New Covers Plus Latest News on AGAIN

I have news for you regarding the Time for Love series.

First, I have new covers for Forever and Finally! I’m so excited about these new covers because I think they’re absolutely gorgeous. These are created by the talented Viola Estrella (www.EstrellaCoverArt.com) and I just love them! She’s also making paperback covers for this series and I’ll share those with you when they’re done.

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Now for my next news.

We are nearing that time when the third book of the series, Again, gets released. Can I say again that I’m excited? I loved writing about Amanda and Connor and I really can’t wait for you to read about their love story.

Again will be published in early August. It will initially have a special new release price of USD$2.99 for a limited number of days, before it goes up to its regular price of $3.99. I’ll give you further details on my next post so you don’t miss out on the special new release price. I’ll also reveal the cover for Again at that time. (Ooh, can’t wait for you to see the cover.)

Okay, I better get back to work to make sure Again gets released without a hitch. (Yes, it’s nighttime here in Sydney but I work funny hours :) )

Talk to you again in a few days!

Love,
Miranda xxx

Lifestyle by Design: The Complete Series Now Available

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The Lifestyle by Design series is now available as one ebook! It includes all three hot, sexy and sweet novels.

You may already have read this series (if so, thank you so much!). But if you haven’t as yet, or if you’ve enjoyed the books and wouldn’t mind spreading the word to your friends, this series bundle is the way to go.

Of course, you can still get Will To Love (Book 1 – which is still free on all stores), Heart Robber (Book 2) and Ray of Love (Book 3) as individual books if you prefer getting three separate files on your reading device.

The Lifestyle by Design: The Complete Series is available in the following stores:

Amazon.com

Other Amazon Stores

Apple

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Google Play

Here is a brief description of each novel:

Book 1: Will to Love (Clarise Carson and Will Matthews)

Clarise Carson is desperate to keep her newly-engaged sister from playing matchmaker at her very own engagement party. She can’t think of anything more embarrassing than have her sister’s guests see her as the loser in love who can’t find The One, so she drags a handsome friend to be her pretend date for the night.

Will Matthews attends his friend’s engagement party purely for business reasons. He has no desire whatsoever to be introduced to single females who are after a boyfriend. He is far too focused on building his business to the success he dreams.

When Will and Clarise meet, sparks fly. Can Clarise stop her old wounds from opening up again and take another chance on love? And how can Will learn to embrace the one thing he doesn’t even know he wants?

Book 2: Heart Robber (Jessa Allen and Rob Granger)

Jessa Allen knows she’s plain and average, even when her well-meaning friends encourage her to believe otherwise. So when hunky and gorgeous Rob Granger asks her out, she is shocked. A seriously handsome man wants her, and that isn’t something that happens everyday.

Rob Granger is a self-confessed playboy who has absolutely no plans to be tied down by any woman. He values his freedom first and foremost, and his expanding business is the only thing he is committed to. But he is intent on satisfying his intense desire for Jessa Allen who attracts him like a moth to a flame.

When Jessa agrees to a fling with Rob she finds herself falling for the man who cannot promise her tomorrow. Can she trust herself not to fall apart when the time comes to let Rob go? And can Rob ever find freedom in what he considers a prison to be avoided at all cost?

Book 3: Ray of Love Book (Faye Summers and Ray Thackery)

Faye Summers decides that casual dating is the way to go to ensure she’s fully healed from her last breakup. When Ray Thackery, her best friends’ boss, asks her out, she agrees–but only if they keep it quiet. She doesn’t want the complications that may arise with her best friends’ working relationship with Ray if their fling ends up in a sour note.

Ray Thackery has kept his feelings for Faye hidden for so long. Now that she is single again, he is determined not to miss this chance to make her fall for him. He’s not interested in a casual-only affair. Not with Faye. He wants more than that with her.

Their relationship, beautiful and passionate when it started, quickly arrives at the crossroads. How can it survive when the two people involved have very different intentions?

*****

Thank you for reading and sharing! I’ll be back soon with more news on Book 3 of the Time for Love series.

Love,
Miranda xxx

 

Finally Out Now!

Finally paperback medium

It’s here! Finally (Time for Love Book 2) is now live.

I hope you enjoyed Chapter One and Chapter Two of this book. Without further ado, here are the links to the stores so you can read the rest of Sarah and Jeff’s sweet and steamy love story:

Amazon.com

Other Amazon Stores

Apple iTunes

Barnes and Noble

Google Play

Kobo 

All Romance Ebooks

Smashwords

I sincerely hope that this book finds its way to your heart. Enjoy :-).

Love,
Miranda xxx

 

Finally Chapter Two

How was Chapter One of Finally for you? Here’s the continuation. Happy reading!

FINALLY CHAPTER TWOFinally 200x300

Sarah grinned as her laptop showed three girls crowding the screen.

“Finally, you two have deigned to come down from the clouds and video-call us!” Gemma Aldwin said.

“I know! After more than three weeks!” Amanda Payne agreed with a scowl.

“You better have a good excuse as to why this is the first call we got,” Brenna Ward said, narrowing her eyes.

“Sorry, we’ve been busy,” Sarah answered, thrilled to be chatting with her and Rebecca’s three other best friends. The five of them had known each other since they were eight years old. Twenty years later, they were still tightly knit and as close as sisters.

“Busy?” Gemma asked accusingly. “You sent us an email saying Magda’s perfectly fine, so the two of you have just been hanging around that ship having a good time. And where’s Bec?”

“Putting on her makeup for dinner.”

“Rebecca!” Brenna yelled.

Sarah laughed. “She can’t hear you. She’s in the en suite bathroom.”

“Just how big is your room that she can’t hear us?”

Sarah grinned. “I’ll show you.” She stood up and carried the laptop. She was in Zach’s suite—well, now Zach and Rebecca’s since Bec had moved her stuff here, leaving Sarah to enjoy the comfy room with the balcony that she and Rebecca had originally shared. She showed her friends the vast living area before walking toward the couple’s bedroom.

“Did Magda give you a suite?” Gemma asked in disbelief.

Sarah laughed. “Unfortunately for me, I don’t stay in here, but Bec does.”

Right that moment, Rebecca came out of the bathroom and waved to the camera. “Hi girls!”

“Something is obviously going on,” Brenna said. “What the hell are you doing in such a massive suite, Rebecca Andrews?”

“We-eell…”

“Oh. My. God,” Amanda said. “She’s back with Zach Carmichael.”

All at once, questions were fired by the three girls. Sarah walked back out to the living room, followed by a grinning Rebecca. She placed the laptop on the table as she and Bec sat together to face the others.

“I don’t believe this,” Brenna said. “How did it happen?”

Rebecca told them everything, with Sarah filling out interesting details here and there, while the others interjected with their comments and questions.

“And…” Rebecca said, getting to the end of her story, “we’re getting married.”

The stunned look on their best friends’ faces was so precious that Sarah quickly took a screen shot. The three then posed with happy, congratulatory expressions as Sarah captured another shot.

“Well, somebody fulfilled our group New Year’s resolution very quickly,” Gemma drawled.

They all laughed. A couple of months ago, in the fifth New Year’s Eve in a row that all five of them didn’t have someone to pash at the stroke of midnight, Gemma had suggested a group New Year’s resolution. As busy career women who each had their own share of painful pasts, they weren’t proactive when it came to finding a boyfriend. So they’d promised to make time for love. Importantly, they’d vowed to make the first move if a hot, decent, open-to-commitment guy showed up on their radar so they’d have a date for next New Year’s Eve. They were more than slightly tipsy when they’d made the pact, but they’d pinky-promised and there was no backing out.

“What about you, Sarah? You mentioned spending a lot of time with a guy named Ron in your email,” Brenna said.

“Uh, yeah,” Sarah responded hesitantly as Rebecca snickered.

“What?” the three asked curiously.

“She’s interested in someone else, not Ron,” Rebecca said.

“Who?”

“One of my future brothers-in-law—Jeff,” Rebecca supplied.

“What?!”

“I’m interested, as in I find him attractive, which we all know he is,” Sarah explained. “That doesn’t mean he’d be my New Year’s Resolution Guy. He doesn’t fit the bill.”

“What do you mean?” Rebecca asked.

“He’s commitment-phobic. He said he never wants to get married,” Sarah replied, telling them about the conversation with Jeff at the hot tub earlier.

“Really? That’s a shame,” Rebecca said. “It would be nice to have you for a sister-in-law.”

“Hey, aren’t we soul sisters already? Besides, didn’t you say he’s sleeping with Marilyn?”

“Not anymore. Apparently, their fling is over.”

“Oh really?” Sarah asked, pleased with that little piece of news.

“So now he’s free to have a one-night stand with you,” Rebecca joked.

“I wouldn’t mind that,” Sarah quipped.

“What?!” came another round of incredulous cries from the laptop.

“Since when have you become the one-night stand kind of girl?” Gemma demanded.

“Since I boarded this damned ship! I tell you, it does something to your libido. So, I’m thinking, why not forget my personal rules on land and enjoy myself while I’m here? I have to hurry though, as we only have three nights left at sea.”

“Isn’t that telling?” Rebecca mused. “You’ve been saying you wanted some casual sex since week one of this trip. The cruise is almost over and you still haven’t done anything about it. I’d say that’s proof you don’t really mean it.”

“Hmm. I don’t know. Maybe I’ve just been waiting for Jeff…”

Rebecca frowned at her. “That doesn’t sound like wanting something casual, Sarah.”

“It is!” she insisted. “Just because I’m only looking for a one-off experience doesn’t mean I’ll settle for someone I’m not highly attracted to.”

“Or is this just another excuse to get yourself out of finding your New Year’s Resolution Guy?” Gemma asked.

“No. I’m still going to look for him. But what’s wrong with not wanting a serious relationship at this point? We have plenty of time before next New Year’s Eve.”

Rebecca put an arm around her and squeezed her tight. “Nothing at all, honey. Except that you said you really want to break the shackles of the past this year, and begged us to help you. You even said you’re sick and tired of being afraid to fall in love again.”

She sighed. “I am sick and tired of being afraid to fall in love again, and I am eager to meet my soulmate—whoever and wherever he is. I just hope I won’t be stupid enough to fall for a heartless, lying jerk again.”

“That was five years ago, Sarah. You’ve grown up since then,” Amanda said teasingly.

“Oh God, I certainly hope so,” she answered, theatrically posing in prayer.

“Getting back to Jeffrey Carmichael,” Brenna interjected. “You said you’re highly attracted to him. If he doesn’t do serious, doesn’t that make him dangerous then? Wouldn’t you be setting yourself up for hurt and disappointment?”

“I don’t think so,” Sarah replied. “Like I said, I’m only interested on a one-night stand with him. And why shouldn’t I go for someone I’m really in lust with?”

“But if you’re so into the guy, wouldn’t you find yourself wanting more than one night?” Brenna pressed.

“How would you choose a one-night stand guy then?” Sarah asked.

“I don’t know. I’m too shy to have one. I imagine I’d have to be real drunk and real horny to have the guts to go through with it.”

“Sarah’s making this decision when she’s completely sober and… well, we don’t know if she’s feeling horny right now thinking of Jeff,” Gemma quipped.

Sarah flushed. “Thinking about him does kind of make me hot and bothered.”

“Oh God,” Gemma said with an eyeroll. “I do think Jeff is dangerous for you. Plus, like you said, he doesn’t fit the bill for your New Year’s Resolution Guy. So why bother with him?”

“But I don’t plan to find my New Year’s Resolution Guy on this ship,” Sarah said. “Look, I can’t remember the last time I’ve done something adventurous and out of the ordinary since that heartless jerk proposed to me, then had the hide to call me by his ex-girlfriend’s name in the middle of sex. For the first time in a long time, I just really want to let my hair down and experience something I’ve never done before. For whatever reason, that includes enjoying no-strings-attached sex—and it’s Jeff I want to do that with. I know it’s weird that I’m so stuck with this idea, but… it’s just there, taunting me.”

“I suppose out of the five of us, you’ve had the longest sex drought,” Gemma said. “Maybe you’re drunk with horniness.”

They all chuckled, then Sarah let out a big sigh. “You know what? Just because I want to do it doesn’t mean I’ll have the guts to ask for it. I might end this trip with my sex drought still unbroken.”

“If you really want to break the drought, is there anything you want me to do?” Rebecca asked. “Like give Jeff some hints that you’re interested in some casual sex with him?”

A picture of Rebecca whispering into Jeff’s ear popped into Sarah’s head. Her mind followed the scene her imagination created, and she watched Jeff’s eyes register surprise. Then his lips started to twist—into a… smirk. A smirk?!

She felt herself go red. The thought of Jeff rejecting her for a no-strings-attached romp proved way too uncomfortable and embarrassing. Hurtful, even.

“No, thanks, Bec. I want to be as subtle as I can about it. I’ll play it by ear and see what happens.” What she really wanted was for Jeff to suggest it. That way, she could avoid being rejected if he wasn’t interested.

*****

Sarah took her seat next to Rebecca at the table for six in one of the ship’s specialty restaurants. She, Bec and Zach were the first to arrive for a family dinner to celebrate Zach and Rebecca’s engagement. She felt both out of place and grateful. She wasn’t family, yet she was invited. Even Magda’s younger sister and friends who were with them on this cruise weren’t there. Magda had requested a dinner with only her grandsons, her future granddaughter-in-law and Sarah. Well, she supposed she was Rebecca’s “sister” for all intents and purposes.

“Hello, darlings,” Magda said as she arrived with Greg.

Sarah couldn’t help but be secretly pleased that Magda sat next to Zach while Greg took the other seat next to Magda. That meant Jeff would have to sit next to her when he arrived. Good.

She made small talk with Greg, who was just as utterly good-looking as his two brothers. Funny, though, that even with similar levels of hunkiness, only one brother could raise her body temperature. Speaking of that particular brother, where was he?

“I wonder what’s keeping Jeffrey,” Magda murmured. “I hope he hasn’t forgotten we were all going to have dinner tonight.”

“I’ll give him a call,” Greg said, pulling out his phone.

“No need. Here he comes,” Zach said.

“Hey, all. Sorry to keep you waiting.” Jeff took his seat, grinning at Sarah as he did so.

“I was worried you’d forgotten about dinner with us, Jeffrey,” Magda said.

“Of course not, Gran. But I bumped into Grand-Auntie Miriam and your friends, and I had to engage in some chit-chat.” He turned to Zach and Rebecca. “I didn’t mention your engagement to them. I thought you might want to make the announcement yourselves.”

The couple nodded their thanks.

“There’ll be another opportunity for them to celebrate with us when Zach and Rebecca have their engagement party,” Magda said. “That is, if they’re having one. Are you?” she asked the two.

“Engagement party?” Rebecca asked with a hint of trepidation. “Do we want one?” she added to Zach.

“Oh, I hope you consider having one,” Magda said pleadingly, hopeful excitement written all over her face. “Wouldn’t you want to share the good news with all your family and friends?”

Rebecca laughed and smiled fondly at Magda. “Okay, we’ll have one.”

“I actually have something in mind, but I haven’t discussed it with Bec yet,” Zach said.

“What’s that?” Rebecca asked.

“How big do you want our engagement party to be?”

“I’d prefer just family and friends,” Rebecca said shyly.

“Well, then, I have a great idea. The extension and refurbishment of our small country hotel in the Hunter Valley are in their final stages. Before we reopen it to the public in a month and a half, we could put the services through a dry run. Holding our engagement party there would be perfect. Our guests could stay overnight. There are now thirty rooms and five suites in total, so if we’re only having a few people, we should be able to accommodate them all at Magda’s Place.”

Sarah noticed that Magda was holding her breath, trying valiantly to contain her excitement while waiting for Rebecca’s answer. Sarah bit her tongue to keep from chuckling out loud at Magda’s childlike delight.

“That sounds wonderful,” Rebecca answered with a bright smile. “I can’t wait.”

“Me neither,” Magda quipped, making them all laugh out loud.

While Sarah and Rebecca were looking after Magda while she recovered from her hip replacement surgery, Magda had told them about their boutique country hotel that her late husband had named in her honour. Magda’s Place, situated in the grounds of the Carmichael vineyard and winery, was the part of their business that Magda was most interested in. Apparently, Magda had played a big part in designing the interior of the building, and had chosen the decor herself. She’d have a ball if her grandson’s engagement party would be held there.

Sarah was looking forward to it too. She’d love to check out their vineyard and winery.

“I love your shiraz,” she said with a sigh. “Now I’ll get to see how it ends up in the bottle. That is, if it’s allowed,” she added hurriedly.

“I’ll take you behind the scenes in the winery,” Jeff offered.

“Oh, will you?” Sarah asked excitedly. “That would be great!”

“You can even try everything we produce,” Jeff said.

“Everything? I might get drunk during your wine tasting tour,” she joked.

“Are you a happy drunk or a sad drunk?”

She chuckled. “A happy drunk. When I start giggling uncontrollably for no reason, that’s when you know I’m at my limit.”

“Well then, you definitely must try everything we produce.”

Sarah giggled, inexplicably happy. Geez, she wasn’t even drunk yet and she was already acting like it. It must be the effect Jeffrey Carmichael had on her.

Oh darn. He was dangerous. But the realisation only served to excite her more.

###

Finally–available from May 27th.

I’ll be back shortly with the links to the stores :-).

 

Finally Chapter One

I’m so proud of Sarah and Jeff–our couple in Finally (Time for Love Book 2). I tried to take their story in one direction, but they kept blocking me until I was forced to look at a different path. In the end, these two characters reminded me of the simplicity and complexity of true love.

There’s only a handful of days left before the 27th, when Finally is released. Today, I want to share with you how their love story begins.

Finally 200x300FINALLY CHAPTER ONE

“Kiss, kiss.”

Sarah Daley whipped her head toward the hunk with dark hair and vivid blue eyes sitting next to her in the big hot tub. What?

Her two-second excitement at the thought that she might be the intended recipient of that comment was quickly dashed when she noticed that the gorgeous Jeffrey Carmichael wasn’t even looking at her.

“I’m almost hoping that there are paparazzi around to capture this moment,” Jeff said with a wry grin as he watched his older brother Zachary and Sarah’s best friend Rebecca Andrews kiss passionately by the poolside.

“Oh, let them be, Jeff,” Magda Carmichael said as she sank up to her neck in the heated pool, relishing the massaging effects of the water jets. “They’re in love.”

“Look at your face, Gran,” Jeff said to Magda with a laugh. “You’re so thrilled about this.”

“Of course, I am,” Magda replied. “I’m glad your brother and Rebecca settled their differences and reconciled. They’re wonderful together. Don’t you think so, Sarah?”

“Yes, they are, Magda,” Sarah said with a fond smile for her sweet eighty-year-old client.

“Well, I’m glad that you and Rebecca are on this ship with us. It produced a very satisfactory outcome,” Magda said smugly.

It had already been almost four weeks since Sarah and Rebecca boarded one of the world’s most luxurious cruise ships from Sydney, and Sarah was still overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of Magda Carmichael—the matriarch of one of Australia’s wealthiest families.

Having been Magda’s physical rehabilitation nurses when Magda had hip replacement surgery a year ago, Sarah and Rebecca were handpicked by the elderly woman to accompany her as her private nurses on the all-expense-paid, one-month cruise that included several exotic Asian cities in its itinerary.

But Magda was fit and well, and only wanted them on board for any unexpected illnesses or injuries. That left them with loads of free time on their hands, able to fully enjoy the amenities, activities and shore excursions the fabulous ship offered.

Sarah now suspected that getting Rebecca and Zach together again had been Magda’s primary reason for getting them on board as her nurses. She just felt lucky that Magda had thought of hiring her, too—probably to make sure that Rebecca felt comfortable enough to take the job.

Well, Sarah was very grateful. She’d been having a wonderful time meeting new people—a few of them good-looking single men. Truth be told, the romance of being at sea on a grand floating home was having an effect on her. She’d been toying with the idea of a holiday fling, even though she was generally averse to one-night stands. But although Ron—the handsome guy she’d met at the beginning of the trip—had been giving her strong hints, she hadn’t been tempted enough to go to bed with him.

But geez, ever since Jeffrey Carmichael had boarded the ship over a week ago with his younger brother Gregory, he’d been occupying her mind.

The Carmichael brothers turned heads wherever they went. Photos of them on the covers of magazines ensured a bestseller. So it wasn’t hard to develop a crush on a Carmichael. But out of the three, Jeff was the one who had always made her heart beat just a tad faster.

She’d gotten to know him a little in the six months that she’d looked after Magda. She’d seen the guy who was the COO of a multi-million dollar company—focused, driven, brilliant, reliable and trustworthy. Combine that with his flirty and fun-loving nature, and sitting next to her was someone irresistible. Totally hot. Heck, who wouldn’t want to sleep with him?

She was dreaming though. Fat chance that Jeff would pay attention to her. According to Rebecca, Jeff was sleeping with Marilyn—the granddaughter of one of Magda’s friends, who was also on this cruise with them.

She sighed her resignation.

“Now it’s your turn to find that special someone, Jeffrey,” Magda said.

Jeff snorted. “Now, now, Gran. Don’t get any ideas.”

“Whyever not? You’re already thirty years old. Back in my time, that was too old to still be single.”

“You already know I don’t want to get married.”

“Oh Jeff. You can still change your mind,” Magda said, her eyes wide with concern.

Jeff shrugged. “You should just focus on Zach, Gran. This thing with Rebecca looks serious. Say, if those two decide to tie the knot, would you promise to lay off me about finding a wife?”

“No,” Magda said with conviction.

Jeff laughed.

“I want to see all three of my grandsons happily settled down with someone they love. A few great-grandkids to help raise before I die is one of my final wishes before I leave this earth.”

Jeff sighed. “So me being happy with my life isn’t enough, Gran?”

“I know you’d be happier if you could spend the rest of your life with a woman who loves you, and whom you love,” Magda said stubbornly.

Jeff rolled his eyes and glanced at Sarah. “See what I have to put up with?” he asked in mock frustration.

Sarah smiled and decided to ask the question that piqued her interest. “So you don’t believe in marriage, Jeff?”

“Oh, I’m not anti-marriage when it comes to other people tying the knot. It’s just not for me anymore.”

“Anymore?” she asked, unable to shut the lid on her curiosity.

“Well, I proposed to a woman once. But she didn’t want to marry me,” he said blithely.

“Really? Was she crazy?” Sarah exclaimed before feeling the heat rise up to her face. “I mean, who wouldn’t want to marry someone as dashing and devastatingly handsome as you?” she hastily added in a flippant tone, hoping to cover up her embarrassment by pretending she was joking around. Not that she was joking about Jeff being dashing and devastatingly handsome, because he really was. She just hoped he thought she was joking. Argh! She was blushing harder now.

“Why thanks, Sarah. That’s very kind of you to say that. I didn’t know you had a crush on me,” Jeff said, his eyes laughing and his tone teasing.

Magda’s amused expression at their interaction gave Sarah confidence to push on. “Well, if saying that someone is handsome means I have a crush on that person, then I have a confession to make.” She gave an exaggerated sigh before turning to Magda. “Magda, I have a crush on all your three grandsons. They’re so good-looking. But that’s not a surprise because you’re one very beautiful woman.”

Magda chuckled. “Why, thank you, dear. Yes, I agree my three goons are not bad on the eye. So which one do you like best?”

“Oh, uh…” Sarah was lost for words. Speaking before thinking was a trait that had landed her in embarrassing situations many times before. She’d done it again, and there was only one way she knew how to dig herself out of a hole—continue pretending everything was a joke.

“Well, unfortunately for me, Zach’s taken,” she said with a fake pout. “By my best friend, nonetheless.”

“Ouch,” Jeff said quietly. “See what I mean, Gran? This is what women in this day and age do. They take your heart from out of your chest and crush all your dreams.”

Jeff spoke with enough gravity to make Sarah’s eyes widen in surprise and… yes… hope. An itsy-bitsy, tiny speck of hope. Was he really disappointed at her answer?

“That’s one face that would be a challenge to paint,” Jeff said gravely, but the twitching of his lips gave him away. “To capture that horror and disbelief would take some serious skill.”

Sarah laughed out loud and her tension eased. “Hey, don’t you know I’m a painter’s dream?”

“I wouldn’t dispute that,” he said.

She sighed, deciding it was time to end this banter. She was flirting around with Magda’s grandson, for heaven’s sake! That was very unprofessional. But with all the Carmichaels being so down-to-earth, it was so easy to forget she was in the company of her employer, not her friends. In fact, Magda had always treated her and Rebecca like family, not hired nurses. Of course now that Rebecca was officially Zach’s girlfriend, Rebecca was definitely no longer considered staff in any way, shape or form.

She pretended to relax, closing her eyes, as she mulled over Jeff’s comments about being rejected by the woman he’d wanted to marry. Was that the reason why he’d now turned his back on marriage?

At least Jeff was being honest about what he didn’t want for his future. Maybe all those magazine articles about him changing girlfriends like he changed his clothes were true after all. There had been enough pictures of him in the magazines and on the internet to suggest that he’d had a string of affairs with different beautiful women in the last two years alone.

She knew how the constant attempts to invade their privacy were a big frustration for the Carmichaels. Luckily for them, unwanted publicity had slowed down in the last few months. Rebecca had told Sarah that the brothers were intent on not giving the press anything to write about. Privacy was something the Carmichaels valued, and they had been vigilant in ensuring they minimised the chances of seeing themselves plastered on the front covers of magazines.

A wave of sympathy hit her. It wouldn’t have been easy being in the brothers’ and Magda’s shoes in the last two years. The tragedy that hit their family was so great she could only admire how they’d handled it and come out of that dark period.

Her musing was interrupted by Zach and Rebecca getting into the Jacuzzi with them, their faces split by big, happy grins.

“Glad you decided to join us,” Jeff said teasingly. “I was starting to worry that you’d forgotten you’re in a public area of the ship and not in the privacy of your suite.”

Zach grinned at his brother. “Bec and I have something to tell you guys.”

“What’s that, dear?” Magda asked.

“We’re getting married,” Zach said, giving an ecstatic-looking Rebecca a sweet kiss on the lips.

Sarah gasped while Magda let out an uncharacteristic squeal.

“Oh, darlings, that’s wonderful!” Magda gushed, reaching out to hug Zach, then motioning for Rebecca to come close for the same treatment.

Sarah glided to her best friend when Magda released her. “Congratulations, hon! I’m so happy for you,” she said, squeezing Rebecca tight.

“Thanks, sweetie.”

“I can’t believe this,” she whispered. “Just a few days ago you were crying your eyes out because Zach had broken your heart again.”

“I know,” Rebecca said with a giggle.

Sarah let go of her friend and hurried to Zach, who already had his arms poised for a hug. She let out a surprised cry when she felt a wall of muscle hit her back. A low chuckle came from behind her as warm hands gripped her arms.

“I see you like being sandwiched by two men,” Jeff said, keeping her flush against his chest.

“Hey, I was going to give Zach a hug and I thought he was aiming for me.” Despite her light response, Sarah knew she was redder than a beet. And, heaven help her, she couldn’t move away. She was frozen in the hot water as Jeff’s caressing hands slid down her arms. When he stepped back from her, the chill she felt was startling.

“Here we go, Sarah,” Zach said, his voice laced with amusement as he embraced her.

“Congratulations, Zach,” she murmured, returning the gesture and swallowing her embarrassment.

“Thank you.”

“My turn,” Jeff said.

She moved away from Zach to make room for Jeff. To her utter surprise, Jeff wrapped her in his arms. Her already racing heart galloped faster and, Lord, she’d rather not admit it, but she felt a delicious, needy tingling between her legs.

“Oops, wrong person,” Jeff said, grinning wickedly before turning to give his brother an affectionate hug.

“Don’t mind him, Sarah,” Zach said, casting Jeff a warning look. “He’s just a big, flirtatious joker. And for all his reminders about our photos making it into magazines, he’s the worst when it comes to public exhibitionism.”

“I’m finding that out,” she said wryly.

*****

Jeff sat back down on the raised seat in the water, chuckling. It was slack of him to continue to tease Sarah when embarrassment was written all over her face, but he couldn’t help himself. She was just too cute. Plus, she was a good sport. Despite her blushes, she seemed to enjoy ribbing just as much as he did.

He was attracted to Sarah. She was hot and fun, and he loved watching her blush. He could still see some colour on her cheeks and even on her neck, which was fully exposed as her silky blonde hair was tied up in a bun atop her head.

He had the urge to pull her to him so she would sit on his lap, and he could place a kiss on that slightly tanned shoulder of hers. He shook his head mentally and dunked his head in the water to arrest the direction of his thoughts. His groin was stirring and his grandmother was only a few steps away, for heaven’s sake.

A question that had been prodding him lately popped into his head again. Would Sarah be up for some fun in bed?

It wasn’t ideal to even think about a fling with her, considering that she was the best friend of his brother’s new fiancée, not to mention that she was his grandmother’s nurse. And with Rebecca and Zach getting engaged, he was sure Sarah would be deep in discussions with Rebecca about engagement parties and weddings. Women could get funny when talking about those things. The last thing he wanted was the complication of a sex partner who’d want an eventual trip to the altar with him.

He’d meant it when he said he had no intentions of getting married. It was something that didn’t hold interest for him anymore.

It hadn’t always been that way. He had wanted to get married two years ago. He’d even been engaged for five whole weeks.

He remembered he’d still been on a high from Bianca’s acceptance of his proposal when the biggest tragedy in the Carmichael family history had struck.

Jeff dunked his head in the water again to hide the grief that crossed his face. It wasn’t as bad as it used to be, but it was still there. Every now and then, memories of that horrendous day flashed in his mind, making the big empty hole in his heart make itself known again.

He’d been in his office when he heard the news that the light plane that carried his grandfather, father and mother had crashed. The three had been on their way to an outback property that his dad and gramps had been interested in buying. Investigators had surmised that his dad, who had been piloting the plane, hadn’t anticipated the suddenness and severity of the freak storm that had developed in the area. In one fell swoop, they’d lost three loved ones.

He truly didn’t know how the rest of his family survived those first few days. But even though he and his brothers had been wholly devastated, they had rallied and pulled themselves together for Magda.

In honour of their gramps, mum and dad, they had been putting all of their energy into making sure that the company built by their family’s blood, sweat and tears continued to flourish. The Carmichael Corporation, founded by their grandfather, was now one of Australia’s biggest property development firms, with interests extending to wineries and eco-tourism. He was now its COO, Zach its CEO and their youngest brother Greg the CFO. Not in a million years did he and his brothers think they’d run the company so soon, and from such harrowing circumstances.

Yes, that short space of time two years ago had been the most devastating in his whole life. It was compounded by Bianca breaking off their engagement just a month after the funerals. She’d said that while she did love him, she wasn’t ready to get married, and that the sudden spotlight on the Carmichaels by the press scared her. She’d felt suffocated by the need to hide so they could keep their private lives private. Three weeks after the breakup, Bianca had left Sydney for New York to further her career in advertising.

He’d stopped moping around for Bianca a long time ago. But ever since they broke up, he hadn’t wanted to be in a committed relationship again. He’d discovered that giving his heart to a woman only added to his grief, not helped him out of it. He no longer had the motivation to put his heart in a position where it could be broken again. Those terrible events two years ago were enough to last him a lifetime.

Besides, he was happy enough with his mutually agreed casual relationships with beautiful, discreet women. Such agreements had an added benefit: the women didn’t get mad or demanding when he worked long hours. Apart from his grandmother and brothers, The Carmichael Corporation was, after all, his priority.

Happy laughter from Magda snapped him out of his depressing memories. He smiled as he watched his grandmother chuckle at something Zach was saying.

Now this kind of love was entirely different. One thing he absolutely had no doubts about was the love of, and for, his remaining family members. They had it in spades for each other. In terms of emotional support, that was more than enough for him. Maybe that was why he didn’t feel the need for a ‘special someone’ in his life anymore. What for? He had the love of his family. As for sex, he could satisfy his lust at any time with anyone he wanted.

Speaking of lust… His gaze returned to Sarah. She was talking animatedly with Rebecca, her beautiful hazel eyes shining brightly. To his bemusement, he felt himself go hard again.

He sighed in resignation. It wasn’t the greatest idea in the world to try to convince Sarah to have a short, hot affair with him. All he was likely to get was a hard slap on the face if he did proposition her for it. So he really shouldn’t even consider it… not unless she gave him some hint that she wouldn’t mind…

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Tomorrow, I’ll share Chapter Two with you ;-).

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Finally – released on May 27th. Pre-orders are available from Apple iTunesBarnes and NobleGoogle Play and Kobo.