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Upland Village Series

HOTEL OF SECRETS

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How do you stop a past that still haunts you rising up to threaten your future happiness?

Laura Champion is heading home to help out at her parents’ hotel while her father is in hospital. Her boss, handsome, charming and confirmed bachelor Christopher Devereaux is with her. She is his go-to-girl at the office, but dare not get

too involved in his personal life. She has already fallen for

him in a big way and fears she may become one of his many conquests.

Not that he’d touch her with the proverbial barge pole if he ever discovered the truth about her past.

Amazon review: 5 star

Lovely writing style. Loved the romance and can't wait for the next instalment!

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Excerpt

Laura Champion stopped her Toyota in the middle lane three vehicles away from the busy roundabout, her breath easing out slowly at the colourful jumble of cars filling her rear view mirror. Caught in a traffic jam, she’d come to a standstill.

She’d left early enough to miss the busy build up and should be almost home by now, but returning back to town for a timely intervention to rescue her boss, Chris from a beating put her journey behind a good hour, which meant getting jammed in the early morning rush to work. 

She’d seen Dad just twice since his operation, but now well on the road to recovery she wanted to get back home and spend quality time with him and Mum. First though she had to apply all of her driving skills to keeping her passenger safe. She shot him a sideways glance.

“Are you okay?” 

Christopher Austin Devereaux, her cool, handsome, composed unflustered boss carried an unusual air of worry.

“Can’t you go any faster?” Clean shaven and blessed with movie star looks, he lifted his palms outward as if in apology, but he’d been rattled big time and it showed. “I’m grateful you saved me today, but I’m just saying I can run quicker than this heap.”

A one legged man could, but where did he get off trashing her car, especially when she’d made the detour to keep him safe? “It may have seen better days but my Toyota still works fine. Anyway, in case you’ve not noticed, no-one is going anywhere until this jam clears.”

Around them impatient car horns sounded an uncoordinated cacophony, whilst despite their closed windows exhaust fumes from nearby idling cars seeped in and caught in the back of her throat. Chris twisted in his seat to scan the vehicles surrounding them, his tall frame stirring the air and filling her already stimulated senses with hints of his expensive aftershave. Not that they needed heightening. If anything they required urgent distance and detachment to restore their carefully controlled equilibrium.

Her typical daily routine in the office kept their desks a room apart, which meant she handled the Devereaux magnetic presence and charm easier. Now, confined to the restrictions of a small car she floundered in unknown territory. This might be most women’s bedtime fantasy, but his killer body and come-to-bed-eyes yanked her miles outside of her comfort zone. Yet, being his first call when he found himself in trouble she found odd, surprising, and strangely heartening. 

“If the Corleone brothers get their hands on me there is a real possibility I’ll be speaking in a high voice for the rest of my life.”

His comment broke the tense silence, shaking her out of her reverie. “Is that who is chasing you?”

His blue eyes focused on her, clearly trying to decide if she’d truly never heard the name before. Humour. One aspect of a laugh or cry situation. Not fair on Chris though to play dumb given his anxiety, but he’d interrupted her time off so he deserved some teasing.   

 “I’m being funny in the face of danger. Don Vito Corleone is the Godfather.”

She lifted her eyebrows in an attempt to mimic innocence. “Their Godfather?”

He hesitated, confused she didn’t get the universal connection to a movie all males seemed to bond over. “Are you telling me you’ve never seen the film?”

She hadn’t, but she’d not the heart to let him suffer any longer either. “Ah, I have it. The Godfather, with Marlon Brando.”

“Finally!”

His expression suggested she’d been living on the moon. For the first time since he threw himself into the car he relaxed. The smile she knew so well reappeared, warming his eyes and sending heat racing through her body the way it always did. Such a pity to waste good pheromones. The physical attraction that persistently made her wonder what if couldn’t be denied, but Chris as a person…well that was another story. 

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