Hello, First name / my friend!
It has never been my intention to release books in December. Anyone in the publishing world will tell you that mid-November and all of December are the toughest times of the year to put out books unless it's heavy on the holiday. There's just so much going on, what with the traditions and the merriment and the 74 emails a day about unbeatable sales from stores you've shopped at once. 
And yet I've released four books in December. That I can remember. I might be missing one.There's The Cornerstone, The Spire, Thresholds, and The Worst Guy.
Only Thresholds is a holiday book and it came to me fully fleshed and formed around the deceptively simple question of What would Patrick Walsh do if he found himself in a lingerie shop dressing room with Miss Andy Asani? 
That worthwhile discussion aside, the holiday season plays a big role in The Cornerstone, the book I was convinced my readers would hate and…that was not the case. 
So, in the spirit of the season and celebration of The Cornerstone's anniversary today, I have one of my favorite moments from that book for you today. Be sure to keep scrolling for an assortment of my favorite things--book and non-book!

"Shannon," Will said. He stretched my name out into a long, rumbling sigh, all kinds of "Stella!" and A Streetcar Named Desire. "You aren't in Mexico."
There was a party on the other side of the door, with music and laughter and people happy to spend time together, but I didn't want to be there. I moved deeper into the bedroom, and headed for the bathroom. The door clicked shut behind me. "Are you drunk?"
"Yes," he drawled. "My sister ordered shots. Lots of shots. Like, all the shots. I can't believe I taught her to drink tequila. And you know me. I can't let a little girl drink me under the table."
"Of course not," I laughed. "If this is the state you're in, how's she holding up?"
Will laughed. "She said a few things I never thought I'd hear out of my sister. I kept drinking with the shady hope I'd forget the whole experience."
"Oh yeah, she's a dirty bird," I said, settling on the edge of the tub.
"Please don't tell me those things," he said. He grunted, and if I listened closely, I could hear waves crashing. 
"Are you on the beach?"
"I'm looking at the Pacific Ocean and my ass is in the sand," he said.
"It's a rough life," I said, threading my necklace between my fingers.
"I hate you right now. You know why?"
I laughed. "I believe the tequila will tell me."
"Because I've spent eleven days with you in the past eight months and that's all it took for me to fall for you. Because I've sent you over five thousand texts and called you two hundred and eighteen times and you know what I have to show for all that? I f***ing love you, and you're there and I'm here and that's why I hate you."
The necklace was wrapped tight around my fingers, the delicate gold chain digging grooves into my skin that bit enough to keep those words from hitting my heart all at once. "The tequila isn't going to remember this conversation tomorrow, honey."
"That's where you're wrong. Tequila never forgets," he sighed. "You were wrong. You should have come."
"That's where we still disagree," I said. I wanted it to sound pleasant and light, but it came off harsh. Cold.
"You should have come," he repeated. "My parents would probably fight over which one of them liked you more. They'd just chop you to pieces and eat you because you're so perfect. And this place…I could've taken you out sailing or diving. Or shots. You're a fun drunk. And there's a huge bed in my room, too. I can't look at it without thinking about you."
I stayed quiet. He was drunk and rambling, and he didn't mean any of this. It didn't matter whether those words—the ones I didn't want and certainly didn't need—were wrapping me in a painfully sweet embrace right now, or that a thick, confused blob of emotion was pulsing in my chest.
“I'm tired of secrets, Shannon.”
Continue The Cornerstone in ebook, paperback, and audio narrated by the incomparable Christian Fox and Lucy Rivers.
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Some of my favorite things right now!
Read: Keep You Both by Kathryn Nolan delivers BIG on snowed-in spice and queer joy. This New Year's Eve novella is fun, happy, and packed with heat. 
Bake: Levain Bakery-styled chocolate chip cookies with the bonus of mixing up the chocolate (white, milk, dark), the nuts (pecans, walnuts), and adding in some toffee and/or butterscotch chips too. The best thing ever. 
Gift: I have been known to keep a closet full of Aster Candles to cover all my assorted gift needs--hostess, Secret Santa/white elephant, teacher, friend you didn't know you were exchanging gifts with, all of them. Coffee Milk and Snow Capped are personal favorites. Also, Nécessaire Hand Cream. It just feels like a luxurious gift and everyone always loves it.
In case you missed it:
A new look for Shucked! There's a map of Friendship, RI in the front of the redesigned paperback, which I previewed in my reader group last week. The original orange paperback is still available here
Hunted by Adriana Anders is my gift to you this month. This is the first book in the Camp Haven series and introduces us to this adults-only spicy summer camp. The next in the series is Possession, which is a deeply layered fake marriage in trouble story. If you're looking for spice in a highly inclusive setting, this series is for you. Definitely recommend both. Available in KU.
Earbuds for small ears! I had no idea so many of us were struggling to survive in a big earbud world but I keep getting so many messages and questions! I prefer this set because they're the smallest wireless ones I've found though I also have this slightly larger set (though still smaller than most) which I keep in my bag.

Typos and broken links happen. It's okay. The earth is very hot and fragile, and so are we.
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