I’m very pleased to announce that my novel LUXURY MODEL WIFE is a 2017 HOLT Medallion Award finalist in the Single Title/Mainstream category. My heartfelt thanks go to the readers who judged this contest and selected my book for this wonderful honor.
For a full list of finalists and more information about the HOLT Medallion Award visit the website of the Virginia Romance Writers.
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Here’s a little about the story. I hope you’ll pick up a copy.
LUXURY MODEL WIFE by Adele Downs
Antiques expert Steve Carlson must face the mistakes of his past to discover a treasure he never imagined: the heart of a vulnerable yet determined widow.
Steve tilted his head, his bright blue eyes sizing her up. “Sorry, but I gotta’ ask. Do you always talk like that?”
Victoria felt her cheeks warm. “Whatever do you mean?”
“There.” He studied her again with not-so-subtle curiosity. “You sounded like your late husband James just now. Funny, you don’t seem like the snooty type to me. More like a regular girl.”
His comment touched a nerve like hot wires to stripped cable. Victoria bit back a retort while blood rushed through her ears. She closed her eyes against the sound to clear her head. Twenty-eight was hardly a girl, and she was damn tired of defending her right to be a Van Orr.
For five years she’d tried and failed to fit into the privileged world of her older husband—learning couture, keeping her posture as straight as a modeling school graduate, rounding her O’s when she spoke —apparently fooling no one on either side of the social spectrum in the process.
Defeat swept over her and her shoulders sagged beneath five-thousand dollar silk and linen. No matter how hard she tried, she’d forever be exposed as the abandoned kid who’d grown-up in shelters.
Strange though… when she opened her eyes and returned them to Steve Carlson’s handsome face, she sensed his remark was meant as a compliment and not a reminder that she lacked James’s pedigree. It was like he saw her.
Her. Not James’s luxury-model second wife.
Still, his manners were disgusting. Even store-owner-janitors should know how to behave. Snooty type. Who was he to say that to her? She was a potential client for heaven’s sake.
Victoria stood to leave. She was sick and tired of people voicing their opinions about her and her late husband’s disparate lineage. She’d been bullied and belittled since the day she’d become engaged. “You don’t know me well enough to analyze me, Mr. Carlson.” She kept the annoyance out of her reprimand. The rich had taught her that cool disdain wounded more deeply than anger.
Steve grimaced, rubbed his jaw, and then stood to face her, his expression sheepish. He waved her back to her seat. “Please. I’m sorry I offended you. I’m a friend. Really. We’ve gotten off on the wrong foot.”
He ran a hand through his hair and his bicep bulged with the movement. Victoria’s gaze followed the lines and curves of sinew and muscle and took in the military tattoo peeking from the hem of his tee shirt.
She resisted the images that teased her dormant libido, and brought her eyes back to his face. Damn. That didn’t help. Why did this annoying man have to be so good-looking? Her attraction to him only made her feel guilty, like she’d betrayed James’s memory. Widowhood came with a unique set of baggage.
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