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Southern Gentleman (Charleston Heat #3)
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I know two things when I meet my new boss, Greyson Parker Montgomery III.
No one is more surprised by our off-the-charts chemistry than me. I’m a free spirit with a passion for design and a taste for the bohemian. Greyson is a cocky venture capitalist who’s as pretentious as his sharply cut power suits.
He owns half of Charleston, and has the other half at his beck and call. But the only place he owns me is in bed…or in the backseat of his car, boneless and begging for mercy.
We argue over contracts and costs all day long. Behind closed doors, however, we engage in a different kind of business. The kind that has me surrendering to his unique brand of dominance.
Our no-strings attached arrangement suits me just fine. Until I wake up one morning with what I think is a wicked hangover.
Only it’s not a hangover.
I thought Greyson was a typical “greed is good” grump. But when he demands to be involved in the life we accidentally created, I start to see a different side of him. One that’s more gentleman than jerk.Am I crazy to think we could be a family together? Or is making me fall for him just another one of his power plays?
SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN is a STANDALONE, full length, accidental pregnancy/enemies-to-lovers romance.
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The castle was enormous. Foreboding.
Just like the Scot who stood before Charlotte in the Great Hall. His dark, inscrutable eyes roving over her person, like she was his possession.
His to take.
He was a Baron. A rake. A murderer, if the rumors in London were true.
He was also her new husband.
His lordship crossed his arms over the barrel of his chest. He was dressed in naught but shirtsleeves and a kilt. Back to the fire that crackled in the fireplace, the outline of his broad shoulders glowing in the darkness.
His eyes locked on hers. Haughty. A little…heated.
Charlotte pulled back her shoulders. Preparing for battle.
“You understand your duty as my wife, yes?” he asked.
She tipped her head. “I am to provide you with an heir.”
“We begin tonight. Ready yourself.”
Then he turned and stalked out of the hall, footsteps echoing across the vast, empty space. A man—valet? footman?—cast Charlotte a sympathetic glance before scurrying after his master.
She shivered but managed to keep her spine straight. She would not cower. Even if she did have to sleep with that beast tonight.
It was a business transaction, nothing more, she reminded herself. He needed an heir. She needed safety. And there was no safer place than this fortress in the Highlands.
Its walls kept the monsters of the world at bay.
But what, she wondered, about the monsters within those walls? Who would protect her from them?
She’d have to do the job herself, she decided.
I pull up to the barn and hit the knob on my car stereo, killing the audiobook of My Romp With the Rogue. It’s the third book in my friend Olivia’s historical romance series, and so far, it’s pure deliciousness.
I’ve always loved romance. In fact, I love it so much that I teach a class on it at the College of Charleston.
But lately, I’ve been especially obsessed with the genre. Romance novels are just the comfort I’ve needed after my dad passed away last year. Mom passed two years before that.
I miss my family, more than words can say. But romance makes me feel less alone. It makes me feel hopeful.
Stepping out of my car, I notice there’s a shiny, hulking Yukon Denali parked next to me. The thing looks like it could eat my Mini Cooper for a snack. Everything about it screams aggressive, from the huge wheels to the giant chrome grill.
It has to belong to one of the venture capital guys backing Rodgers’ Farms, my newest interior design project. I went to grad school at NYU, so I ran into corporate banking types plenty. All sharply cut power suits and pretentious need to splash out obscene amounts of cash.
Judging by this guy’s flashy car, he’s no different. Yeah, I’m a professor of romance, so I know all about the danger of judging a book by its cover. I don’t mean to fall into the same trap. But seriously, just how big and shiny and chrome-covered does your car need to be?
I check out the dilapidated barn in front of me. It’s a hot mess, from the peeling red paint to the gaping holes in the roof.
It’s also charming as hell. Character galore and plenty of history to go with it, I imagine. Tons of potential.
Exactly the kind of project I love—a historic property we can restore with a thoughtful modern twist.
By day, I’m a professor of twentieth century literature (and romance!). I’ve been enamored with the bohemian ideals and lifestyles of literary greats since I could remember. On the side, I take on select interior design projects. My dad was an architect, and the two of us shared a passion for all things design related. Working on projects like this is my way of keeping Daddy close to my heart.
I accepted this particular project because Luke, the owner, is my good friend Gracie’s boyfriend. He loved the design work I did at her downtown coffee shop, Holy City Roasters. I was his first pick to design the farmer’s market and storefront he’s building out here on his farm on Wadmalaw Island. He grows the freshest heirloom produce and mills the tastiest grits in the area, and he plans to sell them in this barn.
But first, we have to give the space a significant face-lift. Which is where the venture capital people come in. They’ll provide the money, while I’ll take care of the creative side of things.
The barn door, hanging by a rusted metal hinge, is open. Looping my tote bag over my elbow, I step inside to see Luke and another man standing in the middle of the open space. As usual, I’m running a few minutes behind.
“Hey, Julia!” Luke says, offering me a smile before pulling me into a hug. “How you been?”
“I’ve been all right,” I reply. I’m smiling, too. One of my favorite things about Luke is his thick Southern accent. It’s authentic and charming, and I have no problem seeing why it affects Gracie so much. “Excited to get started here. Luke, your property is absolutely stunning.”