Saturday, February 10, 2024

Bring It Back(list) ~ Never Have I Ever by PG Forte

Posted by: PG Forte

 The first Games We Play trilogy was the result of a Submission Call from one of my publishers, the much lamented Loose Id. (For more info, check out this blog post here: The idea was to put together three linked stories, each of which had to take place around a Winter Holiday. I chose Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras and St. Patrick's Day, which, yes, stretched the definition of winter somewhat, but there were reasons!!!

In any event...usually I'd be posting about the first book, Truth or Dare, what with Valentine's Day coming up next week, but THIS YEAR Mardi Gras falls on February 13th--the same day that the latest Games We Play book is set to drop. So today, you get an excerpt from book two, instead.

Never Have I Ever

Games We Play 2.0


Kristy loves Luke but if anything was clear to her back when they were kids it was that gawky, awkward, tomboys didn't stand a chance with the king of the schoolyard. She watched her older brothers set their caps for Luke's glamorous cousins and get shot down. So she did what she had to in order to salvage her friendship with Luke. She hid her true feelings and her need for him to take control. 


Luke wants Kristy in the worst way -- actually, in all the worst ways: tied up, held down, beaten, bitten, whipped. But he knows he has no chance of ever having her. They'd been childhood friends and sweethearts, until she friend-zoned him in the fifth grade. He knows he can either keep her as a friend, or take her to bed and lose her forever. His biggest mistake—so far—was in hiring her to work alongside him in the bar he and his cousins inherited from their grandmother. He knows Kristy needs the money and the job, but Luke's self-control can't take the constant contact with the girl he wants to dominate–both in and out of the bedroom. Something has to give—and soon!


The walk back to the inn itself didn’t take long. It was, in fact, just long enough for Luke to make up his mind, to decide on what fantasy he’d be getting off to tonight. It wasn’t even a fantasy, really. It was a memory of sorts. A dressed-up version of the night he’d come so close to having it all.

Had it really been ten years ago?

He’d been a senior in high school at the time, and Kristy had been a junior, so he guessed it had to have been. It was shortly after Thanksgiving—something else he remembered clearly because it was just a few days after he’d gotten back from spending the holiday weekend in Atlas Beach.

His family had moved to Bergen County, in the northern part of the state, four years earlier, when his mother had gotten a teaching position at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Technically, it was still New Jersey, but culturally it was almost a different planet. Or so it had felt at the time.

He remembered he’d been surprised when Kristy called him. Not because she never did; their phone conversations over the previous four years had helped him through several rough patches as he’d adjusted to his new community. No, what had surprised him was the timing. He’d only seen her a few days earlier.

“There’s this dance coming up at school,” Kristy said, in a tone that seemed to veer between nervous and annoyed. “Did I mention it last week?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Okay, well, it’s the junior class’s semiformal.”

“Your class?”

“Yes. And it’s scheduled for the Saturday before Christmas.”

“Uh-huh,” Luke replied unenthusiastically. Maybe, if he didn’t express much interest, she’d take the hint and stop talking about it. At the best of times, he didn’t like hearing about events he was missing in what he still considered his hometown. He especially didn’t want to hear about some dance she’d be attending without him.

As Kristy continued talking, Luke opened his desk drawer and took out the folder of sketches he kept hidden from his mother—pictures of naked women, tied up or in chains. He picked up a pencil, and as he half listened to Kristy talk, he added details to a half-finished picture.

“It’s going to be at the hotel. So I thought maybe someone there might have said something about it to you?”

“Nope.” Maybe they had, but if so, he hadn’t been listening then either.

“Okay, well, I’m on the decorating committee, and I think it’s gonna be really cool, you know?”

“Uh-huh,” he repeated, wondering why they were still on this subject. For that matter, why did she sound so weird, so…nervous, almost? Did she realize how much he hated this conversation? Nah, couldn’t be. Kristy was nicer than he was. If she knew she was making him unhappy, she’d stop. He added a gag to the picture.

“So, the thing is, it’s the kind of thing where the girls have to ask the boys.”

Luke’s pencil stilled. “Uh-huh.” What the fuck? She couldn’t be asking him out…could she? It had been her idea that they just stay friends. Did this mean she’d changed her mind? Or was she going to ask his advice on which of their friends she should go with instead? Maybe it was neither. Maybe she just wanted to talk. He sure hoped that was all it was.

“And, well, you know my father!” Kristy’s frustrated sigh vibrated through the phone, leaving Luke guiltily aware of the fact that he’d missed a critical part of the conversation.

“Sorry, I missed that. What did you say?”

The phone went silent. “What part did you miss?” Kristy asked in cautious tones.

Luke winced. “Everything after ‘the girls have to ask the boys,’” he admitted, steeling himself for Kristy’s reaction.

Kristy sighed. “I said, ‘my father will only let me go with someone he approves of.’”

“Well, that sucks,” Luke said, even though he was secretly—and selfishly—relieved.

“Yeah, so will you?”

“Will I what?”

“Will you go with me to the dance?” Kristy replied, then quickly added, “I mean, you don’t have to. It’s okay if you don’t want to. I just…well, it kinda sucks, that’s all, to put in all that work and not even see how it all turns out…”

“Wait. Didn’t you just… Are you saying your father approves of me?” Luke asked in disbelief. That couldn’t be right.

“He thinks you’re a good influence.”

“He does? Does he even know who I am?”

“Yes, Luke. He knows who you are. He knows your family. I guess he figures because you and Rocco are friends that you’re…I dunno. Safe, maybe?”


“Or something, I guess.”

“He oughta talk to my mom.” Luke thought about that for a moment. “On second thought, no, he shouldn’t.”


Luke bit back a sigh. She didn’t want him as a boyfriend, but she didn’t mind using him as a sort of pretend boyfriend when she needed a date. Being there, surrounded by real couples, was going to suck. He had every right to be angry, every right to tell her no. But then she’d be disappointed. She’d have to stay home, or she’d find some other loser to go with—maybe someone every bit as “safe” as him. There was no way he was going to let that happen.

“What time do you want me to pick you up?” he asked, giving in to the inevitable.

“Really? You mean it?” Kristy practically squealed with happiness, which made Luke feel even more confused. Much as he liked being her hero, he kind of wished he’d been able to tease her a little more first. To drag it out. To make her beg. Maybe next time.

He sighed. “That’s what friends are for, right?”

Now Available for Pre-Order:

Put a Ring Around the Rosie

February 14th is just another day...until it's not.


They say timing is everything, and that certainly has always been the case where Alex and I are concerned. We met nearly two years ago when he was hired to work at Cup of Joe, the coffee shop where I was already an old timer. It was lust at first sight, at least on my part, but I had a boyfriend then, and so did he. By the time we were both single and I’d worked out that he was bi, things between us had become complicated in so many other ways that it seemed much simpler and safer to just stay friends.

We were work spouses for a while, and then we weren’t. And when we reconnected with each other last month it was after a prolonged period of hurt feelings and miscommunication during which we barely spoke to each other at all. 


Now, even though our friendship’s caught fire, so to speak, I feel like we’re both still recovering from that last, disconnected phase. Heaping a bunch of unrealistic expectations, or a need for chocolate hearts, plush toys, or rose colored anything on top of that seems like a little too much added pressure. 

Read an excerpt HERE

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