Alice Gaines loves her romance hot. She’s been writing since forever and has no plans to give it up.
Alice lives in the San Francisco Bay Area in a fixer-upper she never fixed up. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her knitting, crocheting, cooking, or vegetable gardening. Her main companions are her pet corn snake, Casper, and a collection of neglected orchids.
She loves to hear from readers at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can join her newsletter at http://alicegaines.blogspot.com. She periodically gives out her handmade items to people on her mailing list.
“Alice Gaines will tantalize your romance taste buds with a book you can’t put down until the very last page.” NYT bestselling author Jasmine Haynes
Her brother’s best friend is not only the hottest man Michelle Dennis has ever seen, he’s the one man she hopes to avoid after leaving town eight years ago. Of course he’s the one waiting at the airport. Worse, he made sure they’re staying in the same house.
Pro football player Alex Stafford is expecting to pick up his friend’s kid sister, not a full-fledged bombshell. He was planning to apologize for their past, but the feelings he had years ago come roaring back…and this time, there’s no denying them.
Keeping his hands off is a test he’s bound to fail—especially when they’re stuck in close quarters. But falling in love with Michelle, living in her world, isn’t an option for a guy like him. And remembering that will save them both a lot of heartache…
“Who’s fighting?” Michelle said from the doorway. She wore slacks and a silk blouse. Professional. Alex mentally nailed his feet to the floor to keep from going to her. Creating a scene in front of his parents—and her brother—would only make matters worse. If that was possible.
“No one.” Kyle backed away from Alex but continued to pin him with a glare.
“We hear congratulations are in order,” Dad declared as he rose from his seat and went to pull Michelle into a bear hug. Mom joined him, and even Chase got up and gave Michelle a pat on the shoulder. Alex stood and watched the display of affection. He’d already had the last embrace he’d have from Michelle. Besides, trying to touch her while her irate brother still glowered at him wasn’t a great idea.
“I’m so proud of you, Mickey,” Dad said. “You’re going to do great things.”
Exactly what Alex had said to her in the cottage. She’d flinched a bit then as she’d realized he was telling her to take the job and leave him behind. She took it better from his dad, smiling at him. But sadness remained around her eyes.
“We want to hear from you about how things are going,” his mom added. “Regular updates.”
“You’ll get them,” Michelle said. “I promise.”
Kyle put his arm around her shoulders. The protective big brother. “You ready to go, sis?”
“Not so soon.” Mom hugged Michelle again. “At least, have something to eat.”
“No time.” Michelle embraced Mom for a bit and then stepped back. Mom tried to hide the fact that she was wiping her eyes when she went back to the stove. This visit had started with guilt, and it would end with guilt squared. And Alex deserved every bit of it.
Finally, Michelle gave them all a smile that wouldn’t fool a toddler. “It was a wonderful party. Thank you for inviting me.”
“You come back real soon, honey,” Dad said.
“I will,” Michelle said. Of course, she didn’t mention when.
“Come on, sis, we don’t want to be late,” Kyle said.
Her gaze scanned the room. It briefly fell on Alex, but she made no move toward him. “Well, good-bye.”
No one said a word. They all could have turned to stone. Finally, she turned and left, Kyle right behind her.
Alex still couldn’t move as the two of them went out onto the driveway. Car doors opened and closed with a heavy finality. Then the truck’s engine started, and tires kicked up gravel as they went down the driveway.
Eventually, all three of them looked at him again, and if eyes could really shoot daggers, he’d be sausage about now. Did they think he was so callous that he didn’t care that the woman he loved had just walked away from him forever? Could they honestly think he’d been playing her?
Oh, hell. His parents probably just thought he’d messed up things with their Mickey again, and they’d be right. Chase was angry because he considered his brother a dumbass, which he was. None of that would get Alex through the misery that he’d caused with his own stupidity.
Suddenly, all the air seemed sucked out of the room, and he had to get out of there. “I’m going for a walk.”
“Breakfast’ll be ready soon,” his mother said.
“Don’t wait for me.”
He headed out the same door Michelle had used to leave him, and he crunched along the same gravel drive. When he hit the road, he’d go for a few miles or twenty. When he got back, she’d still be gone, and the cottage would be as empty as his heart.
Top 5 Romantic Comedies — These are in no particular order. Just some of my very favorite romantic comedies.
- Pride and Prejudice. It’s not considered a comedy, but several of the secondary characters provide comic relief. There’s a great deal of humor in the eccentric Bennett family. To me, this book is the prototype for light-hearted romance.
- Bringing Up Baby. I could fill this entire list several times over with the great madcap comedies of the 1930’s, but Bringing Up Baby is my absolute favorite. It’s one of the funniest damned movies ever made. Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant—omg, no duo was ever better. If you’ve never seen this classic, make a big bowl of popcorn and prepare to be enchanted.
- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe in a fabulously funny musical, and they both find love at the end.
- The Bird Cage. Again, one of the funniest damned movies ever made, and the love between Armand and Albert is as touching and real as the young love between Barbara and Val. A true joy.
- Love, Actually. Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, and Liam Neeson. Charming story filled with wonderful acting. A definite keeper.