Intoxicated by You
Intoxicated by You
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- Healing from grief
- Workplace romance
- Irish hero
When sober hearts collide, love is the ultimate intoxicant.
Haunted by the tragic loss of a dear friend, Maya has sworn off alcohol, determined to honor her friend's memory. Her world takes an unexpected turn when she crosses paths with Tom, a charming Irishman who owns a non-profit organization collaborating with Maya's marketing agency.
After an awkward misunderstanding at their first meeting, Maya dreads working in close proximity with Tom, something she has to do every day when she is assigned to his account.
As Maya and Tom navigate their professional collaboration, their personal lives become increasingly intertwined. With each passing day, they discover shared values, dreams, and an irresistible chemistry that transcends their initial misunderstanding. Their relationship blossoms, offering a tender respite from the weight of their individual struggles.
"Intoxicated by You" deftly balances the weighty themes of addiction and loss with lighthearted moments of laughter, showcasing the resilience of the human spirit. Through Maya and Tom's uplifting tale, readers will be immersed in a story of hope, growth, and second chances. Will Maya find the courage to trust again, and will Tom prove to be the missing piece she never knew she needed?
Perfect for fans of romantic comedies with a touch of depth, "Intoxicated by You" is a captivating novel that will leave readers both smiling and reflecting on the transformative power of love. This enchanting story promises a happily ever after that will warm your heart and reaffirm the beauty of finding love in unexpected places.
Start reading Chapter One...
Start reading Chapter One...
A premonition was nothing to trifle with, Maya Jefferson knew that. Now, if only she could convince her friend that the “bad feeling” that had been plaguing her of late was a result of her sixth sense and not just her everyday anxiety, then maybe they could move off this topic and actually enjoy happy hour together.
“I’m telling you,” she pleaded. “This is different. This isn’t like Luisa stressing out about winning a new client—which we all know she’s going to end up with, anyway.” How could she explain this to them when the two of them couldn’t possibly fathom the stakes? “It just feels like…well, like something bad is waiting around the corner. I don’t know. Just…just promise me you’ll both be careful, okay? Look both ways a couple of extra times before you cross the street or whatever.”
Luisa huffed a sigh in her direction. “Don’t even joke about me not landing a client, Maya. It’s not funny.”
Maya rolled her eyes. “Bad example, sorry. It’s just that things have been…well, they’ve been pretty good lately, haven’t they?” She shrugged. “All the more reason to keep a lookout over your shoulder, in case some bad luck catches up with us.”
“That’s not the way it works,” Andie chided, shaking her head fervently. “Life isn’t going to punish you because you’ve been happy, for Pete’s sake. You’re always looking over your shoulder, Maya. I know you’re kidding, I get it. But you’ve got to stop joking like this. I’m saying this in all love…you know that, right?”
Luisa jumped in before Maya could respond. “I think what Andie means, Maya—” She shot a stern look at Andie. “—is that we’re worried about you. And…I have to ask. Have you actually been happy lately? Like…is it worth worrying that something terrible is about to happen when you’ve been just midline content, anyway? Or are you ecstatically joyful and just keeping it to yourself?“ Her eyebrows climbed with her question, her hazel eyes conveying the depth of her concern and love for her friend so intensely Maya had to look away.
Maya shook her head. “I thought this was supposed to be a light-hearted happy hour. It’s not fair, you know. And we don’t even have the excuse of having a drink or two and that loosening up our inhibitions.” She nodded towards the table, where their glasses sat. None of the women drank alcohol, each for their own reasons. It was one thing that normally made Maya feel safe with her friends. She could order her usual ginger ale or iced tea without bracing for the cajoling and wheedling that came afterward. But today, she felt like a wire with its insulation stripped off, a live copper line just waiting to zap anyone who dared touch it, even by mistake.
Luisa sipped her kombucha and smiled at Andie and Maya in turn. “You know, speaking of light-hearted happy hours…when was the last time either of you had some fun?” She lifted an eyebrow, giving her friends a moment to think. “I got asked that on a date last week, and I couldn’t remember the last thing I’d done that wasn’t for work. All my hobbies have either become potential sources of side hustles or gone by the wayside.” She looked intently at Maya. “It’s not just you, friend. And I don’t want you to feel like we’re ganging up on you.”
“I know,” Maya said. She forced a smile as she worked to shove the foreboding feelings this conversation had brought to the surface back down below where they belonged. “But don’t think you can skip right over talking about your date like that. Who? What? Where? How?”
“Uh huh,” Andie agreed. “I caught that, too. She thinks she’s sneaky, but that doesn’t fly with me. Spill!” She pointed the neck of her root beer at Luisa, who laughed and shook her head.
“Well, I’m afraid you’re both about to be very disappointed,” she said. “Apart from that question, the entire date was forgettable. I met him online, we had lunch, and it was all very average. I think we were both clear on the fact that it wasn’t a love match or anything, so I have no intention of calling him again, and he seems to be thinking the same. So in that way—and only in that way—we are perfectly in tune with each other.”
“Sorry, you met for lunch?“ Andie asked. “On a workday?”
“Of course!” Luisa answered. “I have a 45 minute lunch break, and you know I don’t believe in giving up my rare free evenings for just anyone.” She gestured to her two friends.
Maya and Andie made meaningful eye contact and choked back laughs before Maya spoke up. “Luisa…please tell me you didn’t tell your date that.”
Luisa threw her napkin at Maya, but she was laughing. “You know I do have some tact. I didn’t tell him he wasn’t dinner-worthy or anything like that. I just told him a lunch date would be efficient. What?” Her friends’ laughter was descending into out-of-control cackles. “What is so funny about that?”
Andie was the first to regain control of her faculties and respond. “Nothing. Nothing at all. But I think you’re on to something with the idea that we might need a little more fun in our lives. Let’s come up with some ideas and really set the intention of making it happen.”
“Oh, I’m way ahead of you,” Luisa said. She pulled out her phone, tapped a few times, and then turned it to her friends. On the screen, there was a spreadsheet full of different colored squares, each filled with text. “I took an inventory of how I’m spending my time currently. I found the gaps, where there is an opportunity to fill in a blank space with something enriching and fun, and I started to work on a list of potential activities to incorporate into those white spaces.”
Andie raised her eyebrows but said nothing. She turned to Maya. “How about you, then? What’s on your mind?”
Maya took a long drink from her glass to give herself more time to think. Her friends’ questions about her current level of happiness had struck a nerve and made her think about something she hadn’t thought of in a long time. Maybe not even since Nina had died.
“I’m not really sure,” she admitted. “How do you even begin to know what’s missing from your life? Is this like a spiritual or philosophical question, Andie? Am I supposed to ask my inner child, or what?”
“I think the less thinking you do, the better,” Andie answered. “Go with your intuition or with a feeling you get. When something occurs to you, like an idea that you should try something, then do it. Try something different the next time. We don’t all have to make spreadsheets.” She turned her intense gaze on Luisa, who was typing away on the screen of her phone again. “What did you enjoy doing when you were a child?”
“Playing businesswoman,” said Luisa, at the same time that Maya answered, “I don’t know.”
Maya’s childhood memories were full of after school play dates with Nina, and they’d had so much fun no matter what they’d done that it didn’t seem possible for Maya to separate the activities from the wonderful friend that she had shared them with. Whether they were pretending to be veterinarians, building forts in the woods, or reading on her parents’ cozy living room couch, there had always been laughter, fun, and a lightness that Maya hadn’t noticed until it was taken away from her.
But she couldn’t get into all of that with her friends right now. They knew about Nina, of course, but that didn’t mean she wanted to have a public cryfest in front of all the unfamiliar hipsters who were sharing the patio with them. She’d save that for another time. For now, it was enough to brainstorm without getting into the nitty-gritty details.
“I spent a lot of time outside,” she said. “Reading books, playing pretend. I always loved art, no matter what kind of project it was.”
“I loved art, too,” agreed Andie. “I started painting again recently, after things were so hard at work. It seemed like it might be a good way to process all the grief, and so far it’s been really helpful.” Andie was an end-of-life doula, guiding people who were near death to and through that final transition and supporting their families as well. She often talked about how rewarding it was with tears in her eyes, and Maya knew that some days weighed heavily on Andie. She was glad to hear Andie had another tool in her tool belt when she needed to process all the emotions she brought home from her work.
“I liked painting,” added Luisa. “I stopped when I realized I wasn’t very good at it, but until that point, I had a lot of fun.”
Maya shook her head. “I did the same thing. In middle school, I decided I wasn’t one of the naturally talented artistic kids, so I never took another art class again after that. And of course I never did it on my own either, because what if I wasn’t any good?”
“I think that happens to a lot of us, maybe even most of us,” Andie said. “But what is ‘good,’ anyway? If we aren’t trying to win a contest, if we’re just trying to process our emotions and get out of our heads for a damn minute, isn’t that all that matters?”
“I guess so,” said Maya.
“I mean, I’m not crazy about the idea of not being good at something,” said Luisa. Off Andie’s expression, she continued. “But yeah. You’re right.”
An idea occurred to Maya, and she piped up before she could talk herself out of it. “Why don’t we make a painting date together, then? No judgment, no rules, just the three of us, a few canvases, and some paints. What do you think?”
“I love it!” Andie exclaimed. “And I’m happy to host it. We can use my living room, or maybe the balcony. And I’ve got a lot of paints. We’ll just need to buy some canvases. And make sure you wear ratty clothes in case you accidentally paint yourself. Sound good, Lu?”
Luisa looked hesitant, but she nodded. “Let me check my schedule to see when I could do it.”
Within ten minutes, they had settled on a date and time—Thursday at seven o’clock—and Maya had offered to make a run to the art supplies store to pick up canvases before then. Excitement and anticipation tingled within her, almost—but not quite—extinguishing the anxiety she had been feeling when the evening began. The sense that something was about to happen followed her home, refusing to leave her no matter how focused her attention was on ignoring it.