Sunday, May 3, 2009

Aspen Exposé - Chapter 1

Welcome to the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Debut Group Novelette

We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it.

Group Authors: Ana Aragon, CiCi Barnes, Marilyn Baron, Tami Brothers, Tamara DeStefano, Sandra Elzie, Sally Kilpatrick, Tammy Schubert, Anna Steffl

Enter our contest by answering a question for each chapter in your comments for all nine chapters.

Chapter One

By Tammy Schubert

“Rachel, I need that report now.”

She sighed. Working late didn’t agree with Rachel Livingston.

Rephrase that. Working late with the CEO of Mira Technologies didn’t agree with her. The man needed to loosen up a bit. She wasn’t his secretary but one of his computer programmers who just happened to be filling in for his missing assistant. A little patience on his part would go a long way.

“Just a moment.” Skimming through the mounds of paper on the desk, she located the latest financials. She headed to his office for what seemed like the hundredth time within the past hour. “Here you go.”

He was bent over clawing through a box of documents, leaving his tush for her to admire. “Thanks.”

The upside to working late with him was that he was a treat to look at. The man belonged on the cover of one of those outdoor sporting magazines instead of standing here in a suit. Tall, broad shoulders and a very tight butt filled out the back of his dress pants quite nicely. His five o’clock shadow added to the sexiness he exhibited. She’d had a thing for this man since she started at Mira a year ago and could catalogue his assets right down to the way his watch encircled his wrist.

Jack Davenport reached for the file and their hands brushed, sending a surge of electricity through her body. His dark blue eyes flickered, but he quickly covered up the emotion. Or maybe she’d just imagined it.

“Rachel.” His brows furrowed as he studied her. “I’ll pay you five thousand dollars if you pose as my fiancée for the retreat with the board of directors next week.”

Rachel’s back tightened. Had she heard correctly? Jack could not have asked her what she thought she heard. For starters, she wasn’t his type. He preferred his women tall, lithe and blonde, not short, slightly overweight or brunette.

Jack’s scowl pinned her to the chair. “Well?” He ran a hand through his rich, brown hair. “I know this is short notice, but I need an answer.”

There was no way he would put himself out there asking an employee for this kind of favor unless he was really desperate. She would have never guessed this man would ever be backed into a corner for anything.

All she could manage was a lame hum. “Um...” Next week the company’s leading men closeted themselves away to make big decisions about the company. Downright boring under normal circumstances. Although, the situation he presented was anything but lackluster.

Here she was, faced with a dream invitation to spend an entire week in close proximity to the one man who heated her to the very core with just one look. She didn’t know whether to be elated or offended by his proposition.

“Don’t worry about expenses. I’ll take care of everything.” He came around the desk and perched right in front of her chair. “Think of this as a free skiing trip to Aspen. You’ll be free when I’m in meetings.” His husky voice dropped. “I’ll only need you at night.”

Oh boy.

“Night?” Spending the evenings with him was fantasy in the flesh. If they spent the nights together, there went their professional relationship, and she could probably kiss her job goodbye.

“For cocktails and dinners, of course.”

Her face heated. “Oh. Right.” Her fantasies tended to get the best of her. “What about your real fiancée?”

“I’m no longer engaged.” His flat tone matched his expressionless dark blue eyes.

Her heart soared. “Sorry to hear that.” No she wasn’t.

He shrugged. “I expected it.”

It was her turn to frown. He sounded so disengaged from the relationship, which was strange since they must have just broken up. Karen, the other woman, was one of those high-society kittens with long blonde hair, long legs and a long whine when she wasn’t getting her way.

She sucked on her bottom lip. The fact she was considering his idea would make her mother faint. “What will the board think about you bringing an employee along as your date?”

“They’ll think we are engaged, and nepotism is not against the rules. We’ll tell them everything happened so fast, and we are so much in love. They won’t think much of it and wish us well. I’ll make it clear that it won’t interfere with daily business.”

“We won’t be sharing a room, right?”

“We will be.”

Yikes. This could get extremely physical. Yes.

“I’ll rent a suite.” He situated himself behind his desk, in a power position he used when the stakes in the negotiation were high. “This charade will only work if we play the part.” His cheeks were kind of flushed, making him seem embarrassed. “So will you do me this favor?”

“Why is it so important to have a fiancée next week?”

“I don’t want the board members to think my personal life is unstable. They might see it as something that may impact my professional life, and I can’t have that.”

A flurry of heartbeats pounded in her chest. Oh yes. This was going to be an adventure. “Okay, I’ll do this for you as a favor, but I’m not taking any money. I’m not that kind of woman.”

He didn’t know the kind of woman he just entangled himself with. She was going to help Jack loosen up and live life instead of trying to run it.

Question for Chapter One: What is the name of Jack's original fiancée?

Answer the question in your comment for a chance to win if you comment and answer correctly for all nine chapters.

Stay tuned for Chapter Two next Sunday, May 10.


Mary said...

Fiance's name was Karen. I think this could be a romantic comedy. I like the premise.

Christy LaShea said...

Karen! That the Fiance!

Oooh, this is fun!

Sandy Elzie said...

I'm not eligible for the contest, (by the way, her name IS Karen),but I'm sooo excited to finally have the story "out there" for everyone to enjoy.

I'll let you in on a little secret...things don't always turn out like they begin. (g)

Stay tuned for future exciting chapters and good luck on the contest. I can tell you that making the effort to win will definitely be worth it.

So, which direction do you think the story will take for Rachel to achieve her goal of getting Jack to loosen up? We'd love to hear what you think will happen next.
(Not part of the contest, but how would you direct Rachel?)

Sandy Elzie (Chapter 9)

Marilyn Baron said...

As one of the Group Novelette authors, I'm also excited about the release of Aspen Expose.

Pass this post on to your friends and invite them to read the novel and enter the contest.

As Sandy said, we'd like to know what you think and where you think the novel is going. But I promise you, we were all surprised at the twists and turns and the ending.

For anyone who misses the first chapter, don't worry. The chapters will be archived. You can post an answer in the comment section at the end of the chapters until the last chapter is published here on June 28.

We hope you enjoy the book. And good luck!

Marilyn Baron

Nicki Salcedo said...

Karen is "the other woman" and that is quite an interesting way for Rachel to describe her...

I think Rachel should fall in love with a ski instructor in Aspen! And it will be too late the Jack Davenport realizes his love.

Tammy S, I love the start. I will try to patiently await the next installment. Maybe someone will leak a copy of the entire novel online :-)

Debbie Kaufman said...

Good job ladies. Karen is the fiance. Hey Nicki, if they leak it to you, will you share?

Sandy Elzie said...

Ladies, ladies, ladies, Play nice. No favorites! (Did you get to open your Christmas presents early? (g)

Thanks for the suggestion, Nicki. It might surprise some of you when you find out how close...or how far away from the actual story you've guessed.

Stay tuned! Sandy

Anonymous said...

Love it so far.

"Karen" is the fiancee.

Phyllis Weiss

Anonymous said...

Go for it, Rachel!

The original fiancee is "Karen."

Lorraine Meyers

Marilyn Baron said...

I just talked to my parents on the phone and asked my mother what she wanted for Mother's Day and she answered,"Jack Davenport," to which my father responded, "Keep off the davenport."

Marilyn Baron

Kelly L said...

That fiance was Karen.
Love the premise!

Tami Brothers said...

Hey Guys,

This is soooo fun!!! I'm also one of the chapter authors (#5) and I can tell you it is well worth the wait. This was a ton of fun and I hope you guys enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it...

I can't wait until you see what we did to Rachel AND Jack!!!

Tami Brothers

CiCi Barnes said...

Marilyn, that is too funny!

CiCi here, another author (Chap. 4) and glad to hear you guys are enjoying the start. The vacation to Aspen can only get better. So put on your snowboots and get ready for the action.


Tammy Schubert said...

I'm so glad everyone is enjoying the start of the novel. Don't forget to come back next Sunday to see what happens. You won't be disappointed.

EC Spurlock said...

Great start, Tammy! Looking forward to the next installment! I'm willing to bet that ex-fiancee Karen is going to show up again somewhere along the line -- maybe in tow with one of the other executives!

And Marilyn, that was a hilarious post!

Mattee Barkdoll said...

Ex Fiancee is Karen. Fun idea - looking forward to the read next Sunday

Carol Burnside said...

Love it, ladies! Looking forward to more. :)

Barbara Monajem said...

Long this, long that, long the other... Heh. Karen is her name. Looking forward to reading more.

Sally Kilpatrick said...

This is Sally here, and it's quite exciting to have everyone stopping by. I hope you keep on reading since I'm #7!

J Perry Stone said...

Karen, Karen, Karen. And this was terrific.

You're a damn fine writer, Tammy!

Joyce J. said...

Jack's original fiancee is Karen. I like the way you got the reader hooked so fast. That's my kind of read. Looking forward to more; what a great idea!


Anonymous said...

Great start, Tammy...I can't wait for the next installment!

Question: Was our hero by chance based on a real someone because I happen to be newly single again as of Thursday, May 7th and want to make sure if he's out there I find him this time...

Tammy Schubert said...

Dear Anonymous,

Sorry, he's just a figment of my imagination.

Good luck on your search for Mr. Right. Set some standards and don't settle for less.

Anonymous said...

Karen. Love this, can't wait to read more!
Caroline Z.

tatt3r said...

Karen. I'm late to answer - loved the story! I'll be back next Sunday.

Maxine Davis said...


Loved it; loved it! My type of book! Can't wait for the rest.

Answer - Karen.

AVATC said...

Ladies, your initiative in creating this exciting and fun serialized novel is to be applauded! Audible created an audiobook named "The Chopin Manuscript" using this same approach of multiple authors, and it was extremely interesting to hear how the different authors interwove elements from preceding chapters to reach the surprising conclusion. That audiobook won awards, and I wish the same level of success for you in "Aspen Expose".

This project is a fantastic way to showcase your writing and bring you to the attention of new audiences, including those in the industry. Also, I'm sure your creativity from this project will spill over into your other writing projects and through other aspects of your life. Congratulations on the fast-moving and well-written first installment, and I look forward to reading future chapters!

PS. With the name of Karen, the former fiancee must be a remarkable woman, especially if she occasionally enjoys some cheese with that whine. :)

Karen Commins
Voice talent and audiobook narrator

Marilyn Baron said...

Karen (The Other Karen),

Thanks for telling us about "The Chopin Manuscript" audiobook and for sharing your thoughts about our project. We're glad you enjoyed the first installment and we think we will deliver a surprising conclusion of our own.

We look forward to hearing from you every Sunday.

Marilyn Baron (Chapter Three)

Sandra Leigh said...

Late to the party - I'm late to everything, this week - but the Other Woman's name was Karen. Now to read Chapter 2. This is great.

Anonymous said...

Karen was Jack Davenport's ex fiance.

Shelley Salzman

Tammy Schubert said...

Glad you made it to the party, Sandra and Shelley. I hope you enjoy reading all of the coming chapters.

PJ said...

The former fiancee is Karen.

I liked the opening chapter. Lots of possibilities!

Pamela-reader said...

Ah... as you can tell, I'm a little behind on things... I'm running to catch up.

Answer: Karen

I love Rachel's character... She's a computer programmer (SO AM I!) and she's strong! No shrinking violet. I love the way she enjoys what she sees & has no shame about looking. :-)