Making Ends Meet (Illustrated) by S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet
(Includes 12 black-and-white illustrations by Diana Callinger!)
Zach is just seventeen years old, but despite his youth, he has more than his fair share of responsibility. An experimental fling in high school has led him down the path of single fatherhood. Now, he holds down a job, takes his college classes online, and pays his own bills as best he can—all while juggling daycare and chores and play-dates for his four-month-old, Mae. It’s a rough, 24/7 life, but to Zach, Mae is worth every penny spent and every minute of his day.
With no free time to speak of, it feels like a miracle when Zach meets Wil in the check-out line at his work. Handsome, grounded, from the proverbial “right side of the tracks”, and—even better—good with kids, Wil is everything he could want in a boyfriend. But as interested as Wil is in Zach, he has his own life, his own family, his own job and college career to think about. All the various draws on their time means that it’s hard just to find chances to be together. But Zach’s no stranger to hard tasks, and believes he owes it to himself to try.
“Is he hot?”
Zach felt heat rise to his cheeks. “You do know that’s not all I’m looking for in a guy, right?”
“Yeah, yeah, I know, but is he?” Now, Samantha’s smirk was firmly in place.
Zach laughed and settled Mae on his lap again. “Yes, all right? He’s hot. He doesn’t look like he’s a big sports guy, but he’s trim, tall. Mae didn’t start screaming the minute he touched her.”
“Hair color? Eye color? Come on. Don’t hold ba—Sophia, I see you. Don’t you pour your sippy cup in the pool, young lady!” Samantha stood up long enough to snag the cup from Sophia and give her a doll to play with in the water. “I swear, that girl is going to kill me one day. Now, specifics, Zach! I have to live vicariously through you for the moment.”
“He’s blond. Blue eyes. Tanned.” Zach splashed more water on Mae. “He has a really nice mouth with full lips, and his hands… his hands are big. Long fingers. Wil’s just really nice to look at. The whole package.” He paused a moment and looked out over the family pool, where lots of older kids were playing in the deeper water. “Makes me wonder what’s lurking beneath the surface.”
Samantha nodded. “Good looking, nice attitude, likes your kid. Yep, murderer in disguise.”
Zach kicked her feet in the water. “Not funny,” he said, though he laughed. “I worry about it. I’ve got Mae to look after, and I don’t want to parade a bunch of shitty men through her life ’cause I was horny and lonely.”
“Hey, I get you being cautious and all. Hell, you’re obviously more responsible on that front than I was, right?” She waded over to him and splashed him and Mae with a grin. “But don’t get too paranoid, okay? Don’t let that ruin things before they even get the chance to get started. I might not have known you six months ago, but you’re the type who’s going to take care of Mae. If this guy is worth it, he’ll have already seen that just by seeing you with your daughter. If he’s willing to go all in, then be sure you’re game, all right?”
Zach smiled at her, splashing back. “What are you, my counselor now?”
“Shut up, that was deep!” She laughed, splashing him again. She was soon joined by Sophia, who had wiggled and dog-paddled her way over to Samantha and copied her without delay. He had to shield Mae from some of the water, but Mae didn’t seem to mind, giggling and kicking on his lap, even when a little water splashed the top of her head and dripped down her face.
“You bullies! Splashing a poor, defenseless child who can’t fight back! When Mae’s two, we’re going to get you back, just wait and see!”
“By then, Sophia will be four!” Samantha picked Sophia up and spun the laughing child about a bit. “God, four! She’s growing up so fast.”
Zach wiped Mae grinning face. “I know what you mean. Mae has already outgrown half her wardrobe. Mom was great, though. Bought her a dozen new outfits.”
Samantha put Sophia back down and came to sit with him in the shallower end of the kiddie pool. “She’ll grow like a weed, just like Sophia.” She looked at her daughter. “Enjoy it. I know I am. Every moment.” They were both silent for a moment, watching Sophia play with her Barbie in the water, and then Samantha turned to him again. “So, I’ll be taking Mae for the night on Thursday and you’ll pick her up Friday morning?”
“I guess you are, and yeah, Friday morning. Nine o’clock.” Zach nudged her with his shoulder. “Try not to have one of your wild parties.”
“Yeah, that’s me.” Samantha grinned. “A wild child. Party hard. It’ll be an awesome girls’ night in.”
Zach hugged Mae to him, those butterflies reappearing in his stomach now that he knew for sure he’d see Wil again. Without Mae. Maybe even get another kiss. God, that kiss. He’d thought of nothing but that kiss for days now. No MOSI. No baby. No one waiting up for him. Just him and Wil and those gorgeous lips. Damn it, what was he going to wear?
Q: Tell our readers why you think they’ll enjoy Making Ends Meet (Illustrated)
A: It’s about everyday struggles that we think most people can relate to. And, at the end of all the struggles, Zach and Wil take charge of their lives, embracing their path to a happy ending for both themselves and Zach’s young daughter, Mae. It’s a happy, fluffy read that we think will leave readers with a smile on their faces by the end of it.
Q: You may have noticed we like to include our favorite quote in our reviews of the books we read. What is your favorite quote from Making Ends Meet (Illustrated)?
A: My favorite quote from Making Ends Meet is:
“You’ve had sex before,” Wil said, eyebrow quirked. “Mae’s proof of that.”
Rolling his eyes, Zach sighed. “That was with Bethany. This would be with you. I might not be a virgin-virgin, but I’m a boy-virgin,” he blurted out.
Making Ends Meet (Illustrated) by S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet
Contemporary, Erotic, GLBT
10/26/2012 – Storm Moon Press
Amazon || Barnes & Noble || Kobo || Sony || Goodreads
S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet’s website
S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet would like to give away a copy of Making Ends Meet. (ebook) To enter, just answer her question:
Do you like having children as part of your romances? Or is it strictly the love interests for you?
Giveaway is open to all (where allowed). You have until end of day Jan 25 to enter, winner will be announced soon after.
Giveaway sponsored by: S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet. No purchase necessary to win. You must be 18 or over to enter, void where prohibited. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. FVBR is not being compensated for this giveaway. If the winner declines to accept or fails to claim their prize within 72 hours of the announcement they forfeit their prize. Prize distribution is the sole responsibility of the giveaway sponsor. Fiction Vixen Book Reviews will not be held responsible for lost or misdirected prizes or for circumstances beyond our control. More information here.