Superheroes or princesses?
That’s right. Princesses.
But first, I have a confession. I’m not a princess type. Not. At. All. I mean, I got my tires torqued today at the shop because I was driving by, it was free, and it was time. BUT last time I did it myself–even though it took every pound of my body weight to get that wrench to ‘break.’
However, I’m part of Team Princess. Or as the cool kids on social media say, #TeamPrincess.
That’s right. I’m pitching for the princesses. Why? Because those girls have it hard. Always worrying about chipping their nails, wearing the right stuff, did they curtsy too low? All of that.
Sure, maybe it’s not that hard, but it’s gotta take a certain grit, right? To have that life laid out for you with no end in sight? Your Prince Charming chosen for you even though there isn’t that spark like there is with Mr. Wrong.
Kind of like Olivia Carrington. The chickie-poo heroine in my upcoming book, The Promise. She’s a princess. Totally. She’s a model for her rich family’s company. The whole nine yards. And trapped in a world that does little to make her feel alive.
Want a SNEAK PEEK of The Promise?
Let’s jump in…
Olivia Carrington couldn’t help but keep glancing at the man who’d bumped into her a few minutes ago. He was an exemplary specimen of deliciousness and had a check mark in every box on what she found wonderful about the opposite sex. Those sculpted muscles gave him such an irresistible allure of pent-up masculine power. He’d held her, balancing her lightly as though she didn’t weigh a thing—which she most definitely did. There were no teeny designer-sample sizes in her closet, unlike in her sister’s.
Olivia let her hungry gaze devour a path over the man’s body, from his solid shoulders to those long, lean legs. There was something incredibly sexy about a snug white cotton tee stretched across a guy’s strong build. The faded, worn jeans that hung low on his hips added to the rugged man-candy image. Pure masculinity. Add in the ease with which he moved and her imagination went straight to the bedroom.
“Hey, princess. Like my glass?” Another guy stood in front of her, holding up a stein filled with beer.
She glanced at it, replying, “It’s lovely,” before trying to catch sight of Mr. Sexy again.
The woman from earlier was all over Devon, her lithe body undulating suggestively. Disgusted, Olivia turned away from the erotic sight, trying not to writhe with jealousy.
“I won it.” The man went to pull up his ripped jeans, spilling some beer in the process. Olivia backed up a step to protect her Guccis and he immediately took up the space. “I’m good.”
“Uh-huh.” Olivia continued to edge back, trying to remain outside his spill zone. Meeting this guy was not what she’d envisioned when she talked herself into following her roommate out tonight. She’d imagined rugged men with fast cars racing down empty streets, women cheering from the finish line. Tough men. Living on the edge.
Someone more like Devon. Olivia found herself watching the woman move over him again, the voyeuristic pull not unlike watching a car crash. She would never behave like that in public. But to have that kind of confidence, to be that bold and sexually free? It had to be liberating in ways Olivia had never experienced.
And yet despite her envy, she felt a tug of triumph as Mr. Sexy gently removed the woman from his personal space. It shouldn’t matter that he didn’t want another woman on him, like lace on satin. He wasn’t Olivia’s type, with his five o’clock shadow, shaggy hair and disregard for this season’s fashions.
She sighed. It didn’t matter what he wore. He was intriguing and unlike anyone she knew. Somehow he’d hooked her with just one encounter. Was it the way he’d held her, warm and strong, as if he could protect her? The way he’d made her laugh with his cheesy line?
It had to be the charm. The confidence. A complete aphrodisiac to any woman, but it shouldn’t have impacted her the way it seemed to have.
“Can I get you a drink?” The man with the beer waved his glass and Olivia shook her head quickly, backing into someone behind her, one of her new heels sticking in discarded chewing gum.
“I’m fine, thank you.” She crossed her wrists at her waist and tried to maintain a polite smile, looking for a way out, but managing only to back herself farther into a corner.
“Do I know you? You look familiar.”
Judging from how he was gawking at her, his brain was slowly tracking back through history in an attempt to place her. Which advertisement would produce the “bingo”? A magazine mascara ad? Bus shelter lipstick campaign? Or the ever-popular TV commercials where she and her sister danced together, pretty and free, without a single care in the world?
“We probably shared a class last year,” she said easily. She didn’t want to talk about her family’s cosmetic company and the litany of expectations that followed her around, as well as the constant nagging reminders. Do this, don’t do that. Say this, don’t say that. Wear this. Suck in your gut. Don’t slouch. Smile. Diet, diet, diet.
She was at this party to try and wash away the stress of a summer filled with following their commands. Her parents still thought she’d chosen this university for its smaller class sizes and top-notch marketing management program. Little did they know she’d chosen it for the easily accessible fashion design classes. She had two more years to figure out her future before her parents expected her to graduate and continue with the image they’d groomed: the perfect, smiling daughter who showed up at all the right events, in the right outfit, with flawless makeup, and never caused a stir. The face of Carrington Cosmetics, the perfect PR rep. But with each new design class Olivia sneaked into her schedule under the guise of “it’s so I understand trends,” the more she knew she’d much rather design dresses than sit in an office and pretend she’d been entrusted with enough authority to influence the family business.
The man with the spilly beer was chatting on, his stale breath washing over her. Olivia clutched her tasteful diamond necklace, wishing she could escape without hurting his feelings or causing a scene.
“Hey. Olivia, right?” She glanced up to see Mr. Sexy standing beside her. “Sorry to interrupt Tony trying to convince you he’s more than pit crew, but I need his help.” He clapped a hand on Mr. Spilly Beer’s shoulder. “Tony, my man. I can’t get the keg to pour right. You know how to fix it?” He waved an empty plastic cup that was split up the sides.
There was no way he was filling that thing, but Tony swayed as he saluted him. “I’m on it, boss.”
“You’re a good man,” Devon called after him. He turned to Olivia, his eyes soulful and sweet. “You all right?”
“Of course.” She straightened her top. Did she look so out of place she needed rescuing? Talk about embarrassing. “Thank you.”
“Are you here alone?” he asked, frowning as he looked around, as though seeking her reinforcements.
“Of course not. I’m here with my…” Wait. Where had her roommate gone?
“Boyfriend?” he asked, eyebrows raised. A riot of unexpected anticipation sizzled through her as he leaned closer so they could talk without shouting over the music.
“Good. I’d hate to end up in a fight because I held you longer than was socially acceptable.”
She felt a giggle attempt to escape, but held it in. Instead, she asked, “Do you do that to all the women who ‘fall for you’?”
Devon had replaced Tony’s physical proximity, keeping her enclosed in the corner. But unlike with Tony, she didn’t want to escape, didn’t feel trapped.
“Only the cute ones who like to be held for too long.” The corner of his lips lifted and she laughed.
“Who says I liked it?”
He reached over to toy with a lock of her hair. “Who says you didn’t?”
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