Deal-Breaker book cover

2016 Rainbow Awards runner-up

This was not the plan.

After a career-threatening injury, backup dancer Rae Peters crashes at a friend’s in a middle-of-nowhere college town to recover. She’d rather be onstage performing with a rock star than stuck in a swimming pool doing rehab exercises, but at least the people-watching is good. Make that person-watching, because she only pays attention to one person: the cute water aerobics instructor who’s always lugging around accounting textbooks like she might be smart.

Jori Burgess is a grad student with a young daughter and a blackmailing ex-boyfriend. She’s got her hands full being a single mother, and studying, and teaching at the pool, and pretending to be someone she’s not. The last thing she needs is one more complication, but Rae is one complication she can’t resist.

Rae has no trouble resisting, because she promised herself a long time ago that flirtatious straight girls were not for her. Even if they claimed they weren’t that straight. Especially if they claimed they weren’t that straight. Really, thank you, but no. She’s not going to fall for someone who’s got red flags plastered all over her very attractive…uh…personality.

Being friends, though? Being friends is not a problem, and neither is dancing together, and neither is holding on a little longer than is strictly appropriate, and neither is…

Yeah. This could be a problem.

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“…laugh-out-loud exchanges and too-hot-to-touch sexiness…” —Rainbow Awards/Elisa Rolle Reviews and Ramblings (read the full review here)

“Both women are likeable, warm, and passionate. The chemistry between them…sizzles.” —Rainbow Book Reviews (read the full review here)

“Every character brought something different to the table. …a delight.” —The Lesbian Review (read the full review here)

“A really imaginatively written book that covered the whole gamut of emotional joy and angst, of trust and betrayal, of lies and deceit and finally of true love and trust.” —Inked Rainbow Reads (read the full review here)

“A great book, perfect for some light, fun reading to take your mind off a busy week.” —The Romantic Reader (read the full review here)


Ignoring the ladder, Rae swam to the edge of the pool a few body lengths away from where Jori was sitting and did a pushup to propel herself out of the water. She paused there, supported by only her arms, and waited for the water to sluice down her skin. Then she swiveled to sit on the tile coping, rolled onto her side, and from there got to her feet in a weird maneuver that should have looked a lot more awkward than it did before she straightened and limped toward her crutches.

“What happened to you?” Jori asked, following her like the nosy ambassador of hospitality Rae had asked her not to be. She couldn’t help herself.

Rae wobbled and grabbed her crutches. “Dance injury.”

“Doing what?”

Rae was shivering in her swimsuit despite the weather, and no wonder—it wouldn’t kill her to put on a little body fat. She wrapped a towel around her chest as best she could while holding her crutches. “Landing.”

Gorgeous, but defensive. Although it could be that the pain from whatever was wrong with her leg made her irritable.

“Will you be here tomorrow? So I can annoy you some more with my charmingly intrusive questions?”

Rae’s frustrated expression softened. She had nice eyes. Whoever loved her was lucky, getting to linger in the glowing apology and forgiveness that transformed her average brown eyes to shining warm mocha.

Jori blinked. Where had that thought come from?

Rae tossed her head in a flirtatious move that was meant to be done with luxurious long hair but worked surprisingly well with her stubby ponytail. “Come back tomorrow and find out.”

Copyright © 2016 Siri Caldwell

Rainbow Awards Runner-Up Sticker