Kitty's Book Spot!

Kitty's Book Spot!

I enjoy many types of books and genres.  This blog will reflect the latest books, music, movies and any other forms of entertainment that reflect my passions and hobbies.

 

Kitty's Book Spot!  "You keep writing, I'll keep reading."

LIFT 4 Autism 2017 Auction is LIVE!

2017_HeaderVersion

 

It’s LIVE!! The LIFT 4 Autism Auction is open for bidding!

 

charityauction.bid/lift4autism

 

Win a $25 Winner’s Choice Gift Card in the LIFT Celebration Giveaway!

 

The Lift 4 Autism Auction is a bookworm’s dream! Featuring hard-to-get, much-sought items from romance favorites like Nicola Yoon, Kristen Ashley, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Corinne Michaels, T.M. Frazier, Marie Force and more than 200 others in celebration of Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month.

 

Authors Ginger Scott and Kennedy Ryan founded LIFT 4 Autism a few years ago as a charitable initiative rallying the romance community around autism. All proceeds go to this year’s charitable partner Kulture City, who is doing amazing things for the autism community. Learn more at kulturecity.org.

 

Specifically, LIFT 2017 will benefit Kulture City’s lifeBOKS program, which provides families with free kits to curtail wandering, a common and potentially life threatening challenge. Proceeds will also benefit Kulture City’s tablet program, which provides iPads to improve communication for non and limited verbal children on the spectrum to families who cannot afford them.

 

Learn more about the mission of Kulture City and the dangers of wandering in today’s USA Today HEA feature here.

 

Watch the lifeBOKS video: https://www.facebook.com/AutismOnTheMighty/videos/1591316364511099/

 

 

HOW WILL WE RAISE FUNDS?

 

  1. Online Auction, featuring many of your favorite romance authors!

Browse all the amazing items up for bid here: charityauction.bid/lift4autism (Must register to bid)

 

Auction Frequently Asked Questions: http://lift4autism.com/auctionfaq

 

Find the full Author list here: http://lift4autism.com/contact.

The auction is LIVE until Friday, April 28, 8:00pm.  

 

  1. Make a financial donation through the LIFT Campaign.

DONATE here: bit.ly/LIFT4AutismGIVE  

 

  1. Buy LIFT Wear (T-shirts, totes, mugs, etc…)

https://teespring.com/Lift2017

 

 

LFIT 2017 t-shirt

 

 

4. Buy the YA Fantasy Anthology Ever In the After for 99¢

 

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Amazon (Kindle) ~~ Barnes & Noble (Nook) ~~ iBooks/iTunes ~~ Kobo

 

*All proceeds go to Kulture City!  

 

 

Connect with LIFT!

 

*Subscribe to the LIFT mailing list at lift4autism.com.

*Join the LIFT Facebook group: facebook.com/groups/1705524696326889/

*Follow us on Instagram: instagram.com/lift4autism/

*Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/LIFT4Autism

 

 

 

   

Review
4 Stars
Blog Tour w/Review - Falling For The Billionaire Wolf And His Baby
 
 

Falling for the Billionaire Wolf and His Baby

by Sasha Summers
Publication Date: April 24, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Covet, Paranormal, Romance

 

 
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About the book:

 

When Jessa Talbot’s boss offered her a promotion, she agreed—no questions asked. Her family needed the money, but fighting the attraction she feels for her brooding employer is tough. Worse, she instantly bonds with his infant son she’s caring for. But this is a temporary solution and she can’t get attached to either of them.

 

Finnegan Dean is cursed. He’s a nicely dressed monster, the wolf inside always looking for a way out. But there are two things he and his wolf agree on. They must protect baby Oscar and Jessa—his mate. While the wolf hungers to seal their bond, Finn fights the instinct. After all, if he really cares for her, he’d never doom her to the life he lives.

 

Buy links:

 

 
 
 
 
KBSBookReview
 

Falling for the Billionaire Wolf and His BabyFalling for the Billionaire Wolf and His Baby by Sasha Summers My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

Finnegan AKA Finn needs help in the worst way. He calls upon his employee who needs the money most. Jessa turns out to be a nice surprise. She is just what he needs. J

 

Jessa is shocked her boss needs her in any way. She has a lot to learn about Finnegan and what he is asking. There are secrets being kept by both of them. Maybe taking a chance can lead to so much more.

 

Really fast paced and enjoyable book. The sweet story and sexy times make this a keeper. Hoping to see these incredible characters in upcoming stories. The Blood Moon Brotherhood is full of hottie testosterone!

 

***This ARC copy was given by Netgalley and its publisher, in exchange for an honest review only.

 

View all my reviews

 
 

About Sasha Summers:

 

Sasha is part gypsy. Her passions have always been storytelling, romance, history, and travel. Her first play was written for her Girl Scout troupe. She's been writing ever since. She loves getting lost in the worlds and characters she creates; even if she frequently forgets to run the dishwasher or wash socks when she's doing so. Luckily, her four brilliant children and hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and supportive.

 

Connect:

 

 
 
 
1. What was your favorite book/series in your youth?
 
I love the Narnia series. And I read everything I could that included Greek Mythology. 
 
2. Do you ever make playlists for your books?
 
 I make playlists for all of my books. If I'm writing a series, I might just add on new stuff for the next books. Or I'll make a new list entirely for each book.
 
3. Do you write to music?
 
I always write to music.
 
4. What genre would you like to write that you have not had a chance to yet?
 
 Suspense. I've written in fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, paranormal, and YA. I'd love to try a suspense or mystery.
 
5. Will you share with us something about yourself that no one else knows?
 
I'm addicted to Chris Hemsworth. Wait, everyone knows that... I've never had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
 
6. There is a real demand for shape-shifter books. (and... we thank you) What made you decide to write one?
 
I think werewolves are delightfully sexy and primal. I really enjoyed tapping into that - with Finn and the next books.
 
7. You write about very powerful characters. Do you feel like they demand to have their story written?
 
Yes. Absolutely. I can argue with them all I want - they always win. ;)
 
8. What do you want us to take away from your story?
 
I'm a romantic at heart. Big time. I believe love conquers all. That's what this series is about. Danger, life-and-death, risking it all - but love will triumph.
 
Thank you so much for having me. I'm so so glad you enjoyed Finn. Can't wait to hear what you think about the rest!
 
 - Sasha
 
 
 

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Direct Giveaway Link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1cb554951086/

 

 

 

Happy World Book Day!

Today is #WorldBookDay!  

 

 

 

 

There is also a WORLD BOOK NIGHT.  

 

WBN logo 2017

 

Learn more here: http://www.worldbookday.com/2017/04/23796/

 

or here: https://twitter.com/WorldBookDayUK

 

 

 

I celebrate by reading and having a #SexySunday.  

 

Today, I am reading Shopping For A CEO's Wife by Julia Kent.

If you would like to know more about this funny and sexy series, click here!!

 

 

 

 

What are you reading this fine day?

 

Join the reading discussion below.  

Tell me what you're currently reading or what your favorite book of all time is.  

 

(If you can actually do that!)

 

 

 

 

Happy Reading!!

 

 

 

 

 

(Hello Kitty, is trademark and copyright (c) to Sanrio.  All rights reserved. © 2017 SANRIO CO., LTD. All Sanrio characters that appear on this website are protected by copyright to Sanrio, Co., Ltd.  No copyright infringement is intended or implied.)

 

 

 

 

Review
4 Stars
Heavy lifting
Mountain of Evil: Trident Security Omega Team: Prequel - Samantha A. Cole, Eve Arroyo

This novella is a bridge between the original Trident Security Series and the spin off series, Trident Security Omega Team. While it is not necessary to read this prequel before the Omega Team series, it will give the reader more insight and background of the new operatives of Trident Security and their support team.

 

The new team has six men and one woman.  They are sent out into the wilderness to prove their "ready" status to their agency.  While out there, a girl goes missing.  Can this team find her and all get home safely?

 

This was a short jaunt into the new series about the team created by the Trident Security owners.  I loved how the author brought all the team members personalities into it.  I especially enjoyed some of the foreshadowing into books to come.  I cannot wait for the next installment in the Trident Security Omega Team series.  I give this book a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

Review
4 Stars
Not again
Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny (Taking Shots) - Cindi Madsen

This is book #4 in the Taking Shots series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  To not read a spoiler, and to understand this really great series, I recommend reading in order.

 

Lindsay has come a long way to not be like she used to.  Ryder threatens all this because he is still part of the "hockey life" she has left behind her.  As their attraction heats up and she needs his help to cement her future, she struggles with whether she is doing the right thing.

 

Ryder wanted Lindsay from first sight.  He found her beautiful, smart, and completely amazing.  Winning her over and not being a threat to her new life is a challenge.  He is never one to not get what he goes after.

 

This series rocks!  Each book just gets better and better.  If you love sports, romance, laughter, and an HEA - this series is a must read!  I happily give it 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley and its publisher.

Review
4 Stars
Hit me
Grinder (Seattle Sharks Book 1) - Samantha Whiskey

Bailey has known Gage pretty much her whole life.  Their mothers are best friends.  It seemed inevitable they would become close as well.  He does not seem to know that she is seriously attracted to him.  The problem is she knows he is a player.

 

Gage has a hard time trusting anyone close.  His past has held a lot of pain.  A life that he does not want his daughter to have to have.  He is choosing who to trust and keep close.  Who he allows around his child.  

 

Very endearing story with some sports thrown in.  I loved these characters and hope to see them again in upcoming books in the Seattle Sharks series.  There was sexy times, silly times, and more.  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

Review
3 Stars
Forbidden
Conduct Unbecoming - L.A. Witt

In the military, and in this case the US Navy, an officer and an enlisted person (sailor) cannot be romantically involved.  It is to protect both parties, as one of them could be said enlisted person's boss.  This is separate from all the don't ask, don't tell stuff they finally got rid of.

 

Eric & Shane meet off base.  The location is discreet and they do not exchange names.  When they see one another again, there is more at stake.  They both know it.  Shane is an officer.  

 

Shane has a lot to lose if they are caught.  He also knows he has not met anyone like Eric, and might never again.  This choice pulls at him until he just can't fight anymore.

 

This story tugs at your heartstrings.  It made me feel for both characters.  I was rooting for them right from the start.  There is a little bit of everything in this book.  The humor, the travel, the sparks flying.... just overall a great story.  I give it a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

Review
3 Stars
Honesty
Unstoppable (Jersey Girls Book 2) - Lisa-Marie Cabrelli

This book is #2 in The Jersery Girls series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading this series in order.

 

Maureen suffers from low self-esteem.  She has allowed men to bully her in the past.  Now she is trying to get to know Brad.  Along the way she meets Stephen.  One makes the other man look like paste.  What's a girl to do?

 

This story was a bit of a triangle.  But only a bit.  You come to see who is really the worthy beau pretty quickly.  What I found nice to read was the banter, the mystery, the travel and a bit of heat.  This was a fun and witty read.  I give this book a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

Excerpt Blitz - The Hot Shot

  the hot shot AN        

TheHotShot Amazon-2

 

First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…

 

What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.

 

No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.

 

I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.

 

Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.

 

Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?

   

AMAZON | iBooks | B&N | KOBO  | Paperback

 

     

EXCERPT:

 

CHESS

 

Grumbling, I toss on some black lounge pants and my oversized Tulane t-shirt and head to the drugstore.

 

 

My head throbs by the time I get there, and my insides are writhing. I rest my hand against my lower stomach and grab a basket before calling James to complain.

 

I swear,” I tell him as I grab a bottle of painkillers. “It’s like this entire day has been cursed.”

 

He snickers. “Curse. Get it? Curse?”

 

I roll my eyes, even though he can’t see me. “Laugh it up. Meanwhile, it feels as if someone is playing Battleship in my uterus.”

 

Poor Chessie bear. At least we know why you were in such a foul mood.”

 

A flush washes over my cheeks. “Yeah.” Lie. Lie. Lie. A tub of salted caramel gelato makes its way into the basket.

 

Tell me you’re getting some gelato,” James says.

 

I smile. “Just grabbed it.”

 

Salted caramel?”

 

You know it.”

 

I find the feminine products aisle and search for my brand. “I’m going to go home, take a long bath with my gelato, and forget this fucking day.” Forget Finn. “And then I’m going to go on Amazon and buying a freaking year’s supply of tampons so I don’t have to make these kinds of emergency runs anymore.”

 

A low, deep chuckle rumbles from behind me, and all the tiny hairs lift on my arms.

 

But you’ll still need your gelato,” a familiar—fuck me, seriously?—voice points out.

 

My insides swoop even as my cheeks burn.

 

Who is that?” James asks in my ear.

 

I slowly turn on one heel. “The plague,” I say, glaring up at Finn Mannus’s smiling face.

 

From asshat to plague.” Finn scrunches up his brow. “I’m not sure if that’s a step down or a tie.”

 

Who is that?” James nearly yells now.

 

I don’t take my eyes off Finn. “I’ll call you back.”

 

James’s squawks of protest cut off as I hit the end button.

 

 

Are you stalking me, Mannus?”

 

Finn a rests his hands low on his lean hips. “Having a healthy amount of conceit myself, I have to admire yours, but no, buttercup. My buddy Woodson lives a few blocks away. It’s poker night. I’m stocking up on beer.”

 

It’s only then I notice a twelve pack tucked under his other arm.

 

And tampons?” I ask, with a pointed look around the aisle we’re standing in.

 

Not tonight,” he says easily. “Though we used to keep a pack of them back in college. Light flows were perfect for stopping up bloody noses.”

 

A snort escapes me. “Now there’s a visual.” Somehow, I’ve taken a step closer to him. He’s freshly showered, the golden brown strands of his hair still damp at his temples. And I wonder if he’s just come from the gym or practice. “So back in college you went and bought these tampons?”

 

Nah,” he says with a cheeky smile. “I’d ask one of the girls hanging around to get me some.”

 

Of course you did.” My nose wrinkles with annoyance.

 

Give me a little credit, Chess. I’d buy them now if I had to.”

 

Hmm…” I eye him, trying not to return his smile. If only because it’s more fun when he teases. “So why are you in this aisle now, if not for potential nosebleed needs?”

 

That’s easy.” He steps closer, a warm wall of muscle and clean scent. “I heard your voice.”

 

For a second I just blink. “You recognized my voice?”

 

His gaze darts over my face as if he’s trying to get a read on why I’m gaping at him. “Not to be…ah…rude, but you’re loud when you talk on the phone.”

 

Yeah, but… You recognized it.” We’d only just met. It occurs to me that I’d recognized his both times he’d snuck up on me. Then again, his voice is distinctive, flowing like hot honey when he’s relaxed or hammering down like iron to rock when he’s taking command of a situation.

 

A soft flush of pink tints the tips of his ears. If I wasn’t staring at him, I might have missed it. He shifts his weight. “Was I not supposed to?”

 

No. Yes.” I shake my head and laugh. “I don’t know.”

 

He grins then. “You’re cute when you’re flustered.”

 

I’m not flustered.” I am.

 

 

 

THS1

 

KCauthor

Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal , best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

 

WEBSITE / FACEBOOK / TWITTER / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

 

 

Review
4 Stars
Home
A Charmed Little Lie - Sharla Lovelace

Lanie had given a lie to a dying aunt.  Now, she must prove the marriage is real.  No pressure, right?  Especially since she is not even seeing anyone right now.

 

Nick comes across Lanie in the middle of a crisis and is not sure to take her seriously.  She has him fitting the general description of the man she lied about.  He needs the money, so he gives in.  Then the attraction begins......

 

I really felt it all with this story.  There is plenty of humor, heat, sarcasm, and lots of fun.  I really wanted the characters to see what I saw for them.  There was sparks flying between them and it was fun to see the slow burn speed up.  I cannot wait to see the next book in the series.  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

****This ARC copy was given by Netgalley and its publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Review
3 Stars
Maybe
The Wedding Date (Only Him Book 1) - Nicole Casey

Bryant is in a rough spot.  His sister is marrying the cousin to his ex.  It really did not end well.  He is hoping to take a decent date to help him cope with the whole thing.

 

Max lets himself get set up for a wedding weekend with a blind date.  He is not sure what to expect.  When he opens the door to a cutie that attracts him right away, he figures it will be worth it.  Could the future be him?

 

This is a quick and sweet read.  I was feeling all the feels.  I even found someone in the book I wanted to reach in and kick!  This book has some really good heat.  It is easy to root for these two to be together.  I give this story a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

Review
4 Stars
Brighter
Faking It - Carly Phillips, Erika Wilde

This is book #2 in the Book Boyfriend series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  I recommend reading this series in order.  

 

Hailey is saved by Max when a nosy busybody interferes in her life.  The consequences of the save, however, means they must play along for a time.  Hailey is attracted to Max for real.  Could this be a love match?

 

Max has wanted Hailey for himself for some time.  Playing her missing man is easy when he wants to put his hands on her.  It gets more complicated as time goes on, but Max has started thinking that the future may need to be different than he thought.

 

This book has a lot of humor, heat, and heart.  I love that the characters are honest with one another.  Well, as much as they can be.  This was a sexy and fun read.  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

Excerpt Reveal - Bayside Desires

Bayside_banner_ER

 

Today we have a blitz for Bayside Desires by Melissa Foster! Check out this fantastic new contemporary romance and preorder your copy now!!

 

 

Cover

 

Title: Bayside Desires

Author: Melissa Foster

Genre: Contemporary romance

Release Date: May 9th

 

About Bayside Desires:

 

 

Fall in love at Bayside, where sandy beaches, good friends, and true love come together in the sweet small towns of Cape Cod.

 

BAYSIDE SUMMERS is a series of standalone steamy romance novels featuring alpha male heroes and sexy, empowered women. They're fun, flirty, flawed, deeply emotional, always passionate, and easy to relate to.

 

"​With her wonderful characters and resonating emotions, Melissa Foster is a must-read author!" -NYT Bestseller Julie Kenner​

 

"Melissa Foster is synonymous with sexy, swoony, heartfelt romance!" -NYT Bestseller Lauren Blakely​

 

In Bayside Desires...

As the co-owner of Bayside Resorts, Rick Savage has a fabulous job working with his best friends and brother, and a thriving business in Washington, DC, which he’ll be returning to at the end of the summer. Spending time with his family is great, but being back on Cape Cod has unearthed painful memories. When sweet, smart, and overly cautious Desiree Cleary moves in next door, Rick is drawn to the sexy preschool teacher, and she just might prove to be the perfect distraction.

 

Running an art gallery was not in preschool teacher Desiree Cleary’s plans, but after being tricked into coming to her impetuous, unreliable mother’s aid, she’s stuck spending the summer with the badass half sister she barely knows and a misbehaving dog. If that’s not frustrating enough, she can’t escape the sparks igniting with her strikingly handsome and pushy neighbor, Rick, who makes all her warning bells go off.

 

Passion ignites as Desiree and Rick spend long summer nights sharing heartfelt confessions and steamy kisses. For the first time in years Rick is enjoying life again instead of hiding behind mounds of work miles away from his family. Desiree has touched him in a way that makes him want to slow down. Only slowing down means dealing with his demons, and he isn’t sure who he’ll be when he comes out the other side.

 

All Bayside books can be read as standalone novels or as part of the series:

Coming Soon...

Bayside Heat

Bayside Escape

Bayside Passions

 

Bayside Summers is part of the Love in Bloom romance collection by New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Melissa Foster. While each book may be read as a standalone, you might enjoy reading the entire Love in Bloom series. Characters from each sub-series appear in future books. Visit Melissa's website for family trees, series checklists, and more.

 

 

PREORDER TODAY:

KINDLE | KOBO | NOOK | GPLAY | iBOOKS |

 

 

 

 

teaser

 

Exclusive Excerpt:

 

 

Desiree clearly stood at the end of a jetty at Indian Neck Beach, watching three brawny guys race around Cape Cod Bay on Jet Skis while she FaceTimed with her best friend, Emery Andrews. She had known Emery since first grade, and she was the only person who would understand why, after driving for more than twelve hours, Desiree was standing on that jetty, pretending to be on vacation, instead of facing the woman who had summoned her to Wellfleet.

 

“I should have come with you,” Emery insisted. “You’re at the beach, and I’m stuck here teaching yoga and Pilates to people who go home and eat entire pizzas afterward. Not that I’m only thinking of me. I’m just saying. I could be your backbone when you see your mother. You know, make sure you don’t wimp out on telling her how cruel it was to go months without any contact and then send you that email.”

 

Emery had a right to be upset. She’d been there for Desiree for more than twenty years, picking up the pieces of Desiree’s broken heart after short, awkward, visits with her mother. Lizza Vancroft had been breezing in and out of her life since Desiree was five years old. Desiree was used to hearing from her mother only once or twice a year, but her most recent email had taken the cake. She’d read the cryptic message dozens of times, as concerned as she was annoyed. I need you to come to Wellfleet and run my art gallery for the summer. It might prolong my life. She hadn’t even known Lizza was ill, much less owned a gallery and had been living in the States.

 

“I’ll be fine,” she said, though she wasn’t sure she believed it. After Desiree’s parents had divorced, Lizza had taken off to teach overseas with Desiree’s half sister, Violet, leaving Desiree to live with her father. Some small part of her was still waiting for her mother to make amends for leaving her behind. “I just need a few minutes to get my head on straight before facing her.”

 

One of the Jet Skis headed directly for another, swerving at the last second to avoid a collision. “Holy cow. Someone is going to get killed. Look at these guys.” She held up her phone to show Emery the crazy Jet Skiers. “Who does that? It’s so dangerous.”

 

“Hot Jet Skiing guys who thrive on danger. My kind of guys, and your perfect distraction.” Emery waggled her brows.

 

“I don’t need a distraction. Lizza is almost a stranger to me. It’s like I’m waiting to get bad news from someone I met a few times but don’t really know.”

 

“I know. Your mother is as flighty as a fairy, and I’m sure right now you wish you were wired like her and Violet instead of being responsible and organized to the nth degree, like your father,” Emery said. Spot-on, as always. “Then you could be the one who was living overseas working with one nonprofit or another without Internet or a care in the world, like Violet, instead of procrastinating the unleashing of a nest of demons you’ve spent years tamping down.”

 

“You’re so dramatic.” Desiree smiled, thankful for Emery’s teasing.

 

She had no idea whether Violet would be there when she arrived. Though she and Violet had grown up on opposite sides of the world, they had spent a few weeks together at the Cape each summer with their grandmother. At least they had until they were teens and one or the other had found better things to do, most years whittling those weeks down to just a few days. They’d kept in touch only sporadically during college, and before their grandmother’s funeral last winter, it had been more than three years since Desiree had seen Violet or their mother. But that didn’t mean Desiree hadn’t always wished for a relationship with her sister, despite how different they were.

 

“That’s why you love me.” Emery flashed a cheesy smile. “Seriously, though. You need to just go see Lizza and get it over with. And you should probably be glad I’m not there. Because as far as I’m concerned, her email was infuriating, unfair, and heartrending.” Emery’s eyes narrowed. “I’d like to give her a piece of my mind.”

 

“So would I,” Desiree admitted. “But I won’t.” A breeze swept off the bay, lifting the ends of her dress. She pushed it back down, catching a glimpse of one of the Jet Skiers slowing to watch her. As if she wasn’t nervous enough today?

 

“I know. You’ve got the biggest heart on the planet. We need a plan. You do best with plans.” Emery tucked her brown hair behind her ear and leaned closer to the screen, like she was sharing a secret. “Tonight, after you get your heart torn to shreds, since I’m not there to help heal your mama-wounds, please get yourself a nice bottle of wine and a big man. I promise that will help ease whatever pain she throws your way.”

 

“Don’t you mean a big bottle of wine and a nice man?” Desiree asked, as the Jet Skier who was watching her broke away from the others and sped past.

 

“Definitely not. You don’t need a nice man. I know you think you want romance and all the mushy stuff like flowers, candy, and midnight walks.” Emery flashed her don’t-even-try-to-tell-me-otherwise scowl. “But trust me. You need a man who takes control, whose kisses turn you inside out and make you forget about your crazy mother.”

 

She wrapped her arms around her middle, listening to the roar of the lone Jet Ski cutting tracks in front of her and wondering about kisses that turned a woman inside out. She had yet to experience anything like that, but Emery talked about them like she’d had enough to share. Maybe it was time to expand her horizons.

 

“Hello?” Emery said. “Think you can look at me and stop watching the hot Jet Skiers for two minutes?”

 

Desiree laughed. “Like you’d ever look at me instead of a guy? Besides, I’m only watching one, because he’s watching me. The other two are long gone.” She held up her phone again, showing her the hot guy with dark hair keeping time with her as she paced the jetty.

 

“God, you’re so lucky. Go take hot Jet Ski guy for a ride and show up late to see Lizza.” Emery waggled her brows. “For all you know, she’s not even at your grandmother’s house waiting for you.”

 

That was true. Lizza and Violet still hadn’t replied to her messages. But that didn’t change the fact that Desiree wasn’t a jump-in-the sack with a stranger kind of girl. “That’s just what I need. A reckless adrenaline junkie before seeing Lizza. No thanks.”

 

Emery turned away from the phone. “I have to go. My date is here.”

 

“You have a date? With who?”

 

“One of the reckless, adrenaline-junky Jericho brothers. I’ll let you try to figure out which one.” She blew Desiree a kiss. “Listen, babe. Take my advice. Bang the Jet Ski guy; then you’ll be nice and relaxed when you see Lizza. Call if you need me. Love you!”

 

Desiree ended the call, and the guy trailing her on the Jet Ski zoomed past. He made a sharp turn and headed back, eyes locked on her, making her heart race. Maybe letting loose for a night was just what she needed. One night of uninhibited anything would be a first. The Jet Ski turned again, taking another, faster pass, the hot guy’s eyes still trained on her. Butterflies took flight in her stomach. He was obviously interested. Maybe…

 

He turned again and headed straight toward the jetty.

 

Straight for her.

 

Oh God. How long had she been staring at him? What was I thinking?

 

She tried to act casual, looking at the boats, the sky, anywhere but at the man on the machine as she made her way along the rocks toward the beach. He fishtailed, spraying water in her direction. She shrieked and turned away as water rained down on her.

 

No, a reckless man was definitely not what she needed.

 

 

 

untitled

About Melissa Foster:

 

 Melissa has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Her interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod. Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on social media or her personal website. Visit Melissa on Facebook or her personal website. Never miss a brand new release, special promotions or inside gossip again by simply signing up to receive your newsletter from Melissa.

 

 

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Release Blast - The Right Fit
  
 
Maxine and Antony are about to discover a game of casual hook ups can 
lead to something neither one of them thought they deserved—the right fit.
 
 
THE RIGHT FIT
Daphne Dubois
Released April 12th, 2017
The Wild Rose Press
 

 

When Maxine Nicholls discovers her fiancé is cheating, she turns to fast food and nighttime soap operas, but her sister has a plan—unbridled rebound sex with a stranger.
 
As one of Toronto's hottest players, Antony Laurent tallies scores on and off the ice, but when the chiseled defense man hits a slump, rumors of a trade to the minor league send him to ambush a managers meeting at a posh club.
 
That night a chance encounter ends up as an unforgettable evening of passion. But Maxine and Antony are about to discover a game of casual hook ups can lead to something neither one of them thought they deserved—the right fit.
 
 
 
 
 
 

She dropped her gaze and stared at his hands. God, they are big hands. Big hands, big… “Do you want a coffee?” she blurted out.

 

A coffee? Non.”

 

Or maybe you need the washroom?” She pointed down the short hallway that lead to her bedroom.

 

He looked down the hallway, then back to Maxine. “You want me to use washroom?” he asked seriously.

 

No.” She backed up a few steps until she reached the kitchen counter. The heat under her dress was now slick and uncomfortable. She glanced down and saw a mint leaf sticking out of her cleavage. Classy lady.

 

The romance cover model ran a hand through his hair again, making his biceps strain under the t-shirt sleeve. Maxine suspected he’d practiced that move in the mirror a few times. “Then what do you want?” he asked.

 

A burst of nervous laughter escaped, but then her smile faded. “No one has asked me that in a very long time,” she said. Slipping off his jacket, she laid it on the counter, letting her finger trace the stitching along the zipper, trying to build up her courage. “Why did you follow me into the cab?”

 

Because no one has ever run away from me before.”

 

Rolling her eyes, Maxine looked up and saw that he was smirking. “Rejection is a new thing for you, I’m guessing.”

 

Is that what you call inviting me here?” He tossed the ball cap and it landed perfectly on the dining table. The floorboard creaked as he took a step closer to her. There was a spark of anticipation in his eyes.

 

Hold on, cowboy,” she said, putting a hand on his chest. My God! His muscles are rock hard under his shirt. Who the hell is this guy? She cleared her throat. “What makes you think you can kiss me again?”

 

He was still as stone under her touch, but Maxine could feel herself falling into his stare. “You kissed me,” he said, his voice ridiculously smooth. “There is a difference, I promise.”

 

It wasn’t only the French accent, but the confidence in his voice that made her knees almost unhinge. Her hand was flat on his chest; his racing heart was keeping time with hers. “That sounds like a proposition,” she said.

 

It can only be decided one way.” Then he repeated his earlier question. “What do you want?”

 

He was so close she could see the faint brown and black colors of his stubble. There was a cleft in his chin. What do you want? An image of the long white box hidden in the closet was ignored; all Maxine wanted at that moment was to mold herself into his arms and forget about the last four years. “Kiss me,” she said.

 

His fingers grazed her cheek, tucking a wave of hair behind her ear. “Un moment,” he said. “A man should be prepared.” He peeled the last mint leaf off her chest then placed it in his mouth.

 

Maxine giggled through a surprised expression, which faded into a sigh.

 

Then, with deliberate care, he brought his lips down to hers, perfectly fitting their mouths together. He gently moved his chin starting a slow pace, controlled but with a sense of held back urgency.

 

This was nothing like the hastily stolen kiss at the club.

 

The cautious seduction was almost too much for Maxine. She wanted to taste him fully, kiss him back hard—tackle this moment like Alexis Colby.

 

 
Daphne Dubois writes contemporary romance and believes the right book at the right time can make all the difference. When she's not putting her characters in compromising positions (ahem), she works as a registered nurse. A member of the Writer's Federation of Nova Scotia, she lives in Eastern Canada, the most romantic place in the world.
 
 
 
 
Release Blitz - His Competent Woman

  

 

 

Release Blitz

His Competent Woman

Ellen Whyte

April 18 2017

 

 
 
 
 
30,000 words 
Complete & Standalone
 
In desperate need for money, Emma applies for a job with handsome billionaire Curtis West. She's not really qualified for the job and to make matters worse, she loses her temper during the interview and fudges her credentials. Can she pull it off or will this end in tears?
 
 

Chapter One Emma: Bad News And Billionaires

 

     "Ben's a lovely boy," Miss Maddy said brightly. "We're so happy to have him."
     “Thank you so much!”
 
     Oh tell her to quit the chitchat and cut to the chase!
 
     That’s my inner devil. I’m patient and cool on the outside, but inside of me there’s this little voice that pipes up and says it how it is. She’s blunt, difficult and honestly, a bit of a slut. Maybe it’s the real me, I don’t know. But whoever that little voice really belongs to, she’s certainly impatient.
 
     While my devil was right, I resisted an impulse to hurry Miss Maddy along. Ben's schoolteacher was dedicated and likeable although somewhat longwinded. Being a teacher is a tough job, and Miss Maddy prefaced every conversation with endless compliments, as if parents weren’t capable of tackling reality without a spoonful of sugar.
 
     “Ben’s kind, generous and very popular.”
 
     "But Ben isn't doing well," I prompted her. "Is he naughty in class? Not listening maybe?"
 
     "He's in my bad books for being too chatty at least twice a week!" Miss Maddy laughed indulgently. "But that's normal for a seven year old, isn't it?"
 
     Come ooooooooooooooooon!
 
     "You asked me to come and see you," I reminded her. "You said it was important?"
     When she’d called me, I’d immediately envisioned broken bones or at the very least gushing blood. Once assured on both counts my mind had flown to some hideous disciplinary problem. Thankfully, Ben didn't seem to be in any trouble.
 
     "Ben's not doing well on his reading," Miss Maddy was finally getting to the point. "His writing is poor too."
 
     Okay, so my stomach plummeted at that. "He's young. I thought boys are slower to develop than girls?"
 
     "I think he may be dyslexic," Miss Maddy confided. "I'm not a psychologist, Mrs Reed, but he does seem confused about certain his words and letters. I think we should have him tested."
 
     Now I could barely breathe either. "Dyslexic? But that's serious, isn't it?"
 
     "Well, it makes school a bit more of a challenge but with support most children cope very well."
 
     “I’ll make an appointment with the doctor.”
 
     “I’m afraid that won’t work,” Miss Maddy said carefully. “Dyslexia isn’t covered.”
 
     Hell, hell, hell!
 
 
     If it wasn’t covered by the National Health Service, it meant private doctors. That meant money, and I didn’t have a bean. “Can you test him?” My voice was totally Mini Mouse, squeakily hoping against hope.
 
     “I’m afraid not.” Miss Maddy handed over a leaflet. "It takes a qualified psychologist. There’s a list here to help you out.”
 
     “They’re going to be expensive and I'm broke!"
 
     "I'm so sorry." Miss Maddy looked away, knowing it was bad news. "You're a widow, isn't that so?"
 
     "Yes." Dear Graham. Gone seven years now.
 
     "He died in Iraq?" Miss Maddy asked delicately. "Erm, during the war?"
 
     "Actually, he was run over." It still made me sad just thinking of it. "It was an accident."
 
     A stupid, stupid accident. A young man, a car thief, had made off with an army jeep parked at the Baghdad market. He'd jumped in, taken off and rocketed into Graham just twenty feet later. Killed instantly, Graham’s friends assured me afterwards. Graham hadn’t suffered at all, thank heaven.
 
     The driver had joined him shortly after. The mob had beaten him so badly that he'd died on the spot. It was no consolation. I didn't find it a comfort that two families had grieved instead of one. Still don’t actually.
 
     "Very tragic," Miss Maddy said sympathetically. “Look, there are some charities that help out. It’s all in the leaflet.”
 
     “Oh, thank God!”
 
     “But it can take months to make an appointment,” Miss Maddy cautioned me. “And it may not be in Oxford, so you may want to save for the trip.”
 
     Oh lord, it’s going to take us months, my inner devil moaned.
 
     Miss Maddy cleared her throat, piling on bad news, "I'm afraid that if Ben is dyslexic, he will need some support."
 
     Support. Crap, crap, crap. That meant specialist training, extra classes, and that meant more bills. My stomach pitched and rolled with fright. As if I weren’t already struggling to make ends meet.
 
     Parenting Ben on my own made working a regular job extremely challenging. Few businesses tolerate staff starting at 9am and dashing off at 3pm - never mind sick days and school holidays.
 
     I hadn’t been able to find a decent job, full time or part time, either. After applying to hundreds of companies, I’d turned to the gig economy. To my horror, I discovered that meant forking out for massively expensive babysitters at unreasonable hours. A zero hours contract at Tescos had actually cost me money at the end of the month, with all my salary and some of my last remaining savings going to sitters.
 
     Now I was just shattered at the thought of the months ahead. A psychologist would cost a bomb but there was nothing left to sell. The car had gone first, then the antique clock that had been my grandmother's and finally the 78s, the vintage records that had been Graham's treasures from his grandfather.
 
     All I had left of value was my wedding ring, an antique Cartier that I’d taken off and shoved into my pants drawer because two of the diamond chips had fallen out.
 
     Oh god, do we have to part with it? It’s all we have left of him!
 
 
     Just the thought made me feel like weeping but I had to pull myself together. Ben’s future was more important.
 
     "What will testing cost?" I asked Miss Maddy fearfully.
 
     "Well, there's the assessment. Last year we had little Siti Menon tested and I think her mum said it set her back -" Miss Maddy mentioned a figure that made me reel.
 
     “If he is, will he need special lessons?” I was praying she’d say not. “Or a special school?”
 
     “We can help,” Miss Maddy assured me.
 
     For a second I breathed again. If the school could pitch in, maybe we’d be okay. I was uncomfortably aware of being a burden, a scrounger on state benefits. Maybe I could help, volunteer for something.
 
 
     My spirits rose a little but then Miss Maddy whacked me right back down. “But if Ben’s diagnosed, there may be extras like a laptop and special software. Tutoring in coping techniques can sometimes help too.”
 
     She rummaged in her desk. “Let me see about prices. I had a list here from a chat group the other day. I think tutoring classes are charged by the half hour and that they tend to charge about -"
 
     By the time she was done, I felt sick. Even selling my ring wouldn’t raise enough cash.
 
     "But it's all worth it," Miss Maddy finished. "It really does work." Then she put the boot in. "Without intervention, he'll fall more and more behind."
 
     “Can the school help with a grant for testing?” I would crawl through broken glass if they’d help. Sack cloth, ashes, the lot.
 
     Miss Maddy just shrugged helplessly. “I’m so sorry.”
 
     “Or maybe if he needs it, with tutoring?”
 
     That got me another helpless shrug.
 
     I sat in my chair, shell-shocked. I knew that Ben would not get any more attention. It wasn't Miss Maddy’s fault. She simply had too many kids to cope with. The school was already under tremendous strain, with classrooms holding thirty children and sometimes more. Frankly, it was a miracle she'd not just dismissed Ben as lazy.
     "I'll see to it," I tried to sound totally cool. "Thank you, Miss Maddy. It's very kind if you to alert me."
 
     Miss Maddy blushed. "It's a pleasure. We all love Ben. He's such a pleasant boy."
     She’s a pain in the bum sometimes, Miss Maddy, but her heart is in the right place.
     Walking out on to the sunny street, I prayed for a miracle. Maybe the job centre had something new.
 
     "Oh, Mrs Reed," the counter staff knew me by name, I'd been in so often. "There's an opening in Tescos, but it's shift work. Mostly nights and weekends."
 
     "They pay so little that it won't cover the baby sitting," I couldn’t help but moan. "Is there anything that isn't zero contract hours or minimum wage?"
 
     "Nothing that matches your qualifications," the woman said sympathetically.
     "A degree in English literature and a year as a glorified intern in a publishing house have prepared me for nothing but benefits." Yes, I was on a total self-pitying grumble fest. "Why didn't I study something lucrative like accounting?"
 
     "Accounting?" One of the office staff popped up, holding a newly printed vacancy notice. "There's a job in Weston Enterprises. It says office manager but they said to give priority to people with bookkeeping or financial management experience."
 
 
     Weston Enterprises, a top of the line green architecture construction company. I took the posting and read through it quickly. It looked like simple enough work, a girl Friday job that covered office record keeping. It was nine to five, a proper contract and the salary was decent. It was a miracle.
 
     Run! My inner devil screamed. Get there right now! We’ll snaffle this job before some other desperate cow even gets wind of it!
 
     "I'll go straight away!" Then I ran out of the door before anyone could stop me.
     It wasn't difficult to find Weston Enterprises. Not only are they one of the richest construction companies in the country, but their headquarters consists of a silvered glass tower. Soaring straight up from a small park, the locals had nicknamed it Minas Ithil after the moon inspired spire from Lord Of The Rings.
 
     I managed to catch a bus that took me straight to the front gate. I blasted through the little park and arrived at reception pink faced and panting. "I've come about the office manager job," I announced.
 
     The receptionist, a pretty little bubble blonde in a blue flowered summer dress, glanced over the job vacancy sheet. "That will be Sam," she chirped brightly. "Top floor. Speak to Caitie. Her desk is in reception."
 
     The executive lift was opulent and made entirely out of glass. As it whisked me into the air, I was treated to a dazzling view of Oxford. The doors opened on an equally stunning vision: Caitie who was working the executive floor reception desk looked more like a fashion model than an office worker.
 
 
     She was perfect for Minas Ithil. Arwen Evenstar to the life, the girl could be an Elven Ring-bearer, no problem.
 
     Caitie was tall, slender and dressed in an emerald silky shift that looked straight off a Tokyo catwalk. Her glossy black hair fell down her back. It was so long, that it almost reached her waist. Everything about the woman screamed style. Even her nails were perfect; a classic French manicure with white glitter tips.
 
     I took in all the gloss, feeling my toes curl in shame. I would never, ever get a job here. It was amazing they’d even let me in the door.
 
     Her eyes are too close together and she’s probably got hammertoes. Inner me can be a bitch.
 
 
     “You’re here to see Sam?” The model was abrupt and her voice was rough. She was emptying out her desk, clearly intent on leaving. But she smiled nicely enough and waved me to a plush leather sofa. "Do take a seat."
 
     “Erm, can you point me to the ladies?”
 
     I bolted into the loo instead, took one look at my reflection and squealed with horror. I’d wanted to look smart for Miss Maddy so I’d worn plain black trousers and a navy blue blouse. It was suitably severe, corporate and nobody would guess that my black court shoes were so worn that the left one had a hole in the sole. But compared to Miss Evenstar out in reception, it looked hideously dull.
 
     As for my hair! It’s naturally curly and a dark chestnut that goes well with any strong colour from turquoise to wine. But with me raking my hands through it all morning, it was standing up on end. Sadly, it wasn’t a romantic wild cloud, either.
 
     I’d say porcupine but it has a flavour of puffer fish too, you know, that super poisonous one. Devil me can be mercilessly self critical too.
 
     To add a final horrible touch, my face was scarlet from running. As well as my looking like a freak, it had made my eyeliner run. Instead of sultry, I was looking at racoon eyes.
 
     “You look like Cher - after she’s put her fingers in a socket,” I grumbled at mirror me. “And without the sexy vulpine glamour.”
 
     Repairing the damage, I hastily combed my hair, pulling it back into a well-tamed bun. Running my hands under the cold tap and pressing them against my face, toned down some of the hideous flush.
 
     Waiting for the last of the red to cool away, I stared my reflection. My hair’s okay but I’ve got very ordinary brown eyes, too boring for beauty, a nice straight nose but it’s too big for my taste, and my mouth is too thin. Still, with the black and navy look I was presentable. I reminded myself that this was a job interview, not a beauty competition.
     Just as well really because my blouse looked as if I’d been poured into it and my trousers were disgustingly tight. I'd eaten been eating too much cheap stodge recently and had failed to lose my winter pounds as well.
 
     Real women have curves!
 
     It was not a comfort. "Well," I smiled at mirror-me. "At least giving up chocolate means no spots."
 
     Digging in my bag, I realised I was out of eyeliner. My mascara was almost dead, but a drop of water from the tap eked it out. I was almost out of lipstick too but by digging in the bottom of the tube, I made do.
 
     "There," I talked myself up for courage. "Understated, serious and dependable. Totally employable."
 
     There was no way I could compare to the gorgeous PA but seeing this was an admin job, hopefully looks wouldn’t matter.
 
     “You’ll be behind closed doors. Probably in the basement,” I assured myself.
     I looked at the job description again.
 
     Must have good organisational skills, communicate well and handle many details and challenging situations at once.
 
 
     Well, I could handle that. Having once invited Ben’s kindergarten group over to the house for his birthday, there was nothing a company could throw at me that would scare me. Twenty screaming kids had made me immune to chaos and yelling, and it was unlikely the executives would mimic little Kevin and vomit into my handbag or hang on to me so hard that my knickers slid down to my knees like they had with that minx Seema.
 
     Must be conversant with Microsoft Office packages including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
 
     Proofing manuscripts had made me an ace at editing, and I’d taken a course in PowerPoint at the Job Centre, just to improve my CV. My Excel skills were basic but I’d be fine after a bit of quick extra tutoring. All jobs have a learning curve. I could get up to speed in the evenings in the first week or so.
 
     Includes responsibility for liasing with vendors to ensure that orders are fulfilled as requested, invoices are paid and refunds or exchanges are processed.
 
     That sounded like it took common sense. Also, fighting with the plumber, the electrician and three roof contractors had made me an expert in negotiation. And with the plumber being a foul-mouthed Geordie, I’d not be knocked sideways by construction worker swearing either.
 
     Must hold a degree in business administration and have at least two years relevant corporate experience.
 
     Ouch. Now that was a stumbling block. I knew full well that a degree in English Lit would not be an acceptable substitute. But perhaps they were flexible on that.
     Human resources were always trying to filter applicants by box ticking, I told myself firmly. And anyway, figuring out our finances and living on the edge for seven years had to count for something.
 
     I took one last look in the mirror, straightened my shoulders and walked out, straight into a firestorm.
 
     “Caitie, my own bloody PA is cleaning out her desk right now! No notice!” The roar blasted out of the carpeted executive offices, ringing around the building. I flattened myself against the wall instinctively. “Family issues, she says! Her bloody sister had a kid and Caitie feels she has to run off and play nanny!”
 
 
     “Can we offer some leave instead?” a much more reasonable voice asked. “Negotiate?”
 
     “Seeing she’s been late every morning this week, and skiving off early, I told her to get out and not come back!” angry voice fumed.
 
     “Oh dear. And I came to tell you that Suze has given notice too.”
 
     "Whaaaaaat?" The loud angry voice echoed down the corridor, practically shattering the delicately tinted windows.
 
     "She has a baby, Curtis. She decided being a mum was more important than a career."
 
     "She told us when she applied for the job that she was a career woman!"
 
     "Yes, but she changed her mind. It’s not a total disaster, we can replace her."
 
     "Can we? We're still looking for a press relations exec too!" The voice was fuming. "One who won't give zero notice after falling in love with a bloody tourist and emigrating to Australia!"
 
     “Right, Anya,” the unfortunate Sam said. "Well, it was unusual, and rather romantic, I thought."
 
     "Romantic? It's disruptive and it costs a fortune to interview and recruit!" The anger was running freely, his voice ringing around the hall. "Babies, family issues and bloody husband hunting! They preach bloody equality but it’s all take and no give!”
 
     “Oh come on. We’re just hitting a bad patch.”
 
     “I've had it, Sam! From now on, no more women!"
 
     "Curtis, I appreciate you're angry but you know you can't do that. Discrimination is illegal."
 
     "Illegal? What about quitting with no notice? Three of them in one week!”
 
     “It’s unprincipled but we can’t exactly chain them to their desks.”
 
     “Unprincipled? It’s bloody robbery! Look at Suze! At the interview she went on and on about how she wanted a career, yet she married some banker a month later.”
 
     “Well, it’s not a crime.”
 
     “Isn’t it? She had a worthless bloody degree that qualified her for nothing when she started. I spent six months training her up, then she fell pregnant. She took her sick leave and her holiday, both of which I paid for. Then she vanished for the best part of a year on maternity leave, which I also paid for, and now she goddamn quits!"
 
 
     The roar reverberated through the hall. I shivered, frozen by the rage.
 
     "Yes, it's unfortunate-"
 
     "Unfortunate? It bloody well cost me a fortune!"
 
     “Yes, I know.”
 
     “Two years and I’ve not had an ounce of work out of her!”
 
     “Yes, but -”
 
     “You said I can’t fire her but now she can just leave?”
 
     “Yes.”
 
     “Can I sue her for compensation?”
 
     "No. It doesn’t work that way.”
 
     “Can I sue Caitie for walking out with no notice?”
 
     “Actually, no.”
 
     "Fine. In that case, no more women."
 
     "But Curtis -"
 
     I snuck down the hall, back into the waiting room, now empty, and then sat trembling. Curtis, the voice had said. That roar had been Curtis Weston, CEO of Weston Enterprises. I’d read about him often.
 
     Curtis was one of our local lions. An inspirational architect, the creator of the glass Minas Ithil tower and winner of several awards, including a coveted RIBA for innovation in architecture. He was a local boy who had built up a billion pound fortune, and everyone in Oxford was proud of him.
 
     In interviews he'd seemed pleasant if rather driven. Now I was changing my mind. Curtis Weston only cared about his business. He didn't have a clue that life, love and family can change lives and priorities.
 
     It was unfortunate that he was losing three of his staff at the same time, but being stinking rich, he could just replace them. Curtis Weston’s reaction was completely over the top.
 
     "Mrs Reed?" A tall friendly looking man with sandy hair and a slightly rumpled brown suit stood before me. "I'm Sam Jefferson, human resources director." He had a warm smile and a firm handshake. "You're awfully quick! I only sent the job spec an hour ago."
 
     I smiled, "I like to be efficient." Game on, right?
 
     "Right," Sam was looking me over. With a sinking heart I could see he was noting the lack of jewellery, well-worn shoes and probably my worried eyes too. Oh crap. The Job Centre probably sent him my CV.
 
     “Penguin Publishing!” Well, that’s impressive!” Yes, Sam was checking out my past. My heart was plummeting into my gut again.
 
     Smile and flash our boobs, my horrible self is shameless. Think of Ben! If it helps get us the job, it’s worth it!
 
     God to be reduced to this! I did have a promising start in Penguin but then there was a telltale year long gap, and then the dratted thing was littered with zero hour jobs. The whole thing reeked of loser.
 
     "Cashier at Tescos, driving for Uber, and part time cleaner for the Royal Bank," Sam said warmly. "You're versatile and not afraid of hard work. You’ve been taking short courses too. Excellent!"
 
     He was going to turn me down! The despair just blasted through me. He wanted a competent professional with years of experience, not a run down single parent. Especially with Curtis Weston ripping into him just minutes before.
     I’m a lame duck mum, I thought.
 
     The money I needed was receding before my eyes. In a flash I could see Ben being left further and further behind, with me standing uselessly on the sidelines, unable to help him.
 
     Fight, you stupid cow!
 
     "I'm organised and used to coping with problems," I said quickly. "I enjoy challenge and I'm a fast learner."
 
     "Yes, I can see that," Sam said gently. I could tell he hated this part of his work, telling desperate job seekers they were out of luck. Sam seemed a kind man, one of the best. He was probably thinking that Curtis Weston would kill him if he hired me. I wasn't even remotely a fit for the job either, or any job they had probably.
     "Mrs Reed, I'm very sorry but -"
 
     "The Royal Bank were very pleased with me," I interjected desperately. It wasn't a lie. The manager had complimented me on my sparkling clean corners and floor waxing.
 
     "Sam, can I borrow Jenny?" Curtis put his head around the door. "I've got a pile of correspondence and I’m busy with that presentation for Fitzsimmons -" he stopped abruptly and stared at me. “Oh,” he said crisply. “Hello.”
 
     He was much taller than I’d imagined. Curtis Weston was easily six feet, with narrow hips and long legs contributing to an overall impression of lean grace. He moved swiftly, every move economical and purposeful. It was sexy as hell; panthers had nothing on this man.
 
     The strong regular features were good too. Short brown hair, brown eyes and a light tan from working outside set off sparkling white teeth, small nose and slanting cheekbones.
 
     Oh sweet mother of god, YUM! He’s stunning! Want! Want! Want!
 
 
     I ignored my suddenly thumping heart. Okay, what am I lying for? The thumping was way lower down in my body.
 
     Good looks and ohmilord just look at the window dressing!
 
 
     The expensive suit was definitely more than an off the rack at some high-end fashion house like Armani or Cardin. No, this was pure Savile Row. It was hand made and beautifully tailored to highlight the sinewy physique and the expensive black material screamed money. So did the crisp blue shirt and the navy and red tie.
     My knees were going liquid just looking at him. He was damn gorgeous.
 
     Lean, dark and sexy, just like we like them, inner me moaned. And seeing he built this business up from nothing, he's also bright and hard working.
 
     I had to agree. If we’d met at a party, I'd have made the most horrendous pass.
     The thing about all that beauty and grace is that I suddenly became aware of less than glorious me. Horribly aware of my clothes, too worn to impress and definitely straining at the seams, I sucked in my tummy. I really had to lose some weight.
 
     Like chop off three inches all the way round. Or industrial lippo-suction.
 
     I was also cursing myself for my haste. Instead of rushing over, hoping that being first would snag me the job, I should have made an appointment, done my hair properly, dressed better and looked the part.
 
     Investing in some new shoes might have been a good move too. I could feel the unseen hole in the sole burning into my foot.
 
     "You're applying?" Curtis spoke swiftly, with a light, clipped tone.
 
     Say something!
 
 
     But I was tongue-tied, suddenly shy of all that gorgeousness right in front of me.
 
     “This is Emma Reed,” Sam said quickly. “She’s here for the office manager job.”
 
     Curtis stepped forward and I caught a whiff of his aftershave: leather and orange. It promised warmth and excitement. I could feel myself flush.
 
     He’ll have a lean body with long ropey muscles. Those arms will curl around us, sexy and hard. Totally delicious.
 
 
     I mentally shook myself and told myself to focus. Curtis Weston was clearly out of my league, just like the job but oh my God, if only I could take him home as a consolation prize!
 
     You still haven’t spoken, moron!
 
     “Hello!” It was supposed to come out cool and competent but I sounded like Minnie Mouse. I cleared my throat, adding, “Nice to meet you.” Hell! Now I was Billy Goat Gruff!
 
 
     Curtis Weston nodded briefly. “How do you do.” His voice was cool to the point of cold.
 
     He was looking me over. I suddenly had the impression that I was standing under a searchlight. Every inch of me felt hot and exposed. The hazel eyes ran over me swiftly. This was a man who was quick in everything, from mood to decisions. And by the pursed mouth I could feel him judging my worn shoes and lack of gloss.
 
     The image of Caiti, the supermodel in the emerald sheath, rushed back into mind. Yes, the slightly contemptuous gaze told me Curtis Weston thought I wasn't up to par.
     He wasn't gorgeous; he was a judgemental arse.
 
     Suddenly furious, I turned to Sam. "As I was saying, Mr Jefferson, the Royal Bank was pleased with my work. They did say they might have another opening, so if you've other candidates-"
 
     "The Royal Bank?" Curtis interjected. "You worked there?"
 
     "Yes, and for Tesco, and Penguin publishing." I decided I'd lay it on thick. I'd never get the job, Sam Jefferson would know I was misrepresenting myself, but at least I could walk out with my pride intact.
 
     "Are you married?" Curtis asked abruptly. "Or intending to get pregnant soon?"
 
     "Curtis!" Sam was red with annoyance. "For God's sake!"
 
     "Oh, I don't mind," I said sweet as honey. "Let me tell you, Mr Weston, that I am not married, and do not intend to marry. Frankly, I have no interest in men!"
 
     "Excellent!" Curtis said promptly. "You're hired!"
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Review
5 Stars
Release Blast w/Review - Walk Of Shame
 
 
The City's HOTTEST Cold War is here!
 
 
 
 
WALK OF SHAME
a Love Unexpectedly novel
Lauren Layne
Releasing April 18th, 2017
Loveswept
 

 

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.
 
Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.
 
Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.
 
 
 
 

And who is he, you ask?

 

Andrew Mulroney, Esquire.

 

I know this because we moved into the building on the exact same day, and right before we got into a horrendous fight over whose movers should have access to the building loading dock first, he handed me his business card.

 

The thick white card stock declared that he had a fancy law degree to go along with the fancy suit he was wearing on a Saturday.

 

Andrew handed it over with such superiority, I actually wished for a half second that I had a business card of my own that would somehow be better than his. Like, lined with gold or something. No, platinum. With a diamond in the corner. It would be too heavy for him to hold, and he’d drop it, thus having to kneel at my feet to pick it up.

 

But then I realized it was just as well that I didn’t have a business card.

 

Because it would say . . . what? Georgie Watkins, professional party girl?

 

Anyway, I digress. Despite the high temps of that swampy July morning, the encounter had been the start of an epic cold war.

 

Me, the socialite in apartment 86A against the uptight esquire in apartment 79B.

 

I’m not entirely sure I’m winning the war, but I’ll never tell him that.

 

I let my gaze drift over Andrew, even though his appearance rarely holds any surprises. The man’s a lesson in sameness, like some sort of anal-retentive version of Groundhog Day.

 

There’s always the black mug with some healthy gunk inside held in his right hand, Tom Ford briefcase and Armani garment bag in his left, containing what I know to be a perfectly tailored three-piece suit.

 

Andrew’s coppery hair is perfectly styled, although I’d swear that there’s some natural curl in there threatening to disrupt his perfect order. I imagine that annoys him, so it therefore makes me happy.

 

Let’s see, what else about my nemesis?

 

He’s got a hard, unfriendly jawline that’s perfectly shaven.

 

Dark brown eyes, cold and flat. Black gym bag over one shoulder.

 

I suppose you could say he changes up his attire, because he does alternate between black and gray gym shirts. But considering that they seem to be the exact same fit, both colors molding perfectly to his impressively sculpted upper body, we’re not giving him any points for variety there.

 

Same goes for the lower half. The black shorts worn in summer have given way to sleek black sweatpants now that October’s upon us, but they’re both black and Nike, so we’ll give him no credit for changing it up there either.

 

The shoes, though . . .

 

I do a double take.

 

Well, well, well . . .

 

Instead of the usual black gym shoes, the man’s shoes are red. I don’t know how I missed it before.

 

I drag my eyes back up his body with a grin, and he gives just the slightest roll of his eyes to indicate that he’s noticed my slow perusal and isn’t fazed in the least.

 

You went shopping, Dorothy!” I say happily.

 

He stares at me. “I don’t shop.”

 

Of course not. Far too frivolous.

 

No, that makes sense,” I say, pointing at his feet. “Glinda would have given these to you.”

 

Andrew looks down at his Rolex watch. “I’ve got to go. Have a good day, Mr. Ramirez.”

 

You too, Mr. Mulroney,” Ramon says with a deferential nod. “Enjoy your workout.”

 

Yes, do,” I say, turning and watching as Andrew moves toward the front door of our building. “What’s on the schedule today? Treadmill, or just skipping down the Yellow Brick Road?”

 

Andrew Mulroney, Esquire, doesn’t respond. He doesn’t even turn before pushing through the revolving doors and stepping out into the still-dark autumn morning.

 

Now come on. Tell me that wasn’t at least a little bit fun, despite the ungodly hour.

 
 
 
 

Walk of Shame (Love Unexpectedly)Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the 4th book in the Love Unexpectedly series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment, I recommend reading this series in order.

Andrew & Georgianna have a frenemy sort of rivalry going on. Sparked by attraction that neither knows is mutual. Their need to get under the other's skin is what makes the book smooth.

Georgianna AKA Georgie to her friends, is majorly hot for Andrew, but he does not seem to notice her unless she is showing him her "ridiculous" side. (You'll see when you read it.) With being a celebrity in her own right, maybe she should show him who's boss?

This was just such a fun read. I laughed and cried. Basically this one is a total keeper! It has a little bit of something for everyone. I loved all the banter, and the heat explodes off the page. Really good addition to the Love Unexpectedly series.


***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review by Netgalley and its publishers.

View all my reviews

 

 

 
Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.
 
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.
 
She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL's ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books. 
 

 
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