My Secret Fantasies (Harlequin Blaze Series #782)

My Secret Fantasies (Harlequin Blaze Series #782)

4.4 13
by Joanne Rock
     
 

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Fantasy come to life…

All I wanted was to escape the media frenzy I left behind in L.A. and open a cute little shop on the Sonoma Coast. Simple, right? But Damien Fraser—the hunky property owner—isn't exactly thrilled about my reality-TV-star status. Still, I'm pretty sure that all he needs is a little creative convincing…and I've learned I

Overview

Fantasy come to life…

All I wanted was to escape the media frenzy I left behind in L.A. and open a cute little shop on the Sonoma Coast. Simple, right? But Damien Fraser—the hunky property owner—isn't exactly thrilled about my reality-TV-star status. Still, I'm pretty sure that all he needs is a little creative convincing…and I've learned I can be very creative.

I started writing a naughty novel, and with every sexy scene I write, things between me and Damien get really hot. Now the hero in my book is starting to look more and more like Damien, and I'm well on my way to becoming my brazen sexpot heroine. But when my real life and my fictional life collide, my fantasies just might cost me all of my dreams….

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780373797868
Publisher:
Harlequin
Publication date:
12/17/2013
Series:
Harlequin Blaze Series, #782
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.40(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

They say life imitates art.

Which wouldn't have been so bad if I'd met a hot guy like Shaelynn did in my story. But no. My life imitated art because on my way to Sonoma the next day, my car broke down.

Worse, the lock on my SUV was busted because I hadn't taken the car in to the dealership to get it fixed after some creeps had vandalized it last week. So all that I owned sat on the shoulder of Highway 1, just south of Bodega, California. Any thief who came by would have the easiest job ever—if he happened to be interested in my prized collection of bonsai plants or size-eight flip-flops in every color known to man.

Yet as I walked up the road, the winter sun shining on my shoulders to tinge my fish-belly skin a lively pink, I knew the potential loss back at my used vehicle was not the worst of this day. My cell phone battery had died, so I couldn't call for help. Or make sure Damien Fraser had gotten the text I sent just before my phone died, saying I'd be late for our appointment. Now, I would miss the meeting with the owner of a property I'd been dying to purchase. It was a little plot of land with a perfect-sized building, on which I'd pinned all my hopes for the future.

I'd driven six and a half hours with my entire life packed into the back of that SUV in the hope I'd relocate up here. That I'd be able to move right into the charming little structure that had once served as a farm stand, close to a main road. I would rent it from the owner before the closing, and start fixing it up to be the tearoom of my dreams. Unrealistic? Maybe. But in his Craigslist ad, Damien Fraser had sounded very interested in unloading it ASAP.

Plus, I had a respectable down payment. I carried a cashier's check for 10K in my backpack, thanks to my Gutsy Girl winnings. Thieves would have done better to rob me as opposed to my SUV. I'd been careful not to touch a cent of the money after winning, knowing it was my ticket out of Los Angeles and out of the spotlight.

But now, thanks to my phone crapping out, the owner of my future tearoom might never know I was running late for our appointment. What if he ended up giving control of the sale to some hardball Realtor when I didn't show up, and I'd end up paying more and waiting longer for the deal to go through?

Damn it. Damn it.

I might have slid my backpack off and sat on the side of the road to sob at my misfortune if I hadn't held out a smidge of hope that maybe the building I was searching for was just around the next corner amid the olive groves crowding the northbound lane. I'd been telling myself that for two hours as I trudged up the road, because I was just enough of a glass-halffull girl that I maintained a shred of optimism. I had to be close.

When a truck pulled off the highway on the opposite side, I didn't think anything of it at first. I assumed the driver probably needed to make a phone call or send a text or something. Still, thinking about that cashier's check in my bag, I monitored the situation. I hadn't survived in Hollywood that first year I moved to the West Coast from Nebraska by being oblivious.

So when the door of the oversize pickup opened with a squeak, I looked.

And saw the hottest guy ever.

Now, maybe it was the heat that seemed to spotlight this hunky slab of muscle and manhood as he stood beside the open door of the truck. He glistened with sweat despite a temperature that probably reached only the mid-sixties. He took the tail of a well-worn T-shirt and used it to mop his forehead.

In that moment, his abs were exposed to my dazed, spellbound eyes. He was pinup sexy. Lean and taut, he looked like he'd pulled about two million inverted pushups to achieve so much delicious definition in that six-pack. Better yet, he was tanned bronze and I felt like I'd been given a VIP pass to the hottest show on earth.

What a gift in an otherwise hellacious day. My heroine Shaelynn couldn't have done any better.

"Are you Miranda Cortland?"

I shook my head to clear it of fantasies that grew more explicit by the minute. The demigod across the road did not just talk to me.

I realized I'd stopped to stare, and felt just the slightest twinge of embarrassment to be caught in the act.

Giving him a lopsided smile, I told myself to keep moving. Then realized he'd somehow known my name.

"Excuse me?" I had to shout, since two cars barreled by in either direction.

"Are you Miranda?" he asked, his deep voice carrying easily over the distance. He slammed his door shut and jogged closer.

To me.

I blinked. Confused. Dry-mouthed.

Because now that I saw the guy's face, he was a whole lot more than just hot abs. Streaked with sweat and a light coating of dust, he looked like a local laborer in his T-shirt and jeans. Although, knowing good clothes when I saw them, from years of shopping vintage, I realized he wore very good clothes. Those boots and jeans were both out of my price range.

"Lady, are you okay?" He was now just a few feet away.

Hazel eyes narrowed in concern, he stood a good six inches taller than me. His dark hair was close cropped and matched the dark stubble sprinkled along his jaw. Wicked cheekbones made him look a bit Native American. A prominent blade of a nose and full lips only added to his appeal.

I remembered the words I'd written to describe the hero of my book. An arresting face. Strong. Handsome.

"I'm fine," I said, with a bit too much enthusiasm.

What I meant to say, actually, was "You're fine." But he stared at me like I might have mental health issues, so I struggled to pull myself out of the sexy-man-induced delirium. He looked like the hero I'd dreamed up before I even laid eyes on this guy. "That is, I broke down a few miles back, but I don't think I'm far from my destination."

Belatedly, I realized I should have asked to borrow his cell phone. Or truck. Or his body.

"Right. Miranda Cortland?"

Holy crap. He really did know me. For a moment, I worried that he'd recognized me from Gutsy Girl. But he didn't fit the show's demographic. And now that I started to get a grip on the situation, I comprehended that he appeared very irritated. Highly annoyed.

Downright surly, even.

"Oh, God." I put the pieces together and felt like an idiot. "Are you Damien Fraser? Did that last text message I sent actually go through?"

The screen had faded to black a second after I'd hit Send on my SOS message to him.

"I didn't get it until a few minutes ago. I was working in one of the pastures." He didn't confirm his identity, but I guess he didn't need to. His gaze roamed over me, assessing. As if I was the one who was sweaty and dirty from a day in the fields. Somehow, I'd assumed "Fraser Farm" was meant more as a picturesque description than an actual farm…with animals.

But Damien Fraser of Fraser Farm was technically listed as the seller of the property that I wanted so badly. I stood straighter, wishing we'd met when I looked more like a serious real estate buyer and less like a college student on spring break. Or a fugitive from Tinsel Town. I'd stripped off my neon-green lace shirt an hour ago to wrap around my head, turban-style. I'd warmed up in a hurry once I started my long walk with a heavy pack on my shoulders. Plus, wrapping the shirt around my hair helped prevent me from being recognized after my recent notoriety. But it left me wearing a pink floral tee that occasionally exposed my belly-button ring. A snake with a sapphire eye. It had been my gift to myself for meeting my weight loss goals a few months after moving to L.A. and away from my dysfunctional family.

"I'm just so glad it reached you," I blurted, yanking the lace off my head, a trick that probably left my thick, ash-blond curls standing on end. "I mean, I've had a few hours to obsess over what might happen when I didn't show up for our appointment. Like, that you'd sell to someone else. Or refuse to sell to me on principle, because I wasted your time…

Midsentence, it occurred to me that I'd broken every rule for savvy real estate shopping. I'd let the seller know how much I wanted what he had.

"Would you like to see the property now?" He hadn't interrupted me or anything, but I sensed he didn't want to waste time chatting about my "might have" scenarios.

Which I respected. But between my outfit and my chattering, I just knew he thought I was some flighty Hollywood chick with more hair than brains.

"Sure. But can I ride with you?" I had checked him out online and he had big-time ties to the community as a Thoroughbred breeder developing an upscale business selling mega-expensive racehorses.

He didn't strike me as the serial-killer type, even if he was a bit dirtier than I'd expected. Was I too swayed by his broad shoulders? Or by the fact that he was just what I'd pictured when I dreamed up the guy in my secret novel?

Now I'd never be able to see any other face but his when Shaelynn got back to her hot tub adventures. Lucky girl.

"Where'd you break down?" Frowning, he squinted against the glare from the late afternoon sun as he peered down the road behind me. "Is your car out of the way of traffic?"

"It's on the shoulder," I assured him, feeling an unreasonable need to have him view me as a responsible citizen. "It should be fine except.."

"What?" Hazel eyes searched mine, while a passerby shouted something incomprehensible at us out the window of a bright yellow sports car.

"Er.." I noticed the canary-colored vehicle threw on its brakes. Now I really wished I'd kept the turban on my head. "The lock is broken on my SUV—"

"C'mon." Damien Fraser gestured for me to follow him toward the road and his massive pickup truck. "I've got some chains in the back."

Okay. I won't say where my mind went on learning that particular bit of trivia. Maybe I'd been spending too much time daydreaming up plot points for my secret novel. I focused on darting across Highway 1 without getting killed, all the while keeping a weather eye on the situation with the vintage yellow Porsche, which had pulled over fifty yards ahead.

"Miranda Cortland?" a woman shouted out the window of the Porsche, alerting me to potential trouble.

I scrambled into the passenger seat of the Ford 450—a fact I knew only because it said so in chrome along one side.

"Friend of yours?" Damien asked as he climbed into the driver's seat, his size, warmth and general masculinity filling the cab. He kept his eye out the window on the sports car.

"No." I didn't need to look. I had become a recognizable face after the ten-week reality show I'd been on had turned into a surprise hit. I'd fallen into the job after a nice casting director who'd turned me down for virtually everything I'd ever tested for with her had recommended me.

While the show featured a few C-list celebrities competing in acts of daring to see who was the "Gutsiest Girl," there were also a few "real people" to fill out the cast. I'd been one of them, and the directors had focused on my waitressing job in an upscale tearoom. I'd been the Nice Girl competitor. The contestant no one expected to win. But when the other women had started plotting against each other, everyone forgot about me because…honestly, I'm not that memorable and I'm just too nice. So the last one standing had been yours truly.

"She sure can't drive worth a damn," Damien Fraser observed as he pulled into traffic and stomped on the accelerator, his triceps flexing as he cranked the wheel.

I gripped the armrest as the powerful engine all but threw me backward into the seat. We put distance between us and the sports car in no time, and I decided I liked Mr. Surly. He was a no-nonsense kind of guy, different from the men I'd run across in Hollywood. I pictured him revving the engine of his badass truck to send members of the paparazzi scattering like ants under a boot.

"Thanks for doing this." I knew I'd start chattering soon if he didn't say something to fill the silence. Was he wondering how the woman in the Porsche had known me? Was he thinking I was a moron for not getting my SUV tuned up before a big trip? Joelle had told me to, but I hadn't wanted to spend any of the money I might need for start-up cash. "I guess I left in such a hurry this morning I didn't prepare as well as I should have."

I yanked the green lace top over the pink one, covering up the belly-button ring and making me look a tad less disheveled.

"That you?" He pointed out my vehicle sitting at an angle on the shoulder, so that it looked as if it had already given up the ghost.

"Yes. Whoa!" I slid sideways into the passenger door as he flipped a U-turn and parked the truck in front of my broken-down SUV.

He shoved open his own door without another word.

"Wait." I hurried to unbuckle and follow him. "I can help."

I hated being Ms. Needy Female, but he was already hooking a metal cable around my front bumper.

"I thought you were using chains?" Stepping carefully around some brush off the side of the highway, I watched him work.

"The winch kit will work best for starters." He pressed a lever to tighten the cable between my car and his. "Then we'll add a couple of chains for good measure. You want to put it in Neutral and flip on the hazards?"

"Uh, sure." I hoped this was safe. And while I was grateful to get my vehicle off the side of the road, I just hoped he wouldn't hold it against me that I'd really inconvenienced him.

More than anything, I wanted to get settled in my new digs, since I was technically homeless.

And yes, I knew most people would call it insanity to leave one apartment without securing another, but I had never been one to play it safe. For me, there was never a plan B. When trouble came my way, I dodged it and moved forward. Some might call it conflict avoidance. Whatever. I considered it taking charge of my life. In my own way, I overcame obstacles and moved on.

I put the old Highlander in Neutral as he'd asked, and switched on the hazards, then hurried back to his truck, since Damien was already climbing into the driver's seat. I got the impression he'd never wasted a second of time in his life.

Meet the Author

Three-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock never met a romance subgenre she didn't enjoy. The author of over sixty romances from contemporary to medieval historical, Joanne dreams of one day penning a book for every Harlequin series. A former Golden Heart recipient, she has won numerous awards for her stories. Learn more about Joanne's imaginative Muse by visiting her website www.joannerock.com or @JoanneRock6 on Twitter.

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My Secret Fantasies 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
Miranda Cortland survived a reality TV show and emerged a winner. Now she wants her life back. She plans to open a tea room. She is meeting Damien Fraser to buy a small building on his horse farm. There is powerful attraction between them but just as powerful is their fear of love. They are both fugitives from Hollywood who have unresolved issues with their respective families. Can these two find a HEA? Joanne Rock gives us a sizzling, sexy romance filled with two remarkable characters. Miranda is a mixture of strength and vulnerability. She and Damien are well matched. I loved the way they faced their problems and worked through them. The strength of their love touched me. This was such a well written book. It was a perfect winter escape.
AVoraciousReadr More than 1 year ago
A plot with heart & steaminess. Win! *Book source ~ A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review. Miranda Cortland just wants to leave L.A. and the fame from winning the reality show Gutsy Girl behind. She wants to use the winnings to open her own business, a tearoom in Sonoma. She didn’t count on a stubborn, sexy rancher to put the kibosh on buying her dream site. Well, she’s never been one to let a setback stop her, so she’ll see if she can work on the ranch for a bit while she comes up with Plan B. And Damien Fraser can’t say no to her. Will he let the best thing to walk into his life walk right back out? And will she be able to leave?  I’m not a fan of reality shows or their ‘stars’, but Miranda is a very likeable character. She’s nice, gutsy, focused and yet she’s free-spirited, too. It helps that this book isn’t about the show itself, but about the winner’s life after. Not to mention the hurt she’s endured in the past. Damien is a complex, wonderful and flawed character. He is also extremely focused on building his thoroughbred ranch. Watching these two damaged characters come together is beautiful and delightful.   I’ve been a reader of Harlequins for decades. Yeesh! That makes me sound really old. I started reading them when I was 10 (my  mom gave me the really old tame ones from the 50s) and I now have tons of them in my home library. I remember when Harlequin came out with the Blaze line (no age jokes now!) and I was so happy to have something steamier to read. Joanne Rock (among a few others) became my favorite Go To author for deliciousness between the covers. Even though I haven’t read very many Harlequins in about 10 years now, I can say that Joanne Rock is still delighting me. Bravo!
TinaR19 More than 1 year ago
This is a really good story and just what I would expect of any Blaze book. It has the right amount of heat with a story line that kept my interest from beginning to end.  Miranda Cortland is trying to put her past behind her. She was on a reality television show not long ago and desperately wants to get away from the hectic L.A. life. What better way than to open a quiet little business along the Sonoma Coast. She’s found the perfect place, and as long as the owner does not recognize her everything should be good. Sometimes we don’t always get what we wish for.  Damien Fraser owns the property that houses the charming little building that Miranda wants to use for her shop. He’s gotten away from the media world, and he is happy where is life is right now. He needs the money that he can get from selling Miranda the building on his property, but there is no way that he wants the media in his world again and that’s exactly what she will bring to his peaceful life. He’s not sure if she’s really here for the property or if she knows who he is and wants to use him for his connections in the film industry. But she steps right in when he needs help and that causes Damien to feel really bad that he cannot sell her the building, so he finds himself letting her stay in one of his rooms until she finds another place to open her business.  Miranda is secretly writing her first naughty romance novel, and before she knows it she starts seeing Damien as her hero in the story. Will be willing to help her act out any of the sexy scenes? Damien has been used by so many women that he does not trust easily. Will Miranda prove to him that she is out to use him like those other women? Or will he open his heart and find that they both can fulfill their dreams? I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
momlina More than 1 year ago
I give it 3.5 stars. I was given this book to review. It was the first time I’ve ever read Joanne Rock but it won’t be the last. I won’t go into the description of the story as you can find it above. Joanne Rock writes a story with a sexy theme. And while it has a very suggestive title and does in fact contain a few sexy scenes, it is actually a sweet, funny love story. It’s the standard romance theme, with no real surprises, but I was not disappointed. I didn't give it a higher score only because I easily predicted the ending very early on. My Secret Fantasies is a nice, easy, entertaining read. It has an interesting story line that unfolds at a steady pace. It doesn’t rush into conclusions, or wrap it up too abruptly. This book was well written with a good bit of humor. It depicted realistic scenarios without any over the top heroics. The characters were genuine and enjoyable. They are written with such detail you really feel you know them. They were famous, but didn’t live outrageous lives. I felt their circumstances were well thought out, and aptly described the issues of today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the chemistry between Miranda and Damien. She is escaping her past and trying to create her own business. Things sizzle between The two, and they find themselves falling hard for each other. Her past catches up to her and together they take steps to handle it. Lots of romance, and twists! Teresaalsara
BeanieBrain More than 1 year ago
I was given this book by author for honest review. Running from the media and wanting a place of her own Miranda heads to a new life at Fraser Farms. Damien the owner is leery to begin with but soon realizes the spunky “Gusty Girl” is the one for him. Things are heated in this somewhat suspense story of love and fantasies.
CharleneCF More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book!  It was a great read.  The couple, Miranda and Damien, both have issues, and go through much to resolve them,  and fall in love so that they can have their happily ever after.  My favorites are in there, horses, living in a peaceful, quiet community, and tea!  I do not want to reveal much because I do not want to ruin the experience for anyone.
VampedChik More than 1 year ago
I received from the author in exchange for an honest review. Loved this book! It was very fast and fun. Miranda is such a spunky fun character. She's very relatable. She ran from home at 18 to become an actress but realized that's not what she really wanted to do. She more just wanted something exotic and to escape her horrible family and ex. Her passion was working at a tea room with her best friend. She wanted to open her own shop and decided to use the winnings from the reality show gusty girl. Damien wants to keep out of the spotlight since that's where he grew up. He's all set to sell a spot on his farm to Miranda until he realizes that she was on a tv show and doesn't want the media that would follow her. He soon realizes that she doesn't want the attention and starts falling for her. The chemistry between the two was very steamy. I loved how he let her call the shots on how fast they moved since she was hurt so badly by her ex. He was very protective of her and wanted to help her heal. Definitely recommend if looking for a fun fast read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read written by Joanne but WILL NOT be the last. From page one you will love the characters and want to know how it ends. Don’t start if you don’t have time to finish this at times funny, steamy book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a well written book that was hard to put down. Both Mrianda and Damien experienced first hand how the allure of Hollywood could great interfere in one's life. They both sought a quiet life. They both quickly learned that the passion that Miranda was writing about in a book she hoped to published was more. They both, however, were willing to sacrifice their love so the other could have the quiet life outside of the paparazzi's radar screen. The book has a great ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book! I liked the characters, the setting, their situation, and am looking forward to the third Fraser brother book. While I have not read a Harlequin book in awhile, I will be checking for other Joanne Rock books. She writes a great story. Even though I received this book from the author with the understanding that I would write a review, I will definitely purchase her books in the future.
blonde_betty More than 1 year ago
In My Secret Fantasies, Joanne Rock brings us back to the Fraser family. This time, Damien is in the hot seat as Miranda Cortland descends on his quiet little horse farm in Sonoma, California. The recent winner of a television reality show, Miranda brings with her all the Hollywood trappings that Damien though he left behind at 17 when he escaped tinsel town for good. Though Miranda is trying to escape her Hollywood persona, Damien initially sees her as one of the starlets that always tried to get close to him in an effort to get close to his famous father. With Damien’s help, Miranda is able to make the Hollywood connection work for her. She in turn helps Damien realize he needs more in his life than just work. Miranda and Damien are a fun couple. They are more alike than they first realize. It was fun to catch up with the second of the Fraser brothers. Here’s hoping we get to see the third one here soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonder what its about?