TITLE – The Best Laid Plans of Boys and Men
SERIES – None
AUTHOR – Anne Conley
GENRE – Contemporary Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – January 1, 2014
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 28,500
PUBLISHER – Anne Conley
COVER ARTIST – James Price with AEP Book Covers
The Best Laid Plans of Boys and Men tells the story of the whirlwind May/December romance between Taylor and Alexander. While Taylor is completely caught off guard by Alexander’s maturity and the difference between him and every other boy she’s dated, Alexander’s busy trying to figure out how to tell her he’s the lawyer suing her pants off.
This is a standalone story of approximately 30 thousand words, not part of any of Anne Conley’s series.
BUY & TBR LINKS
“Well, well, well…” Sandra’s gaze turned mischievous, and Taylor turned to see who had captured her attention. And promptly lost all ability to breathe. She was barely aware of Sandra’s muttered curses as she wiggled into the pocket of her jeans to extract the money, throwing it at Tess across the table.
Alexander had gone home to change as well. Gone was the suit and tie. A pair of jeans and a black button-down shirt graced his long, lean body. The shirt fit well over his broad shoulders, sleeves rolled up to expose tan, corded forearms.
“Holy…” She took a sip of her drink, sucking it down to the ice to cool the pooling warmth inside. Her heart was beating fast, slamming against her chest painfully. Taylor watched his gaze travel the crowded club before finding them seated along the edge in the curved booth. His arctic blue eyes flashed from searching to triumphant to predatory in an instant, and the pool of warmth spread through her core.
With each step closer, Taylor found less breathable air.
“Holy hell. That man can wear a pair of jeans like nobody’s business.” Sandra was in awe, and the thought crossed Taylor’s mind that he was closer to Sandra’s age than hers. She had no business starting something with him, anyway; maybe she should just fork him over.
Except his eyes never wavered from hers. As soon as he’d seen them, his gaze had latched onto hers, leaching inhibitions right and left. Her tongue snaked out and swept across her bottom lip, followed by her teeth, and she caught her hand fiddling with the neckline of her top. Subconscious signals flowed from her before she realized what she was doing.
She was glad to see him.
He flashed a grin at them before sliding into the booth next to Taylor, and she had a sudden understanding of the term panty-melting. His smile certainly did things to her insides that nobody else had managed to do. Ever.
His proximity was doing things too. He smelled clean and fresh, his woodsy aftershave wafting to her unencumbered by smells of permanent solution, hair dyes, and shampoo. His thigh brushed against hers, and tingles erupted in her stomach.
“Ladies,” he greeted them. Holding his hand out to shake the boy’s hand, he introduced himself, “Alexander.”
The guy, whose diatribe about his hair had trailed off with the women’s shift of focus, flashed a confident smile. “Lucas. Nice to meet you, man.” Taylor watched the handshake, both men’s hands white-knuckled with exerted pressure. She hid her smile behind her fingers. Lucas wrapped his arm possessively around Tess, who didn’t seem to mind much, and Alexander visibly relaxed.
Okay, so he wasn’t threatened by the attention to Tess. For some reason, that thought comforted Taylor, but not for long. His voice in her ear sent a whole slew of uncomfortable thoughts racing through her body.
“Can I crash girls’ night if I buy you ladies drinks?”
“Of course! I’ll have another margarita, Taylor needs another cranberry vodka, and Tess is drinking the draft bock.” Sandra had the hearing of a bat. Taylor had always been amazed at how well she could hear clients talking over the noise in the shop, and tonight was no exception.
When Alexander looked at her for confirmation, she nearly got lost in the pools of blue piercing her, offering a meek nod of acceptance. As he slid out of their booth with the grace of a cat, she felt a pang of loss at the sudden coolness that replaced his body heat.
She fanned herself absently, mentally chiding her body’s physical reaction.
“You gonna tap that?” Lucas was watching her, an amused look on his face.
“That’s a manther if I’ve ever seen one.” He tossed back his beer in one motion and settled back with an excited gleam in his eyes.
Tess laughed uproariously, and Taylor couldn’t hide her confusion.
Sandra explained, “The male equivalent of a cougar is what he means.”
“How do you guys even know he’s here for me? You’re closer to his age. What if he’s here to pick you up?” she asked Sandra.
“He’s not, honey. I guarantee you.”
“Yeah, he looks like he wants to fuck you senseless,” Lucas added.
“Well, I wouldn’t have put it nearly that eloquently…” Alexander slid into the space next to Taylor, replacing the heat which had left with him. She watched him as a slight blush rose to his cheeks. Or was it a flame like the one tickling her insides right now? Or the one that was rippling across her own skin?
He held out a hand to her with two drinks in it, one hers, and one a clear amber liquid, presumably his. The way he cradled both glasses in his palms lent an intimacy to the glasses flush against each other. She took both and placed his on the table while he handed the others around. Those hands…
Grateful for the drink, she took a rather large sip, not wanting to see Alexander’s reaction to Lucas. Even though Lucas’s attention had been diverted to something Tess was whispering in his ear, Taylor still couldn’t look up enough to gauge anybody’s reaction.
Except Sandra’s, who loudly announced someone had to get up because she wanted to dance.
Alexander gracefully slid back out, holding out his hand to Taylor to help her. When she took it, his smooth fingers caressed her palm seductively as he lifted her out of the booth. The shudder wracking her body could not be suppressed. What was it about this guy? Nobody had ever made her body do these things, and she barely knew him.
An overwhelming desire to explore the attraction consumed her. Her eyes lifted to his, and once again, his crystalline blue gaze pierced her. She sipped on her drink, ignoring Sandra behind her and asked, “Do you want to dance?”
A rare uncertainty crossed his features, and Taylor thought it was cute. “I don’t really dance to this type of music,” he said, looking down at her. His gaze was focused on her lips, and she licked them nervously.
Setting down her drink, she took a deep breath and grabbed his hand. “It’s not hard, you just bounce with me.” Taylor wasn’t used to taking the lead with guys, certainly not guys like Alexander. He was so put together, so unlike any of the other guys she’d gone out with. In fact, it occurred to her, he wasn’t a guy. He was most definitely a man.
Carnal desire replaced the uncertainty on his face, and he tossed back his drink in one swallow. “Sounds heavenly.”
Anne has written her entire life and has the boxes of angst-filled journals and poetry to prove it. She’s been writing for public consumption for the last four years. Currently she is writing two romance series. In Stories of Serendipity, she explores real people living real lives in small town Texas in a contemporary romance setting. In The Four Winds, she chronicles God’s four closest archangels, Uriel, Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael, falling in love and becoming human. She lives in rural East Texas with her husband and children in her own private oasis, where she prides herself in her complete lack of social skills, choosing instead to live with the people inside her head.