The Fragile Line: Part One
Recommended for ages 18+ due to strong language and sexual content.
Chloe McCarthy thought she had found the perfect guy. Someone just as detached as she was when it came to love and commitment. Someone who never pressured her for more than just sex. But when she gets a little too comfortable with their arrangement, and he rejects her for someone else, it triggers heartbreaking memories that leave her questioning her resolve for a commitment-free life. In a moment of self-pity, she calls on the one person who she knows will make her smile.
Matt Langston lives a drama-free life, and he wants to keep it that way. Chloe McCarthy? All drama. Which is why he needs to stay away from her. A mechanic by day and bouncer by night, he tries to focus on work, but the more he tries, the more she creeps into his thoughts and his dreams, until he realizes that he needs to get her out of his system once and for all.
The Fragile Line is a spin-off to The Fine Line, told in an addicting three-part romance novella series, with each part building on the last. The series may be read alone, however, reading The Fine Line first will provide a further introduction to the characters which may enhance the overall reading experience
“Is it everything you hoped it would be?” Chloe asked, as I took a bite of the most
delicious bread I have ever tasted.
This bread was so good that the garlicy, buttery, orgasmic
masterpiece of flavor in my mouth forced a long moan out of my throat. “Oh, yeah.”
I mumbled with the bread still in my cheek. “This is fucking incredible.”
The dark wooden table of our window booth was dimly lit by
an overhanging lamp with a red shade.
For a small restaurant, Ricci’s had an inviting, casual atmosphere
complete with old-time Italian music. At
this time of night, there were only a few other diners scattered about. I would imagine the place would be closing up
soon for the evening.
She leaned in and whispered, “What if I told you I know how
to make it?”
That caught my attention…enough to stop chewing. “Don’t tease me, woman.”
She leaned back and huffed in exasperation. “God, why are
you so macho? The name’s Chloe. CH-L-O-EEE.”
I chuckled. “If you
say so. I’ve gotta hear this. How do you know how to make the bread?”
“I dated one of the cooks when I worked here.” She shrugged
and took a bite of bread.
Should’ve known that.
But really? Was that all she was
going to give me? “And…did the recipe
just osmose from his brain to yours on a date?”
She gave me the stink eye.
“I told him I’d only go out with him if he gave me the recipe. So he did.
And we went on a date. And that
“Lemme guess. He
wasn’t your type.”
She shook her head.
“I don’t really have a type. I
I nodded with raised brows, keeping my mouth shut about the
fact that she just fed into her promiscuous reputation. Was she doing it on purpose? Did she actually want people to think she was
easy? She seemed okay tonight. Why did part of me want to believe her rep was
“What about you?” she asked.
“How come I never see you with any girls?”
“I could ask you the same thing. Why no steady boyfriend? You’re sexy as hell. If you dropped the bitch act, you could
easily land some dude if you wanted to.”
There went my word vomit.
So much for keeping my mouth shut.
Luckily, she didn’t seem offended this time.
Instead, she forced out a humorless laugh. “Yeah, just not
the one I want.”
I cocked a brow.
She rolled her eyes and took a sip of her lemonade.
“Maybe it’s not an act,” she continued.
I nodded in thought.
“Or, maybe it is. You seem pretty
cool now. Not clingy or—” What’s a nice
way to say ‘easy’? “—overly accessible.
It’s a nice change. You should do
it more often.”
Her face scrunched up.
“Maybe I just don’t like you.”
“Or. Maybe you like
me more than you think.” I winked.
The waiter came with our plates, a Sirloin Marsala for me
and a spaghetti with meatballs for her.
After grating Parmesan cheese over her plate, he asked the typical
waiter question, “Is there anything else I can get for you two?”
I answered instantly, “More bread.”
The kid, who must’ve been fifteen or sixteen, eyed our full
basket of bread, then looked back at me with a quizzical look on his face which
kind of pissed me off. I mean, I
would’ve eaten it all up already if he wouldn’t have been so quick with our
meals. And I wanted leftovers.
“Please,” I said calmly.
“O…kay? I’ll be back
with that in a minute.”
The steak was even better than the bread. It literally melted in my mouth. Chloe laughed when I moaned again at the
taste, and I smiled, knowing that my mission for the night had just been
We savored our meals quietly for a few minutes before she
broke the silence, continuing our conversation.
“Maybe I’m not interested in anything serious with anyone. Maybe taking what I want and being…less than
nice…is the best way to make sure they don’t get all googly with me.”
“What the hell does ‘googly’ mean?”
“Come on, you know.”
I shook my head no.
“It’s the lovey-dovey look in someone’s eyes. Whether it’s a boy or girl, man or woman, we
all do it. It’s the way someone looks at
you when they want you to think they’re falling for you. They look at you with ‘googly-eyes.’”
“Ha! You seem like an
expert. Maybe your nickname should be
“Yeah, right. I’ve
only gotten that look from one person.
And I’m not the one who did the heart breaking in that situation.”
I nodded in understanding.
It couldn’t have been Logan. He’s
never felt that way about her. My
curiosity piqued. “First love?”
“Yeah, I guess you could say that.”
She continued stuffing spaghetti into her face as if this
conversation were over. I cleared my
throat to get her attention. It worked
because she looked up from her plate with a WTF look. “Go on, Pink, spill it. You know you want to.”
She laughed again.
Just a small one, but a laugh nonetheless. It took her another moment before she finally
started to talk.
Alicia Kobishop is a contemporary romance writer who lives in Milwaukee, WI, USA with her husband and two children.
Before trying her hand in writing, she worked her way up in the field of administrative healthcare with experiences ranging from working within a large local healthcare organization, to smaller independent physician practices.
In early 2013 her life took a change of course when she re-evaluated her passions in life, and sought out to try many new things. She reclaimed her childhood passion for reading, and after reading tons of fictional novels in a short amount of time, and loving every moment of it, she became absorbed with the idea of taking her experience with books to the next level, and decided to write one. Nine months later, her debut novel, The Fine Line was published.
Alicia loves connecting with readers. Feel free to reach out to her through email or social media.
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