Friday, October 24, 2014

[Book Review] Kinetic

(The Luminaries 01)
By S.K. Anthony
September 20, 2013
Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy


Being strong is one thing. Being an unlimited source of power is quite another.
Genetically altered by the Organization, Annie Fox takes down criminals CIA-style with her luminary strength. With nothing to mend but her broken heart, she is relentlessly pursued by her boss Derek Lake. Just when Annie is about to give him a chance, her ex-husband unexpectedly comes out of hiding.

A wanted man, Nick Logan is a cold-hearted murderer who is considered enemy number one, and orders are clear: kill on contact. He is more powerful than ever and threatens the lives of those she holds most dear. His plan? Get his hands on Annie and use her Kinetic energy to destroy them all. When Annie finds herself with an opportunity to end him, she pauses, horrified by the scars covering the face she once loved. A split second that will cost her everything…

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

[Book Review] Broken Beauty

Broken Beauty
By Chloe Adams (Lizzy Ford)
September 22, 2013
Published by Indie Inked
New Adult, Contemporary


**Contains graphic content and the sensitive topic of rape and its aftermath. Not intended for teens under the age of 18.** 
Sometimes bad things happen to beautiful people. 
When socialite party girl Mia Abbott-Renou wakes up in a garden she has little recall of the previous night -- except that she is naked...hurt...terrified. Not only has she been raped, but she knows one of her assailants: the son of a wealthy politician who happens to be her own father’s political ally. 
Mia wants and needs justice. Except this privileged boy has an alibi and her father forbids her from going to the police. It’s a critical election year, one that his party might lose if his image as a doting father is soured due to Mia being labeled a lush or worse, promiscuous. 
Devastated at not having the support of her family, Mia finds herself in a tug-of-war with her conscience over what to do, especially since she can’t remember exactly what happened that night. Worse, the men who attacked her have hurt several other girls, and Mia may be the key to stopping them.
Mia tries to forget, until the unthinkable happens, and she’s left reeling once again, faced with a new challenge that will force her to take more control of her life.
Originally published in October 2012 as "No Way Back" by Chloe Adams

Sunday, August 3, 2014

[Blog Tour - Book Review & Excerpt] (un)breakable

(Gezellig #2)
Author: Kesh Tanglao
Date of Publication: July 16, 2014
Genre: contemporary romance/chick-lit

About the Book:

Lorin Perez’s life is finally back on track after almost losing it six years ago. She knows meeting and dating sizzling hot professional rugby player Spence Clarke is a huge part of her healing process. But with her father starting a new family, she decides to follow her best friend Caitlin to UK–Spence’s home country–and start a new life.

However, moving to UK brings certain complications in the form of Gezellig band member Nigel Whitmore, a.k.a. the one who didn’t follow through three years ago. And even though Lorin is very clear about her no commitment rule, Nigel ignores this and pursues Lorin like never before.

Caught between the man who made her feel safe and the one who makes her feel alive, will she finally be able to set her heart free and make the right choice?

Goodreads link:
Purchase links: Amazon | Smashwords

I had the opportunity to read author Kesh Tanglao's first book in the Gezellig series, and I happened to really appreciate her brand of story-telling, so when I got an email about a blog tour for the second book, I knew I just had to join!

(un)breakable tells the story of Caitlyn's best friend Lorin and her super complicated love life. I think that most readers would agree on just how lucky Lorin is when it comes to the men who come into her life, but personally, I wouldn't want to be stuck in her position. It's too difficult to choose! haha!

Plot-wise, I love how there's a development in Lorin's character from the beginning until the end. And I really like how practical she is when it comes to decisions, even when it comes to her love life. Though sometimes I wished she would've given things a little more thought.

As for the male leads, to be honest, I'm all for #TeamSpence. Not that I have anything against Nigel. It's just that Spence has been there right from the very beginning when Lorin was all broken up and fragile. He helped her heal little by little, granted not whole, but anchored and stable. And they were together for two years - I think that this fact should count for something. 

Truthfully. there was a point in the book where I was literally torn between Nigel and Spence. That was how effective the love triangle was, but in the end, I was rooting for Spence. The guy is seriously sweet and he's not some noble idiot who just gives up the girl without a fight. 

Another thing I really loved about this story is that the songs which the author mentioned for the playlist were some of my favorites! The lyrics were very apt for the scenes and made reading all the more enjoyable.

If you want a taste of (un)breakable, scroll on for an excerpt!
“I know. I’m just feeling a bit of pressure.” I flopped onto my bed and held the phone over my head. “Cait just set such a high standard, you know?”

“Well, she was always a hard worker. Did you just get in?” Spence asked. “I was trying to call earlier, and you weren’t picking up. Or were you on overtime already on your first day?”

Uh-oh. “Yeah, sorry about that,” I said slowly. “I was at dinner with a friend.”

“Ah. Good for you that you made friends already! Who was it?”

I paused, making Spence frown. “Nigel.”

“Ah,” Spence said, as if trying to recall where he heard the name. Then, “Nigel. Like the one from Gezellig?”

“Jesus, what did I do to you? Why do you know the names of the members of Gezellig?” I said, cringing.

Spence ignored my statement and rolled his eyes. “Were you guys with Caitlin and Marcus?”

“Nope. It was just the two of us.”

“Caitlin set you guys up?”

“Um,” I said, turning to my side and propping the phone on my pillow, “that’s a yes and a no.” Spence flashed me a blank look, so I continued, “Yes, because Nigel asked her, and no because Nigel and I met before. We sort of went out three years ago.”

“Oh,” Spence said flatly. He leaned back, crossing his arms over his chest.

I rushed to explain. “He just wants to be friends, Spence. That’s all.”

“No sane guy wants to be just friends with you, Lore.”

I scoffed. “You’re exaggerating. Come on.”

“How come I never knew you went out with this Nigel guy?”

“It was a fling, Spence. A week in Sydney. That was it. I never mentioned it because nothing came out of it.”

Spence smirked. “Nothing, huh,” he said, the sarcasm in his voice evident. “I’m kind of sure he wants something to happen now.”

“And if he does, will it be an issue?” I asked, unable to stop the rise in my tone. “I brought this up before I went here, and you said it was okay to have an open relationship. You said non-exclusive, remember?”

“Bloody hell, Lorin. You’ve been there for what, three days?” Spence said in disbelief. “I only said it because it seemed like it was what you wanted. You were the first one who said non-exclusive. You were always the one wanting out of the commitment. I’ve always seen you as my girlfriend.”

“You never said anything!” I said angrily.

Spence shot up off the bed, eyes flaring. “Because I know I’d lose you if I asked you to be my girlfriend, Lore!” he shouted.

I gritted my teeth. I tried to calm myself down, breathing in and out, and waited for my heart to return to its normal pace. I saw Spence shake his head at someone off-screen. Damn it. His roommates must be present, and they were getting a front row seat to our first big fight.

“You wouldn’t lose me,” I said, more calmly now. “I would be scared big time, and then I probably wouldn’t know what to do yet because I’m not ready for that, but you won’t lose me, Spence.”

“Not ready for a relationship?! Jesus, Lore, what do you think we’ve been doing the past two years? Fooling around?”

“No!” I said, panicking. “It’s not. I thought you were okay with whatever we have—”

“A relationship. That’s what we have, Lorin. Say it. Just admit it to yourself.”

I paused, closing my eyes. I pinched the bridge of my nose, trying to think of a way out of this. Argh. This wouldn’t be complicated if it wasn’t for Nigel.

I opened my eyes, and gazed at the man I’d been with for the past two years. “Spence, I can’t, I’m sorry,” I said. “I can’t do this. You knew that this is what I have to offer. This is all I could offer. And if you can’t take that, then—”

“Right on the heels of saying I won’t lose you, huh,” he cut in, bitterness seeped his tone. “Good job on that one, Lorin.”

I opened my mouth to speak, but the he cut the video call without another word. I buried my head into my pillow, my shout muffled by the cotton as I screamed my frustration.

About Kesh Tanglao

Kesh Tanglao is a full-time market researcher. When she’s not crunching numbers, she spends most of her free time watching TV shows, listening to music, and reading. Also a self-proclaimed fangirl, she likes cheering for her favorite sports teams and supporting her favorite artists.


Monday, July 21, 2014

[Personal Update] Nothing worth doing

... is ever easy. This has been my mantra ever since I got into law school.

This thing I've gotten myself into -- it's hella exhausting. Now that I'm in my last year, the pressure is mounting, the things I need to study, learn and memorize are also mounting, and I barely have time for anything else.

If you're one of those people I've been interacting with in the interwebs within the last year or so, you'd notice the scarcity of my posts and online presence. Truth is, I've limited myself to checking Facebook on my mobile. Most of the time, I leave my laptop alone because my nose is always buried in studying materials. I need to resist temptation from checking out too many websites and wasting idle time. The interwebs is a vast fountain of knowledge and I can spend hours online. Seriously.

The only thing I do to de-stress is read books (my kind of books, not law books) but I can't read as much as I want to. I just don't have the time. I don't even write or blog anymore, which really sucks.

I'm feeling introspective at the moment and I'd be lying if I say that negative thoughts, doubts and the urge to just give up are not creeping in. They are. Every. Single. Day. The only thing I do is to live each day as it comes, and it's getting harder. I need a good cry. =(

Saturday, May 31, 2014

[Wrap Up] May 2013

Much Mayhem in May

Well, not really. I just really like the alliteration. hihi And the mayhem was a pleasant one so no problem there.

This post is overdue, I know. I should have posted this sooner but I was sick (had flu) and I had to deal with enrollment again. Classes start this June 9th for me.

Anyways, May was pretty productive. I haven't done any book review because I was too busy with the #BuqoSteamyReads blog tour. In fact, I accomplished five weeks straight of blog-touring so I feel pretty awesome. Ha!

Oh yeah, I have this sort-of-important announcement:

Beginning June 2014, I will be on hiatus from reviewing books as it is my last year in law school. Other than the books I've already committed to review, I won't be accepting any Review Requests. I will also be taking a break from arranging blog tours. Thank you.

Oh, and yeah, I joined the #FlirtSteamyReads online writing class, still under Mina V. Esguerra, but this time it's for Flirt Publishing under authors Marian Tee and Liliana Rhodes. The end product will be included in a book bundle. The minimum word count is 20k and there must be some steamy scenes so that's a challenge. Hmmmm...

Anyways, that's what happened in May 2014 for me.

Hopefully, June will be great, too.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

[Blog Tour-Excerpt Reveal] Wedding Night Stand

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***For readers 18 and up***

By Mina V. Esguerra 

Andrea Crisostomo is no longer your Ms. Right Now, thank you very much. She's had enough of guys who like her "free spirit" but then break up with her before things get serious. One guy in particular screwed her over so much that she now hates weddings, but she has to suck it up to attend her sister Julie's big day.

Damon Esquibel enjoys the slow and steady chase, and it looks like his two-year pursuit of Geraldine is about to pay off. He's at his friend Anton's destination wedding only because of her. But then he meets the sister of the bride, who doesn't seem to want to be there, and it's enough to question his plans for the evening - and the rest of the weekend.
As luck would have it, she was also a sucker for guys who rocked a suit. So much that she watched hours and hours of crappy video on the internet of guys in formal wear, to desensitize and prepare her hormones for this day. She watched wedding videos, awards-night speeches, government press conferences. After that parade of unfit men, wearing ill-fitting outfits, sporting yucky facial hair, Andrea thought she would be ready for her sister’s beach wedding where a good percentage of the guests would be reasonably attractive, not related to her, and probably in that item of clothing.

It helped. She got through the ceremony fine, without being attracted to anyone. (Maybe being in a church helped with that.) But then the reception at the beach happened, and he took the seat beside hers.

Perfection! said her head, heart, and hormones. Her hormones especially. This was the longest stretch so far in her twenties that she’d been single, and the little buggers were pleading to be given something to do.

So to speak.

He had eyes that...she just needed to look at them. She had to find an odd angle so it wouldn’t seem like she was checking him out, but their eyes met anyway, and even more awkwardly.


“Excuse me?” he said.

She coughed. “Sorry. I have a throat thing.” And then she looked away, toward the orchid and tulip centerpieces.

Long lashes. Five o’clock shadow. Hair that was a day or two overdue for a haircut. Straight, broad shoulders, leading into what had to be toned arms, the way his suit draped respectfully on him like it was just happy to be there.

Andrea had never seen him before, and had to clear something up, before this got any weirder.

“Groom’s side?” she asked.

“Anton’s officemate,” he answered, a beat late, and like he wasn’t completely there. And then as his backside slid across the chair and made itself comfortable, he said, "My name is Damon.”

Of course it is. “Andrea,” she replied.

His eyes fixed on her and tracked up to the band of small orchids atop her head, and then to her neck exposed by the ponytail that snaked down one shoulder, and further down still to the section of her lower back that peeked out from the criss-cross back straps of her lavender dress. She knew it, felt it all, even as her eyes swept back to the centerpiece.

“You’re a bridesmaid,” she heard him say. His voice had a wonderful rumble to it, already calling up thoughts of being under soft linens. Or against hard surfaces.

Maybe it’s not him. Maybe I just haven’t been properly had. In ages.

When she braved another glance at him, he had turned somewhere else—Table 10, and that distracted look was on his face again.

That was refreshing. Maybe it was safe to look at him after all. Maybe he wouldn’t notice how hungry her hormones were.

“Yes I am. Sister of the bride.” There was a bit of movement over at that table, and someone stood up. Cute, regal-looking, gorgeous in navy blue. His eyes followed her too, almost intently.

Huh. Well.

“And she is?” Andrea said.

He knew what she meant, and the smile that came to his face was an unexpected softening of all those sharp edges. “Geraldine. You don’t know her?”

“Probably a friend of the groom. I don’t know the people on his side.”

Damon leaned closer, his voice dropping to a whisper. It wasn’t necessary, really; there was music, and the white noise of two hundred people finding their seats. But it gave her the excuse to tilt slightly toward him and expose more of her neck.

She is someone I’ve been trying to ask out. For a while now,” he admitted.

A small, light stab at her heart. That the rest of her ignored, because she was close enough to see his straight teeth and observe him lightly chew on the inside of his lip.

“She’s straight?” Andrea asked.

A smile, again. “Yes.”

“So what’s wrong with you?”


“Why won’t she bite? What’s wrong with you?”

He laughed a little. “She just doesn’t know me that well.”

Oh come on. She had eyes. And blood, and a working reproductive system. The way just being within arm’s length of Damon had woken up her ovaries, this Geraldine had to have a reason for not wanting a piece of that.

Those eyes shot toward Geraldine’s direction, before coming back to Andrea.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe it’s something you can enlighten me about. Female perspective and all.”

Damon didn’t know it, but he just wandered into her turf. She was the queen of the female perspective.



Mina V. Esguerra writes contemporary romance, young adult, and new adult novellas. Her young adult/fantasy trilogy Interim Goddess of Love is a college love story featuring gods from Philippine mythology. Her contemporary romance novella Fairy Tale Fail won the 2012 Filipino Readers' Choice award for Chick Lit. Through her blog Publishing in Pajamas (, she documents her experiments in e-publishing.
When not writing romance, she is president of communications firm Bronze Age Media, development communication consultant, indie publisher, professional editor, wife, and mother. She created the workshop series "Author at Once" and #romanceclass for writers and publishers.


Monday, May 19, 2014

[Blog Tour] #BuqoSteamyReads Passion Bundle Blog Tour Giveaway Winners!

And the winners for #BuqoSteamyReads Sizzling Bundle Blog Tour Giveaway are...

Cy V.
Winner of Gatorade Drinking Bottle
Colin Q.
Winner of 1 ebook or a 3-month emagazine subscription (winner's choice from the Buqo Catalog)


[Blog Tour-Excerpt Reveal] Lights Off by Asha Carpio

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***For readers 18 and up***


Broadway Star Olivia Rivera knows exactly what she wants: fame, successful career, and to prove herself. She even has a “script” to get this: find the next big thing, grab it, then move on to the next one.

Her plans get shaky when the sultry and equally ambitious Jacob Pecson makes a surprise comeback in her life. Jacob knows exactly what Olivia wants, and he has a mission of his own: to turn her life around.

With their paths crossing again, Olivia finds herself troubled as she rekindles her fire with Jacob. Will Olivia finally give in to what her heart desires or will she runaway again this time?


I would’ve recognized the voice anywhere. In Barcelona, in Venice, in London, in Taipei, in New York—in every city that I went to in the past three years, it was the only voice that I wanted to hear amidst the crowd’s cheer every time that I took my final bow.
“JACOB! I thought you weren’t coming!” Marian told him. He gave her one of his boyish smiles, the one that made the girls fall for him back in college.
He moved closer to me, making butterflies form in my stomach. He looked so much different now. He was wearing a light blue long sleeved shirt, his muscular arms clearly under it. Last I heard, he was doing mixed martial arts during his free time – not that he had many. After all he was managing the accounts for his family’s advertising and public relations agency and he was also spearheading the expansion of the firm in Malaysia.
He looked lean but muscular, but his face remained the same. His dark eyes, full lips, and strong jaw had turned him into one of the heartthrobs. He was the guy that any girl would kill for, and now he’s also one of the most eligible bachelors of Manila.
 I can still remember how those lips tasted, how I felt when they touched every inch of my body. Three years and all I could think about was his body against mine. I didn’t realize that I was staring a bit longer than I intended until a playful smile formed on his lips.
“Hey, we’ll just meet you there,” Marian told me. She exchanged knowing looks with Poch before they scampered to leave the room with Elle.
When I heard the door close, he moved towards me and by instinct, I stepped back.
“You were good out there,” he told me. He gave me a kiss on the cheek. “I got these for you by the way.”
“Thanks,” I replied as I tried to mask the confusion. I haven’t seen him in four years and I was pretty sure that I wasn’t his favorite person. Especially not after what I did. I took the bouquet of white lilies from him. “What are you doing here, Jacob?”
I tried to sound friendly, to not let my guard down but as he stepped closer to me, I can’t help but think about what we had. Or rather, never had. Jacob had that effect on me—he broke my walls down once, making me vulnerable. That was my biggest mistake by far.
“I came to support you, just like old times. Besides, I handled the publicity for your show,” he said in an as-a-matter-of-fact tone.
I was a good actress. I was so good that I even won a Tony last year, but my feelings kept betraying me at the moment. I could tell that he was watching my every move, waiting for my response but I didn’t have any.
“Great job,” I said, faking a smile.  When we parted ways, I told him that it was fine, that we would remain friends. It was only now that I’ve fully realized that what I told him was bullshit. I’m not fine. I was never fine after what happened.
“Who are you dressed up as?” He asked me, his eyes surveying my body. He was looking at me keenly. His eyes travelled from my neck to my legs, lingering on my thighs and at the curve of my waist. His stare made me melt inside.
“Velma Kelly,” I answered. “You?”
“Peter Parker, Broadway edition,” he grinned as he tapped the glasses that he was wearing. Though dressed as a geek, Jacob still looked hot. I remembered how he would often dress down when we were doing rehearsals and still, heads turned when he passed by. He can basically wear a garbage bag and still look incredibly sexy.
“Anyway, it was nice of you to drop by.” I reached out for my blue clutch from the dresser and started to walk towards the door, hoping that Jacob would take the cue and leave. Being alone in a room with him was never a good idea. Besides, I had no plans of repeating history, anyway.
“I am pretty sure that your stage manager said that you had twenty minutes to spare,” he said. His voice sounded gruffer than I last remembered but it still had that hypnotic effect on me. He looked at his watch, before adding, “I still have fifteen minutes.”
“I wanted to go in earlier. Why don’t we talk outside?” I suggested. We both knew that this was a lousy excuse, but I didn’t have anything better to say.
“But I don’t want to share you, Olivia.” he told me. He walked closer, with only a foot between our bodies. He smelled like clean aftershave and mint, making my knees go weak. “So how about this, dinner is on me tomorrow. All you have to do is say yes.”
“I have a thing tomorrow,” I lied. I managed to walk past him and headed for the door, trying my best to ignore the feelings stirring inside. Before I could head out, he grabbed me by the hand which caused me to lose my balance. I nearly tripped but he caught me, pulling me close to him.

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

[Blog Tour-Cover Reveal] Intoxicated

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***For readers 18 and up***

About the Book:

Deke, Sam and their new relationship will take you on a journey of friendship, love and complications.

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

[Blog Tour-Excerpt Reveal] Passion Within The Stone Wall

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***For readers 18 and up***

Passion Within the Stone Wall
By Kali Ragilles

Sometimes, it’s okay to be selfish…

Unless you’re Paige De Guia, whose only concern is to make sure all the bloggers under her charge enjoy themselves during their sponsored trip. Everything goes as planned, until she meets a handsome and mysterious tough guy on the way to the island of Sabtang in Batanes.

And just like that, Paige’s priorities turn upside down.

Some minutes after Mayette left, a shout rang across the basketball court. What the fuck, dude? That was an easy rebound! the guy with the funky hair called out. The other men howled with laughter, but Paige hardly noticed them.
Because Sean was staring straight at her.
Sean, bro! You still playing or what? Seans other friend, Duke, passed the ball to him. He barely caught it, his attention still on Paige. She held Seans gaze, pretending to ignore how the sweat on his bare skin glistened in the afternoon sun, how she would love to run her fingers over those six-packed abs. Paige inhaled deeply, watching as a small smile formed on his lips. Those kissable red lips.
Geez, this guys sex incarnate.
Yeah, Sean said, casting one last look at Paige before jogging to catch up.
Paige sat on the concrete fence in silence, watching the guys play. She did her best to seem uninterested, but her eyes followed Sean like a hawk, watching every flex of his sweaty, hard muscles. Seans friends and the locals were evenly matched, ending the game with a draw when the sun began to turn their surroundings orange.
Oh, shit, Paige muttered as she glanced at her watch. It was already half-past five. They had to leave Chavayan as soon as possible, or risk traveling on dark and narrow cliff-side roads. Panicked, she jumped down the fence and nearly fell on all fours.
Easy, cowgirl, a familiar voice drawled beside Paige. Gino leaned over the fence with Leizel, Austin and Queenie beside him. TJs off chasing the sunset, but Eddie and his troopers are probably halfway back to Centro by now.
You heard right, girl. Leizel pointed her camera phone at the basketball court and snapped a photo. Were staying here!
But our things ― ”
Queenie wrinkled her nose. Still at the Heritage Building. Well have to buy basic toiletries for the night. The kids said they have everything well need at the sari-sari store. Speaking of which, she started. Ill buy our stuff before it gets dark. I dont want to suffocate from your cumulative BO and bad breath tomorrow.
But its a great bonding experience! Gino batted his eyelashes comically. You, me, Leizel, Paige, Austin and TJ Sharing our bodily essence in one stone cottage!
Yuck, Queenie said, her face full of disgust. Ill see you at dinner. The blogger turned around before Paige could ask more questions.
What a bitch, said Gino. But she has her moments, so I guess Im not suffocating her with a pillow tonight.
Paige pretended she didnt hear Gino. Can someone please explain to me whats going on? Where are we staying? And where in the world are we going to have dinner?
I told you we had your back, girl. Leizel grinned. Weve got it all taken care of. Kuya Nestor got us a stone cottage, and his mom is preparing us dinner. What a nice old lady.
But the fees and all ― ”
Everythings okay, Austins hoarse voice chimed in. Relax, Paige.
Wow! Four words in one breath. A record for Austin, so Id take his advice if I were you, Gino said, smirking. Oh, and if you can stop ogling the hot guy for a bit, you might want to check your cellphone. Eddie says hell text you.
Paige blushed. I wasnt ogling.
Whatever. Gino said. Cant say I blame you. Abs galore!

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

[Blog Tour-Excerpt Reveal] Boyfriend Stealing Bitch

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***For readers 18 and up***


Jess Rodriguez always gets what she wants. That's why no one in her office has difficulty believing she tried to steal the gorgeous Martin de Guzman from his perfect girlfriend, Eliza. Now, the label "boyfriend-stealing bitch" has been slapped on her. Plus, Martin has to leave for the U.S. and Jess is left all alone to pick up the pieces.

Two years later, Martin shows up in the most unlikely of places: at Jess’s weekend getaway with her boyfriend, Joey. Will it be his turn to steal her away on a hot summer night? Is she finally going to claim the title she was so unfairly given back then? 

The week goes by really fast. And the next thing I know, we’re having a despedida party for Martin at a bar in Makati. Everyone’s there, and group pictures are being taken left and right. Martin, however, looks distant. He smiles and acts normally, but I know something’s wrong because he has that look on his face. Drinks in hand, I lead him away from the fray toward a balcony cocktail table far from the bar.
“Are you okay?” I ask him.
“I feel like shit. Eliza’s not talking to me.” I should have known.
“Maybe you should go patch up things with her.”
“I don’t know. Maybe I should,” he says, but he stays where he is. He’s quiet and, I suspect, a little tipsy, if not drunk.
“You could always go home.”
“Look, you’re in no condition to drive. Let me just call you a cab.” I start to head back toward the bar, but he puts his hand on my arm.
“Not yet, Jess,” he says. There’s a plea in his voice. His hand is warm on my skin. I’m not a very touchy-feely kind of person. And I’m sure we must have grazed elbows or arms at some point in the past, but this feels funny. Well, at least, the feel of his hand on my arm is making me feel funny. I know I should walk away, but I don’t.
“Just stay with me for a while.” I don’t say anything.
His hand is still on my arm.
“I’m going to miss you,” he says.
“I’ll miss you too.”
“Say it like you mean it.”
I look at his face. What is going on with him? Is it the alcohol talking?
“Look, Martin, I think you’ve had too much to drink—”
His hand has traveled up to my shoulder, and before I know it, he’s gently stroking my cheek and jaw.  My heart is hammering in my chest. I know I should pull away, but stupid me, I feel frozen in place. I’m still waiting for something to make sense. Or I’m enjoying the way he’s touching me. I don’t know. Or maybe I’m realizing that he looks even better when his skin is slightly flushed.
“Jessica,” he says. He’s never said my whole name like that, like a half whisper. And then he’s kissing me. Slowly, at first, then hungrily. I can smell the vodka on his breath mixing with the scent of his cologne. I don’t know how it happened, but his arms are around me, and I’m leaning into his body. What am I doing? is the last thing on my mind before we hear a gasp behind us.
“Oh my God, Jess Rodriguez, you are a boyfriend-stealing BITCH!”
And there’s Eliza, tears streaming down her face. I think the whole floor has heard her.

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