NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
He can’t trust the people who should have his back…
Pressured by his boss to connect with his new team, the last thing Kaeden O’Shea needs is a woman in the way—one who clearly has something to hide. But his instincts have him on high alert and he can’t shake the idea that he needs to ride to her rescue.
Running, hiding, and planting misleading clues means Joy Wilson doesn’t dare let anyone get close. Not even the man who tempts her at every turn…because there’s too much at stake. Too much she has to protect.
Two missions collide, and all bets are off.
Kaeden tends to micro-manage everything he doesn’t do himself. Now his boss hands him the planning of the company retreat and team-building. Most of the work has already been done, but he has an on site liaison and two Hospitality interns to handle the running. Of course he thinks he has everything covered.
Joy is his liaison with the hotel and she gets a kick out of his trying to run the show. Kaeden doesn’t handle any twists or changes well, but somehow Joy manages to get under his skin. She has secrets and he wants to help her, but first he has to gain her trust.
I loved this book, Kaeden goes through so much growth and the relationship he starts with Joy is both sizzling and sweet.
Lots of giggles, plenty of fun, some action plus a sizzling romance.
The excerpt below is a favorite scene, don’t forget to read it.
5 Contented Purrs for Lori!
Joy watched the group unload outside Crepes a la Carte and was glad when none of them looked put out by the long line that was already halfway down the block. The place was actually a cart not a restaurant, though they did have a small store front option on the other side of the street. She’d already told some of them they might want to cut through the alley that led to the storefront to see if there was a shorter line there, but they all seemed happy to get into line at the cart.
She saw Mia who she’d met earlier that morning talking to a woman she hadn’t met yet but thought was named Sarah if she went by process of elimination and the list of people she’d been given by her boss.
She was beginning to learn which kids went with which parents but it wasn’t easy. They all seemed like they parented each other’s kids as easily as they did their own, making it all the more confusing.
Jack’s auburn-haired wife, Kelly, smiled at Kaeden. “Crepes were a great idea. You’re not bad at this trip planning thing.”
Joy stifled a laugh as Kaeden glanced her way before brushing off the compliment and telling Kelly it had been Joy’s suggestion.
Kelly beamed her way. “Any fan of crepes is a friend of mine.”
Jack, Andrew, and Chad came up to the group just then and Joy’s recollection of Jack being Kelly’s husband was confirmed when he kissed her temple.
“Kel, it looks like there’s a small park a couple of blocks down the street. We’re going to take the kids down there while you guys wait in line. If you don’t mind waiting?”
Kelly sent him a look that said he was crazy. “Do I mind getting to hang with my girlfriends in line while you take the kids off our hands?”
Jack laughed and squeezed her close for a minute, dropping another kiss to her cheek before he and the others began herding the kids toward the park.
Kaeden watched them go. “Don’t you need to get their orders?”
Now Kelly directed her look toward him. “The kids will take anything sweet and the men will take anything so long as it’s food. Besides, crepes. There’s no way to go wrong with them. At all.”
Joy had to try to cover her mouth with her hand in a half-assed casual way to suppress her laugh now. Kaeden just didn’t get crepes, but clearly the women in front of him did. There was the blonde Joy thought was Jill and another blonde she thought was Jennie, but it was entirely possible she was switching the two. She had only met them that morning.
“Tell me you’ve had crepes.” That was maybe-Jill talking, hands on her hips as she looked at Kaeden.
Maybe-Jennie joined in. “Crepes are ah-may-zing. Gooey and light and perfect. The reviews for this place say they’re incredible.” She put a hand on her stomach as they inched forward in the line. “My stomach is going to revolt if I don’t give it one soon.”
Samantha walked up to the group and nudged maybe-Jill. “Men never get the draw of a good crepe until they’ve had one. It’s just above their heads.”
Kaeden snorted and all the women swung their heads comically in his direction. Joy lost the ability to hold in her laughter. She couldn’t help it.
He pointed in her direction. “No I-told-you-sos. I get it. They like crepes.”
“Love,” the women said in unison.
Kelly said, “Like luuuuv love.”
The women ended up chatting together while they all moved up in line and Kaeden and Joy were left paired together while the line crept forward.
She tried to ignore the fact that to keep half the sidewalk clear for pedestrians he was standing close enough to her that their arms were almost brushing. Close enough to feel that heat of anticipation at the almost contact.
“You look like you’re not going to hold it in.”
Joy shook her head. “What? The I-told-you-so? It’s staying in me just fine.” She could only grin at him as he scowled at her and Joy realized how good it felt to laugh, to be playful. And how surprising it was that it was happening with this man.
She hadn’t had this kind of laughter in a while and she wouldn’t have it again for a long time. Not when she had to move on soon. There would be nothing but strain and unease and the insecurity of trying to find a new situation for at least a month or two. She remembered when she thought her job at a tech firm was stressful. It was nothing compared to living in a car or a seedy motel and wondering if you’d be safe through the night.
None of the places she’d holed up in the last two years had been like this and she doubted wherever she went to next would be either.
Kaeden cut into her bleak thoughts. “So what kind should I get?”
They were getting closer to the front of the line now and Joy looked at the sign with the list of options. “The monte cristo and the lemon souffle are my favorites. Strawberry shortcake is really good too, though. But the women were right. You can’t go wrong with any of them.”
Samantha shouted back an “amen” to Joy before stepping up to place her order.
Kaeden laughed but he nodded. “Alright, I’ll get those ones.”
“What do you mean, those ones? I was giving you choices not a list. You can’t eat three crepes.”
His brows went up. “I thought these things were gold. Why wouldn’t I eat three of them?”
Twenty minutes later Joy was still shaking her head at him but now it was because she was watching him take the last bite of his third crepe.
“So you liked them?” she asked.
“I think the word you’re looking for is luuuuuuv,” he said drawing the word out like Kelly had.
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Lori Ryan is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance with steamy love scenes and characters you won’t want to leave in the pages when the story is over.Lori published her first novel in April of 2013 and has fallen in love with writing.
She is the author of the Sutton Capital Series; the Heroes of Evers, Texas; and the Triple Play Curse Novellas, a set of novellas with sexy baseball players at their core as part of Bella Andre’s Game For Love Kindle World. She has also published in Melanie Shawn’s Hope Falls Kindle World and in Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Kindle World.
She lives with an extremely understanding husband, three wonderful children, and two mostly well-behaved dogs in Austin, Texas. It’s a bit of a zoo, but she wouldn’t change a thing. She loves to connect with her readers. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter or subscribe to her blog.