At Any Momeny
by Brenna Aubrey
Published by Silver Griffon Associates
Book #3 in Gaming the System series
It’s Dangerous to Go Alone!
Mia Strong never expected to be deciding the rest of her life at age twenty-two. Is she willing to become a human lab rat? Does she need to write a will? Does she ever want a family--and if so, with whom? She can't dodge the tough questions--not if she plans to live to see twenty-three. With her life hanging in the balance, Mia wants nothing more than to rely on Adam Drake, but he’s hurt her before.
You Must Gather Your Party Before Venturing Forth…
Adam Drake knows that he's made mistakes, but when he discovers what Mia's facing, he realizes how much those mistakes could cost him. Now he has to choose between being the man who can save Mia's life or the man she can love. No matter how much it tears him apart, Adam knows he has to put Mia first...even if it means he's out of the picture entirely.
Will their love survive this epic battle or is it game over?
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Romance Emotional
TRIGGER WARNING: Centers around a protagonist going through chemo for breast cancer.
At Any Moment is the third book in Brenna Aubrey's Gaming the System series, and is the final book for Adam and Mia's trilogy (although they are featured in a couple future books/novellas.). This novel is a dual POV, following Mia's journey after her cancer diagnosis. Mia has hard decisions to make. At 22, she is forced to make decisions about her future she isn't ready for. She needs her loved ones, especially Adam, but is scared of getting hurt again. Adam has one goal. Mia getting better. He will do anything it takes to help her be healthy again. But Adam soon learns, putting aside important issues to focus on one thing, isn't always the best idea.
I should have known that this book was going to emotionally cut me. There were moments I was emotional scattered throughout the book, but the last few chapters were rough. Don't let this turn you off, though. For those of you who want happy endings in this book, there is one. It's the journey to get there that's emotional. I want to express my appreciation for Brenna Aubrey's research into breast cancer, and specifically, the harrowing journey women (and men) go through when going through chemo. Her research comes from real women. Their blogs. It doesn't romanticize cancer or the treatments, or how hard it is to be a caregiver and love someone who is going through cancer treatments. At Any Moment is original (any other romance involving cancer, it always ends with the one with cancer dying, and the one left behind starting their journey of healing), compelling, emotional, and really, finally, Adam and Mia's characters are fleshed out. My only complaint is that I wish a bit more time was spent on the healing of these two characters. Some parts were really dragged out, and the most important part - our characters figuring out their shit, was glazed over with a chapter for each of them.
Because Brenna Aubrey took the time to research not just the medical side of Mia's diagnosis, but heavily researched the emotional side of it - from real breast cancer survivors, and some who have sadly passed away - I felt Mia's character was more real. All her thoughts, all her worries and her low self-esteem, are real. How she works through the trauma of what she has been though, and eventually forgives herself for her choices, really made Mia more realistic and likeable. Adam's character became swoonworthy is this book. The love and care he gives Mia while helping her is amazing. But being a caregiver is difficult. Being a caregiver to someone who has hurt you, and forcing those hurt feelings aside, isn't easy. And what happens in this book, with Adam, is understandable as well. Not once did I become frustrated with his character. Truth is, they hurt each other, and they both needed time to forgive themselves and one another. Again, I wish we got more of that. I wish we got more of the journal.
At Any Moment is an emotional journey. It's not always wonderful. There are harsh realities. But the romance is there. Who knew that I would swoon over a video game? (spoiler) -----------> Honestly one of the most unique ways I have read a character telling the truth about his feelings <---------. The first two books didn't capture my attention like this one did, but I do recommend this story nonetheless. And the preview for the next book, with man-slut Jordan? Um, YES PLEASE. Take my money!
Mia finally coming clean to her family and friends
Adam being there for Mia when she starts breaking down over losing her hair
Jordan coming to terms with Mia
Jordan giving Adam and Mia his dream trip to Paris
Paris, and Adam explain to Mia what he loves about her
Mia sneaking up on Cari and April when they were saying cruel things
Jordan's advice to Adam after Mia and him taking a break to figure out what they want
Adam's play-through explaining to Mia his feelings, and what he wants.
Mia and Adam finally getting back together, and them making love for the first time since everything happened. Mia showing Adam her scars.
Mia: "Is it really so bad that I believe in my child's right to live?"
Mom looked at me, frozen. Then she touched my cheek.
Kim: "No, honey, it's not bad at all. But - I need to beg you to remember my child's right to live - to finish her life. Don't sacrifice my baby, I beg of you."
Mia: "I think it would probably take several sticks of Dynamite and a couple of anvils to get rid of you."
Adam: "So I'm like that coyote in the cartoons?"
Mia: "Yeah, only Road Runner can't run very fast these days."
My head sank to his shoulder.
Adam: "She looks pretty exhausted, I have to admit. Guess I won't need my Acme motorized skateboard to chase after her ..."
He shifted, pulling me against him. I closed my eyes.
Mia: "Maybe she stopped running because she doesn't want to be chased anymore."
Adam: "So when is she going to move in with the coyote so he can take care of her?"
Mia: "Meep. Meep."
Adam: "Step into my TARDIS, young lady."
Mia: "It's bigger on the inside!"
Adam: "That's what she said ..."
I made a face
Mia: "Can't I just ring a bell instead? And have you bring me a tray in bed while dressed only in a speedo and bow tie?"
I suppressed a laugh
Adam: "I don't wear speedos."
Mia: "Too damn bad."
In spite of myself I laughed when I saw what it was. Electric clippers.
Adam: "May I do the honors? I may have fantasized about shaving a beautiful woman's head."
Mia: "Sicko. Shut the fuck up and turn those on."
Adam: "Oh God, please talk dirty to me. Hurt me, baby."
Adam: "Good riddance to this white hair with the pink and purple. It's god-awful My Little Pony hair. I've never been so glad to see hair go."
I swallowed my laugh.
Mia: "It's platinum blond, you dolt."
Adam: "Dolt! Ah, you can do better than that. Come on, hit me hard."
The clippers slipped against the back of my ear, tickling me. I started laughing.
Mia: "Bastard. Fucktard. Asshole."
Adam: "I'm shaving all your hair off. You're going to be the chick version of Humpty Dumpty."
Mia: "Fuck you, prick."
Adam: "Damn, the reflection of this light off your head is blinding me. Can't see a thing."
He purposely set the clippers against the sensitive back of my neck and I shrieked, laughing.
Mia: "Pencil dick."
Adam: "Are you married to Mr. Clean?"
Mia: "You better run when you're done with this shit, 'cause if I catch you, I'm so kicking your ass."
Adam: "Sounds exciting. Done."
I didn't move for a stretch of minutes, taking a long breath.
Adam: "You ready? You need me to psych you up?"
Mia: "Shut your hole, asshat."
I said, then cleared my throat and straightened, looking at myself in the mirror.
Yeah, I was speechless. I looked like Dr. Evil from Austin Powers. My eyes flew to Adam, who was watching me very closely, probably expecting another meltdown.
So I took my pinky fingers, raised it to my lip and said,
Mia: "I shall call him, 'mini-me,"
in as best an imitation of Mike Myers' portrayal as I could manage.
Adam's handsome face broke into a smile.
Adam: "Off to bed with you, baldy."
Mia: "I could so kick you in the nuts right now."
Adam: "Yeah, you aren't very frightening when you can't even keep your eyes open."
Mia: "Where's my paintball gun? I could so shoot you in the nuts right now."
He gasped as if in remembered pain
Adam: "You are going to trigger my PTSD from the paintball war with talk like that."
Mia: "He must think I'm on the verge of death or something."
Adam: "No, he doesn't. Why would you say that?"
Mia: "Dude has never been that nice to me."
I laughed. She laughed.
Mia: "I guess if he's going to keep being that nice, I'll bother to powder my head next time."
She rubbed her scalp again.
Adam: "You brazen hussy. Flashing all that skin!"
Mia: "Kat? What the hell are you doing here?"
Kat: "Nice to see you too, bitch."
she grumbled and then pulled me into the tightest hug
Kat: "You're bald, by the way."
Mia: "As a Ferengi, yes, I know. Attractive, isn't it?"
Kat: "Fuck, no. But you're still hotter than me."
Kat: "I'm going to go get my hug from him and see if his body is as hard as it looks."
Mia: "Slut. If he looks at your ass, I'm beating the shit out of you."
Kat: 'You're a bit too skinny for those kind of threats, my friend."
Kat: "Consider the advantages of this ... I mean aside from the puking, of course, you don't have to shave! No waxing your legs. No Brazilians. You're as clean as a whistle down there. This should be like the heyday of getting some good cunnilingus in. You don't have to worry about him hacking on hairballs like a c at or getting razor burn."
Mia: "Not done yet. Keep writing. Sixty-nine, or sex in public."
Mia: "Just write. This is my bucket list."
Adam: "You want to put sixty-nine on your bucket list?"
Mia: "What did you have in mind to help me with? Sixty-nine or the sex in public?"
His mouth twisted.
Adam: "Neither one of those. I was thinking the tango."
Mia: "Don't tell me you know how to dance the tango, too..."
Adam: "I was my cousin Britt's practice partner by coercion. It wasn't just for the foxtrot."
Mia: "Mmm. Maybe you can help me knock a few of these in the next little while."
I waggled my eyebrows suggestively at him.
Adam: "Find someone else for sixty-nine."
I laughed at him
Mia: "Oh, so you're okay with that?"
Adam: "No. Did I say 'find someone else'? I meant 'cross it the hell off your list.' "
Adam: "I have ways. I am an international man of mystery."
Mia: "You are the coolest geek on the planet."
Adam: "Hmm. Flattery will get you everywhere."
She smirked at me
Mia: "That's what I'm counting on."
Mia: "I am so not poetic. I think we should toast to all our tomorrows."
Adam: "To us. No greater love since Han and Leia."
Mia: "Don't twirl me so fast next time. My dress will fly up too high."
Adam: "What, you don't want the old goats in here to see your underwear?"
Mia: "I wouldn't care about them seeing my underwear, if I was wearing any. Happy birthday."
Adam: "Yesterday at the park you said you don't trust what you think anymore because you question your judgment. That's about right because with this, you're absolutely wrong. If I just loved the outside of you, you're right, I probably still wouldn't be here. I'd see only that your beautiful hair was gone or that you were sick all the time. But I don't just love your hair or your beautiful skin, your breasts or your eyes, your body. Those are the bonuses and they will come back. I love you, Emilia. I love your heart, which is worried about me even when you are the one hurting. I love your brain - that we can have long conversations about things and you get it. You get me. I love your soul, which feels, sometimes, like it's mine, only in your body."
Adam: "Don't let that shitty voice inside your head tell you that you aren't sexy. Ever. Because you are burning a hole right through me. And I love it."
Mia: "Hey Cari, hey April."
They spun, both sets of eyes widening and mouths dropping at the same time. Cari nervously twisted her huge man of blond hair over her shoulders and glanced at April.
Cari: "Hey, Mia! You're here. We were wondering where you were."
April had the decency to just stand there and look completely mortified.
Mia: "Uh huh."
I turned and glanced in Adam's direction.
Mia: "Ten plus today, I think. Of course, I think that every day."
Then I threw them a wide shit-eating grin.
Mia: "Maybe it's 'cause I have the advantage of getting to see him naked."
They exchanged uncomfortable glances and Cari was about to say something when I interrupted her again.
Mia: "Oh, and with regards to what you were just discussing ... I do more than blow a guy's dick, girls. I blow his mind. Excuse me. The walking dead like to feast on the brains of the living and there doesn't seem to be much of a supply of those here, so ... ta-ta."
Jordan: "Adams afwaid he's gonna get huwt. Poow widdle Adam."
Adam: "So you need me to let you out here? I think you can thumb a ride home with a serial killer or something."
Jordan: "I don't mean to be a dick but -"
Adam: "Too late -"
Jordan: "You need to sac up, dude. Whenever you put yourself in a serious relationship, you run the risk of getting hurt. It's how it works."
Adam: "But usually you trust the other person not to do it."
Jordan: "Yeah. And what makes you think she will? Because of last time? You mean when she was scared out of her mind with a life-or-death diagnosis right after breaking up with her boyfriend? You really think that's a time to judge how someone's going to act under more normal circumstances?"
I swallowed, suddenly feeling like a dick myself.
Jordan: "Here's the deal ... and you can consider the source and shitcan this advice if you want, but there's Uncle Jordan's take on things. It doesn't matter who the person is, when you make a commitment like being in a relationship, you are always going to open yourself up to be shredded. It's the nature of the beast."
Adam: I need you. I've always needed you. But that means nothing if you won't let me in.
Adam: "Hey, cousin."
I made a face
Mia: "Do not ever call me that again. That is beyond gross."
Mia: "I missed you too - the way an ionized atom misses its last electron."
Adam: "You are such a nerd. But that's the most romantic thing anyone's ever said to me."
He shushed me, looking into my eyes again though I avoided his gaze.
Adam: "Emilia. Look at me."
And I did. And there was sincerity, admiration in his eyes.
Adam: "You are beautiful. And these,"
he said, tracing the scars again with more pressure than before,
Adam: "are your strength."
Check out the rest of the Gaming the System Series