November is here at last and with it comes the release of my latest book, The Perfect Choice. If you read Holiday Magic, you’ll catch a glimpse of the action in this book. The Perfect Choice follows Eleni from August to Boxing Day as she deals with problems of her own.
These two books are meant to be companion pieces, set more or less at the same time, describing the events in the lives of twin sisters Georgia and Eleni Baxter. I’ve stepped out of the box for this in that I relate the same events from different POV’s. For example, events in Holiday Magic are repeated in The Perfect Choice but from Eleni’s perspective rather than Georgia’s. As well, you get insight into why things happen as they did.
The cover, designed by the lovely Melinda De Ross and Classy Designs, uses images similar to Holiday Magic, a way to show the stories are related. Here is what you need to know about The Perfect Choice.
All’s fair in love and war…or is it?
Eleni Baxter has always been the impulsive twin requiring rescue from one scheme or another. Avoiding relationships because of trust issues, Eleni throws herself into her wedding and party fantasy firm, Holiday Magic. When her designs for a Halloween decorating scheme win her a shot at being the exclusive special events coordinator for the Ocean Front Casino Resort, she jumps at it, without reading the fine print. As always, twin sister Georgia comes to the rescue.
Reclusive millionaire casino owner Garth Joseph Smits Simmons has shunned publicity and gold-diggers for as long as he can remember, hiding behind a series of disguises to protect his identity. When beautiful, talented special events coordinator Eleni Baxter walks into his life, he’s determined to find a way to make her fall in love with him without revealing his true identity. Designing a contract to hire her and keep her in close proximity for three months seems like a stroke of genius, but having a double life becomes more complicated than ever.
With the holiday season in full swing, Joe decides it’s time to come clean, but will the magic of the holiday season be enough for Eleni to forgive him his deception, or will he lose it all on one throw of the dice?
Excerpt from The Perfect Choice:
Joe had been about to leave, when he noticed the blonde in the red dress coming along the sidewalk toward him. She carried an artist’s portfolio and seemed to have all the time in the world. He was stunned. She was without a doubt the most gorgeous woman he’d ever seen. He blinked his eyes to make sure he wasn’t imagining her. There was something regal about her. He could almost hear his mom speak.
“That’s class, Joe. Someday, when you’re a man, you’ll want to find yourself a woman with class, not a nobody like me.”
She had to be a model. Tall, at least five ten, well over six feet with the strappy, red, high-heeled sandals she wore, she owned the sidewalk as easily as she would any catwalk. Her short-sleeved, apple-red coat-dress was stylishly short, and showed off an incredible pair of legs. The neckline was a V, not a plunging one, but one offering a glimpse of a white lace camisole beneath it. Her long strawberry-blond hair was pulled back from her face and earrings shaped like red apples hung from her ears. She wore large, smoky-lensed, black-framed sunglasses and carried a red handbag. She was the most incredible woman he’d ever seen, and he was lost.
He watched her hungrily as she approached the musician, waved at him, gave him a beaming smile that all but blinded Joe. The guitarist saluted her and changed songs. He started to play Georgia on my Mind. As hard as it was to believe it was the same guy who’d played for his mother, the man’s gruff voice was unmistakable.
The blonde stood still listening to the singer, and the melancholy look on her face gradually became an open, friendly, and just a little dreamy smile to show that the music brought back pleasant memories. Joe stared hungrily at her, awed by the way just the sight of this woman affected him.
When the song ended, she tossed some money in the man’s guitar case, spoke to him for a few minutes, and then waved and walked away. Each step brought her closer to the bench where Joe sat, and he couldn’t pull his gaze away from her. Her Mona Lisa smile was as enigmatic as DaVinci’s woman’s had been and captured him. He wanted to say something to her, anything to get her to stop a moment, and he was trying to think of something witty when his stomach growled loudly, announcing to anyone with ears that he hadn’t had lunch.
She stopped in front of him, and started to laugh, her laughter as clear and crisp as a crystal bell. She gave him a curious smile and a quick once over, but there was nothing judgmental in her face when she looked into his mirrored glasses. Her sunglasses were lightly tinted, and he could see her eyes clearly through them. For the first time in his life, he wished he were himself, better dressed, standing out instead of blending in with the crowd.
“I’m sorry, that was rude of me,” she said, her voice pleasing to the ear, and as appealing as the rest of her. “I shouldn’t have laughed, but the only other person I know whose stomach growls like that is my sister, and I was thinking about her. I guess you need lunch. I’m pretty sure they’re still serving at the Mission. I’m going in that direction. If you want to come along, I can show you the way. I’ve had a few meals there myself. The food’s pretty good, and they don’t charge much, but if you can’t pay, you can do dishes or something.”
“I can pay,” he said quickly, amazed his voice actually worked.
He was completely disarmed by her genuine friendliness. He’d never met a woman like her. She was open and unaffected, and he relaxed and enjoyed this unexpected blessing.
“I didn’t want to give up the sunshine just yet. It’s my last day here. I wanted to make the most of it. Tell me, pretty lady, do you always talk to strangers?”
“Only those whose stomachs talk to me first.” She giggled softly. “It’s a unique pick-up line, that’s for sure. Besides, you’re not a stranger.”
“Have we met?” asked Joe, suddenly wary.
She shook her head. “Nope. We haven’t been introduced, if that’s what you mean, but you were with a friend of mine earlier.”
“You must have mistaken me for someone else,” he said, disappointed he wasn’t the guy she thought he was.
“Oh, it was you. I recognized your T-shirt. I love the Stones. You were having quite the discussion with old Clyde.”
He frowned in confusion, and she laughed.
“We share a common interest. I saw you in the fossil room at the Academy when I went there this morning. You seemed quite fascinated with him.”
Confused, Joe asked, “Clyde?” He stood, pleased that he was still an inch or so taller than she was.
“I feel anyone who’s hung around a place as long as that fossil has should have a name. Clyde just seemed to suit him.”
He laughed—a real belly laugh, the kind he hadn’t given in ages, and slung the backpack over his shoulder. “Can I carry your portfolio, pretty lady?”
“Sure. It’s not heavy, but it’s awkward. I’m Leni. Welcome to Philadelphia. How do you like my city?” she asked sticking out her hand to shake his.
The Perfect Choice is available in Paperback from Createspace
Merry Christmas and may all your Christmas wishes come true.