A New Release & an Excerpt from Tami Lund

 

Naked Truth Cover-indie

He’s a playboy FBI agent, working undercover as a male stripper. She’s a burned divorcee, struggling to make ends meet and embarrassed by how her marriage ended.

They both insist it’s a no-strings-attached affair.

Until she gets caught up in his case.

Now, both their hearts and lives are in danger.

 

Released: 10/8/2019

AMAZON

 

Other books in the series:

Undercover Heat – releasing 10/15/2019

Delicious Deception – releasing 10/22/2019

Excerpt from Naked Truth:

 

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Hitting on you. Is it working?”

“Um…”

“Want to go somewhere more private?”

“Umm…”

He twirled her away, pulled her back and caught her, squeezing her more tightly than he had been a moment before. Kennedy forgot to breathe. She was distantly aware of the fact that he was backing her off the dance floor. She knew she should, but she made no move to stop him. Sabrina’s warning echoed in her head, but all she could think was, I deserve to have fun tonight. I can handle a one-night stand.

I want a one-night stand.

A few minutes later, he led her up a set of stairs that climbed from a hallway near the kitchen to the second floor.

“How did you know these stairs were even here?” she wondered as she held his hand and followed.

“I scoped out the place when we first arrived. Force of habit,” he admitted. She knew he was talking about his job, not his past liaisons, which she appreciated. For the moment, she wanted to pretend she was the only one. Otherwise, she might back out.

At the top of the stairs, he paused to flash her a grin over his shoulder. She gave him a wobbly smile in return. He tugged her hand, leading her to the bride’s room.

Where they found Cullen and Sabrina, prematurely sealing their wedding vows.

“Guess they can’t get it annulled now,” Jack remarked as he quietly pulled the door closed.

She shook her head, the reality of this decision finally pushing through the haze of alcohol and lust. “This is a bad idea. Sabrina says I’m supposed to stay away from you.”

“I’m going to have a talk with Sabrina about interfering with my sex life,” Jack muttered. “Why did she say that?”

Kennedy shrugged. “You’re a player.”

“Are you looking for forever, Kennedy?”

She gasped and vehemently shook her head. Been there, done that, didn’t work out the way it was supposed to, she almost said out loud.

“Me neither. So how is this a bad thing again?”

“Umm…”

“I’m usually pretty good with the intuition thing. And my intuition is telling me that you are attracted to me.”

Kennedy cleared her throat. “I–I think your intuition is correct.”

Jack grinned. “I thought so. And I’m sure it’s pretty damn obvious that I’m attracted to you.”

To prove his point, he backed her up to the wall, pressed his palms against the wallpaper and dipped his head to nibble at her throat. She made a small, strangled noise and grabbed his shoulders to keep herself from falling when her knees buckled.

Jack sucked her earlobe into his mouth. “I promise, babe, you won’t regret it. I’m a very attentive lover.”

“Oh God.”

“I want to hear you scream that.”

“Limo,” she managed to say on a gasp, and she grabbed his hand and dragged him back down the hall to the stairs. She had no idea what caused her to think of the stretched vehicle out in the parking lot, all she knew was that three years of self-enforced celibacy had pushed her libido to the limit. She wanted to break her fast, and she wanted to do it right now, with this man.

Whatever happened tomorrow didn’t matter. Whatever happened in two hours wouldn’t matter. She just needed right now, and she needed it to involve she and Jack and a distinct lack of clothing.

The driver sat in the front seat, reading a newspaper and tapping his foot to the beat of a country song blaring from the speakers. Jack handed him a wad of cash and tucked Kennedy into the back of the limo. As soon as they were inside, the car lurched into motion, sending her tumbling into the groomsman’s lap. He pushed the button to raise the darkened glass that separated them from the front.

“We aren’t really doing this, are we?” she asked as Jack smoothed her skirt up her legs so she could straddle his lap without tearing her dress.

“Hell yes, we are. You don’t want to know how much I just paid that guy to drive around in circles for half an hour.”

“Half an hour?”

“Trust me, babe.”

AMAZON

***

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund is an author, a wine drinker, an award winner, and a lover of romance. She writes happily ever afters of both the contemporary and paranormal kind. There’s probably a new release coming soon. You should sign up for her newsletter so you know when: http://www.subscribepage.com/Tami_Lund

 

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Mafia Reads Funny & is On Sale!

Trapped by the Mob, the first in the two-book Detroit Mafia Series, is on sale for 99c for a few days…

Here’s what it’s about:

Sure, Antonio Sarvilli is the money man behind his brother’s criminal empire, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy. He’s not the one out there killing people. All he does is make greenbacks and enjoy the fruits of his labor.

That attitude changes when his brother assigns him to get to know Phoebe Cavanaugh, a Good Samaritan who witnessed something she wasn’t supposed to.

Now, all Antonio wants is to get out so he can be with Phoebe.

Except that’s not how it works when you’re part of the mob.

And here’s an excerpt:

Something wasn’t adding up, and considering Antonio was the numbers guy, when that happened, he became determined to find out why. It was in his genetic makeup.

Gino’s home office was the size of an opulent apartment in New York City. Why the hell one man needed so much space was beyond Antonio, who rapped his knuckles twice against the wooden door before stepping inside. He strolled across the plush carpet, deliberately twirling his key ring around his finger so Gino could see that he was in a hurry to be somewhere.

His brother spoke in low tones into the phone he held to his ear while he watched Antonio’s progress into the room. They were five years apart in age, though Gino looked ten, maybe fifteen years older. He’d played and worked far too hard for almost his entire life, and Mother Nature had begun to let him know.

His hair, along with the goatee he maintained to hide his weak chin, were speckled with gray. There were crow’s feet next to his eyes and lines around his mouth. While his arms were huge and Antonio would still not willingly challenge him to hand-to-hand combat, Gino was definitely going soft around the middle. Maybe he needed to start banging a dietician instead of those hookers.

But despite the signs of age, when he disconnected the call and sat back in his chair, steepling his fingers and giving Antonio that steady, unblinking gaze, he still reeked of power, control, dominance.

Just like he had for basically Antonio’s entire life.

Gino had started his own dry cleaning business only a few months out of high school. Today, he owned two-thirds of the dry cleaners in the metro Detroit area and bullied the other third so they wouldn’t encroach on his territory. An impartial observer could easily get the impression he owned the goddamn world. In his mind, he probably did. Antonio couldn’t recall the last time someone had crossed his brother. Probably not since sixth grade, when he’d already been a boy in a man’s body.

“Antonio,” he said. “I need you to do a job for me.”

Antonio shook his head. “Already did my job today. Made you a cool half mil. You’re welcome.”

On paper, Gino’s dry cleaning empire made half a mil a year. Everybody—including the cops—knew he was worth far more than that. But they couldn’t prove it. Nor were they aware that his younger brother was the money man; a fucking genius when it came to investing Gino’s substantial assets. Yeah, yeah, most of the money Antonio grew was dirty—really, really dirty—but Gino paid him a lot of greenbacks to ignore that fact.

Gino slid a piece of paper across the smooth surface of the desk. It looked like somebody had taken a screenshot of a video off the computer screen. A woman took up most of the grainy pic, a decent-looking blonde, frozen in the process of talking to, based on the microphone shoved in her face, a television reporter from one of the local networks.

“I need you to befriend this woman. Find out what she knows.”

Antonio glanced from the picture to Gino. “What, like how smart she is? Like can she count to ten or something?”

“Don’t be obtuse. I want you to find out what she knows about me.”

Antonio looked at the picture again. The woman was dressed in a tank top and running shorts, and her hair was pulled back into a ponytail. It was hard to tell from the image, but it didn’t look like she was wearing makeup, or at least not as much as Gino’s usual taste in women wore. Take away the blonde hair and she reminded him a little of Gino’s ex-wife, Margot, actually.

“I don’t mean to bring up a sore spot, but you didn’t have much luck with good-looking, presumably smart women the first time around.”

Gino’s forehead developed deep grooves as he frowned, giving Antonio that look that told him he was in danger of crossing the line between being an irritant and truly pissing off his really scary brother. “I am not interested in her like that, you nimrod.” He sucked in a breath through his nose, took his time exhaling. “She may have, um, witnessed something this morning. Something that naturally didn’t quite happen the way she saw it.”

“Do I want to know what this something is?” Probably not. Antonio was quite content to stay as oblivious as possible to Gino’s business dealings. It was easier to enjoy the far-more-than-comfortable lifestyle his paychecks afforded him if he didn’t look too closely at the root of all that income.

That’s why no one really knew about him; he hid in the shadows, tucked away in the background, managed the money from behind his secure-as-Fort-Knox laptop, and otherwise stayed out of Gino’s day-to-day dealings. He didn’t even come to his brother’s house all that often, and they almost never went out in public together.

When Dad died, they hadn’t had any sort of burial or memorial service. Gino’d had him cremated and shipped the remains back to Italy to be buried in a small, nondescript cemetery there. Then he’d set Mom up in an assisted living facility where she’d wasted away from Alzheimer’s, and then he’d given her the same treatment as Dad. Hell, half the goons on Gino’s payroll probably thought he had no parents, had been born via immaculate conception. Not sure how they figured Antonio came along. Or maybe they weren’t even aware they were brothers.

Antonio didn’t mind. Pretending he wasn’t really part of Gino’s life was easier on his conscience.

“Frankie stopped by to pick up Nina, and this woman saw him. She seems to be under the impression I kidnapped my own daughter. Which, of course, isn’t true.”

Isn’t it? Antonio glanced at the closed door to Gino’s office. Today was Friday. Early June. Here in the Detroit area, most schools were still in session, at least for another week or so. “So what’s Nina doing here, anyway? Shouldn’t she be in school?”

Gino waved dismissively. “I’m letting her have a day off. Everybody deserves a day off once in a while.”

Right. “And does her mom know she’s taking the day off school?”

Gino scowled and spat out, “Margot had a date last night.”

“Good for her. Although I’m not sure what that has to do with Nina skipping school.”

Gino’s fist slammed onto his desk, rattling the sturdy, wooden contraption and sending his pencil holder skittering off the edge. “No, that isn’t good for her. She knows the rules. If she didn’t want to stay with me, she can’t be with anybody.”

“O-o-okay. I see you haven’t gotten any less psychotic over your ex. Look, I’m in a bit of a hurry here, so if you’ll excuse me…”

But before he could take a step toward the door, Gino stabbed his finger at the printout.

“Her name is Phoebe Cavanaugh. She apparently doesn’t live too far from Margot. Go introduce yourself to her, do what you do best.”

“What’s that? Make money for her?”

“Idiot. Charm her. For some damn reason, women love you. I want you to get friendly with her, find out what she knows about me, and then convince her to stop talking to the police and the media about this alleged kidnapping issue. Got it?”

Antonio shook his head. “Nope. Don’t got it. I think you’re confusing me with one of the other guys on your payroll. I don’t do front-end work for you. I’m the greenbacks guy. I make your capital grow, period. That’s the extent of my services for hire.”

“I’m the one who decides the extent of your services.”

Goddamn it, he was right. Antonio wasn’t stupid, although he tried to act that way sometimes in an effort to stay under his brother’s radar. But the reality was, Gino’s empire was exactly like every mafia movie ever made. You didn’t get out of the business unless you got arrested or killed. And you sure as hell didn’t disobey Gino Sarvilli’s orders.

Blood wasn’t thicker than water. Sure, Antonio made a shit-ton of money for Gino, but at this point, he’d probably never be able to spend it all before he died. If Antonio disappeared, there were plenty of other financial planners who could step into his shoes, even if they didn’t have quite his knack for growing the almighty dollar.

With a sigh worthy of an Oscar, Antonio slid the grainy photo off the desk. “What’s her name again?”

Like I said, only 99c for just a few days, or you can read it in KU: TRAPPED BY THE MOB

Trapped by the Mob Cover

 

Tami Lund drinks wine, wins awards, occasionally hits best seller lists, and writes (funny) mafia romance, among other genres… https://tamilund.com/

Homecoming Dress Shopping with Tami Lund

Last week, my daughter announced that she was going to Homecoming. And then she asked if I would take her shopping for a dress.

I naïvely said yes, excited over the prospect of spending quality time with my kid and having zero concept of what I was getting myself into.

I remember my own homecoming experience, of course, but that was… a lot of years ago and from an entirely different point of view. And as she is my one and only, I did not have any previous parent-point-of-view experience from which to draw.

So when I say I naïvely said yes, I mean, seriously, I had no freaking clue what I was getting myself into on that lovely, mild Saturday afternoon.

Her best friend went with us, of course. This I do know about teenage girls: they cannot make a decision alone. There must always be someone of the appropriate age and respect level to whom they can turn to and said, “What do you think?” before agreeing to anything. And I do mean anything.

Me: How about we pick up your bestie at noon and we’ll eat lunch before we go shopping?

My daughter: Hang on, let me text her and see if she approves of this idea.

Me: Uhhh….

Me: If you’re going to wear foundation, we should have a professional help select the right shade so you don’t have that line under your chin like we used to when I was a teenager.

My daughter: Hey, bestie, what do you think? Do you agree with her?

Me: Slow blink, blank stare.

Me: Hey, why don’t we eat at On the Border for lunch? (Mostly because OTB serves margaritas and even though I didn’t truly grasp at that point what was about to happen, I knew I was going shopping with two teenage girls and that was enough to desire a drink or two before embarking.)

My daughter to her friend: What do you think? Would you rather eat at the food court?

Friend: Yeah, that’s cool.

See how that worked out for me?

So we went to the food court in the mall, which, for the record, is my least favorite place in the entire world to eat. First, it’s really, really loud. And chaotic. Second, there’s no alcoholic beverages. Third, I got food poisoning from this particular food court when my daughter was a wee toddler, and while it took three days to recover physically, I’m still not entirely emotionally over the experience.

(This time around I had a vegetarian pita that was quite delicious and did not, for the record, give me food poisoning.)

After lunch was an obligatory stop at Starbucks because this is another thing teenage girls cannot live without.

And then we officially began Homecoming Dress Shopping. By began, I mean we dove right into the deep end. The very first store was nothing but racks and racks of brightly colored, fancy dresses with hardly an inch between for patrons to squeeze through on our search for the perfect silk and satin and tulle and lace. Those dresses were—wow, were they ever short!

That was my first shocker. When I went to homecoming a thousand years ago, it was practically a mini-promo. Like a prelude or maybe practice. And yes, while I’m grateful for the much smaller price tag these days, that money we’re saving is a direct result of a lot less material.

These dresses were also backless. And had cutouts in the front and the sides. Some were two pieces with great gashes of abdominal skin showing in between. Oh, and skintight. And did I mention short?

Did I also mention that my daughter is (only) fourteen years old?

The bestie came up to me before they truly dove into the process and said, “So, is there anything off limits?” When I asked what she meant, she said, “Like, anything that is a definite no? Backless, too short, that sort of thing.”

Props to the kid for asking, eh? I almost said, “Good luck finding something if I list even one style as off limits,” but I didn’t.

I said, “I trust her judgment.”

And off they went.

Well, until they found the first dress, anyway. And then the second. And then I became a living dress rack who followed them around as they flitted from rack to rack, loading me with this and that and no, not that one but how about this one…And finally, when I could feel the carpal tunnel flaring, they decided to get into the (really, really long) line for the dressing rooms.

As weird as it sounds, that part was actually fun. In the line, and then lounging in the waiting area while the girls tried on dress after dress after dress; that was where the parents bonded. Oh, and grandparents. We complimented each other’s children, we commented on the length of the dresses; we offered up the tiebreakers when it came down to two equally loved gowns. And we unanimously agreed that the place would double their profits if they had a wine bar set up in the waiting area.

For the parents, of course.

Eight different garments later and the very first one my daughter tried on was the fave.

But we’d only been to one store, so of course we had to go to at least one more and scope out their offerings.

The next store sold prom dresses too, so guess what we did? Yep, tried on prom dresses. They found totes adorbs ones too, and I pointed out that their tastes and dress styles would very likely change before they’d be heading off to prom, but still; it was fun to twirl in front of the mirrors and take selfies.

And then finally, finally, the decision was made. We returned to the first store and bought the first dress. It’s a high-necked, sleeveless gown in deep purple, with a flouncy, not too short skirt. It’s gorgeous, and so very grown up and perfect for my not so little anymore girl.

purpledress.jpg(And no, I have no pics yet – although this dress is pretty similar. And yes, it has pockets! I wasn’t allowed to take pics, but I finagled an agreement that there would be ridiculous amounts of picture-taking on the day of homecoming.)

By the way, this homecoming dress shopping excursion lasted for over five hours. Much of that was waiting in line for the dressing rooms, but there was also jewelry and shoe shopping and of course a visit to the smoothie store (because Starbucks wasn’t enough?!). When it was all said and done, we completed the outfit in one day flat, which was my personal objective, so yay!

And we ended the day with dinner that wasn’t in the food court (or even in the mall!), and definitely included wine. And then we went home and her bestie’s grandma met us there and my daughter put on the full ensemble and showed it off for us.

And that’s when it hit me that my baby girl is not a baby anymore.

Although yes, she’s still my baby. And she always will be, no matter how many homecomings and proms there are in her future.

Tami-Lund-Bewitching-the-Dragon (1).jpg

 

Tami Lund is an award winning, best selling author who also now claims to be an expert homecoming dress shopping mom. And yes, she has a new release coming out in a couple of weeks. Click the pic!

Another First Day of School

My baby started high school last week. I handled the first day much better than I did when she started kindergarten and middle school.

It’s crazy how fast it all happens, isn’t it? I remember when her life began; I had just started a new job and my husband and I were planning to try “in six months or so.”

And then I was pregnant.

I knew by my son’s second birthday, yet remained in denial until ten days later, when I finally gave in and took a pregnancy test on Halloween, of all days.

Yeah, yeah, it ended up being a treat, not a trick.

I know exactly how old my kitchen is because when I was six months pregnant with my daughter, we gutted it and put in a new one. I gained a bunch of weight because we were forced to eat out for a month. This weight gain was despite my crawling around on my hands and knees day after day, laying tile, my belly almost brushing against the cool squares of ceramic as I slowly made my way to the next one. Every time my husband would ask if I wanted a break, I’d say, “Once I get up, I’m not getting down here again, so let’s just get it over with.”

Crap, our kitchen is getting old!

The first few years of my daughter’s life were, unfortunately, a blur, because I made the mistake of working in an industry that is not family-friendly. And then when she was almost four, the recession hit and I was laid off from my day job. I went from barely getting home in time to kiss her goodnight to spending every waking hour with her.

It was fantastic.

Days before her fifth birthday, I went back to work, and for a couple more years did it again; put in way too many hours. But then it evened out; I gradually learned how to (mostly) balance work and home. Don’t forget, in between all that, I had discovered a passion for writing that was most definitely not going anywhere any time soon.

Despite my “work ethic,” I have managed to be there for every first day and every last day of school. From the tears on the first day of kindergarten to the proud grins on the last. More tears and lots of trepidation on the first day of middle school, to the thrill of realizing how far she’d come on the last.

And now we’ve started her high school journey. I insisted she let me take that obligatory first day of school picture; she insisted on not smiling until the 756th shot. She asked me to drop her off earlier than I used to in middle school because she doesn’t want to feel rushed in the mornings anymore (last year she insisted it was okay to get there two minutes before the bell rang).

For many years, she wanted to be a vet, a not surprising result of a deep love of all animals. Last year that morphed into, “I want to do something in biology.” That’s still her plan. A few weeks ago, we drove past a local university, and as I used to work there, I was able to give her info about it, and it was pretty crazy to see her process and actually start thinking about what the heck she planned to do after high school.

They really do grow up too fast.

No Jerks on Monday

Tami Lund is a romance author who is currently feeling nostalgic about how fast the last fourteen years of her life have flown by. Here’s her website, in case you want to see what sort of books she writes: https://tamilund.com/

 

Tough Love is Back (Soon!)

There once was an aspiring author who wrote five-and-a-half manuscripts in a romantic suspense series that she eventually called the “Tough Love series.” As was typical when an idea formed in this author’s head, secondary characters from one book spurred story ideas for another book and then another, hence the five-and-a-half books, written over the course of only a few months. (She was laid off from her day job at the time, which provided ample time for writing.)

With three of the books completed in rough draft format, the author began querying, hoping a big bad publisher with lots of clout would realize how fabulous this series was.

At the same time, this author had discovered Twitter, and on Twitter were these “pitch wars,” where you post a line or two from your book, and if a publisher likes it, they, well, “like” it, and then you reach out and send them your manuscript and then start praying and praying and praying that this is finally your big break.

So this particular aspiring author checked the first three manuscripts of this series she’d been working on and found what she thought was a clever line from not the first book, but the second. So she put it out there in Twitter-land.

And a publisher liked it.

Let me repeat: A. Publisher. Liked. It.

Naked Truth, which was supposed to be the second book in the Tough Love series, was published through Crimson Romance on June 30, 2014. That was followed by Undercover Heat on January 19, 2015, and Delicious Deception on August 3, 2015. When this author sent the fourth book to the acquiring editor at Crimson Romance, they turned it down, and since this author had already started to self-publish at that time, she decided not to offer any more books to publishers, because keeping all her royalties made a hella lot more sense than sharing with someone else, especially since she was making enough by that point to cover the costs of covers and editing.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, that author is me. This is the short version of the creation of my Tough Love series. And the reason I’m sharing this info is because I have now gained my rights for the series from the publisher, so that I can self-publish what was my debut as a published author.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been re-reading the books in the series, updating a few things, cleaning up the writing that has obviously improved over the last five years (although I will say, these books were well-edited from the get-go!). This process has made me realize a few things…

  1. My writing has changed. Improvement is obvious. It better happen. If a writer doesn’t improve, well…But aside from improvement, my style is different now. I definitely included a lot more sex five years ago. These books are heavy on plot, but also heavy on steam. I’ve noticed recently, my books have been heavy on plot and the steam has been coming more slowly. There’s more anticipation and buildup now, whereas five years ago, my characters most definitely dove into the sack as quickly as they could.
  2. I still really like this series. A lot. Of the three, I love Undercover Heat the most, but I adore all the characters from all the books, and I was a little bit sad when I finished Delicious Deception and realized I had to say goodbye to these old friends…again.
  3. That made me realize that I cannot wait to (re)share this series with you all! There’s a strong likelihood that you haven’t read it, because once Crimson was acquired by a much larger publisher a few years ago, their titles basically quit getting marketed. They were also published at a higher price-point than I usually set my books. And since I had plenty of self-published titles to market to you all, I didn’t spend much time pushing these books that were going to make someone else money and not me.
  4. Even though I’m so excited to get these babies back out there for the world to read, it looks like it will be October before they get published. There are a lot of factors that went into this decision. First and foremost, I have to wait for the current publisher to take them off sale everywhere. Even though I have my rights reversal letters in hand, it takes time for distributors (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, etc.) to pull the original copies. And since these were available in print and ebook format, I imagine that only increases the amount of time it takes. Additionally, I already have a new release scheduled for September (the fourth book in my Taming the Dragon series, for those of you interested, comes out on September 24!), and I’ve run myself ragged trying to do too much promotion at one time in the past, and I learned my lesson. Thus, October it is!
  5. Re-reading these three books has spurred ideas for other characters who play roles in these stories. Naked Truth starts at Cullen and Sabrina’s wedding, and they are characters from the original first book in the series, which I never published. I don’t know why I didn’t, other than the decision to try to sell Naked Truth to the publisher instead of that one. So I’m definitely going to dig out their manuscript and see if it’s worthy of publication, too. Additionally, there’s a character named Court from Undercover Heat who I’d forgotten how much I adored, and I know I have at least a half-written book for him, too. And then there’s Connor’s sister from Delicious Deception. (It was her story that was rejected by the publisher, but I have an idea for tweaking it that I think will make all the difference in the world!)
  6. What’s really cool about this (to me) is that it has stirred that creative pot in my head and now I’m excited about writing more romantic suspense! It’s been a few years since I’ve written in this genre. I’ve been focused on paranormal and romcom, because that’s where my head has been. And honestly, I think that initial rejection, after the publisher accepted three other books from me, got in my head and maybe caused a little bit of writer’s block for that genre. But I’m back now, baby!

So get ready. Stay tuned for…

New covers! Ohmigod, I love what my cover artist is doing with the covers! I can’t wait to share!

Teasers. I love the teasers. When a scene makes me laugh out loud, I immediately want to share with the world!

And, eventually, links to grab the books, so you too care share my love of this series.

Oh, and if you aren’t following me on Facebook, that’s the best place to get all this info: TAMI LUND AUTHOR PAGE.

Talk to you soon!

 

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund is an author who writes romance in various sub-genres, including paranormal, romcom, and (once again) romantic suspense! Here’s her website: https://tamilund.com/

 

 

No Jerks On Monday

“No, no, no. This is all wrong,” a woman’s shrill voice penetrates the quiet of the cellar. The normally echo-y building has been peaceful to this point. I lift my gaze from the emails I’ve been going over and glance around.

“This is not what I wanted. The linen is the wrong shade of white, the flowers aren’t pink enough, and you haven’t changed the menu despite my express wishes. The spot you picked out for the ceremony just won’t do. You’re ruining my wedding.”

I roll my gaze to the ceiling. Bloody drama queen.

“I’m sure we can figure this out,” Sarah, our new cellar manager, says. “How about we sit and talk about the changes you would like, and then I can show you several more spots on the property where you might prefer to host the ceremony.”

I go back to reading. Sarah was Evan’s assistant for the last few years, and while she isn’t quite where I would have liked her to be training-wise before I promoted her, she’s been part of Anders long enough that she should have this handled.

“The only good thing about this awful place is the wine,” the woman snaps. “If you can’t do the job I’m paying you for, I want my deposit back. And don’t expect that I’ll keep quiet about your ineptitude. I’ll contact every bridal magazine and tell them not to bother with this place.”

Well, that would be fine by me. The wine’s all that matters.

Except my mother would be heartbroken, and the business that comes in from weddings might suffer if the bride follows through with her threat.

I blow out a breath and shut my laptop before joining them. Sarah doesn’t have it handled. In fact, her eyes are a wide as a bunny’s, her breath speeding like she’s caught in a spotlight, and this bridezilla in her tacky orange spray tan and teensy tiny white dress is holding the rifle with her candy-colored talon resting on the trigger.

Not good.

“How’s everything going, ladies?”

They both turn their gazes on me; Sarah’s full of worry, our bridezilla shooting me a look from under heavy mascara that could intimidate someone other than myself. It sweeps over me and lights up as I take her hand. I don’t know why, but women seem to like me on first meeting. Most of them. Except one in particular.

“I’m Jake Anders. And you must be…”

“Candy St. James,” she says, the shrill replaced by a huskier tone.

“Sarah, could you please go get us a bottle of…” I scan Candy from head to toe. American. Likes to think she’s sophisticated, but I doubt that she’s as refined as she thinks she is. Definitely a bubbly drinker. Probably a three-dollar bottle of Passion Pop kind of girl, but I’m not about to suggest it. “Moscato. Sparkling. The batch from 2012.”

Candy’s lips sweep open on an “oh.”

“Are you sure?” Sarah asks. That wasn’t our best year. But her asking probably makes it sound like it’s better than it is, which works in our favor.

“Absolutely,” I say.

Sarah leaves us to search out a bottle, and with a hand to her elbow, I guide Candy toward a table at the front of the building with a panoramic view of the sprawling emerald lawn surrounded by rows and rows of vines. It’s a pretty view. One that never fails to make my chest swell. “Why don’t we take a seat and you can tell me what we can do to make your day perfect.”

“Well…” Candy pulls a binder out of her Mary Poppins-sized tote, places it on the table, and starts flipping through the pages. And then she rattles off a list of grievances so long I zone out.

I have never understood the fascination of weddings. Women become downright swoony at the idea of a white dress and vows. Obsessive. Lithe, hungry demons really. I’ve yet to meet a woman who doesn’t get a far-off look in her eye when it comes to weddings.

But it’s the commitment after that matters. Not whether it’s fucking sunny on that particular day or if the flowers are the right color. Pink is pink, for Christ’s sake.

Hell, my mother spent thirty years with a man who not only put work above her but didn’t tell her he was sick until he found out it was terminal. And my sister is trying to get a divorce from a man she never should have married in the first place.

And the one time I considered it…

Sarah comes back with the wine and glasses. I pour one for the bride and hand it to her. “Okay, let’s start with the biggest issue. Location? What would you need to make it perfect?”

“I want it outside. With the vines in the background. Your planner showed me your usual spots, but the one that would work is next to a pond. There are ducks. I don’t want water fowl waddling around, crapping everywhere.”

Is Monday the kind of girl who falls for this whole cock and bull? Probably. I shift in my chair. Who gives a shit if the auditor is a romantic at heart? It’s none of my business.

“Okay, I have a couple of ideas for you.” I gesture for Sarah to bring the photo album of locations at the vinery. “Let’s have a look at your options and then we can take a tour and check them out before you make your decision.”

“Mmm,” Candy says, sipping her sparkling wine. “One thing I know for sure is, this wine is incredible. How’d you know?”

“Call it my wine sense. It’s sort of a sixth sense for pairing people with wine.”

“Whatever it is, you nailed it. We absolutely must serve it at the reception.”

“Of course.” Whatever the bride wants, she gets.

It’s a good two hours before we finally have all her issues rectified. Sarah joined us to take notes as we went through every little detail. Now Sarah’s walking the bride-to-be to her car.

I head behind the bar to filch the bottle of scotch I keep stashed there. Wine is my world, but after that meeting, I need a proper drink. I pour two fingers into a glass and settle in front of my laptop.

Sarah joins me at the bar a few minutes later. “I’m sorry. Evan always handled the difficult cases.”

“He had a way with the bridezillas,” I agree.

She smiles and tucks a tendril of brunette hair behind her ear. “He learned from the best. Your mum is brilliant with all this stuff. I’m just…”

“It’s fine. I’ve thrown you in the deep end with this one. And that woman is a bridezilla if I’ve ever seen one.”

“Well, at least she left happy,” Sarah says, collecting the glasses and the leftover wine.

“Yeah.” And I didn’t have a drink tossed in my face.

I roll my gaze to the beams overhead. Monday wasn’t happy at our meeting. Neither was I. And I’m pretty sure I acted like a tosser during it.

Perhaps I should try to make peace with her since my business is in her hands. A little light-hearted banter ought to bring her around. Grinning, I pull out my phone and tap out a quick text.

 

Me: Clearly not all American women think I’m an arse.

 

I don’t get a response until much later in the evening while I’m in the shower. Dripping wet, shampoo still in my hair, I stumble out of the bathroom half-blinded by soap to pick up my phone. Who does that? Me. I’ll do anything for the winery, including trying not to irritate the gorgeous blonde who holds the power to stop the largest distributer in the US from dealing with my business. A deal I need if I want to grow Anders Valley Vineyard as aggressively as I plan to.

 

Monday: Sorry. Who is this?

 

I have her number and she has mine, but I suppose it would make sense that she doesn’t have my information stored in her cell phone. I consider telling her, but where’s the fun in that? I reply on my way back to the bathroom.

 

Me: The jerk.

Monday: Which jerk?

 

I raise an eyebrow as I study those two words on the lock screen through the glass shower paneling. So it’s not just me then? Either she has a thing for jackasses or she’s uptight and judgemental. It’s hard to tell. I wash out the shampoo and take a moment to dry off before responding again.

 

Me: You know more than one?

 

Dot. Dot. Dot.

Those little dots go on forever. Long enough for me to clean up the bathroom and stretch out in bed. One hand tucked under my head, I glare at the dots. Is she writing a damn essay on how all men are dicks? If so, that would explain a lot. Sure, I wasn’t having a great night when we met, but her reaction was over the top. If this is a standard thing for her though… Maybe she just needs someone to show her we’re not all arseholes.

 

Me: All women like my wine. This one drank it like a civilized being though instead of tossing it in my face.

Monday: Jake Anders????

 

That wasn’t so hard. My lip tugs up on one side. I’m never going to let her live it down. The experience was unforgettable.

 

Me: That’s the one. Knew you’d be able to figure it out.

Monday: Why are you telling me this?

 

Good question. I guess I want to prove I’m not as big a jerk as she thinks I am. It’s as a good excuse as any to text her. And come on, it’s funny.

 

Me: Thought you might like to know most women don’t find it necessary to douse me in rosé.

 

I wait for her to respond. Or send a laughing emoji or a winky face or something to suggest she finds it as funny as I do. I get nothing.

What if she didn’t find it funny at all?

No Jerks on Monday

 

^^^That is a tidbit from my latest release, NO JERKS ON MONDAY.

Here’s what it’s about:

Jake Anders looks like he should be on the cover of an Australian firefighters calendar;

instead he owns a winery that makes a fabulous rosé.

The first time I met him, he was a jerk.

And then he became my client.

And he started acting distinctly non-jerky.

So I set out to prove it was all a ruse.

My ploy didn’t work.

And now, we’ve slept together.

If this is nothing but a one-night stand, I am so screwed.

You can grab it on Amazon. Happy reading!

~Tami Lund & Misti Murphy

Wine Country and Wine Books

I’ve just returned from a trip to northern California, where I visited both Sonoma and Napa Valley. My trip can be summed up in one word: Fantastic. Maybe one more word: Wine.

However, blogs were not meant to be short and sweet, so let me expound.

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It was my twentieth wedding anniversary (I know! Can you believe it? Yeah, we were babies when we tied the knot. Babies, I tell ya!). My husband joined me, of course. (Might have been a tad awkward if I’d gone for our anniversary without him.) The best man from our wedding (and his wife) and my bestie-in-the-whole-wide-world, aka maid of honor (well, she was technically matron since she got married first, but that term sounds lame, so we stuck with maid) and her husband, and the parents of our flower girl and ring bearer (Who are also super amazing besties of ours–the parents, I mean. The kids are cool, too, though.) all joined us.

(Side note – yes, another one – we suggested the ring bearer and flower girl join us for the next trip, since, crazy enough, they’re of age, which is so weird considering they were these two totally adorable toddlers walking–and maybe a little bit of running–down the aisle at my wedding. But then again, I guess that whole thing did happen two decades ago!)

Anywhooooo, so we vacationed in Cali, these four couples who have known each other for far more than two decades. Which is crazy, because are we even old enough to have friends that long? Okay, okay, maybe I’m referring to the way we act. But hey, if you can’t have fun with your besties…

I won’t bore you with every single detail (not that a single detail was remotely boring–not even that morning three of us woke up early and went hiking, legit hiking, on a mountain that just happened to be at the end of the street on which the house we were renting was located. Of note, we are not from states in which hiking on mountains at the end of the road is a thing, so yeah, we may have been a tad excited.)

I will tell you that it was magnificent, every single aspect, from the wine to the food (we highly recommend Brix in Napa Valley and the Depot Hotel Restaurant in Sonoma) to the company (the laughs, oh my gosh, the laughs!) was utterly and spectacularly perfect.

I will also leave you with a funny story from our trip (and a reminder that I just wrote a book about wine country–okay, okay, it’s based in Australia, but it’s still about a winery, specific a super hot guy who owns a winery, and it’s well worth the read if you’re into, well, wine country, and also romantic comedy or maybe just my books in general. It’s called No Jerks on Monday in case you want to check it out.).

No Jerks on Monday

So here’s the story: My bestie and her husband started their vacay early–they flew into San Francisco on Monday and on Wednesday, when the rest of us arrived, we picked them up and headed north to Wine Country. While we were at dinner on Wednesday, they told us a story about a food tour they’d gone on in downtown SF. It was quite the pleasant experience, until a presumably homeless man stepped in the middle of their group while the tour guide was giving details about whatever building they happened to be standing in front of.

She didn’t miss a beat, keeping her cool and nodding at the guy as he talked gibberish while gesturing wildly. She carried on as if this was a completely normal part of the tour. And then, after he muttered something about someone named “Steven,” she said, “Oh, yes, I know Steven.”

At which point the homeless guy shouted, “STEVEN IS A BITCH.”

And the tour guide, still without missing a beat, said, “And we’re walking,” and herded her group down the sidewalk and on to the next stop.

We found this story outrageously hilarious, and proceeded to insert “Steven is a bitch” into every conversation we possibly could. It became our “That’s what she said” of the weekend.

Oh, but it gets better.

Thursday morning, we went on the Sonoma Food, Wine & History Tour (if you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend it, and ask for Abby because she’s amazing, as you’ll learn in just a moment).

Our tour guide, as I just noted, was Abby. Friendly, bubbly, made a point to get to know every person in the group. We were comfortable with her in probably less than twenty minutes.

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The tour started right outside the Depot Park Museum in downtown Sonoma. Abby was giving us a bit of history about the area, including the fact that the now-defunct tracks we were standing next to used to carry a train full of basalt (which was excavated from the mountain right there in Sonoma) into San Francisco to be loaded onto boats to be carried who knows where in the world.

An elderly woman who clearly worked or volunteered at the museum happened to be walking by at the precise moment Abby mentioned San Francisco, and the woman snapped, “No, that’s not where it went. It went to blah blah blah [I don’t even know what she said, to be honest]. You should come into the museum so you can learn something.” And then she stuck her nose in the air and stomped away.

At which point someone in our group muttered, “Annnnd Steven is a bitch.”

And then we collapsed against each other, laughing hysterically, while poor Abby looked on, quite mystified. Until we filled her in on the joke.

Which she proceeded to use to her advantage for the duration of the tour.

So, yeah, we had a marvelous time. I can’t wait to go back.

~*~

No Jerks on Monday

 

Tami Lund is an author and wine drinker who writes books about sexy winery owners. Take a peek at No Jerks on Monday HERE.