Hard Cover: A Novel

Hard Cover: A Novel

by Jamie K. Schmidt

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He can read her like a book. But will he give her a happy ending?

Dawn: I’d do anything to keep my bookstore. It’s a safe place for all women, somewhere to let their freak flags fly. I call it sex-positive. The menfolk call it smut. That’s how I met Rory Parker, the local billionaire trying to shut me down on behalf of the “moral majority.” He walked in with an offer I couldn’t refuse . . . except I did. Now Rory wants to play dirty. Well, he picked the wrong bookseller. Let’s see how much support he still has after people get a load of the little movie I recorded of the two of us going at it like wild animals in my shop. 

Rory: I couldn’t care less how Dawn Nolan makes her money. The only thing I care about is how much she’s making. Her bookstore isn’t the kind of upscale attraction my investors want in this sleepy little tourist trap, so it’s got to go. But when Dawn personally finds out how I treat bad girls who misbehave, she seems to enjoy it as much as I do. Now I just need to destroy the copies of that video she’s threatening to post—as soon as I stop watching it. The trouble is, when I’m with her, all I want to do is get started on the sequel.

Don’t miss any of Jamie K. Schmidt’s seductive novels:
The Sentinels of Babylon series: NECESSARY EVIL | SENTINEL’S KISS
The Club Inferno series: HEAT | LONGING | FEVER

Praise for Hard Cover

“Sexy banter and smoldering bedroom scenes. I adore the chemistry between Rory and Dawn!”—Mia Hopkins, author of Thirsty

“For those who love when opposites attract, this is the book for you!”—Harlequin Junkie

“Such a decadent read! I’ve read this a number of times because it’s just one of those books that you wouldn’t be able to help yourself from visiting and revisiting.”—Joyous Reads (five stars)

“Jamie K. Schmidt told a nice love story with a twist. I always enjoy reading a story that has a moral to it and not just steamy, hot sex. . . . By the way, Hard Cover has both.”—Guilty Pleasures

“This is my first read by Jamie K. Schmidt and I have to say that I had fun with Hard Cover. [It’s] sweet, sassy and fun wrapped up with a hot-mouthed bedroom alpha.”—The Heathers’ Blog

This standalone novel includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399594052
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/21/2017
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 102,134
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Jamie K. Schmidt has published more than thirty short stories in small-press journals and e-zines. She’s an active member in the Romance Writers of America. When not writing, she relaxes with a mug of hot tea and knits or makes beaded jewelry.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1


Rory Parker was a billionaire douche bag who looked like a movie star. I knew this because we had gone to the same high school. I Google-stalked him when he started sending me emails earlier this year. We traded quips and banter for several months like it was some bizarre foreplay. Then the real reason he contacted me came up.

Rory hadn’t wanted to “reconnect,” he wanted to buy me out of my lease. I wanted him to go to hell. When it was apparent neither one of us was going to budge, the emails mysteriously stopped being friendly. I felt partly triumphant that I stood my ground, and a little disappointed that he only was interested in me because of my store. However, I should have known he wasn’t giving up and was just refocusing his attack.
A combination of old money and real estate mogul, Rory was planning a redevelopment project for the shops by the Haven docks. He was throwing money around that had everyone scrambling to sell out. I wanted to punch him in his perfect white teeth—when I wasn’t fantasizing about what I’d like to do with him. With his pretty rich-boy looks and body by CrossFit, Rory was eye candy. He was also the enemy, and I had to keep that in mind.

In high school, he had been a senior when I was a freshman—not to mention his crowd wouldn’t let him be caught dead going out with me. Still, we managed to flirt every chance we got. Once he left for college, it was out of sight, out of mind for both of us. I felt like an idiot for getting all oogly-woogly when he emailed me out of the blue. I was such a sap. Maybe I was even a little desperate. That’s why it stung so much when he followed up my “Want to get dinner sometime?” with “Funny, you should ask . . .” I told him I wasn’t interested in having him buy me out of my lease, and then stopped responding to his emails. Rory still sent them, though.

When the emails no longer worked for him, he sent my landlord, Larry Briggs, with a generous offer. I ripped up the paperwork and set it on fire inside the copper bowl by my cash register. It had been worth the citation for the fire hazard. I’ll pay that fine next month, as well as another one when the next bullshit charge they try to lay on me comes around. The town’s officials were collecting offenses, hoping to evict me, but they were going to have to work a lot harder on that one. I paid my rent on time and I was a model tenant—if a little eccentric.

I hoped that would be the end of it. I couldn’t care less if I was delaying hometown boy’s pet project. I still had five years left on my ten-year lease. He and this town could kiss my ass until then. When it was time to find another place for my bookstore, it probably wouldn’t be here. No one would rent to me. I was the quartz in their otherwise shining jeweled crown of the conservative New England town of Haven, on the Connecticut shoreline. Eight months out of the year the only customers I had were locals I brought in through workshops and my lecture series. But during the summer, I made a great deal of money selling unique books about feminism, sex, and various other forms of enlightenment.

The tinkling bells over the door alerted me someone was coming into the bookstore. I glanced up as a woman walked in with her two children. She took one a look at me and my purple hair and tattoos, grabbed their hands, and rushed out of the store.

Namaste, bitch.

I wasn’t your usual bookstore owner, and I certainly didn’t belong among these stores—at least that’s what some of the town politicians thought. They replaced the potter who had the shop next to me with one that sold Limoges, Waterford crystal goblets, and Hummel figurines. The old fisherman who had the store on the other side of me took Rory’s generous buyout offer as well. Packing up his handmade birdhouses and fishing lures, Old Man Mack left an empty store space that smelled vaguely of Skoal tobacco and codfish. They replaced the business with a small art gallery, with painters I’ve never heard of, from places far away from Haven.

The First Selectmen of the town—one of whom was Rory’s father—said they wanted to make over my store into a chic bookstore cafe that sold things that would be more universally appealing. I offered to put a few USA Today best sellers in the front window as a compromise, but that wasn’t good enough.

My best friend, Jeannine, worked in the selectmen’s office and overheard a conversation between my landlord and the selectmen. After she filled me in on their nefarious plans, I quickly installed cameras and put up signs that said: If You Enter This Store, You Agree to Be Videotaped. I had to assure my regulars that it was for security reasons and not because anyone wanted to spy on their purchases. It lost me some customers, though.
But it saved my ass when the guy they sent in to buy a deck of tarot cards accused me of trying to sell him drugs. I showed the police the video transaction and exonerated myself, much to my landlord’s chagrin.

Customer Reviews

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Hard Cover 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KimP65 More than 1 year ago
Who doesn't love a bookstore! This was a really good book, lots of fun, lots of love just a really good overall read.
DaneWeimMama More than 1 year ago
Hard Cover was another great read by Jamie K. Schmidt. The author creates interesting & strong characters with some super sexy encounters. I liked the story & thought both Rory & Dawn were fantastic. I did have an issue with those that bullied Dawn (including Rory's father)- there was never any closure or justice for her. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
belllla More than 1 year ago
This is another great story from Jamie K.Schmidt. It is enemies to lovers love story and it is written amazingly. I loved the humor in it but the story is not just about their arguing it has again deeper story between the line. Down and Rory are two individuals who cant bee more different but they have one thing in common and that is crazy attraction and chemistry. The story is complex and has much more layers is not a just superficial story with two persons having sex. I liked Down his way of thinking and the way he can say not to his demanding parents. Rory on the hand is very interesting person stubborn as hell has a few personality flaws but is also caring and has big heart she just did not want pity from anyone, and help. I enjoyed reading another greatly written book. I volunteered to review an ARC of this book for Netgelly
Little_MissDQ More than 1 year ago
It's a quick, fun and pretty hot read. It's not an overly complicated story and that's perfect for readers, who like me, sometimes need something short and sweet. I have to admit I wasn't too crazy about the characters. It's not that I didn't like them, I did; it's just that I didn't care. Rory: the billionaire; whatever, not the first time we meet a character like him. Dawn: the misfit, doing what she feels is right. We don't get too many of her, and maybe it's because we also didn't get to know much of her that I feel pretty 'meh' about her. I might not have cared too much about the characters (though I wouldn't be opposed to reading more about them); but I did care about their story and what happens to them. And what they do and where they did it. This brought out my hopeless romantic; absolute "Yay, they love each other!"
Pinky1979 Reviews More than 1 year ago
I really love Jamie K. Schmidt's brand of erotica. Raunchy and dirty with a good doze of emotions thrown into it to make it not only hot but also sweet. Not to mention that her heroines enjoy sex and are sassy. In this series the heroes are New York City billionaires who are not only forces to be reckoned with in the boardroom, but are also a fantasy in the bedroom. In all honesty, Dawn Nolan isn't the kind of person I like. She is too confrontational and in your face. I get that a lot of her issues stem from her judgemental parents who have been trying to pigeonhole her her whole life. However, she seems to not see when there are people who are only trying to help her and care for her with no ulterior motives. She has been a fighter for so long that she can't seem to hold back and show her weaknesses. Purple hair and tongue piercings may not be my thing but I liked the fact that she wasn't timid about her sexuality and lived it out to the fullest without holding back. I may have not agreed with some of the things she did but I understand her reasoning. And sometimes you don't have to actually like a heroine to appreciate her. Rory Parker is your typical billionaire who likes to get what he wants and refuses to take no for an answer. But what sets him apart from his set, is the fact that regardless of what others thought of Dawn, he wasn't afraid to pursue her and let everyone know that she was his. And for that he definitely gets points! I also loved that even though he really tried to get his way, he wasn't against finding a compromise. The love scenes will definitely leave you blushing ;) and you won't be forgetting them any time soon. I enjoyed not only the two main characters and their sizzling chemistry but also the secondary characters. I especially loved Millie. She gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "never judge a book by its cover". Hope that there will be more books to come in this series! Thank you Netgalley and Random House Publishing for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
heater_28 More than 1 year ago
**Advanced copy provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review** This book was such a surprise for me! While I was looking forward to reading it based on other books I've read by the author, but also due to the description, I wasn't prepared for how quickly these characters were going to draw me in. Dawn Nolan owns a bookstore in her hometown of Haven. While she does sell books, she sells other things as well and the store is a place where women in the town feel safe coming. Dawn is about women's empowerment, sexual freedom and standing up for what she feels is right. The latter has estranged her from her family, so she's also fiercely independent. Rory Parker is a billionaire who isn't used to being challenged. When he is charged with overhauling the stores in the town, he expects that everyone is going to jump at the amount of money that they are being offered. He has several takers, but Dawn is having none of it. She has a lease, she hasn't violated it and she's not leaving. Not only is Rory surprised, he's also drawn to the woman that he's known since high school even though she's the exact opposite of women he normally goes for. As Dawn and Rory begin spending time together, their chemistry is undeniable and they decide to enter into a fling. The question is will it turn into the real deal or will their pasts and secrets that haven't been shared going to derail the budding relationship? I really enjoyed these characters and how strong Dawn was. I also liked how Rory's focused changed over the course of the book. He started as someone solely focused on business and the bottom line, but but the time all was said and done his horizons had been expanded. This is a book that I would say you can't judge by it's cover. You have to dive in and immerse yourself in it to experience it's awesomeness!
Lorizen More than 1 year ago
Oh where do I begin? Tantric bookstore owner, purple hair, tongue ring Dawn "smile for the camera" and khaki wearing, yacht living, I wanna own your building, "you have the nicest a@@" Rory, son of two disengaged people with too much money and Rory is out to develop the tiny little town where Dawn's bookstore is located. Yes, it's a little offbeat, just like her. That place where the local women can shop without worrying about anyone seeing them or judging what they order a that plain brown wrapper. She's got it all, including Rory wrapped around her panties! These two were priceless. It's a great story, that has a few twists and a couple curve balls, his sister; the reason behind his parents desire and a shining example of their denial to buy up the strip of stores in Haven and get rid of the "undesirables" because that's what caused there daughter to fall back into her drug dependency and spending the last 5 years in a semi-vegetative state in a health care facility. The way their parents didn't handle things really burned my can. Rory however did the stand up thing. Just like he did with Dawn. I liked them both and this book was just flat out fun to read. Head nod to Jamie K on this one!! **arc from NetGalley and Publisher in exchange for a fair review**
rc1836 More than 1 year ago
Sizzling hot story This is my first introduction to Jamie K Schmidt's writing and I really enjoyed the book. Dawn and Rory as a couple should not have worked at first glance. However there was a chemistry between them that could not be denied. I thought the back story about Rory's sister Cammy gave the book a deeper dimension. The book was definately sexy but it was so much more. Looking forward to reading more by this author. I received an advance reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.
Momma_Becky More than 1 year ago
This story had the potential to be so much more than what I found in its pages. While it did have some amusing dialogue at times, it fell short for me. From the blurb, I expected some drama surrounding a steamy video and maybe even some intrigue surrounding blackmail over that video. As it turned out, the video in question presents an issue for all of a hot minute and the story is more about Dawn hiding her less than prosperous circumstances from everyone, including Rory. In the end, Dawn is more tedious than quirky and Rory is an arrogant show-off. At one point, it appeared that there would be some intrigue surrounding Dawn and the people who wanted her out of business, but the book quickly becomes more about Rory and Dawn's sexcapades than anything else and considering that I never felt the connection between the two, much less found either of them particularly likable, the whole thing just missed the mark for me. I did keep reading to see if that initial intrigue would lead anywhere but was disappointed in the end.
Jolie More than 1 year ago
Hard Cover is a book that will leave you with a smile after you are done reading it. It is full of hot sex scenes and it also has a very good plot. I loved Dawn and Rory, well Rory after a while. I am hoping that this will be a series. Dawn’s friends need their own books!!
micharch More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review and here it is: I found Dawn, the quirky bookstore owner to be tiresome and needy. I found Rory to be an elitist. Both of them let their parents control them too much (either by actions or inactions) and their chemistry was off for me. Being self-confident in your sexuality doesn't make you a feminist, nor does bucking tradition in order to make a statement. Dawn was so convinced she needed to put on a persona that she missed that she needed to be true to herself first. Living behind your bookstore is pretty rock bottom and, although she had alternatives, she decided to make plan after plan to get herself out of the hole she was in. I just didn't understand the hole she was in when it came to light that Jack paid all of their bills (except groceries) when they were together. Rory was genuinely trying to do the right thing for all parties involved when he moved new shops into Haven and relocated other shops. Rory didn't have ill intentions towards the shopkeepers, he just knew that they needed more for the tourists to want to drop their vacation dollars on. The book mainly concentrated on their push/pull from the very beginning. Rory and Dawn jumped into the sack often and I was repulsed when she decided to potentially use a video as blackmail against him. That was low and I was not impressed. Her excuses for her poor behavior got old and I was over her by the end of the book. Some of the plot was a little too all over the place for me and none of it seemed to really get resolved. Overall an okay read but wasn't my favorite Jamie K. Schmidt book.
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
A sexy steamy story that will entertain and amuse. I truly enjoyed this one. The characters are intriguing, the story is well written, and the pace of the story moves along nicely. Dawn lives life on her terms. Her father may have tried to break her spirit but he failed. Now she owns her own business and she'll do whatever it takes to keep it safe from the greedy real estate guy buying out all the other store owners so he can put in some high scale stores. Rory is a billionaire who is use to getting his way in both his business and personal life. He's never met anyone like Dawn though and while he does want her business out of the building he wants her in his personal life for as long as she will stay. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good steamy romance.
nelriv More than 1 year ago
Received an ARC for my voluntary review for netgalley. It was a cute story. We have Rory a hot billionaire, who can not resist Dawn and vice versa. They went to high school together, but did not hang out in the same crowd. Dawn is a rebel, she always felt that she had to be different because she never felt good enough. Rory felt the need to please his parents. However, their chemistry was combustible, and even though they were on different sides of the fence due to a project that Rory had going on, they still gave into their desires.. But someone wants to push her out of her store, who is it?
MBurton More than 1 year ago
This book took me by surprise with how much I loved it. It was unexpected, entertaining and had some really great characters. Honestly, I love it when a book surprises me like this. This was an enemies to lovers trope and I really like how the author handled the enemies part. They weren't really true enemies but there was enough opposition to make their encounters full of heat. I think what really drew me in was the quirkiness of Dawn and the customers of her book store. I like that Nolan was an overachieving rich man who never treated Dawn like she was beneath him. When these two fought it always turned into sex. The chemistry was pretty heated between these two. I highly recommend it! ARC provided by Netgalley.