Title: Second Chances: The Courtship Wars
Author: Regina Jeffers
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Reality TV
Rushing through the concourse to make her way to the conference stage, Gillian Cornell comes face-to-face with the one man she finds most contemptible, even so, suddenly her world tilts. His gaze tells stories she wants desperately to hear. As he undresses her with his eyes, Gillian finds all she can do is stumble through her opening remarks. The all-too-attractive cad challenges both her sensibility and her reputation as a competent sexologist.
Dr. Lucian Damron never allows any woman to capture his interest for long. He uses them to boost his career and for his pleasure. Yet, Lucian cannot resist Gillian's stubborn independence, her startling intelligence, and her surprising sensuality. Sinfully handsome, Lucian hides a badly wounded heart and a life of personal rejection.
Thrown together as the medical staff on "Second Chances," a new reality TV show designed to reunite previously married couples, Lucian and Gillian soon pique the interest of the American viewing public, who tune in each week, fascinated by the passionate electricity coursing between them. Thus begins an all-consuming courtship war, plagued by potential relationship-ending secrets and misunderstandings and played out scandalously on a national stage.
“Are you telling me...telling this audience, you seriously believe we choose our mates by how they smell?” After several less than stellar presentations, the discussion had become a heated one between him and the pretty brunette. In the back of his mind, Lucian considered how tantalizing it would be to argue and then have make up sex with his opponent.
“Why not? Attraction must be based on something...an intangible,” she retorted. “Is science absolutely certain it knows what attracts two people to each other.”
Although her impertinence infuriated him, a crooked, boyish smile played across Lucian’s face. “Maybe it is something as tangible as a person’s looks.” Her appearance had certainly piqued his interest.
The woman quipped. “Or their body odor.” A snicker crisscrossed the room as Lucian felt a twinge of indignation; in claiming her own respect from the audience, she had dismissed his.
His voice rose with the embarrassment: No one spoke to him with such bravado, especially not a woman. He knew full well his appeal to women for he had used it to carve out his current success. No cheeky female, despite how attractive she might be, would show him up. “Then explain to me, Miss Cornell, why there are so many divorces if all we must do is sniff people to find our perfect mate. Maybe we should act more like dogs.”
Incredulously, she flushed before saying, “Some women already think men act like dogs.” Again, came the snickers of laughter. “In reality, it is not so simple.”
Lucian leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms across his chest, symbolically closing off the discourse and denying her ideas their validity. “It never is.” A look of amusement overspread his face, and the laughter accorded him lasted longer than what his sexy opponent had engendered.
Despite his being her target, Lucian liked the fact she did not concede defeat. It spoke to the type of woman she was. The type he normally avoided. Miss Cornell demanded, “Dr. Damron, do you challenge the existence of Nerve ‘O’?”
“I am a man of science, Miss Cornell; I am willing to accept the possibility of what you purport.” He thought he saw the flash of her eyes, and he smiled as if they were already lovers.
However, the lady brushed off his overtures, a fact he duly noted. Obviously, the woman meant to spend her time discussing her research and placing her agenda on the table. She had no time for him, and Lucian wondered if he had made a mistake in demonstrating an interest in the woman. “Reproductively speaking,” she continued, “MHC may determine how healthy our offspring might be, and as far as our susceptibility to another person, it does appear, sir, that next to our brain, our nose is a powerful sex organ.” The crowd responded as tainted images drifted among the attendees. “Women in my research groups report a connection between a satisfying sex life and their guy’s scent.”
“Oh, God, save us from scent aphrodisiacs!” Lucian protested loudly.
“A study by the Berlinger Foundation discovered which scents increase a man’s arousal,” she countered. “Would you be interested in knowing what those might be, Dr. Damron?” Her voice held its own taste of sarcasm.
“Most assuredly, Miss Cornell, enlighten me. I may need to know what scents to avoid in the future.” Smugness crept across Lucian’s countenance.
Even though the lady apparently meant to put him in his place, Miss Cornell laughed, and Lucian could hear the seductiveness of it. “Turn up your attraction,” she smirked, “by having your mate indulge in pumpkin pie or black licorice or a donut or lavender.”
* * *
“You were magnificent,” Charlotte purred into his ear, as she laced her arms around Lucian’s neck. “You had the entire audience hanging on your every word.” She kissed him intimately behind the ear.
Lucian smiled, but his attention rested elsewhere. His eyes searched the room for the likes of Gillian Cornell. Once they had exited the presentation, he had watched her move from one group to another, relishing in the attention, but not dwelling with any one person too long. Lucian had found he liked that particular fact. Unrealistically, the idea of her being with someone special didn’t set well with him. Charlotte moved closer and allowed her hand to caress his hip. For some nine months, a casual sexual relationship had existed between him and Charlotte Blakeley. The casual part had existed purely on Lucian’s side: Charlotte held hopes of something more permanent. “You certainly put that Cornell woman in her place,” Charlotte intoned in her best socialite voice.
“That was never my intention.” Lucian nonchalantly extracted himself from Charlotte’s hold while he distractedly searched the crowd for another glimpse of Gillian Cornell.
Charlotte’s apparent jealousy resounded through her tone. “You cannot possibly believe the woman’s opinions hold any merit?”
“Of course, I don’t find her opinions valid.” Lucian’s voice carried a little too far. “The woman is a sex therapist for Christ’s sake,” he protested.
“Actually, I am a sexologist.” Lucian turned to face a furious Gillian Cornell. “That means I’ve a psychology degree—the same as you, Dr. Damron.”
Lucian flushed at being caught calling forth his masculinity before his acquaintances. “I stand corrected, Miss Cornell.” He made her an exaggerated bow before stepping away from the contrariness displayed on the woman’s countenance. “Your advanced education is duly noted.” Her cheeks began to burn, and for that he felt a twinge of guilt; but in reality, the lady had her life and so did he. He purposely threaded Charlotte’s hand into the crook of his arm as he walked away. From behind him, he had no doubt that it was the very correct Gillian Cornell that he heard growl, “Pompous ass!”
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Why is your featured book a must-read?
Americans love their reality TV shows—programs that speak to the true nature of those taking part—of the human spirit. Yet, who are these people willing to place their hearts and soul on the line? Author Merrick Rosenberg says there are five types: (1) Eagle: dominant, direct, and driven. Eagles want their way or the highway. They are proactive, and, sometimes, quite bossy. (2) Parrot: the life of any party; love to be around others, but are often too trusting. (3) Dove: want harmony above all else; passive to a fault. (4) Owl: sticks to the rules, even if the process causes problems in itself. (5) Chameleon: have bits and pieces of all four personality types mixed it. Reading Second Chances: The Courtship Wars, the reader will definitely find all five types, but can he recognize them and learn to love each one?
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Regina Jeffers, an award-winning author of historical cozy mysteries, Austenesque sequels and retellings, as well as Regency era romances, has worn many hats over her lifetime: daughter, student, military brat, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, tax preparer, journalist, choreographer, Broadway dancer, theatre director, history buff, grant writer, media literacy consultant, and author. Living outside of Charlotte, NC, Jeffers writes novels that take the ordinary and adds a bit of mayhem, while mastering tension in her own life with a bit of gardening and the exuberance of her “grand joys.”
Social Media Links:
Every Woman Dreams: https://reginajeffers.wordpress.com
Austen Authors: http://austenauthors.net
You Tube Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzgjdUigkkU
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