When falling in love isn’t part of the contract.
Techie Ethan Mattson may have married chef Lily Harper but he didn’t vow to love her. His only commitment was to hand her half of his business assets and a year later file for divorce while saving a tidy sum on taxes.
Little does Ethan know that the pretty woman from his past needs so much more than just a business. She needs protection and love, the two things he feels too broken to offer.
Chef Lily Harper grew up tagging along after Ethan who saved her from bullies, mud puddles and being an outsider. When Lily flees a nasty ex who won’t take a hint, she comes running home to Blueberry Springs, striking a deal with her childhood protector, Ethan. If he marries her, she’ll take his restaurant off his hands, giving him more time to spend on his dream tech business. Not only that, but she’ll finally earn her way into owning a thriving restaurant. It seems like an ideal agreement…until she begins to fall in love.
Will Lily be able to show Ethan how to love again or will their hidden histories ruin their recipe for love? Find out in this irresistible new book from New York Times bestselling author Jean Oram.
A Pinch of Commitment is the second book in the Veils and Vows series. It can be read out of series order and as a standalone.
Paperback Price: $10.99
SNEAK PEEK FROM CHAPTER 1
Ethan Mattson went to push past his sister, Mandy, but she stopped him, giving him a light smack on the chest. “What’s your problem?” she scolded.
“What’s yours?” he retorted just as quickly. Having a sister who picked up on his every mood—and he had plenty—was a colossal pain in the you-know-what. It was as if she thought him smiling more would fix his life.
Ethan glanced over at the hottie, who looked even sexier from the front. All curves and low neckline and high hemline. She dressed like a powerful businesswoman from the city and his mind spun down Dirty Avenue before his gaze had a chance to make its way up to check out her pretty face, which was quite likely to be filled with pity.
She had beautiful eyes, no hint of pity and a familiar pert nose speckled with freckles.
Hottie was totally off-limits.
He’d been jonesing for his sister’s childhood friend, Tagalong Lily. Sure, she wasn’t a kid any longer, but she was like a sister to him, a year younger than Mandy and several more junior to him. Not that it mattered as adults, but you didn’t think about a woman’s legs wrapped around your waist so you could fall into her if she was essentially family. You protected her from men with thoughts like his.
He shook his head, disappointed in himself.
“Hey,” said Hottie. Scratch that. Lily. Lily, Lily, Lily and her newfound hotness.
Her cheeks were pink, her eyes filled with happiness at seeing him. Or something else. Probably something else. People generally weren’t delighted to see him. Something about his stormy moods that frequently rolled in. He should probably do something about that. If, say, he desired a social life and didn’t mind his bad days becoming a burden on others—but he believed his family and friends deserved more than that. They had their own lives to lead and he didn’t need them constantly worrying over him anymore.
She gave him a sassy head tilt that exposed an expanse of smooth neck. Then, as though unable to hold back any longer, Lily yanked him into a fierce, brief hug that left him stumbling, his mind imprinted with one impression—she felt amazing pressed up against him.
Last he’d heard from Moe—the bartender at Brew Babies—his younger sister, Lily, had been working in the city as some fancy-pants chef after cooking school or whatever it was called, and had broken up with the latest douche in a long line of men not good enough for her. Was she here to stay, or just to torment him with the fact that he hadn’t been with a woman in what felt like long enough to re-grant him his virginity and her middle name had been changed to Hot Stuff? Lily Hot Stuff Harper.
Hello, libido, so nice of you to pop in and turn me into an imbecile with a one-track mind that likes to play in the gutter like a neglected orphan.
Lily leaned in, her perfume soft and sweet, her hands light on his elbows as her lips neared his.
He flinched, jerking away. Too late, he realized she was only going in for a polite cheek kiss to top off her hug.
She gave a smile, but the hurt in her eyes wasn’t easily masked. It reminded him of when, as a family guest at his high school graduation, she’d tried to kiss him goodbye since her family was moving to South Carolina to be closer to cousins. She’d been vulnerable, and it had been his job to protect her like a sibling, not take advantage of her. He’d pulled away, receiving the same look of rejection she was giving him now.
“She wants to relieve you of your burdens,” Mandy said, jabbing a thumb in Lily’s direction.
“She what?” His mouth went dry. Surely not that burden.
All right. Gutter mind needed to take some time off. His eyes drifted to her long legs again before he caught himself.
“Lily wants to buy your catering biz as well as Benny’s.” Mandy was speaking slowly, letting the lifeline hit the water, swirl around him, tempting him to change his drowning tune, grab hold and haul himself in.
He could ditch this job.
He could accept the contract from Burke Carver and his fashion-conscience company, Sustain It, Honey. Ethan could change the course of his business, helping him repay his dad and stepmom for the way they’d made their home wheelchair accessible so he could leave the rehab facility and eventually get his life back in order. Return the down payment they’d placed on his current home.
He glanced at Lily. She seemed serious about buying him out.
He could be free.
“I’ve already done a pile of research and have asked around about it,” Lily said. “I’m interested.”
“That was you?” he asked, taking her in. She’d requested detailed accounts, contracts, the works. He’d assumed it was some sharp-eyed business conglomerate checking things out, not his kid sister’s friend who’d become a verified foodie.
Not that it surprised him. She was smart, but he found the idea of her as a savvy businesswoman attractive in an unexpected way.
“Yes.” Lily tipped her chin up in that defiant way he used to find cute when she was about ten. But there was a hardness to her expression now that spoke of a challenge—a challenge he wanted to pursue with a throaty growl.
“You want to buy my businesses?”
“Fine,” he said, leaning against the counter. “Name your price and they’re both yours, Lily Harper.”
END of sneak peek
Keep reading A Pinch of Commitment and find out what happens between Ethan and Lily!
Paperback Price: $10.99
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Copyright © 2017 Jean Oram. All Rights Reserved. Not to be copied or distributed in any form without explicit permission from the author Jean Oram. Contact her to inquire further.