The closer she gets, the more my heart thaws….
Reluctantly Yours, an all-new enemies-to-lovers fake-relationship rom-com full of steam and laughs from bestselling author Erin Hawkins, is available now!
I’ve rebuilt my father’s media company with hard work and determination, but my single status leaves me on the outs with the one businessman I need to get close to. A little white lie and I’m suddenly in love, head over heels. Now I need to find a fake girlfriend, someone to keep up appearances without any emotions.
When I find my mother’s fiery assistant in a compromising position, it’s the perfect opportunity to get what I want: a girlfriend for business appearances, without any feelings involved. I won’t let the fact that I’m wildly attracted to the petite redhead get in my way.
But the closer she gets, the more my heart thaws and all too soon I find myself having to choose between the business deal I’m determined to land and the woman I’ve fallen hard for.
After two years as editorial assistant to JoAnna St. Clair of the famed St. Clair Press, I’ve been given a chance to take on my dream job as an assistant editor.
When my childhood best friend asks me to host her bachelorette weekend in the city, I’m thrilled to show everyone how amazing my life is in New York. (Things not included on the tour are my shoebox of an apartment or my romance book collection that is the only thing keeping me warm at night.)
But when I fail to confirm the restaurant reservation and I’m left with no event location an hour before the party starts, I’m desperate. Desperate enough to use my boss’s penthouse for a party while she’s out of town.
No one will ever know. That is until her cold, dismissive, and annoyingly hot son walks in.
In order to keep his silence, Barrett demands a favor in return: he needs a date for a business dinner. That’s easy enough until his mother finds out and he seals my fate by telling her we are dating. It’s that or kiss my job goodbye.
While I’m reluctant at first, the more time we spend together, the harder it is to fight my attraction to him. Beneath that brooding, icy demeanor lies a heart of gold.
But when a scandalous discovery puts his deal at stake, and our relationship to the test, will Barrett prove he’s all about business?
Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/37pLcas
I take another shot because hosting your friend’s bachelorette party in your boss’s penthouse apartment without her permission is super stressful. When Jules originally suggested it, my gut reaction was hell, no but then Lauren texted me how excited she was for the party and with no other options this late in the game, I caved sending a mass text with the updated address.
The thing is I couldn’t even ask JoAnna for permission even if I wanted to. Her flight would land at LAX long after Lauren’s party was scheduled to start. And what if she said no? JoAnna has been nothing but kind to me, even motherly as I navigate this city on my own, but using her apartment for a personal gathering is definitely crossing into inappropriate territory. I scratch at my neck. Either the sequins on this rented dress are irritating my skin or breaking rules gives me hives.
Jules called a caterer friend of hers that was able to make extra hors d’oeuvres last minute. She didn’t have time or ingredients for me to make personal selections so I was at the mercy of what Jamie and Greg picked for their Hawaiian luau themed wedding reception. So, Luau Thai chicken and sweet and sour meatballs it is!
While the rest of the ladies are out in JoAnna’s living room, snacking and sipping on drinks, I pull my custom-made pin the hunk on the junk game out of my tote. That’s right, Etsy, I made it myself and saved fifty bucks. Although the guy at Kinkos gave me a funny look when it came off the machine.
Ryan Gosling smiles back at me, the over muscled body double I used for the lower half is disproportionate to the size of his head. The empty spot between his legs the intended target for my printed and hand cut paper dicks.
“Chloe!” I can hear my friend Claire yelling for me down the hall. Claire, Lauren and I were three peas in a pod growing up. Claire lives in Seattle now and while we haven’t been the best at keeping in touch, when she arrived an hour ago, we easily picked back up where we left off in high school.
“The dicks are coming!” I shout, as I pull the paper dicks out of the bag, but she’s already there in the doorway, and I hold up the poster so she can check out Ryan Gosling on steroids. I wave the paper dicks around, then, I explode with giggles at my little joke. “Get it? They’re coming?”
“Hilarious,” she deadpans before waving me out toward the hallway.
I’m still laughing as she waves her hands, urgently motioning me out of the guest room where I’ve put all the party supplies. I didn’t think pin the junk on the hunk would garner such enthusiasm.
“Where should we hang it?” I ask.
“Forget the game. The stripper is here. And, he’s gorgeous. Not like a Jersey Shore beef cake, fake tan kind of stripper, but a sexy businessman stripper. Where did you find him? WallStreetstrippers.com?”
Ooh la la. A stripper sounds fun. Even better than pin the dick on the prick or whatever this game is called. But, I gather the game up and bring it anyways because I did put a lot of effort into it.
As I start to follow Claire back into the living room, her words finally penetrate the vodka induced fog clouding my brain. I really should have been keeping track of how many shots I’ve taken.
“Wait.” I stop short, nearly dropping the paper dicks on the floor. “I didn’t hire a stripper.”
There’s only one man that would have access to JoAnna’s apartment without needing to be buzzed in. My stomach clenches with anxiety. Oh God.
“Really?” Claire’s eyes turn to saucers, “so, who’s the stud in the suit?”
My eyes scan the sea of scantily clad women until I find him. There, across the room, looking like sex on a stick in a navy suit, with his dark hair hanging over his forehead, being hounded by all the bachelorette party attendees is Barrett.
My heart stops. This is a scenario that I never in a million years considered. And why would I? Why would Barrett stop by JoAnna’s on a Friday night? When he knows she’s out of town? Doesn’t he have better things to do?
He sees me then, and when our eyes connect, everything stops. It’s what I imagine a deer feels when its body is lit up by the high beams of an oncoming vehicle. Frozen, stunned, unable to do anything but wait for impact.
His hazel gaze holds mine, intense and challenging, before his full lips slide into a devilish smirk.
“Chloe Anderson,” he shakes his head, “you’ve been a bad girl.”
Best Laid Plans is Erin Hawkins’s debut novel. She lives in Colorado with her husband and three young children. She enjoys reading, running, spending time in the mountains, and watching reality TV.
Connect with Erin