Release date: May 11, 2015
Sophie Graystone is a florist by day, a lead guitarist by night, and neighbor to an aloof restaurant owner all the time. But then her apartment building loses power during the holidays, and thanks to the wickless candle trend, she’s left with no light and a rumbling tummy.
What’s a guy to do but invite this crazy, beautiful whirlwind for a late-night menu tasting? Marc Sizzo’s too busy concentrating on making his new venture a success to fall in love. But sharing confidences in the intimate candlelight just might be the spark for a real relationship.
Marc’s sincerity, wit, and sexy body catch Sophie off guard and make her rethink her own approach to love … until his ex-fiancée shows up out of the blue and wants him back. Will the New Year blaze new hope for Marc and Sophie or snuff out this fledgling flame?
by Dana Volney
Dana Volney lets her imagination roam free in Wyoming where she writes romances and helps local businesses succeed with her marketing consulting company.
An excerpt from Candlelight Conspiracy:
Sophie Graystone stepped out of the shower as steam burst past her, filling the tiny bathroom. Her achy muscles finally relaxed after a day spent working at Kiss from a Rose flower shop and playing a full set at the Bombay Club. Her routine didn’t lend itself to strain, but shoveling her car out of a three-foot mound of snow on the day after Christmas wasn’t normal. If there weren’t a city ordinance that said she had to move her car so the downtown streets could be plowed, she would’ve had Candace pick her up and used her car for deliveries.
Why don’t I live in a tropical climate? I was made for sand and eighty-degree weather. Not ten below.
She’d just pulled on her dark gray sweatpants that bunched at her calves and a hunter-green V-neck t-shirt when the buzz of electricity stopped. Everything went black. She jerked her head to the bedroom door and sucked in a breath. Darkness and silence surrounded her. Stupid wiring. She fumbled for her smartphone on her queen-sized bed and turned on the flashlight app. A 5-percent battery-charge warning surfaced on the screen.
Perfect. No power and, soon, no phone. She should probably invest in one of those extra battery packs for her phone sooner rather than later. She waited a moment for her eyes to adjust then carefully found her way out of her bedroom, through her living room, and to her front door.
Fourth blackout this month. I’m moving as soon as the ground thaws. Her threat relieved some frustration, but it was empty. She loved the charm of the newly remodeled one-bedroom apartments in the Old Frontier building and, more importantly, its location. Being close to her day job and most of her night gigs had perks. Casper, Wyoming, wasn’t a huge city by normal standards, but even still, she was usually running late. The apartment’s proximity to her life made moving a moot point. Blackout or not, she’d planted roots in apartment 202.
She opened her front door into more darkness. Cripes. The building still didn’t have emergency hallway lighting. Breathe, Sophie—this is why rent is so low.
The door across from her suddenly swung open.
“Ah!” She pointed her phone’s flashlight straight into the eyes of her reclusive next-door neighbor.
“Ah!” He held up his forearm to shield his eyes. “Didn’t mean to frighten you.”
She pointed her phone to the ground. He speaks. “Whoops. I’m just jumpy. Sorry.” She slouched on her door frame, propping her right toes on her left foot. “Guess we’re out of power for the night. Last time, it took them ten hours to fix it.”
For three months, she’d greeted the tall, dirty-blond who stood barefoot before her.
Usually in jeans and a black jacket with a white t-shirt peeking out, her neighbor would barely nod a hello. Sophie made greeting him in the stairwell and hall a game. She’d tried different tones, head nods, and almost bumping into him to get a reaction, a hello, something. Nothing worked. Last week she gave up, merely mirroring his motions. Some people just weren’t friendly.
He extended a large palm, and they shook. He had a firm grip and soft skin—both excellent qualities. What am I doing? She didn’t care about his qualities or how nicely his jeans fit him. There was a time when she thought every guy she met was a potential soul mate. But after Steve, she’d squashed that habit. Her pact to remain single and focused on music was alive and well.
A flickering light bounced behind him, and his skin danced in shades of tan. A smile played at his lips, and she returned the sentiment.