I’m super excited to have Tamara Morgan back on the blog again with an expert of her upcoming release, When I Fall. I adored If I Stay, the first book in the Montgomery Manor series, and I jumped at the chance to to show you all an excerpt of her upcoming release.
Socialite Rebecca Clare gets through life one vodka tonic at a time. Emotionally shattered after her best friend’s death, she’s cast as the latest pseudo-celebrity screwup and hounded by paparazzi 24/7. So naturally, the cameras are rolling when she gets into a scrap at a club (he started it). But then an unexpected white knight steps in.
Playing caretaker isn’t Jake Montgomery’s usual role, but Becca is his stepmother’s little sister. As they bond over their bad reputations, they find they have a lot more in common than the spotlight. When a photo of the nightclub incident goes viral, it raises protective instincts that Jake never knew he had. What better way to save Becca—and the family—from scandal than by claiming he’s her fiancé?
Becca agrees to play along, never expecting a fake engagement to feel so right. But she’s vowed never to depend on a man for happiness; how can Jake convince her that falling in love is worth the risk?
“Every marriage deserves a good proposal story. Even the contractual ones.”
Jake slammed on the brakes—this time intentionally, and this time with his arm out and ready to catch her. By this point in their journey, they were midway over the Whitestone Bridge, its suspension lines set against the clear blue sky, making it appear as though they were on the inside of a photograph. At the last minute, he turned the wheel using a move Ryan had taught him, bringing the car to a stop perpendicular to traffic, both lanes blocked. They’d been moving slowly enough that no one rammed into them, but the rancorous honking of several cars squawked up through the air, signaling their discontent.
“Holy Mother. What just happened?” One of Becca’s hands clutched the top of the passenger side door; the other held tightly to Jake’s arm. “Did the car break down?”
He rose from his seat and moved around to her side of the car. Since she seemed unable to get out on her own, he reached in and unbuckled her seatbelt, allowing the vinyl to slide smoothly over her lap. Then he promptly lifted her up and sat her on the car’s trunk, wedged next to the still-pyramidal heap of their suitcases. She weighed practically nothing, her limbs feather-light as they moved through his. She was flustered but smiling, looking at the growing line of traffic with a laugh on her lips.
“Hey, asshole! What the hell do you think you’re doing?” A taxi driver got out of his car and waved a heavy, menacing arm.
“This ain’t your personal driveway.”
“Fuck off,” Jake called back. “I’m proposing to my lady. Show some respect.”
The cabbie started cursing again, adding to the backdrop of cars whizzing by on the opposite side of the bridge and the painful call of seagulls in the distance. Jake didn’t let the cacophony deter him. Hitching his pant leg, he dropped to his knee on the roadway, feeling several small pebbles poking painfully through his slacks. Although he didn’t have anything in his hands, he made a pretense of pulling a box out of his pocket and holding it aloft.
“Rebecca Clare,” he called, his voice overloud to cover the increasingly loud honking, “you and I have known each other for three and a half years, during which time we’ve shared a dozen family dinners, nineteen terrible nights of sleep, several relations of a carnal sort, exercise with a man who should be running a large militia, and many conversations I don’t care to repeat. I think you might be the least rational woman of my acquaintance. Also, you’re terrible at painting and you’re a slob. You really need to start hanging up your clothes when you’re done with them. Would you do me the very great honor of pretending to be my wife?”
She pulled her sunglasses down from her eyes, allowing him a glimpse of the dancing green irises hiding behind them. Her smile was wide and girlish, and when she jumped down from the car to wrap her arms around his neck, her skirt got caught on the edge, giving the irate cabbie a generous flash of her buttocks.
At least it shut him up.
“Of course I will,” she said, her mouth brushing his ear. She wrapped her legs around his waist and pushed him all the way to the ground, landing so that she straddled him, her skirt pushed up to the tops of her thighs. He lay there, prostrate, in the middle of the Whitestone Bridge, pinned beneath a woman he could lift with one flick of his wrist.
She pressed a kiss on his mouth, wet and warm, more playful than serious, though his body didn’t bother distinguishing the two.
“You’re a snobby control freak with prettier hair than me, and I’m not happy to discover just how tightfisted you can be with the orgasms, but of all my nephews, you’re by far my favorite. Nothing on earth would make me happier than to pretend to want to marry you.”
He grinned and rolled out from underneath her, being sure to clasp her around one wrist and hoist her up alongside him. With an arm wrapped tightly around her waist, he raised his other fist in the air and shouted, “She said yes!”