Title: Their No-Strings Affair
Author: Charlotte O’Shay
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Honey packs everything she owns and heads to NYC to jumpstart her art career. Her cheating boyfriend is history, and she finally acknowledges the truth of her mother's mantra: Careers are forever and happily ever after isn't in their DNA. All she needs is a job and a place to live. What she doesn't need is a taciturn, sexy, ballbuster but she's woman enough to know the difference between need and want. Isn't she? Jake's childhood was marred by tragedy and his future hijacked to a promise born of guilt. His failure drove him to a career as a SEAL and a security expert. But it's not enough. Now he'll give up his freedom in reparation for the life he lost. Honey may be the last sweet stop on the road to a joyless future.
If it's what they both want, where's the harm in a no-strings affair?
Jake had been alerted to an altercation between two wait staff, about to come to blows.
That was not happening tonight. Not on his watch. He’d added extra security from his own firm along with the additional service staff he hired from an outside company for this evening to supplement Pierre’s already ample and well-trained staff.
His company had seen to Vlad Grigory’s security needs for five years now, and money was no object. The object was to make sure every invited guest, including the politicians and celebrities at the Grigory wedding and most especially the newly married couple, had a smooth, safe, and enjoyable evening.
His mouth twisted. As enjoyable as a wedding could be anyway.
One of the perpetrators in the almost-brawl was cooling his heels in a room off the kitchen. The other, who’d just deliberately toppled a tray full of empty wineglasses on his shoes, was in the adjoining room.
After he quickly buffed his shoes, navy style, back to their previous brilliant level of patent-leather luster, he quizzed the male waiter first, which gave him a few minutes to cool off. He’d never been so infuriated so fast as he was five minutes ago. Jake sucked up his annoyance because, damn, he was disciplined if nothing else. Nothing and no one was going to screw up this event—especially not a belligerent employee. That went double for an aggravating, firecracker of a female.
The male server spouted a BS story that the female, H. Hill, had barged into his section of the ballroom and gotten in his face when he pointed out his territory to her. The male had argued back, and she raised her fists. The story rang false, but Jake didn’t bother to challenge him—yet. Everybody working tonight would be amply compensated, even before tips. Territorial fights seldom happened when everybody was happy with the end game. But the yelling part, yeah, he definitely believed that. Less than a minute with her and he was ready to spit nails.
Irritated, he lifted a hand to his hair before he fisted both hands in the pockets of his immaculate pants instead. He would look as sharp now as he had at eight this morning. His professional image was vital, because he was it, the face of his security company.
His security company had grown and was still growing by leaps and bounds, in large part due to his attention to detail. Since he’d left the service five years ago, Jake poured his sweat, knowledge, and heart into his now thriving business. Haven Security was well respected by people like Vlad Grigory. Vlad might be one of his best friends now, but when he’d hired him all those years ago, Jake needed to prove himself to the up and coming tycoon.
And Jake didn’t give a damn his mother considered his security business a defiant detour on the road to his ultimate destiny. Let her remain where she wanted to be, across the ocean, gilding her bygone pedigree and chasing status. He’d made a life for himself here in New York and he’d live it. While he could.
Jake ignored the guilt-ridden voice in his head that reminded him the pull of his promise could no longer be put off. In the new year, his time would be up.
Shrugging away those dark thoughts, he checked his watch. It was almost one a.m. The reception was winding down, and it would finish as the most uneventful security event of its kind if he had anything to do with it, and he did. Jake gave himself no more than five minutes to resolve this employee dustup, mete justice, and move on.
His hand hovered over the doorknob as he watched her through the porthole-style window of the door. Pacing back and forth across the small room, ignoring the folding chair against the wall, with arms crossed under her chest, she was a compact bundle of kinetic energy in spite of the hour. She came to a standstill when he closed the door, and her dark eyes flashed.
For a moment, he zeroed in on the dark chocolate, thickly lashed eyes that seethed with emotion. He read annoyance there, even antagonism, but didn’t see a trace of fear. He continued to examine her silently, always his first tactic to keep an adversary or an underling off balance. A pulse throbbed in her throat, and her fists dropped to her sides to clench and unclench like she was gearing up to attack.
Something in her combative stance struck him as vulnerable, but as he watched, she rolled her shoulders much like he might do before a fight. Or when he was exhausted. Damn. He didn’t want to notice anything else about her.
This was business. So he looked over her head, easy to do since he was at least a foot taller.
“Ms. Hill…or whatever your real name is.”
Her jaw clamped shut, and her chin lifted as she struggled to leash her temper.
Join the club, sweetheart.
“Enough of the drama. What happened with the other server? I was alerted to the beginning of a loud argument, told it was about to get physical.”
“I handled it.” She flicked a small, capable-looking hand with short, unpainted fingernails. “It was all over before you came along.”
Jake nodded. Folded his arms across his chest. “Maybe. But what happened? And how did you get in here tonight?”
She shrugged. “There’s no way I’m telling you any of that.”
He almost admired the way she stonewalled him. It took guts because she had to know she was done working for him.
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What’s your favorite way to combat stress?
Other than reading romance? I’ve developed a lot of ways to combat stress. Like Honey, the heroine of Their No-Strings Affair, I enjoy yoga, in my case I’m learning to practice Ashtanga yoga and Transcendental Meditation. I adore a brisk walk along the Hudson River (or any beach). One of my favorite ways to avoid stress all day is starting my morning with a non-rushed cup of coffee just as the birds awaken and ending it with a glass of wine preferably watching the sun set.
Why is your featured book a stress busting read?
Their No-Strings Affair is an engrossing, feel good read, an enemies-to-lovers story about two vulnerable people who fate keeps throwing together until they get the hint and give in to their attraction. But complications ensue as they will in all good romances till Honey & Jake earn their happily ever after.
Losing yourself in an emotional, happily ever after is probably the best stress relief ever invented. Since the setting for the story is New York City, you can take a trip to the Big Apple without ever leaving your comfy chair.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card.
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.
Runs May 1 – May 31
Drawing will be held on June 1.
The only thing Charlotte O’Shay loves more than reading steamy, emotional romance where happily ever after always wins is…writing them. Charlotte lives with her real-life hero Mac on the far west side of Manhattan where daily walks along the Hudson River fuel her vivid imagination.
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