Down With Love
Series: Love Wars #1
Author: Kate Meader
Publisher: Loveswept- Random House Publishing
Releases: August 7, 2018
Sparks fly when the hot-shot divorce lawyer meets the high-powered wedding planner. The only question is, what kind?
If you ever get married, remember my name: Max Henderson. In my line of work, you acquire a certain perspective on supposedly everlasting unions . . .
1. Pre-nups are your friend.
2. The person you married is not the person you’re divorcing.
3. And I hope you didn’t spend much on the wedding because that was one helluva waste of hard-earned cash, wasn’t it?
But some guys are willing to take a chance. Like my brother, who thinks he’s going to ride off into the sunset with the woman of his dreams in a haze of glitter on unicorns. And the wedding planner—the green-eyed beauty who makes a living convincing suckers to shell out thousands of dollars on centerpieces—is raking it in on this matrimonial monstrosity.
The thing is, Charlie Love is not unlike me. We’re both cogs in the wedding-industrial complex. As the best man, I know her game—and I can play it better than her. But after one scorching, unexpected kiss, I’m thinking I might just want to get played.
DOWN WITH LOVE
“What the hell were you thinking, Charlie?”
“I was thinking Muller is an idiot.” He was. He is. “The guy’s blind!”
“But he’s not deaf, is he? You can’t scream insults at game officials and not expect consequences.”
“So I should have just zipped my mouth and acted like the quiet little woman?”
“Don’t do that.”
“Make this about feminism or getting beaten down by the patriarchy. It’s about common sense and respect. Sure, Muller’s an idiot and your running commentary was highly entertaining—”
“You thought so?”
He smiles. I wish he hadn’t. I wish he’d keep that weapon to himself because it’s lethal.
“I thought so. I’m not sure I’d heard some of those terms before. Douchewaffle was my favorite.”
Now I’m smiling like a loon. “The truth had to be told, Max.”
“Sure, but you had your fun and then when the people who control who stays and who goes got involved, then it was time to dial it back, oh, five hundred percent.”
He’s right. I know this, but I hate it. I hate feeling like that angry girl again, even if the stakes are as low as screaming invective at a ballgame official. I’m never going to find a man if I can’t rein in that part of myself that’s unpalatable to the segment of the human race I need to impress.
One of them stands before me. Not that Max Henderson is on my radar as husband material, but he is a sought-after member of the male species. Smart, handsome, upwardly mobile, a Ken-doll model for the guy I’d like to meet.
And Ken’s looking at me now, his head tilted, his inquisitive blue eyes narrowing.
“What?” I ask, a little flustered at his scrutiny.
“Something happened just there.” He does a corkscrew gesture with his index finger. “You toggled some sort of switch.”
I swallow because that’s a pretty accurate description of what I just did.
“Sometimes I need to make a conscious effort not to murder the person nearest to me, especially when he’s a smug, supercilious, know-it-all douchewaffle.”
He laughs. I like his laugh. It tickles a spot in my stomach.
“I’m getting the douchewaffle treatment now? Lumped in with Muller?” He steps in closer. “You know, that security guy had it coming. I just didn’t want to see you manhandled.”
“Even if I deserved it for shooting my mouth off?”
The mention of my mouth seems to act like a lever for his gaze. It drops to the mouth in question, gives it an imaginary lick, and flashes with a flicker of appreciation.
“He had no right to touch you.”
The words are said with an intensity that shocks me because one, it’s ten minutes past the event, and two, this is Max Henderson, Mr. Smooth ’n’ Slick, who seems to operate at a keel so even I’m not quite sure he’s a hundred percent human. The only man in my life who’s ever made me feel this protected is the one who saved me all those years ago, who saw my potential. I’m not used to feeling it with the guys I date and certainly not with guys like Max Henderson who are chronically undateable.
“You shouldn’t have pushed him,” I say.
“Because it landed us in here?” He’s closer now, leaning over me like that moment when we met in the Gilt Bar.
“Because you could have gotten hurt.”
“Aw, you care, Charlie?”
Yes. But I don’t like the renewed smirk in his voice. Neither do I enjoy how his personality can shift so quickly between that drilling-my-soul intensity and the flirt he turns on for every woman.
“Because I’m sure you’d find a way to blame me,” I say with a check of my nails. “Maybe sue me for your pain and suffering.”
“Like I said, he shouldn’t have touched you.”
Which is when he touches me. Max rubs a thumb along my jaw, causing my entire body to ignite. My quickly drawn breath is necessary to keep me upright but it’s also a mistake because it provides oxygen to that spark inside me and fans the flames of desire to the point I’m in danger of burning up. If this is the effect of one simple touch, how would I survive more?
“He was just doing his job,” I murmur.
“And I was just doing mine.” That thumb now moves over my chin, trails down my throat, and hovers over the divot above my collarbone. As if he’s trying to cover as much ground as possible without involving all his digits. Or his hands. Or all two hundred pounds of rock-solid muscle that I’m now imagining cradled between my legs as he slides in, deep, true, and to the hilt.
“Your job?” My voice sounds annoyingly breathless. “What job?”
“Protecting what’s—” I think he rasps out the word “mine” as his mouth descends, stamping a claim over lips that are all too eager to part and let him in. I shouldn’t allow this. I shouldn’t cling to his hell-those-are-broad shoulders. I shouldn’t be moaning my encouragement or reaching up to tunnel greedy fingers through his hair. I shouldn’t be making an ass grab to pull him flush because I need that cock I’ve been dreaming about to notch between my legs and rub there, yes, there.
I’ve kissed my fair share of frogs, a few earls, even a prince or two. I guess that’s all been practice as I worked my way up to the royal court of Max. This guy is King of the Kiss. It shouldn’t surprise me that he does it well, just as it shouldn’t surprise me that my body is reacting like it’s a drought-riven land newly doused in water. Like Max is the answer to a lifelong thirst.
He’s wedged his body between my legs, one very clever hand cupping my ass, the other holding my face at an angle that works for him. That theory I had before about him attempting to cover as much ground as possible with a single, teasing finger is now being put to the test. Max’s body envelops mine in an all-consuming, cell-invasive manner. It should be terrifying, but it’s not.
He’s an amazing kisser. Not wet or sloppy, not pushy or aggressive. Max kisses me like this is important to him. To us.
Max’s kiss continues to drug me even while awareness of the world around us attempts to break through. Someone is saying my name. Not Max, who is definitely not talking, thank God, but someone familiar . . .
Our mouths separate like those of teenagers caught in a parked car. Oh, God. This can’t be happening.
ILLEGALLY YOURS, Book 2 in the Laws of Attraction series, coming January 2019.
Rule #1: Never fall for your client.
Rule #2: Never fall for your client’s fiercely protective, smoking hot sister-in-law.
I’m the kind of guy who believes that everyone deserves the best legal representation money can buy—which just so happens to be me, Lucas Wright. Give me your henpecked, your cuckolded, your irreconcilable differences yearning to break free! And if you’re the bad guy in your marriage, that’s cool too. Your green is as good as anyone’s.
Tell that to Trinity Jones. It’s my job to destroy her sister—the soon-to-be ex-wife of my a-hole of a client—and Trinity’s “big sis” instincts are dialed up to the max. I admire that. I admire her. But she won’t stop me from representing my client to the best of my ability.
Not even if my chemistry with Trinity is undeniable. Not even if we can’t keep our hands off each other. Not even if she injects life into a heart assumed to be long dead.
Because when faced with a choice between love and duty, the job will always win—or at least that’s what I thought before I met Trinity . . . and suddenly conflict of interest never felt so right.
(Photograph by Zoe McKenzie Photography)
Originally from Ireland, Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, a fire hose, or a hockey stick, and she's there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines (and heroes) who can match their men quip for quip.
Max Henderson is well versed in marriage gone wrong, being a divorce lawyer ensures that he sees what happens when happily ever afters don't pan out just about everyday, and for that reason he has become quite cynical about marriage. So when he learns his brother is about to wander down the aisle mere months after meeting his bride-to-be, he about loses it, what could he possibly be thinking? Then he meets their wedding planner Charlie, she's beautiful but she is also in the market of creating the very thing he despises, which is very hard to ignore. But after several run-ins and several stolen glances he begins to notice a side to her that is not only unexpected, but something he wants to explore...but doing so might land him in a place he swore he'd never end up!
Down With Love is a delightful little enemies to lovers tale that will have you smiling and giggling one moment, and then fanning yourself and swooning the next! I thoroughly enjoyed this newest offering from Ms. Meader, it had the steamy, finger singeing encounters I have come to expect from her, but it also had a nice tender and heartfelt side too, it was really good for the heart and feelers!! I loved these characters, they were about as opposite as they could be, and at times I was certain they would never be able to get over their stubbornness and find what was waiting for them on the other side, but with time and a unwavering chemistry then found their common bond... and boy was it fun to watch it all unfold! I highly recommend you pick this one up, it's literary gold!!
I requested an advanced copy of this title from NetGalley, and I am voluntarily leaving my honest and unbiased opinion.
Loveswept-Random House Publishing