Title: CHARMED BY CHARLIE
Author: AMANDA UHL
Genre: CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
PAINT, PROMOTIONS & PERFECTION
Creative genius Charlie Solanger has it all: good looks, money, intelligence, charm. And when he swoops in to save Reynolds Paint Company with a brilliant marketing campaign, he has all the ladies in the office vying for his attention. Everyone except math whiz Valerie Wilson.
Val’s not happy Charlie stole her promotion. Worse, his brand of flirtatious charm is reminiscent of her cheating ex-fiancé. So, how come she can’t get him out of her head? The more she challenges him, the more interested—and interesting—he becomes. What secrets is Charlie hiding, and who or what is behind the sudden mysterious drain on their company’s funds? The only way to find out is to join forces. Then it will be a battle of wills…and a triumph of hearts.
"So, you being here...this is not a permanent position?"
"They'd like it to be. But I only take on temporary assignments. I specialize in turnaround situations."
"Why?" I couldn't fathom why anyone who needed to earn a living would accept temporary work.
"Reynolds hasn’t made a profit the past three quarters. This has become a pattern. We need to fix it."
"No, why would you only accept temporary work? That doesn't make a lot of sense. What if you can't turn it around? Then you're out of a job."
He shrugged. Somehow, maybe it was the ease with which he did it, the gesture seemed elegant. "I get bored easily. I like a challenge."
He looked me in the eyes, and I noticed that his had that chess-playing spark in them again. He wasn't talking about just the consulting gig. His eyes said that I was a challenge, too. One he would not back away from.
My heart pounded, and my alter ego came out to play. This, my dear. This is what you have been missing with George. Blood rushed to my cheeks. I refused to hold Charlie's gaze and the promise it contained. Instead, I looked ahead and resumed my furious pace to the restroom. Long legs kept up with me.
"I think you'll find Julie is quite a challenge," I said.
"She's the least of my worries."
"My, my. You have worries already, and you've only been here a day. Welcome to the family."
"That was just a figure of speech, of course. I don't spend a lot of time worrying."
"Well, then I take back what I said. You don't belong here. We only hire worriers."
"And what do you worry about?"
"Keeping my job, paying my bills, George." Dammit, why did I have to go and bring him up.
Of course, Charlie seized on that single syllable. "You live alone so...George is your dog?"
"Yes, I mean no, he's my soon-to-be fiancé." How horrifying. He is a little doggish, isn't he? Comes when called, needs haircuts often. Stop it! Likes his stomach rubbed, a good eater. What's wrong with you?
"You have a fiancé?"
I nodded. "Yes, yes I do. Well, I mean we aren't technically engaged yet. We're saving for the ring."
"Ah. The ring."
"Yes, well, it's a beautiful ring. I mean it was his grandmother's. But we need to pay for it to be resized, and we’re updating the setting, which is taking a little longer than we would like."
"And what does your George do for a living?"
"He owns his own business," I said proudly. He was still trying to get it off the ground, but it was a business.
"What kind of business?"
"Well, George is Lebanese. He's been bottling and selling his Lebanese spices. You know, for cooking. They're quite good. George is a fantastic cook. We're having dinner tonight. He makes the best baba ghanoush I've ever tasted. Plus, his fattoush is to die for." I had reached the restroom. It was time to end the conversation and say goodbye.
"I don't mean to get too personal, but is George able to earn a living off the business?"
"Well, of course. I mean between that and his day job."
He propped himself against the wall outside the restroom, like it was the most comfortable pose in the world. "And that would be?"
"George works in his family's business."
"No. Listen, I gotta use the restroom. Talk later."
He reached one long arm out and snagged mine before I could push the bathroom door open. "No, sorry,” he said. “You can't leave me with a burning question like that in the back of my mind. Where might your Lebanese soon-to-be fiancé who is not a chef but cooks you meals and concocts spices, which as I think about it, he must do from his home at night since he has a day job…Where does he work Val?"
Hearing Charlie describe George was a bit overwhelming. "He's a...a...barber."
Somehow, it didn't sound as impressive coming out as it did in my head.
"I see. How exactly did you meet George?"
Don't answer him. Don't. "Oh the usual way."
He watched me carefully, his blue eyes gleaming with intelligence and laughter. What he found funny was beyond me. George was not a funny topic.
"Let me guess. You needed a haircut and George gave you a trim."
"Of course not. What would I be doing in a barbershop?"
"True. So, you met him in a bar. George likes to party."
"A grocery store or laundromat."
"Ah-ha. It just came to me. George was picking up his dry cleaning. You came in to pick up yours and noticed that some of his shirts still had ring around the collar. You pointed it out and suggested a home remedy. George was intrigued and asked if you could show him how you make it. He invited you to his family barbershop. You showed up, cleaned his dirty shirts, he invited you to taste his spices and the rest is history."
Boy, this guy did have a good imagination. No wonder he was hired to provide a creative solution to our sales slump. I couldn't help but crack a smile. "Wrong."
"You met over coffee?"
"Am I warm?"
"So it was over food. Of course. George was at his favorite Lebanese joint, scoping the place out for future ownership, when in walks his dream girl. He looks at you with his big brown puppy dog eyes and tells you to try the hummus. Then he tells you that he supplied the spices in the hummus and the rest is history. You and George are getting married. You fell in love over Lebanese food. The way to Val's heart is through her stomach."
I couldn't stop the giggle from forming and escaping from my lips. He was funny, as well as cute and smart. Jackpot. I was in real trouble.
Amazon - amzn.to/2nbURFG
Boroughs Publishing - bit.ly/2oGvvRm
Kobo - bit.ly/2oflEEW
Nook - bit.ly/2oro0Ar
iTunes - https://itun.es/us/zKVXib.l
What’s your favorite part about being a romance author?
I often say that writing romance novels requires every bit of skill and talent I possess. I enjoy the challenge of telling a story and love how I learn about the characters myself as the story progresses. Somehow, despite being plagued by doubts while I’m writing, I always manage to find that happy ending, which is so satisfying.
Here’s my tip to add romance to your love life:
Read romance novels and watch Hallmark movies. That’s what I do.
Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $25 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $15 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $10 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Runs February 1 – 29
Drawing will be held on March 2.
Amanda Uhl has always had a fascination with the mystical. Having drawn her first breath in a century home rumoured to be haunted, you might say she was "born" into it. After a brief stint in college as a paid psychic, Amanda graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in theatre and a master's degree in marketing. Over the past twenty years, she has worked as an admissions representative and graphic designer, owned her own freelance writing company, and managed communications for several Fortune 500 companies, most recently specializing in cybersecurity. Amanda is an avid reader and writes fast-paced, romantic suspense with a paranormal twist and big city contemporary romance with small-town heart from her home in Cleveland, Ohio. When she's not reading or writing, you can find Amanda with her husband and three children, gathering beach glass on the Lake Erie shoreline or biking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. For the latest updates, sign up for her newsletter at: http://amandauhl.com/social-media/.
Social Media Links:
Linked In: - http://www.linkedin.com/in/amanda-uhl-0aa817123