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Saturday, May 22, 2021

How Not to Fake Marry a Billionaire by Ashlee Mallory πŸ’• Book Blitz & Gift Card Giveaway πŸ’• (Romantic Comedy)

People say I’m smart.

Probably because I have a PhD in astrophysics and am on the cusp of publishing a theory that just might change our perception of the known universe.

The verdict, however, is still out for me.

After all, I fell for a colleague who broke my heart and then stole the grant money from the Camella Franklin Foundation that had been funding my research. Did I mention he’s also engaged to Camella Franklin?

Then the gorgeous and charming billionaire Colin Fitzgerald came to me with a proposal that might just change my life.

A marriage in name only in return for the grant money needed to fund my research.

Marrying a hot billionaire wouldn’t be so bad, right?

Except that from the moment I laid eyes on the guy, it felt like the stars had aligned and I had actually met my destiny. He, on the other hand, had been totally in love with my best friend.

But, as people say, I’m smart. I wouldn’t do anything so foolish as to fall in love with my fake husband.

Like I said…the verdict is still out.

“Are you having a party?” he asked, sounding equally stunned and impressed.

“I felt that it was a shame for Holly to miss out on her bachelorette party, so I threw this together,” Katrina said. 

“Without my knowledge,” I added in case he was getting the impression I was something of a party girl.

“I’m sure it was,” he said. “Ladies, I’m deeply grateful that you’ve given my beautiful new bride a much deserved soiree.”

“Aww,” a few echoed as they stood smiling at the two of us, almost as if waiting for something more.

Colin was a bit quicker as he came to my side, wrapping an arm around my waist. He flipped the feathers of my boa and smiled at me. “I like this look. You definitely should wear it more.”

He couldn’t look at me like that, all warm and happy to see me. It was making my stomach twist into all kinds of knots. 

Especially as everyone was still staring at us.

“Oh, go on, you two. Kiss each other already. You know you want to. Probably as much as we want to see it,” Katrina added gleefully.

Why was I friends with Katrina again?

“Come on. Don’t disappoint us,” Julia followed.

“Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss,” became the new drunken rallying cry as my former friends chanted, pumping their hands in unison.

“It seems to be the consensus of the room that we kiss,” he said low enough that only I could hear him. 

“We probably should get it over with,” I whispered back, glancing nervously over my shoulders at the chanters.

“As you wish,” he said, and highly aware of our audience’s attention, he tightened his hold on my waist and brought me soundly against him before pressing those beautiful lips against mine.

All the air in my lungs escaped me while I reeled from the feeling of his mouth on mine, from the taste of him, so dangerously dark and masculine, from his heady scent of leather and spice that wrapped around me as tightly as his arm. My eyes fluttered shut, permanently branding this moment forever on my brain.

I was so caught up in the feeling of this magical kiss that I almost managed to block out the hollers and screams of the women, who were sounding quite pleased with our performance. But the sound of a doorbell ringing, and then ringing again, was too much to ignore, and I reluctantly opened my eyes to find Colin staring intently at me, his usual smile gone.

“I probably should go get the door,” I said and pulled away from him, already missing the warmth of his body. His mouth. His everything.

“No. Wait,” Katrina said, heading me off as I was almost at the front door. “It’s probably just my final present for you. Go ahead and take a seat.” 

The front door was blocked off from our view as we trailed into the living room and waited as Katrina greeted our late arrivals.

Two police officers in dark clothing came around the corner and my stomach dropped in fear. “Sorry, but we had a noise complaint from one of your neighbors,” the shorter of the two said.

Colin stepped forward. “We’re terribly sorry, officers. We’d be happy to—”

But two things happened at the same time that stopped him mid-sentence. 

One, the BeyoncΓ© song that had been playing before was replaced with a darker, more overtly sexy song that I immediately recognized as “Candy Shop,” a song that Katrina played constantly in the car and knew pretty much every word to.

Second—and more alarming—was the sight of both cops unbuttoning their shirts.

My mouth dropped open. No. Freaking. Way.

The drunken catcalls from my usually austere and quiet coworkers were immediate as they retrieved dollars from their jackets and purses, obviously in on the surprise.

But the attention of one cop in particular was on me—no thanks to the bright pink tiara and boa proclaiming me the bride—and he slowly grinded his way over, and before I could blink, he whipped his pants off, dressed now in the tiniest black G-string that didn’t leave anything to the imagination.

Flames of embarrassment torched my face as I fought the urge to hide under a couch cushion.

Katrina was dead meat. 

“And with that, I believe I’ll retire for the night and leave you all to your fun,” Colin said, stepping away. “Good night, ladies. Good night, Holly,” he added before winking at me, then left the room. 

Correct that. Katrina was not just dead meat. She was roadkill that I ran over and backed up and hit two more times before skinning her and feeding her to the wolves dead meat. 

I might never be able to face my husband again.

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One minute I’m a promising law grad with grand ideas of changing people’s lives, the next I’m persona non grata thanks to a tiny little incident where I may or may not have stabbed my boss.

Now I’m unemployable, broke, and almost desperate enough to move back home with my parents. This was rock bottom.

Until it hit me in the very annoying but not wrong advice of my mother.

It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is a poor man.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m on a Hail Mary mission to an exclusive resort in Hawaii to finally find…the one.

A billionaire one, that is.

But when a sinfully sexy bartender takes it into his head that maybe he’s the one, things start to get complicated. I’ll have to decide whether mother really does know best or if it was time to finally trust my heart…


Ashlee Mallory is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and thrillers. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and two kids. She aspires to one day include running, hiking and traveling to exotic destinations in her list of things she enjoys, but currently settles for enjoying a good book and a glass of wine from the comfort of her couch.

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