Atlanta image consultant Victoria Sharpe is about to give a makeover to the man who broke her heart in college, and a
do-over to a love that always should have been.
Looking at her potential client, Atlanta image consultant Victoria Sharpe is convinced the job will be a cross between What Not to Wear and Man vs. Wild. She’d love to turn down the offer, but refusing it—not to mention the referrals it could generate—just might break the bank. Yet, agreeing to make over this man’s image might also break her heart. Again.
Max Brown will tolerate anything to gain access to his trust fund. Returning to work in the family business, even submitting to his mother’s demands to trade his comfortable flannel for Armani is worthwhile if he can get the money necessary to start a camp for at-risk boys. But then he sees he’ll be working with Victoria Sharpe, his college girlfriend, the one who got away. Or, really, the one he left. The impression he makes here will be the most important of his life, and the person most as risk is himself.
The persistent knocking at her front door roused Victoria from a dream where she and Max lived in a log cabin deep in the Rockies with their child—a toddler with eyes as blue as the mountain sky and brown hair that curled at his nape just like his daddy’s. The dream was a recent and recurring one, and she always woke from it a little sad. In her dream they were a family—together and happy. The location puzzled her because even though Max had invited her into his world for that one day of hiking, she knew she’d never be invited in completely. She had wondered, though, what she would have done if Max had extended that invitation. Cold and snow and isolation were out of her comfort zone.
She pulled on her robe, grabbed her phone in case she needed to call 911 and padded barefoot toward the front door, wishing she had insisted Nick install a peephole so she could see the late-night visitor. She moved to the window and nudged the curtain aside in the hope she could see a car parked below and determine her visitor’s identity.
Only one person in her circle of friends drove a black SUV, but what was he doing here? He was supposed to be in Colorado making his dream come true.
The knocking intensified. “Victoria, open the door,” Max yelled.
She opened the door a few inches and glared at the subject of her dream. Dark stubble covered the lower half of his face and his clothes looked as if he’d slept in them. It had taken him only two days to undo weeks of image coaching. Yet she had to admit he wore grungy well. Way too damned well for her erratic hormones.
“You’re usually not asleep so early on a Saturday night.” He propped one hand against the door frame.
I’m usually not pregnant and bone tired.
Victoria crossed her arms in a defensive pose, the pressure aggravating her already tender breasts. “You’re not supposed to be here. Did you forget the way to Colorado and lose your razor in the process?”
“Can I at least come inside to have this discussion?”
She swung the door open wide and waved him in. He strode to the sofa and sank onto it. His gaze swept her from head to toe. “Nice outfit,” he said with a cheeky grin. “I didn’t know you had a thing for Superman.”
Victoria pulled her robe around her and tied the sash tightly around the loose lounge pants and oversized red and blue t-shirt.
“Every woman has a thing for a man who stands up for truth and justice and comes to her rescue.”
He nodded thoughtfully. “I guess that’s why you don’t have a shirt with my picture on it.”
For under 100 pages, this was a very nice “bite-sized” romance! It's about a man and a woman – Max and Tori – who were a couple while they were in college, but since Max decided he wasn't good enough for his family, let alone the woman who loved him, he just up and leaves...everything.
Fast-forward 7 years, and you now have a matured Max and Tori, who now goes by Victoria. Well, Max comes back to town for the sole purpose of gaining his inheritance to start a dream of his own, but to gain that capital, he has to work a year minimum in the family business.
Once we find out his reasoning as to why he left everyone in his life all those years ago, you do feel bad for the guy, but that still doesn't let him off the hook for not giving Victoria a reason. And, since Victoria is still living in the same area, she's hired on as Max's image consultant by his mother...who still has fond feelings for Victoria, and obviously wishes that they could rekindle their relationship. Which is something different, since it seems in any relationship, the mother-in-law is the one the girlfriend usually has to jump thru hoops to get on their good side, so that's a nice change, haha!
I liked seeing the flirty banter between the two of them, and respected Victoria for being professional about the whole thing, because in real life, working for/with an ex, wouldn't be an easy task!!
“Better as a Memory” was a very nice second-chance story, and I think a lot of women who read this can relate to it, because I'm sure a lot of us have been in a relationship where their partner just vanishes without a “real” or good enough reason.
Can Ms. Baxter write us all a happy ending like Victoria got? :)
In 2001, Marilyn discovered Romance novels quite by accident, which led to a renewed interest in writing. She started out by writing fanfiction about Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Superman, which developed into a desire to write about her own characters. She’s had over forty short stories published in the confessions and Romance magazines.
Also, she has taught a class in how to effectively write for this genre and worked as a researcher and copy editor for several Romance authors. All this combined to give her a great love of the Romance genre and helped develop a multitude of friendships in the Romance community.
She’s a member of Romance Writers ofAmerica, as well as her local chapter, Heart of Dixie. In addition to reading, Marilyn loves to knit (as long as it’s only a scarf), cook (in the crockpot), garden (in a couple of pots on her patio), and her motto is “Have passport, will travel.” She’d love to add to the list of 32 states and 21 foreign countries she’s already visited.
After raising two great sons, she loves to spoil... er... dote on her two granddaughters.
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