- N. N. Light
Bayside Evenings by @growwithstacy is a Love and Romance Festival pick #free #romance #giveaway
Title: Bayside Evenings
Author: Stacy Claflin
Genre: Office Romance (Clean & Wholesome)
Always the wedding planner, never the bride... She’s single and stuck. His relationship is going nowhere. Will the next wedding they plan… be their own? Dakota Hunter is great at wedding planning but terrible at finding a guy. Each one she encounters is worse than the one before… until she meets Clay. There’s one teensy problem: her attractive new assistant has a long-term girlfriend. Clay Harper is thrilled to land his new job with Dakota, surrounding himself with happy couples day in and day out. But when he sees true love in person, he realizes his own relationship is far less than happy. It doesn’t help that being around Dakota feels easy. It feels right. As Dakota and Clay grow a deeper connection, Clay’s girlfriend refuses to go down without a fight. Can the wedding planners go from seeing happy couples… to being one? Bayside Evenings is a standalone book in the Bayside Hunters collection of romance stories. If you like heartwarming tales, palpable chemistry, and weddings, then you’ll love this latest affectionate tale by USA Today bestselling author, Stacy Claflin.
The door opened, and in walked a man a little over six-feet tall with light brown, shoulder-length hair tucked behind his ears. His dark blue eyes seemed almost purple.
He was gorgeous, and obviously lost.
Clearly, he was a groom. Such a lucky bride.
She smiled at him. “The consultations are down the hall in room thirty-four. Aria will be right with you.”
“Dakota Hunter?” He rubbed his light beard and pulled off his dark blue blazer. He wore a form-fitting shirt, which showed how clearly muscular he was.
He knew her name? Usually, she was just the wedding planner to most of the grooms.
She cleared her throat and sat taller. “I am. And you are?”
He extended his hand and walked toward her. A dimple formed as he smiled. “I’m
Clayton Harper. You can call me Clay.”
Dakota’s voice caught in her throat. She stood, shook his hand, and coughed.
“Pleasure. How can I help you, Clay?”
“I heard you’re in the market for an assistant.”
She nearly choked on the air. “I am, actually. Where did you hear about me?”
“From Sullivan. We were friends in college, and I ran into him. We got to talking.” He shrugged, his grin still lingering.
“Sully?” Dakota asked.
Dakota would have to give her brother a huge thank you. “Have a seat.”
His eyes widened. “You want to interview me now?”
“Sure. You’re here.”
“Oh, okay.” He sat, obviously flustered. “Well, I don’t have my resume printed out at the moment. I can pull it up on my phone.”
Dakota sat and leaned over her desk, trying not to get distracted by his rugged good looks. “Don’t worry about it. Let’s just chat.”
He leaned back in the chair. “Sounds good. The Chateau is most impressive.”
She arched a brow. “Oh? Have you already looked around?”
“I checked it out online, but I have to say, it’s much grander in person.”
Dakota beamed. “I’ve put a lot of work into it.”
“That much is obvious.” He held her gaze and pulled some loose hair behind an ear.
Her heart raced. As much as she needed an assistant, she’d rather spend a night on the town with Clay. Too bad she couldn’t start the night over, replacing Tate with Clay.
He pulled his gaze away and glanced around the room. “So, you like weddings?”
She snickered. “You could say that. I’ve always loved planning big events, so this business seemed to be the natural choice. What about you?”
Clay turned back to Dakota. “To be honest, I’m looking for experience running a business. I got my MBA, but I’ve done nothing with it as of yet. Just working in cubicles. If I have to do that for another day, I might have to throw myself off a cliff.”
“We can’t have that. But why here?” She leaned back in her chair, starting to feel more relaxed.
“You have an opening.”
“What kind of business do you plan to run long-term?”
“I’m not sure. That’s part of my problem. I just don’t know what I want to do. I love everything about business—marketing, planning, you name it—but somehow I ended up stuck doing grunt work.” He paused and raked his fingers through his hair. “I’m totally screwing up this interview, aren’t I?”
“No. You’re honest. I like that.”
He smiled. “Do you want to see my resume now?”
He dug into his jacket pocket and pulled out the hottest smartphone on the market. He scrolled across the screen and handed it to her. “Sorry, I would have printed it first, but I didn’t think you’d want to interview me on the spot.”
Dakota glanced over his resume. “Yet you came in person, anyway?”
“I thought it would be better than a phone call.”
She handed the phone back to him along with her business card. “Can you email that to me?”
Clay slid his finger across the screen a few times. “Done.”
“So, are you willing to deal with paperwork, licensing issues, red tape, and similar things?” She was testing him before letting him know that she really needed his help with the big wedding.
“I love that stuff.”
Dakota gave him a double-take. “You do?”
He leaned forward. “I like to think of it as a challenge.”
“Okay, well that’s good to know. What about working with clients?”
He nodded. “I’ve been told I’m a people person.”
Dakota grinned, feeling like the room had warmed ten degrees since he’d entered. “I have a big-name client that I’m going to need help with. I’ll need you to fill out a confidentiality agreement.”
Clay flicked a nod. “Sure thing.”
Her heart rate sped up. “Okay, then. Let me check out your references, and if everything looks good, you can start as soon as possible. I assume you need to give notice at your current employment.”
He chuckled. “Already did. I can start Monday.”
“You quit without a job lined up?” Her eyes widened.
“What can I say? I like to live on the edge.”
Dakota rose and held out her hand. “I think we’ll get along. Welcome aboard.”
He stood up. “I’ve got the job?”
She smiled. “Assuming you don’t turn out to be a serial killer, I’d say so.”
“You can rest assured my record is clean.” Clay took her hand and shook it with a firm grip.
How would she be able to focus with him as her assistant? She took a deep breath.
“Then I’m sure I’ll see you Monday. I’ll give you a call by tomorrow night. We can discuss salary and benefits then. Also, you’re okay with working Saturdays, I hope.”
“That shouldn’t be a problem. Thank you very much.” He released her hand, gave a slight nod, and showed himself out of the office.
Dakota fell back into her chair and fanned herself. She’d have to send Tate a thank you card for being such a horrible date. Otherwise, she may have missed out on meeting Clayton Harper.
Hopefully having Clay as her assistant wouldn’t prove to be too much of a distraction.
This was a business, after all. She didn’t mix business with pleasure.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
*This book is FREE on all retailers
What’s your favorite part about being a romance author?
Falling in love is a magical experience, and writing the stories is like experiencing that feeling through the characters as they fall for each other.
Here’s my tip to add romance to your love life:
Listening to romance songs always lifts my spirits and gets me a romantic mood. Chocolate and wine also help. ☺️
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card.
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.
Runs February 1 – 28, 2023.
Drawing will be held on March 1, 2023.
Stacy Claflin is a USA Today bestselling thriller author who has published more than 85 novels, including Girl in Trouble and The Perfect Death. She has always been curious about the human mind, and in her quest to learn more, she earned a degree in Psychology. Her favorite course was Abnormal Behavior, which has been useful in writing fiction.
Her love for thrillers goes back to her early childhood when she fell in love with Unsolved Mysteries and America’s Most Wanted. When Stacy was five, she got mad at a babysitter who wouldn’t let her watch the evening news. These days, she spends her free time listening to true crime podcasts or watching documentaries on the subject.
Social Media Links:
https://www.facebook.com/stacy.claflin.author/ (Page) https://www.facebook.com/groups/StacyClaflinStreetTeam/ (Reader Group)
I also have a bunch of perma-free books: https://stacyclaflin.com/promo/