Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Arranged by Lexi Blake



Book Description

Kash Kamdar is the king of a peaceful but powerful island nation. As Loa Mali’s sovereign, he is always in control, the final authority. Until his mother uses an ancient law to force her son into marriage. His prospective queen is a buttoned-up intellectual, nothing like Kash’s usual party girl. Still, from the moment of their forced engagement, he can’t stop thinking about her. 

Dayita Samar comes from one of Loa Mali’s most respected families. The Cambridge-educated scientist has dedicated her life to her country’s future. But under her staid and calm exterior, Day hides a few sexy secrets of her own. She is willing to marry her king, but also agrees that they can circumvent the law. Just because they’re married doesn’t mean they have to change their lives. It certainly doesn’t mean they have to fall in love. 


After one wild weekend in Dallas, Kash discovers his bride-to-be is more than she seems. Engulfed in a changing world, Kash finds exciting new possibilities for himself. Could Day help him find respite from the crushing responsibility he’s carried all his life? This fairy tale could have a happy ending, if only they can escape Kash’s past… 

AVAILABLE: April 25. 2017

Arranged by Lexi Blake is part of her Masters and Mercenaries series.  I have only read one of book in this series but I didn't feel as though I was missing anything.  I believe each book can be considered a standalone with different couples featured in each book.

Being that this book is a short novella, I don't want to give to much away.  The book description is an excellent overview of this story.  I think my main issue with this story was with Kash himself.  I personally found him to be a difficult character to like.  I thought he was a brat and a hypocrite.  He redeemed himself a little towards the end, but not enough for me to be a big King Kash fan.

Rating: 3 out of 5

**An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for a honest review.**


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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Faking it by Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde


Book Description

Confirmed bachelor Max Sterling isn't into rescuing damsels in distress, but when the very tempting Hailey Ellison needs his help, there's only one thing for him to do. Step in and pose as her loving fiancĂ©. Except there is nothing fake about his attraction to her, or how much he wants her beneath him in his bed, moaning his name. But what starts as a sexy, flirty, temporary engagement, quickly becomes something more serious that neither one ever anticipated.

AVAILABLE: April 11, 2017

Faking It is another great read by authors Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde.  This book is a perfect light, fun and sexy read that will have you swooning over the Hero and watching the Heroine grow and gain confidence in herself.  

Hailey Ellison is a professional matchmaker with a booming business.  Growing her business has been Hailey's sole focus for the last few years and has had little to no time (or desire) to allow anything else in.  So much so that she has faked an engagement to a man that doesn't exist...

...Or does he.

With a continually growing clientele base and a need for more office space, Hailey contacts confirmed bachelor and real estate broker Max Sterling.  After 3 months of searching, Max finally feels that he has found Hailey her perfect space.  After having a celebratory lunch with Hailey, Max learns that the woman he has been wildly attracted to for the last 3 months isn't engaged to another man like he thought...

... she is engaged to him.  He just didn't know it.

When running into a former matches mother, Hailey is forced to explain how she "faked" her engagement to a "Max Sterling" so she could focus on work.  And Max takes full advantage of this fact.  Max needs help with an ex that doesn't seem to understand the word NO and Hailey doesn't want word to get out to her clients that she faked her engagement and lose credibility.  Both agree that their engagement will be temporary.  

But what happens when a fake engagement leads to real feelings?  Will Max be able to convince Hailey to take a chance on real love?  And will Hailey learn to trust in herself enough to left Max in?

Rating: 4 out of 5

**I was provided a ARC of this book in exchange for a honest review.**


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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Excerpt: Sin with Me by J.T. Geissinger


Sin With Me (Bad Habit #3)

Book Description

The past she can’t remember. The secret he hides. And a love that’s worth risking it all.


After a devastating car crash stole both her family and her memory, Grace Stanton was left with no past and an uncertain future. Now Grace likes to keep things simple. No sleepovers, never date a guy more than a month, and never, ever fall in love. Which is exactly why Grace avoids Bad Habit’s lead guitarist, Brody Scott, at all costs. The green-eyed, sexy-as-hell musician has “trouble” tattooed all over him, and Grace isn’t taking any chances with her heart.


Brody knows he doesn’t deserve an amazing woman like Grace—her creamy skin, red hair, or that smart mouth that fuels his every fantasy—but there’s something between them that’s more than chemistry. Something real. He’ll just have to convince Grace that he’s worth the risk—and hide the secret that haunts his worst dreams. But when fate plays a cruel hand, Brody’s darkest sin suddenly threatens his last chance at redemption…and the life of the woman he loves.


AVAILABLE: April 25, 2017

Bad Habit Series
Sweet As Sin (Book 1) 
Make Me Sin (Book 2)
Sin With Me (Book 3)

Continue below for an Excerpt of Sin with Me...

Nico turns his head and breaks into a grin. He says to someone out of my line of sight, “Glad you could make it, slowpoke.”


It’s interesting the way my pulse spikes when I realize he must be speaking to Brody. Interesting and annoying, because I’m not the kind of woman whose pulse is easily spiked. I was once robbed at gunpoint by a crackhead and my reaction was to look at him and calmly say, “I’m happy to give you money for drugs, but what you really need is a hot meal, a hot bath, and a hug.”


He took the money.


“You guys ran out so fast you left tire marks on the driveway.” Brody rounds the row of chairs I’m sitting in, trades a back-slapping hug with Nico and a nod to the other guys, and then asks Kat, “How’s Chloe?”


I’m too busy staring at him to hear the answer.


There’s just something about him that’s so . . . cool. I don’t know how else to describe it. He’s very good-looking, but in an approachable, boy-next-door sort of way. Unlike Nico, whose body looks carved “by Michelangelo from a perfect piece of granite, or A.J., who’s the size of The Hulk, Brody is slim and graceful like a runway model. His shoulders are lightly framed in muscle, his waist is narrow, his legs are long and lean. He has a lope like a wolf’s, a Cheshire Cat grin, and a husky laugh that puts you in mind of the bedroom. The man is just plain sexy.


He also dresses like a Johnny Depp GQ ad, which sets my lady parts aquiver. A well-dressed man simply slays me.


Today he’s wearing black Doc Martens and black designer jeans paired with a pale gray dress shirt—cuffs rolled up his strong forearms—topped with a fitted black silk vest. A leather cuff adorns one wrist. Around his neck on a leather cord is a small silver medallion. He’s got a silver ring on his right thumb, a silver stud in his left ear, and a wicked gleam in his dark green eyes—


Busted.


I break eye contact with him and pretend to inspect the hideous still life of flowers on the opposite wall.


In a low voice, Brody says, “Grace.”


That’s it, just my name, but hell if it doesn’t raise all the little hairs on the back of my neck and make my nipples hard.


Goddamn it.


“Hello.” I continue to stare at the painting. Across from me, Chris and Ethan smirk around mouthfuls of burger and share a glance.


Apparently I didn’t sound quite as disinterested as I was aiming for.



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Cover Reveal: Real Dirty Duet by Meghan March


Here are the NEW COVERS for Meghan March's next Duet: Real Dirty and Real Sexy!!


Real Dirty (Book 1)

AVAILABLE: May 9, 2017

Book Description:

I have everything a guy could want—a new single burning up the charts, more money than a simple country boy could spend, and a woman I’m planning to marry.

Until she doesn’t show up for my proposal.

The life I thought was so perfect, isn’t.

The guy who thought he had everything, doesn’t.

I’ve got my heart on lockdown, but life sends me straight into the path of a mouthy bartender who puts me in my place.

Now the only place I want to put her is under me.


I thought I was done with love, but maybe I’m just getting started.

Links Here:
Amazon - http://amzn.to/2nfT6Gn
iBooks - http://bit.ly/RealDirtyiBooks 
BN - http://bit.ly/RealDirtyBN 
Kobo - http://bit.ly/RealDirtyKobo 
Google Play - http://smarturl.it/RealSexyGP 
Goodreads - http://bit.ly/RealDirtyGR



Real Sexy (Book 2)
AVAILABLE: May 23, 2017

Book Description:

In Nashville, country stars are a dime a dozen.

I swore I’d never get caught up with one, but Boone Thrasher made a liar out of me.

I said I’d never put my heart on the line, but he didn’t ask before he stole it.

Now we’re facing my worst fears, and we'll see if this country boy is tough enough to see it through.

Girls like me don’t get happily ever afters… but maybe he’ll prove that wrong too.

Links Here:
Amazon - http://amzn.to/2nz3tsq
iBooks - http://bit.ly/RealSexyiBooks 
BN - http://bit.ly/RealSexyBN 
Kobo - http://bit.ly/RealSexyKobo 
Google Play - http://smarturl.it/RealSexyGP

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cover Reveal: Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis

Here is the new cover for Jill Shalvis' next Heartbreaker Bay novel, Chasing Christmas Eve, available September 26, 2017.


Book Description

Meet cute...

Run for the hills—temporarily. That’s Colbie Albright’s plan when she flees New York for San Francisco. Wrangling her crazy family by day and writing a bestselling YA fantasy series by night has taken its toll. In short, Colbie’s so over it that she’s under it. She’s also under the waters of a historic San Francisco fountain within an hour of arrival. Fortunately, the guy who fishes Colbie out has her looking forward to Christmas among strangers. But she’s pretty sure Spencer Baldwin won’t be a stranger for long.

Make merry...

Spence’s commitment to hiding from the Ghosts of Relationships Past means he doesn’t have to worry about the powerful—okay, crazy hot—chemistry he’s got with Colbie. Just because she can laugh at anything, especially herself... just because she’s gorgeous and a great listener…just because she “gets” Spencer immediately doesn’t mean he won’t be able to let Colbie go. Does it?

…and hope for a miracle.

Now the clock’s ticking for Colbie and Spence: Two weeks to cut loose. Two weeks to fall hard. Two weeks to figure out how to make this Christmas last a lifetime.

Available: September 26, 2017


Jill Shalvis is a one-click author for me, so if you haven't read any of her Heartbreaker Bay series, I highly recommend them!! And while this is considered a "series" each book can be considered a standalone and read in any order.

Here is a little sneak peak of Spence and Colbie's story!!

The bathroom door opened, and even better than his fantasy, Colbie emerged from a cloud of steam, her willowy body wrapped in one of his towels, her exposed skin gleaming and dewy damp. Her hair had been piled on top of her head, but wavy strands had escaped, clinging to her neck and shoulders.
He couldn’t tear his gaze off of her. There was just something so uncalculated about her, so . . . natural and easy. She was like a beacon to him, which was both crazy and more than a little terrifying.

Clearly not seeing him against the wall, she moved with an effortless grace to the suitcase she’d left at the door. Bending low enough to give him a near heart attack, she rifled through her things, mumbling to herself that she should’ve researched more about how to be a normal person instead of how to kill someone with an everyday object.

“Do you kill a lot of people, then?” Spence asked.

“Motherforker!” she said with a startled squeak of surprise, whirling to face him, almost losing her grip on the towel.

Five days a week, Spence worked out hard in this gym. Mostly to outrun his demons, but the upside was he could run miles without losing his breath. But he lost his breath now.

And that wasn’t his body’s only reaction.

Cover Reveal: Mister Moneybags by Vi Keeland and PenelopWard

Here is the cover reveal of Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward's new standalone novel Mister Moneybags, available March 10, 2017.


Book Description

I met Bianca in an elevator.

She was on her way to interview me when we got stuck.

The beautiful, raven-haired reporter assumed I was a delivery guy because of the way I was dressed.

She had no clue I was really Dex Truitt, the wealthy, successful businessman she’d dubbed “Mister Moneybags”—her afternoon appointment.

Bianca told me how much she hated Dex’s type—snobby, over educated, silver- spooned men who didn't appreciate the simple things in life.

So, after the elevator finally started moving again, I cancelled the interview and let her believe I was someone I wasn’t—a bike messenger named Jay. I loved the way she looked at the fake me and didn't want it to end.

I began dating her as “Jay”—all the while letting her interview the real me over email.

I didn’t expect that our chemistry online would be just as hot.

I didn’t expect the mess I’d gotten myself into.

I didn’t expect that Jay and Dex would fall in love with her.

And she was falling for two men.

Only, both men were me.

And when she found out, we were both going to lose her.

Nothing could have prepared me for that day. And I certainly wasn't prepared for what came after.

All good things must come to an end, right? Except our ending was one I didn't see coming.


Read the First Chapter here: http://www.subscribepage.com/h8c4d2_MMB

Purchase Links
iBooks exclusive ebook pre-order ➜ http://smarturl.it/ggugqn 
Add to Goodreads ➜ http://smarturl.it/5bk8ff 
Amazon paperback ➜ http://amzn.to/2jy7nyg
**No Amazon ebook preorder. Will go live on Amazon on release day.


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Monday, February 20, 2017

Excerpt: Your Tempting Love by Layla Hagan



Book Description

Christopher Bennett is a persuasive man. With his magnetic charm and undeniable wit, he plays a key role in the international success of his family’s company.

Christopher adores his family, even if they can be too meddling sometimes… like when they recommend him to employ Victoria Hensley’s decorating services for his new apartment in an attempt to set him up with her. Christopher isn’t looking to settle down, but meeting Victoria turns his world upside down. Her laughter is contagious, and her beautiful lips and curves are too tempting.

Victoria Hensley is determined not to fall under Christopher’s spell, even though the man is hotter than sin, and his flirty banter makes her toes curl. But Christopher is her client, and she knows better than to get involved with clients. Besides, Victoria isn’t looking for love. After her parents’ death, Victoria is raising her much younger siblings, and she can’t afford any mistakes.

But Victoria and Christopher’s chemistry is not just the sparks-flying kind, but the downright explosive kind. Before she knows it, Christopher is training her brother Lucas for soccer tryouts and reading bedtime stories to her sister Chloe.

Victoria wants to resist him, but Christopher is determined, stubborn, and oh-so-persuasive.

When their attraction and connection both spiral out of control, will they be able to risk it all for a love that is far too tempting?

Available: February 17, 2017

Here is an excerpt of Your Tempting Love by Layla Hagan:

"Victoria? No offense, but that all sounds like pig latin to me. If there's anything you know will make this place look like a home, go ahead. I'm giving you carte blanche." Evidently, I was so immersed in my proposal, I didn't take notice of him advancing toward me, or me backing into the wall opposite the kitchen. One of his hands is propped against the wall near my ear, and with the other one, he twirls a strand of my hair in his fingers.

"Really? I don't want you to think I'm trying to upsell you things. I want you to love your new home." The words tumble out of my mouth at an alarming speed, but Christopher's proximity is setting me on edge. Drawing in a deep breath, I attempt to calm myself, but my heart rate ratchets up. Feeling his fingers move from my hair to my temple and then descend to my jaw isn't helping.

"I was hoping it was just an excuse to spend more time with me," he says gently. The space between us seems to become increasingly smaller, even though neither of us moves. "You smell like eggnog." Something in his voice has changed. I can't pinpoint what; maybe his timbre is lower, but it sounds more intimate than it did seconds ago. It sends desire coursing through me, and I become aware of the fact that my breasts are squished against his chest. His hot breath lands on my cheek, like a forbidden whisper.

"I am going to kiss you, Victoria." His words unleash a hunger inside me, so deep and so powerful that I have no hope of resisting it. I nod slightly, and then his mouth covers mine. I part my lips invitingly, and when he coaxes my tongue with his, I'm on fire.

Oh, this man knows how to kiss. He is demanding and in control, and I love every second of it. Before long, we're a tangle of limbs because I need to feel so much more, and I'm not alone in my desperation. One of his hands finds the hem of my sweater, and I shudder. Pressing his knee between my legs, he opens my thighs. Driven by a will of their own, my hips roll forward, and I find myself pressing my center against his thigh. A rough groan reverberates from his chest, and his hand slides up, stopping where the fabric of my bra meets my skin. All movement stops for a few interminable seconds, and I realize he's seeking permission.

I nod almost imperceptibly, and our control snaps. Christopher cups my breast over the fabric of the bra, and my nipples turn hard within seconds. His mouth descends to my neck.

"I am going to make you come, Victoria," he whispers against my skin.



Thursday, February 16, 2017

Cover Reveal: Take Me Back by Meghan March


Here is the cover to Meghan March's NEW STANDALONE book that releases March 20th.

Book Description

We fell in love on a beach, got married in paradise, and I carried her off into the sunset. It should have been perfect, but saying “I do” doesn’t guarantee a happily-ever-after.

Two years later, I barely recognize either of us behind the walls we’ve built.

It’s time to bring it full circle. Back to a tropical paradise. Back to find out if we can still make this work.

I’m not willing to give her up, but to save us, I have to risk everything.

Two damaged people.

Countless secrets.

The fight of our lives.

We might be broken, but we’re not done.


AVAILABLE: March 20, 2017

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

How Sweet It Is by Janelle Denison




Book Description

Practical, sensible Rebecca Moore doesn't do playboys, especially ones like sexy, wealthy Spencer Bassett, even if he makes her want to do very naughty things with him. But when a weekend away at her sister's wedding puts them in close proximity, Spencer doesn't hesitate to take advantage of the undeniable attraction between them. Seducing Rebecca is his goal—with hot, steamy kisses, decadent chocolates, and sensual nights in his bed.

Rebecca is certain this is only a weekend fling, but Spencer is determined to win her over for good by showing her just how sweet it is.


AVAILABLE: February 2, 2017

How Sweet It Is is just what it's name describes.  A very sweet read.  This novella was just what I needed the day I read this.  It's been a very crazy week in the Novak household and this short read only took me about an hour from start to finish.

Also, sometimes with these short stories, I always feel like I've missed some character development, but that wasn't the case with this book.  I think Ms. Denison did a great job making this have the feel of a full length novel, without the longer read time!!

Highly recommend.

**I received an ARC in exchange for a honest review.  All thoughts and feelings are my own.**

Rating: 4 out of 5

Monday, January 16, 2017

Under Pressure by Lori Foster

Book Description
He can protect anything except his heart
Leese Phelps’s road hasn’t been an easy one, but it’s brought him to the perfect job — working for the elite Body Armor security agency. And what his newest assignment lacks in size, she makes up for in fire and backbone. But being drawn to Catalina Nicholson is a dangerous complication, especially since it could be the very man who hired Leese who’s threatening her.
What Catalina knows could get her killed. But who’d believe the sordid truth about her powerful stepfather? Beyond Leese’s ripped body and brooding gaze is a man of impeccable honor. He’s the last person she expects to trust — and the first who’s ever made her feel safe. And he’s the only one who can help her expose a deadly secret, if they can just stay alive long enough...
AVAILABLE: January 24, 2017

Body Armor Series
Under Pressure (Book 1)
Hard Justice (Book 2) *Available April, 2017

Under Pressure is the first book in Lori Foster's Body Armor series.  If you read her Ultimate series, then you should recognize the leading men of the series.  And while I LOVED her past series and Leese really grows on you throughout, Under Pressure didn't live up to the promise of Leese, at least for me.

A year has pasted since Leese has become an elite bodyguard at the Body Armor secruity agency.  He has been assigned to find and bring home Catalina Nicholson.  Throughout the story, this didn't quite feel like the Leese from the Ultimate series that I had come to really love.  And I found Cat to be a little annoying and desperate to get Leese to break his "no sleeping with a client" code.  She was extremely pushy, needy, and whiny (IMO).  And I say that because if the situations were reversed and it had been Leese being annoying and pushy about sex, I would of not liked Leese at all.  I enjoyed the rest of the storyline, but found myself somewhat skimming through the "relationship" parts with Leese and Cat.

My favorite characters in Under Pressure ended up being Sahara, the owner of and her assistant.  They were both smart, witty and determined to protect their client.  I am hoping that Sahara gets her own story because I think she is going to be a complex character that deserves her story to be told.

Overall, I would still highly recommend Lori Foster, just this particular book was not a favorite of hers, for me.  That honor goes to Savor the Danger, Getting Rowdy, and Fighting Dirty.
 
Rating: 3 out of 5

**I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.**

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Girl Breaker by Harper Kincaid

Book Description

Sometimes the best thing a good girl can do is make a bad decision.
Jessica has always been the girl with her head in the clouds and her nose in a book, only dating the “nice guys”. But when rough-around-the-edges Viking-biker-god, Mad Max, and his precocious little girl move onto her street, Jessica falls hard and fast for both of them.
Max is no stranger to women wanting to share his bed—and he’s always been more than happy to oblige them all. He’s lived wild all his life—that is, until a daughter shows up on his doorstep and he meets a redheaded angel down the block.
There’s nothing more he wants than to claim Jessica as his, to bring the gorgeous spitfire to his bed. But a man like him doesn’t get a happy ending with a woman like her. He’s got a whole other life, one he’s kept secret for good reason.
If Jessica found out what he really is, there’s no way she could love him. He should keep his hands to himself. But he’s Mad Max—he’s never done the right thing, and he’s not going to start now.
Warning: Contains a dominating alpha male who’s a lot more than he seems, and a good girl with a swirl of flavors under her vanilla. 
AVAILABLE: January 17, 2017


Break On Through Series
Rule Breaker (Book 1)
Heart Breaker (Book 2)
Girl Breaker (Book 3)

Girl Breaker by Harper Kincaid is the third book in her Break on Through series and the first book I've read of this series.  So it isn't necessary to read these books in any particular order.  

I really enjoyed this book.  It was a quick read with everything you are looking for in a romance: chemistry, fun, dirty-talking sexy times, with a little bit of drama and angst.

Our heroine, Jessica Lockhart, is a sweet, head-in-the-clouds type that dreams of her happily-ever-after with her prince charming.  But when bad-boy biker Max "Mad Max" Reinquist and his sweet, yet precocious daughter move down the street, she can't help but fall for both of them.

Max is used to having woman throw themselves at him.  And in the past he's been all to happy to oblige all of them.  But when a daughter and a feisty redhead come into his life, he begins to realize that his wild actions may put those he has come to care about in danger.  

Max can only sate his need for Jessica for so long, and soon he begins to think that MAYBE he can have a happily-ever-after with Jessica.  But when past actions come back to haunt Max, Max must decide if he can risk it all for love.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

**I received an ARC in exchange for a honest review.**

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Ego Maniac by Vi Keeland


Book Description:

The night I met Drew Jagger, he’d just broken into my new Park Avenue office.
I dialed 9-1-1 before proceeding to attack him with my fancy new Krav Maga skills.
He quickly restrained me, then chuckled, finding my attempted assault amusing.
Of course, my intruder had to be arrogant.

Only, turned out, he wasn’t an intruder at all.
Drew was the rightful occupant of my new office. He’d been on vacation while his posh space was renovated.
Which was how a scammer got away with leasing me office space that wasn’t really available for rent.
I was swindled out of ten grand.

The next day, after hours at the police station, Drew took pity on me and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. In exchange for answering his phones while his secretary was out, he’d let me stay until I found a new place.
I probably should have acted grateful and kept my mouth shut when I overheard the advice he was spewing to his clients. But I couldn’t help giving him a piece of my mind.
I never expected my body to react every time we argued. Especially when that was all we seemed to be able to do.


The two of us were complete opposites. Drew was a bitter, angry, gorgeous-as-all-hell, destroyer of relationships. And my job was to help people save their marriages.
The only thing the two of us had in common was the space we were sharing.
And an attraction that was getting harder to deny by the day.

AVAILABLE: January 16, 2017



EXCERPT

Sometimes what you’re looking for

comes when you’re not looking at all.

-Unknown

DREW

I hate New Year’s Eve.

Two hours in traffic to make it not even the nine miles home from LaGuardia. It was after ten o’clock at night. Why weren’t all these people at a party by now? Whatever tension two weeks in Hawaii had relieved was already back to coiling tighter and tighter inside me as the town car inched its way uptown.

I tried not to think about all the work I was coming back to—the endless string of other people’s problems to compound my own:

She cheated.

He cheated.

Get me full custody of the kids.

She can’t have the house in Vail.

All she wants is my money.

She hasn’t given me a blowjob in three years. Listen, asshole, you’re fifty, bald, pompous, and shaped like an egg. She’s twenty-three, hot, and has tits so young they almost reach up to her chin. You want to fix this marriage? Come home with ten Gs in fresh, crisp bills, and tell her to get on her knees. You’ll get your blowjob. She’ll get her spending money. Let’s not pretend it was ever more than it really was. That doesn’t work for you? Unlike your soon-to-be ex-wife, I’ll take a check. Make that out to Drew M. Jagger, Attorney at Law.

I rubbed the back of my neck, feeling slightly claustrophobic in the back of the Uber, and looked out the window. An old lady with a walker passed us.

“I’ll get out here,” I barked at the driver.

“But you have luggage?”

I was already exiting the back of the car. “Pop the trunk. It’s not like we’re moving anyway.”

Traffic was at a dead stop, and it was only two blocks to my building. Tossing a hundred-dollar tip at the driver, I grabbed my suitcase from the trunk and took in a deep breath of Manhattan.

I loved this city as much as I hated it.

575 Park Avenue was a restored pre-war on the southeast corner of Sixty-Third Street—it was an address that gave people preconceived notions about you. Someone with my last name had occupied the building since before the place was converted into overpriced co-ops. Which is why my office was allowed to remain on the ground floor when other commercial tenants were tossed out years ago. I also lived on the top floor.

“Welcome back, Mr. Jagger.” The uniformed doorman greeted me as he swung open the lobby door.

“Thanks, Ed. I miss anything while I was gone?”

“Nah. Same old, same old. Peeked in on your construction the other day, though. Looking good.”

“They use the service entrance down Sixty-Third like they were supposed to?”

Ed nodded. “Sure did. Barely heard them the last few days.”

I dropped my luggage inside my apartment, then headed back downstairs in the elevator to check things out. For the last two weeks, while I was screwing off in Honolulu, my office space had been getting a total renovation. Cracks in the high, plastered ceilings were to be patched and painted, and new floors installed to replace the old, worn parquet.

Thick plastic remained taped over all of the interior doorways when I walked in. The little furniture I hadn’t put in storage was also still covered with tarps. Shit. They aren’t done yet. The contractor had assured me there would only be finish work left by the time I returned. I was right to be skeptical.

Flicking on the lights, I was happy to find the lobby completely done, though. Finally, a New Year’s Eve with no horrible surprises for a change.

I took a quick look around, pleased with what I found, and was just about to leave when I noticed a light streaming from under the door of a small file room at the end of the hallway.

Thinking nothing of it, I headed to turn it off.

Now, I’m six foot two and a half, two hundred and five pounds, and maybe it was just my frame of mind, my not expecting to see anyone, but when I opened the door to the file room, finding her there scared the living crap out of me.

She screamed.

I took a step back through the door.

She got up, stood on the chair, and began yelling at me, waving her cell phone in the air.

“I’ll call the police!” Her fingers shook as she dialed nine, then one, and hovered over the last one. “Get out now, and I won’t call!”

I could have lunged for her, and the phone would have been out of her hand before she realized she hadn’t dialed the final digit. But she looked terrified, so I retreated another step and put my hands up in surrender.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” I used my best soothing, calm voice. “You don’t need to call the police. This is my office.”

“Do I look stupid to you? You just broke into my office.”

“Your office? I think you took a wrong turn at the corner of Crazy and Nutjob.”

She wobbled atop the chair, holding both arms out to regain her balance, and then…her skirt fell to her feet.

“Get out!” She crouched down and grabbed her skirt, tugging it up to her waist as she turned her back to me.

“Do you take medication, ma’am?”

“Medication? Ma’am? Are you joking?”

“You know what?” I motioned to the phone she was still holding. “Why don’t you push that last one and get the police over here. They can drive you back to whatever loony bin you escaped from.”

Her eyes widened.

For a crazy person—now that I was really looking—she was pretty damn cute. Fiery red hair piled on top of her head seemed to match her firecracker personality. Although from the looks of her blazing blue eyes, I was glad I’d held off on telling her that.

She pushed one and proceeded to report the crime of entering one’s own office. “I’d like to report a robbery.”

“Robbery?” I arched an eyebrow and looked around. A lone folding chair and crappy metal folding table were the only furniture in the entire space. “What exactly am I stealing? Your winning personality?”

She amended her complaint to the police. “A breaking and entering. I’d like to report a breaking and entering at 575 Park Avenue.” She paused and listened. “No, I don’t think he’s armed. But he’s big. Really big. At least six feet. Maybe bigger.”

I smirked. “And strong. Don’t forget to tell them I’m strong, too. Want me to flex for you? And maybe you should tell them I have green eyes. Wouldn’t want the police to confuse me with all the other really big thieves hanging out in my office.”

After she hung up, she stayed standing on the chair, still glaring at me.

“Was there also a mouse?” I asked.

“A mouse?”

“Considering you jumped up on that chair.” I chuckled.

“You find this funny?”

“Oddly, I do. And I have no fucking idea why. It should annoy the crap out of me that I come home from a two-week vacation and find a squatter in my office.”

“Squatter? I’m no squatter. This is my office. I moved in a week ago.”

She bobbled again while standing on her chair.

“Why don’t you get down? You’re going to fall off that thing and get hurt.”

“How do I know you’re not going to hurt me when I get down?”

I shook my head and contained my laugh. “Sweetheart, look at the size of me. Look at the size of you. Standing on that chair isn’t doing jack shit to keep you safe. If I wanted to hurt you, you’d be out cold on the floor already.”

“I take Krav Maga classes twice a week.”

“Twice a week? Really? Thanks for the warning.”

“You don’t have to ridicule me. Maybe I could hurt you. For an intruder, you’re really kind of rude, you know.”

“Get down.”

After a full minute stare-off, she climbed off the chair.

“See? You’re as safe on the ground as you were up there.”

“What do you want from here?”

“You didn’t call the police, did you? You almost had me there for a second.”

“I didn’t. But I can.”

“Now why would you go and do that? So they can arrest you for breaking and entering?”

She pointed down at her makeshift desk. For the first time, I noticed papers all over the place. “I told you. This is my office. I’m working late tonight because the

construction crew was so loud today that I couldn’t get done what I needed to. Why would anyone break and enter to work at ten-thirty at night on New Year’s Eve?”

Construction crew? My construction crew? Something was going on here. “You were here with the construction crew today?”

“Yes.”

I scratched my chin, half believing her. “What’s the foreman’s name?”

“Tommy.”

Shit. She was telling the truth. Well, at least some of it had to be the truth. “You said you moved in a week ago?”

“That’s right.”

“And you rented the space from whom, exactly?”

“John Cougar.”

Both my brows shot up this time. “John Cougar? Did he drop the Mellencamp, by chance?”

“How should I know?”

This wasn’t sounding good. “And you paid this John Cougar?”

“Of course. That’s how renting an office suite works. Two months’ security, first and last month’s rent.”

I shut my eyes and shook my head. “Shit.”

“What?”

“You got conned. How much did all of that cost you? Two months’ security, first and last month? Four months in total?”

“Ten thousand dollars.”

“Please tell me you didn’t pay cash.”

Something finally clicked, and the color drained from her pretty face. “He said his bank was closed in the evening, and he couldn’t give me the keys until my check cleared. If I gave him cash, I could move in right away.”

“You paid John Cougar forty thousand dollars in cash?”

“No!”

“Thank God.”

“I paid him ten thousand in cash.”

“I thought you said you paid four months.”

“I did. It was twenty-five hundred a month.”

That did it. Of all the crazy shit I’d heard so far, thinking she could get space on Park Avenue for twenty-five hundred a month took the cake. I broke out in a fit of laughter.

“What’s so funny?”

“You’re not from New York, are you?”

“No. I just moved here from Oklahoma. What does that have to do with anything?”

I took a step closer. “I hate to break the news to you, Oklahoma, but you got ripped off. This is my office. I’ve been here for three years. My father the thirty before that. I was on vacation the last two weeks and had the office remodeled while I was gone. Someone named after a singer scammed you into giving him cash to rent an office he had no right to rent. Doorman’s name is Ed. Walk through the main building entrance, and he’ll verify everything I just said.”

“That can’t be.”

“What do you do that you need office space?”

“I’m a psychologist.”

I held out my hand. “I’m an attorney. Let me see your contract.”

Her face fell. “He hasn’t brought it by yet. He said the landlord was in Brazil on vacation, and I could move in, and he would come back on the first to collect the rent and bring me the contract to sign.”

“You’ve been scammed.”

“But I paid him ten thousand dollars!”

“Which is another thing that should have tipped you off. You couldn’t rent a closet on Park Avenue for twenty-five hundred a month. Didn’t you find it strange that you were getting a place like this for next to nothing?”

“I thought I was getting a deal.”

I shook my head. “You got a deal alright. A raw deal.”

She covered her mouth. “I think I’m going to be sick.”


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