A socialite by chance not by choice, Gen runs away to a charming small town to reinvent herself as the girl-next-door and falls in love under false pretenses.
Despite having been raised by a man-eating, social-climbing mother, Genevieve Garnier is a hopeless romantic. She has successfully parlayed her sentimental nature into a prestigious Manhattan wedding planning business, but cannot make it down the aisle herself.
As another hectic wedding season winds down, Gen finds herself burned out and at a crossroads in life. She retreats to the charming Hudson Valley town of Heritage View to reinvent herself as girl-next-door “Jane”, complete with a charming cottage and apple pies baking in the oven. Gen is determined to simplify her life in Heritage View and keep her wedding business humming, without letting the two worlds collide. Michael Carlisle waltzes in and turns her plans upside down.
Michael is smart and successful, with enough guarded-heart intensity and magnetism to curl any woman’s toes. He stays out of the social fray in Manhattan, so he doesn’t recognize Jane as socialite wedding planner Genevieve. It’s a good thing, because he hates pampered socialites and avoids them nearly as much as he avoids girl-next-door types. That leaves our heroine 0-for-2. To make matters worse, it turns out that Michael is dear friends with the Hunter family, “Jane’s” new best friends. He has relationship baggage of his own to battle, but Michael can’t seem to stay away from Jane.
Will they repeat the mistakes of the past?
“The way you’re wielding that wooden spoon, I can see that I’ve startled you.” He held his hands up in mock surrender, the twinkle in his eyes making way for a smile that completely spoiled his attempt at appearing contrite. “I mean no harm. You have no cause to spoon me to death.” He was teasing her openly now, and Jane stifled the unwelcome romantic image that he’d just unwittingly conjured.
“Oh, I’m so sorry.” With a nervous chuckle, she lowered the spoon she was still unconsciously grasping. “Force of habit, I’m afraid. I’m from the city.” Why had she told him that? Wasn’t incognito her goal? Clearly, the FBI wouldn’t be soliciting her for undercover work anytime soon. She smoothed her disheveled apron moaning internally at the cheesy move in light of his obvious sophistication. Buck up, camper, you are acting like a freshman in high school.
“Ah, yes. I should have recognized the paranoia and aggression. Comes with the territory, huh? Whereabouts?”
At her blank expression, he prompted, “Where are you from?”
“Where? Err, New York.” So much for witty repartee. Good grief. Really, Gen?
His smile was openly curious and more than a hint amused, the effect so potent as to be more than a bit butterfly inducing. Her brain sounded an alarm of recognition. Her heart began to sink. Not particularly original, but clichéd or not, butterflies in her stomach were her own early-warning system. Butterflies in the stomach were not technologically advanced and rather akin to plucking petals from a daisy in sophistication but nevertheless, flawlessly accurate at predicting trouble of the masculine variety. Did women still swoon nowadays? Swooning was like fainting, right? She’d have to remember to look it up. Gen had read about swooning women a million times, but this was the first time in her life she had understood the impulse.
“Yeah, the city.” He winked at her. “I think we’ve established that.”
“Let’s start over.” He moved forward a step and held out his hand to her. “Hi, Jane. I’m Michael.”
About the Book
Annie Stiles was practically born with a book in her hand, but the writing came later. A daydreamer by nature, Annie always secretly wanted to be a romance novelist. It wasn’t until her youngest child started kindergarten that she buckled down and turned that dream into reality. She is fascinated by characters on the page and in real life, and talks with her hands so much that people have been known to duck.
When not on her laptop, she likes to putter in her garden. Annie lives in the beautiful Capital-Saratoga region of New York State with her college sweetheart husband and their two children. They are all owned by two cats.
Annie writes satisfying, character-driven contemporary romance.
Rose-colored glasses are standard issue.