Enemies IN EARNEST Release
Acacia has hated Edwin ever since ‘the incident’ four years ago, but when stormy weather threatens both their businesses, they realize a farewell to arms may be the best way to avoid a dangerous summer. Readers who love the Man of the Month Club will devour Enemies in Earnest by Willow Sanders, a steamy, small town, forced proximity, enemies-to-lovers romance.
Acacia Ashley has one love: the written word. Specifically the rich, earthy, prose of Mr. Ernest Hemingway. Her love for Hemingway goes so deep that she opened a bar in his honor. Every year in July she plays host to Hemingway Days in Candy Cane Key, and every year she has to stay on guard in case Edwin Wheeler decides once again to find a way to ruin the solemnity of the occasion.
Edwin Wheeler doesn't care about books or old men, but the sea? The sea is where he spends his days in search of the almighty dollar. But when he grows bored of plying tourists with fruity drinks, he’s often found needling the resident bookworm, Acacia. She's hated him ever since the incident four years ago. Why does getting a rise out of her give him a bit of a rise as well?
When the bell tolls signaling approaching stormy weather that threatens both of their businesses, the pair realizes a farewell to arms may be the best way to avoid a dangerous summer.
Copyright 2023 Willow Sanders
It was much easier to ruminate over one’s nemesis when he wasn’t ten feet away. The other problem? The way he doted on and cared for his mother was literally catnip. Lady Kitty catnip, not like, for Six- toed Joe. The second his mom shivered, he was there with her cardigan. She coughed, he had her water at the ready. He repeated what MariJo’s nephew and niece said, but louder and in the direction of her good ear, without making it obvious he did it for her benefit. How could someone who was such an asshole be so sweetly attentive to his mother? It didn’t compute.
“What if we served a buffet of Hemingway-inspired appetizers?” Asher asked, his bushy eyebrows the only thing I could make out over the clipboard he referenced.
“Now wouldn’t that be a hoot?” Edwin flipped a fifty onto the counter. “I’m sure no one in the history of Hemingway-inspired bars, restaurants, parties, or events has ever thought to offer a little canape dipped in literary puns.”
Asher lifted an eyebrow in his direction as if to ask me is he for real? Unfortunately, yes, he was. The two of us had a War and Peace length conversation in silent eye rolls and quirks of lip before Asher heaved a dramatic sigh and placed his clipboard on the counter.
“I believe it was the great Oscar Wilde who said sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.”
Edwin nabbed a cherry from my garnish center, shrugging in Asher’s direction. God, he was ridiculous. He never took his eyes off me, even though the shrug was directed at Asher. Did he want me to chastise him for stealing a cherry? Because of the list of things I could chastise the man over, being a cherry stealer was low on the list.
“What can I do for you Edwin?”
I tried to be as subtle as I could, affixing the plastic top to the tray of garnish. It was a place of business after all. Sanitation was important. Certainly, no one wanted his grubby, work-roughened fingers anywhere near their drinks.
“Now there’s a statement heavy with possibility.”
Edwin Wheeler did not get to do funny things to my nervous system. No ma’am. The way his voice went soft and gravely did not affect the steady, reliable thrum of my pulse. And his tipped lip or the mischievous glint in his eyes did not make my face feel hot. I’d rather succumb to food poisoning from bad fish than have him be the reason I felt flushed and a little woozy.
“Did your mom call up your cousin and ask him to come for a playdate? That was so considerate of her. This way you have someone who is obligated to tolerate your company every day while your boat’s boo-boos get all patched up.”
At that moment, the sexy version of Santa Claus, also known as Edwin’s cousin, took a seat next to him at the bar and regarded me.
“How’s that champagne coming along?” he asked his cousin.
“This here’s Klaus.” Edwin cocked his head.
“Bottle or glasses?” I asked, ignoring the flirty challenge in Edwin’s eyes. “The bottle is probably the better choice as you’ll get four glasses out of it for thirty dollars versus four glasses of champagne at nine fifty a piece which would be thirty-eight, before tax.”
Edwin’s eyes flit to the fifty he had sitting in front of him and back up to look at me. Though that didn’t really answer the question. Regardless of which he chose, the fifty covered it and then some.
He didn’t get to win. It was my bar. If I were a petty person, I’d pour four glasses and charge him the per-glass rate. If he wanted to play Mr. Unaffected, James Dean cool, and answer me in smirks and eyebrow lifts instead of words, fine. I’d show him.
About Willow Sanders
A marketer by day, and author by night, Willow Sanders is a best-selling author of sweet with heat Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense. She loves to write spunky, take no shit women, and understanding men with a strong side of sarcasm and an extra helping of BDE. When not writing you can find her torn between her loyalty to the Fighting Illini and her husband’s loyalty to Michigan State, bemoaning traffic, feeding her caffeine addiction, and trying to find the connection between her and the Gilmore Girls–because she is certain she is a long-lost family member.
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