Updated: Feb 1
by Avery Flynn
Published by Entangled: Amara
Book #2 in the Hartigan's Series
The only thing about me that’s a size zero is the filter on my mouth.
I’ve got a big personality, a big rack, and a big number on the scale. And I’m perfectly fine with that.
But when some random guy suggests I might not be eating alone if I’d ordered a salad instead of a hamburger I’m shocked silent, which is a feat, trust me.
That brings us to one sexy fireman named Frankie Hartigan. He’s hot. He’s funny… And he’s just apologized for being late for our “date” then glared at the fat-shaming jerk. Next thing I know, he’s sitting down and ordering himself dinner.
I have no problem telling him I don’t need a pity date… unless of course it’s to my high school reunion next week. Oops where did that last bit come from? And what do I do now that he’s said yes?!
Because this is no make-over story, and I think Frankie is using me for something. I just have to figure out what…
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy #ContemporaryRomance Feel Good
Muffin Top by Avery Flynn is the second book in the Hartigan's series, and is centered around the oldest Hartigan sibling, Frankie, a firefighter, and the town's biggest play-boy, and Lucy, successful PR agent, and Gina Luca's (from book 1) sassy, ball-busting best friend. Their story begins when Frankie helps Lucy out with a jerk who decided to tell her she would be leaving with a date if she ordered a salad instead of a burger, by pretending to be her date. A great conversation between the two of them led to Frankie offering to go across the country with her for her week long high school reunion as her fake date (and at the same time, being with a woman who didn't want him would help him stay committed to his new "no sex" pact he made with himself after finding out that he was only known for a good time, and no one wanted to settle down with him).
Avery Flynn does it again, writing a romance that is all kinds of sweet, funny and sexy. Is the story itself overly original? Not really. There are plenty of fake relationship turns to love romances out there. Does that matter? No. It's great! Frankie and Lucy's chemistry and banter make the story entertaining, while still maintaining the emotion that is needed for a romance. Once again, much like the first book, I love that Avery Flynn is writing a romance about a bigger woman and a athletic man, and he finds her sexy just the way she is. Curves, rolls, stretch marks, and all. And it isn't a kink. It's her. He falls hard for her. I can't help but love that.
Frankie is such an enjoyable character. I liked him in book one, when he gave Ford hell and convinced him to get back his woman, but in his story, he really shined. He is literally a giant, protective, sweetheart. As Lucy says, a true romantic. He loves women. Not just their bodies, but the things that make them unique. He let a past misunderstanding define him though, which kept him from truly connecting to someone ... all except Lucy. And Lucy is great too. I'm not going to lie ... I may have connected with her more than I usually connect with a female protagonist. She's a big girl ... I'm a big girl. I liked that she was confident in her body. She just didn't like the comments and looks people gave her. I loved her right till the end. She had a hard time coming to terms that she was literally looking for the other show to drop, and overreacted to the situation. In the end they got it right. The epilogue was all kinds of awesome, and was a nice lead in the the next book.
Muffin Top was a charming, sexy romance, with stand-up characters that were easy to like and relate to. While I prefer a more drawn out romance, I can't deny that it would be easy to learn enough about a person to fall in love after sending 24/7 with them for a week, and put in situations where you need to communicate. And I can't lie, it's nice for once to read a romance that has a pleasantly plump lead finding love, and being seen as sexy.
Where to Buy
Frankie: "And that's why I was banned from Marino's unless accompanied by my brother."
Lucy: "It's clients like you who are the reason why I'm going all spicy tonight."
Frankie: "You have charming, especially handsome clients?"
Assholes. He was related to a bunch of assholes.
Frankie: "I'm on the bench, so no woman is my type."
Ford: "What do you mean?"
Frankie: "I mean that I've benched myself. I'm taking a break from sexual activities."
Finn: "Did you catch something?"
Frankie: "No, I do not have an STI."
Fallon: "Did you fall down and break your boner?"
Frankie flipped his sister off.
Frankie: "You want me to bang Lucy Kavanagh?"
Fallon: "No. I like her."
Frankie: "And you can't like people I fuck?"
Fallon: "If that was the case, then I'd have to not like almost the entire female population of Waterbury."
Finn: "Sexual attraction is what it is. We don't control it. But we, as humans, do tend to separate the world into them and us, which can alter our perspective about who we should even consider as possible sexual partners. The research on physical attraction is actually pretty fascinating."
He looked from Frankie to Fallon to Ford, and they must have each had the same shocked expression, because Finn flipped them off.
Finn: "What? I can read."
Frankie: "There is not way in hell that I'm going to fit in that toy-sized car."
Lucy: "It's bigger on the inside."
Frankie: "Are you kidding me? That is not Tardis."
Lucy: "How often do you usually have sex?"
Frankie: "Few times a week."
Lucy: "And how long has it been?"
Frankie: "A week."
Lucy: "No wonder your forearms are so muscular. It must take a lot of wrist action to make up for all of that."
He almost choked on his pie.
Lucy: "What? I'm dateless, not orgasm-less. There's a reason why sex toys are a fifteen-billion-dollar global industry. The stats say twelve percent of women masturbate with a sex toy at least once a week, but come on, that's gotta be under-reported. Amazon has something like sixty thousand adult items in stock, plus there's places like Babeland and Adam and Eve. And it's not just women. Twenty percent of men say they've used a vibe. Have you used a vibrator?"
He shook his head.
Lucy: "Oh Frankie. You are missing out."
Frankie: "How do you know all this?"
Lucy: "I'm a curious, sex positive, grown-ass woman."
Lucy: "Look, I'll let you in on a secret to survival for someone like me. If you prep yourself for the worst, you won't be disappointed, and if you own the insult before it can be uttered, you can't be hurt."
Lucy: "I am a woman of unbelievable depths."
Frankie: "So how about you? Do you go straight out after sex?"
Lucy: "A lady never tells."
Frankie: "Does that mean I'll have to find out for myself?"
Lucy: "N. O. Remember? You've temporarily renounced sex."
Frankie: "Right. No sex. Goodnight, Lucy."
Gussie was humping the stuffed reindeer a patient had given her dad that the dog had fallen in lust with at first sight.
Lucy: "Dad, do you have to let him do that?"
Tom: "It's better not to interrupt, Lucy. It's a totally natural thing."
Platitudes like that were what she'd grown up hearing, thanks to the fact that her dad was a sex therapist. That didn't change her mind at all. To make it even worse, two things happened right then.
One, Frankie walked out of the bathroom wearing only a white towel he was holding mostly together with one hand.
Two, her dad bobbled his phone, changing the angle so there was no missing Gussie as he ...ahem ... finished.
Both men: What in the hell?"
Lucy slammed the phone to her more than ample chest, glad her cleavage was good for more than storing cash and the occasional tube of chapstick.
Lucy: "Why aren't you dressed?"
Frankie: "Because I just came out of the shower. Why are you watching dog porn?"
Her jaw dropped. What the hell?
Lucy: "It's not dog porn, you sicko. I'm talking to my dad."
Frankie: "And he's watching dog porn?"
Lucy: "No. Gussie is just ... enthusiastic?"
Tom: "And he's got a schedule to stick to. More importantly, why is your so-called only a friend naked in your room, young lady?"
Lucy: "Dad, I'm a grown woman. I've seen plenty of naked guys before. This is not a big deal."
Frankie: "If you excuse me, I'll just take my seriously damaged ego and go get dressed now."
Lucy: "You do know that letting me pay for the repairs your car needed during a road trip I asked you on won't permanently shrivel your dick, right?"
Frankie: "I'm not sure my ego is going to survive this trip."
Lucy: "Your ego is the only thing bigger than you are. It could use a little downsizing."
Tom: "Tom Kavanagh. You must be the fake-but-still-walks-around-my-daughter-naked date."
Lucy: "Dad. He was wearing a towel."
Tom: "You're right, Muffin. My mistake."
Oh yeah, because that's what his Irish ass was about to do - talk about his feelings about sex. Somewhere, one of his ancestors rolled over in his Catholic grave at even the idea of it.
Frankie: "Everything okay?"
Lucy: "No. I need to apologize, and I hate apologizing."
Frankie: "I'm shocked. You seem like the kind of person who just loves saying she was wrong."
Lucy: "You're not going to make this easy, are you?"
Frankie: "No. I'm enjoying it too much."
Lucy: "Dad, I love you. But I think this is a case of when you're a sex therapist you see everything as sexual in nature."
Her dad gave her that look, she knew the one. It meant a seriously awkward and bad dad joke was incoming."
Tim: "Sooo, you're saying I have a sex hammer that makes everything look like a nail."
She squeezed her eyes closed in her best effort to block that mental image and let out a groan. Damn. She really should have seen that one coming.
Lucy: "Oh my God, Dad. Why do you say things like that?"
Tom: "Because no matter how old you get, making you embarrass-laugh is one of my jobs as a dad."
Lucy: "Good to know."
Text message exchange:
Gina: Are you dead?
Lucy: Not yet.
Fallon: IS Frankie dead yet?
Tess: How's cutie boy Gussie?
Gina: The dog? Really? That's what you're going with when she's halfway across the country with a hot firefighter????
Tess: He does look so cute in pics.
Fallon: Gross. That firefighter is my brother.
Gina: We'll let you know when it's safe to rejoin the group text, then.
Lucy: Gussie is fine.
Gina: Any news to share or juicy gossip?
Lucy: We just got here last night. Had some car trouble.
Gina: Is that what the kids are calling it these days?
Fallon: Again. My BROTHER.
Tess: Who said it was okay for you to read again? :)
Lucy: So funny. Let's remember who we're talking about.
Gina: Exactly. We're talking about you, ya badass.
Constance: "Oh my God! Muffin Kavanagh, is that you? And look at you in that skirt! I could never wear that retro style like you do."
Frankie: "You are so right, it takes a woman with some luscious curves to do it justice. I'm Frankie Hartigan. You must be the Constance I've heard so much about."
Constance: "All of it good, I hope."
Frankie: "It was something."
Lucy: "We're just here for our welcome packet."
Constance: "Of course, let me get that packet for you. Here we are. Now, there's everything you need in there, such as the reunion picnic time, and some things I'm sure you don't, such as the reunion decathlon challenge."
Frankie: "What's the decathlon challenge?"
Constance: "Oh, it's a bunch of challenges like a scavenger hunt, carnival stuff, and an obstacle course, with the couple who gets the most points being declared the reunion king and queen. My husband and I won it at the five and ten-year reunions. We're favorites for this year, too."
Frankie: "That sounds like fun to me."
Constance: "I'm not supposed to do this because the rules require at least one member of the team to be an Antioch graduate, but I'm sure we could make an exception for you to go it alone."
Frankie turned to Lucy and tucked a stray hair behind her ear, his touch lingering just long enough to make her breath hitch,
Frankie: "Do not make me do this by myself. You kick ass at this stuff."
Before she could call him on that bullshit, Constance - eyes wide with surprise - opened her mouth.
Constance: "Of course she does."
Lucy: "Yeah. I do."
Frankie: "Just imagine how surprised you'll be when we win it."
Constance's smile was anything but friendly.
Constance: "Well, then, good luck to Team Muffin Kavanagh."
Frankie: "I agree, she's very tasty, but that doesn't have a damn thing to do with this. You might want to warn your hubby now not to make space on the trophy case."
Lucy: "There's no trophy."
Frankie: "Good. Bragging rights are even better."
Frankie: "Come on. Play with me."
Lucy: "Have you ever seen me run? It is not a pretty sight."
His gaze zeroed in on her boobs.
Frankie: "Looking forward to it."
Henrietta: "Now tell me again how you got saddled with this Goliath?"
Lucy: "His name is Frankie Hartigan, Mrs. Campher. He's a firefighter back in Waterbury."
Henrietta: "I'm not asking for a resume, I want your meet-cute. Isn't that what they call it in the movies?"
Frankie: "This is a great story. My brother, who unfortunately did not see the light and join the fire department but instead became a cop, met a woman."
Henrietta: "I don't care about your brother. I care about her."
Frankie: "I'm getting to that."
Henrietta: "Does he do everything this slow? I mean, some things are nice at a leisurely pace - walks, jazz, and making love, for instance - but storytelling ain't one of them."
Frankie: "An asshole was hitting on her."
Henrietta: "Go on."
Frankie: "He was telling her she wasn't the hottest thing on the planet just the way she was."
Henrietta: "So. This man was an idiot and an asshole."
Frankie: "I went over to Lucy and said I was sorry I was late for our date. Then I helped the asshole see the need to vacate the premises."
Henrietta: "Did you punch him in the face?"
Frankie: "Didn't need to. And that's how I ended up as the lucky guy dating Lucy Kavanagh."
Henrietta: "What are your intentions?"
Lucy: "Mrs. Camphor!"
Henrietta: "What? I'm near death. I don't have time to beat around the bush."4
Frankie: "My intentions? Nothing but trouble."
Henrietta: "The kind that leaves a girl sighing or the kind that leaves her crying?"
Frankie: "The kind that leaves her screaming for more."
Frankie: "I signed on for a scavenger hunt, not to be a human sundial."
Lucy: "But you look so good doing it."
Frankie: "Story of my life."
Lucy: "So how come you haven't been in one of those hot firefighters calender's?"
Frankie: "Didn't want to pick up a second job to cover the cost of security because of all the extra stalkers."
Lucy: "Holy shit, Frankie. You're a romantic."
Frankie: "Did I mention the sex? That part is really fucking good, great, the best."
Lucy: "Calm your gonads, I'm not going to let your secret out."
Lucy: "Frankie Hartigan. You can't breathe without flirting."
Frankie: "Good thing you're so much fun to flirt with."
Lucy: "That's not what most people say."
Frankie: "Then you spend too much time around assholes."
Lucy: "No argument there."
Frankie: "Present company excluded."
He'd been a jackass to think this would be a week free of temptation. The woman was temptation personified, from her red mouth to her whiplash-inducing curves to her ball-busting sense of humor. He was in so much trouble - and he fucking loved it.
Lucy: "And you thought what a better way to spend a vacation than in Antioch, Missouri, with me as our safety date?"
Frankie: "Safety date?"
Lucy: "Yeah, the one you don't have to worry about making you fall off the no-sex wagon."
Frankie: "That was the initial plan, but it hasn't worked out that way."
Lucy: "Look, I know you're not into me, and I'm okay with that. I'm not fishing for compliments. I know I don't turn most men on."
Frankie: "You are the most frustrating woman ... Good, because I'm not giving them out. Consider this a list of complaints. You've made it so a good night's sleep is an unobtainable goal, because I can't close my eyes without seeing your ass and wondering how it would move when I buried myself balls deep in you. When I almost ran Scarlett off the road in Illinois? That was because I was imagining the sound you'd make when I grazed my teeth over the tip of your nipple and then sucked on it hard enough to make you beg for more."
And there went her panties. Call the fire department. Oh wait, she had someone with a hose right across the table.
Frankie: "I have had more inconvenient and unplanned hard-ons in the past five days than a grown man should admit to. And after I woke up in that B and B and saw you sleeping in the bed next to me, with your tank top not even having a hope in hell of containing your boobs? That's when I started revising my definition of what sex is, because thinking about how good you must taste is all I can think about when I've got my hand wrapped around my dick. There is nothing more that I want to do right now than find out just how much my imagination sucks,, because I bet you taste better when you come than anything else in the world. And there's not a damn thing I can do about it."
Lucy: "You saw my boobs?"
Frankie: "After everything I just said, me seeing your fan-fucking-tastic rack is what you're caught on?"
Lucy: "Yes." while shaking her head no.
Frankie: "Thank God I didn't you the rest of it."
Lucy: "Sex always changes everything."
Frankie: "That's not true. I have had lots of no-strings attached sex, and it never changed anything."
Lucy: "And that's why you're now in the no-orgasm zone."
Frankie: "I am not banished from orgasms."
Lucy: "As long as it's ... hands-on, huh?"
Frankie: "Very funny. There are a lot of activities in between holding hands and fucking."
Lucy: "So it depends on what your definition of sex is."
Frankie: "It's P in the V."
Okay not really, but he liked it when she got worked up.
Lucy: "Could there be any more of a straight male definition of sex than that?"
No deep breath. Damn. He needed to work harder at it.
Frankie: "Fine. Sex equals penetration from a penis either to the vagina or the anus."
She takes a deep breath. Score!
Lucy: "That is totally wrong. A man's dick might be fun, but it isn't necessary for sex."
Lucy: "Oh my God. For a man who's seen more vagina than some gynecologists, your ignorance is astounding."
Frankie: "When was the last time you had sex?"
Lucy: "Going by your definition? Six months."
Frankie: "Holy shit. That's a long time."
Lucy: "Thanks for reminding me, jerk."
Frankie: "Lucy, I'm already lost, but I feel found any time I'm with you."
Lucy: "I knew you were full of it about that."
Frankie: "Couldn't help it. You're fucking hot when you're riled up."
Tom: "You know I love you."
Lucy: "I know, Daddy. I love you too. Do you think she ever realized what she was missing?"
Tom: "If she didn't, then she was a fool."
She shouldn't have leaned a few inches to the side to watch him walk away. She shouldn't have ... but she did.
Tom: "Just friends, huh?"
Text message exchange:
Gina: That sounds promising
Lucy: In what world does SOS sound promising?
Gina: The one where you're off gallivanting around with Frankie Hartigan.
Frankie: "You can watch me win you an over-sized stuffed llama. You know you're desperate to have one to put in your office back home, so it can stare disapprovingly at your clients when they come to you for help after fucking up."
Frankie: "I'm from Waterbury, but the sticks of Antioch. When in the hell would I have ever shot off a gun?"
Lucy: "It's easy. You just point and shoot. Sort of like how a hose would work."
Frankie: "I am familiar with those."
Lucy: "A fire hose, not your personal one, you pig."
Frankie: "Don't knock the animal who gives us the glory known as bacon."
Frankie: "Lucy Kavanagh, you are fucking maddening. I'm not that bitch Constance, or that guy from Marino's who told you to eat a salad, or any of the other dumb-asses who've been too stupid to see you as you are."
Lucy: "Oh yeah, and what's that?"
Frankie: "One of those women who men start wars over. Lucy Kavanagh, you're the kind of woman who makes a man so desperate he'll happily lose his ever-loving mind for the chance to touch you."
Lucy: "You're ego is even bigger than your -"
Lucy: "Ever think of just trusting yourself rather than have a no-girlfriend rule?"
Frankie: "I wouldn't call it a rule, just more of a guideline until I met someone who really would be the beginning and end for me."
Henrietta: "So how would you describe our girl Lucy?"
Frankie: "Pretty. Funny. Smart. Amazing."
Henrietta: "Don't suppose I can add sexy-as-all-get-out to that list?"
Frankie: "Oh hell yes."
Henrietta: "Damn skippy. And are you dazzled by her charms?"
Frankie: "Without a doubt."
Frankie: "Mrs. Campher, you are a goddess among women."
Henrietta: "And don't I know it."
Lucy: "I may not be dancing in the kitchen, Daddy, but I'll always be your girl."
Frankie: "I'd rather get my nuts waxed than ever do that again."
Lucy: "Then why did you do it?"
Frankie: "I did it for the look on your face right now."
Lucy: "Like everyone doesn't already know you're a giant softie."
Frankie: "Not all the time."
She lowered one arm and brought it between them and let her fingers graze over his dick.
Lucy: "And thank God for that."
Lucy: "this isn't fair."
Frankie: "All's fair in love and war. Come on, take a chance on us. Take a chance on me."
Lucy: "You really think we could make it work?"
Frankie: "Without a fucking doubt."
Frankie: "You know everyone thinks I'm the hotter twin."
Finn: "No worries. I'm the mysterious one - everyone always wonders about me."
Frankie: "Just because they have no clue what an annoying weirdo you are."
Zach: "I'm so glad that you, as the woman who recently chewed my ass out for punching a guy who literally hocked a loogie in my face for costing the team a trip to the playoffs, have begun to see the beauty of a little violence."
Lucy: "Oh boo-hoo. Your asshole insulted your pride. My asshole broke my heart."
Lucy: "You know, the Post is right. You really are an asshole."
Zach: "Probably. But I'm also off duty."
Lucy: "What do you mean?"
Zach: "Reinforcements have arrived. Thank fucking God."
Finn: "Come on in. But I'll warn you, he smells, so stay as far away as possible."
Frankie: "What is this, some kind of touchy-feely intervention?"
Frankie: "Shit. I fucked up. What in the hell am I going to do now?"
Finn: "Don't look at me, I'm happily single."
Ford: "To paraphrase what a giant jackass told me recently on the deck of this house, go get your girl."
Fallon: "We're here to kidnap you?"
Lucy: "I love you, but I have to go find Frankie."
Tess: "Oh. That makes things so much easier."
Gina: "Unless she's looking for him just to try to whack him."
Fallon: "She wouldn't be the first, and I'm just speaking for me and my siblings."
Shannon: "Frankie Hartigan, you tripped and fell hard, didn't you?"
Frankie: "But what if you were right, and I'm not the guy anyone wants for happily ever after?"
Shannon: "Honey, you may not be the kind of guy who could deliver a happily ever after to me or a dozen other Waterbury women, but you were meant to do so for Lucy."
Frankie: "Don't worry. I'm not going to sing."
Hartigan family member: "Thank God."
Frankie: "I'm here for the job interview."
Frankie crosses the stage and passes Lucy a sheet of paper.
Frankie: "That's my job application to be your guy, the one who's a keeper, the one who won't leave, who'll stay true, who will always be there to win ridiculous decathlons with you. . The one who is declaring himself totally and completely in love with you in front of God and everyone. I realize my resume is a little thin in prior experience."
Lucy looks at the sheet of paper. It says 'I love you'
Frankie: "That's because there's only ever been one woman for me, I just hadn't met her until now. So here is what I can bring to the job of being your guy. I'm honest. I'm loyal. I can hold a fifty-pound birdbath head-high for as long as you need. I will always get your snarky sense of humor. I appreciate your ability to get right to the point of things immediately. I am worried about your Mountain Dew addiction, but I promise not to ever switch it out for its lesser cousin Mello Yello. And I'll love you for the rest of my life, and I'll never stop doing whatever I can to make you happy - because getting to be the guy that puts that gorgeous smile on your face is the most important job I'll ever have."
Lucy: "I don't know what to say."
Frankie: "You forgot the most important interview question."
Lucy: "What's that?"
Frankie: "My weak points. I have a lot of them. My inability to sing is one of them, obviously. Then there is t he fact that I get distracted whenever I'm around you because you are the most gorgeous woman, inside and out, that I've ever met."
Frankie presses Lucy up against his body
Lucy: "Frankie. There are people around."
Frankie: "Yes. And they should know it'll probably only get more embarrassing the longer I go on, but I'm willing to do that, because when it comes to proving myself to you, I'll never stop. I want to be your keeper, your forever guy. For as long as I can remember, there was nothing in the world I ever wanted to be other than a firefighter. Then I met you. Now I can't imagine being anything other than the man you wake up next to."
Lucy: "I'm sorry. For everything. You were right. I was trying to make you carry my emotional baggage when I should have just let that shit go a long time ago. Can we start over again?"
Frankie: "Hell no. Then we would have missed out on everything leading up to this moment, and I wouldn't skip over any of it for anything - although I might fast-forward through this past week."
Lucy: "I love you, Frankie Hartigan."
Frankie: "And you're everything I ever wanted and didn't realize I needed, and I want everyone in the whole world - including your dad on FaceTime - to know it."
And then he finally kissed her.
Frankie: "Whatever makes you happy."
Lucy: "That's easy. You make me happy. We make me happy. You really do know how to deliver a happily ever after."
Frankie: "Only with you, Lucy. Only with you."
Check out the rest of the Hartigan Family Series below