Hump Day Hunk with Anna Clifton
The problem with Justin
New Year’s resolutions are made at New Year. Everyone knows that. But for Ellie Halligan, New Year is coming early.
She has a problem, you see. And his name is Justin Murphy.
Not that he’s a new problem. He’s not. She’s known Justin forever, as have her three brothers. As kids they were an inseparable gang of six with Justin and his little brother, Sam. They were the happiest days of Ellie’s life, until the day Sam disappeared, never to return. Justin would never be the same again.
But that was eons ago. Eighteen years to be exact. This New Year, Ellie’s moving on from the past. Not that moving on from Justin will be easy. Not when he’s her boss, her oldest friend, and the only man who can take her breath away just by looking for her across a crowded room.
So does he feel the same way about her?
The answer to that must be ‘no’.
She’s worked as a business development executive in his law firm for two years. Not once has he suggested dinner or a drink. Clearly, all thoughts about her are in the same headspace as his profit margins.
But that’s okay. Ellie’s come up with a bunch of quick and easy New Year’s resolutions to sort out her problem with Justin, once and for all.
Just don’t think about him! Keep focused on her upcoming job in Paris with the hippest vintage clothing venture in Europe, where she can dress up as Audrey whenever she wants.
Do not think about those enigmatic champagne eyes of his, those big cat moves, the gentle voice, or her achingly bittersweet conviction that no man will ever know her like Justin does.
Forget that whenever she’s close to him, he makes her feel like this
Remind herself (regularly!) that by the time Justin gets around to looking her way with romance in those champagne eyes (if he ever does) she’ll be dying out the grays and penciling on the eyebrows.
Absolutely do not let Justin distract her from her plans for Paris. Listen to her big brother instead. Harry’s insisted all along that she’s in a rut and needs this overseas adventure. Harry also says she needs to stop playing helicopter-sister to him and his kids, even when his seven-year-old, Rosie, gets that unhappy look of hers – the one that breaks Ellie’s heart.
Above all, do not lose her head over the conversation she had with Justin last night. The one that did not go in the direction it was supposed to. The one where she barely raised an argument to his refusal to waive her notice period. The one where he said a whole bunch of stuff to her that he was not supposed to say, like:
Stay in Sydney, fulfill your obligations to the firm and hang out with me until New Year when I will personally drive you to the airport.
Fabulous suggestion given that the whole purpose of Paris was to put space between them!
And just in case she’d been getting any adorably absurd ideas about his feelings for her, the conversation in which he’d also added:
There’s no need to over think it, Ellie. We’ve known each other for twenty years. I’m talking about spending some extra time together as friends. Nothing more.
Whenever she starts imagining what it will be like to spend every day until New Year with the biggest problem in her life, damn well try and stop feeling like this.
About the Author:
Anna writes contemporary romance novels with a special focus on legal eagles and the modern urban family. Her third novel, New Year’s Promise, is out now and her fourth, Portrait of Somer (Harry’s story), is due for release through Escape Publishing on June 22, 2015.
New Year’s Promise
They’ve been colleagues, allies and best friends forever, but he wants more — and he’s not above using the magic of the Christmas season to get it.
When Business Development Executive Ellie Halligan is offered the job of a lifetime in Paris, it seems her chance to live a fairytale adventure has finally arrived. Her only hurdle is convincing legal eagle Justin Murphy — her boss and friend since childhood — to wave his boss’s wand and waive her four-week resignation period so that she can start her adventure by Christmas.
But Justin proves to be a demanding fairy godmother. He’ll let her go early, but not unless she spends time with him over the festive season up until New Year.
Ellie doesn’t know what to do. Is Justin finally looking at her romantically after all these years, or are far more threatening dynamics at play? Justin has a secret, and he seems to want to pull her back into a past she’d rather forget. But delving into that old pain might be the only way to move forward — and for Justin to finally be free.
Will doing this for Justin become Ellie’s final gift of love as she loses him forever?
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