Rosa Fernandez doesn’t act on impulse—she’s the responsible one, planning her career with precision, finally landing a job as the librarian at conservative Queen of Peace Academy, confining her strongest emotions to her secret poetry journal. But she’s been harboring a secret crush on dreamy Jeremy Taylor, and after one dance with him at her sister’s wedding, Rosa longs to let loose for the first time. She deserves some fun, after all. So what if she doesn’t have a shot with Jeremy, not with his wealthy pedigree and high profile lifestyle. But one dance leads to one kiss, and soon Rosa is head-over-heels . . .
The adopted son of a prominent Chicago lawyer, Jeremy has a lot to live up to—especially with his birth father in prison—the perfect example of a bad example. With a big promotion and a move to Japan in the works, Jeremy is worlds away from settling down. But sweet, steady Rosa is a temptation he doesn’t want to deny himself, at least for now. Yet when their simple fling turns complicated, everything they’ve both worked for is threatened—except the red-hot intimacy they’ve found together. Can forever really grow from just-for-now?
“Buen provecho,” the old man murmured.
She gave him a shy smile of thanks as she reached for the proffered champagne flute, then sidled away from the bar.
Jeremy fell into step alongside her and her heart rate blipped with glee.
“What did he say when he handed you your drink?” he asked. “Good something, right?”
She nodded, remembering Jeremy’s recent decision to start learning Spanish. “Literally it means, ‘enjoy your meal,’ but in this sense, it’s more like, ‘enjoy.’”
“Well then”—leaning closer to her, he clinked his flute against hers—“buen pro-pro—”
“Provecho,” she finished, her belly flip-flopping at his chagrined smile.
They walked a few more steps before she worked up the courage to ask, “So, um, where’s your date?”
The tall blonde who’d been his plus-one was the epitome of old money and high class, a glaring reminder that Jeremy came from a wealthy, established Chicago family. Rosa, on the other hand, came from a small town on the Island, her parents having transplanted from Puerto Rico to the Humboldt Park area of Chicago when they were first married, then later to Oakton in the suburbs.
She and Jeremy, not to mention his date, weren’t quite the same pedigree.
“Uh-huh. Is she your . . . ?” Rosa let her voice trail off, wondering what his response might be.
“Family friend. I mean, we dated years ago, but decided we’re better as friends.”
Rosa breathed a soft sigh of relief.
“Anyway, she ditched me a while ago.” Jeremy brushed it off like his date leaving him behind didn’t bother him. “Her parents are hosting a charity event over on Michigan Avenue and she wanted to put in an appearance.”
“You didn’t want to go?”
“And miss this fun?” He jutted his chin out at the people dancing to a well-known merengue hit. Couples packed the floor, some more seasoned and coordinated than others, but all having a great time.
They reached an empty table and Jeremy pulled out a chair for her.
“I haven’t seen you out there,” he said. “How come?”
He sat down to join her, his muscular thigh inadvertently brushing against hers. Tingles of awareness danced a cha-cha down her leg.
“Um, well.” Hyper-attuned to his nearness, it took Rosa a second to find her words. “This is more Yazmine and Lilí’s scene. I guess I tend to be a much better party planner than a partygoer.”
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that.” Jeremy’s lips quirked as he slid her a teasing glance. “I seem to recall you play a mean game of charades.”
Rosa laughed, remembering Lilí’s birthday this past spring. It’d been their first family celebration since Papi’s death, so Lilí had kept it an intimate affair at home with the three sisters; Tomás; his six-year-old daughter, Maria; Jeremy; and a few other close friends.
She and Jeremy had wound up on the same charades team. That night, they’d been on a similar wavelength or something, quickly guessing each other’s clues before anyone else.
Lilí had cried foul play.
Yaz had dubbed them the dynamic duo.
Rosa had soaked up the shared moment, their uncanny connection. Later, she’d composed a few verses about it in her private poetry journal.
“By the way, Yaz mentioned how you stepped in to help so she wouldn’t stress as much today. Everything turned out great.” The pleasure in his bright smile, directed right at her, made Rosa’s pulse skip.
She ducked her head, embarrassed by his praise. “It wasn’t that much.”
“Right,” Jeremy answered, his tone dripping with disbelief.
She peeked at him from under her lashes. At some point in the evening, he’d shed his suit jacket and rolled up his shirt sleeves, revealing his muscular forearms. As always, she was drawn by his ruffled dark blond hair and square jaw. But even more so by his friendly eyes and the easy camaraderie they shared.
He took a swig of his champagne, eyeing her over the rim.
What did he see when he looked at her?
PRISCILLA OLIVERAS writes sweet contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Proud of her Puerto Rican-Mexican heritage, she strives to bring authenticity to her novels by sharing her Latinx culture with readers. Her debut release, His Perfect Partner, and the second book in her Matched to Perfection series, Her Perfect Affair, both earned Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Since earning an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, she serves as English adjunct faculty at her local college and teaches an on-line course titled “Romance Writing” for ed2go. Priscilla is a sports fan, a beach lover, a half-marathon runner and a consummate traveler who often practices the art of napping in her backyard hammock. To follow along on her fun-filled and hectic life, visit her on the web at http://prisoliveras.com/, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/prisoliveras or on Twitter via @prisoliveras.