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Cristina T.

Strawberries for Dessert

Strawberries for Dessert - Marie Sexton This was my first Marie Sexton book and also the first book I've read in the Coda Books series. It was as delicious as fresh strawberries with chocolate.

Cole is a young man who treasures his freedom. His wealth gives him the possibility to travel all over the world, from New York to Hawaii and everything in-between. The places which are closest to his heart are Phoenix and Paris. Everywhere Cole goes, he has friends with benefits, but a real relationship is of no interest to him.

Jon is a workaholic whose life revolves around his job, and who focuses on climbing the corporate ladder until there's no going up anymore. He travels a lot because of his work, but his home is in Phoenix. Jon doesn't have the time for a personal life.

Their mutual friend, Jared, sets them up on a blind date, which ends up being an utter disaster. Cole is flamboyant and Jon thinks that's not his type of man. All throughout dinner, Jon acts like a jerk and keeps answering his phone. But Cole gives Jon his number before he leaves anyway.

They make an arrangement. Their deal is to hook up when they're both in Phoenix, with no strings attached. No relationship bullshit, just sex. Cole tells Jon about his other arrangements, but neither one of them wants more. Until they do.

I pulled him tight against me and kissed him. I had kissed him many times, but never like this. Never with my heart in my throat and my hands shaking. Never with the need that I felt now. I wanted to taste every part of him. I wanted somehow to touch him the way he had touched me.

I thought Jon was very annoying at first, because he was uptight, self-absorbed, and he kept messing things up with Cole. But then I felt for him as he tried to break down Cole's walls one at a time. As for Cole, I loved him right from the start. He might be high-maintenance, he might even be arrogant at times, but he's so much more than that. What I loved most about him was his sarcasm, his constant use of pet names–especially love–and his passion for cooking.

The story is written in Jon's POV mainly, but there are e-mails from Cole to Jared at the beginning of every chapter. I really liked those, as they gave a little more insight to Cole and his way of thinking. Some of those lines also made my heart ache for him.

I understand addiction now. I never did before, you know. How could a man (or a woman) do something so self-destructive, knowing that they're hurting not only themselves, but the people they love?
Tomorrow I will quit lying to myself, and to him.
What about today, you ask? Today it's already too late. He'll be home soon, and I have dinner on the stove, and wine chilling in the fridge. And he will smile at me when he comes through the door, and I will pretend like this fragile, dangerous thing we have created between us can last forever.
Just one last time, Sweets. Just one last fix. That's all I need.

But in the end... In the end everything worked out beautifully, and they got their HEA.

"I haven't missed you at all," I managed to say in a hoarse whisper.
"I haven't missed you either," he said quietly. "Certainly not every single minute of every single day."
His arms were tight around me and mine around him. His skin was soft and warm, and his hair smelled like strawberries like it always did. And everything about it felt right.