A new Romantic Comedy is out now from author Emma Hart—a standalone novel in a hilarious new series following three best friends and their hilariously awkward love stories—and I have an excerpt for you, as well as a chance to win a signed copy!
“Who’s won then?”
“We don’t know yet,” I said hesitantly. “We haven’t looked since you got here.”
Dad straightened the collar of his short-sleeved, white shirt and went to my side. “Well, I’ll be the independent judge and tally them up, shall I?”
“Be our guest.”
Preston jumped off the stage and came over to me. “I’m not giving you fifty bucks,” he muttered.
“You have to at least pretend.” I shrugged one shoulder. “He’s going to expect it to be done in front of him.”
He groaned. “You’re wiping the kisses off the tally, though. No cheating.”
“Only because I’m kicking your ass. You’d keep them if they were yours.” I nudged him with my elbow. “Don’t be salty.”
“That’s not what we bet.”
“I know, but it’s fun watching you lose.”
Dad slipped through the curtain to tally Preston’s kisses for the day.
“You know,” Preston said, leaning into me and turning his head so his breath tickled my cheek. “If I lose, I’m not pulling that bullshit you did yesterday.”
“Cheek kisses count. You know that.”
“I do know that, but that wasn’t what I had in mind when I challenged you.”
I swallowed the lump in my throat. “Are you telling me that you want to kiss me?”
Without meaning or wanting to, I moved my own head and met his eyes. There was barely any space between us, and all it would take would be one wobble of balance and boom—I’d be kissing him.
I adjusted my glasses and looked away before it went too far. My dad was right here, after all, and I wasn’t sure I wanted the answer to my question.
“Done!” Dad joined us in the middle of the tent. “Preston, you kissed seventy-two people today, and Halley, you kissed eighty people exactly. You win.”
I lifted my shoulders to my ears and smiled sweetly at Preston. He swore under his breath and dug in his pocket for his wallet. I took the fifty he handed me with glee and moved to deposit it in my bucket.
“Shall I add the extra five to my board, or would you like to do it?” I asked in an innocent tone.
“I’ll do it in a minute.” He smirked. “One all, then.”
Dad glanced at his watch. “I have to go—good job here, kids, you’re doing great. Halley, I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“Bye, sir,” Preston said as I tossed up a wave.
My mouth dried out when the curtain fell closed. Preston’s bright blue eyes were focused completely on me, and his lips were curved into a smirk that was far too sexy to be fair.
Something passed between us, something intangible that made my heart skip a beat.
“So. That tally.” I jumped up and scrambled to my feet, looking for the marker to add the one kiss I was owed to my board.
The wooden boards creaked as Preston joined me. My heart thumped against my ribs, and I froze when he stopped right behind me and took the marker from my hand. He didn’t move as he wrapped his arms around my upper body to uncap it.
Very slowly, very carefully, and oh-so-deliberately, he drew one line next to the running tally on the board.
I swallowed hard when he clicked the lid back on the pen. He dropped it, leaving it clattering to the floor, and moved. His chest brushed against my arm as he moved so he was standing in front of me instead.
I was staring at his chest. I couldn’t look him in the eye, because I knew what was coming.
The sooner I looked at him, the sooner it’d happen.
“I never answered your question.”
“What question?” I darted my eyes to the side.
“Just now. You asked me if I wanted to kiss you.”
I did, didn’t I? Right. “Oh,” was all I said.
Slowly, he moved his hand to my chin and gently lifted it. Still, I didn’t look at him, keeping my eyes firmly trained on the front of the tent, even though I was facing him.
“I want to kiss you.”
My eyes darted to his.
“I thought that’d do it.” His lips twitched, and he lowered his head until I had to fight the urge to close my eyes in anticipation of the kiss that was coming.
I swallowed, my lips parting.
Preston moved closer.
And he kissed my cheek.
I jerked out of whatever trance I’d just been in. “What the hell?”
He jumped off the stage, grinning. “I guess we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to break the stalemate, won’t we?”
“Oh, hell no!” I jumped off, stalking him to his side of the stage. “You just stood there in front of me and told me you want to kiss me, then kiss my cheek? The hell was that?”
His eyebrows shot up, amusement flashing in his eyes. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you wanted to kiss me, too.”
“Irrelevant,” I shot back. “But you’re a special kind of asshole to tell a girl you wanna kiss her and then not do it.” I turned around, then stopped. “You know what? When I beat you tomorrow, you can kiss my ass.”
“You’re way too mad about this.”
“I’m not mad!” My voice raised a few octaves. “I couldn’t care if you want to kiss me or not. I most certainly don’t want to kiss you.”
“Why are you shouting at me?”
“I’m not—” I was shouting at him. “Whatever,” I said in a normal voice. “Make sure you take that money to the bank. Tell Tish I sent you.”
I left him on his side of the curtain and went to get my purse. He could get fucked. After all that where I think I was so damn nervous I broke a sweat, he didn’t even kiss me.
I wasn’t lying with what I said.
He could kiss my ass.
I’d even wear my good panties and bend over for him.