by Lilly Cain Genre: Contemporary Romance, Rom-Com
All I ever wanted is happening this weekend.
Or at least it might happen. If I don't screw it up. A lot can go wrong when you are sneaking around a Las Vegas hotel between a poker tournament and a romance writer's convention. And secretly attending both. More can go wrong when the one man you ever really wanted is there too, and he's watching. He's like a spy on a mission, always trying to keep me out of trouble.
He saved me once from drowning. He's my brother's best friend and I've wanted him since I was old enough to know what that means. But for him I've been off limits, the stakes were too high.
How could I resist making him the hero of my book? How will he react when he finds out?
Warning: This book contains awkward situations, fan-girling, laughter, heat, and love!
“What do you think, we go hit the tables after we get done here? Get some practice in?” Connor grinned at her. She couldn’t help but grin back. Her big brother never seemed to run out of enthusiasm when it came to poker. They’d been standing in line for ten minutes, which wasn’t bad, but there were at least a dozen people ahead, waiting to register at The Princess Resort, Las Vegas. She shifted her shoulder bag. The thing weighed a ton, but she wasn’t about to put it down with Connor right beside her. Knowing him, he’d pick it up for her and then demand what made it so blasted heavy.
One manuscript, 347 double-spaced pages of love, lust and happy ending. Her manuscript. The thought made her want to do a little dance, right here in the lobby. Jenn Riley, author.
The line shuffled forward. Although there were three clerks on the hotel registration desk, getting checked in was taking forever. The place was huge, and the signs of the two ongoing events everywhere—the poker tournament she was playing in with her brother and his two friends and the romance writers’ conference taking place in the larger ballrooms and meeting venues. The writers’ conference she planned to secretly attend.
Connor and his friends had no idea she’d agreed to come with them when their fourth had broken a leg at his job, only because she could get to the writers’ con from the poker tourney simply by crossing the hotel lobby. Her brother had teased her mercilessly about her love for romance novels when growing up, and if he heard she’d written one…
She shook her head.
Connor frowned. “What, you jetlagged?”
“Uh, a little. I think I might just chill a little, grab a swim and some time by the pool. Soak up some desert heat,” she murmured distractedly.
Connor sighed but accepted her plan and then rambled on about the tournament, who he thought might be there this year, how tough they were. Like they hadn’t gone over it at home. And at the airport. And on the plane. She stifled a sigh. The team competition worked on points, each player in their own division, and Connor had a hundred strategies, or more, since he had a female player on his team this time and could enter the new division. She liked poker, loved it, really. It was fun and she was good, thus the invite when Connor needed a fourth. But what she wouldn’t give to go over and say hello to the authors gathering near the bar. They had to be authors. All women, gathered in circles, getting glasses of wine and talking about…what? Their new plot? Who had what book coming out next? She wet her lips and shuffled ahead in line.
Minutes later they were registered into adjoining rooms, Jenn in one and Connor in the other. His poker-partner buddies were apparently already checked into their rooms on the floor above. Connor texted them as Jenn watched a large screen to the right of the registration table. Conference information scrolled over the panel. She chewed her lip when she read the registration times for both events. Damn. Nearly the same time for both, and on opposite sides of the hotel. She’d have to catch the late registration for the writers’ conference.
She walked with Connor to the elevator. The noise as they passed the bar was amazing, the place abuzz with what had to be a hundred women, all chatting and laughing, drinks in hand. She let a little wave of jealousy slide through her. If she’d had a little more money, she would have been here on her own instead of with her brother. She’d be in there with those women, meeting and greeting and rubbing shoulders with the authors she read every night. Soon though. After two years of playing with her book, it was done. Her career as a writer was about to begin and her life was about to change.
She dropped off her luggage in the room, nice enough for a hotel this size but she wouldn’t have much time to enjoy it. Then it was off to explore and maybe meet up with the one author she did know at the convention, Nancy Clarke, a seasoned veteran of these events who helped with online pitch classes. It would be nice to finally put a face with the name.
She had more than one plan for the weekend, after all. Excitement zipped through her as she headed back down the elevator and detoured toward the pool. She had to at least say she’d seen it.
This trip was all about changing her life. Starting her writing career, placing high enough in the tournament to win the cash she needed to have the freedom to start her next novel without working.
She watched an older lady in an elegant pantsuit chatting with two younger women in suits near a large pool tent marked with the convention logo. Was that who she thought it was? Her heart beat a little harder. Hello, fangirl moment.
No way was she missing this opportunity.
She strode toward her--the Nora—and almost bumped into a young woman carrying drinks toward the tent. Jenn swerved, fought for balance, lost. At the last second, she threw her bag to the safety of a nearby lounger. It was the least she could do for her literary baby before she ended up in the deep end.
Unfortunately, she never had learned to swim.
A large, warm hand grabbed her by the shoulders and dragged her to the surface. She struggled, a bit desperate to get out of the water, but more so not to drown in front of her idol. Seconds later she was unceremoniously dumped on the tiles beside the pool where she sputtered for a moment before she noticed the hands running over her body and moved to protest. Only she couldn’t quite catch her breath.
Lilly Cain is a wild woman with a deep throaty laugh, plunging necklines and a great lover of all things sensual - perfume, chocolate, silk! She never has to worry about finding a date or keeping a man in line. She keeps her blond hair long and curly, wears beautiful clothes and loves loud music. Lilly lives her private life in the pages of her books.
All of the above is a bit of silliness. When not living up to her pen name, Lilly lives in Atlantic Canada, although she spent eight years in Bermuda, enjoying the heat and the pink sands. She returned to her homeland so she could see the changing of the seasons once again. When not writing she paints, swills coffee and vodka (but not together), and fights her writing pals for chocolate (true story).
Lilly is a single mom who loves reading and writing, dabbling in art and loving and caring for her two daughters. She loves romance and the freedom erotic fantasy provides her imagination. She loves the chilling moments in her novels as much as the steaming hot interludes. Her stories are an escape and a release, and she hopes that they can give you that power, too.