Saturday, August 3, 2013

Winner of Billionaire's Trust Giveaway! And Updates!

First off, a HUGE thanks to everyone that shared your favorite quotes from the series! Glad to see everyone else loved the scenes where Jacob is achingly romantic (and ones where he's deliciously naughty! mmm...:) 
 Can't wait to share mock ups of the t-shirts! Picked via Rafflecoptor, the winner of the $26 Amazon gift card is Kelly Y! Congratulations!!! Keep your eye on your email, Kelly so I can get your prize to you. 

As far as The Billionaire's Trust, part eleven is currently up on Smashwords and should be live on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in the AM/afternoon tomorrow. I apologize for any delay and I'll update the post along with links as soon as they go live. To tide yall over, here's the cover for The Billionaire's Trust along with an extended excerpt!Enjoy. <3 

Excerpt from The Billionaire's Trust

"You ready for this?"
I should have been the one asking him that because he didn't sound remotely ready for what was waiting on the other side of the door.
Jacob's usually authoritative voice was unsteady. Nervous. The man had taken on squirrely investors, paparazzi and Rachel Laraby like a Spartan charging into battle, but he paused at the entrance to The Vineyard. He paid no mind to the staff, perky and already springing to action as they pulled open the heavy oak doors to the restaurant. He looked beyond them warily, like he could already see his mother, smiling brightly as she secretly plotted some way to break his heart all over again.
To the outside world he was the picture of cool sophistication. His dark waves were tamed and pushed back, highlighting his good genes. There was no missing his signature, strong jaw, bright blue eyes and lips that would make any woman's cheeks redden as she thought up ways to put them to good use. His crisp, two-piece suit commanded attention and if it wasn't for the staff providing a buffer, the paparazzi were more than willing to oblige. Usually, he'd trade barbs since he knew most of them by name, but not today.
"If I didn't know better, I'd think you were trying to chicken out," I said, my lips curling at the sides. Comic relief--that’s what this situation needs.
He gave me a single look that would have reduced anyone else to a bumbling mess, but I didn't even blink until he dropped the hard ass routine and his mouth tilted into a smirk.
"Chicken out? No--there's just other things I'd like to do..."
I felt every single dot dot dot as blue eyes worked their way around the curves of my body before settling back on the weakening resolve in my eyes. I was pretty sure I knew where the conversation was headed. Other things he'd like to me.
And I wouldn't put up a fight. We'd already spent most of the morning in some manner of undress and all it took from him was a single look, heck, a single word and I was quivering and wet.
He roped a hand around my waist and I didn't even have time to say a word before he gripped my ass.
The cameras went wild.
My face was already on fire but I didn't look up to nonverbally ask if he really wanted our picture of the day to be one where he was copping a feel; we were both nervous as hell about this meeting so I considered making another joke or stepping it up a notch and really giving them something to photograph, but my face fell when I saw his.
His expression was a raw, exposed nerve. One look into his sea-blue eyes and I learned it was much more than jittery nervousness. He was like a man about to walk to his execution.
Jacob's apprehension was understandable. It had only been a few days since Alicia pulled the stick from her ass and handed over his grandmother's ring. After awkwardly going our separate ways, we'd speculated how things would change. His money was on Alicia acting like nothing happened, stepping into our lives as if she hadn’t been adamantly against our relationship. Mine was on her judging us from a distance. She was worthy of sainthood since she deigned to give up the ring, and now she would suffer in near silence until we learned our lessons.
Unfortunately, Jacob was right.
Not even twenty-four hours after the apology a barrage of texts, calls, and emails bombarded us both. It was like she was literally trying to make up for lost time. She was always apologetic, but after finally letting it go to voicemail it was obvious that she wasn’t going anywhere. When she’d suggested meeting for lunch to talk about the wedding I said yes before Jacob could get a word out, mostly because I figured it would be an hour or so that I wasn’t staring at my cell, waiting for it to light up with some new concept she wanted to share.
Now that we were here, I entertained thoughts of coming down with a spontaneous bug. Or maybe I could use the paparazzi; there was always one that went too far and made their subject snap. I could go all Bjork on their ass and then lunch with Mommy Dearest would definitely be canceled.
The owner of The Vineyard hustled out, dressed in a two piece suit of her own with stars in her eyes--and she drew a good number of eyes to the front entrance.
There'd be no backing out now.
"Mr. Whitmore," she gushed, her teeth as blaring white as the platinum blond hair pulled into a high bun on her head. "It's truly a pleasure." She shook his hand, lingering, like she was trying to savor the contact. She remembered herself and glanced at me with embarrassment setting fire to her cheeks. When she held out her hand, her face apologetic and slightly worried I'd be pissed, I shook hers with a smile. In the past it might have made me roll my eyes or bring my defenses up as I moved closer and marked my territory, but I felt no need. He put a ring on it and I knew when Jacob made a commitment, he meant it. Besides, we'd survived too much for me to act the fool just because some random woman had a crush.
"Mrs. Whitmore is already inside," the owner said, back in business mode. "If you need anything at all, please don't hesitate to ask. My staff and I are at your disposal."
Jacob gave her a crisp nod and looked down at me, slipping the mask of armor back on. "Shall we?"
Stepping inside of The Vineyard made my heart swell in my chest. The rich colors, the walls lined with wine bottles, the rustic furnishings--everything about it took me back to Venice. I didn't miss the parallels: Venice was me and Jacob’s beginning. Alicia was trying to make this our new beginning.
Our host guided us to our table and I took a deep breath as Alicia saw us and rose to her feet. An older woman was beside her, plunking out a final word on her iPhone before she gave us a quick smile and her face went serious. Alicia was gushing like she hadn't seen us in months. I shook Alicia’s hand and watched as the Awkward O-Meter ticked up to ‘run and hide’ as she moved to hug Jacob and he took a step backward, giving her a look that made me shiver.
Surely she didn’t expect that to go over well, but the crestfallen look that flashed across her face said otherwise.
Never one to stay down, Alicia recovered from the slight like a pro, turning back to the silver haired woman. “I’m so glad you two agreed to come.” She began the introductions. “This is Macy Scott. She’s the best wedding planner in the city.”
“Oh Alicia,” Macy said with a haughty chuckle. “You’re exaggerating just a smidge.” From the smile she had slathered on her lips at the compliment, she was loving the praise--and believed every word. “Best in the city? That may be a little bit much.”
“You orchestrated Mika Sanchez’ last minute nuptials to that Saudi prince, made Oz Claiborne’s sixth wedding look like a storybook romance instead of a lecherous old man’s end-of-life crisis and even I was impressed when you turned Liza Jackman’s rehab romance into a goth’s wet dream. She talks about you like you’re the second coming of Christ,” Jacob paused, cool eyes locked on her. “I think you know exactly how good you are.”
The three of us women just gawked at Jacob. He had the strong, silent thing down pat five seconds ago and now he was striping away the BS before we even sat down.
He pulled out my chair and waited for me to sit before easing into the seat beside me. His mother still had this gray eyed, deer in headlights thing going. Macy was just as stunned.
“What?” Jacob shrugged. “I do my research as I’m sure you’ve done your own.”
Alicia sat down without a word, polishing off the rest of her wine like she knew we were in for a bumpy ride. But Macy--there was something different when the initial shock faded. Her eyes brightened, her whole demeanor going from professional with a hint of ‘meh’ to downright interested. “You read up on me, huh?”
Jacob took a long swig of his water before answering. “I know as much about you as you know about me. Surface information easily garnered from a google search.”
He said it easily. Coolly if you really knew him and could see past the almost bored way he skimmed the menu. He was Jacob Whitmore, head of Whitmore and Creighton, one of the most prestigious PR firms in the world. Google was for amateurs and we were the big leagues. If he wanted, he could have had a dossier filled with everything from her first kiss to the date and location of her first heartbreak. Research was our thing, knowing every minuscule piece that made a person who they are so we could find a way to make them better. Saying he Googled her proved how little he thought of this whole thing. One word and he’d just given her the ultimate diss.
“I’ve done my research too,” the planner said smoothly. “I know that you’ve had relationships with models, actresses and other personal assistants, but none of them compared to her.” She sat up a little taller. “You weren’t expecting her. In fact, you fought it and kept her at arm’s length.”
I felt the gasp ripple in my throat and pressed my lips together to keep it inside. At arm’s length--she was talking about the contract! Words and phrases and liability--all ways to regulate and control his emotions. To control me. Good thing I didn’t let the gasp go because Macy wasn’t done, turning to face me.
“You loved Jacob the moment you saw him.”
My lips weren’t pressed together anymore because my jaw was on the table. I couldn’t believe that her clear, far-from-soft voice was carrying our conversation to several tables around us and now I was in her sights.
“I’m sure you didn’t know it was love at the time since every woman with a pulse lusts after Jacob Whitmore.” She glanced at him, not missing a bit. “No offense.” She didn’t wait for his reply before returning her attention to me. “But I think you knew there was something different about him. About the two of you together. I know what the media’s calling it, ‘A Real Cinderella Story’ and ‘The Billionaire and His Secretary’.” She dismissed that with a scoff. “It’s unimaginative and cliche and now that I’ve seen you two together, I know there’s nothing cliche about the way you look at each other.”
Jacob and I exchanged a look and for a few seconds, we were the only two people in the room.
“Like that,” she said with a toothy grin that blinded me. “Real. Passion. Sex. Love that leaves you breathless.” She smoothed her hair back away from her face. “I don’t know what other wedding planners would do with your story, but I know that I could take that--” She held her hands out and framed us, “--and make it shine through. I could get people to look past the glitz and glamour and see the thing that’s uniquely you.”
Alicia could barely sit still. “Tell us more about your vision for the ceremony for my son and daughter-in-law. I know you have something amazing in mind.”
Hearing my in-law call me ‘daughter’ for the first time and mean it should have been a moment, but it just made me feel...queasy. She was really laying it on and it made my stomach twist and knot because I still wasn’t sure if this was all real or just a part of a larger plan. I tried to push it aside, at least long enough to hear what Macy had planned for us.
“Nothing gaudy and over the top,” Macy continued. “You’re marrying a billionaire so people are expecting horse drawn carriages and a guest list that stretches as long as the train of your elaborate wedding gown. So I was thinking something small and intimate would be the way to go.”
And just like that, I’d found our wedding planner.
The excitement that colored Alicia’s face a few minutes ago devolved into confusion. “Small and...intimate?”
Macy nodded. “I think that would really capture the essence--”
“We’ll be in touch, Macy.” Alicia sliced in, shutting her down.
I opened my mouth to tell her to wait, but Macy didn’t linger. Alicia offered to pay for her drink, but she whipped out a twenty and dropped it on the table before she strut toward the exit. Another point in her favor. She knew she was good and didn’t have to beg for our business, despite the groom’s net worth.
“Don’t worry,” Alicia said, the borderline scary chipper voice clearing out me and Jacob’s surprise and replacing it with uneasiness. “We’ll find someone that can give you two the wedding you deserve.
I hoped Jacob would speak up and state the obvious--that what she really meant was the dream wedding SHE wanted for us, but he said nothing, reading his menu in silence. I followed suit, but committed Macy Scott’s name to memory.


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