“Exactly what I needed to relax, laugh, and swoon after a hard day. I cannot wait to see what M. Mabie and Aly Martinez come up with next.”
–Carrie Ann Ryan, New York Times Bestselling Author
When the Walls Come Down, an all-new, steamy, swoony, highly entertaining office romance from USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez and M. Mabie is available now!
Did you ever hear the joke about the guy whose wife cheated on him with his best friend? So he quit his job, moved into his parents’ basement, and gained fifty pounds?
No? Because that wasn’t a joke. It was my life.
Four years later, I’m back with a dream job, a killer apartment, and a set of abs that are better than ever.
So, when Maggie Light, a stunning, snarky blonde moves in next door, and we spend the hottest weekend of our lives together, I think this could be the greatest comeback story ever.
That is until I realize Maggie has moved to town to do one thing—steal my job.
Maybe this isn’t a comeback story after all. Maybe this is war—one I intend to win.
What I never anticipated was that maybe I’d rather win her.
Perhaps, if I’m lucky, the universe has finally run out of jokes and I can somehow win both.
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Oh, for fuck’s sake. Am I a man or not?
Here goes fucking nothing.
Take a risk, my ass. I’d fucking show Casey and Blake a damn risk.
I marched down to where she was sitting. “Hi, I’m Shane.”
She looked shocked, maybe a little startled by my approach—and rightly so. I’d stalked over like the fucking Terminator, all amped up from my private pep talk.
“The bartender, Chris, said you’re new in town, and it’s your first time here.”
Her sparkling blue eyes stood out against her makeup, and now—standing close to her—I could smell her perfume. A subtle and warm scent that made me want to lean in.
What the fuck had I been thinking?
To put it mildly, she was out of my league, but hey… Risks, right?
“If you’re dining alone, would you mind if I offer a suggestion from the menu?”
“I was only looking it over out of curiosity. I really just came in for a drink or two.” She folded it and placed it on the wooden top in front of her.
Goddamn, that cleavage.
“Oh. Yeah. Okay. Well, then…uh…let me get one for you.” I might have strutted over like the Terminator, but I was fumbling over my words like Barney Fife and beginning to sweat like a Crossfitter.
Her brows bunched. “Um, you really don’t have to do that.”
“Please. After the day I’ve had, I’ll actually have one with you.” I swiped at the back of my neck. “The drinks are good here. Very cold. Wet.” Jesus fucking Christ, Shane. Wet!? “Um. Alcoholic, if that’s what you’re into.” I waved Chris—and his bigger-than-life shit-eating grin—down to us.
“Find something you’d like?” he asked her.
“I’ll just have a Titos and cranberry,” she answered. “I hear they’re very cold and wet here.”
Chris looked at me disappointedly, probably guessing at how badly I’d botched this introduction. He wasn’t wrong, but she hadn’t told me to fuck off yet.
“And I’ll take a Honeybee Brown,” I added.
He spun on his heel, shocked. “Really?”
I shrugged and shot daggers at him. “Really. A pint, please.”
“A cold, wet one too, eh? Okay, man. Coming right up.” He made our drinks and then about a dozen more for the servers who were keeping him busy.
“Thanks for the drink,” she said, clinking our glasses together, her eyes never quite meeting mine.
“Yeah. Sure. No problem.” I followed her lead and took a sip.
“So, do you come here a lot, Shane?”
My name on her lips had me clearing my throat.
“Yes,” replied our asshole bartender before I could answer.
“I live close,” I explained, and she nodded in understanding. “So, where did you come to the Bay from?” I took another sip, realizing that counting the beer I’d had with Casey earlier and this one, I was nearing my only-a-few-drinks daily limit. So I’d be savoring the pint as long as she didn’t seem too put off by my dusty-ass small talk. Otherwise, I could chug it down and then be on my merry way, leaving her to enjoy her night without a divorced, practically fired dude bugging her.
“Atlanta,” she replied and swirled a piece of ice with the drink stirrer in her glass. Still no eye contact.
Small talk. I fumbled for more small talk.
“You have family here?”
“No, I’ve always wanted to get out of Georgia. So, when I landed a job out here, it seemed like a sign.”
Finally, her blue eyes met mine and… Fuck, if I could have just remembered to blink, I’d have been doing well. I feared if I broke the gaze for just a second, I’d never see that color again, because surely it was a mirage of some sort. Like a crystal-blue pool in a desert. The kind of trick eyes could only play on a man who hadn’t been laid in nearly half a decade.
She finished with, “I start on Monday. I guess fate is as good a time as any to take a risk.”
Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her husband and four young children.
Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and olives. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.
She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.
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About M. Mabie
Mabie lives in Illinois with her husband. She writes everything from steamy romantic comedies to angst-filled, pull your hair out drama. She enjoys it all. With her unconventional love stories, she tries to embody “real-life romance.”
She cares about politics, but will not discuss them in public. She uses the same fork at every meal, watches Wayne’s World while cleaning, and lets her dog sleep on her head. She has always been a writer. In fact, she was born with a pen in her hand, which almost never happens. Almost.
Mabie usually doesn’t speak in third-person. She promises.
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