Cover & Excerpt Reveal for BLUE JEANS IN LOW BEAMS ) by Claire Hastings



Hayes Family #1

by Claire Hastings

Cover & Excerpt Reveal

Release Date: July 18, 2024

Cover Design: Y'all That Graphic
Photographer: FuriousFotog
Model: Andrew Flanagan
Genre: Contemporary Romance Standalone
Trope: Best friend's little sister, age-gap, forced proximity, summer fling to forever, small town


It was a simple promise—watch out for my best friend’s little sister the same way I would my own.

Turns out, Brenna is a lot more grown-up than I realized. And a lot more beautiful. Which makes sharing an apartment with her this summer tougher than I expected.

Until she shares something with me. Something she’s never shared with anyone. Something that makes me want to step in and help.

Something that changes everything.

Soon enough, my wanting to be with her has nothing to do with that promise I made and everything to do with the undeniable spark between us.

It doesn’t matter that I’m more than a decade older than she is. Or what our small town thinks.

But Brenna's time in Hickory Hills is limited, making everything more complicated.

The more time I spend with Brenna, the harder it is to stay apart. The more I want to convince her to stay.

I already broke my promise to her brother. But I will keep my promise to her.

Even if I break my own heart in the process.

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Milo smiles softly at me and I relax, reminding myself who this is. Who we are.

Roommates. Almost siblings. Who cares if he accidentally saw me naked and masturbating and now knows my deepest secret?

“Hi. Whatcha making?”

“Just mac ’n cheese.”

Just mac ’n cheese? Is this man crazy?

I drop my bag, kicking off my shoes and placing them at the mat by the door. Inhaling deeply, I walk into the kitchen, examining the baking dish sitting on top of the stove. Sure enough, this is the real deal. Multiple cheeses melted into and mixed in with a roux, before folded over pasta and topped with breadcrumbs. A quick glance down at the counter reveals a loaf of bread and food processer, meaning these breadcrumbs are real, not store-bought. Fuck, yes.

“Milo, there is nothing just about mac ’n cheese. Especially real deal mac ’n cheese. I know you know it’s my fave. Especially if that’s Hayes mac ’n cheese.”

He laughs, the deep vibrato making my insides feel just as gooey as that cheese. “It is.”

Fuck, I have died and gone to heaven. Hayes mac ’n cheese, made by a sexy-as-sin Hayes man? Yeah…I’m done for.

“It was your first day at your first big girl job. I figured that was worth celebrating.” He gives me a wink, turning away from me to put the dish in the oven.

My first big girl job? Well then, if Milo’s going to talk to me the same way he and Brandt did when they took the training wheels off my bike, then I’d say seeing me naked is irrelevant. Thank goodness.

“Seriously? Thank you. You didn’t have to do that. I’m sure you had better things to do with your afternoon.”

Milo shrugs his tattooed left shoulder, stepping into me, winking again. My insides melt a little more. This is dangerous.

“I wanted to. You deserve it.”

I sigh, my heart grateful for not only the gesture, but how much he cares. I’m lucky to have him in my life.

“Also, I was thinking.”

“Uh-oh, that’s dangerous,” I quip.

Milo chuckles, stepping in closer, the gap between us now no more than a foot. My pulse kicks into high gear, his musky scent filling my nostrils. I don’t know if that’s his cologne or deodorant or some soap, but damn, he smells good. So good it might fry my brain.

“Whatcha doin’ Friday?”

Friday? Ummmm…

“Errr…ahhh…studying?” I hope that’s the right answer.

“Take a night off.”

“Any particular reason?”

A list of possible answers rushes through my mind. The most likely is that he needs my help again at Pour Decisions. Which, if that’s what he needs, he can consider it done. I’m not only happy to help, but it’s the least I can do since I’m squatting in his apartment all summer.

“I’m taking you out.”

Record scratch—he's what?

Milo must see the confusion register on my face, because he steps into me even more, this time, taking my hand.

“Let me start over. Brenna, would you like to go out with me on Friday?”

“Like a date?”

Like a date? Oh good gracious, who asks that? Like a date. Of course it’s not a date.

“Yes, like a date.”

I stand corrected.

“You want to take me on a date?” My voice squeaks, betraying me and my excitement.

Milo Hayes wants to take me on a date. Well, dear diary, your preteen fantasies are coming true.

“I was thinking about what you said yesterday—”

“Ugh, could we not?”

“No, we’re gonna. I hate to see you upset, always have. Yesterday was no exception. And I can’t fix everything in this world, but this, this I can. No, not fix. Because you don’t need fixing, Brenna. Change, that’s a better word. This I can change.”

“Milo, you don’t have to do this.”

“Bren,” he whispers, squeezing my hand. “This isn’t about have to, this is about want to. I want to take you. I want to show you what it’s like to experience a second date. And in order for there to be a second, there has to be a first. So, what d’ya say? Go out with me Friday night?”

My heart soars. Milo Hayes wants to take me on a date. How does a girl say no to that?

She doesn’t. That’s how.

I let my smile loose, a giggle escaping with it. I can’t help it. Because I’m giddy.

“I’d love to.”


He squeezes my hand again, keeping the small gap between us. Looking down at me, his blue eyes sparkle, upping my giddiness.

“Can I ask where we’re going?”

“You can ask.” He smirks. “But I’m not gonna tell you. It’s a surprise.”

Oh boy…

His smirk grows and he starts to lean in. My whole body is on high alert, calling out to the universe, trying to manifest something out of thin air. It’s not too much to also want a kiss, right? I mean, I did just get asked out.

Milo continues to lean, and I’m starting to think the universe might be listening to me.

At least until my phone goes off.

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About the Author

USA Today Best Selling Claire Hastings is a walking, talking awkward moment. She loves Diet Coke, gummi bears, the beach, and books (obvs). When not reading she can usually be found hanging with friends at a soccer match or grabbing food (although she probably still has a book in her purse). She and her husband live in Atlanta.

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