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Holiday Queen by Claire Marti is a Christmas in July Fete pick #romance #steamy #giveaway

Title: Holiday Queen

Author: Claire Marti

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Blurb:

Can a wrong number be the beginning of everything right?

Camille Taylor needs a partner for a charity scavenger hunt now that her cheating ex is history. When a sexy text from an intriguing stranger leads to a scorching cocktail date, she asks him to step in. Chemistry sizzles between them and Trent Bell is happy to play the hero now that fate sent him the most incredible woman he’s ever met. Can a wrong number be the beginning of everything right?


Camille Taylor’s phone buzzed for the thirtieth time in two hours. What would it take for her cheating, lying, arrogant baboon of an ex-boyfriend to catch a hint? After she’d walked in on him and his voluptuous new boss making out, she’d flown down the stairs from the fourteenth floor to her own office on the seventh. No need to run into any colleagues in the elevator when her blood was boiling and the top of her head was about to explode.

There was nothing to discuss. Yes, she should have dumped the guy, like everyone she knew had advised. But he was never getting another chance. She was done. She massaged her throbbing temples, willing the sharp pain behind her eyes to subside.

When the phone beeped again, she snatched it off her polished teak desk, ready to hurl it against her office’s floor-to-ceiling windows. She glanced at the screen and lo and behold, it wasn’t Sean the Slimeball. When she opened the text message, a photo popped up on the screen. Her eyes widened and her lips parted.

The most gorgeous man she’d ever seen, holding a tumbler of amber liquid, grinned at her. His jaw was square, twin dimples creased his chiseled face, and sandy brown hair fell carelessly across his broad forehead. Strong dark eyebrows showcased impossibly blue eyes twinkling through a fringe of sinfully long dark lashes. Wow.

She blinked and he didn’t disappear. Maybe the universe had connected her with alcohol ads starring hot guys because no question about it––she needed a stiff drink. The timing was on point. Her brows drew together as she scanned the message asking when she was meeting him for a cocktail.

She typed a response. Sorry, wrong number. I don’t know who you are.

You aren’t Jen?

Nope, I’m Camille.

So sorry to bother you. I guess I got ghosted.

What lunatic would ghost this guy? Unless it was a fake photo he’d borrowed from, say, one of the heroes in the latest blockbuster action flick?

No need to apologize. It’s been a day. I walked in on my now ex-boyfriend cheating on me this afternoon.

Oh, no. You okay?

Camille’s eyes filled and she bit her lip. Of course this handsome stranger was considerate and sweet. But no, she most definitely was not okay. And she wasn’t ready to talk about it with anyone, especially since nobody had liked Sean. She already felt like the sucker of the century.

I’ve been better.

I’ve got a table at Local Edition with an empty seat. Why don’t you come down and I’ll buy you a drink?

Camille blew out a breath. Why not? Recently, Sean had been criticizing her, calling her rigid and boring. Jerk.

When was the last time she’d done something spontaneous? Something not motivated by doing well at her job as a CPA for one of the largest firms in San Francisco? In college, and up until the last few years, she’d worked hard and played hard. When had that changed?

It was 4:30 Friday afternoon, the week before Christmas, and she was locked in her office. She jumped to her feet and squared her shoulders. It wasn’t like she’d get any work done this afternoon––nope, her best bet was a distraction. A distraction like having a drink with a good-looking stranger.

Local Edition was only a ten-minute walk from her office in the Transamerica Pyramid in the Financial District. Why not go?

Be there in 20. Will you please order me a Red Breast 15, neat?

How will I know it’s you?

I’ve seen your photo. I’ll surprise you. What’s your name?

Two can play that game. I’ll tell you when you arrive. See you soon, Camille.

Camille closed her eyes for a moment. A plethora of emotions tangled in her chest, mostly fury, humiliation, and regret. She’d been trembling since stumbling into the clichéd scene and her stomach was in knots, but she hadn’t shed a single tear over Sean.

If only the coward had had the courtesy to break up with her before screwing around. They had fallen into a rut––obviously––and neither of them had done anything about it. But even if they’d fallen out of love, wasn’t it a matter of respect to simply move on? Nothing excused cheating. Nothing.

And now she was partner-less for the Scavenger Hunt for the Women’s Heart Health Fundraiser tomorrow afternoon. The annual event raised money for women’s heart disease, a cause she’d supported ever since her college roommate Lisa had developed a heart arrythmia five years ago. Maybe she could beg one of her girlfriends to step into Sean’s place, but she’d worry about that in the morning.

Right now, she would go drink some whiskey. When she pulled her make-up bag out of her camel-colored satchel and opened her compact, she gasped. Even though she hadn’t cried, her eyes were bloodshot and a little feral. The smattering of freckles on her nose and twin flags of color on her cheekbones stood out against her pasty white skin. Her usually sleek, strawberry blonde hair framed her face like a frizzy halo. A perfect look to audition for a horror movie, not so much for meeting a hot guy for the first time.

The poor mystery man might just high tail it for the hills when she arrived. She squeezed her eyes closed. No, she’d slap on some lipstick, brush her long hair, and hope for the best. At least she was wearing a festive holiday outfit, a long-sleeved forest green sweater dress and red stilettos. It would have to do. If the guy ran away, she was perfectly capable of sitting in the bar and drinking all by herself.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

What I love most about the holiday season:

I love decorating for the holidays. It’s so fun to get a fresh Christmas tree, hang stockings for our pets on the mantle, and hang pretty lights on the front of the house. I enjoy checking out our neighbors’ decorations as well.

Why is your featured book a must-read to get you in the holiday mood?

It’s a steamy novella sure to keep you warm…even if it’s Christmas in July!

Giveaway –

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card:

Open internationally.

Runs July 1 – 31, 2023.

Drawing will be held on August 1, 2023.

Author Biography:

Claire Marti is an award winning and USA Today Bestselling author ​of swoonworthy Contemporary Romance novels set in Southern California, including the California Suits series, the Pacific Vista Ranch series, and the Romance in Laguna Beach series. She lives in San Diego with her husband, silly dog and three clever cats. Claire started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.

Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga.

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