Title: Tempted By Mr. Write
Author: Sara Hantz
Expected Date Of Publication: September 25, 2015
Publisher: Entangled/ LoveStruck
Rating: 3 Stars
After losing out on a plum assignment, a romance book conference is the last place journalist Sheridan Farlow wants to be. Love is a myth—like flattering changing room mirrors—and she has the past relationships to prove it. Her editor wants a story? Fine. She’ll write an entire exposé...only it doesn't go quite according plan.
Bernard “Mac” Mackenzie is something of an anomaly in the romance-writing world—a man who writes romance and believes in it. And until he met Sheridan, Mac’s never felt anything close to the love he writes about. He needs more of her. In his arms, and in his bed.
Their attraction is explosive; even as Sheridan’s cynical side battles her growing feelings for Mac. But can she handle writing a biting exposé with an exposed heart on the line? -Goodreads
Tempted by Mr. Write
by Sara Hantz
Copyright © 2015 by Sara Hantz. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.
Chapter One“What the hell?”
Eyes bugged, Sheridan Farlow gripped her cell phone and stared at the email detailing the week’s assignments. The job destined to elevate her career to the next level had been taken from her at the last minute and replaced with the worst gig on the planet.
She marched to her editor’s office, gave a single knock on the glass window, and walked in without waiting for a response. The room was small and bare of anything personal, with a light wooden desk in the middle. On every wall were shelves heaving with files. Jane was sitting behind an open laptop, her head lowered and her metallic red glasses perched precariously on the end of her nose. She glanced up from under her dark bangs.
“Let me get this straight,” Sheridan said, glaring at her editor. To hell with pleasantries. “You’ve decided you don’t want me to cover the president’s visit on Monday, and instead you’re sending me to the”—she glanced at the email again—“The Romance Lovers Convention in Las Vegas. You’ve gotta be kidding me.”
She drew in a long breath and released it slowly, which eased the tension in her muscles and injected an element of much needed control into her demeanor.
“Someone’s got to do it, and that someone’s you.”
Sheridan’s stomach plummeted to the floor. How could her editor sit there so complacent, as though this was no big deal?
“Who’s got the president’s visit?”
She’d thought all her birthdays had come at once when they asked her to cover the opening of the Minneapolis Summit by the president. She’d worked her butt off the last three years, even postponing her European travel plans, to follow in her brother’s footsteps and finally impress her father. And it was just about to pay off. Until now.
Her stomach clenched. Peter had only been on staff for twelve months. Granted he’d been reporting in the UK before he joined The Chronicle, but surely that alone didn’t make him a better choice.
“My father’s not going to be happy about this.” Sheridan hated pulling the father card. Most people she worked with weren’t even aware they were related, since she used her mother’s maiden name as her by-line. A wise move because she’d bet her last dollar that she’d lose much of her cred if her colleagues found out.
Some of those who knew the truth thought she was crazy to remain anonymous. Having a father who owned the media group that owned the newspaper seemed to them like a gift from heaven. But they didn’t know her father.
But didn’t do anything about it. She wasn’t surprised, though. He probably thought she wasn’t up to it. He might have insisted that she joined The Chronicle, but he never missed an opportunity to compare her with Drake, her brother, a top political journalist who had died several years ago while reporting from a war zone in Africa.
“Since when do you consult him on the allocation of work?”
It didn’t make sense. Her father wasn’t involved in day-to-day operations. He often said when he appointed a new Managing Editor that they would stand or fall on their own merits. And they did. Not that it mattered. She certainly wasn’t going to confront him about it and be subjected to his successful-journalists-don’t-cherry-pick lecture.
“I don’t. It came down the line that management didn’t think you were ready to cover the president’s visit. They want to feed it to the rest of the group, so they decided Peter would be a better person to do it. You have to take his assignment.”
“And do I have any say in this?”
The thought of covering any convention hardly filled her with excitement, especially one that focused on romance. She was the least romantic person she knew and for good reason. It was a load of fantasy crap that bore no relation to real life. She knew from firsthand experience with men, and from witnessing her parents’ chaotic marriage, that romance was a media and retail invention designed to make money. You only had to listen to the ker-ching in all the stores on Valentine’s Day to work that one out.
“No. But think of the fun you’ll have in Vegas. All expenses paid. Have you been before?”
A memory flashed in her mind of the surprise trip one of her exes had booked. She was all packed and ready to go, but a last-minute work emergency had come up, and she’d insisted that he go without her rather than lose all the money he’d spent on reservations. Big mistake. Because that was the last she saw of him. He was only there for a week, and by the time he returned, he had met someone else and married her in front of an Elvis impersonator.
“I haven’t been to Vegas, and I don’t want to go now.”
“Sheridan,” Jane said softly, clearly trying a different approach. “It’s only for a few days. Surely you can suck it up and deal with it.”
“Easy for you to say,” Sheridan muttered.
“I do say. And remember to talk to the organizers. According to sales, they’re good advertisers. We don’t want to upset them.”
Sheridan bit down on her bottom lip. “Since when do you care about advertisers? I thought you were all for editorial integrity.”
At least that’s what Jane had always said when she was just a reporter, like Sheridan. They’d worked well together then. Had a lot of laughs. Sheridan had looked up to the older reporter, learning a great deal from her. Since Jane had become editor, things had changed.
Jane went red. “I am. But we still have to remember it’s advertising that enables us to put out the stories we want.”
Sheridan knew that. How could she not, living with her father? But for Jane to be concerned about it could mean only one thing. The rumors were true. Jane was out for a promotion to Managing Editor.
“Whatever,” she muttered.
Sheridan slipped her cell into her jacket pocket and then turned and headed out of the office, in shock that the day, which had started out so good, had turned into such a nightmare.
“Thanks, Caitlin, I owe you one,” Sheridan said as she hurriedly threw her bag into the trunk and then hopped in beside her best friend, who’d offered to give her a ride to the airport and also to take care of Pickles, the obstinate cat.
“Anytime. You’re so lucky. I could do with a few mindless days in Vegas.” Caitlin let out a long sigh.
Sheridan envied Caitlin’s laissez-faire attitude at times, and wished she could be more like her. But she couldn’t; she wasn’t made that way.
“Be my guest. Although I can assure you it will be far from mindless with what I have in mind.” She laughed.
“Tell.” Caitlin grinned as she turned the key in the ignition and pulled out. “And remember best friends don’t count in the adage ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.’”
Sheridan winced. “Ouch. Using that cliché alone means you deserve to come with me. Unfortunately, I’ll be working. I’ve been wondering how to slant my story. Whether to take a sympathetic look or to go to town and make it a real doozy. Whatever. My first job will be to check out the convention delegates. I mean, who are these romance lovers and what makes them want to attend a convention? It beats me.”
“And did you tell your editor that romance isn’t your thing?” Caitlin asked.
“No. It’s not like it would’ve changed anything. I’d still have to go.”
Caitlin laughed. “There’s nothing wrong with a bit of escapism every once in a while. I enjoy reading a good romance. Or watching a chick flick, if I’m in the mood.”
If Sheridan wasn’t so pissed about it still, she’d have laughed with her.
“Well, I’m never in the mood,” Sheridan replied adamantly, her jaw jutting out in defiance. “Anyway, I’ll give you a rundown on everything when I return.”
“I’ll hold you to that,” Caitlin said as she pulled onto the highway leading to the airport. “And remember, it might be work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make time to fit in some fun.”
Accompanied by the exclamation of a bewildered, "Huh?"
A check of my kindle and a rather confused stare-down with the clock on my computer,to convince myself that I had indeed read the entire novella in less than 30 minuets.
Coupled with a memory check to confirm that:
A. Leading lady, Sheridan and leading man, Mac had met, exchanged pleasantries, had dinner, had sex, had a crisis of sorts, resolved said crisis, fallen in love, and gone traipsing off into the sunset.
B. Everything happened in Vegas.
C. There was absolutely no drunk marriage, texting, sexing, dialing, sexting,or any other shenanigans of any sort to explain, or justify any of it.
D. There just needed to be more.
This is the type of story that sends reviewers everywhere into fits, making us want to throw ourselves out of the nearest collective window.
There is so much here to love; it's just not enough to justify falling in love, or even lust yet.
The premise of "ambitious news hound meets sexy male romance novelist" is more than enough to pique reader interest, and serve as the perfect road to "happily..."
What said premise is not however, is a license to race down said road at lightening speed. Leaving all the sights, sounds, and creativity that audiences crave, as little more than impressionistic nuance in the rear view.
The story that we have here would be great as-is if the sex had been HOTTER!
This story is one that needs to simmer and build in character and sweetness over pages filled with heart-stopping romance, and a once in a lifetime merging of souls.
These are things that just don't have the time to happen over the course of a few stolen moments in Vegas.
I was born in Northampton, England, the eldest of 4 children (I have 3 younger brothers), and I took my eldest child responsibilities very seriously. When I said jump, they asked how high. They’re all a lot taller than me now, so I’ve had to change tactics for getting my own way.
School and I weren’t a match made in heaven. I was bored a lot of the time, and it seemed much more fun to dream up ways of disrupting lessons than to actually pay attention. Which could explain why I was always in trouble! But I redeemed myself later, when at twenty-one I went back to full-time study. Except, I got carried away and became a bit of a qualification tart. I even worked in education for a number of years – lecturing.
But all the time I was never content. I knew there was something missing, just didn’t know what.
Until I discovered writing.
I wasn’t one of those people who wrote from being a small child. I did read though. I’ve always been an avid reader. And it took me a few years of thinking about writing before I actually started. But now, I wouldn’t do anything else, and I never get bored!
I moved to New Zealand (a beautiful country) from the UK twelve years ago, with my husband and two children. After working at a university for three years I left to work in our motel and devote more time to my writing. I wish I’d done it sooner! Two years ago we moved to the Sunshine Coast in Australia. Another perfect place to write.
In my spare time I love going to the movies, watching TV, walking on the beach, and playing with our gorgeous Labrador.