Publication date: May 21st 2013
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance (the author describes it as mid-20s Sex and the City vibe)
Sometimes you can’t help falling in love, even when you try to do the opposite…Successful fashion blogger McKenna Bell has spent far too long protecting herself after the way her ex-fiancé left her at the altar for a college chick he met the night of his bachelor party. Loving again, trusting again, well, that’s just not in the cards. Especially now that her ex is back in town with his new woman, demanding custody of McKenna’s favorite creature in the whole world–her dog. No effing way. McKenna’s had enough of him, and she decides to even the score by finding her own hot young thing — a Trophy Husband. Sure, she’s only twenty-seven, but doesn’t that make it even more fun — and infuriating to her ex — to pursue a younger man? When she declares her intentions on her daily blog, her quest quickly skyrockets in popularity, and that’s when Chris enters the picture, and he’s got all the assets. He’s handsome, successful, and turns her inside out with a kiss to end all kisses, the kind that makes you feel like a shooting star. But loving again could mean losing again, and it’s so much easier to focus on getting even, isn’t it? Unless, you just can’t help falling in love. Which means McKenna will have to come face to face with what she really wants in life — protecting her heart from hurt, or letting go of her fears of a new beginning.
Excerpt from Trophy Husband:
My timing is impeccable.
I do not want to miss a chance to see Chris walk across the sand, so there’s no reason for me to be on time when I can be early.
I park on Taraval Street along Ocean Beach, get out of my car, and wait. I try my best to look busy, fiddling with my phone, and checking compartments in my purse, but when Chris appears on the horizon, surfboard in hand, wet suit tucked under his arm, I freeze.
And then I blush, remembering what he did to me in my mere imagination yesterday. I’m sure he’ll be able to tell, to read it in my eyes. I really should pretend I’m not watching him. But it’s impossible not to. I didn’t look away during that scene in Casino Royale either when Daniel Craig emerged from the water. He wears board shorts, low on his hips, and a pair of flip flops. I watch him as he walks through the sand, closer, closer and there, now I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I would like to lick all those water droplets off his chest and his abs and then run a hand down his body to sear into my memory the feel of that kind of firm outline.
He’s lickable. He’s kissable. He’s chat-up-able. He’s precisely the type of guy a girl can fall into some kind of crazy crush for. He catches my gaze, and I should be embarrassed, I should act as if I’m not staring, but there’s this fluttery feeling inside me, and I want to hold onto it, especially because he’s looking at me and not letting go either. Those green eyes of his are the definition of dreamy, and if I were a writer, I’d find a way to pen a song about them, how they draw me in, romance me, entice me.
Soon, he’s mere feet from me, scratched-up surfboard by his side, in all his glistening, ocean-ed up glory. Neither one of us says anything for a few seconds, and it’s the kind of silence that’s filled with unsaid things.
With wishes, with hopes.
Mine at least.
“Thanks for meeting me here,” he says, as a wet shock of hair falls across his forehead. He pushes it back.
“Thanks for being a surfer,” I say, then I want to kick myself for sounding so goggly-eyed.
He flashes me a grin and walks to his car, a sporty red car that I recognize as being one of the newest hybrids. He stows the wetsuit in the trunk, then slides the board into the rack on the roof, stretching his arms to lock the board in place. I picture myself slinking into the narrow space between Chris and the car, the look of surprise on his face, then wicked delight, as he closes the gap between our bodies. He’s warm and wet from surfing and sun, and I’m warm and wet from him, and I imagine him lazily tracing a finger down my arm, enjoying the way the slightest touch sets me ablaze. I’d shift closer, my hips inviting him to become a puzzle piece that locks into place with me.
I force myself to shutter those images, because they have no bearing to reality.
He opens the passenger door, reaches inside and hands me a bag with the camera in it.
“Good as new,” he says.
“How did you fix it?”
“I can’t give away all my secrets now, can I?”
I smile. “I suppose not.”
“But maybe you’d be willing to tell me your last name now that I’ve fixed your camera.”
Another smile. Another nervous laugh. “McKenna. McKenna Bell.”
“Well, thank you for letting me fix the camera your friend’s cat peed on, McKenna Bell.”
“Maybe if I’m lucky, the cat will pee on my router next.”
He smiles, then runs a hand through his wet hair. There’s something so effortless about the way he moves, so natural, that I don’t even think he’s aware of the effect he has on women.
Of the effect he has on me. I want to run my hands down his chiseled chest, exploring the lines between his muscles, the way his stomach is outlined so firmly. I want to know what those arms feel like wrapped around me, pulling me in close. I want his hands on my hips as he teases me and taunts me with sweet kisses on my cheeks, my eyelids, my forehead. Then his tongue flicks across my earlobe, and I gasp with pleasure. He pulls back, a satisfied little grin on his face before he returns to my neck, burning up my skin in an instant with those lips that were made to mark my body.
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Lauren Blakely is an unabashed fan of clever jokes, toast, and good guys in novels. Like the heroine in CAUGHT UP IN US, she thinks life should be filled with movie kisses and coffee drinks. Lauren lives in California with her husband and children, and spends her days writing both true stories and make-believe ones.
Lauren Blakely Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6860216.Lauren_Blakely