Agonizingly shy Emory North has his life mapped out for him: finish his business degree, go to work for his father, and one day take over as CEO of North Star Publishing. More at home amongst stacks of books, Emory has little to no interest in his lot as ‘North Jr.’, but has never had the courage to follow his true passion—writing.
Brash and ballsy Bryce Palmer, editor-in-chief of ECLIPSE magazine is known for bedding and discarding PAs like yesterday’s newspaper. He’s up against a serious deadline and down two staff members. And the last thing he has time for is babysitting the spoiled rich son of a CEO. But when Pierce Barclay North insists now is the time for his heir apparent to get his feet wet in the company waters, Palmer’s hands are tied.
But looks can be deceiving. And, sometimes, passion can spark in the most unlikely of places…
By 6:30 Monday morning, Emory sat at his desk nursing a steaming hot cup of strong, black coffee. It was far earlier than he should rightfully be at the office. But his internal monologue was making him crazy and he’d hoped work might, at least, distract him from the situation. Torn between anger — at Bryce for his wrongful intrusion — and mortification — also directed at Bryce (but more at himself) for that stolen kiss — Emory was fit to be tied. Did he confront Bryce about the email and risk his ire? Or should he avoid both subjects entirely? Emory knew his father would give him some variation of the I Assumed As Much speech, if Bryce were to fire him. Would he, though? Would Bryce fire him for last night’s indiscretion? He’d seemed well enough into it at first. So maybe Emory could call him out on the manuscript without risk of being upbraided like a child for the kiss — or worse, fired.
Before he had time to become completely unhinged with his thoughts, they were interrupted with the arrival of their main source of strife.
“Morning,” was all Bryce muttered as he breezed past Emory’s desk and into his office.
Seriously? That’s it? Emory was at a complete loss. Now what? Act like nothing out of the ordinary happened Friday and he hadn’t spent the entire weekend fretting? March into Bryce’s office and demand an explanation for the email? Before he was able to decide one way or the other, his phone lit up — Bryce’s extension.
“Emory speaking,” he finally managed after picking up the phone and hesitantly clearing his throat.
“I should hope so — I did dial your number.”
Bryce sighed and Emory was positive there had been an accompanying eye roll. “Are we back to nervous monosyllables again?”
“No, I…” Emory heard Bryce chuckle before he could manage to spit out the rest of his sentence.
“Would you please come into my office, Emory?” This was it. He was about to be tossed out on his ass and onto a pile of jilted former PAs… and he hadn’t even managed more than a drunken kiss!
“You wanted to see me?” Emory stood in the doorway of Bryce’s office, not entirely sure what to do or say. A million things came to mind: curse the man out for taking his story; apologize for his behaviour after the gala; kiss him one more time just to see if it was as scorching hot as he remembered. He chose none of the above and timidly avoided eye contact.
“Would you please come in?” Bryce appeared to be finishing up an email, his fingers flying across his keyboard. “Shut the door behind you and have a seat.”
Emory did as he was told and sat facing Bryce. Before he could change his mind, he managed to muster up more temerity than he’d ever thought possible, and spat out “I’msorryaboutFridaynight,” as though it were all one single word.
“Sorry about… what, exactly?” Emory was surprised to see a smile on Bryce’s handsome face.
“The wine?” Emory started worrying at his thumbnail once again.
“I didn’t mind the wine, to be quite honest. Made you much more… conversational.”
And didn’t that sound laced with… undertones. Emory could feel his face burning.
“But that wasn’t what I wanted to discuss.” And there it was. Emory braced himself.
My biggest complaint about this book is that it was too short. Too short to allow for organic character development, too short to make me believe in the romance, and too short for Emory to develop the backbone he exhibited in the end.
I liked the characters, and I liked the message that things aren't what they seem, and that it's okay to pursue your dreams.
Unfortunately, while this could have been a four or more star read, there wasn't enough time to get into the story, connect with the characters, before it was over.
The author did a great job setting the scene and circumstances, in as few words as possible. Both Emory and Bryce make some assumptions that are proven wrong, and both learn that first impressions and rumors aren't what makes a man.
There were some great moments in this novella that left me wanting for more, and I hope that the next book by this author takes a bit more time developing the characters and thus the relationship between them.
Why three stars after all? Because as short as it was, I did enjoy reading it. And I think so will you.
If you like shorts that are hot and also send a message, this book is for you.
** I received a free copy of this book from its author. A positive review was not promised in return. **
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A pragmatist with a romantic soul & a dirty mind, L.D. is a fan of horror movies, hot sex, and Happily Ever Afters. Easily distracted by shiny things, she’s a slightly neurotic, highly ambitious dreamer who enjoys dabbling in photography & pretending she can carry a tune.
In another life, L.D. was a newspaper reporter, an entertainment & music writer, travel writer, website content editor, and a marketing shill. Now she prefers to spend her time writing hot, steamy fiction (with a healthy dose of romance) about intriguing, sexy men. Of course, whether these pretty boys end up between the sheets with other gorgeous lads or up against a wall with a spicy and spirited heroine, all depends on which direction her imagination takes her on any given day.
Although she dreams of living some place isolated with an endless supply of wine and an infinite number of titles on her eReader, she currently lives in down- town Toronto with her husband and their rock star
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