Weekend Excerpt–CHASING ORDINARY

She’s his first-ever taste of ordinary.
And everything he ever wanted.
If he doesn’t blow it.

When international businessman Nik met sculptor Petey, it was a first for him. She’s smart, gorgeous…and she has no idea he’s Europe’s most eligible prince.

He knows he needs to tell her the truth. But for now, he’s enjoying spending time with a woman who sees him, not some title or inheritance.

Too bad the paparazzi beat him to the punch.

Here’s a snippet from CHASING ORDINARY.

The moment Petey closed the apartment door behind herself, she burst into hot tears. Jules, who had been relaxing in the living room with her Kindle, immediately jumped up and came over to her.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, reaching for her hand.

“I’m just so…fucking stupid,” Petey growled through her tears.

“But what happened?” Jules frowned deeply. “Did Nik hurt you? Because I will kick his ass!”

Petey was crying too hard to answer, so Jules put an arm around her and led her to the kitchen counter. While Petey settled onto a stool and continued to sob, Jules poured them both a shot of Cuervo Silver. “Here,” she said, handing a glass to Petey, “suck this down and tell me exactly what happened.”

Sniffling, Petey tossed back the tequila and coughed as it hit her throat. Jules downed hers quickly and repoured for both of them. “So talk,” she urged her friend.

“H-he lied to me,” Petey stuttered, trying to calm her voice.

Jules gasped. “He’s married! That son of a bitch.”

Petey shook her head miserably. “No. That’s not it. He told me he was in international business.”

“And he’s not?” Jules asked.

“No! He’s the fucking prince of Beruvia!” Petey’s tears started anew.

Jules blinked. “He’s the prince of Beruvia? Nik?” She shook her head. “Pete, that doesn’t even make sense. The prince of Beruvia is Prince Stefan. He’s all over the tabloids all the time. Here, I’ll show you.”

Cueing up Google Images on her phone, she chose a headshot of a handsome blonde man with stormy blue eyes, and she held it up to Petey.

“Hon, this is Prince Stefan of Beruvia.”

Petey peered at the image and bawled anew. “I know! He lied to me!”

Realization began to dawn on Jules. “This? This is your Nik?” Her eyes widened. “You fucked the prince of Beruvia in my guest room?”

She watched as Petey crossed her arms on the counter and rested her head on them, her back shuddering with sobs. Jules rubbed her back soothingly. “Petey, seriously, how did you not know he was a prince? I mean, everybody knows who he is. He’s like, Europe’s most eligible divorcé.”

Petey raised up her head slightly to scowl at Jules. “Well, thanks, because I wasn’t feeling stupid enough already.”

Jules shook her head and gazed out over the living room. “Geez, Pete, he’s always in the tabloids and on the gossip shows.”

“I live on a sheep ranch. In my spare time, which is precious little, I work on my sculptures. I don’t have time or patience for stupid celebrity gossip.”

“So how did you find out?” Jules wondered.

Petey, calmer now, sat up and swiped at her face with her hands. “We were jumped by a bunch of photographers outside of Paddy’s. Nik’s—” She paused, scowling. “Whoever’s people, they pushed us into a car and drove us away.”

“Paparazzi?” Jules glanced at Petey. “You realize you’re probably online right now.”

“Stop it!” Petey gasped.

Pushing away from the kitchen counter, Jules padded into her bedroom and retrieved her laptop. She returned to the counter and fired up the device. “Let’s see,” she murmured.

Watching over her friend’s shoulder, Petey watched as Jules entered Prince Stefan into the search bar. Immediately images of the man who’d introduced himself as ‘Nik’ filled the screen. Jules refined the search to ‘most recent’ and there she was, Petey Cavanaugh, gaping wide-eyed as she and Nik were pushed into the back of a black Mercedes.

“Motherfucker,” Petey breathed.

From deep within her purse, her phone began to ring. Jules glanced at her. “Are you going to get that?”

Petey shook her head. “It’s probably him.”

The ringing continued. Jules pursed her lips. “I think you should get it.”

“I’m not answering,” Petey said, crossing her arms defiantly.

“Then I’m going to get it.” Grasping Petey’s bag from the floor where she’d dropped it, Jules rooted around until she found the device. She showed Nik’s image to Petey before swiping to unlock the phone. “Hello?”

“Oh, thank God, Petey, I’m so sorry. Please allow me to explain,” pleaded a deep voice with a British accent.

“No, this isn’t Petey, this is Jules. Petey’s very upset. She doesn’t feel up to talking right now.” Quietly, Jules pressed the button for ‘speaker’.

“I beg your pardon,” replied the voice. “I know she’s upset, and I know she feels that I deceived her, but I need to explain everything. Is there any way she’ll talk to me?”

Jules looked to Petey, who flashed double middle fingers and mouthed a silent, “Fuck you!”

She frowned into the phone, “Yeah, Nik, that’s not looking too good right now. Tell you what, give me a few minutes and I’ll see what I can do.”

Jules watched as Petey stalked to her bag, dug around, and produced a small notebook and a pencil. She couldn’t quite make out what she was sketching on the paper, but the pencil flew.

The relief in his voice was palpable. “Jules, I’d so appreciate your help. I know she may not forgive me, but I have to at least have the chance to explain.”

“I’m not making any promises, but I’ll try to talk to her. I’ll call you back soon,” Jules promised, before disconnecting.

While Jules was finishing her conversation with Nik, Petey put down her paper and pencil, and busied herself searching the internet for more on the enigmatic Nik/Prince Stefan. Clicking a link, she waited for a news item to pop up. When it did seconds later, she gasped, clapping a hand over her mouth.

Filling the screen was one of the series of images snapped between the back door of the pub and Nik’s car. She wondered how many frames could be snapped in the span of half a second. She stared, absorbing the photo. In the still frame, Nik was in profile, facing her as he held onto her hand. Her own face was turned full into the camera, her expression, stunned.

But it was the headline over the photograph that stopped her heart.

Prince Stefan’s New Bimbo!

“Oh, my God!” She turned to Jules. “My family is going to see this.”

Jules took a look and whistled softly. “Wow. That’s…harsh.”

Petey buried her face in her hands. “What am I going to do, Julesy?”

“I don’t know, sweetie,” Jules murmured, wrapping her arms around her friend. “I mean, maybe you should give him a chance.”

Petey whipped up her head. “Are you kidding? He lied to me. He made a fool out of me.” She chewed her lip pensively. “He’s probably laughing at me right now, him and all his…entourage.”

“He didn’t sound like he was laughing, Pete. He sounded miserable,” Jules pointed out. “Let’s look at something.” Turning the laptop towards herself, Jules tapped a few keys.

“Now, let’s see what we find…” She’d pulled up the Wikipedia page for Prince Stefan of Beruvia. “It says here that his full name is Nikolai Stefan Torbjorn von Bahr.” She laughed lightly. “That’s a mouthful. But see, his first name is Nikolai. Nik is his real name.”

Reluctantly, Petey peered over Jules’ shoulder.

“It says that he’s the second son of the King and Queen of Beruvia. He has an older brother…” She paused, reading silently. “Here it is, Eirik Magnus Otto von Bahr, known as Prince Magnus…” She skimmed further. “Oh, who died seven years ago in a boating accident.”

“He told me about that,” Petey murmured.

“Petey, I’ve got to be honest with you. Everything he told you seems to be true. He just neglected to tell you about the whole prince thing. You need to at least give the man the chance to explain.”

“He made a fool out of me, Jules.” Petey shook her head adamantly. “Besides,” she said reasonably, “You know me. I spend my days up to here in sheep shit. What the hell would I do with a prince?”

“You were okay with him when you thought he was a rich businessman,” Jules pointed out.

“Well, I wasn’t comfortable with it. With his fancy dinners and his helicopters. Which is why, for today, I planned all sorts of normal things.”

“What did you guys do today? Before all hell broke loose?”

Petey sighed deeply. “We went to the park and had a little picnic. We watched a Little League game. We got dinner from a food truck. Then we were having pints at Paddy’s when we had to leave.”

“And you had a good time.”

“We had a great time.”

“And you planned to spend the night with him.” Jules folded her arms across her chest.

“Well, yeah, before,” Petey admitted.

“So, when Nik was just a businessman, you were okay with him, but now that he’s a prince, you don’t want anything to do with him.”

“Of course not. The whole…prince thing. It’s too ridiculous for words.”

“Then you, my friend, are a snob.”

Petey gasped. “I am not a snob. You take that back!”

“I won’t take it back,” Jules shrugged. “If you won’t go out with a guy, based on what he does for a living, that makes you a snob.”

“That’s just…absurd,” Petey sputtered. “There is no way I am a snob.”

“Then prove it. Give Nik a chance to tell you his side of this thing.”

Petey nodded angrily. “You don’t think I will, do you? You think I’m a snob. That’s the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard. I’m a snob.” She rolled her eyes dramatically. “Please!”

“So just give him a call then,” Jules dared her, pushing Petey’s phone across the kitchen counter.

“Just give him a call,” Petey muttered. “Okay, I’ll do it, if only to prove to you that I am not,” she jabbed her finger at Jules, “a snob.”

Snatching the device from the counter, she swiped it open and stabbed in Nik’s number.

It rang exactly once before he picked up. “Hello, Jules?” he answered anxiously.

“No, it’s me,” Petey replied flatly.

“Oh, thank God, Petey, I need to tell you—”

“Shut up!” she snapped. “I agreed to call you just to prove to my good friend,” she glared at Jules, “that I am not a snob.”

“I’m glad to hear your voice under any circumstance. Please, I need to talk to you in person. I have to make things right.” His voice was desperate. Earnest. “Can you come over? I’ll send a car right away.”

“I’m not going anywhere tonight,” she said defiantly. “It’s late, and I’m about to get shitfaced until I pass out. When I’m conscious tomorrow, I’ll give you a call.”

CHASING ORDINARY by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–Happy Thanksgiving

Petey is Nik’s first-ever taste of ordinary.
And everything he ever wanted.
If he doesn’t blow it.

In CHASING ORDINARY, my modern-day adult fairy tale, sculptor Petey Cavanaugh leaves her family’s Montana sheep ranch to go to New York City. Her old art school roommate has arranged a gallery show of some of her best pieces. The goal is to make enough money to take the ranch to the next level.

Nik is in New York on the final leg of a seemingly endless string of business meetings. On a rainy Manhattan night, his and Petey’s worlds collide. The mutual attraction is instant. Only there’s a slight hitch–Petey doesn’t seem to be aware that Nik is Europe’s most eligible prince.

He adores the fact that she sees him as simply a man, not a title or an inheritance. He knows he needs to tell her the truth. But for now, he’s enjoying his first taste of ordinary.

What will happen when she finds out he hasn’t been truthful?

Here’s a snippet from CHASING ORDINARY. I hope you enjoy Nik’s first Thanksgiving.

After they’d showered and dressed for the day, Petey and Nik collected the casserole dishes from the refrigerator and placed them in the bed of a yellow wire-mesh wagon Petey retrieved from the garage.  Together, they carried the wagon down the front steps and then headed off in the direction of Jane and Eli’s house. 

The late November air was crisp and cold, their breath creating fog as they trudged along.  As they approached the house, Cherry opened the front door and the aroma of roasting turkey wafted toward them.  “Happy Thanksgiving!” she called.

“Happy Thanksgiving to you,” Nik returned as Petey waved.  “We come bearing foodstuffs.

Cherry’s brow furrowed.  “Hunh?”

Petey laughed.  “We have potatoes and dressing.”

 “Oh.  Come on in.  It’s cold outside.”

Leaving the wagon on the front porch, Petey and Nik carried the dishes through the large living room to the kitchen, which was abuzz with activity.  Mary Pat, decked out in a fall-themed apron, was leaning down to peer into the oven.  At the kitchen counter, Jane was briskly working a fork through a large pot filled with something white.  She looked up as they approached.

“Welcome!  Happy Thanksgiving!” she smiled.  “I’m just working the lumps out of the mashed turnips.”

Petey, sliding the potatoes into the fridge behind Jane, turned and made a face at Nik, who stifled a chuckle. 

“Thank you for making me feel so welcome.  I’m thrilled to be celebrating my first Thanksgiving,” Nik replied with an infectious grin.

“You never had Thanksgiving before?” Cherry asked, aghast.

“No, dummy, they don’t have Thanksgiving in Beruvia.  It’s about the Pilgrims, remember?” Thomas chided.

“And the first time-out of the day goes to Thomas, who has been reminded repeatedly not to call his sister names.  Ten minutes, pal.  Starting when you get to your room.  Now scoot,” called Eli, entering the kitchen from the back door.  He nodded in greeting to Nik and Petey. 

“Aw, dad!”

“We could make it twenty.”

“Geez, I’m going.”

Eli watched his son stomp upstairs.  “Cherry, it’s time for the woolly to eat again.”

“Alright, Daddy.”  The child turned to Nik.  “Wanna come help me feed my lamb?”

Nik beamed at her.  “I’d be honored to help.  But you have to teach me how.”

Cherry was shrugging into her puffy hot-pink down coat.  “Okay, but it’s pretty easy.”  She pulled a knitted pink beanie with bunny ears down over her head.  “Let’s go.  We’re keeping him in the g’rage.”

With a wink to Petey, Nik followed the little girl into the garage.

“He doesn’t have to do that,” Jane whispered to Petey with a smile.

“I think he’s happy to tag along,” Petey replied.

“Happy Thanksgiving, Ms. Petey,” Jorgen greeted her as he entered through the same door Eli had come through moments earlier.

“Happy Thanksgiving, Jorgen.  How are you today?”

The older man smiled.  “I’m most well, thank you.”  He turned to Mary Pat.  “Is this what you meant?”  He handed her three tins of spices.

Mary Pat smiled.  “Yes, those are exactly the ones.”  She shook her head.  “I can’t believe I forgot them.  Thank you so much for getting them for me.”

“It was sincerely my pleasure,” Jorgen said, bowing politely.

Jane rolled her eyes at Petey, who responded with a silent, “What the fuck?”

Eli had settled on the large sectional in front of the television.  The Cowboys were just about to take the field.  With his mission for Mary Pat accomplished, Jorgen joined Eli.

Petey was setting the long table in the dining room when Nik and Cherry came back into the house.  The little girl was talking a mile a minute, with Nik nodding and replying when it was appropriate. 

While Cherry continued into the kitchen, Nik stopped to give Petey a quick kiss.  “Is there anything I can do?”

Petey shook her head.  “I think it’s pretty much under control.  Did you get the lamb all sorted out?”

“We did.  I even got a chance to hold the bottle before Cherry decided I was doing it wrong.”  Nik’s eyes sparkled with amusement.  “I believe it’s the bluntest criticism I’ve ever received.”

“Yeah, she’d kind of straightforward,” Petey laughed.  “The guys are watching football if you want to go relax.”

Nik nodded.  “I think I will.  I’m a bit knackered from too much sex,” he whispered.

Petey gave him a playful push and sent him on his way.  Thomas, having paid his ten-minute penalty, made his way downstairs and joined his father and the others in front of the television. 

Finally, everything was ready, with platters and bowls arranged down the center of the table.  Everyone took their places, with Eli at one end and Nik at the other.  Sitting to Nik’s right, Petey gave his thigh a quick squeeze beneath the table.  Eli gave a thoughtful grace, and the food was passed. 

Petey cleared her throat meaningfully as she handed Nik the bowl of mashed turnips.  When he glanced her way, she arched an eyebrow.  Stifling a chuckle, he passed the bowl to Jorgen, who heaped the concoction on his plate.  Petey grinned at Nik, happy to share an inside joke.

The conversation was cheery, at times raucous and funny, punctuated by plenty of laughter.  From time to time, Petey glanced to Nik, who seemed to be enjoying himself thoroughly.  The thought of him being happy and at ease squeezed her heart with emotion. 

At that moment, she realized that what she wanted more than anything was for Nik to be happy.  That’s what love is, isn’t it? 

When dinner was over, Jane stood up.  “Okay, gentlemen, since the ladies cooked, you’re on clean-up detail.”  She leaned over and kissed Eli on the cheek.  “I’ll check on the barn,” she told him softly.

As Petey stood, Nik and Jorgen began gathering up the dishes and utensils.  She sidled up to Nik.  “You don’t really have to do this, you know,” she said softly.  “It’s kind of Jane’s rule, but…”

“I don’t mind at all.”  His tone was earnest.  “I’m happy to help.  It makes me feel delightfully ordinary.”

Petey pursed her lips thoughtfully.  “Well, just so you know.”

“Go, relax,” he winked at her.  “I believe that odd game you Yanks call football is still on television.”

“I heard that,” Eli said.  “And it’s just plain football.”  His tone was serious, but there was a twinkle in his eye.

“And why don’t they use their feet to play it, hmm?” Nik jibed, as both men laughed.

CHASING ORDINARY by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–CHASING ORDINARY

Because who doesn’t love a modern-day adult fairytale?

When Montana sculptor Petey Cavanaugh returned to New York City for an exhibit of her work, she didn’t plan on meeting the man of her dreams. Too bad she doesn’t realize that the handsome businessman is actually Europe’s most eligible prince.

Petey is everything Nik ever wanted. He’ll have to tell her the truth eventually. But for now, he’s enjoying his first-ever taste of ordinary. What will happen when she learns his true identity?

Here’s a snippet from CHASING ORDINARY.

Petey stared into the dressing room mirror.  “Oh, my God, I look like Alice Cooper on a three-day bender!”

“And we’re getting a picture of it, too,” Colin said, snapping a photo with his phone before she could protest.  “Because this is going to be a hell of a ‘before and after.’”

Colin clapped his hands loudly.  “Okay, people, we have an extreme makeover.  STAT.  Let’s see…”  He circled Petey, brow knit in concentration.  “First, we ditch this horrid dress.  Honey, I don’t know what you were thinking.”

“Unh, this was my friend Jules’ idea,” Petey snapped back.

“Well, what did you do to make her hate you because this thing is a nightmare.  Arms up,” he directed. 

“This from a guy in orange pants,” Petey snarked, as she raised her arms.  Two female assistants gripped the hem of the dress and pulled it over her head. 

“These are harvest rust, and they’re Prada.”

“Dude, they’re orange.”  Uncomfortably, she clutched her arms in front of herself in a vain attempt to cover her panties and bra. 

Colin barked with laughter.  “I like you.  You’re feisty.”  He continued to peruse her closely.  “And you have great tits.” 

He reached to cup one of her breasts and she batted his hand away.  “Hey!  Watch it!”

He just rolled his eyes.  “Honey, please!  Tits are not my thing, except the way they fill out couture.” 

To one of the assistants, he snapped, “Elaine, go to the stash of Agent Provocateur and find something in a, what?  34D?”  Petey nodded mutely. 

“And Zoe?  I’m seeing her in that pink Solace London.  The one with the mock turtleneck?”  The two women hurried off, presumably to find what they’d been sent to get.

Colin turned back to Petey.  “Get out of your wet undies and slip on a robe.  We’ll get you cleaned up, and then we’ll polish you until you sparkle.  Don’t worry about a thing.”  He winked at her and sent her on her way. 

For the next twenty minutes, an entire team worked to put Petey back together.  Her hair was washed and her face was cleaned.  While someone worked on her makeup, another person gave her a pedicure, while a third did her nails.  Finally, her hair was blown out. 

Colin returned to inspect their handiwork.  Nodding approvingly, he smiled at Petey.  “Okay red, in the dressing room, you’ll find new lingerie, a dress, and a pair of shoes.  Get dressed and come on out.”

Petey stepped into the dressing room and closed the door.  The mirror was covered with paper, and she’d only seen a maddeningly brief glimpse of herself in the makeup chair.  A plush chair held a cardboard box lined with tissue paper.  Inside were a pretty bra and panty set.  A pink dress hung on a hook on the wall, and she saw a shoe box on the floor. 

Lifting the bra from the box, she admired the sheer burgundy fabric, embroidered with peach and deep pink flowers.  The tag still hanging from the garment announced its price–$215.  Petey gaped.  The matching panties turned out to be a thong, priced at $130. 

Her most extravagant lingerie purchases had been a few bras from the Victoria’s Secret semi-annual sale.  It had taken over an hour to find something she liked, and she’d had a sneaking suspicion they’d made a stack of ugly bras just so they could discount them.

Shaking off her reservations, she dressed quickly, careful to pull the dress over her head without looking at the tag.  It seemed better not to know. 

The shoebox held a pretty pair of mauve velvet ankle-strap stilettos.  She sank onto the chair and fastened them on her feet.  God, what I wouldn’t give for a mirror right now

Glancing at her watch, she saw that it was exactly twenty-five minutes since he’d left her to go upstairs.  He.  She had no idea of his name.  In all the chaos, she hadn’t thought to ask. 

When she opened the dressing room door, a crowd was waiting, with Colin smack in the middle.  There was a collective gasp as he snapped a photo.  The group burst into applause, and Colin took a bow.  “That, ladies and ladies, is why they call me the ‘miracle worker’.

He took Petey by the hand.  “Come look,” he said.  He led her to a tri-fold mirror at the top of a small dais.  “Go ahead,” he nodded.

Petey carefully climbed the three steps to the top and stopped short.  Gazing back at her was the most beautiful self ever to greet her from a mirror.  Her long red hair was blown out silky and smooth, her makeup, including false eyelashes, expertly applied.  The pastel pink dress fit her like it was made for her, the mock turtle collar hugging her neck, leaving her shoulders and arms bare.  The clingy knit hugged her curves, and the hem hit just below her knees.  The color complimented her hair and skin flawlessly. 

Colin stepped up behind her.  “Naturally, the dress is meant to be shorter.  But because you’re such a shorty, it hangs longer on you.  If we had the time, I’d have it taken up.”

Petey turned to him, eyes shining.  “Thank you so much.  I can’t possibly afford these things.  I’ll take them to the one-hour cleaner first thing tomorrow and return them.”

The man gave a friendly chuckle.  “Don’t worry about it, sweetie.”

“Hello?  Is she ready?” a male voice called.

Petey turned around.  Her rescuer had returned.  For the first time, she noticed his British accent.  Their eyes met and she gasped lightly.  He was the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen.  His dark blond hair was neatly trimmed, a thin scruff of beard defining the contours of his chiseled square jaw.  Deep blue eyes gazed back at her, wide with apparent surprise. 

Certainly, she’d looked different when last he’d seen her.  As had he, to be honest.  He was now dry, his hair neatly back in place.  While the suit he’d worn earlier had been blue, the current one was a deep charcoal. 

They stared across the room for what felt like an eternity.  Finally, she broke the ice.  “Hi.”

“Hello,” he replied softly.  “Are you ready?”

Petey looked to Colin, then back at him.  “Yes, I think so.”

“Before I send you back out into the monsoon, I’m putting a coat on you.  No more getting drenched.”  An assistant appeared with a trench coat in a black and white chevron pattern.  Colin helped her into it.

She threw her arms around him.  “Thank you!  Thank you for everything.”

“My pleasure, red.  You come back and see me anytime.  I mean that.”  He kissed both her cheeks.  “Have fun.”

She headed to the doorway where he waited.  He called across to Colin.  “Thank you.  You’re a lifesaver.”

Colin laughed and waved.  As the pair left, he shook his head. 

“Well, kids, I think we just witnessed history.”

CHASING ORDINARY by Pandora Spocks

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

Weekend Excerpt–CHASING ORDINARY

What would happen if you met the man of your dreams, but had no idea that he was actually Europe’s most eligible prince?

That’s the premise of CHASING ORDINARY, my modern-day adult fairy tale.

When sculptor Petey Cavanaugh went to New York for a gallery show of her work arranged by her best friend from art school, she had no idea she’d meet a hot, wealthy businessman. The young widow had no thought of meeting any man at all. But now that she has, maybe her friend Jules is right–maybe it’s time to take another chance on love.

Petey is Nik’s first ever taste of ordinary. He’s never met a woman who didn’t already know who he was, and didn’t have designs on being a queen one day. Petey sees him as a man, not merely a title or a prize to be won.

He realizes that eventually, he has to tell her the truth. But for now, he’s enjoying a little slice of ordinary. What will happen when she finds out who he really is?

Here’s the scene where Nik and Petey first meet.

Nik peered grimly out the window at the passing grey tableau as the Mercedes made its way uptown toward 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 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 his 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 filthy runoff.  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, a boxy delivery truck hit the same puddle, spraying them both.  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 impossibly 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 St. James 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.

Jorgen slid out of the back seat and moved to the passenger side of the front.  Nik motioned for the woman to get in, and he climbed in beside her.  The driver returned to his seat and pulled out into traffic.

“Jorgen, call St. James and tell him to meet us at the underground entrance.  Ms.—“ He looked to the woman.

“Oh, Cavanaugh.  Petey Cavanaugh.”  At his befuddled expression, she added, “It’s a long story.”

Nik frowned.  “Ms. Cavanaugh is to have whatever services she needs.  When she’s ready, we’ll take her where she needs to go.”

“Yes, sir,” Jorgen responded, taking his phone out of his pocket.

“Thank you,” Petey said sheepishly.  “I’d better call my friend.” 

She dialed a number.  “Yeah, it’s me.”  There was a short pause.  “No, I’m not almost to the gallery.  I’ll tell you all about it when I get there.” 

Another pause.  “I know, seriously, I do!  Nobody would rather be there right now than I would, but I forgot the umbrella, and I forgot the key, and I’m a total wreck right now, completely soaked to the skin.”

She seemed to listen for a moment.  “I know, but I can’t help it.  I’m headed to the Plaza.  I’ll get cleaned up, and then I’ll be right there.” 

Nik watched as she eyed him quickly.  “I don’t know.  Some guy,” she whispered.  There was another pause, and Nik could hear an agitated voice on the other end, although he couldn’t make out the words.

“Okay, Jules, I’m hanging up now.  I’ll let you know when I’m on my way.”  She stabbed at her phone and put it back in the small silver bag she was carrying.

She looked back at him sheepishly.  “My friend.”

“I truly am sorry.  You said you’re late?”

She nodded.  “It’s a gallery opening.  I’m supposed to be there,” she glanced at her watch, “twenty-two minutes ago.”

“I’m late for dinner myself.  At least gallery openings usually run for several hours.  Surely it won’t matter if you’re a bit late,” he said reasonably.

“It’s my show.  It looks kind of bad for the guest of honor not to be there.”

Nik was intrigued.  “You’re an artist.  What is your medium?”

“Sculpture.  I do welded steel and glass pieces.” 

He squinted, picturing the petite, feminine woman using a welding torch to bend steel to her will. 

“We’re here, sir,” Jorgen announced, interrupting his thoughts.  The car pulled through a security gate into an underground garage.  As it eased up to a pair of double glass doors, Colin St. James stepped out to greet them. 

“Holy crap on a cracker,” he exclaimed as first Nik, then Petey climbed out of the back of the car.  “What on God’s green earth happened to you?”

“It’s raining,” Nik replied succinctly.  “This is Ms. Cavanaugh.  She’s late to her own gallery opening, and obviously, she can’t go like that.  Please see to it that she’s ready in about twenty minutes.  Will that be possible?”

“Twenty minutes?  Are you kidding me?  They don’t call me ‘the miracle worker’ for nothing.”  He scanned Petey up and down.  “Although this might be my greatest challenge yet,” he said under his breath.

She glared up at him through wet lashes.

Nik turned to Petey.  “I’m going upstairs to get cleaned up.  I’ll check on you when I’m ready.”

She nodded shyly, shrugging off his suit jacket and handing it to him.  “Um, thank you.”

He nodded to Colin and turned to head to the elevator.

Colin took Petey by the hand.  “Okay, sweetie, let’s see what we can do.”

CHASING ORDINARY by Pandora Spocks

Four out of five dentists surveyed recommend contemporary grown-up fairy tales for their patients who read in the summer.

No, I made that up. But here’s what an Amazon reviewer has to say:

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

Weekend Excerpt–CHASING ORDINARY

Because who doesn’t love an award-winning, 5 STAR
modern-day adult fairy tale?

Sculptor Petey Cavanaugh has no idea the handsome businessman she’s falling for is actually Europe’s most eligible prince.

Petey is Nik’s first-ever taste of ordinary. And everything he ever wanted. If he doesn’t blow it.

Here’s a teaser from CHASING ORDINARY.

“We’re going for a fancy early dinner, but we have to wear ski clothes?” Petey asked.  “Are we going skiing?”
               “No, we aren’t going skiing, and I’m not telling you any more than that,” Nik replied, eyes twinkling with mischief. 
               They’d spent the remainder of the morning and early afternoon relaxing in the tower sitting room of Nik’s apartment.  Jorgen had popped in briefly to catch Nik up on some business or other.  Petey enjoyed reading near the window, occasionally watching the snow sparkle in the brilliant sunlight.
               Now, both dressed for the slopes, they headed to the main entry hall and out the front door.  Ada held open the back door of a black Mercedes.  “Good evening, sir, ma’am,” she greeted them.
               “Hello, Ada,” Petey responded.  “Do you know where we’re going?”
               The agent suppressed a smile.  “Yes, ma’am.”
               “And you’re not going to tell me.”
               “No, ma’am.”
               Petey sighed dramatically, then giggled as she stepped into the car and scooted over to allow Nik to get in.  Once in the car, she pulled down the fur-trimmed hood of her hot pink ski parka.  She liked the effect of the coat paired with the blinding-white stretch ski pants.
               Nik looked sexy in all black, but then, Nik looked sexy in anything.  Or nothing, come to that.  She smiled to herself, and he watched her curiously, but said nothing.
               Lars drove them out to the main highway and headed in the opposite direction than the one they’d come from the capital.  So we aren’t going to a fancy restaurant in the city.  Well, duh.  Ski clothes.  We must be going to a resort.  We’ll just kind of blend in.
               After about fifteen minutes, Lars turned off the highway, driving another ten minutes before they ended up at a small air field.  Petey glanced at Nik, who smiled enigmatically.
               A smiling man met them as they got out of the car.  “Welcome, Your Highness.  We’re honored to have you with us today.”
               Nik nodded politely.  “Thank you.  May I present Ms. Petey Cavanaugh?”
               Petey thought of the beautiful engagement ring, currently hidden beneath white leather gloves.  Their engagement would be officially announced at the gala on New Year’s Eve, so now it was still very hush-hush.
               The man reached to shake her hand.  “Ms. Cavanaugh, enchanted.  We’re pleased to have you dining with us this evening.”
               Dining?  Petey glanced around, seeing only a handful of small private planes and a red helicopter.
               “If you’ll step this way, we’ll be ready to go.”  The man led them to the helicopter, which struck Petey as not unlike the one they’d flown in that night in Manhattan. 
               Petey climbed aboard, sliding over to allow Nik to climb in beside her.  She buckled her seatbelt and picked up a set of headphones.  “A helicopter?”  She arched an eyebrow.
               “It’s a very exclusive restaurant,” Nik quipped, putting on his own headphones.
               The engine roared to life and the rotors began spinning.  They lifted off the ground, and soon, Lars, Ada, and the car looked like toys far below.  Excited, Petey reached for Nik’s hand as they rose.  The ground below was covered in a layer of snow, making the farms and forests look like a winter wonderland. 
               “That’s Ansgar,” Nik pointed out as they flew over the castle.  Petey could just make out her workshop and the barn with the brand new stable behind it.  She leaned over to give Nik a kiss.  He smiled with pleasure.
               After they flew over the estate, they banked left and headed toward the mountains.  The rolling farmland faded away as jagged granite mountains rose before them.  In the space between two peaks, Petey saw a vast open space covered in what looked to be deep snow.  Something clearly manmade marred the pristine snowfield, but Petey couldn’t tell what it was. 
               The helicopter circled around and landed at the edge of the snowfield.  Petey could now see that the rectangular anomaly was a dining table carved out of the snow.  Flanking it on either side were benches, also carved out of the snow.  While the table was set for a formal dinner, the benches were covered with red blankets, and each seat was defined by a thick white fur. 
               The pilot opened the helicopter door and let Nik out.  Nik, in turn, reached out for Petey’s hand, helping her climb down.
               He smiled down at her.  “See why we needed ski clothes?”
               She nodded, eyes shining.  “This is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.”
               “Good.  Let’s have dinner, shall we?”
               They chatted quietly over fresh seafood and champagne.  The only other people were the pilot and the two servers, who remained discreetly at a distance unless they were needed.  Warm enough with a blanket pulled over her lap, Petey gazed out across the valley to the snow-capped peaks in the distance. 
               When she looked back, Nik was smiling at her.  “Do you like it?”
               She couldn’t stop the grin.  “I love it.  You know it isn’t necessary, though.  All this,” she rolled her eyes, “fancy stuff.”
               He smiled at her tenderly.  “I know.  That’s why I wanted to do it.”
               Together, they toasted the sunset as the receding light painted the sky purple, rose, and orange.

CHASING ORDINARY, Pandora Spocks

CHASING ORDINARY is the
2018 New Apple Summer eBook Awards Solo Medalist
in Literary Erotica.
One-click your copy today!
books2read.com/ChasingOrdinary

Weekend Excerpt–Great News for CHASING ORDINARY!

There was great news this week for my modern-day adult fairy tale.
CHASING ORDINARY was named the 2018 New Apple Summer eBook Awards Medalist in Literary Erotica.

The news is so brand-new, I don’t even have the medallion for the front of the book yet.  But I’m beyond thrilled that my handsome European prince and his sassy ginger sculptor are being honored.

Here’s CHASING ORDINARY, in a nutshell.

Sculptor Petey Cavanaugh has no idea that the handsome businessman she’s falling for
is actually Europe’s most eligible prince.
She’s Nik’s first-ever taste of ordinary, and everything he ever wanted.
If he doesn’t blow it.

 

How about a little teaser?
And don’t miss the official book trailer at the bottom.  😉

Nik peered grimly out the window at the passing grey tableau as the Mercedes made its way uptown toward 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 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 his 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 filthy runoff.  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, a boxy delivery truck hit the same puddle, spraying them both.  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 impossibly 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 St. James 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.

Jorgen slid out of the back seat and moved to the passenger side of the front.  Nik motioned for the woman to get in, and he climbed in beside her.  The driver returned to his seat and pulled out into traffic.

“Jorgen, call St. James and tell him to meet us at the underground entrance.  Ms.—“ He looked to the woman.

“Oh, Cavanaugh.  Petey Cavanaugh.”  At his befuddled expression she added, “It’s a long story.”

Nik frowned.  “Ms. Cavanaugh is to have whatever services she needs.  When she’s ready, we’ll take her where she needs to go.”

“Yes, sir,” Jorgen responded, taking his phone out of his pocket.

“Thank you,” Petey said sheepishly.  “I’d better call my friend.”

She dialed a number.  “Yeah, it’s me.”  There was a short pause.  “No, I’m not almost to the gallery.  I’ll tell you all about it when I get there.”

Another pause.  “I know, seriously, I do!  Nobody would rather be there right now than I would, but I forgot the umbrella, and I forgot the key, and I’m a total wreck right now, completely soaked to the skin.”

She seemed to listen for a moment.  “I know, but I can’t help it.  I’m headed to the Plaza.  I’ll get cleaned up, and then I’ll be right there.”

Nik watched as she eyed him quickly.  “I don’t know.  Some guy,” she whispered.  There was another pause, and Nik could hear an agitated voice on the other end, although he couldn’t make out the words.

“Okay, Jules, I’m hanging up now.  I’ll let you know when I’m on my way.”  She stabbed at her phone and put it back in the small silver bag she was carrying.

She looked back at him sheepishly.  “My friend.”

“I truly am sorry.  You said you’re late?”

She nodded.  “It’s a gallery opening.  I’m supposed to be there,” she glanced at her watch, “twenty-two minutes ago.”

“I’m late for dinner myself.  At least gallery openings usually run for several hours.  Surely it won’t matter if you’re a bit late,” he said reasonably.

“It’s my show.  It looks kind of bad for the guest of honor not to be there.”

Nik was intrigued.  “You’re an artist.  What is your medium?”

“Sculpture.  I do welded steel and glass pieces.”

He squinted, picturing the petite, feminine woman using a welding torch to bend steel to her will.

“We’re here, sir,” Jorgen announced, interrupting his thoughts.  The car pulled through a security gate into an underground garage.  As it eased up to a pair of double glass doors, Colin St. James stepped out to greet them.

“Holy crap on a cracker,” he exclaimed as first Nik, then Petey, climbed out of the back of the car.  “What on God’s green earth happened to you?”

“It’s raining,” Nik replied succinctly.  “This is Ms. Cavanaugh.  She’s late to her own gallery opening, and obviously, she can’t go like that.  Please see to it that she’s ready in about twenty minutes.  Will that be possible?”

“Twenty minutes?  Are you kidding me?  They don’t call me ‘the miracle worker’ for nothing.”  He scanned Petey up and down.  “Although this might be my greatest challenge yet,” he said under his breath.

She glared up at him through wet lashes.

Nik turned to Petey.  “I’m going upstairs to get cleaned up.  I’ll check on you when I’m ready.”

She nodded shyly, shrugging off his suit jacket and handing it to him.  “Um, thank you.”

He nodded to Colin and turned to head to the elevator.

Colin took Petey by the hand.  “Okay, sweetie, let’s see what we can do.”

***

Petey stared into the dressing room mirror.  “Oh, my God, I look like Alice Cooper on a three-day bender!”

“And we’re getting a picture of it, too,” Colin said, snapping a photo with his phone before she could protest.  “Because this is going to be a hell of a ‘before and after.’”

Colin clapped his hands loudly.  “Okay, people, we have an extreme makeover.  STAT.  Let’s see…”  He circled Petey, brow knit in concentration.  “First, we ditch this horrid dress.  Honey, I don’t know what you were thinking.”

“Unh, this was my friend Jules’ idea,” Petey snapped back.

“Well, what did you do to make her hate you, because this thing is a nightmare.  Arms up,” he directed.

“This from a guy in orange pants,” Petey snarked, as she raised her arms.  Two female assistants gripped the hem of the dress and pulled it over her head.

“These are harvest rust, and they’re Prada.”

“Dude, they’re orange.”  Uncomfortably, she clutched her arms in front of herself in a vain attempt to cover her panties and bra.

Colin barked with laughter.  “I like you.  You’re feisty.”  He continued to peruse her closely.  “And you have great tits.”

He reached to cup one of her breasts and she batted his hand away.  “Hey!  Watch it!”

He just rolled his eyes.  “Honey, please!  Tits are not my thing, except the way they fill out couture.”

To one of the assistants, he snapped, “Elaine, go to the stash of Agent Provocateur and find something in a, what?  34D?”  Petey nodded mutely.

“And Zoe?  I’m seeing her in that pink Solace London.  The one with the mock turtleneck?”  The two women hurried off, presumably to find what they’d been sent to get.

Colin turned back to Petey.  “Get out of your wet undies and slip on a robe.  We’ll get you cleaned up, and then we’ll polish you until you sparkle.  Don’t worry about a thing.”  He winked at her and sent her on her way.

For the next twenty minutes, an entire team worked to put Petey back together.  Her hair was washed and her face was cleaned.  While someone worked on her makeup, another person gave her a pedicure, while a third did her nails.  Finally, her hair was blown out.

Colin returned to inspect their handiwork.  Nodding approvingly, he smiled at Petey.  “Okay red, in the dressing room, you’ll find new lingerie, a dress, and a pair of shoes.  Get dressed and come on out.”

Petey stepped into the dressing room and closed the door.  The mirror was covered with paper, and she’d only seen a maddeningly brief glimpse of herself in the makeup chair.  A plush chair held a cardboard box lined with tissue paper.  Inside were a pretty bra and panty set.  A pink dress hung on a hook on the wall, and she saw a shoe box on the floor.

Lifting the bra from the box, she admired the sheer burgundy fabric, embroidered with peach and deep pink flowers.  The tag still hanging from the garment announced its price–$215.  Petey gaped.  The matching panties turned out to be a thong, priced at $130.

Her most extravagant lingerie purchases had been a few bras from the Victoria’s Secret semi-annual sale.  It had taken over an hour to find something she liked, and she’d had a sneaking suspicion they’d made a stack of ugly bras just so they could discount them.

Shaking off her reservations, she dressed quickly, careful to pull the dress over her head without looking at the tag.  It seemed better not to know.

The shoebox held a pretty pair of mauve velvet ankle-strap stilettos.  She sank onto the chair and fastened them on her feet.  God, what I wouldn’t give for a mirror right now.

Glancing at her watch, she saw that it was exactly twenty-five minutes since he’d left her to go upstairs.  He.  She had no idea of his name.  In all the chaos, she hadn’t thought to ask.

When she opened the dressing room door, a crowd was waiting, with Colin smack in the middle.  There was a collective gasp as he snapped a photo.  The group burst into applause, and Colin took a bow.  “That, ladies and ladies, is why they call me the ‘miracle worker’.

He took Petey by the hand.  “Come look,” he said.  He led her to a tri-fold mirror at the top of a small dais.  “Go ahead,” he nodded.

Petey carefully climbed the three steps to the top, and stopped short.  Gazing back at her was the most beautiful self ever to greet her from a mirror.  Her long red hair was blown out silky and smooth, her makeup, including false eyelashes, expertly applied.  The pastel pink dress fit her like it was made for her, the mock turtle collar hugging her neck, leaving her shoulders and arms bare.  The clingy knit hugged her curves, and the hem hit just below her knees.  The color complimented her hair and skin flawlessly.

Colin stepped up behind her.  “Naturally, the dress is meant to be shorter.  But because you’re such a shorty, it hangs longer on you.  If we had the time, I’d have it taken up.”

Petey turned to him, eyes shining.  “Thank you so much.  I can’t possibly afford these things.  I’ll take them to the one-hour cleaner first thing tomorrow and return them.”

The man gave a friendly chuckle.  “Don’t worry about it, sweetie.”

“Hello?  Is she ready?” a male voice called.

Petey turned around.  Her rescuer had returned.  For the first time, she noticed his British accent.  Their eyes met and she gasped lightly.  He was the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen.  His dark blond hair was neatly trimmed, a thin scruff of beard defining the contours of his chiseled square jaw.  Deep blue eyes gazed back at her, wide with apparent surprise.

Certainly, she’d looked different when last he’d seen her.  As had he, to be honest.  He was now dry, his hair neatly back in place.  While the suit he’d worn earlier had been blue, the current one was a deep charcoal.

They stared across the room for what felt like an eternity.  Finally, she broke the ice.  “Hi.”

“Hello,” he replied softly.  “Are you ready?”

Petey looked to Colin, then back at him.  “Yes, I think so.”

“Before I send you back out in to the monsoon, I’m putting a coat on you.  No more getting drenched.”  An assistant appeared with a trench coat in a black and white chevron pattern.  Colin helped her into it.

She threw her arms around him.  “Thank you!  Thank you for everything.”

“My pleasure, red.  You come back and see me anytime.  I mean that.”  He kissed both her cheeks.  “Have fun.”

She headed to the doorway where he waited.  He called across to Colin.  “Thank you.  You’re a lifesaver.”

Colin laughed and waved.  As the pair left, he shook his head.

“Well, kids, I think we just witnessed history.”

CHASING ORDINARY is available in both digital and paperback
at your favorite online bookseller.
books2read.com/ChasingOrdinary

Weekend Excerpt–Royal Wedding Edition

Because who doesn’t love a
modern-day adult fairy tale?

willian-west-324562

Have you enjoyed the royal wedding as much as I have?  It’s so romantic, right?  Every girl’s fantasy!

And now that you’re in the mood, CHASING ORDINARY is my modern-day adult fairy tale.  Here’s what it’s all about.

Sculptor Petey Cavanaugh is too busy with her art and her work on the family sheep ranch in Montana to pay attention to celebrity gossip.  Which is why, when she meets the crown prince of Beruvia one rainy Manhattan night, she has no idea who he really is.  As far as she knows, he’s just Nik, wealthy Eurpoean businessman.

Nik is enchanted with her from the start.  She’s smart, funny, gorgeous, and she treats him like a regular person.  Petey’s his first ever taste of ordinary, everything he ever wanted.  If he doesn’t blow it.

How about a little teaser?

The moment Petey closed the apartment door behind herself, she burst into hot tears. Jules, who had been relaxing in the living room with her Kindle, immediately jumped up and came over to her.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, reaching for her hand.

“I’m just so…fucking stupid,” Petey growled through her tears.

“But what happened?” Jules frowned deeply. “Did Nik hurt you? Because I will kick his ass!”

Petey was crying too hard to answer, so Jules put an arm around her and led her to the kitchen counter. While Petey settled onto a stool and continued to sob, Jules poured them both a shot of Cuervo Silver. “Here,” she said, handing a glass to Petey, “suck this down and tell me exactly what happened.”

Sniffling, Petey tossed back the tequila and coughed as it hit her throat. Jules downed hers quickly, and repoured for both of them. “So talk,” she urged her friend.

“H-he lied to me,” Petey stuttered, trying to calm her voice.

Jules gasped. “He’s married! That son of a bitch.”

Petey shook her head miserably. “No. That’s not it. He told me he was in international business.”

“And he’s not?” Jules asked.

“No! He’s the fucking prince of Beruvia!” Petey’s tears started anew.

Jules blinked. “He’s the prince of Beruvia? Nik?” She shook her head. “Pete, that doesn’t even make sense. The prince of Beruvia is Prince Stefan. He’s all over the tabloids all the time. Here, I’ll show you.”
Cueing up Google Images on her phone, she chose a headshot of a handsome blonde man with stormy blue eyes, and she held it up to Petey.

“Hon, this is Prince Stefan of Beruvia.”

Petey peered at the image and bawled anew. “I know! He lied to me!”

Realization began to dawn on Jules. “This? This is your Nik?” Her eyes widened. “You fucked the prince of Beruvia in my guest room?”

She watched as Petey crossed her arms on the counter and rested her head on them, her back shuddering with sobs. Jules rubbed her back soothingly. “Petey, seriously, how did you not know he was a prince? I mean, everybody knows who he is. He’s like, Europe’s most eligible divorcé.”

Petey raised up her head slightly to scowl at Jules. “Well, thanks, because I wasn’t feeling stupid enough already.”

Jules shook her head and gazed out over the living room. “Geez, Pete, he’s always in the tabloids and on the gossip shows.”

“I live on a sheep ranch. In my spare time, which is precious little, I work on my sculptures. I don’t have time or patience for stupid celebrity gossip.”

“So how did you find out?” Jules wondered.

Petey, calmer now, sat up and swiped at her face with her hands. “We were jumped by a bunch of photographers outside of Paddy’s. Nik’s-” She paused, scowling. “Whoever’s people, they pushed us into a car and drove us away.”

“Paparazzi?” Jules glanced at Petey. “You realize you’re probably online right now.”

“Stop it!” Petey gasped.

Pushing away from the kitchen counter, Jules padded into her bedroom and retrieved her laptop. She returned to the counter and fired up the device. “Let’s see,” she murmured.

Watching over her friend’s shoulder, Petey watched as Jules entered Prince Stefan into the search bar. Immediately images of the man who’d introduced himself as ‘Nik’ filled the screen. Jules refined the search to ‘most recent’ and there she was, Petey Cavanaugh, gaping wide-eyed as she and Nik were pushed into the back of a black Mercedes.

“Motherfucker,” Petey breathed.

From deep within her purse, her phone began to ring. Jules glanced at her. “Are you going to get that?”

Petey shook her head. “It’s probably him.”

The ringing continued. Jules pursed her lips. “I think you should get it.”

“I’m not answering,” Petey said, crossing her arms defiantly.

“Then I’m going to get it.” Grasping Petey’s bag from the floor where she’d dropped it, Jules rooted around until she found the device. She showed Nik’s image to Petey before swiping to unlock the phone. “Hello?”

“Oh, thank God, Petey, I’m so sorry. Please allow me to explain,” pleaded a deep voice with a British accent.

“No, this isn’t Petey, this is Jules. Petey’s very upset. She doesn’t feel up to talking right now.” Quietly, Jules pressed the button for ‘speaker’.

“I beg your pardon,” replied the voice. “I know she’s upset, and I know she feels that I deceived her, but I need to explain everything. Is there any way she’ll talk to me?”

Jules looked to Petey, who flashed double middle fingers and mouthed a silent, “Fuck you!”

She frowned into the phone, “Yeah, Nik, that’s not looking too good right now. Tell you what, give me a few minutes and I’ll see what I can do.”

CHASING ORDINARY is a 5-STAR reviewed contemporary fairy tale for grown-ups.

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Live the fairy tale!

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Valentine’s Day Behind the Book–Chasing Ordinary

Happy Valentine’s Day!

    

CHASING ORDINARY, my ‘spicy vanilla’ modern-day fairy tale
is LIVE at your favorite online bookseller.

Today, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I want to take you Behind the Book.

In the story, red-haired Petey Cavanaugh is a young widow, living on her in-laws’ Montana sheep ranch.  She helps with the ranch during the day, working at night on her steel and glass sculptures.

When Petey’s best friend Jules, her former art school roommate, arranges a gallery show of her work, Petey jumps at the chance to bring in a little extra money to expand the ranch’s business.

I wanted Jules to have a really cool Manhattan apartment, and in doing my research, I found this fantastic place on the upper east side.  See what you think.  (Photos via Realtor.com)

Nik, in New York on business, meets Petey quite by accident one rainy evening.  He’s instantly taken with her intelligence, talent, and easy manner.  As they chat over apple pie and coffee, he realizes she has no idea he’s Europe’s most eligible prince.  Spending time with Petey is his first-ever taste of ordinary, and he knows he wants more.  But he has to tell her the truth about himself soon, before she finds out for herself.

I figured a crown prince would stay in an ultra-luxurious hotel.  I finally settled on the Royal Plaza Suite at the Park Plaza.  Go ahead and take a little tour.  Notice the elegant dining table?  In the book, some naughty business happens there…

CHASING ORDINARY is now available
at your favorite online bookseller.
And just between you and me,
the 99¢ sale is held over for Valentine’s Day.
Get your copy here: books2read.com/ChasingOrdinary

 

Weekend Excerpt–CHASING ORDINARY

Chasing Ordinary 7

She’s everything he ever wanted.

When Nik meets Petey on a rainy Manhattan night, she’s his first-ever taste of ordinary.  As crown prince of his country, he’s accustomed to women chasing him for his title or his money.

This extraordinary red-haired sculptor seems to have no idea who he is.  She takes him at face value, as simply a man and not an institution.  A quality he finds immensely attractive.

Obviously, he needs to be honest with her.  But he’s afraid to break the magic they share.  What will happen when she finds out the truth?

Nik glanced around.  “I take it you’ve been here before.”

“I have,” Petey grinned.  “Jules and I practically lived here during art school.  I place the blame for my ‘freshman fifteen’ squarely on the shoulders of Morelli’s.”

Nik smiled, too.  Coffee and pie were delivered, and Petey watched carefully as Nik took his first bite.

“Oh, my God,” he moaned around the cinnamon-apple confection.  “This is amazing.”

Pleased, Petey dug into her own dessert.  “I know, right?”

Nik washed that bite down with a sip of coffee and regarded her curiously.  “Now can you tell me a long story?”

She frowned.  “A long story?”

“Your name.  You said it was a long story.”  His blue eyes sparkled and he suppressed a smile as he waited expectantly.

“Oh, that.”  Petey rolled her eyes.  “It was my grandfather, really.  When I was born, my parents named me after my great-grandmother.  But my grandfather hated the name.  He ranted at them, ‘Call her anything.  Call her Pete.  Just don’t call her Cecilia.’”  She gestured in imitation of her mother’s father.

She smiled at him ruefully.  “Pete just kind of stuck.  I’ve been Petey all my life.”

Nik brushed his fingers over his lips, obscuring his smile.  “Cecilia’s not so bad.  But you do seem like a Petey to me.”

He took another large bite of pie and Petey nibbled at hers.  Then she cleared her throat.  “So, you’re from England?”

Shaking his head, he finished chewing and swallowed.  “No, I’m from Beruvia.”

“Oh,” she replied, eyes wide.  “Just, well…your accent.  I thought you sounded British.”

“I went to boarding school in England.  That’s where I picked up the accent.”

“Boarding school?”  She frowned deeply.  “That’s horrible!”

Nik laughed out loud.  “Why is that horrible?  It was a very good education.”

Petey blushed furiously.  “I don’t mean…I mean…well, I just felt so sad for a little boy being sent away from his family.  It seems so lonely and cold.  How old were you?”

In his eyes, there was a spark of something Petey couldn’t identify as he watched her for a moment.  Then he smiled warmly.  “Around eleven, I think.  And I wasn’t all alone.  My brother was there.  Our parents came to visit us when they could, and of course, we went home for holidays.  It’s a family tradition, actually.  My father attended there, and his father before him.  It wasn’t horrible, I promise.”

He took another bite of pie, and Petey smiled sheepishly.  “Well, if you say so.  God, I sound so judgmental!  I didn’t mean it that way, really.”

“I didn’t take it that way,” he shook his head.  “You have a kind heart.”

Petey blushed again and busied herself with another bite of pie.  He watched for a moment, glancing down at his phone when it buzzed.  Jorgen had sent a text message.

I’m taking a cab back to the hotel.  Security detail is in place, and the car is across the street.  Let Lars know when you’re ready to leave.

Nik keyed in a short reply and looked back to Petey.  “I noticed drawings on the walls beside the sculptures,” he encouraged.

She nodded, chewing quickly.  “That was Jules’ idea.  She thought people would be interested in my sketches.  I don’t know.”  She nodded at his phone.  “Do you need to go?”

He smiled reassuringly.  “No, not at all.  You sketch your designs first?”

“Yes, I get an idea and I have to put it down before I forget it.  Sometimes they come quickly, and other times they take a while.  And then I think about the materials I have on hand, and the things I might need to gather from other places.”  She quirked her head.  “Sometimes I use ‘found’ materials.  It just depends on the soul of the piece.”

“’Found’ materials?” he wondered.

“Did you see the dinner forks I incorporated in the one I called Bear?  I was at a flea market in Bozeman, and I came across this bunch of mismatched cutlery.  I just loved the forks and figured I could use them sometime.”

Nik leaned forward on his forearms, smiling.  “That’s fascinating.  Where do you get your ideas?”

Petey launched into an explanation of her creative process, eyes alight with enthusiasm.  As she did, Nik felt the tension of the day melting away.

Part of his fatigue was due, no doubt, to the fact that he felt immense pressure to perform his responsibilities in a dignified manner.  After all, he represented not only himself, but his country, and indeed, the crown itself.

Somehow, sitting across from this gorgeous red-haired sculptor, he felt free to let down his guard, to simply enjoy her company.  As she described working on her latest project, he felt his cheeks begin to ache from smiling.

She spoke without inhibition, without pretext.  Perhaps the fact that he’d passed her little test had given her a sense of trust in his sincerity.  The thought would have been encouraging but for one small detail.

She doesn’t know who I am.  That reality was stunning to him.  Not that he thought he was particularly someone of note.  His heritage had often seemed more a curse than a blessing, in more ways than he could count.  But he couldn’t recall ever having met someone who didn’t already know his name, his title, his obligation.

He’d need to come clean, obviously.

Why would I have to do that?  We’re having conversation over coffee.  It’s nothing more than that.

He smiled at her as she continued to describe her work.  He knew exactly why.  This was the first woman who’s sparked his interest in as long as he could remember.  He couldn’t let it end with one conversation over coffee.  He wanted more.

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CHASING ORDINARY is the contemporary adult fairy tale
I’ve always wanted to write.
It releases February 13, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
But you can reserve your copy now for the special
Pre-Order price of 99¢!

books2read.com/ChasingOrdinary