As Lauren Layne’s salacious Sex, Love & Stiletto series returns, a jaded columnist discovers a steamy way to get over an old flame: falling for him all over again.As Stiletto magazine’s authority on all things breakup-and-heartache, Emma Sinclair writes from personal experience. Five years ago, Emma was Charlotte, North Carolina’s darling debutante and a blushing bride-to-be. Now she’s the ice queen of the Manhattan dating scene. Emma left her sultry Southern drawl behind, but not even her closest friends know that with it she left her heart. Now Emma’s latest article forces her to face her demons—namely, the devilishly sexy guy who ditched her at the altar.
After giving up everything for a pro-soccer career, Alex Cassidy watches his dreams crumble as a knee injury sidelines him for good. Now he’s hanging up his cleats and giving journalism a shot. It’s just a coincidence that he happens to pick a job in the same field, and the same city, as his former fiancée . . . right? But when Emma moves in next door, it’s no accident. It’s research. And Alex can’t help wondering what might have been. Unlike the innocent girl he remembers, this Emma is chic, sophisticated, and assertive—and she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. The trouble is, Alex has never wanted her more.
“Why would I want to be editor in chief?” Riley asked.
“Exactly,” Camille said, looking pleased at the lead-in. “It’s a thankless, tiresome job, and one I didn’t want to wish on any of you while I’m gone for three months.”
“Three months?” Julie asked. “We’re leaderless for three months?”
“Not quite,” Camille said. “You need someone to steer the ship, of course. So . . .”
She made a dramatic flourishing gesture in Alex’s direction.
He waited patiently for everything to register with the Stiletto crew.
“No. A boy?!” Riley said, scandalized.
“I saw him without his shirt once,” Grace said, leaning over. “He’s not a boy.”
Emma leaned in toward her friends, speaking up for the first time. “I saw him without his shirt once, too. Boy’s actually not so far off. He’s a little scrawny, and the lower half . . . eek.”
Emma’s voice was little more than a whisper, but it reached his ears. It was meant to.
Alex didn’t take the bait. Hell, back when Emma had seen him naked, they’d been young. He had been little more than a boy.
And she little more than a girl.
A girl who could take his breath away with little more than a smile.
And when she’d taken her shirt off, he’d all but lost his mind.
But that was a long time ago.
“Mr. Cassidy has graciously agreed to oversee both Stiletto and Oxford for the next few months,” Camille said, jerking him back to the present.
A present where he and Emma wouldn’t be seeing each other shirtless . . . ever.
“Starting next week,” Camille continued, “He will be the one you go to for story approval, PTO requests, relationship advice—”
“Wait, what?” Alex said, speaking up for the first time.
Camille patted him on the head like he was a child, and he caught Julie smirking at him.
Alex gave into a sigh. It was going to be a very, very long three months.
“Any questions?” Camille asked.
Julie’s hand shot up. “Um, yes. Like a thousand questions. Starting with, where are you going? Is everything okay? Are your ovaries imploding? Are you having a crisis? Can I come?”
Alex hid a laugh behind a cough. From the resigned look on Camille’s face, and the lack of shock on everyone else’s, it was clear this group was used to Julie’s unabashed prying.
“Perfectly healthy. It’s a personal matter,” Camille said, in a tone that indicated the conversation was over.
Julie made a grunting noise that indicated the conversation was not over.
“Now, I’m sure you’re all itching with theories you’d like to share with your colleagues, and I have plenty to catch Mr. Cassidy up on, so if there are no other inappropriate questions—”
“Wait,” a tiny blond woman next to Grace said. “That’s it? We haven’t talked about the next issue, or story assignments, and there are about a million letters to the editor thanks to that story we did about Botox, and—”
Camille held up a hand. “Mr. Cassidy will be holding a meeting on Monday morning to go over all of that, Dana.”
Now she writes fictional happy endings, and considers her job done well if you swoon while reading her books. Don’t worry. You will.
Once upon a time she lived in a Manhattan high-rise, but now she’s on the laid-back train in the Seattle area. If you ever find yourself in Issaquah, she’ll probably buy you a drink. Maybe.