** New Release **
Municipal Liaisons (A Fortuna, Texas Novel Book 4) by Rochelle Bradley
Book 4 in the romantic comedy Fortuna, Texas series.
Available in paperback, ebook or on Kindle Unlimited.
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Who’d have thought Michaela would like Texas? Particularly some podunk town with the mighty Fire Ant as its mascot; but from first glance, Fortuna captivates Michaela.
Two years after his wife died, Jasen the mayor of Fortuna still wears a placating smile. But when a vanload of urban restoration consultants visit the town…a beauty catches his eye.
She aspired to renew the town; he desired to revive her love life…
Who’d have thought Michaela Arschfick would like Texas? Particularly some Podunk town with the mighty Fire Ant as its mascot. But from first glance, Fortuna captivates Michaela.
With most of the residents, primarily men, keeping their noses glued to the pages of romance novels, they don’t notice Fortuna needs a makeover. Michaela takes on the challenge of opening the eyes of City Hall to Fortuna’s potential. The longer she stays in the cozy town the more it feels like home, especially with the sexy, young mayor giving her VIP treatment.
After his wife died in a flash flood, the mayor of Fortuna, Texas, Jasen Delay, delved into work. Two years later, he’s still wearing the placating smile, but when a vanload of unban consultants visit the town… a beauty catches his eye.
Determined to keep their relationship professional, Jasen and Michaela must stymie their blossoming feelings and focus on revitalizing Fortuna’s downtown. A nosy newspaper reporter, a perverted prankster, and sightings of Jasen’s wife’s ghost have Michaela second guessing her choice to stay. Jasen will do anything to keep Michaela in town. Fortuna needs her but, more importantly, Jasen needs her.
With Jasen’s help, can Michaela wade through small town bureaucracy, solve the mystery of the canyon ghost, and learn to trust to her heart?
Municipal Liaisons Excerpt:
“So did you have a good afternoon with Mr. Hottie McHot?”
Michaela glanced out the glass door as if Jasen might hear. “Yes, Jasen was fun. He gave me firsthand knowledge of Fortuna. I met half the town.”
“Did you kiss him?” Kim asked.
“No,” Michaela said, her face heating. She glanced outside again. Maybe she should have. It wasn’t as if she would ever see him again.
“That sucks. You two had chemistry even Darren noticed it. It had his boxers in a bunch.” Kim turned and swiped her hand in a grand gesture. “I’ve had to babysit these morons for the evening. You owe me, girl.”
Michaela giggled and leaned against the door frame. The men began arguing over whose idea it was to add a clock tower to the courthouse. Buck rolled his eyes and then started drawing on the poster.
“That’s not in perspective.” Frank jabbed the sketch with a finger. “Darren wouldn’t propose something like that, anyway. It’s a waste of resources.”
“It’s beautification with function.” Buck’s tongue stuck to the corner of his mouth as he hunched closer and added detail.
“Is that the University of Cincinnati’s clock tower again?” Frank asked with a huff.
Red-faced, Buck glanced up at the light before answering, “No.” He shrugged. “Maybe. Darren can sell anything.”
Michaela pushed off the doorjamb and pulled Kim into the lobby. She leaned and whispered, “Darren can sell anything, but Jasen suggested I make the presentation.”
Kim’s eyes narrowed as she studied Michaela’s face. “What are you thinking?”
Michaela sighed. She threw her hands into the air and turned around to pace. “I don’t know. This is crazy.”
“Spill it, Mick.” Kim tapped her designer-clad toe.
Michaela stopped pacing and grinned. “The municipal building already has a clock.” She shrugged. “I think I want to see if Fortuna will hire me as a consultant.”
“You? Not New Wave Designs?”
“Yes. I’ll come back another time.” Michaela’s heart raced.
“But you have a no-compete clause if you leave the company.” Kim shot a glance to the room full of guys.
“Only three months.” With a shrug, Michaela crossed her arms. “This place feels like home. I can imagine a life here.”
“With Mr. Hottie McHot?” Kim’s bright red lips twisted into a smirk.
Heat flared on Michaela’s face, and she glanced at the floor. “He’s a nice bonus but not the reason.”
Jasen had asked her if she felt obligated to remain loyal to New Wave Designs. She loved the work, but if she could do the same thing somewhere else, she’d make the switch. Moving hadn’t occurred to her before, but suddenly the change sounded thrilling. Darren wouldn’t want it, but she didn’t care.
“Uh, huh? Go find Mr. Hottie McHot,” Kim said with a wave of dismissal. “I don’t want to listen to you sighing all night.”
With her backside, Michaela pushed against the door but hesitated. “If you wouldn’t mind, pick slides for the Power Point that show work that I’ve contributed too.”
Kim stalked toward the gang with another wave.
“Oh, and I found the perfect building for your future coffee shop,” Michaela offered. Kim’s head whirled around so fast she stumbled in her high heels. “I’ll tell you about it when I get back.”
Kim narrowed her eyes. “You’d better.”
Michaela slipped out into the dark, cool evening. She hugged herself. Glancing both directions, she didn’t spot Jasen. She took a guess and headed toward the square. On the corner, she inspected the small park but couldn’t see anyone. Doleful, she crossed to the green space. The black street lamps lit the paths. She stopped before the bronze statue of Fortuna’s founder. After reading the plaque, she ventured to the fountain in the center. The soft light caressed the bubbling water, luring her close.
She relaxed. Her mind wandered toward Jasen. She’d been attracted to him and found his scruffy, strong chin sexy. His dazzling smile and expressive hazel eyes were nice, but his willingness to ditch Darren and the IT gang without question warmed her heart. He hadn’t pried into her personal history and had been genuinely interested in her work, even when she had rambled on. When she had apologized, he waved off the apology and asked intelligent questions that proved he had listened.
Joy bubbled in her soul. His attentiveness validated her. Michaela glanced at the silhouette of the large oak, its branches yawning overhead, and took a deep breath.
Texas. Who’d have thought she would like Texas? Especially some small town with the mighty fire ant as its mascot. Michaela chuckled and leaned back. Her eyes sought the sky littered with more stars than she’d ever seen. Lord have mercy, there was a lot about Fortuna she liked.
Michaela hated to admit it, but Kim had been right. Jasen would be one hell of a perk if Michaela moved to Fortuna. She sighed. Why hadn’t she kissed him?
Goosebumps formed on her arms, and she hugged herself and studied the area. The fountain had several tiers. The highest with a Greek deity, maybe Justice, stared down at her in silent judgment.
What was she doing wandering around a strange town looking for the boy next door, Mr. Hottie McHot, when she should join the IT crew working?
Jasen had most likely arrived home by now. Unzipping her purse, she searched for a coin and tossed it into the water, making a futile wish. She rubbed her face then shuffled the circumference of the fountain, returning to where she had started. Gazing up from the water, Michaela met Jasen’s eyes.
Her wish had come true. Michaela’s lungs declined to work, and she froze. She refused to blink in case he vanished. His wide eyes and smirk made her heart jump.
Jasen stepped forward. She leaped into his arms.
“What are you—?” she began, but he brushed his lips against hers.
Heat consumed Michaela, and she tiptoed, claiming his lips with territorial aggression. For the night, he was hers. His hands plunged into her hair, holding her head.
When they took a breath, he lifted her and they sat on the bench. Cradled on his lap, one hand playing with the hair at the nape of his neck, she opened for him and his tongue swept in. She clutched his shirt.
He moaned. Their ragged breath split the silence and drowned out rational thought.
After a while, she snuggled against him. She dragged in large gulps of air. It had been a long time since she’d kissed anyone with the ferocity as she kissed Jasen.
“Don’t leave,” he rasped. His heart thumped rapidly through his shirt.
Michaela twisted so her nose was in the crook of his neck. She stole a deep breath as tears stung her eyes. “I have to go home.”
Jasen sighed. “Come back.”
“I will if we’re offered a contract.”
“I want you to take the job, not the firm.”
Michaela rested a moment as he stroked her hair. Could she find enough work in Fortuna to survive? “We’ll see how it goes tomorrow when I meet the mayor.”