If your heart flutters for grumpy but sweet and sexy book boyfriends and second chance steamy holidays rom-coms, this audiobook is for you.
Hi. It’s me: #TheLeftoverBride. That hashtag sucks. Can we agree ‘Tis the season for a do-over? All I want for Christmas is for my life to turn into a Hallmark movie—but sexier and steamier. Last year, my fiancé aka #TheRunawayGroom sprinted past me at the altar, breaking my heart, destroying my booming wedding dress designer career, and bringing my family’s bakery close to bankruptcy.
This year, I have a plan. A list of things to tick off before the 31st of December, including going on a blind date for the first time.
Not on this list? Getting back into the spotlight.
Also not the list? Falling in lust or in love yet again with my high school sweetheart, Ryan Sawyer.
No way. Not happening.
Even if he is back in town with those broad shoulders and that Ryan-grin that make me want oh so much more. Even when I blurt out on national TV that he’s helping me with my to-do list. Even if being around him feels so right.
He didn’t stay after high school.
He’s not staying now.
Get a grip, Sorcha and stop believing in Happily Ever After. Unless… could the third time truly be the charm?
Scroll up and one-click today “if you’re in the mood for a fun story with lots of chemistry set during the holidays”!
A little note from me to you:
Writing this romance was so much fun. It’s the type of second chance (even third chance) love story that makes you smile and feel all warm and happy. Yes, there are some steamy hot scenes. Yes, both Ryan and Sorcha are not perfect and there is OCD representation. It’s sweet with some open-door scorching hot moments, and it takes place in a small-town! And of course, it has an HEA. It’s a standalone, no cliffhangers for the main couple. 🙂
Perfect audiobook for fans of: Meghan Quinn, Emily Henry, Tessa Bailey, Sally Thorne and Lauren Landish.
One of the reasons I’m wide (meaning, not in Kindle Unlimited as Kindle Unlimited comes with an exclusivity clause) is that I want to have my books available in libraries (and I’d like to reach readers in other countries who may not have KU and readers who use other e-retailers but I digress).
And I’m crossing my fingers readers in KU have access to a library so that they can also read my books without additional cost to them.
Not all of my audiobooks are available in libraries. Some are exclusive to Audible for the moment but #TheLeftoverBride, A Summer Like No Other and Always Second Best (all narrated by the wonderful Megan Carter) are available in your libraries for you to listen to :-).
I cannot have the full details of where my books are in libraries but I can see the ones who got purchased via Overdrive…
Before I share the list… let me tell you:
How to request my e-books or audiobooks in your library (if your library uses Overdrive/Libby)
Make sure you have your library card near you.
Overdrive is used in several countries so if you’re in Canada, the UK, Australia or another country, don’t hesitate to check it out.
Type in “Elodie Nowodazkij” or you can type the title of one my books/audiobooks. Overdrive might show it as “recommend” or “not yet owned” o
Recommend the one you’d like to have added to your library.
The library can then either purchase it as a single check-out or purchase it to have one digital copy they can lend one at a time.
How to request my e-books or audiobooks if your library is using Hoopla
Disclaimer: not all my ebooks/audiobooks are available on Hoopla because for some reason Hoopla has blocked certain titles but not others (even some of my YA books are not available there. If you’d like one that is not available, you might need to contact them. I had no luck in that matter but maybe, as a patron, you will).
Again, make sure you have your library card near you.
Sign in using your library card. Your library may or may not use Hoopla. Mine doesnt but others in Maryland do, for example.
How to request my e-books or audiobooks if your library is using Bibliotheca or if you’d like to request print versions?
You may need to try to request the book through Marina or InterLibraryLoan before filling out a form asking your favorite librarian to purchase a copy.
Most of my print books are available via the Ingram catalogue.
What happens when you request one of my ebooks or audiobooks through a library?
Yes, I do get royalties. There are different systems (price per checkout which is about 45 cents for most of my books/audiobooks or actual library purchase of a single e-copy which is an average of $7 of royalties for me and the library can check it out as many time as they’d like, one at a time).
When you request one of my books through the library, a grumpy book boyfriend learns how to smile.
In 2021 and 2022, some of my ebooks were purchased by those libraries via Overdrive…(I know some of my audiobooks were purchased via Bibliotheca and Hoopla but I don’t know where…)
Libraries Tasmania (AU)
Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative (FL)
Abu Dhabi Department of Culture And Tourism (AE)
Old Colony Library Network (MA)
String Theory Schools (PA)
Los Angeles Public Library (CA)
Independent Schools Association of British Columbia (CA)
SAILS Library Network (MA)
Oxford and Cambridge Club (UK)
Sunflower eLibrary (KS)
Strait Regional Centre for Education (CA)
Brooklyn Public Library (NY)
Chelmsford Public Schools (MA)
Education Queensland (AU)
Have you already requested/recommended one of my books to the library? Or another book? Would love to know!
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The list below is made up of three Black Friday Deals I’m either going to use or am thinking about using.
One Stop For Writers: I’ve been using One Stop Writers for more than a year, I think, and it has helped me so much. I don’t use all the features (yet) but I always turn to it when I’m revising. The emotion thesaurus, emotions amplifier, colors and patterns and so much more have been so so helpful to me. I have also used The Character Builder to help me craft Alessandro. So, if you’ve enjoyed #SweetsForLove and the grumpy yet charming bodyguard, part of his characteristics came from using One Stop For Writers.
Inkers Con 2021 on Demand(currently 50% off): I really learned a lot during the 2022 Mini-Con (it had four classes, including one with Becca Syme and another on budgeting which has helped me making profits this year – so yay!). There are 27 presentations in Inkers Con and so many I’d like to listen to from the 2021 Inkers Con such as:
[Insert sex scene here] Identify and break through the roadblocks to writing engaging and emotional sex scenes. Learn tips for silencing your inner critic, find the right ways to craft scenes that deliver the most bang (!!) for your reader’s buck, and understand how to use sex to develop dynamic and multi-faceted characters. You will never want to placeholder a sex scene again! Speaker: Erotic Romance Author Kate Hawthorne
Using Data to Make Publishing Decisions: As authors, we have so many decisions to make when it comes to allocating our time, money, and energy. This class will help you understand how your sales, traffic, and follower data can help you make educated decisions on your books, branding, advertising, and activities. Speaker: USA Today Bestselling Author Sarina Bowen
Winning at Wide: Do you dream of a world with multiple income streams? Wide distribution can be a beautiful thing but requires groundwork and planning. These wide superstars will share how to properly transition into wide, the distribution options available, marketing and ad strategies, and how to create a long-term plan Panelists: Suzie O’Connell, Skye MacKinnon, and Monica Leonelle
The full list is available here: Inkers Con 2021 Presentations. The only reason I’m hesitating for this deal is not because I don’t think it sounds very very helpful but also because I’m thinking of doing a consult with Skye MacKinnon and I’m not sure if I should wait for 2023 for the consult or do it before the end of the year. If I wait … I’ll get the Inkers Con (in two payments) now and implement some of what I hear in some of the presentations before the consult.
2021 Inkers Con classeson sale for HALF OFF this weekend only (ends Monday at midnight ET). The normal price is $245 but use coupon code HALF21 and pay only $122.50 (or break it into two payments). Access is for 6 years with 100% money-back guarantee.
ProWritingAid: : ProWritingAid is a grammar checker, style editor, proofreader, and writing coach all in one. I’ve been using ProWritingAid since August 2022. And I personally like it more than Grammarly. The one thing holding me back from the lifetime deal is that my current yearly subscription is ending in August 2023 and I don’t get a pro-rated discount for the other months… so I might wait until then to see if they have another discount. Or I’ll wait until next November. Buuuuut if you’re currently looking to use ProWritingAid, they’re currently running a 50% off for selected plans.
Okay, I know I said three … but here’s another one… 100photo/vector downloads from Depositphotos (lifetime) – it’s great for promo or covers… I won’t be using – but only because I use Canva Pro and still have pictures available on Depositphotos from a past deal.
🙂 Are *you* planning on using a Black Friday deal for writing tools or classes or marketing?
A baking competition for the Happily Ever After channel could bring success to my small-town bakery… and one night of toe-curling passion that would keep me warm for years to come. But nothing more. Because I don’t have time for love. Right? Right.
And yes, maybe my mom shouldn’t read that one… I mean, mom, you can but maybe don’t tell me. 🙂
I was re-reading some excerpts yesterday and it is steaammmmmmmmmmy. There’s a moment in the first chapter in the elevator and one in chapter 9 in the hallway that … *blush*. And then later on, oh my. Think a notch (or two) below Tessa Bailey’s books’ heat level. But just a notch (or two).
And it has so many funny and heartwarming moments! I feel like those characters just grab you by the heart and you can’t help but root for them. ❤
One reader told me two days ago that this book is in their top 5 for the year. TOP. FIVE! ***Tearing up***…
And the first reviews are definitely making this author smile.
A Hot Romance with Sweet Treats!
Full of sass and sizzle, she brings romance in a small town with reality TV twists and turns. I absolutely love the characters and all of the book boyfriend references. This is a holiday romance sprinkled with A LOT of sizzle.
Note to self: do not shove Marion Sinclair into the sparkling, heated pool—even if she crowned your bakery “Most Likely to Disappear in the Next Three Years” in her latest post.
“Aisling! Whoo-hoo!” Marion—the influencer of the wedding cakes world, newest Wedding Bells magazine contributor, and forever nemesis—waves my way. She takes a selfie with her Santa hat and the Vegas Christmas in July banner, screeching at an employee to smile in the background. Because, of course, she needs to manufacture every moment for her flawless-yet-flawed-but-happy brand.
At least that gives me a minute to find the perfect escape route.
I slide my glasses up my nose, and my eyes dart to the side. What if I dived under the cocktail table? Too dramatic. Plus, if the shrimp tumbled on me, I’d smell like shellfish for an eternity. Instead, I force my PRBF (Permanent Resting Bitch Face), as my sisters call it, to relax into a fake smile.
“Hi, Marion. I still need to check in.” I point to my small, battered suitcase and rush away before she can pepper me with pretend enthusiasm and backhanded compliments.
The full of temptation Las Vegas hotel Lily-of-the-Valley fragrance with a sultry note of musk blasts in my face as I swerve into a couple making out right next to the oversized Christmas tree.
“I’m so sorry.”
The woman’s wedding veil cascades to the floor, and the man’s hands travel down her back. Even though PDA isn’t my thing, and there are not enough hours in my days for a relationship, a familiar pang of longing resonates in my chest.
“Happily ever after in Sin City,” a deep and smooth voice chuckles next to me. His bergamot and old spicy wood cologne draw me to him.
I turn around and lift my chin up.
Smoldering dark eyes grab ahold of mine. I readjust my glasses.
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, this man offers exactly what I have been craving: a toe-curling passion that leaves you completely spent and satisfied.
And I’m in dire need of sleep.
So what if it feels like forever and a day since a man has looked at me this way? And an eternity since I’ve wanted to see what the night could bring.
Step away from the sinfully sexy stranger,Aisling.
After all, I’ve listened to enough true crime podcasts to know not to talk to strangers. Right?
My spine straightens. “Maybe ‘or a happily for now.’” At least my tone isn’t all breathy and needy. But there’s a tiny crack in my I’m-a-pro-at-hiding-what-I-feel façade as warmth sneaks up my neck, probably revealing a blush. I push my glasses up again and purse my lips in my usual Aisling way.
He raises an eyebrow. “Those can be good, too.”
Why does his rough voice make me want to tell him I’ve been naughty this year? My heart flutters. Wait… what? My heart doesn’t do flutters. Get away now! The alarm in my mind blares with urgency, but my feet must be anchored to the ground with the best sugar glue in town because I can’t move.
Instead, I take in every enticing detail: his angular chin covered with a three-day beard, his shit-eating grin like he knows and loves the thoughts bouncing around in my head, his slightly crooked nose that gives him a rugged look.
His polo shirt emphasizes his broad shoulders, and… is that a What Would Elle Woods Do? pin on his collar?
“You’re a Legally Blonde fan?”
I narrow my eyes, and his chuckle is a sound that should be recorded for ringtones.
“Yep.” His fingers brush over the pin. “Got it as a gift and always wear it,” he tells me. Whoever he’s here with maybe gave it to him. Reality-check meet Aisling. But as I’m about to step away, he adds, “My grandmother really knows me.”
My fingers play with the bracelet my own late grandmother gave me.
“It is a good movie,” I say after a few seconds.
He chuckles again as my gaze travels from the pin to his strong arms. How many tattoos does this man have? Am I salivating over his forearms and… his hands? They’re powerful hands. Capable. Full of promises. And carrying one of the Triple O Annual Naughty or Nice Conference promotional bags I’ve seen in the lobby.
I’ve got three of their toys, and they keep their promises.
“I’d love one of those,” I blurt out before my mind can even process what I’m saying.
His lips lift into a half-grin full of confidence. “An orgasm?”
Why does this sound like a promise?
Heat creeps up my neck, and I point to his hand. “The bag, I mean.”
He leans forward. “It’s yours.”
His breath is minty fresh, and I’m tempted to check mine. As he gently wraps the bag around my wrist, his fingers graze my skin, and Hi, desire, my old friend. Long time no see.
I clear my throat. “Thanks.”
The butterflies flapping their untrained wings in my stomach are demanding I throw caution and responsibilities to the wind and ask him for dinner, a kiss, a night. But I squash them.
Being “spontaneous” isn’t on my to-do list. Neither is he. As I whirl back around, a swarm of people cuts me off. They flock toward one giant sign that reads, Meet Grant Torre, Your Santa Claus for the Day.
“Grant! I’m coming!”
A woman steamrolls me, and the stranger’s muscular arms sneak around my waist to keep me steady. My body melts into his, and my suitcase slips out of my grasp, scattering to the ground. Another woman stomps on it.
“Watch out!” I reluctantly detach myself from the stranger.
As the crowd thins in their search for Grant Torre, I pick up my suitcase.
Dildos and butt plugs and cuffs tumble out.
My mouth gapes open. How? What? Why?
Without a word or even a chuckle, the man bends down to shove them back inside the suitcase.
“I-I got it,” I tell him with such a no-nonsense, this-happens-every-day voice that I’d high-five myself if my hands weren’t full with Triple O toys.
“You wanted my bag when you got all of those?”
“These aren’t mine.”
I drop the toys into the suitcase before rubbing the spot between my eyebrows, but that doesn’t prevent the splitting headache from thundering.
“I assumed not all of them were yours. Unless you’re a vendor. Or a model for…” His voice trails off as I struggle to take a deep breath, realizing my plans for tomorrow’s Spoon Up competition vanished with my way-too-generic suitcase.
“No, no, no,” I mutter.
A fist of dread sneaks up my throat, tightening around it. My suitcase was supposed to be safely tucked in the overhead bin, but due to space issues, the airline checked it in instead. At the baggage claim, there must have been three blue suitcases looking exactly as old as mine. I had tied one of Ava’s ribbons to the handle, but it was nowhere to be seen.
So, whoever grabbed my suitcase now has all my trusted baking utensils while I have their entire brand-new line of Triple O toys.
I’m not going to be able to whip up a three-layered wedding cake with a Christmas-inspiration gingerbread frosting with a butterfly clit vibrator.
One “spoon up” and your bakery is inundated with orders. We need those orders—especially as I’m trying to reinvent our bakery to become the holiday bakery of the Eastern shore.
“You okay?” the stranger who no longer feels like one asks as his hands settle on my shoulders.
The wave of panic recedes. Is he a magician headlining a magic show in Las Vegas? I could be his talking puppet. He could do whatever he wanted to me with those hands.
“I have to go.” Because if I don’t, I might either cry on his shoulder or ask him to go upstairs with me. Not happening.
Instead, I keep my chin up and stroll to check in as if everything is absolutely fine.
After all, I’m sure I’ll come up with the perfect cake—no matter what.
As Marion Sinclair always claims in her videos: It’s going to be the absolute best.
Fifth. I placed fifth in the competition.
Despite hiding my disappointment in the bar far away from the entrance, Marion settles next to me. Her Aisling is desperate radar to zero in on me when I least want to see her has been refined over the years. She touches my arm in one of those aww-poor-Aisling ways, and I should get extra points for not swatting it away.
“You’re a trooper for traveling to Vegas when so many people are canceling their orders.”
“The unpredictability of business.” Shoot. Did my voice go all high-pitch?
“Sure. But with what happened with your sister being jilted at the altar and with your croquembouche signature cake turning into a recipe for Disaster-Ever-After—”
“You called it that.”
“Oh, I did. Didn’t I?” She takes a sip of her bright pink cocktail. “That post got so many likes. I couldn’t keep up with the hundreds of comments.”
The glint in her eyes tells me she expects me to lose it any minute now. But my sisters didn’t nickname me “Miss Perfection” growing up for nothing. Aisling O’Connor doesn’t lose it—especially not in public.
“I don’t follow your account. I must have seen it because it’s one of those paid promoted posts you spend tons of money on. Didn’t you get in trouble for that before? Something about not being transparent about your reach?” Before she can reply, I continue. “I was so happy to be back this year.” Liar, liar, pants on fire, the voice in my head singsongs, sounding very much like my five-year-old daughter. “You all did an amazing job.” My voice is steadier, more self-assured. I’ve got everything under control except my auburn hair that’s all over the place and my glasses that keep on sliding down.
My phone vibrates in my pocket. “I have to take this.” I wave my phone in the air. “You have fun tonight. Sorry I can’t join.” More lies.
“Hope to see you soon.”
My bullshit sensor beeps so loudly I’m surprised it doesn’t set off the hotel alarm. I wait until she and the group are out of the bar, then check no one else is too close to me before clicking on Accept.
Mom’s face appears on my phone as the bartender slides the eggnog I ordered toward me. “How was everything?”
A waste of time and money and self-esteem.
But I can’t say that.
“Great.” Another lie.
“That’s wonderful. What did they think about your new layered cake recipe?”
“I had to change plans.” My suitcase never arrived. So not only did I have to change course, but I also spent money I don’t have on new clothes. “They loved the fondant cake demonstration.” They didn’t.
I sigh. “I’m coming home early tomorrow. I almost made it to the Spoon Up ultimate competition… but… you know… next time.”
“Of course.” Mom is using her You got this, baby girl! tone, even though I turned thirty last year. “Ava wanted to tell you goodnight again.” Mom hands the phone over to my daughter.
“I love you, Mommy. Have fun in Lost Vegas.”
“Hmm-hmmm. Goodnight, Mommy.”
“Goodnight, Ava, my lovie.” I force my voice to sound upbeat, but as I hang up, waves of crushing disappointment roll through me. The judges’ words echo in my mind: “Too careful. Too bland. Too predictable.”
The only reason people approached my booth was to inundate me with questions about my sister Sorcha getting jilted at the altar and going viral as #TheLeftoverBride.
A guy who must have bathed in his cologne invades my personal space. The bar isn’t crowded, and he doesn’t need to be this close to me. He’s wearing a Sit on my Lap shirt with a drunk Santa. Classy. The way he stares down my décolleté gives me major creepy vibes, and annoyance drips down my spine.
His hand settles on the back of my chair. “You look like you need another drink.”
Even his tone is sleazy. And dealing with him right now sounds as appealing as listening to Marion telling me again how she should have won that Wedding Cake competition ten years ago.
Squaring my shoulders, I stand up. “Actually, I’m meeting someone.”
And I rush toward the back of the bar, waving like I saw the person I had been waiting for.
A man with a three-day beard and dark smoldering eyes waves back.
My heart sprints before screeching to a halt.
He’s changed into dark pants and a gray dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up. And he still has that small pink pin.
“Say the word, and I’ll escort him to the other side of the world.”
My first knee-jerk reaction is to square my shoulders. I don’t need to run away, and I don’t need help.
“I can take care of him.” But I sound as exhausted as I feel, and Smoldering Eyes isn’t patronizing. He looks at me like he understands me. And what am I doing? Stepping into my favorite romance novel? This day is clearly taking a toll.
Smoldering Eyes tilts his head. “One word, and he’s out of here.”
Creepy Guy clears his throat behind us. “Hey sweetie, are you one of Santa’s helpers? I have a few wishes you could help me with.”
“Uh. Word,” I reply.
He shoots Creepy Guy a get-the-fuck-away look and does a quick gesture with his hand. A man that could be security approaches Creepy Guy, who leaves without protesting.
“He won’t annoy you or anyone tonight.”
The way he says it is reassuring.
I raise an eyebrow, and he does the same in response—before tipping an imaginary hat to me with that confident half-grin I’ve noticed before. I’m noticing way too many things about him.
“I have a way.” He watches me in such a way that I might combust here and there. “At your service.” His deep voice does something to me. Is this what he says in bed, too? I imagine him rough and gentle, demanding and giving. I need to get ahold of myself.
I tilt my head. “Are you a serial killer?”
He raises one amused eyebrow. “Nope.”
“Married? Engaged? Seeing someone?”
“Nope. Nope. And nope.”
And because I’m arching my back, just thinking of how that three-day stubble might feel on my skin. And because no one ever has to know. And because I won’t see ever see him again…
I toss the last slice of caution to the wind full of need that envelops me. “Can I kiss you?”
“Can I kiss you back?”
His gaze drops to my mouth, and my breath hitches.