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Excerpt: Close to You by Kristen Proby

About the Book

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby comes the second novel in her sizzling Fusion series.

Camilla, “Cami,” LaRue was five-years-old when she first fell in love with Landon Palazzo. Everyone told her the puppy love would fade—they clearly never met Landon. When he left after graduation without a backward glance, she was heartbroken. But Cami grew up, moved on, and became part-owner of wildly popular restaurant Seduction. She has everything she could want...or so she thinks. 

After spending the last twelve years as a Navy fighter pilot, Landon returns to Portland to take over the family construction business. When he catches a glimpse of little Cami LaRue, he realizes she’s not so little any more. He always had a soft spot for his little sister’s best friend, but nothing is soft now when he’s around the gorgeous restauranteur.

Landon isn’t going to pass up the chance to make the girl-next-door his. She’s never been one for romance, but he’s just the one to change her mind. Will seduction be just the name of her restaurant or will Cami let him get close enough to fulfill all her fantasies?

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“I can’t believe that we’re expanding already,” Riley says, eyeing Mia’s wine. “We’ve been open less than a year.”

“And we’re bursting at the seams,” I reply. “With Jake packing in crowds every weekend, and word spreading of what a fun, sexy place this is, our wait times are too long. I’ve made graphs and spreadsheets. Needing to expand isn’t a bad thing.”

“I agree,” Addie says with a nod. “And I think we’d be packing in people with or without Jake. Just don’t tell him I said that.”

Jake Knox is Addie’s husband, and a former rock star who’s been playing at Seduction on the weekends. His voice is pure sex, and is perfect for the atmosphere of our place.

“Oh God, she brought graphs,” Mia says, hanging her head in her hand. “This is all a foreign language to me.”

“I was able to talk the former owners next door down far enough that we can pay cash for the space,” I say, ignoring Mia, and pass around the report I typed up last night after Riley left and I couldn’t sleep. I’ve attached the graphs and spreadsheets to the back.

“We don’t have to take out a loan?” Kat asks, surprised. “That’s awesome.”

“You are such a great financial officer, Cami,” Mia says with a smile. “I used to hate your budgets, but it’s exactly what we needed.”

I grin. Mia’s disgust over my budgets was never a secret. The passionate chef has thrown many a spatula at my head when I told her she couldn’t have more money for extra truffles.

“Honestly, my only concern is time,” Addie says. “I don’t have time to oversee construction. I know that Mia practically lives in the kitchen, and with Kat running the bar and Riley dealing with marketing, who’s going to take the lead on this?”

“I agree, and honestly, now that Seduction is my only client, I have the time to take on the project.” I fold my hands over the folder and take a deep breath. As of two months ago, I closed my other CPA business and am now exclusively devoted to Seduction. Not that I wasn’t before, but a girl can handle working sixteen- hour days for only so long before she starts to go a little nutty.

“Are you sure?” Riley asks. “It’s going to be a busy few months.”

“I’m sure.”

“Awesome,” Mia says. “You and Landon will do a great job.”

“Excuse me?”

“Landon.” Mia grins and nods toward the entrance, where Landon is walking our way. “He’s taking the lead on the construction side.”

“Hi, ladies,” Landon says as he joins us. “I hear you have a project for me.”

“We have a construction crew we work with,” I sputter, but Mia just grins knowingly.

“Dad’s thinking of retiring, and Landon’s taking up some of the slack,” she says. “We’ll have the same crew, but Landon will be in charge of it.”

“Cami’s going to be in charge,” Addie informs him. “So anything you need, you just call her.”

“Great,” he replies, and I finally glance up at him only to find him watching me with those shining blue eyes. “I promise to go easy on you.”

About the Author

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New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

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