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Guest Blogger: Liz Crowe

WMS_blogtourWhat’s in That Name?

One of my absolute favorite things as a writer is to come up with character names.  I know they are important. I will be using them in my own head for a long time as I craft the story or novel. And hopefully they will be the sort of names that can be so connected with a character and at the same time so memorable that readers will be speaking of them for many years hence. Hey, a girl can dream.

I’ve lived in many countries and come to appreciate that other cultures attach so much meaning to actual names. In Japan, much careful consideration is given to the “kanji” or “honko,” the symbol that one’s name becomes in Chinese Kanji. (Japanese has 3 alphabets. Don’t get me started on how hard THAT was to learn).  In Turkish, all names are bestowed with an eye towards the attribute that the name implies.

In Healing Hearts, my male protagonist’s name is Jay Longmire, but that is short for “Jefferson Taylor” and he asks his new friend Abigail to “please tell him her middle name is not Adams.” His parents were American history experts and professors with a penchant for presidential lore. His sister’s name is Madison Eleanor. “But don’t get my mother started on why Eleanor would have been an even better leader than her husband,” he tells Abby when she reminds him that there was no “Eleanor” American president.


“Stop flirting with me. That’s a personal bubble violation,” he whispered, letting his lips graze her earlobe, loving how her whole body shivered against him.

“Fine, then stop pressing against me so hard I can feel how much money is in your pocket.”

“Touché.” But he gripped her closer. The candlelight flickered, the music embraced them, and she nearly brought him to his knees with her next words.

“I can’t be what you want me to be, Jay. I have goals. I need my independence. I want to make it on my own.”

He sucked in a breath, slid the hand he had on her hip around to the small of her back. He didn’t need this. But he wanted it so much he was about to explode. “I’m never going to be what you want me to be, either. Let’s just be…what we are…tonight.”

She laid her head against his chest, and he shut his eyes, trying not to let the moment overwhelm him, send him screaming into the night. Christy’s face at their wedding, at the birth of their children, and that last moment when her eyes clouded over after she told him not to blame himself while he watched her die—they all rose, clear and bright. He swallowed, leaned down into Abigail’s thick riot of dark curls, sucked in a deep breath. “What do you want me to be for you…tonight?” he asked.

She put her hand to his face, went up on her tiptoes, and met his lips, urgent and needy. He kissed her, listening to the crowd clap and catcall. Then broke away. “Well?” he asked, his body zinging.

“I want you to be the guy who takes me to bed again.” The simplicity of her words taking his breath away. “I don’t want to be made love to, not now. I need you, Jay. With me, inside me, all over me. And you need it, too. No strings, no emotion. Only physical urges met. I’m willing. Are you?”

He stepped away from her, a little shocked and a lot horny. “Give me two minutes.” Grateful the room had dimmed for the music and dancing, he dropped three hundred in cash on the table, more than enough to cover the meal, wine, and a healthy tip, and took her hand.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” she said, giggling when he pushed her up against the side of his SUV and dove into her mouth, sweeping into it with his tongue, his hands cradling her face then buried in her hair. She molded into him, making that damn noise, the one that made him insane, down in her throat.

He broke from her, stared into her eyes. “Yes.”

Healing HeartsBLURB:

Jay Longmire had it all–a successful business, a beautiful wife, two loving children. But one normal Sunday evening in Ann Arbor everything was ripped from his arms at knifepoint. He has retreated to Traverse City to hide from the world, nursing his physical and emotional wounds and trying to cope with mind-numbing guilt over his inability to protect his family.

Abby Powers serves him coffee he never drinks and has become obsessed with the movie-star handsome but melancholy man. And the anticipation of his appearance every day takes her mind off her own messy life.

What begins as a near desperate physical connection out of the blue develops into a friendship that has the potential to heal two damaged hearts. But Jay is terrified to love again. While Abby’s fierce independence forces them both to acknowledge the deeper relationship they both desire, but that remains just out of reach.

Buy it:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Hearts-Challenge-Series-ebook/dp/B00AV36MWG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357396295&sr=8-1&keywords=healing+hearts+liz+crowe

All Romance ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-healinghearts-1036413-149.html

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/healing-hearts-liz-crowe/1114050249?ean=2940016149783

Liz Bio:

Microbrewery owner, best-selling author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great middle west, in a Major College Town.  Years of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as an ex-pat trailing spouse plus making her way in a world of men (i.e. the beer industry) has prepped her for life as erotic romance author.  When she isn’t sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, she can be found writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.  Her ground breaking romance sub genre: “Romance for Real Life” has gained thousands of fans and followers, interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”)

Her beer blog a2beerwench.com is nationally recognized for its insider yet outsider views on the craft beer industry. Her books are set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch and in high powered real estate offices.  Don’t ask her for anything “like” a Budweiser or risk painful injury.







LZ banner 2012 copy


I will give away a copy of any Decadent back list books to one commenter

Here is a link to those books (The Turkish Delights books are a series. Cheeky Blonde and Caught Offside are stand alones).



Also, check out Decadent Publishing’s submission guidelines here: http://www.decadentpublishing.com/index.php?osCsid=vm2lcn38t4dk6b96pm24l844h3&content=submissions


The Military Wife by Lucy Felthouse

The Military WifeThree hot and romantic military tales from the pen of uniform aficionado, Lucy Felthouse.

The Military Wife
Tess’ salacious fantasies about her husband, Aidan, see her through the long periods of time when she doesn’t see him—when he’s away on tour with the Army. The rest of the time, she has to deal with day to day life alone. One day, a dull chore is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of her husband, and things quickly hot up in their kitchen, and beyond.


Passing Out Passion
When Christina attends her brother’s passing out parade with her parents, she’s full of pride at his achievement. What she’s not expecting, though, is to bump into old flame Phil Ashdown. They didn’t part on good terms and the atmosphere between them is awkward. But when they’re forced into conversation, it turns out that all those years ago, there was a misunderstanding. One that can very easily be put right.


Double Vision
Becky’s a military wife with a uniform fetish. She loves nothing more than having fun in the bedroom with her squaddie husband, where they share and act out many of their fantasies. However, there’s one fantasy that she’s never divulged, as it breaks their rule about bring other people into their sex life. One day, though, Becky decides to bite the bullet and tell Paul everything. She never expects him to make her fantasy come true. But then, Paul’s a very resourceful man.


Available from:





Tess grumbled to herself as she heaved the shopping bags out of the boot of her car. It was a pain in the arse having to do this all by herself. Yet she’d been through this more than once, and it was going to be for the foreseeable future. May as well just get on with it and shut up moaning, she thought.

Just as she got to her front door and started fumbling for her key, risking dropping all her bags in the process, a voice said, “Let me help you with that.”

Tess dropped the bags.

She whirled to face the owner of the voice, unadulterated joy on her face.

“Aidan!” she shrieked. And, without caring who could be watching, she hurled herself into her husband’s arms. Luckily, Aidan had been fully expecting this kind of greeting and had braced himself. Supporting his wife’s bottom with his hands as her legs clasped around his waist, he felt himself stiffening almost immediately. You couldn’t blame him though, it had been months since he’d been home.

As she took his face in her hands, Tess was almost teary with happiness. She leaned in for a kiss that would show her husband exactly how much she’d missed him. Tightening her legs around him, she smiled into his mouth as she felt his erection nudging against her bottom.

What seemed like hours later, the couple finally came up for air. Surveying the damage around them, Tess made a quick decision.

“Grab the other bags while I dump this lot in the kitchen. Then lock the door behind you and get upstairs.”

Grinning, Aidan moved to do as he was told. Tess scrabbled items back into carrier bags and rushed into their home to put them down. Now the kitchen looked like a bomb had hit it. But she didn’t care. Her man was home. Smiling to herself, she turned as Aidan came in with the rest of the bags. She gestured to the floor and he put them down.

“Corporal Scott reporting for duty ma’am,” he said, snapping her a smart salute.

Bastard, she thought, he knows what it does to me when he goes all military on me. We’ll be lucky to make it upstairs at this rate.
Tess drank in every inch of her husband. The climate in Afghanistan had given him a decent tan, but of course he hadn’t been on holiday. He’d been fighting a war, and she was eternally grateful that he’d come back to her in one piece. He was still wearing his combats, with the regulation boots, but no headgear. He looked hot.

“Come here, soldier,” she said, crooking a finger, “and kiss me.”


Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over seventy publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include Best Bondage Erotica 2012 and 2013, and Best Women’s Erotica 2013. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9


Grace Marshall Takes a Tour with An Executive Decision

My counterpart, Grace Marshall, is on a week-long blog tour with An Executive Decision, the first novel of her Executive Decisions Trilogy of hot romance. Starting Monday, 19th November, you’ll find Grace at these wonderful sites talking about Dee and Ellis and their oh so hot Executive Sex Clause.

Find Grace at:

19th November: http://authorrainedelight.wordpress.com/

20th November: http://www.bookreviewsandmorebykathy.com/

21st November: http://mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com/

22nd November: http://daydrmzzz.blogspot.com/

23rd November: http://smutters.co.uk/




Overworked CEO Ellison Thorne has no time for sex, let alone romance. The only answer, at least where his retiring business partner Beverly is concerned, is a no-strings sex clause in her replacement’s contract, designed to make Ellis’ busy life easier – and hotter. But she’s joking, right?

When Dee Henning takes over Beverly’s job, sparks fly between her and Ellis, but work takes priority in driven Dee’s life too. Can one night of passion in a Paris hotel room prove Beverly’s Sex Clause is their secret to success in the boardroom and the bedroom, and what will happen if that private clause becomes public knowledge?


At last Ellis pushed his chair back and looked up at her. ‘Marston refused the proposal.’

‘I’m sorry,’ Dee said again.

‘Not that it was a huge surprise, but I could have done nicely without him berating me for hiring someone incompetent and irresponsible to take Beverly’s place. That didn’t exactly make my day. What the hell happened?’

She felt the heat rising up her spine and onto her ears. ‘I overslept.’ She forced the words out into the chilled room.

‘You overslept?’

‘Yes.’ She nodded imperceptibly, feeling the scrutiny of his glare.

For a long moment he just stared at her. She forced herself to meet his gaze and held her tongue, afraid if she tried to say anything she’d burst into tears, and she despised women who cried.

‘That’s it, then? You overslept.’

She nodded again, swallowing hard.

‘Well that’s a relief.’ He leaned forward in his chair and rose almost as though he were going to leap over the desk and pounce. The tension in his body was palpable. ‘I was afraid you were lying on the freeway somewhere in a pool of blood. I’m so relieved that it was nothing so dire, and that you simply overslept.’ With each word, his voice grew louder until he wasn’t exactly yelling, but neither was there any way she could miss his message as each word drove her deeper into her chair until she felt as trapped as if she had been tied there.

‘I’m sorry,’ she forced a whisper through the roadblock in her throat, but the stinging behind her eyes warned that a swift exit would be necessary if she were to avoid the flood.

‘Sorry? You’re sorry? Tally had to pick up the slack. Do you have any idea how that looked? Just when I was starting to make progress with Marston, just when the man was beginning to listen to reason, you oversleep. You made Jamison’s deal seem all the sweeter, that’s what you did. Now, tell me what the hell’s going on.’


He moved from behind his desk and paced the carpet in front of her like a bull ready to charge. ‘You’re supposed to be working to shore up the situation with Scribal. I told you up front that’s your major concern at the moment, then not only do you oversleep and miss an important meeting, but I find out you’ve been working on something else behind my back.’ Before she could respond, he turned on her. ‘Is Trouvères what you’ve been staying up half the night and missing meetings for? When I hired you, I never thought you, of all people, would neglect your responsibilities.’

‘I’m not neglecting anything. If you would just –’

He interrupted her. ‘Don’t think just because I gave you this job, you suddenly know it all. I took a big risk hiring you.’ He stopped pacing and rooted himself in front of her, close enough that she had to strain her neck to look up at him. ‘You want to do something; you bring it to me first. You’re not ready to make that kind of decision on your own. You don’t have the experience it takes to…to… You’re not Beverly.’

His words were a hard slap, felt more than heard above the roar in her ears. She wasn’t sure the ragged breathing her brain finally registered in the chasm of silence that followed his tirade was his or her own.

The phone rang into the charged atmosphere and Ellis jerked it from its cradle in a strangle hold. ‘This had better be good, Lynn. Wade? What the hell does he want? Can’t it wait? We’re not finished yet. I can what?’ He heaved a sigh of resignation and slammed the receiver back down. ‘Wade wants to see you right now. He says I can get back to you on this, and believe me, I intend to.’ He nodded toward the door. ‘Well, go on, at least don’t keep him waiting. Pick up the notes on the meeting from Sandra.’

She stood on trembling legs and turned to go. As she reached for the door, he called to her. ‘Dee, I strongly suggest you make no more attempts to prove Marston right about you.’

Sandra joined her in the hall. ‘I have the meeting notes for you.’

‘Just put them on my desk. Wade wants to see me.’

Sandra nodded. ‘Yes, I know. I told him he did. And I told him to give you a few minutes in the ladies to freshen up first.’ She offered a reassuring smile and turned on her heels.


Still breathing like a freight train, Ellis watched Dee disappear shutting the door behind her. He grabbed up the phone and called his secretary. ‘Lynn, hold all my calls. I don’t want to be disturbed. How long? Until I say otherwise, that’s how long.’ He slammed the receiver down, snapped his laptop shut and stormed down the hall to the lounge.

He shoved his way out of his jacket and tossed it across the wingback chair, then practically strangled himself in his efforts to loosen his tie. From the coffee table he grabbed up the remote and plunged the room into the wild raucous ride of the third movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Then he dropped onto the sofa struggling to breath, struggling to regain control, struggling to figure out what the hell had just happened. All through the meeting, when Dee didn’t show up, he was terrified that something horrible had happened, terrified that he would lose Dee the same way he had lost Beverly. And the relief he felt at seeing her. Jesus, the relief was like nothing he’s ever felt before.

If Lynn hadn’t called, if Wade hadn’t demanded Dee’s presence … If Ellis had had one more second with her, he would have yanked her up from the chair and fucked her senseless right there in the middle of the day with all of Pneuma Inc just outside his door, fucked her as though he might never get another chance, fucked her as though his life depended on it, and that’s exactly how it felt. He wiped cold sweat from his forehead and struggled to breathe. If he’d lost her, Jesus! He couldn’t even bear the thought.

Christ, he couldn’t go on like this. It felt like he was always either avoiding her or jerking off thinking about her. And damn if he wasn’t thinking about her all the time; the shape of her, the feel of her, the sass of her. He’d never wanted anything so badly. And then … and then she screws up so royally that all he wanted to do was punish her, to turn her over his knee for giving him such a scare, to … to … to fuck her until she couldn’t walk.

Available from:

Amazon UK
Amazon US 
Xcite Books

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
The Book Depository
Xcite Books



The Story Behind the Story from Avis Exley

The Story Behind The Story

It’s my pleasure to welcome Avis Exley to Hopeful Romantic to talk about her novels, Love Notes and Lovers In Law.

When Kd Grace asked whether I’d like to talk about Love Notes on her Story Behind The Story guest spot, I didn’t hesitate.   I love talking about romance almost as much as I enjoy writing romantic stories, so this was too good a chance to pass up.   Thanks so much, Kd x

I began writing romances in my teens, not long after I started reading them.   For me, they created a magical world of international locations, spellbinding stories and, of course, happy ever after.

Love NotesLove Notes, was one of my first books and tells the story of Erika Fenn, a world famous singer-songwriter returning to England for the first time in five years.   She’d run away to America to escape a disastrous relationship, pouring her broken heart and soul into her music, and creating songs that turned her into a global superstar.   The last person she needs to see upon her return is Aiden Thirstan, the man who’d broken her heart in the first place, and who’s now saying her future’s under threat too.   Can she trust him to help her and, more importantly, can she trust herself not to fall in love with him all over again?

The story had everything I thought the publishers wanted – an alpha hero, a beautiful heroine and a romance set inside the glamorous music industry.   Full of excitement, I submitted it to a major romance publisher, only to be told that the characters weren’t deep enough and that the background story intruded on the romantic relationship.   Undeterred, I started work on a second novel, Lovers In Law, only to be met with the same rejection, even though I rewrote and resubmitted both novels a couple of times more.

Completely disheartened, I abandoned all hope of becoming a published romance author but it didn’t stop me writing.   By this time I had a young family and wrote whenever they were asleep, stockpiling over a dozen manuscripts in a drawer where they gathered dust and never made it as far as a publisher’s desk.   Then stories began appearing about Print On Demand publishers and self-publishing but the high set up costs in the early days meant this wasn’t an option either.

Still I wrote, adding to the huge pile of paper, until along came Amazon with their Kindle and the easy upload of manuscripts to their e-book store.   Taking my courage in both hands, I decided to give readers the chance to decide whether my work was good enough.   First, I did lots of fun research, reading books from Siren and Ellora’s Cave, and realising that there was no magic formula any more.   I could write exactly what I pleased in a style to suit myself, and even make up a brand new genre if I wanted to!

So, in early 2010, I dug out Love Notes and began rewriting.   The manuscript was so old it had been written on a manual typewriter and before the invention of mobile phones, so it definitely needed bringing into the modern world!   Inspired by the success of Fifty Shades of Grey and erotic romance publishers, I also updated the main love affair, making it far steamier than I’d originally intended.   However, once I started writing, it felt exactly the right way to go.   My characters are hot so why shouldn’t they have hot sex too?

Having done my market research, I knew I needed a unique selling point – a niche of my own.   I began rewriting around the time of the Royal Wedding, with the whole world was going mad for Will and Kate, so I decided to make my books distinctly British.   As I live in London, inspiration was all around me so it made perfect sense to use the city’s iconic locations as a backdrop and to write everything in a British accent.

Lovers in LawI wanted to release two books together so rewrote Lovers In Law alongside Love Notes and uploaded them both to Kindle on the 1st August.   Then I played the waiting game.   A couple of my Facebook friends read them in the first week and posted five star reviews and, after that, the word began to spread.   More five star reviews appeared on Amazon, followed by several on Goodreads and lots of positive comments on Facebook.   Readers didn’t just like my books, they loved them, and couldn’t write a review without using the word “steamy”.   They even made it into the Top 100 of Goodreads’ Best Dirty Talk booklist.   http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/14805.Best_Dirty_Talk?format=html&page=1

But the best reviews of all were the ones that praised the quality of my writing.   I didn’t want my books to be a succession of sex scenes strung together in a weak storyline.   I also wanted a really strong plot, lots of sparky dialogue and believable characters that didn’t race inevitably to a happy ever after.   One Goodreads reviewer even said the writing was so strong, I’d easily sit alongside the mainstream, bestselling writers and she saw no reason why I wouldn’t become one of the great romance writers of al time.  My writing style hasn’t changed much since those very early rejections but now it’s the readers, not the publishers, making the decisions!

I’m currently working on my third novel, a brand new story set in an English stately home, that can only be summed up as Downton Abbey with a huge twist and lots of sexy scenes.   After that, there are still another fifteen dusty stories in the drawer so I might be around for a little while longer!   To whet your appetite, here’s a little snippet from Love Notes.  Enjoy!


Aiden laced his fingers through Erika’s and pulled her hand close to his chest where she felt his heartbeat through his shirt.   Her pulse picked up the rhythm of his heart and slowed, losing its turbulence.

“I’m not talking about going back to where we left off,” he said.   “We can take it as slowly as you like.   Start fresh and see where it goes.”

“Right back to heartbreak,” she thought out loud, indecision writ large across her face.

“Why?   You can’t deny there’s still a connection between us.   We can’t keep our hands off one another.   Why else would you have kissed me?”

“That’s different.   Of course there’s physical attraction, but you’re talking about a relationship.   Love, commitment, trust and everything in between.”

“Then let’s start with the sex and work up from there.”

“What!”   The suggestion came so unexpectedly Erika could barely gasp out a reply.

“You heard.   And don’t pretend you’re shocked.   You have a body made for sin and the other morning proved you’re still no angel.   If this weekend is about sex and memories, why don’t we play to our strengths?”

Devilment sparked in his eyes as he waited to see whether she’d take the bait.   The hook snagged somewhere close to Erika’s libido and embedded itself, releasing the dam burst of desire she’d held back since first seeing him that evening.

Where would be the harm, she asked herself?   After all, Aiden took sexy to a whole new level and it would be a shame to waste it.   Erika wasn’t the only one with a body made for sin and Aiden’s remembered wickedness had inspired every raunchy lyric she’d ever written, including a few too x-rated to record.   Not to mention the delicious dreams that visited her most nights as she drifted off to sleep.

“I can see you’re thinking about it,” Aiden said after Erika’s silence had gone on too long.   “We could have a lot of fun before you head up to London.”

Erika pretended he had nothing of interest to offer her.   “You forget, I’ve already sampled the merchandise.   Maybe that option won’t appeal to me either.”

“And perhaps you just need a little more convincing.”   His eyes widened suggestively.   “The other morning, you took what you wanted and left.   I wasn’t allowed to join in.”

“Would it have made any difference?”

In reply, Aiden reached up and placed his fingertips on the side of her neck, just below her ear, allowing them to flutter against her skin like butterflies’ wings.   “If I kissed you here right now I’d give you goosebumps along your arms.”

Erika half closed her eyes as a thrill of arousal trickled through her skin, just as Aiden had predicted.

His fingers then moved around under her hair and circled each one of her neck bones before caressing the sensitive nape.   ”When I gave you a massage, I started here and, by the time I was half way down your spine, you’d be begging me to make love to you.”

He whispered the last, leaning so close his cheek brushed hers and the powerful, masculine scent of him engulfed her, goading her into touching him.   Without warning, he dropped his hand and pinched the tender skin on the back of her knee, making Erika gasp.   “After we’d showered, I’d dry you off and kiss you from ankle to thigh before letting my tongue…”

“Okay.   Okay.   You’ve made your point.”   Erika jumped in before he could go any further, her skin temperature having leapt by ten degrees.   “Leave something for the imagination.”

“Are you sure you don’t need reminding how I could make you come simply by touching your nipples?   Or how I’d start at your navel and…”

“Enough!”   Erika glared at him but found it impossible to cancel the image of his tongue travelling down across her belly, and her cheeks flushed.   “People are staring.”

Aiden laughed at her embarrassment, the deep, rich sound setting off sensual vibrations in Erika’s bones.   “So why don’t we escape to your room?”


Lovers in Law US  http://www.amazon.com/Lovers-In-Law-ebook/dp/B008S0LII2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345992300&sr=8-1&keywords=Avis+Exley
Love Notes US  http://www.amazon.com/Love-Notes-ebook/dp/B008RXVZXS/ref=pd_sim_sbs_kstore_1
Blog  http://avisexley.blogspot.co.uk/
Tumblr http://avisexley.tumblr.com/
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/AvisExley
Twitter               @avisexley


A Win-Win Deal — An Executive Decision Free!

Ellison Thorne knows a good deal when he sees it and, no doubt, both he and Dee Henning would agree that a FREE download of the Kindle Version of An Executive Decision is a very good deal, indeed. Like most good deals, this one is time sensitive. Beginning October 10th through the 14th, you can download your copy and learn about Ellis and Dee’s secret weapon, which makes them the hottest business team around … in more ways than one.

Now’s the time to take advantage of this win-win deal and get a head start celebrating the anticipated November 1st print release with K D Grace and Grace Marshall. The deal’s on the table. Don’t miss the opportunity.


Sex in the contract – it’s the only way super-focused, over-worked CEO, Ellison Thorne, is ever going to get laid. That’s what his retiring business partner and secret match-maker, Beverly Neumann, thinks. She’s convinced no-strings, stress-free sex in certain employee contracts would raise productivity and minimize stress — perfect for a busy executive like Ellis. But she’s joking, right?

Enter her hand-picked replacement, Dee Henning. Young, hungry, gifted, Dee is the queen of no time for sex. When negotiations on a major project break down, and Dee and Ellis end up in each other’s arms, the Executive Sex Clause suddenly becomes more than a joke. In fact hot executive sex just might be the ultimate secret weapon for success. But secrets seldom remain secret, and Dee and Ellis soon learn there’s no such thing as no-strings where the heart is concerned.



Just an addendum to the conversation we had earlier about Dee Henning. Before I lose contact with all things Pneuma Inc to bask in blissful solitude of the rainforest, I want to make it clear how I feel. I’ve already told you she’s perfect for the position. And if you were ever going to implement the ESC, she’d be the one to do it with – that is if you’ve got the balls.

 Dee’s exactly what you need on all counts. I know you think she lacks experience, but trust me, with the right training, given half a chance, she’ll be brilliant. Hire her, Ellis. Implement the ESC. Trust me, it’s the perfect strategy, a secret weapon that could make Pneuma Inc even more successful than it already is.  And if anyone could do it, you could. Do this for me and I can retire and enjoy my dotage.

 And in case you’re planning to write this message off as a sign of dementia due to my advanced years, I plan to invite her for drinks after I get back from Brazil and feel her out about the position. Just so you know I’m serious.


Ellis shut the email, took off his glasses and stared for a long moment at the blurred screen. Beverly was always right, he reminded himself. Then he shoved his glasses back on, opened the manila envelope and took out the information Beverly had left him. It was true, the list of work experiences and skills were impressive, and in a couple of years, at the rate she was going, Dee would be his choice for the position, hands down. But it was too soon. She was so unprepared for what she’d be facing. How could she be otherwise under the circumstances? And she was untried. He’d be throwing her to the lions. But Beverly believed in her. He prayed she was right.

He found himself reading over the personal information again, the intimate details about her that he shouldn’t know, but did. He found her intriguing in quirky ways. A love child, parents never married, spending summers in Paris, defying her mother to study business at Harvard instead of pursuing a career in music. The notes were all in Beverly’s hand. He wondered why she thought he should know all these things. Personal lives should be kept personal. There was no room for them in the workplace. But then again, there was no room in the work place for what he had done with Dee eight weeks ago, in spite of Beverly’s Executive Sex Clause.

Maybe Dee would turn him down. There was a good possibility. And then what?  He hadn’t even looked at the other resumes. The only one he knew who was at least halfway qualified, certainly more technically qualified than Dee, was Tally Barnes, but that was a moot point now.  Ellis jumped as a crisp rap on the door broke into his silent reverie. He shoved Dee’s resume back in the envelope, straightened his tie and stood to greet her.

‘Lynn? Are you in here?’ Dee entered the conference room dripping wet, turning to shut the door behind her without looking up. ‘Sorry I’m so wet. It’s pouring out there. The garage was full so I had to park in the drowned-dog section, or be late, and I make it a point to never be …’ She stopped in mid-sentence, frozen to the wet spot she was now making on the carpet. ‘Ellis!  I’m so sorry. I just assumed I’d be meeting with your secretary again.’

The classic lines of her dark blue power suit caressed her curves a little less discretely than they might have otherwise done had it not been wet. The rain had rendered her blouse partially transparent – just enough to reveal the contours of lace beneath, and he knew from personal experience just how nice those contours were.

‘Lynn told me you’d be gone,’ she was saying. But he was having a hard time paying attention to her words. Rhinestone droplets of water clung to her lashes and tendrils of damp hair curled around her ears. For a second, he stood motionless, unable to take his eyes off the woman glistening in front of him. She held his gaze with a half-smile, her cheeks tinged with the slightest hint of discomfort, discomfort he was sure he could match and raise. It took another second before he realized she was waiting for him to respond. He caught his breath and spoke in a mad rush. ‘I felt it was time we met in person about the executive assistant position. Can I get you a towel? I have an extra jacket if you’re chilled.’

‘Thanks, but I won’t melt, and I’m not cold. And if you don’t mind me dripping on the carpet, I have several more prospects for you to look at.’

He motioned her to follow him down the hall to his office. ‘After all you’ve done for Pneuma Inc in the past few years I think you’ve earned dripping privileges.’ He felt stupid the minute he’d said it, but it was out, and it got him the smile he’d hoped for. If she were angry at him for what had happened, if she felt in any way hurt or slighted, she hid it well. In fact she hid it a little better than he’d hoped. He’d hoped to get some idea of how she felt about him after … everything. If they were going to be working together, he needed to know if she harbored enough of a grudge to put cyanide in his coffee or set explosives off under his desk.

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© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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