by Thea Landen
Most of us read fiction, I think, as a form of escape. I know I like to pretend my day didn’t just consist of running around at work and then coming home and trying not to overcook dinner. Even when I’m just curled up on the couch with my Kindle, I can live out the fantasy of doing whatever I want and being whoever I want to be. Tonight I can finish up that sultry romance, and tomorrow I can dive into a crime thriller (and live vicariously through the characters!).
But what if those sorts of changes weren’t optional? In my first 1Night Stand story, Second Skin, Anna has to constantly reinvent herself as a requirement of her job. A lifetime of pretending to be someone she’s not leaves her with very few opportunities for love. Good thing Madame Eve is available to lend a helping hand!
Blurb: Anna’s career as a high-level CIA operative is put on involuntary hiatus. When a trusted colleague passes along the information for the 1Night Stand service, Anna decides to take the plunge against her better judgment and seek some intimate company. But her CIA instincts can’t be ignored, and when she contacts Madame Eve, she uses an alias.
Brendan owns a lucrative manufacturing company, but he’s yet to achieve the goal of finding a woman with whom he can share his successes and joys. But beneath his polished, capable exterior hides the painfully shy teenager he’s never been able to escape. When his own efforts in the dating scene fall short, he turns to 1Night Stand.
It would be so easy to fall in love with Brendan, and Anna’s protective mask slides away, piece-by-piece, revealing more of herself than she should dare. Before she can slip away with the sunrise, Brendan shows their encounter in a new light. Will Anna take a chance on their future, or will she choose to return to her undercover, but lonely life?
“It’s beautiful out here, isn’t it?” His breath danced across the tip of her ear.
“Summers in this region are always nice, but they’re nothing compared to the autumn foliage,” he said. “Have you ever been up here during that time of year?”
Anna continued tracing idle lines from his wrist to his elbow. “No, I haven’t.”
His head dipped lower and his lips grazed her skin. “I realize it’s early for us, but I’d love to come back here with you. We could watch the changing colors, cuddle in front of a roaring fire….”
Anguish stabbed at her. The images he described sounded flawless and enticing. Every part of her yearned to agree to whatever he offered, but planning a rendezvous posed too much of a risk. She hadn’t predicted the difficulties of keeping up an ongoing charade with the man she met.
“That sounds lovely.” She swallowed hard and turned toward him. Her cheek rested in the crook of his neck, though its comfort did nothing to assuage her unexpected guilt over the upcoming lie. “Maybe we can work something out.”
#thealanden, #decadentpub, #1NightStand