When her fiancé is busted at a gentlemen’s club, attorney Norah Ballard calls off the wedding. Shocked and humiliated, she grabs her suitcase and takes the first train out of town.
Easygoing teacher Michael Banning spots the new woman in town and recognizes her from college. She’s even more gorgeous and sophisticated now. He’s no longer the nerd he was back then, and now that she’s on his turf, he’s going to touch and taste every sleek, beautiful inch of her. Whatever her reason is for being in his town, he’ll fulfill all her desires so she never wants to leave. Norah won’t let another man—no matter how sweet, smart and sexy—get close enough to hurt her again. Mike’s passionate pursuit of her, the way he seems to know just how to arouse her, turns her into the wanton woman she hadn’t known she was.
He’s accused in a local scandal, something he wasn’t involved in. Birchwood Falls is in danger of flooding. He has a hell of a lot on his plate. When Mike’s in trouble, Norah’s going to be there to help him. And when Birchwood Falls is in trouble, she’s going to help the town she’s fallen in love with too.
The Real Deal (Ellora’s Cave)
The Second Birchwood Falls Book
by Jane Leopold Quinn
This was a day most girls dreamed of.
Norah Ballard gazed at her reflection in the mirror. Hair in place and makeup perfect: check. Strapless mermaid style, light taupe designer gown: check. Romantic halo of flowers circling her brow and a floor-length veil: check. Calm stomach instead of the requisite bridal butterflies: check. She was more aloof from the buzz of activity around her than she probably should be. Shouldn’t she be happily excited? Or terrified? Something other than indifferent? Something other than cold?
She, a senior associate at her firm, and her fiancé Garrett Dunleith, a partner in his family’s firm, were both aggressive, ambitious lawyers. They’d be a Chicago power couple. God, that sounded arrogant.
Control was her thing. She controlled her decision to enter law school, controlled her career. Once she’d met Garrett in college, she realized they would be a force to be reckoned with in the Chicago legal community. From practically the first moment they’d met, she’d planned their wedding and marriage. She’d planned every step of the event from the wedding date to rings to showers to their wedding clothing. After two years of marriage, they’d have children spaced two years apart. Nothing would go amiss today. The reception had been arranged at the Peninsula Hotel for exactly one hour after the ceremony at the church.
I love Garrett. I’m positive I do. Goose bumps popped up on her bare shoulders and arms. Gazing around the church’s bridal dressing room, she searched for a draft. It was early May, not quite summer yet. She took a deep breath, as deeply as she could, sewn snugly into the gown by the designer’s seamstress.
A moment of panic. She struggled for a deep enough breath. You can’t faint. You’re just fine. Get control of yourself. Horrifying thoughts suddenly plagued her. Should she really be getting married? Did she love Garrett? Even after thirty-five years, her parents were still so much in love. She was well aware of what that looked like.
It’s not like that with you, is it? Waves of cold surged over her skin to double-pebble the goose bumps. “Oh, my God,” she sighed.
More tense than she realized, her breath caught in surprise at the click of the door. Her mother slipped into the dressing room, motioning everyone else out and closing the door. “He’s not here yet. Have you talked to Garrett?”
She frowned. “No, not since last night. He was going out with his brother.” Chewing her lower lip, she smeared her lipstick. “Could they have gotten drunk?” That wasn’t something she’d considered Garrett would do. He was as controlled as she was.
“Are you sure about this, Norah? That you want to marry him?” Her mother couldn’t meet her eyes, instead gazing into the mirror and needlessly fluffing at her hair.
“Why are you asking me that now? At this late date?” The conversation served to increase her odd feelings of panic and doubt.
“Just ignore me, honey. I’m sure you know what you’re doing.”
Her heart fluttering with uncharacteristic anxiety, she dialed Garrett’s cell. No answer. Just a moment ago she’d felt remote. Suddenly reality burst in, the door to the room flying open banging against the wall. Her best friend Vicky dashed in. “Turn on the TV! Quick!” Vicky pointed the remote at a flat-screen mounted on the wall. “Channel Four.”
The three women silently watched the report in progress on the early morning news.
“Local men, one a prominent attorney, caught up in a vice raid on the infamous Happy Pappy’s Gentlemen’s Club on the near west side.”
The Real Deal is available here:
About the Author
Sensual fantasies were locked in my mind for years until a friend said, “Why don’t you write them down?” Why not, indeed? One spiral notebook, a pen and the unleashing of my imagination later, and here I am with more than a dozen books published. The craft of writing erotic romance has become my passion and my niche in life. I love every part of the creative process — developing characters, designing the plot, even drawing the layout of physical spaces from my stories. My careers have been varied — third grade school teacher, bookkeeper, secretary — none of which gave me a bit of inspiration. But now I’m lucky enough to write romance full time — the best job in the universe!
Books by Jane Leopold Quinn
- Lost and Found
- The Real Deal
- Valentine’s Day
- His Hers & His
- The Keeper
- Soldier, Come Home
- Winning Violetta
- A Promise at Dawn
- Jake and Ivy
- Wooing the Librarian
- Home to Stay
- The Long Road to You (coming February 5, 2015)
- Undercover Lover
- Mercenary Desires
- I’ll Be Your Last