Crazy for the Best Man
by Ashlee Mallory Crazy in Love #2 Publication Date: November 2017, 2017 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Sweet Romance
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As an entertainment reporter, Anna Blake strives to be the first to get the scoop on the city’s hottest celebrity gossip. But when the competition outs her as the long-lost sister of the bride in what’s been heralded as the wedding of the year, Anna’s forced to go undercover as a bridesmaid to find the scoop that just might save her job.
Best man Nick St. Claire hasn’t forgotten that Anna almost cost him his first election ten years ago. When she appears as a less-than-enthusiastic bridesmaid right before he’s set to announce his senate candidacy, he’s more than suspicious. To ensure the wedding—and his campaign announcement—goes off without a hitch, Nick makes a bargain with Anna: be the model maid of honor, and he’ll give her access to an exclusive story that’s sure to save her job.
But in between dance lessons, bridal showers, and football game fun, these longtime enemies might discover there’s something bigger to fight than each other, something a lot like…love.
“One wedding bell. Two wedding bells. Three wedding bells,” Janie hollered, singing the countdown she’d mandated for today’s game.
Nick sized up the competition on team “pink”—or so the bedazzled tee shirts its members wore so identified, thanks to Janie’s skills with a glue gun. Chris, Josh, Trish, and Anna glared fiercely at him and the blue team as Janie counted. Nick just hoped that Jake and Megan would stop with the flirting and focus on what was happening on the field.
He meant to win this thing.
That was the defense’s cue to charge the other team and the lucky person who might be carrying the ball. In this case, it was Chris, which meant an all-out fight to tag the professional football player, who thought he couldn’t lose. Nick sprinted after the guy who, although fast, had been too cocky and miscalculated how close Nick was to overtaking him.
Or so Nick thought until the moment Chris tossed the ball directly to Anna, who was just outside the end zone. In two seconds, she crossed the line, making the touchdown.
Winded, Nick paused to catch his breath, unable to miss Chris charging Anna and picking her up in a roar of excitement. To Nick’s surprise, instead of ordering the hulk to put her down, she laughed out loud, her head falling back as if she was actually enjoying the moment. For reasons Nick couldn’t identify, the action pissed him off.
He gritted his teeth as Chris slid Anna down his side and back to the ground, the blonde smiling and pushing at his shoulder flirtatiously. When did she learn to turn up the charm like that? It was almost like…like she was enjoying the attention.
Ignoring the couple, he joined his team’s huddle, where, with only five minutes left, a winning strategy was the priority. “All right. Remember, get in T formation and do whatever you have to to stop Chris from getting through. Jake? Megan? Be ready.”
They lined up again, Dax ready to count down and put the ball into play. It was hard to miss the shine of excitement that flashed across Anna’s face as she stared directly at him.
Nick immediately had his defenses up. But the ball was in play in the next second and he didn’t have time to think about it as Dax threw it to Jake, their decoy, and Nick raced to get into position. As planned, Jake handed the ball off to Megan and, just when the heat was on her, she stopped, took aim, and threw it back in Nick’s direction.
Taking a few steps back, Nick moved toward the ball, which was still in the air, reaching his hands out to snatch it and--
A smaller, lithe figure jumped up in front of him, snagging the catch and cradling the ball in her arms as she continued her arch backwards until she slammed full force against him, knocking the air—and his center of gravity—out of him. Nick landed on his back, a throbbing pain in his jaw becoming more pronounced from where her head had slammed on their landing.
Wait. Their landing…?
Yep. Anna Blake was now splayed across him, her arm tangled under him and her soft breasts pressed directly against his right shoulder, her other arm clinging to the ball.
Her head bobbed up, and her eyes widened in surprise.
Grapefruit. That was what she smelled like. Vanilla and grapefruit. Fresh and sharp but also sweet and…succulent. Kind of like her.
He blinked. What the hell was wrong with him? That had to be the stupidest thing that had ever crossed his mind. He must have hit his head harder on impact than he thought.
Nick gazed up, aware that the group had gathered around them. Anna must have become aware of them, too, as she rolled off him and onto the ground.
“You two okay?” Janie asked.
“I’m fine. Just trying to salvage my pride,” Anna said, still lying on the ground.
“Nick?” Dax asked.
Nick sat up, rubbing his jaw. “Me, too. Just had the wind knocked out of me is all.”
Chris reached his hand out to Anna and pulled her up in one motion. “That a girl! Looks like you need to take a page from this beautiful woman’s play list, St. Claire. She just successfully intercepted the ball.”
Now that any concerns of real injury were dismissed, a cheer went up among Janie’s team. It was hard to miss the smile of satisfaction on Anna’s face as she glanced back at him.
He nodded his head in acknowledgment, willing to give credit where it was due.
She’d outmaneuvered him. He could own that.
But he’d be damn sure not to let it happen again.
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For most of his life, James Thornhill accepted that his family would never see him as anything but a failure. But as the new CEO of Thornhill Management, he's been given another chance to set things right. First order of business? Settling a nuisance lawsuit and bringing the pesky but dedicated employment attorney on board as part of his team. Second order of business? Resisting the prim but fiery attorney who has somehow become utterly indispensable in his life.Quinn Taylor has grown up always doing what was right and, likens herself to a modern-day David taking on the Goliaths of the world. Goliaths such as the CEO of Thornhill Management. Playing babysitter and muse to the overindulged CEO was not what she had in mind, but with mounting debt making even a cup of coffee a luxury, Quinn's ready to swallow her pride and get in bed with the devil. Something that, the more time she spends with the man, becomes increasingly enticing. But the stakes are too high for either of them to risk an interoffice fling...until an unexpected trip to Quinn's hometown brings a long-denied simmering attraction to a boil. They'll have to decide what they're willing to risk and how far they're willing to fall if love doesn't conquer all.
ABOUT ASHLEE MALLORY
Ashlee Mallory is a USA Today Bestselling author of Romantic Comedy, Suspense, and Thrillers. A recovering attorney, she currently resides in Utah with her husband and two kids. She aspires to one day include running, hiking and traveling to exotic destinations in her list of things she enjoys, but currently settles for enjoying a good book and a glass of wine from the comfort of her couch.
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
Title: Crazy for the Boss
Series: Crazy in Love #1
Author: Ashlee Mallory
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Cover Design: Letitia, RBA Designs
Release Date: September 29, 2016
Screw-up. Black sheep. Aimless playboy.
For most of his life, James Thornhill accepted that his family would never see him as anything but a failure. But as the new CEO of Thornhill Management, he’s been given another chance to set things right. First order of business? Settling a nuisance lawsuit and bringing the pesky but dedicated employment attorney on board as part of his team. Second order of business? Resisting the prim but fiery new employee who has somehow become utterly indispensable in his life.
Ice Queen. Good girl. Uptight do-gooder.
Quinn Taylor has grown up always doing what was right and, since graduating from law school, likens herself to a modern-day David taking on the Goliaths of the world. Goliaths such as the CEO of Thornhill Management. Playing babysitter and muse to the overindulged CEO was not what she had in mind, but with mounting debt making even a cup of coffee a luxury, Quinn’s ready to swallow her pride and get in bed with the devil. Something that, the more time she spends with the man, becomes increasingly enticing.
But the stakes are too high for either of them to risk an inner-office fling…until an unexpected trip to Quinn’s hometown brings a long-denied simmering attraction to a boil. They’ll have to decide what they’re willing to risk and how far they’re willing to fall if love doesn’t conquer all.
Price will go up on release day
“Okay, you really want to discuss this now? What happened today was a big mistake. As in, it shouldn’t have happened and it can never happen again.”
“Why? Are you seriously asking me that? Because—” She stopped, and it was hard to miss the way she was staring at his lips before she realized what she was doing and turned quickly away. He had to work not to laugh.
She tried again, “Because I work for you. You’re my boss. Anything beyond that would be highly inappropriate. You do not date your boss.”
“Ordinarily, I might agree with you. As a blanket statement, that’s a practical and reasonable business policy. But we’re different. This thing between us…it’s different.”
She snorted. “As everyone who dates their boss and lives to regret it undoubtedly says. James, we’re not different. I know you, how you operate. Dating—a lot of dating of a lot of different women—is your M.O. A three-day weekend in Napa is your idea of long-term commitment. Look, I can see how maybe the whole forbidden office romance thing has maybe made this seem more scintillating to you, but I’m not about to risk my job and my reputation for a flash-in-the-pan affair that, when you’ve moved on, will make me the office joke.”
“You could never be a joke,” he said, all humor lost, and he leaned forward so she could see the intensity in his eyes. “Quinn, I don’t blame you for being doubtful of my intentions. I don’t have the best track record where dating and women are concerned. But that’s only because none of those women were you.”
She rolled her eyes. “Do you use that line often?”
He didn’t flinch, just continued to meet her eyes. “Never. I’m always honest with the women I date, just as I’ve always been honest with you. The truth is, even before this weekend, I’ve been fighting this growing…need for you. Wanting to see you every day, to hear your voice, even when you’re angry with me—”
“You have to stop talking like this, James. It’s—it’s just not going to happen.”
“Because I’m your boss.”
“Yes, because you’re my boss. And have you thought for one second about the possibility that I just don’t feel the same way about you?”
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