Thursday, December 27, 2018
On the outside, Bryce Hayes is satisfied with the structure of her life, her demanding career, and a series of no-strings-attached relationships, but her brother bounces in and out of rehab, her mother thinks she can beat her son’s addiction, and her father is simply doing what he can to keep a semblance of “normal”. When Bryce’s father, Congressman Hayes, orders her to Granite Harbor, Maine, due to a string of threats to their family coming from an unidentifiable source, she doesn’t expect Ethan Casey, the sexy soldier who slept with her, then walked out, without so much as a goodbye, to be her landlord.
Ethan’s past is riddled with chaos, bullets, and loud noise. After returning to his small town after the war, he’s determined to get back to his roots. Peace, quiet, and working as a game warden for the Maine Warden Service sounds right as rain. But with Bryce in Granite Harbor, staying in his house on Magnolia Road, Ethan can’t stop thinking about his future—and that includes Bryce. But to make things right with the love of his life, he’ll have to open old wounds…and risk losing her forever.
If silence had a name in this moment, it would be fear. Fear and darkness go together like smothered love—stifling, overbearing, and hard to overcome. But, right now, all I know is that I’d rather feel these things because I’m with Ethan. And I’ll do it the way he wants. If that means as friends or lovers because living without him doesn’t seem like a viable option. It’s not something I think I can do. The strong, willful, never-need-a-man woman that I am has somehow changed, turned. Flipped.
This situation could have been avoided. Maybe, if I had ignored Ethan that day in Los Angeles, ignored his long legs and his dark brown eyes and long eyelashes, the vein that runs the course of his left arm, his big hands, maybe this moment wouldn’t hurt so much, knowing it was the beginning of the end. Knowing I made a choice that would shatter my heart because what we did today wasn’t love. We didn’t make love. We didn’t share our deepest secrets.
We put bandages on our wounds.
I lick my lips before I put my mouth to his chest for a kiss. “I know this is the end, Ethan.”
J. Lynn Bailey has loved to write since she learned to read, around the second grade. When she isn't running after her children, watching COPS, or on the hunt for her next Laffy Taffy joke, you can probably find her holed up in her writing room feverishly working on her next book. She lives in Northern California with her family.
It’s the blog tour for Shannyn Schroeder’s O'Learys series! Check it out and grab your copy of this sexy new contemporary romance today!
Title: SOMETHING TO PROVE
Author: Shannyn Schroeder
Genre: Contemporary Romance
About SOMETHING TO PROVE:
More than business...
Determined to show her father she's capable of running the family business, Elizabeth Brannigan sets out to save his struggling Chicago bar. But she'll need a little help dealing with the rough crowd. When she encounters the handsome co-owner of a thriving Irish pub, she's more than ready to take on those late night shenanigans.
Colin O’Leary’s father passed away before he could prove to him that he wasn’t a screw-up. Now he wants to show his brother he’s responsible enough to own a bar of his own. And Elizabeth just might be the saving grace he's always needed. Can they mix a little business and pleasure or will the merger destroy everything?
He flipped it open and a bark of laughter shot from his mouth. “You bought The Irish?”
“No. Yes.” His laughter flustered her, making her feel like she was mentally unstable for owning this particular bar.
He closed the folder. “Which is it? Do you or don’t you own the bar?”
She cleared her throat. “I do. I personally didn’t buy it; my father bought it twelve years ago.”
“That explains a lot.”
“Ryan told me you’re from Florida. Why would your father buy a bar in Chicago when he’s not around to run it?”
“I’ve been wondering the same thing.”
“You didn’t ask him?”
“You don’t have to worry about the reasons for ownership.”
He closed the folder without reading anything she’d provided. “The Irish used to be a profitable bar. When the original owner died, things fell apart. Something like five owners came and went in as many years.”
“I already know this. It’s a matter of record. What would you do to change what it is now?”
“You have to close it and change everything. It’s a total dive right now because that’s what it’s turned into. If you want it to be something different, you need to start from scratch so the current customers won’t want to return.”
She’d been thinking the same thing. Closing the doors after the brawl had been a good idea. “When was the last time you were in there?”
“Years. But I don’t need to go there to know what it is. Everyone in the area knows that The Irish is where you go if you want a brawl. The drunker and meaner, the better.” He leaned back in the chair and forced it to recline. His long legs extended under the table, and she had a flash of those legs between hers. He looked smug as if she wouldn’t be able to turn him down.
“You don’t have the business management experience or education the other candidates have.”
He smiled. “Neither does my brother, but you went to him.”
“Like the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. He’s a success. Just because you share a branch of the family tree doesn’t guarantee me anything.”
“But you’ve seen me with people.” He thunked the chair back down on all four legs. “I was good with you.”
Between his intense blue eyes and his low bedroom voice, his words warmed her blood again.
“And that would be another reason to not work with you. I don’t have time for someone who’s more interested in flirting than working.”
“Sweetheart, you flirted with me. I took your cues and acted on them. I’m completely capable of working with a partner without sleeping with her.”
Part of Elizabeth felt relief at his statement. More of her felt another sting of disappointment.
His steely blue gaze bore into her. No sign of lust. Nothing to imply that he planned to kiss her again. Not even a hint of sexual attraction. If they pretended that night had never happened, a partnership could work.
She steadied herself for a strong negotiation. “I’ll offer you twenty-five percent profits and a bonus twenty percent when I sell, assuming you hold up your end of the bargain and bring in the customers. I remain the manager and boss and all decisions go through me.”
“Make it forty percent profits and thirty percent on sale.”
“You bring personality to the table. No proven experience, and you expect me to give you almost half the business?” She leaned back in her chair.
“My personality is the one thing you need most. It can’t be taught or bought.”
“Thirty profits and twenty-five at sale.”
He narrowed his eyes as if computing, then leaned forward. “Deal.”
“One more thing. No flirting. Just business.”
He sighed like she was being insufferable. “Contrary to popular belief, I am capable of being professional. When do we start?”
“It’s locked up, so we can start tomorrow. I’ll have the contract drawn up for you to sign when you get there. Nine a.m.?”
“I’m closing at O’Leary’s tonight. Make it eleven. Even I need my beauty sleep.”
“You plan to continue to work at O’Leary’s?”
“It’s my family’s bar.”
“I’m not a simpleton. There are only so many hours in a day. I won’t have you thinking you can drop by The Irish just to collect a check.”
His smile was disarming. “Sweetheart, simple isn’t what anyone would call you. I’ll prove my worth soon enough. Seems a lot of people expect that.” He rose and extended his hand. “I’ll sign your contract, but a handshake will do for me.”
She shook his hand and tried to ignore its strength and warmth and the zing of her nerves. As he turned to leave, she enjoyed the view and immediately began to question her sanity. She’d just created a business partnership based on a man’s charm. What the hell was she thinking?
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Catch Up On the Series Now:
More Than This
A Good Time
About the Author:
Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series and the For Your Love series, contemporary romances centered around large Irish-American families in Chicago and the Hot & Nerdy series about nerdy friends finding love. Look for her new series – The Dating Challenge in 2019. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.