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Claiming His Labor Day
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We made a baby on a one-night stand.
Desperate to cut loose one night, Naomi ached for a bit of rough under the fireworks.
***Sizzling hot alpha romance romance novella with no cliffhangers, no cheating, and a guaranteed happily-ever-after***
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I WALKED alongside my two best friends feeling the heat beat down from the Independence Day sun. Vendors lined the roads that had been blocked off the day before, and children’s laughter floated across from the rides in the parking lot nearby. The smells of cotton candy and fried dough brought back happy memories of previous summers spent here.
I’d lived in this coastal town all my life, and I planned to eventually raise my family here. It was a safe community but not so small that everyone knew your business before you finished carrying it out.
“If it gets any hotter, I’m going to blow this popsicle stand and go to the beach,” Mia said, wiping her forehead. She pulled her green tank top away from her skin and waving it back and forth before pulling it up, exposing her toned midriff.
“I hear ya,” Camilla chimed in, fanning her face.
“We don’t have to be here,” I said.
“Are you kidding me?” Mia stepped back and looked at me. “If we didn’t show our faces here today, we wouldn’t have heard the end of it. Remember five years ago?”
She had a point. The one time I missed the Fourth of July festivities because of a bad cold, I was devastated. I felt like I had missed a part of something big. “Thanks?” I said, hoping it meant more than it sounded like it did.
Mia linked her arm into mine and rested her head on my shoulder. “You’re just lucky you’re so damned cute.”
“Oh yeah, because that’s why we’re such good friends,” I teased.
“Well, it isn’t because of your reckless nature and adventurous ideas.”
“Don’t blame me for wanting to be practical,” I said.
Camilla raised a perfectly arched eyebrow and looked at me with her head lowered. “There’s practical, and there’s you.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Camilla held up her finger and looked around. What was she up to? She walked up to a vendor booth and raised three fingers. I looked at the sign and cringed. She was buying refreshments at the Lake Vineyard Wine Slushies booth.
When she returned to us, she was holding three cups of the concoction. She handed one to Mia, who immediately took it and began to suck on the straw. The resulting noise from her told me she loved it. Camilla raised her eyebrows and then handed one to me.
“You know I don’t drink,” I said. “Especially wine. Do you know how much sugar is in those things? Plus, you don’t know if they add syrup.”
Camilla cocked her head and presented it to me again. “Come on, Naomi. Be daring,” she says dramatically. “Take the drink.”
“Peer pressure isn’t your best quality, Camilla.”
“Let’s play a game. It’s called describe your friend in one word. I’ll go first. Ridiculous.”
“Safe,” I corrected.
Mia chimed in. “Straight-laced. Is that two words?”
I crinkled my eyebrows and frowned as they continued to add to my list of not-so-special qualities.
“Careful,” I said.
“Oh, good one,” Camilla squealed tapping Mia’s arm. “How about—”
“Okay! Okay, I get it.” I grabbed the drink and put the straw to my lips. Camilla and Mia were both staring at me intently as if it were poison, and they were daring me to drink it. In my mind, it was.
I took a very small sip. The icy cold sweetness spread across my tongue. “It’s actually not that bad,” I conceded and took another sip.
“You’re such a dare-devil,” Mia said with a grin.
“Is that one or two words?” I asked, tilting my head. “I have a question. How do you bring yourselves to hang out with me?” Sarcasm sliced through my words.
“What do you mean?” Camilla looked puzzled.
“Well, if I’m that boring and humdrum and stale, why do you bother?”
“Because,” Mia stepped closer to me, her face softening. “We have faith in you, Naomi.” Her fingers tucked a strand of my dark brown hair behind my ear that had loosened from my messy bun. “You’re also strikingly beautiful and sexy. You have a lot to offer if you’ll just come out and play a little bit.”
“I appreciate the compliment,” I said. “But I’m not your type and you, lovely as you are, aren’t mine.”
“I know and respect that. You’ve told me countless times. I didn’t mean my compliment that way. I meant, just live a little. You’re so worried about something bad happening that you consistently play it safe. Maybe you need a little bad in your life.”
“Oh. My. Goodness.” We both looked at Camilla at the same time who had her mouth open and her hand to her chest. “I think I just found it.”
“Found what?” Mia asked.
“Our bad that will turn our beautiful friend around.”
I looked past her, and my stomach knotted. There were two guys standing next to the slushy vendor, and their eyes were seared into us. If I knew my friends, they weren’t going to let this go, and from the way those two were staring, neither were they. I looked away and took a bigger drink of the slushie, feeling the cold liquid slide down my insides.