Archive for December, 2014

 

A Leap of Faith is now available from Amazon and Smashwords.

I’ll update this post as soon as links to the other retailers become available.

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I hope you enjoy this novella about Ethan and Nadine.

Click to buy from Amazon US

Click to buy from Amazon UK

Click to buy from Smashwords

 

 

 

Nadine strode purposefully into the shiny clean offices of the Zimmerman Group as though it were another normal day at work—even though she had cleverly negotiated a two-week leave of absence barely a few days ago.
Dressed smartly, if not in her usual business suit, she held out her hand as the elevator quietly soared to the higher floors. She admired the gleaming rock on her finger.
She would never take this ring off.
It had been a few days since Ethan’s proposal had taken her completely by surprise. Quiet excitement still bubbled under the surface of her skin; it hadn’t quite left since that day at the park when he had suddenly fallen down on one knee and asked her to marry him.
She knew already that she couldn’t imagine any other life, not one without him. Not any more.
The elevator doors opened and Nadine beamed from ear to ear as she walked down the long hallway to her office. Ethan had gone to see Douglas, his mentor at the Hayward gallery, and, well—what was she supposed to do? They’d come back to the city for a few days, and she thought it would be a good use of her time to deal with important last minute things at work. Just in case anything had come up.

“Nadine?” Melissa’s surprised face welcomed her.

“Hey, Melissa. I know, I’m not supposed to be here, but I was passing through—I thought I’d look over the Noble Vintage specs. I think some of them needed to be signed off.”
Melissa opened her mouth to say something. “Michael already signed them off.”
Nadine looked crestfallen. “He did? Oh, okay, then I’ll just check a couple of things anyway now that I’m—”
Melissa let out a shriek. “Oh my goodness, is that a—you got engaged! Oh my goodness, Nadine. You got engaged!” Her secretary jumped to her feet and leapt over to where Nadine stood.

“I did,” Nadine announced proudly, and held out her hand while Melissa fawned all over her ring. “We’re engaged.”

“When? Oh my god, I’m so happy for you.” Melissa threw her arms around Nadine with excitement.
Slightly overwhelmed by the outpouring of emotion, Nadine turned a little redder. “Thank you.”
“Ethan is just the most perfect, perfect guy for you. You’re so lucky.” Melissa took a hold of Nadine’s hand again and examined the ring as closely as if she were checking for its clarity. “And he’s lucky too,” Melissa added, almost as an afterthought. “When’s the wedding?”
Nadine extricated her hand gently. “No idea. Let me get used to this first.” She beamed, unable to wipe that continuous smile off her face. The smile that had started the moment Ethan had proposed, and they had made up. The moment she just knew that turning down the opportunity to go to Europe was the right decision.

“We haven’t even thought about the wedding. It just feels so…comfortable reaching this far. You know?” She wasn’t sure if she was talking to herself or Melissa as she headed towards her office, just behind Melissa’s desk. No harm in logging onto the company intranet. Seeing that she was already here.

“I can imagine, it would feel right, with the right guy…” Melissa said.
Nadine nodded.

“But you’re crazy for coming to work when you should be out doing something else.”

“I’ll be gone soon. Ethan’s got some things to deal with at the gallery.” She opened the door to her office. “Is Michael in?” She might as well let Michael know of her good news.
“He’s been in meetings most of the day,” replied Melissa, walking back to her seat and bringing up the calendar on her screen.
“Oh?” Nadine usually knew of Michael’s timetable, yet this was news to her. She’d only been gone a few days and already it felt as though lots was going on at work. “Who with?” she asked casually, still hovering around the door.

“He was with the Noble Vintage guys this morning …” Melissa’s voice trailed off as she scrutinized her screen. “He’s in conference room one with Tanya right now. He’ll be free in half an hour if you want to see him.”
Tanya Braun? The woman she had replaced was back? Sandra had mentioned as much before. Why was Michael talking to Tanya and how come she knew nothing about it? Nadine’s throat felt suddenly dry.

“Okay.” She feigned nonchalance, trying to dismiss the clawing thoughts that seized her. “I’m going to check a few things and then I’ll be gone.” She disappeared into her office.
Minutes later, she’d looked through her diary, checked a couple of things on her list and then she walked out, casually strolling past conference room one. With its glassy front wall, it was easy to see who was inside it.
She stopped short, felt her stomach roil. Huddled around the table with intense looks on their faces were Michael Zimmerman and Tanya Braun. They didn’t see her, so deep in talks where they. There was no entry on her diary or calendar of Tanya coming in today.

“Well, well, well.” Nadine’s heart sank as a familiar voice behind her settled heavily over her like a damp blanket. She started to walk away from the all-seeing glass walls, not wanting the people inside to see her. And she especially did not want any scene playing out now.

“Sandra,” replied Nadine breezily, hoping her easy tone would filter through. She half-turned and gave Sandra a welcoming smile—a smile she hoped would imply that she was fine. Just fine.
Sandra’s beady gaze swept over Nadine’s shoulder. She snorted. “Worried?” She sneered, circling around her and facing the glass. “One golden girl replaces another.”
Don’t listen to her.
Nadine pretended to think about it. “Worried? Of course not.” She made to move away.

“The hell you’re not,” said Sandra. “Aren’t you supposed to be on leave or something?”
As much as Nadine tried to steer them away from the conference room, Sandra seemed intent on doing the opposite. She stood in full view, and any minute now Nadine felt sure Michael would look up and see them both.

“I must get on—I’ve got a couple of things to sign off,” said Nadine defensively. She ran her hand through her hair, tried to act relaxed, even if she felt as stiff as a dead body. “I’m off for a few weeks.”

“Then ask yourself why you can’t keep away.” A look of alarm fell upon her. “Is that a ring on your finger?” she asked, in a tight voice, rooting Nadine to the spot. Sandra peered at the ring as though Nadine had a big glob of bird droppings on her hand.
“Of course it’s a ring.”

“The escort proposed, did he? Well, well, well.” Sandra’s smile was slow, almost pained, as if it took a great deal of strength to make her muscles move in that direction.

“His name’s Ethan. Can’t you be happy for anyone, Sandra?” Sudden rage boiled up inside Nadine at the way this witch had referred to Ethan. She suddenly wished she’d taken Ethan’s advice and gone for a pampering day in the city. The only problem was Nadine didn’t do pampering too well. Hence the reason she was back at work and now taking a verbal lashing from the office Gorgon.

“It’s all downhill from now. Love? Marriage? Oh, puh-lease.” Sandra sneered. “Children? Everything you do, going forward, will suck up your time and drain you.”
Nadine almost shrank back. As nasty as she knew Sandra was, even this onslaught was one she hadn’t been prepared for.
Too shocked to reply, she stood there, letting Sandra attack her.
This time Sandra stood at Nadine’s side, as they both faced the conference room. Michael and Tanya were going through some paperwork and were still too engrossed to realize they were under observation.

“You do understand that you can’t have both, don’t you? It’s either your career or your marriage.” Tsk, tsk, tsk. “I thought you were smarter than that, Nadine.”

“I don’t know where your malice comes from, and I certainly have no interest in hearing any of your vicious outpourings on life.” Nadine made to walk away.
Sandra looked pointedly towards the glass wall and then glanced at her watch. “She’s replacing you. I’ll save you hearing it from Michael.”
Nadine lost the ability to speak and watched as Sandra checked the time. “I must go. I’ve got a meeting with the Flight people.”
That’s my account.
Nadine strained a smile, resisting the urge to question Sandra—knowing she expected this.
She finally made it back to her office and was relieved to see Melissa busy on a call. Closing the door to her office, she shut out Sandra, everything and everyone outside.

Seriously, what was she doing here? Nothing but a glutton for punishment. Why hadn’t she just gone shopping or for a massage instead?
She collapsed into her chair and felt her body shrivel into a heap. Sandra’s words spun around her like darts. What was she doing here? Clasping her hands together on her stomach she couldn’t help but notice the ring, then smiled.

At least this was something new, something welcome to get used to. She liked the sensation of it rubbing against her fingers when she interlaced them. She wouldn’t part with this for the world.

It didn’t matter what Sandra said. She might not have been able to manage both, but Nadine had every intention of doing so. Having Ethan didn’t mean she couldn’t continue with her climb up the corporate ladder.

Women reached and broke the glass ceiling and had been doing so quietly for years. She was one of them, she thought, with quiet satisfaction, and tried to think of the women she had met at conferences and networked with from the other ad agencies, who regularly made the newspaper columns for their achievements. She couldn’t remember if they were married or whether they had children. The women had mostly talked work at these events.
But women could have it all, couldn’t they? Or was this really the biggest trap ever set, according to the COO of Facebook? Sheryl Sandberg had done it, and so could she.

Children. Another item that had never made it onto her goals list but now was turning into something that could very well affect her a few years away. She still couldn’t see herself as a mother, but she could definitely see Ethan with babies and kids. Seeing him with his niece and nephew these last few days when she’d met his family had been eye opening. He was a natural with them and they loved him no end, it was so plain to see.

She liked his family.
His mother had been so weak and tired, but news of their engagement had lifted her spirits. Meeting Ethan’s family for the first time, Nadine had seen firsthand how close they were, how much Ethan doted on his mother, and how they had all taken to her. Though his niece Jessica was going to take some convincing.

Melissa knocked on her door. “Since you’re here, would you mind signing these off?” She handed Nadine a pile of what looked like expense forms that her team had put through.

“What’s wrong?” Melissa could tell her mood at a glance. “You look as though you wish you hadn’t come in today.”
Nadine picked up her pen, getting ready to sign the paperwork. “I shouldn’t have.” She gave her secretary a weary look. “Don’t worry. I’m going after this.”

“Good.” Melissa took the signed forms. “As much as I love working for you, I’d rather not see you for another two weeks.”
Nadine got up. She still had lots of emails to respond to, but they weren’t urgent. She’d been keeping an eye on them through her Blackberry anyway.

There really hadn’t been a need to come in at all. She’d known that—but she’d been unable to keep away. In a way though, perhaps it had been good that she had; otherwise who knew what else Zimmerman had up his sleeve?
She’d have to keep an eye on him.

 

Coming soon…

The new cover for my latest book, a novella.

I’m calling it Book 3.5 in the Perfect Match Series. You get a glimpse of Ethan and Nadine’s life right after book 3 (Heart Sync) ends. But this doesn’t take you to the epilogue mentioned in that book or beyond.

Instead this novella covers four months after the end of  Heart Sync.  As you might know, I’m currently writing books for the ‘Tainted Love Series’ which is a spin-off from the ‘Perfect Match’ books. These ‘Tainted Love’ stories cover the lives of Zoe, Melissa and Tanya.

While writing these stories I had to revisit Ethan and Nadine’s world – and that was how ‘A Leap of Faith’ was born.

I’m hoping to get it out to you before Christmas …