Title: Yours Truly
Author: K.J. Pierce
Genre: Romantic Comedy / Romance
Izzie Greene never wanted the limelight. As a caterer for Poe, the top-rated U.S. TV show, she had background player down pat. Her main focus was to spoil the cast and crew and fantasize about her celebrity crush, Scotsman Cardwell Bennett, while navigating the daily chaos. Izzie’s professional life takes a sharp left turn when her ex-boyfriend unexpectedly arrives on set. Her personal life spirals into Hell when she runs afoul of an unethical paparazzo. Thrust into the public eye, her notoriety is fueled by equal measures of constant scrutiny, speculation, and half-truths. Her rumored romance with Cardwell further stokes the flames. Held captive by the media, accident-prone Izzie struggles to keep her privacy, secrets, and sanity intact—not to mention her sense of humor. With help from her best friend Delly, her temperamental cat Edgar, and unexpected backup, Izzie might withstand the onslaught. And survive the season.
I had just stooped to pull the last tray of scones from the oven when someone leaned over and whispered in my ear.
Startled, I jerked back my head, connecting with the person behind me. Together, we crashed to the floor in a tangle of bodies. I lifted my cheek from the warm chest I’d landed on and froze.
“Are you okay?” Cardwell smoothed away the hair from my face.
Dumbstruck, I nodded, held my breath, and slid off his body. I didn’t exhale until I sat leaning against the counter, waiting for my racing heart to slow.
Cardwell stood and held out his hand.
I grasped it and let him haul me to my feet. Once upright, I gasped. “Shit! Your nose is bleeding!” Nothing better than head butting the leading man first thing in the morning. I grabbed the closest towel and forced it under his nose. “Sit.” I steered him to the stool Delly vacated.
He leaned back his head, blood oozing through the fabric.
“No, don’t tilt your head!” I shook my open-palmed hands. “Vincent will kill me if you choke on your own blood.”
Cardwell dropped his head back to a normal position, his eyes shining brightly over the top of the towel.
“Keep that in place and pinch just below the bridge of your nose. Don’t move.” I grabbed a second towel, bolted to the icemaker, and created a makeshift ice pack. I rushed back, ignoring his persistent gaze. “Let me take a look, but keep your nose pinched.” I removed the bloodstained towel. His nose was red and swollen. “Does it feel like it’s broken?”
“Don’t know. I’ve never had a broken nose.” He probed with his fingers and winced. “It hurts, but I think not.”
“Great. Let go.”
He released his hold.
I breathed a sigh of relief. Not the slightest trickle of blood and his nose wasn’t any more crooked than on a normal day. “The bleeding’s stopped already.” I handed him the ice pack. “If the swelling doesn’t go down, though, Vincent’ll freak.”
“Get the scones.”
The ice pack muffled his voice. I turned my ear toward him and leaned in. “What?”
“The scones.” He nodded toward the oven. “They’ll burn.”
I slid out the tray and set it on the far end of the counter to cool before wetting another towel in the sink. Wringing the cotton damp, I marched back to Cardwell. “You look like something out of a horror movie.”
He set the ice pack on the counter and sat without moving.
With gentle swipes, I wiped away the blood. “That’s better. Keep on the ice pack.” I tossed the bloody towel into the sink. “Probably not the best idea, but do you want a cup of coffee?”
“Yes, please. Cream and sugar.”
I’d just set the cup of coffee and a plate with a warm scone aside for Cardwell when Delly walked in.
“Busy morning already.” She glanced from me to him and squinted. “Are you okay?”
Cardwell bobbed his head. “Aye. Just a slight mishap. Izzie’s taking good care of me.”
“I’m sure she is.” Delly graced him with a smile.
She met me at the sink where I stood rinsing out the bloody towel.
“What happened?” She arched an eyebrow and leaned in close. “Porn first thing in the morning?”
I peeked at Cardwell over my shoulder and huddled closer. “I’ll tell you later.”
“Did someone say porn?”
Jimmy’s voice boomed through the kitchen, and I choked back a nervous giggle.
Cardwell’s head jerked toward me, an eyebrow raised.
Inside joke, I mouthed, my face burning.
“God, Jimmy, have some decorum. We’ve got company.” She grinned and nodded toward Cardwell.
Jimmy took in the scene, dipped his head while touching the brim of his baseball cap, and grabbed a large white cooler. “Mornin’, Cardwell.” After handing off the cooler to a couple of his minions, he shoved the last two portable food carriers at Delly and propelled her out the door.
I carried the coffee and scone to Cardwell. “Peace offering.” I set them down.
His eyes lit up. “It’s not your fault.” Cardwell set the jury-rigged ice pack on the counter and sipped at his coffee. “I’m sorry I startled you.”
“I’m sorry I cracked your nose.” And even sorrier there isn’t a rock to crawl under.
“There are worse things in life.” He picked up the scone and held it to his nose, inhaling deeply. “Did you use nutmeg or cinnamon?”
“A little of both. I’m relieved your sense of smell still works.” I forced myself to relax my shoulders. “Do you want anything with it? Butter? Jam?”
Cardwell shook his head and took a bite. “These are so good. They don’t need anything.”
Maybe Delly had the right idea about food porn. “At least one man on the planet appreciates them.” He stared at me like I’d grown a third eyeball in the center of my forehead.
“A man would be a bloody fool not to love these.” He raised the remaining part of the scone in salute.
I dipped my head in acknowledgment. “Funny you should say that.”
Delly strode in with Jimmy on her heels. “Time to go, kiddies.” She poured a to-go cup of coffee and grabbed her backpack from the stock room.
“I’ve still got to pack the scones.” I rushed to grab a carrier and skidded across the floor, my windmilling arms doing nothing to help me regain my balance.
The tray rack didn’t stand a chance.
After the clatter died down, Jimmy set the tray rack upright, and I looked up.
Cardwell peered downward. “You okay?” His eyes flashed concern.
I grasped his hand, and he once again pulled me to my feet. “Yeah. It’ll take more than an empty tray rack to do me in.”
Amazon E-Book: https://tinyurl.im/AMZN-YoursTruly
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What’s your favorite part about being a romance author?
Making up funny and horrible things for my heroines to go through.
Here’s my tip to add romance to your love life:
Love yourself first. Then love someone else. And never take yourself too seriously.
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Runs February 1 – 29
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Thanks to her Army Brat upbringing, author K.J. Pierce has an insatiable curiosity for both the world at large and the people who inhabit it. She loves to travel but rarely does, so she combats her "itchy-feet" syndrome by rearranging the furniture. She loves heroines who are misfits and outcasts, and who are stronger than they think. Like many of her favorites, she's prone to the occasional bout of melodrama and suffers from the not-so-occasional foot-in-mouth disease. She currently lives on Florida's Space Coast with her cat Dorian Gray, who lives up to his name by striving to be the state's most prolific lizard serial killer. Yours Truly is her first novel.
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