Breaking Up with Barrett
The English Brothers
Genre: Short contemporary romance
Date of Publication: 7/21/14
Number of pages: 171
Word Count: 50,000
Cover Artist: Kim Killion, Hot Damn Designs
Breaking Up with Barrett is the first of five books about the Philadelphia-based, wildly-handsome English brothers who are all on the look-out for love.
(Except Alex. He’s a womanizing manwhore. And maybe Stratton, because he’s wicked hot, but super awkward around girls.)
Barrett English, aka “the Shark,” is the fair-haired, first-born of the English brothers, and the CEO of the oldest, most prestigious investment banking firm in Philadelphia. He rules the boardroom with an iron fist, refusing to take no for an answer and always getting his way.
Emily Edwards, a first-year doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, grew up in the gatehouse on the outskirts of Barrett’s childhood estate. The daughter of his family’s gardener and housekeeper, she was always looking through the window of privilege, but forced to remember her place at the very periphery of the kingdom.
When business partners suggest that a fiancee might soften Barrett’s image over business dinners, he approaches Emily for the “job” of fiancee. And while love wasn’t necessarily on Barrett’s radar, he begins to realize that Emily always has been. But will his take-no-prisoners boardroom tactics work on the heart of the woman he loves?
Available at Amazon US Amazon UK
Excerpt CHAPTER 1 Breaking Up with Barrett
Emily’s heart kicked into a gallop as she looked down at the caller ID on her buzzing phone. Trying to steady her suddenly shallow breathing, she closed her eyes for a brief second before pushing back from the coffee shop table where the rest of her study group continued to discuss early-American industrialization.
“Be right back,” she whispered to her roommate, Valeria, and ducked out the backdoor of the café into an empty alley.
“Mr. English for Miss Edwards?”
A moment later his smooth, polished baritone voice came on the line. “Good afternoon, Emily. Thank you for picking up.”
“I was at study group,” she said, leaning against a brick wall and cringing at the way she made it sound like his call wasn’t welcome.
“I’m sorry to interrupt you.”
“N-no. It’s fine,” she answered quickly, wiping her sweaty hands on her jeans as she sandwiched the phone between her shoulder and ear. Damn it, she wished she could be cooler, but her mind always went blank the moment she heard the low rumble of his voice.
“I’ll be brief,” he said. “Tomorrow night. The Union League Club. Seven o’clock.”
Emily sighed. She had plans tomorrow night with a sensitive, easy-going, doctoral psych student named Chad who’d asked her out more than once. She’d repeatedly turned him down, but Val had insisted that after four months spent at Barrett English’s beck and call, Emily needed to go out with someone with whom she actually had a chance.
“Emily?” he prompted.
“Three hours minimum. Possibly four.”
Pushing her hand through her straight blonde hair, she knew it would be smart to decline Barrett’s request and go out with psych cutie as planned. The arrangement she had with Barrett—while beneficial to her bank account—wasn’t doing her social life any favors. Nor her heart, which didn’t seem to comprehend that Barrett only called her because she was his employee. Still, she couldn’t bring herself to say no to him.
“Engagement ring?” she asked.
“The Chanel or the Givenchy?”
“As you wish.”
“Hair band or chignon?”
“You always look presentable, Emily. I leave the details to you. Smith will pick you up at six forty-five. Are we done?”
“Yes,” she answered and the line immediately went dead.
“Goodbye,” Emily said wistfully in the quiet of the alley, disappointment making her grimace. She fisted the phone in her hand until the case pinched her skin and shook her from her trance. “See you tomorrow! You’re welcome! By the way, I love you, you jerk!”
Her yell caused a flurry of commotion overhead as a flock of pigeons departed in a hurry for safer, quieter lodgings, one of them pausing just long enough to crap on Emily’s shoulder with a big, fat plop.
Fantastic. The perfect metaphor for my life.
She stared at the goopy greyish-white spot in surrender before taking a deep, restorative breath, tucking her phone into her jeans and heading back inside to clean her shirt and rejoin her study group.
An hour later, she trudged home beside Valeria, who started scolding her as soon as Emily shared her last-minute plans for tomorrow night.
“So you’ll have to reschedule with Chad? Geez, Em, I don’t understand why you keep saying yes to Barrett!” said Valeria, turning up her collar. “Why not just say no?”
“He has a way about him.” Emily sighed. “I always consider saying no, but I somehow end up saying yes.”
Though they’d never been close or intimate, Emily had known Barrett her entire life—well, not really known him, because they were from very different parts of Haverford Park, but he’d been a peripheral part of her life since birth. The economic nature of the call she’d just shared with him was textbook Barrett: businesslike, methodical and goal-oriented. Emily somehow knew he wasn’t trying to offend her—he was merely taking care of their mutual business as efficiently as possible. It just hurt that he employed efficiency over warmth since it verified what she had suspected for months: Barrett had little to no personal interest in Emily, despite her growing feelings for him.
Valeria continued in the no-nonsense tone she used when student teaching. “Here’s a solution: say no next time. ‘No, Barrett, I refuse to play the part of fake fiancée for you. Take a hike.’ Three words, Em—TAKE. A. HIKE.” Valeria held up three fingers one by one, then tucked them back into the pocket of her pea coat. “Darn, it’s cold.”
“It’s October in Philadelphia.” Emily pointed out.
“Don’t change the subject.”
“Okay, Val. I’ll say no next time. Here goes. ‘No thanks, Barrett. You don’t make me do anything disgusting. You barely say a word to me. I get to dress up in gorgeous clothes I could never afford, have an expensive glass of wine, and enjoy a scrumptious dinner with people who go out of their way to be polite to me. And yes, I’m flat broke and so is my roommate, but no thanks, I don’t want your one-hundred an hour to play your fake fiancée. Keep it.’ How does that sound?”
“Not so smart.”
“I rest my case,” said Emily, though the case was far from closed in her heart and mind, which feuded in a tightly locked conundrum. Lately, her heart murmured that she should walk away from Barrett before her feelings for him grew any stronger, while her head insisted she couldn’t possibly turn her back on the income he offered.
Falling for Fitz
The English Brothers
Genre: Short contemporary romance
Date of Publication: 7/27/14
Number of pages: 165
Word Count: 50,000
Cover Artist: Kim Killion, Hot Damn Designs
Falling for Fitz is the second of five books about the Philadelphia-based, wildly-handsome English brothers who are absolutely not on the look-out for love.
(Except Barrett, who fell in love when he was eight-years-old. And Fitz, who met the girl of his dreams at nineteen. And maybe even Weston, who just doesn’t know it yet.)
Fitz English and Daisy Edwards fell in love during one magical summer when they were teenagers. When something tragic happens at the end of the summer, Daisy tells Fitz she never wants to see him again. Despite his feelings for her, he respects her wishes and for almost a decade Fitz and Daisy go their separate ways.
Nine years later, when Daisy moves home to Philadelphia, they meet again, and both are shocked to discover that the feelings they had that summer are just as deep and real today. There’s a little snag, however. It seems that Daisy is engaged to someone else, and she’s come home to get married.
Can Fitz get Daisy to fall for him all over again before it’s too late? Only if Daisy can learn to trust the man who shattered her heart once upon a time.
Available at Amazon Amazon UK
Excerpt CHAPTER 1 Falling for Fitz
Fitzpatrick English walked into the ballroom at the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware, stood in the doorway and sighed. Unlike Barrett, Alex, and Weston, three of his four brothers, who all enjoyed a night out with the best of Main Line society, Fitz wasn’t a huge fan of these sorts of gatherings. All things equal, he’d just as soon be at home watching college football in sweats and drinking a cold beer, but Barrett had insisted he attend.
An arm was suddenly laced through his, and he looked down to find his mother, Eleanora Watters English, beaming at him.
“It’s lovely you showed up. I know these things aren’t your favorite.”
Fitz sighed. “Barrett has a way…”
“Barrett had always had a way. However, I will say that the last two months have been void of his usual intensity over business, swapped for his intensity over Emily Edwards. It’s been a refreshing change to see him madly in love with something other than a deal.”
As Eleanora led them through the crowd toward the table Barrett had purchased for them at the Twenty-Third Annual Kindred Hospital Harvest Ball Fundraiser, Fitz caught sight of his older brother. Barrett always looked like James Bond in a tux, to the manor born, while Fitz always felt a bit like an imposter. He knew all the rules of polite society, of course, but it all felt a little stale after so many years of compliance. He longed for something to shake him up as Emily Edwards had shaken up Barrett. Looking ahead, he caught sight of his older brother who had his arm wrapped around Emily’s waist, talking to another couple who had their backs to Fitz. Occasionally Barrett would look down and smile at Emily, and Fitz almost blushed at the intensity in his brother’s gaze. Fitz could barely remember feeling that way about someone. It had only been for such a short time, so long ago, sometimes it felt more like a dream than a brief, caustically significant, part of his life.
“Usual cast of characters tonight?”
“Not exactly. The English have been invaded… by the Edwards,” she said, forced humor thick in her manicured voice. “Emily invited her parents to join us.”
Fitz looked over the heads of a few guests to see Susannah and Felix Edwards sitting at the table. Emily’s father Felix, the head gardener of the family estate, was in an animated conversation with Fitz’s father, Tom, while Emily’s mother, Susannah, spoke tête-à-tête with Weston, who was probably untangling some crisis of the heart with their beloved housekeeper.
“I assume nine and ten are Alex and whomever he brought with him tonight?”
“No, dearest.” Eleanora stopped them a few feet from the table, and turned to look at Fitz, her eyes careful, but searching. “I did say an invasion by the Edwards. Felix and Susannah are practically family these days. They wouldn’t exactly constitute an invasion.”
Fitz stared at his mother’s face, not understanding her meaning. “But there are no other Edwards… Felix, Susannah, and Emily, that’s all—”
Suddenly he jerked his head around to look at the couple Barrett and Emily were talking to. From behind, the woman had long, straight blond hair, just like Emily’s, that ended in the center of her bare back. He narrowed his eyes, squinting, as he made out the light brown birthmark that looked like a heart, right in the center of her lower back, right over the midnight blue silk that covered her perfect ass. He had a sudden, blinding flashback to staring at that birthmark over tiny, bright yellow bikini bottoms, and his heart kicked into a gallop.
“Daisy Edwards,” he murmured, exhaling the contents of his lungs.
As though she heard him or sensed him, Daisy turned her neck, catching sight of him as her chin rested on her shoulder. His heart slammed behind his ribs as she blinked in surprise, and her eyes widened. Their eyes stayed locked on each other, spellbound and greedy, until Emily said something to Daisy, and she turned back quickly to face her cousin. The ten or twelve feet apart from her was suddenly unbearable and as though Fitz was made of iron and she was a magnet, he felt pulled to her in an uncompromising way, compelled to move closer to the force of nature that was Daisy Edwards.
His mother’s arm, still linked with his, stopped him.
“It was a million years ago, Fitz.”
It didn’t feel like a million years ago. Nine years slipped away and suddenly it felt like yesterday.
“It was for the best,” insisted Eleanora.
It didn’t feel like it had been for the best. Not at the time and not now and not every time he thought of her between then and now.
“I thought she was in Oregon,” he said tightly.
“She was. She’s moved back east. Her mother’s passed and her father’s all she has left.”
“She’s moved to Philly? Did you know?”
“No,” replied his mother. “I didn’t even know she was coming tonight. Emily invited her at the last minute when Stratton refused to come.”
His breath caught as Daisy gathered her hair in her hands and twirled it once, then settled it over one shoulder, baring her neck to him. The graceful line made his mouth water, made his fingers twitch, made a hundred buried memories fight for his attention.
“Listen to me, Fitz,” said his mother, leaning closer to his ear. “There’s something else you need to know.”
Fitz tore his eyes from Daisy and looked at his mother, commanded by the seriousness of her tone. “You may not have noticed, but she isn’t alone.”
He whipped his head around and for the first time he noticed that the man standing beside her was holding her hand, with his fingers laced possessively through Daisy’s. His mother’s voice was close to his ear and delivered the words he somehow knew were coming, though it didn’t lessen the impact of the blow.
“She’s come home for another reason, dearest. Daisy’s getting married.”
Anyone but Alex
The English Brothers
Genre: Short contemporary romance
Date of Publication: TBD
Number of pages: 210
Word Count: 55,000
Cover Artist: Kim Killion, Hot Damn Designs
Anyone but Alex is the third of five books about the Philadelphia-based, wildly-handsome English brothers who are all on the look-out for love.
(Sort of. Barrett and Fitz are officially off the market, Alex has sampled every piece of available ass from Rittenhouse Square to the Liberty Bell, Stratton can’t see to see what’s right in front of him, and don’t even get me started on the youngest English brother, Weston…)
Alex English, the well-known man whore of the country club set, has always preferred to play the field, eschewing a chance with Miss Right for a satisfying quickie with Miss Right-Now. But after seeing his two older brothers take the plunge, something has been aching inside of Alex, and no amount of casual sex is filling the void in his heart.
Jessica Winslow, whose older brothers are best friends with the English brothers, has returned home from a fifteen-year stay in England, only to find herself face-to-face with her childhood crush, Alex English, on her first night home. She’s heard all the rumors, but Jessie remembers the older boy who was so kind to her as a child, and can’t help reaching out to Alex in friendship.
Between disapproving brothers, scheming exes, and the biggest business deal of English & Sons’ illustrious history, Alex and Jessie’s budding romance is going to be put to the test. The question is…will it be strong enough to be their happily-ever-after?
Excerpt Anyone but Alex
Alex pressed the elevator call button, then turned to look at the opulent lobby as he waited.
Gold-gilded mirrors made the space look even larger and grander as objects multiplied into eternity. Objects like an ornate lamp sconce, a silk brocaded loveseat, or the delectable curve of a woman’s bare back in a black satin evening gown. Delighted by such an appealing distraction, Alex turned around slowly, his eyes sweeping past the sconce and loveseat to the woman on the far side of the room. She was tall and thin, and the very simple, sleek lines of her dress showed every curve: of her waist, her hips, her tight, round ass. The low V of the draped back cut-out stopped at the base of her spine, and he followed the line back up to her neck, which was swan-like: long and elegant. Her jet-black hair, the same color as the dress, was long enough to be worn over one shoulder, the thick, shiny strands waving uniformly, void of any decoration.
From behind, she was a goddess, and as the elevator rang to announce its arrival, Alex ignored it, staring at the back of the stunning creature who held a black coat over one arm, looking out the plate glass window onto the rain-soaked sidewalk, as though waiting for someone to find her.
“Alex? Alex English?”
Alex whipped his head to the voice coming out of the elevator and was surprised to see his good friend, Cameron Winslow, step toward him wearing a tux and a cheerful smile.
“Hell, I thought that was you!”
“Cam. Good to see you.” Alex cleared his throat, darting a quick look at the woman by the window, who hadn’t turned around, before looking back at his old friend. “What are you doing here?”
Cam reached out his hand and took Alex’s in a hearty shake. “Didn’t you know? I moved here. I bought a condo upstairs.”
“I had no idea.”
Cam grinned, nodding. “Closer to work. Closer to fun, eh, Professor?”
“It’s a great neighborhood,” said Alex, holding back a cringe at his college nickname. “I’m just around the corner.”
“The old make-out pad, eh?”
“You know me,” said Alex, by rote, knowing the words were expected.
“Yes, I do, and I thank God I wasn’t born a woman.”
“Not that I’d bang your ugly mug if you were.”
“I don’t know how you do it.”
Lately, I don’t. Not like I used to.
He forced a well-known Alex English smirk. “I love the ladies, Cam. Have to keep them happy.”
Cam chuckled. “Hey, did you get my message about squash the Thursday after next?”
“After Thanksgiving? No. Are we still on?”
“As long as you’re up for an ass-whipping. Chris wants to play too, so I suggested doubles. Can you get Fitz or Stratton on board?”
“I’ll work on it.”
“Great.” Cam looked around the lobby for a moment, then, after catching sight of the girl in black by the window, returned his glance to Alex. The change in his face was unmistakable, shifting from congenial to wary on a dime. “Well, I guess I better be going.”
Alex raised an eyebrow flicking his chin toward the goddess. “Is she with you?”
Cam’s eyes narrowed just a touch. “In a manner of speaking.”
“What manner might that be?”
“It’s not like that,” said Cam sharply, and Alex heard the warning in his friend’s voice. Cam’s lips tightened to a straight line as he looked at the girl and then back at Alex. “You don’t recognize her?”
Alex shrugged. “Should I?”
“No,” grunted Cam, looking increasingly annoyed. “It doesn’t matter. Hands off. She’s not for you.”
“Protective, aren’t we, Winslow? Why not let the lady decide?”
“No, Alex. Not this lady,” said Cam in warning, which surprised Alex, because if she was Cam’s girlfriend, Cam should have just said that, but he hadn’t.
“What makes this one so special?” asked Alex.
Cam’s eyes were icy as he stared at Alex, never dropping his friend’s eyes as he called, “Jessica!” in the girl’s direction.
Alex looked away from Cam to watch the goddess turn around slowly. If Alex had been rendered almost speechless by the perfection of her back, the wind was knocked out of him as he caught sight of her face.
Her black hair curled down over her shoulder in soft waves, but she pushed it back as she stepped toward Cameron. Her skin was so light and flawless that her bowed, red-painted lips drew his eyes like a beacon, and when she smiled, his heart stopped beating for just a second, as if stunned or disbelieving. He raised his gaze to her eyes and found himself captivated by a green so clear and impossible, it made her eyes sparkle like emeralds behind long, dark lashes. She gazed with warmth at Cameron Winslow, the lucky bastard, as she moved gracefully across the marble floor. Out of respect for his friend’s claim on her, Alex was careful not to drop his eyes hungrily to her body, but peripherally, he could see her breasts, high and full, pushed against the thick satin of her dress. The deep V-plunge in the neckline meant the valley between her breasts was on full, luscious display, and his fingers twitched with longing by his sides, the word touch, touch, touch circling around his head like a magic spell.
His mouth watered as she came closer, bringing with her the scent of tea rose. She cocked her head to the side and her eyes widened in recognition as she looked at Alex. Something pinged in his memory, but his mind was at sixes and sevens, blown away by her beauty, unable to process that yes, she did look a little familiar to him.
Stopping next to Cameron, she grinned back at Alex merrily.
“Jessica,” said Cam tightly, “I don’t know if you’ll remember–”
“Alex English,” she said in a lightly accented voice. “Of course.”
No doubt noting the blank expression on his face, she laughed softly. “But I am fairly certain he doesn’t remember me.”
“I … I’m so sorry I don’t–”
Alex’s brain had ceased working the moment she’d turned around, but he was suddenly struck again by the brilliance of her eyes, and flicking a quick glance to Cameron, he realized the color was almost the same. Oh, my God. She’s—You’re—
“By George, I think he’s got it!”
“Jessica,” murmured Alex. “Jessie? Jessie Winslow?”
“The very same,” she answered, chuckling again.
“The last time I saw you, you were seven-years-old…”
Fourteen years ago.
Without thinking, he dropped his eyes from her face to the creamy skin of her neck, following the graceful line of her throat to her breasts, still lower, down to her waist—
“Alex,” warned Cam with genuine menace, making Alex’s neck snap back up. “If you don’t stop checking out my little sister, God help me, it’ll be the last thing you ever do.”
Emily was overwhelmed by the dueling sensations of comfort and risk, which made her feel scared and safe, set adrift while firmly anchored. It made her breathless. It made her brave.
You were a tiny baby and I was little boy and reached into my chest and stole my heart, and it’s been yours ever since. You’re home and sweetness and truth and brilliance and you’re sexy and teasing and the most fun I ever had. And if you want to know what’s real, here’s the most elemental truth I know: You’re the love of my life, Emily Edwards. And whatever it takes, I’ll do it. Just to be with you.
The ten or twelve feet apart from her was suddenly unbearable and as though Fitz was made of iron and she was a magnet, he felt pulled to her in an uncompromising way, compelled to move closer to the force of nature that was Daisy Edwards.
…you sigh in your sleep, did you know that? You sigh. And I decided it’s the last sound I want to hear before I die, Daisy. I want to hear you. Sighing beside me.
“You’re Alex English, the person who was kind to me when I was scared, when I was left out, when my heart was breaking.” Her voice was thread with emotion, so she stopped speaking for a moment, offering him the bravest smile she could manage before finishing her little speech. “I know exactly who you are.”
So… no one’s faking a pregnancy, stalking you, looking for compensation after buying a wedding dress, blackmailing you with compromising pictures, or sending their ex-military boyfriend to kill you over an unauthorized bedroom video?
I read 546 pages to write this review, and I enjoyed each of them in equal measure. I didn’t expect to like Alex as much as I did since he started off as an unabashed cad, and admitted “club manwhore” – but he grew on me. Ms. Regnery’s writing is enjoyable, descriptive, and inventive. Each character is of course exceedingly good-looking, successful, smart, witty, and endowed with unique personalities and endearing quirks. I found the love scenes were deliciously steamy, yet tenderly sensual. Book series tend to make me a bit nervous but I am relieved that each book could stand alone with no cliffhangers, but I also enjoy how the books and characters overlap. I am now curious to see what happens with the remaining family members.
About the Author:
Katy Regnery, Amazon bestselling author, has always loved telling a good story and credits her mother with making funny, heartwarming tales come alive throughout her childhood. A lifelong devotee of all romance writing, from Edwardian to present-day, it was just a matter of time before Katy tried her hand at writing a love story of her own.
As it turned out, one love story turned into a series of six Heart of Montana romances, following the love lives of the Yellowstone-based Lindstrom siblings. When Katy’s fans asked her to turn up the heat, she wrote the New Adult/Adult Contemporary hybrid romance, Playing for Love at Deep Haven, which offered steamier romance to her readers. Katy is also proud to offer The Vixen and the Vet, a standalone romance that benefitted Operation Mend, an organization that helps heal the returning wounded of our armed services. The English Brothers is Katy’s second series and first indie series.
Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, and two dogs create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories of all are the messy and unexpected ones.
10 copies of Breaking Up with Barrett.