PAINT ME PERFECT
Love, Me & the 303 Series #1
by Kay Cove
Cover & Excerpt Reveal
Release Date: June 16, 2022
Cover Design: Nicole Arakorpi
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Trope: Celebrity romance, single-mom
Chase is ready to turn over a new leaf and leave his Hollywood playboy antics behind. He asked the universe for a chance at real love and is confident that Noa is his swift delivery. The only problem? It’s near impossible to move forward when there is still a spotlight on the skeletons of his past.
Noa’s focused on one thing and one thing only–and it does not involve a whirlwind summer romance with megastar actor Chase Ford. Armed with a paintbrush and a new blank canvas, she’s determined to paint the perfect family picture for her and her four-year-old son.
It only takes one chance encounter. One tabloid picture. One publicity scheme to set the record straight.
Their ruse turns real.
Knowing he found the girl of his dreams, Chase is ready to fight for their chance at forever, but he’s about to face the cruel reality Noa already knows too well—not all loves are created equal, and sometimes perfect isn’t enough.
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“I thought we were going to talk. What’re you doing?” Chase asks.
“Um. Well, I’m trying to give you the green light. Not sure what you’re doing.”
“Really, green light, right before you leave? I didn’t take you for a quickie kind of girl.”
I thought he’d be jumping up and down in glee? Actually, I thought we’d be naked by now. I’m swallowing down whatever insecurities I had about being with a guy like Chase. There are no real stakes here. Whatever happens between us…the summer will eventually end. This will end…
“Quick is fine if you know what you’re doing.” I press my thighs together to combat the pressure building between them.
Sweet puffs of air escape his lips as he chuckles. “I’m tempted. But no, Noa. I’m sorry, we’re not going to have sex right now.”
I don’t bother trying to hide my disappointment. “So, you don’t know what you’re doing? Hm, the legend falls short.”
Chase places his catcher mitt of a hand gently on my cheek. He holds my head securely as if it’s about to fall off. It will. If he keeps staring at me with that blazing fire in his eyes, my head might fall right off. “Noa, I know how to fuck. I could make you come so hard, you’d see stars. Believe me when I say I know where all the buttons are.”
I shrug as if it isn’t the single most arousing sentence anyone has ever uttered to me in my life. “Promises, promises, Chase Ford. You’re all talk.”
“Stay and I’ll prove it to you.” Chase nuzzles my nose. He smells like his spicy cologne mixed with a little smoke from the firepit. My new favorite smell in the world. I’m going to make a candle out of this scent…and maybe bring it to the bath with me on occasion.
“Stay where? I’m here, right now, with that aforementioned green light.”
Chase places a swift kiss on my forehead. His lips are warm and smooth and I want them back on me but he’s too poised and in control. “Noa, I like you. I really like you. I’m not going to slide it in for a quickie. Stay. Why would you book a trip for only one day?”
“Because real life awaits.”
“This isn’t real life? What’s real to you?”
I hang my head forward, letting my hair veil my face. Chase pries the curtain of my locks aside and looks at me askingly. The smooth masculine lines of his jaw tremor just slightly, like he’s holding back.
“Chase, I have an ex-husband who is sleeping in my guest room because he nearly died two weeks ago from a head wound and still needs a chaperone to walk down the stairs. I have a four-year-old who witnessed the whole debacle and has since regressed to bedwetting and nightmares. I have an interview tomorrow for a dream job that I am absolutely not qualified for but I desperately want. Actually, I need the job to start paying rent to the Hollywood movie star I’m fake dating in exchange for a loan that I’m still not sure how I’m going to pay back. Top it all off with the fact that I can’t call the one person who can really hold me down through this shitstorm because I’m hiding the fact that I’m divorced and sharing custody of my son.”
I pump my eyebrows at Chase, but he doesn’t look deterred. I continue.
“So—that’s my real life. I’m exhausted, I’m run down, I’m constantly needed by everyone and I’m one more unexpected big life event away from crawling permanently into a dark hole with raggedy sweatpants and enough Snickers bars to fill my entire pantry.”
Chase traces his thumb softly against my lips. I feel the compassion in his touch and I cringe. “I’m so sorry.”
Stop. Please. I don’t have the time nor energy to fall for you right now.
“My life is not fun and sexy. I am not like your L.A. girls. I booked a trip for just one day because that’s all I’m allotted. Just one small moment away from breaking my back trying to hold all the pieces together and praying that everything will work out okay. And you want the truth? It’s been a very long time since any one has touched my buttons and I was really hoping I could just enjoy a hot, uncomplicated, reckless moment with you.”
Chase grabs my hand and brings my knuckles to his lips. “How can I help?” He kisses my hand between his words.
“Well, I thought you said you knew what you were doing. Stars and all that…” My desperate eyes plead with him as I rake over my bottom lip with my teeth.
“No, not with that—with the life stuff. Who are you hiding your divorce from?”
“My mom. Well, my parents, but mostly my mom.”
“Because she raised me to be a lot stronger and smarter than I turned out to be. I don’t want her to know what a mess her daughter is right now.”
“You’re not a mess. Not to me. And I’m an expert when it comes to being a mess, trust me.”
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About the Author
Kay, a former HR professional (survivor), startup junkie, and former CEO of the teeniest, tiniest virtual assistant company, has been writing pretty much forever. She finally decided at age thirty to start writing the stories she loves to read and to actually share novels she poured countless hours, tears, sweat, and coffee into.
Kay writes steamy contemporary romance novels that touch on all the corners of love—family, friendship, passion, and purpose.