Excerpt Reveal: Making Up by Helena Hunting – Shacking Up Series – Book 4

Making Up Cover

Making Up

Shacking Up Series – Book 4

By Helena Hunting

Release Date: July 16, 2019

Blurb:

A new standalone, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy by New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting.

Cosy Felton is great at her job—she knows just how to handle the awkwardness that comes with working at an adult toy store. So when the hottest guy she’s ever seen walks into the shop looking completely overwhelmed, she’s more than happy to turn on the charm and help him purchase all of the items on his list.

Griffin Mills is using his business trip in Las Vegas as a chance to escape the broken pieces of his life in New York City. The last thing he wants is to be put in charge of buying gag gifts for his friend’s bachelor party. Despite being totally out of his element, and mortified by the whole experience, Griffin is pleasantly surprised when he finds himself attracted to the sales girl that helped him.

As skeptical as Cosy may be of Griffin’s motivations, there’s something about him that intrigues her. But sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas and when real life gets in the way, all bets are off. Filled with hilariously awkward situations and enough sexual chemistry to power Sin City, Making Up is the next standalone in the Shacking Up world.

***

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_________________________________

Excerpt

We’re a couple of minutes away from my apartment, which also means we’re almost at the end of our date. End-of-date protocol often means a goodnight kiss.

And I’ve eaten onions. Lots of them. What the hell was I thinking? I feel around in my shorts pocket, hoping I have a random stick of gum. I find a tiny square packet and pull it out, along with an old tissue. I shove that back in my pocket and sigh with relief as I carefully open the Listerine Pocketpak. There’s one strip left. I pop it in my mouth, wishing I had water since my mouth is dry and I’m suddenly super nervous.

Griffin pulls up in front of my apartment building. I swallow a bunch of times, trying to get the strip to dissolve on my tongue and glance out the tinted window, seeing it from his perspective. I don’t live in a bad part of town, but I sure as hell wouldn’t leave this car sitting out here for any length of time unless I wanted it keyed or stripped down.

Griffin shifts into park and turns to me, one hand resting on the back of my seat near the headrest. “I had a great time, Cosy.”

“Me too, thanks for dinner.” I tried to fork over my share, but he was quick on the credit card draw.

“It was my pleasure.” He leans in the tiniest bit, a nonverbal cue that he’s going in for a kiss.

I mirror the movement, giving him the go ahead. My stomach flutters in anticipation. I exhale slowly through my nose. Even though the Listerine strip should be doing its job to mask the onions, I don’t want to ruin the moment by breathing that in his face.

His fingertips skim my jaw, and I close my eyes. And then his lips brush my cheek. I wait for them to move a couple of inches to the right, but after what feels like a lot of seconds—and is probably only a few—I crack a lid.

Griffin is still close, a wry smile on his lips and a smolder in his eyes.

“Seriously, that’s it? A kiss on the cheek?”

His smile widens, making his eyes crinkle at the corners. He’s nothing like the guys I usually end up on dates with. College boys don’t take things slow. If I were out with one of the guys from school, I’d be sitting in a beat-up Civic with some stupid music playing, and he’d be all over me with his tongue halfway down my throat, copping a feel.

“I thought all the onions you ate were the equivalent to garlic for vampires.” Griffin fingers my hair near my shoulder. I’d really like him to finger something else. Wait. I mean I’d like to feel his hands on me. Not in my pants. Okay, maybe I’d like them in my pants, but not after date number one.

“I wasn’t thinking, and I really like onions. A lot. In hindsight, it’s not a great date food. I feel kinda dumb. And I guess at first I wasn’t so sure about you. How was I supposed to know you’d actually be kind of normalish?”

“Normalish?”

“Well, you drink club soda on purpose, so you can’t be all there.” I tap his temple.

Griffin circles my wrist with his fingers and drops his head, lips brushing over my knuckle. “We can’t all be perfect, now, can we?”

“I suppose not, and perfect is boring.”

“That it is.” He hums against my skin, and I feel it through my entire body. “I would like to try that kiss again, if you’re still interested.”

From MAKING UP. Copyright © 2019 by Helena Hunting and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

_________________________________________________

About the Author:

Helena HuntingNYT and USA Today Bestselling author, Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance with all the feels to romantic comedies that will have you laughing until you cry.

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Making Up Cover

Cover Reveal + Pre-Order: Dating Mr. Right – Four Standalone Romantic Comedies by Lauren Blakely

 

Ready for a collection of three all-new Lauren Blakely novellas, available in ebook for the first time? Be sure to grab DATING MR. RIGHT! Plus, you get a short story too in this brand new collection! DATING MR. RIGHT: Four Standalone Romantic Comedies includes all-new sexy scenes exclusive to the ebook edition of these books! (Previously, the novellas in this collection were only available in audio). Indulge in Dating Mr. Right on your eReader and in paperback at last!

 

DATING MR. RIGHT: A COLLECTION by Lauren Blakley
Wide Release: July 8th
Kindle Unlimited: July 17th

 

 

Add to Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46375486-dating-mr-right

 

 

PRE-ORDER TODAY FOR ONLY $2.99!! PRICE WILL GO UP AFTER RELEASE!
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KINDLE RELEASE DAY SPECIAL PRICE $2.99
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Blurb:
Indulge in four delicious tales of true love! In Dating Mr. Right, you’ll devour an online dating meets secret identity romance, a friends-to-lovers plus best friend’s brother scorcher, a story of a pair of jaded lovers bitten by the insta-love bug, and an office romance with an age difference.

Lucky Suit…

I’m breaking up with set-ups. No more “can I introduce you to my son, nephew, grandson, the butcher, the guy down the street who mows my lawn.” Machines know what’s best, and I’ll rely on the great dating algorithms of the web to find the ideal man, thank you very much.

Soon enough, it looks like I’ve found him — his nickname is Lucky Suit, and he’s hilarious, quick-witted and full of heart. But when I finally get together with him in person, I have the distinct feeling I’ve met him before.

Turns out there’s more to our meeting than I had thought, and when we discover what truly brought us together, all bets are off.

Once Upon A Red-Hot Kiss…

A man needs to stay far away from falling into bed with his best friend.

Even if she’s sexy as sin, sweet as candy, and damn near irresistible every single day.

But not only are Macy and I best friends, we’re also complete opposites. She’s perky, upbeat, outgoing and I’m . . . how shall we say . . . a little bit broody.

Then, she reveals something to me that just might lead me to revise all my rules on friends in bed…

Too Good To Be True…

To say I’m wary of love would be an epic understatement. Keep that four-letter word far away from me.

But then a matchmaker friend insists she can pair me with the perfect man for me.

Even when sparks fly and chemistry crackles from the first date, I refuse to believe this kind of insta-connection can be the real thing.

Even though for the first time it feels like it could be.

Or is it just too good to be true?

Strong Suit (a short story)…

From the day I meet Ginny in the conference room, I’m smitten with the co-worker who’s ten years my senior. And I’m going to pull out all the stops to win her over.

 

 

About the Author:
A #1 New York Times Bestselling, #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling, and #1 Audible Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’ssweet, sexy and witty. Her heroines are strong and smart and her heroes have hearts of gold and fantastic funny bones. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 100 times, and she’s sold more than 3 million books.

In June she released SATISFACTION GUARANTEED and in September she’ll release INSTANT GRATIFICATION.

She’d love to give you a free book today! Check out her web site to grab your free read: laurenblakely.com/one-free-book/

 

 

Connect w/Lauren:
Website: http://www.laurenblakely.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurenBlakelyBooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurenBlakely3
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Excerpt Reveal + Pre-Order: Dating Roulette by D. Kelly

We are only one week away from the release of DATING ROULETTE by D. Kelly. Check out a brand new excerpt below and be sure to pre-order your copy of this standalone romance today!

 

About DATING ROULETTE

Bexley
Seven Dates.
Seven chances to win my heart.
It’s not hard –
Don’t put ketchup on your eggs.
Don’t wear tasseled loafers.
For the love of all that’s Holy, don’t ogle the waitress.
See? Simple…
Yet no one can get it right.

Tristan
Dating Roulette.
It’s Bexley’s game.
Correction – it’s her life.
A constant rotation of dates.
You might get one; you might get seven.
No one has ever gotten to eight.
There’s only one rule –
Don’t commit a dating sin.
I’ve watched for years and bided my time.
Now, it’s my turn to play.

Add DATING ROULETTE to your Goodreads TBR!

 

Pre-order DATING ROULETTE today!
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Read an excerpt from DATING ROULETTE

She pulls her feet away, tucking them beneath her, and props an arm on the back of the couch. After brushing a wayward curl from my forehead, she meets my eyes again. “What is going on in your head tonight? Talk to me, Tris.”

“I’m trying.”

“Start with telling me why you made me promise not to date without talking to you first.”

Reaching forward, I caress her cheek, and she leans into my touch. “Date me next.”

I use the tone she calls the commanding one, and her eyes dilate. Fuck . . . it really does turn her on. How did I never notice that?

“Tristan, that’s a really bad idea.”

“Why?”

“Why? For starters, you’re my best friend.”

“Exactly.” My fingers weave through her hair, and she moves closer to me. “If it doesn’t work, we’ll be fine, I promise. I won’t let this get in the way of our friendship.”

“You say that now but—”

I bring my finger to her lips to silence her. “No buts; we’ve been through so much already. We can handle seven dates.”

“You’re assuming you’ll make it to the seventh date.” As I smile, she gasps. “That’s why you made me promise.”

I’m about to lay all my cards on the table. “Yes. Bexley, I want my chance to win your heart.”

Her eyes close for a long moment, but my hand is still at the base of her neck, my fingers entwined in her curls. “I’m scared, Tris. What if you do something that’s a deal breaker?”

“That’s always a possibility, but if I do it in the first six dates, you have to let it go. If I do it on the seventh, well, that’s a risk I’m willing to take, I suppose. Either way, nothing is going to come between us. Nothing.”

The air snaps between us. This has become a defining moment in our relationship, but it’s one I think, deep down, we both knew was inevitable.

“Would tonight count as our first date?” She still hasn’t opened her eyes.

“That depends. Do you kiss on your first dates?”

Her eyes finally snap open, and I’m met with a lust-filled gaze. Damn, I’ve never seen this look on her, but now I don’t ever want to see her without it. “Sometimes, I do.”

“Well, if you want a kiss good night, then we can count this as our first date. Otherwise, tomorrow can be our first date.”

The rise and fall of her chest becomes noticeable as her breathing increases. She squirms, and I realize she’s turned on. Part of me wants her to say no, this isn’t our first date, because I’d love for it to be special to her. But another part of me wants to take her mouth with mine and kiss her until morning.

“Are you a good kisser?” she whispers, inching even closer to me. Bexley watches intently as I lick my lips ever so slightly, moistening what I want to give her.

“I’ve never had any complaints, but there’s always a first time for everything.” I cup the back of her neck and pull her closer to me—so close, she’s only a whisper from my lips. “It’s your call. What do you want to do?”

She moves forward and presses her lips tentatively against mine. In the course of every relationship, there is a make-or-break moment, and this one is ours—I feel it to my core as her apricot
scent envelops me. I’m a lost cause.

“First date it is,” I whisper against them before wrapping my free arm around her waist and pulling her even closer.

Pre-order DATING ROULETTE today!
Amazon | Apple | Nook | Kobo

 

 

 

About D. KELLY

Kelly, author of The Acceptance Series, The Illusion Series, and standalone companion novels Chasing Cassidy and Sharing Rylee, was born and raised in Southern California. She’s a wife, mom, dog lover, taxi, problem fixer, and extreme multi-tasker. She married her high school sweetheart and is her kids’ biggest fan.

Kelly has been writing since she was young and took joy in spinning stories to her childhood friends. Margaritas and sarcasm make her smile, she loves the beach but hates the sand, and she believes Starbucks makes any day better.

A contemporary romance writer, D. Kelly’s stories revolve around friendship and the bond it creates, strengthening the love of the people who share it.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter | BookBub

 

New Release + Release Blitz: Master Baker by Pippa Grant

 

 

Title: Master Baker
Author: Pippa Grant
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Cover Design: Lori Jackson Design
Photo: Wander Aguiar
 Release Date: June 27, 2019
Blurb

 

They call me the sugar whisperer.
Anything your tongue desires, I can bake it. Scones? Child’s play. Cupcakes?
I’ll frost them so good you won’t know what hit you. Donuts? Please.
You’re talking to a master baker.
But there’s one egg I’ve never been able to crack.
My best friend.
Correction: My former best friend.
She’s the apple in my pie. The whip in my cream. The lemon in my meringue. The
wish in my bone.
She’s the one who got away.
After ten years in the military, she’s back. She’s bruised and battered by
life, but she’s back.
Except she’s not my second chance. She’s gone to the dark side.
Running a rival bakery in a town not big enough for two.
So now I have to decide—which do I want more?
My bakery?
Or the woman I never should’ve let go in the first place?
Master Baker is a deliciously fun friends-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy
featuring a smooth-talking baker, the one who got away, and a goat with more
matchmaking tendencies than a nosy old grandpa. It stands alone with no
cheating or cliffhangers.

 

ADD TO GOODREADS

Purchase Links

$2.99 for a limited time!!

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited

 

Giveaway
Author Bio
Pippa Grant is a USA Today Bestselling author who writes
romantic comedies that will make tears run down your leg. When she’s not
reading, writing or sleeping, she’s being crowned employee of the month as a
stay-at-home mom and housewife trying to prepare her adorable demon spawn to be
productive members of society, all the while fantasizing about long walks on
the beach with hot chocolate chip cookies. 

 

Books by Pippa Grant
Author Links

New Release + Release Blitz: The Accidental Girlfriend by Emma Hart

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The Accidental Girlfriend, an all-new hilarious romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Emma Hart is available now!

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Top Tip: Don’t put out an online ad offering your services as a fake date. Someone will take you up on it.

And it won’t just be for one night.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I ended up being Mason Jackson’s fake girlfriend.

He didn’t even want me to be. No—his sister was solely responsible for me being his date for his ten-year high school reunion.

Now, she’s responsible for telling his parents our relationship is real.

We have no choice. We have to act like this isn’t all a mistake, like it’s not all fake, like we’re totally, completely, utterly, head-over-heels in love with each other.

Simple, right?

Wrong.

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Download your copy of The Accidental Girlfriend today!

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About Emma Hart

Emma Hart is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels and has been translated into several different languages.

She is a mother, wife, lover of wine, Pink Goddess, and valiant rescuer of wild baby hedgehogs.

Emma prides herself on her realistic, snarky smut, with comebacks that would make a PMS-ing teenage girl proud.

Yes, really. She’s that sarcastic.
EmmaHart.jpg

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EmmaHartBooks/

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Surprise Release: Delayed Satisfaction by Lauren Blakely

SURPRISE RELEASE!

LIVE and FREE everywhere! DELAYED SATISFACTION, a brand new novella from #1 NYT Bestseller Lauren Blakely, is free on all ebook retailers! Snag this forbidden romance novella for a sexy escape!

https://laurenblakely.com/delayedsatisfaction/

 

 

AVAILABLE NOW FOR FREE!!
✦Kindle ➜https://amzn.to/2Nb1lpL
✦Kindle UK➜ https://amzn.to/2ZE40cG
✦Apple ➜ https://blkly.pub/AppleDelayed
✦Kobo ➜ https://blkly.pub/KoboDelayed
✦BN ➜ https://blkly.pub/NookDelayed
✦Google ➜ https://blkly.pub/GoogleDelayed
✦Paperback ➜ https://amzn.to/2X50Baa
✦Audible ➜ The audiobook for Delayed Satisfaction can be found here: https://blkly.pub/DatingAudible

 

 

Blurb:
I’m not looking for love. I’m definitely not even interested in dating. But when I first see the handsome stranger singing on stage and our eyes lock, it feels like kismet. For seven blissful days, we fall into an intoxicating romance. Until one night when I learn just how forbidden we are…

 

 

About the Author:
A #1 New York Times Bestselling, #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling, and #1 Audible Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’ssweet, sexy and witty. Her heroines are strong and smart and her heroes have hearts of gold and fantastic funny bones. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 100 times, and she’s sold more than 3 million books.

In June she released SATISFACTION GUARANTEED and in September she’ll release INSTANT GRATIFICATION.

She’d love to give you a free book today! Check out her web site to grab your free read: laurenblakely.com/one-free-book/

 

 

Connect w/Lauren:
Website: http://www.laurenblakely.com/
span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurenBlakelyBooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurenBlakely3
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laurenblakelybooks/
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lauren-blakely
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2YzfGNv
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6860216.Lauren_Blakely

Chapter Reveal: Handle With Care by Helena Hunting – Shacking Up Series – Book 5

Handle With Care cover

Handle With Care

Shacking Up Series – Book 5

By Helena Hunting

Release Date: 8/27/2019

Blurb:

HE WANTS TO LOSE CONTROL.
Between his parents’ messed up marriage and his narcissistic younger brother, Lincoln Moorehead has spent the majority of his life avoiding his family. After the death of his father, Lincoln finds himself in the middle of the drama. To top it all off, he’s been named CEO of Moorehead Media, much to his brother’s chagrin. But Lincoln’s bad attitude softens when he meets the no-nonsense, gorgeous woman who has been given the task of transforming him from the gruff, wilderness guy to a suave businessman

SHE’S TRYING TO HOLD IT TOGETHER.
Wren Sterling has been working double time to keep the indiscretions at Moorehead Media at bay, so when she’s presented with a new contract, with new responsibilities and additional incentives, she agrees. Working with the reclusive oldest son of a ridiculously entitled family is worth the hassle if it means she’s that much closer to pursuing her own dreams. What Wren doesn’t expect is to find herself attracted to him, or for it to be mutual. And she certainly doesn’t expect to fall for Lincoln. But when a shocking new Moorehead scandal comes to light, she’s forced to choose between her own family and the broody, cynical CEO.

 

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CHAPTER 1

WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?

WREN

I slip onto the empty bar stool beside the lumberjack mountain man who looks like he tried to squeeze him- self into a suit two sizes too small. He’s intimidatingly broad and thick, with long dark hair that’s been pulled up into a haphazard man bun thing. His beard is a hip- ster’s wet dream. His scowl, however, makes him about as approachable as a rabid porcupine. And yet, here I am, sidling up next to him.

He glances at me, eyes bleary and not really tracking. He quickly focuses on his half-empty glass again. Based on the slump of his shoulders and the uncoordinated way he picks up his glass and tips it toward his mouth, I’m guessing he’s pretty hammered. I order a sparkling water with a dash of cranberry juice and a lime.

What I could really use is a cup of lavender-mint tea and my bed, but instead, I’m sitting next to a drunk man in his thirties. My life is extra glamorous, obviously. And no, I’m not an escort, but at the moment I feel like my morals are on the same kind of slippery slope.

 

“Rough day?” I ask, nodding to the bottle that’s miss- ing more than half its contents. It was full when he sat down at the bar an hour ago. Yes, I’ve been watching him the entire time, waiting for an opportunity to make my move. While he’s been sitting here, he’s turned down two women, one in a dress that could’ve doubled as a disco ball and the other in a top so low-cut, I could almost see her navel.

“You could say that,” he slurs. He props his cheek on his fist, eyes almost slits. I can still make out the vibrant blue hue despite them almost being closed. They move over me, assessing. I’m wearing a conservative black dress with a high neckline and a hem that falls below my knees. Definitely not nearly as provocative as Disco Ball or Navel Lady.

“That solving your problems?” I give him a wry grin and tip my chin in the direction of his bottle of Johnnie. His gaze swings slowly to the bottle. It gives me a chance to really look at him. Or what I can see of hisface under his beard, anyway.
“Nah, but it helps quiet down all the noise up here.”He taps his temple and blurts, “My dad died.”
I put a hand on his forearm. It feels awkward, and creepy on my part since its half-genuine, half-contrivedcomfort. “I’m so sorry.”
He glances at my hand, which I quickly remove, and refocuses on his drink. “I should be sorry too, but I think he was mostly an asshole, so the world might be better off without him.” He attempts to fill his glass again, but his aim is off, and he pours it on the bar instead. I rush to lift my purse and grab a handful of napkins to mop up the mess.

“I’m drunk,” he mumbles.
“Well, I’m thinking that might’ve been the plan, con-sidering the way you’re sucking that bottle back. I’m actually surprised you didn’t ask for a straw in the first place. Might be a good idea to throw a spacer in there if you want tomorrow morning to suck less.” I push my drink toward him, hoping he doesn’t send me pack- ing like he did the other women who approached him earlier.

 

He narrows his eyes at my glass, suspicious, maybe. “What is that?”

“Cranberry and soda.”
“No booze?”
“No booze. Go ahead. You’ll thank me in the morning.”
He picks up the glass and pauses when it’s an inch from his mouth. His eyes crinkle, telling me he’s smil- ing under that beard. “Does that mean Imma wake up with you beside me?”

I cock a brow. “Are you propositioning me?”

“Shit, sorry.” He chugs the contents of my glass. “I was joking. Besides, I’m so wasted, I can barely remem- ber my name. Pretty sure I’d be useless in bed tonight. I should stop talkin’.” He scrubs a hand over his face and then motions to me. “I wouldn’t proposition you.”

I’m not sure how to respond. I go with semi-affronted, since it seems like somewhat of an insult. “Good to know.”

“Dammit. I mean, I think you might be hot. You look hot. I mean attractive. I think you’re pretty.” He tips his head to the side and blinks a few times. “You have nice eyes, all four of them are lovely.”

This time I laugh—for real—and point to the bottle. “I think you might want to tell your date you’re done for the night.”

He blows out a breath and nods. “You might be right.”

 

He makes an attempt to stand, but as soon as his feet hit the floor, he stumbles into me and grabs my shoulders to steady himself. “Whoa. Sorry. Yup, I’m definitely drunk.” His face is inches from mine, breath smelling strongly of alcohol. Beyond that, I get a whiff of fresh soap and a hint of aftershave. He lets go of my shoul- ders and takes an unsteady step back. “I don’t usually do this.” He motions sloppily to the bottle. “Mostly I’m a three drink max guy.”

“I think losing your father makes this condonable.” I slide off my stool. Despite being tall for a woman, and wearing heels, he still manages to be close to a head taller than me.

“Yeah, maybe, but I still think I might regret it tomor- row.” He’s incredibly unsteady, swaying while standing in place. I take the opportunity for what it is and thread my arm through his, leading him away from the bar. “Come on, let’s get you to the elevator before you pass out right here.”

He nods, then wobbles a bit, like moving his head has set him off balance. “That’s probably a good idea.”

He leans into me as we weave through the bar and stumbles on the two stairs leading to the foyer. There’s no way I’ll be able to stop him if he goes down, but I drape one of his huge arms over my shoulder anyway, and slip my own around his waist, guiding him in a mostly straight line to the elevators.

“Which floor are you on?” I ask.

“Penthouse.” He drops his arm from my shoulder and flings it out, pointing to the black doors at the end of the hall. “Jesus, I feel like I’m on a boat.”

“It’s probably all the alcohol sloshing around in your brain.” I take his elbow again, helping him stagger the last twenty feet to the dedicated penthouse elevator.

 

He stares at the keypad for a few seconds, brow pulling into a furrow. “I can’t remember the code. It’s thumbprint activated though too.” He stumbles forward and presses his forehead against the wall, then tries to line up his thumb with the sensor, but his aim is horren- dous and he keeps missing.

I settle a hand on his very firm forearm. This man is built like a tank. Or a superhero. For a moment, I recon- sider what I’m about to do, but he seems pretty harm- less and ridiculously hammered, so he shouldn’t pose a threat. I’m also trained in self-defense, which would fall under the by any means necessary umbrella. “Can I help?”

He rolls his head, eyes slits as they bounce around my face. “Please.”

I take his hand between mine. The first thing I notice is how clammy it is. But beyond that, his knuckles are rough, littered with tiny scars and a few scabs, and his nails are jagged.

“Your hands are small,” he observes as I line his thumb up with the sensor pad and press down.

“Maybe yours are abnormally big,” I reply. They are rather large. Like basketball player hands.

“You know what they say about big hands.”

I fight not to roll my eyes, but for a brief moment, I wonder if what’s in his pants actually matches the rest of him. And if he’s unkempt everywhere, not just on his face. I cut that visual quickly because it makes me want to gag. “And what do they say?”

His eyes crinkle again, and he slaps his own chest. “Something about big hands, big heart.”

I bite back my own smile. “Pretty sure you’re mixing that up with cold hands, warm heart.”

His brow furrows. “There’s a good chance.”

 

The elevator doors slide open. He pushes off the wall with some effort and practically tumbles inside. He catches himself on the rail and sags against the wall as I follow him in. I honestly can’t believe I’m doing this right now.

He doesn’t have to press a button since the elevator only goes to the penthouse floor. As soon as we start moving, he groans and his shoulders curl in. “I don’t feel so good.”

Please don’t let him be sick in here. If there’s one thing I can’t deal with, it’s vomit. “You should sit.”

He slides down the wall, massive shoulders rolling forward as he rests his forehead on his knees. “Tomor- row is going to suck.”

I stay on the other side of the elevator, in case he tosses his cookies. “Probably.”

It’s the longest elevator ride in the history of the world. Or at least it feels that way, mostly because I’m terrified he’s going to yak. Thankfully, we make it to the penthouse floor incident-free. On the down side, now that he’s in a sitting position, getting him to stand again is a challenge. I have to press the open door button three times before I can finally coax him to his feet.

In the time between leaving the bar and making it to the penthouse floor, the effects of the alcohol seems to have compounded. He’s beyond sloppy, using the wall and me for support as we make our way to his door. There are two penthouse apartments up here. One on either side of the foyer.

He leans against the doorjamb, once again fighting to find the coordination to get his thumb to the sensor pad. I don’t ask if he needs my assistance this time since it’s quite clear he does. Once again I take his clammy hand in mine.

 

“Your hands are really soft,” he mumbles.
“Thanks.”
The pad flashes green, and I turn the handle. “Okay,here we go. Home sweet home.”
“This isn’t my home,” he slurs. “My cousin’s family owns this building. I’m crashing here until I can get the fuck out of New York.”

I scan the penthouse. It an eclectic combination of odd art and modern furniture, like two different tastes crashed together and this is the result. Aside from that, it’s clean to the point of looking almost like a show home.

The only sign that someone is staying here is the lone coffee cup on the table in the living room and the blan- ket lolling like a tongue over the edge of the couch. I’m still standing in the doorway while he sways unsteadily.

He tries to shove his hand in his pants pocket, but all he succeeds in doing is setting himself off-balance. He nearly stumbles into the wall.

“Thanks for your help,” he says.

He’s back in his penthouse, which means my job is technically done. However, I’m worried he’s going to hurt himself, or worse, asphyxiate on his own vomit in the middle of the night, and I’ll be the one catching heat if that happens. I’ll also feel bad if something happens to him. I blow out a breath, annoyed that this is how my night is ending.

I heave his arm over my shoulder and slip mine around his waist again, leading him through the living room toward what seems to be the kitchen. There’s a sheet of paper on the island, but otherwise it’s spotless.

“What’re you doing?” he asks.

We pause when we reach the threshold. “Which way is your bedroom?”

 

He looks slowly from right to left. “Not that way.” He points to the kitchen. It’s very state of the art.

I guide him in the opposite direction down the hall, until he stumbles through a doorway, into a large but simply furnished bedroom. Once we reach the edge of the bed, he drops his arm, spins around—it’s drunkenly graceful—and falls back on the bed, arms spread wide as if he’s planning on making snow angels. “The room is spinning.”

“Would you like me to get you a glass of water and possibly a painkiller for the headache you’ll likely have in the morning?” I’m already heading for the bathroom.

“Might be a good idea,” he mumbles.

I find a glass on the edge of bathroom vanity—which is clean, apart from a brand new toothbrush and tube of toothpaste. I run the tap, wishing I had a plastic tumbler, because I’m not sure he’s in any state to deal with break- able objects. I check the medicine cabinet, find the pills I need, shake out two tablets, and return to the bedroom.

He’s right where I left him; sprawled out faceup on a massive king-size bed, legs hanging off the end, one shoe on the floor beside him. I cross over and set the water and the pills on the nightstand.

I make a quick trip back to the bathroom and grab the empty wastebasket from beside the toilet in case his night is a lot rougher than he expects.

I tap his knee, crossing my fingers he’ll be easy to rouse. “Hey, I have painkillers for you.”

He makes a noise, but doesn’t move otherwise.

I tap his knee again. “Lincoln, you need to wake up long enough to take these.” I cringe. I called him by name, and he didn’t offer it to me while we were down at the bar. Here’s hoping he’s too drunk to notice or re- member. His name is Lincoln Moorehead, heir to the Moorehead Media fortune and all the crap that comes with it. And there’s a lot of it.

 

One eye becomes a slit. “Every time I open my eyes, the room starts spinning again.”

“If you drink this and take these, it might help.” I hold up the glass of water and the pills.

“’Kay.” It takes three tries for him to sit up. He tries to pick the pills up out of my palm, but keeps missing my hand.

“Just open your mouth.”

He lifts his head. “How do I know you’re not trying to roofie me?”

I hold up the tablet in front of his face. “They don’t say roofie, so you’re safe.”

He tries to focus on the pill and then my face. I have my doubts he’s successful at either.

His tongue peeks out to drag across his bottom lip. “The cameras in the hall will catch you if you steal my wallet.”

I laugh at that. “I’m not going to steal your wallet, I’m going to put you to bed.”

“Hmm.” He nods slowly and opens his mouth.

I drop the pills on his tongue and hand him the glass, which he drains in three long swallows. “Would you like me to refill that?”

“That’d be nice.” He holds out the glass, but when I try to pull away, he covers my hands with his. His shockingly blue eyes meet mine, and for a moment they’re clear and compelling. Despite how out of it he is, and how much he resembles a mountain man, or maybe because of it, I have a hard time looking away. “I really wish I wasn’t this messed up. You smell nice. I bet your hair is pretty when it’s not pulled up like that.” He flops a hand toward my bun. “Not that it’s not pretty like that, but I bet if you took it down, it would be wavy and soft. The kind of hair you want to bury your face in and run your fingers through.” He exhales a long breath. “I haven’t had sex in a really long time, but I feel like I would have zero finesse if I tried right now.”

 

I smile and turn away. In the time it takes for me to refill his glass, he’s managed to get one arm out of his suit jacket. He’s made it most of the way onto the bed, feet still hanging off the end, but he’s on his back, which is not ideal.

I set the glass on his nightstand, along with a second set of painkillers, which I’m assuming he’ll need in the morning, and give him another nudge. “Hey.”

This time I get nothing in the way of a response. I poke him twice more, but still nothing. He can’t sleep on his back with how drunk he is. He needs to be on his side or his stomach with a wastebasket close by.

I can’t in good conscience leave him like this. My options are limited. I shake my head as I kick off my shoes and climb up onto the bed with him. This is not at all what I expected to be doing when I brought him back up here.

I stare down at his sleeping form. His lips are parted, they’re nice lips, full and plump, even though they’re mostly obscured by his overgrown beard. His hair has started to unravel from its man bun, wisps hanging in his face. He has long lashes, really long actually, and they’re thick and dark, the kind women pay a lot of money for. His nose is straight and his cheekbones— what I can see of them—are high. With a haircut, a beard trim or complete shave, and a new suit that actu- ally fits, I can imagine how refined he’ll look. More like a Moorehead than a mountain man lumberjack. I shake my head. “I need you to roll onto your side, please,” I say loudly.

 

Nothing. Not even a grunt.

I pull on his shoulder, but he’s dead weight. Leaning over him, I make a fist and give him a light jab approxi- mately where his kidney is. “Lincoln, roll over.”

And roll he does, knocking me down and turn- ing over so he’s right on top of me. We’re face-to-face. Good God, he’s heavy. His bones must be made of lead. He shifts, one leg coming over both of mine. I push at his knee, but his arm swings out and he wraps himself around me on a low groan, pinning my arm to my side. He’s like a giant human blanket.

“How did this become my life?” I say to the ceiling, because the man lying on top of me is apparently out cold.

I try to wriggle free, I even yell his name a bunch of time before I give up and wait for him to roll off me. And while I wait for that to happen, I replay the con- versation with his mother, Gwendolyn Moorehead, that took place forty-eight hours ago and put me in this awk- ward position underneath her drunk son.

I’d been standing in Fredrick’s office, still digesting the fact that he was dead. It was shocking that a mas- sive heart attack had taken him, since he was always so healthy and full of life.

Gwendolyn, his wife—now a widow—stood stoic behind his desk, papers stacked neatly in the center.

“I’m so very for your loss, Gwendolyn. If there’s any- thing I can do. Whatever you need.” The words poured out, typical condolences, but sincerely meant because I couldn’t imagine how my mother and I would feel if we lost my father.

 

Gwendolyn’s fingers danced at her throat as she cleared it. “Thank you,” she whispered brokenly and dabbed at her eyes. “I appreciate your kindness, Wren.”

“Let me know what you want me to handle, and I’ll take care of it.”

She took a deep breath, composing herself before she lifted her gaze to mine. “I need your help.”

“Of course, what can I do?”

“My oldest son, Lincoln, will be returning to New York for the funeral, and he’ll be staying to help run the company.”

A hot feeling crept up my spine. I’d heard very little about Lincoln. Everything from Armstrong’s mouth was scathing, Fredrick’s passing references had been with fondness, and my interactions with Gwendolyn had been minimal as it was Fredrick himself who hired me, so this was first I’ve heard of Lincoln through her. “I see. And how can I help with that?” I could only imag- ine how difficult Armstrong would be if he had to share the attention with someone else, particularly his brother.

“Transitioning Lincoln.” Gwendolyn rounded her desk. “You’ve managed to turn around Armstrong’s rep- utation in the media during the time you’ve been here. I know it hasn’t been easy, and Armstrong can be difficult to manage.”

Difficult to manage is the understatement of the entire century where Armstrong is concerned. He’s a cocksucker of epic proportions. He’s also a misogynis- tic, narcissistic bastard that I’ve had to deal with for the past eight months on a nearly daily basis—sometimes even on weekends.

My job as his “handler” has been to reshape his horrendous reputation after his involvement in several scandalous events became very public. It wasn’t a job I

necessarily wanted, and I was prepared to politely reject the offer, but my mother asked me to take the position as a favor to her since she’s a friend of Gwendolyn.

Beyond that, my relationship with my mother has been strained for the past decade. When I was a teen- ager, I discovered information that changed our rela- tionship forever. Taking the job at Moorehead was in part, my way of trying to help repair our fractured bond. The financial compensation, which was ridiculously high, also didn’t hurt. Besides, Gwendolyn is on nearly every single charitable foundation committee in the city, and since that’s where my interests lie, it seemed like a smart career move.

“Since you’re already working with Armstrong and things seem to be settled there for the most part, I felt it would make sense to keep you on here at Moorehead to work with Lincoln. He’s been away from civilized society for several years. He’s nothing like his brother, very altruistic and focused on his job, rather than recre- ational pursuits, so he should be easier to manage.”

I fought a scoff at the last bit, since “recreational pursuits” was a reference to the fact that Armstrong couldn’t seem to keep his pants zipped when it came to women.

Gwendolyn pushed a set of papers toward me. “It would only be for another six months. And of course, your salary would reflect the double work load, since you’ll still have to maintain Armstrong in some capac- ity while you assist Lincoln in transitioning into his role here.”

“I’m sorry, what—”

Gwendolyn pulled me into an awkward hug, hold- ing onto my shoulders when she stepped back. Her eyes were glassy and red-rimmed. “You have no idea how much I appreciate your willingness to take this on. As soon as your contract is fulfilled, you have my word that I’ll give you a glowing recommendation to whichever organization you’d like. Your mother told me you’re in- terested in starting your own foundation. I’ll certainly help you in any way I’m able if you’ll stay on a little longer for me.” She dabbed at her corner of her eyes and sniffed, then tapped the papers on the desk. “I already have an agreement ready and an NDA, of course. Every- thing is tabbed for signing.”

 

I’m pulled back into the present when Lincoln shifts and one of his huge hands slides up my side and lands on my breast. At the same time, he pushes his nose against my neck, beard tickling my collarbone. He mut- ters something unintelligible against my skin.

I’m momentarily frozen in shock. Under any other circumstances, I would knee him in the balls. However, he’s not conscious or even semi-aware that he’s fondling me. Thankfully, now that he’s moved, I have some wig- gle room.

I elbow him in the ribs, which probably hurts me more than it does him. At least it gets him to move away enough that I can slip out from under him. I roll off the bed and pop back up, smoothing out my now-wrinkled dress. My stupid nipples are perky, thanks to the atten- tion the right one just got. Probably because it’s the most action I’ve seen since I started working for the Moore- heads eight months ago.

I hit the lights on the way out of the bedroom, pause in the kitchen to grab a glass of water and check out the sheet of paper on the counter. It’s a list of important de- tails regarding the penthouse, including the entry code. I nab my purse, snap a pic, and head for the elevators.

I have a feeling this is going to be a long six months.

_________________________________________________

 

About the Author:

Helena HuntingNYT and USA Today Bestselling author, Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance with all the feels to romantic comedies that will have you laughing until you cry.

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