An Excerpt from The Ground Rules by Roya Carmen

Please welcome author Roya Carmen to Hearts, Heroes and Happily Ever After!

Roya’s new release has people talking. Her fresh take on romance has readers falling in love with a rather risque scenario.

About The Ground Rules

1. Don’t sleep around.

2. Don’t kiss and tell.

3. Be nice.

4. Don’t text or call.

5. Don’t fall in love.

The rules were simple…until they weren’t.

I have everything I ever thought I could want: a nice home, a job I love, two beautiful girls, and my husband, Gabe – my high school sweetheart who still rocks my world. If you ask anyone to describe me they would say, “Oh, Mirella? She’s such a nice girl.” And that’s true…until a mysterious, peculiar man and his beautiful wife enter our lives.

Weston and Bridget Hanson are no ordinary couple—they’re stunning, enigmatic, and sexy as hell. During the course of one unexpected evening, my ordinary world is turned upside down. How could it not be when Weston and Bridget propose the unthinkable? And when the unthinkable is so very tempting, giving in becomes inevitable.

It sounds so logical and simple. Just five rules and we can all have what we desire. But the heart doesn’t follow rules, and now passion, jealousy, and confusion threaten to tear everything apart.

Two beautiful couples. Five simple rules. One hot mess.

The Ground Rules teaser

Excerpt

His office is similar to the lobby—very bright, contemporary, and highly organized. Books and publications, contemporary sculptures and models are wonderfully displayed on glass shelves. His desk is all glass. All glass! And the items resting on it are aligned in perfect symmetry. The pens in his glass pencil holder are all black and identical, tops pointing up—no ugly plastic white pens from Don’s Supersaver Drycleaner. He rubs the back of his neck as his gaze travels to the two retro, white tufted leather chairs by the large window. “Please take a seat.” I’ve seen those kinds of chairs in fancy decor magazines, and I’ve always wanted to sit on one. As I make my way there, I walk past his glass desk and slide my fingers along its edge, itching to grab something and mess with it. I reach for one of the black pens and flip it upside down. He smiles at me. “I see you’ve come to make trouble.” God, he is beautiful. I smile back at him as I head to the sitting area and plop my rear on one of the fancy chairs. Comfy. I take in the Chicago skyline as I gingerly set my briefcase on the floor and cross one leg over the other, trying to appear sophisticated. He smiles. “You look very charming today.” Well, “charming” wasn’t quite what I was going for, but I’ll take it. “You too,” I say with a sly smile. Okay, this is definitely not a business meeting. At least, it doesn’t feel like one. He paces back and forth across the room and finally stops at the well-stocked bar and coffee station. “Can I offer you anything to drink?” “No, thank you.” I’m not thirsty. I’m not hungry. I’m simply dying of curiosity—I can’t wait to find out what this mysterious meeting is all about. Finally, he takes a seat—not on the sofa, but rather on the coffee table, right in front of me. He rubs his hands on his fitted charcoal pants, and his right knee bounces up and down—I can’t help but notice. His leg stills when he catches my wide-eyed stare. Whatever this meeting is about…it has turned him into a bundle of nerves. He’s so close…I can see the gold speckles in his eyes. Yes, this is so definitely not a business meeting. I have a tiny momentary lapse of judgment and itch to kiss him. But still having my wits about me, I tilt my head away. He closes his eyes for a second and clears his throat. “First, I feel I must warn you…” he starts as he rests his hand lightly on my knee. My heart unexpectedly hammers in my chest, and I stop breathing for a second. His touch feels wonderful. I don’t think he’s ever touched me before. He jolts his hand away, as quickly as he’s put it there. “You’ll probably be shocked,” he starts, the pitch of his voice uncharacteristically high, “by what I’m about to say.” Shocked? I’m insane with curiosity, and my stomach is completely tied up in knots. He rakes a hand through his hair. “Feel free to ask me any questions,” he tells me. “I’ll try to answer as efficiently as I can.” “Yes.” I say, completely attentive. Heck, if I had been this attentive in school, I could have become a doctor. He bites his bottom lip. “First, I want to tell you how much Bridget and I enjoyed meeting you and your husband.” “Us too.” You have no idea. “The truth is,” he carries on, not quite making eye contact, “we were truly amazed,” he adds, pausing for a second, perhaps searching for the right words, “by this connection we seem to all have.” He’s felt it too. It wasn’t just me. My heart beats at rocket speed, and I wonder, for a fraction of a second, if a heart can beat too fast. “Yes…I agree. We just clicked, didn’t we?” “Very much so.” I find myself staring at his mouth, aching to run my fingers along his five o’clock shadow. I could never. And I shouldn’t. I definitely shouldn’t. “First…first off,” he says, scratching his brow. I can sense whatever he’s about to tell me is not easy. “As you know, Bridget and I have been in a committed relationship for many years. And we love each other.” My heart sinks. He’s brought me here to let me down gently, to tell me to back off—complete with car service. How classy.

“I feel I must tell you before I go on,” he says, looking out the window. I wish he could just settle his eyes on me and say whatever it is he wants to say. He stares down at a copy of Architectural Digest on the table and presses a finger against the cover. Seriously? There is no way in hell he’s looking at pictures of crown molding and marble floors right now. Thankfully, he isn’t—he just can’t seem to make eye contact. “Look at me,” I whisper. “Whatever it is, I’ll understand.” He gazes up at me and smiles. There’s such vulnerability about him, I just want to reach out and hug him. “Well actually, this might be hard for you to understand,” he finally manages. “I know from our conversations that you were raised in a Catholic family.” I have absolutely no idea where he’s going with this. He stares off into the distance, yet again. “Well, the truth is,” he trails off, his knee still bouncing up and down frantically. “Hell, I’ll simply get right to it,” he blurts out. “No sense in beating around the bush…” He takes a long breath and doesn’t utter a word for the longest time, and I sit on the edge of my seat, barely able to contain myself, waiting for him to tell me. Tell me what, I’m not sure. But I want to know.

Add The Ground Rules to your Goodreads TBR.

Buy The Ground Rules.

About the Author

Romance writer, mom, book junkie. I have been writing for over ten years, finding my passion for romance in 2008. When I’m not spending time with my family, I enjoy reading, painting, and writing – there is nothing I enjoy more than sitting down at my laptop and making up my own stories – and if those stories should include beautiful men, a little romance, and a few steamy scenes, all the better!

Connect with the author on her Website, Facebook and Twitter.

 

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