by Kelly Moran
She’s a beauty, but he’s just a geek.
The world might think billionaire Xavier Gaines has it all, but he’s got a big problem. His successful software company is about to sign a government contract that’ll land him smack in the glare of the public limelight, and his lifelong battle with social anxiety has marked him as a cold, uncaring bastard in the eyes of the press. To dispel the unflattering image, he needs help, and there’s only one person he trusts with the job—Peyton Smoke. Gorgeous, kind, and funny, she agrees to be his media relations director and soon embeds herself so deeply in his life, his world will crumble if anything upsets the balance. He cannot screw up their solid unit. No matter how achingly he desires her. Yet, how is he supposed to resist when she tugs emotions from him he didn’t think he was capable of experiencing? Especially since it appears he’s not the only one fighting their undeniable attraction.
Ever-after just might be possible…if he can convince her to believe in love again.
Peyton Smoke is looking for a change, and working at Gaines Industries has given her the boost she needs to fill the empty void in her life. Xavier is the perfect boss. Under his seemingly callous, frigid demeanor lies a compassionate man who cares about causes and those precious few he lets into his inner circle. What she wasn’t prepared for is the smoldering passion suddenly flaring between them, nor the hot-as-sin alpha side beneath the layer of sexy nerd. Getting involved with him puts more than her job at risk. She’s been trampled one too many times, and she vowed never to leave herself vulnerable again. But the heart wants what the heart wants. If only she can figure out whether his feelings are genuine or if this is a mistaken case of gratitude wrapped in lust, then their shot at forever may not seem like such a fruitless hope.
She had a date with Thor and her couch via Netflix. Maybe she’d make it a threesome by adding Ghirardelli.
She cupped Archie’s cheeks as his driver held the limousine door for them. ‘Drive it like it’s stolen. We’re running late.’
I could not have picked a better woman for you if I climbed an X chromosome tree and plucked her off a branch myself.
I love the way you say my name. It’s like you’re marking your territory and begging at the same time.
They’ve been together quite some time. After you, other pastures were bound to be greener. I’d say she’s emerald by comparison.
‘Let’s practice your surprise face.’ She mimed an exaggerated shock expression and waved her hands. His golden gaze gave her a once-over. ‘I’m not doing that. I’ll look constipated.’
I have thoroughly enjoyed every delectably written Kelly Moran book I have picked up. She has never failed to provide an amusing and engaging read and Counterbalance continues in that vein – it was full of feels, humor, and delightful visuals. Her writing is insightful, witty, and cleverly observant. She so deftly sets the emotional tone and flavor of each detailed scene and uniquely appealing character with mastery. Her books contain such vibrant detail that I feel I am right there watching, lurking in a corner, or peering in a window. Ms. Moran’s word voodoo pulls me in while her endearing characters hold me captive.
I adored Peyton and Xavier. Xavier had always been socially awkward and as a smart geek had been bullied in school. As an adult, he could appear “as arctic as a glacier in Greenland,” when he was actually suffering from social anxiety and in fact, had a huge, tender, and altruistic heart. Peyton had already experienced far too many significant losses and had lost her entire family and fiancé over a short period and during a young age. I relished their sweet and thoughtful consideration of each other as well as the underlying heat to their attraction, which later bloomed into steamy sensuality. Once the geek turned on the charm he evolved into a romantic alpha and pure seduction, and sigh, I was goo.
About the Author
Kelly Moran is a bestselling romance author of enchanting ever-afters. She is a Catherine Award-Winner, Readers’ Choice Finalist, Holt Medallion Finalist, and a 2014 Award of Excellence Finalist through RWA, plus she’s landed on the 10 Best Reads & Must Read lists by USA TODAY’s HEA.
Kelly’s been known to say that she gets her ideas from everyone and everything around her and there’s always a book playing out in her head. No one who knows her bats an eyelash when she talks to herself. Her interests include: sappy movies, MLB, NFL, driving others insane, and sleeping when she can. She is a closet caffeine junkie and chocoholic, but don’t tell anyone. She resides in Wisconsin with her husband, three sons, and two dogs. Most of her family lives in the Carolinas, so she spends a lot of time there as well.
Visit her website for up-to-date book news and where to follow.