Excerpt: Sunset in Central Park by Sarah Morgan

Posted July 16, 2016 by Rowena in Promotions | 2 Comments

Sunset in Central Park is the second book in Sarah Morgan’s From Manhattan with Love series. We’re pretty excited to be featuring an excerpt from the book today on Book Binge. Enjoy!

Sunset in Central Park by Sarah Morgan
From Manhattan with Love #2
Releases on August 30, 2016 by HQN Books

In the chaos of New York, true love can be hard to find, even when it’s been right under your nose all along…

Love has never been a priority for garden designer Frankie Cole. After witnessing the fallout of her parents’ divorce, she’s seen the devastation an overload of emotion can cause. The only man she feels comfortable with is her friend Matt—but that’s strictly platonic. If only she found it easier to ignore the way he makes her heart race…

Matt Walker has loved Frankie for years but, sensing how fragile she is beneath her feisty exterior, has always played it cool. But then he uncovers new depths to the girl he’s known forever and doesn’t want to wait a moment longer. He knows Frankie has secrets and has buried them deep, but can Matt persuade her to trust him with her heart and kiss him under the Manhattan sunset?

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Frankie wrapped herself in a towel and stepped out of the tiny bathroom.

Friendship was the one thing that could be relied on.

Where would she be without her friends?

And although she wasn’t in the mood for drinking and talking on the roof terrace, there was comfort in knowing they were only a few steps away.

She’d snuggle up with her book and lose herself.

She pulled on black yoga pants and a T-shirt, put some cheese on a plate and sat down to read. Immersed in another world, she almost leaped out of her skin as an enormous crash came from the kitchen.

“Holy crap.”

Yanked from a fictional world of horror, it took a moment for logic to kick in and tell her that one of the herb pots carefully balanced on her windowsill had fallen.

She didn’t need to investigate the source of the accident; she already knew.

Not a serial killer, but a cat.

“Claws? Is that you?” Still holding her book, she walked through to the kitchen, saw the soil and shards of terracotta scattered across the floor and a terrified cat with fur the color of marmalade. “Hey—you need to look where you’re walking.”

The cat shot under the kitchen table, eyeing Frankie from a safe distance, her fur almost vertical.

“Did you scare yourself? Because you scared the hell out of me.” Calm, Frankie put her book on the table and stooped to clear up the mess. The cat shrank farther under the table. “What are you doing down here? Where’s Matt? Is he working late?”

Matt, Paige’s brother, owned the house and lived on the top two floors. It was Matt, a landscape architect, who had found the old, neglected brownstone years before and lovingly converted it into three apartments. The four of them lived there in almost perfect harmony. Along with the cat Matt had rescued.

Frankie disposed of the shattered pot and the soil and reached for a tin of cat food. She carried on talking, careful not to make any sudden movements. “Are you hungry?”

The cat didn’t move, so Frankie opened the tin and tipped it into the bowl she’d bought after the cat’s first visit.

“I’ll just leave it here.” She put the bowl down.

Claws approached with the watchful caution she always showed toward humans.

As someone who approached people in much the same way, Frankie empathized.

“I don’t know how you’re getting down from Matt’s apartment, but I hope you’re being careful where you tread. Wouldn’t want you to be hurt.” Although it was a bit late for that. She knew Claws had been abused and neglected before Matt had rescued her. As a result, the cat trusted no one except Matt, and even he was scratched if he made any sudden movements.

Claws sniffed cautiously at the bowl and Frankie stood back, giving the animal space.

Pretending to ignore her, she topped off her wineglass, cut a few more slices of cheese and sat down at the kitchen table that had been a housewarming gift from her friends. It was her favorite place to sit, especially first thing in the morning. She liked to open the windows and watch the sunlight stream over her garden. It was a suntrap, catching the light and warmth from early in the morning.

“We should probably celebrate.” She raised the glass. “To being single. I can go where I like, do what I like, I’m dependent on no one. I sail my own ship through whichever waters I choose to navigate. Life is good.”

Claws took another sniff at the food, keeping one eye on Frankie.

Finally, she started to eat and Frankie was surprised by the sense of satisfaction that came from knowing the animal was beginning to trust her. Maybe she should get a cat of her own.

Unlike some humans, cats understood the notion of personal space.

She opened the book and started to read where she’d left off.

She was halfway through the third chapter when she heard a knock on the door.

Claws froze.

Frankie pushed a piece of paper in the book to mark her place, trying not to be irritated at the disturbance. “It will be Eva or Paige, so there’s no need to freak out. They’ve probably run out of wine. Don’t break any of my plant pots while I answer the door.”

She tugged open the front door. “Have you drunk so much that you can’t—oh.”

Matt stood in the doorway, although stood wasn’t really the right word, she decided. He virtually filled the space. He topped six feet, his shoulders broad and powerful from all the heavy lifting he did at his job. He could have been intimidating, but a faint smile tilted the corners of his mouth and softened the rough edges of masculinity. There were a dozen reasons why a woman might take a second look at Matt Walker, but it was that bone-melting sexy smile that guaranteed he was never short of female company.

“So far this evening, I haven’t drunk a drop. Hoping to remedy that soon.” He glanced from her to the door. “You should use that security chain I fitted for you.”

“Normally I do. I thought you were Paige.”

He smelled good, she thought. Like summer rain and sea breeze. It made her want to bury her face in his neck and breathe him in.

She wondered which of them would be more embarrassed.

Definitely her. Matt wasn’t the kind of guy who was easily embarrassed.

“Am I disturbing you?” He scanned her damp hair and she pushed at it self-consciously.

When it was wet it turned an unflattering shade. “Rust” one boy had called it at school after she’d been caught in a heavy rainstorm. When she blushed, which she was now doing thanks to her wayward imagination, her face clashed horribly with her hair.

“You’re not disturbing me, but if you’re looking for Paige and Eva they’re up on the roof terrace.”

“I wasn’t looking for them. I’ve lost my cat. Have you seen her?”

“She’s here. Come in. I opened a bottle of wine.” She issued the invitation without a second thought because this was Matt. Matt, whom she’d known forever and trusted.

“You’re inviting me in?” His eyes gleamed. “I’m honored. It’s Saturday night and I know how much you love your own space.”

The fact that he knew her so well was one of the things that made their relationship so easy and comfortable.

“You have owner’s privilege.”

“There’s such a thing? I never knew that. What other benefits am I entitled to that I haven’t been claiming?”

“The occasional glass of wine is definitely on that list.” She opened the door wider for him and he strolled past her into her apartment.

Her gaze lingered on his shoulders. She was human, wasn’t she? And Matt had an impressive set of shoulders. The kind you could lean on, if you were the leaning type. She wasn’t. Even so, there was no denying that the man was sexy from every angle, even from the back. Of course, the fact that she found him sexy was her secret and it was going to stay that way.

She could enjoy her own private fantasy, safe in the knowledge that no one was ever going to find out.

About the Author

Sarah Morgan Author Portrait

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes contemporary romance and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She has been nominated 4 times for the prestigious RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America and has won the award twice. Sarah lives near London, England, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors.

Look out for Sleepless in Manhattan, the first book in Sarah’s brand new series set in New York City and coming in 2016.

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