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Lisa Kleypas, New York Times Bestseller

Brown-Eyed GirlBROWN-EYED GIRL

St. Martin's Press, August 11, 2015

Foreign Publication Dates

 

After her last experience  with "love," rising star wedding planner Avery Crosslin is determined not to let any man distract her—especially the night of the biggest wedding she's ever planned and especially not a wealthy bachelor  like Joe Travis, who could only be interested in a plus-size girl like her for one reason.   But Joe has different ideas and convinces her to dance with him while her small staff sees to business. . .

It seemed the air had turned into champagne, every breath filled with effervescent, free-floating giddiness.

My glasses slipped again, and I began to adjust them.

"Avery," he said gently, "let me hold those for you. I'll keep them in my pocket until we're done."

"I won't be able to see where we're going."

"But I will." Carefully he drew the glasses from my face, folded them, and slipped them into the breast pocket of his tux. The room turned into a blur of glitter and shadow. I didn't understand myself, why I had surrendered control to him so easily. I stood there blind and exposed, my heart beating like a hummingbird's wings.

Joe's arms went around me. He took me in the same hold as before, except now we were closer, our steps intimately constrained. This time he no longer followed the orchestra rhythm, only settled into a slow, relaxed pace.

I breathed in the scent of him, burnished with sun and salt, and I was confounded by the yearning to press my mouth against his neck, taste him.

"You're nearsighted," I heard him say on a questioning note.

I nodded. "You're the only thing I can see."

He looked down at me, our noses nearly touching. "Good." The word was scratchy-soft, like a cat's tongue.

My breath caught. I turned my face away deliberately. I had to break the spell, or I was going to do something I would regret.

"Get ready," I heard him say. "I'm going to dip you."

I clutched at him. "Don't, you'll drop me."

"I'm not going to drop you." He sounded amused.

I stiffened as I felt his hand slide to the center of my back. "I'm serious. Joe—"

"Trust me."

"I don't think—"

"Here we go." He lowered me backward, supporting me securely. My head tipped back, my vision filled with the twinkling firefly-lights entwined in the tree branches. I gasped as he pulled me upright with astonishing ease.

"Oh! You're strong."

"It has nothing to do with strength. It's knowing how to do it." Joe caught me against him, closer than before. Now we were matched front to front. The moment was charged with something I'd never felt before, a soft voltaic heat. I was quiet, unable to make a sound if my life had depended on it. I closed my eyes. My senses were busy gathering him in, the hard strength of his body, the caress of his breath against my ear.

All too soon, the song ended with a bittersweet flourish. Joe's arms tightened. "Not yet," he murmured. "One more."

"I shouldn't."

"Yes, you should." He kept me against him.

Another song started, the notes flaring softly. "What A Wonderful World" was a wedding staple. I'd heard it about a thousand times, interpreted every way imaginable. But every now and then an old song could pierce through your heart as if you were hearing it for the first time.

As we danced, I tried to gather every passing second for safekeeping, like pennies in a Mason jar. But soon I lost track, and it was only the two of us, wrapped in music and dream-colored darkness. Joe's hand covered mine, and he pulled my arm around his neck. When I didn't resist, he reached for my other wrist and pulled that one up too.

I had no idea what song played next. We stood locked in a subtle sway with my arms linked around his neck. I let my fingers drift over the nape of his neck, where the thick hair was tapered in close layers. A feeling of unreality swept over me, and my imagination kept veering in the wrong directions . . . I wondered what he would be like in intimacy, the ways he might move and breathe and tremble.

His head lowered until his jaw grazed my cheek, the touch of shaven bristle delicious.

"I have to work," I managed to say. "What . . . what time is it?"

I felt him lift his arm behind me, but apparently it was too dark to read his watch. "Must be close to midnight," he said.

"I have to set up the after-party."

"Where?"

"The swimming pool patio."

"I'll go with you."

"No, you'll distract me." Realizing my arms were still linked around his neck, I began to pull free.

"Probably."

He caught one of my wrists and turned his mouth to the inside of my wrist. A shock of sweetness went through me as I felt his lips touch the thin, tender skin, grazing the frantic thrum of a pulse. Reaching into his pocket, Joe withdrew my glasses and gave them back to me.

I couldn't stop staring at him. There was a crescent mark on the left side of his jaw, a thin white line amid the shadow of shaven bristle. And another mark near the outward corner of his left eye, a subtle parenthetical scar. Somehow the tiny imperfections made him even sexier.

I wanted to touch the marks with my fingertips. I wanted to kiss them. But the desire was hemmed by instinctive knowledge that this wasn't a man I could ever be casual about. When you fell for a man like this, it would be an all-consuming bonfire. And afterward, your heart would resemble the contents of an ashtray.

"I'll meet you when you finish setting up," Joe told me.

"It may take a long time. I don't want you to wait."

"I've got all night." His voice was soft. "And you're how I want to spend it."

Desperately I tried not to feel so flattered and overwhelmed. And I hurried away with the sense that I was running through a minefield.

                                                        ...................

Other country publication dates

March 31, 2015, Sergio Fanucci Communications s.r.l. (Italian)
May 14, 2015, Ediciones B, S.A. - Spain & Mexico (Spanish)
July 7, 2015, Nakladatelstvi Domino (Czech)
Aug 11, 2013, St. Martin's Press, ISBN-13: 978-0312605377 (English)
November 1, 2015, Editions J'ai Lu (French)
December 31, 2016 Kinneret-Zmora Dvir Publishing House Ltd, (Hebrew)

 

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REVIEWS:
Romantic Times s
4½ Star
The long-awaited fourth and final installment in the Travis series is just as wonderful as fans hoped. The strong, manly male lead and the sassy, charming heroine are intoxicating characters readers will adore. Their sexual chemistry is tangible, yet still swoonworthy and romantic. Brown-Eyed Girl is simply delightful and not to be missed.
Read entire review

BOOKLIST
"When it comes to delivering a pair of perfectly matched protagonists whose heart-melting romance is fueled by an abundance of smoldering sexual chemistry, RITA award-winning Kleypas (Blue-Eyed Devil, 2015) is a class by herself, and the conclusion to her Travis Brothers quartet deserves an A+."

  KIRKUS REVIEWS
Wedding planner Avery Crosslin meets Joe Travis—of the Houston Travises—at a society event and convinces herself that he’s good for business but a bad romantic bet; rebel Joe has other plans, however, and he usually gets what he wants.

When Avery confuses Houston society favorite Joe for a wedding photographer, she catches his attention, and they have a one-night stand. Avery never expects to hear from him again, but he follows up, genuinely interested. She resolves to keep the popular bachelor at arm’s length, convinced that he's way out of her league and only intrigued because he doesn’t like rejection. Meanwhile, Avery’s company is on the rise, and when Joe’s family hires her team for some event planning, she sees his down-to-earth nature and sincerity. Avery falls for him, but she mistrusts love. She tells herself she's focused on her career and keeps people at arm's length, but Joe wants her to acknowledge that she's both worthy of his affection and more connected to people than she will admit. After some unexpected professional opportunities arise and family secrets are revealed, Avery must decide what really matters and take a stand for her own happiness, jeopardizing her career and risking her heart in order to win the life she can’t quite believe she deserves.

To a skeptic, the plots of romance novels might sound formulaic, and that's true to a degree. But, really, it’s the journey more than the destination that makes each book unique. Kleypas is among the crème de la crème of romance authors, and this novel illustrates why. Avery’s complex reasons for resisting Joe falter against the trademark Travis combination of hardscrabble Texan and urbane playboy, to which Joe adds his own artistic sensibility. Kleypas’ characters manage to be both larger-than-life and friend-next-door accessible, and it's hard not to be seduced by her breathtaking romance, believable yet wrenching plot twists, and pitch-perfect worldbuilding.

Fans have been waiting a long time for Joe Travis’ story, and they will celebrate this book.

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
Kleypas satisfyingly concludes her Texas-based Travis Brothers quartet (after Smooth Talking Stranger) with this sweet contemporary. Avery Crosslin may be a wedding planner, but she certainly doesn’t believe in happily ever after; having been jilted at the altar, she’s glad to simply oversee others’ nuptials and keep her own heart locked safely away. When she mistakenly thinks wealthy Joe Travis is the photographer, rather than a guest, at one of the weddings she’s working on, she tries to resist falling for the handsome man. But Joe isn’t prone to giving up anything he wants, and he most definitely wants Avery. She’s a lovably flawed heroine and he’s a complex, appealing, and forthright hero. While this fun tale stands on its own, the author also provides satisfying glimpses of the happily paired-off protagonists of the earlier books in the series. 

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