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Southern Heartbreaker (Charleston Heat #4)
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He was the bad boy I fell for in college. Now he’s a sexy single dad and Charleston’s most successful venture capitalist. Dominant and decisive, Ford Montgomery is used to getting what he wants. And he just set his sights on me…
Ford Montgomery was my first everything.
A decade later, it’s just my luck he’s the first guy I run into after moving back to my hometown of Charleston. Three piece suit, tie, and a watch worth more than my car—being a mogul looks good on Ford. So does being a doting dad to his adorable four-year-old daughter.
I tell myself I can resist him. But one impulsive, ill-advised kiss later, and Ford is in hot pursuit. He’s determined to make up for his past mistakes, and convinces me to give him a second chance.
What started as fun between the sheets gets really serious, really fast. Problem is, I swore I’d never give up the dreams I worked so hard for to settle down and do the family thing.
But seeing Ford light up around his daughter—seeing how he’s chasing his ambitions while rocking fatherhood—is making me rethink what I want out of life.
It doesn’t help that behind his corporate veneer is the bad boy I fell in love with. And bad boys aren’t afraid to play dirty…or break hearts.
SOUTHERN HEARTBREAKER is a full-length, STANDALONE romance. It is part of the Charleston Heat Series, which is a series of interconnected standalone novels set in the steamy southern town of Charleston, South Carolina. The books can be read in any order.
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Edward, Marquess of Harborough, was certain of two things.
One, he looked dapper in his new evening kit if he did say so himself.
And two, love made fools of men and women alike. He only had to look to his parents for proof of that.
Which was why he’d agreed to marry Lady Sophia Dudley, sight unseen. The daughter of an earl—and “a perfectly adequate player of the harpsichord”—she was doubtless a suitable wife of excellent lineage and appropriately bland temperament.
A woman who posed no threat to his carefully guarded affections.
Thanking his valet, Edward exited his dressing room and headed down the curving stair.
That was when he heard it. A curse, whispered in a feminine voice. Followed by another curse. And another—
“Damn you, you mustn’t—bloody hell, not on the mouth—your smell, Christ in heaven—”
Edward’s heart thumped. What knave presumed to assault this poor—if foulmouthed—woman?
He shot the cuffs of his black satin jacket, curling his arms. He hoped it would not come to blows. But he would do anything necessary to save a woman in distress.
Rounding the last few steps, he drew up short when his eyes fell on said knave.
It was his Irish wolfhound, Ophelia. She was standing on her hind legs in the middle of the entrance hall, licking an unfamiliar blond woman’s face. Massive paws propped on the woman’s shoulders.
His arms uncurled. Edward’s heart thumped again at the sound of the woman’s laugh. It was deep. Big. A belly laugh, the kind he’d known only as a child.
The woman tugged gently on Ophelia’s ears as she kissed the top of her head.
“See, you bloody beast, that is the appropriate way to greet a stranger.” That laugh, again, when Ophelia replied with another lick to the woman’s lips. She took a paw in her hand, giving it a shake. “Ah, what a sweet, smelly girl you are. I think we shall get on just fine, you and I. I’m the new mistress of this house. The Marchioness of something or other. But you, my dear, may call me Sophie.”
Edward found his tongue and lips silently forming the name. Sophie.
Only he must’ve said it out loud, because the woman turned her head and looked at him. His stomach plummeted. Her eyes were lovely, dark and sparking with intelligence. Mischief, too.
And her mouth—it was full. Soft looking.
He attempted to straighten, but his feet tangled on the last tread of the stair. He pitched forward with a grunt.
“My Lord!” Sophie darted across the hall with startling speed.
And that was how Edward found himself in the arms of his new wife. Blinking back stars as he met those deuced eyes of hers. They were so big, and so honest…
He started, grimacing when Ophelia planted several juicy, wet kisses on his mouth and nose.
“Made you swoon,” Sophie said with a smile.
“Ophelia. Ophelia, please.” He bolted to his feet, batting away his dog. The picture of unadulterated mortification. “I don’t swoon.”
“There’s nothing wrong with swooning.” Her brow pinched. He was overtaken by the urge to smooth it with his thumb. “No great love story is complete without a good swoon. How refreshing it is that the hero is doing it for once.”
“This is no love story,” he replied stiffly. “And I am no hero.”
Her smile contracted. Puzzlingly, so did his heart.
Edward was now certain of only one thing: that his wife was anything but suitable. Or bland.
I kill the ignition of my Honda, halting the narrator mid-sentence. I’m less than ten minutes into the audiobook of My Marriage to the Marquess, a regency romance my friend Olivia wrote. But it’s already making me smile.
A smile that fades when I take in the familiar red brick front of my parents’ house. I’m here for Sunday night dinner, my first since being back in town. I notice my sister Alex’s car isn’t in the driveway yet. She must be running late, as usual.
Taking a deep breath that does nothing to loosen the tightness in my chest, I climb out of my car.
I’m immediately plunged into that special brand of oppressive humidity unique to Charleston, my hometown. I can literally feel my hair expanding. A frizzing-out that starts at the roots, no doubt making my blow out look like a clown wig in fifteen seconds flat.
Ah, summer. Definitely not my favorite season down here.
I recently moved back to Charleston after a five year-stint in Atlanta. I made the move mostly because I’ve been struggling to come up with the concept for a new cookbook—my second—and I’m hoping the amazing culinary scene here in the low country will kick-start my creative muse.
I’ve already had my agent push back my deadline with my publisher once. With my next deadline looming in just two months, I’m kinda freaking out.
Not only am I relying on the money and sponsorships this next book will bring in to help me keep my blogging and cookbook business afloat. I’m also a perfectionist when it comes to my work. It’s taken me over a decade of blood, sweat, and blog posts to build an engaged, passionate readership. I’ve also collected a dozen or so really great sponsors, or companies who pay to advertise on my blog. The money they bring in is vital to my business.