Tag Archive: Excerpt


In Deep

by Blue Saffire

Publication Date: 8/4/2020

I’ll do anything to protect what’s mine…

The last thing I needed was a call from my old precinct letting me know my knucklehead nephew had been picked up for skipping class. Still, I figured it would be an in-and-out visit. Quick. Simple. But the moment I heard her voice, I should’ve known it would be anything but easy. 

I wasn’t expecting the feelings that came roaring back the moment I laid eyes on the saucy detective with the gorgeous smile, but I probably should’ve seen it coming. Our history is one for the books, and it’s a page-scorcher. And now here she is, standing in my way, and I can’t seem to remember why I ever let her leave my side.

It looks like the sparks between me and Detective Danita Moralez are as intense as ever, but she’s also more guarded than before. Two years ago, she walked out of my life because she wasn’t willing to reveal the dangerous truth about her undercover work. This time, she’s not going to get away so easily.  

ABOUT BLUE: As a young girl, Blue’s mother introduced her to the world of love and music through movies, but once she got her hands on books, an author was born. With more than thirty contemporary romance novels and novellas under her belt, she’s now an award-winning, bestselling author. She lives with her husband on Long Island.

Author Website: http://bluesaffire.com/

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Excerpt: 

“Man, we miss having you and Quinn around here,” Stevens says beside me.

I hear him, but I’m too busy following Moralez with my eyes. She’s gorgeous. Smart and sexy. I love it.

Cal talked about her bust the entire ride here. You would think he had some part in her victory. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the woman I’m staring at isn’t it.

Her tight blue jeans hug her hips with the affection of a long-time lover. Those sexy heels on her feet have me tilting my head to the side as I study her. Damn, the sway of her hips is perfection. I noticed earlier that she has a great pair beneath that T-shirt.

Her voice hit me in my gut from her first word. That smoky rasp is seductive in its own right. Soft, yet a bit hoarse.

Her warm, deep-brown skin is a rich espresso tone. Her eyes are the color of amber whiskey, quite the contrast to her skin. Her dark hair is pulled back in a tight bun.

I can’t help wondering what her locks look like down. Would they fall in her face as she looks at me beneath her? From the waves in the strands brushed from her face, I bet it’s wavy when it’s loose.

Her last name is Moralez, but she looks like she could be of mixed heritage. Not that I’m naive enough to think she couldn’t be fully Latinx. My trips to Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic alone have taught me better than to make that assumption. Which is why I want to get to know her better. I want to ask questions and find out all about her.

“You know that’s not going to happen, right?” 

I turn to Jennings, another of the good guys around here. “You think not?” I say with a grin. 

“I know not. She’s been around here for what? Two or three years. Not one guy, or girl for that matter, has been able to bag her. Forget it.”

“Just because you failed doesn’t mean I don’t have a shot.”

Stevens groans beside me. “I don’t know. I’m with Jennings on this one. You don’t stand a chance. At first, I thought it was a cop thing. You know, like she was against dating one of us. Then I thought it was a White, Black thing, but I’ve seen her turn down everyone. White, Black, Hispanic, male, female, cop, lawyer, bartender. She’s a closed case.”

“Are you assholes sure she’s single? I didn’t see a ring, but that means nothing,” I think out loud.

“I thought that too,” Jennings says. “We were partners for a little bit. Before I moved to the special unit. It’s just her and her dog. She’s single, single.”

I sit back and think on that. It’s not enough to deter me. I want her to tell me she’s not interested. From the vibe I got from her earlier, I don’t think I’m up for as big a challenge as these guys think.

“Good luck,” Stevens says.

“I got twenty that says he crashes and burns,” Jennings snorts, slapping a twenty on the table.

“What do you say, Kev? You think you can win me a twenty?” Stevens says to me.

“You should double the bet,” I say as I watch Moralez and all her sexy curves disappear into the ladies’ room.

***

Excerpted from In Deep by Blue Saffire. © 2020 by Blue Saffire. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

Once in a Blue Moon

by Sharon Sala

Publication Date: 8/25/2020

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sharon Sala brings you back to Blessings, Georgia

How often do you find a love like this?

Cathy Terry is tired of running. Full of fear and hope, she backpacked across the country to Blessings, Georgia, not knowing if or when her abusive ex-husband would catch up to her. In Blessings she glimpses a safe haven and the closest feeling to home she’s had in a long time—even more so when she meets Duke Talbot. The sweet, strong, and handsome rancher provides a shoulder to lean on. The stakes get higher as the community embraces her and her relationship with Duke deepens—but can Cathy claim a new home and family before her past claims her?

SHARON SALA has over one hundred books in print and has published in five different genres. She is an eight-time RITA finalist, five-time Career Achievement winner from RT Book Reviews, and five-time winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award. Writing changed her life, her world, and her fate. She lives in Norman, Oklahoma.

Author Website: https://www.facebook.com/sharonkaysala/

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Excerpt: 

Duke loved this time of year. The leaves on the trees were as varied and colorful as the old patchwork quilts they’d slept under as children. And the sky today was a clear, cloudless blue—the same color as Cathy’s eyes.

The cows saw him driving across the pasture and looked up, hoping to see he was slowing down, which meant they would get fed. But when he kept driving, some moved beneath a small stand of shade trees, while others moved to the feeders with the big, round bales.

Duke had put up the cameras within a couple of hundred yards’ radius and facing the direction where the rustlers had come in before.

He walked a few yards into the trees to pick up the first cam and took it down. Out of curiosity, he stopped and rewound it to watch some of the footage and grinned at the view he’d caught of the backside of a boar raccoon waddling through the woods. He fast-forwarded through the minutes with nothing, then watched the footage of two black squirrels foraging on the ground.

There was more to be seen, but he could watch it at home if he wanted, so he packed it up, then started walking through the trees to the next location, where he retrieved the cam and put it in his backpack before moving on to the last.

As Duke approached the tree where he’d mounted it, he noticed a lot of paw prints in the area. They were from either dogs or coyotes, and if there was a pack of dogs running in the area, he wanted to play the tape back to see.

He was all the way on yesterday’s footage before he saw the coyote, and then it turned to face the camera. Duke gasped, watching as the coyote started staggering toward the camera, its head down, swinging slightly from side to side and foaming at the mouth. At that point he groaned, then stopped the camera.

The hair stood up on the back of his neck as he looked around at where he was standing. He’d only seen an animal with rabies maybe twice in his life, but the coyote he caught on the trail cam exhibited all of the symptoms.

They had to find it and put it down before it spread the disease to other animals. Something like that could easily become an epidemic. He needed to get home and call the county wildlife department and then notify the neighbors.

Duke drove home as fast as he could, then ran into the house carrying the cameras. He dumped them on the kitchen table and headed for the office. He had a friend who used to work for the county wildlife department and would know what to do and who to call.

He sat down without bothering to take off his jacket, found the number on an old business card, and made the call, then waited for someone to answer. This was the last number he’d had for Will, and he hoped it was still good.

And then the call was answered.

“Wildlife Animal Control, this is Carol.”

“Yes, ma’am. I’m trying to locate a ranger by the name of Will Polson. Does he still work there?”

“Yes, who’s calling please?”

“Tell him it’s Duke Talbot.”

Duke was put on hold, giving him time to put his cell phone on speaker. And then he heard a familiar voice and smiled.

“Well, hello, Duke Talbot! How the heck are you? Are you still out on the family farm?”

“Hi, Will. We’re doing good here, and yes, I’m still here. Listen, we have a problem out here. We had some trouble with cattle rustlers on the farm, so I put up some trail cams in the area, hoping if they came back I’d catch them. But they recently got themselves arrested. Today I went to take down the cameras and had quite a shock when I saw what was on the last one. It was a very obviously rabid coyote, and the last thing we need to have happen is to let this disease spread. There are a lot of farms around here, and people with kids and pets who roam the hills and creeks, not to mention the other wildlife that could get infected.”

“Oh man, this isn’t good. We haven’t had to deal with a rabies case in months,” Will said. “What were the date and time when you caught it on film?”

“Yesterday about this time of day,” Duke said.

“There’s no telling where it is by now, but I’ll get a crew together and head your way. You might notify as many neighbors as you can about the problem. Tell them to keep their dogs up until we find it. You said you’re still on the family farm?”

“Yes. Do you need an address?”

“Nope. I still remember how to get there. Can we drive up to the area?” he asked.

“Yes. To a point, and then the trees will be too dense. It will all be on foot from there.”

***

Excerpted from Once in a Blue Moon by Sharon Sala. © 2020 by Sharon Sala. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

Highland Gladiator

by Kathryn Le Veque

Publication Date: 8/25/2020

Gladiator meets Fight Club in the Scottish Highlands in a new romance from USA Today bestselling author Kathryn Le Veque

“The epic Medieval Romance is back—thanks to Kathryn Le Veque!” —Claire Delacroix, New York Times Bestselling author

When Lor Careston’s quiet Highland village was attacked and burned, he felt helpless against the raiders who destroyed his home. Seeking revenge, but lacking the fighting skills needed to execute his mission, he sets out to find the Ludus Caledonia—a mysterious fight guild that turns men into warriors.

Lor trains hard, proves himself in the ring, and earns a place within the very clan that decimated his home. He knows he can set his plan for revenge in motion from the inside. But his plan didn’t include Isabail Keith, a beautiful warrior lass who prefers broadswords to embroidery. Lor thought the Keiths were his enemies, but when Isabail is threatened, he’ll have to decide what he’s willing to risk for the woman who has captured his heart and the clan that has become his home.

Truth. Justice. Revenge. Behind these stands the Scotsman’s sword.

With over one hundred published novels, Kathryn Le Veque is a critically acclaimed USA Today bestselling author, a charter Amazon All-Star author, and a #1 bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author in Medieval Historical Romance and Contemporary Romance. She lives in California.

Author Website: https://kathrynleveque.com/

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Excerpt: 

The village of Brechin, Scottish Highlands

Year of Our Lord 1484

He’d seen her before.

Lor knew that the moment he looked up from the business he was conducting with his grandfather’s friend. In the midst of a busy marketplace on a glorious spring day, he caught sight of a woman he recognized, which wasn’t unusual in itself, but with this woman, it was.

Lor and the old man with the missing eye had been going over the purchase Lor was making of slag material for his grandfather’s blacksmith stall when he glanced up and saw her. In truth, he saw her only from the back; it was the hair that had his attention. In the sunlight, the red curls glistened like molten fire.

Everything about her caught his eye. She was dressed in a long tunic and braies from what he could see, unusual for a lass, but she’d marched down the road with her basket of skins in her arms in a cadence that seemed much more like a man’s than a woman’s.

Purposeful.

Confident.

He’d seen that walk once before.

“Lor?”

The old man next to him was trying to get his attention, but Lor couldn’t take his eyes from the woman as she walked down the dusty avenue. She was weaving in and out among the villagers on this busy market day, and Lor didn’t want to lose sight of her.

He put up a hand to the old man.

“Wait a moment,” he said. “I’ll return.”

He didn’t wait for a reply. Quickly, he headed out into the street while the old blacksmith watched him with some frustration.

“Where are ye going, lad?” he called after him. “If ye dunna come back, I’ll rob ye blind. I’ll tell yer grandfather that it’s yer fault he was cheated out of a good price for his iron!”

The old man meant it as a jest, hoping Lor would return, but the young blacksmith simply waved him off as if he didn’t believe him, which he didn’t. His grandfather, Nikolaus, and old Albe had been doing business since before Lor was born. He didn’t much believe anything the old liars said.

At the moment, he was on the hunt.

The red curls were up ahead, and he followed them like a cat tracking a mouse. There was something about the woman that he remembered from long ago, and as he politely stepped aside to let a woman and her children pass by, it began to occur to him just where he’d seen that hair.

Gleann Deamhain.

The Vale of Demons.

It was difficult to say why an incident from eight years ago suddenly stood out for him. It had been a fleeting moment as far as moments in time went. But it had stayed with him: the young lass who had practically saved him from a band of bloodthirsty cutthroats. Never mind that they were only children; Lor remembered being as afraid of them as if they’d been the mightiest army of men.

Gòrach, they’d called him.

He’d been stupid once, but he wasn’t going to be stupid again.

This time, he was going to be careful.

Lor continued to follow the lass. She finally came to a stop at a merchant who dealt in hides. As he hid back in the crowd, watching, Lor could see the lass holding up the fine pelts she’d brought, negotiating a price with an old man who seemed to be smiling at her too much. At one point, he reached out and pinched her cheek.

She slapped him.

Lor laughed softly.

***

Excerpted from Highland Gladiator by Kathryn Le Veque. © 2020 by Kathryn Le Veque. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

Up, close and personal with the author herself……and the new book in the wings…

About the Novel

Title: If You Must Know

Author: Jamie Beck

Release Date: June 1, 2020

Publisher: Montlake

IfYouMustKnowGraphic

Summary

Sisters Amanda Foster and Erin Turner have little in common except the childhood bedroom they once shared and the certainty each feels that her way of life is best. Amanda follows the rules—at the school where she works; in her community; and as a picture-perfect daughter, wife, and mother-to-be. Erin follows her heart—in love and otherwise—living a bohemian lifestyle on a shoestring budget and honoring her late father’s memory with a passion for music and her fledgling bath-products business.

The sisters are content leading separate but happy lives in their hometown of Potomac Point until everything is upended by lies that force them to confront unsettling truths about their family, themselves, and each other. For sisters as different as these two, building trust doesn’t come easily—especially with one secret still between them—but it may be the only way to save their family.

Author Biography

JamieBeck

Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author Jamie Beck’s realistic and heartwarming stories have sold more than two million copies. She is a two-time Booksellers’ Best Award finalist and a National Readers’ Choice Award winner, and critics at Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist have respectively called her work “smart,” “uplifting,” and “entertaining.” In addition to writing novels, she enjoys hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah and dancing around the kitchen while cooking. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family. Fans can get exclusive excerpts, inside scoops, and be eligible for birthday gift drawings by subscribing to her newsletter at http://eepurl.com/b7k7G5. She also loves interacting with everyone on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JamieBeckBooks.

Social Media

Website – https://jamiebeck.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JamieBeckBooks/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/writerjamiebeck

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8020971.Jamie_Beck

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******

Q&A with Bestselling Author Jamie Beck

How do you describe your newest novel If You Must Know?

This book is a “beach book” in the best sense. It’s not angsty, yet it has a page-turning plot and a bunch of interesting, relatable characters. I think it’s entertaining and heartfelt at the same time, which is exactly what many enjoy reading while on vacation.

What inspired the novel?

The external plot came to me as a result of the influence of two people in my life. My dear friend’s husband is a forensic accountant, so some of his stories about how people hide money and flee their families provided one point of inspiration. The second is my mother’s best friend who, in her seventies, sold her house and bought a boat, which she and her husband live on full-time. The impetus for the oil-and-water sisters was to provide myself an opportunity to explore the sibling-rivalry dynamic.

Tell us about the two main characters in the story—sisters Amanda and Erin.

Amanda is the middle child. She’s diligent, earnest, hard-working, and generous. She wants the people she loves to be happy and feel her love. Her weakness is a deep-seated insecurity—a sense that she is not interesting enough to be lovable. This leads her to overlook when she is being taken for granted because her need to be pleasing is omnipresent.

Erin is the baby of the family and her late-father’s pet. She is outgoing, fun-loving, and views her average intelligence as a blessing (rather than lamenting that her siblings are smarter). She is willful and has her own way of moving through the world. The big weakness she has is her impulsiveness, whether with jobs or relationships. As she approaches her 30th birthday, she’s looking to mature and create a more stable life for herself.

What kind of relationship do the sisters have?

I think they share a typical relationship insofar as their differences cause many misunderstandings and instill in each a sense of being judged by the other, and yet they do care about and love each other, too. They simply do not know how to be true friends and trust the other—at least not at the outset of this tale.

This book focused on the main female characters growing and learning about themselves. What prompted this ‘women’s fiction’ approach to the story?

Partly market forces and partly my own need to stretch. At 53, it was becoming more difficult to write a 20-something woman facing the challenges of dating. The shift to women’s fiction allows me to write late-30 and early 40-something characters, which comes more naturally to me. I also enjoy exploring family and friendship dynamics, and absolutely love having endless options for story arcs (as opposed to having to follow a traditional romance arc).

What does your new Potomac Point series have in common with your previous books?

All my books to date have focused on critical relationships and some type of redemption theme. I find damaged people to be very interesting and believe that there is good in most everyone, so I prefer to populate my stories with flawed people who must confront their inner demons in order to be happy. My new books will also focus on relationships and redemption, but the non-romantic relationships (or even the relationship with one’s self) will be more central.

********

IfYouMustKnow

Excerpt

I rolled onto my side with a groan, coming face-to-face with one of my favorite family photos. We’d taken our annual family summer trip to Hilton Head—the one real splurge my dad had made sure we enjoyed every year. We had a tradition of having lunch at a little open-air cabana bar and restaurant called Coco’s on the Beach.

Between the deck and the volleyball court in the sand stood a tall pole with colorful arrow-shaped signs pointing in different directions. Each one was painted with the name of a different city somewhere on the globe, along with the mileage to get there. We’d dream about all the places we might go, and after high school I’d had the chance to see many. In this picture, our whole family is standing around that sign, smiling at the camera. My dad has his hand on my shoulder, and if you look closely, you can see Amanda holding my hand. I must’ve been only five or six—young enough that she hadn’t given up trying to be my second mother. At the time, I’d felt smothered by her attention, but looking back, I’d also felt loved.

I grabbed my phone and called my sister, but it went to voice mail. A heaviness pressed on me, but I couldn’t tell if it was from looking at that picture of our family that would never again be whole or from the fact that I’d disappointed my mom and sister today.

They loved me in their way even if they couldn’t love and accept me as I am. My dad had, though, and to honor his memory and wishes for our family, I couldn’t continue to drift out of their lives as I’d been doing.

After the beep, I said, “Hey, it’s moi. Surprise! My plans have changed and I’ve got a little time. If you get this message, let me know where you are and I’ll try to catch up.”

I hit “End,” my feet restlessly kicking the foot of my bed. The small bedroom seemed claustrophobic, but I didn’t want to talk to Max. Not that I could avoid him in here, either, where his dirty laundry, sandals, and other items lay about. Rather than take a match to it all, I decided to organize some of his things to help with his packing. Hauling myself off the bed, I then went to the armoire to get to the vintage albums my dad had left me in his will.

Some were fairly valuable, like the Beatles collection box set from 1982, valued at roughly a thousand bucks. Or the Led Zeppelin first pressing with the turquoise label, which should net around eight hundred or so dollars. U2’s Joshua Tree collection box set from 1987—maybe worth six or seven hundred. Then there were others worth less than one hundred dollars. But each one had infinite sentimental value.

Every song resurrected a specific memory of time spent with my father playing cards, washing cars, grilling hot dogs … anything. Whatever he’d wanted to do, I’d done with him, and he’d always chosen the perfect background soundtrack for every activity. Those stolen moments had also been a great way to escape my mom’s endless lectures and demands. She’d never yelled at me for skipping out on chores or being messy when I’d been spending that time with him. Probably because he wouldn’t let her.

At present, my restlessness matched the mood of a typical Bob Seger song, so I grabbed Beautiful Loser and slipped the record from its sleeve, resisting the urge to hug it as if it were my dad. I set it on the old turntable he’d also left me. As the few first drumbeats clangored, my heart kicked an extra beat or two—partly happy, partly sad. I glanced toward the bedroom door, picturing Max on the sofa, and then got to work.

It didn’t matter where life led me next. I had faith because my own personal angel was looking out for me now.

Que será, será.

**********

Lauren Layne starts off a new scandalous series!!!!! Check out her interview and an excerpt she shares…….courtesy Montlake

YoursInScandalGraphic

Interview with Lauren Layne:

Tell us about your new series.

The series features three men who are named “Man of the Year” (think: People’s Sexiest Man Alive) and the unexpected ramifications that come with that! Yours in Scandal kicks off the series with a young, wealthy mayor of NYC who falls for his political rival’s daughter.

Why was it important for you to start your series with Addie and Robert?

The real answer? There’s is the book listed first in the contract 😉 In truth I’m equally excited about all three books in the series, and could have happily jumped in anywhere! That said, writing a politician was a unique and fun challenge for me (I tend to write a lot of businessmen!) so a new take on my “hot guy in a suit” was a fun creative challenge!

Even though she is still young, your heroine Addie has lived quite a life. Where did her teenage rebellious streak come from?

The first thing I always do when I get a new story idea is to figure out where the conflict is—I have to make sure these two people, however attracted, can’t get together (easily) by chapter three. When I decided to take on a hero who’s a mayor, I took a step back to think which woman would be most off-limits to him. One with a bit of scandal was the obvious answer, since the spouses of politicians are usually held to the same exacting standards (if not more so) than the politician him/herself! From there, I dug into Addie’s character and her scandal-laden past. 

Do you have anything in common with your heroine?

Honestly? No 🙂 Other than being a little mouthy during puberty, I was a pretty easy kid and teenager, and skipped the rebellious phase, at least according to my parents! I sort of skipped the whole rebellious phase growing up no underage drinking, no missed curfews, I’ve never even gotten a ticket. Though, I think perhaps I was saving up all my rebellious urges for my mid-twenties, where I seemed to chafe really hard at being managed in the corporate world, and quit my practical, well-paying job rather spontaneously and irresponsibly with almost no safety net, and dove headfirst into being a full-time writer. And I suppose, for that matter, I’ve made some rebellious choices as an author (quitting Facebook, not doing ARCs on my self-pub title, etc). So, I guess I change my answer! Yeah, I have a little in common with Addie after all!

Your hero Robert is fantastic! He is smart, successful and just earned the title ‘Man of the Year’. What made you fall in love with him?

He really is great, isn’t he? 🙂  I actually knew from the start that Robert was going to be a pretty stand-up guy. I wanted to steer as away from the cliche, corrupt politician as possible, and show that it’s absolutely possible for people to be in public office simply because they want to do good, not because they’re power hungry. I think what I love most about him is how he never wavers in wanting best for Addie and the people around him, even if it hurts him personally. He’s a really unselfish guy, and that is so, so appealing to me! 

Would you say that there are similarities that all of your heroes share?

I’d say they’re all pretty quick with a comeback. Whether they’re the charming playboys or the more reserved, Mr. Darcy types they’ve got a bit of a sharp, clever tongue! Also, the vast majority tend to be wealthy and suit-wearing. I’ve got a few exceptions, but I think there’s something so sexy about a buttoned-up guy in a suit coming undone over a woman, so I tend to come back to that again and again!

Some of the best moments in Yours In Scandal happen when your heroine and hero are around their trusted friends. Are any of the secondary characters we meet destined to get their own happily-ever-afters?

No plans for any spinoffs with those characters! Not because I don’t love them, but because the writing schedule’s pretty jam-packed! 

                                                                            ***

YoursInScandal

 

About the Book

Title: Yours In Scandal

Author: Lauren Layne

Release Date: March 10, 2020

Publisher: Montlake

Summary

Fresh off being named Citizen magazine’s Man of the Year, New York City’s youngest mayor, Robert Davenport, decides it’s time to strategize. Next move: a bid for the governor’s seat. In his way: an incumbent with a flawless reputation. He also has an Achilles’ heel: an estranged wild-child daughter with a past so scandalous it could be Robert’s ticket to victory. And a charm so irresistible it could be Robert’s downfall.

Rebellion is a thing of the past for Adeline Blake. As New York’s premier event planner, she’s all about reform and respectability. Then she’s approached by Robert to organize the party of the season. Curious, considering he’s her father’s most formidable opponent. And alarming, too. Because Addie can’t help but fall for the righteously popular candidate with the movie-star smile.

Now it’s Robert’s choice. Does he pursue a future that holds his legacy? Or the woman who holds his heart?

Author Biography

LaurenLayne

Lauren Layne is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Hot Asset, Hard Sell, and Huge Deal in her 21 Wall Street series, as well as her Central Park Pact series. Her books have sold more than a million copies in nine languages. Lauren’s work has been featured in Publishers Weekly, Glamour, the Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. She is based in New York City. For the latest updates, be sure to check out her website at www.laurenlayne.com.

Social Media Links

Website: https://laurenlayne.com/

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6969772.Lauren_Layne

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EXCERPT:

“I just need to be sure . . . am I going crazy? I am, right? Our girl’s not seriously telling us she had dinner with the mayor,” Rosalie said, turning to Jane. 

“You’re not the crazy one—she is,” Jane said, emphatically pointing at Adeline. 

Adeline nibbled on the corner of a chip. “It’s really not the big deal you two are making it out to be. It was just dinner. Pizza.” 

“That’s even worse!” Jane said shrilly. “It’s so intimate.” 

Adeline glanced over at her calmer friend. “Please tell her there’s nothing intimate about Italian sausage.” She winced as she caught herself. “Yeah, I heard it.” 

“It is a little out of character,” Rosalie said slowly. “You haven’t exactly made it a secret how you feel about men these days. To say nothing of your thoughts on elected officials.” 

“I didn’t sleep with the guy, we just had pizza.” 

“I’d actually be less concerned if you’d slept with him,” Rosalie admitted. 

“Agreed,” Jane said, smacking the table. “A sexy fling with the Man of the Year is one thing. A cozy dinner at his place is just . . .” She threw her hands up. “I can’t. I literally can’t process it.” 

“You don’t have to process anything,” Adeline said, dunking the chip into the salsa and stuffing the whole thing in her mouth. “It was a one-time thing. The party’s next weekend, and then I’ll probably never see him again.” 

“What if he wants you to be his forever event planner?” 

“He won’t. His regular planner’s one of the best in the city, and I’m sure she’ll be back from maternity leave by the time he needs to hire someone again.” 

“Is his regular event planner hot and single?” Jane pointed out. 

“She’s married.” 

“Exactly. Much less susceptible to his sexy face than single you.” 

Adeline sighed and looked again to the perpetually calm Rosalie. “Make it stop.” 

“Just promise you’ll warn us if you start to fall for the guy,” her friend said, fiddling with her chip. “Much as I love the idea of you landing the hottest guy in the city, I also know just how tricky that would be for you.” 

“Tricky is an understatement given he’s likely running against The Bastard in the next election,” she said, knowing that both of her lifelong friends knew she was referring to the father she’d all but disowned. 

Adeline hadn’t known Rosalie as long as she’d known Jane, but they still went all the way back to high school. Adeline had been the loose cannon, Jane the genius, and Rosalie had been, well . . . perfect. 

“You know,” Adeline said, looking thoughtfully at Rosalie over the top of her margarita. “I actually thought about setting you and the mayor up.” 

“Wait, what?” Rosalie’s eyes went wide. 

“You said yourself he was hot,” Adeline pointed out. “You’re also beautiful, well spoken, polished. You never look bad in a photograph, and you never say the wrong thing. I literally can’t think of a more perfect future First Lady of New York.” 

“Oooh, I see that!” Jane said, pivoting in her chair to stare at Rosalie. 

Adeline gave Jane an exasperated expression. “You were just warning me off of the guy.” 

“Warning you off, yes. But Rosalie . . .” 

Adeline tried to ignore the sting. It wasn’t as if Jane were saying anything Adeline herself hadn’t thought. Even if she were inclined to pursue the mayor, and she wasn’t, she knew that she was the last thing someone like him needed. Her past alone made her an inconceivable choice for him, and even if she could keep her past mistakes under wraps, she would never be the right woman for him. She may have mastered the bun and the blazers, but she was still the woman who collected adventurous lingerie and loved tequila. 

“The guy’s definitely attractive,” Rosalie said. “But I don’t know that I want one of Adeline’s rejects,” she said with a smile intended to annoy Adeline. 

“I wouldn’t let that stop me,” Jane said, fanning herself. “If it weren’t for Dan . . . . Too bad I love that man so damn much. Seriously, Rosalie, let Adeline fix you up, so I can live vicariously.” 

“Hello,” Rosalie said, staring at the admittedly, occasionally tone-deaf Jane. “Are you not seeing what I’m seeing?” She pointed at Adeline. 

Jane glanced over and narrowed her eyes. 

“Ever since she came back from New Mexico with her hair brown, she’s been like this buttoned-up ice woman. But when she talks about him . . .” Rosalie made an unrecognizable hissing, clicking noise. 

“What was that?” Jane asked. 

“Fire igniting,” Rosalie explained. “Whatever, so sound effects and act-outs aren’t my strong suit. The point is—” 

“If I sound fiery when I talk about the mayor, it’s only because he’s a control freak and pain in the ass,” Adeline interjected. “The man doesn’t know how to delegate, is hell-bent on carrying on his father’s legacy without ever checking in with himself, and . . .” 

Adeline’s thoughts scattered a little as she realized she wasn’t being entirety fair to the mayor. Yes, he was obsessed with his image, as a man in his position had to be. But he could also be funny and irreverent. He could also be spontaneous and casual. 

He’d proven that yesterday, first with the tour of his home, then the invitation of dinner. Even the way he ate pizza was appealing, somehow both buttoned-up precise and outright relishing, all at the same time. 

“We need more margaritas.”

                                                                              ***

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