PLUS ONE by Aleatha Romig: Excerpt Reveal

 

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A fun, sexy new stand-alone from New York Times bestselling author Aleatha Romig.

He’s sexy and confident, the kind of man every woman notices. You know, the one with the to-die-for body and panty-melting smirk. And then there’s the way his designer suits drape over his broad shoulders and big…well, we’ve all heard the rumors, the ones that say he’s up for any challenge.

But I can’t see him that way. He’s my boss—technically one of the owners of the company where I work—and definitely not in my league. Men like him don’t notice women like me, and they don’t date them.

And I don’t date men like him.

Until that one time that I catch him in a compromising position when I’m also in need of a last-minute date for a wedding…and then it’s not real. It’s blackmail.

For one weekend, he’s my plus-one.

Beautiful and unobtainable.

From the moment she walked into my office with those stunning blue eyes and crazy sensual curves, she’s been on my mind. Three years and never once has she acted interested in me. Usually I flash a million-dollar smile and women fall to their knees, some literally.

Not her.

Then on the occasion that I agree to let another woman do that—fall to her knees—guess who happens to catch us?

It may not be the most conventional way to get on her radar, but I didn’t get this far in business without knowing when to seize an opportunity. If this sexy little firecracker with perfectly kissable lips thinks she can blackmail me into attending her cousin’s wedding, I’m going to jump at the chance to be her plus-one.

You love her darker side. Now it’s time to meet Leatha, the lighter side of Aleatha, as she trades her renowned twists and turns for laughs and love with this sexy new stand-alone romance, PLUS ONE.

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Chapter 1

I push the thought of my mother’s call away and concentrate on my friend, Shana. As I do, the slippery napkin escapes my hold. Quickly, I slide from my seat to retrieve it.

“Excuse me,” a deep voice says as black leather loafers stop precariously close to where I’m now kneeling to rescue my napkin.

Seeing the shoes, I look up and suck in a deep breath.

Towering above me are long legs covered in tailored trousers. As I follow them up, they lead to a trim waist, a black belt, and a white shirt that buttons over a broad chest. I barely swallow the lump in my throat as I recognize the wide shoulders covered with the matching suit jacket. Seizing the napkin, I stand, suddenly face to face with one of the owners of the company where I work.

My face burns with embarrassment as his shimmering green eyes narrow and head tilts. Inches away from me is one of the handsomest men I’ve ever met. He should be on the cover of GQ, not gracing the halls of Buchanan and Willis.

His firm lips form a tight smirk and cheeks rise in amusement. “Miss Jones.”

Staring into the sea of emerald, I try to pretend I wasn’t just on my knees in a chic restaurant in front of Duncan Willis.

“Mr. Willis,” I respond, my voice cracking. Nervously I take a step backward. As if the moment weren’t awkward enough, I wobble, teetering precariously on my high heels.

Swiftly, he reaches out, grabs my elbow, and steadies my footing. Though he just saved me from making an even bigger fool out of myself by falling face-first into what I can only imagine is a hard, defined chest, my mind is suddenly consumed with the electricity of his touch. The energy heats my skin as his grasp lingers.

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Aleatha Romig is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who lives in Indiana. She grew up in Mishawaka, graduated from Indiana University, and is currently living south of Indianapolis. Aleatha has raised three children with her high school sweetheart and husband of nearly thirty years. Before she became a full-time author, she worked days as a dental hygienist and spent her nights writing. Now, when she’s not imagining mind-blowing twists and turns, she likes to spend her time a with her family and friends. Her other pastimes include reading and creating heroes/anti-heroes who haunt your dreams!

Aleatha released her first novel, CONSEQUENCES, in August of 2011. CONSEQUENCES became a bestselling series with five novels and two companions released from 2011 through 2015. The compelling and epic story of Anthony and Claire Rawlings has graced more than half a million e-readers. Aleatha released the first of her series TALES FROM THE DARK SIDE, INSIDIOUS, in the fall of 2014. These stand alone thrillers continue Aleatha’s twisted style with an increase in heat.

In the fall of 2015, Aleatha moved head first into the world of dark romantic suspense with the release of BETRAYAL, the first of her five novel INFIDELITY series that has taken the reading world by storm. She also began her traditional publishing career with Thomas and Mercer. Her books INTO THE LIGHT and AWAY FROM THE DARK were published through this mystery/thriller publisher in 2016.

Aleatha is a “Published Author’s Network” member of the Romance Writers of America and a member of PEN America.  She is represented by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

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MISTER MONEYBAGS by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward: Excerpt Reveal

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IMG_5273I 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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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.”

 

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Author photoVi Keeland is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author. With more than a million books sold, her titles have appeared in over fifty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twelve 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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Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She’s a fifteen-time New York Times bestseller of twelve novels.

Having grown up in Boston with five older brothers, she spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 12-year-old girl with autism and a 10-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island.

 

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EGOMANIAC by Vi Keeland: Excerpt Reveal

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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.

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Sometimes what you’re looking for comes when you’re not looking at all.

                                                                       -Unknown

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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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author-photoVi Keeland is a native New Yorker with three children that occupy most of her free time, which she complains about often, but wouldn’t change for the world. She is an attorney and a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, & USA Today Best Selling author. Over the last three years, eleven of her titles have appeared on the USA Today Bestseller lists and four on the New York Times Bestseller lists.

In 2013, she released her first romance novel and never looked back. To date, she has thirteen novels released, with PLAYBOY PILOT also releasing in 2016.  Her novels have appeared on #1 on Amazon and are currently being translated into German, Polish, Portuguese, Korean, Hebrew, French and Italian.

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