A young woman’s quiet life is upended when she meets the man of her forbidden dreams in the startling new novel from New York Times bestselling author Beth Kery. The Affair begins…
The Affair Week One
Innocent yet unconventional hospice nurse Emma Shore has secured a new position at The Breakers, the sprawling mansion of enigmatic and dangerously handsome racecar billionaire Michael Montand. Hired as caretaker for Montand’s stepmother, Emma expects few complications. But one night, lost in the mansion’s maze of corridors, she comes upon a woman and a man she can’t identify engaged in a raw, naked interlude of sexual subjugation. Silently, from the shadows, Emma watches—shocked, appalled, and unnervingly aroused.
But Emma wonders… if this mysterious stranger is not Montand, then who is it? And what other surprises are in store for her? Night after sleepless night, she’s considering the possibilities. And for the first time in her life, she’s not going to run away from them.
Includes a bonus excerpt of Beth Kery’s Paradise Rules
More to come. Don't miss The Affair: Week 2
Praise for Beth Kery, Recipient of the All About Romance Reader Poll for Best Erotica
“Wicked good storytelling.”—Jaci Burton
“Addictive and delicious.”—USA Today
Beth Kery is the New York Times bestselling author of Because You Are Mine, When I’m with You and Exposed to You.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I walked into work and found myself in another world.
Emma Shore whisked aside curtains on a twelve-foot-tall wall made entirely of glass. The shock of sudden, blinding beauty disoriented her momentarily. The sun reflected brilliantly off an azure, beckoning Lake Michigan and filtered through a grove of white-trunked birches lining the water. Leaves fluttered like green-gold coins, fracturing the light in her dazed eyes. White spray flew into the air when a wave hit the black, jagged breakers in the distance.
The design of the house in which she stood was revolutionary, at least in Emma’s limited experience. The mansion cascaded down the bluff to the sealike great lake, each layer of the house a stepping stone to the next, one level’s roof the above story’s magnificent terrace filled with picturesque outdoor seating and colorful pots of flowers. On the lowest level near the lake, a clear blue swimming pool tempted someone to pierce its serene surface.
Paradise. Out there it was, anyway.
She turned. Golden-green dappled light transformed the formerly shrouded, luxurious bedroom. Unfortunately, the other occupant of the room, Mrs. Shaw, appeared all the more disapproving in the sunlight. The rest of Emma’s fellow nurses and nursing assistants from New Horizon Hospice were already familiar with this assignment, having been at the Breakers for several weeks. Emma was the new girl on the block and bound to make a few missteps.
Apparently, she’d just made her first.
She studied the elegant, thin older woman with the blond bob, dressed in tailored chic as she crossed the suite. The woman had introduced herself a few minutes ago as Michael Montand’s personal domestic assistant, whatever that meant. Emma’s supervisor had labeled Mrs. Shaw more concisely the housekeeper. Apparently, even a housekeeper of the Montand caliber could pass as an aging supermodel. Whatever her title, Mrs. Shaw had clearly decided Emma was trouble. Emma’s reassuring smile as she walked to the empty bed was meant to quiet the other woman’s anxiety. Emma was a nurse and a patient advocate, not a rebel. It wasn’t her fault if the family or staff of her patients sometimes couldn’t discern the difference.
“This is a sickroom,” Mrs. Shaw said over the concerto playing softly on the stereo. “The way you’re acting with all this sunlight and music, and having Mrs. Montand showered, you’d think you expected her to go to a party tonight.”
“The sick appreciate beauty as much as the living. Usually more so.”
“She’s not sick. She’s dying.”
“Not yet,” Emma stated unequivocally, ignoring Mrs. Shaw’s shocked, outraged expression at her confident tone. She was a hospice nurse, true, but she’d also had her fair share of experience with death—much more than an average twenty-three-year-old. No. Her patient’s time wasn’t just yet.
“The doctors say—”
“I know what the doctors say,” Emma interrupted, trying to control the edge to her tone. She glanced toward the adjoining bathroom and lowered her voice to just above a whisper, hoping Mrs. Shaw would do the same. Her patient was on the other side of that door. “I just mean that in my professional opinion, the end isn’t imminent. Not today. Not tomorrow.” She resumed making the bed briskly. “Cristina said she loved classical music when I interviewed her earlier, so I turned on the stereo. Who doesn’t appreciate being clean? As for the drapes, has she complained of being bothered by sunlight before?” she asked, ignoring Mrs. Shaw’s glare when she used her patient’s first name. Cristina had given her permission to use it just an hour ago, and that was good enough for Emma.
“You speak boldly for someone so young,” Mrs. Shaw said, her frowning face disappearing for a happy moment as Emma snapped the blanket into the air, blocking her vision of the woman.
“Has Mrs. Montand said she disliked having the curtains open?” Emma repeated quietly, bending to tuck in the blanket.
“I’ve never heard her say one way or another, but she’s never had the opportunity to express her opinion. Mr. Montand has asked us to keep the curtains closed since Mrs. Montand returned to the Breakers to . . .”
Emma filled in the unsaid word in her head when Mrs. Shaw faded off. It never ceased to surprise her how people usually said the word so flippantly in everyday life, but refused to utter it when death hovered in the vicinity. Maybe they thought death would notice, and take them instead.
“We’ll see how Cristina responds to the view when she comes back from her shower. It’s easy enough to pull the curtains again. Cristina might find the sunlight refreshing,” Emma finished the conversation with a friendly but firm tone.
When she heard the squeak of the wheelchair and muffled voices in the distance, she hastened across the room. She knocked and opened the bathroom door, stepping just over the threshold to assist Margie, the nursing assistant. Emma had been impressed by the sheer size of the bathroom, not to mention how it’d been sleekly updated to accommodate all of Cristina’s disabilities. From what she’d understood, Montand had outfitted the suite for Cristina just months ago when he’d learned she’d been terminally diagnosed and was living alone and friendless in the city on a fixed income.
“Ah, a shower did you good, I see,” Emma said when Margie paused the wheelchair. Cristina Montand smiled thinly up at Emma from where she sat.
“It was better than sex. Certainly at this stage in my life, anyway,” Cristina said in a husky, Italian-accented voice.
Emma grinned, glad to hear the wry humor in her patient’s voice. The exotic accent suited her appearance and personality, somehow. Cancer was claiming her too young. Emma knew from the medical chart that Cristina was sixty-two. She had clearly once been a beauty. The wasting of the flesh combined with a slight swelling and discoloration due to an increasingly failing liver and kidneys couldn’t entirely disguise the classic cheekbones and a swanlike neck.
“I’ve made your bed up nice and fresh and opened the curtains, but say the word and I’ll close them again if you’re tired,” Emma said.
“Mr. Montand has given explicit instructions to leave the curtains closed,” Margie said anxiously. Emma was puzzling out the nursing assistant’s tense declaration, when the phone rang shrilly in the bedroom. Emma glanced around and saw Mrs. Shaw hasten to pick it up. The housekeeper looked at Emma, an ugly, triumphant expression spreading on her face as she listened to whoever was on the other end.
“Yes, I told her you wouldn’t want them opened, but she seems to think she knows best. Yes, I’ll see to it immediately,” Mrs. Shaw said. Emma glanced uneasily at one of several surveillance cameras installed in the large suite. Had the enigmatic owner of the Breakers, Michael Montand, been the one to call?
Mrs. Shaw hung up the phone and marched over to the floor-to-ceiling wall of windows. She drew the drapes closed with a sweeping gesture, shrouding the room once again in darkness. Emma had her answer. Surely the nasty woman wouldn’t be so smug if she hadn’t been given permission to behave so dictatorially by her boss.
“What is that cagna doing here?” Cristina asked angrily when she saw Mrs. Shaw pass the door. Emma didn’t speak Italian, but she had a pretty good idea that calling someone a cagna wasn’t a compliment.
“This is his home. I do what he asks me to do.” Mrs. Shaw cast one last glare in Emma and Cristina’s general vicinity and exited the suite.
Emma exhaled the breath she’d been holding. “She’s gone,” she told Cristina quietly as she stepped aside so that Margie could push Cristina into the bedroom. “Do you want the drapes opened?”
Was it fear or anger or wistfulness she saw flicker across her patient’s lined face at the question? Emma couldn’t be sure, but one thing was for certain.
This family had some serious secrets.
“My stepson is the owner of the Breakers, and I’m dependent upon his charity. His father and the courts have made that crystal clear. I’ll live by his rules,” Cristina replied flatly.
“Nevertheless, the choice is yours,” Emma assured.
“I’m very tired after my shower,” Cristina said after a pause.
“Say no more,” Emma said calmly.
Cristina gave a regretful glance at the drawn curtains after Margie and she had transferred her to the bed from her wheelchair.
“I caught a glimpse of the sunlight from there in the bathroom. Was it a very beautiful day?” Cristina asked Emma in a gravelly voice when Margie left the room.
“One of those days where the sunlight hits the water and is absorbed by the air, and you feel like it’s a living thing, it’s so brilliant.”
Cristina smiled. “I remember days like those on the Riviera, days reserved for the young and healthy,” Cristina said as Emma straightened the bedding around her frail form.
“A day like today is as much yours as anyone’s.”
Disease hadn’t entirely erased the slicing quality of Cristina’s smile. “Only someone young and beautiful would be so foolish as to think that.”
Emma arched her eyebrows at the thrust but didn’t respond. Cristina had an edge to her, there was no doubt about it. Emma figured if she was in as much pain as Cristina was as cancer slowly ate away at her flesh and pride, she might be a tad testy too.
She had recognized Cristina’s forceful character during their initial meeting earlier in the day. “You’re not going to preach to me, are you?” Cristina had queried archly at that meeting.
“Preach to you?” Emma had asked, taken aback.
“About heaven and hell and all the good things I’ve got ahead of me whenever this gives out in a few weeks or days or hours if I repent.” She’d glanced scornfully at her wasted body. “Your predecessor tried to, and that’s why she’s gone.”
“I’ve never liked being preached to,” Emma replied. “I don’t do anything to anyone else that I wouldn’t like being done to me.”
“That sounds like a religious answer,” was Cristina’s reply.
“No. It’s a common sense one.”
That had earned her a small, appreciative grin, but Emma was aware that she was still on trial. She might be for the remainder of her patient’s life. She’d grown used to the jury being hung on many occasions before.
* * *
“Mrs. Shaw certainly has her opinions, doesn’t she?” Emma said quietly to Margie a while later. They sat in a luxurious living room off the bedroom, Emma doing some paperwork while Margie sipped a Diet Coke. Margie worked a regular eight-to-five shift, while the registered nurses had been hired to provide twenty-four-hour care for Cristina. Emma covered the three-to-eleven shift, Monday through Friday. It would be a change of pace to have a regular weekday schedule. Margie had paused to chat with her for a few minutes before she left for the day.
“Mrs. Shaw is the devil’s minion. How else is she supposed to act?” Margie asked, shrugging.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is my first foray into Beth Kerys' writing as well as being the first time I have read a serial in part. The Affair;Week One, You Tantalized Me , certainly lived up to its name. I was tantalized and left wanting to know what happens next.I have to be honest and say that I have steered clear of serials to date because I didn't want a bunch of cliffhangers all in a row and then long waits between, but this installment left me anticipating Week Two but satisfied and not tearing my hair out. Immediately we are introduced to Emma Shore, a palliative care nurse, who is employed to care for the male protagonist's stepmother. She immediately connects with Christina, her patient, and senses the mystery that surrounds her employer and his house, as well as the underlying tension that permeates the entire household. I liked Emma and how she was wise beyond her years when it came to her profession while, in other areas, remaining realistically inexperienced for her 23 years. She was mature and confident when caring for her patients, giving them the dignity and respect they deserve in their dying days and her gentle but firm nature was evident in her interactions with each character. While i would have liked to connect personally with Emma a bit earlier than I did, the connection was definitely made, and she is a likable character and capable heroine Michael Montand is a billionaire CEO of his family company and knows his way around fast cars, driving and fixing them. He is somewhat of an enigma, never visiting his stepmother, insisting on very strict care guidelines for her, and forbidding the nursing staff to venture anywhere but the wing in which his stepmother is living. As soon as we meet Michael, it is easy to see this man has a back-story to tell, one that is going to be complex and emotive. Even though we do not have a lot of time with Michael I did feel a connection blossoming and I am curious to know what makes him tick. This was a very short read but I am really glad that I picked it up and will be looking forward to the future instalments and reading this authors other works.
I had to give this a one star to attract readers' attention. As a couple other reviewers noted, buyers need to beware. If you read the product details, you will see that there are only 79 pages. O.K., this didn't turn me off at first, for $1.99 I gave it a try thinking it was a novella or short story of sorts. However, the author leaves you hanging, the story obviously does not end and snags you into buying week 2. Again, a short 5 chapters or so that leave you hanging in the end. To give the author credit, I did want to read more. At $1.99 a shot, you wind up spending $16.00 for the series. No romance novel is worth that, especially when you are getting the same old, same old: pretty young girl making a modest living snags a gazillionaire, sexy, gorgeous hunk. The ending is typical and uneventful. This publishers ploy to make money got me, but the rest of you buyers should beware. The 8 week set is not worth more than $5.00. If I didn't feel so ripped off by Penguin, I probably would have been a bit more generous with my rating and gave it a 3 or 4.
Thank you for letting the readers know that there is only approx 79 - 100 pages for each part. I hate when they do this. You end up paying a lot of money for something that could of been offered as a trilogy. I will not purchase these readings for this fact alone.
I have been a Beth Kery fan for years and have read most of her books enjoying them very much. While her books are deliciously steamy, she also weaves a story with plots that are well rounded and intriguing. The Affair is going to be the same way, it has the feel of an old gothic romance with several mysterious characters, among them the menacing ever present housekeeper, the dying stepmother, the dark brooding Michael and the bright sweet Emma. I can't wait for part 2! I know a lot of people don't like serials but Beth does them soooo well, I never feel cheated because she packs do much into each part. I like having something to look forward to. For those of you who judge on the amount of pages don't turn away from this just because it is published in parts you'll miss a great read!
It is very annoying to pay for 79 pages.
Emma Shore is an innocent yet exceptional hospice nurse; she has secured a new position at The Breakers, the expansive mansion of a dangerously handsome racecar billionaire Michael Montrand. She is one of the nurses taking care of his terminally ill stepmother. When Emma first arrives, she does not meet the rumored cold-hearted billionaire right away. One night, Emma gets herself lost in the mansion, she finds herself playing an unwitting voyeur spying a sexual interlude that has her aroused as well as ashamed. Could this breathtakingly gorgeous and sexual man be Michael Montrand if not then who is he and why does she feel such electric sexual energy with this stranger. She cannot get the scene she witnessed out of her mind losing sleep dreaming of hot sex and domination. When she finally meets Michael, he draws Emma to him immediately. Why does she dream of his hands on her body and his voice whispering to her in the darkness? Growing tired of playing it safe, she decides she wants to take a risk with the mysterious billionaire. Will she be able to hold on to her heart or will she lose herself in his fevered embrace. Will he let her into his life or will he push her away the guilt and self-deprecation he carries being too much of a burden. This was a true Beth Kery tale of sexual tension, lust and desire that I have become familiar with. She is one of my favorite erotic romance writers and once again, she grabbed me from the moment I met Emma Shore. Beth Kery always manages to create characters that I cannot help but care about. The more I read Emma the more I wanted to know her; I felt the same way about Michael once he was brought into the story. He has so many secrets and scars that I cannot wait to explore with Emma. The first installment of this eight-part serial proves to be a great start and is sure to keep you holding your breath in anticipation.
Can you say "Novella", this is what this book should be labled as.. The affiar is about a young hospice nurse who meets a hot, wealthy ( did I say hot) car maker/amongst other things while taking care of his gravely ill stepmother...this book-not really.. is extremely short..without giving too much away they meet and sparks fly.. The book ends as soon as the sparks fly.. Note to author- I think this book was clever & well written but if you wanted to do a short story it was unfair to your readers to put so many pages of "sample" from your other book...when the entire book it self was only 79 pages.. the affair was a good enough story for me, that I would have gone back to see what other stories you had written..
This is a steamy well written book that captivates the readers.
Great Read! Too Short though---but I already pre-ordered 4, 5, and 6!