At first the situation is impossible for Ellen Farrell to believe. A stunning, successful sex-god of a man chasing after a no-nonsense, hardworking registered nurse? But that’s exactly what happens when Ellen crosses paths with star conductor Armand Dante. Their elegant dinner leads to flowers, passion, and everything she once imagined in her wildest dreams. But Ellen’s been burned before, and she refuses to let herself be seduced so easily. After all, falling in love with a man like Armand is simple. But having him fall back? Never going to happen.
Except Armand is falling. Hard. Ellen is the only woman he’s ever met who sees past the trappings of his success—and the pressures of his societal responsibilities—to the real man underneath. And though she is new to his glittering world of concertos and champagne, she has a verve he’s not sure he can live without. But when Ellen finds out about the true cost of his success, Armand must persuade her that loving him is worth risking her heart.
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: Tempting a Devil, The Story Guy, and Friday Night Alibi.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
Sally Goldenbaum has written four romance novels for the Loveswept imprint and numerous other books over the years. While she no longer writes romance novels, Goldenbaum continues to delight her fans with the Seaside Knitters Mystery series, which is set in Cape Ann, Massachusetts.
Read an Excerpt
There went Dan’s Garfield mug, its cat image smashed into a million pieces on the hardwood floor.
“Oops, sorry Garfield,” Ellen Farrell grumbled aloud as she wobbled beneath the ungainly weight of a heavily loaded cardboard box. She kicked the scattered ceramic shards out of her way with one foot.
“Young doctors have no right to have so many things,” she muttered, sliding the box from her bent arms onto the floor with a thud. “It’s ridiculous.” She squashed an empty box of Cadbury chocolates with the toe of her tennis shoe. “Dumb! Stuff all over the place. All over my place!”
Without pausing for old emotions to set in, Ellen rushed back to the bedroom and returned carrying scuffed hiking boots, a baseball cap, and a six-pack of imported beer.
Pushing a handful of chestnut hair back behind one ear, Ellen took a minute to survey the cluttered doorway. A shiny brown suitcase, its sides bulging from her frantic packing efforts, leaned drunkenly against the umbrella stand. Next to it was the cardboard box stuffed with medical journals, papers, dog-eared Travis McGee mysteries, and one slipper. A pair of men’s boots poked forlornly over the top.
“Okay, we’re almost done.” She stuck her hands into the pockets of her jeans and took a deep breath, then shook her head slowly from side to side. “No. Correction: We are done. We’ve been done for a long time, Dan Newlin.”
A month ago she had nudged the young doctor right out the door. It was over, finished. Being lonely was better than pretending, wasn’t it? Yes, it was, her stubborn self insisted … but it still hurt. She and Dan had been seeing each other for over three years. During that time he had become so much a part of her life that it had been especially painful when Ellen finally realized their relationship was going nowhere.
Working longer hours at the hospital had helped; at least she had the other nurses to talk to and could avoid the chilling stillness of her apartment. But it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t what she had dreamed her life would be. There was a time when she had wished Dan would be a permanent part of her life. She felt the hot sting of tears behind her lids and pressed her hands to her face. She felt tired, weighted down by some unnameable sadness.
As she moved back toward the tiny bedroom, Ellen wearily lifted the heavy fall of hair off her shoulders and let it drop back in a dark chestnut wave. Her clear gaze fell on a man’s razor standing in a cup on her dresser.
“Damn!” Her eyes flashed as she stared at it. Was it possible to hate a razor? she wondered.
There it sat, dull and lifeless, with a few dried hairs clinging to the edge. It was a perfect reminder of what her relationship with Dan Newlin had turned into: Ellen, loving and giving, and Dan, clinging and ready to take. When he was an intern, Dan had claimed the excuse of his hectic schedule. But then his internship had ended, and nothing had changed. Where had the feeling gone? The pleasure in being together? Either it had all ended a long time ago, or she had only imagined it in the first place.
Well, it was time to cut her losses. She had called Dan and asked him to come over one last time to collect his belongings. Afterward, she would be free to move ahead with her life.
She grabbed the razor and, with the perfect aim of a Harlem Globetrotter, tossed it neatly into the nearest wastebasket. Then she marched back into the living room, pulled the apartment door open wide, and pushed and pulled and dragged every last thing out into the hallway. There, done! Finis, as they said! She smiled, brushing her hands together in front of her, but her smile wobbled, then slipped away.
Trembling, Ellen leaned one shoulder against the doorframe. She was shaken by a sudden feeling of panic. Tears sprang to her eyes. What if this were all she’d ever know of love? What if this were all the fates had in store for her? No passion, no wild, breath-snatching romance, no magic.
Her lips trembled, and a pain as sharp as a blow hit her in the stomach. Eyes closed, she held on to the door for one dizzying moment. When … when was she ever going to get lucky?
But then she straightened her shoulders and pulled her heart back up out of her tennis shoes. Oh, no! She was not going to give up so easily. Something was waiting for her. Someone. And if it was taking a little longer than she had hoped, well, love would be just that much better when it finally arrived!
The ringing of the telephone jarred her thoughts, and she shut the door quickly on the last remnants of Dan Newlin as she rushed to answer it.
“Hello? Oh, Laurie, hi!” Laurie Westin’s voice always brought a smile to Ellen’s face. After three years of marriage to Rick Westin and with a baby due in a couple of months, her best friend still sparkled with a fresh, vital, honeymoon happiness that never failed to touch Ellen.
“Ellen, listen, Rick just brought home a fellow from the new jazz group playing in town and—”
“And you would be eternally grateful if I’d come for dinner and bring dessert,” Ellen teased, knowing what was coming next.
“Oh, Ellen, hush. Rick says he’s a great guy and we’d love you to meet him. You need to get out, Ellen. And besides, I’d love to see you,” Laurie pleaded softly.
Ellen laughed huskily. “Laurie Westin, will you never give up?”
“Of course I won’t. You’re responsible for my meeting Rick and I won’t rest until I’ve returned the favor! So come, please?”
Ellen slipped down on the couch beside the phone. “Laurie, I don’t mean to seem ungrateful, but do you recall Rick’s last friend! Remember—the flutist? I was six inches taller than he in my stocking feet, and he kept kissing my chin. No more musicians! I’ll take a raincheck and come tomorrow night, just me and some chocolate chocolate chip ice cream! That I know I can handle. Thanks anyway, Laurie; today is for cleaning house and getting rid of the cobwebs….”
And suddenly, as she placed the receiver back in the cradle, Ellen knew just the way to sweep out those cobwebs.
Minutes later, a loose-fitting sweater flung over her shoulders, she scrambled down the last flight of stairs to the lobby.
“Clarence,” she called to the middle-aged doorman standing near the front desk, “when Dan Newlin comes to pick up the last of his things, please tell him everything but his Garfield coffee mug is outside my apartment. The mug met an untimely demise too terrible to talk about!”
Clarence grinned his instant approval. “And you, Ms. Farrell? You goin’ out?”
“Yep, Clarence. Out … and away.”
She stepped through the door just as a black alley cat, all ribs and tail, darted across the sidewalk in her direction.
“Oh, no! Shoo! Don’t you cross my path,” Ellen scolded, not moving one inch. She’d had enough bad luck to last her a lifetime. “Scat, cat!”
The cat turned tail and ran, and with a smile Ellen hurried down the street, hopped into the front seat of her car, and drove off into the early morning sunlight.
Rolling down the windows, she let the breeze lift her hair like a flag, the cool, autumn-smelling air washing over her deliciously. As the pavement sped by, all reason, thought, and sense were caught by the cool breeze and tossed happily into the lovely blue sky.
At the next stoplight she turned the little car to the left, a turn so sharp and polished, it made her smile. And as the fates would have it, as she barreled down Wisconsin Avenue, Ellen Farrell began to turn her life around.
It felt good just to be moving, to watch the landscape sweep by and feel the rush of air on her face. She was a bird set free, wings full and ready for the blustery fall breezes. She felt wonderful!
Turning onto the interstate, Ellen speeded up and flipped on the radio. A popular rock tune filled the car, the music pounding with fierce energy. Ellen hummed along, one foot on the gas pedal, the other tapping in time to the music. She put on her sunglasses and rolled the window way down. The broken white line flashed and disappeared beneath her tires. Then, like a bottle of soda pop that’s been shaken and suddenly opened, all her emotions fizzed to the surface. With a quick glance around she drew a deep breath and screamed.
It felt fine!
So fine, she tried it again, ignoring a low-slung sports car passing her in the left lane. Another good loud scream, and the weight that had been pressing relentlessly against her chest for months vanished. Her heart felt whole again. She saw the autumn reds of the leaves of the trees bordering the highway, and the white clouds scudding across the blue sky. She looked at it all with wonder, feeling like a prisoner freed from jail, a patient released back into the world. Cured. Well. Happy. Oh, she’d make it! So what if love wasn’t easy? Who ever said it was going to be easy? She gulped a huge lungful of autumn air, grinned, and gunned the engine, feeling better than she had in a long, long time.
She was doing eighty-five miles per hour as she went by the low-slung sports car that had passed her earlier. She tossed a carefree grin at the driver. Then she did a quick double-take, her eyes opening wide behind her dark lenses. The driver was gorgeous! Sexier than his sports car, and she’d always lusted after that particular make … of car.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
First time reading a book by these authors & really enjoyed this story. Will be reading more of their books.