USA Today Bestselling Author
Ethel Monroe has dedicated her young life to helping the less fortunate by volunteering in organizations such as the Peace Corps. However, she wanted to do more, and when Casper Walgreen offered her a position in his non-profit organization, she couldn’t refuse. Casper was notorious for being the first one to bring relief to communities that suffered natural disasters. He often worked hand in hand with pharmaceutical companies to create vaccines, cures, and treatments for the illness that plagued the world.
Casper had been her idol.
That was until she met him.
In his youth, Casper thought he could change the world by getting his hands dirty. Now he’d past his fortieth birthday, he’d become a cynic after realizing politics always got in the way, and he understood that money talked more than action. Using his family’s millions was the only way he’d ever achieve any of the goals he’d set for himself the day he graduated with a Ph.D. in International Disaster Psychology. Only, he thought he could have done it differently. He did the best he could with the resources that he had. He knew he that his programs did some good, but understanding how the corrupt system worked, he concentrated on making sure that every penny and every donation he made actually went to the needy and moved on to the next good cause. He couldn’t save the world, but he could make an impact.
And then in walked Ethel to his life and flipped it upside down, making him question everything. She showed him a side of the world he’d never seen and brought him back to his roots, making him want a life he hadn’t thought about in years. But was he willing to risk his heart to make the necessary changes he’d been too afraid to deal with in the past? Or would he continue to live his life in a bubble, pretending to make a difference?
This book opens with Ethel meeting Casper Walgreen for the first time. She’s a high school senior at the time and definitely has a crush on him. Her interest is far deeper than that though. She aspires to work for his foundation and possibly get an internship there during college.
Casper was gracious and flattered by Ethel and she reminds him of himself at that age. Full of hope and determined to make a difference in the world.
Now Ethel is interviewing with Casper. However the job isn’t what she believed it to be. Almost disheartened she continues to listen to him describe what he was looking for. More than an assistant but more of a second in command.
This is a favorite scene.
“Your resume intrigued me.”
“Because it read like mine at your age, only I didn’t take the job you’re in now. I couldn’t stomach it and you’ve lasted a year.”
“It’s not the worst. The pay sucks, but I knew that going in. The hours are long, but hell, I’m a workaholic, and I do feel like I’m making some headway.”
“But you want to do more.”
“I do. I want to get my hands dirty again.”
“You could always go back to the Peace Corps. They have programs for repeat offenders,” he said with a grin and a slight chuckle. “Or work for the organization here in the States, overseeing programs.”
“I want to be able to jump from situation to situation, both international and domestic. I followed your career and your foundation, and I knew the day I watched you land after Hurricane Mauve hit and what you did there, both personally and with your people, that I wanted to do that.”
“What the media shows and what really happens are two totally different things,” he said.
Once again, Devon interrupted them as he set down the meals and removed the empty appetizer plates. But this time, Devon knew not to say a word and tiptoed away quietly.
Quickly, she stirred her salad and tossed her dressing. “I understand there’s a lot more that goes into disaster relief. I realize you can’t helicopter in, drop supplies, and save the day. It takes years to rebuild and make real changes. But I can’t sit idly by and do nothing, and sometimes I feel like that’s what I’m doing.”
“And coming to work for me you believe things would be different?”
“Wouldn’t they?” she asked.
“Yes. But perhaps not in the way you think. However, you wouldn’t know unless I hired you,” he said. “If I did offer you the position, would you be able to start next week?”
“That might be tough as I’d have to give my two weeks’ notice.”
“Would you be willing to work a few nights and weekends? Unless there is a disaster, I’ll be in town, and I would really like to go over a lot of information with you before you start work in the office.” He waved his fork in the air. “And there is a charity event this weekend where I could use some help soliciting some money. I think people are pretty sick and tired of me asking for it, especially since they think I’m a rich bastard and I don’t need it.”
“Your family is worth millions.”
He frowned. “I’m well aware of what my family has, but my father didn’t bankroll this organization, and while he does donate and I’m not poor, I don’t have the kind of money it takes to save a small country when a category five hurricane destroys their island.”
“I apologize. I didn’t mean that the way it sounded.” Fuck. She needed to slow down and think before she opened her mouth. “What I meant to say is that I can understand why some people might not want to write you a check based on your family’s bank account.”
“Which is why I need someone else to help me.” He pushed his plate to the side. “I only get so much from the government. Without donations, my organization can’t help those in need. And while I have good people running individual projects, I need someone by my side. Someone I can trust.”
“I think I fit that profile.” She wiped her fingers on her napkin and set it over her half-eaten salad. “And I can make myself available after work for a few hours and on weekends. Hire me and I’ll put in my notice today.”
“There’s a catch to my offer.”
“I’m going to start you out with a three-month contract. If it doesn’t work out, you walk away. You’ll get another three months of your salary for your trouble and I’ll give you a good recommendation.” He tilted his head. “Unless you aren’t all that you add up to be on paper.”
“Are you offering me the job?”
She stretched out her arm. “You’ve got yourself a right-hand woman.”
Jen Talty. Color Me Free: The Monroes Book 3 (Kindle Locations 248-281).
Now Casper has a bit of a problem, he sees Ethel as more than just an assistant, he intends for her to take over the foundation. He feels burned out and his heart just isn’t in it the way it once was. It’s not just the work it’s the loss of someone he loved very much, he hasn’t recovered from that. There’s also the attraction he feels toward Ethel, something he’s not sure he knows how to deal with.
Ethel senses something is up with Casper, she can’t pinpoint it but it’s there. She’s figured out the crush she once had hasn’t gone away instead it has intensified.
I love the way this story unfolds, with secrets revealed and friendships rekindled. All while the attraction between them goes from simmer to full on flame.
I confess I haven’t read the other books in this series, but they are now on my TBR pile.
5 Contented Purrs for Jen!
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Welcome to my World! I’m a USA Today Bestseller of Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, and Paranormal Romance.
I first started writing while carting my kids to one hockey rink after the other, averaging 170 games per year between 3 kids in 2 countries and 5 states. My first book, IN TWO WEEKS was originally published in 2007. In 2010 I helped form a publishing company (Cool Gus Publishing) with NY Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer where I ran the technical side of the business through 2016.
I’m currently enjoying the next phase of my life…the empty NESTER! My husband and I spend our winters in Jupiter, Florida and our summers in Rochester, NY. We have three amazing children who have all gone off to carve out their places in the world, while I continue to craft stories that I hope will make you readers feel good and put a smile on your face.