Black Ties and Lullabies

( 80 )

Overview

A good girl can be bad for one night...

Bernadette Hogan doesn't make mistakes. Not when it comes to caring for her mother, and not at her job protecting Texas's most eligible—and infuriating—bachelor. Maybe that's why she's overcome with guilt after one tiny indiscretion: a passionate fling with her boss that's left her confused, intrigued...and pregnant.

but can a bad boy be good for a lifetime?

To self-made...

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Overview

A good girl can be bad for one night...

Bernadette Hogan doesn't make mistakes. Not when it comes to caring for her mother, and not at her job protecting Texas's most eligible—and infuriating—bachelor. Maybe that's why she's overcome with guilt after one tiny indiscretion: a passionate fling with her boss that's left her confused, intrigued...and pregnant.

but can a bad boy be good for a lifetime?

To self-made millionaire Jeremy Bridges, women are like fine wine: if held for too long, they sour. But one wild night with Bernadette changed all that. She makes him laugh, she makes him think, and soon she's going to make him a father. For the first time, Jeremy wants to be a one-woman man. So how can he convince the fiercely independent Bernadette he's ready to change from partying playboy to dependable dad—and become the loving husband she deserves?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
RAVES FOR NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR JANE GRAVES AND BLACK TIES AND LULLABIES:

"Irresistible. Jane Graves writes with charm, wit and heart!"
—Carly Phillips, New York Times bestselling author

"Fun, fast-paced and heartwarming"
—Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author

TALL TALES AND WEDDING VEILS:

"A breath of pure romance, this book is a real charmer. You will laugh...and cheer."
RT Book Reviews

"I can't recommend Tall Tales highly enough...funny, and touching with wonderful characters and great love scenes."
—All About Romance (a Desert Island Keeper)

HOT WHEELS AND HIGH HEELS:
"Sassy, sexy and fun. Jane Graves will win your heart."
—Lori Foster, New York Times bestselling author

A delightful, funny read with a unique twist as a former trophy wife discovers herself, and true love, in the most unexpected place. A total winner!"
—Susan Mallery, New York Times bestselling author

"Sassy and Smart!" —Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author

"An interesting and fun novel with plenty of fascinating characters, this story starts fast and doesn't lose momentum."
RT Book Reviews

"Jane Graves never fails to enchant me. HOT WHEELS AND HIGH HEELS draws you in, then blasts off! Fasten your seatbelt for a fun, rollicking ride!" —Stephanie Bond, bestselling author

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446568470
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/1/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 585,653
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.76 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author Jane Graves has written eighteen contemporary romance novels. She is a nine-time finalist for Romance Writers of America's RITA Award, the industry's highest honor, and is the recipient of two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Booksellers' Best Award, and the Golden Quill, among others. Jane lives in the Dallas area with her husband of twenty-eight years and a very sweet kitty who kindly keeps her lap warm while she writes.

You can write to her at jane@janegraves.com. She'd love to hear from you!

You can learn more at:
JaneGraves.com
Twitter @JaneGraves
Facebook.com/JaneGravesAuthor

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Read an Excerpt

Black Ties and Lullabies


By Graves, Jane

Forever

Copyright © 2011 Graves, Jane
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780446568470

Chapter 1

Bernadette Hogan wished that when this night was over, she could tell Jeremy Bridges to go to hell. She was about ten times more emotionally stable than the average person, but if she had to spend one more evening watching him pick up vacuous blond women for fun and recreation, she was going to go insane. Yeah, he attended all these charity events as the philanthropic CEO of Sybersense Systems, but in the end it wasn’t about generosity. It was about putting one more notch in his hand-carved Louis XIV bedpost.

But it wasn’t Bernie’s job to plan a principal’s itinerary. Her job was to protect him wherever he decided to go. And, of course, there was the small matter of the outrageous amount of money he paid her to put up with this nonsense, money she was going to need desperately in the coming years. So she kept that resignation letter only in her head, staring at it longingly with her mind’s eye every time he aggravated her to the breaking point.

Tonight would be one of those times.

Carlos pulled the limo into the driveway of the San Moritz Hotel behind a string of unusually small and sedate vehicles. Tonight, it seemed, the filthy rich of Dallas society had left their Mercedeses and Beemers and gas-guzzling Hummers in their five-car garages, opting instead for their hybrids and electric cars.

Bernie sighed. “So which environmental cause are we championing this evening?”

Jeremy’s brows drew together thoughtfully. “Hmm. Good question.” He reached into his breast pocket and pulled out an invitation. “Ah. Global warming. Emphasis on diminishing polar bear habitats.”

“And here you are in your limo. Last I checked, it gets about nine miles to the gallon. People are staring.”

“People are hypocrites.”

“True, but it’s all about appearances.”

“It’s all about comfort,” Jeremy said. “I didn’t make all this money to cram myself into a car the size of a shoebox.”

“You don’t seem to mind cramming yourself inside your Ferrari.”

“The Ferrari doesn’t count. It’s the only vehicle on earth that makes it worth giving up my wet bar and HDTV.”

With that, he drained his Glenlivet and set the empty glass down with a contented sigh. There wasn’t much that Jeremy denied himself in the way of creature comforts. He drank the best Scotch, lived in a gazillion-dollar house, traveled the world, and dated women who were knockout gorgeous with brains the size of golf balls. Nice to look at, Jeremy had told Bernie more than once, without all that pesky intelligence to get in the way of a good time.

Bernie sighed. With that one statement, he singlehandedly set feminism back fifty years.

There had been a time when total professionalism had dictated the way she dealt with Bridges. Yes, sir. No, sir. Very good, sir. But the longer she worked for him, the more she spoke her mind. Her attitude didn’t mean she didn’t take her job seriously. It just meant she had an outlet for the irritation she felt around him just about every minute of every day. Fortunately, because Jeremy was a bored rich guy who refused to play by the rules, a smartass bodyguard seemed to suit him just fine. Good thing, because if she had to hold her tongue around him, she’d probably end up killing him herself.

“Are you planning on tying that tie?” she asked him.

Jeremy looked down at the tie dangling around his neck. “The invitation said I had to wear a black tie. It didn’t say how I had to wear it.”

“Did it also say you had to wear athletic shoes?”

“No,” he said with a smile. “That’s my fashion statement.”

Truth be told, Jeremy could show up in what he usually wore in his spare time—crappy cargo shorts, a Rangers’ T-shirt, and flip-flops—and they’d still let him in. If he wrote a big enough check, he could show up stark naked. But it wasn’t like him to be in their faces about it. He always dressed well enough that they would admit him without question, but just shabby enough that they wished they didn’t have to. Now that he was thirty-seven years old, Bernie thought maybe he ought to knock off the eccentricities and play it straight, but hell would probably freeze over first.

Over the years, the press had tried to dig up any dirt that might explain his quirkiness, but except for the basics, his background remained something of a mystery. He had grown up in Houston with his father. Mother unknown. Graduated from Texas Southwestern University. Short stint as a software engineer before starting his own company, which eventually became Sybersense. Except for more current professional and civic activities, that was about it.

Bernie looked at the rich folks strolling into the hotel and sighed. “Must we do this?”

“Now, Bernie. This is a very special occasion. After all, how many times in this city does somebody have a benefit for such an outstanding cause and invite all the rich, pretty people?”

“About once a week.”

“Exactly! Not nearly often enough. It’s time for us to party.”

“Us?”

“Okay. So it’s time for me to party and you to watch for bad guys. Everyone should stick with what they do best.”

Bernie glared at him. “It’s a credible threat this time, you know.”

“That also happens about once a week.”

He was right. When a man had Jeremy’s money and influence, somebody was always out to get him. She was reasonably certain the recent death threat had something to do with Sybersense’s new medical management software that was due to launch early next year. Word on the street was that it was so revolutionary that it would forever change the way the medical industry conducted its business and bring untold riches right to Bridges’s doorstep. But in order to accomplish that, he’d executed hostile takeovers of two of his hottest rivals, which allowed him, among other things, to cherry-pick the best and brightest programmers and other employees who could help him develop and market his new product. Then he kicked the rest to the curb. Unfortunately, that had removed a lot of formerly wealthy, high-powered executives from the gravy train at their respective companies and given them a reason to want to see Sybersense fail or Jeremy dead. Or both.

But in Bernie’s experience, the threat could also be coming from somebody who drove a taxi or washed windows who decided he didn’t like rich guys, which was why she had to stay vigilant.

Bernie felt pretty certain this event would be the harmless experience it seemed to be on the surface, but there was no way for her or Jeremy to know that for sure. All Bernie knew was that every time she tried to figure out why he behaved the way he did, she realized how pointless that was and merely concentrated on keeping his body and soul together.

“Don’t you ever get bored doing this?” she asked him.

“What? Going to charity events?”

“No. Going to charity events, picking up Paris Hilton wannabes, and having your way with them.”

“Oh. Well, when you put it like that…” His mouth turned up in a cocky smile. “Nope. Doesn’t bore me at all.”

“Good God, I hope you practice safe sex.”

“Of course. You never know when some dread disease will rear its ugly head. Your concern is heartwarming.”

“Concern, my ass. I just want you to do the world a favor and keep your genetic material to yourself.”

“Not to worry,” he said, patting his pants pocket. “I’m nothing if not prepared.”

She shook her head. The man singlehandedly kept the latex industry afloat.

“Why go to all the trouble of attending these events?” she asked. “Why not just stay home and order out?”

“Order out?”

“Haul out your little black book and take your pick. Send Carlos to pick her up.”

“But if I did that, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to… what is it we’re doing again?”

“Saving the polar bears.”

“Oh, yeah. We have to think of the wildlife.”

“Come on, Bridges. The only species you’re interested in preserving is the Perpetual Bachelor. Unfortunately, the world’s never going to run out of those.”

“Now that’s where you’re wrong, Bernie. Polar bears are at the forefront of my consciousness nearly every minute of every day.”

“And I’ll believe that the moment polar bears grow blond hair and big breasts.”

“If you object so much to this event, stay in the limo. I restocked the DVD collection. Terminator, Alien, Die Hard—all your old favorites.”

“I’m paid to stick close to you.”

“Not too close. You have a tendency to cramp my style.”

“I have a tendency to keep you alive.”

“Do you have to be so dramatic?”

Bernie narrowed her eyes. “Are you forgetting the London incident?”

“That was an accident.”

“That was an out-of-control car that may not really have been out of control.”

“We’ll never know for sure, will we?”

“Fine. Die. See if I care.”

“Of course you care. Would you be able to abuse another client the way you abuse me?”

Abuse you?”

Jeremy leaned forward and tapped the Plexiglas window. “Carlos?”

The window came down. “Yes, sir?”

“Would you categorize Bernie’s attitude toward me as abusive?”

“Oh, yes, sir. Absolutely.”

“Thank you, Carlos.”

As the window went back up, Jeremy turned to Bernie. “Now, there’s a man who knows who signs his paychecks.”

Bernie glared at Carlos. “Ass kisser.”

“Tell me something, Bernie,” Jeremy said.

“Yeah?”

“Exactly where do you hide your weapon when you’re wearing a skirt?”

She met his gaze evenly. “That’s none of your business.”

Jeremy’s gaze slid away from her eyes, slithered down to her breasts, fell to her thighs, then lazily made its way back up again. “So you’re leaving it to my imagination?”

For a moment she felt the oddest twinge of awareness, as if she was one of those glowy, showy, magazine-perfect women he was so fond of. Just the sound of his voice made her heart beat a little faster. And those gorgeous green eyes. Good God, it was no wonder women fell in his wake.

It wasn’t as if she didn’t know he was pushing her buttons. Jeremy thrived on knocking people off guard, and he wasn’t above using every weapon in his arsenal to do it, including sex. But that didn’t mean she was immune to him as a man, and when he looked at her with that unrelenting stare, she couldn’t help the hot, sexy thoughts that entered her mind.

In a few minutes, though, he’d be zeroing in on some dazzling daddy’s girl or elegant divorcee, at which time he’d suddenly go Bernie-blind. In the end, she was just one more employee at his beck and call, like his housekeeper or his pool boy. And that was fine by her.

“Knock it off, Bridges. All you need to know is that I’m armed, I’m dangerous, and whether it’s good for the world or not, I’ll get you home in one piece.”

“Actually, I doubt you’d even need a weapon,” Bridges said. “Didn’t I hear that you once killed a man with a Popsicle stick?”

“A Popsicle stick?” She made a scoffing noise. “That’s ridiculous.”

“So the rumor isn’t true?”

“Of course not.” She paused. “It was a Q-Tip.”

Jeremy just smiled, then turned his attention to a glittering Barbie doll standing near the front door of the hotel beside a planter full of periwinkles. Her mile-long legs protruded from beneath the hem of a sheath of silvery fabric that clung to her body like Glad Wrap, and her headful of stunning blond hair glinted in the evening light.

The car ahead of them drove away, and Carlos pulled to the curb directly in front of the hotel. A uniformed man opened the door of the limo and gave Jeremy a deferential smile. “Good evening, sir.” Then he turned to Bernie, and his smile faltered. She could read it in his eyes as clearly as if he’d shouted it: What’s a woman like you doing with a man like him?

He cleared his throat. “Uh… good evening, miss.”

Miss? Bernie cringed. Nobody had referred to her as “Miss” since… well, ever. And it was none of his damned business what she was doing with Jeremy, anyway.

The man dutifully held out his hand to her, as if she needed help getting out of a car. She ignored him and climbed out, quickly scanning the area for anything out of place. She and Jeremy headed for the front door of the hotel, and she got a good look at the blond for the first time.

Even though the woman wore enough mascara to sink a freighter, Bernie thought she recognized her. Two days ago, outside the gates of Jeremy’s house, a woman had been standing at the curb, watching as they pulled through the gates. Bernie also remembered a woman loitering outside a restaurant yesterday where Bridges had met his chief financial officer for lunch. Bernie couldn’t say with absolute certainty that it was the same woman, but her instincts rarely failed her. Two sightings was a coincidence. Three was a pattern. And even though the woman was dressed to the nines, she didn’t mesh with the sophisticated crowd here tonight. Bar hopping in the West Village seemed more appropriate. Her makeup was too extreme, her dress too flashy, her heels too high. When somebody didn’t fit the profile of the occasion, it was always a reason for a heads-up.

As they passed her on their way into the hotel, the woman turned slowly and gave Bridges a suggestive smile. Not surprisingly, he matched her smile with one of his own. But Bernie sensed something about the woman’s demeanor that went beyond the usual high-society mating ritual she’d witnessed a hundred times before.

Then the woman shifted her gaze to Bernie.

Her smile vanished, replaced with an oddly irritated expression that made a chill snake between Bernie’s shoulders. In spite of the fact that Bernie had arrived with Jeremy, there was no way on earth this woman considered her a romantic rival. Something else was going on, which meant Bernie needed to keep a close eye on her for the remainder of the evening.

As Jeremy stepped into the ballroom, the same feeling of déjà vu passed over him that he always felt on nights like this. Interchangeable hotels. Interchangeable causes. Interchangeable, ingratiating people who wanted his money.

Mile-long buffet—check. Silent auction—check. Bar in every corner stocked to the hilt—check. Young, sexy society women looking for husbands—check. Just once he’d like to see something different at one of these events. Maybe a margarita machine or a beer bong. A rock band instead of the symphony strings. Karaoke. A wet T-shirt contest.

Anything to keep him from being bored out of his mind.

But if he showed up at these things, Sybersense held on to its reputation as a philanthropic leader in the community, and he held on to his reputation as a wealthy, eccentric bachelor. Then, at the end of the evening, he invariably had several incredibly gorgeous women to pick from to entertain himself with later. As for the events themselves, he got his laughs by watching the looks on the faces of the old biddies as they tried to ignore whatever fashion faux pas he’d decided to perpetrate for the evening. They were all about propriety—almost all about it, anyway. In this crowd, money trumped taste, but just barely.

“Mr. Bridges! Good evening!”

He turned to see one of those old biddies waddling toward him. Genevieve Caldwell was a chunky senior citizen with silver hair, a brassy voice, and a gold-plated portfolio of oil fields all over the world.

“I’m just so delighted you could make it here this—”

He knew the exact moment she caught sight of his slack tie and scuffed Nikes. Her voice faltered, and for a split second, he saw it. That look of disapproval. That expression that said, You’re not one of us. That vibe of superiority that the socially blessed radiated to those less fortunate. But, as always, he consoled himself with the fact that for all her riches, he could buy and sell her ten times over.

In spite of her momentary gaffe, she recovered like a pro, pasting on a smile and holding out her hand.

“—this evening,” she finished.

Jeremy took her hand and kissed it, then flashed her a dazzling smile. “Mrs. Caldwell. What a joy it is to see you again.”

The old lady practically quaked with delight, her disapproval momentarily vanishing in a wave of pure ecstasy.

Jeremy nodded toward Bernie. “Mrs. Caldwell, I’d like you to meet Bernadette. She’s a family friend visiting from Arkansas. Rural Arkansas. It was a slow time at the chicken farm, so she put on her best dress, hopped a Greyhound, and here she is.”

At the same time he got a furtive eye roll from Bernie, Mrs. Caldwell’s nose crinkled as if she’d smelled something rotten. Hearing rural, chicken farm, and Greyhound all in one sentence made her disgust meter shoot through the roof.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Mrs. Caldwell said, even though it clearly wasn’t a pleasure for her in the least. Then she tilted her head questioningly. “But I’m certain I’ve met you before.” Her eyes narrowed. “Do you know you look remarkably like Mr. Bridges’s astrologer?”

“My astrologer?” Jeremy said.

“Yes. Three months ago at the Sunshine Gala for Solar Energy, you had your astrologer with you. You said she told you that your moon in Pisces simply demanded you give an extra thousand dollars.” She looked back at Bernie. “There is a resemblance.”

“Ah, that’s because she is my astrologer,” Jeremy said. “Did I not mention the connection before?”

“Why, no, I don’t believe you did.” Mrs. Caldwell turned to Bernie. “Do you do readings for others?” She smiled. “I can only hope for more moons in Pisces tonight.”

“It’s more of a hobby of hers,” Jeremy said. “She wouldn’t want the responsibility of suggesting another person’s path in life.”

“But you’ll be happy to know, Bernie said, “that Jeremy’s moon is in Gemini today. The Twins. Which means he’s going to give twice as much money as he did at the Sunshine Gala.”

“That’s wonderful!” Mrs. Caldwell said, beaming. “You’re such a generous man, Mr. Bridges. With patronage such as yours, the polar bears will live on for generations to come.” She glanced over Jeremy’s shoulder. “Please excuse me. I have other guests to greet. I hope you and your friend have a lovely time tonight!”

Mrs. Caldwell moved toward her next victim, and Jeremy turned to Bernie. “You just set me up for twelve grand,” he muttered. “Thanks a bunch.”

“Consider it penance. Now maybe you won’t go to hell for lying.”

“That might cover this lie. But what about all the others?”

“You have no respect at all for these people, do you?”

“Their games aren’t my games.”

“So you make up games of your own.”

“Exactly.”

“Just don’t make me your financial planner again. I don’t know a damned thing about the stock market.”

With that, she turned and fanned her gaze over the crowd with the same intensity she always did, never relaxing for a moment, never cracking a smile. Bernie was nothing if not predictable. She wore the same plain black dress she always did whenever she shadowed him at events like these, one that hit her legs midcalf. It was so shapeless that it was impossible to get a mental picture of what her body beneath it looked like. Dark hair that grazed her shoulders in no particular style. Not a speck of makeup. Flat, sensible shoes. No stockings, of course. He couldn’t imagine Bernie wiggling into a pair of pantyhose. Jewelry? Perish the thought. In this room full of peacocks, she looked like a plain brown starling, so bland she faded right into the wall and so unmemorable that he was surprised Mrs. Caldwell had recognized her at all.

Sometimes he cocked his head and narrowed his eyes and looked at Bernie when she wasn’t aware he was doing it, just to see if there was an actual woman in there somewhere. Occasionally he got a glimpse of one, but it was like seeing something fleeting on the periphery of his vision that was there one second and gone the next.

He wondered what she did with all the money she made working for him, because it sure didn’t go toward nice clothes or a decent apartment. She wore discount-store clothes and lived in a mediocre complex in east Plano full of questionable people. Not that it wasn’t safe for Bernie. Somebody would have to have a death wish to mess with her. Aside from paying somebody to hack into her bank account or personal email, Jeremy didn’t have any way of finding out much more, and hell would freeze over before she offered any personal information of her own accord.

Her professional history, though, was a different story. He might show the world a cavalier attitude, but he never hired anyone without vetting that person from top to bottom. As bodyguards went, Bernie was the best of the best. Ex-military, she was a top-notch marksman and a martial arts expert. She had observational skills out the wazoo. And Jeremy had no doubt she could be lethal if the situation ever warranted it.

Still, she was a woman, and every once in a while he imagined what would happen if he sent her for a day at one of those stupidly expensive spas, then took her to Neiman’s and sprang for the works. Just for fun. Just to see the result. Of course, if he ever actually suggested such a thing, he’d probably end up as one more notch on her Q-Tip.

“I’m heading for the bar,” Jeremy said. “Can I interest you in a glass of outrageously expensive champagne? I have to recoup my twelve thousand somehow.”

“You know I don’t drink on the job.”

“Do you drink ever? Or smoke, or park illegally, or spit gum on the sidewalk? What do you do for fun, anyway?”

“I am having fun,” she deadpanned. “Can’t you tell?”

“Lighten up, Bernie. This is friendly territory. Not much chance of a kidnapping attempt around here.”

Bernie’s laserlike eyes zeroed in on something across the room. “I’m not so sure about that.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Do you know that woman?” Bernie asked. “The one by the buffet table in the silver sequined skirt up to her ass?”

Jeremy turned to look at the woman in question, who turned out to be the same women he’d seen as he was coming into the hotel. She was indeed showing a few more inches of thigh than the average woman here tonight. Bernie didn’t seem to approve, but—funny thing—he didn’t object in the least.

Did he know her? No. Was he going to get to know her? Absolutely. Before this evening was out, he intended to get to know her very, very well.

“Never seen her before tonight,” he said.

“I have. A couple of times in the past few days. She may be following you. She was outside the gates to your house two days ago, and on the street in front of Rodolpho’s yesterday when you were having lunch with Phil Brandenburg. And she’s barely taken her eyes off you tonight.”

Jeremy smiled. “Ah, women… they just can’t seem to control themselves around me, can they?”

“There is a chance she’s just a groupie. She probably saw the article they did on you in Dallas After Dark and she’s hoping to snag a handsome millionaire.”

“So you think I’m handsome, do you?”

“I’m just quoting the article.”

“Well, if it’s in print, it must be true.”

“Right. Dallas After Dark. Journalism at its finest.” Bernie continued to eye the girl, then shook her head grimly. “There’s something fishy about her. She doesn’t belong here. She’s dressed too slutty. And she’s standing alone.”

“Maybe you’re right,” Jeremy said. “Maybe I should check her out. Get closer to her. Infiltrate her evil plot.”

“You’re not taking this seriously.”

“Now, that’s where you’re wrong. I’m very, very serious about taking her home with me.” He glanced back at the woman. “And look at that. I don’t even have to go on the hunt. The prey is coming to me.”



Continues...

Excerpted from Black Ties and Lullabies by Graves, Jane Copyright © 2011 by Graves, Jane. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 80 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    At what point in love do you realize that you don't have to handle everything alone?

    A great bodyguard always brings her "A" game to work to protect the client and never has a relationship with the boss, even after you quit. But Bernadette Hogan did both of those things and finds herself pregnant by her former boss, the self-made multimillionaire Jeremy Bridges the bain of her existence.

    Bernie convinced herself Jeremy and his love of big boobs on blonde headed women would make it so she could walk away from him and never have him in her life again. But once Bernie tells Jeremy about the baby Jeremy informs her he is not going anywhere, plans to be right in the thick of it with her, and won't step away. Jeremy never thought he would ever be a parent but now that is he about to open that door he plans to right the wrongs he learned from his own childhood and be the kind of parent he dreamed would have been in his life growing up. Jeremy will not be a weekend dad or a visitor in his child's life.

    Jeremy wants what he craves the most, complete control over this new turn in the road for him which is what drives Bernie completely crazy. This change also has Jeremy acknowledge that he grew to the status he has by hard work and made him more money than he can spend in 10 lifetimes but does it make him happy? Jeremy would have said he didn't care about happiness he could buy that but every day as he see a life with Bernie money turns out to not be anywhere near enough. The child they created has opened his eyes to a life he never could have dreamed to have but will his inability to let go and let love happen ruin everything or can Bernie show him how to make love and money both count in your life.

    Loved this book from beginning to end! You have conflict, romance, more conflict, and some especially moving parts with Bernie's mother that will shake any child with a parent suffering from Alzheimer's and learning how to be a caregiver.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Predictable but still fun!

    My Review:
    This was an interesting read. It actually turned out to be more than I expected it to be. Bernie has served as Jeremy's bodyguard for 2+ years. In that time, he has infuriated her with his completely blase attitude. That comes to a head one night when he ignores her warning and instead goes after some sex with another busty blonde in a long line of busty, brainless bimbos. The issue with this one is that she isn't what she seems, which is what Bernie was trying to warn him about. After securing them into the safe room with 4 bad guys in the house trying to harm Jeremy, Bernie loses it. She is furious and quits, but that fury quickly turns to passionate quickie. Bernie never loses her cool like that and has had it with Jeremy. She never plans to see him ever again. Surprise!

    This was a cute, fun read. Bernie has a LOT going on in her life and Jeremy quickly realizes that he never knew anything about her, even though they worked closely for two years. But by the same token, Bernie never really knew the reasons behind Jeremy's attitude either. It's so fun to get to know these two and watching them get to know each other. Bernie is this tough chick that has never been much of a girly-girl. She's a bodyguard and is constantly hanging out as just one of the guys. Jeremy never goes after a girl like her, so their attraction is as much as a surprise to them as it is to anyone.

    There are a few twists and turns along the way especially with the pregnancy. The book was fairly predictable, but that didn't make it any less fun to read.

    It was a fun book and definitely worth staying up late last night to read it. Now I am looking forward to reading another of Jane Graves books for my book #4 for the Bout of Books read-a-thon this week.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2014

    I read Wedding Veils and Tall Tales and there was an excerpt for

    I read Wedding Veils and Tall Tales and there was an excerpt for this book in the back. Sounded intriguing so I ordered it and read it too. At first not sure I would like Jeremy but he grew on me. Perfect match for Bernie. Funny, sweet story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2013

    Great story

    Very entertaining!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2013

    Great

    This was a great book, would love to see more about these characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    Fantastic

    Love this author. While the story didn't have me as captivated as her other works, it was still delightful to read and enjoy. The birthing scene will just crack you up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

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    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2012

    Cute romance

    Very cute story. Loved how he finally came to his senses

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2012

    Loved it.

    Fun read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    Book luver

    Loved it! Jeremy was easy to hate at the start but love at the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    Great Read!

    Enjoyed it from the first to last page. Wonderful story with complex characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2012

    Awful

    Could not finish it.very boring

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2011

    Cute story

    I had recently read a story by Erin McCarthy that had the same pregnancy theme, and this title was recommended. While I enjoyed the local Dallas element, the writing style compared to Erin's just was not the same. It was a good book, I didn't feel for either character the way I did in other books.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A very sweet love story!

    I was very skeptical coming into Black Ties and Lullabies, it sat on my shelf since before its publication date because it just didn't seem like something I would be able to get into. I am so glad that I finally picked it up though because I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I ended up loving this story of a redeemable rake and a tough girl who in the end shows she is a woman inside and out.

    Jeremy started out as a real womanizing prick, classic play boy who likes his toys and throws a fit when he doesn't get his way. But as the story progresses we come to find out that he came from the worse kind of upbringing yet strived to get out of that hellhole and worked his way through school and is now an amazingly successful business man, and he never wants to go back to any aspect of his upbringing. When Bernie showed up in his life, he may not have realized it right away, but eventual he sees that she brought something into it that he was missing, and for her he strives to be a better man and a good father. Him coming to terms with that and trying to woo Bernie over was a sweet, humorous and sometimes heart wrenching journey. By the middle of this novel I was fully invested in these characters.
    Bernie starts off as a pretty cold, tough-as-nails, just-one-of-the-guys type of lady. She doesn't dress up, doesn't wear make-up or worry about her hair and leads a pretty simple life. The totally opposite of Jeremy and though I can hang out with the guys any day of the week and I may not wear too much make-up I still like to look good, so I didn't think I'd be able to relate to her either. But then we started dipping into her emotions; her secret attraction to Jeremy, her felling in-superior to his other conquests, his financial status and her lack of one, her freaking out about being a single mother and trying to balance that and a job and taking care of her own mother all at the same time and BAM, I thought wow, she is just like any other woman I know!

    Black Ties and Lullabies was a tug-a-war between these two strong characters, there was a lot of growth for them and interesting side characters to help push the story along, but beneath it all it was a true love story. I think this would be good for contemporary romance fans looking for a nice and easy read to relax with.

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  • Posted August 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    And baby makes 3...

    The first contemporary I ever read (which shall remain nameless) left a bad taste so I basically abandoned this sub-genre. This book had me laughing out loud, sighing, feeling a lump in my throat, a knot in my chest, and cheering Bernie and Jeremy to a HEA. On the back cover of the book, there's a quote by NYT bestselling author, Lori Foster-"Jane Graves will win your heart." Yes, Ms. Foster, I must agree with you.

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

    Wonderful

    This was my first JG books but certainly won't be my last! It was great!!!

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  • Posted August 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wickedly Funny and Sexy

    Black Ties and Lullabies by Jane Graves is an absolute delight.

    Bernadette "Bernie" Hogan takes her job as a bodyguard/security expert seriously. She doesn't make mistakes, she can't afford to. Bernie has the caring of her mother and Texas's most difficult and eligible bachelor to protect. Jeremy Bridges makes his own rules in business and in pleasure. He literally drives Bernie up a wall until one night she gives in and falls into his arms.

    Jeremy Bridges is a self made millionaire and realizes security is a needed necessity. But its not going to get in his way of having a good time. He likes Bernie's dry wit but never looked at her as a bed partner until one night locked in his safe room.

    That one night leads to a pregnancy that neither had planned on. Bernie starts to protect her heart with everything she has while Jeremy wants to show Bernie he can be the man for her and their baby.

    Black Ties and Lullabies is laugh out loud funny and deliciously sexy. Jeremy and Bernie are complete opposites but have an attraction that is smoking hot. Watching their romance grown and develop is a treat worth savoring.

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  • Posted June 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A delightful contemporary romance

    After violating her personal pledge as a bodyguard with a one night stand with her client, Bernadette Hogan quits her position protecting Jeremy Bridges CEO of Sybersense Systems. He asks to return to her job, but she refuses as she believes he is heartless womanizer, which Jeremy knows is true. Besides she has no time for the immature lady's man as she cares for her mom Eleanor suffering with the early stages of Alzheimer's.

    As he waits for her to come begging like all females do with him, Bernie learns she is pregnant. He adamantly tells her he will be involved raising their child. Jeremy's childhood was not a role model so he swears he will be a good father to his offspring as he needs to have his offspring know he is the dad. As they argue over what his role is to become, Jeremy wants the mom in his life too, but must overcome first impressions.

    This is an entertaining at times amusing gender war as ultra responsible Bernie and the fun loving Jeremy argue over their unborn as she insists 1 and 1 equal a single mom while he claims 1 and 1 and 1 make a family. Eleanor brings the serious tone to the otherwise somewhat lighthearted tale with her slowly crippling disease in which she still knows what is happening to her but cannot prevent it. Although having his baby as a matchmaker has been used a googol number of times (see Karen Rose Smith's Baby by Surprise) contemporary romance fans will enjoy the battles between the bodyguard and her CEO client.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Posted March 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    delightfully entertaining

    Bernadette Hogan can't believe what she has gotten herself into, of all the crazy situations she could imagine getting pregnant by her infuriating boss was not even a blip on her radar. This is so not like her, she already has her plate full. Jeremy is willing to try to make things work, even though he is still reeling from the shock of that he let things get so out of hand. But how can an independent woman and a self-made millionaire learn to compromise without chewing each other to pieces?

    ****

    In BLACK TIES AND LULLABIES, Jane Graves had penned a delightfully entertaining tale with a fascinating cast of characters, keeping me laughing and smiling all throughout the book. I loved following Bernie and Jeremy on their journey to love and happiness.
    Bernie was a great heroine! This is the first book I've read where the woman has been the muscle, Jeremy was no slouch, but Bernie definitely could handle her own in a fight. I loved that she was independent and more than capable of taking care of herself, no matter what the situation, but I also like watching her learn that it's okay to lean on someone elses shoulder. Jeremy was an irritatingly arrogant guy, but you could sense the loneliness he kept so well hidden. I loved watching him grow emotionally, learning how to love and be loved. Bernie and Jeremy are definitely a couple I can picture living Happily Ever After, forever.
    I can't wait for Ms. Graves' next book! Her characters and stories are always very humorous and well plotted.

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  • Posted February 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fell Flat

    *NOTE: This book was supposed to be released in Feb 2011, but has been pushed back to June 2011. My cover also looks different.*

    Jane Graves is the author of eighteen contemporary romance novels. She is a seven-time finalist for Romance Writers of America's Rita Award, the industry's highest honor, and is the recipient of two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Booksellers' Best Award, and the Golden Quill, among others. Jane's books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, with three titles reaching the Top 100 on Amazon Germany. Her most recent release, Tall Tales and Wedding Veils, appeared on the Barnes & Noble Bestseller List. Other titles include: Hot Wheels and High Heels, Heartstrings and Diamond Rings, Wild at Heart, Flirting with Disaster, and Light My Fire. Jane resides in the Dallas area with her husband.

    A good girl can be bad for one night, but can a bad boy be good for a lifetime? Bernadette "Bernie" Hogan has spent the past two years as a bodyguard to Texas' most eligible--if not infuriating-- bachelor. She never makes mistakes, not when caring for her mother with Alzheimer's, and certainly not on the job. But one night, self-made millionaire Jeremy Bridges pushes her too far, and a passionate fling with her boss leaves Bernie confused, embarrassed, and pregnant. Can Jeremy convince Bernie that he's ready to change from the partying playboy to a dependable dad?

    If I'm being honest, this book fell a little flat for me about half-way through. And without issuing a spoiler alert, the ending was too overly sentimental for my tastes. I understand what the author was trying to do in showing growth for both the hero and heroine-- her with the hormones of pregnancy and him growing up-- but Jeremy lost his humor, and Bernie lost her edge, which is what made these two so captivating from the first page. I'm not a big fan of the "pregnancy plots" as they have to be done just right, but I will credit the book for not taking the "rushing into marriage" scenario most do, or for the "hiding the pregnancy" as typically shown.

    In saying that, Jane has an innate way of illustrating her surroundings and her secondary characters extremely well. It's why I've loved her books for some time, and why this won't deter me from future reads. Most memorable in this story for me was Bernie's mother, Eleanor's, struggle with the early stages of Alzheimer's and it's progression. It's a horrible disease, and it was not made light of nor portrayed improperly for creative content. 3.5 stars overall.

    Kelly Moran
    Author and Reviewer
    Bookpleasures

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