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Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance, mid-length, reality TV
Tropes: Fake Relationship, Forced Proximity, One Bed
Fish out of water, Doctor/Patient, Opposites attract
A celeb with a secret. A doctor with a dilemma. Faking they're in love makes for good tv. But whose heart will break when reality bites?
Ria DeLorenzo is a damn good doctor. Or was. Burnt out before she’s begun, a three-month paid vacation as the medical consultant to a reality TV show is just what she needs to recover her mojo.
Cancer survivor and headline grabber Griffin Stromberg is desperate to reboot his ultra-macho image. Typecast by years of fame, showcasing his softer side with a picture-perfect relationship should do the trick. Until Ria breaches show protocol and gets Griff's fake girlfriend disqualified.
Now Ria's only hope of clocking out of reality is to check in to a fantasy by becoming his new partner. Griff, however, wants their relationship to be the real deal, not one of his infamous life-hacks.
Can a man renowned for taking shortcuts prove he's ready to commit to a forever relationship? Or will reality bite once filming is over?
“Is that your issue? That you’ll drop character and reveal the real Ria? Five yards apart. Three months together. I’m going to see you. All of you. And you’re going to get all of me because, let’s not forget, I’m entirely and exclusively yours while we’re banded. You could consider this a trial run at a relationship.” I sure as hell am.
And if it didn’t work, they could both blame Bex.
Ria eyed him balefully. “Now that’s a mighty interesting spin to our situation. Gets me to thinking about why you might’ve signed onto this show with someone you knew for years but didn’t date.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Come to any conclusions?”
“Obviously you could both cite enough intimate facts about each other to fake being an actual couple.”
“Sounds like cheating, right? But Bex never specified a couple’s relationship had to be romantic. Hell, I could have invited one of my sisters if they weren’t all knee deep in babies. Heather was the next best choice. Until I met you. Until we kissed. Now that you’ve signed on, I don’t intend to fake anything.”
A tiny V appeared between her brows. “Are you saying you want a romantic relationship?”
“I think we have potential. And you can’t deny there’s chemistry.”
Panic spread across her face. “That’s purely physical. Don’t get me wrong, I agreed to your condition and I’m willing to act on it. But here’s my condition in return. When we wrap, we’re over.”
“Is that what you signed on for? A fling?”
“I surely did. You’re totally above my paygrade, so I’m cashing in while I can.” She smiled, bright and false. “I’m sure you can appreciate that, given you’re an opportunist.”
He wanted to call her bullshit. Anyone willing to bank on a fantasy hook-up lasting three months wouldn’t drop it by a deadline. But, like her bottle trick, the best approach was to play along.
“Opportunist has so many negative connotations,” he mused, leaning forward to take the wine bottle from her and place it on the floor beside the bed. “Unfair when it takes skill and timing to finesse obstacles into opportunities.”
Her gaze skittered from him to the bottle as if wishing she’d drunk as much as she seemed to. Or perhaps she regretted declaring herself willing. Too bad. He’d never seduced someone before. Never needed to. But the doctor could do with a dose of her own medicine.
Collecting her unresisting hand, he ran his thumb along the fine bones. Such a delicate hand, so tiny in his own, yet she probably had more skill in her fingertips than he had in his whole body. A reminder he couldn’t let that quip about paygrades slide.
“Don’t ever disparage yourself on my behalf. My ego is big enough without being stroked.”
“What if I like stroking egos?” she rallied.
“Then you’ll only make it bigger.” His cock twitched, interpreting the message from his ears as an instruction, unaware it was destined for disappointment.
Ria failed to serve up a rejoinder. Instead the little crease between her brow returned as she stared at their hands. Most doctors he’d known had been confident to the point of arrogance, but her sass seemed a reflex action.
He studied her face. Whoever had done her makeup had concealed her freckles as if they were a flaw. But he liked the emphasis on her eyes. As if sensing his scrutiny, her gaze flicked to his. A strange, cramping sensation squeezed his ribs. Sad eyes. Sad, confused, and a little lost. She stilled under his scrutiny. Didn’t so much as blink. But the black of her pupils widened until they seemed to spill into the brown.
“You are one seriously smart, sexy woman,”
he found himself saying.
“Smart and sexy?” She sounded doubtful.
“Smart is sexy.”
Her mouth pursed and he couldn’t help himself. He
traced the bow of her upper lip with his index finger.
“That color—whatever it is—looks very, very edible.”
“Plum. I think it’s plum. It’s not flavored. I usually wear
flavored. Lip gloss, I mean.”
“Yeah, like the fruit.” He dipped the tip of his finger
inside her bottom lip and dragged the soft flesh down.
“Plump. Juicy. Delicious.”
The heat of her breath washed over his knuckles as she gasped.
“Your mouth, Ria… Your mouth drives me insane.”
Circling and caressing, he mapped the shape of her mouth again and again. He wanted to claim it with his own, wanted it wringing out his name as he brought her to climax, wanted it wrapped around his cock.
Her breathing shallowed and grew ragged.
It matched his own.
She leaned in and her tongue darted out in a snatching quest for his thumb. He almost let her catch him. Almost forgot his intention to take the long, slow route to real intimacy and not the shortcut through short-lived passion. If she sucked on his finger, however, those images in his head were going to get real. And fast. Reluctantly, he tucked it aside and spread his hand to cup her cheek. The entire weight of her body seemed to rest in his palm. Goddammit, he couldn’t do this just to fake her out.
“You stopped.” She sounded drugged.
Carefully, slowly, he withdrew his hand and put distance between them. “Like I said, I’ll kiss you again when I’m sure you can look me in the eyes afterward.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Originally from Australia, Katrina fell in love with an Irishman and emigrated the wrong way. She and her family now live in the heart of the Emerald Isle, surrounded by neighbours that mostly moo but sometimes baa.
Happily, she prefers castles to beaches and can handle her whiskey—even if she can’t convince the human locals that she’s definitely staying.
One night of magic. That’s all they had together but it changed both their lives.
Multi-millionaire Oliver Maxwell, 51, despairs of ever finding the woman who stole his heart that night.
Renowned artist Simone St Ives, 46, also knows her life was forever altered by that one chance encounter.
Both doubt they’ll ever find their soul mate again. Because finding them seems impossible when all you know about the other is their first name?
“What the fuck do you mean, you can’t find her?”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Maxwell, but with so little to go on…” The nondescript man facing Oliver shrugged his shoulders, his arms apart in a gesture of defeat. He looked hesitant as he added, “I mean we don’t even have a last name, and you told me you can’t even be sure she lives in this city.”
Oliver’s deep growl escaped his throat without warning then he sighed. He knew the private investigator was correct, but it didn’t sit easily with him. He had to let go of his anger.
He drew in several deep breaths then nodded. “I understand completely, and I’m sorry. I do know you’ve done your best.”
“If we just had something else.” The plaintive note in his voice wasn’t lost on Oliver. “Even a last name, a suburb, a place of employment. Anything.”
Hundreds of times each day, Oliver wished he had the same things as he replied, “Thanks. If I discover any of those you’ll be the first to know.”
Both rose and shook hands, with the PI scuttling as fast as he could from the office. Yep, he’s glad to leave. Oliver sank back onto his chair, laying his head on his hands. He’d tried everything he could think of during the past three weeks to find his mystery woman to no avail. He had to face facts—she was gone.
I need you, where are you?
One night, that’s all they had, just one night. But it would be burnt into his memory forever. No other woman would, or could, ever come close to her. His life had been forever changed by one chance encounter. Oliver’s mind went back to that night, as it had done so often in the last three weeks.
He still couldn’t remember why he’d gone down in the elevator … probably something to do with the charity auction he’d been involved in. When the doors opened on the ground floor, a vision in cream entered the carriage. Oliver couldn’t move, he just stared at her. She looked over at him, her vivid green eyes widened, and he felt a jolt somewhere around his heart. She pressed a button.
Her melodic voice sent shivers down his spine as she asked, “What floor?”
“Wherever you’re going.”
Her mouth had opened slightly as she continued staring at him, taking one step toward him as if pulled by a huge magnet. It was as though they were the only two people left in the world. The doors began to close and Oliver quickly pushed forty as he stepped closer to her, his arm brushed against hers and she gasped. They both just stood there, so close to each other, staring into each other’s eyes. The elevator stopped and its doors began to open on the twentieth floor. She ignored the beckoning hallway and stayed looking at him. Upward they rode until they heard—ding, the fortieth floor.
To this day Oliver had no idea why he did it, nor why on earth she accepted, but he held out his hand and stood in the open elevator doorway. She looked at his upturned hand, then back to his face and with a smile that could have sunk a thousand ships, she put her hand in his. They walked in silence down the corridor.Somehow he managed to pull his key-card
from his pocket, then open the door to his hotel suite. He kicked it shut as they entered and the next second they were in each other’s arms. Her kisses were as frantic as his. They both tore at each other’s clothes until finally both were naked.
© Suzy Shearer 2021
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/
Heat Rating : Level 4
Word Count: 89,700
She’d slept in, got covered in mud, almost set fire to the ladies' room, and then lost her job. So what else could happen?
Mia Bruce, 54, couldn't believe how bad her day started out but that chain of events led to something amazing—she started her own business!
Karl Miller, 55, multi-millionaire, business owner and bisexual partner to Liam, couldn't believe his eyes when he found the half-naked staff member in the ladies' room. Instead of a fire in the bathroom, he found a fire in his heart.
Liam Kelly, 53, world-renowned artist, and Karl's life partner, meets Mia on the worst day of her life. He's smitten as much as Karl. Now all the two men have to do is convince Mia she needs two men in her life. Seems easy?
No. Not when she dislikes Karl at first sight.
Be Warned: menage sex (MMF), m/m sex, spanking. TRIGGER WARNING : Child Abuse
This is an erotic romance. There are explicit sexual descriptions and explicit language used throughout. It will offend some readers.
Mia Bruce’s day simply went from bad to worse.
To start with, somehow, she’d set the wrong button on her alarm and it woke her at four in the morning instead of seven. When Mia fell back to sleep after resetting it, she slept through three snooze buttons and ended up doing a mad dash to shower, dress, and then race for the bus.
Thinking the worst was over, she got off the bus alongside the large construction site opposite the huge office building where she worked for General Finance Corp. Unfortunately, it had rained heavily overnight and, as the bus pulled away, it drove through a large mud-filled puddle of run-off and soil from the dirty building site. One side of her dress from hip to hem, as well as her legs and shoes, were soaked with dirty brown water and soiled with large clumps of sticky brown mud.
Fuck! Can today get any worse?
“Probably,” she muttered while trying to brush off the worst of the mud. She thought about going back home but today was an important one at work so instead, after sighing, she climbed the steps to the front doors. A very dirty and angry Mia stomped into the office building then entered the elevator and jabbed the button for her floor. Two minutes to nine.
“Yay, made it on time,” she sneered, her voice full of sarcasm as she took the elevator to the thirtieth floor.
Today, the new regime began. The company had been sold to Tower Financials and rumors were rife there were going to be a lot of layoffs. Mia was the assistant to the big boss’s PA—a sort of PA’s A. The PA, Liz Chambers, dealt with the higher-ups while Mia dealt with the lower-downs. Liz’s office was in the breathtaking area with the bosses while hers was downstairs with the minions. Still, she liked the work and the company, having worked for them for the past fifteen years, and Liz was a great friend as well as her immediate supervisor.
Quickly throwing her bag into her bottom drawer when she was in her office, Mia surveyed the damage to her clothes. Damn. The mud and slush on one side stood out against the blue of her dress. Her legs hadn’t fared much better and her shoes were caked. She’d have to try to wash out the worst of the mud, especially knowing she’d have to face the new regime leaders. After making sure there was nothing urgent for her to deal with immediately, she raced into the ladies’ room. If she were quick, she should be able to clean up in fifteen minutes. The easiest thing to do would be to take the dress off, wash the muddy parts, and then dry it under the hand-dryer. And that was exactly what Mia did. Too bad if any of the girls came in. She needed the dress reasonably clean and dry.
Drying it was tricky, but apart from the hand-dryer overheating and smelling quite a bit, she managed to get the iris-blue dress dry. Now for her legs and shoes. Draping the now-dry dress over the paper towel dispenser, she washed her shoes and slipped them back on. Using dozens of sheets of wet paper, Mia began washing her legs. Bending over, her back to the door, dressed in just her shoes, red lacy panties, and matching bra, Mia heard the door open and groaned. Probably Tracy from the typing pool. She seemed to always be in the bathroom. There was a soft cough but she ignored her and finished washing her legs until she heard a much louder, deeper, cough. Looking around her legs without bothering to stand up, she got the shock of her life.
Casually leaning against the wall, arms folded and one leg crossed over the other with the toes balancing him, was a hunk. A fire extinguisher sat at his feet. She stood quickly and faced him.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing in here? Get out!”
© Suzy Shearer 2020
LINKS - WHERE TO FIND SUZY:
Website : http://www.suzyshearer.com
Twitter : https://twitter.com/SuzyShearer
Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A FEW LINKS WHERE TO BUY:
Evernight Publishing: https://www.evernightpublishing.com/sweet-things-by-suzy-shearer/
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sweet-things-suzy-shearer/1137682431