Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People

Today, I’m hosting USA Today bestselling author Serena Bell’s latest release Wilder with You, book three in the Wilder Adventures, a contemporary romance.  Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.

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Title: Wilder With You
Series: Wilder Adventures, #3
Author: Serena Bell
Genres: Adult, Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: February 15, 2022

Who knew pretending could be so hot?

Blurb:  It started as a joke. After all, I’d never pretend to date a woman just to get my mom and sister off my back.

I would, however, pretend to date her to get her ex-husband off hers.

Now the two of us, the wilderness warrior and the wedding planner, are stuck sharing a very small tent. I had no idea how fast things would heat up in here, or how hard it would be to keep my hands—among other things—to myself.

I also didn’t guess how quickly the news of our “relationship” would spread to my big, nosy family.

We can’t “break up” yet, because she’s planning my brother’s wedding and I’m his best man. Through venue visits, DIY disasters, and Vegas trips, we’re thrown together, and the chemistry’s off-the-charts. But the kicker is, I feel like she gets me.

Maybe that’s what scares me the most. I’m still reeling from the loss of my wife, and she’s still hurting from her ex’s betrayal. There’s no way this can ever be real.

But what if I’m starting to hope it is?

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I can feel my sister Amanda’s breath on my neck as she leans in. “There are a lot of single women on this trip.” She says it casually, like she’s commenting on the weather. Which, given the number of times I’ve heard this refrain, or one like it, she could be.

“Glamping appeals to women.”

“Are you sure it’s not those photos of you Lucy plastered all over your marketing materials? And how did she get you to take that shirtless one?”

“She snuck up on me,” I growl. “She blindsided me.”

Amanda snickers. “I figured.” She hmms. “I think they’re here for the eye candy.”

“No one goes on a three-day camping trip for the eye candy.”

“Sure they do,” Amanda says. “I mean, not everyone, but there’s gotta be, statistically, say, five percent of every trip that’s in it for the chance that you’ll share your tent.”

“Can it, Mandy-pants,” I say, invoking the most forbidden of all nicknames, the one coined by her nemesis in eighth grade.

I don’t even really feel guilty about it.

And Amanda, of course, is unfazed. You don’t grow up the second youngest of six kids, and the only girl, without developing an extremely thick skin. “I’m just saying, Clark. If you were a little more friendly—”

“Who says I’m not friendly?” I growl.

“Grunting in a woman’s general direction doesn’t count as being friendly.”

“I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea.”

“That you’re human?”

So I grunt in Amanda’s general direction because anything else I say might encourage her.

For the thousandth time, I think about how, a while back, I told my brother Brody that if my sister and mom didn’t lay off on the matchmaking and attempts to get me “back in the saddle,” I was going to hire a fake girlfriend.

It wasn’t the worst idea I’ve ever had.

Not that I’d ever do something like that. I don’t lie, omit, or cheat, and that would be a falsehood on an epic scale.

And almost as much as actually being involved with another woman, it would feel like a betrayal of Emma, my late wife.

Amanda clears her throat, tilts her head, and eyes me in the mirror. “Jessa Olsen is pretty.”

God damn it. Sometimes I think my sister can read my mind. And not in a good way.

Jessa Olsen is pretty.

Earlier today, I lost an internal battle and let myself take the hungry second look at Jessa I wanted. I let my eyes linger on her wavy medium-brown hair, her lush mouth—with its little bow to the upper lip. I paused there for a long moment, contemplating that mouth, then had to move on so we wouldn’t end up with one too many tents on this trip. But that didn’t really help, because the rest of Jessa is just as beautiful. She has clear skin, brown eyes, and just a few freckles scattered on her slightly upturned nose. A tall, slim, strong body.

Small, perfect tits! my utterly predictable dick chimes in.

“She’s married,” I tell Amanda.

“She’s divorced.”

“What?” Damn. It popped out before I could stop myself. Showing curiosity about a woman around Amanda is dangerous.

And sure enough, one of her perfectly groomed eyebrows flirts with her hairline. “Her husband cheated on her.” She frowns. “It was big Rush Creek gossip for a while.”

I hold up a hand. “I don’t want to know.”

She tilts her head. “You sure?”

“Positive.”

Amanda’s breath brushes my neck again. “Suffice it to say, it wasn’t pretty.”

I ride a wave of sympathy for Jessa—there’s nothing worse than public humiliation, especially when it’s unearned.

I’m lying, by the way: I want to know. I want to know the whole goddamned story.

But I’ll never hear it from Jessa’s mouth, because I’m never going to sit down with one of Emma’s friends and have a heart-to-heart. Too fucking weird. If—and I do mean if—I ever date again, it’s not going to be someone Emma was friends with.

Amanda takes a deep breath. “Clark,” she says, super gently. “We worry about you.”

“Well, quit that shit.”

“You’re 33. You can’t just be celibate for the rest of your life.”

“Who says I’m celibate? For all you know, I’m getting it on nightly.”

I’m not, for anyone who’s keeping track. There have been a few one-nighters over the past two years, all billed ahead of time as one-and-done. Everyone got what they signed up for, and if the experience left me numb, no one knew except me.

That’s how it’s going to be from now on, because I can’t do it again. Love like that. Lose like that. And know that if I’d done things differently, she might still be here.

Amanda catches my eye in the mirror, and I see the moment where she realizes I’m, for real, struggling.

She bites her lip. “I’ll shut up now.”

“Excellent choice.”

But I say it without heat. Because she’s my sister, because if I know anything in life it’s that she and my brothers and my mom love the shit out of me, and because, well…

Because I’m a fucking hypocrite.

Because ever since I allowed myself that second look at Jessa Olsen, I’ve been wishing for another one.

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USA Today bestselling author Serena Bell writes contemporary romance with heat, heart, and humor. A former journalist, Serena has always believed that everyone has an amazing story to tell if you listen carefully, and you can often find her scribbling in her tiny garret office, mainlining chocolate and bringing to life the tales in her head.

Serena’s books have earned many honors, including an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, Apple Books Best Book of the Month, and Amazon Best Book of the Year for Romance.

When not writing, Serena loves to spend time with her college-sweetheart husband and two hilarious kiddos—all of whom are incredibly tolerant not just of Serena’s imaginary friends but also of how often she changes her hobbies and how passionately she embraces the new ones. These days, it’s stand-up paddle boarding, board-gaming, meditation, and long walks with good friends.

Find Serena:  Web Site | Facebook | Facebook Readers Group | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter Sign-Up

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One thought on “Serena Bell – Wilder with You

  1. Diana Hardt says:

    It sounds like a really interesting book. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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