Fashion and Passion: A 40 and Fabulous Prequel
Blame it on the chardonnay.
Newly divorced, forty-five, and desperate for a reboot, Carly drops the last of her cash on a self-help seminar that promises to empower her to achieve her dreams. Although the seminar turns out to be a bust, Carly finds it wasn’t a complete waste when she walks out with three new besties and a newfound feeling of rebellion.
As they soak away their troubles at the hotel bar, a surprise from Carly’s past walks in. It’s Andrew, a thirtysomething finance nerd with irrepressible dimples, disarming vulnerability, and stormcloud-gray eyes that have worshipped her from afar for years. He makes a shocking proposal - which her new friends urge her to accept.
Can Carly let go her inhibitions to enjoy a no-strings night with a sexy younger man? And if she does, what happens when they return to the real world?
Crush on this FREE spicy age-gap one-night novella featuring new friendships, bubbly barroom banter, and fantasies come true. Pairs well with sparkling wine and a fizzy bath bomb.
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- Age gap (she’s older!)
- Longstanding crush
- One-night stand
Chapter 1 look inside
Rule 1: Make Your Own Luck
My dad always said you make your own luck. And in the end, I guess he did. He worked so hard making luck that he dropped dead of a heart attack at thirty-nine.
But I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy, and I figured even though he missed a lot—graduations, weddings, the birth of a grandchild—he did more before forty than most guys did by the time they were eighty. He created a company and a family. He rang the bell at the stock exchange. A theater at a private high school bore his name.
(Though that was because my brother accidentally torched the old one while installing an unauthorized “upgrade” to the lighting system.)
And my dad found true love.
Which was more than I’d done by thirty-two.
I glanced down at my half-full glass of heart-healthy red wine. The Rolex Submariner that peeked out of my Brooks Brothers shirt sleeve. My own lanky frame, kept fit with daily runs and weekend soccer.
Was it worth it, prolonging my lonely life?
Shit, that was dark. And I was never dark.
I stared through the enormous windows of the luxurious hotel bar to the dramatic rocky Monterey shore.
Considering the privilege of that view, a stable job, and a comfortable condo in San Francisco, anyone would call me a lucky guy.
A dark-haired woman passed me at a fast clip. “Fucking garbage,” she muttered. “Treat him like a god, my ass.” I watched her beeline to the bar. She was pretty despite her scarily steely expression. A few years older than me. Maybe that was how she knew what she wanted. Or didn’t want, I guess.
Me? I had all the things a guy my age should want. But something was missing. And I had no clue what it was.
My own company? No, thank you. Even as a teenager, I’d been aware of how much stress that caused my dad. I preferred to work for someone else. Less pressure, almost as lucrative. Instead of hustling on the weekends, I played recreational soccer at Golden Gate Park.
Marriage and kids? Pass. Dad worked his ass off to support four kids and our mother. And when he died, he left me the responsibility of my two little sisters and my grieving mother. Been there, done that, not interested.
I was living exactly the life I wanted. You’d think I’d be happier.
Maybe I needed a dog.
I lifted the glass of red wine and sipped it, wishing for the fiery burn of whisky. Wishing I weren’t alone in a bar on a Sunday night. Wishing for…god knew what.
Raucous laughter caught my ear, and I glanced over my shoulder.
The dark-haired woman sat at a high-top table. She’d been joined by a group of well-dressed women somewhere between my age and my mother’s. The dark-haired woman laughed the loudest, and a blond woman giggled beside her. A woman with her back to me had a mane of red curls that bounced when her shoulders shook.
But what stopped my otherwise-healthy heart was the woman leaning forward beside her, legs crossed in a slim skirt.
I knew that face. That caramel-brown hair with honey highlights swinging over her shoulder, almost kissing the tabletop. Those lush lips painted in the same warm color as always, somewhere between red and pink. Brown eyes that sparkled with intelligence.
I glanced at her left hand. She didn’t wear that monstrosity of a ring anymore. Even the pale imprint of it had faded like it had never weighed her down.
God. Damn. Me.
This wasn’t preparation or foresight. It was pure luck to meet up with her here.
And I was going to take that ball and run with it.
I signaled to the bartender, pointing over my shoulder at their table. “Send them a round on me.”
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