USA Today Bestselling Author
Romance is not part of her plan.
Maybe it’s time for a new plan…
Rachael Saunders, the Posh Planner, is ready to take her event planning business to the next level. Her handsome new client’s upcoming dinner party will help her do just that. Too bad the job isn’t exactly what it seems…
Billionaire Mason Reese never intended to throw a dinner party. But all his intentions went right out the window when he met the charming Rachael. Planning the party together gives him a perfect way to get to know her. He only hopes she’ll be able to forgive his deception if the truth comes out…
She isn’t looking for love. Neither is he. But meeting each other will be an absolute game changer for both of them.
Attending Adam and Cambria’s wedding and having to join the other bachelors for the garter toss isn’t Mason Reese’s idea of a good time. He’s just glad he didn’t catch it, Kieran did. Of course Mason and Henry are going to come up with a plan there. We already know what happens with Kieran. Mason based his and Henry’s helping Kieran on what Mason believes is working for him.
Henry introduces Mason to Rachel at Adam’s wedding and circumstances throw the two together during the event clean-up. Mason makes what he thinks is a coffee date with Rachel but there is a total misunderstanding there.
This is a favorite scene.
His interest in her was just that— curiosity. It had nothing to do with Rachael’s warm smile or how her clear green eyes reminded him of the park where he used to play as a kid or that her laugh had become his new favorite sound.
Yep, Mason was acting like one of his mom’s curious cats.
Except he only had one life, not nine.
Time to get out of here.
Recognizing Rachael’s voice behind him, his muscles tensed. So much for leaving. He’d spent too much time deciding what to do. He forced a grin before turning. “Hey.”
“Sorry, I’m late.”
Stray strands of hair from her ponytail framed her face perfectly. Her floral-print skirt fell above her knees, showing off her legs. The short-sleeved peach shirt complemented her complexion. Pink tinged her cheeks, suggesting she’d been hurrying.
Had she gotten prettier since Saturday night?
“I had to pick up something,” she added.
“I’m early.” The words rushed out.
Chill, Reese. Don’t act like Dash.
He opened the door, not wanting to make either of them suffer in the heat any longer. “After you.”
As she passed by, a citrus fragrance tickled his nose. Her shampoo? Soap? He hadn’t smelled that on Saturday night when they sat next to each other in the SUV.
Not that how she smelled mattered.
Mason forced his attention off her and onto the place. The shop wasn’t a massive franchise but a locally owned coffee house Rachael had suggested. He understood why. The cozy atmosphere with subdued lighting and soft instrumental jazz playing was an excellent setting for a first date. Mason joined her in line.
“What would you like?” they asked at the same time.
She laughed. “Let’s try that again. What do you want?”
Wait. Was she offering to buy his coffee? “This is my treat. I asked you to meet me.”
She studied the menu board. “Yes, but this is what I always do.”
Huh? He supposed some women might prefer paying, but he wasn’t used to that. Most expected him to pay, given his net worth. A few even hinted about the expensive gifts they wanted. But Rachael seemed genuine in her offer, so he would let her. “An iced coffee, please.”
“Anything to eat?”
“No, thanks. I had a late lunch with Kieran and Henry.”
“They both seem nice.”
“They are.” Henry had his moments, though.
Tonight, they would talk about getting Kieran together with Selah, who worked for Mason. If the two got married, there would be one less person in the bet.
Rachael stepped up to the counter and removed her wallet from the light-blue purse on her wrist. “One iced tea and an iced coffee for here.”
The barista, a woman with pink hair, rang up the order. “Someone will bring those to you in a few minutes.”
“Thanks.” Rachael handed over a twenty-dollar bill, placed two dollars into the tip jar, and tucked the change and receipt in her wallet. She glanced at him. “Let’s find a place to sit.”
The coffee house was quiet. Only a few tables were taken.
Mason noticed a small round table for two that was more secluded than the others and gave them some privacy. “How about the one in the corner?”
“Perfect.” She headed there and sat. “I hope you’ve had a wonderful week so far.”
“Fairly typical.” That meant crazy busy, but Mason thrived on that. “Did your baby shower go well?”
Rachael’s face lit up. “It did. The mother-to-be was so sweet, and everyone had fun.”
“You love what you do.”
She nodded. “Each client is special to me. It may sound corny, but I’m grateful to be a part of whatever event they’re celebrating.”
Once again, her genuineness struck him. “That’s sweet.”
“It’s also selfish. None of my family lives in Oregon, so it’s almost like being a member of someone else’s family for a few hours.”
Her wistful expression hit him hard. She must miss her family.
Whereas Mason managed a weekly call to his parents. He stared at the table, hoping to find something to snag his attention, but nothing was there. He shifted in the chair. “I rarely see my family, and they live in the same state.”
“It’s hard to make time when you’re so busy.”
He didn’t know if she was talking about him or herself. Perhaps both. He would rather they discuss her. “Do you work most weekends?”
“It depends on my client’s needs. This last weekend I worked both days. But I only have one this Saturday.”
A Saturday night date was out of the question. If— and that was a big if— he wanted to invite her out. Despite his freakout on the sidewalk, he kind of did. “So, you aren’t fully booked?”
“No. That gives me flexibility for clients like Cambria and Adam, who don’t have a lot of lead time.”
“That’s smart.” Mason was glad she’d fit the wedding in, or he would have never met her. “Henry says your business is going well.”
With a satisfied smile on her face, Rachael sat taller. “It is. We’re growing, but…”
“It’s never enough.”
Laughter lit her eyes, and his heart bumped. She was so beautiful.
“I have big dreams. Goals,” she added.
He never expected to be so captivated, but he was. That should bother him more than it did.
“I know how that goes.” Mason was glad he hadn’t left earlier. “And after you hit those initial ones, you want to reach for the next.”
She leaned slightly over the table. “Is that what you’re doing?”
He nodded. “But developing a follow-up to a popular product is… challenging.”
“That’s part of the appeal, right?”
“Guilty.” He half laughed. “Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against easy, and I love when things click into place, but much of the creative process happens when I’m trying to overcome obstacles and problems. That’s how I ended up developing TVT.”
“I love your app, and so does everyone I know. I’m glad you made it.”
His chest swelled. “Thank you. We’re working on an update now. It’ll be even better.”
The barista carried their drinks on a tray. She placed each on the table. “Enjoy.”
As he picked up his, the glass was cool against his palm. “Thanks for this.”
“My pleasure.” Rachael took a sip of hers. “I know you’re busy, and I don’t want to take too much of your time today. So, what kind of event are you having?”
He froze, holding his iced coffee halfway to his mouth. “Event?”
She nodded, which told him nothing. “I have brochures, and a few packages are listed on my website to give clients ideas, but most of my events are custom, which is why I love doing consultations like this. It helps me put together exactly what a client needs.”
The word swirled inside his mind, mocking him.
She thought I invited her to talk about an event, not a date.
Mason almost laughed. He placed his drink on the table so he didn’t spill any.
No wonder she’d paid for his coffee.
Henry might be correct when he claimed Mason had no skills talking to women. He’d epically failed with Rachael.
Melissa McClone. The Game Changer (Kindle Locations 381-449). Cardinal Press, LLC.
Mason develops a whole dinner at a winery to get to know Rachel, and it’s working at least in his mind. They share a kiss or two and they are falling perhaps her more than him it’s hard to tell.
You have to know it’s going to fall apart, somehow. The way it does is quite ironic.
I really loved this book, there’s romance, tears, laughter and love.
5 Contented Purrs for Melissa!
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Melissa McCloneUSA Today bestselling author, Melissa McClone has published over forty novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group.
With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters.
Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities.
Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!