Exclusive Excerpt: The Start of Something Good - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

When Ethan Bishop returns to the Hudson Valley, his body and spirit are a little worse for wear. As a former Special Forces paratrooper, he saw his fair share of conflict, and he came home with wounds, inside and out. At his sisters’ B & B and farm, he can keep all his pain at a safe distance. But quiet time isn’t easy when a fiery woman explodes into his life…

It’s business—not pleasure—that brings Manhattan PR agent Mia Thrush reluctantly to the farm. Tightly wound and quick tempered, Mia clashes immediately with the brooding Ethan. Everything about him is irritating—from his lean muscles and piercing blue eyes to his scent of sweat and musk.

But as the summer unfolds and temperatures rise, Ethan and Mia discover how much they have in common: their guarded histories, an uncontrollable desire, and a passion for the future that could heal two broken hearts. But will their pasts threaten their fragile chance at a brand-new future?

Book Type:

Contemporary Romance

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Exclusive Excerpt: The Start of Something Good
By Jennifer Probst

Exclusive Excerpt: The Start of Something Good

Jennifer Probst newest novel—THE START OF SOMETHING GOOD—delivers a touching story about love, loss and second chances. This enemies-to-lovers romance is coming tomorrow, but today, I’m so excited to share with you an exclusive sneak peek!

She stared at him for a while and those golden eyes flashed with hidden temper. Yeah, she definitely didn’t like him either. He couldn’t think of a time when a woman wasn’t interested. He’d never been egotistical about it—just happy female companionship was easy for him. Mia could be a fun challenge if he’d been up for it, or if she was someone with potential. Was it the beard she hated? Or his bad temper? Maybe Harper was right. He’d let his appearance and social skills plummet since he’d arrived home.

“Fine. Chloe’s father is running for office. He can’t leave his job for the summer, so he sent me here to look out for her. Her mom passed away two years ago.”

Sympathy cut through him. He’d practically fallen apart after his mother’s death and he’d been a full-fledged adult. “Tough. Lake, right? Oh, he’s running for Mayor.”

She pursed her lips like she’d tasted something rotten. “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t run off and gossip to your friends about this. Chloe needs to stay under the radar, for her sake and her father’s. If the press got a hold of the story, you’d put her in a difficult situation.”

“I’ll try not to spout off at my next Bingo get together. I just want to know about Chloe. You and Lake are hooked up, then?”

“That is none of your business. I’m here to watch Chloe and do my job and hopefully stay away from you.”

He grinned. Kind of fun to get her riled up. “Trust me, princess. You couldn’t do one task around here without crying over breaking a nail. I’ll stay out of your hair if you stay out of mine.”

Her eyes sparked whisky fire. “Oh, I get it. You think because I dress nice and don’t get all mushy over horses and don’t like the smell of a barn that I’m beneath you. You think I’m a silly, clueless, conceited, stupid female who doesn’t have a clue about the real world. How am I doing so far?”

“I never thought stupid.”

She practically spit in outrage. “I deal with sharks and barracudas on a regular basis. I was born and bred in New York City and learned more street lessons than you could in a lifetime. I’ve built a successful PR business from the ground up in one of the most competitive industries in the world. So, don’t talk down to me, horse man, just because I like a good designer brand. Got it?”

Surprise flashed through him. Well, damned if her temper wasn’t the best part of her. It was certainly entertaining, and more honest than the rest of her. Too bad she was in such a sleazy profession. Publicity was as bad as politics. There were no morals, no rules, and no ethics in the PR business. It was based on who spun lies better and who wins, not how the game was played.

God knows he’d experienced that first hand.

“Yeah, I got it. But let’s lay out a few ground rules for you, too.” He cocked a hip and regarded her with a lazy dismissal he knew would piss her off. “Chloe is my responsibility while she works for me, and I don’t appreciate any interference. I’ll make sure she’s safe, respected, and taken care of, but I don’t need any high maintenance distractions for any of us around here. Especially drama. We all have jobs to do, so if you don’t want to get dirt on your fancy clothes, or bugs in your pretty hair, or enjoy the smell of sweat and horse manure, I’d suggest you stay at the inn where things are more…civilized. You can do your computer work and sip tea on the porch during the day. I’ll deliver Chloe back around five, and you can eat a nice dinner together and do some evening shopping. But I think we can both agree keeping Chloe busy and tired will keep her out of trouble. Correct?”

Steam rose from her. She took a step forward, her nostrils flaring, eyes burning, reminding Ethan of a not yet broken filly who still believed she was in charge and vowed to prove it. Damned if a strange crackle of attraction lit through him before he reminded himself this woman was a nightmare of epic proportions and exactly the type he vowed to avoid. Unfortunately, he’d always been a sucker for a challenge, especially a feisty, passionate filly.

But he’d stick to the horses.

“You,” she breathed in fury, pointing her finger in the air, “are an arrogant, egotistical, ill-mannered boar! The only reason you surround yourself with horses is because you suck at people skills. As for Chloe, I’m the one in charge of her this summer and I’ll be the one who decides if she’s taken care of and respected. I don’t trust you to do either. I’ll be keeping a close eye on you, and ready to kick your butt if you step out of line. And those are my ground rules, horse man.”

She pivoted on her wedged heel and stalked out of the barn.

She didn’t trust him? Was she kidding? The woman couldn’t find her way to a summer inn without depending on a computer app or neon signs. She disliked animals. She wore designer clothes to a farm like she was ready to be photographed any moment. And she was definitely banging the father. Why else would she volunteer to accompany his daughter?

Oh, he had to get the judge to transfer Chloe. No way could he put up with that woman all summer.

The scream bounced off the rafters and startled the horses.

He raced out and found her pressed against the side of the barn. Hei Hei was blocking her path, his wings shaking in excitement, pecking madly at nothing on the ground in his usual display of emotion when he sensed a person didn’t like him. His tendency to charge at random and his crazy hair had earned him a reputation at the farm. He was harmless, but Ethan decided not to tell Mia that important fact.

Not yet.

“Get this chicken away from me,” she choked out. “I’ll sue you if he pecks me, Ethan, I swear it!”

“Just stay still,” he warned. “Don’t move a muscle and he won’t charge.”

A shrill shriek escaped her lips.

He couldn’t help it. He burst into laughter.

“Wow, what a cool chicken!” Chloe ran up, staring at the crazed fowl in excitement. “Mia, are you okay?”

“Chloe! Stay away from him, honey, he’s dangerous.”

Ethan whistled. “Hei Hei, no. Go pick on someone your own size.” The chicken regarded Mia, then turned toward Chloe, rushing toward her. “He won’t hurt you, Chloe. He likes to play.”

Chloe knelt down, and the chicken raced around her in mad circles, clucking madly, happily imitating Wheezy, who he thought he was. Chloe laughed in delight, putting out her hand, and the chicken pushed against her in ecstasy. “You named him Hei Hei,” she said. “Just like in Moana!”

“Yeah, my sisters Ophelia and Harper are Disney nuts. Most of the animals have been named straight from Disney movies. The B&B has a killer DVD collection if you like them.”

“That’s lit. You watched Moana, right Mia?” Chloe asked.

Mia gingerly left the wall of the barn, glaring at both him and the chicken. “I’ve never watched a Disney movie,” she retorted. “And after meeting that psycho chicken, I don’t think I’m going to.”

Ethan stared at her in astonishment. Chloe gasped.

“You’ve never watched Disney?” Chloe practically shrieked. “What type of life have you led? How is that possible?”

Mia shrugged. “My parents were more the All the Presidents Men type. I grew up watching History channel for fun.”

“Maybe if you had a better relationship with animated animals, you’d be less afraid of them,” he pointed out.

He didn’t think it was possible, but her glare grew even darker. “Just keep your chicken away from me. Is the tour over?”

“Yep. Chloe, I have some business tomorrow, so I’ll meet you at ten am here in the barn.”

“Okay.”

“Mia, I’ll see you—“

“Hopefully never,” she grumbled. “Thanks. It’s been enlightening.”

Chloe looked at him in confusion, shrugged, and followed Mia back up the path. He watched them go, while Hei Hei mourned for his new friend. The back of her silk shirt was smeared with dirt, and there was a tiny tear where a nail had dug in.

Shaking his head, he headed into the barn, pushing her out of his mind..
the barn, pushing her out of his mind..

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