Saturday, February 24, 2018

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW of Seaside Whispers by Melissa Foster

  Love in Bloom: Seaside Summers 
   By: Melissa Foster
   Narrated by: B.J. Harrison 
   Series: Love in Bloom, Book 31, Seaside Summers, Book 8
   Length: 7 hrs and 49 mins
   Unabridged
   Release date: 12-28-16
   Language: English
   Publisher: Melissa Foster
  

Publisher's Summary

Having a mad crush on her boss's son, Matt Lacroux - an intriguing mix of proper gentleman and flirtatious bad boy - is probably not the smartest idea for single mother Mira Savage. Especially when the company, and her job, is already on shaky ground. But as a Princeton professor, Matt's life is hours away from Mira's home on Cape Cod, keeping him safely in the fantasy-only zone. And as a single mother to six-year-old Hagen, with a floundering company to save, fantasies are all she has time for.

With hopes of becoming dean off the table, and too many months of longing for a woman who lived too far away to pursue, Matt's publishing contract couldn't have come at a better time. He heads home to Cape Cod on a brief sabbatical, intent on starting his book, and finally getting his arms around sweet, seductive Mira.

A surprise encounter leads to white-hot passions and midnight confessions. The more time Matt and Mira spend together, the deeper their relationship grows, and the love and attention Matt showers on Hagen is more than she has ever dreamed of. But Matt's sabbatical is only temporary, and Mira's not saving his father's company so she can leave it behind. Will their whispers of love be enough for one of them to change their life forever?


MY THOUGHTS...


BJ Harrison you are amazing. Your voice portrays these characters exactly as I expected them to be. You take characters that have feelings and brought them to life for me. 

Melissa Foster…. Oh what you do to me. The heat, the passion, and the love are always amazing in your books. Seaside Whispers is no exception. While I LOVE LOVE LOVE all that what I really enjoy is the friendships. The Seaside Girls are absolutely the best friends anyone could ever ask for. I love how the open their “club” to other girls as they become part of the friendship circle. Of course there was chunky dipping, helping Mira achieve her goals, and support with every aspect of life. 

The relationship between Matt and Mira was sweet. They’ve been flirting through text and occasional visits for over a year and when he decides to take a sabbatical for 3 months their relationship takes off. Matt didn’t just have a relationship with Mira he had a relationship with Mira and Hagen, Mira’s 6 year old son. The way he accept and included Hagen in all they did warmed my heart. I could understand how Mira was anxious about just letting Matt into their life when his plans were to leave again. Hagen and Mira both fell in love with Matt and him leaving would shatter them. 

I loved the ending. Theresa is hilarious. Bella, one of the Seaside Girls, has pranked Theresa each season and Theresa gets the last word this season. I laughed so hard as tears fell because the moment was just so sweet and wonderful. I see a future with many more pranks.

Available to buy from...... 


Friday, February 23, 2018

REVIEW...The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen

Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: February 20th 2018 by Lake Union Publishing


From New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen comes a haunting novel about a woman who braves her father’s hidden past to discover his secrets…

In 1944, British bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted from his stricken plane into the verdant fields of German-occupied Tuscany. Badly wounded, he found refuge in a ruined monastery and in the arms of Sofia Bartoli. But the love that kindled between them was shaken by an irreversible betrayal.

Nearly thirty years later, Hugo’s estranged daughter, Joanna, has returned home to the English countryside to arrange her father’s funeral. Among his personal effects is an unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation.

Still dealing with the emotional wounds of her own personal trauma, Joanna embarks on a healing journey to Tuscany to understand her father’s history—and maybe come to understand herself as well. Joanna soon discovers that some would prefer the past be left undisturbed, but she has come too far to let go of her father’s secrets now… 

My Thoughts…

The Tuscan Child is set in WWII Italy and the 1970’s.  While the story goes back and forth between the two eras’ there is no confusion as to what is happening.    

WWII is told from a pilot, Hugo, whose plane has been shot down and he has landed in enemy territory where he is hidden in a monastery that had been destroyed by bombs and taken care of by a local woman whose husband is off fighting in the war.     The 1970’s centers around the pilot’s daughter, Joanna, who is searching for the beautiful boy who is mentioned in a letter she finds after her father’s death.   The beautiful boy is assumed to be the pilot and the woman’s son so she is looking for her brother.    

Rhys Bowen is a talented author.   She describes the scenery, the food, and the local is such detail that I could easily picture the story as I was reading.    I could smell the wonderful dishes the Italian woman, Paola, makes.   I could hear the men at the restaurant telling their tales.    I was picturing the monastery where Hugo stayed, the mountains surrounding the town, and washed out mud roads that had to be travelled to get around.

The Tuscan Child is amazing.   I fell into the story, got to know the characters, and loved every minute of my time reading.    I recommend picking up your own copy. 

Thank you Katie Olsen of Little Bird Publicity for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Add to your MUST-READ list on Goodreads
Purchase your own copy at AMAZON or BARNES AND NOBLE





Thursday, February 22, 2018

REVIEW...Kian by Melody Anne

Release Date: February 20, 2018
Length: 250 pages
ISBN: 978-1542046046
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Undercover Billionaire, #1


There was a time when surgeon Kian Forbes would have surrendered every cent of his vast family fortune if it could make Roxie Gilbert happy. That was before she skipped town, broke his heart, and sent him spinning through a string of forgettable one-night stands. He never even knew he’d fathered a child—with Roxie’s sister, no less. But in the wake of tragedy, little Lily needs a home. And Kian wants his daughter. But Roxie’s not giving in or giving up without a fight.

Fearful of her intense feelings for Kian, Roxie ran. Now that her sister’s death has brought her home, she intends to take custody of her niece and avoid Kian—easier said than done on both counts. With their wealth and power, the Forbes men are accustomed to winning. And as she and Kian are forced to spend time together for Lily’s sake, saying no to everything he wants proves impossible…even though it means risking both their hearts all over again.

My Thoughts…

I am new to Melody Ann.    Kian is my first book by her but definitely not my last.     I found myself sneaking time to read a few more pages, another chapter, and sometimes just a paragraph or two.     The characters were realistic and mostly likeable.     There were times that I wanted to shake both Kian an d Roxie to get them to open their eyes and see what they were missing out of.  

Kian knew what love was and when that love walked away he changed his ways becoming player but he never forgot what love looked like.    Then love walked back into his life in the form of Roxie.   Immediately life would change for him.     There was no doubt that  when Roxie returned home things would be shaken up, stirred, and changed in Kian’s world. 

The storyline was one I wasn’t sure I could accept at first.   Kian and Roxie were sweethearts, true loves, and soul mates.   She broke his heart and he slept with her sister.   Then Roxie returned to town and he wants her back.     Is that wrong?   Is that disgusting?   I wasn’t sure.    Melody Ann was able to take a difficult situation and turn into something that didn’t feel wrong, that just felt like love finding itself again.   It was sweet, it was hot, and it was perfect.   

Pick up your copy.   Meet Kian and Roxie.   Fall in love with sweet, innocent, lovely Lily. 

Thank you Montlake for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
   
Add to your MUST-READ list on GOODREADS
Purchase your copy at AMAZON or BARNESAND NOBLE


About the Author: Melody Anne

Melody Anne is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the popular Billionaire Bachelors, Surrender, and Baby for the Billionaire series, as well as the young adult Midnight series. She collaborated with J.S. Scott and Ruth Cardello for the anthology Taken by a Trillionaire.

Melody holds a bachelor’s degree in business but found her true calling when she was first published in 2011. When she isn’t writing, she cultivates strong bonds with her family and enjoys time spent with them, as well as with her friends and beloved pets. A country girl at heart, she loves her small town and is involved in many community projects.

Melody has earned a spot on multiple bestseller lists and is a three-time Amazon Top 100 bestselling author. Best of all, she gets to do what makes her happiest—live in a fantasy world 95 percent of the time. Learn more about her at www.melodyanne.com and follow her blog at www.authormelodyanne.blogspot.com.


REVIEW...The French Girl by Lexie Elliott

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: February 20th 2018 by Berkley Books

They were six university students from Oxford--friends and sometimes more than friends--spending an idyllic week together in a French farmhouse. It was supposed to be the perfect summer getaway--until they met Severine, the girl next door.

For Kate Channing, Severine was an unwelcome presence, her inscrutable beauty undermining the close-knit group's loyalties amid the already simmering tensions. And after a huge altercation on the last night of the holiday, Kate knew nothing would ever be the same. There are some things you can't forgive, and there are some people you can't forget, like Severine, who was never seen again.

Now, a decade later, the case is reopened when Severine's body is found in the well behind the farmhouse. Questioned along with her friends, Kate stands to lose everything she's worked so hard to achieve as suspicion mounts around her. Desperate to resolve her own shifting memories and fearful she will be forever bound to the woman whose presence still haunts her, Kate finds herself buried under layers of deception with no one to set her free. 

My Thoughts…

The French Girl is a story of a group of friends on vacation when the neighbor mysteriously disappears.      Ten years later the case is reopened when her remains are found in a well on the property.     These friends are forced to examine their friendships, who they were then vs. who they are now, and what could have happen to Severine.  

I found myself making guesses as to what had happen to Severine and found that I figured it out rather early in the story yet there were a few other side stories that I was invested in and had to know how they would work out.     The friendships, the relationships, and the current lifestyles of the friends were all interesting.   I was intrigued by the dynamics between the friends as they were all questioned by the police.   I could feel the questions and the doubts as more was told of that vacation they all took.

This was a slow mystery/thriller.    As the story went on, I got more involved, and it moved a little faster.   Usually I’d quit a slow read but this was a good book.   I had to know, I couldn’t stop, and I am glad that I finished it.    I’d recommend picking up your own copy.

Thank you Tara O’Connor from Berkley for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Add to your MUST-READ list on Goodreads
Purchase your copy at AMAZON or BARNES AND NOBLE

Praise for THE FRENCH GIRL

“Scottish debut novelist Elliott, who holds a doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford, launches a fiction-writing career with a smart, suspenseful thriller.” –Booklist

“A gripping mystery that delves into the past and the darker side of friendships...TheFrench Girl is a fantastic debut about tangled relationships, shifting perceptions, and the memories--and people--that haunt us. I was completely captivated from beginning to end.” –Megan MirandaNew York Times bestselling author of All theMissing Girls

“Reading Lexie Elliott's The French Girl is like getting caught in an undertow. It might look as though the waters are calm and the skies are blue as you dive into the story, but beneath the surface lurks a powerful riptide of misunderstandings and missed opportunities, murder and betrayal that suck the reader into a maelstrom of complicated friendships and shifting alliances. This addictive debut will keep you up late into the night!” –Karen Dionne, author of The Marsh King's Daughter

“As the narrator, Kate is smart, funny, and attractive, with some confidence issues, making her relatable. The friends fill the archetypes of supporting characters: thenemesis, the BFF, the ex, and the buddy, but Elliott fleshes them out so well they aren’t stereotypical. As the detective continues to dig, the shifting dynamics within the group will keep the reader guessing until the end….First novelist Elliott has done a phenomenal job of combining a whodunit with a Big Chill vibe.” –Library Journal, Starred Review


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

REVIEW...Never Let Go by Jill Sanders

Montlake Romance | On sale February 20, 2018
Genre:  Contemporary Romance


Trent McGowan has never been the guy who doesn’t get what he wants. He and his brothers are making a go of the oil business, and he’s always had a bit of a reputation with the ladies. Only lately, something’s been missing—something Trent never realized he needed…until he sees his childhood crush standing on the picket line, trying to destroy his company. And what happened to turn sweet Addy Collins into a sexy activist?

Environmentalist Adrianna Collins has returned to her hometown of Haven, Montana, on a mission to stop destructive oil mining. She never imagined that the corporate face on the other side of the protest line would be her lifelong crush. The Trent she remembers is better known for flirting than, uh, fracking, and she can’t believe he’d risk his city to make a quick buck.

Now Trent’s determined to prove that he’s not the person she thinks he is. If he can earn Addy’s trust, he might be able to save his company—and bring Addy home for good.

My Thoughts…

I love a good series that each book can be read as a standalone.    That is exactly what the Haven, Montana Series is.     Each member of the McGowan family will get their own book to tell their story and I am so excited to get to know each one of them.

Never Let Go is Trent’s story.    Well, Trent and Adrianna’s story.    Both are from Haven but Adrianna left and is only back to protest against Trent’s family’s business.     Seems an unlikely match but it makes sense.      I love that Trent understands that Addy is just doing her job and respects that she is standing up for what she believes in.   Addy also respects Trent and understands that he is also doing his job and that all may not be what it seems with his family business.     

One of my favorite parts of this story is the McGowan family.    Without questions, without doubts they accept Addy into their family with open arms.   They take her in when her own family turns her back on her, when she has no one else to turn to, and when she just needs support.     Their open, loving style of love his absolutely amazing and explains why Trent has grown up to be the man he is.     I love that his mom lays down the rules to him when Addy spends the night even though they are both grown adults.   

The romance is the focus of the story but it was interesting to see the story of Dennis and the family business be carried over from the first book.     There is still a mystery of Dennis and if he is going to be found out to be the culprit behind all the trouble in Haven, Montana.    Throw in Darla and I am sure there is so much more excitement to come in the next book in the series.

I would recommend picking up your own copy and meeting the amazing residents of Haven, Montana. 

Thank you Montlake for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Add to your MUST-READ list on GOODREADS
Purchase your copy on AMAZON or BARNES AND NOBLE




About the Author: Jill Sanders


Jill Sanders is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Pride Series, the Secret Series, the West Series, and the Grayton Series romance novels. She continues to lure new readers with her sweet and sexy stories. Her books are available in every English-speaking country and are now being translated into six different languages.

Born as an identical twin to a large family, she was raised in the Pacific Northwest, later relocating to Colorado for college and a successful IT career before discovering her talent as a writer. She now makes her home along the Emerald Coast in Florida, where she enjoys the beach, hiking, swimming, wine tasting, and, of course, writing. Readers can connect with Jill on Facebook (
www.fb.com/JillSandersBooks) and Twitter (@JillMSanders) or visit her website, www.JillSanders.com.


REVIEW… Pretty Little Killers by Rita Herron

Kindle Edition, 338 pages
Expected publication: February 20th 2018 by Montlake Romance

Synopsis: 

The predators become prey in a breathless novel of revenge from a USA Today bestselling author.
Still haunted by his wife’s murder—and stained by the blood of avenging it—FBI special agent Hatcher McGee can’t believe he’s being teamed up with rookie agent Korine Davenport. She is his most guilty secret—the one-night stand who almost cost him everything.
Korine has her own demons. As a child, she witnessed her father’s murder, and she’s spent her life waiting for the killer’s return. She and Hatcher are both looking for closure, but the disturbing case that draws them together could be their last.
When the mutilated body of a corrupt Savannah judge surfaces, Hatcher and Korine find themselves on the trail of a vigilante who is showing no mercy. Not for the predators who’ve gone free. And not for anyone who gets in the way.
As the body count rises, and as Hatcher’s and Korine’s own pasts unfold, they must risk their lives tracking a killer they’ve come to understand all too well. After all, the ends justify the means.

My Thoughts…

I am a Rita Herron fan.   Pretty Little Killers is part of a new series, The Killers, and I cannot wait for more.     The story centers around FBI agent Hatcher McGee who is unable to move past his wife’s murder and Korine Davenport who is haunted by her father’s murder. 

I love the vigilante storyline.   The idea that someone is taking care of those that slipped through the fingers of the law, they found holes in the laws, or that just got away with being abusive intrigued me.   Yes, I know that it wrong to take the law into your own hands but it brought to mind how the victims have to deal with what happen to them while the people who did them wrong are able to continue living their lives.  I had so many guesses as to who the vigilante was but I was wrong every time.

 The relationship between Hatcher and Korine was fun.    I loved learning about their history and seeing how it would affect their current relationship.   I liked that they could work through their history and do the job that was needed to do while not losing sight of each other and their feelings.  

I recommend picking up your own copy and enjoying Pretty Little Killers. 

Thank you Dayne Linton at Day Agency for a copy of the book in exchange for a honest review.  

Add to you MUST-READ list at GOODREADS
Purchase your own copy at AMAZON


About Rita Herron
USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author Rita Herron fell in love with books at the ripe age of eight when she read her first Trixie Belden mystery. Although she wanted to be a writer then and actually scrawled her first novel at age twelve, she didn’t think real people grew up to be writers, so she became a kindergarten teacher instead. Twenty years ago, she traded her classroom storytelling and puppets for a computer and now writes so she doesn’t have to get a real job.

Having sold over ninety books to date, she enjoys spinning spine-tingling romantic suspense tales filled with murder, mayhem, and spicy romance as well as sexy romantic comedies. Rita Herron currently writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue and she’s writing dark, gritty romantic suspense thrillers for Amazon Montlake.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY of Love Game by Maggie Wells


Series: Love Games, #1
ISBN: 9781492651499
Pub Date: February 6, 2018



These successful professionals may know something about sex...but discover they’re clueless about love.

She’s earned her position
Kate Snyder is at the top of her game. She scored her first national championship at Wolcott University in her undergrad days, and now she’s the coaching legend of the #1 college women’s basketball team. No one knows the meaning of the phrase “work your way up” better than Kate. So when the university hires a football coach trying to escape scandal—paying him a lot more than she earns—Kate is more than annoyed.

He just sailed into his
Danny McMillan had hoped for a smooth transition at Wolcott, but fiery Coach Snyder made that impossible. Every time he and Kate are in a room together, snark and sparks fly. Danny gets her frustration, but her pay grade isn’t his problem, right? When Kate and Danny finally see eye to eye, their sparks turn into something even hotter…and they need to figure out if this is more than just a game.




EXCERPT...

Kate yanked open her front door and almost dropped her beloved Tea-Rex mug as she stared bleary-eyed at the surprise addition to her front porch. An oversized shoe box sat on her “Come back after basketball season” doormat.

She toed the mystery box, then glanced from left to right, making sure no one lurked in the shrubs waiting to snap a picture of her bending over in stretched-loose gym shorts and a faded T-shirt. The warm mug curled close to her chest, she squatted and flipped the lid off the box with one finger. Breath caught in her lungs, and she blinked in surprise.

The shoes nestled in the folds of tissue paper were a swirl of outlandishly obnoxious neon colors. So bright, mere humans would need a pinhole projector to view them properly. She fell in love on sight.
“Come to me, my pretties,” she whispered, setting her tea aside to draw the box closer. The tissue crinkled as she pushed it back. “Where did you come from, huh? Shoe fairies?” She touched one neon-orange lace and sighed. “Are you looking for a good home?” She peeked at the label on the box. “Look at that. Just my size.”

Caffeine and nowhere-to-be-seen newspaper forgotten, she lowered the lid, gathered the box in her arms, and carried the precious foundlings inside.

Perched on the edge of the sofa, she stared at the prize in her lap. Her heart thrummed against her breastbone, and a giddy, bubbly rush of anticipation simmered in her veins. She couldn’t remember the last time someone had given her a present, much less one this heart-trippingly perfect. She bit down on the tip of her tongue as she tossed the lid aside. A girly laugh of delight rushed past her lips the second she caught a glimpse of the shoes in the light.

Hooking her fingers under the laces, she plucked them from their tissue nest. The box fell to the floor unheeded as she gave the shoes an impetuous little hug. She knew it was silly but didn’t really care. Let other women swoon over toothpick-heeled Jimmy Choos. She was a pushover for leather and mesh uppers with gel-filled insoles.

Setting one shoe aside, she gathered the tips of the laces to line them up. Her greedy gaze cataloged the number of eyelets and mapped the exact route she’d take through the tongue flap. It wasn’t until she reached for the second shoe that she noticed the words inked inside the box lid. The thick, bold slashes of black magic marker seemed harsh and sharply incongruous with the colorful gift.
Dinner? D

She stared at the message, the pricey shoe dangling from her fingertips and her heart lodged in her throat.
Danny.
She shook her head hard. No. It couldn’t be.
Or could it?



 By day, MAGGIE WELLS is buried in spreadsheets. At night she pens tales of people tangling up the sheets. The product of a charming rogue and a shameless flirt, you only have to scratch the surface of this mild-mannered married lady to find a naughty streak a mile wide. She has a passion for college football, processed cheese foods, and happy endings. Not necessarily in that order. She lives in Arkansas.

Find Maggie Online:
Twitter: @MaggieWells1




Giveaway
Enter to win a copy of Love Game by Maggie Wells!

Monday, February 19, 2018

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY of Straight Up Irish by Magan Vernon

Title: Straight Up Irish
Series: Murphy's Brothers #1
Author: Magan Vernon
Genre: NA Contemporary
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Release Date: February 19, 2018 
I need a wife if I want to help save my family’s billion-dollar pub empire. There’s just one problem: I never plan on marrying. So, I need someone who understands that this is just another business deal. I don’t do commitments. And my brother’s executive assistant, Fallon Smith, fits that bill. Fallon needs help with her grandmother’s expenses, and her pretending to be my fake wife is a way we can make that happen. She’s not my biggest fan, but we can help each other and then go our separate ways. That she’s beautiful and I enjoy spending time with her–doesn’t matter. When all of this is done, she’s heading home to America, and I’ve got a company to run.
A fake wedding and a whole lot of whiskey. What could go wrong?

Chapter One
Connor
The harsh morning light streamed in through the windows as if it were a switch that made the pounding in my head even worse.
The Irish sun I swore was worse than the American one, and so was the alcohol. Nothing in the world compared to Irish whiskey and it had been a while since I’d been back to my hometown of Dublin.
My phone vibrated against the nightstand and stared at the screen until my eyes adjusted to the light I saw not only the time but that Jack’s assistant was calling me.
“Shit,” I muttered, unlocking my phone and sliding it to my ear.

“Fallon, Mo Gra, tell me your calling with some good news.”I jumped up, searching for something to cover my naked arse and found my clothes from the night before strewn across a hardwood floor.

“Using cutesy Irish pet names for me has never worked in your favor, and it especially isn’t when your brothers are wondering where you are.” Her American accent flowed through the speakers with the clicking of a keyboard loud and clear in the background.

“What’s the fun in that? C’mon, now. We’ve been emailing and having this lovely phone calls for months now. We’re practically best mates,” I said, grabbing my boxers.

“Is everything okay, Connor?” A soft voice with a thicker accent than mine murmured.
I whirled around, covering up my junk and my lucky shamrock tattoos that graced each hip bone. On the bed was a pale redhead with a devious smirk and hair more messed up than a 1980s American metal band. I’d say I shagged that one pretty good, wish I remembered it. Been a while since I’d gotten that knackered and wound up in the bed of a hometown girl.

“Is there someone in the background? Are you seriously hooking up when you have a meeting in ten minutes?”
The girl on the bed’s eyes widened, Fallon’s words booming through the phone.

“Yeah. I thought I set the alarm on my phone and would be on time. But the alarm didn’t go off and now I can’t find my pants. Think I can just walk in wearing my boxers?” My blue eyes searched the floor until I found my crumpled jeans.

“Yeah, it went off twice, and you mumbled for me to snooze it. Is that your wife on the phone? Should I be worried? ” the bed girl said in a scratchy voice, raising her eyebrows.

I shook my head as much as I could and slid on my pants.
If I didn’t get my shit together, the meeting was going to start without me. Why did I need to drink that much last night? While my brothers went home early, I just had to see what I was missing in Dublin by studying and working in America. Better than facing the fact why I was back in the country, I guess.
Funerals are as good of an excuse as any to get knackered.

“It’s my brother’s assistant. Fallon, wanna say hello to this girl who is asking if you’re my wife?” I asked with a smile that caused the girl on the bed’s eyebrows to raise even higher on her head.

Fallon groaned. “Why do I even bother calling you? This feels like Deja Vu from when you almost missed your flight out of Boston.”

“Ah, but that one didn’t involve a girl. Just whiskey. And I made that flight, thank you very much.” I held the phone between my ear and shoulder, sliding on my shirt.
“Only because I saved you with pre-boarding.”
“ Maybe when you’re done with work; you can come back. Or we can meet up tonight,” girl on the bed murmured.I combed my fingers through my hair, hoping it didn’t look as bad as hers did.
“Did she seriously ask you to come back? While you’re on the phone with me even?” Fallon’s laughter carried through the phone.

“Not now, Erin,” I said, brushing her hand off my shoulder while I tried to shimmy on my socks, not looking to see the girl’s reaction. If I hurried, I could still make the meeting on time and maybe even find a breath mint or two on someone’s desk on the way there.
“Don’t worry; I’m on my way, so you don’t need to get jealous. You’re the only girl who can bother me at all hours of the night.” I stood up and stepped into my shoes.

“Erin?” the bed girl asked with a huff.

I turned and looked at her steely glare and arms crossed over her bare chest.

“Not Erin?”
“Not even close,” she growled.
Fallon’s laugh carried through the speaker. “Oh, this is classic.”
I frowned even though Fallon couldn’t see it.
“Well, sorry Not Erin, but thanks for the sex I can’t remember. Hope it was better than mediocre for you,” I said with my hand on the door.
Never said I wasn’t an arsehole.
This caused a gasp from both Fallon and the bed girl. I quickly ran out the door, closing it before the thud of something hard hit the wall behind me. Could have been worse, I could have been cold-clocked by a shoe.
“Did you make it out of there alive after that comment?” Fallon asked.
When I stepped outside, I looked around, realizing I was only a few blocks from the office and the pubs I probably stumbled to this girl’s place from. “Ah, and the luck of the Irish is on my side, Mo Gra because I’m not far from the office.”
This wasn’t the first time I’d run to the office after a less than savory encounter with a bird. It’s how my life had been since I started Uni in America and then graduated three years ago.

“You do know this is a will reading, right? Not just you and Jack in a phone conference talking numbers?” she questioned.

“I’m very aware of what this meeting is for,” I grumbled.

I still had at least a few minutes before I was considered past fashionably late and onto acting the maggot. Running down the brick-paved streets of my childhood, I dodged the flower sellers and the older gentlemen who liked to walk for no reason at all.I wanted to come back to Ireland on better terms and not for my Da’s funeral.

Lung disease was one of the top killers in Dublin, and it hit him hard and fast. I didn’t know how bad it was until Fallon called and told me Da was in the hospital. She booked me a flight back home for the next day, but he was already gone before I even crossed the Atlantic.

“Sorry. That came out wrong.” Voices echoed in the background, and I wondered where she was in the building.

I’d seen the girl’s work photo icon in emails and breezed past her desk a few times, but never really saw her. Funny that she was someone I’d talked to almost as much as my brothers these past six months and I hadn’t formally met her.

“Where are you right now? Are you waiting for me outside the meeting room door? Hoping since Not Erin didn’t get a round two that maybe we can officially meet and hit it off?” I joked and breezed through the wrought iron gates of the Murphy Family Pub headquarters, past the secretary and front lobby, covered in photos of generations of Murphy’s who had run the company.

My family owned a distillery for years and used to brew the whiskey in downtown Dublin. The brand expanded, and my father went into the pub franchise business. Now we had hundreds of pubs all over the world, and the original distillery was currently used for a museum and pub on the first floor with corporate offices on the second.

Mam passed away soon after my youngest brother, Sean, was born. Da raised us all while building his empire and now with his sudden passing, my brothers Jack, Sean, and I were set to inherit the company. This meeting was just a formality to settle the estate, giving us our shares in the business. I figured Jack would take Da’s position as CEO with me as CFO and Sean as president or something if he wanted it.

“Your flirting isn’t cute, Mr. Murphy.”

I stopped at a mirror in one of the hallways, noticing my hair stuck up every which way and I tried to lay it down flat with one hand, holding my phone with the other. “What’s this Mr. Murphy nonsense? We’re practically family, Fal.”

She huffed. “Are you almost here? I’m almost to the conference room, and I don’t want to have to tell your brother you’re still not available.”. I started jogging, and just as I turned the corner, instead of breezing into the conference room, I ran chest first into a petite blonde who was holding a tray of coffees that had now spilled all down the front of her dress.

“Aw, I’m sorry ma’am. I didn’t mean to do a number on ya,” I said, staring at her wide blue eyes, circled by red framed glasses. She looked between me and her dress.

I expected to hear a laugh or some quip from Fallon on my phone, but instead I listened to my voice echoing through the pink dressed girl’s phone.

Recognition dawned on me as my eyes roamed over her from the top of her blonde ponytail down the soaked through dress and cardigan, showing off the curvy frame she hid under the nerdy little ensemble. Her photos and glances at her did not do her justice. She was beautiful in a natural way which made her not need the fancy clothes or too much makeup.

“Fallon. We finally get to meet. I feel like I should hug you. Or maybe undress you. You know get you out of that pink number and into something not stained.” I stepped closer, putting my arms out. I may have said the words jokingly, but the thought of her dropping the dress and taking her against the paneled wall was on the forefront of my mind.

“Are you serious right now? You need to go. You’re going to be late,” she hissed

I glanced at my watch again. Shit, the meeting probably already started. I didn’t have time to sweet talk or other things. Pulling out my wallet from my back pocket, I grabbed a few notes. “Let me at least buy you a new dress and replace the coffees.”
“What? No. Just go. I’ll take care of this.” She narrowed her eyes and slightly shook her head.

“Are you sure?” I raised my eyebrows, still holding the money toward her.

The clock near the conference room chimed, alerting me it was at the top of the hour.

“We can chat more about this later,” I said, putting my money back in my wallet. “Nice officially meeting you, Pinky. Let’s do this again real soon, ” I said with a grin, patting her shoulder before I scooted toward the conference room and shut the door behind me.
Three sets of eyes looked up from the conference table they sat around.

My brothers were in crisp blue suits with their light brown hair perfectly gelled, making me look even more like a fool than I felt with my wrinkled clothes which smelled like sex and whiskey.This wasn’t the way to honor, Da, but at least I was there and I was going to be there for his company, no matter what it took.

“Mornin’,” I said, taking my seat across from the estate solicitor, Thomas O’Malley, who looked like a real-life leprechaun with his short stature, bright red beard, and reading glasses perched on his nose.

“Glad you could grace us with your presence, Connor,” Thomas said, shuffling the papers in his hands.

“Happy to have made it,” I said, folding my hands on the table and smiling, even though my brothers audibly groaned next to me. If there was one thing I learned from Da, it was that you never showed weakness.

“Okay, let’s get started with the reading,” Thomas said, clearing his throat.

Then flipped to a new sheet. “Whereupon my death, my three sons, Jack, Connor, and Sean will each inherit their equal share of thirty-three and a half-percent of the family franchise upon the day all three of their marriage certificates are certified by a priest and again by my solicitor Thomas O’Malley, six months after the day of their nuptials. If all three of them are not married within a year of my death, none will be able to get controlling interests, and the board may offer each son’s ownership stake to the highest bidder.”
Every hair on the back of my neck stood on end. Marriage? Thre three of us? Within a year? All of that to get the company? That couldn’t be right. Da never said anything about that. Sure, he was a loyal family man, who never married or even dated after Mam died, but I didn’t think he would do something like this.Especially when the board was a bunch of crotchety old men who smoked too many cigars and were probably half the reason Da got sick in the first place.
My oldest brother Jack leaned forward in his seat. “Thomas. I could be wrong here, but is this stating that each of us has to be married and not just married, but married for six months? And this all has to happen within the year? That can’t be right. Da never even re-married or had a serious girlfriend. He used to say the pub was his only wife after Mam.”
Thomas sighed, pushing his glasses up. “You young men have done a fine job in your positions in the company, but your father also knew you were still sowing your wild oats. He wanted to make sure you settled down a bit, so the company didn’t suffer. This was his way of seeing to that.”
There has to be a clause that can get us out of this, right? I don’t even have a girlfriend, let alone a girl I’d want to marry by the end of the year.” Sean said.
I wanted to ask Sean what he even had to do with this company since he hadn’t taken an interest in anything but rugby. I know Jack had brought up more than once about eventually buying out his portion and now with us all having to be married, or none of us got the company, which put a damper on that one. Before I could ask any more questions, Thomas cleared his throat.
“Boys, I’d like to say there’s another option, but that’s what it states in the will,” he said, standing up and placing the papers in his briefcase. “You can try and get your own solicitors or a judge to dispute this, but I’ve been doing this for longer than you’ve been alive. Once this will is set and notarized, it’s legally binding.”
“Does the board know about this?” Jack asked.
Thomas nodded solemnly. “Ah, they’re aware of the clause, not all of the details, but some have already made comments about a buyout for a third of the company.”
I clenched my fists without even thinking, my gut twisting at the thought of someone else taking over the business.The one Da had built from the ground up, but Jack and I had worked to keep it a well-oiled machine on both sides of the pond. A bunch of old men with one foot in the grave would just run the franchise into the ground along with all our hard work.
Da put a lot of hard work into the enterprise. What he built. What he wanted our family to have. That wasn’t just going to disappear because of some marriage clause, I couldn’t let it.
“Can’t we just find some girl, see if she wants to get married for a few months, then divorce with a nice little settlement? Isn’t that what they do on those American reality shows for publicity?” Sean asked, staring between all of us.
Thomas shrugged. “I guess there’s nothing in the will that says you can’t, but how do you think the board would take that? Moreover, your Da would probably roll in his grave if he heard you married a girl just to get the company. Your mother was the love of his life and the reason he was able to make this company what it is today. He just wants the same thing for you boys. Not some random fling.”
“I’m sure there are worse things we could do,” Sean muttered, buttoning and unbuttoning his suit jacket.
“If we have nothing else to discuss, then I best be heading back to the office. You’ll call if you need anything and let me know as soon as I get to meet the future Murphy girls,” Thomas said with a tight-lipped smile.
We walked him toward the door, but none of us left the room.
Jack was the first to speak as soon as Thomas rounded the corner and was out of sight. “What the hell are we going to do?”
Sean shook his head. “I don’t know. This wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Hell, I guess I’d better get on a dating app or something.”
“This isn’t a joke,” Jack growled.
I put my hand on his shoulder, trying to calm the beast a little, but his nostril’s flared. “Calm down, Jack. We’ll figure this out. We always do.”
His dark blue eyes didn’t move from the empty hallway. “This isn’t about deciding where to put a new pub in America or marketing expenditures. This is marriage. This is our company. Our future.”
I nodded solemnly. We all knew what was at stake here and the only way to solve our problems was with a wedding. Something I never even thought I would be thinking about. Now I had no choice. I was going to be a married man by the end of the year, and so were my brothers, no matter what it took.
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Magan Vernon has been living off of reader tears since she wrote her first short story in 2004. She now spends her time killing off fictional characters, pretending to plot while she really just watches Netflix, and she tries to do this all while her two young children run amok around her Texas ranch.

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