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by Andrea Simonne
A funny and sizzling romp about discovering your inner pin-up girl...
Plain-Jane bakery owner Natalie Anderson has always followed the recipe for a safe life. When her husband dumps her for a seductive older woman, it’s time to throw out that recipe and start from scratch. She cooks up a plan to transform herself from mousy brown to sexy blonde. Meanwhile, she’s trying to expand her Seattle bakery, La Dolce Vita, but runs into an obstacle in the form of her irritatingly handsome landlord.
Astronomer Anthony Novello’s good looks and charm usually guarantees him a free pass with women, though that’s not the case with his new tenant, Natalie. Plain, plump, and persnickety—he’s never met a woman more annoying. But when Anthony returns from a telescope observing run, he makes a discovery of the non-celestial kind. Natalie has changed. He’s amazed to find himself attracted to her. Sparks fly as he tries to convince her there’s more to him than meets the eye.
However, when Natalie’s ex-husband decides to win her back, she’s forced to choose. Is her year of living blonde over? Or is this the start of a new and much sweeter life….
Natalie grins. “And what is this I hear about my cookies in Hawaii?”
Anthony rolls his eyes in mock exasperation. “All right, I admit it. I took a dozen with to Mauna Kea.”
“You should be. It was right after you called me an asshole and I didn’t want go back into the bakery, so I had to ask Maya to buy them for me.”
Natalie shifts uncomfortably. “I apologized for that. Should I apologize again?”
“It can’t hurt.”
He doesn’t say anything, just puts new coordinates into his telescope’s keypad.
“Can I ask you something?” she asks.
She bites her lip. “Why do you like me?”
Anthony continues what he’s doing, a smile playing around the edges of his mouth. “What makes you think I like you?”
“Because you invited me here tonight. What is it you see in me, exactly?”
“I don’t know.” He attaches the keypad back to the telescope. “In truth, I’ve wondered about it myself.”
“What kind of answer is that?”
Anthony chuckles. “I’m just being honest. You’re not exactly easy to get along with.”
“I’m not sure why I’m always giving you such a hard time.”
“Why is that?”
“It’s because you’re into me.”
Natalie’s face grows warm. “No, I’m not.”
His hand is still on the telescope. He gazes over at her. “Yeah, you are.”
Anthony lets go and moves closer. She can smell him again, his woodsy soap. He’s taller than her and she has to look up at him.
“I’m not into you,” she insists, though her pulse quickens.
Their eyes meet. He’s so near now, she can see the dark fringe of his lashes. The stubble of his beard. She shivers with anticipation.
“Yeah, you are, but it’s okay,” he says softly, leaning close, “because I’m into you, too.”
And then he kisses her. Natalie is dizzy with shock.
Anthony is kissing me!
Andrea Simonne grew up as an army brat and discovered she had a talent for creating personas at each new school. The most memorable was a surfer chick named "Ace" who never touched a surf board in her life, but had an impressive collection of puka shell necklaces. Eventually she turned her imagination towards writing. Andrea still enjoys creating personas, though these days they occupy her books. She currently makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons.
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