The Chasing Love Series is On Sale!

Hi romance readers!

Just a quick note to let you know that the first four books in the Chasing Love Series are on sale for $3.99 for a limited time.  They’re hot reads for the cold winter months that are left! And if you already own them, tell a friend. Also just in case you missed it, the fifth book in the series, A Chase for Christmas is now available. (not a part of the sale)  Buy links below.

Have a great week!

Candace

chasing-love-4-books-banner

 

Buy Links

Amazon button  Google play buy links    iBooks buy link

kobo buy link  Nook buy link

 

A Chase for Christmas (Book #5, Chasing Love Series) is now available in ebook and print. If you haven’t read it yet, the chase has definitely begun. Preston’s not giving up and Blythe hates to admit that she’s loving the chase!

A Chase for Christmas Final front coverChasing a dream of love 

The pursuit of love has always been high on Preston Chase’s priority list. But the video game developer has yet to find the soul mate he craves. His sister’s best friend—artist and studio owner Blythe Ventura—is a world away from the shallow glam girls who’ve thrown themselves at him. With her creative spirit and passionate commitment, she’s the ideal candidate for his Winter Wonderland project. Too bad she doesn’t seem interested in being the one to win his heart.

After a string of dating disasters, Blythe isn’t ready to believe in a romantic relationship with Preston. Until their work giving sick children hope and joy for Christmas brings them together—and reveals a very different side of the notorious millionaire playboy. All she has to do is trust in the feelings Preston is awakening and this just might be the year that they both find the happy holiday ending they’ve been searching for…

 Chapter One

Preston’s Interview with Harlequin Kimani Romance

Buy Links

Amazon button  Amazon ca buy link  Amazon UK books a million buy link

Google play buy links  Harlequin buy link  iBooks buy link kobo buy link

Mills and Boon Nook buy link

Cooking up Love is FREE!

Hello Romance Readers!

I hope everyone is staying warm during this cold holiday season. Luckily, Georgia isn’t one of the forty states with the severe weather conditions, but I pray that you all are safe and warm.

I know I have a lot of new mailing list subscribers lately, so I wanted to inform you that my very first book, Cooking up Love (Book #1, Arrington Family Series) is FREE for this holiday season. So in between shopping and preparing for Christmas, perhaps you can cuddle with a comfy blanket, egg nog and read Shelbi and Justin’s love story. And if you are a new reader, the Arrington Family Series is a complete series.  You can check out the other books and the first chapter of each by clicking on the “Bookshelf” link in the website’s navigation bar above.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with love and blessings!

Sincerely,

Candace Shaw

Cooking Up Love BookcoverWhat happens when a suave, sexy chef meets a cute, sassy food critic?

When Shelbi Arrington accepts a position as a food critic in the hopes of burying her medical career and foregoing her residency, the last thing she’s searching for is love. However, that’s just what the doctor ordered especially when she lays eyes on the handsome chef, Justin Richardson. While sorting out her secret conflict of continuing her medical career, she falls for his mouthwatering charm, leaving her hungry for anything he has to offer.

Justin is leery of doctors because a doctor’s negligence caused his mother’s death when he was twelve. He has put his focus and energy into his restaurant, which had been a dream he and his mother shared. Justin is immediately smitten by the cute, sassy food critic that has him cooking up different ways to please her appetite. But when things start to heat up, Shelbi learns of a shocking revelation that could extinguish the flame of their relationship. Will Justin be able to forget his pain and commit to the woman who has stolen his heart?

Cooking up Love is the first book in the Arrington Family Series.

Chapter 1 

Buy Links: Amazon  Amazon UK  Barnes and Noble  Smashwords    Kobo

Reminder:

A Chase for Christmas (Book #5, Chasing Love Series) is now available in ebook and print. If you haven’t read it yet, the chase has definitely begun. Preston’s not giving up and Blythe hates to admit that she’s loving the chase!

A Chase for Christmas Final front coverChasing a dream of love 

The pursuit of love has always been high on Preston Chase’s priority list. But the video game developer has yet to find the soul mate he craves. His sister’s best friend—artist and studio owner Blythe Ventura—is a world away from the shallow glam girls who’ve thrown themselves at him. With her creative spirit and passionate commitment, she’s the ideal candidate for his Winter Wonderland project. Too bad she doesn’t seem interested in being the one to win his heart.

After a string of dating disasters, Blythe isn’t ready to believe in a romantic relationship with Preston. Until their work giving sick children hope and joy for Christmas brings them together—and reveals a very different side of the notorious millionaire playboy. All she has to do is trust in the feelings Preston is awakening and this just might be the year that they both find the happy holiday ending they’ve been searching for…

 Chapter One

Preston’s Interview with Harlequin Kimani Romance

Buy Links

Amazon button  Amazon ca buy link  Amazon UK books a million buy link

Google play buy links  Harlequin buy link  iBooks buy link kobo buy link

Mills and Boon Nook buy link

This entry was posted on December 19, 2016. 4 Comments

New Release: A Chase for Christmas

Dear Romance Reader!

I’m so excited that A Chase for Christmas has officially released. However, at the same time it’s a bittersweet moment because it’s the fifth and final book in the Chasing Love Series. I truly enjoyed writing Megan, Sydney, Braxton, Tiffani, and Preston’s love stories. This doesn’t mean you’ll never hear from the Chase family again. Expect to see some of them popping up in future Arrington books. Plus, I’ve started working on Megan Chase’s best friend and business partner, Jade Whitmore’s book, so you’ll definitely see a Chase family member or two and updates about their lives.

If you aren’t familiar with Preston Chase, he’s a ladies’ man who doesn’t consider himself a player. His suave, handsome looks and intelligent charm can land him any woman he wants, except for the one who simply laughs off his advances—Blythe Ventura. He usually falls for high-maintenance women. However, there’s something about the bohemian, earthy artist that has piqued his interest ever since he laid eyes on her at a paint party with his family a year ago.

Blythe knows Preston is a player and wants nothing to do with him on a dating level. But when he asks her to assist him with his project for the children’s hospital, she can’t say no. Working in close proximity with Preston and seeing his interactions with the children, she notices a side of him that she didn’t know existed. Blythe’s guard begins to lower and she finds herself loving the chase.

I hope you enjoy Preston and Blythe’s sexy Christmas romance! Happy reading!

Always,

Candace Shaw

A Chase for Christmas Final front coverChasing a dream of love 

The pursuit of love has always been high on Preston Chase’s priority list. But the video game developer has yet to find the soul mate he craves. His sister’s best friend—artist and studio owner Blythe Ventura—is a world away from the shallow glam girls who’ve thrown themselves at him. With her creative spirit and passionate commitment, she’s the ideal candidate for his Winter Wonderland project. Too bad she doesn’t seem interested in being the one to win his heart.

After a string of dating disasters, Blythe isn’t ready to believe in a romantic relationship with Preston. Until their work giving sick children hope and joy for Christmas brings them together—and reveals a very different side of the notorious millionaire playboy. All she has to do is trust in the feelings Preston is awakening and this just might be the year that they both find the happy holiday ending they’ve been searching for…

 

Buy Links

Amazon button  Amazon ca buy link  Amazon UK books a million buy link

Google play buy links  Harlequin buy link  iBooks buy link kobo buy link

Mills and Boon Nook buy link

Categories for Christmas Contest

Dear Romance Reader,

I’m so ecstatic to team up with one of my favorite romance authors, New York Times Bestselling author Susan Mallery and twenty fabulous romance authors to bring you the Categories for Christmas contest! One lucky reader will win 21 romance novels from the different Harlequin series categories, a tote bag from Harlequin Books, and a lot of other great swag! (Rumor has it, Susan is going to include a signed copy of one of her books, plus a few other gifts.) This is our way of thanking our readers for your enthusiasm for the wonderfully romantic and sexy stories we write.

categories-for-christmas-facebook1

Participating authors and their latest Christmas romances!

A.C. Arthur, author of One Mistletoe Wish

Amanda Renee, author of Twins for Christmas

Amy Vastine, author of Catch a Fallen Star

Annie West, author of The Desert King’s Secret Heir

Barbara Wallace, author ofWinter Wedding for the Prince

Brenda Harlen, author of The More Mavericks, the Merrier!

Caitlin Crews, author of The Guardian’s Virgin Ward

Candace Shaw, author of A Chase for Christmas

Carol Ross, author of Christmas in the Cove

Christine Rimmer, author ofA Bravo for Christmas

Deb Kastner, author of Mistletoe Daddy

Jill Kemerer, author of Yuletide Redemption

Kate Hewitt, author of A Di Sione for the Greek’s Pleasure

Kathy Altman, author ofTempting the Sheriff

Laura Marie Altom, author of The Cowboy SEAL’s Jingle Bell Baby

Lee Tobin McClain, author ofThe Nanny’s Texas Christmas

Maureen Child, author of Maid under the Mistletoe

RaeAnne Thayne, author of The Holiday Gift

Scarlet Wilson, author of Christmas in the Boss’s Castle

Susan Mallery, author of Daughters of the Bride

Tiffany Reisz, author of One Hot December

Vicki Lewis Thompson, author of Cowboy Unwrapped

 

Enter on the Contest page at SusanMallery.com! It’s under the Members tab. If you’re not a member at Susan’s website yet, you can join for free, and it only takes a minute. The contest is open internationally. The winner will be chosen at random on December 5, so enter today.

Good luck!

Candace

P.S.

Reminder: A Chase for Christmas is now available in paperback in stores that sell Harlequin’s such as Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, Walmart, and Target.  The ebook will be released on the official release date of December 1st. Pre order your copy now so it will be delivered to your ereader at midnight on December 1st!

A Chase for Christmas Final front coverChasing a dream of love 

The pursuit of love has always been high on Preston Chase’s priority list. But the video game developer has yet to find the soul mate he craves. His sister’s best friend—artist and studio owner Blythe Ventura—is a world away from the shallow glam girls who’ve thrown themselves at him. With her creative spirit and passionate commitment, she’s the ideal candidate for his Winter Wonderland project. Too bad she doesn’t seem interested in being the one to win his heart.

After a string of dating disasters, Blythe isn’t ready to believe in a romantic relationship with Preston. Until their work giving sick children hope and joy for Christmas brings them together—and reveals a very different side of the notorious millionaire playboy. All she has to do is trust in the feelings Preston is awakening and this just might be the year that they both find the happy holiday ending they’ve been searching for…

Pre Order Links

Amazon button  Amazon ca buy link  Amazon UK books a million buy link

Google play buy links  Harlequin buy link  iBooks buy link kobo buy link

Mills and Boon Nook buy link

Black Friday Sale: For the Love of You

Hello romance readers!

I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving with your loved ones like I did, and if you were out shopping for Black Friday deals, then you may want to relax, eat leftovers and read. The first love story in the Precious Moments Series, For the Love of You, is on sale for 99 cents at all online retailers.  I’m currently writing the second book in the series, When I Fell for You (Winter 2017) so now is the perfect time to read the first book if you haven’t already. And if so, tell a friend.  Sale ends on Cyber Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Candace

PS. A Chase for Christmas is on pre order for December 1st. Links below.

Fortheloveofyou book cover finalZaria Richardson is determined to make her event planning company, Precious Moments, the most sought after on St. Simons Island, Georgia. When Dr. Garrett Braxton approaches her with shocking information about their rendezvous last year to Las Vegas, the perfect life she’s created for herself comes crashing down. All of her mixed emotions over the suave, irresistible doctor rise to the surface, and now she’s faced with a life-changing decision.

Garrett has been in love with the ravishing, sassy beauty since he first laid eyes on her. However, with an unexpected circumstance, he now knows more than ever that Zaria has always been the one for him. Can he convince her that they’re truly meant to be?

 

 

Buy Links

Amazon button   iBooks buy link

kobo buy link Nook buy link  Smashwords buy link

Reminder: A Chase for Christmas is now available in paperback in stores that sell Harlequin’s such as Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, Walmart, and Target.  The ebook will be released on the official release date of December 1st. Pre order your copy now!

A Chase for Christmas Final front coverChasing a dream of love 

The pursuit of love has always been high on Preston Chase’s priority list. But the video game developer has yet to find the soul mate he craves. His sister’s best friend—artist and studio owner Blythe Ventura—is a world away from the shallow glam girls who’ve thrown themselves at him. With her creative spirit and passionate commitment, she’s the ideal candidate for his Winter Wonderland project. Too bad she doesn’t seem interested in being the one to win his heart.

After a string of dating disasters, Blythe isn’t ready to believe in a romantic relationship with Preston. Until their work giving sick children hope and joy for Christmas brings them together—and reveals a very different side of the notorious millionaire playboy. All she has to do is trust in the feelings Preston is awakening and this just might be the year that they both find the happy holiday ending they’ve been searching for…

Pre Order Links

Amazon button  Amazon ca buy link  Amazon UK books a million buy link

Google play buy links  Harlequin buy link  iBooks buy link kobo buy link

Mills and Boon Nook buy link

Color of Love Blog Hop 2016

col_button1Welcome hoppers to my website for the Color of Love Blog Hop! I hope everyone had a happy and safe Thanksgiving if you’re in the United States. I’m excited you’re stopping by to check out my books as well as to win some really cool prizes. If you’re one of my email subscribers who wasn’t aware of the hop, come on and join the fun! The other authors and bloggers who are participating are at the bottom of the post. The hop begins today, November 25th and ends December 4th at midnight EST.

One of the prize packs includes an ebook copy of one of my favorite books in the Chasing Love Series, His Loving Caress. Check out the blurb and an excerpt below as well as my own giveaway after the Rafflecopter link for the grand prize giveaways!

Happy hopping, romance readers!

 

GRAND PRIZES

1st prize $75 GC + 7 ebooks

2nd prize $50 GC + 7 ebooks

3rd prize $30 GC + 7 ebooks

4th prize $15 GC + 7 ebooks

5th prize $10 GC + 7 ebooks

6th prize $5 GC + 7 ebooks

 

His Loving Caress final coverHearts in harmony? 

Instead of falling apart when her childhood sweetheart chose his music career over marriage, Elle Lauren fled to Paris to study fashion design. Her stunning wedding gowns now give other brides the happily-ever-after she didn’t have. Ignoring Braxton Chase’s long-distance apologies has been easy. But meeting him once more stirs the deep longings and desires that a decade has not erased.

Braxton walked away from the pressure to marry at a young age, and he’s regretted breaking Elle’s heart ever since. From the moment he sees her again at his Atlanta jazz club, he knows he wants more than forgiveness—he wants a second chance at the body-and-soul connection that they once had. Can he convince her to trust the sweet, seductive melody of their lost love?

 

Excerpt from His Loving Caress

After dinner the auction started immediately, and Elle was grateful. The sooner she could leave, the better. Sitting across from Braxton’s penetrating gaze was haunting and she was ready to say her goodbyes. However, Megan and Tiffani pulled her out onto the dance floor when their sorority’s national party song came on and the ladies danced and stepped along with their other sorors to a cheering crowd. For a moment she had forgotten all about Braxton as she had fun dancing until she caught him staring at her from the side of the dance floor. After the sorority strut, she’d planned on slipping out once again, but the Electric Slide followed and that was her jam. When she glanced up to where Braxton had stood, he was no longer there. She breathed easy for what seemed to be a quick moment until she turned and noticed he was dancing at her side.

“Hi there,” he teased with a wave. “I see you still love to dance.”

“And I see you still can’t.” She couldn’t help but rag him. Actually, he had danced quite well when they were younger, but he did seem a bit rusty.

“You never complained when we slow danced,” he whispered. “I’m sure you remember being in my arms swaying to our song.”

With a flushed face, she turned accordingly to the line dance, and he ended up behind her. Her heart froze, but she continued moving while hoping the song would hurry up and end. The floor was crowded and Braxton’s chest was inches away from her back even though her gut told her he was too close on purpose. The dance floor may have been packed, but he was still too darn close. The song continued for a few more minutes but finally stopped when the DJ announced he was going to slow it down for everyone to catch their breaths and for the gentlemen to grab a pretty lady. Elle breathed easy again until she heard the first note of the song “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boys to Men. It was one of their favorite songs, and she had a sneaky inkling he’d requested it. Either today was just one big cruel joke or she was starring in an episode of The Twilight Zone.

Elle’s eyes immediately jerked toward Braxton to study his expression because nothing with him that day had been a coincidence or fate like Mya had suggested. She found him wearing a sheepish smile which suggested he knew exactly what he was doing. She turned on her heel to skedaddle back to their table, but he drew her effortlessly to him by the waist, her hands landing on the bend of his elbows.

Gasping, she eyed him sternly as her chest heaved up and down. She pulled away, but he held her firm in his embrace as a sly sneer formed across his handsome face.

He bent down and whispered in her ear as his tongue flicked over it. “Where are you going?” He raised an eyebrow and displayed a cocky grin as if there could only be one answer.

On the tip of her tongue she was ready to respond “nowhere, baby.” In the past if she was in his arms and had tried to break their hug before he was ready, he’d always ask that same question. Her response would always be the same followed by a giggle or a playful kiss.

“Let go,” she demanded through a clenched fake smile. “We are not about to do this.”

“Elle, all eyes are on us right now and I know you’re not one to cause a scene at your sorority’s event.”

Groaning, she backed up a step so she wouldn’t be so closely pressed against him and slid her hands up to his shoulders. “Fine, one dance and then you have to promise to leave me alone forever.”

“I can’t promise that, at least not until we sit down and talk.”

She closed her eyes and sighed. There wasn’t anything he could say that would erase the pain he’d caused. But she knew how his conscience worked. He felt guilty. Now that he was aware she was in the same city until the end of the week, he would continue to try his best to see her. Luckily, he didn’t know where she was staying unless of course Sydney had divulged that information as well.

She opened her eyes when he began to sing the words to the song, and she found herself completely against his body again.When had that happened? She hated to admit that the feel of him was comforting. The part of her that had longed for him and missed him was exactly where she longed to be. His warm embrace was even more defined. He was all man now. Gone was his lanky frame. He was strong and rugged. Irresistibly sexy and confident. He used to say that her body was the exact puzzle piece that fit with his, no matter the circumstance. Despite the fact that ten years had passed and both of their physiques had changed, she still fit perfectly, nestled in his arms. The thought made her breathing become unhinged. She needed room to breathe but she couldn’t move.

The way his hands rested on her hips and moved her in tune with his body was a distraction. She wasn’t supposed to enjoy this moment with him. She was supposed to be yelling and cursing him out. Instead, she couldn’t remove her eyes from his handsome face as he continued to sing the song to her as if he meant every single word. It was torture and pleasure at the same time. The way her body was betraying her, she wouldn’t be surprised if she completely gave in, because resisting him had never been easy. Braxton always had a way of looking at her with his dark seductive eyes that would make her weak. She decided to strike up conversation so he’d stop singing and gazing at her as if he was going to rip her dress off.

“I like your tuxedo,” she said knowingly, running her hand down the lapel.

“Thank you. I wore it on the cover of my last album. In fact, all the cats in the band had an Elle Lauren tux.”

“I know.”

“You saw it?” His eyes sparkled and a wicked grin inched up his cheek. “You have my CDs?”

“Don’t flatter yourself. Yes, I have your CDs and you have my tux.”

“We were always supportive of each other. Maybe you can come to the club tomorrow evening. I’d love for you to see it when it’s open and lively. Perhaps we can have dinner.”

“You’re pushing it, Mr. Chase.”

“One dinner isn’t gonna kill you, and we don’t have to discuss the past if you’re not ready to yet.” He held up his right hand as if taking an oath. “Scout’s honor.”

“I’ll think about it,” she said, grateful the song was ending. In that short period of time he’d managed to crack part of her wall since she was possibly considering having dinner with him. She had to get far away from him before he bulldozed it all the way down.

“That’s all I’m asking…for now. Thank you for the dance, Sunshine.” Braxton seductively slid his hands over her curves and off her body. “Looks like we’re still in rhythm. We always did dance like we were making love.”

The image of such appeared at the forefront of her mind, and she had to shut it off and fast before she did the unthinkable. Suppressing a gulp, she conjured up a smirk. “Hmm…and your singing is still off-key.”

He released a hearty laugh, but then closed the gap between them and rested a dark stare on her. “Baby, I don’t sing. I play the piano and another instrument very, very well. And if memory serves me right, I used to make you go way off-key, though I’m sure you remember.”

He glided a finger down her arm that induced a warm sensation to flow through her, and her nipples hardened as if cold air had hit them. Elle did remember all too well. She still dreamed of making love with him. He was the only man that knew just how she wanted to be caressed and handled. And he was right. The sounds and moans he used to provoke from her were totally out of tune, but she never cared and neither did he as his hands and tongue would travel over her body until she could barely remember her name.

“Yeah…well…vaguely. That was eons ago.”

Link to Rafflecopter: Color of Love Fest 2016

 

book-covers-2     book-covers-1

Giveaway Time!

In addition to the blog hop giveaway, I’m having my own giveaway. For a chance to win an ebook copy of The Sweetest Kiss, tell me in the comment section why do you read romance novels. I’ll email the winner and announce on my social media pages at the end of the hop.

The sweetest kiss finalToo tempting to resist 

Luscious, tantalizing, delectable…and that’s just Tiffani Chase-Lake’s cupcakes. The moment Broderick Hollingsworth sets eyes on the sexy baker herself, he’s truly intrigued. For the first time, the wary real estate developer is ready to open up to someone. Then he realizes that his next business deal is going to leave Tiffani and her cozy bakery high and dry…

Just as hardworking single mom Tiffani is falling for Broderick’s easy charm, she learns about the property deal that will destroy her business. Even her most decadent dessert can’t eclipse the bitter taste of betrayal. Tiffani’s livelihood and her independence are on the line. Walking away from their sensual chemistry won’t be easy—but is trusting him a recipe for heartache?

 

Authors and Bloggers Participating in the 2016 Color of Love Blog Hop

1. Kiru Taye 15. Ines Johnson 29. Rina Gray
2. Nana Prah 16. Sharon C. Cooper 30. Joyfully Reviewed
3. Empi Baryeh 17. Candace Shaw 31. Synithia Williams
4. RWOWA 18. Natasha Blackthorne 32. L. Loren
5. Sexy Romance Novels 19. Sydney Aaliyah Michelle 33. LaQuette
6. Kai Tyler 20. Kenya Wright 34. Jamie Wesley
7. Love Bites and Silk 21. Delaney Diamond 35. A.J. Locke
8. Felicia Denise 22. LaVerne Thompson 36. A.C. Melody
9. Guinevere & Libertad 23. Tia Kelly 37. www.authorkayblake.wordpress.com
10. G.L. Tomas 24. Patience Saduwa 38. Kay Blake
11. Georgia Lyn Hunter 25. Paulette Harper 39. Sheena Binkley
12. Lea’s Crazy Nights 26. LENA HART 40. M.J. Kane
13. Lily Harlem 27. S.W.Frank 41. ELF
14. Kim Golden 28. Reana Malori 42. Reviews by Crystal
This entry was posted on November 25, 2016. 10 Comments

Chapter One of A Chase for Christmas

Dear romance readers!

I hope everyone is well and staying warm as the weather grows colder. I’ve been busy in the cave writing, rewriting, starting over (twice …maybe more) on When I Fell for You, the second book in the Precious Moments Series. No release date yet but I’m aiming for sometime in the beginning months of 2017.  I’m also preparing my home for Thanksgiving next week and look forward to my parents visiting from Florida.

I’m also excited that the release of A Chase for Christmas is almost here! It’s a bittersweet moment for it’s the last book in the series. I had a blast writing the Chasing Love Series and because I’ve added another side of the Arrington family, expect to see updates and pop ups from the Chase family in future books.  I also have plans for a book for Megan Chase’s crazy and hilarious best friend, Jade Whitmore. I’ve already started her love story, and I promise I didn’t change her personality one bit! I’m hoping to release it by the end of 2017.

Below is chapter one of A Chase for Christmas. Its available now on Harlequin’s website in paperback and ebook format. It will be officially released in paperback on November 22nd and in ebook on December 1st.  Pre order links after the excerpt.

I hope everyone has a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving!

Candace

Blurb

A Chase for Christmas Final front coverChasing a dream of love 

The pursuit of love has always been high on Preston Chase’s priority list. But the video game developer has yet to find the soul mate he craves. His sister’s best friend—artist and studio owner Blythe Ventura—is a world away from the shallow glam girls who’ve thrown themselves at him. With her creative spirit and passionate commitment, she’s the ideal candidate for his Winter Wonderland project. Too bad she doesn’t seem interested in being the one to win his heart. 

After a string of dating disasters, Blythe isn’t ready to believe in a romantic relationship with Preston. Until their work giving sick children hope and joy for Christmas brings them together—and reveals a very different side of the notorious millionaire playboy. All she has to do is trust in the feelings Preston is awakening and this just might be the year that they both find the happy holiday ending they’ve been searching for…

 

 

Chapter 1

Preston Chase perused the bakery display case and all of the tasty desserts in his view in Sweet Treats Bakery. Everything from decadent chocolate pastries to creative and too-beautiful-to-eat cupcakes seductively screamed his name. His sister was the owner and head pastry chef, so he knew whatever he selected would be delectable. But like his dating life, he couldn’t settle on just one.

Glancing up, he met his baby sister’s angelic but impatient stare. “Quick rushing me, Tiff. You have any more sweet potato pie?”

Wrinkling her nose, Tiffani Hollingsworth sighed deeply. “No, and I don’t want to see another sweet potato anything until next Thanksgiving. I think I baked over two hundred of them in the last three weeks. I’m trying to perfect an eggnog-flavored cupcake. Your nephew insists that I do so.”

“Mmm, that sounds good. I’ll volunteer to do a taste test when they’re available, but for now—” he rested his light brown eyes back on the desserts in front of him “—I need something. Everything looks so delicious.”

“You can have more than one,” she suggested. “While you decide, tell me more about your Winter Wonderland project, and how I can assist.” Leaving her spot behind the counter, she trekked over to the door, locked it and flipped the sign on the glass to Closed.

A sincere smile reached his face at the mention of his upcoming project for the children at the Coretta Scott King Children’s Hospital in downtown Atlanta. Having been a patient there as a child with leukemia, Preston now visited the children there with his service dog, a golden retriever named Hope, who was trained to add a little sunshine to their day.

“I’m having two events on Christmas Eve. One is during the day for the children who can’t leave the hospital, and the other is at night for the children who are still patients but go back and forth for treatments as well as the ones who are in remission. My team worked overtime on the planning, and I developed a new video game in honor of the event. Each child will go home with one along with their Christmas wish list choices. That way I can relieve a little stress on the parents.”

“You’re such a sweetheart,” she said as she counted the money and credit card receipts from the cash registers. “I’ll donate all the cupcakes and goodies you want.”

“Thank you, and I’ll have an éclair.” He pointed to his favorite dessert and said drily, “Just wanted to try something different.” Shrugging, he checked his watch. He needed to head home and prepare for his Friday night date.

Grabbing the tongs, she placed half a dozen into a yellow-and-white-striped box that matched the awning over the door of the bakery. “You select the same dessert every time, Prez.” She paused as a sarcastic smirk crossed her face. “Just like your choice in women. They’re all carbon copies. And you wonder why you haven’t found Mrs. John Preston Chase III yet.”

Chuckling at her saying his whole name, Preston slid the box off of the counter. “Sis, when I tried something different—” he nodded his head toward the Paint, Sip, Chat Studio next door “—I got shot down. It’s like she’s immune to me.”

“You can forget it. My best friend just isn’t interested,” she reminded him. “She prefers someone a little more low-key, not living his day like it’s his last.”

“I like to be free and spontaneous. You know that. ‘Live in the moment’ is my motto.”

Tiffani smiled sweetly. “I know, Prez. Going through what you did as a child, I can’t say that I blame you, but my girl just isn’t into you.”

“Mmm… I wouldn’t say that.”

A movement through the window caught his attention, and his eyes rested on the person in question. Blythe Ventura jumped out of a black truck parked between her studio and the bakery and darted around to the bed, where a medium-size Christmas tree lay wrapped in twine. She unlatched the tailgate, pulled it down and tugged on the tree.

Her jeans-clad hips and rounded butt were provocatively accentuated as she slid the evergreen a quarter of the way out before stopping and wiping her brow with the back of her hand. After sighing, she attempted to try again but halted as a frustrated expression crossed her sweet, makeup-free face. Her natural black curls were pulled up into a bouncy ponytail on the top of her head, which enhanced her beauty even more. Huge gold hoops hung from her ears and hit her cheeks every time she shook her head back and forth. Quite a few multicolored bracelets encircled her right wrist. The black sweater fit snug over her perky, plump breasts that jiggled when she tugged on the tree, and his smile grew wider with every passing second at the glorious sight.

Blythe was indeed a sexy, beautiful, independent woman he’d admired from afar for over a year. However, whenever he attempted to flirt or ask her out, she’d laugh as if it was the funniest joke she’d ever heard. And while most of the time he was teasing her, Preston did find her alluring.

Setting the box on the counter, he walked toward the door and unlocked it. “I’ll be back.” Winking, he left Tiffani shaking her head wearing an oh-boy-here-we-go-again expression.

Sinking his hands in his coat pockets, he strode to Blythe, who started to pull the tree again, only to stop and mumble a curse word.

“Hi there,” he started. “Need some assistance?”

She jumped a tad and rested her brown doe eyes on him. “Hey, Preston. I didn’t realize you were there.” She backed away from the truck. “I’d love some help. Thank you,” she answered sincerely in a deep, raspy voice with a Brooklyn accent. “If you get on the bed, I can pull it out while you push.”

So many sexual innuendos entered his brain as he pressed his lips together in a smile to keep from sharing them. Usually he tried his best to be a gentleman and respectful with her since she was his sister’s best friend. And even though she shot him down, Blythe was always cordial and pleasant with him. They weren’t friends per se, but they were cool, and he appreciated her being a great friend to Tiffani.

Glancing at the tree, he saw it wasn’t much bigger than the one he’d recently carried into his parents’ home. “I’ll grab it. You just open the door to your studio and tell me where you need me to place it.”

She did as requested, and a few moments later, it stood tall in the window of the lobby. Circling the tree, she cut the twine with a pair of scissors while he stretched the branches out. Afterward they both stood back and admired it.

“It’s beautiful,” he complimented her. “I see you’re falling into the holiday spirit the day after Thanksgiving.”

“Yep. I visited Tiffani this afternoon to grab a croissant sandwich, and Christmas music played in the bakery, reminding me I need to decorate the studio.” She ran her fingers along the tree. “I love this time of the year. So festive and family-oriented.”

“Me, too. Christmas was always a big deal in the Chase household. In fact, my mother had everything set up a few days before Thanksgiving. My parents go all out with the lights on every shrub and mechanical reindeer. My dad says he’s going to add a Santa Claus on the roof this year.”

“Sounds like my family.” Pausing, she turned her attention toward the tree once more. “I sincerely appreciate your help.”

“Are you going to decorate it now?”

“No. I teach an art class here on Saturday mornings, and I promised the children last week they could help me.”

Preston’s brain went into overdrive. “Oh, so you like working with children?”

“Yes. Love them. Especially the little ones. I used to teach art at the elementary and high school levels before opening my studio a few years ago. I miss it sometimes, especially during this time of the year with winter-themed programs, making the extravagant sets and festive costumes for the children.”

The wheels in his head began to turn, and he was surprised the thought hadn’t crossed his mind before, but he hadn’t seen Blythe in a couple of weeks. “Mmm…well, I’m planning a Winter Wonderland project for the children I visit at the hospital. Would you be interested in helping me and my committee make it come to life? I have a vision, but I’m not artistic, as you know from the paint class my family and I participated in with you last year.”

She nodded her head. “Yeah, I remember, but your pumpkin didn’t turn out too bad.”

A sly smile inched up his jawline. “Well, I did have a fantastic teacher, even though it would’ve turned out better if I wasn’t so distracted by her beauty.” He stepped into her personal space, and he could’ve sworn he saw her breath suck in, but she laughed out loud as she always did when he flirted with her.

“Oh, Preston,” she replied, patting his chest. “You know your flirting never works on me. Save it for all the other women in Atlanta. However, I’d be happy to help with your project. Sounds like it will be fun.”

He was used to her brush-offs, and he still found it amusing that she always had a comeback for him. Sometimes he flirted just to see what witty remark she’d make, and other times he loved to hear her laugh.

“Well, thank you for volunteering to help.”

“No problem. My mom had breast cancer years ago, so I can only imagine what those children are going through. It has to be utterly scary for them.”

A heaviness settled in his chest at her words. “It is scary. I’ve been in their shoes. I had leukemia as a child.”

A sadness washed over her features. “Oh… I had no idea,” Blythe said emphatically. “No wonder you do so much for the children’s hospital.”

“Yeah, I was in and out for four years.” He stopped when he noticed she still frowned. “Hey, don’t look so sad.” He comforted her with a smile and pinched her chin. “I’m alive and in amazing health…and quite handsome, may I add.” He noticed her expression didn’t change even with the joke.

“It just took me by surprise. I didn’t know.”

“It’s one of the reasons I live each day like it’s my last… Well, I’m not a daredevil. I do love my life. Plus, my mother would kill me if I died while swimming with sharks or something insane like that.”

“I thought Tiffani said you go skydiving every birthday.”

He shrugged. “That’s not extreme.” His eyes landed on a blue storage crate marked Lights sitting on a nearby chair in the lobby area. “Are you going to hang the lights now?”

“I have two paint parties tonight I need to prepare for, and one of my assistants is on vacation. I’ll have to do it once I’m closed. I need to have it done before the children arrive in the morning. That way all they have to do is hang the ornaments.”

“Nonsense. You don’t close until ten. I’ll do it for you.” Strolling over to the crate, he lifted the lid and saw the lights neatly coiled around a huge hook.

“You don’t have to do that. You brought that heavy tree inside for me. I’d still be wrestling with it if it wasn’t for you.” Her eyebrows raised in an amused manner. “Besides, it’s a Friday night. I’m sure you have plans, Mr. Party All the Time.”

“I kinda do, but it’s no biggie. This won’t take long. You just concentrate on setting up for the parties. I’m going to run back to the bakery to grab my box of goodies before Tiffani leaves.”

“But…” Blythe shook her head while trying to suppress a smile. “You really don’t have to.”

He walked over to the door and opened it. He could’ve sworn he read more into her expression and demeanor. Preston knew a woman’s body language. While Blythe had always remained firm and unbothered by him, he wasn’t so sure that was the case at the present moment. Now curiosity had him questioning why.

Glancing at her over his shoulder, he cracked a grin at the thought of perhaps winning her over after all. “No worries. I got you.”

* * *

No worries? The comment had played on repeat in her head for the last ten minutes. How could she not worry when the irresistible Preston Chase graced her lobby, hanging lights on the tree? Blythe walked around the stations, setting a smock on the back of each chair as she heard the giggles of a few ladies walking past in the hallway to the other room, where her assistant Mandi was about to begin class. She also heard catcalls, whistles and “Damn, he’s fine.” Women were even going back for a second peek at the man who was probably enjoying every moment of their attention.

 

Prez was a mouthwatering, gorgeous hunk of a man. His broad shoulders, muscular build and, she guessed, six-foot-two height were definitely enough to drive any woman crazy with lust when first laying eyes on him. Not to mention his infectious smile showcasing pearly white, immaculate teeth, smooth butterscotch skin and his silky, curly hair that she sometimes hated to admit that she would love to weave her fingers through. And then there were his lips. Succulent. Sexy. She’d never paid much attention to a man’s lips like this before, but there was something about the curve and subtle plumpness of them that made her want to draw them…with her tongue.

Blythe’s thoughts drifted to when she’d first met him a year ago at a paint party her new friend and now best friend had arranged for a family outing. Blythe was aware that Tiffani’s brother was the creator of the famous Dart and Drive video game that had amassed almost half a billion dollars, followed by more popular games. However, she expected a geeky, dorky, nerdy kind of guy with glasses, pants too short and a lisp, for some reason. Tiffani had mentioned that women practically threw themselves at her brother, but Blythe figured it was because he was worth millions. But when she entered the room to begin the party, she had to hold back a gulp and keep her gaze elsewhere. The man exuded a sexiness and confidence on a level that could break the Richter scale and a voice as smooth as caramel. It became worse when he’d roamed his eyes over her and started to flirt; however, she’d managed to remain composed and withstand the temptation to give in to him. His suave manner, good looks and intelligent charm could surely win over any woman’s heart, including hers if she wasn’t careful.

So why did Blythe keep blowing him off every time he flirted or paid her a compliment? Simple. She’d dated his type before. The player. The woman juggler. The pretty boy type that women sometimes fought over. Sure, he seemed like a nice guy. He loved his family, was overprotective of his sister and her son, KJ, and had a soft spot for the children at the hospital where he volunteered. He was an intellectual and even possessed a tad of nerdiness that she found sexy in a confident man like him. But none of that changed the fact that he was a notorious player.

Once the stations were completed, Blythe had about twenty minutes before the women’s group at a church not far from the studio was to arrive. Sighing, she contemplated either staying in the classroom and waiting or venturing back out into the lobby area to greet her class as she always did. A movement out of the corner of her eye caught her attention as a chill ran through her body. She’d thought it was Preston. However, it was her receptionist, Ms. Bernice, standing in the doorway with her arms folded across her ample bosom. The sixty-year-old woman had a slight, curious smile displayed on her face, and her glasses hung down on her nose, her eyes peering over.

“Hey. Didn’t know you were here,” Blythe said, heading over to her work area and sliding a smock over her sweater.

“Just came back from my dinner break. I see you bought a tree. Did the handsome man come with it? Perhaps I need to go buy a few trees myself,” she teased, running her hands through her gray curls.

“Nooo. That’s Tiffani’s brother, Preston. He saw me struggling with it and offered to help bring it inside.”

Ms. Bernice slowly nodded her head. “Oh, I know who he is. I’m just surprised to see him here. You’re always brushing that fine young man off. If I was only thirty… I mean, twenty years younger…”

Blythe laughed. “Yeah, you’d be a part of his flock of women. No thank you.”

Ms. Bernice turned around to leave but pivoted back. “You only get played by a man if you allow him to do it. Your group is starting to arrive, but they’re chatting in the lobby and ogling Mr. Chase. Shall I send them back?”

“No need. I’ll be out in a moment. Just want to make sure everything is ready for them.”

Ms. Bernice’s stare perused the ten stations set up in the middle of the room. “Seems like everything is in place.” And with that, she finally left.

Moments later, Blythe headed to the lobby to find the lights on the tree and Preston chatting with two women while looking at a cell phone. I guess he’s getting their numbers, she thought as she nodded at him and then strolled to the lit Christmas tree. But she was mistaken. Instead, it seemed like he was showing them how to download one of his free video game apps to their phones. The ladies gave him a sexy, sultry thank-you and followed Ms. Bernice down the hall.

“Hey, whatcha think of my light hanging skills?” he inquired, standing next to her.

His masculine, woodsy cologne caressed her nose in an erotic, sensual way, and she stepped up to the tree to straighten a light that wasn’t crooked.

“You did a great job. Thank you so much.”

“You’re quite welcome. You know, I was thinking maybe we should have Christmas trees as a part of the Winter Wonderland.”

“That’s a great idea, but much taller than this one. Maybe each tree could have a color scheme or something like that.”

“Yeah. I know you don’t have much time to discuss details now, but my committee is meeting on Sunday evening. I know it’s short notice, and I understand if you can’t make it.”

“No. I’m off on Sundays, so that’s fine.”

“Cool.” Slipping his cell phone from his pocket, he punched the keypad on the screen and handed her the phone. “Just input your contact information and I’ll text you the address.”

Once finished, she handed him the phone. He eyed it, typed something and then placed it back into his pocket with a mischievous expression.

Sizing him up, she tapped her chin. “What did you type to make you look at me like that?”

Snickering, he scooped his leather jacket up from a nearby chair and slid it on. Preston stepped into her comfort zone, but this time she didn’t have to stifle a gulp. Blythe decided if she was going to work with him on his project, she’d have to keep him even more at bay than usual. She couldn’t let him know that his presence unraveled her.

“I added your name to your number,” he answered matter-of-factly. “That’s all. Why? You think I’m always in bad-boy mode?”

“Uh…no.”

Pushing open the door, a few more ladies passed through while running their eyes over him, but his own eyes never left Blythe’s face. “Relax, baby girl. I can be nice. I’m not always naughty. Well…unless that’s what you want.” He bestowed a wicked smile on her and exited.

Blythe remained rooted in the middle of the lobby, oblivious to her surroundings, as she watched Preston through the glass door. He strolled casually to his black two-door Aston Martin and sped off as if he knew she was watching.

When she finally made it back to her paint session, her thoughts drifted to the upcoming weeks working on the Winter Wonderland project. She hoped her interactions with him would be minimal. If not, she had a feeling Preston was going to be everything but nice.

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This entry was posted on November 15, 2016. 5 Comments