Love’s Last Call by Beth Matthews
Lucy York is an aspiring mechanical engineer working as a shot girl serving watered-down drinks to drunken frat boys at Jezebel’s Bar & Lounge. The job isn’t so bad—it pays her bills, and she’s managed to make a surrogate family for herself at the bar. But now she’s ready to spread her wings and fly north to attend a university and, maybe, distance herself a little from the all-consuming social scene at Jezebel’s.
Then her boss hires a new bouncer, Norm, a literature dork who seems like everything a bouncer shouldn’t be: tall, gangly, sweet (and, you know, named Norman). But as she gets to know him, ol’ Norm turns out to be everything Lucy never knew she wanted and the best friend she’s ever had. He’s not a bad bouncer either.
One obstacle to their happily ever after: the owner has a strict no-dating rule for employees. If anyone at Jezebel’s finds out she’s dating a bouncer, Lucy will lose her job, her surrogate family, and the money she needs to go to college.
But, if she loses Norm, is she losing her best chance at happiness?
“Right,” he said with brisk, business-like efficiency. “I don’t want a fling. I want the whole hog.”
“Am I the hog in this scenario?”
His face softened, and he nibbled gently at her jaw, working his way toward her ear. He nipped her earlobe and made her shiver. “I want to really be with you, Lucy. Dating. Romance. The whole–everything.” He sat back, and cradled her face in both his hands, like Indiana Jones with the Holy Grail. His brown eyes bored into hers, darkening to a burnt toffee as his voice lowered with desire. “And, for the record, I’d risk a lot more than my stupid job for a chance to be close to you.” He peeled back her shirt, which was already pretty low cut, and pressed his mouth against her neck, biting softly.
“More?” She tilted her neck to give him better access.
“Much more?” he murmured, sounding like he was willing to haggle or something.
Laughing, she yanked him away from her neck by a fistful of his hair. She narrowed her eyes at him, ruthless now. “How much?”
He pushed the puppy dogs eyes onto full Pitiful Mode, clearly trying to scam her. “Lots?”
“Can you quantify that more specifically?” She lifted her legs, moving to straddle his lap.
His hands slipped to her waist, tugging her closer, pushing at the hem of her shirt until his fingers tickled against her bare stomach. “I’d risk my entire comic book collection.”
“And my TaunTaun sleeping bag.”
She bit her lip to keep from smiling. “Huh.”
His hands slid from her waist to cradle her shoulder blades, tugging her closer to him. He nuzzled under her chin, the softness of his hair dusting at her skin. “And my heart.”
She eased back to gape at him with a small “Wow,” of astonishment. Then she tipped her head to the side and shook it. “Corny, Norman.” She leaned close, wrapping her arms around his neck, yanking him nearer. “Cute but, tch, a leetle corny.”
“Did it work anyway?”
“OK.” She swallowed, equal parts nervous and excited.
“OK as in yes?”
“Yes,” she whispered. Then, as his tentative smile blossomed into a goofy grin, she yelled, “Yes!” and kissed him hard on the mouth.
He kissed her back, the wicked stroke of his tongue coaxing a moan out of her against her will. Slowly, he bent her back across the couch, the weight of his body covering her in the most delicious way. She let her legs fall wide so he could fit closer to her. He got the memo, and pushed her deeper into the couch, his erection pressing against her through their clothes. She arched against that hardness, her panties already wet.
The hollering from inside her rib cage began again. I want him. All of him.
Everywhere. Now. She peeled off his Jezebel’s shirt and threw that over her head. The Batman shirt went next, her fingers clawing for the hem, and she ruthlessly dragged that over his head, tugging hard when it got stuck. That garment too flew over the side of the couch until she had access to his bare skin.
Q: Romance readers have a lot of choices these days. What makes Love’s Last Call stand out in the crowd?
A: It’s New Adult romantic comedy, low on angst, set in a bar in LA. The hero is a dorky bouncer and an aspiring SF/F author. The heroine is an engineering student by day and a waitress by night.
Q: We like to include our favorite quote in our reviews of the books we read. What is your favorite quote from Love’s Last Call?
A: My favorite quote from Love’s Last Call is:
“You’re a fallen woman, then?” he said.
“Oh, yeah, loooong time ago. I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”
About Beth Matthews
Beth Matthews is a Southern California girl, born and raised. She’s a total geek, a movie buff, and a mediocre swing dancer. She lives in sunny SoCal with her boyfriend and two of the neediest housecats on the planet.