Weekend Excerpt–Coming Attractions: THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE

They say desperate times
call for desperate measures.
Charley Weatherly is about to realize that it’s true.

Life isn’t working out exactly the way Charley Weatherly imagined it might when she walked away from her steady paycheck as a copywriter to start her own business. It turns out that not everyone in town is knocking down the door of her tiny independent bookshop. She has lost money every quarter since she opened.

Now, with her grandmother in need of more care than Charley can provide, some difficult decisions have to be made. The rest of her 401k plus the proceeds from selling the business might keep Nana in Pacifico Manor for about a year. That would give Charley time to figure out her next move.

But when that money is irretrievably lost, Charley is faced with an impossible choice. Being a gestational surrogate for a couple who can’t have a baby on their own will bring in the kind of cash she needs. Can she really follow through? And has she finally met the right man at the wrong time?

Here’s a snippet from THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE.

Seated across from Drew and Alex Shepherd-Wang at the center of a long conference table, Charley struggled to focus as her head swam. Voices came to her as if she were underwater. In front of her was a stack of paper that constituted the agreement between herself and the couple on the other side of the table.

“What do you think about Item 15, Charley?” Jacqueline asked, bringing her out of her fog. “If the implantation of multiple embryos results in more than one fetus, are you willing to carry multiples?”

Charley blinked hard. “Multiples?” A glance across the table showed Alex and Drew watching her anxiously.

Jacqueline’s smile was kind. “Twins or triplets? On the off-chance, you realize. It’s not actually all that common. It’s just that implanting more than one embryo increases the chances of a successful pregnancy.”

Exhaling slowly, Charley nodded. “I understand. Yes, that’s fine.”

“Excellent.” The lawyer gave a satisfied nod. “Okay, everyone, initial Item 15. Obviously, Charley, in the unlikely event of multiple fetuses, your fee increases per baby.”

Charley nodded again and swallowed hard. Holy shit!

“Now if everyone can turn to page 5,” Jacqueline continued over the shuffling of paper. “Charley, the Shepherd-Wangs have a rather unusual offer. You can peruse it, but maybe it would be best to let them explain their thoughts.”

Frowning, Charley skimmed the item in question. …San Francisco…guest house…  When Drew quietly cleared his throat, she put the paper back on the table and looked up at him.

“Charley, we’d like to ask you to move to the city. I mean, once you’re pregnant, of course.”

Frown deepening, she tilted her head. “What?”

Alex slipped his hand through the crook of Drew’s elbow. “We’re just a little concerned, that’s all,” he said. “There you are, living all alone in Modesto, at least an hour and a half away, having to schlep all the way here every time you have a doctor’s appointment. Plus, what if something happened? Or there was some kind of emergency?”

“We have a guest house out back,” Drew offered earnestly. “It’s not huge but it’s very comfortable.”

Alex leaned forward. “And I’ve been itching to redecorate it for ages. What’s your favorite color?”

Head spinning, Charley leaned back in her seat. “I’m always drawn to purples and blues, I guess,” she murmured. “But I can’t just move to San Francisco.”

“Why not?” asked Alex reasonably.

“Well,” Charley spluttered, “because.”

With amused expressions, the pair watched her expectantly.

She gestured in front of herself. “For one thing, there’s the house. I can’t just…board up the house for months on end.”

“So rent it out,” Alex suggested reasonably. “I’m guessing your grandmother paid it off a long time ago, right? So that income would be profit. Which helps with your goal of keeping her in quality care.”

Charley blinked, picturing the vintage white bungalow. It was a good idea, she had to admit to herself. She considered what she might be able to charge and figured it would go a long way toward adding to the Pacifico Manor account. 

Then she thought about the marketing firm she’d left to take a chance on her own business.

“Plus, I was just about to see if I can get my old job back,” she said with a sigh.

Alex leaned forward on his elbows. “Is that your dream? Going back to a job you walked away from?”

“Of course not,” Charley frowned. “But what choice do I have?”

Drew’s smile was soft. “Rent out your place. We have a really comfortable life in Pacific Heights. Come stay with us in the guest house. Take the time to figure out your next move.”

“Besides owning your own bookstore, what is your wildest dream?” Alex gently prodded.

Charley blinked hard, attempting to slam shut the window on her most secret aspiration.

“It was right there,” Alex observed softly.

Charley rolled her eyes and shrugged softly. “It’s ridiculous, really.” She blew out a breath. “I’ve sometimes puttered around with writing a gothic romance novel, you know, like Jane Eyre or something. I know, it’s beyond–“

“Brilliant,” Alex finished for her. “You’re Charlotte, as in Brontë.”

She nodded as her face reddened. “My mom was a big fan, and she passed that passion on to me, I guess.”

“So come to our guesthouse and write your book.”

Sighing deeply, she shook her head slowly. “I don’t know. I mean, even if I did, I’d need to have a job. I can’t just…” she waved her hands again, “not work.”

“I own five companies. We can find you a job, if you insist. We want you to be happy. And we’d feel more comfortable if you were close by.” Drew watched her curiously.

Charley pushed back from the table and stood, walking over to the window where she looked out over the busy city. She was afraid to admit to herself that their offer sounded like the dream vacation she hadn’t had the luxury to take since she’d quit her full-time job. To not have to worry about the house other than to collect the rent payment, maybe occasionally see to some minor repair or other? To not worry about paying any bills other than her phone and the insurance on her ancient Honda?

But what about Nana? 

She sighed. That was an issue. 

Why, though? She could still drive out to see her grandmother anytime she pleased. She’d probably have more time to do it than she did now, certainly more time than she’d have if she worked full-time. 

Doing a job she hated. At a place where everyone would know that she’d risked chasing her dream and gone down in flames.

Maybe this was her second chance. Inhaling deeply, she turned back to the table.

“I’ll do it,” she nodded.

THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE by Pandora Spocks

Keep watching for the official cover reveal for
THE GIRL IN THE GUESTHOUSE.


Until then, why not read
RANNIGAN’S REDEMPTION?
Three books, one epic law romance.
books2read.com/RannigansRedemption

Weekend Excerpt–CHASING ORDINARY

Rancher and artist Petey Cavanaugh has no idea that Nik,
the handsome businessman she’s falling for,
is actually Europe’s most eligible prince.

When she learns the truth, sparks will fly!

Red-haired Petey Cavanaugh is a sculptor who welds steel and glass creations. A young widow, she lives on her in-laws’ sheep ranch in Montana where she helps out during the day, working on her art at night.

Looking to raise money to expand the ranch’s business, she gratefully accepts her art school roommate’s offer of a gallery show in Manhattan. It’s been years since she was in the city, and she’s happy to visit her old friend.

Nik is in New York on business. He’s been traveling for nearly a month, enduring endless meetings, attending obligatory dinners, and battling jet-lag. On his way to yet another business dinner, his world collides with Petey’s one rainy Manhattan night.

Their mutual attraction is immediate, but Nik’s skeptical. Could it possibly be that this gorgeous, enchanting artist has no idea that he’s Europe’s most eligible prince?

Spending time with Petey is Nik’s first-ever taste of ordinary. What will happen when she finds out the truth?

In this snippet, Nik and Petey meet for the first time.

Nik peered grimly out the window at the passing grey tableau as the Mercedes made its way uptown to the exclusive Empire Club. Dalton Rigby’s great-great-grandfather had been a founding member, as the man had been careful to point out every time Nik had ever met him.

At least the food at dinner will be good, he consoled himself. Mentally, he went over his talking points as the city passed by in a gloomy blur.

A flash of color on the sidewalk caught his focus. Ahead, a woman in a bright red dress was attempting to hail a cab in the pouring rain. As the car pulled alongside her, he watched in slow motion as a spray of water completely doused her.

“Stop the car!” he shouted.

The driver eyed him in the rearview mirror.

“Stop the car,” he repeated.

“But sir,” Jorgen protested from his seat beside Nik.

Shrugging, the driver stopped, causing the car behind them to slam on its brakes and honk loudly.

Nik was already halfway out of the car. “Go around the block,” he called over his shoulder as he stepped out into the rain, slamming the door behind him.

The woman was still standing where she’d been when the Mercedes’ front wheel had torn through a deep puddle, spraying her with dirty water. Nik made his way to her, ignoring the rain that pelted him as he walked.

“I’m terribly sorry. Are you alright?”

She stood shaking from cold, red hair matted to her head, black streams of mascara running down her face like cracks in fine china. “I’m s-s-s-soaked!” she shrieked.

“Again, I’m so sorry.” Nik’s expression was contrite. He shrugged out of his suit jacket and wrapped it around her. She was tiny, and the jacket nearly swallowed her whole. He glanced around. “Is your apartment near here?”

She shook her head. “I’m locked out. And I’m unbelievably late. I can’t go like this. And I can’t get back into the fucking apartment! Fuck!”

“My car is coming back around the block. I’ll give you a ride to wherever you need to-“

At that moment, boxy delivery truck hit the same puddle, spraying both of them. They gasped in unison. Momentarily blinded by the wall of water, Nik sputtered and swiped at his face. “Bloody hell!”

He looked down at the woman whose eyes were wide with surprise. “Here comes my car now. Come with me. I’m staying at the Plaza. We’ll call ahead and have the stylist meet us. Once we’re both cleaned up, I’ll take you where you need to go.”

She looked up at him in alarm. “I’m not going to your hotel with you!”

“No, I don’t mean… I realize how inappropriate it sounds, but I promise, I only mean to help.” He held up his hands in surrender. “Clearly you can’t stay here. And you can’t go to wherever it is you were going, not like this.” He aimed for a reassuring smile. “The services of the spa and salon will be at your disposal. And I know Colin will have something for you to wear.”

He watched as she considered her options. “I feel responsible. Please let me make things right.”

The black Mercedes pulled up to the sidewalk and the driver walked around to open the back door. “Please,” he pleaded softly.

The woman drew a shaky breath. “Okay. Thank you,” she said quietly.

CHASING ORDINARY by Pandora Spocks

CHASING ORDINARY
is available at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ChasingOrdinary