Title: The Third Best Thing
Series: Fulton U #3
Author: Maya Hughes
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Najla Qamber Designs
Release Date: January 30, 2020
Dear Letter Girl, I need to see you. When can we meet?
Her response never came. My secret pen pal with a dirty mind has ghosted me. I’ve roped Jules, my sweet as pie next door neighbor, to help me track her down.
There’s only one problem—I’m falling for her. The tortoise shell glasses, out of this world curves and delicious treats are making the search for The Letter Girl even harder.
My notes were supposed to be a one time thing. A little too much wine and naughty thoughts on a winter’s night. I never thought Berk would write back. I wanted to tell him it was me, but the fear of rejection kept my lips sealed.
Now he’s enlisted my help to track down The Letter Girl and our search has him hot on my, ahem, her trail.
She’s the girl next door.
He’s my secret pen pal.
Truth is on a collision course with their hearts and it’s only a matter of time before one of them gets wrecked…
A giddy laugh bubbled up from deep down. I snuck a glance at myself in the mirror again. I was a lumpy diva, but, fuck it, I was a badass too. And I was slowly skidding closer to the ground as the sweat that gathered behind my knee loosened my grip.
Every move I nailed got me a little closer to appreciating how far I’d come. From the first days of slipping off trying to do a basic spin with my feet planted firmly on the floor, to being a diva.
This was my freaking body and I loved the shit out of it.
And if I kept telling myself that, maybe one day I’d believe it.
I lowered myself onto my bedroom floor with a flourish, throwing in one more spin for my imaginary audience.
The song ended and I braced my hands on my hips, panting and sweating like I’d run a 5k, with a grin so damn wide I felt it in my toes. Jumping up and down, I gave myself a high five and a few club-worthy woos. It made it harder to figure out if I was doing the tricks one hundred percent correctly, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to record myself to watch later or head to a pole dancing studio with full-wall mirrors. I wasn’t at that level of okay with me in all my glory—yet.
I flopped onto my bed and stared up at the ceiling. My hip-hugging short shorts and sports bra gave me little coverage, but pole dancing wasn’t exactly about modesty. I’d given it a try at the urging of my therapist during freshman year and hell if it hadn’t helped—some. It was a way for me to build strength, body confidence, and maybe attempt to feel a little sexy.
The door slammed downstairs and I shot up from the bed.
“Jules!” Berk’s unmistakable call sent me from pole dancing heart racing to ‘floor it, Louise,’ careening toward a cliff. I shot up and fell off my bed, rattling the perfume bottles on my dresser. Scrambling off the floor, I grabbed my sweatpants and tugged them on, hopping from foot to foot and sounding like I’d taken up bowling in my bedroom. I snagged my glasses off my desk and shoved them onto my face.
Berk was probably wondering how I’d trapped a wild animal up in my room. I grabbed my long sleeved T-shirt and hoodie off the back of my chair even though it was August. The fabric clung to my sweaty skin and I probably had a sweat-stashe going on, but that was better than him walking up here and finding me half naked. A panic spiral shot through me and I got dressed even quicker and threw open my door.
My feet barely touched any of the steps as I flew downstairs.
“Berk.” I fell into the kitchen, bracing my arm against the doorway. The butterflies in my stomach were replaced by a whole freaking safari. I tightened my lips to what I hoped was a non-serial killer level of smile. My heart was glowing like a spotlight, so I wrapped my arms tighter around myself. Tingles tiptoed up and down my spine at the sight of his floppy hair and jeans that hugged his ass and trim waist better than mine ever fit me.
His head shot up and the half of the cookie sticking out of his mouth broke off and dropped onto the counter. “There you are.” His words were muffled behind two manhole cover-sized cookies.
“Did you think I was hiding in my cookie box?”
“Is that what you’re calling it these days?” Killer smile and a direct hit. “The old cookie box.”
#1 The Perfect First
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#2 The Second We Met
Maya Hughes can often be found sneaking in another chapter while hiding in the bathroom from her kids! 🙂 I’m a romance writer who loves taking inspiration from everyday life, namely my husband and biggest fan. Inspiration also strikes when I hear a song, meet someone new or daydream while at soccer practice.
I’m the mom of three little ones, the wife to an amazing husband and also work full time. Some of my favorite things are cinnamon rolls, white wine, laughing until I can’t breathe and traveling with my family.