Excerpt Reveal: The Beauty of Us by Kristen Proby!

 

 

From New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby comes a sexy, new standalone contemporary romance in her Fusion Series, THE BEAUTY OF US, releasing August 22, 2017! Check out the chapter below and get to know Trevor and Riley!

 

 

About THE BEAUTY OF US:

New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby delivers another sizzling novel in her delectable and sexy Fusion series.

Riley Gibson is over the moon at the prospect of having her restaurant, Seduction, on the Best Bites TV network. This could be the big break she’s been waiting for. But the idea of having an in-house show on a regular basis is a whole other matter. Their lives would be turned upside down, and convincing Mia, her best friend and head chef of Seduction, that having cameras in her kitchen every day is a good idea is daunting. Still, Riley knows it’s an opportunity she can’t afford to pass on. And when she meets Trevor Cooper, the show’s executive producer, she’s stunned by their intense chemistry.

Trevor’s sole intention is to persuade Riley to allow Best Bites TV to do a show on her restaurant. But when he walks into Riley’s office, he stops dead in his tracks. The professional, aloof woman on the phone is incredibly beautiful and funny. But can he convince her that he’s interested in Riley for himself? Or is he using the undeniable pull between them to persuade her to agree to his offer?

 

 

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Chapter 2

~Trevor~

I didn’t sleep worth shit last night. I waited for a response to my e-mail from Riley for a while; I’m not exactly sure why. I just don’t like the thought of her being embarrassed.

Because she has no reason to be. She didn’t know who I was, and it was closing time. She was venting to her friends.

It’s really no big deal.

But I could see the mortification in her big blue eyes when she realized who I was, and that doesn’t sit well with me.

When no response came, and for all I know she hasn’t even read the e-mail yet, I sat down for a game on the PS4. I don’t travel anywhere without it. Some people read to unwind. Some go to the gym, and there are times I do the same. But to truly relax, I enjoy gaming. I have since I was a kid.

So I settled in the apartment the network has rented for me this month and played online with my friends, talking about our days and shooting the enemy.

We played well past midnight, and I usually would have gone right to bed afterward, but my mind was still turning, making falling asleep impossible. The restaurant is better than I imagined through my research on their website and customer reviews. It’s visually stunning, the food is fantastic, and they’ve hit the mark on the sexy factor.

But added to that, the five women who own the place are all beautiful, smart, and will make for great TV. Viewers will eat this show up, pun intended.

I lean over the sink and wash my face, not bothering to shave today, and as I dry off, I reach for my phone.

I have several new e-mails.

The most recent is from Riley Gibson.

Trevor,

Thank you for your kind email. I apologize again for the conversation last night. I would like to promise that we don’t always talk like that at work, but that would be a lie. At least we keep it to closing time over a glass of wine.

Enjoy Portland,

Riley

I grin and sling the towel over my bare shoulders. Riley isn’t what I had pictured in my head before I got here. I knew that she was pretty because their photos are on their website, but she’s much prettier in person.

And animated.

Working with her will be fun.

And a test to my libido. Because Riley is fucking sexy. I’ve never mixed business and sex before, and I don’t plan to start now, but keeping my hands off her will be a test of wills.

And that too should be fun.

After my run this morning, I stopped by a bagel place to eat and read a newspaper, came back to the apartment for a shower, and I think I’ll go to Seduction for lunch. I hadn’t planned to go back there until my meeting with Riley tomorrow, but I also haven’t had lunch there yet.

I dress quickly in jeans and a red T-shirt and walk the six or so blocks to the restaurant.

They’ve just opened, so they’re not busy yet. The atmosphere is calm, the lighting a bit brighter than last night, making it a fun spot to meet with colleagues or friends for lunch.

I’m seated on the far side of the restaurant, where it meets the bar, and I can see Riley and the other women sitting around a high table, talking.

Loud enough for me to hear.

“So, he’ll be here tomorrow. Filming doesn’t start for another week, unless the timetable has been moved up,” Riley says, studying her iPad and checking things off a list. “It would be great if we could watch our language.”

“Right,” Mia says, rolling her eyes. “Because that’s gonna happen.”

“Just watch the F-bombs then,” Riley says with a grin. “And I’ll do my best not to vent to him about my horrible dating experiences. Not that I’ll be having any more of those.”

“I wish I’d been here for that,” Addie says with a smile. “It’s hilarious.”

“No, it’s not,” Riley says, but smiles and covers her lips with her fingers. “Okay, it’s a little funny. I’ll be working from home today.”

“Why?” The blonde speaking, I presume Cami, asks.

“Because I have a roofer coming today,” Riley says. “But if you need me, just call. I can come back after he leaves.”

“Go.” Mia waves her off. “We’ve got this.”

The girls all stand, about to go their own ways to get their day started. They’re clearly good friends, which will come across well on film.

Riley walks out of the bar and glances up, spotting me.

“Hi.” I offer her a smile and motion for her to join me. She sits, sets her iPad aside, and squares her shoulders.

I love a woman with grit.

“Why are you here?” she asks.

“I’m having lunch,” I reply, and gesture to the salad sitting in front of me. “It’s delicious. Adding the brussels sprouts is smart.”

“I’ll pass that along to Mia,” she says, and then laughs. “I guess you heard the part where I asked the girls to not swear.”

“I did,” I reply, and patiently butter a piece of warm bread. “Don’t worry about that stuff. They’re adults.”

“With potty mouths,” she says.

“And we can bleep stuff out, or ask them to rephrase. You’ve already got the gig, Riley. I wouldn’t be here otherwise. This isn’t an audition.”

“I know.” She sighs and reaches over to take a piece of my bread, surprising and delighting me. “I just want things to go smoothly.”

“Perhaps you should order lunch too.”

“I don’t have time,” she says, and then her blue eyes widen as she realizes what she just did. “I’m so sorry. I eat when I’m stressed out, and I didn’t—”

“No.” I hold my hand up to stop her. “It’s fine. I like that you’re relaxed with me. I think you need to relax more often.”

“What are you, my life coach now?”

“If you like. Did you cancel those dating sites like I suggested?”

She bites her lip and looks to the side, then nods. “I did.”

“Good.” I take a bite of salad and nod. “Are you sure you don’t want some food?”

“I rarely have time to eat,” Riley says, and checks the time on her phone. “In fact, I should go. I have to meet the roofer at my house.”

“What’s wrong with your roof?”

“It’s old,” she says with a shrug. “That’s what happens when you buy an old house. I’m fixing it up a little at a time.”

I nod, and find that I don’t want her to go quite yet. I want to talk more, to learn more about her.

“Why don’t you come to my apartment tonight and I’ll cook you dinner?”

She pauses and stares at me for a moment. “Why?”

I laugh and set my fork down. “Because I asked you to. We’re going to be working closely over the next few weeks, we might as well get to know each other a little better. Also, we can discuss my new duties as your life coach.”

“Well.” Her lips twitch as she thinks it over for a moment, a myriad of emotions moving across her beautiful face, and finally she says, “Okay. Do you mind texting me the address and the time?”

“Not at all,” I reply, and immediately pass her my phone. “Plug in your number and I’ll text you this afternoon.”

She complies, passes it back, and smiles. “Okay, see you later.”

And with that, she’s off. Her ass swaying enticingly in her tight skirt, calves flexing from the height of her heels, and the food I’m currently chewing immediately tastes like cardboard.

Jesus.

And I just voluntarily offered to spend time with her. Alone.

I’m a fucking glutton for punishment.

[no ornament]

“I’m starving,” Riley immediately says as I open the door. She’s in jeans and a well-loved University of Oregon sweatshirt, her hair is pulled up in a ponytail, and she looks like she could be a co-ed herself. “I forgot to eat today.”

“Does that happen every day?” I ask as I gesture for her to come inside and close the door behind her.

“Most days,” she admits. “Is this one of those bad choices that you’re gonna coach me through?”

“Yes,” I reply, and lead her into the kitchen. “You have to eat.”

“I know, I just get focused on other things, and the next thing I know, the day is gone and I’m starving.” She passes me two bottles of wine. “I didn’t know what we were having, so I brought red and white.”

“Thanks.” I grin and set them both on the counter. “I made salmon and asparagus with baby red potatoes. What goes best with that?”

Her eyes light up. “The white. Holy shit, are you a chef yourself?”

“I went to culinary school,” I reply, and squeeze some lemon on the salmon before plating it. “But I discovered I was better at a desk job.”

“That’s unusual,” she says, her head tilted to the side as she listens. “Most people fight to get out of a desk job.”

“Not me. I have a ton of respect for Mia, because being a chef isn’t easy, and pleasing people sucks.”

“True.” Riley nods. “She doesn’t get many plates sent back to her, but there are a few. Can I pour you a glass?”

“No thanks,” I reply, and reach in the fridge for a bottle of water. “I don’t drink alcohol.”

“Oh.” She frowns. “I’m sorry. I can drink water too.”

“It’s fine,” I reply, and pat her shoulder. “I don’t mind if you drink. I just don’t.”

“But last night, you were drinking Jack and Coke.”

“Nope, just Coke.”

She sits at the table, still frowning. “I’m sorry.”

“There’s nothing to be sorry for.” I set our plates down. “I’ve been sober for ten years. I’m not the kind of alcoholic who can’t be around others having a drink. It was never that bad for me. I’m just a better person if I don’t drink.”

“Good for you for knowing that,” she says, holding her glass out to clink against my water. “This looks delicious.”

“You sound surprised.”

“I expected pizza or Chinese takeout,” she says. “Honestly, that’s probably what you would have gotten from me. I’m also surprised that you’re not staying in a hotel.”

“I’m here long enough that the network sprung for the apartment. They usually do when I’m somewhere longer than a week or so.”

“You must travel a lot for this job,” she says, eating her food like a starving child. I don’t know if she even tastes it, she’s eating so fast.

“I travel often,” I reply, and grin when she takes the last bite. “Are you going to lick the plate?”

“Maybe,” she says with a grin. “I’m not even embarrassed that I ate that so fast. It was delicious.”

“I’m glad you liked it. There’s more.”

“No, I’m good,” she says, and reaches in her bag, pulling out a pad of paper and a pen. “You can eat while I interview you.”

“For what?”

“For the position of life coach,” she says with a sassy grin. I want to kiss that grin right off her face, but instead I take a bite of potato and gesture for her to begin.

“Okay, first question: What qualifications do you have that make you a good fit for this position?”

“Well, I have a few years on you, so I would say wisdom with age.”

She tilts her head to the side, the way she does when she’s turning something over in her head. “You can’t be that much older than me.”

“I’m thirty-seven.”

“Seven years,” she says, rolling her eyes.

“A lot can happen in seven years,” I reply, and sip my water.

“Okay, I’ll give you that.” She checks something off on her paper.

“Did you really write down questions?”

“Of course. I’m the queen of lists and the roofer was at my house forever.” She bites her lip as she looks at her list. “How many women have you life-coached in the past?”

“Well, I didn’t have an official job title, but I have two younger sisters, and an ex-wife, so I would say three.”

“But the wife is an ex, so maybe that did go well?” Riley asks. “And are your sisters productive members of society?”

“As opposed to being in jail?” I ask, laughing. “You’re hilarious, Riley.”

“You didn’t answer the question.”

“My sisters are great. The older one is married, a stay-at-home mom with two kids, and the younger one is a waitress.”

“But the ex-wife thing didn’t work out.”

“She’s not a mess, we just both decided that she shouldn’t be my wife anymore.”

“Why?”

I sit back in my chair and wipe my mouth on my napkin. “Because she thought it was a good idea to have sex with other men.”

Her eyebrows climb on her forehead and she blinks twice. “That’s a good reason.”

“I thought so.”

“Okay, next question.” She checks something on her paper and looks up at me with a smile. “How do you intend to be compensated for your work?”

“I’m working pro bono,” I reply with a wink.

“Why?”

“Because I’m going to be here anyway, and why not.” I shrug and finish the food on my plate. “What else do you want to know?”

“Is my coming to a virtual stranger’s apartment by myself one of the bad decisions you should have coached me on?”

I smile and set my plate aside so I can lean on the table. “Did the girls tell you that coming here by yourself was a bad idea?”

“I only talked to Cami and she thought I should come. Plus, I have a concealed carry, so I feel pretty confident that I’m safe.”

I raise a brow and cross my arms over my chest. “You carry a gun with you?”

“Hell to the yes,” she replies, and offers me a sweet smile. “I’ve been meeting strange men on the Internet. You bet your ass I’ve been armed.”

“Good idea,” I reply with a nod. “There are a lot of crazies out there.”

“Yes. But I think that if you’re gonna meet a crazy, it could be anywhere. Online, in a bar, at the gas station. They’re everywhere.”

“That’s true too,” I reply, and nod. “Well, I’m glad you’re being cautious.”

“I’m nobody’s victim,” she says, as casually as if she’s telling me her shoe size.

That’s fucking sexy.

“Do you have any other questions?”

“Not really,” she says, and shrugs. “I didn’t really write anything down. But it was fun to interrogate you a bit.”

“Now I have questions,” I reply, and smile when she cocks her head and purses her lips. “Do you really think you need a life coach?”

“No, I have my shit together,” she says with a grin.

“Why were you really on all of those sites?”

She shrugs. “Because it’s not easy meeting people. And sometimes a girl wants to go out on a date.”

“You don’t need me,” I reply, and smile. “But I’ll be around for a while, just in case.”

“Just in case I slip and fall back into the online dating?”

“That, or if you just want to have dinner, or chat. And I think we should watch a marathon of Star Wars. Your lack of knowledge is cause for concern.”

“It’s kind of a guy thing,” she says.

“I know many women who like Star Wars.”

“Well, I would watch one or two.”

“You need to see them all to understand what’s happening.”

“That’s a lot of hours of my life that I’ll never get back,” she says with a frown. “Aren’t there CliffsNotes somewhere? A speedy way to get caught up?”

“No,” I reply, and fist my hands in my lap so I don’t reach out and tuck her hair behind her ear.

Or yank her against me so I can kiss the fuck out of her.

“Are you okay?” she asks.

“Are you always this observant?”

“I’m an overthinker,” she says. “So yeah, I’m an observer.”

“I’ve been labeled an overthinker too,” I say with a grin.

“Would you say it’s an accurate assessment?”

“Oh yeah,” I say with a nod, and stand to clear our plates away. She stands to help. “I’ve got this.”

“No way, you cooked, so I’ll help clean.”

She walks ahead of me, her empty glass in one hand and her plate in the other. “Do you use the dishwasher, or do you wash by hand?”

“There are people who still wash by hand?”

“I’ve heard of them, but I’ve never seen them in the wild,” she says, and smiles up at me when I join her. “So I guess that means we use the dishwasher?”

“Yes.” She rinses and I load, and a few short minutes later, we’re done.

“Well, I suppose I should go,” she says, and checks the time on her phone. “Oh, Cami texted. I guess I should reply so she doesn’t think you killed me after the entrée.”

She smirks and types on her phone, then turns it off and looks up at me.

“Thanks for dinner.”

“You’re welcome.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

Unfortunately, it won’t be in my bed.

“You will.”

“Okay.” She gathers her bag, notepad and pen, and walks to the door. “Sleep well tonight.”

I grin and congratulate myself for not dragging my fingertips down her cheek.

You sleep well tonight, Riley.”

“Okay. Bye.”

She leaves and I close the door, letting out a slow breath. Jesus, she’s sexy and funny and smart as fuck.

And I’m not going to touch her while I’m here.

How the fuck am I going to do that?

 

Don’t miss the first chapter of THE BEAUTY OF US! You can read it here!

 

 

About Kristen Proby:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

 

Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

 

 

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New Release: Easy Nights (Boudreax Series #6) by Kristen Proby

 

 

From New York Times Bestselling author Kristen Proby, comes a steamy and passionate friends-to-lovers romance—EASY NIGHTS! The sixth standalone title in the Boudreaux Series, Savannah and Ben’s highly anticipated story is now available on all retailers! Grab your copy today!

 

 

About EASY NIGHTS (Boudreaux Series #6):

The Boudreaux Series—Sexy. Intriguing. Easy.

No one said change was easy…

Savannah Boudreaux knows what it is to hurt. To bleed. To be afraid that the man she’s promised to be true to until “death do us part” might in fact separate them far sooner than anyone had ever anticipated. But Van also knows what it is to survive. To move on. To live life to the fullest. With five brothers and sisters and a loving mother as her constant source of strength during the pain and the healing, Van realizes there is little else she needs.

But some things never change…

Benjamin Preston sat on the sidelines of the Boudreaux family for years, in love with a woman he couldn’t have. As the best friend of the Boudreaux brothers since childhood, Ben has seen both tragedies and joys in the family. And as a former MMA fighter and KravMaga expert, Ben’s used to fighting for what he wants—and winning. His hands were tied when Savannah married her high school sweetheart not long after graduation, but now two years have passed since Ben found Savannah broken in her own home.

Sometimes what you need most has been right in front of you the whole time…

Van’s convinced that happiness isn’t in the cards for her, no matter how right it feels to be in Ben’s strong arms—and his bed. Ben is determined to win her heart and fight for her trust. He’s promised to protect her, to be her friend. But more than anything, he wants to finally make her his, and this is one fight he’s not willing to lose.

 

 

Pick up your copy of EASY NIGHTS today!

 

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Excerpt:

“Van.”
I spin at the sound of Ben’s voice, and silently cringe. I look horrible. I’m sweating like an ice cold drink without a coaster, and the clothes I wear here are skin tight, making it easier to move.
“You’re not usually here at this time,” I say and dab a towel on my face. “What’s up?”
“I had a meeting with another instructor,” he says with a smile. “Thought I’d say hi.”
“Hi.” I smile and readjust my ponytail. It’s much smaller now, but I can still pull it back. “How was your day?”
“Busy,” he replies and surprises me by letting his eyes travel up and down my body. “I like the new hair. You look great.”
“I’m a mess.” I chuckle and hook my towel around my shoulders. “You, however, do look great.”
That’s a fucking understatement. He’s in cargo shorts and a black tank top, showing off his tattoos and his muscles.
Good lord, the muscles.
“Can I show you a few things?” he asks, breaking my concentration on his muscles.
“Sure,” I frown as I follow him back into the empty classroom. “Am I doing something wrong?”
“No, I just want to go over some form things.” He leads me to the center of the room and stands behind me, looking into my eyes through the mirror.
Oh God. This is way sexier than it probably should be.
“Assume the stance.”
I follow his directions and work very hard to not react to his strong hands on my sides as he walks me through punches, kicks, and better ways to keep my center of gravity.
“You’re small,” he murmurs and pushes my legs just a little closer together. “I want you to keep your feet just a little closer together. You’ll have better balance.”
I nod. “It feels better.”
He smiles at me. I can’t keep my eyes off of him in the mirror. The way he moves, his facial expressions.
Ben has always been attractive to me, but holy shit, did he get hotter? Or was I just too broken before to see it?
Because holy shit, he’s hot.
“Van?”
“Yeah?”
“I just asked you to do the spin/elbow move.”
“Oh.” I bite my lip and will myself to stop ogling his arms.
“Are you okay?”
“Of course.” I do as he asks and spin, attempting to ram my elbow in his nose, the way I’ve been taught, but he blocks and sends me onto my ass. “Damn it.”
“You’re not spinning quickly enough.”
“I’m as clumsy as they get,” I remind him. “If I spin too fast, I’ll fall on my ass. I’ll be helping my attacker more than anything.”
“It’ll actually feel easier,” he says, helping me to my feet. “You can do this. I’ve seen it.”
“You’re taller than anyone else I’ve ever sparred with.”
“Good,” he says and narrows his eyes. “Chances are, if you ever have to defend yourself, your attacker won’t be shorter than you.”
“True.” I nod thoughtfully.
“But if you’re still not comfortable doing this with me, that’s fine. I can make suggestions for Shelly to work on next week.”
“I’m okay,” I reply, and am surprised to realize that it’s true. It wasn’t long ago that I couldn’t stand for any man to touch me, not even my brothers. But I don’t mind so much now.
In fact, I’m utterly shocked to realize that his touch is turning me on. I don’t remember the last time I had sexual thoughts toward a man. Even Ben. Which was one more thing that made me sad.
But hello, long lost hormones.

 

 

 

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EASY LOVE-FREE for a limited time only
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EASY MELODY-$1.99 for a limited time only
EASY KISSES
EASY FOR KEEPS: A Boudreaux Novella
EASY MAGIC

 

 

 

 

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About Kristen Proby:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

 

 

 

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New Release: Easy Fortune by Kristen Proby


 

From New York Times Bestselling author Kristen Proby, comes a passionate new romance—EASY FORTUNE! A Boudreaux Series novella, this standalone second chance romance features Mallory’s best friend Lena! Don’t miss the amazing excerpt below and grab your copy of EASY FORTUNE today!

 

About EASY FORTUNE (A Boudreaux Series Novella):

The Boudreaux Series—Sexy. Intriguing. Easy.

Sometimes the past is better left behind you…

Lena Turner has spent her life as the outsider. Thanks to her extraordinary gifts, she’s learned to be independent—especially when it comes to men. She’s content to live her life in New Orleans as a schoolteacher, dating casually and dedicated to her small family. Long term is not part of her plan.

Sometimes the past catches up with you…

Leaving Lena behind to pursue his career was the most difficult thing Mason Coulter ever did. He told himself that it was for the best, had even convinced himself that he had only Lena’s best interests in mind. But now, after six long years, he’s back in New Orleans to settle his late eccentric aunt’s estate. All he has to do is get in and out of the city without submitting to the need to see Lena. But to Mason’s dismay, his aunt made other plans.

And sometimes the future and the past collide…

Having Mason walk back into her life is something Lena never saw coming. She could refuse to help him, but she’s never been good at telling Mason no. So she’ll do what she can to get the estate settled and Mason out of her life for good.

At least, that’s the plan. But Mason has plans of his own…

 

 

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EXCERPT:

I wipe the back of my hand over my forehead and glance at my notes when suddenly, the air in the room shifts.

It’s subtle, but I feel it. The hair stands up on my neck. I haven’t felt this in six years.

“You can get back in your Ferrari and go away,” I say casually without looking over at the doorway and do my best to ignore the damn zoo that’s come awake in my stomach.

“I don’t have a Ferrari,” he replies. His voice hasn’t changed at all. It’s thick like melted milk chocolate, and he still has his southern accent. I don’t know why that surprises me.

“Well, whatever horse you rode in on? Ride back out on it.”

I hear him sigh, but I refuse to look at him. Because just one look will suck me in, and I’ve vowed never to be sucked in by Mason Coulter ever again.

“It’s good to see you, Lena.”

“Mm hmm.” I pretend to study my notes, but I don’t actually see the words anymore. “Good to see you, too.”

“You haven’t even looked over here.”

I can hear the smile in his voice. It makes me cringe.

“What do you want?”

“I want you to look at me,” he replies.

“Well, we don’t always get what we want.” Yes, I’m being a bitch, and no, I’m not sorry. Mason was the one. The one that I fell head over heels for, the one that charmed the pants off of me, literally, and then he just left. He disappeared, and I was left here, wondering what in the hell happened. Wondering what I did wrong because I was twenty-two and naïve and so heartsick for him I thought I wouldn’t survive it.

But I did.

“So, you’re still mad?”

I blink rapidly for a second, and then I can’t help it. I turn and take him in, from the top of his gorgeous, dark head to the tip of his designer shoes, and my body immediately comes to life. Panties are singed. And if I thought it was hot in here ten minutes ago, it’s an inferno now.

Damn him. He just had to stay hot, didn’t he? I mean, couldn’t he have lost all of his hair? Gained a whole bunch of weight? Something?

“You could say I’m still mad,” I reply, proud of myself for sounding calm and indifferent to him, when I’m anything but indifferent. “So unless you came in here to tell me you have a terminal illness, you can just turn around and go. I’m not interested in chit chat.”

“You were always good at chit chat,” he says and flashes that perfect smile at me. But there’s something there, in his smile that tells me something isn’t quite right.

And I’m just a sucker because I’m about to ask him what it is. I should stay firm and ask him to go.

But first, I need to settle an old score.

“You know,” I begin and put the cap on the blue marker. I set it down and turn to fully face him. “The last time I saw you, you said you’d be right back.”

“I said I’d see you soon,” he says, the smile fully leaving his face now.

“And then you just bailed.”

He sighs and leans against the doorjamb. He crosses his arms over his chest and glances down at his shoes, then back up at me. “I owe you an apology for that.”

“Yeah. You do.”

“I’m sorry.” His grey eyes are holding my own, and I can see the sincerity there, hear it in his voice. “I am truly sorry, Lena.”

I nod and turn away. “Thanks.”

“And I need your help.”

Of course he does.

This couldn’t be a quick, I want to stop in to see how you are, apologize, and go on my merry way.

No, it has to be complicated.

“My Aunt Claudia passed away last week.”

“Oh, Mason.” I turn quickly, blinking rapidly. I’m so sorry. I liked her very much.”

He nods. “Thank you.”

Mason and his Aunt Claudia were very close. I believe that we all have that one special family member that we bond with, who is important in our lives, and for him, it was his aunt. He spent summers with her here in New Orleans when he was young.

“I hadn’t heard that she’d passed.” That must be what I see behind his eyes. I don’t have the psychic abilities that my best friend, Mallory, has. But I can sense things. I want to hug him, to comfort him, but I stay planted where I am because I know what his touch will do to me.

“I’d planned to come to town and quickly take care of her estate, but it seems Aunt Claudia had other plans.” He laughs humorlessly and shakes his head, looking at the ceiling. “The attorney informed me that she was very clear that you were to come with me to the reading of the will.”

“Me?” I frown. “Why? I only met her a couple of times.”

He shrugs and pushes his hand through his hair, in the say way he did six years ago. But now the muscles under his black T-shirt are more defined, tanner from all of the hours he spends outside digging around for old things.

Mason is a well-known and important archeologist.

“You know that she was a bit… eccentric.” He smiles. “It’s one of the reasons I loved her so much. She did what she wanted, and she wanted this.”

“I see.” I swallow and stare out of the windows at the trees. There’s a slight breeze today. I walk over and open the window, wiggle my fingers and feel the breeze blow in my room. “And if I refuse?”

“If you refuse, her estate will be donated to the city of New Orleans.” My head whips around to stare at him again. “I know, it’s a lot of pressure. I don’t need her money, Lena. Archeology has been good to me. But I loved her, and I’d like to do right by her.”

I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. So, he’s not here because he wanted to see me. He’s here because his aunt didn’t give him a choice. He’s right, it is a lot of pressure.

“You can think about it,” he says. He pulls a business card from his pocket and sets it on the desk closest to him. “That’s my cell number. I need to be at the attorney’s office on Friday at 2:00 in the afternoon. If you decide you’re willing to go with me, I wrote the address on the back.”

I nod, staring at the small square of white paper.

“Lena?”

“Yeah?” My gaze finds his again and he smiles, as if remembering something especially sweet.

“You look fantastic. You’ve hardly changed at all.”

“Oh, I’ve changed.”


 

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ABOUT KRISTEN PROBY:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

 

Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

 

 

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Cover Reveal: The Beauty of Us by Kristen Proby

 

From New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby comes a sexy, new standalone contemporary romance in her Fusion Series, THE BEAUTY OF US! Releasing August 22, 2017, don’t miss the amazing cover and blurb below!

 

 

New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby delivers another sizzling novel in her delectable and sexy Fusion series.

Riley Gibson is over the moon at the prospect of having her restaurant, Seduction, on the Best Bites TV network. This could be the big break she’s been waiting for. But the idea of having an in-house show on a regular basis is a whole other matter. Their lives would be turned upside down, and convincing Mia, her best friend and head chef of Seduction, that having cameras in her kitchen every day is a good idea is daunting. Still, Riley knows it’s an opportunity she can’t afford to pass on. And when she meets Trevor Cooper, the show’s executive producer, she’s stunned by their intense chemistry.

Trevor’s sole intention is to persuade Riley to allow Best Bites TV to do a show on her restaurant. But when he walks into Riley’s office, he stops dead in his tracks. The professional, aloof woman on the phone is incredibly beautiful and funny. But can he convince her that he’s interested in Riley for himself? Or is he using the undeniable pull between them to persuade her to agree to his offer?

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And Don’t Miss the First Three Novels in the Fusion Series, LISTEN TO ME, CLOSE TO YOU, and BLUSH FOR ME!

 

About Kristen Proby:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

 

 

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New Release: Easy Magic by Kristen Proby!

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From New York Times bestselling author Kristen Proby, comes the next sexy and captivating standalone title in the Boudreaux Series, EASY MAGIC. Take a trip to the Big Easy and fall in love with Beau and Mallory’s story in this passionate and magical contemporary romance. Grab your copy today!

 

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ABOUT EASY MAGIC:

The Boudreaux Series. Sexy. Intriguing. Easy.

Family. Responsibility. Stability.

As the co-CEO of Bayou Enterprises, and the eldest of the Boudreaux clan, Beau is the epitome of these. Now that his baby sister Gabby is happily settled down, Beau has moved into the company loft in the heart of the French Quarter to be closer to his office while his own home is built. He doesn’t have time for anything but the family he adores and the company that drives him.

If only the bewitching owner of the herb shop downstairs from Beau’s loft wasn’t so damn tempting.

Mallory Adams is living the life. The good life. The best life for her. After years of hiding who she is, and the gifts she’s been cursed with, Mallory opened her little shop in the French Quarter, offering herbs and lotions for anything from soothing a sunburn to chasing those pesky ghosts New Orleans is known for out of a client’s home. Some call her eccentric, and some say she’s simply odd, and that’s okay with her. She is a bit odd, but in her experience, all of the best people are.

When an old pipe bursts in the loft above her store, flooding her storeroom, Mallory comes face to face with Beau Boudreaux, and she doesn’t need the clairvoyant abilities that have been passed down through generations to know that she’ll never be the same. Beau is her exact opposite; serious, straitlaced. He wears suits for Pete’s sake and probably wouldn’t know the difference between arnica and flaxseed if his life depended on it. But when he touches her, the electricity is through the roof and she’s smart enough to know that a chemistry like theirs doesn’t happen every day.

Can two people so very different possibly find their way to happily ever after?

Grab your copy of EASY MAGIC today!

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Excerpt from Easy Magic

I’ve always had a knack for knowing what people need,” she says softly, as if she’s choosing her words very carefully. I don’t know why that bothers me. I want her to speak her mind, to not have to censor what she says.
But this is a good start.
“In what way?”
“Maybe someone has headaches, or their feet hurt. I have essential oils and herbs that can help with those things.”
I nod.
“My grandmother taught me all about alternative medicine from the time I was a child. She wasn’t crazy with it,” she says quickly, “she still believed in western medicine as well, but why take a pain reliever full of chemicals if you can just put a drop of oil on the back of your neck to get the same result?”
She shrugs and reaches for the dessert, smiles when she opens the box, and digs in with enthusiasm.
“I thought it would be fun to open a store full of those things,” she continues. “I wanted the bottles to be pretty, and everything to be tied with a bow. I wanted a place where people enjoyed coming in, even if only to browse. It smells good, the energy is calming.”
And I realize that that’s exactly how I feel whenever I’ve been in her store.
“I’d say you’ve accomplished those things.”
“Thank you.” Her smile is huge and genuine. “That’s really the best compliment I could ever get.”
“Really?” I cock a brow and watch her lashes flutter. “I’d also say you’re stunning. I want to bury my fingers in that amazing curly hair of yours.”
There must be something in the food that’s making me speak so freely. But Mallory seems to bring out my flirty side.
I’d forgotten that I had a flirty side.
Her smile slips just a bit, and her cheeks flush, and I know she’d look just like that when I’m buried balls deep inside her.
“That’s very nice of you.”
“But not what you want to hear.”
“Well, don’t get me wrong, every woman wants to be told she’s pretty.”
“I didn’t say pretty,” I reply and lean in, resting my elbows on her desk. “’Pretty’ is too dull of a word to describe you.”
“You’re an interesting man,” she says, tilting her head to the side and studying my face with narrowed violet eyes. “You just say whatever you’re feeling.”
“Not always,” I reach out to tuck her hair behind her ear and she stiffens. I pause, keeping my eyes pinned to hers before I slowly brush just the pads of my fingertips over the outline of her ear, tucking that soft curly hair, then lowering my hand back to the desk. “But I see no reason to not be honest with you.”
“I opened this shop because I love it,” she says, her voice still soft but firm. She’s not weak in any way, and that pulls at me like a siren’s song. “I want to help people if I can, even if it’s just to moisturize their hands. And I like this building.”
“There are other streets with more foot traffic.”
“And I like where I am,” she says again. “I do well here.”
“I’m glad you do.” I nod and without giving it much thought, reach out to pull my fingertips over her hand. My eyes are watching hers as I do, and I can see the hesitation just before I touch her, and then the relief when my skin rests on hers.
She doesn’t like to be touched.
“Tell me more,” I say softly.
“That’s all there is about the store.”
“Tell me about you.”
She pulls her hand out from under mine and sits back in her chair. “I think you’d better go, before I tell you more than I want to.”
I cock a brow. “I’m a fan of honesty.”
“Good.” She nods once and begins loading the empty boxes in the trash. “I’m in favor of being honest, and in that same spirit, I’m exhausted, Beau.”
“I know. I am, too.”
But I’m not ready to say goodbye to her yet. I’m afraid that we’ll go our separate ways, and I won’t see her again.
“What are you thinking?” she asks.
“That I want to see you again.”
“You live upstairs from my shop,” she reminds me. “I don’t see how we could avoid it.”
“We avoided it for a damn long time,” I say and stand, shoving my hands in my pockets. “But I won’t make that mistake again.

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And don’t forget to grab the first four books in

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EASY LOVE

EASY CHARM

EASY MELODY

EASY KISSES

 

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Kristen Proby_AuthorPic1ABOUT KRISTEN PROBY:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

 

 

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Excerpt from Close to You. Coming soon from Kristen Proby

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CLOSE TO YOU by Kristen Proby, on sale from William Morrow August 9. 2016

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby comes the second novel in her sizzling Fusion series that began with Listen to Me

Camilla, “Cami,” LaRue was five years old when she first fell in love with Landon Palazzo. Everyone told her the puppy love would fade—they clearly never met Landon. When he left after graduation without a backward glance, she was heartbroken. But Cami grew up, moved on, and became part-owner of wildly popular restaurant Seduction. She has everything she could want…or so she thinks.

After spending the last 12 years as a Navy fighter pilot, Landon returns to Portland to take over the family construction business. When he catches a glimpse of little Cami LaRue, he realizes she’s not so little any more. He always had a soft spot for his little sister’s best friend, but nothing is soft now when he’s around the gorgeous restauranteur.

Landon isn’t going to pass up the chance to make the girl-next-door his. She’s never been one for romance, but he’s just the one to change her mind. Will seduction be just the name of her restaurant or will Cami let him get close enough to fulfill all her fantasies?

Read the excerpt here: https://aerbook.com/books/Close_to_you-16488-151016.html

Plus a preorder bonus!!!  If you preorder Close to You, you can get a bonus email with a short story about Meg and Will from Play With Me from the With Me In Seattle series.  The preorder bonus form is found here:  https://a.pgtb.me/PxZwn4

 

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About KRISTEN PROBY

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling Fusion, With Me In SeattleThe Boudreaux, and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves. Kristen lives in Whitefish, Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.