Please welcome Marian Lanouette, writing as Merry Holly! She has some exciting news to share and a new anthology to tell us all about!
I’d like to thank you, Mary, for hosting me. It’s been an exciting week. I just received a four book deal from Kensington/Lyrical for my Jake Carrington Mystery Series.
But I not only write mysteries, I love to read and write romance. So today I’d like to speak about the latest Season of book, Season of Promises Holiday Anthology. This year I invited five authors to contribute a holiday romance story along with mine. They are wonderful, uplifting story from historical to contemporary to romantic comedy from very talented and award winning authors. There’s a little something there for everyone to enjoy.
Here’s a teaser from my novella, Unexpected Holiday Bonus, written under my pseudonym Merry Holly.
“I don’t care what you have on your plate, you will attend the holiday party, Suzette,” said Lois. “It’s important that you mingle with your employees and managers.”
“I know. I’m just not in the mood this year. What will I do without you, Lois?” Suzette said, looking around the crowded restaurant.
Luce’s was all the rage at the moment. Business posh mingled here with New York celebrities. If you were lucky enough to be seen dining here, you made the social column of the Daily Mirror. She recognized and nodded to a few other CEOs as they acknowledged her. Not one of them seemed worth taking for a test drive. Well, it looks like my dry spell’s going to continue through the holidays.
“You’ll keep being the success you are, just like before.”
“I’m more successful with you as my assistant.”
“Good, then I know I have a job when I get back.”
“Of course you do. How are you coming with the applicants to fill in for you while you’re out on maternity leave? I want someone familiar with manufacturing.”
“I looked inside the company and decided I didn’t want to put anyone in a temporary position. It would feel like a demotion to them when they had to go back to their usual departments. I have maybe two or three from the agency that are all right but nothing special.”
“You’re being pickier than I would be.”
“No, I’m using your logic. I’ll give it another week. Once I narrow down the list and test the candidates’ skills, I’ll forward them on to you.”
Nodding, Suzette lost herself in thought. Last week’s party had been the same as all the others her mother had forced on her, with one exception: the tuxedoed man in the far corner. His black, silky hair had fallen over his forehead as their eyes locked. When he pushed it back it showcased a chiseled face. Boy, she wished she could’ve made out the color of his eyes. Either way, what she had seen took her breath away. But by the time she’d worked her way across the room she couldn’t find hide nor hair of him. Why did she expect her luck to change now? Now he might’ve been a nice temporary distraction through the holidays. Lord knew she needed one. Her mother seemed more bent than usual on fixing her up.
As successful as I am, Mom can’t get it through her head that I don’t need a man. I’m not her.
“Earth to Suzette.”
“I’m sorry, Lois. I was just going over a few things in my head. Is the party all set for the twenty-first?”
“Yes, I took care of everything. All you have to do is show up. I’ll be there if this bundle of joy lets me enjoy the holidays before she arrives,” Lois said, rubbing circles around her large belly.
“As long as you don’t have her at the office. It would freak me out.”
“Not to worry, she’ll be good.”
Dirk spotted that gorgeous woman from the party the minute he walked into the restaurant. After generously tipping the maître d’ he was able to grab the booth joining hers. He slid into it with his back to hers. He could eavesdrop this way. Hopefully, he’d find an opening and introduce himself.
Bits and pieces of her conversation drifted into his head as he ordered his lunch. A few people stopped by his table but he tried to shorten each conversation. Not many would recognize him. He had worked hard for years to remain anonymous while he built his father’s floundering company back up to its glory days. He and his mother hadn’t realized just how sick his father had been or how his meds had messed with his mind. Darren Harvey had been gone five years now along with his destructive decisions and ways—and under Dirk’s guidance almost all had been corrected. The firm, a leader in its field, was now one to contend with as its bottom line grew. It’s a benchmark for others.
With all his efforts thrown into reviving the company, he’d sacrificed his relationship with Eileen. She’d broken the engagement in year two of the revitalization. Looking back, he knew he’d dodged a bullet there. Twice married, Eileen had called him last week after the last one fell apart. He had chatted, but told her no thanks. Though he had no interest in relationships, he had to admit something inside of him had turned upside down when he locked eyes with the woman at the party. A one-two punch to his gut. Why had she had that effect on him?
Research gave him the basics. Youngest CEO of Sherman Industries and female to boot, she had proved over and over again why she’d gotten the position—with solid decision making, excellent management skills, and a strong knowledge of manufacturing. Since she took over the helm, she’d diversified into other lines besides fashion clothing. In the last three years Sherman industries had become a leader in the automotive parts field. Maybe down the line he could entice her to join his firm.
Her intelligence, strong moral character and strategies—three things he liked in a person—were written about in the industry publications almost weekly. Though she shied away from interviews, on occasion she did use the press to her advantage. But what he had dug up on her only related to business. He wanted more on the woman. What made her tick? What kind of men did she date? Damn, the woman kept her private life private. Add “respect” to his list of likes. Her name conjured up hot images of sweaty bodies entwined through long smoldering nights. Ah, Suzette LeBlec…
Her next sentence grabbed his attention. “Of course you do. By the way how are you coming with the applicants to fill in for you while you’re out on maternity leave?”
An idea formed as she and her admin chatted away. He took notes. Crazy, the idea was just crazy. But could I pull it off? It’d only be for a few weeks. And it might be quite fun…
He’d work out the logistics when he got back to the office. He would create a résumé and fax it over today. This was just what he need over the holidays to distract him, now that the Kaleigh deal was complete. And maybe, just maybe, he’d gain some insight into Adams’s methods he could use throw right back at him. Win-win! This had to be his craziest idea ever. Would Miss Suzette LeBlec fall for her admin, even a temporary one? Grinning, he signaled the waiter for his check.
The book is now for preorder and releases on November 1, 2016.
Marian Lanouette/Merry Holly
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