by E. J. Noyes
Avery Weston is doing fine.
Sure, she’s not doing as fine as her ex―award-winning actress and current television It Girl, Elise Hayes―but Avery enjoys her work as a Federal Air Marshal and also enjoys almost being over Elise walking out on their relationship fifteen months ago. Until Elise is seated next to her on a flight, and the emotional progress Avery thought she’d made is reset in an instant.
Just like their first flight together, this one also has some bumps. But this time they don’t have to make a go around for a safe landing; they just have to deal with an overzealous fan threatening Elise. And when Elise comes begging for a place to stay until the stalker situation is resolved, Avery has to agree it’s the perfect solution to keep Elise safe. After all, nobody knows Elise Hayes used to have a girlfriend.
It’s only for a few weeks, what’s the harm? Except for some tiny issues, like when you’re still kind of in love with your ex and the mutual spark is as strong as ever, it’s easy to fall into familiar habits. Then there’s Elise’s apologies and genuine regret over leaving, which makes it hard for Avery to hold on to past hurts and sends her simmering emotions to a boil.
But love and sparks aren’t always enough. If Avery and Elise can find a way to move past everything that came between them last time, maybe they’ll get a chance to go around and try landing their relationship again.
GCLS Goldie Awards
Go Around — Finalist, Ann Bannon Popular Choice and Tee Corinne Award for Outstanding Cover Art.
Go Around — Winner, Contemporary Romance: Long Novels.
FROM THE AUTHOR
"You may have heard the writing advice “Write What You Know” thrown around here and there, and by all accounts, it’s super solid advice. Especially for someone like me who genuinely struggles with research (I have the reading comprehension and concentration ability of a foetus and hate asking for help—winning combination for learning things.) Buuuttt…I’m also not good at taking advice, and my approach to this novel-writing gig so far has basically been to write about things I don’t know. Let’s say that if I stuck to writing what I knew, I would have nine very same-same books about…oof, I don’t even know what I am.
I bring up “Write What You Know” because it has always been one of those niggling, pops-up-every-now-and-then-to-whack-you-over-the-head-with-self-doubt kinds of things for me. Until I had a revelation recently that maybe I was writing what I knew. I mean, sure, I don’t know what it’s like to be US Army surgeons, a stockbroker, an ex-professional ski racer turned ski instructor, a divorce lawyer, a person who decides to be alone, one of Death’s Minions, a nerdy IT-type person, a professional dressage rider, and an equine veterinarian, but I do know how to make those people interact with one another. And! I know emotions and emotional reactions. I know how to speak to people (mostly) and thus, how to make them speak to each other. And I know what it feels like to want something so badly it feels like you’re going to melt if you can’t have it.
But back to what I know, or more accurately—what I don’t know. Go Around features a Federal Air Marshal and an actress—two things I certainly am not. But no matter, that’s what aforementioned research is for, right? But…who knew the Federal Air Marshal Service was so secretive?! Not this Australian. Never one to take the easy way out, like changing a character’s profession to something that was more easily researched, I did what I always do—put my head down and charged right through the problem. And maybe complained a little bit. And panicked about the fact I find researching things so troublesome. Luckily a friend of a friend of a friend etc. was able to provide me a little bit of insight into the FAMS, but I vowed that this was going to be the last time—for real serious I absolutely mean it this time—that I gave a character a profession I know nothing about.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go think about the upcoming novels I have planned with a graphic designer, a university German lecturer, an intelligence officer/agent, a student, a young ski-racing professional, Death, a chef, a bank worker, and…and…and…"
—E. J. Noyes
Nutmeg - In Go Around, E. J. Noyes has dipped her toes in the second chance romance pool and was masterful in blending angst, enduring love and suspense in it. The chemistry and dynamics between the pair were thick and palpable but what stood out for me throughout the book was the type of love everyone wished they had; fierce and protective, grounded in loyalty, passionate yet to be able to just be when you are with the other. Noyes also made Bennet, Avery’s dog another highlight for me. He was the tension breaker and a giant darling.
Leah M. - This is one of the few times where I absolutely liked both characters. They were both so different from each other, but you could understand what drew the other one in. Even with the stalker storyline, I felt like this was more character driven and that’s why I was so into this. There are a lot of discussions and arguments between the two as they try to come to grips with their past and try and move on, whether together or separately.
Some people might consider this to be high angst, but it was like catnip to me. Avery and Elise have scorching chemistry and there’s a lot of push/pull between them because the reason for the breakup is still there, but their love for one another is still going strong.
The stalker storyline was also gripping. He’s an unhinged fan and with the way it’s written it felt very realistic and scary. It doesn’t take up a whole lot of page time as it’s more in the background for a good portion of the book; but what is there is a page turner. Highly recommend for fans of second chance and/or celebrity romances.
Carol C. - Go Around, is a 2nd chance type of romance, but it is also a suspenseful story of an obsessed fan. There is romance, mystery, fast paced action and steamy scenes, so yes Ms. Noyes hit it out of the park once again!
J. Beebs - E.J. Noyes is definitely one of the best writers in the lesfic genre. After finishing each of her books, I always ask myself, “How is it possible that with each new book, she completely out does herself?” I am truly in awe of her ability to craft such emotional stories. She is a master at writing in the first-person point of view. She’s able to give the reader so much insight into her lead characters’ feelings, emotions, and thoughts. The celebrity romance is a common trope in lesfic and I eat them up just like zillions of other readers. From word go, readers are taken on an emotionally intense ride throughout several weeks in the lives of Avery and Elise, exes who are caught up in a dangerous web cast by a stalker. While living together, they not only deal with Elise’s life being spin danger but also the feelings for one another that never left after their breakup. The chemistry between the two as well as the love they had for one another was palpable. Their conversations are real, raw, and deep with a little sarcasm and humor beneath the surface. It’s intense, thrilling, and a real page turner. Ms. Noyes, you are an amazing writer and I thank you for sharing your amazing gift with the world. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!
Cheryl S. - E. J. Noyes is one of my favorite author's. I don't know how she does it but she creates so much emotion, interesting content and characters. Except for 2 action scenes, and some really hot sex, most of the story is dialog. Really, really, good dialog. It is natural, clever, witty and sometimes very emotional. The characters are very likeable and the chemistry between the two main characters is very warm and very sexy. Great story. Another Noyes winner.
Betty H. - Noyes excels at writing both romance and intrigue and it shows in this book. Her characters might as well be real they are so well-written. I’m a pretty big fan of second-chance love stories, and I love the way this one is done. You get the angst you expect from the two women trying to get past the pain of their separation and work their way back to being a couple in love. The outside forces that had a role in their breakup are still around and have to be dealt with. Add in a nasty bad guy (or guys) who are physically and psychologically stalking Elise and you get a tale full of danger, excitement, intrigue, and romance. I also love the Easter egg the author included for her book Alone. I actually laughed out loud at that little scene. E.J. Noyes’ works always get my highest praise and recommendation, and this novel is no different. You really need to read this book.
Cathie W. - A romance/thriller beautifully written starring a second chance for Avery and Ellie. It was difficult at times to like either character for different reasons. This author has an uncanny ability to peel away the layers of her characters to reveal what both really want, a chance at true love that will last this time. They both have to forgive for different reasons, and that is the journey they have to decide is worth the effort.
Sue R. - There is romance, mystery, face paced action and steamy scenes. There is also a very large dog who often steals the scene This is a second chance romance along with a thriller/suspense plot line. I have never met an E. J. Noyes book I didn’t love and this is no exception.
Sloane Markwell’s handgun was pointed at Kanzi’s face. “You know how I feel about giving people second chances,” she said, her tone conversational. “But after seeing how well you dealt with the shipment delay this week, I’ve…reconsidered.” Her expression was mockingly benevolent, as if the man should recognize just how rare this second chance was and that he should be groveling in gratitude.
Kanzi swallowed, the irregular bob of his Adam’s apple betraying the panic he kept from his face. After a quick moment of eye contact, he dropped his gaze. “Yes, boss. Thank you, boss.”
“Good. Remember my kindness.” Sloane’s pale blue eyes were hard as she flicked her wrist, the gesture indicating in no uncertain terms that he should move and do it quickly. “Now get out of my sight.”
Kanzi dipped his head in submission and after backing up a few steps, turned to walk away. His strides were short and quick, as if he expected her to shoot him in the back and was barely able to keep himself from sprinting away. A ridiculous fear. Everyone in Sloane Markwell’s crew, hell, everyone in the city knew she would never do something as cowardly as shoot a man in the back.
The sound of Kanzi’s shoes echoed through the warehouse as he rushed away from Sloane and the four men shadowing her. Nobody moved. Nobody spoke. Until Kanzi was halfway to the huge sliding doors that led out into the alley and Sloane called, “Kanzi?”
He stopped and slowly turned around, his eyes locked onto the suppressor Sloane was casually screwing into the barrel of her gun. Both Kanzi’s hands came up to shoulder height. “Boss…I—” He laughed nervously. “C’mon.”
“Yes,” she mused, her mouth quirking sardonically. “I’m the boss. Which means I know everything that happens around here. And I know it was you who told the Carmichaels. That was dumb. I loathe worms. And now you’re worm food.” She raised the gun and fired two shots into his chest. Kanzi dropped to the floor and Sloane walked over to where he lay gasping and writhing on the concrete. She stood in the pool of blood spreading out from underneath him and fired another shot. Kanzi went still.
Sloane inhaled deeply, stared at the body for a few moments then gave a small nod as if satisfied. She spun to face the men. “Is anyone else feeling disloyal?” she asked, waving the pistol around. When none of them answered, she unscrewed the suppressor and holstered the gun on her hip. “No? Good. I’ve already ruined one pair of shoes tonight.” She made a vague gesture with the suppressor before tucking it into an inner pocket of her designer leather jacket. “Get rid of that mess. And do it fast. We have a shipment coming in and I need to make myself presentable for my evening of…entertainment.”
Sloane spun around and walked away through the high stacks of plastic-wrapped bricks filling the warehouse, the sound of her stilettos clicking sharply against polished concrete. The camera lingered on her ass then panned down to the three-inch heels that made her legs look out…of…this…world. She left a trail of bloodied footprints as she walked. Click, clack, click, clack. The screen went black.
My blinking feels too fast, like my brain can’t process what I’ve just watched. The episode was so intense, so incredible that the only words circling through my brain at top speed are, “Holy shit.” The usual next-episode trailer rolls, telling me Greed will return next week for its final episode of the year and promising things are going to get bigger, more exciting, and more dangerous. It seems Sloane Markwell, a.k.a. undercover LAPD detective Jessica Meares, has a problem with her handler-slash-partner. He’s worried about her, worried she’s too deep into her Sloane Markwell persona, and feels like he doesn’t know who she is now.
I try to ignore that too-close-to-home sentiment to focus on the teaser of Meares’ badass fight scene in the next episode. I wonder if she’ll shoot her handler too and shed her detective skin once and for all to dive fully into her undercover drug-lord role. That would be an epic cliffhanger for the Christmas break.
Once the credits start rolling, I turn off the TV and lean over to Bennett who’s lying in a dog bed by my feet. For a few moments I’m unable to say anything and when I finally manage words, all I get out is a rushed, “Holy fucking shit, Bennie. I cannot believe Meares just smoked Kanzi. I mean, he totally deserved it but I did not think she’d go through with it. That’ll seriously complicate matters with the department. Like, it’s homicide, even if she’s undercover, right? Because it was so not self-defense. Fuuuck,” I breathe. “So good.”
Without raising his head resting on his massive paws, my Rottweiler-boerboel cross gives me his best side-eye. This time with a little eyebrow lift that clearly conveys he thinks I’m being dramatic and that he wishes I hadn’t stopped rubbing my bare feet along his back and sides for scratchies. Bennett is used to my outbursts during our weekly viewings of Greed—the award-winning television drama about a vice detective who went undercover to infiltrate a drug ring, rose quickly through the ranks with the help of departmental arrests removing key players until she eventually took over the crew, and over the course of the past one and a bit seasons found her morals blurring at the edges.
Every Tuesday night when we watch the show together, I wonder if Bennett recognizes Meares-slash-Markwell. Or, as he knew her when he last saw her a year and three months ago—Elise Hayes.
Elise. Hayes. The woman who used to sneak Bennie morsels of prime steak while she was preparing it for my dinner. The woman who bought him his most favorite toy in the world, the rubber elephant. The woman who would drag him out in all weather for a walk because she insisted it was good for both their mental health. The woman who thought he should be allowed on the couch and our bed, because his super-duper comfy doggo beds weren’t good enough, and who made this point repeatedly despite our agreement when Bennett arrived as a puppy that he was going to be far too big to fit comfortably and I wanted to sleep, not squirm around one hundred and sixty pounds of dog all night. The woman who walked out on me and that dog because she wasn’t ready to show the world she was in love with a woman.
Quick FYI? It’s hard to get over your ex-girlfriend when your breakup came out of nowhere and you’re still in love with her. It’s even harder to get over her when you see her everywhere advertising the country’s top-rated drama show and when said show is actually really damned good and you watch it every week. Apparently, I’m a glutton for punishment.
Bennett wouldn’t understand what happened but I know he knew how miserable I was in the months following the breakup. My huge dog is a huge baby and when I was in my post-breakup funk he turned into an even huger baby, probably due to my general meh mood and because Elise was his second mom and he loved her. Maybe he still does. I know I do, even though I know how pathetic it is to be in love with your ex, especially when you’ve accepted what happened and moved on. Kind of.
I finish my drink and after upending the glass into the dishwasher come back to find Bennett still in his bed by the couch with his head on his paws. When I indicate he should come to me, he stands and yawns then stretches first with a bow then one hind leg at a time. But he doesn’t move toward me. It’s his classic reaction to nighttime potty, like he thinks if he doesn’t move then maybe I’m not serious and he can just go back to his bed.
“Bennie, come on. Time to put out the trash, and you need a walk.” And I need to take a walk to shift my brain from Elise or I’m going to have weird and uncomfortable dreams about her all night, which sometimes happens after watching her show. My subconscious is a shit.
Bennett’s slow approach is the epitome of I was comfortable, do I really have to go outside? I point at the door. “Yes, we’re going out. I don’t need you waking me up at three a.m. because you gotta go pee. I’ve got a full day of work tomorrow.” I slip into laceless sneakers and clip the leash to his collar while my dog manages to make me feel like a monster. Yeah, Bennett, I get it. I’m the worst dog mom in the world for caring about your needs and health. I never wanted to be a dog mom but when my brother left his puppy with me almost five years ago, I was stuck with the gig.
Bennett makes a perimeter check for his nemesis, Mr. Opossum, and apparently deeming us safe from the beast, sits down to wait for me to put the trash out. I hook the handle of his leash over a fence paling so he won’t get in my way while I deal with my eighty-two-year-old neighbor’s bins. On top of one of Mrs. Obermeier’s trash bins is a Tupperware container of baked goods, with AVERY written in Sharpie on the lid as if I wouldn’t know it was for me. This week it’s blondies. She knows my sweet spot. The weekly trash-for-treats is a good system, one we’ve had almost since I moved in and is maybe part of the reason I haven’t moved out of my house of memories.
Once I’ve set two households’ worth of trash out, I nab Bennett and with the Tupperware under an arm to load me with provisions for a mid-walk snack, we begin our usual nighttime route around the block so he can smell every single thing we pass before finally peeing. For a dog who tells me nightly how much he doesn’t want to go out before bed, he really seems to enjoy going out before bed.
I hear a distant plane overhead climbing to cruising altitude after its departure from Los Angeles International Airport and make a mental note of tomorrow’s workday. I’ve got a full day in the air, and waiting in airports, an out-and-back flying LAX to ORD return—what we call the seven-thirty-seven-thirty where we depart LAX at seven thirty a.m. and land back at LAX at seven thirty p.m. It’ll be an ordinary day for those traveling around the country. Just as it is for me every time I step into a plane cabin to keep those on board, and those on the ground, safe.
We loop past the park and onto the main street and while Bennie is preoccupied with a tree, a yellow hydrant and a bus shelter I sneak a blondie out and eat half in one bite. I’ve just tucked the Tupperware back under my arm when a truck roars past, the wind catching the hair half-heartedly pulled into a ponytail and sticking it to my face. I turn away from the street and spot something new on the bus shelter. They’ve changed the poster and now it’s an ad for Greed. My ex-girlfriend looks like a million bucks and is holding what looks like a million bucks. Sigh. I really can’t escape her.
I almost choke on the remainder of the blondie I’d stuffed into my mouth to hide it from Bennett and with cheeks bulging, try to chew and swallow while juggling a baggie of dog shit and the Tupperware while I pick bits of hair from my mouth. If anyone saw me now? Well, let’s just say…thanks, universe, for reminding me who is doing better after the breakup.