For the last year, Julia has lived with two men.
Drayton is hot and mysterious, and Mike takes care of her. Together, they have great sex and a mostly stable relationship—one Julia thought satisfied her. After all, how can she complain about having two sexy men at the same time?
Then everything starts to change. Drayton is keeping a dark secret that threatens more than their arrangement. It might actually threaten their lives. And Mike keeps becoming more alpha than she’s ever known him to be.
What once was fun and casual is now a tangle of conflicting desires. Drayton wants to keep his freedom. Julia wants a real commitment.
And Mike…well, Mike just wants her.
Excerpt . . .
“Hello?” she called out. “Are we having company?”
“I’m in the kitchen,” Drayton said.
She wandered in and found him incongruously dressed in black trousers, gray dress shirt, and her frilly pink apron. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing.” Drayton was pushing something around in the frying pan, but he pulled her over to him with his free hand and gave her a peck on the lips. “I’m glad you’re back.”
“Stuffed mushrooms! Yum!” She tried to sneak a taste of the filling but he swatted her away. “To what do I owe my favorite food? Do you have bad news for me or something?”
Beginning to scoop out spoonfuls of stuffing and place them in the large mushroom caps he had lined up neatly on a cookie tray, Drayton smiled at her over his shoulder. “Why do you assume there’s an underlying agenda?”
Julia let her skeptical expression answer the question for her.
Chuckling, Drayton admitted, “All right. To tell you the truth, Mike said you’d been having a rough time lately and we should pamper you for an evening.”
Her jaw dropped, even as her heart bounced up into her throat. “Pamper?”
“That was my response to such an embarrassingly trite word. But, linguistic choices aside, I thought perhaps he was right.”
It took a minute for his dry words to sink into her consciousness. “Why do I need to be pampered?”
The look Drayton slanted her was half-knowing and half-sheepish. “You’ve been stressed lately—regarding us. Don’t try to deny it. And then this weekend…” He shrugged gracefully. “I’m sorry about Saturday night.”
For one horrifying moment, Julia thought she was going to cry. This was why she always forgave Drayton, no matter how arrogant and infuriating he could be at times. He always made sure she remembered his more frustrating characteristics weren’t the things that mattered most.
And that he and Mike would make efforts to make sure she was feeling appreciated—to give her a special evening—was just about the sweetest thing she could imagine.
“If you’re considering crying, please try to squelch the urge. My mushrooms don’t need any more humidity.”
Julia burst out laughing, and she leaned over to give Drayton a warm hug.
Giveaway . . .
Q & A
The two things I love to do most in the world is write and teach literature. I was pretending to teach school when I was four years old, and I wrote my first novel when I was twelve. Right now, I’m able to do both teach and write. It’s basically two full-time jobs, but it’s a great place to be. I also love dogs and books and ice-cream.
My mind has always been full of stories. Even if I’m not writing, I’m always making up stories in my head. It just makes more sense to actually write them down so other people can read them too.
Which authors have influenced your writing?
Too many really to count. My early influences were Louisa May Alcott and Maud Hart Lovelace. (I loved the Betsy, Tacy, and Tib books so much!). Then there have been so many others, ranging from Patricia Veryan to Agatha Christie. I think my deepest influences are those who don’t even write in my genre.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I don’t actually know if I could name one inspiration as the biggest. So many people have inspired me. My family has encouraged me in innumerable ways. But I had an English teacher in high school who always encouraged me to write fiction. I asked him a question one day, and he told me, “It’s your story. You can make it what you want.” For some reason, that really resonated, and I’ve never forgotten it.
Who is your favorite character that you have written, the one who pulls the most at your heartstrings?
I can never really answer that question because it feels like choosing between my children. I always feel guilty about all the characters I didn’t choose because I love them all in different ways. But, in terms of heroes, the one who makes my heart ache the most is Gideon from Salvation (one of my Noelle Adams books). And, for heroines, I think it would be Leslie from No Regrets. She just feels so real to me, and my heart always breaks for her in the first chapters of that book.
You're throwing a party, what is your signature drink?
Where do you write?
Wherever I happen to be. I can really write anywhere. But normally it’s stretched out on my couch with my laptop.
Are you nervous, excited, petrified when you release a new book?
Usually terrified. I used to be excited, but I’ve learned it’s nearly impossible for me to predict how well a book will do in terms of sales or readers’ response to it—so I’m always terrified it will be a complete bomb. With a book like Finished, which is different in so many ways, I’m more terrified than normal.
What was the inspiration for this book?
I was thinking about menage books and wondering how I might write one, if I ever decided to do so. And this was the story that came to me. It’s not a menage romance, but it starts that way.
What is your next project?
I’ve got a Noelle Adams book called A Family for Christmas that will be coming out soon. It’s the third book in the Willow Park series. The next Claire Kent will be a huge, sprawling, sexy revenge book called Untouched, which will probably come out some time in the middle of next year.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Early Riser, Night Owl, or Insomniac? Early Riser
Pepsi or Coke? Coke!
Coffee or Tea? Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon
Right or left handed? Right
Print book or ebook? Both. Books I love I buy in print. Otherwise, ebooks because they create less clutter.
About the Author . . .
She also writes contemporary romance under the penname Noelle Adams.
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