Out October 2015
“I have a proposal for you…”
Sadie Sullivan is determined to make her dreams of running a luxurious hotel in Turkey a reality. Then her secret crush, Dylan Jacobs, arrives with an irresistible business proposal, and the chemistry she’s long tried to ignore suddenly feels very real…
Dylan’s impulsive lifestyle sets alarm bells ringing for single mom Sadie, but soon she realizes it’s up to her to show this playboy he’s capable of commitment. Especially when she admits to herself that all her hopes for the future include Dylan—and in a very different role than business partner!
Buy it here:
WHAT the READERS SAY:
Pembroke is a master at the romance genre, hitting all the right notes. She shows that dreams can come true and everything happens for a reason.
RT Reviews, 4 stars
READ AN EXTRACT:
Sadie Sullivan blinked into the sunshine and waved goodbye to the rental car pulling away from the Azure Hotel. If she squinted, she could just make out Finn’s tiny face pressed up against the rear window, and his little hand waving back. Her father, in the driver’s seat, was obviously concentrating on the road, but Sadie spotted the glint of her mother’s ash-blonde hair beside Finn, and knew she’d be holding him in place, making sure his seat belt was secure.
He was in good hands. She had to remember that. Even if her heart ached at the thought of being separated from her little boy.
The car turned the last corner at the end of the drive and disappeared out of sight, behind the row of juniper trees, onto the road that led up the coast then back inland towards the main roads and Izmir airport. Sadie sucked in a deep breath and wiped the back of her hand across her eyes, quickly, in case anyone was watching. The last thing she needed right now was talk about the boss breaking down in tears. Professionalism, that was the key.
‘It’s one week, Sullivan,’ she muttered to herself. ‘Get over yourself. In seven days you’ll be in England with him, getting ready to bring him back. Enjoy the peace until then.’
Except next time it might be for longer. A whole term, even. And what if he didn’t want to come home to her in the holidays? No, she wasn’t thinking about that. Whatever her father said about British schools, about having family around, Finn’s place was with her. The local schools were great, and Finn’s Turkish was really coming along. He’d be fine.
She swallowed, and stepped back into the coolness of the Azure lobby. Even in late September Kuşadasi still enjoyed the warmth of the Turkish climate. In a few weeks, she knew, the locals would start pulling on sweaters and mumbling about the chill in the air—while she, and the few remaining tourists in town at the end of the season, would still be down at the beach, enjoying the sun.
This time next year Finn would have started school. The only question left to answer definitively was, where?
‘Did Finn and your parents leave for the airport okay?’ Esma asked, looking up from the reception desk, her long red nails still resting on her keyboard.
Sadie nodded, not trusting herself to speak just yet.
‘He’s so excited about having a holiday with his grandparents,’ Sadie’s second in command carried on, regardless. ‘And the timing is just perfect, too.’
Sadie kept nodding. Then she blinked. ‘It is?’
Esma tilted her head to study her, and Sadie tried to pull herself into her best boss posture and expression. She had the suit, the hair, the make-up—all the things she usually hid behind when she didn’t quite know what to do. That armour had got her through her husband’s death, through taking on his ridiculously ambitious business project that she didn’t have the first clue about. Why on earth would it fail her now, at the prospect of a mere week without her son?
It obviously worked, because Esma shrugged and pushed the work diary across the reception desk towards her.
‘I just meant with that potential investor arriving this week. Without Finn to worry about, you will have more time to spend winning him over, yes?’
‘Yes, of course,’ Sadie responded automatically, her eyes fixed on the red letters spelling ‘Investor Visit’ written across the next five days. How could she have forgotten?
Her priority for the week. The only thing she had time to worry about, at all, was this investor and all his lovely money.
She hadn’t wanted to resort to outside help, but things were getting beyond desperate, even if only she and Neal knew the true extent of the Azure’s problems. When their hunt for local investors had failed, Neal had suggested seeking investment from abroad—with similar results. But he’d had a last-chance possibility at the ready when she’d asked where on earth they went next. A business acquaintance, he’d said, who had interests in the hotel industry, and might just be interested enough to send an employee over to check out the Azure.
Sadie had been doubtful, but she was also running out of options. She trusted Neal—he was more than her accountant, he had been one of her late husband Adem’s best friends. And she had no doubt that Neal would have asked his acquaintance to go easy on her. Everyone always did.
She’s a widow. They always shook their head sadly as they said the word ‘widow’. Lost her husband in a car crash, tragically young.
These days, that was often the only thing people knew about her at all. Well, that and the fact that she was saddled with a white elephant of a hotel renovation that might never be finished at the rate things were going.
Sadie was almost sure there used to be more to know about her once.
Behind the reception desk Esma’s eyes were wide and worried, so Sadie reinforced her ‘in control of everything’ smile. She had to shake off the negativity. She loved the Azure, just like Adem had, and just like Finn did. It was her home, and she would make it a success—one way or another.
She’d made promises. Commitments. And she had every intention of fulfilling them.
She just might have to accept a little help along the way.
‘Did Neal call with the name of the guy the company is sending over yet?’ Sadie asked. ‘And we have a car collecting him from the airport, correct?’
‘Yes, at four o’clock,’ Esma confirmed. ‘I sent Alim.’
‘Good.’ Alim was reliable, and his English was great—far better than her Turkish, even after four years of living in the country and working hard to learn. Finn was a much quicker study than her, it turned out.
And just like that, she’d forgotten all her business worries again and was back to fretting about her son. Part of being a mother, she supposed.
She checked her watch. It was already gone five.
‘Has Alim texted to say they’re on their way?’ Sadie asked.
‘Almost an hour ago. They should be here any moment.’ Esma bit her lip. ‘It will all be fine, Sadie,’ she added after a moment. But it sounded more like a question than reassurance.
Sadie smiled broadly. ‘Of course it will! I’m certain of it,’ she lied. Then something occurred to her. Esma had only answered half her question. ‘And the name?’ she pressed. ‘Neal gave it to you, yes?’ How embarrassing would it be to greet this guy with no idea what to call him?
Behind the desk, Esma squirmed, shuffling an irrelevant stack of papers between her hands, her gaze fixed firmly on her nails. Something heavy settled in Sadie’s stomach at the sight. Something heavier even than her guilt about Finn being away all week. Something more like the magnitude of the fears and nightmares that kept her awake at night, wondering how on earth she would achieve everything she’d promised her husband and son.
‘Esma? What’s his name?’
Her face pale, Esma finally looked up to meet Sadie’s gaze. ‘Neal said it might be better if you…’ She trailed off.
‘If I what?’ Sadie asked. ‘Didn’t know the name of the person who might hold the future of this place in his hands? Why on earth would he—? Unless…’
Behind her, she heard the swoosh of the automatic doors and the clunk of a heavy suitcase on the marble floors. Her heart beat in double time, and that heavy feeling spread up through her chest, constricting her breathing and threatening her poor, laboured heart.
Sadie turned, and suddenly it was thirteen years ago. She could almost sense Adem beside her—younger, more nervous, but alive—hopping from foot to foot as he introduced his new girlfriend to his two best friends. Neal Stephens and Dylan Jacobs.
Except Adem was dead, Neal was in England—where she couldn’t yell at him yet—and only Dylan stood in the lobby of her hotel. Dylan, who was supposed to be thousands of miles away in Australia, where he belonged. Instead, he was at the Azure, as self-assured and cocky as ever. And every inch as handsome.
No wonder Neal hadn’t told her. She’d have been on the first flight out with Finn, and he knew it. He might not know everything, but Neal had to at least have noticed that she’d made a concerted effort not to see Dylan since the funeral.
But now she couldn’t run. She had commitments to keep—and she needed Dylan Jacobs of all people to help her do that.
Sadie plastered on a smile, stepped forward, and held out a hand that only shook a bit.
‘Dylan! How wonderful to see you again,’ she said, and prayed it didn’t sound like the lie it was.