Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Review: Heather Morris's "Cilka's Journey (The Tattooist of Auschwitz #2)."


Synopsis: 

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.

After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to Siberia. But what choice did she have? And where did the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was sent to Auschwitz when still a child?

In a Siberian prison camp, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she makes an impression on a woman doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing. Cilka begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she daily confronts death and faces terror. And when she nurses a man called Alexandr, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

Review: Jo

"They took my clothes. They took my youth, my identity, 
and then they took my name and gave me a number." 

“Cilka’s Journey” was without a doubt one of my most anticipated reads of this year. After meeting Cilka in “The Tattooist of Auschwitz”, just like other readers I was eager to find out what had happened to her after the of the liberation of Auschwitz. It’s important to know that this book is a work of fiction that is based on a real life. A life that Heather Morris researched so that she could gather all of the facts and work a story around them. What the author delivered from all of the information was a story that both broke my heart and left me in awe of Cilka’s strength and courage. Lale Sokolov said that Cilka was the bravest person he ever met and after reading this book I can one hundred percent agree with him.

"There is a better world out there. I've seen it. I remember it."

This was a book that I could hardly put down. I read it in only a few days as I was compelled to keep turning the pages to discover what became of Cilka’s life. Cilka was a heroine in every sense of the word. Forced to deal with even more horrendous circumstances, yet she continued to keep going and once again found a way to survive. She made the best that she could out of an unjust and awful situation. Out of all of Cilka’s story, I couldn’t get over how unfairly she was treated after everything that she had already endured in Auschwitz. I’m just glad that in the end Cilka did find her happy ending.

"It is time to live now, Cilka. Without fear, and with the miracle of love."

I am pleased to say that this story did not disappoint. A mixture of both fact and fiction made this a fascinating read. The only thing that I would have loved and wasn’t included was a picture of Cilka. It would have been lovely to have a face to the name, like I was given at the end of Lale and Gita’s story. If you have read “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” this is an absolute must.

“Cilka’s Journey” gets ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️  from me.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Blog Tour: Monica Murphy's "Fake Date (Dating #2)."

The Hopeless Romantics Book Blog are pleased to be part of the Blog Tour for Monica Murphy's "Fake Date (Dating #2)."


Synopsis:

Working at Bliss, Sarah Harrison deals with all sorts of—interesting clientele. Yet no one sparks her interest more than Jared Gaines, the ultra-rich, ultra-sexy businessman who frequents her shop, buying delicate little “gifts” for the women in his life.


But one day, Jared sends her a gift from Bliss. Then another—and another. So when Sarah walks into his office demanding to know why he can't stop sending her gifts, he makes her an offer she somehow can’t refuse: be his fake girlfriend for the weekend while attending his brother’s engagement party.

Next thing Sarah knows, she’s in San Francisco, pretending to be in love with Jared. Not that it’s a hardship. Once you get the man away from the office, he’s much more relaxed. Sweet. Funny. Even…thoughtful? Oh, and sexier than ever, of course.

Their pretend relationship feels very real, very quickly. Soon Sarah’s in over her head. Could what she and Jared share turn into something real? Or is it all actually…fake?

Review: Jo 

Two five star reads in a row from Monica Murphy!! I loved "Fake Date" just as much as "Save the Date". This cute and steamy romance ticked just about all my boxes. It was a book that made my heart flip and left me giddy with happiness for Jared and Sarah. 

"Right now, at this moment, with this woman- Sarah- 
I get the sense that I'm looking at my future."

I loved so many things about this story. Firstly, I loved the main couple. Jared was a little grumpy and standoffish, but I had high hopes that behind his rude persona lay a beautiful man with the ability to sweep Sarah off her feet and I wasn’t disappointed. Sarah made a super sweet heroine. I loved how she stood up to Jared and made him work hard to get the girl. I also rooted for the romance to work out because she seemed to lovely and deserved a man who was going to treat her right. I also loved the way that the couple met and the hate-to-love angst and chemistry that quickly grew between the pair. Jared and Sarah’s story started off with so much potential. Things were looking promising from the start and the more I read, the more I was excited for what was happening on the pages before me. Jared and Sarah’s relationship played out exactly as I had hoped. By the time I reached the epilogue my heart was full and I couldn’t love the story anymore than I already did. I’m now eager to read Candice’s story. Luckily I don’t have to wait too long. 

"I want to fight for you. I will always fight for you."

Fake Date gets ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️  from me.



Excerpt:

“Mr. Gaines,” I say, pasting on my best customer smile when he lifts his gaze to mine.

His dark brown eyes flash with an unfamiliar gleam and my breath catches in the back of my throat. “Back so soon, I see.”

“You know I can’t resist you, Miss Harrison.” His smile is slow. Wolfish, if that’s really a thing. I read it in a romance novel once, thought it was kind of silly, but right now, it’s working for Jared.

His entire demeanor right now reminds me of a predatory creature. His face is all hard lines—stern, straight nose, granite jaw, sharp cheekbones, steely eyes. Yet his mouth, his lips are soft. Full. Lush.
Kissable.

Shaking my head at the wayward thought, I return his smile, trying my best to remain polite. Professional.

“Is there anything in particular you’re looking for this afternoon?” I’m surprised by how steady my voice is, considering I feel like my insides are sloshing back and forth, like I’m on a boat in the middle of the ocean.

“You don’t have anything pulled aside for my appointment?” He raises a single brow, the expression on his face practically daring me to say no. Well, guess what? I’m about to say it.
“No, I didn’t pull anything aside.” I shrug when he glares at me. “You never told me the nature of your visit.”

He glances about, making sure no one is around, I’d assume. And lucky for him, there’s no one in the store currently. It’s the middle of the week, early afternoon. We normally don’t get too many customers at this time. We are the only two people in here. Even Marlo has disappeared.

“Perhaps you can show me some of your newer items,” he suggests.

“I can do that.” All new arrivals are at the front of the store, so we’re in the right spot. I lead him to a table showcasing our latest bra and panty design. “Celestial is the theme for spring into summer.”

I point to the bras made of thin, sheer netting and pink silk, tiny pale pink stars stitched in a scattered pattern across the tulle fabric. They leave nothing to the imagination, and the panties are the same.

“They hide nothing.” He holds up a pair of brief-cut panties, turning them this way and that. Every time he holds underwear in those big hands of his, I melt a little inside. I don’t know why he affects me like this.

“You’re right. They don’t,” I agree, grabbing a thong and flipping it over to the thin string of lace that makes up the backside. “But they’re terribly sweet.”

“Sweet?”

I glance up to find him watching me. “Sweet yet sexy,” I counter, my cheeks going hot from the way he’s studying me so carefully.

“You like the celestial theme?”

I nod. Press my lips together so I don’t say something I regret. Like, I love this theme, or Do you want me to model the panties for you?

Yeah. That’s a bad idea.



Meet Monica:

Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and HarperCollins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance.

She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she's not writing, she's reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She's a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

Connect with Monica:








Thursday, 12 September 2019

Blog Tour: Lexi Ryan's "If It's Only Love (The Boys of Jackson Harbor #6)."

The Hopeless Romantics Book Blog are pleased to be part of the Blog Tour for Lexi Ryan's "If It's Only Love (The Boys of Jackson Harbor #6)."


Synopsis: 

I don’t regret much. 

Not my decision to enter the NFL draft before finishing college. 

Not fighting custody of my daughter—even if, biologically speaking, it turns out she’s not mine. 

And certainly not seducing my buddy’s little sister ten years ago. 

But when it comes to Shayleigh Jackson, my no-regrets attitude stops there. I screwed up royally where she’s concerned. Then I made another mistake when I let her shut me out of her life. 

Now after more than a decade living in different time zones, I’m coming home to Jackson Harbor. My first priority is getting my daughter away from the media circus in LA, but the moment I see Shay, I know I’ll stop at nothing to win her back.

So what if she won’t speak to me? So what if she’s changed? So what if she’s fallen for some douchebag professor? I’ve never gotten over her and I know she feels the same about me. I’ve let her go twice. I won’t make that mistake again.

Review: Jo 

I really have loved this series. A series that has been filled with the most gorgeous book boyfriends and beautiful romance. This book was no exception. The hero of the story was Easton who made me swoon so much. He made my heart skip a beat repeatedly. I loved everything about him. He was my favourite thing about this novel.

"Easton's kiss felt like a promise. Like praise and worship. 
In the two seconds his lips touched mine, I was destroyed and rebuilt." 

Shayleigh was the only daughter amongst the Jackson siblings. To be honest, I didn’t really know much about Shay so I enjoyed getting to know her in this instalment. I liked her a lot, however she also frustrated me on more than one occasion with how she treated Easton. Having said that I understood why she was guarding her heart. I was just willing her to take that leap of faith right into Easton’s arms.

"If you truly want to be my friend and nothing more, 
I'll take that and consider myself lucky.
 But I'm done pretending I'm not in love with you." 

Shay and Easton’s second chance at Love wasn’t easy, there seemed to be so many obstacles along the way, but when things were going well for the pair it made my heart happy. I knew that Easton would be the most perfect guy for Shay and I adored that they shared so much love between them. Yet again, I have fallen for another Jackson Harbour romance. 

"You never stole my heart. You tucked a piece of yourself into it and made me better."

"If It's Only Love" gets ❤️❤️❤️❤️  from me. 



Excerpt:

“We need to figure this out.”

She spins back to me, her eyes blazing. “Do it yourself.”

I huff out a laugh and prowl toward her. “What did you say?”

Those defiant eyes brim with tears and her bottom lip trembles. “I said do it yourself. I have nothing to say, but you’re the one so determined that we have this conversation.”

I come closer. She backs against the wall, and I keep coming until there are only inches between us. “That’s real mature, Shay.” I cup her jaw and stroke her bottom lip with my thumb as I study her face. “This is what you want?” I dip my head and bring my mouth a breath from hers. “You want me to corner you and make you talk? Maybe I need to remind you how good we are together.” I cock my head to the side, touching the bridge of my nose to hers. “You try to keep hating me, but you lose your grip on it when I get close, so I wonder what would happen if I got closer.”

Her breath is sweet against my lips, and she grabs my arms and curls her fingers into my biceps.

“Is that how it has to be, then? You want me to press you against this wall and kiss you until you can’t remember your name and can’t blame yourself for letting your guard down?”

Her pulse quickens beneath my fingers and her back bows as she arches into me. “We have nothing to talk about.”

“Bullshit. But maybe first you want me to track down that fucker you’re sleeping with—the one who you’re fine to let ‘see other people’? I could throw my weight around a little. He’d probably leave you alone just so he doesn’t have to deal with me.” I drag my nose along her cheek until my mouth is at her ear. “Then you wouldn’t have to tell him that you don’t want him. You wouldn’t ever have to admit that even after all these years, even after all the shit fate threw at us and all the mistakes I made, you still want me more than you’ll ever want him.” 

She swallows, and when she draws in a breath, I think she’s going to deny it. But she doesn’t say a word. Her only response is sliding a hand up to cup the back of my neck. Fuck yes.

“I’m not going to do that for you.” It takes every drop of my will to force myself to step back. “I want you to talk to me. I want you to scream at me for every shitty decision I ever made. Then I want you to kiss me and tell me I get another chance. I want you to break it off with that douchebag completely and be with me, but I’m not going to do it for you.” I take another step toward the door. “You’re going to have to make the choice yourself.”



Meet Lexi:

Lexi Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of emotional romance that sizzles. Lexi is the 2018 winner of the Romance Writers of America® RITA® award for Best Long Contemporary Romance. She considers herself the luckiest girl around to make a living through storytelling. She loves spending time with her crazy kids, weightlifting, ice cream, swoony heroes, and vodka martinis.

Lexi lives in Indiana with her husband, two children, and a spoiled dog. You can find her at her website: www.lexiryan.com

Connect with Lexi:




Thursday, 5 September 2019

Blog Tour: Helena Hunting's "Handle With Care (Shacking Up #5)."

The Hopeless Romantics Book Blog are pleased to be part of the Blog Tour for Helena Hunting's "Handle With Care (Shacking Up #5)."


Synopsis: 

HE WANTS TO LOSE CONTROL.

Between his parents’ messed up marriage and his narcissistic younger brother, Lincoln Moorehead has spent the majority of his life avoiding his family. After the death of his father, Lincoln finds himself in the middle of the drama. To top it all off, he’s been named CEO of Moorehead Media, much to his brother’s chagrin. But Lincoln’s bad attitude softens when he meets the no-nonsense, gorgeous woman who has been given the task of transforming him from the gruff, wilderness guy to a suave businessman

SHE’S TRYING TO HOLD IT TOGETHER.

Wren Sterling has been working double time to keep the indiscretions at Moorehead Media at bay, so when she’s presented with a new contract, with new responsibilities and additional incentives, she agrees. Working with the reclusive oldest son of a ridiculously entitled family is worth the hassle if it means she’s that much closer to pursuing her own dreams. What Wren doesn’t expect is to find herself attracted to him, or for it to be mutual. And she certainly doesn’t expect to fall for Lincoln. But when a shocking new Moorehead scandal comes to light, she’s forced to choose between her own family and the broody, cynical CEO.

Review: Jo 

For me, the highlight of this story was meeting the gorgeous Lincoln Moorhead. There was so much goodness about him. He truly was Mr Perfect. Kind, caring, giving- he loved helping people that were less fortunate than himself. He was also exceptionally good looking and fab at giving orgasms. It wasn’t difficult to catch feelings for him, that’s for sure. 

"I don't know how every man who crosses your path doesn't fall in love with you.
 Everything about you is incredible." 

This romance sees the relationship between Lincoln and Wren. I have to say that the couple's love took a while to bloom and normally I am not a fan of slow burns, although on this occasion I found it was worth the wait because I loved Lincoln and Wren together, especially seeing Lincoln so happy and Loved up. The pair's romance wasn’t all plain sailing, as heaps of family drama was thrown in to cause problems for both Lincoln and Wren, but I liked that Wren was determined to stand up for herself and her love.

"I don't deny him the escape he seeks in me. 
Because it brings us closer together in ways he can't understand yet. 
And because I'm what he needs." 

This was another novel from Helena Hunting that was well worth the read. It was brilliantly written with a story that kept my interest as well as an ending that made my heart skip-a-beat, “Handle With Care” was a thoroughly enjoyable read. It gets ❤️❤️❤️❤️ from me.




CHAPTER 1

WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?

WREN

I slip onto the empty bar stool beside the lumberjack mountain man

who looks like he tried to squeeze himself into a suit two sizes too

small. He’s intimidatingly broad and thick, with long dark hair that’s

been pulled up into a haphazard man bun thing. His beard is a

hipster’s wet dream. His scowl, however, makes him about as

approachable as a rabid porcupine. And yet, here I am, sidling up

next to him.

He glances at me, eyes bleary and not really tracking. He quickly

focuses on his half-empty glass again. Based on the slump of his

shoulders and the uncoordinated way he picks up his glass and

tips it toward his mouth, I’m guessing he’s pretty hammered. I order

a sparkling water with a dash of cranberry juice and a lime.

What I could really use is a cup of lavender-mint tea and my bed,

but instead, I’m sitting next to a drunk man in his thirties. My life is

extra glamorous, obviously. And no, I’m not an escort, but at the

moment I feel like my morals are on the same kind of slippery

slope.

“Rough day?” I ask, nodding to the bottle that’s missing more than

half its contents. It was full when he sat down at the bar an hour

ago. Yes, I’ve been watching him the entire time, waiting for an

opportunity to make my move. While he’s been sitting here, he’s

turned down two women, one in a dress that could’ve doubled as a

disco ball and the other in a top so low-cut, I could almost see her

navel.

“You could say that,” he slurs. He props his cheek on his fist, eyes

almost slits. I can still make out the vibrant blue hue despite them

almost being closed. They move over me, assessing. I’m wearing a

conservative black dress with a high neckline and a hem that falls

below my knees. Definitely not nearly as provocative as Disco Ball

or Navel Lady.

“That solving your problems?” I give him a wry grin and tip my chin

in the direction of his bottle of Johnnie.

His gaze swings slowly to the bottle. It gives me a chance to really

look at him. Or what I can see of his face under his beard,

anyway.


“Nah, but it helps quiet down all the noise up here.” He taps his

temple and blurts, “My dad died.”


I put a hand on his forearm. It feels awkward, and creepy on my

part since its half-genuine, half-contrived comfort. “I’m so sorry.”


He glances at my hand, which I quickly remove, and refocuses

on his drink. “I should be sorry too, but I think he was mostly an

asshole, so the world might be better off without him.” He attempts

to fill his glass again, but his aim is off, and he pours it on the bar

instead. I rush to lift my purse and grab a handful of napkins to

mop up the mess.

“I’m drunk,” he mumbles.


“Well, I’m thinking that might’ve been the plan, considering the way

you’re sucking that bottle back. I’m actually surprised you didn’t ask

for a straw in the first place. Might be a good idea to throw a

spacer in there if you want tomorrow morning to suck less.” I push

my drink toward him, hoping he doesn’t send me packing like he

did the other women who approached him earlier.

He narrows his eyes at my glass, suspicious, maybe. “What is

that?”

“Cranberry and soda.” 


“No booze?”


“No booze. Go ahead. You’ll thank me in the morning.”


He picks up the glass and pauses when it’s an inch from his

mouth. His eyes crinkle, telling me he’s smiling under that beard.

“Does that mean Imma wake up with you beside me?”

I cock a brow. “Are you propositioning me?”

“Shit, sorry.” He chugs the contents of my glass. “I was joking.

Besides, I’m so wasted, I can barely remember my name. Pretty

sure I’d be useless in bed tonight. I should stop talkin’.” He scrubs

a hand over his face and then motions to me. “I wouldn’t

proposition you.”

I’m not sure how to respond. I go with semi-affronted, since it

seems like somewhat of an insult. “Good to know.”

“Dammit. I mean, I think you might be hot. You look hot. I mean

attractive. I think you’re pretty.” He tips his head to the side and

blinks a few times. “You have nice eyes, all four of them are

lovely.”

This time I laugh—for real—and point to the bottle. “I think you

might want to tell your date you’re done for the night.”

He blows out a breath and nods. “You might be right.”

He makes an attempt to stand, but as soon as his feet hit the floor,

he stumbles into me and grabs my shoulders to steady himself.

“Whoa. Sorry. Yup, I’m definitely drunk.” His face is inches from

mine, breath smelling strongly of alcohol. Beyond that, I get a whiff

of fresh soap and a hint of aftershave. He lets go of my shoulders

and takes an unsteady step back. “I don’t usually do this.” He

motions sloppily to the bottle. “Mostly I’m a three drink max guy.”

“I think losing your father makes this condonable.” I slide off my

stool. Despite being tall for a woman, and wearing heels, he still

manages to be close to a head taller than me.

“Yeah, maybe, but I still think I might regret it tomorrow.” He’s

incredibly unsteady, swaying while standing in place. I take the

opportunity for what it is and thread my arm through his, leading

him away from the bar. “Come on, let’s get you to the elevator

before you pass out right here.”

He nods, then wobbles a bit, like moving his head has set him off

balance. “That’s probably a good idea.”

He leans into me as we weave through the bar and stumbles on

the two stairs leading to the foyer. There’s no way I’ll be able to

stop him if he goes down, but I drape one of his huge arms over

my shoulder anyway, and slip my own around his waist, guiding

him in a mostly straight line to the elevators.

“Which floor are you on?” I ask.

“Penthouse.” He drops his arm from my shoulder and flings it out,

pointing to the black doors at the end of the hall. “Jesus, I feel like

I’m on a boat.”

“It’s probably all the alcohol sloshing around in your brain.” I take

his elbow again, helping him stagger the last twenty feet to the

dedicated penthouse elevator.

He stares at the keypad for a few seconds, brow pulling into a

furrow. “I can’t remember the code. It’s thumbprint activated though

too.” He stumbles forward and presses his forehead against the

wall, then tries to line up his thumb with the sensor, but his aim is

horrendous and he keeps missing.

I settle a hand on his very firm forearm. This man is built like a

tank. Or a superhero. For a moment, I reconsider what I’m about to

do, but he seems pretty harmless and ridiculously hammered, so

he shouldn’t pose a threat. I’m also trained in self-defense, which

would fall under the by any means necessary umbrella. “Can I

help?”

He rolls his head, eyes slits as they bounce around my face.

“Please.”

I take his hand between mine. The first thing I notice is how

clammy it is. But beyond that, his knuckles are rough, littered with

tiny scars and a few scabs, and his nails are jagged.

“Your hands are small,” he observes as I line his thumb up with the

sensor pad and press down.

“Maybe yours are abnormally big,” I reply. They are rather large.

Like basketball player hands.

“You know what they say about big hands.”

I fight not to roll my eyes, but for a brief moment, I wonder if what’s

in his pants actually matches the rest of him. And if he’s unkempt

everywhere, not just on his face. I cut that visual quickly because it

makes me want to gag. “And what do they say?”

His eyes crinkle again, and he slaps his own chest. “Something

about big hands, big heart.”

I bite back my own smile. “Pretty sure you’re mixing that up with

cold hands, warm heart.”

His brow furrows. “There’s a good chance.”

The elevator doors slide open. He pushes off the wall with some

effort and practically tumbles inside. He catches himself on the rail

and sags against the wall as I follow him in. I honestly can’t believe

I’m doing this right now.

He doesn’t have to press a button since the elevator only goes to

the penthouse floor. As soon as we start moving, he groans and

his shoulders curl in. “I don’t feel so good.”

Please don’t let him be sick in here. If there’s one thing I can’t deal

with, it’s vomit. “You should sit.”

He slides down the wall, massive shoulders rolling forward as he

rests his forehead on his knees. “Tomorrow is going to suck.”

I stay on the other side of the elevator, in case he tosses his

cookies. “Probably.”

It’s the longest elevator ride in the history of the world. Or at least it

feels that way, mostly because I’m terrified he’s going to yak.

Thankfully, we make it to the penthouse floor incident-free. On the

down side, now that he’s in a sitting position, getting him to stand

again is a challenge. I have to press the open door button three

times before I can finally coax him to his feet.

In the time between leaving the bar and making it to the penthouse

floor, the effects of the alcohol seems to have compounded. He’s

beyond sloppy, using the wall and me for support as we make our

way to his door. There are two penthouse apartments up here.

One on either side of the foyer.

He leans against the doorjamb, once again fighting to find the

coordination to get his thumb to the sensor pad. I don’t ask if he

needs my assistance this time since it’s quite clear he does. Once

again I take his clammy hand in mine.

“Your hands are really soft,” he mumbles.


“Thanks.”


The pad ashes green, and I turn the handle. “Okay, here we go.

Home sweet home.”


“This isn’t my home,” he slurs. “My cousin’s family owns this

building. I’m crashing here until I can get the fuck out of New York.”

I scan the penthouse. It an eclectic combination of odd art and

modern furniture, like two different tastes crashed together and this

is the result. Aside from that, it’s clean to the point of looking

almost like a show home.

The only sign that someone is staying here is the lone coffee cup

on the table in the living room and the blanket lolling like a tongue

over the edge of the couch. I’m still standing in the doorway while

he sways unsteadily.

He tries to shove his hand in his pants pocket, but all he succeeds

in doing is setting himself off-balance. He nearly stumbles into the

wall.

“Thanks for your help,” he says.

He’s back in his penthouse, which means my job is technically

done. However, I’m worried he’s going to hurt himself, or worse,

asphyxiate on his own vomit in the middle of the night, and I’ll be

the one catching heat if that happens. I’ll also feel bad if something

happens to him. I blow out a breath, annoyed that this is how my

night is ending.

I heave his arm over my shoulder and slip mine around his waist

again, leading him through the living room toward what seems to

be the kitchen. There’s a sheet of paper on the island, but

otherwise it’s spotless.

“What’re you doing?” he asks.

We pause when we reach the threshold. “Which way is your

bedroom?”

He looks slowly from right to left. “Not that way.” He points to the

kitchen. It’s very state of the art.

I guide him in the opposite direction down the hall, until he

stumbles through a doorway, into a large but simply furnished

bedroom. Once we reach the edge of the bed, he drops his arm,

spins around—it’s drunkenly graceful—and falls back on the bed,

arms spread wide as if he’s planning on making snow angels. “The

room is spinning.”

“Would you like me to get you a glass of water and possibly a

painkiller for the headache you’ll likely have in the morning?” I’m

already heading for the bathroom.

“Might be a good idea,” he mumbles.

I find a glass on the edge of bathroom vanity—which is clean, apart

from a brand new toothbrush and tube of toothpaste. I run the tap,

wishing I had a plastic tumbler, because I’m not sure he’s in any

state to deal with breakable objects. I check the medicine cabinet,

find the pills I need, shake out two tablets, and return to the

bedroom.

He’s right where I left him; sprawled out faceup on a massive king-

size bed, legs hanging off the end, one shoe on the floor beside

him. I cross over and set the water and the pills on the nightstand.

I make a quick trip back to the bathroom and grab the empty

wastebasket from beside the toilet in case his night is a lot rougher

than he expects.

I tap his knee, crossing my fingers he’ll be easy to rouse. “Hey, I

have painkillers for you.”

He makes a noise, but doesn’t move otherwise.

I tap his knee again. “Lincoln, you need to wake up long enough to

take these.” I cringe. I called him by name, and he didn’t offer it to

me while we were down at the bar. Here’s hoping he’s too drunk to

notice or remember. His name is Lincoln Moorehead, heir to the

Moorehead Media fortune and all the crap that comes with it. And

there’s a lot of it.

One eye becomes a slit. “Every time I open my eyes, the room

starts spinning again.”

“If you drink this and take these, it might help.” I hold up the glass

of water and the pills.

“’Kay.” It takes three tries for him to sit up. He tries to pick the pills

up out of my palm, but keeps missing my hand.

“Just open your mouth.”

He lifts his head. “How do I know you’re not trying to roofie me?”

I hold up the tablet in front of his face. “They don’t say roofie, so

you’re safe.”

He tries to focus on the pill and then my face. I have my doubts

he’s successful at either.

His tongue peeks out to drag across his bottom lip. “The cameras

in the hall will catch you if you steal my wallet.”

I laugh at that. “I’m not going to steal your wallet, I’m going to put

you to bed.”

“Hmm.” He nods slowly and opens his mouth.

I drop the pills on his tongue and hand him the glass, which he

drains in three long swallows. “Would you like me to refill that?”

“That’d be nice.” He holds out the glass, but when I try to pull

away, he covers my hands with his. His shockingly blue eyes meet

mine, and for a moment they’re clear and compelling. Despite how

out of it he is, and how much he resembles a mountain man, or

maybe because of it, I have a hard time looking away. “I really wish

I wasn’t this messed up. You smell nice. I bet your hair is pretty

when it’s not pulled up like that.” He flops a hand toward my bun.

“Not that it’s not pretty like that, but I bet if you took it down, it

would be wavy and soft. The kind of hair you want to bury your

face in and run your fingers through.” He exhales a long breath. “I

haven’t had sex in a really long time, but I feel like I would have

zero finesse if I tried right now.”

I smile and turn away. In the time it takes for me to refill his glass,

he’s managed to get one arm out of his suit jacket. He’s made it

most of the way onto the bed, feet still hanging off the end, but he’s

on his back, which is not ideal.

I set the glass on his nightstand, along with a second set of

painkillers, which I’m assuming he’ll need in the morning, and give

him another nudge. “Hey.”

This time I get nothing in the way of a response. I poke him twice

more, but still nothing. He can’t sleep on his back with how drunk

he is. He needs to be on his side or his stomach with a

wastebasket close by.

I can’t in good conscience leave him like this. My options are

limited. I shake my head as I kick off my shoes and climb up onto

the bed with him. This is not at all what I expected to be doing

when I brought him back up here.

I stare down at his sleeping form. His lips are parted, they’re nice

lips, full and plump, even though they’re mostly obscured by his

overgrown beard. His hair has started to unravel from its man bun,

wisps hanging in his face. He has long lashes, really long actually,

and they’re thick and dark, the kind women pay a lot of money for.

His nose is straight and his cheekbones— what I can see of

them—are high. With a haircut, a beard trim or complete shave,

and a new suit that actually fits, I can imagine how refined he’ll

look. More like a Moorehead than a mountain man lumberjack. I

shake my head. “I need you to roll onto your side, please,” I say

loudly.

Nothing. Not even a grunt.

I pull on his shoulder, but he’s dead weight. Leaning over him, I

make a fist and give him a light jab approximately where his kidney

is. “Lincoln, roll over.”

And roll he does, knocking me down and turning over so he’s right

on top of me. We’re face-to-face. Good God, he’s heavy. His bones

must be made of lead. He shifts, one leg coming over both of mine.

I push at his knee, but his arm swings out and he wraps himself

around me on a low groan, pinning my arm to my side. He’s like a

giant human blanket.

“How did this become my life?” I say to the ceiling, because the

man lying on top of me is apparently out cold.

I try to wriggle free, I even yell his name a bunch of time before I

give up and wait for him to roll off me. And while I wait for that to

happen, I replay the conversation with his mother, Gwendolyn

Moorehead, that took place forty-eight hours ago and put me in this

awkward position underneath her drunk son.

I’d been standing in Fredrick’s office, still digesting the fact that he

was dead. It was shocking that a massive heart attack had taken

him, since he was always so healthy and full of life.

Gwendolyn, his wife—now a widow—stood stoic behind his desk,

papers stacked neatly in the center.

“I’m so very for your loss, Gwendolyn. If there’s anything I can do.

Whatever you need.” The words poured out, typical condolences,

but sincerely meant because I couldn’t imagine how my mother

and I would feel if we lost my father.

Gwendolyn’s fingers danced at her throat as she cleared it. “Thank

you,” she whispered brokenly and dabbed at her eyes. “I

appreciate your kindness, Wren.”

“Let me know what you want me to handle, and I’ll take care of it.”

She took a deep breath, composing herself before she lifted her

gaze to mine. “I need your help.”

“Of course, what can I do?”

“My oldest son, Lincoln, will be returning to New York for the

funeral, and he’ll be staying to help run the company.”

A hot feeling crept up my spine. I’d heard very little about Lincoln.

Everything from Armstrong’s mouth was scathing, Fredrick’s

passing references had been with fondness, and my interactions

with Gwendolyn had been minimal as it was Fredrick himself who

hired me, so this was first I’ve heard of Lincoln through her. “I see.

And how can I help with that?” I could only imagine how difficult

Armstrong would be if he had to share the attention with someone

else, particularly his brother.

“Transitioning Lincoln.” Gwendolyn rounded her desk. “You’ve

managed to turn around Armstrong’s reputation in the media

during the time you’ve been here. I know it hasn’t been easy, and

Armstrong can be difficult to manage.”

Difficult to manage is the understatement of the entire century

where Armstrong is concerned. He’s a cocksucker of epic

proportions. He’s also a misogynistic, narcissistic bastard that I’ve

had to deal with for the past eight months on a nearly daily

basis—sometimes even on weekends.

My job as his “handler” has been to reshape his horrendous

reputation after his involvement in several scandalous events

became very public. It wasn’t a job I necessarily wanted, and I was

prepared to politely reject the offer, but my mother asked me to

take the position as a favor to her since she’s a friend of

Gwendolyn.

Beyond that, my relationship with my mother has been strained for

the past decade. When I was a teenager, I discovered information

that changed our relationship forever. Taking the job at Moorehead

was in part, my way of trying to help repair our fractured bond. The

financial compensation, which was ridiculously high, also didn’t

hurt. Besides, Gwendolyn is on nearly every single charitable

foundation committee in the city, and since that’s where my

interests lie, it seemed like a smart career move.

“Since you’re already working with Armstrong and things seem to

be settled there for the most part, I felt it would make sense to

keep you on here at Moorehead to work with Lincoln. He’s been

away from civilized society for several years. He’s nothing like his

brother, very altruistic and focused on his job, rather than

recreational pursuits, so he should be easier to manage.”

I fought a scoff at the last bit, since “recreational pursuits” was a

reference to the fact that Armstrong couldn’t seem to keep his

pants zipped when it came to women.

Gwendolyn pushed a set of papers toward me. “It would only be for

another six months. And of course, your salary would reflect the

double work load, since you’ll still have to maintain Armstrong in

some capacity while you assist Lincoln in transitioning into his role

here.”

“I’m sorry, what—”

Gwendolyn pulled me into an awkward hug, holding onto my

shoulders when she stepped back. Her eyes were glassy and red-

rimmed. “You have no idea how much I appreciate your willingness

to take this on. As soon as your contract is fulfilled, you have my

word that I’ll give you a glowing recommendation to whichever

organization you’d like. Your mother told me you’re interested in

starting your own foundation. I’ll certainly help you in any way I’m

able if you’ll stay on a little longer for me.” She dabbed at her

corner of her eyes and sniffed, then tapped the papers on the

desk. “I already have an agreement ready and an NDA, of course.

Everything is tabbed for signing.”

I’m pulled back into the present when Lincoln shifts and one of his

huge hands slides up my side and lands on my breast. At the same

time, he pushes his nose against my neck, beard tickling my

collarbone. He mutters something unintelligible against my skin.

I’m momentarily frozen in shock. Under any other circumstances, I

would knee him in the balls. However, he’s not conscious or even

semi-aware that he’s fondling me. Thankfully, now that he’s moved,

I have some wiggle room.

I elbow him in the ribs, which probably hurts me more than it does

him. At least it gets him to move away enough that I can slip out

from under him. I roll off the bed and pop back up, smoothing out

my now-wrinkled dress. My stupid nipples are perky, thanks to the

attention the right one just got. Probably because it’s the most

action I’ve seen since I started working for the Mooreheads eight

months ago.

I hit the lights on the way out of the bedroom, pause in the kitchen

to grab a glass of water and check out the sheet of paper on the

counter. It’s a list of important details regarding the penthouse,

including the entry code. I nab my purse, snap a pic, and head for

the elevators.

I have a feeling this is going to be a long six months.

From Handle With Care. Copyright © 2019 by Helena Hunting and reprinted

with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

Bio:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes
contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Buy-Book Link:

https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250183996