Three dates. It was only supposed to be three dates—he was only meant to be a fling. I didn’t want to feel all of this for him. And I certainly hadn’t counted on him keeping such a deal-breaking secret from me.
Till death is too long for Trish Cerise. The twenty-seven year old receptionist is tired of men asking for her forever when she just wants to keep things light and fun. World-traveling businessman Adam Helms steps off the elevator and into her life with his own reasons for keeping relationships at a safe distance. Together, they’re destined for the most glorious short-term romance in history…until they break their own rules and Trish learns something about Adam she wishes she never knew.
I know a future with him is impossible, but how do you break away from such an intense, consuming, heart-crushing love when it hooks you? ~Trish
Targeted Age Group:: 18-45
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was inspired to write this story because I wanted to show that even those confident, beautiful women who seem to have their every romantic wish granted are capable of getting their hearts crushed by love. Trish is a woman who hasn't yet met her match, so she thinks long-term relationships aren't for her. She's happy with her short-term, no commitment dating lifestyle – until, of course, she meets Adam.
I also wanted to write a story containing a BIG surprise for readers. It was fun keeping Adam's secret while dropping clues along the way. I'm happy to report that so far, most readers have been completely shocked by the reveal.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Trish revealed herself to me while I wrote her friend Lyssa's story. Trish is the confident, take-no-crap friend who always says exactly what she's thinking. Always. She's great at giving other people advice but not so great at taking it and is also extremely loyal. She's like a lot of women I know – the kind whom it's sometimes hard to be around because she steals all the attention, yet her friendship's pure gold.
Adam had to be different than the everyday jock types Trish usually goes for – he had to be something special to make her drop all her dating rules to be with him. So he's the enigmatic businessman who travels more than he's home and only opens up in bits and pieces. But his entrancing eyes are expressive and fill in the blanks when Trish is unsure of how he feels about her.
So far from readers' reactions, Cliff seems to be the breakout star of the show. He was initially imagined as a minor plot device, but he walked "on stage" and was so naturally fabulous, he instantly earned himself a larger role.
As Trish approached the hand dryer in the office bathroom, she heard the faint tones of “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” floating in from the lobby. She’d left her phone at her desk and now rushed to answer before the song stopped playing. It was her new ringtone for Lyssa.
“Hey,” she said, somewhat breathless.
“Hi. Sorry. Hope it’s okay to call. This was too complex for text.”
Trish flicked her eyes around the reception area and saw she was alone. “Now’s fine as long as you’re fast. I’m expecting a client at any moment.”
“Great. I’m packing my entire life and getting rid of what I can. A truck from the church rummage sale is stopping by at six to collect donations. Before I give it all to them, I was wondering if you’d want…” She went on to list various pieces of small furniture and accessories, only a few of which Trish said she’d take.
They got through the list quickly, and the client still hadn’t arrived, so Trish figured it was safe to chat until the elevator dinged. “I’ve cracked the code on my guy troubles.” She’d kept Lyssa apprised of her latest revirgination disasters. “I don’t tell the guy anything. He doesn’t need to know I’ve set a three-date maximum. We go out one, two, or three times, and if he tries to get in touch after the third, I blow him off. Easy peasy. This way we don’t waste any valuable date time haggling over my neuroses.”
“Plus you’ll leave the door open for a fourth date if he’s worth it.”
“No, no, no! Absolutely no more fourth dates for me.”
“Have you cracked the code on the sex thing?”
“I’m still not planning to sleep with any of them, if that’s what you mean. But I did crack the seal on a new toy from The Pleasure Chest last night. It has this add-on that gets right up in—” She halted when a noise sounded from behind the tall bush between her desk and the elevator. When she continued, her voice took on a warning tone. “I’ve gotta go. Unless the plant in my office has grown a throat and just cleared it, I’ve got an eavesdropper.”
From behind the highest frond, a man’s head emerged. His dark blond hair was straight and mostly swept back from his elegant, handsome face. As he leaned forward, a stray wisp fell over his forehead. Trish didn’t recognize his long, angular features. She guessed him to be in his mid-thirties at the oldest and noted a touch of suntan to his mid-tone complexion. His tall, lean form moved around the plant with his arms bent and hands half raised in surrender.
“Talk to you later.” Trish clicked off the phone, keeping her gaze locked on the new arrival.
“I’m sorry. It’s my first time in the Chicago office.” The boldness of his rich, plummy voice was surprising against his abashed demeanor. “When I saw the reception area was vacant, I went back to the elevator to make sure I had the right floor. You surprised me with the phone. I heard you say you’d be quick, so rather than interrupt, I intended to wait until you finished. Then…”
His eyes darted away and Trish’s face warmed at remembering exactly when he’d cut her off. She’d initially assumed the throat-clearing had come from Levi or one of the building maintenance guys she often joked with. That would’ve been something to laugh at. Talking about shoving things into her naughty bits in front of a client she’d never met before, however, was nothing short of mortifying.
She pulled on the most self-assured expression she could muster. “I’ll let them know you’re here.” Pressing the line of Michael Gutierrez, one of the partners, she announced. “Mr. Helms has arrived.” After getting instructions and hanging up, she forced herself to look the client straight in the eye. “Someone will be here to bring you back in a few minutes. Please have a seat while you wait.” She gestured toward the couches by the window. “Can I get you something to drink? Water or coffee?”
“No, thank you.” He stayed where he was, not making a move toward the couches. His gaze fixed on her desktop. By the way the fingertips of one of his hands tapped against his thumb, she gathered he had something more to say to her.
She preempted him. “I’m sorry for what you overheard. It was unprofessional of me to have a conversation like that at the office. It won’t happen again, Mr. Helms.”
He lifted his eyes and she saw they were a light golden color with touches of green—or was that the hue of his suit reflected off them?
“I’m the only one who need apologize,” he said. “I should’ve made my presence known sooner. I’m sorry to have caused you embarrassment.”
She arched an eyebrow. “So you’re not going to rat me out to my bosses?”
His lips twitched into a small smile. “It stays between you, me, and whoever was on the other side of the phone.”
She smiled in response, inciting his grin to grow larger. She wasn’t sure if it was because of her relief or the sudden warmth of his expression, but she felt drawn to the alluring man in front of her. There was something old school about his slimness and height, his crisp suit, and the formal way he talked. Yet the wisp of hair that he hadn’t yet smoothed back revealed an impish, less polished side to him.
“Please, call me Adam,” he said.
“I’m Trish Cerise.” She stood and reached across her desk. It wasn’t until he took her hand that she remembered her rush to answer the phone. Swiftly pulling back, she explained, “My hands aren’t usually this damp. I hadn’t finished in the bathroom. Oh! Not like that. I meant I hadn’t finished washing my hands. No! I’d finished washing, just not drying them and…” She sank into her chair and fisted her offending hand in her lap. “I’m going to stop making words come out of my mouth now.”
“And deny me the best entertainment I’ve had in weeks?”
She laughed, caught in Adam’s amused gaze. She realized now that it was the intensity behind his eyes that pulled her in, making her more intrigued by him than their brief conversation should warrant.
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