One more day closer to the weekend! Happy Thursday everyone! For today's snippet reading I have one that most everyone knows or has even purchased. I confess i bought this title not because of the cover (which is pretty neat in itself) and not because of the blurb. I bought it because of where it sat on the list of popular romance books in Amazon. I also confess this is a first for me. I normally do not follow the pack. However after reading the lower starred reviews better known as the bashing views I decided to pick it up to see for myself. Unfortunately, I hardly ever buy a book because of a glowing 5 star review anymore. Another thing I confess is that this title has been sitting on my Kindle for over a week now waiting for me to get to it. So I thought it fitting for today's post so I could get into before the weekend comes and be ready for a good sit down. Though I don't write reviews anymore I still like to form my own views over the material I read. I guess old habits really do die hard. :)
So, if you've read this title share your thoughts in the comment section below. I'd really like to hear them. If you haven't read this title and have steered clear of it because of all the hype then we get to take a closer look together to see what all the hub-bub is about. :)
No Flowers Required
Love Required series ,Book 2
Back of the Book:
He'll give her everything she desires...except his identity.Flower shop owner Alexa Conroy had it all before the recession hit and her customers fled to cheaper shopping grounds. Desperate to make ends meet, she sells her dream home and moves into the rundown apartments above her shop. When she spots six feet of sexy distraction—complete with muscles, piercings, and tattoos—ripping up flooring, Alexa knows the karmic windfall she's due just landed on her doorstep.And the attraction's definitely not one-sided.
EXTENDED SNIPPET READING:
The smell of sawdust, fresh paint, and the clean and somehow aromatic scent of new plastic hit Dillon as he stepped into Value Hardware, as it always did. He could bring back that indefinable hardware store aroma in an instant, with all the happy memories of home and concerns for the future it brought.
New concerns had crowded in, and he’d come there to satisfy some of them. Where, exactly, did Alexa’s hostility toward Value Hardware come from? Maybe it really was just because the two stores had some business overlap and therefore a rivalry, but he had his doubts.
When his brother was involved, anything was possible. If Alexa was feeling the squeeze from Value Hardware, Cory probably knew about it. Hell, he’d probably tightened the screws, especially considering they owned the building that housed her store. Cory wouldn’t tiptoe around wanting to cut out the competition. Just not his style.
Time to find out what the deal was. Maybe in the process he’d even lose the damn erection he still hadn’t been able to shake since he’d left her.
At the rate he was going, maybe he never would. He’d die hard and unfulfilled and feeling somehow cock-blocked by his shark of an older brother. Not the first time either.
He took the quickest route to his office and booted up his computer. As usual his e-mail was a hot mess, full of “urgent” things he’d already ignored for several days. They’d wait a few longer. He logged into the server and accessed his accounting program, running her name first. A genius data monkey had set up the system to cross-reference details practically down to a client’s billing preference.
He grinned. Days like today he appreciated his own genius.
Too bad his grin didn’t last.
She was in trouble, the kind that even a big night at the casino wouldn’t touch. Notices had stacked up, their language becoming increasingly more confrontational. That they’d never crossed the line beyond what was legal was a small comfort.
Not much of one, though, when he could still smell her on his clothes. Her fragrance was a palpable thing in his office, wrapping around him until he couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t think.
So much for a harmless flirt-and-run. Dammit. And his day was about to get a whole lot worse, because he needed to talk to Cory.
His mistake was taking a quick loop of the store before he headed toward Cory’s office. He’d needed to work off some of his frustration, and instead he got an armload of his mom.
Dillon grinned at his mother’s warm hug. “Hiya, Mom.”
“You haven’t lost weight, have you?” She moved back to hold him at arm’s length, her blue eyes radiating worry. “You don’t come over for dinner enough.”
“I’ve been working on the apartments most nights lately. With Cory’s insistence that we get them up to full occupancy, I’ve been scrambling to get them ready.”
And apparently not succeeding, considering the sorry state of Alexa’s apartment. But he’d been doing triage on the Rison’s worst ones first, and hers hadn’t been among them. He’d make it up to her, one way or another. If he had to slip into the place when she was at the floral shop and do the improvements piecemeal, he would.
“You could hire help. No one ever said you had to handle it all yourself. Not that you’d have any trouble, strong, strapping guy like you.” She squeezed his biceps and made him laugh.
He loved hanging with her, something he hadn’t been doing nearly enough of lately. He’d buried himself in fixing up their income properties and at the house he was helping to rehab for a returning veteran for more than one reason. He loved the work, true, but he was also trying to avoid—
“Such a strapping guy should have his pick of dates for the Helping Hands benefit.” She tilted her head and gave him a sweet, disarming smile. Her narrowing-in-for-the-kill-you-with-kindness look. “Have you found one yet?”
“Do we have to talk about this right now?” He scraped a hand over the back of his head and resisted the urge to scuff the toe of his boot along the floor. Almost thirty or not, when Corinne Santangelo gave him that look, he regressed to about fifteen in his head. Especially since he knew it was just the beginning.
“Yes, we do. It’s in just a couple weeks. I know you’ve been tied up, sweetie, but maybe if you put half as much effort into finding a date as you did in planning the fund-raiser, you’d have a better selection of dates to pick from.”
Yep, here it came. She was about to chide him about bringing what his stepfather, Raymond, called “floozies” to the event. They both claimed they just wanted him to be happy with someone who wasn’t a gold digger, as the so-called floozies usually turned out to be, but he knew the company’s reputation was also on the line.
As Value Hardware’s primary annual fund-raising benefit, the Helping Hands charity got a lot of notice. It was Dillon’s brainchild, his baby, the part of the business that made sense to him beyond the profit-and-loss statements that Cory lived and breathed. But it was also his yearly chance to remind his parents he wouldn’t embrace a role in the spotlight, even if that meant hearing an earful afterward about whom he selected to accompany him.
Plus, he’d discovered one indisputable fact—“bad” girls were better in bed. So shoot him.
“I’m sure I’ll be able to find someone.” He smothered a grin. Whether she approved of his choice, however…
His parents were picky. If he didn’t bring just the right kind of woman to the event to get his folks off his back, pretty soon they’d start setting him up on blind dates with “suitable” women he didn’t even want to share a meal with, never mind seriously date.
He’d gone out with those women before. Ones who pretended to really enjoy watching the sun set on a rickety old fishing boat, at least until they thought they had him snagged. He was the prime catch, not the fish.
“Uh-huh.” She waved at a passing customer and chitchatted for a moment about an arthritic poodle, then returned her attention to Dillon. “I’m onto you, kid.”
“Come back to my office.”
Uh-oh. Not good. Office talks were only one step better than when she called him by his full name. “I have this part I need to get—” And some questions I need to ask your other son.
“It’ll keep for a few minutes.”
Smiling at more customers, she led the way down the power tools aisle. She inspired waves of greeting in almost everyone she passed. Such was her magic. Just because he didn’t think he was cut out for the corporate blueprint didn’t mean he couldn’t appreciate all the hard work his mom and stepfather had put into making the company a success.
People stopped him as well, and he couldn’t say he minded talking tools. Haven was a small, close-knit town, and he’d known many of these people since he’d been in diapers. The three years he’d spent living in New Jersey had been a welcome getaway, but he’d always known he’d come back. This was his legacy.
Once they reached the back of the store, they bypassed Dillon’s own closet-sized office and continued on to her larger one. At the end of the hall were his stepfather’s office and Cory’s lair. It was easy to differentiate the two. From Raymond’s open door came the low tones of the Beatles’ White Album, whereas Cory never played music. He also never opened his door.
His mom led him inside her office, then circled her wide carved rosewood desk to take a seat behind it. The room held all the touches of home—framed pictures, a soft, knitted blanket over the back of her chair for when the AC made it too cold, a few thriving plants. Even the sea-green walls made the space seem soothing rather than like an office.
But Dillon still knew what it was. And every time he locked himself inside one of these enlarged coffins, he couldn’t stop thinking about everything he was missing. Sunshine. Fresh air. The burn of his muscles as the hours passed in a blur of exertion.
She leaned forward, her auburn bob swinging against her jaw. Though she and her husband were near retirement, something they told everyone who would listen, she fought the battle against gray hair and wrinkles with steely determination. “Dad and I want to sit down with you and your brother sometime in the next few weeks.”
Though outwardly he gave her a calm nod, inwardly his stomach clenched. It was too soon. They’d made him think there was time before he’d have to assume the reins along with Cory, and from her expression, there clearly wasn’t.
If their retirement was progressing faster than Dillon had assumed while he’d been up to his elbows in copper pipes and linoleum, that meant Cory had to be drowning in paperwork. Not that he’d complain or ask for help. He’d seethe. His older brother was an expert at that.
When she gripped her hands together, his petty concerns fell away. “Is everything okay?”
“Yes. Yes,” she repeated as he edged forward on his seat. “Everything’s fine. Dad’s asthma is a bit worse than it was.”
“Is he all right? He never said anything—”
“He’s fine,” she soothed, giving him a reassuring smile. “But since we’re looking at retirement anyway, his doctor recommended we try a different climate. Dry air would help his condition, we’re told, so we’re considering a move.”
“A few places are on the list. Scottsdale’s leading it.”
“Scottsdale, Arizona?” Across the country? “What about the house?” And his mom’s horse, and the acreage, and… Christ, a clusterfuck of a headache was about to pound through his left eye.
“Yes, Arizona. If we decide to move, we’ll be putting the house up for sale, unless one of you boys wants it.”
Dillon snorted. “Cory lives in the biggest penthouse in Haven. You honestly think he’d give a rat’s ass about tending some chickens and a horse? He’ll sell Misty before you’re on the plane.” The sadness he glimpsed in her eyes shut him up, and fast.
“Cory knows his duty,” she said quietly.
Alexa flashed into his mind. Her smile. Her brief laugh. Especially her weary blue eyes. Did Cory’s duty include antagonizing dedicated small-business owners struggling to stay afloat?
And if so, he’d be shouldering that duty alone, because Dillon would have no part.
“Yeah, and I don’t.” He worked his jaw as he stared out the window beside her desk, noting the mocking cluster of smiley-face balloons by the welcome sign out front. Everyone was welcome at Value Hardware. His family had embraced the community, and in turn the community had embraced them.
“You’re not like your brother, and your dad and I understand that. You’ve always wanted to do your own thing. That’s why you kept Tommy’s name when your brother took Raymond’s. You never—”
“That’s not why.”
“No?” She appeared genuinely curious.
“No. I didn’t want Tommy to think we were both abandoning him.” Saying it aloud, knowing it was sterling truth, made him grind his teeth.
It figured he’d effectively excluded himself from his family to try to show solidarity with a man who thought being a dad meant visiting once a year on birthdays and giving his boys magazine subscriptions for Christmas—Cory got Sports Illustrated; Dillon got Popular Mechanics.
His mother sighed and rubbed her temple. Maybe he’d somehow telepathically shared his headache. “You’re a good boy, Dill. You always have been. You’ve also always been incredibly stubborn.”
“Yes, you.” With her smile, the thread of tension in the room eased. “You’re a rebel, baby, with the motorcycle to prove it. And the tattoos. Don’t you remember when you came home with that tribal thing on your arm and tried to convince me it was the greatest thing ever?” She shook her head, still smiling fondly. “Wings so you’d never be stuck in any one place.”
“I remember.” As a teenager, he’d chosen tattoos he probably wouldn’t now. But those markers on his body were permanent reminders of who he’d been—and who he wanted to be.
She reached out to straighten one of the family photos scattered across her desk. The one she touched was of Dillon and Cory as kids, standing in front of the paddock behind their family house. Arms around each other’s shoulders, grins as wide as the sky.
It had been years since they’d been that close. There had been a time in high school when they’d even talked about going to the same college, but that had disappeared after the differences growing roots between them had choked most of the friendship out of their relationship. Eventually Dillon had headed to NYU to study business with a focus on corporate social responsibility, and Cory had gotten an MBA from Wharton.
His idea of heaven was several hours on his bike, winding through the Pennsylvania mountainside with no agenda. Or venturing to the roof of the Rison to look out over the city and think. Not making plans to take over the world and glad-handing like Cory. Not sitting down for cozy fireside chats like his parents. Helping others—through his charity work, or hell, even when he assisted a customer at the store—made him happy, but when the world got to be too much, he escaped with his fishing pole to the lake. He wasn’t lonely, most of the time. The absence of people meant no expectations. And no chance of not meeting them.
When the silence stretched, she sighed. “Sweetie, Cory’s Cory and you’re you. Your dad and I love you, just the way you are.” She rose and came around the desk, then cupped his cheek in her hand. “Fighting to show everyone what you’re not isn’t going to prove your worth. Only you can do that.” Her smile was indulgent. “Someday you’ll realize.”
When he rose, she enfolded him in a healing hug, saturating him in her comforting rosewater and vanilla scent.
“Let me know when you want me at the house.” He nearly groaned at the sound of the door across the hall opening and shutting with a slam. Cory on his way out, no doubt, which meant there’d be no cornering him about Alexa today. “I’ll be there.”
Thank you for stopping in today! It's great to see you here! So, what are your thought on No Flowers Required? Something you'd be interested in reading? Something you've already read and liked/disliked? I have to say I noticed more the authors writing style than anything else for this snippet and I liked it. She writes with a smooth hand so to speak and layers in the detail without just stating the facts to you. Signs of a great story teller for sure!