No Smilies, Day Two

Since I’m still without smilies due to Evil Angie, I thought I’d tease y’all with one of the books I’m giving away as part of the prize package in exchange for return of my smilies. So if you want to win this book, you’ll have to let Angie know how brilliant she is (gag) in the post below .

NOTHING PERSONAL is a contemporary romance releasing from Samhain Publishing on March 13th. I’ll be giving away a download of this book to one lucky winner. It’s only fitting to give away this book, since Evil Angie edited it. *grin*

Here’s the blurb and a little excerpt from the book

(c) 2007 by Jaci Burton
Releasing from Samhain Publishing March 13th

It was nothing personal, just a business arrangement.

Ryan McKay is a multi-millionaire with a problem. He needs a bride to fulfill terms of his grandfather’s will. Unfortunately, the one he chose just bailed on him and he’s hours away from losing his company. Enter Faith Lewis – his shy, devoted assistant. Ryan convinces Faith to step in and marry him, assuring her their marriage is merely a business deal. Ryan is certain he can keep this strictly impersonal. After all, he’s the product of a loveless marriage and for years has sealed his own heart in an icy stone. Despite Faith’s warmth, compassion and allure, he’s convinced he’s completely immune to her charms.

Faith will do anything for her boss, but marry him? The shy virgin sees herself as plain and unattractive, a product of a bitter mother who drummed it into her head that she wasn’t worthy of a man’s love. But she agrees to help Ryan fulfill the terms of his grandfather’s will, hoping she doesn’t lose her heart to him in the process.

But love rarely listens to logic, and what follows is anything but business.


She made it as far as the bathroom door, her hand on the knob, ready to turn it and fling open the gateway to the unknown. Then she remembered her mother’s warning.

Don’t ever fall in love, Faith. Men only want sex. If you give them your heart, they’ll crush you and you’ll never know a stronger pain.

Even years later those words influenced her, held her back, made her stop.

And look at you. You have no beauty—you’re plain, just like me. Men will use and discard you like your father did to me.

She could already envision Ryan laughing at her. He was the picture of the perfect male. Gorgeous, intelligent, well-educated, able to pick and choose women of the highest caliber. Beautiful women, with social standing equal to his.

Instead, he had married his assistant. Not a glamour girl, or a socialite. Just plain and simple Faith. Not love, but a business deal.

She jerked her hand back from the doorknob and fled. As quickly as possible she donned her pajamas and retreated to the bedroom.

When Ryan stepped out of the bathroom Faith was sitting on the chaise. Her hands clenched the edge of the lounge like she was dangling from a cliff.

She looked terrified.

He’d never seen anyone so adorable in his life.

In her cotton pajamas with the long sleeves and legs and blue puffy cloud pattern, she looked like a frightened child. She’d pulled her hair back in a ponytail and chewed her lip nervously.

Ah yes, his calm, serene bride. The one with the death grip on the chaise.

Was he that imposing?

“I see you’re ready for bed,” he said.

She looked up, apparently finished with her examination of the carpet. She paled and looked like she might faint.

Now what was wrong? He had thrown on a pair of boxers instead of coming out of the bathroom stark naked as he was used to. Knowing Faith’s intimacy issues, he hadn’t wanted to give her a heart attack on their first night sleeping together.

So why did she look like she was about to jump out the window?

“Are you all right?” he asked.

She nodded.

“You sure?”

She nodded again.

“Shall we go to bed then?” It was like a game of charades. And he wasn’t even being given hand signals for clues.

She didn’t nod. She simply rose from the lounge like a prisoner heading for the guillotine and stood at the end of the bed.

“Well?” he asked.

“I was waiting to see what side you slept on so I could get in on the opposite side.”

Ever the sacrificing one, wasn’t she?

“What side do you sleep on?” he countered.

“The right.”

Ryan slipped under the covers on the left side of the bed and held the blanket open for her. “Get in, then.”

With agonizing slowness she lay down, turned her back and balanced precariously on approximately four inches of the bed. As far away from him as possible.

Ryan propped himself up on his elbow and watched her try to get into a sleeping position. If he didn’t think he’d scare her out of her wits he’d have laughed. As it was, he was almost afraid to breathe for fear she’d bolt right up, or worse, fall off the bed.

It was like having an ironing board in bed with him. She was barely breathing and sure as hell wasn’t moving. And he could swear the bed shook. Was she cold? Or just scared to death?
At least he couldn’t take it as an insult for being lousy in bed. Unless criticism applied to simply sharing the space.

“Good night, Faith.” Ryan reached up and turned off the light over his side of the bed. And waited.

“Night, Ryan,” she finally answered, so quiet he barely heard her.

He rolled over onto his back and stared at the moonlit ceiling.

He wasn’t in bed with a sixteen-year-old, that much was certain. Faith was old enough to know some things, even if she was a virgin. And it wasn’t as if he’d told her he was planning to attack her their first night together.

They weren’t strangers, either, so she should know he always kept his word. His word, in business, was as good as a written contract. And Faith knew that.

So what about him frightened her? Was it even him? Her fear was completely unnatural given the circumstances. He’d already agreed to give her two months.

Something else bothered her, something that made her so afraid that he knew if he suggested she camp out on the bedroom floor she’d have jumped at the chance.

He meant to find out what it was.