EXCERPT & NEW RELEASE: Come As You Are by Lauren Blakely
I couldn’t have scripted a more perfect night.
For one fantastic evening, at a masquerade party in the heart of Manhattan, I’m not the millionaire everyone wants a piece of. Fine—multimillionaire. But who’s counting all those commas? Not me, and not the most intriguing woman I've ever met, who happens to like dancing, witty banter, and hot, passionate up-against-the-wall sex as much as I do.
There's no need for names or business cards. And that’s why I’m eager to get to know her more, since my mystery woman seems to like me for me, rather than for my huge…bank account. Everything’s coming up aces. Until the next day when things get a little complicated. (Newsflash — a lotcomplicated.) *** He's charming, brilliant, an incredible lover, and right now I want to stab fate in the eyeballs.
I've had one goal I've been working toward, and lo and behold, my mystery man is the very person who stands between me and my dream job. A job I desperately need since my hard-knock life has nothing in common with his star-kissed one. But it’s time to put that fairytale night behind me, and focus on learning what makes him tick. Too bad it turns out his quirks are my quirks, and his love affair with New York matches mine. And as we spend our days together, I discover something else that feels like a cruel twist of fate — I’m falling for this naughty prince charming, and that’s not an ending I can write to our story.
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The door crawls shut.
Inch by inch.
A slow-mo door.
I have no patience for its theatrics. I kick it shut, eager for the next part of the evening to begin.
Her laughter sounds across the library and echoes off its dark wood shelves bursting with books. A leather couch takes center stage, flanked by a mahogany table.
“Are you in a rush to read something?” she asks coyly.
Her voice turns me on. It’s like bourbon and honey. A little throaty and husky, but with sweet undertones. Funny, how when you can’t see someone’s face—at least not all of it—your other senses heighten. Your ears work harder, homing in on the voice, or you zoom in on the eyes. Hers are warm hazel with flecks of bronze and green.
“Why, yes, I was looking for a particular book.” I stroll to the bookshelf along one wall, running my fingers across the spines, from old hardcovers like Tess of the d’Urbervilles to modern thrillers from the likes of Clive Cussler to non-fiction reads on the habits of highly effective people. “I thought if you wanted to go to the library you’d want to read. Naturally.”
“Of course. Read me a story. A bedtime story.” She leans against the wall next to a writing desk with a green lamp on it, the kind that has one of those chains you pull down to turn it on. She goes with the moment, and this night seems like role-play with her. I half want to understand who she is. But in a way, I’d rather experience everything she seems to want to give. Her body. Her mouth. Her mind. Whoever she is here in the library is as real as whoever she is behind the mask. My mission is to make sure she gets everything she wants.
I grab the nearest book and crack it open. It’s a James Patterson. “Once upon a time, there was a woman at a party who wanted to be kissed,” I say, walking to her, the pages open.
The angel raises her hands to her hair and sweeps off the headband that holds her halo. She tosses it to the desk. “That sounds like a very scintillating tale.”
Meet The Author: Lauren Blakely
A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that's hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than seventy-five times, and she's sold more than 1.5 million books. In June she'll release THE KNOCKED UP PLAN, a standalone contemporary romance.