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Book Series Spotlight | The I’ll Never Say “I Do” Club Series by Morgan Malone #laterinliferomance



Title: Someone Like You. The I’ll Never Say “I Do” Club series, Book One

Author: Morgan Malone

Genre: Later-in-Life Contemporary Romance

Book Cover: Kris Norris


Book Blurb:


“I dare you, I double, triple dare you, to go online for six months and really look at the guys who are out there just waiting to fall in love with the awesome women you are! I bet you that you will all be head over heels and be engaged by the end of the year!”


Seri, Jessica, Emily and Olivia made a vow in college never to marry: men couldn’t be trusted, men would break your heart, men lied and cheated, men would hold you back. So the four members formed The “I’ll Never Say I Do” Club and pursued advanced degrees, dedicated themselves to their careers and now they’re the best in their fields. Rich, successful and alone. Then their leader, Seri, meets and falls in love with a man she met online. At her Maine wedding, she issues a challenge to her three bridesmaids: Three months to meet a man they want to marry. The consolation prize if they fail: a New Year’s trip to Hawaii. What have they got to lose?


Love ‘em and leave ‘em had always been Jess’s motto. No way was anyone going to get inside her heart and hurt her. Again. Dr. Jessica Mizrahi, clinical psychologist, had the perfect life… what did she need a man for, except a quick fling, all sizzle and seduction, until she walked away. On the night of Seri’s wedding, Jess falls into a hot and heavy quickie with a tall, dark, handsome chef. She heads home the next day, but he’s in her head. Then, he’s in her hometown, opening the hot new restaurant right next door. She can’t seem to avoid him. And she doesn’t want to, drawn to the warmth in his flashing eyes, the humor lurking behind his cocky smirks and the memories of their brief but blistering time together. He’s more than he seemed and is becoming more than she can handle.


Stavros Kolias is the hottest chef in Manhattan. For ten years, he’s clawed his way up to the top, earning Michelin stars for his restaurant, Stavropol. But, even Michelin can’t fill the need that’s been building inside him. Chasing his dream of intimate bistros in resort towns along the East Coast brings him to Maine in early summer. A spitfire dressed as a bridesmaid seduces him. Then she’s gone. Imagine his surprise when she literally knocks him down right in front of Yaya’s, his new restaurant in Saratoga Springs. How is he going to get her out of his mind when she lives right next door? He’s vowed never to let a woman into his heart again, but he can’t stop thinking of her. He’ll keep it loose and lusty, no strings. Then he’ll move on. But, can he?


Jess has vowed never to love any man and Steve refuses to trust any woman. But, the sparks that were ignited in Maine, are burning hot and bright in Saratoga and they can’t resist the heat. As they are pulled closer and closer together, hope begins to burn. Doubts and fears from their pasts may be too much for them to overcome. Instead of walking away, will one of them be able to take the first step toward happy ever after?


Excerpt:


“There is no man alive I would scramble over wet, dirty rocks to kiss.” Jessica snorted as she waved her glass of champagne at the ocean crashing against the shore outside the window of the bar.


“Damn straight, Jess!” Olivia, who echoed her sentiment, raised her half-filled flute in agreement. “Well, except maybe Tom Hiddleston.”


“I’m with you, girlfriends.” Chiming in with a giggle and burp was Emily. “I am, of course, excluding Chris Hemsworth. I would swim across the Atlantic out there for him.”


The three friends touched glasses in a silent toast, then drained the excellent bubbly.


Jessica smiled, thinking that if you had to be at a wedding and you had to wear bridesmaids’ gowns in shades of hot pink, you could at least appreciate the magnificent view and the great food and wine provided by the bride’s generous and grateful parents.


Late spring on the coast of Maine was not to be sneezed at, especially while ensconced in the state’s premier resort. Jess tried to steer her mind toward gratitude and camaraderie, but she was having a hard time with it. They had all made a vow at their graduation from Smith College that they would never get married. Never. Not one of them believed in happy ever after and each one of them proclaimed they did not need a man…for anything! For over a decade, they had pursued advanced degrees, then diligently worked to rise to the top of their professions. At the peak of their individual successes, their leader, their beloved Seri, the most outspoken of their group, had fallen in love—with a man she’d met online, for God’s sake. Jessica snorted again in disbelief and derision. What the hell!


“You know, the photographer probably got some amazing shots of Seri and Thomas down there on the rocks with the ocean spray and blue sky behind them. They might make the cover of Modern Bride!” Emily gazed down at the cliffs that surrounded the resort.


“Yes, but the bottom of her gown got soaked and I’m pretty sure her Jimmy Choos are ruined from the slime on those rocks. I know mine are looking pretty sad.” Wrinkling her aristocratic nose, Olivia glanced down at the slim crisscrossing silver straps of her own damp shoes as her shoulders shimmied to the music echoing in the ballroom.


Jessica was about to agree and make a comment about how their dear friend had obviously lost her mind when someone grabbed her from behind in a hug that squeezed almost all the air out of her lungs. She glanced down at the strong tanned arms encircling her waist and the familiar hand weighed down by an enormous diamond engagement ring and matching wedding band of perfect white and pink diamonds. It was Seri. Well, thank God I didn’t open my big mouth! Seri’s feelings bruise so easily.


“Ladies, and I use the term loosely, why aren’t you dancing? The band is going to play our song and I want you out on the dance floor with me.” Blonde, pretty, Seri—who looked like the Barbie dolls they had played with as children but who had an accountant’s analytical mind—swung Jess around and planted a wet kiss on her cheek. She had definitely been enjoying the champagne.


Seri released Jess from her embrace and lifted her gown to show off a pair of bejeweled fuchsia flip-flops. “I got all of you matching flip-flops—I don’t expect you to boogie in four-inch heels. I’m not a sadist!”


“You could have fooled me. Putting us in these frou-frou dresses and ‘take me’ heels, then dragging us out on the rocks for pictures! What were you thinking?” Jessica blurted out her annoyance.


“I was thinking that Thomas would love the photographs. You know how much he adores Maine and the ocean. It’s what you do for the man you love.” Seri replied to Jess as if she were speaking to a three-year-old. “But once you lovelies find the men of your dreams, you’ll know what I mean.”


All three of the bridesmaids emphatically shook their heads no. No way, not going to happen.


“Stop being so negative. If I can find someone to fall madly in love with and marry, so can you three. Of all of us, I was the most against saying ‘I do’. You just have to open your hearts and let love in.” Seri sloppily patted her almost-flat chest somewhere in the vicinity of her heart.


Seri was drunker than Jess had imagined. Let love in? Never. Maybe let lust in from time to time, but forever tied to a man? Jessica shuddered at the thought. Love them and leave them before they leave had been her motto for years and she would not change her mind, even if it meant denying Seri her dream. Jessica was never going to be hurt again.


Pulling herself back from the dark abyss of her memories, she realized Seri was handing them each a pair of flip-flops, urging them to hurry and change so they could have their dance together.


Oh, damn. She just wanted to get away from all the love and marriage crap for a few moments. But her friends were looking to her to join in—to be part of the “fearsome foursome.”


So, she shrugged and smiled and let Seri drag her, along with Olivia and Emily, onto the dance floor. The female vocalist rocked out a credible rendition of “Milkshake” and soon the four women were spinning and stomping, just as they had done all through Smith and every chance they could get thereafter.


As Jess twirled around, her arms in the air, she caught sight of a flash of white in the corner of the ballroom. Twisting her head to get a better view, she saw a gorgeous man in a chef’s jacket step onto the terrace. Just as the door swung closed behind him, he turned and sent her a sexy smirk.


When the song ended, she broke away from her friends, feigning the need for some cool air. Lifting a glass of champagne from the tray of a passing server, Jessica made her way to the same terrace doors through which tall, dark, and hot had just passed. She might not be looking for forever from any male, but this man definitely had the look of need you right now written all over him.


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):




Author Biography:


My pen-name is Morgan Malone. A twist on the old “What is my stripper name? A combination of the name of your first pet and the street you grew up created Morgan Malone, an erudite yet brazen hussy, who left her career as an administrative law judge and counsel to pursue her first great love: writing.


I am a best-selling, award-winning published author of a variety of romance novels: some steaming hot, some sexy, some sweet, mostly contemporary but a Pirate trilogy is in the works. I also write romantic memoir. My mainstream essays have been broadcast on NPR’s 51%, a nationally broadcast show directed at women. I frequently give workshops at author-reader conferences about writing “later-in-life” love stories featuring heroes and heroines, who are falling in love for the last, or maybe the first, time in their lives. Because, if you’re over 25 (and I am), maybe your book boyfriend should be too!


I live in Saratoga County, NY with my rescue diva dog, Princess. My daughter is a clinical psychologist practicing in Westchester County and my son (the real estate magnate), daughter-in-law (award-winning registered nurse) and two grandsons, live nearby. I travel, paint watercolors, play Mah Jongg, officiate at weddings, and arbitrate employment contract disputes in between writing romance and memoir.


Social Media Links:


TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@morganmaloneauthor?lang=en

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/morgan-malone

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard?page=2&ref=nav_profile_authordash


Title: Rolling In The Deep. The I’ll Never Say “I Do” Club series, Book Two

Author: Morgan Malone

Genre: Later-in-life romance

Book Cover: Kris Norris


Book Blurb:


“I dare you, I double, triple dare you, to go online for six months and really look at the guys who are out there just waiting to fall in love with the awesome women you are! I bet you that you will all be head over heels and be engaged by the end of the year!”


Seri, Jessica, Emily and Olivia made a vow in college never to marry: men couldn’t be trusted, men would break your heart, men lied and cheated, men would hold you back. So the four members formed The “I’ll Never Say I Do” Club and pursued advanced degrees, dedicated themselves to their careers and now they’re the best in their fields. Rich, successful and alone. Then their leader, Seri, meets and falls in love with a man she met online. At her Maine wedding, she issues a challenge to her three bridesmaids: Three months to meet a man they want to marry. The consolation prize if they fail: a New Year’s trip to Hawaii. What have they got to lose?


Emily Livingston has a secret. She’s managed to keep her troubled past hidden from almost everyone for over twenty years. Only her dear friends, Seri, Olivia, and Jessica, know about the scar from the tragic accident that shattered her dreams. And destroyed her heart. Men are temporary pleasures reserved for vacations and business trips. Never close to home. Until she meets Wolfgang Biddle Wharton, rich, gorgeous, super-star conductor. He seems to have everything, but Wolf knows what it is to look for new dreams when the old ones die. Wolf arrives in Saratoga Springs as a guest conductor for the Philadelphia Orchestra, looking forward to a relaxing summer residence in the Spa City. What he finds is a woman who immediately attracts him and almost as quickly dismisses him. Emily and Wolf have nothing in common. Except lost dreams and rebuilt lives. And a need that is not satisfied in one-night. Wolf wants more, but it will take all his patience and perseverance to win Emily’s trust. Fighting against her friend’s prediction that she would find love by summer’s end. Emily must face her past before she can reveal to Wolf the injury that is more terrible than the one that almost took her life: the scarred remnants of her shattered heart. Very sexy.


Excerpt:


In his mind, Wolf conducted “Music of The Night” as he stole secretive glances at the vibrant, yet poignant, redhead seated at the bar with the bold and fabulous brunette who was obviously the current amor of the talented chef who had pointed a long knife in his direction more than once. But Wolf’s words were deferential and attentive to the rich society matron whose donations funded most of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s stay at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center each year. If only she had a clue.


“Excuse me, Clarice. I see that we need another bottle of bubbly and the servers appear to be swamped. I’ll just step up to the bar and cajole one more order of champagne from the bartender.”


Straightening his immaculate white vest and shooting his cuffs, he turned toward the object of his attention.


She wasn’t even looking in his direction. She was leaning over the bar, her sparkly tulle-covered butt lifted in the air, as she balanced her impossibly high-heel-shod feet on the rung of the bar stool. Just as he reached the bar, the redhead plopped back onto the stool, a bottle of Cristal in her fist. “Got it! I told you, Jess—I am nimble and coordinated. Unlike you, I really do work out every day. And I need champagne again. Right now!”


“You forgot to grab a corkscrew, Em. But no matter. I may not be as nimble as you, but I have an ‘in’ with the owner of this classy joint.” Jess motioned to the bartender who immediately appeared, taking the bottle from the redhead, and expertly opening it in a flash.


The redhead raised her toned arms in surrender and Wolf nearly swallowed his tongue at the sight of her trim tummy revealed just above the waistband of her sparkly skirt. The sound of him clearing his throat caused the brunette to look his way. A slow sexy smile spread across her face.


“Well, hello there. I was wondering when you would get away from Mrs. Vanderbilt, or whoever she is, and make your way over to us.” She slipped from her bar stool. “Here, take my seat. I see a handsome and talented Greek chef who looks like he needs my assistance.” She sauntered over to the open kitchen and placed her hand firmly on the butt of Stavros Kolias.


Even though the redhead gave him a suspicious, and slightly unfocused glare, Wolf slid onto the abandoned bar stool. An exotic fragrance engulfed him, reminding him of trips to Tangiers and Morocco. Musk and ambergris and something vaguely woodsy. He breathed in the scent of the fidgeting female perched on the stool beside him.


“Come here often?” He said it sardonically, hoping to impress her with his suave demeanor.


“Crap. Do you really use that as a line?” Her eyebrow raised in disbelief, then she took a delicate sip of her champagne. “If so, I can see why you’re such a hit with the octogenarian set. Or maybe you don’t get out much. You’re suitable only for the very, very formal and upper-class affairs around here. You must be a Whitney or a Post or a Schuyler.”


She sipped again from the flute she held delicately in her hand—a hand he noticed had neat, pale pink nails. Not a party-girl hand but the hand of someone who worked for a living. It was strong and capable, like the woman herself—all taut, lean, muscle with the faint honey glow of someone who spent time outside. He’d expected, with her flaming auburn tresses, that her skin would be milky white, with maybe a sprinkling of freckles across her nose. Wolf admitted to himself that while he had a weakness for freckles, there was something about the woman who watched him warily over the rim of her glass that intrigued and attracted him.


“Actually, I’m a Wharton. With a bit of Biddle and a trace of Wyeth.” He held out his hand to her.


She gamely grasped it and gave him a perfunctory handshake. But she held onto him as her lilac eyes deepened to amethyst.


Suspicion? No, he decided as her pupils dilated. Attraction. Unwelcome attraction. “My name is Wolfgang Biddle Wharton of Philadelphia and Mackinac Island. I’m in town for a gig at the Performing Arts Center.”


A bit of a sneer captured her full lips.


“Hence, the tuxedo. Part of the gig is attending formal donor receptions. Trust me, I’d rather be wandering Broadway in jeans and a T-shirt. Grabbing a beer and some tacos at that interesting cantina a few doors down.” Which, of course, was not really the truth, but he was hoping for a more positive reaction than the disdain she wore as lipstick.


She lifted her near-empty flute of champagne to toast him before she drained it. Setting the crystal down on the bar, she motioned for a refill. And a glass for him. Her face reflected anticipation and possibilities.


“Well, I’m not living in nearly as rarefied atmosphere as you, Mr. Wharton. My name is Emily Livingston and I’m just a working-class girl from right here. I grew up in Saratoga and moved back as soon as I finished college.”


It was Wolf’s turn to raise a quizzical eyebrow. He did not quite buy her simple story. There was something about her. She was someone he knew. Or knew about. He found himself looking forward to the challenge of uncovering Emily’s secrets. All of them. Then they would see about the rest of the month of July.


A movement out of the corner of his eye captured his attention. His party seemed to be getting ready to leave.


Wolf stood abruptly, then turned to Emily. She glared at him with a faint look of derision and disappointment—if he read her face correctly. Placing a hand lightly on her arm, he was taken aback by the shimmer of heat he felt. “Promise me you won’t leave. Please, promise me that you’ll be here after I see them to their car.”


Emily glanced down at his hand as if she couldn’t believe it still rested on her arm. Then smiled up at him. “Yeah, sure. I’ve still got over half a bottle of Cristal to finish. I’m not going anywhere…except maybe to the Ladies Room to…powder my nose.” She motioned the bartender over. “Gus, be a dear and don’t let anyone grab our seats. We’ll both be right back.”


“You better come back in five minutes, Wolf,” she tossed over her shoulder as she sauntered toward the back of the restaurant. “We’re getting two plates of Stavros Kolias’ famous lemon shrimp with capers and if you aren’t back here when I return, I’ll eat both of them myself.”


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):



Title: Rumor Has It. The I’ll Never Say “I Do” Club series, Book Three

Author: Morgan Malone

Genre: Later-in-life Romance

Book Cover: Kris Norris


Book Blurb:


“I dare you, I double, triple dare you, to go online for three months and really look at the guys who are out there just waiting to fall in love with the awesome women you are! I bet you that you will all be head over heels and engaged by the end of the year!”


Serendipity, Jessica, Emily, and Olivia made a vow in college never to marry when they formed The “I’ll Never Say I Do” Club. Now, at 40, they are all rich and successful. And alone. Then Seri meets and falls in love with a man she improbably met online. At her Maine wedding, she issues a challenge to her three bridesmaids: three months to meet a man they want to marry. The consolation prize if they fail: a New Year’s trip to Hawaii. What have they got to lose?


They call her The Tigress. Newest partner of The Smith Firm. Feared by opponents. Admired by colleagues. Depended upon by her extended family. Loved by her three best friends, Seri, Jess and Em. And alone. Olivia Trask Morris has never fully recovered from the broken heart of her youth. Men are an accessory, a brief interlude, then out of her life. Except one man she has studiously avoided since their senior year in high school. The first man, the only man to whom she gave her heart, her dreams, and her innocence. The man who crushed her with his lies and infidelity. The man whose file has just been assigned to her by the senior partner.


He is the Playboy of the Western World. The Man with the Midas Touch. And he is about to walk away. Brookes Hamilton Fisk is tired of the deals, the money, and the women. For fifteen. years, he has conquered the business world and been the escort, and sometimes the lover, of a bevy of beautiful actresses, models, and socialites. Anything to keep the world from realizing that he gave his heart away when he was just eighteen, to a girl who tossed it back into his face. Now, he is pursuing his dearest dream: breeding the best thoroughbred race horses in the world. All he needs is the perfect farm in Saratoga Springs. And a tough-as-nails lawyer to help him get it.


They were made for each other. Brookes still believes that he can win back Olivia’s heart, even if he must scheme for her to be his lawyer to make it happen. Olivia hates nothing more than being manipulated by a man. Especially Brookes. She’s hated him for decades, at least that is what Olivia tells herself as they are thrown together and she sees glimmers of the boy she loved in the man she despises. Could she have been wrong all those years ago? Will Seri’s prediction come true or is this one deal that even Brookes can’t close?


Excerpt:


Olivia settled in to people watch the colorful crowd streaming up and down Saratoga’s main drag. She only looked up when the server arrived at the table with a pitcher of sangria and three glasses. Olivia was just raising a glass of the fruity wine to her lips, when the front door of the restaurant opened, catching her eye as the sounds from outside echoed through the opening.


Her hand froze midway to her mouth, the drink sloshing slightly at her abrupt movement. “Fuck no.”


Brookes Hamilton Fisk, big as life and twice as pretty, stood chatting with the hostess, pointing toward the bar, and raising one finger signaling that he was only looking for a place for himself.


She smiled at him, as all women did, Olivia thought, taking in his supreme confidence, ingratiating smile, Chris Hemsworth build, and laser blue eyes. The hostess took the bar menu in hand and escorted him to the corner seat always reserved for Jess when Steve worked the open kitchen.


Before he followed the efficient young woman, Brookes turned as if scanning the room. He paused when their eyes met across the crowded restaurant.


Olivia glared at him as she noted no evidence of surprise.


He’d known she was in Yaya’s—how she didn’t know, but he’d come in looking for her.


Olivia raised the wineglass the rest of the way to her mouth and took a long sip, pleased that her hand did not shake. She slowly lowered the glass to the table, licking her lips as if savoring the wine. “Savor, my ass,” she thought. “Take that, you lying, cheating, rat.”


Wicked glee filled her as she noted the way his eyes widened, and he seemed to miss a step as he continued to the seat held by the hostess. He sat, his back to Olivia, but she noted with satisfaction that his spine was ramrod stiff.


Then Emily came out of the ladies’ room and began making her way back to their table. Olivia saw the exact moment that Em noticed Brookes. Emily’s fair complexion turned a deep pink and her lilac eyes darkened to the purple of thunder clouds. Then she sought and found Olivia.


Olivia gave a small shake of her head, motioning Emily to join her.


“What the hell, Livvie?” Emily whispered sharply as she slid into the chair facing the bar. “What the hell is he doing here?”


“Where else would Mr. Social Media Star show up on a Sunday afternoon in August in Saratoga? No big races at the Track today. No concerts at SPAC. Of course, he’d wander into the most popular restaurant in town. Plus, it’s got the cachet of being Stavros Kolias’ newest hit. Since the clingy, skinny, dark-haired child he was with last night is absent, one can assume she’s been sent packing, with a lovely parting gift, I’m sure.” Olivia took another sip of her sangria, desperately in need of the cooling liquid pouring down her parched throat. She glanced around the almost-packed dining room. “Looks like a well-stocked venue for his next mark. A few ballerinas in town a couple of days early. A table of young socialite-types over in the corner. Yeah, it’s a target-rich environment.”


“How are you doing? I’m sorry I left you alone, Livvie. Do you want to leave? I’ll text Jess and tell her we’re going back to her apartment.”


“What? And miss the goodies we’ve ordered? No way. I’m longing for some of Steve’s lemon shrimp. The lying, cheating, rat’s not going to scare us off. I can handle it. Besides,” Olivia smiled a truly evil smile and nodded toward where Jess was coming into the restaurant from the main kitchen, “you don’t want to miss the fireworks, do you?”


Olivia tipped her head toward where Jessica stood—just outside the swinging door that separated the main kitchen from the dining room.


She was steps away from the bar and stared at the man perched on her favorite seat at the bar, drinking from a cold bottle of Modelo. Clenched fists resting on her hips, temper flaring in her hazel eyes, Jess sauntered over to the bar. “Of all the gin joints, in all the world, you have to come into mine?”


Brookes turned toward Jess, a quizzical smile on his face. He lifted the bottle of beer in a toast to her. “I came in for the shrimp and a cold beer. And, of course, the atmosphere.” He stood and offered her his seat. “But I’d be happy to buy you a gin and we can discuss classic movies. Or anything else you’d like.”


Jess smiled—a smile Olivia recognized, even from a distance, as the one Jess had perfected for cutting arrogant men down to size. She snapped her fingers and Gus, the head bartender, turned from the customers he was serving at the other end of the bar. Holding a damp cloth in his hands he sauntered to where Jess stood next to Brookes.


“Gus, darling, this gentleman wants to buy me a gin so can you make me a gin and tonic with our most expensive offering. Add it to his bill.” Her lips thinned into her trademark smirk. “Then cash him out and make sure he leaves as soon as his bill his paid. For the last drinks he’ll ever order at this bar.”


Olivia hung on every word Jess said. She could hear her clearly across the room, as could many others, apparently, because conversations were halting, and voices were quieting as the drama at the bar unfolded.


To his credit, Brookes said nothing. He reached into his pocket, pulling out a slim wallet and removed a one-hundred-dollar bill. He placed it neatly on the bar, took one long sip of his beer, then put the half-empty bottle on the bar next to the currency. “I assume that will cover the drinks and the trouble to the bartender. I apologize for whatever offense I have committed, real or imagined.”


He turned and walked away from the bar, pausing only long enough to cast a look of longing and regret toward Olivia before he exited Yaya’s into the summer heat.


But later that evening, tucked up in her sumptuous bed in Jessica’s apartment, Olivia kept pondering Brookes’ expression. What could he possibly mean by sending her such a look? And what was he doing in Saratoga at the same time she was in town, at two places where he had no way of knowing she would be? There was only one person who might know.


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1 Comment


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Nov 07, 2023

Thank you, Morgan, for sharing your book series with us! It sounds sooooo good!

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