Read an exclusive excerpt from At the Heart of It by Tawna Fenske

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TV producer Kate Geary is in unscripted heaven. She’s piloting a reality series featuring her favorite self-help guru, Dr. Vivienne Brandt. The Dr. Viv—whose nuggets of wisdom helped Kate get through some of her toughest times. Thanks to Dr. Viv, Kate is almost on the verge of figuring everything out. That is, until Jonah Porter, the superhot book nerd Kate just spent an amazing date with, appears at the show’s first meeting.

Jonah did not want to get reeled into a world filled with invasive crews, pushy network execs, and over-the-top drama, but a connection to the story leaves him no choice. Fortunately, Kate—hot, smart, and funny—helps make it bearable. Now they’re both on the verge of violating their contracts as they find themselves sneaking around off set. But the cameras have a way of finding out everyone’s secrets…especially the ones that can break hearts.

Exclusive Excerpt

“This has been a really fun day. Thanks.”
 
“My pleasure. I enjoyed getting to know you.”
 
Jonah lifted his hand, and she thought he might reach for her. Pull her in for a good-night kiss or a romantic cheek graze. She thought she might want him to.
 
Instead, he curled his fingers around the chain holding a white, painted porch swing under the eaves. He glanced at the front door, but made no move to go inside.
 
“Did you get one of the rooms on the ground floor, or on the second floor?” he asked.
 
Kate hesitated. He must have noticed, because he held up a hand and shook his head. “Wait, don’t answer that. I didn’t mean to sound like a creepy stalker. I was just making conversation.”
 
“No, it’s okay. I’m on the second floor.”
 
“Ground floor,” he said. “Right off the library.”
 
“Mm, I hear that room’s nice,” she said. “It’s got that antique, claw-foot tub, right?”
 
Oh shit. Did that sound like a request for an invitation? She hadn’t meant it to.
 
But Jonah just smiled and nodded. “It does. I haven’t used it, but you’re welcome to check it out if you want.”
 
Kate bit her lip. She was so out of practice. On one hand, she didn’t want to end the evening. On the other hand, she didn’t know what else to do. Invite him to her room? Suggest a nightcap? Was that even something people did, or were nightcaps only a thing in old movies?
 
She took a deep breath. “Look, I don’t do one-night stands.”
 
“What?” Jonah barked out a laugh. He was still gripping the chain of the porch swing, and the whole thing began to shake as he convulsed with laughter. He was laughing so hard he had to sit down in the swing, and Kate seated herself on the edge of the swing beside him, feeling silly.
 
“Sorry,” he said as he took off his glasses and wiped his eyes. “I didn’t see that one coming.” When he finally looked at her, he cocked his head to the side. “Was there a ‘but’ coming next? ‘I don’t normally have one-night stands, but with you—’”
 
“No.” She shook her head, wishing she could restart this conversation. “That’s not what I was getting at. I just wanted to be clear; I’m not having sex with you. I also don’t do long-distance relationships.”
 
“I see,” he said, still sounding amused. “And there’s nothing in between those two?”
 
Kate’s cheeks were burning, and she folded her hands in her lap. In her quest to be a forthright communicator, had she turned herself into a social moron?
 
But Jonah pushed his feet against the wood slats of the porch and sent the swing into a gentle sway. They glided back and forth a few times, rocking in a gentle rhythm that gradually began to soothe Kate’s tattered nerves. “I wasn’t planning to seduce you,” he said. “Not that I’d object if you wanted to seduce me. You’re very hot. And smart. And funny. Did I mention hot?”
 
He grinned, and Kate’s insides liquefied. Maybe she’d been too quick to dismiss the idea of a one-night stand.
 
No, of course she wouldn’t do that. It wasn’t her style. Still—
 
“You’re hot, too,” she acknowledged as she leaned back against the swing and kicked her feet. “This is nice. Just swinging. It’s such a pleasant night.”
 
“That it is.” He kicked off the porch again, giving them a little more momentum. “Swinging soothes the soul.”
 
“Can we sit here and talk for a while?” she suggested.
 
“I’d like that.” He smiled. “And maybe you’d let me hold your hand?”
 
Kate grinned and slid her hand onto his knee. He wrapped his fingers around hers, forming a comfortable web of digits. “I’d like that,” she said. “I’d like that a lot.”
 
Jonah leaned a little closer, and Kate gave a little sigh of pleasure. “And maybe eventually,” he murmured, “you’d let me kiss you good night?”
 
Kate looked up at him, admiring the soft creases in his forehead, the fringe of dark lashes, the sparkle of streetlights in those amber-green eyes.
 
“Why wait for eventually?” she murmured back.
 
Then she leaned up and kissed him.

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About the Author

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Tawna Fenske is a romantic-comedy author who writes humorous fiction, risqué romance, and heartwarming love stories with quirky twists. Her offbeat brand of romance has been praised by Booklist as “a tame Carl Hiaasen on Cupid juice,” and her debut novel, Making Waves, was a nominee for RT Book Reviews’ contemporary romance of the year. She is a fourth-generation Oregonian who can peel a banana with her toes and loses an average of twenty pairs of eyeglasses per year. She lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband, her stepkids, and a menagerie of ill-behaved pets.

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