At twenty-seven, Dinah Gallagher thought she’d have it all figured out. Instead, she’s having mind-blowing online sex with a man she knows nothing about and fighting for her rightful place in the family business. Part of that battle means expanding their century-old restaurant by getting the stubborn urban farmer next door to sell them his lot.
But Carter Trask is tired of being pushed around—especially by rich families like the Gallaghers. All he has left is the little farm he’s scratched out of his grandmother’s yard. At least he can blow off steam with the anonymous woman he’s been emailing for the past eight months, who makes his every sexual fantasy come alive—even if it’s only online.
When Dinah suddenly realizes that Carter’s gardens look just like some of her mystery man’s photos, she can’t resist trying to turn her dreams into reality. Against his better judgment, Carter joins in the game. But in real life, passion has a way of becoming very complicated, very quickly. And sometimes the wrong choice can turn out to be oh so right . . .
“Sharp, funny, and sinfully sexy—Nicole Helm is my favorite new author!” —Maisey Yates, New York Times bestselling author.
“[A] deeply moving contemporary…The protagonists are refreshingly willing to be up front about their feelings and listen to each other, and readers will want to revisit their story often.” —Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW) on Need You Now
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So Wrong It Must Be Right
By Nicole Helm
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2017 Nicole Helm
All rights reserved.
"You're not still emailing with that guy!"
Dinah looked up from her phone and blinked at her cousin. It took a minute to get her bearings and remember that Kayla was waiting on her to get started.
"Actually I was reading up on Trask. I found an article that might explain his reluctance to sell."
Kayla snatched Dinah's phone away, then frowned at the screen. "It is sick that you get the same look on your face reading those pervy emails as you do reading stuff for work."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Dinah replied primly. Okay, maybe she did know what Kayla meant, and maybe it was a little sick, but Gallagher's Tap Room was Dinah's blood. The Gallagher family had moved to St. Louis over a century ago, and built a little pub on the very land beneath the concrete floor under her feet. It was everything to her, and yeah, she got a little excited about that.
Kayla gestured toward the back door and Dinah stood to follow. Meeting with Trask was going to be the moment she finally proved to Uncle Craig and the board she was ready to take over as director of operations.
Being Uncle Craig's "special assistant" had turned out to mean little more than being his bitch, and while she'd worked to be the best damn bitch she could be, she was ready for tradition to take over. From the very beginning, the eldest Gallagher in every generation took over. These days, the title was director of operations, but it was all the same. And she was the eldest Gallagher of the eldest Gallagher. She'd been told her whole life Gallagher's would be hers when her father retired, or, as it turned out to be with Dad, abandoned everyone and everything in the pursuit of his midlife crisis.
It was time. Dinah was ready, and getting some crazy urban farmer to sell his land next to Gallagher's for the expansion was going to be the final point in her favor. No one would be able to deny she was ready.
Director of operations was everything she'd been dreaming about since she was old enough to understand what the job required. Long after she'd understood what Gallagher's meant to her family, and to her.
"So, you finally stopped emailing creepy Internet dude?"
Dinah walked with Kayla down the hallway to the back exit. "He's not creepy." The guy she'd randomly started emailing with, after she'd tipsily commented on his Tumblr page one night, wasn't creepy. He was kind of amazing.
"I'm sorry. No way I'm giving that guy up. It's some of the hottest sex I've ever had."
Dinah thought wistfully about how he'd ended his last email. And when you're at the point you don't think you can come again, I'll make sure that you do. It might be only through a computer, but it was far superior to anything any other guy had ever said to her.
"He's probably like a sixty-year-old perv. Or a woman, if he's really as good as you say he is."
"As you pointed out, it's fictional. Who cares?"
They stepped out into the lingering warmth of late September. The urban landscape around Gallagher's was a mix of old and new, crumbling and modern. Soon, Gallagher's was going to make sure the entire block was a testament to a city that could reinvent itself.
"What does he do, send you pictures of models? Oh, baby, check out my six-pack. Then suddenly he's claiming to be David Gandy."
"We don't trade pictures of each other or any personal information that might identify us. I mean, he knows I have freckles. I know he has a birthmark on his inner thigh, but that's about it. It is pure, harmless, sexy sexy words."
"Geez." Kayla waved her phone in front of Dinah's face, the screen displaying a myriad of apps. "Not even Snapchat?"
"Nope. It's all very old-fashioned. Like Jane Austen. Or You've Got Mail. Only with sex stuff."
"Go have some real sex, Dinah."
"I do that too!" Although admittedly less and less. Maybe not for six months or so. Trying to prove herself to Uncle Craig was eating her life away, and the nice thing about a sexy email was she could read it whenever she wanted and didn't have to remember its birthday or cook it dinner. It was perfect really, except the whole do-it-yourself aspect.
But do-it-yourself had been instilled in her from a young age, no matter how false the message rang in her adulthood.
The tract of land behind Gallagher's that Uncle Craig wanted to buy was a strange sight in downtown St. Louis. Between one empty lot Uncle Craig had already bought, and an aging home with a scraggly yard that Craig was also after, a land of green emerged.
Not even green grass, but huge plants, archways covered in leaves, rows and rows of produce-bearing stems. So much green stuff the crumbling brick exterior of the old house behind it all was barely visible from where they stood in front of the chain-link fence that enclosed the property.
"It's cute," Kayla observed from their vantage point on the cracked sidewalk. "Kind of funny we're trying to get him to sell it so we can pave over it and then have a farmers' market."
Dinah had waged her own personal battle over the seemingly ironic — or at the very least incongruous — business plan her uncle had put forth, but being the black sheep of the family, thanks to her dad screwing up just about everything, meant Dinah didn't have a say. Even Kayla, as sustainability manager, adding her opinion had done nothing to sway her father.
So, Dinah would find a way to get Mr. Hippie Urban Farmer to sell his land, and with any luck, convince him she was doing him a favor and sign him up for a booth for next year's market, which Kayla would be in charge of. The Gallagher & Ivy Farmers' Market would be a success one way or another.
"From what I can find, Trask grew up on a real farm and his family left that one, then he worked on the farm of some other family member, who sold to a developer or something. This place was his grandmother's house, and over the course of the past four years he's turned it into this. So, that may explain his refusing your father's initial offer," Dinah said.
"What makes you think we can get through to him if my dad couldn't?"
"His family has a history of selling land. He should be well versed in the benefits. Surely a guy like him wants a bigger space, and the money we're offering will allow him that. Besides, we have a soul and decency on our side."
Kayla snorted. "No offense, but I'm a little glad your dad went off the deep end and I'm not the only one with a soulless Gallagher as a father."
"Gee, thanks," Dinah muttered, trying to ignore the little stab of pain. She couldn't be offended at the attack on her dad. It was warranted. They'd spent plenty of their childhood complaining about Kayla's dad being a douche. But, still, it hurt. It wasn't supposed to be this way.
Oh well, what could she do? She and Kayla stepped under the archway of green tendrils and the sign that read Front Yard Farm. The place was cute. Weird, no doubt, but cute.
Before they could make it past the first hurdle of beanstalks or whatever, the door to the brick house creaked open and a man stepped onto the porch. Dinah stopped midstep, barely registering that Kayla did too.
He was tall and lanky and wore loose-fitting khaki-colored pants covered in dirt, and a flannel shirt with sleeves rolled to the elbows over a faded T-shirt. It was the face though that really caught her attention. Sharp and angular. Fierce. Only softened by the slight curl to his dark hair, his beard obscuring his jawline. Something about the way he moved was pure grace, and everything about his looks made Dinah's attraction hum to attention.
"He's like every hipster fantasy I've ever had, come to life," Dinah whispered, clutching Kayla's arm briefly.
The man on the stoop, with the hoe, and the flannel, and the beard — sweet Lord — stared at them suspiciously. "Can I help you two?"
Dinah exchanged a glance with her cousin, who was valiantly trying to pretend they hadn't been drooling.
"Hi, I'm Dinah Gallagher and this is Kayla Gallagher. We're from Gallagher's Ta —"
The door slammed so emphatically, Dinah jerked back. She'd barely registered the guy moving inside before he disappeared behind that slammed door.
"What were you saying about human decency and souls making a difference?"
Dinah started picking her way across the narrow and uneven brick path to the door. "He hasn't had a chance to see it yet. Maybe the meeting with your dad ended poorly. We'll have to mend a few fences."
"Before we buy them all," Kayla muttered. "Remember when we were kids and thought we'd be calling the shots?"
"We still will be. Just need another decade." Or two. That's how family business worked. She wasn't going to abandon her destiny just because it was harder than she'd expected or taking longer than she'd anticipated. No, she was going to fight.
And should Kayla, her cousin and best friend, ever get married, Dinah would not follow in her father's footsteps and sleep with Kayla's spouse.
Dinah reached the door and knocked. She didn't entertain thoughts of failing because it simply wasn't an option. Failing Gallagher's was never going to be an option.
The door remained closed. Dinah pursed her lips. This was not going the way she'd planned.
"Okay. Well. I won't be deterred."
"Come on, Dinah. Let's go." Kayla stood in the yard, hands shoved into the pockets of her dress. "Call him. Write him an email. I don't want him calling the cops on us. Oh, maybe you can accidentally write him one of your sex emails. That'll get his attention." She sighed, loud enough to be heard across the yard. "I would so not mind getting that guy's attention."
"I'm going to pick something." Dinah surveyed the plants surrounding her. She didn't know a lot about farmers or farming, but if he was so dead set on not selling, he obviously cared deeply about this yard of produce. So, she'd lure him out that way.
"Don't! He'll call the cops."
Dinah waved her off. "I'll pick something ripe and give it back to him. I'm doing him a favor, really."
Kayla muttered a disagreement, but Dinah ignored her. She surveyed the arches of green and splashes of color — squash maybe.
The yard looked very familiar. Like she'd seen it ... somewhere. Somewhere. Well, she didn't have time to dwell on that. She had to find a ripe vegetable to pick.
And since she had to no idea what she was doing, that was going to be a challenge.
* * *
Carter was not falling for this dirty trick. He wasn't. If he was grinding his teeth and clenching his fists in his pockets, it was only because ...
Aw, fuck it. She was winning. Touching his plants, his stuff, picking a damn unripe squash. He couldn't let it go, even though he knew that was her plan all along.
He threw open the window, pushing his face close to the screen. "I'm calling the cops," he shouted.
"Oh, I wish you wouldn't," the redhead answered just as casual as you please. "I only want to have a civil conversation."
"Hell to the no, lady. I know what Gallagher means by civil, and it's screw me six ways to Sunday and then he'd expect me to thank him for it."
"As you can see, Mr. Gallagher isn't here."
"Just because you have breasts doesn't mean I'm more inclined to talk to you." Even if they were rather distracting when she was kneeling facing his window. From his higher vantage point, he could see down the gap between fabric and skin. Dark lace against very pale skin. A few freckles across her chest and cheeks. He briefly thought of his last email from D.
Maybe we couldn't wait, and I unbutton and unzip your pants right there on your front porch.
He couldn't think about the rest of that email and maintain his irritation, so he forced it out of his mind and focused on the offending party.
Her hair was a fashionable tangle of rich reddish waves. Her face was all made up with hues of pink, and the heels of her shoes sank into the mud next to his zucchini.
When she stood, wrinkling her freckled nose at him, he could see that she had long, lean legs, probably as pale and freckly as her chest, but black tights obscured them.
Which was good. This was one attraction he had no interest in pursuing. A Gallagher, for fuck's sake. Of course she was gorgeous. She probably paid a lot of money to be. Her family was rolling in it.
"I'm calling the cops," he threatened again.
"Don't you think they have better things to do?"
"Listen, lady —"
"All I want is ten minutes of your time, Mr. Trask. That's all. Much easier than getting the police involved."
She had a point and it wasn't like he was going to change his mind, but still, he knew the lay of the land. People with money managed to get what they wanted. People like him, people who just wanted to be left alone to work the land, to grow things and be at peace — those were the people trampled in the name of progress.
Ten minutes seemed innocuous, but it wouldn't be the end. They wouldn't accept his no. This was their third attempt at this point. Two from the sleaze in the suit, now an approach from these women.
Like he was going to change his mind just because of a change in tactics. Fat-ass chance. "Get off my property."
She continued to stare at him through the screen, and he didn't appreciate the scrutiny. It wasn't anything like the first Gallagher guy. That guy had been downright rude. A total asshole. Carter had trouble understanding why someone in business thought being a total dick was the way to win over someone, but he'd given up trying to understand people a long time ago.
"Maybe you could invite us in? Or we can talk out here if you'd be more comfortable."
Carter wanted to tell her no. He wanted to follow through on his threat to call the cops, but she was right. That was a waste of time for everyone involved. And worse, so much worse, she was still touching his plants.
There was something uncomfortably sexy in the way she let a finger trail over a leaf. Yeah, he'd go talk to them and get them out of here ASAP.
He stalked back outside to his porch, resisting the urge to go to the shed and find the most pointy, threatening gardening tool he had. Barely.
"I'm not selling. Period. I don't need to listen to anyone for ten minutes. My answer was, is, and always will be no. Especially to a Gallagher."
She moved to the bottom of his stairs, pleasant smile never leaving her face. "Please, call me Dinah. I understand that you've put a lot of work into this place." She gestured around them. "It's lovely."
"Yeah, and you guys want to make it into a parking lot."
"Not a parking lot. No, a farmers' market." She glanced back at the other redhead still standing near the entrance. Carter didn't understand the look, the slight slant of confusion to her eyebrows. The other redhead shrugged, the frown of worry never leaving her face.
"Just what did Craig Gallagher tell you?" the Dinah person asked, some of that easy pleasantness leaving her voice.
"I don't know what your game is, but you all work together, so why the hell don't you know what he told me?"
Another exchanged look between the two women. "We'd like to get your side of things. We want to make things beneficial for everyone."
Carter snorted. Yeah, he'd heard that line before. "We must have very different definitions of mutually beneficial. Rich people usually do."
She pursed her lips. "I think there's been some kind of misunderstanding."
"I heard all I need to hear. Your boss, or dad, or whoever, wants to buy me out and pave this place over for some kind of extra parking for Gallagher's Tap Room. Well, even if that wasn't the worst idea I'd ever heard, I'd still be saying no. This place is mine, and I'm not selling."
Let the rest of his family turn tail and leave, this Trask was standing his ground.
"Dinah, come on, let's head out. We'll reevaluate."
Dinah glanced behind her, then back at him, the frown line never leaving her forehead. Something wasn't right, not with the way the first guy had acted, not with the way these two were acting, but that wasn't his concern.
His only concern was to say no.
But Dinah Gallagher stepped forward, holding out a card. "Please, take this." She forced a smile, but it barely curved the edges of her pink tinted, full lips. "If you find you have ten minutes — that's all — I'm sure we can clear up this misunderstanding."
Excerpted from So Wrong It Must Be Right by Nicole Helm. Copyright © 2017 Nicole Helm. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.75stars So Wrong It Must Be Right is one quick interesting love story with interesting concept and full of passion and desire. Destiny has its way in this story because a month long online relationship turns out to be between enemies. The problem is the memories on hot writing are fresh, the attraction between them is palpable strong and yes it explodes and the reality is even better. I liked the unpredictable way of Diana thinking and her action. That she found a solution and compromise to save Carter farm. She is really strong character from time to time she appears stronger than Carter. I liked her determination her stubbornness and most of all I loved that she put love over stupid building. She rocked in conversation between her grandmother. Character is not typical alpha male hero he was hurt so many times that he plays on the safe card. But all in all likable and great partner for Diana they make perfect couple. I volunteered to review an ARC of this book for Netgelly
Dinah Gallagher has worked her whole life for her family business, Gallagher's restaurant, and she's got plans for their future including acquiring the property next door to set up a farmer's market. But the owner, one Carter Trask, has been notoriously stubborn about selling. When she's not focussed on work, her one avenue of fun has been an online flirtation with a mystery man, someone who is as good a listener as he is at providing her some heady sexual delight. When Dinah discovers that her mystery man is none other than the man thwarting her at every turn, it's quite the conundrum. Sex is their common ground, but will it be enough to lead to a business compromise and a possible future together? I was a bit surprised at the speed with which the 'secret identity' of the two main characters was discovered. I expected it be drawn out a bit more, but it's revealed within the first quarter of the story, making them have to deal with the obvious problems between them right from the get go. Of the two characters in this story, I've got to say that Carter was my favorite. He's a small urban farmer with convictions and despite his growing feelings for Dinah as the story progresses, he still won't abandon his principles. Dinah is harder to like, mostly because her devotion to her family business seems decidedly one sided. The only one who cares how she is doing in the company is herself, and her loyalty seems misplaced because it's not returned. It's Carter who turns out to be the most reliable person in her life, and they share some sexy scenes together, and some very emotional moments too. Dinah has to make some tough choices, and it leads to rocky times for this couple but an eventual sweet ending. I look forward to reading the next story in this series. 3.5 stars.
3 1/2 STARS! An online hook-up starts to feel all too real with this pair of secret lovers! The premise of the book was fun ... who wouldn't freak out when figuring out that the person they were having an online fling with was actually standing right in front of them! ... but it fell a bit flat. I liked the characters and could even have enjoyed a relationship between them, but I felt like the story drug on a bit and too much emphasis went into the family instead of into the relationship building. Still a good read, it just didn't blow me away. Dinah Gallagher has spent her life working towards taking over her family business. It's her heart and soul and she breathes Gallagher's Tap Room, so when she needs to get the adjoining land out from under the guy living there in order to get one up on her Uncle and get her rightful job, that's what she's going to do! Urban farmer Carter Trask has lost a lot in his life and he's finally happy with his little nook in the world, happily growing his produce and surviving on the land left over from his grandmother. The neighbor has been trying to buy the land, but he has no interest ... no matter how much they want it. When Dinah comes over and tries to sweeten the deal, he again has no interest ... until she puts two and two together and let's him know that she's the secret "D" that he "C" has been emailing and heating up the keyboard with for months now! When their online fling turns real, will these battling neighbors be able to call or truce?
I must admit that this was a much steamier story than I thought it was going to be! Nothing wrong with that and it did have a great storyline to go along with all the sexy times. It's very well written and the characters are well developed and interesting. Dinah was slightly off-putting at times when it felt like she was just using Carter and cowing to the wishes of her Grandmother. Happily by the end she had really grown on me and I though she and Carter worked well together. Overall this was a very good book and definitely one I would recommend.
3 - "This land is mine and I ain’t selling." Stars. Nicole Helm begins her new Gallagher & Ivy series with a couple that are literally on opposite sides of the fence. Problem being with that is Dinah Gallagher wants to knock down the fence, as well as the house and smallholding that Carter Trask has lovingly restored since he took over his grandmothers property. "Just because you have breasts doesn’t mean I’m more inclined to talk to you." Finding out that Dinah has plans to level it and turn it into a Farmers Market as you would expect isn't an idea he is onboard with... Even when it turns out she is the elusive D he has been sexy mailing with for the past eight months. The blurb for this one pulled me in, as I am a sucker for a relationship that involves a lot of texting or emailing, but sadly it didn't really play much of a part of the story, what did play a huge part and which really dulled my enjoyment was the massive overdose of Gallagher family drama. I started out empathizing with Dinah, but as the story progressed she came to be a character that I felt little sympathy for. Every word that had been amazing and beautiful still managed to pale in comparison to the reality of his mouth on hers... I think it’s safe to say that as a reader this was a story that had potential, but the aspects of it I wanted to see more of were sorely lacking, I am not a huge fan of erroneous family drama, especially when it takes over a story-line and pushes a couples blossoming relationship into the background, and for me that was the case on this occasion. If you like a lot of secondary drama with your romance then I would certainly not discourage you from giving this title a go, it just didn’t live up to the expectations I had of it from the blurb. **This is a voluntary review of an advanced copy of the book.
So Wrong It Must Be Right by Nicola Heep Gallagher & Ivy #1 You know that photo you saw on Instagram and just had to comment on? What if the person receiving the comment sent a message back? Then, what if the two of you fell into a steamy months long very steamy email romance? Well, that is just what happened to the H/h in this story! And, boy was it steamy in emails and also later when they meet up in person ;) Dinah Gallagher is the next in line to run the Gallagher Company IF she does everything right. She cannot see anything in life that might be more important than being in charge of Gallagher’s. She is also smart, capable, a believer in being able to accomplish anything she sets her mind to, and believes in compromise. This comes in handy when she is faced with trying to buy the land Carter Trask owns – especially when she realizes he is the man she has been emailing for months. What happens in the story includes how her dysfunctional family interacts with one another and how she comes to terms with her long held beliefs when balanced against what she truly needs and wants in the future. I have to say I liked Carter but felt that Dinah was a bit shallow and single minded. By the end of the story my feelings shifted a bit in her favor, though. I enjoyed this introduction to a new series and look forward to reading “So Bad It Must Be Good” when it comes out – the story of Kayla (Dinah’s cousin) and whether or not she finds her HEA. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the ARC. This is my honest review. 3.5 Stars