Visiting France…or California?
In May I had the good fortune to travel to France with my husband, to visit our daughter. It was a wonderful holiday. I’d been to Paris before, but not outside the city, so travelling to the south of France, (Montpellier, then along the Cote d’azur to Nice) was all new to me. It was so beautiful, but I had to laugh because it reminded me so much of California, one of my other favourite places. My husband went to school in Santa Barbara, and we’ve gone back to visit many times. It’s very Spanish looking and is even known as the Riviera of North America, and now I know why ―the red clay tile roofs, stucco houses, the houses built all the way up the hills and mountains, the ocean and beaches, vineyards with rows and rows of grape vines, the palm trees and flowers and shrubs like bougainvillea, jasmine, mandeville, lantana…so much of felt familiar. If everything had been in Spanish, I would have sworn I was in Santa Barbara!
Anyone else ever traveled to both places? Or from my pictures, do you see the resemblance?
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The relationship is pretend. The chemistry…isn’t.
After her last job ended with a broken heart and a humiliating exit from the company, Shelby Leighton’s project management career is back on track with a new job and a high-profile project. The problem: her new boss is a little too friendly, and the staff is talking. Can you say, “déjà vu?” The solution: casually mention a fictional new boyfriend.
New problem: She’s expected to bring her new man to the upcoming corporate picnic.
Jake Magill doesn’t do relationships. It’s casual or nothing, but the hot blonde he’s been eyeing at the coffee shop sure is something. Especially when she confesses her problem, and he finds himself offering to act as her date.
Sounds simple. Stroll around the party with Shelby’s sexy curves clinging to his arm? He’s all over it. Until he meets her boss—the man who once stole and married the one woman Jake thought he loved.
Now Jake’s the one with a reason to pretend. If only to save his own pride…and Shelby from the predatory gaze of the man who could ruin her, and any chance of finding out if their fake connection is the real thing.
Product Warnings: Contains one desperate lady in need, and a pretend boyfriend who shows impressive dedication to nailing all—and then some—elements of his role. Oh my!
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Copyright © 2012 by Kelly Jamieson
They drank another beer, chatted a bit more, danced again. As the evening grew cooler, Shelby slipped on a hoodie she’d brought. She almost forgot to be aware of where Andrew was, and whether he was watching them. As the crowd dwindled, she looked at Jake with regret.
“We could leave now,” she said softly. “I think our mission is accomplished.”
“Yeah. Okay.” He nodded and set down the cola he’d requested instead of beer last time. “I’ll drive you back to your car.”
“Oh. Yeah.” She hesitated. “You know, that wasn’t very smart of me, but I think I’ve had too much to drink.” She bit her bottom lip as she met his eyes. “I completely forgot I had to drive.”
“That’s okay. I’ll just drive you home then. Will you be able to get your car tomorrow?”
Things were pleasantly blurry as they walked hand in hand toward the parking lot. “Yeah, I’ll get it somehow. But thanks for driving me home. Geez, I feel so stupid.”
“You are far from stupid, Shelby Rose.”
“I like how you call me that,” she confessed. He opened the passenger door of his Audi SUV, and she paused. “Man, this is a high vehicle.”
“It is for an elf,” he said. “Here.” He lifted her and sat her on the passenger seat, then closed her door.
“Hey!” But he was walking around the vehicle to his side. She glared at him when he slid in and he grinned.
“I’m teasing.” He leaned over and brushed his mouth across hers, sending tingles cascading over her whole body. She blinked at him, then remembered to fasten her seatbelt.
He parked on the street in front of her apartment building in the quiet residential neighborhood and walked with her to the door. As she paused at the door, the shadows of the tall queen palm shifting moonlight over and around them, he slipped his fingers beneath her chin and lifted her face. She stared back at him, her gaze moving over his dark eyes, crinkled at the corners as he smiled, the cleft in the middle of his chin, the sexy curve of his lower lip. Oh. Her breath whooshed out of her.
Heat expanded, the air around them feeling like it might ignite, and then they were wrapped in each other’s arms, mouths fused together in a hot, impetuous kiss, bold, frantic and hungry.
His arms crushed her to him, her purse thunked to the ground and her feet lifted as he hauled her higher and tighter to his body.
“Jesus,” he muttered against her mouth, before taking it again in another devouring kiss. She kissed him back, mindless, frenzied. The sexual tension that had been smoldering inside her all evening burst into flames. Heat swept over her.
His tongue dragged over hers, licked her bottom lip, then his mouth sealed over hers again. An intense ache bloomed low in her belly, and she slid her hands into his hair, holding his head, and she kissed him back, a full-mouthed, full-bodied kiss that had more heat exploding between them.
Eventually, she pulled back, panting, heart hammering, and gasped, “Wait.”
He made a sound like a groan.
“We don’t have to do this,” she wheezed. “This was supposed to be an act.”
He made a derisive noise. “Yeah. It was supposed to be. But don’t tell me you don’t feel it too, Shelby Rose.”
His hands tightened on her ass, pulling her against him, and she felt his erection against her belly. Holy crap, he was big. She’d made him that hard. And he’d made her so wet her panties were soaked. You couldn’t fake that kind of reaction. She gazed up at him, uncertain of what to do now.
“Invite me in,” he ordered softly.
She licked her lips. She wanted to, she really, really did, but she’d made this mistake before. Slept with guys too soon, because they got her all hot and bothered, because dammit she liked men, and she loved sex. Her friends had analyzed to death her tendency to fall into bed with men and she knew it had to do with wanting attention from them, and she was determined she was done with all that. But all those old doubts fell away when she studied him, remembering what he’d done for her that evening, how he’d helped her, how he’d really cared that she fixed things with her boss, and a tender warmth spread through her. She was lost.
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CONTEST! Just comment here to be entered to win a lovely little French-themed prize package! Package includes: Lavender sachet, herbes de provence sachet, Eiffel Tower keychain and of course a French condom! Winner to be announced in the comments section here on the 11th, so be sure to check back!
I’m a married mother of two who lives a very ordinary life outside of my imagination. When I’m not writing I’m usually reading. I also like to cook and that means I like to read cookbooks and cooking magazines. In the summer I enjoy spending time gardening and in the winter I like to read gardening magazines and seed catalogues. I love lying on the beach or on my deck with a glass of wine and a good book. I also love to travel. As you can see, pretty much all my activities involve reading somehow! Although I don’t have as much time for it any more, I also love to shop, especially for clothes and shoes. Some think I’m obsessed with shoes but that is not true (although my husband would point out that there is no room left in our closet).
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