Release date: November 30, 2015
After her dad is diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, Lilia Carrigan returns home to Wyoming. The insurance company won’t cover the costs for an experimental trial that offers his best chance at surviving, and she needs a way to raise funds fast.
Vincent Morgenstern has had a year to fulfill the clause in his dad’s will that says if he doesn’t marry, he’ll lose out on inheriting the family business he loves so much. The deadline is New Year’s Eve, and he’s determined to get down the aisle, even if he has to pay the bride to be on his arm.
When Lilia overhears his predicament at a coffee shop, the crazy solution to both their problems seems obvious. What’s one year of faking it?
But as the holiday season works its magic, their platonic partnership threatens to get very personal. Will Lilia and Vincent’s December deal stay professional, or will real feelings ruin everything?
Sensuality Level: Behind Closed Doors
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 The December Deal:
Lilia Carrigan set her cup down on the small table in the coffee shop and took her seat in the corner with a view of the mountains. There had to be something she could do to raise money quickly. She opened her laptop and slouched in the hard wooden chair. She and her siblings had set up a GoFundMe campaign to ask for donations and pooled what little extra money they each had, but it wasn’t nearly enough. A fundraiser at the pub was a viable idea, but they needed hundreds of thousands of dollars, and their friends weren’t that rich. Twelve thousand dollars was only five percent of what they actually needed.
Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a tall man walking straight toward her. There was no mistaking his intention. She glanced up and took in his luscious brown hair, intense blue eyes, and his business attire down to his shiny black dress shoes. The man was stunning—his cobalt eyes smiled at her, and his entire face radiated sexy with a self-assured smile. Great. She was going to have to be a jerk, tell this guy she wasn’t into small talk, and move him on his merry way.
He pulled out a chair at the table next to her, unbuttoned his black peacoat, and sat with an ease that was a tad intimidating. An older, shorter man appeared behind him, plopped down across from him, and proceeded to continue a conversation about metal prices.
Good. Crisis averted. She focused on her computer screen, hoping she hadn’t made a fool of herself by keeping eye contact with the could-be GQ model so long. Well, he’d looked like he was going to talk to her, so whatever. She’d probably made his day.
Snow flew by the window on the other side of her as the Casper, Wyoming, December wind started to pick up. The trees down by the river were still white from the snowfall a couple days ago.
She clicked on her travel and food blog, Made to Wander, to upload a post she’d written earlier that day on what it was like to return home after being gone so long—the city seemed bigger; she hadn’t realized how much she’d missed being near her family and how good her old haunt restaurants tasted. Her emotions were all over the place these last couple weeks. Writing about stabilizing subjects had helped her feel normal again and not like her world was falling apart. She was personable in her writing but left family stuff out of it. If she didn’t, there’d probably be tons of posts she could write to deal with the sadness tearing at her over her dad’s recent diagnosis. But she wasn’t ready to talk about that experience so far—putting it out there would make it too real.
“This isn’t a surprise.” The older gentleman had a stern voice. “You know the terms of the will.”
Mr. GQ just got a lot more interesting—certainly more entertaining than trying to think of her next topic to write about.
“There’s got to be a way to change it.” Her chair neighbor, who had gently sun-kissed skin, kept a cool voice even though it sounded like things weren’t going his way. “Or another clause.”
“This is the same conversation we’ve been having for a year.”
“And I’ve tried diligently for a year to make it go away.” The cute one sat back in his chair and crossed one ankle over his other knee.
She’d normally put in earbuds and click on iTunes, but this was by far the most interesting thing to happen in the last two weeks. Interesting in a good way, not the bad reason she’d come home.
“Unless you’re married, you cannot maintain control.”
“But it’ll just cost more money in the long run with a divorce. This entire situation is asinine. Tell me you didn’t encourage his idea.”
“Your father was of sound mind when he decided on this clause years ago. He didn’t want you to live just for work. He wanted you to have a life, a family.”
“My life is perfect the way it is.” Mr. Suave was losing patience.
The hottie needed a wife. It was hard to believe that would be an issue for him. He wasn’t her type, but surely with that smile he was someone’s. She preferred her men a little more exotic, more like Zenzo, her Italian boyfriend—ex-boyfriend.