There is never a wrong time to snuggle up and fall in love! The Authors’ Billboard has another Sweet and Sassy boxset aimed directly at Falling Into Love.
This four-book set from USA Today Bestselling, Award-Winning Authors contains stories of second chances, single parents, small-towns and large. With some touches of suspense, unexpected sparks, and close-knit families, these characters are out to find more than they bargained for while Falling Into Love.
Stacy Eaton, USA Today Bestselling Author, Bradley, Loving a Young Series: With a new house in her name, Nolan Nickels seeks out the perfect plan to get the house ready so she can bring her two daughters’ home, but is her fixer-upper more than she bargained after Brad Young comes to help?
Susanne Matthews, Bestselling Author, – Make Mine a Manhattan: Assuming her heroine’s identity, Savannah Long heads for New York to experience life and gets far more than she bargained for.
Denise Devine, USA Today Bestselling Author, – Unfinished Business: When Alana Morgan’s life is upended by a suspicious death and a betrayal, she joins forces with Reid Sinclair to uncover the evidence she desperately seeks.
Taylor Lee, USA Today Bestselling Author – You Can’t Always Get What You Want: He’s a hard as nails police chief. She’s a feisty ADA. The one thing they have in common is arrogance. Sparks flare when the challenging duo face off.
Each and every book in this series is worth its weight in gold! I’m going to focus on my newest book in the set, Make Mine a Manhattan. This book is also part of the Cocktails for You series, which means it’s full of humor as well as serious, romantic scenes.
What’s an author to do when, thanks to writer’s block, she’s hopelessly stuck?
With only eight weeks left to finish her newest novel, bestselling author Sydney Sanders, aka Robin Langford, is stumped. On impulse, the thirty-three-year old introvert decides to take her agent’s advice and shift gears, but instead of going on a short vacation, she decides on hands-on research. Immersing herself in her story and assuming her heroine’s identity, she heads to Manhattan to live out the plot. What could possibly go wrong?
As Savanna Long, she boards the train, expecting a quiet ride and time to refresh her muse for the chore ahead. But a lot can happen during the thirty-eight hour trip, especially with her imagination and the drop-dead gorgeous passenger in the next car.
We all know that the best laid plans can often go awry, and for Robin that’s exactly what happens.
Here’s a glimpse at the opening scene from the novel.
You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.
“Please, Mom, can’t you just let it go?” I begged, regretting my decision to stop in for a cold drink after my morning run. “You asked and I said no, and I mean it. I’m not interested. Nyet, nada, nein, non.”
There were two disadvantages to wearing a mask to protect myself and others from COVID-19. The first was the difficulty breathing when one was hyperventilating and the second was the inability to see someone’s lower facial expressions, but the eyes never lied.
From the storm clouds in my mother’s gray ones, I knew she was angry with me, but I was just as mad at her—well, maybe not at her exactly—but I was frustrated, and this scheme of hers was just one more complication I didn’t need, one more reason for my heavy breathing, and it had nothing to do with being out of shape. At the moment, I was hot and sweaty. I just wanted my iced capp and then a shower.
“It’s not as if Mayor Loucks asks you for favors every day,” Mom continued with another volley in an argument I was determined she would never win.
“For the last time, Mom, I refuse to go out with every eligible Tom, Dick, or Harry someone throws in my path,” I stated, my teeth gritted so tightly, they ached. “Besides. We’re still supposed to be staying socially distant. I’m perfectly content in my own bubble. I like my life here as it is, without a lot of fanfare. Shakespeare and I are just fine.”
Mom harrumphed as she finished putting the final touches on my iced cappuccino. The good thing about having a parent who owned a coffee shop was the free drinks, the bad thing was the unsolicited advice.
“I don’t understand why you’re being so obstinate and selfish,” she continued. “The pandemic is winding down. There hasn’t been a new case in days, and this is just one little dinner—a barbecue picnic, for heaven’s sake. You’ll be outside. The man is in Flowerfield to look over the old Dog Mountain ski area. If he agrees to invest in it, it’ll be a shot in the arm for the town, and Lord knows, we can use it. Franklin assures me the man has had both of his Coronavirus vaccines and has a negative test. You can’t get any safer than that these days, and you know it. Besides, Lacey says he’s gorgeous, cultured, and filthy rich. You aren’t getting any younger and quality husband material isn’t easy to find around here. I would think you would be happy to take one for the town.”
“Take one for the town? Just what are you suggesting, Mother? I’m perfectly happy without a prick between my legs or anywhere else,” I hissed through clenched teeth.
“Sydney Robin Langford, you watch your mouth. I didn’t raise you to speak like that and you know it. That is most definitely not what I meant. There are decent folks in here who want to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee without listening to your foul language. The way you’re behaving these days, I swear you’ve become anti-social. Maybe you should see Doctor Edwards. You could’ve started premature menopause.”
I exhaled forcefully. I couldn’t say prick, but my mother, in the same quiet tone a five-year-old uses to whisper, could inform the town that her thirty-three year old daughter was menopausal.
“Mom, I’m sorry, but I don’t have time to play nice-nice with some rich carpetbagger who’ll probably walk away from the deal anyway.”
“You’re too busy? I doubt that. You’re the only person I know who actually enjoyed all those months of quarantine. If I hadn’t insisted you come to dinner last night, you would’ve brushed off your sister and your nephew as well as your dad and me. So tell me, Miss Too-Good-to-Do-The-Town-A-Simple-Favor, what is it that you’re working on? And don’t say school work because you started summer vacation last week.”
“I’m … I’m working on a special course—something online,” I stammered, the half-lie slipping out of my mouth.
“You’re always working on something online. The governor says that the kids will be going back to in-classroom learning this fall, so you can quit trying to develop those—what did you call them? Oh yes—innovative and exciting online lessons.” Her eyes narrowed. “I was reading about screen time dependency. Are you addicted to video games? Good Lord, don’t tell me you’rewatching porn or chatting with some stranger who could well be a serial killer.”
“Mother! I don’t know where you get your ideas, but no!”
I shook my head, rolled my eyes, and reached for my cappuccino. And here I thought I was the one with the wild imagination. It was perfectly acceptable to send me on a blind date with a stranger who had money and might invest it in the town, but if I were to meet anyone online, he would be the next Jeffrey Dahmer.
“Forget it. You wouldn’t understand. You never have.” I stepped back. “I have to get home and feed Shakespeare.”
My mother turned and glared at me.
“You treat that cat better than you treat the members of your own family. Fine. I’ll call Franklin and make some excuse, but you’ll regret not helping out when the town needed you. If Stargazer Enterprise does reopen the mountain, having a close personal relationship with the CEO would be quite advantageous.”
Would she never give up? On the defensive now, I harrumphed.
“Since when does a blind date barbecue picnic I have no intention of attending morph into a close personal relationship? Forget it, Mom. I’m not the sacrificial virgin ready to be tossed into the volcano to save the town. Unless you agree not to harp on this again, I’m not coming back for lunch with Callie and Mickey.”
The bell rang announcing the arrival of another customer.
Thank you, Lord.
“Fine,” Mom agreed, but her tone made it clear she wasn’t happy about it. “Maybe he doesn’t need a date per se. There will be plenty of single women there. I’ll see you at one thirty sharp.”
She frowned, her mask moving up her face almost obliterating her eyes.
I sighed, knowing full well that this wouldn’t be the end of it, but if I didn’t make lunch, I wouldn’t survive the lecture that was sure to follow. How old would I have to be before she would let me live my own life?
“I’ll be here.”
Turning abruptly, I collided with the mountain behind me, splashing my iced capp all over both of us, the beige froth settling and melting on top of his loafers.
A collective gasp filled the room, and I was suddenly aware of the dozens of gazes fixed on me. This was the icing on my sucks-to-be-me day!
There was Frank, the town mechanic and Sylvia who ran the dry cleaners. Was that Mayor Loucks? Hard to tell with the mask, hat, and sunglasses. When news of my latest debacle got around—and it would do so at super-sonic speed, His Worship would be glad to have avoided setting up his big buyer with the Queen of Klutz and Bad Luck.
“Oh my God,” Mom cried. “What have you done? I swear when God was handing out clumsiness, you asked for a double dose. Don’t you ever watch where you’re going?”
Where I’m going? Injured party here!
Speechless, I gaped at the huge, wet spot spreading across the man’s tan shirt and khaki pants, scarcely noticing the fact that my white cotton t-shirt was just as wet. Tilting my head up, I stared at the black mask, mirrored sunglasses, and brim of a Panama hat. When had I ever seen a man with such broad shoulders? To rub a little salt into the wound of my humiliation, despite my mask, the aroma of his aftershave tickled my nose, and I sneezed.
Heat filled my cheeks. No doubt the top half of my face was as red as a ripe tomato, and considering I had frizzy, carrot-colored hair, currently pulled up into a messy bun on the top of my head, it wouldn’t be a good look on me. I peered at the mess I’d made, suddenly aware of the fact that my tightened nipples were poking out of my wet shirt.
Mortification mixed with indignation, and my brain clicked into gear. I set the empty cup on the table beside me and tried to cover my wet chest with my arms.
The stranger just stood there, looking down on me.
Not known for my patience and diplomacy, I lashed out at him in a tone worthy of Katerina in The Taming of the Shrew.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t know you were there. Of course, if you hadn’t been standing right on my ass, we might’ve avoided the collision. Or don’t you know what six feet, social distancing means?”
He hissed in a sharp breath but didn’t speak, no doubt because he knew I was right.
Mom raced around the counter with a damp cloth and a pile of napkins.
“Don’t just stand there, do something.”
Gritting my teeth, I grabbed the damp cloth from her, and started dabbing at the coffee on my t-shirt.
“Not you, for heaven’s sake,” Mom barked.
So much for motherly love and compassion!
Pasting a fake smile on my face, I turned to the man and began rubbing at the stain on his shirt and pants, praying they wouldn’t stain; otherwise, I would be expected to cough up for replacement designer clothes that cost more than my annual tax bill. My new t-shirt was probably ruined, and that annoyed me more, causing me to rub harder.
I stopped dead, my heart pounding out a primitive beat, my lungs refusing to function.
While the stranger had to be at least six foot six, I was barely five feet tall. Most of the coffee stain was on his crotch, a fact my addled brain had ignored. My hand was essentially massaging that area of his anatomy, and I could feel something cylindrical growing hard under it.
I jumped away as if I’d been tasered. The old, Is that a flashlight in your pocket or are you happy to see me joke ripped through my mind, and I smothered a giggle.
“Robin, you’re just making it worse,” my mother said, handing the man the pile of napkins. “Perhaps you would like to step into the washroom, sir?”
The man grunted and reached for the napkins. I couldn’t help noticing his hands. Whoever I’d collided with had the hands of a pianist, with long tapered fingers. What would it be like to have hands like that caress my body?
Mother of God! What is wrong with me? As soon as he moved away, I rushed out the door, jogging the three blocks home faster than I’d ever run them before, grateful that at seven in the morning, the street was all but deserted.
You can read all about Robin’s adventures in Make Mine a Manhattan, part of the Sweet & Sassy Falling into Love box set available now for only 99 cents USD. Preorder your copy today.