in my own family to see it takes a lot to make a relationship work. I used to believe that it was always better not to even get caught up in something that was bound to fail.

Has your relationship with Paige changed since she got married?

Not really. I’m still there for her and I know she has my back. Of course she and I don’t spend a lot of time together like we used to, but nothing’s changed. Not where it matters.

How about your relationship with Kenneth? It was strained there for a minute. Has it been repaired?

KW and I will always be cool. He’ll always be my boy.

Okay, let’s get away from the tough topics for a second and talk about more neutral topics. You’re a pretty serious guy, a little unapproachable at times. What makes you laugh?

Unapproachable? *shrug* If you say so. I just don’t like a lot of bullshit… sorry I probably shouldn’t have said that. I have a big sense of humor and love to laugh all the time, but I guess one has to know me to get to see that side of me. My daughter and I play pranks on people all the time.

What makes you sad?

*shrug* I don’t know.

What makes you mad?

When people lie or hurt others.

Enough of the easy stuff. Back to the tough topics. Have you ever been in love?

In the past no.

You’ve been linked to some pretty beautiful women. What kind of woman would it take to tempt you to settle down with just one?

She’d have to have patience and be understanding of who I am, where I am in my life. Love and accept my daughter, knowing I’m a father first. Someone that has her own thing going but would have room for me in her life.

Describe the best day you’ve ever had.

When my little girl got to hear for the first time. I think hearing her own voice scared her at first, but after while she was just so mesmerized by every little thing she heard. She still is.

Describe the worst.

When I almost lost my best friend.

And one final question. Purely hypothetical of course. If it was up to you where you would be a year from today and what you would be doing? And who would be there with you?

TFL civerGood question. I have an idea, but I like to keep some aspects of my life private. Sorry. But I will say if it happens I’ll be happy just like the woman that’ll be beside me.

Thanks for stopping by Carlos. I know this was probably excruciating for you. You’ve earned the distinction of being the least forthvoming interview subject I’ve ever had on my blog! Had you been otherwise, you wouldn’t have been … Carlos, I guess. But seriously, though, I appreciate this tiny peek into the window of your mind.

And just like I promised, I didn’t even breathe a word about a certain someone. Which was easy, since I know I’ll get to read all about it in ‘Taste for Love’!

And since it’s clear Carlos is givin’ us nothin’ I’m going to give you something. Two random commenters to this post will win copies of ‘Taste For Love’!

Happy Reading!


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“The Trouble With Love: Meet the Characters”

Trouble with LoveHi!  I’m Christina Jones, the author of “The Trouble With Love”.

This book is a story of love lost, then gained, through a series of not-so-pleasant events.

As I write, I like to have a visual in my head of each character.  Today, I want to let you guys into my head and show them to you, along with a little info on each character, and a short snippet from each one. The images are only for visual inspiration!

2610b142074f11e2a7ed22000a1e9bdc_7Cameron – The reserved sister.  She knows how to have fun, but she’d mostly rather spend her time quietly, with friends or family.  Cameron is the creator and owner of Sugar & Spice magazine, a sexy, modern publication for women of color.

Kyle laughed as he took off his shoes, then climbed into the bed beside her, taking care to leave her plenty of space.  “So what do you want to talk about?”

“I want to talk about the shard of glass that seems to have embedded itself in my butt cheek. Can you see if you can get it?”

“Any excuse to show your ass, huh?”  Kyle lifted a small corner of her robe to look at the place she indicated.  “Yeah, you’re bleeding a little. I’ll get you fixed up.”

A few minutes later, Cameron was glass-free, and Kyle was gently placing a bandage over the spot.  “You want me to kiss it, make it feel better?”

“Kissing my ass isn’t necessary… but you can kiss me.”

dutchess-1Jai – The relaxed sister…until provoked.  Jai is laid back, but not afraid to speak her mind, even when it may be better to not. She is fiercely protective of the people she loves.  Jai is owner and head chef at Honeybee, a trendy restaurant that serves what she likes to call ‘casual’ gourmet.

This wasn’t a good idea.  This is a bad, bad, bad, idea.

            Jai stared at herself in the mirror again, wondering how she had allowed Rashad to talk her into wearing lingerie for this photo shoot for Sugar & Spice.  Well, it hadn’t only been him.  Cameron thought it was a ‘fun’ idea as well, so Jai was preparing herself go back out into the now-empty kitchen in nothing but the lacy white boy shorts and bra her sister had chosen.  Oh, and a black chef’s coat.  She was going to be posing on a stainless steel counter in lingerie and a chef’s coat.

This is a bad idea.

A knock on the office door startled her, causing her to stumble on the hot pink stilettos she wore.

Bad idea.

Now for the men, which is the tricky part! I can’t take away the fun of finding out who ends up with who when you read the book, so we’re just gonna go with some very short descriptions here!

download (1)Kyle – Cameron’s fiancé. Financial advisor/investor. All-around good guy… or not. :)

He skimmed his fingertips along her thighs, only hesitating to ask her about the time before he turned her onto her back, burying his head between them.  Even this was an expression of care. He’d already slept through his alarm, and had only been taking an extra “five minutes” when Cameron woke him up. He was nearly obsessive about punctuality, yet he was willing to risk being late to satisfy her need.  When it came to her, selflessness seemed to be second nature. Making her happy was as easy to him as breathing, and as Cameron struggled to find her own breath, she hoped that she could give him even a fraction of the peace and sanity that he brought her daily.

tumblr_n096fjxWoH1qlk98wo1_1280Brian – Jai’s best friend of over a decade. Manager and chef at Honeybee.  Good-natured and flirty… maybe a little too flirty.

Brian stepped back to give her a playful bow, before turning back to his prep work.  “You know I’ll cook for you any time Jai.  The question is, when am I gonna get a taste of you?” Jai’s eyes went wide as she looked up at her handsome best friend. Warm brown skin and perfectly groomed black hair that led into a perfectly groomed goatee.  Jai knew from experience that his body was solid and firm.

Damn he’s fine.

Jai turned away, heat rushing to her cheeks as she processed what he said.

“I see you over there blushing, girl. Relax.  I meant a taste of your food.”  He immediately followed that statement with a wink that contradicted it, giving Jai a playful swat on the butt as she exited the kitchen.

jay-ellis Rashad – Jai’s neighbor. Man-whore on the prowl.

Just the person I wanted to see, Rashad thought as he spotted Jai in the lobby of their building.  She looked good, he observed, just like she always did, in riding boots, dark jeans that fit her like a second skin, and a thick white sweater.

“Jai!” he called out, almost hesitantly.  He was enjoying his view from behind her, and wasn’t in a hurry to have it taken away.  She stopped, her locs swinging behind her in a long ponytail as she turned.

“Hey Rashad.” She smiled, a sight that always made Rashad’s heart pump a little faster.  He was used to doing the charming, not the other way around.  The thing was, Jai wasn’t even trying.  After he closed the distance between them, he hugged her, a liberty he took as often as possible since she didn’t seem to mind.  Today, he kept his hands a respectable distance from her backside, giving her a slight squeeze before he released her from his embrace.

images (1) Derek – Physical Therapist. Laid-back, plenty of patience, even when people are being ridiculous.

Derek should have stayed home.  He knew he shouldn’t have agreed to this meeting. He knew it. Yet, there he was, sitting across from Jessica at a table while she cried her eyes out over… whatever the hell Derek had done this time, even though they were no longer together.  He shook his head. Jessica was an expert at turning on the waterworks to get her way, but not this time.

He shot an apologetic smile to the group of women eyeing him from the next table, no doubt wondering exactly how much of a jerk he had been to make such a pretty girl cry so hard.  He could practically see the wheels turning in their heads as they scowled in his direction.  Still, he wasn’t giving in.  No matter what Jessica did, or threatened to do, he would offer no apologies, no comfort, nothing.  Once she realized that tears weren’t working, she would switch tactics, and maybe then she would finally get to the real reason why she had called and asked Derek to have lunch.

download (2) Will – EMT. A pretty no-nonsense guy with a soft spot for one of the sisters.

Will woke up with a jolt.  At first, he thought the loud banging was coming from the TV, which playing the same bass-filled tune over and over as the DVD’s menu screen repeated it’s opening sequence. Grabbing the remote, he switched it off.  He hadn’t been home very long.

After his shift, he had gone home and showered, then ordered way more Chinese food than anyone needed in one night.  He ate, then settled on his couch to watch a movie.  Anything to keep his mind off of Cameron and her faint scent of citrus and vanilla.  And those long, perfect legs.  And those lush, juicy lips that he had almost gotten to taste.  He made a mental note to foul Derek hard next time they were on the basketball court.  It was his damn fault that Jai had been there.  Who knows what would have happened if she hadn’t been there?

Maybe nothing.  Or maybe that night would have set the precedent for him to fall asleep in front of the TV with his hands full of Cameron, instead of a remote.

So there you have it, my MVCs (Most valuable characters) from ‘The Trouble With Love’!

You can purchase The Trouble With Love on Amazon.

I can be found at my blog, Being Mrs. Jones, on twitter @beingmrsjones, or on Facebook.

If you’re a fan, you can join my mailing list for updates and giveaways by clicking here!

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~The Butterfly Memoirs Tour: ‘Lonely Heart’~

BannerMJ Kane Tour

Decisions from the Past…


What I love most about writing Women’s Fiction is the ability to focus on a theme and build on it, exploring the reality of life – the good and the bad. It’s putting my characters through an emotional gambit and allowing readers to empathize and root for them as they fight their way to happiness. But, Women’s Fiction isn’t just about romance. It’s about relationships with friends and family. It’s about a woman’s struggle to succeed in her career. It’s about sacrificing to please those around her, yet fighting for what she really wants. It’s about self-discovery. It’s about love.

The consequences of past decisions can ruin your future. 

This statement is the catalyst for events faced by the heroine in the latest release of The Butterfly Memoirs Series, Lonely Heart.

Kaitlyn Rodgers is at a crossroad. She’s six months pregnant and estranged from the father of her child. An offer for the job of her dreams sits on the table, and her younger sister has moved in with her in hopes of escaping her own troubled past. Resigned to raising her child alone, Kaitlyn befriends her mechanic, Antonio Rodriguez. As their relationship grows, so does love, the one thing she figured would never happen again. But, as life would have it, secrets that were meant to be hidden come to light. And when those consequences threaten to ruin not only her life, but also the lives of the ones she holds dear, decisions must be made. Making the wrong one will ruin everything.


“Why can’t I get this right?”

I threw down my pencil and tossed the costume sketch aside. The first meeting with the costume department of my new job was one week away. For the past week, I had taken notes from the information provided by the director. I had a week to create a theme for the cast’s wardrobe for the show’s opening sequence. My ideas would in turn be relayed to my team.

From there we would hit the ground running.

I read the script for the pilot and the first three episodes. Each scene was broken down by characters and action in the scene to determine what wardrobe would be needed. That included everything from shoes to nose rings.

Then came scouring the used wardrobe department for items or costumes that could be recycled before shopping for new ones.

I assisted my previous boss with this type of detail so this was nothing new. The only problem was being unfamiliar with the new set, studio, and members on my team.

Add the fact I no longer followed the vision of someone else…

The thought unnerved me.

Now it was my vision, my interpretation of what the show’s writers and producers wanted.

Everyone would be looking at me for direction. Talk about stress.

A high pitched cry came from the corner of my room. My attention immediately went to the crib.

How in the hell could I lead a team of experienced adults, when I couldn’t appease my three month old daughter?

Chloe bawled, her legs kicking and arms flailing. For the past hour, I did everything in my power to help her feel better, but nothing worked. A diaper rash irritated her beyond belief. The cream wasn’t working fast enough. The little relief it provided did nothing for the fact my daughter didn’t want to lay in the crib, she wanted to be in my arms. With my deadline approaching, I didn’t have time to pamper her.

Frustrated beyond belief, I yelled. Her cries mixed with my own.

I hated myself, failed my daughter, and realized I was not the person for the job…either of them.

Every decision made in the last year culminated into one big disaster.

I pulled myself together and walked over to the crib. My red faced baby now cried so much her voice was hoarse. Chloe calmed and turned her head to my breast the instant she was in my arms, wanting to suckle. It wasn’t from hunger because she’d been fed an hour ago. I slipped the pacifier into her mouth. Not wanting it, she spit it back out, her tiny lip trembling as she worked up another cry.

How in the world could I possibly balance being a mom, my new job, and anything else life threw my way?

It was too late to change my past. I could only deal with the repercussions of my decisions.

I refused to end up like my mother. I would not become the emotionally fucked up woman who withdrew from her daughter and gave up on life. Giving up on everything would mean leaving Chloe alone for the rest of her life.

No siblings. No mother. No father.

Luke, the arrogant asshole.

I didn’t inform him of his daughter’s birth until we were discharged from the hospital. With my medical issues up in the air, the last thing I needed was additional stress brought on by whatever his reaction would be. Since then, he’d only visited her twice.

Once he came with flowers. He appeared uncomfortable and didn’t stay long. The next time, he came with a box of diapers and gave me fifty dollars as if she was someone else’s baby.

Money meant nothing. Right now, Luke needed to be her father. Needless to say, the second visit had been as brief as the first.

We hadn’t talked since.

My daughter’s life was screwed up and it was my fault.

Unable to contain my emotions, my tears started mixing in with my baby’s.



Look for the The Butterfly Memoirs Series and the latest release, Lonely Heart!

Autumn landscapeInstead of planning her wedding, Kaitlyn Rodgers is facing motherhood alone, the pressures of a new job, and caring for her rebellious younger sister. What should have been the happiest time of her life turns into one stressful event after another.


After watching his father struggle to raise a family by himself, auto mechanic Antonio Rodriguez refuses to follow his father’s footsteps…even if it means a lifetime of loneliness.


When Kaitlyn’s car breaks down, though, Antonio goes beyond auto repairs to take care of her needs. An unexpected friendship begins, allowing them a glimpse of happiness…until the father of Kaitlyn’s child returns, ready to offer her marriage and a future. But at what cost?


Amazon     B&N    iTunes    Smashwords    All Romance    5 Prince Publishing

M.J. is giving away an ebook copy of Lonely Heart! Enter the Rafflecopter contest for your chance to win! Contest ends April 1st!



About the Author:

MJ KaneM.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this stay at home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free. Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Website   Twitter     Facebook   Pinterest    Instagram  Google+      Goodreads    Linkedin    Email

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Afterburn cover2a


Chris Scaife is not the man Robyn Crandall thought he was. Now that Robyn’s shown him the possibility of a new life, Chris wants it. And he’s used to getting what he wants. But Robyn is seeing some possibilities of her own, as a highly-valued member of the legal team at Chris’ multimillion dollar corporation.

Just as he’s given her the confidence to soar, will Chris try to clip her wings?

Once an unapologetic bachelor and distant father, Chris Scaife is now a different man. Engaged to Robyn Crandall, a woman whose love he never thought he could have—or deserve—Chris wants a wedding to happen, and happen soon. But Robyn’s plans are quite different from that.

Will the very same things that drew them together wind up driving them apart?

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COVER REVEAL: ‘Love Redeemed’ the conclusion of the ‘Love’s Improbable Possibility’ series by Love Belvin!

Book 4 CoverLove Redeemed – the conclusion of the of the Love’s Improbable Possibility series:

Life’s complicated…

Life’s not fair

All is fair in love and war…

You ever wonder what events led up to an individual’s inability to trust? Love Lost starts off by peeling back layers of a young girl who experienced the loss of essential, reliable and nurturing love.

Rayna Brimm, hailing from an inner-city in New Jersey, survives a series of betrayal and loss only to forge forward in self-preservation and obtain an education in North Carolina. After receiving her degree, vowing never return home, she finds herself in California where she tries to build a self-contained life. She made a personal declaration to get through life without further dependence on others in order to avoid yet another heartbreak. Only, fate said otherwise.

Enter Azmir Jacobs, a tall, dark, handsome and very wealthy man, who has street credibility and executive power in the corporate world. Azmir has money, power and beautiful women at his beck and call, but only one woman has caught his eye. The resilient Rayna Brimm, a woman whose dysfunctional upbringing contributes towards her tough skin, issues with trust and a deep-seated fear to love, turns out to be more than he bargained for when he discovered her in his boardroom presenting a leasing proposal.

Rayna isn’t the only one with a checkered past. Can Azmir conceal his convoluted life long enough to prove that he can provide Rayna the stable and reliable love that she clearly needs and deserves? Or will his lofty lifestyle and endless resources scare her away?

Find out in this riveting conclusion how Rayna reconciles her inability to trust and willingness to explore love in ways she thought she wasn’t worthy of. See love redeemed for someone who thought it was not in the cards. Also, experience Azmir’s lessons on love, forgiveness, and acceptance as his world is transformed to include a life partner.

Love Redeemed coming in April…

And as if the book isn’t enough of a gift, for a chance to win some great prizes, including an Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card enter here!

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I’m not often without words, but I was when I saw this book trailer made by one of my best reader-friends, Deloris and posted on my wall! Loved it so much I had to share.

Click on the image below to see an AMAZING homage to ‘Mistress’ and ‘Wife’, two books I was surprised to enjoy writing as much as I did.



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SAMPLE SUNDAY: From ‘Afterburn’ — coming April 2014


“So how are Robyn and the baby?” Karen asked.

The same question, asked by his eldest son’s mother, Sheryl, would have come with an ulterior motive, but Karen wasn’t like that. Chris looked at her. She was still pretty, and had given Jasmin the same perfectly-shaped mouth, perky little nose and large eyes. But now Karen was a little more of a comfortably upper middle-class suburban Mom, and less the unsophisticated young woman she’d been when they first met.

She was curvier, carrying about ten or fifteen extra pounds and her hair, once almost waist-length was now in a short bob below her ears; once almost pitch-black, now colored auburn. And she wore much less make-up, blending in with the women in this small, affluent town who knew how to tastefully enhance their appearance without being showy about it.

Today Karen wore a pair of jeans and a light summer sweater with Chanel flats, her once slender figure, a little less so. Over her shoulder was a Balenciaga hobo and in her right hand, she jingled the keys to the new Audi SUV Chris had bought her just that year.

“Robyn and the baby are good,” Chris said unlocking his car, preparing to get in.

He didn’t like talking to either Karen or Sheryl about Robyn even in passing, thinking it insensitive to belabor the fact that he was engaged to her when he’d never even considered such a step with either of them. Karen in particular had to be curious about Robyn because after all, she had loved and lived with Chris for years before their break-up, had borne him two children, and yet he had never once even hinted at wanting to make her his wife.

Sheryl was married now herself, so—even though she was probably cheating on the poor bastard—she probably didn’t care as much as Karen might.

“Are you ever going to introduce us?” Karen asked, keeping her voice light. “Jas talks about her all the time, so I know she’s probably a wonderful …”

“Yeah, sometime maybe. I better go. Traffic.”

Karen sighed. “Okay. Kaden wanted to see you, but I don’t suppose you have time to stop by the house. He’s with the sitter.”

“Wish I could, but I have a conference call that I need to get home for. He’s coming with Jas this weekend, right?’

Karen nodded. “Right.”

“Good, so I’ll see him then. Tell him I said I miss him, okay?”

Kaden was only six. His younger son was the sensitive one. The one who cried when he left, who told him every single time he was on the phone, “I miss you, Daddy,” in that sweet, baby voice he was just beginning to grow out of.

“Okay, well next time maybe you can build in a little more time,” Karen said.

She was lingering by the open door of his car as he got in, and Chris sensed that there was something more she wanted to say.

“You a’ight?” he asked on a whim. “Everything cool otherwise?”

“Hector and I broke up,” Karen said suddenly. She pursed her lips and shook her head. “Which shouldn’t be a huge surprise. But anyway …”

Chris paused with one leg in the car, one still resting on the pavement outside. He and Karen had never been ‘friends’. Not throughout their relationship and not now. Then, she had been too much in awe of him to become a confidante, too … grateful that he’d chosen her. Her humility, Chris had later come to think of as low self-esteem, and a general lack of confidence.

Every day that they were together, Karen seemed to have been thinking: thank you for choosing me, thank you, thank you. After a while it almost literally made him sick. Even while he cheated on her, didn’t come home, forgot important milestones, her attitude was thank you, thank you …When he’d finally gotten the guts to end it, after their son was born, it was a relief. The weight of her unjustified adoration and of his shame for treating her in a manner she did not deserve had been too heavy.

And now? Now, they were very cordial strangers, raising children together. Or rather, she was raising them and he participated when asked. Though he was trying to get better and paid all the bills, she still carried the lion’s share of the parental responsibility and never hinted to him about how hard that might be, or what impact it had on other parts of her life. So her talking about her relationship to him was something new, and something he wasn’t too sure how to handle.

“Why isn’t it a huge surprise?” Chris asked. “You’re a great woman, Karen. Any guy…”

“When a man walks into a situation like mine, where I’m being taken care of by my ex, and he knows he can’t do the same … well, it wears on a relationship. Hector saw the Audi and …” She shrugged. “He doesn’t understand, I guess. And he doesn’t believe that you would do all that when there’s nothing between us anymore. Or maybe he knows there’s nothing between us but still can’t handle y’know, who you are. Who the hell knows?”

“I’m sorry,” Chris said, because he didn’t know what else to say.

But at least this Hector guy sounded a lot better than Sheryl’s husband, who for months after they were married was content to live in a house and drive a car that Chris paid for.

“Not your fault.” Karen looked down at her shoes and then up at him again, shaking her head. “I guess I just need to find a stronger man, that’s all.”

For a moment, the silence between them was heavy.

“You know, you’re still young. You could go back to school or something. I’d take care of the tuition.”

“Back to school?” Karen laughed a short bark. “And do what? I was never that good at school to begin with. So I’d what? Be a beautician? Run a clothing boutique?”

Chris shrugged. “Whatever you want, Karen.”

Now he just wanted to get the hell away. He didn’t have time for Karen’s identity crisis right now. He had a crisis of his own brewing. Between Karen and Sheryl who between them hadn’t an ounce of ambition, and Robyn who had maybe too much, Chris wasn’t sure which was worse. All he knew was that his woman was chomping at the bit to run off to Paris for almost a year without him, and he was stuck in a middle-school parking lot trying to be a goddamn career counselor.

“Sometimes I wonder whether it would just be easier,” Karen said, her eyes meeting his.

“Whether what would be easier?” Chris put his other leg in the car, put the key in the ignition.

“For you and me to still, you know,” Karen said.

Chris froze.

“Because then I would have a man. Or at least part of one.”

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