Every Road to You (Harlequin Kimani Romance Series #370)

Every Road to You (Harlequin Kimani Romance Series #370)

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by Phyllis Bourne

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His business is her pleasure 

Beauty's about more than just appearance—it's a state of mind. And at the helm of Espresso Cosmetics' spa division, Tia Gray gives clients makeovers of a lifetime. After an inspiring transformation, a runaway grandmother takes off for Vegas on the back of a motorcycle. But persuading the woman's powerful

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His business is her pleasure 

Beauty's about more than just appearance—it's a state of mind. And at the helm of Espresso Cosmetics' spa division, Tia Gray gives clients makeovers of a lifetime. After an inspiring transformation, a runaway grandmother takes off for Vegas on the back of a motorcycle. But persuading the woman's powerful, sexy grandson that this trip is a rite of passage isn't going to be easy…. 

Esteemed lawyer Ethan Wright is convinced that he knows best. But a spur-of-the-moment road trip with Tia to find his grandmother, and all the wild mishaps they encounter along the way, show him just how irresistible passion—and Tia—can be. Is he willing to give in to the hidden desires of his heart?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The characters are strong, relatable and will inspire readers to carve their own place in history."

"...the author offers engaging characters, passionate love scenes and an awesome message of following your heart."
-RT Book Reviews on EVERY ROAD TO YOU

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Espresso Empire Series
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If Ethan Wright weren't so furious, he'd laugh.

The muscle-bound receptionist spreading tattooed arms across the closed door should be on a football field sacking quarterbacks, he thought, not shielding the posh offices of a day spa.

"I've already told you. Ms. Gray isn't available," the wall of a man reiterated. "If you'd just let me make you an appointment, she'll see you early next week."

Standing well over six feet, Ethan rarely looked up at anyone. But as he craned his neck to meet the guy's glare, he didn't miss shoulders spanning the width of the doorway or fists the size of sledgehammers.

Regardless, Ethan intended to see Tia Gray.


"I'm not leaving until I talk to your boss." If Ethan had come here for any other reason, the giant glowering down at him might have deterred him, but this couldn't wait. He flexed his fingers and mentally prepared for what was sure to be the unpleasant task of removing the man from his path.

Fortunately, it didn't come to that. The receptionist blinked first and ran a beefy hand over his shaved head. Ethan heard him sigh, and he silently exhaled right along with him, relieved the brief standoff had ended without any bloodshed, namely his blood.

"Ms. Gray was on an important call. I'll see if she's done." Turning his impressive girth to the door, the man hesitantly cracked it open and poked his head inside.

Give me a break, Ethan thought. This wasn't the Oval Office. The executive on the other side of the door ran a chain of day spas, not the free world. He couldn't imagine her having to discuss anything more vital than the latest innovations in face goop.

Ethan reached past the burly barricade, shoved the door wide open and strode through it. Finding the chair behind the frosted-glass desk empty, he scanned the room for the busybody responsible for upsetting the balance of his wellordered life. Not to mention threatening to ruin his first vacation in years.

He spotted a woman standing near a corner window, partially hidden by waist-high potted plants. She was talking on the phone.

Ethan immediately stalked toward her. The sooner they had it out, the quicker she could get busy fixing the shit storm she'd stirred up.

"Cole, this static is awful. I can barely hear you," she shouted into the phone.

Tia Gray stepped away from the potted shrubbery, the movement allowing Ethan an unencumbered view. His gaze swept over her, caught and held.

Ethan's sure steps faltered. The obstacle at the door was nothing compared to the one confronting him now-his weakness-a great pair of legs. And the woman before him possessed the sexiest he'd ever seen.

Ethan stood transfixed. His Adam's apple bobbed in his suddenly dry throat as his gaze involuntarily slid up the endless length of the legs before him, taking in trim ankles and shapely calves along the way. He didn't stop until her dress hem brought the delectable glimpse of toned thighs to a regrettable end.

Apparently, having noticed him standing there, she covered the phone receiver with her palm. "What is it, Max?" she hissed at the receptionist. "You know this call is crucial."

Her tone snapped Ethan out of his gam-induced trance. He retracted his eyeballs into their sockets and pushed from his mind illicit thoughts of those legs dangling over his back. He was here for a reason and it wasn't to ogle this interfering troublemaker.

Moving closer to the woman in just two steps, Ethan plucked the phone from her hand.

"There's nothing more important than the conversation we're about to have, Ms. Gray," Ethan said, disconnecting the call.

Her peach-glossed mouth dropped open in surprise. "D-do you realize how long it took me to track down the person on the other end of that call?" she sputtered.

"You should have thought about that before you stuck your nose in my business."

"Your business?" Her words were more of a question than a statement. "I don't even know you."

Gargantua sided up to his boss. "Sorry, Tia. I was only checking to see if you were still on the phone." He cast a scowl in Ethan's direction. "I didn't expect him to barge in here."

She patted the man's massive forearm. "Relax, Max. It's not your fault."

"I'll try to get your brother back on the line." The receptionist inclined his head toward Ethan. "After I see him out." A series of pops sounded as the big man rolled his head around his thick neck and stepped toward Ethan.

"You'd better call off your secretary," Ethan warned.

The man shuddered, visibly affronted. "I'm not a secretary," he snapped. "I'm Ms. Gray's executive assistant."

Yeah, right, Ethan thought. And nowadays truck drivers called themselves freight-relocation specialists, and the guy he'd hired to paint his house last year used the title color-distribution technician. "I'm not going anywhere until I speak to your boss," he said.

Tia stood between them and held up her hands in a halting gesture. "I think we all need to stand down," she said. "Let's take a few deep breaths and then reconnect?"

"Recon… What?" Ethan asked.

"Calm down so we can straighten out what I'm sure is simply a misunderstanding," she translated.

Ethan looked on in astonishment as Beauty, along with the Beast, inhaled a gulp of air and blew it out with a whoosh. They did it again. And again.

He glanced at his watch. "You two about done?"

"Please, join us," she said. "Deep breath in through your nose and out of your mouth."

Ethan blew out a breath, all right. A long, frustrated one. In his grandmother's nonstop chatter about Tia Gray lately, she'd omitted the fact the woman was a certified fruit loop.

"Now, don't you feel better?" she asked.

Before he could answer, she turned to her gigantic minion. "Max, I'd like you to go down to the relaxation room and bring our guest and myself some of our tranquil tea."

"But he's no guest, not the way he shoved his way-"

"Regardless-" she cut off the protest "-he's here now. So please bring the tea."

The man nodded once, glaring at Ethan as he left the room.

"Ms. Gray," Ethan began.

"Tia," she interrupted. "And you are?"

"Ethan Wright," he said.

"Have a seat. Max will be back with our tea momentarily." She walked behind the glass desk and sat in the white leather executive chair. "Your name sounds familiar. Have we met before?"

"No, but you know my grandmother, Carol Harris." Ethan continued to stand. He crossed his arms over his chest. "She's the reason I'm here."

"Carol? Is she okay?" Concern creased her perfectly symmetrical features, and Ethan reluctantly noted her legs weren't her only pretty feature.

"She's fine, at least physically," he said, the outrageous encounter with his grandmother earlier this morning stoking his annoyance. "But thanks to you, she's gone off the deep end."

Ethan heard a clinking noise and looked around to see that the receptionist, no, rather her executive assistant, had returned bearing a dainty tea service that looked almost comical in his oversize mitts.

"Great. Our tea is here." Tia smiled as her assistant poured steaming green liquid into two small cups, and then dismissed him with a thank-you.

"Did you hear what I said?" Ethan asked, flummoxed at her placid expression.

"Of course. You're standing right in front of me." Her soothing tone was a cross between one a parent adopted to cajole a stubborn toddler and one used to talk a jumper down from the ledge of a tall building. "It's good to finally meet you, Ethan. Oh, you don't mind if I use your first name, do you? Carol's talked about you so much over the years it seems silly to call you Mr. Wright."

"Fine," he said. "Now-"

She cut him off. "Come on, have a seat and try your tea. Then we'll talk."

Ethan plopped down in the club chair in front of her desk. The damn tea appeared to be the last hoop he had to jump through before he could have a conversation with the woman, so he picked up the miniature cup and swallowed the contents in one gulp.

Hopefully, the minty concoction didn't contain a mindaltering substance that would make him as batty as everyone else in this place-and the stranger now masquerading as his grandmother.

"Now, can we finally talk about what you did to my grandmother?"

"Go right ahead." The woman eyed him over the rim of her cup as she took a sip of tea.

"When I gave my grandmother a gift certificate to your spa for her birthday, I'd expected she'd come away with a manicure and a new hairdo," he said. "But I barely recognize her."

"I know. Isn't it wonderful?"

"It's a nightmare," Ethan said.

Tia frowned. "I don't understand. I'm usually restricted to the office, but because Carol's a friend, I either supervised her services or handled them myself."

"Then, Dr. Frankenstein, you have created a monster."

"Monster?" The words came out in a gasp. "That's impossible. She looked amazing when she left here. Fifteen, maybe even twenty years younger."

His grandmother looked different, all right, Ethan fumed. Two weeks had passed since she'd redeemed her gift certificate, and he still had to do a double take when he looked at her. However, the change in her appearance, though disconcerting, wasn't the problem. It was the seemingly total transplant of her personality from a sweet, pie-baking granny to a septuagenarian hooligan.

"Yeah." Ethan snorted. "She looked sixty and was acting like a delinquent teenager."

He watched in dismay as a look of pure glee came over the woman on the other side of the desk's face. Apparently, she still hadn't grasped the seriousness of the situation.

"My grandmother has gone from spearheading church bake sales and garden-club meetings to staying out to all hours partying and doing who-knows-what." As Ethan explained, he could almost see his straitlaced grandfather turning in his grave like a rotisserie chicken. "Last week, she went to a honky-tonk down on Broadway and didn't get home until the next morning."

He paused when he heard what sounded like a snicker from the other side of the desk.

Ethan cleared his throat. "This isn't a laughing matter, Ms. Gray," he said. "Your so-called makeover is responsible for this new behavior of hers, and I want to know what you intend to do about it."

She placed her teacup on the desk.

"Absolutely nothing." Her soft voice held a steely edge that didn't bode well. "Even if I wanted to, and I don't, your grandmother is a grown woman."

"One you seem to have heavily influenced. Every sentence out of her mouth these days starts or ends with 'Tia says' or 'Tia thinks.'" Ethan mimicked his grandmother's voice.

"Regardless, Carol has her own mind. I wouldn't dream of trying to tell her what to do."

"Not even when I had to pick her up from jail last night."

"Jail?" The woman straightened in her chair.

Finally, he'd gotten her attention.

"Yes, jail," Ethan confirmed. He'd still been struggling to reconcile his God-fearing grandmother with the stubborn hell-raiser he'd fetched from the downtown detention center. "Now, will you talk some sense into her?"

Tia sighed. "I'll touch base with Carol."

Ethan was relieved to see no traces of her earlier amusement.

"I expect you to fix this, Ms. Gray." He left off an unspoken, but heavily implied, or else.

Tia swallowed a sip of tea, along with a sharper retort to his demand. "I already told you I'd speak with her.

That's all I can do."

Ethan stood, and again, she tried not to notice how easy he was on the eyes. If she had a type, the man in front of her would be it. Then again, what woman didn't like tall, dark and delicious?

Until he started to talk, Tia thought. If you could even call barking orders talking.

"Then I suggest you be extremely persuasive," Ethan said in a tone instantly neutralizing the effect of his potent good looks. "I look forward to seeing my grandmother return to her old self."

Tia watched his broad back as he strode out of her office. Everything in his commanding manner was confident she'd do as he'd directed.

She sighed, and she would.

Strip away the overbearing arrogance and he was simply a man worried about his grandmother, Tia reminded herself. Now she was worried, too.

Carol in jail. The mental image didn't fit the kindhearted nurse who years ago had cared for Tia's late mother during her losing battle with cancer.

Tia looked up at Max, who'd returned to the office.

"What's his deal?" he asked.

"Family problems."

"What makes them your problems?"

"He's Carol Harris's grandson," Tia said.

Max's eyes widened as he made the connection. "Ah, the Tina Turner transformation," he said, referring to the makeover that was so stunning it had earned its own name throughout Espresso Sanctuary, the flagship of the ten spas Espresso Cosmetics had scattered throughout the Southeast.

Tia and her top-notch staff had cut, colored, made up, manicured and massaged years off the senior citizen's outdated appearance. The upshot: Carol Harris was now one smoking-hot woman of a certain age. But it appeared the dramatic change might have done her friend more harm than good.

"So I gather he's not happy with his granny's new look," Max observed.

"Apparently, there have been some side effects, and Carol's gone wild."

Max sat in the chair in front of her desk. "If she's happy, your job is done."

"Normally, I'd agree, but he wants me to talk to her, and I told him I would."

Max grunted.

"I take it you don't approve."

"Considering the way he stormed through here, you should have let me use one of my old wrestling moves on him before tossing him out the door," he said.

Tia regarded her assistant, a former pro wrestler and longtime friend, with a frown.

"All three of us couldn't be hotheads." She leveled him with a look to emphasize her point.

Max nodded. "Point taken," he said. "Want me to ask Carol to meet you here at the spa's café for lunch or book you a table somewhere else?"

"Neither," Tia said.

Ethan Wright's problems would have to take a backseat for now. She had her own family to deal with this morning and a problem she needed to readdress today.

"In fact, clear my afternoon schedule. I'm headed downtown to the Espresso building to talk to my father."

"Does that mean your conversation with Cole went well, despite the interruption?" Max sounded hopeful.

Tia shook her head. Her stepbrother had sequestered himself on his boat somewhere off the coast of Italy. She doubted he'd heard more than a word or two she'd said over the crackling line of the static-ridden call, let alone her desperate request.

And even if they had been able to talk, Tia thought, she wasn't the family member who needed to reach out to her brother and convince him to return to Nashville and their family business.

"It doesn't appear Cole is an option for Espresso right now," Tia told Max. "All I can do is try to reason with my dad." Again, she silently added.

"You'll want to take a look at this first." Max left her office briefly and returned with a familiar document from Espresso's accounting department.

"Another authorization form?" Tia asked.

Max nodded. "Malcolm Doyle faxed it over while you were with Mr. Wright."

Tia looked over the form giving her permission, as president of the company's spa division, to redirect more profits from Espresso's ten sanctuary day spas into the floundering cosmetics side of the company.

Damn, Tia thought as she snatched a pen from her desk and signed her name. At this rate, she'd never be able to expand from the Southeast to spots she'd been eyeing in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

"So how long do think you can continue propping up the cosmetics division?" Max asked.

Tia pushed out a weary sigh. "This is the last time."

Her father's steadfast refusal to allow major changes at Espresso Cosmetics so it could stay relevant in a changing marketplace was contributing to the brand's slow death.

"Whatever you say." Max reached for the signed form, but Tia held on to it.

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Every Road To You 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Ethan's and Tia's story. The author did a great job drawing you into the characters with a great story that has humor and good romance. I can't wait for the other stories to come out in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the stories and the characters. Hope we get the Cole and the sisters stories.