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Ashley James was through with men. But, she was also a professional. How she ended up working for the first man to break her heart while in the middle of a nasty breakup with the current man who’d broken her heart, she didn’t know. One of life’s cruel jokes, she guessed. Well, the joke was on life. Her job was the one thing that made sense in her life. And, she wasn’t going to let stupid men take that from her. If her ex, Nick Connor, was her client, so be it. She would do this job just as competently as she always did…as soon as she mustered the courage to get out of her car and go into Nick’s office.
Nick Connor thought he’d never see Ashley James again. She’d disappeared without a trace after he’d messed up and hurt her all those years ago. He thought he’d lost the only woman he’d ever loved. Now fate had brought them back together. Only, she’s ending a long-term relationship and men aren’t exactly on her list of favorite people. And he is definitely at the top of her “people she hates” list. He may not know what to do, but there’s no way he’ll let her get away from him a second time.
A Reluctant Series Novel Book 3
By MARLA JOSEPHS
“I can do this,” Ashley thought to herself as she sat in her car staring out the windshield. She hadn’t slept all night and was currently trying to muster the courage to go inside. How she’d convinced herself she could work for the first man to break her heart eight years ago, she didn’t know. Her mind had been stuck in a loop, replaying the moment when she realized Nick Connor was the client she and her boss were taking to lunch yesterday, and the new client she was going to be working for.
If she’d been standing, she’d have fallen over when she looked up and saw Nick walking towards her. It had been eight years since she’d seen him. Eight long years since he’d ripped her heart out and stepped all over it. She never thought she’d see him again. But, yesterday, she’d sat there watching him being led by the hostess to their table. Then she’d sat there some more, right in front of him, with her mouth open, gaping like a fish. Her lips were moving but no words were forming or coming out of her mouth. The only sound that had escaped her was a strangled noise “and she knew her eyes were wide as saucers. She’d closed her mouth and taken a deep breath. Then, she’d grabbed her water glass and ended up choking on the water as she’d inadvertently tried to inhale and swallow at the same time.
“Nick! Good to see you again,” Tony, her boss, had said standing and greeting Nick with a familiar man hug.
“Tony,” Nick said jovially, returning the warm greeting, as he watched Ashley warily. She shot to her feet, clearing her throat once more. At least she’d stopped choking.
“Nick Connor, let me introduce you to Ashley James. She’ll be helping you out,” Tony began. Then he just looked back and forth between them taking in Ashley’s ashen, dumbfounded express and Nick’s cautious one. “I take it you two have met?”
“Hello, Ashley,” came Nick’s gentle greeting. She noted that he didn’t look surprised to see her. He’d obviously been aware that they were meeting for lunch. He did, however, look very apprehensive and uncomfortable.
She found her voice and was happy to note that it sounded normal, if not a bit stiff. “Nick, …I mean Mr. Connor.” She inclined her head. For a long moment no one said anything. She and Nick just stared at each other while Tony looked back and forth between them with growing unease.
“Let’s all have a seat,” Tony instructed finally, breaking the trance they all seemed to be caught in. Everyone sat down. Lunch immediately became a very strained and stilted affair.
“This is the new client I was telling you about,” Tony interjected as if she hadn’t already known that. She’d known she was going to work at one of the Sinclair’s Auto Dealerships. But, she wasn’t sure how Nick fit into this.
A knock on her window brought her back to the present. She nearly jumped out of her skin. She turned to see a strange man smiling back at her. Though he’d practically given her a heart attack, she was thankful that he’d pulled her out of her hellish reliving of seeing of seeing Nick again. And, now she had to “go into this building and actually work with him. She let out a sigh.
“Can I help you?” the man at her window asked. He had a welcoming smile. She rolled down the window.
“Uh, I’m here to meet Nick Connor,” she managed. “But, it didn’t look like you were open yet.”
“We aren’t,” he confirmed. “But, Nick is always here before we open. Come on in.”
Ashley felt a flush of heat, and her stomach turned over. She felt like she was going to throw up. Her time was up. She had to get out of her car and walk inside the building. It was too late to drive away…wasn’t it?”
The man had stepped away from her door. She slowly began pulling her purse from the passenger seat. She rolled her window back up, opened the door, and stepped out. Somehow, she didn’t think she was going to make it through today.
Excerpt From: Josephs, Marla. “Betrayed (Reluctant, #3).” Marla Josephs, 2016-08-23. iBooks. This material may be protected by copyright.
Marla Josephs leads a busy life in Northern California with her husband and children. When everyone in the family isn’t working or studying hard, they are traveling and playing hard.
Now that her kids are older, she’s excited to spend more time writing, reading, practicing martial arts, and pretending to be an American Ninja Warrior. In her free time, (well, she rarely has any) she spends it with her family being a complete and total goofball until she has to behave like a mature adult again. She’s currently working on several witty, romantic, and humorous new releases. Check her out at https://www.facebook.com/Marlajosephsauthor/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
Links to Marla’s website, blog, books, etc.