Release Blitz: Hot Stuff by Ashton Brooks
This man of the month has it all, but his world goes up in smoke when a saucy out-of-town woman crashes into his life. If only she would let him capture her heart. Readers who love Sweet on Wilde by Fabiola Francisco and Something That Could Last by Ashley Cade will enjoy Hot Stuff by Ashton Brooks, a steamy, small town, enemies-to-lovers, cinnamon roll hero, thriller, found family romance.
This man of the month has it all. His own pizza restaurant, a family of five loving sisters and a mother who dotes on him, best friends he can always count on, and he's one of the town's most eligible bachelors. Watch as his world goes up in smoke when a saucy out-of-town woman crashes into his life. If only she would let him capture her heart.
Copyright 2023 Ashton Brooks
“CalSone Day?” I read the banner that is currently being hung up outside our family restaurant in preparation for the big celebration that is a week away.
“Joseph, it’s Cal-Zone. With a Z!” I yell up at him, and watch his body sway slightly on the ladder. He looks over it and checks his phone.
“That is a Z,” he shouts back and waves his hand over the sign.
“It’s a fucking S.” I growl back. “Hold on.” I leave him and head into the restaurant to find my backup. Thank god all five of my sisters are in today so they can back me up. Our mother is in the kitchen preparing for the big event, so I won’t bug her, but the rest of them are needed.
“Rosie, I need you all,” I whistle at her from behind the register, waving her outside. The look she shoots me is as sharp as daggers, but I know it's only because I dared call her in such a manner. She must see the frustration on my face though, because her scowl quickly turns to concern.
I hear her yell for the others and I let the door shut while I keep an eye on Joseph. He’s mumbling to himself, words I can’t hear, but the redness on his cheeks shows he must have realized he’s wrong.
“What the heck, Rome?” My oldest sister, Romi, flings her hands up in the air. She’s scowling at me, and I meet her raised brows with my own. The rest of them follow out and stand amongst each other.
“What happened?” Rumer asks, and I love that, as usual, she remains the calmest in the chaos. She’s the second oldest child and she has always been the peacekeeper.
“I don’t know, he flipped a lid inside and said we all had to be out here,” Rosie lifts her shoulders. She is the youngest in our family so I can’t help but smile at her, even though she isn’t helping me.
“The sign,” I point up at it and all five sets of dark eyes, the one trait we all share, jump to where the hanging red tarp is.
“Cal..Sone Day,” Reagan reads, and I see her brow furrow. “With an S?”
“Ahh, fuck,” Remi, the sister closest to me in age, laughs, “Joseph, what the hell did you do?” She is the wildest of my sisters, and she cusses about as much as I do, much to our mother’s dismay.
“It says Calsone Day!” He yells down at all of us.
“Calzone is spelt with a Z, Joseph,” Romi snaps back, her big- sister voice coming out. She sounds scarily like our mother when she does that, and Joseph is speechless.
“Baby,” Joseph calls to her, “My phone says S. I’ll change it, I’ll change it.” He throws his hands in the air and starts taking down the sign.
I wait him out, my hands on my hips, standing next to Romi. Joseph is her new fiancé, and he’s been trying to help out around the restaurant, but he still gets on my nerves.
“Quit scowling at him,” She whispers next to me and nudges her elbow into my side.
I grunt from the impact and turn to her with a smirk, “It's not my fault the guy can’t spell Calzone right. And he wants to work here? Take over a share?”
“He doesn’t want a share,” She sighs and stomps her foot, something all the women in my family are known for, “He just wants to be part of the business with us. I would think that is what you all would want. We need the extra hands. Rumer’s baby is due in a month, and her shift will need to be picked up.”
“Romi,” I slide my arm around her shoulders, “It will be fine. And leave Joseph to me. He needs to learn just like Tommy did for Rumer. And now look, he’s the best meat guy in the town.”
“I know you mean well Rome, but we both know that Joseph will never be good enough in your eyes. You hold grudges like no one else, and the fact that he ran over your bike tire when you were ten still makes you mad,” She argues, and I see the turmoil in her eyes.
“It was a great bike,” I shrug my shoulders.
“I’m kidding,” I give her a squeeze, “I will try and take it easier on him. Once he fixes the damn sign.”
Romi huffs, shaking her head, but I do see a small smile on her lips. She heads back into the restaurant, and my gaze finds its way back to Joseph, who is rolling up the sign and tapping away on his phone.
“Are we good?”
His eyes shoot up to mine, “I ordered a new one, with rush delivery. It will get here before Wednesday.”
“Great. We can hang it up right as everyone is walking in,” I grunt and shake my head. Joseph grabs his bag and his ladder, and scurries to his work truck. I watch him drive away and try to remember to breathe in and out.
Calzone Day needs to be perfect. It's a staple holiday at Mohagen’s, and has been since my grandfather first built it here in Candy Cane Key. My father, Rebel, inherited it from him, and when he married mother, they took it over. Their wedding reception was hosted here, all six of us were raised in these kitchens, and took afternoon naps in the booth. The sign needs to be perfect. We can’t not have Calzone Day.
About Ashton Brooks
Ashton Brooks is an author with a variety of stories that are in Contemporary Romance and New Adult romance. Her writing style is suspenseful and sometimes leads to heart-wrenching conclusions. With a background in forensic psychology she really goes for those investigative, dark and twisty feels. And of course, lots of love!
Brooks enjoys reading as much as writing. Television shows such as Criminal Minds, Scandal, and One Tree Hill are her go-to binge worthy series. She loves spending time with her friends and family with a good glass of beer or wine. If she isn’t reading or writing, Brooks is Pinteresting future home projects for her wonderful husband to accomplish.
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