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Laura Bennett has spent her life taking care of other people and running the Dip and Twist. Happily spending her time being single and carefree, she has no intention of settling down or falling in love. With an ever-growing family, she’s a mother to them all, and she loves every minute of it. But her baby is getting married, and her oldest has her own life changes she’s dealing with. Suddenly, being all alone doesn’t sound so appealing anymore.

Dean Campbell has been the black sheep of his family since the day he was born. The only one he cares about is his nephew, Palmer. Deciding at the last minute to attend Palmer’s nuptials, Dean knows he’s going to need to try his hardest not to be his usual, grouchy self. He doesn’t like people, and he really doesn’t like weddings. But the sexy and sassy mother-of-the-bride has him wanting to check Plus-One on his invite. He’s never had more fun getting under someone’s skin, and it doesn’t take long for all the people, noise, and chaos that surround Laura Bennett to become a few of his favorite things.

Laura thinks a fun wedding fling is just what the doctor ordered to get her out of this funk. But Dean’s been sprinkled with Shepherd’s glitter and the magic of Summersweet Island. He’ll do whatever it takes to convince her that, with this fling, she just might change her mind about falling in love again.


EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: With This Fling

Tara Sivec

Expected Release Date: 25 April 2022

Book Series: 

Tara Sivec is taking us back to Summersweet Island series with another hilarious Romantic Comedy, out next week, and I have an awesome sneak peek for you.

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Excerpt

“Here’s a brand-new idea,” Wren says, turning back to face me after handing the customer their sundae and giving them their change. “Instead of bringing some random, young guy to the wedding who calls everyone ‘bruh’ and owns ten Nirvana T-shirts even though he wouldn’t be able to name one Nirvana song if his life depended on it, how about you bring an actual adult. Someone with a 401K, who can do math in his head without the calculator app on his phone, who doesn’t get all of his world event knowledge by checking to see what hashtag is trending, and who can read cursive handwriting. Someone with potential, who you have things in common with and could maybe see yourself falling in love with.”

Butterflies start flapping around in a panic in my stomach, even though my daughter just basically insulted me and my dating choices. Pressing my hand against it, I shake my head at Wren as she walks by me to go to the industrial fridge against the back wall to put away the milk she grabbed for a shake.

“Yeah, not gonna happen.” I laugh uncomfortably. “You know I don’t do love. I’m too old for that nonsense anyway. I much prefer quick, meaningless sex with a man whose name I don’t have to worry about remembering the next morning. Love is definitely not on the menu.”

And this is why you aren’t happy with your life anymore, even though you say you are.

Wren rolls her eyes at me, and I roll my eyes at the stupid voice in my head. When she nudges her chin at me as she shuts the fridge door, indicating there’s a customer at the window behind me, I’m thankful this conversation is put on hold for a moment. Turning around, I paste a big smile on my face.

“Welcome to the Dip and Twist. What can I get you?”

“Not quite sure I want anything, now that I know love isn’t on the menu.”

 The long silence that follows that cheeky statement would be awkward if I weren’t already dying a thousand deaths that someone overheard what I said to Wren.

The owner of the deep, raspy voice moves out from the shadows to stand in front of the open serving window. As soon as his eyes meet mine with the glow of florescent lighting from under the awning surrounding him, it feels like I just got the wind knocked out of me. It takes a few seconds for me to remember how to breathe while I just stand here staring at him.

“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to eavesdrop,” he says, the corner of his mouth tipping up until I can see a dimple peeking through his facial hair, making my stupid heart flutter in my chest, even though it’s obvious he’s not sorry at all.

I honestly don’t know what the hell is happening right now. The man looking at me with a smirk on his face and a twinkle in his brown eyes is probably a few years older than me, going by the salt-and-pepper coloring in his trimmed facial hair, a few white strands in the dark-brown, wavy hair he’s got pushed back from his face, and the crow’s feet around his eyes that look like they’ve seen some shit.

I am not turned on by Jeffrey Dean Morgan lookalikes. Guys with tattoos up and down their muscled arms, weathered skin from working outside, and rough hands from doing manual labor. Even though no one can argue men like this are ridiculously hot, they still look like they’re closer to retirement than me and would rather settle down and take a nap than go out and have fun.

Nope. No way. Never gonna happen. Older men do absolutely nothing for me except leave me alone with two daughters to raise.

Wren is right. We all have issues, and I’m the leader of the pack and the worst role model ever. I honestly don’t understand how my daughters turned out relatively normal or why anyone ever takes my advice.

“But seriously, is love really not on the menu? Because that sure would be a shame. And I’ll take two scoops of mint chocolate chip in a cone, please.”

When I have to clench my thighs together with every word out of his mouth, because suddenly the word scoops sounds sexy in that deep, gravelly voice, I let out a little huff. Then I remember I’m a business owner and have to be nice to people who want to spend money here, even if their lame attempts at flirting are annoying.

“Sugar cone or cake cone?” I ask, trying not to grit my teeth, choosing to ignore the “love” comment from the rude eavesdropper.

He takes a moment to consider his options, his eyes locked right on mine, making it hard to look away. For some ridiculous reason, my heart starts pounding faster, and after a few quiet seconds, he grins at me again.

“Oh, I definitely want some sugar.”

I ignore the flush I can feel warming my cheeks, blaming it on a hot flash instead of the way this man just looked at me like he’d rather take a bite out of me than an ice cream cone.

“Coming right up,” I chirp in my best customer service voice and with my best fake smile.

Turning away, my feet stutter a little, wondering where in the hell my daughter suddenly disappeared to. Of course she leaves me alone now. Grabbing a cone from the dispenser on the wall as I go, I walk over to the chest freezer, lifting the lid and bending down inside. I fill this tourist’s order as quickly as possible, so he can go away and I can start feeling normal again. It’s definitely the wedding that’s got me feeling so out of sorts. Someone should have warned me being the mother of the bride might possibly make me crazier than the actual bride.

When I get the cone piled with mint chocolate chip, slam the lid of the freezer closed, and walk back to the window, the man has his hands casually shoved in the front pockets of his jeans. His eyes track my every movement, watching me grab a few napkins to wrap them around the cone, walk over to tap in the price on the register, and then step back to the open serving window.

Now, my heated skin is suddenly breaking out in goose bumps, and I’m feeling all nervous and jittery with his eyes on me. I’m not blind. Even if he is a few years older than me, he’s still a very attractive man. He’s just not my type, and my body needs to get that damn memo already. I get hit on by plenty of tourists from young to old. They’re a dime a dozen every summer, thinking they can give me a few compliments and the poor, small-town, middle-aged woman will jump at the attention and into their bed. They think my life is so boring on this island that I’ll be blinded by their fake charm and not realize what huge jerks they actually are.

It’s annoying. Been there, done that, got two living, breathing souvenirs as a result. And the way this guy won’t stop staring at me is annoying too.

“Have we met before?” I finally ask him, wondering if maybe he’s been to the Dip and Twist in the past and expects me to remember him or something.

We get thousands of tourists every season. The chance of me remembering him is slim to none, no matter how good-looking he is. Handing him the cone, I ignore the little shiver that tries to work its way through me when his fingers brush against mine. I grit my teeth and ignore it again when they graze my open palm as he places exact change in my hand.

“I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure I’d remember meeting you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I bristle when his stupid, sexy voice suddenly sounds annoyed with me for some reason.

He rests his free hand on the ledge, leaning closer to the open window and to me with a completely serious look on his face.

“Sugar, I was a teenager the last time a woman made my dick hard just by watching her bend over to get ice cream out of a freezer. You’d definitely be someone I wouldn’t forget.”

Well then….

“And you’ve got a killer smile… even if it was fake,” he adds, and my stomach drops right into my toes, then he gives me a nod as he starts backing away from the window. “Have a good night. Thanks for the ice cream.”

With that, he turns and walks away, bringing the cone up to his mouth as he goes. And I absolutely do not stare at his perfect ass in those tight jeans as he walks down the sidewalk until the darkness swallows him up like he was a figment of my depraved imagination.

Unfortunately, I am not imagining the fact that a random tourist just made my underwear melt right off inside my jean shorts by saying something so blunt to me. At least he didn’t overhear the part about me wanting meaningless sex and not having to remember a guy’s name. I can only take so much mortification in one evening.

“I choose him.”

Wren’s quiet, dreamy voice from right behind me makes me jump, and I curse myself that I taught my daughter the art of sneaking up on your children to see what kind of shit they’re getting into. She’s not allowed to use that against me.

“Choose him for what? And where the hell did you conveniently disappear to?”

“Just wanted to give you some time alone with my new daddy. Yum!” Wren wags her eyebrows at me.

“Wren Elizabeth Bennett!” I scold, swatting the side of her arm. “I’m going to tell your fiancé you’re lusting after another man.”

She just laughs as we both start cleaning up and shutting down for the night. “Nope, just appreciating that fine, age-appropriate specimen for my sweet, loving, amazing mother. Who has spent enough time taking care of all of us and needs to finally find someone to take care of her. He looks like a good man who just drove into town on a Harley and wants to give you a ride.”

“All right, that’s enough,” I mutter, even though the image of that man straddling a motorcycle is now burned into my brain forever, and I’m having a hard time focusing. I never should have let Tess talk me into bingeing Sons of Anarchy; Jax Teller ruined me forever. “I don’t need anyone to take care of me. I’ve done just fine on my own, in case you haven’t noticed.”

I’m a little aggressive when I smack the switch to turn off the neon Open sign, while Wren puts all of the covers on the toppings containers.

“Of course you have. You taught all of us to be perfectly self-sufficient, and we love you very much for that. You also taught us that we might not need a man in our lives, but we definitely want one.” She pauses to smile at me.

“I do not want one,” I remind her with a frown.

“You go ahead and keep telling yourself that.” Wren laughs, giving me a pat on the shoulder as she carries the cold toppings over to the fridge to put them away.

“Birdie is officially my favorite daughter today, and you’re out of the will.”

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(standalone stories with interconnected characters)

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