I’m excited to share the first teaser from One Night Pact with you. It is out on January 12th!
If you’re interested in purchasing an I love J. S. Cooper Tote bag, I have some new designs in my etsy store here. I also have a lot of newer books on sale for $5. If interested, please place an order here and email me for my list, so you can select your paperback!
“Sarah, I need for you to do me a huge favor, okay?” The sweet begging note in Harry’s voice alerted me to the fact that he was going to ask me to do something I didn’t want to do. I was used to that dulcet tone, the one that made you think that butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. But I’d known Harry for too long. He’d asked me to do too many favors that had blown up in my face, to make me say yes without knowing exactly what he wanted me to do.
“What’s the favor, Harry?” I asked my best friend trying not to give him any encouragement. If he thought I was going to acquiesce, he’d ask me for more than one favor and I’d get off the phone wondering what I’d just gotten myself into. I was attempting to create boundaries with him. We were best friends yes, but I wasn’t going to be his doormat any longer. He always wanted to ask me for favors yet, he was never willing to do any favors for me. Not that I’d ever really asked him for anything. But still, it seemed a way way street on the favor highway.
“I need you to go down to Macy’s and I need you to buy some Christmas presents for me.” His voice was sweet. “Please, I would owe you forever.”
“What Christmas presents, Harry?” I frowned into the phone, wondering why on earth he wanted me to buy Christmas presents for him.
“Oh, just stuff you think you’d like.”
“Stuff I think I’d like? Are these presents for me?” I highly doubted it.
“Not quite.” He coughed and immediately I was suspicious.
“So then who are the presents for Harry?”
“Well, if I have to tell you…” He paused. “I don’t really want to say, because I know you’re going to judge me.”
“Harry, tell me right now, who are these presents for?” I walked to my bedroom and sat down on my mattress. I was feeling slightly tired and was ready for a quick afternoon nap in my bed.
“Sarah can’t you do something for me without having to know the answers to everything? Do you have to know the why?”
“Yes, Harry, I need to know the why.” I leaned back on my bed and yawned. “I’m tired and want to go to bed for a couple of hours. So if you’re not going to tell me…”
“Fine. There are three girls I’ve kind of been seeing casually and I think all of them are expecting a Christmas present. So I need for you to get them Christmas presents because I don’t have time.”
“Oh my gosh. Are you actually asking me to get presents for your girlfriends?” This was a new low for Harry. I mean yes, we were best friends, but this was too much.
“They’re not my girlfriends.” He protested. “You know I don’t have a girlfriend. Would I be able to spend so much time with you, if I did.”
“Oh, sorry. For your lady friends, then?” Sarcasm dripped from my voice.
“They’re not my lady friends.”
“They’re not your lady friends? What do you mean by that? What are they then? Aliens?”
“They’re just ladies that I know and go out on dates with sometimes.”
“Oh, but they’re not friends?”
“No, I wouldn’t call them friends, necessarily. You’re my friend, Sarah. You’re my best friend. That’s why I’m asking you to do me this huge favor. You know, I will owe you one.”
“You owe me so much already Harry.”
“Aw Sarah, but isn’t that what best friends are for?”
“Harry, you know that I don’t want to get involved with you and your skanks.”.
“Now now, they aren’t skanks.” He laughed. “Please, Sarah. I’ll love you forever.” He spoke in that smooth voice that he normally reserved for women he was flirting with.
“You’re already supposed to love me forever.” I laughed. “I’ve been your best friend your whole life, if you’re only going to love me if I buy presents for your lady nonfriends, then I guess—.”
“Well, I’ll love you forever and a day then.” He cut me off. “Please Sarah. You know I suck with buying gifts and you’re so good. And I have absolutely no time, what with running the office, helping out with the German merger, acting as family liaison for the annual charity fashion show, and—.”
“Fine. I’ll get them, what exactly do you want me to buy?”
“Just choose whatever you think you’d like. Just use your initiative. You have great taste, so I trust you.”
“Okay, no need to suck up, Harry.” I laughed. “Also do you want three gifts that are the same or three different gifts?”
“I don’t care. It’s up to you.”
“And do you want cards?”
“Do you think they deserve cards?”
“Do I think they deserve cards?” I could hear the disbelief in my voice. “Harry, I feel sorry for these poor misguided girls. You’re a real treat to date, aren’t you? What the hell do you mean, do I think they deserve cards? Do they deserve to be treated like this?” My voice was rising as I got angrier. “The real question, is do they deserve to be treated this way and if you want to know my answer to that, the answer is no.”
“Oh, Sarah, don’t take it so personally. They know what’s up. They accompany me to dinners. They go with me to business events and dinners. They enjoy the life I give them.”
“Really? Do they know about each other?”
“Well, each one of them knows they’re not my one and only. And let’s be real, if they read any of the local newspapers here in New York, they’ll see that there are other women that I’m also dating.”
“That’s so horrible. Harry. That’s really, really horrible.”
“Well, you told me you wouldn’t accompany me to any business events. And you know I can’t go alone, so I needed to find someone or many someone’s. We could avoid all of this if you would just agree ”
“Harry. I don’t want anyone thinking I’m your lady of the month.”
“Yeah, that’s true because you’re my lady for life.”
“Well, you mean I’m your best friend for life.” I corrected him.
“Yeah. Yeah. Same difference to me.” I could hear music in his background and I could picture him sitting in his living room relaxing on his couch. “So you’re definitely going to get the presents and the cards, right?”
“Fine. I’ll do it for you. You’re going to give me your credit card again?”
“Sure. You want me to pop it over later tonight?”
“I might be going to a movie, so-”
“Okay. I’ll see you at eight?”
“Fine.” I sighed in resignation. Whatever Harry wanted, Harry got. There was no point arguing with him and right now I was too tired to be able to formulate my points coherently.
“Great, see you later.” Harry clicked off the phone, and I just stood there, staring at the phone screen. Harry Parker Huntington frustrated me more than any man in the world. He was my best friend and had been since we were little kids. Our mothers were best friends and they’d had us as playmates before we could even walk and talk. We’d gone to all the same schools and even though we were in different grades, we’d always remained best friends. Even though he was three years older than me, we’d spent all of our weekends and summers together and that had made us super close. Sometimes I thought I was even closer to him than he was to his four older brothers. I think our friendship worked so well because I wasn’t actually a part of his big crazy family; yet, I understood where he was coming from.
It was kind of crazy to think that we’d been friends for so long, but our friendship was the most special relationship we both had in our lives. We always had each other’s backs. The only problem was, I felt like Harry took me for granted. He didn’t see me as a woman that had her own life. He didn’t see me as someone to value and put on a pedestal. He just saw me as someone that was always there. And it wasn’t just him. It was his brothers as well. Harry had four brothers that he grew up with. And actually I grew up with them too. And not one of them had ever asked me out. Not one of them had ever tried to kiss me. Not one of them had ever looked at me with that look that says, “Wow, you’re looking sexy.” And now that I was older, it frustrated and upset me. Why weren’t these guys interested in me?
I knew I looked like a little bit of a tomboy. I always had my hair in a ponytail. It was four inches too long, it hadn’t been colored in my whole life. I wore glasses and frumpy clothes, but I was ready for a change. I didn’t want to be the girl next door that no one ever looked at anymore. I was 23 years old already. I had just graduated from grad school. I wanted to be the girl that people looked at and thought, “Wow, she’s absolutely beautiful. I want to be with her.” I wanted Harry’s brothers to look at me and be fighting over me. I wanted Harry to have to break up fights. Well, maybe not literal fights. That wouldn’t be cool. And I knew my mother and his mother would disapprove, but it was still nice to dream. They at least could have gotten into heated arguments and argued over who was going to date me or something.
I’d spoken to my friend Gemma about my dilemma. We’d met in Grad school and she was my best female friend. She knew that Harry and I had been best friends since we were kids and were still closer than many people were. When she’d first met him, she was shocked to find out that we’d never messed around because he’s so good looking, but I assured her, we were nothing more than friends. He’d never even looked at me in a special way and neither had any of his four equally hot brothers. She knew that their lack of interest in me actually frustrated me slightly. Not because I wanted them, but because I wanted to be wanted.
Gemma suggested that it was likely that they all took my presence for granted and didn’t really see me as a woman. She kindly told me that a lot of that was most probably related to my tomboy look and the fact that I was a doormat to every single one of them. She suggested that I should get a make-over. She had some friends in the fashion industry that she thought could give me a helping hand. She thought it was a little bit late in life to have a full makeover, but still worth it for my purposes. I wasn’t hurt by her words. I was used to her; she was one of those blunt New Yorkers that had no subtlety, and I was glad to have a friend to tell me like it is.
Normally girls like me had their blossoming or chrysalis in high school; where they went from the ugly caterpillar to the beautiful butterfly and everyone at the Prom wondered who the beautiful swan floating across the dance floor with the high school quarterback was. I never had that moment. In fact, I didn’t even go to my high school prom. I stayed at home and watched movies with Harry’s brothers who were home from college while Harry went with the head cheerleader. Even though he had already graduated. Yeah, that wasn’t sad was it?
Harry had asked me to come with them, but who wants to be a third wheel at prom? Not me. But I was fed up with being the friend that was stuck home on Friday nights waiting to hear about Harry’s exciting nights out. It didn’t help that he was three years older than me, so we’d never been in the same grade and he’d left to go to college while I was still in high school. I’d thought our friendship would fade away then, but we both made a concentrated effort to call and email each other and we’d remained as close as ever. The only problem was as I got older, I no longer just wanted to be the geeky nondescript friend. I wanted to be noticed.
So Gemma and I devised a plan. I was going to have a make-over. I was going to get my hair cut, some highlights put in. I had suggested going to Sephora or Macy’s to buy some new makeup and get a free makeover, but Gemma persuaded me to spend a bit more money. The plan was that I was going to buy some new clothes and then on Christmas day I was going to walk in and shock everyone. I wanted jaws to drop. Yep. And even more importantly, I wanted Harry’s jaw to drop. I wanted his dark brown eyes to darken in shock and I wanted all of his brother’s to want me and see me as a woman and lust over me. The only problem was my parents would be there as well, so they couldn’t lust too much. I knew my parents would wonder what had come over me if I walked out in a sexy new look. And I’d likely give my grandparents a heart attack or at the very least they’d think I’d lost my mind. They were all used to me being a plain Jane, but hey, you only live once and I was no longer willing to be the ugly duckling, just sitting around, waiting for something in my life to change. I wanted to be the beautiful swan and I wanted to swim away and make a new, fresh beginning for myself.
Are you ready?
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I am also really excited to share that I have a surprise holiday romance coming in December, that is steamy and hilarious. Get ready for the cover reveal next week as it is HAWT!!! <3