The last person she wants might be the second chance she needs.
Better Luck Next Time, an all-new funny and heartfelt standalone romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Denise Grover Swank and A.R. Casella is available now!
Adalia Buchanan broke up with art, but it won’t break up with her. So she paints in secret, then destroys her work. Her mentor stole her art months ago, and she’ll never share her work again.
After he sold his brewery, Finn Hamilton’s life was supposed to be on an upward trajectory. Instead, he’s lost his way. When he stumbles upon Adalia destroying her painting, two thoughts come to mind: one, she looks like a Valkyrie with blonde hair swinging and paint flying from her blade, and two, she’s talented. Very talented.
Suddenly, she’s no longer the sassy sister of his best friend’s girlfriend—she’s an intriguing, beautiful woman he’s dying to get to know better.
Too bad Adalia, who’s infatuated with Pride and Prejudice, thinks he’s arrogant and conceited, a modern-day Mr. Darcy.
Then again, Elizabeth Bennett changed her mind about Darcy, so there may be hope for them yet…if they can survive an evil cat, a goat-obsessed artist, and their meddling families.
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“Working outside of the office?” Finn asked once he’d lowered himself into the other chair.
“Sort of.” Adalia didn’t feel like telling him what she was really up to. Not after what he’d said to her. She was worried she’d see disappointment in his eyes, although for the life of her, she couldn’t figure out why his opinion mattered. “But mostly playing the ‘Who are you?’ game.” She was slightly embarrassed to admit it, but it felt safer than talking about the résumé. Or her art.
He leaned back, his upper shoulder pressed against the railing around the small seating area, his arms crossed over his chest—did he always wear button-downs or polos?—and an amused look lit up his eyes. “Okay, you’ve got me. What’s the ‘Who are you?’ game?”
“It’s simple,” she said, leaning forward, sure this would scare him off. He might talk like a poet, but he was still a rich boy businessman. His name was Finn Hamilton, for God’s sake. “You find someone walking by and come up with a story about who they are and where they’re going.”
He cocked an eyebrow.
“I’ll start.” She scanned the street and found the mother pushing the stroller as she emerged from a store. “That’s Willow. She’s a former executive of some BS company from Charlotte—they probably made toilet paper or something. Then her husband got a hair up his butt to move to Asheville. She was reluctant at first, but see that yoga mat sticking out of the bottom of the stroller?”
Finn turned slightly, nodding when he caught sight of the woman.
“She joined a Mommy and Me yoga play group and she’s considering becoming a yogi.”
His slight smile turned into a full-blown amused grin. “And her baby’s name?”
“Fig Tree, Tree being the middle name, of course.”
“Of course,” he said, still smiling. “But you never said where they were going.”
“Home. The baby’s about to go down for a nap and she’s eager to try the tantric sex method she learned from the instructor while they sipped organic oolong tea after class.”
Adalia had said it to shock him. She was pretty good at catching people off guard, and she’d come to recognize it for what it was—a defense mechanism to keep others at a distance. And she definitely needed to keep Finn at a distance. Only he didn’t look as taken aback as she’d expected. Instead, he pursed his lips as though giving it some thought. “Interesting how you jumped right to sex.”
A slow smile spread across her face. He’d surprised her, and she delighted in surprises. Good surprises. “You disagree?”
He let his arms drop to his sides and sat up slightly. “No, quite the opposite.” He turned slightly to glance at the woman before turning back to Adalia. “I’m sure her husband is already waiting at home, ready to strip her naked the moment she walks through the door.”
The way he said it made Adalia shiver with anticipation, but she mentally shook herself. This was Finn. The man who’d betrayed River by selling Big Catch to one of those mega conglomerates with so many product lines the people who ran it probably only knew about half of them. Finn Hamilton was much too good-looking, rich, and cocky for his own good. He was used to getting anything and anyone he wanted, and she wouldn’t be one of his conquests. Not her and not her art either.
About Denise Grover Swank
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten ho uses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.
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About A.R. Casella
A.R. CASELLA is a freelance developmental editor by day, writer by night. She lives in Asheville, NC with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and a variable number of fish. Her pastimes include chasing around her toddler, baking delicious treats, and occasional bouts of crocheting. Any Luck at All, co-written with New York Times bestselling author Denise Grover Swank, is her first book.De