Unmistaken Identity will release June 21st, but is available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo. Take a peek at the blurb and an excerpt and enjoy!
Mara Baranski is living the fangirl’s dream, running a comic book shop that supports her and her ailing mother. She is even given the chance to buy the building—for a dollar. That is, until her dear friend and landlord dies before the sale goes through. Now Mara has forty-five days to clear out her shop or convince the resentful son of the old owner to change his mind—if she can only corner him long enough to ask.
Despite being abandoned by his father years ago, Wesley inherited all of his dad’s assets and ambition—but not his gullibility. When the tantalizing woman at his nightclub turns out to be the woman who scammed his lonely father, he seizes the chance for a little revenge. But after using a fake name to get close to his target, Wes is soon coming up with excuses to keep his identity secret a little longer.
As the forty-five days count down, Mara’s loyal customers swoop in to help save her store. Even more, her handsome new boyfriend is making her believe in happy endings again. Too bad secret identities only last forever in comic books.
Excerpt (with some profanity):
Mara strode into the swanky club and stalled. The loud music pulsed though her body, and flashing lights bounced off mirrored columns. Beautiful people sipped cocktails and flirted with the equally stunning people next to them. She so didn’t belong there.
Sam, why’d you have to go and die on me? Guilt immediately poured in. It wasn’t like the man she leased her store front from, her dear friend, had planned on passing away.
To fortify her nerves, she reminded herself why she was here instead of at home in her Avengers pajamas, slaying some dragon ass on her Xbox.
She had forty-five days to close down her comic book shop and vacate the building. The entire strip mall was scheduled for demolition.
Sam Robson’s son must’ve moved on his plans to tear down her livelihood before dirt had even covered the coffin.
She smoothed her hands down her skirt and wished for her favorite leggings and flannel. Her feet screamed in her heels, but at least she wouldn’t get kicked out for not being hot enough.
Why couldn’t he have met with her like a responsible business owner? Why couldn’t Sam have finished the paperwork that would’ve taken care of everything?
I’m sorry, Mr. Robson isn’t in the office today.
Wesley Robson’s bitchy receptionist had said that line for the last five days. First, the coward had served her papers on Friday afternoon, then he’d been “gone” all week. If he thought to avoid her, he was an idiot. She’d meet his unprofessionalism with her tenacity. To start with, she’d remembered Sam telling her his son owned a nightclub.
And here she was. At Canon. Of all the definitions of canon, which one had he named his club after? She doubted he used religious connotations in the name of a nightclub. In her world, canon discussions varied depending on the universe being discussed. Comic books? Superhero movies? Video games? Yeah, those worlds went with this place…
She glanced around at the design and decor of the club. Upscale. Like the high-end retail shopping and luxury condos planned for where her store sat. What was this look called? Industrial contemporary. Another term she’d heard Sam throw around. She’d learned so much from that man.
Six months of mourning his death gave way to a spike in anger. He’d told her he’d take care of it, that her business would never be threatened. The papers that gave her the Heart of Downtown strip mall had been drawn up and…that was as far as it had gotten. He had loved her comic book shop, Arcadia, almost as much as she did.
Squaring her shoulders, she forced one foot in front of the other. As she passed the bouncer, he slid his gaze down her bare legs, up to her plunging neckline, then behind her to the next scantily clad woman. He had plenty to choose from, and, as always, she was forgettable.
Mara sighed. No wonder the fanboy world was where she stayed. Most days, comic book worlds were preferable to hers, and her customers brightened each hour she worked. Hell, they were her only friends.
She scanned the club as she wound her way around mirrored columns to the bar. Throngs of young professionals left their business jackets behind and bounced in beat to the music, their ties loose and neck collars unbuttoned. Dark booths lining the walls—she was almost afraid to look—were filled with laughing men and women, elegant drinks in their hands.
The bar anchored the middle of the club and she chose a seat on the same side as the door. A prime view of every corner.
The bartender gave her a once-over. “What can I get you?”
“I’d like to talk to Wes, if he’s around.” Maybe acting like she knew him would help. But what if he went by Wesley?
The guy cocked an eyebrow. “He’s not here.”
A ready-made answer. A lot of women must make the same request. Perfect. The guy was a player. At least that might mean he harvested his bedroom fun from the dance floor and would make an appearance.
Ugh. She hated lingering at bars.
What the hell did people drink when they went to places like this? Mixed drinks? She didn’t know any. Beer? She liked it with pizza. “I’ll have a glass of white wine.”
There. That sounded classy.
He rattled off a list of brands, his tone bored.
She gave him a succinct smile. “Surprise me.”
He poured her wine as he made a phone call. Her lips flattened when she noticed he’d chosen bottom shelf. Was she that obvious? She wasn’t penniless, but she did pinch the copper out of them.
He slid the glass in front of her and moved down the line, taking orders.
Sipping her drink and watching the crowd, she waffled between ordering a second glass and going home. Could she tolerate sitting at the bar, wasting time, while her mind vacillated between finding another location for her store and giving it up to work for someone else?
She shuddered. Giving someone power and influence over her?
She had to hunt Wesley Robson down tonight, didn’t want to waste more time on her search. As it was, the night would be too short for decent sleep. Saturday was game day at her comic book shop. Participants showed early and played intensely for hours. Board games, card games, electronic games. She would jump in and play them all, or run around the store helping customers.
It was her favorite day of the week, but still a long one.
What did Wesley look like, anyway? She would’ve seen him if she’d been able to go to the funeral. By the time she’d found out about Sam’s sudden death, though, he’d been gone and buried. There had to be a picture of his boy online. Just as she pulled out her phone to do a search, someone settled onto the barstool next to her.
The deep voice resonated through her bones. She almost groaned. He had the rumble of a rugged man, a primal mating call in her opinion. Admittedly, her last few dates had put the “boys” in fanboys, not men who knew their way around a woman.
She peeked at him from the corner of her eye. Her fingers tightened around the stem of her glass.
Holy hotness, Batman! He reminded her of one of her favorite superheroes. Jet-black hair, sky-blue eyes nearly glowing under the club lights, wide shoulders. If he wore a cape and had a large S on his shirt, she’d sit on his face. She’d still consider it, given his charcoal slacks and white-striped shirt, which likely had been cinched by a tie all day. The first two buttons were undone and his sleeves were rolled up. What was that style called? Industrial hot-as-hell businessman.
“What’s your poison?”
She shot him a surprised glance. He gestured to her already half-empty glass.
What had the bartender said it was? “I think it’s named after some rapper.”
He chuckled with genuine humor. “Are you here with the bachelorette party?”
When hell froze over. “No.”
The bartender leaned over the counter to hand him his drink. “The lady said she was looking for the owner.”
Stay out of it, dude. Wait, he knew the total package next to her? Maybe the new arrival also knew the owner. “Do you know Mr. Robson?”
His eyes crinkled with his smile. Even the man’s teeth were perfect. “Why would you want to find him? I’ve heard he’s an ass.”
She rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it.”
Hotness savored a long sip of his…whatever a Macallan was. “You’ve gotta tell me what he did to you.”
The pink bangs that framed her face dropped into her eyes. She feathered them away. His gaze traced from her hand to her dual ponytails, the plain brown hair streaked with pink. Instead of blond highlights, or lowlights, or whatever stylish women did, she’d chosen pink—because it was fun and girly. One of the few splurges she allowed herself.
Her hair often drew attention, not always the flattering kind. But she enjoyed his. “He’s shutting down my store. Tearing down the whole damn building. ‘Upgrading.’” She gave the last word air quotes.
His right eye twitched and he stared at her for a heartbeat. Humor drained from his expression and his gaze narrowed slightly.
Her heart rate increased at being the object of such scrutiny. She wanted more, but she also felt like she’d done something wrong.
Finally, a grin curled his full lips. “That bastard.”
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