BACKSTAGE BENEFITS by LaQuette (on-sale Nov.30, Harlequin Desire)
When show business leads to secret pleasures, how can they resist in this Devereaux Inc. novel by LaQuette.Their daytime partnership sets the night on fire. Who said they can’t have it all? Lyric Smith didn’t become the nation’s most successful lifestyle guru by losing focus. Yet Josiah Manning, daytime television’s hottest—and sexiest—young Black producer makes her do just that. Publicly, Josiah wants Lyric to star in a new talk show. Privately, he’s headlining her sexiest fantasies. But when their explosive chemistry leads to complications instead of contracts, will Lyric find the ultimate partner to help her crush her rivals…or exit stage left alone?
Excerpt, BACKSTAGE BENEFITS by LaQuette
“Are you okay?”
She seemed slightly dazed, and he couldn’t tell if it was because his hand was still lingering on her arm. He was a perfect stranger, and just because he was boys with her play cousin Jeremiah didn’t mean he had a right to touch her or barge his way all up in her mix.
He dragged his hand away. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to overstep.”
Josiah let his hungry gaze slide down her body, then brought it back up to meet hers. “If this is a hot mess,
then I don’t think the world is ready for when you get glammed up. You’re breathtaking.”
She nodded, smiling playfully as her laughter filled the cozy space between them. “You are a charmer, aren’t you? I bet all the Hollywood starlets fall at your feet when you pay them those kinds of compliments.”
He lifted a brow and pursed his lips. “You’d be wrong. I don’t pay compliments easily. And trust me, there’s no one in Hollywood that looks like you, so no, I’m not usually this charming.”
He could see the brown of her cheeks burn into a deep mauve as she blushed. “Then thank you,” she re¬sponded. “And on that flattering note, I’m gonna call a car and head home.”
“Call a car?” His question stopped her mid-turn. “You didn’t come in your own?”
“No, my cousin Amara and I had business earlier, and I hitched a ride with her. But as the family lawyer, there’s no way she can leave now.”
“Then let me take you home.”
Her cute smile as she dipped her gaze and blushed again tore down all his defenses. As a producer, he was around beautiful women all the time. But none of them disarmed him the way Lyric did.
“Is ‘take me home’ just an offer of transportation or a euphemism for sleeping with me?”
Pump your brakes, man.
He wasn’t thinking with his head at the moment, so he simply said, “Whichever you want it to be.”
He braced himself for the slap he knew he deserved. But it never came. Instead, she stepped closer to him, filling his senses with the light fragrance of citrus and coconut she wore.
“Take me home, and I’ll use the duration of the trip to decide.”
Well, I’ll be damned.
An activist for DEIA in the romance industry, LaQuette writes bold stories featuring multicultural characters. Her writing style brings intellect to the drama. She crafts emotionally epic tales that are deeply pigmented by reality's paintbrush. This Brooklyn native's novels are a unique mix of savvy, sarcastic, brazen, & unapologetically sexy characters who are confident in their right to appear on the page. Find her at LaQuette.com & at LaQuette@LaQuette.com.
CHRISTMAS AT THE CHATEAU by Rochelle Alers (on-sale Nov.30, Harlequin Special Edition)
"Christmas at the Chateau lets the heart breathe by exposing the soul. Viola and Dom are a reminder of what it means to feel. Alers takes hope at it's most vulnerable and magnifies the power of what love can do." - (Isha C., Blogger, Reader, Reviewer - Hopeless Romantic)
The halls are decked for holiday romance in nationally bestselling author Rochelle Alers's latest book in the Bainbridge House series! Christmas dinner’s on the table, and it's being served with a side of romance! Executive chef Viola Williamson has to have the kitchen up and running by the time the Bainbridge House restoration is complete. Working closely with Dom Shaw, Viola is struck by her hotter-than-mulled-cider attraction to her family estate’s handsome caretaker. It’s obvious that he feels it, too—yet Dom keeps his distance. Can Viola convince him that with all this cooking going on, he’s the only one stirring her heart?
Excerpt, CHRISTMAS AT THE CHATEAU by Rochelle Alers
Dom turned his head, successfully hiding the smile struggling to emerge. He didn’t know why, but he hadn’t expected to overhear the ribald curse that had flowed so effortlessly from Viola. “That’s good to know because that would definitely negate us becoming friends.”
Viola narrowed her eyes, reminding him of a cat ready to attack. “Do you always test your friends?”
“Most times I do.”
“Because I have trust issues.” The admission had come out unbidden. But if he were completely forth¬coming with Viola, then he would’ve said his distrust was with women. It didn’t matter whether they were platonic or intimate, he’d made it a practice to keep their relationships at a distance.
“Bad breakup with a girlfriend?”
“No,” he said truthfully. “It was a marriage that ended with irreconcilable differences.”
She blinked slowly. “Well, you’re not the only one with trust issues. And mine are not with an ex-husband but with the men I’ve dated. They say one thing and do something entirely different.”
This time Dom did smile. She’d just given him the opening he’d needed to discover more about her. “Are you saying you’re not currently involved with anyone?”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying. I’m not involved and don’t want to become involved. Right now, my sole focus is getting these kitchens renovated so that I can be ready once the hotel opens for business.”
It appeared as if they were on the same page when it came to relationships. Neither wanted one. And for him, it would make her presence on the property a win-win. Although he’d found Viola attractive, just knowing she didn’t want anything more than friendship would make it easy for Dom to relate to her as a friend.
“Do you have an idea as to what you want to offer your guests?” he asked, deftly changing the topic of conversation.
“That all depends on the clientele. If it’s a wedding, then that would be at the discretion of the bride and groom. However, for guests coming for a business con¬ference, the food would be different from what would be served at a wedding reception. Then there are folks that may just want to stop by to hang out at the lounge for drinks and to watch sports. For them, I would have a special bar menu.”
“It sounds as if you have everything planned out in advance.”
Viola flashed a dreamy smile. “I would have to. I can’t afford to wait until we’re ready to open for busi¬ness to begin creating menus without taste testing every item beforehand.”
Dom grinned from ear to ear. “I wouldn’t mind be¬coming one of your taste testers.”
She laughed. “I’ll definitely keep that in mind.”
Dom sobered. “When do you intend to come back here again?”
Viola also sobered. “Why?”
About ROCHELLE ALERS:
Hailed by readers and booksellers alike as one of today's most popular African-American authors of women's fiction, Ms. Alers is a regular on bestsellers list, and has been a recipient of numerous awards, including the Vivian Stephens Award for Excellence in Romance Writing and a Zora Neale Hurston Literary Award. Visit her Web site www.rochellealers.com