On December 2nd, Lorraine Zago Rosenthal’s third novel released. Independently Wealthy is a follow up to Lorraine’s second novel New Money, but it can also be read as a stand alone. Today I have an excerpt of the book and am offering a giveaway.
Summary (From Goodreads):
In New Money, Savannah Morgan was thrust into high-society New York when she learned she was the sole heir to her father’s billion-dollar fortune. In Independently Wealthy, she is living her dream life on the Upper West Side, excelling at her job as an editorial assistant, and enjoying her handsome new boyfriend, Alex.
Everything in Savannah’s life should be perfect—but she can’t ignore the questions and scandal surrounding her father’s fatal accident. Her hopes of solving this mystery are shared by Caroline Stone—her newfound sister who is slowly becoming a friend. Savannah decides to investigate, although not everyone wants her to discover the truth. Her domineering older brother, Ned, has his own problems, including a lingering regret over his recent divorce, the constant pressure of running the Stone media empire, and managing a playboy bachelorhood. As Savannah’s quest for justice becomes complicated and dangerous, she is led to Washington, D.C., an alluring stranger, and more surprises, trouble, and changes than she ever could have imagined.
About the author:
LORRAINE ZAGO ROSENTHAL was born and raised in New York City. She is a graduate of the University of South Florida, and earned a Master’s in English from Northern Kentucky University. Lorraine’s debut novel, Other Words for Love, was published in 2011, and her second novel, New Money, was published in 2013. Currently, she lives near Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband.
A portion of chapter 1:
“It’s true,” I said as I gazed at the gilded statue of Prometheus, the massive tree dotted with colored lights, and the swarm of people in winter coats who were skating across the ice. “Manhattan really is the best place to be for Christmas.”
“It sure is,” Alex said, “especially when I’m with the most beautiful woman in the city.”
He was sitting across from me at a table beside a window in the Rock Center Café, which was filled with a Saturday-night dinner crowd and the sound of Christina Aguilera singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
I grinned while I admired Alex’s thick, dark hair and the broad shoulders beneath his black sweater. The white lights framing the rink sparkled in his blue eyes.
He flashed me a smile and turned his attention to a waitress who’d just arrived at our table. He gave his order while I glanced around the casual but upscale restaurant that had chairs covered in beige leather and walls decorated with Andy Warhol’s art. I was studying one of the paintings when the waitress asked if Alex wanted an appetizer before his entrée.
“No, thanks,” he said, handing her his menu.
I frowned. He’d gotten better at accepting gifts from me, but he still tried to be a cheap date whenever I insisted that dinner was my treat.
“A big boy like you,” I said, “needs a healthy meal. Get an appetizer.”
It took a moment for him to let out a chagrined laugh. “Yes, ma’am,” he said finally. Then we put in our orders, the waitress left, and Alex reached across the table to pinch my cheek. “You’re trying to fatten me up, Savannah.”
I shook my head, thinking of all the times he’d walked into my bedroom after a shower, wearing nothing but a towel and glittering beads of water on his skin. “I wouldn’t do that. I’m much too fond of the way you look right now.”
He smiled shyly. “So your mother and Tina are flying in soon?”
I nodded and took the lemon wedge off my glass. “In ten days … they’ll be here Christmas morning. My office is closing early the night before and won’t reopen until January second, so I’ll have plenty of time to spend with them. And Mom can’t wait to meet you.”
Alex’s smile widened as the waitress returned with a shrimp cocktail for him and a crab cake for me. I started eating, but he didn’t.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Nothing, actually,” he said. “Ever since we got back together, I’ve felt happier than I have in years.”
I reached out to squeeze his arm. “That’s so sweet.”
He put his hand over mine. “Like I’ve said before … if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be a published author.”
I smiled, thinking about his short story inside the pages of a literary journal. The story had come out earlier this month, and I’d had it framed for him. I’d done the same for my first story in Femme. “You give too much credit to me and not enough to yourself,” I said, sitting back in my chair. “It’s great work, and it deserved to be published. Was your dad impressed?”
Alex shrugged. “I couldn’t tell. He seemed more interested in my brother’s new stockbroker job on Wall Street. I don’t know … I just wish my mother was alive to see me finally doing something with my writing.”
“She still sees,” I said.
He gave me a faint smile. “Of course my father had to remind me that one publication doesn’t make a career.” He glanced out the window at a row of novice skaters limping past. “But maybe his cynicism will crack when I tell him about my new job.”
I raised an eyebrow, surprised. “What new job?”
He looked at me. “I didn’t want to say anything until it was definite … and it’s really no big deal … but I got hired at an advertising agency. I’ll just be a proofreader, and I only landed the position because I know a senior copyeditor there … I met him at the gym. But he saw my story in the journal and knew I wanted a better job than bartending, so he used the publication and my degree to get me in. I’ll be proofing TV copy … and I start right after New Year’s.”
I clasped my hands together. “That’s fantastic, Alex. I don’t know much about advertising agencies, but which one is it?”
“Fletcher, Cole, Goddard and Bristol,” he said so quickly that the names ran together. “Fletcher Cole for short. It’s on Madison Avenue … and it’s a prestigious agency. I’ll have a more stable schedule and I might make some acting contacts … who knows.”
“Fletcher Cole,” I repeated, imagining how delectable he’d look heading off to work in a suit each morning and sipping a Gibson Martini at his desk every afternoon—even though workplace drinking had been outlawed decades ago and the agency’s dress code was probably business casual. Still, my Mad Men fantasy was so sexy, I just had to indulge it.
I slipped my cell out of the Gucci purse I’d bought last July. “I’m so happy for you … and Mom will be, too. I have to call and tell her.”
He reached across the table and gingerly extracted the phone from my fingers. “I don’t want to brag. Your mother will think I’m an arrogant jerk before we’ve even met.”
I smiled and dropped the phone back into my purse. “You’re not even close to being a jerk. But I understand … so I’ll tell just her when she’s here. And I’m very proud of you.” I stood up, walked toward him, and leaned down to plant a kiss on his mouth while Mariah Carey sang “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
The song was stuck in my head when we walked into my darkened apartment later that night. I’d finally given in and hired a cleaning lady—but only because I’d been working so much that I didn’t have time to vacuum and dust—and she’d banished the stench of Tina’s Marlboros. Now the place smelled fresh and clean like the Norway spruce in a corner of the living room, beside my windows that overlooked Central Park.
I flipped a switch. The tree brightened with blinking white lights that made the silver tinsel on the branches shimmer. There were lots of boxes underneath—presents for Mom and Tina and Alex—wrapped in dark-blue foil and tied with silver bows.
“Oh,” I said with a gasp as I stood there in my coat. “Isn’t it pretty?”
Alex nodded and pulled me toward him. “Just like you.”
The cold leather on his jacket rubbed against me when he pressed his lips to mine. We stayed there for a while, just kissing in the middle of the room as the Christmas lights twinkled. His mouth was so warm and he kissed so well, but I remembered something that made me take a step back.
Copyright © 2014 by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
One copy available for a US entrant only
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Giveaway open until 12/15/14
Winner will be emailed
Do not leave your address in the comments; I will request that in the email
Blog Tour Stops:
12/1 JENNIFER VIDO ‘TOP PICKS’ + GIVEAWAY
12/1 CHICK LIT CENTRAL ‘BOOKSHELF’
12/1 THE BEVY BIBLIOTHEQUE REVIEW + GIVEAWAY
12/2 BOOK MAMA REVIEW + GIVEAWAY
12/2 THE READING DATE EXCERPT + REVIEW
12/2 JENNIFER VIDO EXCERPT
12/3 A SOUTHERN GIRLS BOOKSHELF EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY
12/3 DEW ON THE KUDZU ‘SPOTLIGHT’
12/4 RATHER BE READING REVIEW + GIVEAWAY
12/5 LUXURY READING GIVEAWAY
12/6 HARLEQUIN JUNKIE ‘SPOTLIGHT’
12/8 BOOKS IN THE BURBS INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY
12/9 YA LOVE EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY
12/10 CHAPTER CHICKS EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY
12/11 THE HIDING SPOT REVIEW + INTERVIEW
12/12 DREAM WITHIN A DREAM EXCERPT + INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY
12/15 JUMP INTO BOOKS EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY
12/16 INKBITTEN REVIEW
12/17 WILLA’S RAMBLINGS REVIEW + INTERVIEW
12/18 WINDOW SEAT ON A RAINY DAY ‘SPOTLIGHT’ + GIVEAWAY
12/18 WRITE MEG! REVIEW
12/19 KAYLA’S READS AND REVIEWS EXCERPT
12/22 THE READING FRENZY ‘SHOWCASE’ + INTERVIEW
If you have any additional questions for Lorraine, head over to her Goodreads profile here: http://bit.ly/1B70IzC!