Alexa Riley is back with another steamy novella, Holding His Forever! If you’re looking for fluff, you need to check out this insta-love, HEA guaranteed romance!
[Some Spoilers; Mature Audiences]
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was sitting at home, minding my own business when Alexa Riley found me. I say that they found me because I got an email offering an ARC for a release blitz, and the summary really caught my eye. Funmbi was game for it,too, so we embarked on this journey together.
I don’t know how Alexa Riley (two authors, by the way) manages to get this many novellas out, but I feel like I should preface this review with a thank you to them.
When you want fluffy, smutty romance, you need to try an Alexa Riley novella. It’s as simple as that. These are the types of stories that I use to get rid of the angst from books that make my heart hurt or Outlander. I always need fluff after Outlander.
Anyway, this new novella, Holding His Forever, is no different.
We have Fia, she’s on her own and trying to save up money to go back and finish school. She works at a women’s shelter and a diner. Her boss at the diner is super creepy, and things are starting to get bad enough where Fia feels like she should quit, even if the tips are good.
Then there’s Derek (*Hot Firefighter Alert*), or Phoenix as he’s known in the firehouse. He’s going through a tough time having lost two of his closest friends in a fire a few months before. In fact, he hasn’t slept in his own home since it happened, and when he does sleep, he has terrible nightmares about the fire that took their lives.
Once he’s given the okay to get back on the truck, the first call he answers is to Fia’s apartment building. She stumbles out of her apartment as he’s coming up to her floor, and BAM instant connection.
From here, the story builds.
Derek goes with Fia to the hospital, and when she realizes she has nowhere to go, he offers her his apartment. He doesn’t tell her it’s his, though. Nothing happens that first night, and that’s awesome because both of them are wondering what this pull is they feel to the other.
It doesn’t stay like that for long. Things heat up in a snap, and you’ll be blushing and swooning.
“This is all moving so fast,” I say, feeling myself pushing towards the edge of no return.
“Don’t give me something and then take it back, Fia. I don’t care what this makes me sound like, but I need to know that you won’t run out on me. That if we do this, and you give yourself to me, this means something to you.”
She smiles at me, running her fingers through my hair. “I’m not going anywhere, Derek. Just please don’t break my heart.”
“The only thing I plan on breaking is this headboard.”
This is what I’m here for! It’s just the right amount of sexy and silly with an epilogue to wrap it up in with a pretty bow!
Now, it’s time for the disclaimer…one that comes with every Alexa Riley novella. Their stories are instant love and unapologetically over-the-top. They’re fun, quick reads. That doesn’t make them any less of a book. Let there be no reader shaming here.
There’s tiny bit of breeder kink in this one, though it’s more subtle than some of their other novellas, and things move really fast. It fits the story completely, and you just go right along with it.
You can (and should) read the first chapter below! Check out the teasers, too!
Chapter 1 *Fia*
“You finish your shit, Fia?”
Sam’s gravelly voice from years of smoking barks from behind me as I hang up the phone in his back office. A mixture of annoyance and relief fills me. I really didn’t want to have to cover Kim’s shift at the women’s shelter tonight and was thankful she was able to make it in. I would have done it if they needed me; I’d do anything for that place. But I’m dead on my feet as it is. I’ve been on my feet for the past twelve hours and haven’t slept in over twenty-four, and it would be my luck that if I went back to the shelter, it would be a busy night.
“Already clocked out.” I turn to look at Sam, whose eyes are trained on my ass. He slowly pulls them up to my face as a smirk plays at his lips, showing off his yellow-tinted teeth, not a care that he’s openly running his eyes over my body. Sadly, I’ve become used to it. It still creeps me out, but he’s never tried anything.
Or maybe my luck is about to change, I think, as he shuts the door to his office, trapping me in. The door is always open. The waitresses here at Moe’s always keep our stuff stored back here, where we clock in and out for our shifts.
“You think about my offer?” He cocks his head to the side like he’s giving me the world, not a management position at the diner. I’d stay later after waiting tables and help with paperwork and orders and get a raise, but I think Sam has a few more strings he wants to add to the position things I want no part of. I’ve turned down the offer twice now, but he keeps telling me to think on it.
Normally I just mumble a, “no, thanks,” on my way out the door, but now it’s closed and I’m trapped. Trapped with a man twice my age, maybe even pushing three times my age. It’s hard to tell with his shaved head. He’s double my size, and I don’t mean in muscle or height. No, there’s a lot of gut on old Sam.
“I really don’t have the time.” I tell him the same thing I’ve said every time it’s been brought up. At least, not without giving up my shifts at the shelter, and that’s not something I’m willing to do, even if the pay is way worse over there. I love that shelter. I owe them so much after what they did for my mother and me. I’m just thankful they pay me at all, because I would do it for free. I hope that one day I can do it for free, but at the moment that just isn’t possible if I want to keep a roof over my head and food on my plate.
“We’ll cut your serving time,” he suggests, taking a step towards me. I try to match his in retreat but only hit the desk. I don’t want to cut my serving hours only to spend more time with him in his cramped little office alone. Hell, I’ve been in here for two minutes and I feel like I’m having a panic attack. I can feel my heartbeat pick up speed. My anxiety grows with each pull of my breath. I know all too well how men act when they don’t get the responses they want. I’ve seen it for years with my own father and how he treated my mother.
I just shake my head again, trying to push the words past my lips. “I really” My words are cut short when Tracy throws open the door.
“Who in the hell put the” She stops abruptly when she sees us both standing in the tiny office. Her eyes narrow, going back and forth between us. Tracy has been working at the diner for years. She trained me a few months back, and many might even think she owns the place by how she pushes everyone around. And I’m pretty sure she and Sam have a thing. I stay out of her way. I want my tables and tips and nothing more from this place. It’s a means to an end. A slow means, but I’m getting there, dollar by dollar, and this place has the best tips I’ve come across so far, so I put up with it.
“I’m having a meeting.” Sam turns to look at her. Tracy purses her lips at him, clearly not liking what he’s saying.
“No, it’s fine. I really should be going. I’ll miss the bus,” I lie. I always walk home. I grab my purse and coat and don’t even bother to put them on. I just hold them close to my body over my cheap polyester uniform that fits a little too snuggly on me. “Maybe Tracy would like the manager position,” I throw out.
“What!” Tracy half-screams, her face scrunching up. I steal the moment to slip past them both as fast as I can and out the side door of the diner, into the chilled night. The street is empty now that it’s almost midnight on a Tuesday.
I slip my coat on and make the half-mile walk to my apartment, which sits over an old laundromat. Locking the door behind me, I waste no time pulling my uniform from my body and tossing my tips from tonight on the table before jumping into the shower. I have to get the smell of grease off my hair and body. I let the warm water run over me, relaxing my muscles as I wash away the day’s work.
When I’m done I grab a shirt and a pair of panties and pull them on. I sit at the small fold-out table in my half kitchen, if you can call it that. It doesn’t even have a full refrigerator, just one of those tiny ones you find in a hotel, which is probably where it came from. There’s a small sink and microwave, and that’s about it. My exhaustion outweighs my hunger as I count my tips. A hundred dollars on a double shift for a Tuesday isn’t too bad. Every dollar counts at this point. I’m so close to being able to pay for my last semester of college. Twelve more credits and I’m done, I remind myself. I can do this.
I grab the money and place it carefully, along with yesterday’s money, between the pages of a book I keep on the table. I still need to go to the bank and deposit it. After that, I walk the few feet to my bed in the corner of the room and fall face first into the cushioned surface.
“I miss you, Mom,” I whisper into the pillow before sleep takes me.
Alexa Riley is two sassy friends who got together and wrote some dirty books. They are both married moms of two who love football, donuts, and obsessed book heroes.
They specialize in insta-love, over-the-top, sweet, and cheesy love stories that don’t take all year to read. If you want something SAFE, short, and always with a happily ever after, then Alexa Riley is for you!