Release date: August 11, 2014
Family first. That motto has ruled Angie Corcarelli’s life since she took over her beloved late father’s construction business. When she discovers a new highway project will destroy the homes he once helped build, she’ll fight passionately to protect his legacy—even if it means battling her best friend’s stuffy and infuriating ex.
Stuart Perrault also knows a thing or two about family allegiance. For the past fifteen years, he’s worked hard for his family’s engineering firm, waiting for the day he’d be named CEO. But a botched recent project has shaken his father’s faith in him. The last thing he needs now is a loose cannon like Angie interfering with the new highway plans.
When Stuart’s father insists he wine and dine Angie to change her mind, he reluctantly obliges, but soon wonders if he’s bitten off more than he can chew. The fiery carpenter isn’t as irrational as he expected, and she has a knack for making his strident self-control unravel.
The more time Angie spends with Stuart, the harder it is to see him as the cold, calculating guy she’d believed him to be. But falling for each other would mean disloyalty to their respective families. Are their feelings strong enough to warrant challenging their family ties?
by Elley Arden
Sensuality Level: Sensual
Elley Arden is a born and bred Pennsylvanian who drinks wine like it’s water (a slight exaggeration), prefers a night at the ballpark to a night on the town, and believes almond English toffee is the key to happiness. For a complete list of Elley’s books, visit www.elleyarden.com.
An excerpt from Marriage by Design:
Oh, hell no!
Angie Corcarelli squinted through the slightly dingy windshield of her pickup against a blast of summer sun shooting off a shed-sized sign. Pounded into the ground outside a line of dilapidated row houses on Pittsburgh’s North Side, the billboard read, “Future home of the Parkway Extender. Another project proudly managed by The Perrault Group.”
“Oh, hell no!” She whipped her truck around until she was headed downtown again.
Today was supposed to be a good day—a great day—the start of an excellent week. With a cashier’s check for seventy-five grand stuffed inside the folder of closing documents on the passenger seat beside her, how could it be any other way?
“Stuart Perrault, I’m going to kill you.”
She gunned it through a yellow light and slowed as she dialed her best friend, Trish.
“Trish DeVign Interior Design,” answered the perfectly professional voice on the other end.
“That jackass you dated before you married my brother is about to be a dead man.”
“Stu? Why? What happened?”
“He’s in my way. I’ve had my eye on some row homes, but the city’s been stalling me, saying the properties haven’t been removed from the tax rolls yet. Well, guess what? I drove by today, and a big ole sign’s up announcing a highway is going to run through the houses, and Stuart Perrault’s going to be driving the frickin’ bulldozer.”
“He doesn’t drive a bulldozer. He’s simply managing the project.”
“Yeah, well, whatever he does,” she snorted, “it’s gonna be hard to do it dead!”
“Ange, you need to calm down. You don’t have a legal claim to the properties or even a promise you could purchase them. You got beat out. It happens. There will be other places to flip. Right?”
“If only it were that simple. “I want those places.” Because, if memory served her right, her late father honed his carpentry skills on that woodwork and those rafters. She’d be damned if a highway was going to obliterate any more of his memory.
She swerved into the right lane to avoid backup in the turning lane. A few horns blared.
“Why don’t you hang up, and call me back when you aren’t driving? I want you alive and by my side when I give birth to your nephew in four months.”
Angie backed off the gas pedal with a slight sigh. “There you go playing the baby card again.”
“Did it work?”
She wrinkled her nose as she watched the speedometer needle drop to a more respectable speed. “Maybe.” Angie adored her three-year-old niece, Angelina, and she couldn’t wait to meet her nephew.
“Good. Now promise me Stu lives, because prison would keep you away from the birth, too.”
Angie spied the gleaming Perrault Group office complex flanked by fancy landscaping, and scowled. “I’d only go to prison if I got caught.”
“Fine. Stuart lives, but I can’t promise he won’t be damaged after I get through with him.”