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Love Story Box

Hot Pickle

Hot Pickle

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Never fall for the beautiful woman who visits your best friend. She might be his sister.

The steamy second book of the Pickleverse, and another instant Amazon Top 100 bestseller.

When Max Pickle falls in love with his best friend’s sister, they must hide their wild attraction from her overprotective hot-headed brother or jeopardize his career and the family deli.

"This series has so much hilarity that I can't stop laughing about it." ~ Southern Chics Lit

Also: The ebook version is exclusive to Amazon in Kindle Unlimited. Find it there.

Brother's best friend. Sports romance. Follow your dreams. Several high-steam love scenes.

  • Ebooks and audiobooks are delivered instantly via email for you to send to your preferred ereader, phone, or device.
  • Unsigned paperbacks are made to order at the printer and shipped direct to you.
  • Signed paperbacks and book boxes are hand packed by us in Texas and ship in 2-3 business days.

Book Summary

My pickle is in a pickle.
And it has nothing to do with my family deli.

My first bodybuilding competition is in less than an hour.
My fake tan looks like someone hosed me in orange juice.

But a tiny goddess in spandex arrives with her brushes and tanning wand.

She’s funny. She’s sexy.
I could spend all day with her hands on my hard body.

But there are two problems.

1. When she touches me, a particular part of my anatomy springs to life. In public. In the smallest competition trunks you can imagine. And…I’m about to go out on stage.

2. Camryn is my best friend’s sister. The last man who looked at her got his face bashed in. If I go anywhere near her, he’s made perfectly clear that he will kill me.

But you might as well carve my tombstone.

Because the more we see each other, the more we know we can’t fight this thing.

And despite my best friend’s threats, when I’m naked in Camryn’s tanning tent, there’s no way this Pickle is going to get anything but hot.

Read Chapter One

Chapter 1: Max

So, I’m naked.

In a tent.

The tent only has three sides.

Aaaaaand…it’s in the middle of a parking lot.

But that’s not all.

A woman blocks the fourth, open side of the tent.

She’s a willowy bottle-blonde with a tight black shirt that says “Ride ‘em Shiny.”

And she’s hosing me down.

Now, you may wonder how a man arrives at a scene like this in broad daylight.

I’ve got nothing but time to explain as the woman tells me to spread my legs. I take a wide step, arms in the air, trying not to flinch in the spray.

I’m happy to tell you this story. It will distract me.

So, first, you have to be rock hard.

Hey, now. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Actually, don’t.

I like the gutter.

But right now I mean muscles.

Pecs. Gluts. Biceps. Lats.

To reach tent-in-a-parking-lot level, you’ll work out every day for at least a year, probably two.

Your diet will be strict. Lean meat, measured carbs.

You’ll go through bulking periods to put on muscle, then a cutting phase to burn the fat out of the creases.

On the last day, you’ll have to dehydrate so your skin pulls tight and every sinew is revealed. And you will eat like a maniac, infusing those muscles with carbs so they’ll plump out.

Then, and only then, will you find yourself in a tent behind an arena, butt naked, getting a spray of tan and oil before you go on stage to compete in a regional bodybuilding competition.

That’s where I’m headed next.

You with me?

Well, not with me.

Your eyes might be bugging out if that were the case.

But you can picture it, right?

Me. Naked. Muscles. Oil.

Is your mind in the gutter again?

Good.

The spray is cold and brown, like being pelted with chocolate milk.

Which is kinda…gross.

That might have melted your lady boner.

Sorry.

Well, unless you like licking chocolate milk off—

“Take a quarter-turn, honey,” the woman says. “Got to get all the pale bits.”

Pale bits. I’m not exactly pasty on a normal day here in sunny California. But for the lighting and the stage, you have to be dark for your muscles to shine.

Plus, there are parts of me where generally the sun don’t shine.

“Turn again,” the lady says, and now I’m facing her, all the goods on display. She works like a pro, her gloved hand shifting the dangling parts aside so she can get my thighs.

As she bends, I spot dozens of people milling around the parking lot. It’s a big regional competition. People peer in, and I guess I’ll have to get used to it. If women can stick their heels in stirrups and pop out a kid in a roomful of onlookers like my cousin Greta did, then I suppose I can shut my trap about getting gawked at by strangers wandering by my tanning tent.

I am, after all, expected to put my body on display. The tight competition trunks don’t cover up much more than this woman’s pale blue glove.

“I’m gonna put a finish on it,” she says, and I stifle a wisecrack. I’m sure she’s heard them all. For now, I’ll keep my crusty remarks to myself.

The woman sprays another pass, then steps back to assess me. “Lookin’ good, baller,” she says. “Make a slow turn so I can do a final check.”

I do as she says. Good thing I’m not shy.

“All right. Give it a sec to dry. Don’t touch anything you don’t have to, and don’t scratch any itches!”

She clips a towel over the opening so I can stand there without an audience. I let out a long breath. I’m dying of thirst.

I got to eat a huge breakfast this morning, part of making sure my muscles aren’t “flat” for the big day. It was heaven, honestly, after the dieting of the last ten weeks. Four orders of French Toast, three sides of hash browns, and six scrambled eggs.

Unfortunately, I only got to drink half a cup of black coffee with it.

Prejudging is in a couple of hours, but the evening show is when the audience will arrive. I will probably eat carb loads several times today, but I won’t be able to take more than a few sips of water until it’s all over. Otherwise, I risk bloating my hard work.

I touch my chest. Damn, I’m dark. My arms look like they come from someone else’s body.

It seems dry enough, so I slide my posing trunks on carefully, trying to avoid too much pressure on any one spot. But they’re tight, and it’s like a wrestling match to get them in place.

Nobody tells you about this part, not even my best bud and training partner Franklin. And I thought he’d told me all the bad shit.

I finally manage to get the tiny blue trunks in place, and everything tucked in. I snatch up a loose hoodie and slide it on. Next, baggy sweatpants to avoid rubbing the tan, but keep my legs warm. It’s not cold out, but Franklin warned me that letting my muscles use their glycogen stores to keep warm will lessen their bulge when it’s time.

I’m trying to do everything right.

I slide into my slip-on shoes and shoulder my bag to head out of the tent. The woman gives me a wink as I lay a tip in her hand. “Good luck, baller.”

I mumble my thanks and take off. After that show of flesh, I could use a beer. But I won’t be doing that anytime soon.

The parking lot’s a circus. Tents for supplements and weight systems line up in a row, banners whipping in the wind. Men pose with women in bikinis dangling on their arms.

There’s skin everywhere. Bronzed, shiny, bulked-up bodies are on display in every direction. They aren’t competing, obviously. You can separate us by what we’re wearing. The marketers don’t need to protect their tan or keep their muscles warm. They’re selling stuff and trying to show off what it can do.

I wave off several who approach with samples and swag. I was supposed to meet Franklin five minutes ago. His prejudging is in less than an hour. He wants to give me a pep talk and make sure I look the part.

I fish my badge out of my bag and flash it at the guard sitting by the back door. Then I’m inside, air conditioning flowing over me like a Bahaman breeze.

The pre-staging area is a madhouse. Some weight categories are already headed to the stage, so tricked-out bodies turn sideways to avoid bumping into each other and messing up their perfect oil. The air is full of tension and angst.

I spot Franklin grabbing his pin at the registration table. He’s prepped and ready, a loose towel across his shoulders, slip-on shoes, and red board shorts. He does the physique category rather than classic, so he gets long loose trunks that almost reach his knees. Not like my tiny bit of stretch. His tan is glossy and perfect.

He’s a regular on the regional circuit. When I first started, he was a beast compared to me. But during this last bulking phase, my muscle mass developed beyond his. I’m glad we’re in separate classes and don’t compete against each other.

I spot an empty bit of wall out of the way of the crowd, a place to stand and wait until Franklin leaves the line. The sea of bronzed humans fascinates me.

I don’t think I would’ve taken up the call if I hadn’t reconnected with Franklin. We were roommates at UCLA as undergrads, but lost touch after I started running my family deli.

When I felt the excess of too much pastrami on rye, I asked around for a good workout joint. Franklin had been the one to recommend Buster’s Gym. Thing is, it’s an old-school, free-weights place where once you start pushing hard, you need a qualified spotter to work in pairs.

He was already competing and needed someone more reliable than his current training buddy. Even though I was a wad of flab compared to him in those early days, I got bitten by the fitness bug and soon both of us were hitting the weight room five or six days a week.

When I started putting on muscle, it became a bit of an obsession. Franklin motivated me to push as well as kept me in check. He reminded me there was life outside the gym, and after my brother Jason screwed up his own franchise good and hard by ignoring it, I knew I needed to find some balance between my workouts and my business.

Today is the day I will test that balance.

I don’t expect to compete anywhere near the top. But there’s always the possibility I’ll get up there and knock everybody dead.

I don’t know how I’ll manage my business if that happens, but I guess I can only do what Grammy always says and crunch that pickle when I get to the jar.

Franklin leaves the desk and spots me. His stride is confident as he threads his way through the crowd. I hope this is his night. He’s waited a long time to qualify for Nationals and the journey to a pro card.

He holds out his arm for a fist bump, because even a handshake can impact the smoothness of his oil and tan at this late stage, “How are you feeling?” he asks.

“A little nervous I’m gonna screw up.”

“No way. Amy is a great posing coach. Don’t let the nerves get to you.”

He surveys my face and hands. “You’re good and dark.”

“Just got my last round done.”

“You carb up this morning?”

“Yep.”

“You have more carbs and some weights to get your pump before you go on?”

“I do.”

He smacks my shoulder. “I think you’re going to do great. You’re a natural. Let’s take a look at that tan.”

I unzip my top.

Franklin frowns. “She was in a hurry. I see some areas where it could’ve been blended better. Take that off.”

In any other situation, having two people examining each other’s mostly naked skin would mean something else entirely. But here, it’s happening all across the room. Women adding bronzer to the cleavage of other women. Dudes kneeling in front of other dudes’ junk, adjusting the fit of an elastic band.

Franklin tilts his head. “It’s probably good enough. Turn around, though. Your rear lat spread is where it’s at. You don’t want to have points deducted after all the work you’ve done on it.”

He’s right. My back is my strong suit, according to our posing coach. It’s where I’ll have an advantage.

I turn and hear a sudden intake of air.

Franklin’s voice could peel paint. “I don’t know what the hell she did, but you’ve got a white line going down your spine.”

“What?” I turn my head as far as it will go, like a dog chasing its tail.

“The spray has to dry before you relax a pose, or it will pull the color. It can even wreck an old tan.” Franklin says. “The most amateur tanning artist should know that.”

My gut twists. Pro Tan had me wait. There was a timer in the pod. I remember that now. Miss Ride ‘Em Shiny had rushed me through. “How bad is it?”

“Enough to blow the score on your rear lat.”

Well, shit. “What do I do?”

“Let me see if I can track down Camryn.”

“Your sister?”

When I turn around, Franklin already has the phone to his ear. His eyebrows are drawn together, and his expression is murderous. I want a mirror to see how bad this is, but despite all the people preening in the room, there aren’t any.

I watch Franklin, tempted to pull my jacket back on, afraid of feeling ridiculous. How can I go on stage like this?

He finally speaks. “Yes, I know I’m supposed to text you. I was afraid you wouldn’t look at it.”

He pauses. “My buddy Max is doing his first show today and some crap-tastic amateur gave him a spine line.”

The squawk in his ear is so loud he pulls the phone several inches away from his head.

When it quiets, he says, “Over by registration,” and shoves the phone in his bag.

“So, your sister can help?” I ask.

His jaw hardens for a moment, and I have no idea why. I’ve never met his sister. Maybe they don’t get along.

He leads me over to a quiet corner. “She’s a pro among pros, and booked solid today, but I can’t let you go up like that.”

“So, she’s coming?”

“She’s going to squeeze in a three-minute patch job on you.” He walks behind me again and grunts in irritation. “Bro, next time you need a tan, sign up in advance.”

“I got the first two done by Pro Tan like you said.”

“And who did this horrid last-minute job?”

I don’t want to say the name. But Franklin’s in my face. He probably feels like he blew all the time he’s put into me.

“Ride ‘em Shiny,” I finally admit.

Franklin spins away, his hands on his head. “Ride ‘em fucking Shiny? Do you know who their primary clients are?”

“No.” My voice sounds as stony as I feel, but my gut drops when Max utters his next two words.

“Porn stars.”

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