Title: Built to Last
Series: Hidden Hearts #1
Author: Kate McBrien
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 7, 2019
A one-week road trip.
Two relationship-phobic adults.
What could go wrong?
Max Carmichael finally has a shot to work with a legendary music producer and be something more than a band manager. But first, he has to demonstrate his skill by taking a road trip to scout new acts. The new job will give him the money he needs to help his parents with their struggling London pub and his little sister, who needs rehab. And if he has to spend one week with a free-spirited American woman who drives him crazy, he’ll do it. Even if she is a seductive redhead. Max doesn’t do redheads. Ever.
Althea Grayson has been living on Santorini for years. She’s a trained chef who aspires to open a restaurant that serves amazing food to everyone, not just the people who can afford it. The only thing standing in her way is money. A paid road trip as a traveling companion is a means to an end; it will pay her way back to San Francisco to claim her trust fund and put her on a path to seeing her dream come true. And If she has to spend a week with a grumpy Englishman who drives her nuts, she’ll do it. Even if he is a sexy beast.
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Max was like a fish out of water with this woman. He was intrigued by her, but they would only be together for a short time on this trip. Once they got to San Francisco, they would go their separate ways.
“Hey,” Althea said in her raspy voice. “You can kiss me if you want to.”
It was dark in the back seat of the car, the only light coming from storefronts or passing cars as they headed back to downtown Seattle.
“It’s okay, Max. I want you to kiss me.”
Max was always in charge and controlled any sexual situation. If he wanted to have sex, he’d choose the woman and make his move. Once she consented, they fucked. It was never romantic; it was merely a physical need fulfilled.
Whether she realized it or not—and she probably did—Althea was taking control.
Althea held his gaze with kind attention, like she was granting him the time to decide. Unlike the women he hooked up with, Althea wore little, if any, makeup. Her lips had only a trace of lipstick, and that meant she didn’t wear the typical mask of female seduction. There was no artifice; she was natural and open to him.
With a soft sigh, Althea cradled his face with her hands, her thumb gently rubbing his stubble. All the while, her eyes searched his, seeking permission. Althea murmured, “I’ve wanted to do this all night.” She gave him a gentle kiss, her lips soft and warm. It wasn’t the brutal kiss he had given her on Santorini. This kiss was teasing, a promise of secrets to be discovered; and it scared the living shit out of him.
“Are you okay?” she whispered. “If you don’t want to, that’s all right.”
Max traced a finger down her cheek. Could he do this? “Um. Thanks,” Max muttered, carefully taking her hands away. He turned his head, keeping his attention on the city outside the window, and away from the beautiful redhead sitting next to him.
Max opened the door as soon as the car pulled up in front of the hotel.
“Wait a second,” Althea said, reaching for him.
Max didn’t hesitate. He bolted out the door and made his way to the lift as quickly as possible. When the doors closed, Max took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He wanted Althea, but he also needed some distance. And now, he was a total arsehole. How was he going to get through the rest of their trip?
Kate McBrien writes sexy and witty contemporary romance. She has an MA in art history and has taught art history at a local college. For many years, Kate has worked as a dental hygienist, courageously offering encouragement to her non-flossing patients.
She has always enjoyed writing but became more serious after being encouraged by a friend to participate in National Novel Writing Month. She began writing historical fiction but soon realized that the romance was taking over the history.
Kate is a San Francisco Bay Area native who lives near the beach with her husband and Lola, their spoiled Labrador Retriever. When not writing, she enjoys cooking, music, movies, reading, and fangirling over Jamie Dornan.
To learn more about Kate, go to www.katemcbrien.com
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