FROM POPULAR ROMANCE AUTHOR ROSANNA LEO
Book one in the Handymen series – a newly expanded and edited version!
He tears down walls for a living. She'll tear down the ones around his heart.
Contractor Michael Zorn is one of the leading men on the successful home improvement show Handymen. He is also revered for an act of bravery he'd rather forget. The press may hound him, but all he really wants is to help couples realize their home renovation dreams.
One of these couples is Emily Daniels and her fiancé, Trent. When Emily inherits an old home in Toronto's Little Italy, she sees it as the perfect location for her small business. The house needs a lot of work, but her appearance on the Handymen show means Michael and his contractor brothers will help her renovate at a reasonable cost.
When Michael and Emily meet, their chemistry is intense. Emily wants to stay true to Trent, but her fiancé has done nothing but disappoint her. Michael recognizes Trent for what he is—a cheater. And it isn't long before he breaks Emily's heart.
At first, Michael only intends to comfort Emily, but their friendship soon flares into passion. Unfortunately, Michael has secrets and wounds of his own, ones he has never trusted to another. Emily is determined to break down his walls, but can she trust her heart to a man who can't trust himself?
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Rosanna Leo 2020. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.
“I know, I know. I’m late.” Michael Zorn tore into the Handymen production offices and seized the black coffee the production assistant, Franka, held out for him. “Is Lacey on the warpath yet?”
“Lacey’s always on the warpath. Oh, and heads up—apparently our fearless director has info on some exciting changes and new directions for the show.” An exaggerated eye roll accompanied Franka’s air quotation marks.
“Crap.” Michael took a gulp of coffee, scalding the back of his throat. He winced and swallowed some more. “I should have taken my clients out for a long, drawn-out lunch after our meeting.”
“Now, now.” Franka patted his cheek and ushered him toward the meeting room door. “You’re the star of the show, big guy. Time to face the music.”
Stifling a grumble, Michael opened the door. The whole team had gathered—everyone from the cameramen to the makeup ladies. He ignored the many looks and headed to his usual seat, the one next to his brothers and co-stars, Eli and Nick. Eli had the decency to cover his smile, but Nick just chuckled. Spoiled brat.
Lacey Styles, their director, had been in the middle of a speech, but had closed her mouth when Michael entered. She waited until he was seated comfortably. Well, as comfortable as he could get in the ridiculous designer chairs she’d insisted on buying for the office. They were so delicate they barely contained his bulk and creaked as he settled in.
As he’d grown accustomed to doing, Michael waited for the zing of electricity he used to feel in Lacey’s presence. There had been a time when he couldn’t wait to see her, when a glance from her would make the hairs on his arms stand at attention, to say nothing of various other body parts. However, as he sat across from her today, it was as one co-worker facing another. He wasn’t even angry anymore. If anything, he felt sorry for her.
“Michael, how good of you to join us.” She glanced at her watch. “A whole twenty minutes late.”
“Yeah, sorry about that. I just came from another meeting. It ran over.”
“Oh.” She inclined her head. “I’m thankful you could squeeze us in. Considering this has been our regular meeting time every month for the past year, I can see how it might be hard to lose track.”
“Perhaps you’d like to reprimand me later, you know, in private.”
Louie, one of the camera guys, hooted from the back of the room.
“Knock it off, Louie,” said Michael.
“I’m happy reprimanding you here,” continued Lacey. “After all, you’re the one who disrupted my meeting.”
Michael bit back the comment on his tongue. Had he expected anything less from her? The woman had a flair for drama and sought it everywhere. It was only one of the reasons he’d called an end to their relationship.
“Lacey, when I accepted this job—”
“You mean when the Inspiration Network plucked you from obscurity and made you the star of your own home renovation TV show, fulfilling all your dreams?”
My dreams or hers? Some days, he wasn’t sure.
“Hey,” Nick piped up. “Michael’s not the only star here, remember? Last I checked, the show was still called Handymen, emphasis on the men.”
“I could never forget you, Nick. Or you, Eli.” She smiled at each of them in turn, dropping the grin when she turned to Michael. “But my issue is with your big brother today. When I call a meeting, it’s not for shits and giggles. We have important things to discuss and I need you to be here, Michael.”
“I realize that and I’m here now. But as you may recall, my brothers and I still run our own contracting company. It’s because of the reputation of our company that the Inspiration Network decided to pluck us. We have our own clients outside the show.”
“You employ people to handle your contracting clients.”
“It doesn’t mean we don’t stay in the loop. If a client wants my advice, he gets it. So now that we understand each other, how about catching me up to speed, rather than lecturing me?” He offered her his brightest smile, the one that told her in no uncertain terms he couldn’t give a toss about her shits and giggles.
Lacey held his gaze for a moment, her blue eyes sparkling with frost. Lacey alternated between playing the cold Amazon queen in public and the wounded doe in private. God forbid she show some genuine vulnerability or a hint of concern for others. She might like to see others squirm, but he wasn’t about to sit and swivel for her.
She straightened her pile of notes. “As I was about to say before you arrived, Michael, the network wants us to explore some new avenues. To be frank, they don’t think we’re sexy enough.”
“Sexy?” Eli asked. “Handymen is all about helping people renovate their homes. There’s nothing sexy about it.”
Lacey’s overly bubbly laugh grated on Michael’s nerves. “Eli, in case you and your brothers have never looked in the mirror, you’re a good-looking group of men. If you stopped to read any of the demographic reports I send you, you’d know most of our viewers are women. As much as they appreciate the show for its helpful do-it-yourself renovation hints, many of them watch because they’re secretly hoping you guys might drop your tool belts. Have you seriously never checked out the social media pages? You all have groupies.”