The Secret…Cover & Excerpt Reveal

The Secret - Ebook

Blurb: Being butler to a widower and single father is a dream job in more ways than one for Charlotte “Charlie” Emerson. She helps keep businessman Ethan Archer’s household running without a hitch and enjoys every minute she has with his six-year-old son, Wells. But as time passes, the situation feels alarmingly intimate and when her heart starts beating faster each time Ethan steps through the door, Charlie must exert rigid control over her feelings.

With her secret, falling in love would be all kinds of bad…

Ethan Archer values the woman who keeps his life in order and cares so much for his motherless boy. He and Charlie act in harmony with each other and it’s not hard to picture them as a little family…in fact, it’s so easy, one reckless night he proposes a marriage of convenience.

What will he do if Charlie says yes? And worse, what if she tells him no?

 

Exclusive Excerpt:

Charlie returned to the kitchen to deal with the dishes and restore the pots and pans to their proper place. She liked tidiness and order in all things—emotions included. Emmaline sometimes accused her of capping off her feelings, and Charlie didn’t disagree. Or find anything wrong with it.

“In my book,” she murmured to herself now, “compartmentalizing isn’t a sin.”

“What’s not a sin?” a masculine voice questioned.

Charlie whirled around, instant heat crawling up her throat and cheeks. “Um, hi, Ethan.” Her boss had been on a business trip for the past couple of weeks. Why hadn’t she taken the time to change into something other than cropped leggings and a matching T-shirt? When was the last time she’d brushed her hair?

He smiled, softening the lines of his lean and handsome face. At their first meeting, he’d claimed to be “on the dark side of thirty-five” but she’d met younger men who didn’t come close to his level of attractiveness.

“Charlotte,” he said now.

She pretended to scowl at him and told herself that she found his use of her full name—he was the only one who ever did use it—irksome. It made her feel too…feminine, and she was supposed to merely be a functional feature in his life. A Charlie.

“Must you?”

His laughter was low, almost intimate. “On occasion, I must.”

Ignoring the traitorous pleasure she felt in his presence, she busied herself with refolding a kitchen towel. “I didn’t hear you come in.”

“You were lost in thought.” A heavy pause. “Something about sinning?”

At the amused and inquisitive tone, she glanced up at him. He looked back, one dark eyebrow winged up and the hint of a smile on his firm lips. A shiver tried working its way down her spine, but she ruthlessly held back the sensation.

“It was nothing,” she said.

“I’m disappointed to hear that.” He laughed again, sounding slightly chagrined. “For a moment I thought one of us was breaking out of our rut.”

 

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Untitled-designAbout the Author: Christie Ridgway is a California native and author of fifty contemporary romances. A six-time RITA finalist and USA Today bestselling author, she writes award-winning, emotional reads starring determined heroines and the men who can’t help but love them. Christie grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, went to college in Santa Barbara, and now is married to the sweetheart she met there.

She started off as a technical writer and moved on to computer programming before having two sons and pursuing the dream she’d held since childhood—writing romance novels. Her first book stars a hero who was a former professional surfer and since then she’s written about businessmen, TV stars, soldiers, journalists, vintners, race car drivers, and horror novelists. What her heroes have in common is their resistance to love and their hardest of falls when they finally do find their right woman.

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Coming Soon…Beautiful Mistake

BeautifulMistake_FrontCoverBLURB

The first time I met Caine West was in a bar.

He noticed me looking his way and mistakenly read my scowling as checking him out.

When he attempted to talk to me, I set him straight—telling him what I thought of his lying, cheating, egomaniacal ass.

You see, the gorgeous jerk had wined and dined my best friend–smooth talking her into his bed, all along failing to mention that he was married.  

He deserved every bit of my tongue-lashing and more for what he’d done.

Especially when that lazy smile graced his perfect face in response to my rant.

Only it turned out, the man I’d just told off wasn’t the right guy.  

Oops.  My mistake.  

Embarrassed, I slunk out without an apology.  

I was never going to see the handsome stranger again anyway, right?

That’s what I thought…until I walked into class the next morning.

Well, hello Professor West, I’m your new teaching assistant.   

I’ll be working under you…figuratively speaking.

Although the literal interpretation might not be such a bad thing—working under Professor West.

This was going to be interesting…

Excerpt teaser

An excerpt from Beautiful Mistake…

 

The class was completely empty. I wasn’t even sure he knew I was still in my seat. If he did, he was good at ignoring me as he packed up his laptop.

“Contrary to the rumors you’ve probably heard, I don’t bite.”

I jumped when he spoke. Now that the lecture hall was no longer filled with students, the acoustics of the large space bounced his deep voice all over the walls.

I stood and began my walk of shame down to the front of the classroom. There was no doubt I owed the man an apology, even if he wasn’t a professor—a professor who would be my new boss for at least the next fifteen weeks. I wanted to kick myself in the ass for not apologizing last night before I left the bar. Now it would seem like I was only doing it because of the situation I was in.

Which was true, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t want it to seem that way.

I took a deep breath. “I’m so sorry about last night.”

His face was unreadable. “I figured you might be, right about now.”

“I obviously thought you were someone else.”

“So I assumed. You thought I was the asshole. The one with the big dick, was it?”

I shut my eyes. For the last ninety minutes, I’d replayed the entire exchange from last night over and over in my head. I thought I’d remembered everything I said, but apparently I hadn’t. When I reopened my eyes, Professor West was still watching me. His stare was pretty damn intense.

I started to babble. “My friend Ava went out with this guy Owen for a month or so. He was full of shit from day one, but she didn’t see it. Actually walked up to her when she was leaving work one night and said, ‘Do you mind if I walk you home? My mother always told me to follow my dreams.’ She fell for it, the entire act, from the first day. Then one Saturday, he was supposedly out of town on business, and she was across town running errands for her mother. She took a shortcut through Madison Square Park on her way back from the grocery store and ran into him. He was with his wife and kids.”

“And you thought I was him, apparently?”

I nodded. “She came in during my shift and started drinking Long Island iced teas. When Owen walked in, she pointed to where he was standing and said he was the one in the blue shirt.”

“And we were both wearing blue shirts, I take it?”

I couldn’t help but smile, thinking of Ava last night. “Actually, no. Ava’s not much of a drinker. Turned out she was more sloshed than I thought. Owen’s shirt was brown—not even black that could be mistaken as navy or something.”

I saw Professor West’s lip twitch.

“Anyway, I’m really sorry. I barely gave you a chance to speak, and then when I realized what had happened, I was so mortified I didn’t even stop to apologize.”

“I accept your apology for last night. Even though you shouldn’t be approaching a man in the hallway to tell him off alone, your intentions were admirable.”

I should have shut up and been grateful he’d accepted my apology. Should have. “Why can’t I approach a man in the hallway?”

He leveled me with a stare. “Because you’re five foot nothing in a loud bar, and no one would have heard you if I’d dragged you into the men’s room and locked the door.”

I folded my arms over my chest. “I can take care of myself.”

“I didn’t say you couldn’t. I said you shouldn’t put yourself in those situations.”

“But you insinuated that I couldn’t by making that statement.”

He zipped his leather bag closed. “Ms. Martin, I just accepted your apology for calling me an asshole last night. Would you like me to retract that acceptance?”

God, I really was an idiot. Being around this man seemed to turn me into a psychopath. “No. I’m sorry. I acted like a jerk, and I’d like to start over, if that’s possible.”

He nodded. “Everything prior to this morning is forgotten.”

“Thank you.”

“But this morning is not. I won’t accept lateness. Don’t let it happen again.”

I swallowed. “It won’t.”

He lifted his worn, brown leather laptop bag over one shoulder. “Meet me here at five tomorrow. We’ll go over the syllabus and the classes you’ll teach, as well as my grading rubric.”

That was smack in the middle of my shift, but I’d figure something out. “Okay.”

“Are you done for the day?”

“I am. I actually have to get to work. I’m covering Ava’s shift because she isn’t feeling too well after last night. We both work at O’Leary’s.”

“You waitress there?”

“Waitress, bartend, occasionally tell off patrons.”

That earned me a full smile from Professor West. God, he should do that more often. No, forget that. He definitely shouldn’t.

“I’ll walk out with you.”

We walked through the halls together and out to the parking lot. When we arrived at my car, I stopped. “This is me. So…five o’clock tomorrow?”

Professor West looked at my beat-up old Subaru. “You’re parked in a spot reserved for the Provost. You got a parking ticket.” He squinted. “Actually, it looks like you have two parking tickets. Was your inspection expired or something?”

Crap. “Umm…no. I keep an extra ticket in the glove compartment and stick it on my windshield when I’m forced to park illegally.”

His brows shot up. “Inventive.”

“Obviously it doesn’t always work.”

“Obviously.”

“They need more parking. When you’re late, it’s impossible to find a spot.”

He studied me. “Lateness is a frequent occurrence for you, I take it?”

“Unfortunately, it is.”

“Then I should clarify something I said earlier.”

“Oh, no, that’s not necessary. I won’t be late for your class.”

He took a step closer and leaned in. “I’m glad to hear that, Ms. Martin. But that’s not what needs clarification.”

I swallowed. God, he smells good.

“Earlier I told you I didn’t bite students.” He smiled, and I felt the wickedness from it shoot down to some interesting places. “I don’t. But I make no promises about not biting feisty TAs.”

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ViKeelandABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author. With more than 1.5 million books sold, her titles have appeared in over eighty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in sixteen languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

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★★★★

 

We hope you enjoyed this extended preview!

 

Mister Money Bags

MisterMoneybagsBookCover6x9_BW_HIGHBlurb: 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.

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MMB excerpt teaser

EXCERPT

MEET BIANCA

I sighed audibly.  Are we even moving?  It was seriously the slowest elevator I’d ever taken.  Frustrated, and maybe a bit anxious to get the interview over with, I took another shot at the elevator panel.  Again, pressing the button repeatedly, I groaned, “Come on.  I’m already freakin’ late.”

I breathed a sigh of relief when the car seemed to finally pick up speed.  But then, it jolted to an abrupt stop, and the elevator went pitch black.

“Well now you’ve gone and broken the damn thing,” a deep voice said from behind me.  Startled, I jumped and bobbled my cell phone in the dark, which resulted in it falling.  From the sound of it smashing against the floor, I knew it had broken.  

“Shit!  Look what you made me do.” I bent over and patted the floor, but I couldn’t find it.  “Can you at least give me some light so I can find my phone?”

“It would be my pleasure.”

“Thank you,” I huffed.

“If I had a cell phone on me.”

“Are you kidding?  You don’t have a cell phone on you?  Who walks around without their cell phone?”

“Maybe you should try it. If you weren’t so obsessed with yours, we wouldn’t be in this predicament.”

I stood, and my hands went to my hips. “How so?”

“Well, you were so busy typing away on your phone, you didn’t even notice another passenger was in the car with you.”

“And?”

“Had you seen me, you wouldn’t have jumped hearing my voice and broken your phone.  Then we would have had light, and you would be able to see that elevator panel well enough to push that button another twenty or thirty times. I’m sure that would’ve helped.”

I felt the man moving around behind me.  

“What are you doing?”

When he answered, his voice came from a different place.  It was to my left and beneath me.  “I’m on the floor looking for your cell phone.”

It really was pitch dark.  I couldn’t see a thing, but I felt the air move, and I knew he must have stood back up.  

“Put your hand out.”

“You’re going to put my phone in it, right?”  

“No, I’ve taken down my pants and I’m going to stick my dick in it.  Christ, you’re really a bitch, aren’t you?”

Thinking he couldn’t see me, I smiled at his sarcasm and put out my hand.  “Just give me my phone.”

MEET DEX

Wow. My little ball player was quite the fox.

I’d only seen her from the back before the lights went out. Now, I was staring into her beautiful, big brown eyes, feeling like this elevator mishap wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

She cleared her throat. “The lights came back, but we’re still stuck.”

I clicked on some of the buttons. “Seems that way. But this is a step in the right direction. I bet this thing will be moving in no time.”

And by this thing moving, I do not mean my dick, although I could have sworn I felt it twitch when she just licked her beautiful full lips.

Do that again.

Fuck.

She is beautiful.

My eyes travelled down the length of her body then back up again, loving how the small buttons on her conservative blouse formed a path up to her delicate neck. I wouldn’t have minded sucking on that skin.

Maybe I could entice her to play hooky with me.

“Where are you headed once we get out of here?” I asked.

“The thirty-fourth floor,” she said.

What?

What is she doing going up to my floor?

I know she doesn’t work for me. I would have remembered that face, those eyes.

“What kind of business you have going on up there?”

“I actually have the pleasure of interviewing Mister Moneybags himself.”

My stomach sank.

Ohhhh.

This didn’t bode well for me.

I swallowed then cocked my head to the side and played dumb. “Who?”

“The elusive Dexter Truitt. He’s the CEO of Montague Enterprises. They occupy the entire top floor.”

Trying to seem like I was not seriously about to lose my shit, I asked, “Why do you call him Mister Moneybags?”

“I just picture him to be this crabby, money-hungry asshole, I guess. Sounds like a fitting name. Of course, I don’t actually know him.”

“Why do you think that way about him, then?”

“I have my reasons.”

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

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About the Authors: Vi Keeland

Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. With more than a million books sold, her titles have appeared in over fifty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in fourteen languages. She lives in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

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Penelope Ward

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of thirteen novels. With over a million books sold, her titles have placed on the New York Times Bestseller list fifteen times. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 12-year-old girl with autism (the inspiration for the character Callie in Gemini) and a 10-year-old boy. Penelope, her husband, and kids reside in Rhode Island.

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