Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Summer #RomanticIdea with @LindaOConnor98 and #Excerpt from Perfectly Honest






Romantic Idea – Spend time together. A bicycle ride with a stop for a picnic lunch on a warm summer day would be my ideal romantic date.  

Perfectly Honest Blurb:

You never know where your words will take you.

When Mikaela Finn agreed to be Sam’s ‘fiancée’ for a weekend, she probably should have told him that she’s a doctor. Sam O’Brien, aka ‘Dr. Eye Candy’, is trying to shed his playboy reputation and convince a small town hospital that he’s ready to settle down.  But when his ‘fiancée’ helps deliver a baby in the middle of the meet and greet, it’s a bit of a shock. If he’d known the whole truth, he might have done things a little differently because somehow his ‘fiancée’ ends up stealing his job and his heart. Not exactly the change he wanted. Lies and deceit – it’s a match made in heaven!

 
 

Buy links:


 


 


 

Bio

Linda O’Connor started writing a few years ago when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at HomeSense. It turns out she loves writing romantic comedies and has a few more stories to tell. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic (well, even when she is writing she’s a physician, and it shows up in her stories :D ). She hangs out at www.lindaoconnor.net.

Laugh every day. Love every minute.

 

Link to my photo: http://i1.wp.com/www.lindaoconnor.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Writing-Linda-cropped.jpg

 

Social Media:





 



 

Perfectly Honest Excerpt

Mikaela woke with a start to the sound of voices. Disoriented, in unfamiliar surroundings, she looked down at her short shorts and loose shirt covered with spatters of paint. Painting, of course. She must have fallen asleep in the chair, and checking her watch, she saw that it was two o’clock in the morning. Shit. She rubbed her eyes and yawned. Pulling herself out of the chair, she listened to the voices. One voice was female, sounding impatient and unhappy and one male, sounding apologetic and resigned.

“I know it’s not ideal, Sophia, but it’s what I want. I’m tired of the large city, the tertiary care center, and all the politics. I’m tired of all the meetings and all the committees. I want a smaller hospital in a smaller city. I want a life.”

“Nonsense, Sam,” the woman shot back. “You don’t know what you want or what’s good for you. You need to pay your dues now to reap the benefits later.”

“Look, I don’t expect you to understand. I’m grateful you’ve agreed to help me out, but . . . ”

Mikaela wandered into the hallway and stopped when she saw the two of them at the front door. The woman had unbuttoned her coat, and as she put her hands on her hips, there was a flash of the red cocktail dress she wore underneath. The man was a foot taller and wearing a suit. A very nice fitting suit, Mikaela mused, as she came up behind him.

The woman noticed Mikaela first, and her startled gasp had the man looking over his shoulder. Mikaela wasn’t sure who looked more shocked, the man, who moved to shield the woman, or the woman, who raked her gaze over Mikaela from head to toe. As Mikaela fought the urge to straighten her shirt and fix her hair, she decided, definitely, the woman.

The woman’s eyes narrowed, the hands on her hips became clenched at her sides, and her face flushed red. Mikaela held her breath.

The woman pushed at the man’s shoulder and spun him around to face her. “Why you! You! 'I can’t invite you in, the house is being painted,'” she mimicked. “Is that the new code word for 'mistress?' You could have just told me we were through. Well, I’m done. This is the last straw. You pig!” The woman spun on her heel and wrenched the door open.

“Sophia, wait!”

“No, wait,” Mikaela added. She lurched forward, now wide-awake.

The woman stormed out and slammed the door.
The man turned to Mikaela. “Who the hell are you?”

 Thanks Linda, for sharing,


Tina

 

Monday, May 30, 2016

#Excerpt from Cassandra by @CarolinClemmons and a #RomanticIdea


Thanks to Tina Gayle for exchanging blogs with me today.

 

My #Romanticidea is:

Join your love in doing simple things that bring togetherness.

Spend time together taking a walk, watching a movie, reading side by side.

Romance isn’t sparked by lavish expense, but by time we share. (Of course, if you can afford a lavish vacation or evening out, that’s wonderful.)

Time is the best gift you can give anyone.

 

I’m excited to announce the third book in my Bride Brigade Series, CASSANDRA. This series has been a lot of fun to write. Tarnation, Texas is a small town with no young single women and many suitable bachelors who wish to wed. A young widow travels East to recruit seven candidates for marriage who will live in her home until they choose the man for them. So far, Josephine and Angeline have married. Now it’s Cassandra’s turn to find her true love.



Here’s a bit about CASSANDRA:

A desperate plan…

A masquerade to achieve a goal…

Lies that create a web…

 

Cassandra Bradford has the cast off wardrobe to pose as a lady. Her goal is to marry a wealthy man who can provide her young brother with a sound future. Drat the luck! The first man she sees in Tarnation is a dusty cowboy who sends her heart pounding. No, he’s not the one for her. She has a better life in mind.

 

Samuel Drummond is one of the wealthiest ranchers in that part of the state, but he wants that fact kept quiet. His first wife married him for his money then left when she became bored with ranch life. He won’t let that happen again. He intends to find a woman who wants him no matter how poor she thinks he is.

 

When both Cassandra and Sam learn omissions the other has made, there are fireworks between them. They must work through their anger and hurt to achieve happiness.

 


 

To tease you, here’s an excerpt of CASSANDRA:

She ran upstairs and grabbed her purse and set out for a walk. When she was even with the mercantile, she stopped in to visit with Josephine, who was working there now.

Michael Buchanan, the owner, smiled when she entered. “Josephine, why don’t you take off long enough to visit with your friend?”

The two women walked up and down the aisles. Cassandra spotted some lovely lace, but set the spool back down.

“Would you like some of that? I just put it out, so you’ll have first choice.”

“I don’t think so today, Josephine, but I’ll keep it in mind.” She didn’t want anyone to know she was nearly destitute. The few coins she had left from her wages would have to last until she married. Who knew how long that might be?

“You’ve had a busy week with suitors. Made up your mind yet?”

“I’m so torn, Josephine. One man makes my knees go weak and the other meets my criteria for a husband.”

“Oh, no, Cassandra. Don’t settle for anything but love. A lifetime is an awfully long time to only be ‘in like’ with the man you marry.”

Cassandra trailed a finger along the shelf as she ambled along the aisle. “Arranged marriages have couples starting off as virtual strangers and many are quite successful.”

“And many aren’t. Would you want to… you know, with someone you don’t love?”

“No, but I’m not sure I’m that enthused about it at all.” Liar, she called herself. The memory of being in Sam’s arms still heated her body.

Josephine giggled. “You may change your mind.”

Cassandra glanced pointedly at the store’s owner then back to her friend. “Have you?” 

The other woman’s face sobered. “We were talking about you, not me. I think you’d be making a mistake to wed for anything but love.”

“I’ll keep what you’ve said in mind, but I’m not making any promises.” She knew her friend had been poor too, so having her say to go for love made an impact.

 

About the Author

 

Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling and award winning author of historical and contemporary western romances. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel.

Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys family, reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, and getting together with friends.
Click on her Amazon Author Page for a complete list of her books.

Subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter here to receive a FREE novella of HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, a humorous historical wedding disaster that ends happily—but you knew it would, didn’t you?

She loves to hear from readers at caroline@carolineclemmons.com

 

 Thanks for sharing,
Tina

 

 

 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

#RomanticIdea by @mari_manning with an #Excerpt from Stranger in My House



#RomanticIdea from Mari Manning:


I had my first #romanticidea when I was four, and it’s still a good one. I was lying in bed on a hot afternoon pretending to nap. A summer shower pattered softly against the roof. I heard children’s voice and tip-toed to the window so my mother wouldn’t hear my footsteps. Dressed in swimsuits and boots, the neighbor kids were running in the rain, screaming like wild things and jumping through puddles. I’d have given anything to be with them.


So … here’s my romantic idea. When a gentle summer shower drifts over your neighborhood, you and your loved one(s) must put on your swimsuits and rain boots and be wild things. If you are too dignified for this, dig out an umbrella big enough for two and go for a romantic walk in the rain with your honey.


Should your summer shower be accompanied by lightning, turn off the lights, turn on Billie Holiday and daydream about the rain scene in The Notebook.


 



About Stranger in My House by Mari Manning


When Officer Kirby Swallow’s half-sister is threatened, Kirby assumes her sister’s identity and journeys to the remote Texas ranch her sister calls home to catch a killer. Kirby confronts a growing list of suspects and a rising body count, not to mention the ranch manager, Seth Maguire, who sees past the charade to the warm, generous girl beneath. But can Kirby trust a man who rejects the one thing she holds dear: family? Her love dares all, but as the killer closes in, will it also be blind?


Self-reliant Seth Maguire is manager of the struggling Shaw Valley Ranch. His future appears empty until the ranch’s wild, unpredictable heiress suddenly morphs into a very hot lady cop. What starts out as just another seduction turns into something deep and, for him, frightening. Then the killer is revealed and Seth is faced with an impossible choice. Will his fragile, uncertain love be enough to save Kirby?


Buy link to preorder Stranger in My House is here: http://amzn.to/1WOnFmx. If you want to prepare yourself for the June 13 debut, pick up the first book in the stand-alone series, Stranger at My Door. All the major electronic sites are here: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/stranger-at-my-door/


 


An excerpt from Stranger in My House


Seth guided Darcy into the wide path of grass and clover between the lavender fields. Frankie fell into step beside him, and a deeply irrational sense of well-being washed over him. Miss Bea had skinned him alive twice in one morning. A new record. A new low.


So why the hell was he feeling so mellow?


The scent of lavender floated in the warm air. The grayish-purple wands dipped and rolled like waves. Frankie took a deep, noisy sniff. “Hmm. Smells good.”


“Sure.”


“Must have been hard for you when my cousin sold the cattle and took up farming.”


He glanced at her, expecting to see mocking, catlike eyes, but instead he was met with curiosity. Or was it interest? “I guess. Not exactly what I expected when I came here.”


“What did you expect?”


He shrugged. What did she think he’d expected? “A working ranch. A herd of steers from here to the horizon. Beefsteak for dinner. Whiskey for dessert.”


She burst out laughing, and he almost laughed, too. A comfortable silence settled over them, and he slipped back a pace so he could study the new Frankie. Her cat eyes didn’t seem so damned spooky this morning. His gaze lingered on strong cheekbones, golden skin, the gentle puff of pink lips. A breeze lifted. Long, black hair unfurled, gleaming like jet.


This girl couldn’t be Frankie. It wasn’t just the horse business. It was the way she acted, asking questions all the time and looking startled when Miss Bea went off on her. Sure, she knew a lot about the house and him and the workings of the ranch. And sometimes she’d tilt her head just like Frankie and do Frankie’s Beyoncé strut, but not all the time.


So if she looked like Frankie and talked like Frankie and knew about Frankie’s life, but wasn’t Frankie, who the hell was she? Besides Frankie’s doppelgänger. He should be alarmed, wary even. But instead he felt as if he’d finally turned a corner.


 


About Mari Manning


Let’s start with the fun stuff. I love small towns, mysteries, quiet men, laughter, old-fashioned spaghetti dinners. I love boots and shopping and jokes and Hershey’s dark chocolate and white wine. I love lots of things. But my first love is reading.


I love to read. Just about anything, but it has to be well-written. I go through periods where I am into historical novels or romance or mystery or history or biography. I never know when my desires will suddenly change.


Now for the writer-ish, official stuff: Mari Manning is the author of several contemporary romances and three romantic suspense novels set in the Texas Hill Country. Stranger at My Door is the first in her A Murder in Teas series. The second, Stranger in My House will be released by Entangled on June 13. The third book in the series is Stranger in My Bed. Currently Mari is working on a series of cozy mysteries.


She and her husband live in Chicago.


 


Contact Mari at manningillinois@gmail.com

Visit my website at 
www.marimanning.com


Follow me @mari_manning on Twitter


Thanks for sharing,


Tina

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

#RomanticIdea with @StacyJuba Plus #Excerpt from Fooling Around with Cinderella



 

Fooling Around With Cinderella

What happens when the glass slippers pinch Cinderella's toes? When Jaine Andersen proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, general manager Dylan Callahan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer. Her reign transforms Jaine’s ordinary life into chaos that would bewilder a fairy godmother. Secretly dating her bad boy boss, running wedding errands for her ungrateful sisters, and defending herself from the park’s resident villain means Jaine needs lots more than a comfy pair of shoes to restore order in her kingdom. First in the Storybook Valley series, a blend of sweet romance, chick lit, and fairy tale fun. 

 

 

Excerpt:

Dylan scrutinized Jaine, arms folded across his royal blue shirt with the Storybook Valley logo stamped over the left in white block letters. “Do you wear contacts?”

“I have plenty of media contacts. Wait. Did you say wear contacts? You mean instead of these?” Jaine fingered the earpiece of her gold-rimmed glasses.

“Right. Contact lenses.”

She gave a nervous chuckle. “I scheduled a consultation in college, but was too squeamish to insert the lens. I was more comfortable in glasses.”

Was she really justifying her vision enhancement choices to her prospective new boss? Maybe he intended to discuss medical benefits. Or did he think she looked nerdy? What was the saying? Guys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses? Not that she wanted him to make a pass even if he was hot.

“How blind are you without glasses?” Dylan persisted.

“You wouldn’t want to drive with me.”

“How about if you’re walking around a building? Are you in danger of hurting yourself?”

This interview had taken the Mad Hatter Freeway from Fairy Tale Land into Wonderland where nothing made a damn bit of sense. Did this guy have a glasses fetish, like those weirdoes with shoe fetishes?

“I should be okay. I take them off for special occasions.” In fact, Jaine’s older sister Bree, who was getting married in August, remarked just last week, “You are losing the glasses for my wedding pictures, right?”

What the hell. She’d be a good sport and hope Dylan would be so grateful to pick the brain of a real, flesh and blood, bespectacled person that he would appoint her marketing director. Jaine removed her glasses and the fine details of her surroundings fuzzed. She nodded toward the framed print hanging on a side wall, the picture a wash of symbols and colors. “I can tell that’s a park map, but the words and images smear together.”

And that was myopia in a nutshell. Jaine adjusted her glasses back into place so she could see his reaction. Dylan examined her with such intensity that a blush stained her cheeks. She patted her French braid, in case stray strands were straggling out.

“Here’s the situation,” Dylan said. “I took over the general manager position a few months ago. I’m evaluating possible changes and researching how other theme parks run. My grandfather and father have worked with a marketing firm for years to create our brochures, billboards, print, and radio ads.”

Jaine’s shoulders caved, imperceptible to him, but it felt as if her whole body was sinking.

No fairy tale job ending for her.

 

 

Buy Links:



 


 


 


 

Stacy Juba got engaged at Epcot Theme Park and spent part of her honeymoon at Disneyland Paris, where she ate a burger, went on fast rides, and threw up on the train ride to the hotel. In addition to working on her Storybook Valley chick lit/sweet romance series, Stacy has written books about ice hockey, teen psychics, U.S. flag etiquette for kids, and determined women sleuths. She has had a novel ranked as #5 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List. When she’s not visiting theme parks with her family, (avoiding rides that spin and exotic hamburgers), or writing about them, Stacy helps authors to strengthen their manuscripts through her Crossroads Editing Service. She is currently writing the next book in the Storybook Valley Series, Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty.

 

 

Author Links:

Website and blog: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stacy-Juba/100155471301

Twitter: https://twitter.com/stacyjuba

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Stacy-Juba/e/B002OXLSDE/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1


 

 

Romantic Idea:

Go to a theme park and try these romantic ideas:

  1. Get to a show early and relax in the back of the air-conditioned theater.
  2. Kiss for the ride pictures.
  3. Enjoy a picnic lunch.
  4. Go to the park’s nicest restaurant for dinner.
  5. Have your significant other play games to win you a prize.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Carmen Stefanescu - Cover Reveal Till Life Do Us Part #Paranormal #Romance @Carmen_Books

Tina, thank you so much for having me as your guest today.  You know my interest in anything odd -  paranormal, myths,  legends  - all that is out of the normal boundaries.  Reincarnation and chat with ghosts can be included, too.
I’m thrilled to be here, and excited to share the cover for my incoming release


                            Till Life Do Us Part
 
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Magic, Reincarnation, Mystery, Suspense
Release date: 9th June 2016
 
Blurb
Barbara Heyer can hear voices of dead people. They whisper of their deaths, seek comfort for those left behind, and occasionally even warn her about future events. But when Barbara’s brother, Colin, is accused of murder, it will take more than her gift to prove his innocence.
Becoming smitten with the handsome investigator, Detective Patrick Fischer, is a serious complication given his assignment to her brother’s case. Barbara senses there is something far deeper—and perhaps much older—than the surface attraction between them. Could that be why she’s visited by a mysterious woman named Emma in her dreams? Could past life regression tie all the seemingly unconnected events together?
Barbara and Patrick must overcome heartache to find the truth to save Colin, and perhaps themselves.
 
 

 
Author Bio
Carmen Stefanescu resides in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble - the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.
Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world that of the books.
She has dreamed all her life to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote during those years remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989 and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Several of her poems were successfully published in a collection of Contemporary English Poems, Muse Whispers vol.1 and Muse Whispers vol.2 by Midnight Edition Publication, in 2001 and 2002.
 Her first novel, Shadows of the Past, was released in 2012 by Wild Child Publishing, USA.
                   Carmen joined the volunteer staff at Marketing For Romance Writers Author blog and is the coordinator of #Thursday13 posts.
 
You can stalk the author here:
 
Trailer
video

 
 
 
 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

CFO's Affair - Part of the Executive Wives Club - #WomenFiction, #Excerpt

 photo TG-EWC-CFOsAffair-300x450_zpse2db5936.jpg

Blurb -
 
Sylvia Donovan is emotionally wounded from the unexpected death of her husband and still haunted by their last conversation: his request for a divorce and his confession of love for another woman.  Her husband gone, her only daughter off to college, Sylvia faces the challenges of learning to live alone and move on with her life.
Vince Wilshire, enchanted with Sylvia, is more than willing to do what it takes to capture the heart of the hurting and untrusting Sylvia.
Can he help her forget the past and make her believe in love again?
 
Excerpt
The door clicked open.
Wrapping his hand around the handle to keep from reaching for her, Vince Wilshire shoved the door open. "Are you ready for this?"
Her face mere inches from his, he noticed a brief flash of panic in her eyes before Sylvia Donovan lifted her chin and stepped through the entrance. "Nothing I haven't seen before. Or probably won't see again."
He understood she meant the task of doing a job, but for some reason his brain registered the sexual implications of the comment. "Oh, man, you're brutal. Some things you know get better with age.”
Matching his steps to hers, he wrapped an arm around her shoulder and leaned in close. He whispered beside her ear, "It's all a matter of knowing how to use what you've got."
She shrugged and shifted away from him, eyeing him with a raised brow. "Yes and some people are amateurs, Mr. Wilshire. You, I take it, are an old pro who knows how to wield your sword with the best of them."
Laughter bubbled up into his throat. He marveled at her sassy tone and didn't relinquish his grip. "I must admit I’m very good at a few chosen tasks."
 
Purchase ebook at:




Purchase ebook at:

 
Thanks everyone,
 
Tina

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

#RomanticIdeas from @VictoriaPinder & #Excerpt from Favorite Coffee, Favorite Crush





Romantic Ideas to spend this spring with your favorite guy…

  1. Visit an art museum
  2. Walk on the beach (I know cheesy but it’s what my husband likes to do when we’re bored)
  3. Go food shopping together and pick out something for each other to add to the cart
  4. Plan a vacation or a cruise for a year away and talk about what you want to see or do (sometimes the planning is the fun part.)
  5. Watch a movie together while snuggling
  6. Take a dance class and use a groupon coupon
  7. Visit a winery or local agriculture (perhaps apple picking)
  8. Rent a boat or a canoe or kayak and hit the water (Or water ski if you’re adventurous)
  9. Picnic in a local park somewhere
  10. Go online to one of those places where you get coupons, like groupon, and pick something together that you’ve both never done… in Florida they have everything from helicopter rides, hot air balloons and



Author Name: Victoria Pinder

 

Book Title: Favorite Coffee, Favorite Crush

 

Date Published:  Rereleased April 30, 2016

 

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

 

Purchase Link: Amazon: http://amzn.to/1SrKB7I

 



 

 

Penny moves back to Miami to start her new job. She must start on Monday, so she has a list of things to accomplish.

A: Find a place to live.

B: Avoid her mother.

C: Reconnect with old high school friends. There was her best friend, Sandra, the dramatic Eva, the dark Michael, her half-brother Wyatt, and her old high school crush Jay.

Jay had never looked twice at her except as a partner in math league, but at least these people respected her.

Jay spots Penny immediately and sets a plan in action. He needs her to pretend to be his date this week. She’s practical minded and stable, which is what he needs his investors to see in him.

Penny’s caught in a whirlwind of plots. Her gold digging mother, Jay’s, Jay’s mother whose out to stop him, and her own plans are being thrown off course. Worst of it is that she’s falling for Jay, all over again.

 

Contact Information




 






Author Bio:

 

Victoria Pinder grew up in Irish Catholic Boston before moving to the Miami sun. She’s worked in engineering, after passing many tests proving how easy Math came to her. Then hating her life at the age of twenty four, she decided to go to law school. Four years later, after passing the bar and practicing very little, she realized that she hates the practice of law. She refused to one day turn 50 and realize she had nothing but her career and hours at a desk. After realizing she needed change, she became a high school teacher. Teaching is rewarding, but writing is a passion.

During all this time, she always wrote stories to entertain herself or calm down. Her parents are practical minded people demanding a job, and Victoria spent too many years living other people’s dreams, but when she sat down to see what skill she had that matched what she enjoyed doing, writing became so obvious. The middle school year book when someone wrote in it that one day she’d be a writer made sense when she turned thirty.

She’s always been determined. She is amazing, adventurous and assured on a regular basis. Her website is  www.victoriapinder.com.

Member of Florida Romance Writers, Contemporary Romance, Celtic Hearts and Savvy Authors.

 

For a free novella of Returning for Valentine’s Please Click here: http://victoriapinder.com/returningforvalentineshorttimeoffer

 

 

Excerpt:

 

“Home, sweet, err…coffee.”

Getting out of her car, Penelope brushed her worn jeans to get out a small wrinkle. Not that it mattered. She smelled the coffee drawing her to the door. The delicious aroma of freshly brewed java that could wake her up waited inside. Gainesville had coffee shops, but nothing that held her heart like this place. In high school, this place was her mecca. Her stomach grumbled for the familiar drink.

The coffee shop looked almost the same as it had years ago, except for the aluminum tables and wooden chairs with red cushions. She remembered the plaid chairs and brown tables, but the place still calmed her, like she was coming home.

She stepped up to the counter. “I’ll have a cinnamon dulce nonfat latte, please.”

Leaving Gainesville after college had always been the plan. Just never back to Miami, but she’d changed. She could live here now.

She checked her lip gloss while she waited for the latte at the counter.

When she accepted the promotion from part-time to full-time, she knew she would have to face her mother and the catch of the month, Lars, her mother’s plastic surgeon. What that woman would do for a free tummy tuck.

The job she’d accepted had offered to triple her salary, provided she moved to the Coral Gables office. Somehow, she’d avoid her mother until necessary. What was the man’s name with money this week? Penny ignored that last call, knowing the man with the largest wallet always took precedence over whatever Penelope needed. She watched the barista get the nonfat milk and finish her latte. She’d succeed here, now. She had to.

She’d call Sandra, Eva, John, and Michael later. Wyatt, her half-brother, was stationed overseas, so she’d wait for his weekly call. These people were her real family.

The man handed her the latte. The first sip gave her the strength to do this. The tightness of the ride dissipated while she tasted her liquid savior. Sighing, she tasted heaven, the wake-up to her day.

“Penelope.”

Though the unmistakable voice was deeper, she knew who it was without even turning. Her high school crush, who never noticed her beyond her brain. Pulling at her pink tank top, she wished she’d worn better clothes. “John Jay.”

His steely blue eyes and sandy blond hair were the same color, but his build had grown more muscular. The leanness of his youth had given way to broad shoulders and hard, muscular arms. He had a straight, faded scar on his left cheek that was new—probably a bar fight. Rich boy wore his fancy, perfectly fitted polo and jeans, and was definitely hotter with age. His million-dollar smile and devastating dimples sparked a warm flush that sped through her all the way to the tips of her toes.

“I’m going by Jay these days. It’s less formal.” He winked at her, turning off his tablet and pointing her to his table.

“It’s a good name, but I still prefer Dimples,” she teased. “It’s what I called you on online whenever I needed you.”

His rich, deep laugh sent that familiar spark through her.

Damn. Rich boy knew his effect on women, including her. He could manipulate her when she went quiet, but she’d learned a lot in college. She’d not let him weaken her.


Hope you enjoyed this series of #RomanticIdeas,

Tina