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Merry in Love: Blurb & Excerpt

Finally…! :)

Merry in Love (Hearts on the Line Book 6) by Nadia LeeDynamic and powerful, billionaire Daniel Aylster III wants to get rid of The Lloyds Development for mismanaging the construction of his latest hotel…until he meets its new CEO, Meredith Lloyd. It’s been ten years since he’s seen her, but his baby sister’s best friend has grown into an irresistible beauty.

A single mom determined to prove herself, Meredith refuses to let Daniel fire her company without giving her a chance to fix the problem first. Nothing is going to stop her from succeeding, not even her crazy attraction to Daniel.

Forced to work in close proximity, Daniel and Meredith realize they may have a saboteur in their midst. When their shadowy enemy makes a game-ending move, Meredith must reveal a devastating truth that could tear her family apart and cost her the only man she’s ever loved…

[hr]

Uncorrected Excerpt

Daniel Matthew Aylster III walked through the barren field in the cemetery. The October air had unusually sharp teeth that bit through his coat—winter seemed overeager that year. But now that he was in northern Virginia again, he felt like he had to pay his respects.

Despite being outdoors, he felt a bit claustrophobic as the sky hung low, its clouds heavy and sullen. The evergreens added some color, and a man was raking leaves to keep the place tidy, but the dead probably didn’t care.

Daniel hadn’t been back since his sister’s burial. The memories of Judy still pained him, and he’d done his best to stay out of the country afterward.

Was there an afterlife? He’d like to believe so, and that Judy was happy…except he was a realist. This life was all there was. He wished there was something he could’ve done to make her happy, but that hadn’t happened. No, he’d been in Bali, while his sister had died in some hospital with no one but clinically professional people around her.

When Judy had died, the decision was made to bury her next to their mother in Virginia. Their father had ruined almost everything, but not this. Judy’s spirit—if it existed—was probably happy where she was, and Daniel had made sure her rest wouldn’t be disturbed by having their father next to her.

Their father was buried in Houston with his parents. It was his death that had brought Daniel back from Europe.

Daniel stood before the family graves. Judy had only been eighteen, so beautiful, so full of zest and mischief. He could still hear her laugh…and feel her tears. Their father had been an equal opportunist when it came to tormenting his children. Their stepmother had protected her own daughter by sending her to boarding school, but she’d kept Daniel and Judy in Houston to placate their father.

His hands clenched.

There was a fresh bouquet of flowers. Bright orange daisies and tiger lilies—Judy’s favorites. Guilt twisted in his gut. He’d never sent anything. It must have been their uncle Claude; he’d loved Judy as if she were his own daughter.

Daniel turned to go back to his car and bumped into a short, wiry man in his late fifties. “Sorry, sir,” Daniel said.

“Huh. You’re new.”

The man had a voice that reminded Daniel of old leather. Daniel looked at him. Gray hair puffed around a faded Redskins cap like cotton candy, and he wore dusty coveralls and carried landscaping tools. “Excuse me?” Daniel said.

“It’s always the woman who visits,” the man said, leaning on his rake and watching Daniel curiously.

A woman? Daniel couldn’t think of any woman who might have visited. “You are…?”

“Ted. The groundskeeper. Been working here since my thirties.” He sniffled. “It’s always the same woman who comes by every month. Thought it was a mother who’d lost her baby, except that’s no baby there.” He gestured at Judy’s grave, then sniffled again. “You best get going. There’s a storm coming. I can feel it in my bones.”

* * *

Meredith Lloyd placed her hands over the seat belt buckle as the private jet hit the runway. Her entire body tensed, twitchy as a sprinter at the starting line. As soon as the plane stopped, she jumped to her feet.

“Eager to see your son?” the cabin attendant teased.

“Yes. It’s been so long.”

Meredith gathered her purse and laptop bag, stuffed with extra paperwork, as the attendant opened the door. The air in northern Virginia was colder than that in Houston. Meredith pulled her coat closer as she hurried down the steps.

She hated the days away from her son Eric, but she couldn’t move him to Houston either. He loved his school and his friends, not to mention his favorite uncle had moved to the area. He’d be crushed if she took him to a new city.

She would never do that to her son.

Her gaze zeroed in on the waiting champagne-colored Mercedes. The driver, Nancy Elgerton, gave her a wide grin. Now there was a lovely sight. With a responding grin, Meredith broke into a trot—

“Merry.”

—and stumbled, her heavy laptop bag unbalancing her further. A pair of strong, masculine hands righted her before she pitched head-first into the asphalt.

“Wasn’t expecting me?”

She looked up at the unforgettable face of Daniel. Tall and muscular, with the same shade of brown hair that her late best friend Judy had had, he was the only one who called her Merry. His sharp blue eyes seem to know her innermost secrets as he stared down at her. Her mouth dried, and her heart pounded, pumping so much blood into her head. Don’t panic. Maybe he doesn’t know everythingyet.

“What are you doing here?” she finally managed.

“Helping myself to some of your time, since you won’t see me any other way.”

Huh? She blinked a few times to clear her thoughts as sweat filmed her back. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Really.” His voice was drier than the sub-Saharan desert.

Suddenly realizing he still had his hands on her, she pulled back and hefted the laptop bag. “If you want to see me, make an appointment.”

“Tomorrow morning at nine.”

“But it’s Saturday.” She and Eric had started a new tradition of going over to her mother’s for brunch.

Something like relief mingled with contempt and condescension crossed Daniel’s handsome face. “Too precious to get out of bed before noon on the weekend? How do you plan to fix The Lloyds Development?”

She sucked in a breath. Her family business was struggling at the moment, but it was low of him to question her abilities like this. “That’s unfair.”

“Then meet me at nine tomorrow. I don’t have the time or inclination to play your game.”

Just like that her entire body went cold. He couldn’t know, could he? She stood stiffly, making sure there was enough distance between them. “Fine. Send me the location.”

“Your number?”

“What?”

“Your number. I’m not dealing with your worthless assistant anymore.”

She rattled off her cell phone number. He didn’t have to be nasty about her assistant when it was probably just a miscommunication. This was one of the busiest times of the year for Meredith. “Happy?”

“For now. We’ll talk more tomorrow.” He walked away and disappeared into his limo. It pulled away in a stately fashion.

Nancy got to her just as her knees buckled. “Are you all right?” Nancy asked.

Meredith stared back at her, numb and unable to comprehend. Her heart thundered like a galloping Arabian, and she fought to take in air.

“I’m so sorry I didn’t try to stop him from talking to you. I thought you knew him.”

The deep anxiety in Nancy’s voice snapped Meredith out of it. This was Nancy’s first month as her driver, and she really needed this job. Meredith’s over-protective brothers had thought it was ridiculous of her to hire a mother with no chauffeuring experience. If she were a betting woman, she’d wager a million bucks that her “nothing’s too good for my family” brother Gavin had already hired somebody to spy on Nancy’s performance. Meredith wasn’t going to let Nancy and her four teenage sons suffer over her brothers’ over-the-top concern.

Meredith forced a smile. “I’m fine. He’s a brother of an old friend.” Somebody she’d never thought to see again. Ten years ago, the notion had left her joyless. Now that he was back in her life, she could feel dread unfurling in her belly.

Eyes searching, Nancy inclined her head and stared. The look probably worked well on her kids. Even Meredith wanted to squirm under the gaze.

“Come on. Let’s go,” Meredith said, clearing her throat. “I’m anxious to see my son.”

She had to hold him in her arms.

[hr]

Release Date: October 2014

Pre-Order @ Apple

Other retailer links coming soon.

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Tentative Release Schedule

Merry in Love (Hearts on the Line Book 6) by Nadia LeeI’ve received several emails and messages from people asking me about the release schedule for my next books. So here it is!

Mind you, this is tentative because things can change — Amazon or Apple might take longer than expected to approve a book, or maybe some other aspect of production took too much time (editing, formatting, etc. — I have 3 editors working with me, and it’s not easy to juggle everyone’s schedules, even though they’re all super awesome.)

October 17-24 — Merry in Love

December 12-15 — Iain Pryce’s book (title: TBA)

mid to late January 2015 — Vanessa Pryce’s book (title: TBA)

My goal is to have those three released before my vacation early February. (Yes, I’ll be posting pictures! :D )

If you want to know when the above titles are out, be sure to sign up for my new release alert!


Thank you!

Four Weeks Till Forever hit #503 on Amazon and #214 on Barnes & Noble. I couldn’t have done it without your support. Thank you so much! :)

Amazon ranking for Four Weeks Till Forever on July 25, 2014

Barnes & Noble ranking for Four Weeks Til/ Forever on July 25, 2014


Four Weeks Till Forever (The Pryce Family Series, Book 1) is out!

The Pryce Family is my second contemporary romance series, and I’m super excited about finally getting it published. It’s actually coming out a bit earlier than expected, thanks to my editor’s and proofreader’s extra hard work.

The series has all the awesome goodness you expect from my work—sexy billionaires and strong women and family drama / dynamics. As the same time, it’s a slight departure from my previous books in that I’m trying to create stories that are even more emotional and feel-good.

All of you have been incredibly supportive of my writing, and I feel blessed to have fans as amazing as you. So as a thank-you, I’m doing a special series launch deal. For the first week of the launch, you can grab Four Weeks Till Forever for only $0.99 US (that’s 80% off the regular price!).

So get your copy of Four Weeks Till Forever while it’s still a great bargain and let your romance-loving friends know about it too! And please tell me what you think about Four Weeks Till Forever by leaving a review. I’d really appreciate it! :)

Four Weeks Till Forever

Four Weeks Till Forever (The Pryce Family Book 1) by Nadia LeeHe’s never met a woman he wants to spend his life with…

The man: Billionaire playboy Mark Pryce.

The problem: A “real” date for his family’s Fourth of July party…or he’ll have to attend with the heiress his mother’s picked out for him to marry.

The woman: His best friend’s executive assistant, Hilary Rosenberg—the only one who can save him from this fate worse than death.

…she is convinced good men are a thing of the past.

Disillusioned by a series of painful relationships, Hilary has no interest in dating Mark—even as a pretense—for the next four weeks. He’s too sexy, too smart, altogether too attractive—and a sure bet to break her heart. But she owes him a favor, and she always pays her debts.

When their charade threatens to turn into a happily ever after, can a reformed playboy convince his wary Cinderella that fairy tale endings really can come true?

EBOOK


Pre-order Four Weeks Till Forever on Apple! :)

FOUR WEEKS TILL FOREVER (The Pryce Family Book 1) by Nadia LeeFYI — Four Weeks Till Forever is available for pre-order on Apple right now. I’m doing a special launch promo for it since it’s the 1st book in a new series. It’s going to be priced $0.99 until at least July 23. So grab a copy before it’s too late! (It’ll be available on Amazon and BN around July 19-20.)

US
UK
Canada
Australia

* Even if I haven’t listed your local Apple store, it’s available in all 50 iBooks stores. Just search for Nadia Lee Four Weeks Till Forever. Thanks!


Four Weeks Till Forever Excerpt: Chapter 1

FOUR WEEKS TILL FOREVER (The Pryce Family Book 1) by Nadia LeeHe’s never met a woman he wants to spend his life with…

The man: Billionaire playboy Mark Pryce.

The problem: A “real” date for his family’s Fourth of July party…or he’ll have to attend with the heiress his mother’s picked out for him to marry.

The woman: His best friend’s executive assistant, Hilary Rosenberg—the only one who can save him from this fate worse than death.

…she is convinced good men are a thing of the past.

Disillusioned by a series of painful relationships, Hilary has no interest in dating Mark—even as a pretense—for the next four weeks. He’s too sexy, too smart, altogether too attractive—and a sure bet to break her heart. But she owes him a favor, and she always pays her debts.

When their charade threatens to turn into a happily ever after, can a reformed playboy convince his wary Cinderella that fairy tale endings really can come true?

[hr]

Chapter One

Exactly four weeks before his family’s Fourth of July party, Mark Pryce walked into Omega Wealth Management. He’d tried to come up with a solution on his own, but the problem wouldn’t go away. Only one person could bail him out of the mess he was in.

It was late, but he knew for a fact that Hilary Rosenberg rarely left at five.

A woman moved in his peripheral vision, and there she was. He turned to admire her. Unlike the other receptionists at the firm, Hilary was curvy, with generous breasts and hips that flared out in luscious slopes. She was dressed in a pastel mint-green blouse and cappuccino-colored pencil skirt that reached a single conservative inch below her knees. A simple updo revealed the kissable line of her neck. The only non-conservative item on her was a pair of sexy open-toe stilettos that improved the shape of her already gorgeous legs. He itched to reach out and touch her to see if she was as soft and sweet as he imagined, but he kept his hands to himself.

“Hi, Mark. You here to see Gavin?” Hilary walked past him to her desk. His body tightened at her delicious apple and cinnamon scent.

“Actually, I’m here to see you.”

“I wish you’d called first. I’m leaving right now to meet some friends at Z.” She dumped a thick stack of papers into her briefcase and picked up her purse and a gold-plated stainless steel travel mug etched with “A Woman Worth Her Weight in Gold.” Her boss Gavin had given it to her a few years ago on her birthday, saying it described her perfectly.

Her brisk tone pricked his pride. Most women fawned over him. “It won’t take long. We can talk in the elevator.” He offered her his arm and almost chuckled when she predictably pretended not to see it. Well, no problem. If she didn’t want to take his arm, he could do the next best thing—putting his hand at her elbow to guide her in a courtly gesture.

* * *

Generally, Hilary’s interactions with Mark were limited to simple two- or three-minute conversations, mostly consisting of polite greetings. He was a playboy, and she didn’t like playboys.

But she could see why other women succumbed to his charms. He was classically tall, dark and handsome with the clean profile his family was famous for. His blue eyes never failed to make her heart skip a beat, and his face often broke into a killer smile that was as lethal as a strychnine martini. Most importantly he wasn’t some brain-dead idiot who’d inherited all his money. His father had given him a sizable trust fund, but he’d more than quadrupled its value with some wise investment decisions and a series of highly successful restaurants.

God must’ve been in a really good mood when Mark had been conceived. Grossly unfair, but such was life.

As they stood waiting for the elevator, she felt his gaze on her shoes and legs and did her best to ignore the warm sensation slowly spreading upward from her ankles. “So… What do you want to talk about?” she said, keeping her eyes on the elevator doors.

“I need a date for my family’s Fourth of July party.”

An interesting choice of topic. Mark was well aware it wasn’t her job to provide him with dates. She sipped her coffee, taking her time…until he cleared his throat discreetly and rocked on the balls of his feet. She lowered the mug and took a deep breath. “Don’t you have a girlfriend?”

“No. We broke up two months ago.”

“What a shame.” Not. Everyone knew Mark never dated anybody for more than three months.

“I know. That’s why I’m asking you.”

She choked on her coffee, and he pounded her lightly on the back. Wheezing, she drew away from him. “Are you serious?” she asked, looking into his eyes.

His gaze didn’t waver. “Yes.”

Why wasn’t he laughing at her gullibility? Her skin prickled. A serious yes was not the right answer to her question. She turned away, looking straight ahead. “Surely you can find someone before the fourth.” The mirror-like elevator doors reflected everything, and he made eye contact with her reflection. “You have a month,” she said into her mug.

“I could, but ‘someone’ won’t do. I need somebody Mom can’t intimidate or manipulate to get to me.”

“What’s your mother trying to do?” Everyone also knew that Ceinlys Pryce wanted her children to marry into impeccable families.

“She’s either giving my dates false hopes about marrying me or trying to get them to stay away.” Even as his tone remained even, he rolled his shoulders. “I can’t deal with that. Not all relationships were meant to go somewhere, and every time she tries to get them to leave me, they start clinging like scotch tape.”

The elevator arrived—finally!—and they stepped inside. Even with just the two of them, the interior seemed tiny today. She took a small step sideways to give herself more room. It didn’t help. She could see their reflections again, this time on the inside of the doors—how his tall, strong body towered over her and made her feel somehow protected. Every time she drew a breath, the clean scent of soap and warm masculinity teased her. Her stomach fluttered like it was keeping hundreds of butterflies prisoner.

Her fingers tightened around her mug. “I’m afraid I can’t help you.” She kept her tone brisk. The key was to discourage him before he could work his charms. “I have a boyfriend.”

“That doctor guy?”

“His name is Walt Goldstein, and he’s a pediatric surgeon,” she said, more sharply than she planned. Stable and staid, Walt was the perfect man for her. It’d taken years to find someone as wonderful as him, and no billionaire playboy was going to criticize him in her presence. “He saves babies’ lives.”

“He drives a Lexus with a license plate that reads BABYDOC.” Mark’s lips curled in the reflection. “Who gets a vanity plate with a Caribbean dictator’s nickname?”

She tried not to scowl. “It’s not like he’s Haitian. Not everyone thinks of Duvalier when they see BABYDOC.” She certainly hadn’t…until now.

“Fine. Let’s give him some credit and assume he really doesn’t know any better. He still misses dinner an awful lot.”

“And you track stuff like that.”

“I avoid giving tables to people who don’t show.”

Apparently, she and Walt had canceled one too many reservations at Mark’s restaurants. “I’m sorry,” she said stiffly.

“It’s not your fault. And I don’t think he’ll care if you go to some party with me on the fourth. There’ll probably be a baby he has to operate on that day anyway.”

She frowned. “Don’t be mean.”

“Oh come on, Hilary. There’s something odd about a guy who keeps cancelling.”

“Gavin,” she said, referring to her super-busy boss—and Mark’s best friend—”used to cancel his dates with his wife, but that didn’t mean he doesn’t love her.”

Mark smiled. “And what has your doctor given you to make up for canceled dates? A private jet, perhaps? A yacht?”

“He’s just doing his job.”

“And I’ve helped you do yours. So you owe me.”

Now that got her gaze swinging his way. “You have? I do?”

“Remember that special client luncheon you scheduled at Morrigan’s? They screwed up the reservation, so I let you guys into the VIP area at La Mer at the last minute?”

He moved so that they were only inches away from each other, his body radiating an inviting heat. She always knew his eyes were blue, but not that they were the shade of the sunny Pacific. They beckoned her to say yes to whatever he was proposing because he was going to make it amazing for her. Her breath caught, and she couldn’t speak through a hot lump in her throat. She should step away, but her legs felt like they were rooted in place.

“I bailed you out of a jam.” He gave her that disarming grin. “It’s time you do the same for me.”

“Even if I wanted to, nobody would believe I’m your date.” Her words tumbled out in a shaky whisper. She stole a glance at the floor number. Still only five. “I’m totally not your type.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“Is it?” She managed to tear her gaze from his and stared at the elevator doors—and their reflections. His eyes hooded, he studied her exposed neck like it was a piece of art…or his favorite dessert. Licking her lips, she took another gulp of coffee.

Hilary wanted to say no. She was afraid this wouldn’t end well, but at the same time she did owe him one. He wouldn’t have asked her if he weren’t desperate, and she hated having unpaid debts. “If I do this, we’re even. No more calling in favors.”

“Of course not.”

She took a deep breath. “Okay. I’ll do it.”

He grinned, and her heart thundered boom-boom-boom at being the sole focus of his smile. She could only imagine what it would be like if he decided to point all his formidable charm her way.

Thankfully, the elevator stopped with a gentle lurch, and they walked out together. As they crossed the first-floor lobby, the back of her neck prickled, and she shivered and looked around. There was nothing except polished marble, glass and chrome…plus uniformed security guards…a few sharply dressed people leaving work…and Mark.

For the past several days, Hilary had felt like she was being watched, which was ridiculous. Who would stalk her? She was too boring to stalk, and she’d cleared all the deviants out of her life more than ten years ago.

A twenty-something woman stood up from a backless leather seat and started walking toward them. She had pretty golden hair that curled around her soft, fair face. A pair of widely set blue eyes sat over a small nose and Cupid’s-bow mouth that you normally only found on dolls. The pastel pink of her sundress further emphasized her youth and delicate beauty. Her gaze zeroed in on Hilary, and she snarled, “You bitch! You think you can steal my fiancé?”

“I’m sorry?” Hilary said.

“You should be! I was wondering about all those ’emergencies’ Walt’s been having recently, but guess what? When I called the hospital, they said he wasn’t there!”

Hilary’s mind blanked for a moment as she tried to process the situation, but her usually sharp brain refused to cooperate. She felt light-headed, like she was watching the scene happen in some faraway place to someone else who looked like her.

“Walt’s your…fiancé?” This couldn’t be real. It had to be some kind of sick joke.

The weight of several gazes pressed upon her, and she breathed deeply to clear her head. This was no time to panic.

“I found his texts and emails,” the other woman was saying, looking Hilary up and down. “I can’t believe it. What does he see in you?

Hilary flinched. “Look I had no idea… I didn’t know he was two-timing.”

“Oh come on! He’s a surgeon. Why wouldn’t some overpriced coffeemaker like you want him?”

That snapped Hilary out of the mental fog. “Don’t talk to me like that. I’m a victim here too.” Walt had talked about proposing. Of course he’d never mentioned he already had a fiancée!

“Lying bitch! Why would he want somebody as fat as you? It’s obvious what happened.” She launched herself, and Hilary jumped back. She hadn’t been in a fist-fight since her wild teenage years, and she certainly wasn’t getting into one now in the lobby of her workplace.

The other woman shrieked when a pair of strong hands gripped her arms from behind. “Miss, calm down,” Mark said.

“Let. Me. Go!” the other woman screeched, trying to twist around to face Mark. “This has nothing to do with you!”

“Yes, it does,” he said. “The woman you’re about to attack couldn’t possibly have stolen your fiancé.”

“How do you know?”

“Because she’s my girlfriend.”

The blonde stopped wriggling. “What?”

“I said, she’s my girlfriend.” Mark carefully let the woman go. “And let’s face it; why would she want your fiancé when she has me?”

Hilary watched the blonde study him and the trappings of his wealth. Every item Mark was wearing cost more than what most people made in a week. Then there were his irresistible good looks. Walt was a nice enough looking guy, but nothing compared to Mark. “I don’t know what you’re trying to pull, but I saw emails,” the blonde said, her voice considerably smaller and with less heat now. “They were meeting behind my back.”

“You’re making a scene. Walk away now unless you want me to have you thrown out.”

“You can’t do that!”

“Sure I can. This building is private property. And you’re trespassing.” He gave her a blinding smile, then gestured to the security guards, who had been watching the show with their mouths open. They moved forward.

“If you or your thugs lay another finger on me, I’ll sue!”

Hilary cringed. She didn’t want Mark to get into trouble because of her. It was already bad enough he’d lied for her, and the situation was beyond hellish as it was. She stepped forward to stop the blonde, but he pulled her to his side for a tight hug. Hilary didn’t even get a chance to react before he turned to the other woman. “Whatever you like. Leave your name with security so my lawyer can get in touch.”

“I work for a law firm, you know!”

“Marvelous. Then you’ve heard of Rosenbaum, McCracken, Wagner and Associates. I’ll have one of the partners call.”

She paled at the mention of one of the top law firms in the state and finally turned and left, one of the security men following closely behind. Hilary winced at the name dropping, but if it ended the show…

Mark turned to Hilary, and his gaze softened. He tucked a wayward tendril behind her ear. “You all right?”

Unable to speak, she nodded and pulled away from him. Thankfully, he released her. She smoothed her hair with trembling fingers as she tried to process what had just happened. Had she just been confronted by her boyfriend’s fiancée? Oh god. It was so obvious why Walt had promised to propose to Hilary.

She was an idiot with the worst judgment when it came to men, and they could tell by just looking at her. She was so naïve, she’d believe anything they said.

Just like her mom had gotten into trouble. Was it genetic?

There had to be something about her that broadcast how stupidly gullible she was. She’d chosen Walt with such careful consideration and thought. He was supposed to have been the one, her perfect man.

How could she have been so wrong?

“Hey, you look really pale. You need to sit down?” Mark said, laying a hand on her shoulder.

Aware of the audience, she forced a neutral tone and took a step back. Her mistake with Walt had blown up at work, but she wouldn’t let it affect her career. “Thank you for your help. It probably would’ve gotten a lot uglier without you.”

He smiled. “No problem. Sorry how it turned out.”

“No, it’s not your fault.” It was all hers.

“So…about my family party—”

“What?” She clutched her stuff in front of her like a shield. “No!”

Then she ran out as fast as she could.

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