Sometimes life’s unforeseen paths lead us to discovering sides of ourselves we never knew existed.
Ace Bosse has always found solace at home, but when she returns for the summer from college she builds an unexpected relationship with the reckless Max Miller.
Three years ago, Max left for Alaska to find what he thought he’d lost, but now he realizes just how much he left behind.
Max teaches Ace that sometimes a little crazy is exactly what life needs while learning that some chances are worth taking, regardless of the risks.
But how do you know when you’ve met the right person? And will they be prepared to experience one of life’s biggest obstacles?
Falling in love isn’t easy, but holding on to it is where the real challenge lies.
“Happy Birthday, Max,” I whisper against his ear.
A smile forms on his lips and his hand squeezes my thigh. “You’re the best birthday present I could’ve imagined,” he says softly, his voice deep from sleep.
I kiss along his neck, absorbing the heat of his skin that radiates his spicy, sweet scent. He gives a soft groan in response, his muscles clenching, notifying me that I have his full attention.
“Want to go do something crazy?” I whisper between kisses.
“With you? Yes.” He shifts, rolling over to face me as his beautiful blue eyes finally open with a gleam of excitement.
“You look like you already have a plan in that head of yours,” Max says, reaching forward with both hands and placing them on my thighs. I nod and give him a seductive smile that makes his eyes grow wider.
“Let’s go!” I whisper, quietly sliding off of the bed and making my way to the door.
“I need to get dressed,” Max says, sitting up and letting the blankets fall from him revealing a pair of dark mesh shorts hanging slightly lower than the band of his boxer briefs.
“No, you don’t.”
Max ignores me and grabs a T-shirt from his closet and reaches toward his dresser. I grab his hand before it closes around his keys and wallet and shake my head, indicating he doesn’t need them either. He looks reluctant but I tug his arm and he quietly follows me downstairs to the front door that I unlock.
“How’d you get in?”
“You really need to fix that latch in the sunroom,” I say with a grin as I lead us over toward the gate that goes into our backyard.
As I reach for the latch Max grips my arm and firmly pulls me to him so we’re chest to chest. His face is soft and he’s looking at me as though I’ve just done something significant and earth-altering.
“For what?” I push up on my toes so I can place a kiss on his lips.
“For choosing me.”
My face breaks out in a grin as I kiss him once more. “Always you,” I whisper and kiss him again.
“Come on.” I interlace my fingers with his and open the gate, leading him to the dimly lit backyard. We stop in front of the blanket I had laid out, along with a bottle of whiskey and two glasses, a crème brulee I had picked up at an Italian restaurant on Wednesday, and a small wrapped box.
“Come on, let’s take a drink. It’s necessary for crazy.”
“You did this for me?”
“I wanted to be the first to celebrate with you,” I answer, pouring amber liquid into each glass and handing him one.
“You don’t like whiskey.”
“But you do, and this day is all about you.” I throw back the shot and blink a couple of times to fight the burning sensation that always bites more than licks. I smile as he shakes his head and then takes his own shot.
“What are we doing?” he asks as I take his hand in mine and lead his further into the yard.
“Going swimming.” Max looks at me trying to read my intentions. “Naked.”
“Ace …” Max quietly starts in protest.
I smile and lift the black tank top I’m wearing and toss it in the direction of a patio chair, not waiting to see where it lands before taking a few steps back toward the pool wearing a royal purple lace bra. Max shakes his head again and I can tell he’s debating with himself about objecting as I start shimmying my jeans down my legs, tossing them over in the direction of my top.
“Ace, let’s go back to my room.” I hear the defeat in his voice as he says the words he thinks he should.
I shake my head, still smiling at him as I reach behind my back. My fingers tremble slightly as I finger the clasp of my bra. I’m thoroughly impressed that I’ve made it this far, especially since Max hasn’t moved a muscle since he saw my intentions. I’m not sure if he’s caught up in the moment, or just doesn’t believe that I’ll go through with it. I slowly let my bra slide down my arms and fall to the ground before I hook my thumbs into my matching underwear and push them down my legs.
People always say to enjoy your body when you’re young and it’s toned and in shape, before gravity, kids, and stress work against you. That’s much easier to say when you’re forty looking back, rather than twenty standing stark naked in front of your ridiculously hot boyfriend.
Max stares at me for a few long moments, and then a small smile flashes on his face and he pulls off his T-shirt and tosses it toward my discarded items.
I lower myself into the warm water that feels cool as it laps against parts of me that have always been covered and turn to see Max slide into the pool, completely naked. My smile grows in my first successful planned dose of crazy.
“Your dad is going to kill me!”
Mariah Dietz lives in Eastern Washington with her husband and two sons that are the axis of her crazy and wonderful world.
Mariah grew up in a tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon where she spent the majority of her time immersed in the pages of books that she both read and created.
She has a love for all things that include her sons, good coffee, books, travel, and dark chocolate. She also has a deep passion for the stories she writes, and hopes readers enjoy the journeys she takes them on, as much as she loves creating them.
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