I’m working very hard on getting Fool Me Once . . . finished and into your hands! This book has a complicated plot and weaving all the strands together into the best story possible has been a challenge. But it’s coming together!
I’ve hinted before that this book is my effort to give someone like Monica Lewinsky a happily ever after. It involves a woman who was so horribly, and unfairly, shamed in the press that she had to change everything about herself — her profession, her identity, even her personality. It also has a super sexy hero whose every move is reported in the tabloids, a spunky nine-year-old genius, a cure for cancer that comes with harsh consequences, a few science experiments, lots of raging hormones (but not only in the way you think!), a prison visit, wild coyotes and grazing capybaras, a few lawyer jokes, and a ruthless CEO who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. Did I mention murder, mayhem, and the impending breakdown of society as we know it? If you’re curious to know more, I’ve included an excerpt below.
I hope you enjoy it! I’d love to hear what you think. Either leave a comment or email me separately.
For clarity, here’s the cast of characters in this snippet. Verity is the heroine. You might remember her from Reading the Signs as the Dragon Lady Kate worked with on the big trial. Kyle is the hero. Josie is a lawyer working with Verity and Peter is the firm’s managing partner. Here we go!
Excerpt of Fool Me Once . . .
A few minutes later Verity strode into the conference room. She’d smoothed her hair, straightened her suit, and with her professional mask firmly in place, she was as ready as she’d ever be to face what came next.
Josie looked up from her notes and studied Verity closely. The move made Verity pause. It was the weirdest feeling, being noticed—scrutinized, even. Verity acknowledged Josie with a nod. In response, Josie’s mouth curved in a friendly gesture.
Verity couldn’t remember the last time someone in the office had voluntarily acknowledged her, let alone smiled at her. She shocked herself by smiling back. It was small, just a slight lifting of the corners of her mouth, but it was a smile nonetheless. It felt rusty but familiar, like reuniting with a long-lost friend.
Verity placed her files on the table beside Josie. She glanced through the glass wall of the conference room and saw Peter approaching, deep in conversation with the man walking beside him. Kyle Galbraith. Verity’s breath caught and time slowed to a crawl.
Oh. My. God.
The man was a work of art. Verity’s jaw fell open and all she could do was stand and stare. Nothing had prepared her for the havoc the sight of him had on her. She knew it the instant she saw him. She was in way over her head.
Kyle strode down the hall past the secretaries’ cubicles with an aura of power and confidence, spewing hormones like candy at a parade. His tousled hair framed a perfectly chiseled face and his bespoke suit accentuated all the best parts of his tall, lean frame. He moved with masculine grace, the fabric pulling just so across the hard muscles of his chest and thighs. The sight made places inside of Verity, the ones she’d forgotten existed, vibrate. The man exuded raw sex appeal and charisma with every step he took. Yowza, he was potent.
And Verity wasn’t the only one to succumb to Kyle’s raw masculinity. As he passed, secretaries, support staff, and other female attorneys fanned themselves, fell into chairs, and followed his every move with yearning gazes. Even the men gaped, apparently fascinated by the god walking among them. Kyle was either oblivious to the effect he had on others, or he chose to ignore it. His attention never wavered from Peter and their conversation.
Verity snapped her mouth closed and swallowed hard. She knew Kyle was magnetic, addictive, and overwhelming. She knew that. So why had she completely failed to factor that into her plan? She mentally kicked herself for not considering his charm, his allure, the way he broke down all her defenses with just one look. Or a smile. Verity wanted to whimper just thinking about his smile. It electrified her and made her want to do anything, everything, he asked.
I’m so screwed.
She winced at the double meaning of that last thought. But it was enough to snap her focus back to where it belonged. She grasped her necklace and ran it back and forth on its chain as she mentally rebuilt her defenses.
Peter swept into the conference room, a whirlwind of energy as he looked over his shoulder, listening to what Kyle said. The sound of Kyle’s voice hit Verity like a second bolt of lightning. All her defensive efforts exploded into mist. Her breath froze, her heart stuttered, and the room swayed. She grabbed the back of a chair to catch herself when her knees buckled. How had she forgotten his voice? It was smooth and rich, like a river of melted chocolate, but with enough baritone to make it resonate with something deep inside of her. She suddenly knew what cats must feel when they purr.
Tingles exploded everywhere as memories of his voice poured in. That voice holding students enthralled during a lecture. That voice overcoming all her objections to their first date. That voice whispering lovely things in her ear, crying out in passion, and fervently pledging his love. That voice, offering her the world, making promises, and begging for them in return.
Then the absence of that voice when I needed him most.
All the memories crashed around her. The devastation of his abandonment and betrayal drowned out everything else. He was a cowardly, unfaithful snake of a man and she’d never be vulnerable to him or his toxic appeal again. Her spine snapped into place and she yanked on the bottom of her buttoned jacket to straighten it. To hell with him. He couldn’t ruin her life again because she wouldn’t give him the chance. Too much was at stake and she didn’t intend to fail.
She glanced at Josie and did a double take when she realized Josie watched her closely. Speculation crossed Josie’s features and Verity didn’t like it one bit. It made her resolve that much stronger—she wouldn’t allow Kyle to ruin this for her. She toyed with her necklace again while she waited for Peter to make the introductions. The action was familiar and it calmed her scattered nerves. She scolded herself one last time to keep it together. When she moved to greet Kyle she was the calm, unflappable Dragon Lady once again.