Sunday, March 9, 2014

Day 2 Astraea Press Giveaway ~ March 8-16

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Silver Lined by Stephanie Taylor
Contemporary Romance
Length:67 Pages

Blurb: Ella is a realtor by day and alone by night.  Ever since breaking up with Linc, her world has been less than stellar, complete with frozen meals and a needy cat.  But after two years, Ella is contacted by Linc, who is interested in purchasing an uninhabited island some three hours from their coastal town. Apparently he only trusts her. How lucky is she?

Millionaire Lincoln Ellis is engaged and looking to expand his real estate efforts.  Only one realtor will do, his ex-girlfriend and the love of his life, Ella.  Much to his chagrin, Ella isn’t the kind, compassionate woman she used to be.  She’s angry and hostile and refuses to let him in emotionally.  And he’s pretty sure he knows why.  Their relationship didn’t end on a good note.

When a violent storm renders his boat useless, he and Ella have to find a common ground to survive on the island.  It’s not easy with his ex holding a grudge the size of Texas and all those old feelings determined to resurface every time he gets close to her…

Chapter One

Ella looked at her phone with disgust before violently punching the end button and shoving it in her purse. She was such a statistic. How could one man have complete power to turn her to mush after the way he’d treated her? Used her? Left her cold?
Such a statistic. She was one of those women who apparently liked it when guys mistreated her. Misery loved company and all those stupid clichés.
She debated whether or not to call Linc Ellis back and tell him she’d just fallen flat on her face, impaled herself with a sword, and was on her way to the hospital for life-saving surgery and just wasn’t able to spend the entire day with him on his boat. Alone. Headed to a deserted island.
Something told her Linc wouldn't believe her.
Think of the commission, she kept telling herself. Linc was a rich man, who was looking to buy his own private island to romance, wine and dine, and vacation with his new fiancée. Which could have been Ella. Should have been her.
Ella shook her head. Marrying Linc would have been the worst possible thing for her to do two years ago. She was just starting her career as a realtor and since she lived on the coast, it had taken some time to build her name and brand for customers to recognize her. But that was two years ago.
Now she had a multi-millionaire calling out of the blue asking her to show him a private island some three hours off the coast. Never mind she’d slept with him, told him three little words that she’d sworn to herself she’d never again utter to a single soul, no matter what. And she’d kept that promise.
Around the office, she was known as something of an ice queen. Don’t let anyone in, and she wouldn’t get hurt. That was her motto. It hadn’t failed her yet.
Ella grabbed her purse and signed off her computer. She wouldn’t be back today. In fact, maybe never if she could find that sword and a foot to trip her.
Of all the crazy, stupid, moronic things she could have done, agreeing to see Linc again pretty much topped them all. Two little words had been her Achilles’ heel.
“Please Ellie?” his darkly sweet and suggestive tone had begged. It was then she hung up on him, but he’d be at the marina waiting for her, and she’d be there right on time. It was how their relationship had always been — hot then cold. One thing remained though; he still had the power to unnerve her with two tiny words. Ella had never cared about his fortune or that he was the CEO of a massive computer company, and she never cared about him working long hours.
She slammed her car door shut and started the engine. What was she doing? This was insane! She couldn’t take him to a private island alone where he’d build a love nest for his new wife. That was just too much to ask of her.
Yet, why did her hand shift the car into reverse and then into drive, and why did her foot press the pedal to move her forward? Because she was a world-class idiot. That was why.
Commission, commission, commission.
As she pulled into the marina parking lot, she saw theSilver Lining in its dock and rolled her eyes. Linc was standing on the deck, hands in pockets, looking way too relaxed. She’d have to fix that. There were too many memories on that boat, and if she knew him as well as she thought she did, he’d remind her of every single one. Then again, just looking at him reminded her of everything.
Ella took a few moments to bow her head over her steering wheel and take a deep breath. She’d brought her laptop with her so she could work while she was on the boat. She had some contracts to draw up, some other things to take care of that would keep her occupied until they arrived at the island.
Ella grabbed her briefcase and eased out of her car. Another deep breath found its way out of her lungs as she straightened her shorts and shirt. Normally she wore something much nicer but laundry hadn’t done itself that week, and work had been busy.
Linc spotted her as she began to walk toward him. Ella was pretty sure she was about to have a heart attack or maybe a stroke. Seeing him again gave her a strange feeling, a cross between anger and hopefulness. She wanted to see him again just to prove to herself it was over and she was fine. But as she came within speaking distance of Linc, she knew this was a bad idea. Seeing him really did prove something.
He was still just as beautiful as he had been the night he’d dumped her. He was bulkier, as if he’d worked out. Underneath the sleeves of his polo shirt, muscles bulged as he worked his way over to the side to help her on board. Studiously ignoring his proffered hand, she stepped onto the deck, wobbling a little. Linc’s hand came to rest of the small of her back.
Ella stepped forward. “I’m fine,” she muttered and took a seat. “We can leave whenever you’re ready.”
“Is that all you’re going to say to me? No ‘Hello, Linc’?”
“Can we just get on the water?”
She avoided his steady gaze.
“It’s good to see you, Ellie,” he murmured, his voice floating to her on the wind.
Instead of responding, she opened her briefcase and took out her laptop.
“I thought you’d be happy to see me.” Her glance toward him confirmed the cocky grin.
“Thrilled,” she said, deadpan, staring at him and trying her best not to launch herself at his body and commit homicide. Oh how strong the feelings were that were suddenly trapped in her chest. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to get going so we can get back before midnight.”
“Got plans?” he asked carefully. His gaze drilled a hole in the side of her head.
No way would she give him the satisfaction of knowing her only plans were to go home to her cat and watch reruns of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
“Actually, I do have plans,” she said, sitting a little straighter and jutting her chin out.
Linc gave her a knowing smile and turned to the helm, cranking the engine and slowly backing the boat out of the marina. When they were in the open water, he set the auto and came over to sit next to her. He didn’t say anything, but rather rubbed his palms on his legs.
Still, she continued to ignore him.
“Thirsty?” he asked a few moments later.
“No.” She typed away on her computer, filling in a contract for a client who hadn’t even gone to see a house yet. But it kept her mind busy, her fingers occupied and her brain numbed.
“You gonna be like this the whole trip? I asked you to do this because I trust you.”
Ella clenched her jaws together so hard she feared her teeth might crumble. Maybe if she didn’t speak, he would go away. Or fall overboard. She clicked her heels together three times, but alas, he was still there, pinning her with his emerald stare.
“Maybe you shouldn’t trust me,” she mumbled, typing furiously. She made a mental note to trash all the work she did today and start fresh tomorrow.
Suddenly, Linc’s hands covered hers softly and her name floated toward her on the breeze. She studied those hands for a minute. The hands that had been so kind to her. Hands she’d let touch her and hold her. Betrayer’s hands.
Ella snatched her hands from under his and slammed her laptop closed.
“Ow!” he said, prying his hands out of the computer.
She pulled out the latest book on the coastal market and opened it up to her dog-eared page where she had left off. Finally, with a huff, Linc stood and walked to the helm and adjusted their speed a little faster.
Good, Ella thought, the quicker we get there, the quicker I can get back to my cat.
It was only around eight in the morning, and the sky was a bright orange and pink. All around her the ocean was a deep blue, the boat sliced through the water like a sharp knife to melted butter. It was so peaceful out here. She’d forgotten how much so until that moment.
“You still like to sail?” Linc said behind her, reading her mind. Too close.
Ella spun around to see him standing right beside her, close enough for her to touch. All she could do in this close proximity was nod and turn her gaze back to the water. In order to keep up pretenses, however, she went back to reading the most boring book ever about stuff she already knew.
“I finally took that cruise down to the Caribbean we talked about. It’s unbelievable down there.”
Again, as if sensing a chink in her armor, he sat down with his elbows on his knees. The wind whipped his golden hair, but he didn’t seem to mind. His eyes were focused on something in the distance.
“Sheena went with me. She didn’t appreciate things the way you would have.”
Ella feigned interest in her book again although her ears were perked. Sheena? His fiancée’s name wasSheena? Clearly he’d lost his marbles when she’d come into his life. Shaking her head, she turned the page of her book.
“We had fun though. She got her hair in dreads. Took her forever to get it out. She thought she was going to have to shave her head.” He chuckled at the memory.
“Glad you guys enjoyed yourselves,” she offered in a flat voice. How nice it was to know that someone else had enjoyed the trip she was supposed to take with Linc.
“Ella, will you cut the crap?”
Finally, he had her attention. She stared into the most beautiful mossy eyes she’d ever seen as his hair thrashed wildly around his forehead. His brows furrowed, causing little wrinkles to form along the ridges.
Maybe Sheena had given him those.
“What are you talking about, Lincoln?” she asked, using his full name on purpose. He hated it.
“The way you’re acting! It’s stupid.”
Ella smiled sardonically. “And you talking to me like nothing ever happened is pretty ridiculous, too. Here’s a hint, I don’t want to hear about your trips with Sheena. I want to get to this island, show it to you, and get back home. This is not a pleasure trip, Linc. It’s business. Anything we might or might not have had is in the past where it will stay. I don’t want to be friends with you. I came here today in hopes of eventually getting a commission check, not learning about what positions your new fiancée enjoys.” Ella sat back against the seat and exhaled, picking up her book.
“Glad we cleared that up,” he mumbled on the wind and stood. “If you need anything, let me know. I can see you’ve got some enthralling reading to do, so I won’t keep you from it.”

Astraea Press Book Club

The Astraea Press Book Club on Face Book is a great way for readers to try new books and authors...for FREE! Each month one Astraea Press title is offered up for free to readers to read and enjoy. At the end of the month we have a chat with the author and a random drawing for an AP Swag Pack. Fun for all.

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