Children’s librarian Amanda Lloyd values privacy above all else. Three years ago her wedding ended in disaster when her groom was arrested at the altar and the story of the ‘Embezzler’s Bride’ appeared in the supermarket tabloids. The experience has left her determined to avoid being caught in the public eye again. Until she meets a sexy single dad with a scandalous past.
Ex-racer Mitch Delaney is a public figure whose life has been plastered across the tabloids more than once. But he believes that anything worth doing is worth a risk. After the death of his ex-wife, he moved to Southern California to take care of his son Josh. He doesn’t need the complication of a woman in his life, especially since Josh’s grandparents have filed suit for custody. But Josh is on the hunt for a new mother and he has his heart set on Miss Amanda, and Mitch can’t fault his son’s taste.
Against her better judgment, Amanda finds herself falling for both of the Delaney men. When she agrees to accompany Mitch to a high-profile movie premiere, they draw the attention of the tabloids. Overnight Amand’a private affair becomes very public, threatening her job and Mitch’s custody suit. She’s waited twenty-eight years for the right man. But will happiness come at too high a price?
(Previously published as Private Affair, Kensington Precious Gem #121. Also: Golden Heart Finalist, Short Contemporary category)
His head was nestled in her lap. Amanda gently smoothed back the hair that had tumbled into his eyes. He sighed contentedly and gazed at her with soulful blue eyes.
“You really are a love,” she murmured. “I can’t imagine why I was ever nervous around you.”
The living room was quiet now, except for the soft crackling of the fire. Shadows played on the walls as the flames danced in the fireplace. Dinner was over, the kitchen cleaned up, and Josh was upstairs asleep. It was the first really relaxing moment Amanda had had all day.
“Is that mutt bothering you?” Mitch asked as he stepped into the room.
“No, we’ve been getting acquainted.” She smiled and scratched Albert behind the ears. He looked up at her adoringly. Then, as if aware that three was a crowd, he sauntered over to the fireplace and flopped down with a large sigh.
“Never thought I’d actually be jealous of a dog,” Mitch muttered, sitting down on the couch next to her.
Amanda laughed. “But he’s the sweetest thing.”
Mitch murmured his agreement, then said, “You’re sweet, too.”
She cocked an eyebrow at him.
“For tutoring Josh, I mean,” he said quickly.
“There’s nothing sweet about that. I expect to be paid the going rate for my efforts.”
“You will be,” he assured her, putting an arm around her shoulders. “In fact, there may even be a bonus in it.” He leaned closer, a teasing gleam in his eyes.
“What kind of a bonus did you have in mind?” Amanda knew she shouldn’t have asked when his look changed to one of desire.
Pulling her closer, he rubbed his thumb along her lower lip and her lips parted instinctively. She looked deeply into his eyes and saw a new tenderness she hadn’t seen before. Her body ached in anticipation as he continued caressing her mouth and gazing at her from hooded eyes that promised a world of pleasure in their blue depths.
The final novel this month in the Rocking Summer Romances series, this is the only book I’m proposing that’s been co-written. Lyn O’Farrell is in fact Anne Farrell and Linda McLaughlin, putting their heads together. Taking the risk. I can’t imagine what it’s like to co-author a novel, and when I’m reading this one, I catch myself asking who’s contributing what. Can’t find any obvious seams, can you? Then maybe I should get back to the story as a story, and enjoy! The twosome aren’t taking any risks as far as the law’s concerned, which is why this sample’s more PG than erotic. Only one way to find out how hot they really get:
Can’t help wondering, though: are you two a couple in any other sense as well???