The Best Man’s Baby by Victoria James @entangledpub @vicjames101 #spotlight #excerpt


Florist Claire Holbrook has always played by the rules her entire life, but breaks them to spend one night with sexy lone wolf Jake Manning, a man she’s adored since she was a teenager. Six weeks later, things get complicated when she discovers they created a bond that will last a lifetime
Jake has never played by the rules. Getting Minister Holbrook’s daughter pregnant wasn’t part of any life plan, but he won’t run from his responsibilities. He’ll step up and be the best man he can, even if he doesn’t have a clue where to begin. The more time he spends with Claire, though, the more he wants her, and the harder it is to get close, because that would mean sharing the one thing he hasn’t with anyone–the truth and his heart.

Prologue
“To Holly and Quinn,” Jake Manning said, holding up his champagne flute.
Claire Holbrook raised her glass, toasting to her best friend and her new husband. Holly’s cheeks were flushed with an unbridled happiness. Her eyes glistened with tears, and her smile hadn’t wavered all day. Holly had claimed love, Quinn, and happily ever after.
“Welcome to the family,” Evan Manning said, leaning down to give Holly a kiss.
“You’re the only woman I’d wear a tux for,” Jake said, giving Holly a hug.
Claire’s heart dipped, but she held her smile intact. And she should. Today wasn’t about Claire and her ridiculous, lifelong crush on Jake Manning. Or the fact that he’d basically just said he’d never wear a tuxedo again, which pretty much meant he was never intending on getting married. She forced those thoughts aside and focused on these last few minutes with the bride and groom.
“It was a gorgeous day. Everything was perfect,” Claire said with a smile, her eyes taking in the Edwardian ballroom again. The event had been straight out of an issue of Martha Stewart Weddings. The ceremony in the charming chapel had been poignant, and the reception a true celebration of the couple’s new life together. But now that the night was coming to an end, only a few guests were still meandering around the ballroom. The live band was playing soft music, and Holly and Quinn’s daughter, Ella, was dancing with a few children on the dance floor. The five of them were standing together for one last chat before Quinn and Holly left for the night.
“Thank you all for everything. Claire, you’ve always been like a sister to me. Evan and Jake, you’ve made me feel like family right from day one and I will never, ever forget that. I never thought I’d have a family again—and now I have one that is better than I could have imagined,” she said, tears filling her eyes. Quinn wrapped his arms around her from behind, still holding his champagne flute. Her friend leaned back into her husband. They were perfect for each other, and anyone who saw them together knew it. Felt it. Today all of Holly’s dreams had come true. She had married the man she’d loved since she was a teenager.
“To the best men,” Holly said, smiling and holding up her glass to Evan and Jake. Quinn’s brothers had shared the honored position, and Claire spent the day being sandwiched between the two of them as maid of honor.
“To the best men,” Claire said.
“And to the maid of honor,” Quinn said, smiling at her.

Victoria James is a romance writer living near Toronto. She is a mother to two young children, one very disorderly feline, and wife to her very own hero.
Victoria attended Queen’s University and graduated with a degree in English Literature. She then earned a degree in Interior Design. After the birth of her first child she began pursuing her life-long passion of writing.
Her dream of being a published romance author was realized by Entangled in 2012. Victoria is living her dream-staying home with her children and conjuring up happy endings for her characters.
Victoria would love to hear from her readers! You can visit her at victoriajames.ca or Twitter @vicjames101 or send her an email at Victoria@victoriajames.ca.

Something’s Cooking by Meg Lacey @entangledpub #spotlight


 

Title: Something’s Cooking
Author: Meg Lacey
Genre: Contemporary Series Romance
Length: 182 pages
Release Date: August 2013
ISBN: 978-1-62266-174-9
Imprint: Indulgence

 

“Meg Lacey’s sizzling romance sparkles with wit and humor. You will fall in love with all of her characters.” Annie Seaton

 Tess Banyon has turned her brilliant recipe and crafting ideas into a multimedia empire. Landing her own TV show throws her into a panic. If she’s not careful, the public will discover she isn’t the domestic diva everyone thinks she is.

Investigative reporter Josh Faraday smells something smoking in Tess’s world. His goal to expose the real Tess goes into overdrive when she lands a television show deal. He secures an assignment to shadow her, reporting on her program, but what he’s really doing is getting dirt for his expose. Things get even stickier when Tess’s family play matchmaker. There’s no shortage of fire between them, and after an impulsive night together, Josh discovers a story he never expected–or bargained for.

Excerpt:

© 2013 Meg Lacey

Josh Redmond Faraday’s Little League baseball team was behind by six runs when it was Joey Murray’s turn at bat. The little boy looked over his shoulder at Josh. His pale face reflected his terror, and the groan of the other kids added to the pressure. Josh could relate. He’d been terrible at sports, too. That’s why he’d agreed when his best friend asked him to coach this Little League team. It was T-ball, and the kids were just learning, but to him it was more important that the boys and the two girls on the team learned confidence as well as skills.

“You can do it, Joey,” Josh said, walking over to clasp the little boy’s shoulder.  “Just take your time, and wait for your pitch. When you see it coming, take a swing.”

Joey’s lips trembled for a minute, and then he said, “Coach Josh, I think I’m going to throw up.”

He squatted down to eye level to look at the chubby little boy in the too-big uniform. “I know how you feel. When I was a kid, I was the worst player on the team.  I missed every time I tried to hit the ball.”

“I always miss.”

“It doesn’t matter if you miss. The important thing is you try your best. Will you do that for me?”

“Okay,” Joey said with a resigned shrug. He picked up his bat and stepped to the plate.

“You can do it,” Josh said as he backed up to join his best friend, Marty Logan.

“Think he’ll hit it this time?” Marty asked, leaning back against the fence.

“Man, I hope so. I’ve been working extra with him. The poor kid’s never even seen a baseball, much less tried to hit one.” Josh felt his stomach clench as Joey took a swing and a miss, and then another. “Shake it off, Joey. You can do it.”

The little boy set his jaw, took a better grip on the bat, and swung, this time connecting with the ball, which dribbled forward a few feet. Joey was so shocked he stood there staring at the ball instead of running, resulting in the other team’s catcher scooping up the ball and tagging Joey out. That’s when a parent started yelling his displeasure from the stands.

Josh glared up at the man who was commenting on Joey’s lack of ability. “Leave the kid alone. It’s not the World Series.”

He walked over to Joey. “Good hit, kid. I’m proud of you.”

“I’m still out,” Joey said, with a disgusted look.

He gave him a high five. “Doesn’t matter. You tried. That’s what counts.” Then he walked back to Marty. “Did you hear that guy yelling at the little kid? I’m going to write about parents who put too much pressure on kids at sporting games.”

“You are, or your alter ego, JR?”

He shrugged. “My column’s under JR’s byline.”

“When are you going to junk that idea and write as yourself? Aren’t you getting tired of the unknown journalist routine?”

“Yeah, sometimes I wish I’d never started it. But until I can get my other ideas off the ground, JR pays the rent.”

Marty nodded. “And from what I’ve seen, pays it pretty well.”

“That it does, but I earn every penny of it.  I’ve worked my butt off to get where I am.”

“That’s not news, you’ve been doing that since we met in prep school.”

Josh watched as their team took the field for the last inning. “You know how it goes. Snooze you lose. Today, competition is worse than ever. Someone’s always snapping at my heels. I don’t have any choice but to go after what I want every way I can.”

Marty heaved away from the fence. “You’re your own worst enemy most of the time.”

“You should talk. I’m amazed you found a woman to put up with you,” Josh said, as they walked toward the team bench.

“Speaking of that, Liza has this friend who’s perfect for—”

“No deal,” Josh said, holding up his hands like a traffic cop. “Not after that last blind date. The woman almost had us married before dinner was over.  I’ll damn well find my own woman, thanks.”

“I wish you’d hurry up so Liza will get off my back.” Marty looked toward the field. “Great. The other team just hit a home run. There goes the ballgame.”

Shaking his head, Josh said, “That’s seven in a row. At least they’re improving. This time we only lost by eight runs.” He chuckled. “I call that progress. I think we should celebrate. How about we take them out for pizza? My treat.”

“Anything to avoid cooking, huh?” Marty said, picking up the bag of bats.

“You got it. When I find my perfect woman, she’s going to look like an angel and cook like a dream.”

Josh shoved a stack of papers aside and hitched a hip onto the corner of his desk, preparing to read his latest newspaper column. He opened up the spread and eyed a photo of his nemesis, Tess Banyon, the so-called “diva of domesticity”, taking up the lion’s share of the page.

“What the—”

He stared at the paper, rage blurring his vision. The irritating image of the gorgeous usurper pulsed in and out of his mind.

“They had the nerve to edit my article so the media’s newest golden girl could take over my page?” He adjusted his tortoise-shell reading glasses and scowled as he stared at the photo. I’ve been working my butt off for years. What makes her so bloody special?

Unable to pull his gaze away, he studied the headshot more closely. He concentrated on her pert little nose, sitting square in the middle of a perfect oval face with high cheekbones, a ripe mouth, and wide blue eyes. The damn woman is way too perfect. His expression darkened. He didn’t trust people who rose to the top of the heap as quickly as she had. Where was the thought, the hard work, and long hours he’d put in for the past ten years?

He stared at the perfection of her hair, falling onto the top of her shoulders in such a smooth, curved style, and his fingers twitched. He wondered if it would feel as silky as it looked. His scowl deepened.

What the hell do I care? Even as he thought that, his eyes zeroed back on her picture, on the full lips that teased the reader. An unexpected rush of blood raced south. His imagination drifted to Tess Banyon dressed in a kinky maid’s costume, with a container of whipped cream in one hand and handcuffs dangling from the fingers of her other, her luscious mouth moistened by—

He sighed in exasperation, drawing the attention of his editor as he walked through the newsroom on the way to his office.

Sam Melnick stopped, reluctantly it seemed to Josh. “Problem, Faraday?”

“Nope.” Josh turned the paper, flicking it so Sam could pay the proper attention to his grievance. “Nothing beyond the Domestic Goddess commandeering my space, jamming my column into this miniscule, bottom corner of the page.”