Blog Tour: Love, Only Better by Paulette Stout

Posted October 1, 2021 by Lisa Mandina in Blog Tour / 0 Comments

Blog Tour:  Love, Only Better by Paulette StoutLove, Only Better by Paulette Stout
Published by Media Goddess Inc. on September 28, 2021
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance, Womens Fiction
Pages: 359



For Rebecca, sex is a joke missing a punchline. No crashing waves. Only pangs of inadequacy. At twenty-eight, shouldn’t she have had one by now? Her snickering ex thought so. His taunts echo in her ears as he rolls out of her bed. Then out of her life. 

Lost, Rebecca seeks expert help, joining a study for women who can’t “finish” in the bedroom. There is such a thing? It’s unconventional, for sure, but she’s desperate for answers. The no-sex mandate is a no brainer. Who’d want to be with her anyway?

Then Kyle moves in. Her blue-eyed, black motorcycle-riding dream of a neighbor lives a heartbeat away. Sparks flew immediately. But could the timing be any worse?

If he learns her secret, she’ll lose her best chance at love. But if her lessons fail, she’ll be left eternally broken. Unlovable. 

What started as a search for fulfillment, has suddenly become a quest for something far greater.

Love, Only Better is an intimate quest full of heart, blending a fun next-door romance with steamy dates-for-one. Perfect for fans of Helen Hoang (The Kiss Quotient), Jennifer Weiner (Good In Bed), Jojo Moyes and fans of women’s fiction full of wit, spice and soul. 


“Stout excels at describing and dramatizing Rebecca’s issues, seizing a welcome opportunity to address common (but often avoided) issues surrounding female sexuality and intimacy…High tension, flirty exchanges, and intense sexual situations that eventually lead to love make this book perfect for readers who enjoy angst-filled romance.” — BookLife Reviews


Love, Only Better: Chapter One

It wasn’t as if the words were unexpected. Hell, Rebecca said them to herself a thousand times over. Only, this was different. Hearing someone else say them—someone she loved. Someone who shared her life and her bed for three years—somehow made them true. And to have Ethan say them. For him to let them free that way. Now, they were alive to reverberate through the universe and rebound on her in unforgiving ways. And he’d no longer be around to save her.

Frigid. Ice queen.

Who calls someone they love an ice queen? Rebecca wondered.

That’s the ticket. Ethan didn’t love her. Had he ever? Or was she just a bad lay; a notch on his belt. Not even a trophy. A third-place yellow ribbon no one wanted, abandoned in the bottom of a drawer.

A wisp of spiderweb dangling from her headboard above fluttered in time with her cleansing breaths. Dust covered. Abandoned. Even the stupid spider hadn’t stuck around.

Frigid. Ice queen.

She flipped up her covers to snatch a tissue from across the room, wiping her eyes and nose before tossing it into the wastebasket under her old desk. The desk in name only. Even back in high school, she did her homework on her bed. The desk chair, like now, was a glorified staging area for clothes somewhere between clean and dirty.

Did she still have it?

She yanked the center drawer open, pawing the time capsule within. Old lipstick, diaries, hair elastics, the wallet-sized card reproduction of her university diploma, tarot cards, and there it was: her third-place ribbon. She won it at summer camp for archery. She’d never held a bow before then, or since. But there it was; evidence that she was once good enough at something to warrant recognition.

The silky cord slid between her fingers until hitting the tassel knot.

So fitting. Third place. Rebecca was third place in her own life, too. She was certainly last place to Ethan. He was probably off finding himself a blue-ribbon sex machine worthy of His Majesty. Even at this hour. New York City never sleeps, after all.

Growing up in the belly of Manhattan, the buzz of life at all hours was as natural as air. The humming streetlights, the shadows, everything held a pulse. Teeming.

Except for her. Rebecca was the one spot of lifelessness in the whole city.

Frigid. Ice queen.

She dropped the ribbon in the drawer and slammed it shut, then quickly froze. Alert, she listened for sounds of stirring. Barbara, her roommate and best friend, was fast asleep in the next room. A lawyer with a big day in court ahead.

Rebecca released her breath, then strode back to bed, flopping on top of her navy down comforter and making herself a burrito with its folded edges. It was as close as she would get to an embrace for who knows how long.

Wiggling for her night table, she switched off the light. Shadows formed at familiar angles on her ceiling. The ceiling she’d pondered for twenty-eight years. Framed pictures of Salvador Dali and Kandinsky hung over her low, long dresser, once filled with frilly pink play clothes, now stuffed with T-shirts and leggings in mismatched shades of black. Her collection of discount designer shoes spilled out of the closet, distractions for the shortcomings of her noir wardrobe.

Her eyes drifted closed.

Ethan’s contorted, red face jolted her awake.

Would she ever sleep again?

Would she ever love again?

Would anyone ever love her?

Was she even worthy of being loved?

She wasn’t sure.

On cue, her nemesis, the mourning dove, made a fluttery landing on the air-conditioning unit blocking half of her window. The distinctive coo was maddening. Was that how Ethan felt when she was unable to climax in bed? A fury of frustration without an outlet?

Rebecca abandoned covers and leaped to battle stations. The vinyl shade creaked its objection as she bent it up to spy on the enemy. The pink towel she put out to dull the air-conditioner drips from upstairs had become a bird magnet. Twigs, leaves, tinsel? Where did they find tinsel in June?

“Shoo! Shoo!” Rebecca whisper screamed, banging on the glass with her fist.

The dusty bird settled in.

“Go on. Go.”

“Becca! Are you fucking kidding? It’s 4:00 a.m.!” Barbara shouted through the wall.

“Sorry!” Rebecca hollered back, watching the bird tuck its wings for sleep. There was a beat of silence.

“Shit,” Barbara muttered. Rebecca heard her feet hit the floor and storm down the parquet hallway, a staple of 1950s’ NYC apartments. The bathroom door closed.

Rebecca dropped the shade and collapsed into the cup of her papasan chair under the window, drawing a branded fleece blanket over her. It was one of the many freebies she got working in advertising; this one was from her hotel client.

After the flush and wash, Barbara exited then walked through Rebecca’s perennially open bedroom door and switched the light on.

Her hand shielded her eyes from the sudden brightness.

Barbara stood in a pink satin Victoria Secret nightie, a matching sleep mask holding up her long, dark locks—a top-shelf weave and proudly not hers—flowing over ebony shoulders.

“What the hell are you doing up?”

“I’m so sorry—”

“Jesus, what happened?”

“What do you mean?”

“You look like a clown on acid.”

Rebecca crawled out of the saucer and stood in front of the mirror.

“Yeah, not my best look.”

Black mascara streaked down her face from the blotchy eyes she had been rubbing for hours.

“Where’s Ethan? I thought he was staying over?”


“Gone home?”

“No. Just gone. We’re done. Well, actually, he was done with me.”

“Wow. I’m so sorry. But… not as sorry as you should be for waking me up…” Barbara said, launching herself to Rebecca’s bed and sliding her sleep mask down over her eyes.

“That’s it? That’s all the consoling I get? I have a blowout with my boyfriend who calls me a ‘frigid ice queen’ and leaves, and…”

“He didn’t,” Barbara said, lifting up on her elbow and raising her mask.

“Oh yes he did.”

“You’re not an ice queen. You know that.”

“Counselor, the evidence is overwhelming.”

“He’s a jackass. I’ve always thought so.”

“Oh, he’s not that bad…”

Barbara raised an eyebrow.

“Come on!”

“I won’t lie to you and say I’m disappointed he’s gone.”

“But… I am,” Rebecca whispered.

“All I mean is he didn’t treat you right. You can absolutely do better.”

Barbara patted the bed next to her. Rebecca folded her arms and looked away.

“You CAN do better. Ethan will regret losing you, and you’ll look back and NOT regret losing him.”

Rebecca pouted her bottom lip.

“Suit yourself. I must sleep more, though.” Barbara left the bed, popped a squeaky kiss on Rebecca’s forehead.

“Leave that damn bird alone, will you?” she said before leaving.

“You left the light on!” Rebecca called after her, but Barbara’s bedroom door closed with a click.

Sighing, Rebecca crawled out of the chair and crossed the room to switch off the light. Dawn’s blueness was already invading. She looked at her bed, but instead returned to sit under her fleece blanket, gathering it about her.

Maybe she could sleep if she was out of bed, away from his smell. She’d have to change the sheets later. She wanted to change everything; beginning with herself.

About the Author:

Paulette Stout is the fearless author of Love, Only Better, a contemporary novel and bedroom rallying cry for women everywhere.

Born in Manhattan, Paulette is the gold-star wordsmith and owner of her content marketing agency, Media Goddess Inc., where she crafts content for her list of global clients. Prior to MGI, Paulette led content and design teams at several tech companies, and one educational publisher where her elimination of the Oxford comma caused a near riot.

Paulette’s prior career as a media buyer/planner in New York earned her three industry awards, including a MediaWeek All-Star. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Cornell University and her MBA in Marketing from the Lubin School of Business, Pace University.

You can usually find Paulette rearranging words into pleasing patterns while wearing grammar t-shirts.

Website and Social Media:

FB: @paulettestoutauthor

IG: @paulettestoutauthor

Twitter: @stoutcontent

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