Today I am so pleased to welcome Jayce Ellis to Joyfully Jay. Jayce has come to talk to us about her latest release, Learned Behaviors. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Welcome to the first in a brand new series! In Learned Behaviors, Matt Donaldson thinks he’s finally in a place to repair the relationships with his children that were damaged during his divorce, but being sucked into hand-holding a product launch that drops the day after his son’s wedding isn’t going to help. Nor does his attraction to the executive assistant for the brand, Jaq Reynolds, who’s as sexy as he is frustrating. Throw in a black cat, who’s appreciation for finer materials consists of rolling around in it, and you’ve got a great setup for a first meeting. Enjoy theirs below!
Matt was…not impressed with the building. That was not an indictment of Patti or Kingsley Enterprises because, as far as his notes said, they rented one floor and a few offices on another for the company. Still, the stainless steel with wood laminate and linoleum floors left more than a lot to be desired. It was Georgetown, for chrissakes. When had it become so commercial, so sanitized? Probably when rents exploded and kicked small business owners out.
He sighed, crinkling his nose as he fastened the top button of his Armani suit and hit the button for his destination. His reflection on the elevator panel looked off somehow. His suit wasn’t the solid black it should be.
He stepped closer and closed his eyes on a sigh. His twenty-year-old, cranky, crotchety black cat must have made himself comfortable on Matt’s outfit this morning. He might not have noticed it, but his mighty pet had just enough spatterings of white to make the suit look…off. Usually he kept a lint roller on him. But it was out of sheets and he hadn’t replaced them. And here he was thinking about first impressions.
Stepping into the lobby for Kingsley Enterprises was like a splash of color in an otherwise dreary world. The walls were a vibrant orange-red, so intense it would have been hard to look at if not for the multicolored pastel paisley markings that surrounded it. Kingsley’s logo. He wondered idly how she’d come up with it. Farther into the room he spied a few people scurrying about, apparently getting their morning fixes in before the day started. Matt’d barely had time to scarf down a bagel and some burnt coffee before showing up, but the Rosslyn apartment wasn’t ready yet and the drive from Fredericksburg had been miserable. He didn’t understand how folks did it.
He sat, shifting to get comfortable, and noticed a few hairs left behind on the chair. “Dammit, Spitfire,” he muttered under his breath.
“I’ve been called worse.” An amused voice drifted from his left, and Matt scrambled to his feet, then stopped.
The man before him wasn’t tall, maybe only five-seven, but through the lines of the suit—and he couldn’t say offhand if it was bespoke or simply beautifully tailored—Matt saw how his muscles strained. Thick thighs and strong arms. He wanted to ask him to turn around. He desperately needed to know if his backside was as nice as his front.
A cleared throat and a smirk made Matt blink. “Sorry. Not you. My cat. Spitfire. He…” Matt trailed off. He was stumbling over his words and he did not like it.
The man took a step forward and looked him up and down. “It adds a certain something to the look.” Matt frowned, feeling his hackles rise, and the guy laughed. “I’m messing with you. But how can I assist you? Are you here to meet someone?”
Matt’s nostrils flared as a waft of his scent filtered through the air. Prada. Nice. Then he remembered the man’s words, and that voice. He knew it. Of course.
“You must be JaQuan Reynolds,” Matt said, holding his hand out. “I’m Matthew Donaldson, your Bernhardt liaison.”
The younger man startled, then shook his head before shaking. “I am. Welcome.” His voice had gone all business, and that was mildly disappointing. “Ms. Kingsley will be with you in just a moment. Can I get you something to drink?”
Mr. Reynolds’s palm wasn’t excessively smooth like those of some people Matt knew, but didn’t have the calluses of someone who worked with their hands daily. Matt’s dad had been in construction and that roughness had always screamed man to him. But this hand was strong, a bit coarse, just enough to make him wonder how it would feel to be touched by them.
“Mr. Donaldson?” Mr. Reynolds called again, and Matt couldn’t tell if it was humor or irritation in his voice. “Would you like water? Tea or coffee?”
Get your head in the game, Donaldson. He didn’t have time to notice Mr. Reynolds, or anyone else for that matter. Matt straightened to his full height, which at six-two felt towering. “Coffee, please. Black. Thank you, Mr. Reynolds.”
“Call me Jaq. Take a seat and I’ll be right out.” He turned and sauntered off, and Matt let his eyes wander, just for a minute. Yep. The back could definitely hold its own.
“Romance readers will eagerly devour this upbeat contemporary.” —Publishers Weekly on Jeremiah by Jayce Ellis
Two single dads meet at the office, where it’s hate at first sight in this new series from acclaimed author Jayce Ellis.
Sending his daughter off to college is the proudest day of single dad JaQuan Reynolds’s life. Everything took a back seat to raising her—including his career. He has no idea what comes next, but his newfound freedom is quickly curtailed by a crash deadline at work and the uptight, hovering presence of consultant Matthew Donaldson. He’s surly and insufferably sexy, and Jaq’s ready to check him out and write him off—right up until a work assignment forces them together.
Every day. From now until Thanksgiving.
Work and fatherhood have been Matt’s whole world for years now, ever since his marriage ended. His eldest son is getting hitched over Thanksgiving weekend, and he’s not going to let a work deadline get in the way of celebrating with his family—not this time. The hours aren’t a problem, but the executive assistant on the project might be. Jaq’s sexy voice makes Matt yearn for things he let go of a long time ago.
Lust isn’t on the schedule, and neither is longing. But as the weeks go by, Matt and Jaq are forced to reevaluate their plans…and discover that even the most tight-knit of families can make room for one more.
Jayce Ellis has three loves: her husband and her two turtles. Hubby loves her back. The turtles she’s not so sure about, but they do love their sports (Bay Area teams FTW!). She still hasn’t figured out why she lives in Northern Virginia, where there’s weather, instead of California, where she’s from, and where it’s just…pretty. Jayce spends her days divorcing happily-married couples (or so she’s been told), and her nights talking maniacally to herself. Thankfully the recorder catches her rumblings and magically turns them into words on a screen. Painting nails is way easier when you don’t actually have to type, and with well over 600 polishes to get through, there’s a lot of painting going on.
Notwithstanding her no-good, very bad, horrible day job, Jayce seriously believes that true love conquers all. Even Malificent said it. Sure, she was having an epic Mean Girls moment, but points were made. The only thing Jayce loves more than writing about true love conquering all, is hearing from readers who feel the same way.
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