Friday, December 15, 2017

Blog Tour- Lantern by Chess Desalls


Lantern: The Complete Collection

Genre: YA Fantasy/Sci-fi
Pages: 230
Release Date: September 26th 2017


Summary:

The story of every lantern is unique, just like yours and mine.

This collection includes all three novellas, LanternBeacon, and Torch.

Tori discovers a lantern that shines for her and nobody else. Is it a ghost or a living being that must be set free?

Serah unseals a globe made of Celestial Glass. Does success bring her happiness or create more trouble than it's worth?

Evelyn meets Graham after attending a party where a lantern burns out. Who lights the way to pull the other through?

Experience three different stories, all with a connection to a mysterious lamp maker.


Add to Goodreads

Buy Links:

Kindle / Kobo / iBooks / Nook

About the Author:



Chess Desalls is the author of award-winning young adult fiction. Her nonfiction writing has been included in academic and industry publications, with a focus on law and technology. She's also a contributing editor for WritersTalk, South Bay Writers' monthly newsletter. When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys traveling and trying to stay in tune on her flute.

Sign up for Chess's newsletter to receive updates on giveaways and new releases.


Author Links:

Blog Tour Organized by:







Thursday, December 14, 2017

Blog Tour- The Teeanger with a Chameleon Soul by Cindy McElroy


The Teenager with a Chameleon Soul
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: September 28th 2017


Summary:


Meet Sadie MacPhearson. She’s seventeen and lives in a ritzy, artsy beach town called Mariposa Beach, California. Blond, bootylicious and beautiful—she’s a main chick of the Pop Crowd: the most flawless looking, smartest, trendiest, richest, fabulous group of party animals at Mariposa Beach High School. She wants one thing, to keep her secret but it’s always lingering above her head. When the administrators want to assess her for a learning disability, she coats inhibitions and fears with alcohol, which, in turn, causes serious damage in her life, mostly her chameleon soul.

After struggling to blend in, senior year, Sadie finds herself without her dear grandmother, with disgusted parents, three hundred and sixty mandatory volunteer hours and AA meetings, no driver’s license or Jeep, zero friends, and cognitively low classes. Feeling like success is not an option with her learning disability, she sits behind building C next to an overweight, military loving, book nerd Jay Felix on the first day of senior year. He pushes her to be her best self. But even at her best, can Sadie overcome her learning disability, her struggles with alcohol and graduate from high school at the cutthroat Mariposa Beach High School or will the lure of the Pop Crowd take her down?


About the Author:

Cindy McElroy is a young adult novel writer. The Teenager with a Chameleon Soul is her first book. She’s the wife of a firefighter, and the mother of three children and a Rhodesian Ridgeback, but she’s also been a special education teacher, a camp counselor and police decoy. She does her best writing when she’s beach camping, or her kids are asleep or at school. If she’s not writing or with her family, she’s reading, doing yoga, water skiing, snowboarding or SUP boarding near her home in Ventura County, California. Cindy loves to write humorous yet emotional novels about young adults experiencing young adult things. 

Book Tour Organized by:










Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Blog Tour: Review + Excerpt- Can't Get Enough by Gena Showalter

From New York Times Bestselling author Gena Showalter, comes the next standalone romance in the Original Heartbreakers Series—CAN’T GET ENOUGH!

Grab your copy today!

CAN’T GET ENOUGH Synopsis:

New York Times best selling author Gena Showalter returns with a sizzling Original Heartbreakers tale, featuring a rough, tough bad boy brought to his knees by... a kindergarten teacher?

 The king of one-night stands... To inherit--and destroy--his father’s business at long last, Brock Hudson needs a temporary wife. The ruthless ex-military heartthrob has always avoided romantic entanglements. Women are sweet, but vengeance will be sweeter. Or so he thinks. Only one woman will do, but the vulnerable beauty is more than he bargained for—sexier, wittier, and utterly irresistible.

The queen of the deep freeze… After an abusive first marriage, Lyndie Scott has sworn off relationships. But still she longs for a child of her own. Turns out, the brawler who used to frighten her with only a glance is the answer to her problems. She agrees to his proposal, with a caveat: spend every night in bed with her, then walk away for good when it’s time to divorce. Even if she’s pregnant.

A marriage of breathtaking inconvenience... As the days pass too quickly and the nights heat up, Brock battles a sense of possession and obsession. Will the former commitment-phobe convince his wife they’re better off together, or will she pack her bags and go?

Review-

Can't Get Enough by Gena Showalter is the sixth book in her Original Heart breaker series which takes place in a small town called Strawberry Valley. Though this is the sixth book each book can be read as a stand alone and it follows the story of a different couple. I don't think it is necessary to read the previous books but the signs of Brock and Lyndie's story starts of a couple of books back.

Let's start with Lyndie. Lyndie has spent her entire life under an abusive father then an abusive husband. Now after finally getting over it she's coming to terms with herself. She is a strong independent woman and doesn't want to be tied down by anything or anyone. I liked Lyndie. Yes she was hesitant at first but she did trust Brock. Lyndie wanted to be a mother very bad and she could fulfil that dream of hers with Brock's proposal.

Brock was a nice hero to. Due to an emotionally abusive mother he didn't believe that anyone could genuinely love him. Things change when his father passes away and he is left to take care of the company. The only clause is that he has to marry to take ownership. So Brock asks Lyndie the only girl friend he trusts and desires above anyone else.

Can't Get Enough follows the marriage of convenience tropes and I've realised that I do enjoy it at times. Lyndie and Brock were good together and they both helped the other over come their fears and insecurities. I also enjoyed seeing Ryanne and Jude and Dorothea and Daniel. They were great friends who always supported Brock and Lyndie and were always there to pull their heads out of their asses. 

Can't Get Enough was comparatively shorter than the rest of Gena Showalter's books. But this was a good thing because there was no unnecessary angst and the conflict was resolved pretty swiftly. If you enjoy small town romances I'd suggest picking up one of the Original Heart breaker books.

*Note: A copy of this book was provided by the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. We thank them.

Get your copy of CAN’T GET ENOUGH here!

Amazon

Add it to your Goodreads Now!


EXCERPT-

The next morning, Lyndie tried to convince herself that she’d agreed to marry Brock only because of the wine.
Cabernet said I’d have no regrets, but cabernet could be a no-good liar, so…
A dozen times she picked up her phone, intending to call or text him, only to stop.
On one hand, marriage.On the other, baby.If she had a third hand, sex.
More wine could balance things out. Breakfast wine—good idea.She walked to her wine closet—AKA her pantry.Only four bottles remained.Time to restock.For now she’d go with merlot, a more honest wine.Honesty mattered!
Despite the early-morning hours, a single glass helped mellow her mood.Merlot + marriage = possible win.Merlot + marriage + possible pregnancy = total landslide.
I can do this.
Even better, shewoulddo this.
A little bit later, a text from Brock came in.
How’s my soon to be wifey-poo doing this morning?
Her heart started to race, and not just with nervousness. She replied,She’s almost calm.Are we really going to do this???
A few seconds, and his response came in.In my fantasies, we already have.But we’ll get to that later.How do you feel about a Sunday wedding… one week from today??? I warned you we’d do this quick.
Okay, from wanting more to wanting to vomit.A cold sweat beaded her forehead.She had next Monday off, so technically, timing worked.She typed,I feel like time is gonna pass quicker than a hot knife through butter. If we get hitched on a Sunday, it’ll have to be after church services.So why not go to the courthouse and get this whole thing over with?
One minute passed.Then another.She waited with bated breath until her phone buzzed.
Brock:I’ll talk to the pastor at Strawberry Community Church.I’m certain he’ll let us do the deed between services.And we’re doing it this way because we’re Hudsons, and Hudsons do things right.Sometimes.Fine—because I want to see you in a gown, walking down the aisle.Yes, that’s right.You’ve given me a gown fetish.I hope you’re happy.
Lyndie smiled.
Brock: You’re still a go?Because if I need to give you a sample of my bedroom prowess to convince you, I will man up and do my duty.

       

About Gena Showalter: 
 
     
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, two young adult series--Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles--and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader's Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine, she's appeared on Nightline and been mentioned in Orange is the New Black--if you ask her about it, she'll talk for hours…hours! Her books have been translated in multiple languages. She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com or Facebook.com/genashowalterfans    

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads



Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Release Day Blitz- Sweet Life by Nina Lane



Summary-

He knows if she's been bad or good.

Amidst the sugarplums and mistletoe, fashion stylist Julia Bennett is every inch a scrooge. Known for her ice-queen ways, she's having a meltdown over a botched business deal and an upcoming milestone birthday. Add the pressure of forced holiday cheer, and she's ready to dive into the spiked eggnog and not come out until summer.

Warren Stone, president and owner of the Sugar Rush Candy Company, is determined to make Julia slow down and enjoy the holidays. As her friend and confidante for thirteen years, he knows her better than anyone. But when decking the halls leads them to an explosive, sexy night, everything suddenly changes. 


And when Warren decides Julia is all he wants for Christmas, will she risk their longtime friendship for the gift of love?

iBooks | Amazon

EXCERPT

            “Now step into my office.”
            Julia blinked at his hard tone, her gaze shifting to his closed office door. “I beg your pardon?”
            Warren opened the door. “In. Now.”
            Her features tightened with resistance just as the elevator doors opened and several employees emerged, their voices rising in chatter. Julia crossed the hallway in front of them, her shoulders rigid. He caught a whiff of Chanel No. 5 as she passed him.
            He entered the office behind her and closed the door, flicking the lock shut.
            “You are not to take out personal crap on my employees,” he said. “That’s not how I run this company.”
            Julia’s lips compressed. “Odd that you’ve never before questioned my treatment of your employees. And it wasn’t personal. She needed to know she’d screwed up.”
            “Announcing the holiday party early is not screwing up,” Warren replied evenly. “You’re pissed off because you’ve had a shitty week, you have too much on your plate, an old bucket list has thrown you off your game, and you don’t know what to do with the fact that we fucked the other night.”
            Two spots of color appeared on her cheeks. “I seem to recall that what I did with that fact was tell you it wasn’t going to happen again. After which you informed me in excellent caveman style that I was wrong. You seem to forget I’m never wrong.”
            About this, you are.
            He bit back the words. He hadn’t become the president of Sugar Rush by throwing his weight around. He knew how to bide his time, work his way into getting what he wanted. And damned if he didn’t want her more with every passing second.
            “Well?” Julia put her hands on her hips and glared at him. “Are we done here?”
            Under her make-up, purplish smudges shadowed her eyes. Brackets of tension lined her mouth. His jaw tightened.
            “You had a migraine yesterday,” he said.
            “What the fuck do you care?” Julia snapped.
            Warren’s hands flexed. He was used to her quick-fire cursing, all the more effective when delivered by a woman who looked like royalty, but he didn’t like being the recipient of her wrath.
            “I’m putting Mia Donovan in charge of the Sugar Rush holiday party,” he said.
            “You’re firing me?” Julia stared at him, her eyes widening. “Are you serious?”
            “Yes.” He steeled himself against her shock and the knowledge that he was hurting her. “You’ve planned it for the past ten years, and it’s time to hand it over to someone else.”
            “You don’t get to decide that.”
            “Yes, I do. Sugar Rush is my company. This is also the event where I’ll be announcing my retirement. You’re not going to plan it.”
            “Because I have too much on my plate?” Julia stopped in front of the windows, her arms crossed and her fiery gaze fixed on him. “Thanks for your concern, Daddy, but I assure you I can handle everything I take on.”
            “That’s why you’re such a success. It’s also why your headaches are getting worse.”
            “You are not my fucking doctor.”
            “Stop swearing.”
            She barked out a laugh. “You need to rethink this retirement thing, Warren. It’s making you soft.”
            Given the state of his dick, he was anything but soft.
            “If you won’t delegate your projects, I will,” he said.
            “Because you can’t stop being the boss, even if you think otherwise.” Julia paced angrily to the desk, her eyes flaring with blue ice. “Why are you retiring, Warren? Everyone knows you’re the power behind the throne, much as you’ve let the boys take all the glory. Three months—hell, one month from now when you have nothing to do and no one to order around, you’re going to wonder why you made such a bad decision.”
            Warren’s jaw clenched. He was sick of getting pushback from all sides. “I’ve been in business my entire life. I know what I’m doing.”
            “So do I, dammit,” Julia retorted. “I don’t need you looking out for me.”
            “I will always look out for you.”
            She came to a halt, her whole body stilling. By contrast, Warren’s heartbeat kicked up, sudden heat flooding his veins. Their gazes met across the room, a crackling electric current firing through the air.
            Julia took a breath, her breasts heaving beneath her jacket.
            “Goddamn you, Warren Stone,” she whispered.
            “I told you to stop swearing.” He advanced, his own breath increasing, his hands fisting and unfisting at his sides.
            Rebellion tightened her features. “And if I don’t?”
            “You sure you want to find out?”
            He closed the distance between them, his lust flaring like a match to dry leaves.
            What the fuck was going on with them?
            The question flared like a comet through his mind and died just as fast—because he didn’t care about the answer. His mind was consumed with the thought of tasting her red lips again, sweet like cherries, spicy like peppers. Her mouth could deliver an insult as sharp and searing as a blade, but he knew—had always known, even if he’d smothered the knowledge—that the sounds issuing from Julia Bennett’s mouth could also be smooth, hot murmurs of lust that rushed straight to his blood. Weakening him of all thought, all control, inciting him with the urge to—
            He grabbed her shoulders, hauling her soft, slender body against him. He’d always loved the contrast of Julia, the sharp-tongued, acidic queen and the relentlessly devoted aunt. The rigorous boss who shot orders like arrows, and the loyal friend who bought Hailey’s favorite peanut butter, sent care packages to Gavin Knight when he was deployed in Iraq, spent hours on end with Evan at the hospital.
            He stared down at her fine features, pale skin, and wide blue eyes that he’d seen almost every day of his life for the past thirteen years—and suddenly now it felt as if he were looking at her for the first time. Had he never noticed that tiny birthmark right beneath her left eye? Or the silver flecks in her irises, like falling snow? Or the perfect curve in her upper lip, tempting him to put his tongue there and—
            Oh, he’d noticed all right. He’d just tried to pretend he hadn’t.
            “What the hell am I going to do with you, Julia?” he muttered.
            “Fire me, apparently.” Her tone was bitter, her eyes blue fire.
            Her gaze flickered involuntarily to his mouth, her lips parting. He slipped his hand beneath her chin, lifting her face to his. His heart jackhammered. Her breath brushed against his mouth, the familiar scent of her—Chanel No. 5, lavender soap, pure Julia—suddenly exotic and tantalizing.
            “I’m going to let you go,” he said slowly, “and take two steps back. I want you to reach under your skirt and take your underwear off… if you’re wearing any.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 


New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Nina Lane writes hot, sexy romances about professors, bad boys, candy makers, and protective alpha males who find themselves consumed with love for one woman alone. Originally from California, Nina holds a PhD in Art History and an MA in Library and Information Studies, which means she loves both research and organization. She also enjoys traveling and thinks St. Petersburg, Russia is a city everyone should visit at least once. Although Nina would go back to college for another degree because she's that much of a bookworm and a perpetual student, she now lives the happy life of a full-time writer.



Monday, December 11, 2017

Review- Villain by Samantha Young

Summary-

The sexy and emotional companion novella to the New York Times bestselling romance Hero

Nadia Ray is not just a broadcast meteorologist. She’s Boston’s morning television It Girl. Successful and independent, she’s put a past she’s ashamed of behind her and is forging a future she can be proud of. However, when her new boss discovers her secret he blackmails her, intent on using Nadia’s popularity to make them the number one morning show in Massachusetts. He wants her to be part of uncovering the city’s biggest scandal - a secret billionaire Caine Carraway is hiding.

Soon Nadia is thrown into the path of Caine’s best friend: sexy, wealthy bachelor Henry Lexington. But she doesn’t encounter the dashing high society gentleman Henry is purported to be. Instead she’s faced with an insulting and defensive villain who misjudges her at every turn.

When Henry finally realizes the truth, and decides to make amends, Nadia wants nothing to do with him. But she underestimates his determination and charm and soon they find themselves embroiled in an intense, passionate affair.

An affair Nadia knows must come to an end before their feelings grow any deeper and he discovers her secrets.

After all, Henry Lexington isn’t the only one who played the part of a villain once…


Release date: December 5th, 2017

Review-

I love Samantha Young's books. Her stories have heart and emotions and basically I thoroughly enjoy the way she writes chemistry between her characters. Villain is a novella set in the same universe as Hero. I had read Hero a long time back and the details were very fuzzy in my head. But I don't think it is necessary to read Hero before getting to Villain. You obviously do get to see Alexa and Caine, the leads of Hero in Villain because Henry is Caine's best friend but Villain can definitely stand alone on its own.

So let's start with Nadia. Nadia is a broadcast meteorologist. She has worked hard to get where she is but she still faces obstacles in her path. When her boss blackmails her into getting a story she inadvertently stumbles into Henry. I really liked Nadia. She owned who she was and was not afraid to speak her mind. All in all she was strong heroine who I really enjoyed.

Then we have Henry. Henry is a wealthy bachelor who always gets what he wants. He is flirtatious and charming and sometimes comes off as a spoiled brat. But underneath that exterior is a man who protects his friends and family. I enjoyed getting to know Henry. Henry and Nadia's relationship starts off on the wrong foot and I liked how willing Henry was to make amends. 

Nadia and Henry's chemistry was mind blowing. They were opposites in some way but their attraction was real. I liked how Henry was willing to work on Nadia's insecurities. Even though this was a novella Samantha Young excels at weaving in a nice plot which adds depth to the relationship and the story. Now I feel like rereading Hero. I'd definitely recommend Villain.

*Note: A copy of this book was provided by the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. We thank them.



Friday, December 08, 2017

Blog Tour- Review- Villain by Samantha Young


Summary-

The sexy and emotional companion novella to the New York Times bestselling romance Hero

Nadia Ray is not just a broadcast meteorologist. She’s Boston’s morning television It Girl. Successful and independent, she’s put a past she’s ashamed of behind her and is forging a future she can be proud of. However, when her new boss discovers her secret he blackmails her, intent on using Nadia’s popularity to make them the number one morning show in Massachusetts. He wants her to be part of uncovering the city’s biggest scandal - a secret billionaire Caine Carraway is hiding.

Soon Nadia is thrown into the path of Caine’s best friend: sexy, wealthy bachelor Henry Lexington. But she doesn’t encounter the dashing high society gentleman Henry is purported to be. Instead she’s faced with an insulting and defensive villain who misjudges her at every turn.

When Henry finally realizes the truth, and decides to make amends, Nadia wants nothing to do with him. But she underestimates his determination and charm and soon they find themselves embroiled in an intense, passionate affair.

An affair Nadia knows must come to an end before their feelings grow any deeper and he discovers her secrets.

After all, Henry Lexington isn’t the only one who played the part of a villain once…


Release date: December 5th, 2017

Review-

I love Samantha Young's books. Her stories have heart and emotions and basically I thoroughly enjoy the way she writes chemistry between her characters. Villain is a novella set in the same universe as Hero. I had read Hero a long time back and the details were very fuzzy in my head. But I don't think it is necessary to read Hero before getting to Villain. You obviously do get to see Alexa and Caine, the leads of Hero in Villain because Henry is Caine's best friend but Villain can definitely stand alone on its own.

So let's start with Nadia. Nadia is a broadcast meteorologist. She has worked hard to get where she is but she still faces obstacles in her path. When her boss blackmails her into getting a story she inadvertently stumbles into Henry. I really liked Nadia. She owned who she was and was not afraid to speak her mind. All in all she was strong heroine who I really enjoyed.

Then we have Henry. Henry is a wealthy bachelor who always gets what he wants. He is flirtatious and charming and sometimes comes off as a spoiled brat. But underneath that exterior is a man who protects his friends and family. I enjoyed getting to know Henry. Henry and Nadia's relationship starts off on the wrong foot and I liked how willing Henry was to make amends. 

Nadia and Henry's chemistry was mind blowing. They were opposites in some way but their attraction was real. I liked how Henry was willing to work on Nadia's insecurities. Even though this was a novella Samantha Young excels at weaving in a nice plot which adds depth to the relationship and the story. Now I feel like rereading Hero. I'd definitely recommend Villain.

*Note: A copy of this book was provided by the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. We thank them.


OUT NOW in E-book edition!

BARNES & NOBLE - http://bit.ly/2leaShG
  
Connect with Samantha Young online:
Twitter: @AuthorSamYoung
Instagram: @AuthorSamanthaYoung


Thursday, December 07, 2017

Blog Tour- Love and Other Hazards by Claudia Riess


Love and Other Hazards
by Claudia Riess
Genre: Adult Romance
Release Date: June 6th 2017
River Grove Books

Summary from Goodreads:


Love and Other Hazards is a novel about urban singles stumbling toward fulfillment in an odyssey of sex, love, and parenting. 

Glenda Fieldston is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her seven-year-old daughter, Astrid, when Eugene Lerman comes walking by with his eight-year-old daughter, Meredith, a schoolmate of Astrid’s. The families spot each other, Glenda and Eugene engage in long-range cursory assessments, and then they go their separate ways.

But not for long. Glenda and Eugene cross paths professionally soon after, and circumstances at work bring them into close association. So begins a friendship fraught with complications. Glenda’s independence is self-imposed and fierce. Eugene’s was foisted on him by a wife who left him. Although Glenda’s and Eugene’s personal demons are incompatible, their longings are, confoundedly, in harmony. Their cautious friendship is further inhibited by past and present relationships, and it remains to be seen if they can break out of their set ways to make a break for uncharted love. 



Buy on Amazon!

Excerpt
At 8:57 Glenda arrived in front of her office building at RockefellerCenter on Fiftieth, its site graced by the colossal bronze statue of Atlas bearing the world on his shoulders. Directly across the street, Saint Pat- rick’s Cathedral aspired in grand elegance toward the heavens. When she’d first started working here, she’d liked to think that the two buildings showed Man and God vying for the attention of the soul. To Glenda, both images illustrated purpose and initiative, perfect for Monday morning.
The constructive part of her day began here in this smooth terminal of business, now alive with the sound of intent: her heels clicking on the marble floor, the swishing elevator doors, the economy of words. “Up,” she called to one of the elevators as its doors were sliding shut; as if by magic, it reconsidered and opened to admit her. “Thanks,” she said, stepping aboard. “Floor?” asked a man in a black coat with a token closed-lips arc. “Twenty-two,” she replied, returning his smile.
She headed to her cubicle of office space at Business Advisors, LLC, her usual ambition brewing like the coffee at the receptionist’s station. The floor was divided into five such areas for consultants like herself, one slightly larger to accommodate two secretaries, and one unequivo- cally private office for the president of the company, Matthew Crowley.
Glenda sat at her desk and gathered together the material on her most recent client, Richard’s Fur Outlets, for whom she had been making systems-streamlining recommendations. That was her job, to ensure that companies were using the most up-to-date computer systems and processes possible, while Matthew, the company president and chief CPA, ensured that their record-keeping was efficient and compliant. She reviewed her notes for her morning meeting with Matthew:       Limited compatibility between departments, need additional cloud storage, tutorial a must! Printing her notes along with other pertinent documents—Matthew, who had been in the business for twenty-five years, still preferred presentations in hard copy—she got up and went to Crowley’s office.
“Hold my coffee for now,” she advised the receptionist, Jeff, who was chatting in the pathway with a hyperactive young consultant whose expertise was mailing-list management.
“Morning, Danny.”
 “Morning, babe.” Danny’s moustache twitched mischievously. “Doing anything for lunch?”
“Why? Has it ever done anything for me?”
“I’m getting through to her,” she could hear him confide sotto voce to Jeff as she walked by. “She didn’t say no.” Her regret for being the cause of his unrequited crush was, as ever, void of self-satisfaction.
Compared to the company’s main working area, all commercial carpet and functional furniture, Crowley’s office was plush. His carpet was dense; desk and bookcases, sandalwood; chairs, leather; window, draped. A commodious couch and a floor lamp suggested the context of home.
Crowley was not, at the moment, enjoying his comforts. He was jogging in shirt and tie on the moving belt of the treadmill situated alongside his desk, headed for cardiopulmonary efficiency and tireless tennis. “How’s it going?” he asked without altering his pace. “Have a good weekend?”
“Yes. You?” She held the printout of her notes to her chest.
“So-so.” He frowned, deepening the crease between his dark blue eyes.
“Where are you with Richard’s specs?”
At fifty-two, though twenty-three years Glenda’s senior and four years her boss, his tone was that of an equal. He had great respect for her talent.
“I’m about finished with the initial planning,” she said. “There are a couple of questions that I’d like to discuss with you before I prepare my final outline.”
“Can it wait until tomorrow? I’ve got a prospective client whom I’ve promised to get the ball rolling on, and you’re the best man for the job.” He smiled; the lines bracketing his mouth and etched around his eyes offset the regularity of his features. Time had invested what had been a good-looking but bland face with a past, and thus with character. Along with his graying temples and agreeable diction, he could have been mistaken for an anchorman.
“It can wait, sure,” Glenda answered.
There was a lengthy pause while Crowley gradually slackened his pace, taking short breaths with pursed lips, until he came to a halt. “Whew,” he said, patting the modest paunch on an otherwise trim physique.

“Okay, let’s talk. Sit.”

Glenda sat opposite him at his desk as he changed from sneakers to shoes. “Have I ever mentioned my old college buddy Jack Henson? Of Henson and Blackman Publishing?”
Glenda shook her head.
“They publish periodicals in the medical management line. Perspec- tives in Neurology and Physician’s Marketplace, plus a couple I can’t recall. Would you like some coffee?”
“I’ll hold off.”
“Right. Well, Jack and his partner just acquired MD Forefront and Gynecology Today, which is a great deal. But it’s a lot more volume for them, and they’re kind of at loose ends operations-wise. They’ve got to beef up their system and educate their staff. Blackman is not an enthusiast—he thinks he’ll lose touch with the operation if he can’t personally wish each of his readers a happy birthday. But that’s another matter. What I want you to do is lay the groundwork. Get a general idea of what they’re using now to handle billing, mailing, editorial, produc- tion, and their online editions, as well as the general stats on distribution, advertising, and pricing. Then, give me a couple of ideas about what you think they’ll need, and meanwhile I’ll go over their tax returns for the last couple of years to see what compliance issues we may need to address. Excuse me.” He buzzed Jeff on the intercom extension. “Has a parcel from Henson and Blackman come in yet?  Right. Thanks.” He hung up. “They haven’t already sent their tax returns over, so you can pick those up when you go. They should include statements from the acquired publishers as well.”
“I take it you want me to run over there today,” Glenda said, brushing the hem of her jacket.
 “Yes. Jack’s kind of counting on my being there, but I figure I won’t be of much use until I’ve got a coherent picture of the accounts. I’ll come to your next meeting. Besides, I’m up to my ears in that electron- ics deal Sherm and Danny are working on.”
“I’ll call Henson and Blackman now, then.”
“Appreciate it, Glenda. They’re on Madison, in the low thirties. I’ve got the number here somewhere.” He moved the papers on his desk without really searching.
“No problem. I’ll find it.” She rose.
“Good. Keep me posted.” His private line rang as Glenda reached the door. “That’ll be the wife. Yes, Sybil,” he answered, glancing at her framed photo angled toward him on his desktop. “What? I made him distraught? Whose word is that, his or yours? . . . Sure, I’ll meet him for lunch.” He acknowledged Glenda’s departure with a nod. “Yes, Sybil, I realize he’s my son too.”

Glenda pulled off her knit gloves and thrust them into her coat pock- ets. “Glenda Fieldston. I have an appointment to see Mr. Henson at ten-thirty?”
A pale young woman made paler by the overhead fluorescent lights tapped a key on her computer. She nodded, agitating a long and other- wise unremarkable ponytail. “Mmm, yes, of course. I just spoke to you. From Business Advisors.”
“Yes,” said Glenda, just as two men in overalls who carried cartons on their shoulders appeared at the open door of the establishment ten feet behind her. At the same time, a woman in a red coat, who was approaching from down the inner hallway, broke into a run.
“Down! Elevator down!” Glenda stepped aside to clear the runway, but the workers and the woman still almost collided in front of the receptionist’s desk just as the elevator closed its doors for departure.
 “Hell!” the woman exclaimed, and then she looked back to smile at Glenda. “Sorry,” she said. “Back at noon, Claire.”
“That was Mary Mahoney,” offered the receptionist, Claire. “Our creative director.”
“Where do you want this stuff from the West Side?” one of the men asked Claire as he adjusted his burden.
“Is it MD Forefront, or Gynecology?”

“It’s heavy,” he said.

“Okay, bring it down to the end of the outer hallway. There’s anempty room on the right.”

“My pleasure.”

“We’re a little hectic here,” Claire confessed to Glenda, holding herponytail for security. “Moving the files for the new publications and all. We’ve just acquired additional office space. We’ve got the floor to ourselves now.”
“You must have over two thousand square feet,” Glenda estimated, peering down the corridor.
“Mmm, probably,” she said. “Oh—if you want to see Mr. Blackman, he’s out of the office today. I’ve already buzzed Mr. Henson. You can go ahead in. Fourth door down, on your left. Just past his secretary’s.”
The floor of the hallway, although of high quality parquet, could have used a good waxing, Glenda thought. The observation made her feel prissy. She banished it.
Henson’s door was half open. There were two men in his office: one sitting behind the desk, and one standing in front of it with his back to Glenda. The man behind the desk rose from his chair.
“Come in. You must be Glenda Fieldston. Jack Henson.” He extended his hand as she approached and the second man turned.
Henson, Glenda knew, was about the same age as Crowley, but while the years had sculpted Crowley’s face, they had inflated Henson’s, obliterating his jawline. “Hi,” she said, grasping his hand firmly. The youngerman in Henson’s office was moderately tall, with a pleasant face: brown eyes, a nose with a prominent bridge, a slightly asymmetric smile. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything,” she said, addressing him.
“Not at all,” Henson replied for him. “Oh, sorry. This is Eugene Lerman, overworked editor. Take the lady’s coat, Gene.”
“Glad to meet you, Miss, uh, Mrs—say! Aren’t you—”
“Glenda’s fine,” she said.

“Aren’t you the woman—”

“Lerman—you’re Meredith’s father!”
“—from the museum?”

“You long lost cousins or something?” Henson interjected.

Eugene grinned, offering Glenda his hand. “We nearly met at ananatomy lesson,” he said.

“Our daughters go to the same school,” Glenda submitted, shaking
Eugene’s hand.
“What a delightful coincidence,” Henson remarked, with a touchof sarcasm.

Eugene reached out to help Glenda off with her coat, but she beathim to it. She could see him hesitate before placing it on the rack with Henson’s old umbrella and spare sweater.
“What brings you to our hallowed halls?” he asked.
“Glenda’s here to see we’re optimally computerized,” Henson explained, caressing the place where he might have worn a tie.
“Don’t let me hold up the stampede of progress—I was just leaving,” Eugene said, taking a pile of galley proofs from the desk.
“You’re okay on Dr.Thayer’s article, then,” Henson said.
“You’ll have it by the deadline?”
“I’ll have the translation ready by tomorrow.”
“Oh?” Glenda was impressed. “What language are you translating from?”
“Bad English,” Eugene said, backing out of the office. “Ciao.”
“Have a seat, Glenda,” Henson said, pointing to the only one freefrom papers and mail. “I apologize for the commotion around here. What a time for my doctor to order me to quit smoking—you wouldn’t happen to have a cigarette, would you?”
“I don’t smoke.”
“Damn. You sure?” He rummaged in his bottom desk drawer, unsuccessfully.
“Isn’t this a smoke-free environment?” Glenda asked.
“Of course. What a stickler you are. I only wanted a puff.” He slammed shut the drawer.
“Ah, well, onward to distraction. I’m going to give you a rundown on what we do here, and then we’ll call on the office manager, Harriet Vickers, who will tell you her side of the story.”
“Very good.” Glenda removed a notepad from her bag.
“I’m all ears.”
As Henson progressed with his briefing, Eugene, two doors down, waded through the convoluted prose of Dr. Morton Thayer describing his techniques of pre-surgical consultation. The article had been accepted by a physician on the editorial board with the understanding that all participles would be undangled before publication. Midway through a sentence that grammatically placed a neo-vascular growth on a patient’s bill rather than on his retina, Eugene was interrupted by an office assistant, Connie Falls.
“Excuse me, Eugene, but I’m going to lunch now. Will you be going out, or do you want me to bring you back a sandwich?”
“A roast beef on rye would be great, Connie. Thanks.” He started to reach for his wallet.
“Never mind, I trust you,” Connie said, her little heart-shaped mouth curling into a grin.

Eugene liked Connie. She was an easy person to co-exist with. There was something vulnerable and nothing arresting about her. She was 5’ 2”, heavy-chested and hippy, with a round face and an upturned nose like an editor’s caret. She was twenty-three, and she took pride in her work. She deserved more attention, he thought. Unfortunately, however, about a month ago he had made the mistake of giving it to her, and he had regretted it ever since.


About the Author:

Claudia Riess is a Vassar graduate who has worked in the editorial departments of The New Yorker magazine and Holt, Rinehart and Winston books. Her first novel, “Reclining Nude,” was published by Stein and Day. Oliver Sacks, author of “Awakenings,” had said her first book was “exquisite—and delicate… a most courageous book, full of daring—a daring only possible to a passionate and pure heart.”
For more about Riess and her other books, visit her website

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