EXCERPT REVEAL! BLACK TIE OPTIONAL BY ANN MARIE WALKER (@TastyBookTours   @AnnMarie_Walker)

The Proposal meets Two Weeks Notice in Ann Marie Walker’s 
new standalone romantic comedy, Black Tie Optional!

 

 
BLACK TIE OPTIONAL
Wild Wedding #1
Ann Marie Walker
Releasing May 30, 2017
St. Martin’s Press

 

The Proposal meets Two
Weeks Notice
 in Ann Marie Walker’s new standalone romantic
comedy, Black Tie Optional, which New York Times bestselling
author Jennifer Probst calls, “a fun, sexy romp that will keep every
reader entertained!”
Everything about Coleman Grant III oozes power and sex. And not the perfunctory
kind either, but the sheet clawing, heart stopping, gasping for air after
you’ve screamed so loud you can’t breathe kind. From his dark wavy hair that
stands in an artfully rumpled mess, to the blue eyes that sear your skin, to
his full, sensual lips – on the surface he’s pure perfection.

 
Too bad he’s an asshole. An arrogant, uptight corporate raider hell bent on destroying
the environment one species at a time.
 
Everything about Olivia Ramsey screams hippie humanitarian. From her blond hair tied in a sloppy bun, to her faded jeans with the Bonnaroo patch sewn on the thigh, to
her combat boots still splattered with mud from the previous day’s site visit.
So it makes perfect sense that they would get married. In Vegas. Stone-cold sober.Cole
needs a wife. Olivia needs to save an endangered species. But what starts as a
marriage of convenience soon turns into a battle of wills and sexual tension.
Love is a game, and Olivia and Cole are ready to win.
 
Chapter One
 
Just like clockwork, Olivia thought. She watched the gas-guzzling SUV roll to a stop
alongside the curb, its hazard lights blinking as if some sort of justification
for bringing a full lane of Chicago’s morning rush hour to a grinding halt.
Every day the sleek black car stopped in exactly the same location so the
almighty Coleman Grant III could get the same extra hot, double shot Americano
from the same big-chain coffee shop, bypassing the smaller, neighborhood
establishments trying to stay afloat as corporate America runs them into the
ground.
            A mountain of a man in mirrored
aviator shades jumped out of the front seat to open the rear door, giving
Olivia a clear view of the luxury vehicle’s interior. Two leather captain’s
chairs with fold down keyboards and armrest tablet holders sat facing several
television monitors mounted above what appeared to be a full-service bar.  Forget running a business, it looked as
though Coleman Grant ran NASA from his back seat. Honestly, what could possibly
be so important that it couldn’t keep until he got to the office? The commute
from his Gold Coast penthouse to his Loop headquarters was less than two miles.
Hadn’t the guy ever heard of just chilling out with some tunes?
            Olivia approached the car just as
Grant climbed out of the back seat. He paused to button the jacket of his navy
blue Tom Ford and for a moment she forgot he was an arrogant, self-righteous
prick hell bent on destroying the environment one species at a time. For a
moment, she allowed herself to take in the physical perfection standing in
front of her. From his dark wavy hair that stood in an artfully rumpled mess,
to the blue eyes that seared her skin, to his full, sensual lips – everything about
Coleman Grant oozed power and sex. And not the perfunctory kind either, but the
sheet clawing, heart-stopping, gasping-for-air-after-you’ve-screamed-so-loud-you-can’t-breathe
kind. But then his eyes narrowed and his lips curved into a knowing smirk and
Olivia remembered exactly who she was dealing with.
            “Mr. Grant,” she began.
            The bodyguard moved to step between
them but Grant waved him off. “Ms. Ramsey, what a surprise,” he said, not at
all surprised since this was the eighty-third day in a row she had approached
him. Not that it mattered. She had no plans to stop these sidewalk sessions
until he either agreed to her demands or filed for a restraining order.
            He made his way toward the coffee
shop with Olivia tight on his heels. “You know, most people simply make an
appointment with my assistant.” 
            “I’ve tried that, Mr. Grant. But for
some reason your schedule is always full.”
            “Pity,” he said, his voice void of
all emotion. When he reached the glass doors, he yanked one open. “Please,
after you.” 
            Bastard. Normally he charged in like
he owned the place, never mind if she or anyone else got a face full of door. How
dare he try to throw her off her game by acting chivalrous. As if the man had a
courteous bone in his body. Olivia stood frozen in place, debating how best to
handle this latest twist in their balance of power. As she did, Cole’s gaze
raked her from head to toe, from her blond hair tied in a sloppy bun, to her
faded jeans with the Bonaroo patch sewn on the thigh, to her combat boots splattered
with mud from the previous day’s site visit.
            She hated to admit it, but the
scrutiny of his gaze was unnerving. And it wasn’t just the laser like focus.
There was something about his expression, as if he wasn’t looking at her fully
clothed in a shop brimming with customers, but rather undressing her with his
eyes. She shifted in place, debating if she should call him out for his piggish
behavior or simply stick to the topic at hand.
            “Suit yourself,” he finally said,
stepping through the doors and leaving her alone on the sidewalk. 
            Not so fast. She took a deep breath
and joined him at the service counter.
“Mr. Grant, as I’m sure you’re aware, the northern long-eared bat was
recently granted protection as a threatened species under the Endangered
Species Act.”
            “Rather difficult to forget given
your daily reminders. Although I must say, Ms. Ramsey, you disappoint me. No
visual aids today?” He turned away from the counter with his extra hot, double
shot Americano to find Olivia standing behind him with an 8 x 10 glossy in her
hand.  “Ah, it seems I spoke too soon.”
            “This particular species of bat has
been the most impacted by white-nose syndrome and the resulting decline in
their numbers is what—”
            “Those really are the most vile
creatures,” Grant interrupted. “Have you ever considered taking up the cause of
a more appealing animal, say a manatee?”
            “There aren’t any manatees in Lake
Michigan.”
            “Precisely.” He smirked. “Perhaps
you could move? I’m sure you could find some poor, unsuspecting Floridians
worthy of your attention.” He raised his left hand and for the first time
Olivia realized he was holding a second cup. He thrust it in her direction and
without thinking she took it, dropping the photograph as she did. “You seem
like the type who would order your latte with a hundred and one specifications,
but hopefully skinny vanilla will do.”
            Olivia blinked. He bought her a
coffee? What the actual fuck? Did he really think he could charm his way out of
the hot seat? She had spent her entire adult life and most of her teens
speaking on behalf of those who couldn’t. It was going to take a lot more than
a few random acts of fabricated kindness to get her off his back.
            She was about to tell him not only
where he could stick his latte but how in her twenty-eight years on earth she’d
never ordered a “skinny” anything, when he turned toward the door. She bent to
scoop up the photo then hurried after him, fast talking her case all the way to
the curb where his bodyguard stood waiting with the door already open. As
usual, Grant didn’t say a word, much less defend his stance. Instead he simply
flashed a grin that would have made her drop her latte, not to mention her
panties, if she didn’t find him to be lacking in not only morals and ethics but
quite possibly a soul.
            He gave her a quick nod before
ducking into the car.  “Until tomorrow,
Ms. Ramsey.”
            With that, the door slammed shut and
the SUV pulled into traffic to the sound of protesting horns.
            “Asshole,” Olivia muttered under her
breath. “Gorgeous asshole, but still.” She turned on her heel and started down
the street with her head held high. Coleman Grant III might have been trying to
make a mockery of her attempts to persuade him, but their standoff was far from
over. A slow grin curved her lips as an idea began to take shape. She’d just
pulled her smartphone out to send herself a reminder when it began to vibrate
in her hand.
            “Are you bringing your swimsuit?”
her best friend asked before Olivia had even managed a hello.
            “To the desert? You’re joking,
right?”
            “I wasn’t sure.”
            “Cassie, I know you’ve had your head
buried in cookbooks for the past few years but surely you can remember how a
vacation works…lounge chairs, suntan oil, blended drinks with tiny umbrellas
that make you say ridiculously inappropriate things to cabana boys.”
            “I have never said anything
inappropriate to a cabana boy. And that’s sexist by the way.”
            “Cabana person?” Olivia laughed at
her own joke. “I’m playing. But you’ve got to lighten up a bit. We’re headed to
Vegas, Sin City, what happens there stays there and all that.”
            “You sound like a tourism ad.”
            “All I’m saying is you better be
ready to party Hangover style.”
            Cassie snorted. “Yeah, cause that
worked out so well for them.”
            “I promise I won’t leave you
stranded on a hotel roof.”
            “This is a bad idea. I should be
staying here and looking for a job.”
            “You’re the sister of the groom. You
can’t very well ditch out on the bachelor/bachelorette festivities. Besides, if
I can break my ‘Harass Coleman Grant’ streak for a few days, then you can
certainly give the stand mixer a rest.”
            “How’s that going by the way?”
            Olivia groaned. “New day, same
story. ”
            “Maybe it’s time to—”
            “Move on? No way.” While it was true
that working freelance allowed Olivia a certain amount of latitude, she prided
herself on never giving up. There was no way Coleman Grant was going to blemish
her perfect record. “I’ll just have to double my efforts.”
            Cassie laughed. “I’m actually starting
to feel sorry for the guy.”
            “Don’t be fooled by the looks. He
might be hotter than Ryan Reynolds and Ian Somerhalder combined, but underneath
that perfect exterior beats the heart of an ogre.”
            “Sounds like someone has wet
panties.”
            “Why Cassandra Miller, is that
smutty talk I hear coming out of your mouth? There may be hope for you yet.”
            “Don’t change the subject. You’ve
got the hots for this guy.”
            “Hardly. He’s eye candy all right,
but he’s also a spoiled, self-centered asshole who think it’s his way or the
highway. Not this time though.” Olivia nodded to herself. One way or another he
was going to give in to her demands. Coleman Grant III had finally met his
match. He just didn’t know it yet.

 

Ann Marie
Walker
 writes
steamy books about sexy boys. She’s a fan of fancy cocktails, anything
chocolate, and 80s rom-coms. Her super power is connecting any situation to an
episode of Friends and she thinks all coffee cups should be the size of a bowl.
If it’s December she can be found watching Love Actually but the rest of the
year you can find her at AnnMarieWalker.com where she would be happy to talk to
you about alpha males, lemon drop martinis or supermodel David Gandy. Ann Marie
attended the University of Notre Dame and currently lives in Chicago.
 

 

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