Hopeless romantic Elena Mason doesn’t often hate people, but she hates her ex-fiancé’s insufferable best man, Lucas Albright III. She just knows Lucas is the one who talked her ex out of getting married—so Lucas is clearly the cause of all her problems.
And now she’s expected to work with him? Oh, heck no.
Lucas Albright wants nothing more than to make partner at his advertising firm, and he knows he works best alone. But then Elena ends up as his partner on an account that could win him a promotion. He had a great reason to end her engagement, not that she’d ever believe him. Still, he’s willing to try working as a team.
Unfortunately, his new “partner” wants him dead.
Elena knows she’s going to have to give in and work with her nemesis, though nobody said it had to be easy for him. But what happens when fighting starts feeling a whole lot like falling in love?
About the Book
Romancing His Rival
by Jennifer Shirk
Accidentally Yours Series – Book Three
Publisher – Entangled Bliss
He stumbled back as something spongey yet firm smacked up against his face again. His head shot back and it slammed against the wall. Pain shot through his skull. He raised his arms to protect himself and cracked one eye open, then caught a glimpse of his assailant.
Surprise and relief struck him at once. Thank God. Not exactly a friendly face, but much better than a robber.
“Elena,” he said, holding his palms up in surrender, “it’s me, Lucas Albright.”
Before he could regain his balance, he was hit with another swipe to the face.
“Hey!” He rubbed his jaw. Damn, that hit packed an even stronger punch. What kind of woman knew how to use a pillow as a weapon? “Elena, stop. I said it’s me, Lucas.”
Unsmiling, Elena slowly lowered the pillow. “I heard you.”
“Jeez, then why’d you still hit me?” he asked, moving his jaw and checking for loose teeth. Did she have a crowbar wedged in the stuffing?
She gave a small shrug. “Sorry. My hands must have slipped.”
He narrowed his eyes. Yeah. Right. Obviously, Elena Mason held a small grudge against him. Not that he totally blamed her.
“What are you doing here?” he asked, hiding a grin as he took in her pink pajama bottoms that had pictures of chocolate chip cookies and the words “Tough Cookie” all over them. Otherwise, she would have made an intimidating figure for sure with her long brown hair spilling over her shoulders, cheeks flushed, and brown eyes blazing.
“I was invited.” She walked back into the living room and tossed the pillow onto the couch. “What are you doing here? You gave me a heart attack, sneaking in like you did.”
“I didn’t sneak in. The door was open and I walked in. And—you were invited?”
Elena whipped her hair off her shoulders like a regal debutante and nodded. “That’s right. Invited. And I was specifically told I would be alone. So you better run along now.”
He cracked a half smile as he began unbuttoning his coat. He didn’t remember Elena being this feisty when she was engaged to Scott. But damn, if she didn’t wear her temper extremely well. And damn, if that didn’t make him want to stir it even more.
“I’m not running along anywhere,” he told her matter-of-factly.
“What? But you can’t stay here. Not with me, anyway.”
“I can and I will. With you. This is my sister’s condo, and she lets me use it whenever I choose. And I happen to choose now.”
Her mouth dropped open. “Oh my gosh, after everything you’ve done to me, I can’t believe you have the nerve.”
“Everything I’ve done?”
“Don’t play dumb, Lucas. Scott told me everything you said about me.” Her breath caught and she paused. “You know, just because I don’t have a college degree doesn’t mean I’m not executive wife material. I…I have a lot going for myself.”
Although her words lacked the confidence to be effective, Lucas still didn’t doubt that for one minute, which was why he had never said a single one of those things to Scott about her. Scott had created that reasoning all by himself.
Truthfully, from the several times Lucas had spent in her company while she’d been engaged to his friend, he’d found her to be smart, engaging, trusting, and loyal. Not to mention incredibly pretty. And, if he were being even more honest, incredibly sexy.
Not that Scott or Elena would appreciate hearing that last bit.
He hung up his coat and slipped out of his snow boots. “Look, Elena—”
“Oh, no, don’t get comfortable,” she said, pointing to his socked feet. “You’re not staying.”
He sighed. “I know you’re not thrilled to see me right now. I get that. But I only pointed out things to Scott about my own marriage that he already knew. As his best man, I owed him that. If Scott happened to take that information and form his own opinions on what does or doesn’t make a great relationship, well, I can’t be held responsible. Maybe what it comes down to is that you and Scott really weren’t meant for each other.”
She gasped. “How can you say that? Who made you the Be-All-End-All Relationship Guru? Just because your marriage didn’t end well doesn’t mean my and Scott’s marriage would have ended poorly too. He loves me.”
“I don’t doubt that he cares for you or even loved you, but that doesn’t always hold a marriage together. Trust me, I know.”
He sure did know. Once upon a time he’d thought his marriage to Catherine was one for the romance textbooks. Everything he’d thought a good, loving relationship should be. At least on paper. They even had the house in the suburbs of North Jersey with the yard meant for a dog and several children. But after a few years, Catherine missed city living and the entertainment New York could bring and often traveled into the city to shop or meet friends for lunch. He’d learned later that one of her friends had been a male coworker from her old job—and more importantly, that they weren’t just meeting for lunch.
It was his own fault, he knew now. He wasn’t meant for marriage. In fact, when he was born, he should have been slapped with a “does not play well with others” label.
Still, failures hurt, which was why succeeding in his career felt like a balm for his soul. He could “win” at something, at least.
“Save it, Lucas,” Elena spat, folding her arms defiantly. “Don’t even try to pretend you had my best interests at heart when you convinced Scott not to marry me. You’re… You’re… You’re deplorable.”
He banked down his own frustration. He’d hardly convinced anyone to do anything. But he’d admit he was glad of the outcome. She and Scott never really made sense to him. She obviously was hurting, though, and Scott still seemed confused about his feelings. So, better she think Lucas was the villain in this situation. After all, he’d probably never see her again after this weekend anyway.
“I am sorry,” he offered. He truly was. Sort of. Scott was a decent guy, but a little selfish in the relationship department. While Elena deserved… She needed a man like…
Hell, what did he know what kind of man she should be with? But to be honest, he really couldn’t picture her with anyone specific.
She turned away, but not before he’d seen the tears in her eyes. “Just go. If you are sorry, then the best thing you could do for me is leave. Please.”
As soon as he saw the tears, his chest felt as if a gorilla had collapsed on it. But the whispered please she’d tacked on at the end nearly brought him to his knees. The last thing he wanted to do was make her cry. In fact, he’d been trying to save her from heartbreak. How did this get so complicated? “I…I can’t go anywhere.”
Her shoulders stiffened, then she glanced back. “Well, then I’ll leave.”
But before she could storm away, he took hold of her arm. It was a knee-jerk reaction. He wasn’t thinking beyond the fact that he couldn’t let her go out there alone in that weather. But touching her like that had him immediately pulling back and standing stock-still as if his fingers had been seared.
He cleared his throat. “I don’t think you understand. You’re not going anywhere either.”
He guided her to the nearest window and raised the shade. “That’s why.”
“Oh my gosh!” She pressed her nose up against the glass and blinked at the thick white flakes swirling from the night sky like a shaken snow globe.
“Yeah, it’s really coming down,” he told her. “I was lucky to make it here when I did. There’s no way you’d go fifty yards before getting stuck in that mess. I heard on the radio there’s a special storm warning in effect from midnight until five in the morning.”
Elena backed away from the window and looked at him in horror. “So, what are you saying?”
“I’m saying what you’re not willing to hear. Like it or not, sweetheart, it seems we’re stuck with each other for the night.”
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of ROMANCING HIS RIVAL by Jennifer Shirk, we’re giving away for a $25 Amazon gift card!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open internationally. One winner will be chosen to receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Entangled Publishing. Giveaway ends 2/15/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. Entangled Publishing will send one winning prize, Pure Textuality PR will deliver the other. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.
About Jennifer Shirk
USA TODAY bestselling author, JENNIFER SHIRK, has a bachelor degree in pharmacy-which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations. She writes sweet romances (some even funny!) and won third place in the RWA 2006 NYC’s Kathryn Hayes Love and Laughter Contest with her first book, The Role of a Lifetime. Recently, her novel Sunny Days for Sam won the 2013 Golden Quill Published Authors Contest for Best Traditional Romance. She’s a board member for Straight Ahead Ministries, an organization involved in helping spread the gospel and aiding medical and pharmacy students in Russia. She’s also a board member of the Ocean City Library Board of Trustees. She resides in a beach resort in NJ, and when she’s not involved in all the above, she’s taking care of her most treasured possessions: her husband, daughter, guinea pig (Rocco), puppy (Sox) and four hermit crabs.