Release Date Information
Book Title: Take A Chance On Me
Series: NOLA Heart, Book #2
Genre: Sexy Contemporary Romance
Release Day: June 22nd
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Warning: one dirty-talking detective and one feisty crime lab technician collide in the second installment to the sizzling NOLA Heart series! Mixing business with pleasure just got a little hotter down in the Big Easy ...
Nathan Danvers has cultivated a certain, sexy reputation among the ladies in New Orleans. As a former marine and current detective for the New Orleans P.D., Nathan is just fine with being the guy women take home to bed, but not the guy they take home to mom. It’s exactly what he wants--until he spots the black-haired beauty, Jade.
Jade Harper is over men. After four years too many with her ex, she’s ready for a fresh start. Goodbye Miami; hello New Orleans. Everything is perfect, including her new job with the NOPD--until she meets Nathan Danvers. Jade isn’t looking for Mr. Right--hell, she’s not even looking for Mr. Right Now--but this hot cop has a way of blurring the lines between lust and love. Will he tempt her to take a chance? Or will the shadows lingering in Nathan's dark eyes prove that some closely guarded secrets are better left hidden?
In celebration of the cover reveal, there will be a $5 Amazon Gift Card up for grabs!
Jade Harper was over Miami. She was over her waitressing gig. And she was most definitely over men.
Not particularly in that order, though.
Unfortunately, there was one person who did not feel the same.
Her mother swept into the bedroom just as she stuffed a handful of socks into her suitcase. With the dramatic flair of a telenovela star, Lucia Margarita Tomás Harper collapsed onto the bed and exclaimed, “Mi vida, mi querida, why must you leave us?”
The short answer to that question was that Jade was ready for a fresh start. She was tired of being the predictable Harper daughter (Rita, the eldest, was a celebrity hair stylist in Hollywood, and Sammie, the youngest, was an aspiring fashion designer). Unlike her sisters, Jade was a little less Project Runway and a little more Dateline. And, until now, she’d always done what was expected of her—date the right man, work a boring job, live at home.
Jade moved to the side, accidentally striking her foot against the suitcase. She bit back a curse. Nestled at the bottom were four forensic pathology textbooks—her true passion. The crime lab technician job with the New Orleans Police Department was just the start up the ladder.
But there wouldn’t be a ladder if she didn’t get out of Miami or if she got back together with John Thomas, whom she’d dumped last week . . . while he’d been down on bended knee.
The proposal had come, with John Thomas flicking lint off his pant leg and Marc Antony singing in the background. Candles flickered throughout the room, and sweat began to gather between Jade’s boobs, as was the curse of all women bedeviled with too much cleavage.
If John Thomas had stopped there, she might have fallen prey to the same guilt that had trapped her to him for years. Guilt that she might once again disappoint her mother, who adored John Thomas and who thought snagging him was Jade’s biggest life accomplishment. Guilt that she’d wasted four years on a man to whom she felt no deep connection.
Except that as John Thomas waxed on with all the speed of a sloth—and, more importantly, as her boob sweat verged on becoming the next Great Lake—Jade had a vision of herself at the ripe old age of eighty.
And she didn’t like it one bit.
When John Thomas rounded up all the reasons they should marry, starting and ending with the fact that he was rich, Jade did what any girl would do when pressed between a rock and a hard place. She downed the rest of her wine for fortitude, recalling the fact that she was Jade Lucia Harper and that
she had dreams, too, and said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think that’s for the best.”
The proposal had been the kick in the butt she’d needed to make a major change with her life, even if she was throwing her mother into a tailspin as a result of it.
“Ma,” Jade said as she snagged a pair of underwear from her laundry basket, “I’m not abandoning you.”
“But, querida, you can’t leave—John Thomas wants to propose!”
Lucia clapped a hand over her mouth at the same time an all-too-familiar voice exclaimed, “When were you going to tell me that you broke up with John Thomas?”
Thong still clutched in hand, Jade watched in horror, panic, and something that felt undeniably like relief, as her younger sister burst into the bedroom with the force of a hurricane.
Sammie’s dark brown eyes, so similar to Jade’s, dropped to the pink thong as she skidded to a halt. “How many times do I have to tell you? Thongs are so 2007.”
As Lucia straightened slowly from the bed, Jade busied herself with shoving the thong in the mesh part of the suitcase.
Don’t make eye contact, don’t make eye contact, don’t make eye contact.
“What does your sister mean, you broke up with John Thomas?” Lucia demanded in that soft-toned, maddening way that only mothers knew how to make sound threatening. Where “do you want me to get mad?” suddenly took on the edge of, “if you pull your sister’s hair one more time, I will personally ensure you three hours of misery.”
Jade met her sister’s apologetic gaze and sighed. “I wasn’t happy.”
Lucia’s eyes narrowed. “You were happy, mi vida. You and he went to Mexico last year! You swam with los delfines.”
Because swimming with dolphins equated to happiness with a man. Jade bit her lip. Actually, she’d had fun in Mexico, but she’d gone without her boyfriend. A “work emergency” had popped up last second and John Thomas had urged Jade to go on the trip anyway.
“Take Sammie with you,” he’d told her over the phone, just before the line went dead.
Once again, Jade met her sister’s gaze, and this time Sammie looked on the verge of vomiting. This is all my fault, her brown eyes read.
Jade hoped Sammie read her own gaze loud and clear: You owe me.
Sammie nodded. Understood.
“It’s for the best, really,” Jade tried again. “The relationship wasn’t really growing, and with me moving . . . it was just time.”
And it definitely isn’t heading to Orgasm-ville, of which I’ve visited a grand total of zero times with him.
On that note, she nudged her suitcase with her foot. Tucked away with the books was also her vibrator, and she prayed that her mother wouldn’t decide to go snooping around. Because that was what Lucia did—snoop. The woman was practically a professional.
“Please, mi querida, think this over.” Lucia stood, reaching for Jade’s hands with desperation pinching her expression. “John Thomas is perfect for you. Who else will love you the way he does?”
Her mother may not have meant the words as an insult, but Jade heard them for what they were: who will love you, for all of your weirdness and your faults, if not him?
Predictable. Weird. That was her calling card.
Jade slipped her hands from her mother’s grasp. “I’ll be all right.”
“I should kick your papi out,” Lucia muttered grumpily. “He shouldn’t have gone behind my back to his friend.”
“Don’t be mad at Dad. That ‘friend’ pulled some strings and landed me a job that’s the first step to the dream one. If anything, send Mr. Cartwell some of your flan as a thank you.”
“Gracias, but no. I will not thank the man for taking away my daughter.”
From her perch on Jade’s bed, Sammie said, “Jade wants to be on her own, Ma. She doesn’t want to be tied to a man.”
In theory, Sammie’s comment should have gone unnoticed. In theory, it should not have been even a blimp on the Harper matriarch’s radar. But it was too little too late that Jade saw exactly where her mother’s whirling mind went, and by the time she opened her mouth to right her sister’s wrong, Lucia was rushing toward her.
Tripping over the luggage . . .
And somehow upending Jade’s pink vibrator from the depth of her suitcase and onto the hardwood floor, where it rolled to a stop just before her mother’s horrified face. Lucia Margarita Harper was a product of her conservative Cuban upbringing—there was very little doubt in Jade’s mind that her mother even knew what a vibrator was.
Except that frequently women used vibrators on other women.
If there was ever a moment for sororicide, this was it.
“Ma, I can explain. I’m not—”
But then something weird happened—Lucia lifted herself up onto her elbows and met Jade’s gaze head on.
She couldn’t say for certain if her mother’s speculative glance was the direct cause, but Jade felt her girl parts clench in warning. Possibly fear. Definitely wariness. Since the girls downstairs had done something similar at the sight of John Thomas dropping down to one knee, her gut told her to run.
Nothing good had come of the proposal—except, obviously, that the proposal had led to their breakup—and nothing good would come of that look on her mother’s face. She’d seen it once before, years ago when Jade had walked right into a matchmaking setup.
The world was a cruel, cruel place.
“Ma,” Jade began slowly, “whatever you’ve got in your head, stop thinking it.”
And then life, in perfectly imperfect harmony, brought forth the one person Jade did not want to see.
She heard his heavy footfalls thundering up the stairs before she heard his deep baritone. Out of breath, her ex braced his hands on the doorway.
“Jade, babe, you can’t go like this.” Another heaving breath—this one crackled as if his lungs might implode. John Thomas wasn’t out of shape, necessarily, but he preferred to do his ball-busting from behind the safety of his desk. “I love you, babe. You’ve got to take me back.”
Before she even had the opportunity to open her mouth, Lucia was there, still on the suitcase with the pink vibrator within reach, exclaiming, “You’re too late, mi hijo. Jade is a lesbian now.”
John Thomas’ hazel eyes swerved to Jade, wide and unblinking as his mouth dropped open.
Maybe Jade should have explained the miscommunication.
Maybe she should have explained that she would like sex with a guy as much as the next heterosexual girl, if only she’d had the chance to experience good, non-boring sex for once in her life.
Maybe she should have, but Jade didn’t.
Instead she jumped on the Crazy Bandwagon, held on tight with two hands, and flashed her most sympathetic smile at her ex. “I’m so sorry it had to come out this way.”
And now? Well, now Jade was going to New Orleans as a free woman. So, this was what success felt like.
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