Title: IT’S A TRUST THING
Author: Peggy Jaeger
Nell Newbery has trust issues. It’s hard to trust when you’re the daughter of a fallen financial scion who bilked people out of billions. Nell’s done everything in her power to keep away from men who see her as their ticket to fortune and fame. All she wants to do is run her ultra-successful business, HELPFUL HUNKS, in peace.
But it wouldn’t hurt to find a guy who doesn’t know a thing about her father’s felonious past; one she can give her heart to and trust it won’t come back to her battered, bruised, and broken.
Is Charlie Churchill that guy? On the surface he seems perfect, all polished manners and quiet mirth. Nell’s convinced he knows nothing about her, other than she likes superhero movies and views junk food as a food group.
Can she trust him to be what he appears to be? Or is he just pretending?
For Nell, trust is everything in life…and in love.
“Will you be back again next week?” A voice called out from the back of the amphitheater.
“Right at the moment, I’m not scheduled to be,” I said. “Dr. Chang is taking it day by day, I understand, so if need be, I’m sure Dean Dietrichson will reach out. Or maybe he’ll ask someone else to fill in.”
“We don’t want anyone else,” one of the more vocal of the students said, to which many yeahs and truths, rang out.
“You guys don’t know how good you are for my ego,” I said, with a laugh.
“What can we do to get you to teach here all the time?” another asked. “Yeah, who do we have to talk to?” I shook my head. “You’re all sweet, but you wouldn’t be happy if I had to actually grade your work.” Laughter filled the room. “I’m a horrible task masker. You can ask anyone who works for me and they’ll tell you it’s the truth. But thanks for being such a warm and receptive group. I envision wonderful things for the future of the business world when you all graduate.”
They started to file out while I packed up my belongings.
A few “’Night, professors,” reached my ears and when I lifted my gaze to the entrance way, Charlie was standing there again, much the way he’d been before the class started: one shoulder relaxed against the doorjamb, his briefcase in one hand, his other in his pants pocket.
Lord, the man could have popped off the cover of a fashionable menswear magazine. No one should look that delectable in real life.
When the last of the students exited, he entered. My pulse rate tripled the closer he came. With a smile I can only describe as irresistible and devastatingly sensual, he leaned down once he reached the podium, those lips twitching at the corners, and said, “Looks like I’m not the only one who’s smitten with you.”
And then he pressed that gorgeous mouth right to mine.
I inhaled him as he smiled against my lips, and just like that, without a word or a notion of a warning, my heart turned over.
Was it possible to fall in love in an instant? To know the person you were with was the one; the true one? The one meant for you, destined to be yours for eternity?
In the time it took me to consider how dumb it all sounded in this day and age, I countered with the ferocity of the emotions coursing through me.
Was this love? Was this what the poets clamored on about and romance writers swore truly did exist?
I didn’t have an answer, since I’d never felt this way before. No other man had ever caused such a commotion and chaos inside my mind and heart as this one did.
The thought was terrifying, enlightening, and hopeful all at once.
But even if what I was experiencing was love it didn’t mean Charlie felt the same. Smitten wasn’t exactly an I’ll love you forevermore declaration, maybe more just a pronouncement of intent. We’d gotten past my third date rule, so the question of exploring one another on a more intimate basis was definitely on the table.
But sex didn’t equate with love, this I knew for fact.
No, my feelings were my own and since they were new and raw and unfamiliar, I didn’t want them revealed, so when he pulled back from the kiss I reverted to type.
“Are you sure you don’t teach English Lit? Because ‘smitten’ simply screams Jane Austen.”
His grin grew to a wicked cheek-wide smirk that had my insides going bonkers again.
“They’re considered classics for a reason,” he said as he reached over and grabbed my briefcase. “Come on. I’m hungry and I’ve been looking forward all day to spending some time alone with you.”
Awww. Forget flutter. My tummy muscles moved into disco dance mode.
“Want to cab it, or walk?” Charlie asked when we went through the gates. “My place is only three blocks from here.”
“Let’s walk. I’ve been cooped up all day and it hasn’t been the best of days. I’d like to stretch my legs a little and actually breath some fresh air before we sit down to eat.”
With a nod he gripped both our briefcases in one hand, and with his free hand held mine.
The fact I was walking down the street holding hands with a wonderful man filled me with such an unaccustomed sensation of happiness, I couldn’t help but smile.
Even at eight o’clock in the evening the sidewalks were crowded, and a gentle stroll and chat back to his building was in reality more of a silent bob and weave around pedestrians.
In the elevator Charlie never let go of my hand, even when another couple stepped in and smiled at us.
“It won’t take long to cook dinner,” he said when we were finally in his apartment.
“Good. I’m starving.”
It was the last thing I said for several minutes, because after Charlie tossed his keys on the entryway table, then dropped both our briefcases on the floor under it, turned, tugged me into his arms and said, “So am I.”
This kiss was nothing like the brief, sweet one we’d shared at the college. No, about as far from brief and sweet as could be.
In the time it took for me to close my eyes and lift my arms around his neck, I was consumed with a ravenous hunger for this man that had nothing to do with not eating all day.
With one hand wound around my waist and flattened at the dip in my spine to hold me against him, the other cupped my neck. I fell back into his open palm and the kiss went from a ten, to off-the-charts, in a nanosecond.
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If you like witty RomComs with sassy heroines and hunky beta-heroes, this book is for you. Set in NYC and dealing with some heavy topics such a forgiveness, trust issues, and mental illness, this story is a feel good, HEA, laugh outloud book that’s a #2020mustread for any romance lover.
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Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes Romantic Comedies about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. If she can make you cry on one page and bring you out of tears rolling with laughter the next, she’s done her job as a writer! Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, she brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she’s created the families she wanted as that lonely child. When she’s not writing Peggy is usually painting, crafting, scrapbooking or decoupaging old steamer trunks she finds at rummage stores and garage sales. A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, Peggy is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter. As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at peggyjaeger.com where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go "What??!
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