Out on a Limb

A Novel

About the Book

A hot one-night stand—and an unexpected pregnancy—lead a young woman to someone she can depend on, from the viral TikTok author of Next of Kin and Next to You.

“A beautiful love story, full of joy from beginning to end!”—New York Times bestselling author Sarah Adams


Winnifred “Win” McNulty has always been wildly independent and not one to be coddled for her limb difference. Win has spent most of her life trying to prove that she can do it all on her own. With some minor adjustments, she’s done just fine.

Hooking up at a costume party with the incredibly charming Bo changes everything. Win finds herself pregnant—and decides to keep the baby. While Bo is surprisingly elated to step up to the plate, Win is unsure of whether she can handle this new challenge.

Together, Win and Bo decide to get to know one another as friends and nothing more while they embark on this parenting journey together. But, as they both should know by now, life rarely goes according to plan.
Read more
Close

Praise for Out on a Limb

“A beautiful love story, full of joy from beginning to end! This is the kind of book that slips into your soul and heals things you didn't even know were hurting. Win and Bo have stolen my heart, and I recommend this story for anyone who wants to feel warm and loved!”New York Times bestselling author Sarah Adams

“Hannah Bonam-Young needs to be on your romance radar.”—Hannah Grace, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Icebreaker
 
“Deeply thoughtful, achingly romantic, and indomitably hopeful. Hannah Bonam-Young writes one-of-a-kind love stories that’ll make your heart soar.”—Lyla Sage, bestselling author of the Rebel Blue Ranch series

“Bo and Win’s love is gloriously tender, poignant in its vulnerability, and beautifully real. Out on a Limb epitomizes everything I adore about Hannah’s writing, and it will always hold a truly special place in my heart.”—Chloe Liese, USA Today bestselling author of Only and Forever

“Romantic with a capital R, and a perfect reminder that love stories are for everybody—and every body.”—Jenny L. Howe, author of On the Plus Side

“Funny, raw, and undeniably heartwarming. Win and Bo’s story is a joyful masterpiece, and Hannah tells it effortlessly. Don’t miss this one!”—Becka Mack, author of the Playing for Keeps series

“A perfect, warm hug of a novel. Tender and kind and incredibly sexy, Win and Bo’s love story captured my heart from the very first page. I’ll read everything Hannah Bonam-Young writes!”—Naina Kumar, author of Say You’ll Be Mine

“[A novel] filled with comfort, acceptance, and pure joy.”—Clare Gilmore, author of Love Interest

“Filled with fun tropes, disability representation modeled after the author’s own experience and beautiful writing, Out on a Limb, is a love story so sweet you’ll want to squeal with glee.”BookPage (starred review)

“Cozy and affirming, this is a big warm hug of a book.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“This feel-good story will resonate with romantics.”Publishers Weekly
Read more
Close
Close
Excerpt

Out on a Limb

One

“Did you know this song might be about an orgy?” I ask the witch standing next to the punch bowl, pointing toward the speaker.

“What?” she shouts, using tar-black talons to pull her willowy silver wig away from her ear.

“The song—‘Monster Mash.’ ” I point toward the speaker again.

“What about it?” she asks, louder.

“An orgy!” I yell just as the music comes to an abrupt stop—my friend and host of the evening, Sarah, hopping onto a dining chair to address her guests.

“No, thanks . . .” Witch woman sends daggers my way as she slowly turns around and walks, funnily enough, toward the archway decorated in bloodied weapons.

“You should be so lucky,” I mutter under my breath as I fill my cup with an undisclosed neon-green substance, successfully avoiding the floating candied eyeballs.

Sarah, my lifelong best friend, is giving her yearly thank you so much for coming to my Halloween party; it’s the only thing I care about speech while I’m debating about whether anyone is secretly keeping track of how many hot-dog-mummies I’ve eaten thus far.

Nah. And so I reach for another.

“Aye, aye, Captain Winnifred!”

F***, I’ve been spotted. I drop the mummy into my drink and cover the top of my cup with my hand.

“You okay?” Caleb, Sarah’s husband, asks, eyeing my cup with suspicion.

“Never been better,” I say sweetly. “It’s another successful year,” I say, admiring their home, decorated with professional precision.

Caleb does the same, and when his expression turns to subtle pride and admiration for his wife’s work, I place a bet to the universe that the next three words out of his mouth will be . . .

“Anything Sarah wants,” we say in unison. He smiles into the top of his beer with a hint of guilty shyness, but mostly resolve. Sarah and Caleb met in the ninth grade. He’s been carrying her textbooks, literally and metaphorically, since.

I love Caleb. He’s like a brother to me. A brother-in-law if Sarah and I were actually sisters like we used to boldly claim (see: lie) in school. Turns out, according to a DNA test a few years back, we’re fourth cousins once removed. Sarah simply says we’re cousins now, when given the chance.

“You know, my friend Robbie is here. I thought I might introduce you,” Caleb says after a long sip of his beer.

Yeah, absolutely not.

I’ve been successfully avoiding the guys Caleb wants to set me up with since my date with his buddy from work. Winston cried while describing his—very much alive—mother and the “beautiful bond” they shared. He also brought me an orchid, which could have been a sweet gesture—I do love plants. Unfortunately, it was in a large ceramic bowl with rocks and bark, and it weighed a ton. I couldn’t just put it on the ground, lest a server trip over it and meet an untimely death, so it had to sit on the table between us—blocking our view of each other. Then, after a dull dinner, I had to carry it home with me, clinging to it in the back of the taxi as I wrote a kind but firm let’s-not-do-this-again text.

If anything, that date only solidified my desire to remain casual and stick to dating apps where I could properly vet the men for myself.

“Maybe later,” I answer Caleb. “I’m just waiting to talk to our hostess.” I tilt my chin toward Sarah, who’s dressed as the Princess Buttercup to Caleb’s Westley.

“Okay, fine. This one is different, though. He even has a dead mom,” Caleb adds far too excitedly.

“Oh, bonus!” I say, matching his energy. “I love when their mom is dead. It makes things so much easier around the holidays.”

Caleb laughs, turning to fill a cup with lime punch. “Here.” He holds it out to me before taking my mummified drink and tossing it into the trash can. “Eat however much you want, Win.”

I take the drink, leaning toward him. “That might be the sexiest thing you have ever said to me, Caleb.”

Just then, someone slaps my ass. “Is he flirting with you again? God, I’ve told you both so many times—if you’re going to have an affair, at least be discreet.”

“Buttercup! So nice of you to join us,” I say, smiling broadly.

“Love the costume . . . again.” Sarah sighs, pointing with a limp wrist to my elaborate pirate get-up.

“Until I grow a hand, this will still be prime comedy.” I jab her boob with my hook until she giggles, swatting me away.

“We have to go talk to a bunch of people, but do you want to sleep over tonight? I made up the spare bedroom and—”

“Yes, I will help clean up. I do it every year, babe,” I interrupt. “Go! Entertain your masses.”

Sarah jumbles the words thank-you-you’re-the-best into one long sequence as she tugs Caleb away like an extremely willing puppy on a leash.

“Great costumes,” an exceptionally drunk woman dressed as a red crayon slurs, walking toward me. The blue crayon next to her adds, “Think you might win the couples’ contest,” as they pass by.

Couples costume? Me? Single Winnie? Puh-lease.

They must have mistaken Caleb for a pirate and my betrothed. Westley was the Dread Pirate Roberts, after all. So it’s not a far-off presumption. But my pirate style is a lot more of your classic wench-whore. My boobs are practically earrings at this height, and my fishnet stockings are ripped from years of re-wear, giving them the perfect accidentally slutty look. My waist is cinched with a wide pleather belt, and I’ve tied a red bandanna around my shoulder-length black hair. That’s a new addition after my accompanying pirate’s hat was lost during last year’s debauchery. May she rest in peace.

I will keep wearing this costume until the joke gets old. That wasn’t a lie. But it’s also because—let’s be real—I look hot in it. Additionally, I’m too broke to buy something new. But let’s not talk about that.

There’s another layer of Sarah’s genius. Lock down the cutest computer geek as early as possible, make them fall madly in love with you, and then wait for them to become filthy rich. Now Sarah’s the fun friend full time. Party hostess, event planner, voracious reader, a childless housewife with a maid. She’s currently trying to decide between themes for my thirtieth birthday party, which still isn’t for another eighteen months.

“Pardon me?” a low, sardonic voice calls from behind me, making me turn.

Oh, there he is. The other pirate I’ve been unknowingly paired with. Though this one, I would certainly not make walk the plank.

My first thought? He’s tall. Really tall. As if his body was stretched out with a rolling pin before being placed into whatever magical golden boy oven he was baked in. He’s got that tousled, nineties-boy-band, middle-parted hair that’s suddenly back in style. It’s dark blond, which I can choose to forgive. He has a crooked smile that says get out while you can under a not-crooked but rugged nose and soft eyes. The juxtaposition of which is strikingly adorable.

“I’m so sorry,” he says without any sincerity, “but one of us has to change.”

“Oh my god,” I say, flattening my skirt before resting my hands on my waist. “This is so embarrassing. . . . What are the odds?”

“Right? I mean there’s no way either of us is winning the singles costume contest this way and”—he leans in to whisper by bending over at the waist, and he’s still taller than me—“I’m not wearing anything under this.”

I fight the laugh, not wanting this bit to end. I so rarely get a new sparring partner. Never one this cute.

“Well, that’s unfortunate. You should have planned better. I have a few costumes under this one.”

The corner of his lip twitches, but he seems to resist giving me any reaction beyond that. Challenge accepted.

“Such as?” he asks, crossing his arms over his chest.

“A Viking,” I answer.

“Now that you mention it, I do see a horn peeking out just a little.” He motions to the side of my head with a bent finger.

“That’s actually standard issue for all of Satan’s spawn, but I could see how you got confused.”

“Concerning. What else?”

“A sexy maid, of course,” I say, batting my lashes.

“Well, that I have to see,” he quips back far too quickly.

Here, I think, is where I win the laugh-off we’re pretending not to have. Shock value always wins.

About the Author

Hannah Bonam-Young
Hannah Bonam-Young is the author of Next of Kin, Next to You, and Out on a Limb. Hannah writes romances featuring a cast of diverse, disabled, marginalized, and LGBTQIA+ folks wherein swoon-worthy storylines blend with the beautiful, messy, and challenging realities of life. When not reading or writing romance you can find her having living room dance parties with her kids or planning any occasion that warrants a cheese board. Originally from Ontario, Canada, she lives with her childhood friend turned husband, Ben, two kids, and bulldog near Niagara Falls on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. More by Hannah Bonam-Young
Decorative Carat