I haven’t done one of these in a while, but since CHANCE is releasing on 9.12, I thought I should… lol
CHANCE ( LAST MAN STANDING)
Chance Miller, divorce lawyer extraordinaire, knows the whole happily ever after dream is an urban myth. He deals with miserable and wedded warring couples every day and swears staying single keeps him sane and happy. His friends and family consider him the last single man standing and fear he’ll never find someone and settle down. But Chance relishes his carefree status and unencumbered lifestyle and has no plans to change anything.
If only his relatives would stop trying to set him up with their version of the perfect woman.
Fredrika Poole already experienced her one great love, and the widow can’t read any future romance in her tea leaves. She’s content to bake, run her business, and care for her daughter.
When Chance meets Freddie and discovers her marriage thoughts run on the same road his do, he realizes she’s the answer to his prayer for keeping the relatives at bay. But the pixie barista has a way of making Chance question everything he’s always thought about love, marriage, and wedded bliss.
Will his last man standing status go unchallenged? Or will Freddie be the one woman he wants…but can never have?
Even though she wasn’t nervous, the sensation of Chance’s fingers resting on her back offered a strange sense of calm and comfort.
The moment they entered the ballroom the sound level, which she’d felt knocking against her chest from the intensity, slipped to a decided hush as all eyes turned toward them.
A tiny knife strike of fear slipped in and pierced her quiet mien.
Chance’s fingers pressed against her back. “Breathe,” he murmured. “The way to handle them is to never let them see you sweat.”
She grinned at his word choice. Jimmy had said the same thing to her the first time she’d met his friends at the firehouse. Her usual state of calm bolted back.
A striking woman in a blue floor length dress and who had six inches and about forty years on her, crossed the length of the room, a man in a tuxedo clutching her hand and tagging along with her.
“Well, as usual you’re late,” the woman said, a huge, pleased smile on her face as she offered her cheek to Chance for a kiss.
He did so, saying, “You look lovely, Aunt Betty. Uncle Louis.” He nodded at the man at her side.
His aunt’s gaze shot to Freddie. If she had to put a word to the expression dancing across the older woman’s face it would be expectant.
“Allow me to introduce Fredrika Poole,” Chance said. A millisecond later he added, “My girlfriend.”
Hearing him say it aloud shouldn’t have sent a delighted shiver up her spine, but it did. Before she could contemplate on why, the woman in front of them let out a screech of delight.
“Well, isn’t this the best surprise!” She let go of her husband’s hand and pulled both of Freddie’s into hers, cocooning them.
“Happy Anniversary,” Freddie said with a smile.
“Thank you. Over fifty years with this man and every one has been better than the last.” The man at her side grinned then kissed her cheek. “But enough about us,” she said turning her full attention back to her. “Tell me, how did you two meet? Was it at work? How long have you been dating? What do you do? Are you a lawyer, too?”
Freddie blinked a few times, unsure of which question to answer first and afraid more were going to be thrown her way before she could give a reply to even one.
“Down, girl,” Chance said as he slid her hands from his aunt’s grip. “You have all night to grill her. We just got here and I’d like to make the rounds, say hello to everyone and introduce her around. Okay?”
His aunt tossed him a peeved pout, then shook her head and grinned. “Always have to be in control,” she said, clucking her tongue. To Freddie she said, “You probably already know that about him, though, don’t you dear? The original Mr. In Charge, that’s our Chancey-boy.”
Freddie hid the grin she wanted to let loose from the look on Chance’s face. Part embarrassed, part annoyed, and one hundred percent adorably miffed male grimaced next to her.
“Go on, then,” Betty said. “Go show your girl off. But don’t forget your favorite aunt. I want to hear all the deets, as my grandkids say, later on. I’m not letting you leave this party without knowing everything about you,” she said to Freddie.
“Yes ma’am,” Freddie replied.
“Terrified yet?” Chance whispered as he took her arm and propelled her toward a group of people close to their own age.
She tried not to think about how natural his hand felt against her skin as she said, “It takes a whole lot more than an aunt who shows her love by being nosy to scare me, Chancey-boy,” she said, trying to keep the grin from her face.
When he squeezed her arm and said, “I’ll pay you back for calling me that by introducing you to Aunt Theresa next. The FBI and CIA have her on speed dial because of her interrogation techniques.”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Hey, everyone. This is Freddie.”
The impossibly boorish introduction made her gape at him and then laugh out loud. She needn’t have worried about it, though, because he was immediately chastised by every female in the group.
Names were thrown at her from every direction, accompanied by warm and enthusiastic handshakes and smiles. Freddie glanced over at her date to see him engrossed in serious conversation with one of the most beautiful women she’d ever set eyes on. Long, shiny, deep auburn colored hair flowed freely about a perfectly heart-shaped face framed by robins-egg blue eyes and an upturned, pixie nose and jaw.
Without being told, she knew this was Chance’s sister, Sable. The curve of their jaws and the cut of their cheeks hinted at it, but when Sable pursed her perfect lips in a pout of confusion, she saw Chance’s face stare back at her.
The younger woman glanced over at her, her delicate eyebrows lifting at something her brother was saying.
Questions flew at her left and right. Chance hadn’t been kidding when he’d told her she’d be the topic of interest tonight simply because she’d come with him.
“You’re certainly an improvement over the last girl he brought around,” Moira – she thought that was the name – said. “You actually make eye contact and smile,” she added.
“And you look like you have a brain,” said another. Kitty, maybe?
“Thanks,” she said, adding a crooked smile. “I think.”
“How long have the two of you been going out?” This one she couldn’t put a name to.
“Not long,” she replied, purposefully being vague.
“Where’d ya meet?” Moira again.
“I own the coffee station in the building Chance works in. We met by accident when he was on the receiving end of a thrown coffee cup.”
Eyebrows lifted and mouths pulled into delighted grins as she explained his client’s ex and her tirade.
“I would have paid cash money to see that,” the one whose name she couldn’t remember said.
“All of us would have. So,” Kitty said, “you came to his rescue and what? He asked you out?”
“Something like that.” She smiled when she saw him leave his sister and stride back toward their group.
“Okay, kids, that’s enough,” Chance said as he slipped a hand around her arm. “I want a drink and something to eat and I’m sure Freddie does, too. You can continue the grilling later.”
“We weren’t grilling her, Chancy-boy.” This from Kitty.
As he turned, Moira sniggered. “Should I have the waiters serve coffee now, or wait until later?”
Chance stumbled a bit while moving her away from the group, but didn’t respond to his cousin.
Gently, he tugged her toward the buffet table. “You told them?”
“They asked how we met. I wasn’t going to lie.”
His theatrical sigh pulled a grin from her.
“You can bet by the end of the night everyone in this room will know the story. My family is like a bad game of telephone.”