Cover Reveal: The Unintended Fiance

It’s been ten days since the release of The Undercover Playboy and I’m truly grateful that readers are loving Carter and Cassie’s story. I’m so motivated to keep working hard on the next book in the Captured by Love series.

Brad and Erin’s story is next, and their fun, bumpy and steamy journey to happily-ever-after is unravelling beautifully as I write it. The Unintended Fiancé is due for release on the 22nd of September and since it’s been available for pre-order for over a week now, you might already have seen the cover. But I thought I’d do a special post for it because it’s another excellent work by my fabulous cover designer, Viola Estrella. I just have to show it off properly!

So here it is. Who do you think is the hottest so far among our Captured by Love guys? Personally, I want to swoon every time I look at this one 😉

TheUnintendedFiance-1200x1800

He arranges a fake engagement to win against his business rival.

Bradley Mead has one overriding goal: to succeed over his fiercest business enemy. To boost his chances of winning a lucrative contract over his competitor, he must first assure his potential client that he is not after the client’s new wife–a woman he used to date and who still loves to flirt with him. To aid his cause, he asks Erin Baker, his sister’s beautiful best friend, to be his pretend fianceé. But Erin soon becomes a pawn for his archrival’s underhanded tactics… and Brad finds himself torn between winning in business and following the dictates of his heart.

She doesn’t expect to fall for her fake fiancé.

Erin Baker believes she is now immune from Bradley Mead’s charms. After all, her secret crush for him when she was still a teenager is long gone. When an ex-boyfriend becomes a new work colleague and starts annoying her, accepting Brad’s proposition to be his fake fianceé for a short time seems like a great idea… until she discovers that she’s been lying to herself about her feelings for him. Can she ever win the heart of the man who has never loved her back, and shows no intention of ever doing so?

*****

Pre-order links are up for The Unintended Fiancé. Here they are:

 Amazon US | Other Amazon Stores | Apple iBooks | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

It will also be available for sale on Google Play, All Romance Ebooks and Smashwords on the 22nd of September.

Thank you so much for your support! You have no idea how much I appreciate it.

Much love,
Miranda xxx

 

The Undercover Playboy: Released!

TheUndercoverPlayboy-Full

The Undercover Playboy, Carter and Cassie’s steamy and suspenseful love story, is now live! If you’ve pre-ordered it, you should have it in your device already. If you’re yet to get your copy, here are the links to the stores:

Amazon US | Other Amazon Stores | Apple iBooksBarnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | All Romance Ebooks | Smashwords

I sincerely hope you love The Undercover Playboy. I’ve had a blast writing it. Here’s the book description:

He cannot let love get in the way of work.

Undercover detective Carter Garrett is required to play the role of a cash-strapped playboy to solve an important case. When Cassie Stephens, his sister’s beautiful friend, starts working in the art gallery owned by a suspect, his growing feelings for her threaten to blow his cover. He mustn’t let Cassie in on the secret. It could ruin his team’s best chance at catching a group of criminals whose leader could very well be Cassie’s new boss. But when Cassie gets embroiled in the case, his heart joins in on the action–a dangerous situation he cannot allow to persist.

Her work places her in his way.

Cassie Stephens is ecstatic to land a high-paying job with perks anyone would envy. To her further delight, her new boss has business dealings with the charming Carter Garrett, her flatmate’s hunky brother. Things between her and Carter heat up with surprising speed. But being aware of Carter’s playboy ways, she orders herself not to dream of a future with him… until her new boss shares a secret about Carter she wasn’t at all expecting. What was more, her incredibly kind boss insists on helping her win Carter however way she can…

###

Thank you so much for your continued support. It means more to me than I can tell you :).

Much love,
Miranda xxx

P.S. As always, reviews are not necessary but very much appreciated. They do help in getting the books noticed by more readers. Thank you!

 

The Undercover Playboy: Chapter Two

HI! Hope you enjoyed Chapter One of The Undercover Playboy yesterday. Today, I’m excited to share Chapter Two with you. Enjoy!

TheUndercoverPlayboy-200x300The Undercover Playboy Chapter Two

“Cassie!”

Cassie kept walking towards the elevators, pretending she hadn’t heard her boss call her name. It was ten past five, and working hours were officially over.

“Cassie!” Randy Silver called out again, trotting to catch her before she got to the lifts.

“Yes, Randy?” she asked, turning to him and not even pretending to smile. She knew what was coming, and she was sick of it.

“Could you stay for another half an hour or so? I have to go to a dinner meeting and Estelle needs someone to check her work when she’s finished.”

“Sorry, Randy. I’ve got plans.”

“But—”

“It’s after five, Randy.”

“I’ll pay you overtime.”

“Great,” she said a tad sarcastically. “Would you also pay me overtime for all the extra hours I’ve worked in the past few months?”

“Come now, Cassie,” Randy said, his tone cajoling. “You chose to stay back during those times without telling me. They weren’t approved overtime.”

Cassie took a deep breath to arrest the anger bubbling inside her. This guy just didn’t get it. “You know what, Randy? It’s tough that you don’t even appreciate why I stay back. We used to have five people in the accounting team. For a long time now, there’s only three of us because you refuse to replace the two who left. We’re overworked.”

“Cassie, we’ve talked about this before,” Randy said with an apologetic smile. “The company is not doing as well as it used to—”

“I know that, Randy. But that’s not my fault. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I really have to go.”

She turned to leave, past caring about what her boss might be thinking with her gesture. What was he going do? Sack her for not obeying orders? He couldn’t afford to do that and he damn well knew it. Unfortunately, he couldn’t pay her what she was worth in the marketplace, either.

She’d had high hopes for her career when she started working for this kitchen appliance wholesaler four years ago. But when her original boss, Randy’s mother, had handed the reins to her son when she retired due to illness, everything had started to go downhill. Not only had Cassie not been given the financial controller role that Randy’s mother had promised her—that position had gone to Randy’s wife—but Randy had also called a freeze on salary increases and bonuses.

The company had headed southwards from the changes Randy had made. Now he was making everyone suffer for his incompetence. Worse, Randy wouldn’t listen to anyone’s suggestions and chose to continue along the path of destruction. It was such a huge shame that the company Cassie used to love wouldn’t survive another year if Randy stayed at the helm.

“Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow, then,” Randy said with resignation. “Don’t forget we have a meeting first thing in the morning to go through the monthly reports.”

The elevator doors opened with a ping and Cassie stepped inside with barely a glance back at her boss. It would be the seventh month that Randy had been asking her to do things that his financial controller wife should be doing. His wife clearly wasn’t anywhere near as skilled in that position as Cassie, but Randy refused to acknowledge that.

Well, she’d played the martyr for far too long. Even her best friends had constantly told her she was being unreasonably loyal towards a company who no longer recognised her worth.

Except that she didn’t have another job to go to yet. As soon as she did, she’d hand in the resignation letter that she’d already drafted.

She’d been on tenterhooks all day waiting for calls from two companies. She’d been to a second round of interviews with those two firms and she felt certain she’d done well enough to still be under consideration.

Her phone buzzed as she stepped off the elevator. She pulled it out of her handbag, her heart hammering as she recognised the number.

“Hello, this is Cassandra,” she answered in a professional tone, crossing her fingers.

“Hello, Cassandra, this is Susan Sanchez from Tellman Galleries. Did I catch you at a bad time?”

“No, Susan. I’m free to talk.”

“Good. I’m ringing to see if you can come in at nine tomorrow morning? Bronwyn Tellman wants to have a chat with you.”

“Yes, I can make that time. I’ll be there.”

“Great. We’ll see you then. Bye for now.”

“Thank you, Susan.”

Cassie couldn’t help the face-splitting grin that spread to her face. That was a good sign. A meeting with the commercial art gallery’s owner had to mean she was among two or three shortlisted candidates.

Randy wouldn’t be happy that she wouldn’t be there for their meeting tomorrow. She didn’t care. He really should be talking to his wife anyway. Cassie wasn’t the financial controller, after all.

Well, that phone call from a potential new employer had certainly lifted her spirits. She’d be in a much better mood for tonight’s dinner with Natasha at that newly renovated restaurant close to their apartment. Pity Carter wouldn’t be joining them tonight, like he usually did on Thursdays. But he’d said he was busy with a big work project and wouldn’t see them for a few weeks.

She exhaled a swoon-like breath as a picture of Carter flashed in her mind. Yeah, okay, she did have a little crush on him. But she didn’t have time to date…

What a load of crap, Cassie.

She shook her head as she remembered Erin saying at Lexie’s party that she didn’t know why Cassie was lying to herself.

Well, Cassie did know why. She hadn’t had much luck in the dating game. None of her previous relationships had gone past the getting-to-know-you stage. Somehow, she couldn’t make a guy want her enough.

Each of her past three boyfriends had dumped her with heartbreaking honesty. Their words had all been different, but their reason had been the same: their feelings for her hadn’t been strong enough to want to continue with the relationship.

Each time, she’d been devastated.

Sure, she knew it was just a matter of finding the right guy—that there was someone out there for her. But, frankly, it was an exhausting exercise looking for Mr. Right. She’d rather concentrate on her career and finish her MBA first. Those were far easier to achieve… and disappointments in those areas were less hurtful.

As for her crush on Carter, she was happy to keep it to herself. All she had to do was look at him to know that she’d just be asking for heartache if she allowed her feelings to grow. He was too good-looking. Someone like her would have a hard time keeping him. So why bother?

*****

Cassie stared at a large abstract painting of vivid, earthy colours hanging on a feature wall in the boardroom of Tellman Galleries. It was mesmerising, just like the other pieces of art that were displayed in the room.

It would be wonderful if she could get a job in this place. To come to work every day and be surrounded by so many incredible items would be inspiring. She didn’t have an iota of artistic talent, but she had great appreciation for art.

Tellman Galleries was still a small company, but it had grown in leaps and bounds in the two years since it had opened. From what she’d been able to Google, and from the information given to her by Susan Sanchez—the gallery’s very pretty human resources manager who’d interviewed her twice before—both artists and art lovers from around Australia had embraced the gallery and were lining up to do business with it.

“Good morning, Cassandra.”

Startled, Cassie turned around. She hadn’t heard anyone come in.

A beautiful, dark-haired, smartly dressed woman, probably in her early thirties, was closing the boardroom door and smiling at her. “I’m Bronwyn Tellman,” the woman said, approaching her with an outstretched arm.

Cassie hid her surprise. She wasn’t expecting the gallery’s owner to be this young. “Good morning, Ms. Tellman. I’m very pleased to meet you,” she said, taking the proffered hand for a shake.

“Call me Bronwyn,” the owner said, indicating for her to take a seat.

“And call me Cassie, please,” she said with a shy smile. “The artwork you have displayed here is fantastic.”

“Thank you. The artists we work with are very talented. And they tell us that they’ve sold more pieces since being exhibited here in this gallery than in any other places.”

“That’s impressive,” Cassie said.

“Yes. Most of them are up-and-coming artists. I believe in giving the right people the exposure they deserve. That’s why I wanted to meet you, Cassie.”

Cassie sat up straighter, ready for whatever tough questions Bronwyn wanted to throw at her.

“You applied for the financial controller position,” Bronwyn said, linking her fingers together on the table as she looked at Cassie. “According to your résumé, you’ve never held this position before.”

Cassie nodded, expecting that question even though Susan Sanchez had already asked her the same thing in a previous interview. “My official title in my current job is Senior Accountant. However, I’ve been doing a controller’s work for almost a year. I’m certain I have the necessary skills and qualifications you need for this job. I was actually earmarked for the financial controller position, but there was a restructure in our company after the previous owner retired. While being a controller for a bigger company might be outside my level of expertise, I believe I’m suitable for a growing firm such as Tellman Galleries.”

“When do you finish your MBA?”

“In about four months.”

“I spoke to Mrs. Silver, your previous boss,” Bronwyn said.

Cassie held her breath. She’d put Randy’s mother as one of her referees. Considering that Cassie had been clashing with Randy recently, she hoped that Mrs. Silver only had nice words to say about her.

“She said that you were the one person she relied on the most in the company,” Bronwyn said. “She assured me you’re more than capable of doing the financial controller job.”

Cassie exhaled slowly, relief flooding her.

“More importantly, she said you’re loyal,” Bronwyn said. “She spoke very highly of you and gave me an indication why you now want to leave your current employment. But I want to hear the reasons from you.”

Cassie smiled. “When Mrs. Silver was there, I was very happy. But she’s retired and her son has taken over the business. The promotion and salary increase I was promised by Mrs. Silver before she left have not come to fruition even though I’m now doing higher-level work. And I do a lot of overtime that I’m not getting paid for. So I thought it was finally time for me to find another company where my contributions are reasonably rewarded.”

“And if I offer you this, Cassie,” Bronwyn said, pushing a sheet of paper towards her, “could I expect your loyalty and hard work?”

Cassie’s heart hammered as she took the document and started reading through a formal job offer. Her breath hitched as her gaze landed on the line that said Salary. Yes! She’d been hoping for this amount, even though she’d expected a lesser figure due to her lack of experience in the position. It was more than fair. Way more than fair.

She couldn’t help but continue on reading what was included in the package: bonuses, inclusion to invitation-only art events, opportunity to travel with the director to conferences around the world, and a company car.

Overseas travel and a company car!

Wow. Just… wow.

She put the paper down on the table as her hand started shaking. “This—” She heard the squeakiness in her voice and paused to swallow her excitement and nerves. “This is great, Bronwyn,” she continued in a more measured tone. “You can count on me to do my best every single working day.”

Bronwyn smiled widely. “Well, Cassie, congratulations. The job is yours if you want it. I’ll let you take the paperwork home so you can read through the offer thoroughly. Once you sign it and return it, it will be official.”

“Thank you so much, Bronwyn,” she said, letting a bit of her excitement show. “I’ll read through it today, and if I don’t have any questions, I’ll sign and return it before I head home this evening.”

“I take it you can start in two weeks?”

Cassie nodded. “If I hand in my resignation this afternoon, yes, I can start in two weeks.”

“Great! I’m looking forward to working with you, Cassie,” Bronwyn said, gesturing for a handshake.

“Me, too. Thank you so much, Bronwyn,” she said, grasping her new boss’s hand gratefully.

Cassie left the gallery, her feet barely touching the ground. She couldn’t believe it had finally happened. She’d landed her dream job—with a remuneration package much more than she’d hoped to get!

She couldn’t wait to tell someone the good news. She called her parents, then wondered which of her best friends she’d call first. On a playful whim, she went to her list of recently called numbers, closed her eyes and tapped. Her phone started to ring… Jade. Perfect. She grinned as she waited for her best friend to answer.

“Hey, Cass.”

“Hi, Jade,” she greeted, then told Jade everything.

“Oh my God! Congratulations, honey! That is so exciting!”

“Thank you. I’m so happy I could do cartwheels on the street.”

“We should have dinner with everyone to celebrate,” Jade said. “How about tomorrow night? I’ll organise it.”

“Oh, thanks! I’ll also invite Tash, so let me know where we’ll be going.”

“Are you going to ask Carter too?”

“Carter’s super busy for a few weeks so he won’t be able to join us,” she said, hearing the disappointment in her voice.

Jade chuckled. “Missing him, huh?”

She felt her cheeks burn. “No…”

“It’s me you’re talking to, Cassie,” Jade said with censure.

She inhaled deeply. “Okay, yes,” she answered, then proceeded to tell Jade about her horny dream.

“Oh my God. You obviously want the man, Cass.”

“It’s only a physical thing because of that damned dream. You know I’m not looking for a relationship, especially now when I have a new, challenging job to focus on. And you know Carter. He’s not in any hurry to go exclusive with anyone. But how do I stop myself from… you know… craving for him?”

“Proposition him for a one-night stand and get him out of your system,” Jade teased.

“Hm. Maybe I will,” she teased back.

“What? Did I hear you right?” Jade asked in surprise.

She laughed. “Well, I’m on such a high right now that I think I could pull off asking him for one hot night. Carter’s the type who wouldn’t bat an eyelid from that. I only hope that he’ll say yes.”

“Wow,” Jade said with wonder. “Whatever have you been eating, Cassandra Stephens?”

Carter. In my dreams.

Oh, Lord. She did have to do something about this. It was distracting her way too much. Maybe sleeping with Carter was the answer.

***End of Chapter Two***

That’s all for now! Hope you’re as excited about the release of this book as I am :)

You can pre-order The Undercover Playboy right now from the following stores:

Amazon US | Other Amazon Stores | Apple iBooksBarnes & Noble | Kobo

Links to Google Play, All Romance Ebooks and Smashwords will be available on July 14th.

And to celebrate the upcoming release of The Undercover Playboy, The Unwilling Executive is on sale for a limited time!

Unwilling 99c promo1

Much love,
Miranda xxx

The Undercover Playboy: Chapter One

One week to go!

Have you marked the 14th of July yet? That’s when The Undercover Playboy is released. So excited to share Carter and Cassie’s love story with you. I have a good feeling you’d love it :)

But for today, here’s Chapter One. Enjoy!

TheUndercoverPlayboy-1200x1800

The Undercover Playboy Chapter One

Cassie Stephens startled herself with the gushy breath she let out. Had she just swooned?

She hid her smile as she continued to watch the sexy Carter Garrett make his way towards a spotlighted section in the backyard of their newly engaged friends, Rick Donnelly and Lexie Mead. The dark-haired, blue-eyed hunk joined three other handsome men already standing there, snickering as they patted Carter on the back in a gesture of faux commiseration.

“I knew I wasn’t just imagining it before,” a teasing voice said beside Cassie.

She peeled her gaze off Carter to turn to Natasha Garrett, Carter’s younger sister and her flatmate of eight months.

“You are totally checking him out,” Natasha whispered as she slid onto the seat next to Cassie, which Carter had vacated.

Cassie shrugged nonchalantly even as she blushed. “What’s wrong with that? I’m not the only one.” She looked around to see if the other females at Lexie’s birthday party were indeed looking at Carter. She instantly spotted at least three single women openly gazing at him with admiring eyes. She frowned, not liking that her point had been proven.

But she couldn’t blame them. Apart from his crazy-good looks, Carter exuded authority and masculinity that made any red-blooded female stare. And right now, with Carter deciding to take off his leather jacket, it was easy to make out the muscular chest underneath the navy-blue shirt that hugged his torso. Who wouldn’t want to check him out?

Cassie was surprised, though, that Carter was feeling hot enough to strip off a layer of clothing. It was late autumn in Sydney, the temperature mild but slightly below average. Even though there were several patio heaters strategically scattered around the vast garden to make the place nice and comfortable for everyone, it was still a cool evening for just a shirt.

Was he nervous? She smiled, enjoying the thought that Mr. Confident could be rattled from standing in front of more than fifty people to parade himself with the other bachelors. She’d have to tease him about this later.

“You like him,” Natasha said, her tone betraying the fact that she was pleased with this development.

“I never said I didn’t.”

“But you keep on insisting you’re not interested in him.”

“Liking him and being interested in him are two different things, Tash. Your brother might be one hell of a looker but I have no intention whatsoever of going out with him.”

“Why not? The two of you get along so well. Whenever Carter joins us for dinner, he spends more time chatting with you than he does with me.”

She chuckled. “I’m sure it’s so I won’t mind that he freeloads dinner whenever he comes around.”

A snicker made Cassie turn to her other side, and she noticed that everyone else sitting with them at one of the elegantly decked-out dining tables was looking at her and Natasha. Her three best friends—Lexie, Jade Tully and Erin Baker—along with Rick and Lucas Renner-Bilton—Jade’s fiancé—were smiling widely, not hiding the fact that they were listening in on their conversation.

“Well, I’ve never seen you show interest in a man so obviously before, Cass,” said Jade.

“What?” she whispered in shock.

“Yes, I’ve noticed how flirtatious you’ve been lately,” Lexie said from across the table, winking at her.

Her jaw dropped. “I have never! And definitely not in public. If you noticed anything, it’s just me being friendly with Carter, that’s all.”

“Oh, Cass,” Erin said with a shake of her head. “I don’t know why you’re lying to yourself.”

She opened her mouth to utter another protest when the voice of the gorgeous Marilyn Grant came through the wireless speakers. Everyone hushed to listen intently to one of Rick’s long-time friends.

“Do we seriously have only four bachelors in the running for this round?” Marilyn asked, squinting her eyes at the guests, who were sitting and watching the proceedings, trying to spot an eligible man who hadn’t joined her on the makeshift stage.

“Remember that two of the guys are overseas and one’s in Melbourne,” Rick called out.

Marilyn nodded. “Well, we can’t include them if they’re not here. So, everyone, here are the contestants for this round’s Captured by Love betting game. At some point during the night,” she said, holding up a sheet of paper, “please write your name here, plus the name of the bachelor you think will come off the singles market next, and the amount you’re willing to bet. Whoever correctly chooses the next guy to fall in love and renounce his single status will be the winner, and the losers will have to hand over their money to the winner’s favourite charity. If we have more than one winner, the amount will be split equally among the selected charities.”

Whistles and applause came from the guests.

“Two of these guys are here for the third time,” Marilyn continued, grinning at the four men beside her.

Simon Alexander and Tristan Grant raised their arms in the air in a triumphant gesture.

Simon leaned towards Marilyn to speak through the mic. “Girls, I’m still happily single,” he said in a low, sexy voice. “And I’d love your phone numbers.”

Marilyn pushed him away playfully. “Ladies, don’t be fooled by this playboy talk from Simon,” she said. “He’s really looking for his soulmate.”

Simon laughed out loud, throwing his head back.

Marilyn sighed. “Admittedly, I’ve already lost twice because I picked Simon. Maybe I’ll bet on my cousin this time around.” She stood next to Tristan and swept her hand in front of him with flourish. “Ladies, may I say that Tristan is a great catch? Sure, he can be aggravating sometimes, but deep inside he’s fiercely loyal. You’ll be doing my auntie a favour if you ensnare him. She’s dying to have her son finally settle down.”

The audience laughed while Tristan rolled his eyes, shaking his head in bemusement.

“And we also have two new bachelors joining this round,” Marilyn said. “Most of you already know Brad.”

Lexie’s older brother bowed theatrically as the audience clapped.

“So, Brad, can you tell our friends why they should bet on you?”

Brad snorted. “Well, I can tell them they shouldn’t. Settling down isn’t on my to-do list yet.”

“Hey!” Vivian, Brad’s mother, called out. “Shouldn’t the older sibling get married first? Since Rick proposed to Lexie tonight…”

“Mum,” Brad said with a chuckle. “The four of us up here intend to stay single for a while. Where would the fun be in this game otherwise?”

Vivian frowned. “How can anyone give money to charity if none of you settle down?”

Brad shrugged. “Well, don’t look at me.”

Marilyn exhaled loudly through the mic. “Carter, maybe you’re our best hope. Do you want to say something to the punters?”

Carter good-naturedly took the mic Marilyn offered him. “Well, all I can say is that I’m honoured to have been invited to this party and meet you wonderful people. Oh, and that I was really enjoying myself until Cassie there practically forced me to walk up here and offer myself up as a pawn for this game,” he said with mock displeasure, narrowing his eyes at Cassie.

Cassie grinned at him and gave him two thumbs up.

“She said she’s not betting on me, though,” Carter said, his lips twisting. “And you guys should follow her lead and pick someone else.”

“Honestly,” Marilyn said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “I don’t believe any of you with your I’m-happy-being-single posturing. Rick and Lucas said the same thing, and look at them now.”

Everyone turned their heads towards Cassie’s table, where the two men in question were sitting next to their fiancées. Rick and Lucas grinned at each other, then Rick turned to Lexie, grabbing her face and kissing her passionately on lips. Not to be outdone, Lucas did the same to Jade.

The crowd cheered.

A vision popped into Cassie’s head as she watched her engaged friends smooch in front of everybody. Her gaze involuntarily went back to Carter… then travelled to his crotch.

She blushed, quickly looking away. Damn it. What the hell was wrong with her?

If anyone had asked her last month if she had a thing for Carter, the answer would have been no. Sure, she found him attractive. Incredibly so. But she wasn’t looking for a relationship. She was too busy studying for her MBA, wanting to finish it with flying colours. To add to that, she was going for several job interviews so she could leave the dead-end role she hated. Her main priority was to get her career on the right track first. She’d already wasted four years with a company that zapped her energy and humour for a salary less than what she knew she deserved. A relationship would distract her from her goals.

But distracted was exactly how she’d been since she had that dream. It had been so vivid that she could still remember every single moment in her head. More frustratingly, she instantly got hot and bothered every time those memories came, unbidden.

She shifted in her seat as certain scenes played in her mind. Of course, she had no idea if the bottom half of Carter’s body really was as magnificent in real life as it had been in her dream. Her breath caught as she recalled wrapping her hand around his hardness and—

Stop it, Cassandra!

She crossed her legs, feeling the tingling sensation she now constantly suffered whenever she remembered that dream—which was too damned often for her liking! These days she was always craving. For Carter. Which wasn’t good.

He wasn’t boyfriend material. Every time Natasha quizzed him about his dating life, he always mentioned a different woman.

But then again… Hadn’t Cassie herself said she wasn’t into anything serious at this point? So what would be the problem if she and Carter hooked up?

The problem is you’ve lost your mind!

She shook her head, annoyed at herself. She shouldn’t forget that she needed to focus on her MBA studies first. She’d already got her CPA designation two years ago, but she still wanted to enhance her qualifications. First and foremost, though, she wanted to find a better job so she could say goodbye to her hellish current boss once and for all. She was already twenty-six. She wanted to settle into a good role with a good company now, not later.

But…

Wouldn’t having something casual with Carter help with getting him out of her system so she could concentrate on her studies?

Oh, for heaven’s sake, Cassie! Shut up already! Why would Carter want you?

That last thought hit her hard, and she took a sharp breath. Why indeed would someone like Carter be interested in her? She was the quiet type who hated stereotypical girly things like clothes shopping. If it weren’t for her best friends, who constantly helped her with her wardrobe, she’d always be wearing the same black dress at parties. And if it weren’t for contact lenses, she’d be wearing the thickest glasses among anyone she knew.

No, someone like Carter went for supermodel-looking women—those who were born to be the centre of attention at parties because of their bubbly personalities and fashion sense. Why wouldn’t he? He was a gorgeous, outgoing person himself.

Heck, she really should be grateful for that dream. At least she’d got to see Carter in all his naked glory—even if it was just in her head.

*****

Carter smiled wryly as he watched the other guests cheer and laugh as Rick and Lucas kissed their fiancées. Here was a group of friends and family who enjoyed each other’s company, letting their hair down and revelling in the celebrations.

It had been a long time since he’d been to a real, fun party like this where he’d felt free to relax and be himself—well, up to a certain extent. With his job as an undercover detective, it wasn’t always possible to fully open up just because he wanted to.

Melancholy hit him. He missed times like this. He couldn’t even remember the last time he’d been to a gathering where people knew who he really was. In the last couple of years, most of the parties he’d attended had involved him rubbing shoulders with characters he’d only pretended to be friends with so he could get what he needed in order to catch criminals.

Fortunately, he had the time to attend Lexie’s birthday party tonight. He usually didn’t accept invitations like this when he was in the middle of a case, but he’d become good friends with Rick. The two of them had bonded after he’d saved Rick from a gun-wielding perp. Then their friendship grew from Rick providing information that eventually helped catch a whole gang of criminals.

And then there was Cassie, his sister’s flatmate.

He glanced at the brown-haired, brown-eyed woman who, incredibly, had no idea how beautiful she was. Tonight, she was shining. She had on a new red dress that she’d said Jade had helped her pick. And she had matching high heels on, which made her shapely legs look even sexier.

He knew, though, that she’d prefer to be wearing flats. And from the way she constantly blinked, she’d also be hoping she had on her comfortable black-rimmed eyeglasses rather than her contacts. She was pretty without her glasses, but frankly, he preferred her with them on. They made her look attractively studious. He had a thing for brainy women.

He chuckled mirthlessly. If he could, he’d ask Cassie out. Unfortunately, that was out of the question. All he could allow at this point in time was the light flirtation they exchanged regularly—the kind that wasn’t meant to be taken seriously.

Marilyn turned to him and the other three guys and he pulled himself out of his musing.

“See? I bet that one of you would soon end up like those two,” Marilyn said, gesturing to Lucas and Rick.

“Can I ask one of the bachelors a question?” Katrina, one of the single ladies, called out.

“Sure,” Marilyn answered.

“Carter, I’m so glad that you’re here with us tonight,” Katrina said with a sultry smile. “I’m curious… how old are you, and what do you do for a living?”

“Ooh, Katrina’s taking a special interest in Carter,” Marilyn said in a teasing voice, then handed the mic to Carter.

He took it, hiding a sigh. “I’m thirty, Katrina, and I’m an electrician. Currently, I also do part-time work as a personal trainer for a friend’s fitness company,” he answered, flashing a smile. He hoped it covered up his unease with his answer.

Out of everyone in this party, only his sister and Rick knew that he was an undercover detective. And there were several people in this group that he hated lying to, including Cassie. They’d considered him a friend and welcomed him with open arms. Unfortunately, the cases he worked on called for discretion and secrecy. And lies.

He usually stayed undercover for a lengthy period of time. Twice already, his life and those of others had been jeopardised because he’d bumped into acquaintances who’d recognised him and inadvertently blown his cover. Similar situations had to be avoided as much as possible.

But expecting each and every single person who knew him to immediately pick up that he was undercover and play along with it was near impossible. The best way was to tell people that what he did for a living was his undercover role. Only family and close friends knew the truth.

His “part-time” work changed whenever he worked on a different case. But being an electrician was the constant answer he gave. Fortunately, he really was qualified as one. His parents owned one of the most successful electrical services company in Australia.

“So do you see clients in a gym? And do you work with them one-on-one?” Katrina pressed.

“Yes. And sometimes I see clients at their homes,” he answered. “The personal trainer gig is only temporary until the guy I’m filling in for comes back from an overseas holiday.”

Katrina smiled cutely at him, but didn’t have any more questions to ask.

He breathed a sigh of relief as Marilyn gave the okay for the four of them to return to their tables. He saw Natasha return to her original seat next to Erin, giving him back the place beside Cassie.

He hid a snicker, knowing what his sister was up to. His mum and Natasha had been conspiring for a while now to find him a date. They believed that a steady girlfriend was one more person of influence who could convince him to take extra care while working on his cases. From Natasha’s recent actions, it was obvious that Cassie was her selected candidate.

“Mum would be happy to know that you’re one of four men racing to be the first to fall into a relationship,” Natasha said as he sat back down.

“Sure,” he said sarcastically.

“Watch out for Katrina,” Rick said, leaning across the table. “She’ll be beating a path to your door in no time.”

“Yeah. She can be pretty intense,” Lucas said conspiratorially. “And I think Vicky’s also eyeing you.”

Carter sighed as he turned to Cassie. “Your fault for telling me to go up there.”

“Why is it my fault? You’re the hot one,” Cassie replied, before her eyes widened. “I mean… you know… ’cause you’re the… uh… personal trainer,” she said weakly, blushing furiously.

He smothered his grin. It hadn’t escaped his attention that even though Cassie flirted with him in private, she was shy about it in public. She wasn’t the type to openly go after a man.

It was a shame that Cassie seemed intent on not dating while she focused on her career and studies. Not that it mattered to him, because he couldn’t date her anyway. In fact, he couldn’t date anyone. He was supposed to be a loser playboy so he could catch that heartless bitch who’d shot his best friend Gavin Redford, and had Gavin fighting for his life.

***End of Chapter One***

Chapter Two’s coming tomorrow!

You can pre-order The Undercover Playboy right now from the following stores:

Amazon US | Other Amazon Stores | Apple iBooksBarnes & Noble | Kobo

Links to Google Play, All Romance Ebooks and Smashwords will be available on July 14th.

And to celebrate the upcoming release of The Undercover Playboy, The Unwilling Executive is on sale for a limited time!

Unwilling 99c promo1

Much love,
Miranda xxx

 

The Unyielding Bachelor Release Day + Other Stuff

TheUnyieldingBachelor-FullCover MediumToday is release day for The Unyielding Bachelor. Yay!

There are other things I want to mention to you today, but first things first. If you’ve pre-ordered The Unyielding Bachelor, your copy should already be sitting in your device, waiting to be enjoyed :)

If you haven’t ordered it yet, here are the links to the stores:

For ebooksAmazon US | Other Amazon Stores | Apple iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | All Romance Ebooks | Smashwords | Scribd

Paperbacks are also available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository and other stores.

I had a ball writing about Rick and Lexie’s love story, so I hope you have a thoroughly enjoyable time reading about this lovely couple!

Now, on to other things.

The Undercover Playboy

Book 3 in the Captured by Love series, The Undercover Playboy, can now be pre-ordered! Here’s the cover. Isn’t our hero hot?

TheUndercoverPlayboy-200x300It will be released on July 14, and I’m furiously working hard to make sure the book is ready by then :)

Click here to go to the page where you can find the book description and pre-order links for The Undercover Playboy.

A Request:
First, I want to say that you being interested enough in my books to go to the trouble of checking them out is already wonderful. And if you’ve taken the time to get them and read them, then I really couldn’t ask for more.

But if you’re someone who’s into reviewing stuff, I was wondering if you would consider leaving reviews for my books? Authors like me depend a lot on word of mouth to get our work discovered by new readers, and reviews help tremendously in that process. An honest review on Amazon (or the other stores) for The Unyielding Bachelor (once you’ve finished reading it), and also for The Unwilling Executive (if you’ve already read it), would be greatly appreciated. (If you feel like reviewing the other books as well, that would be awesome 😉 )

Thank you so much! And if you’re not into reviewing, no worries at all! (And I sincerely mean that.)

Become one of my ARC Reviewers:
If you don’t mind reviewing books, you might also be interested in becoming one of my ARC (Advance Reading Copy) Reviewers. ARC reviewers get free copies of my ebooks prior to them being released in exchange for an honest review to be posted on Amazon (and/or the other stores) on release day.

Unfortunately, places are limited so I can’t promise that everyone who expresses interest will be accepted. But I will try my best to accommodate as many interested readers as I can.

If you want to be considered, or if you want further information, please send me an email.

Well, that’s all for now! Hope you have a great day!

Much love,
Miranda xxx