Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Happy Release Day! Excerpt and Giveaway: Highballs in the Hamptons (Girlfiriends of Gotham #2) by Delancey Stewart


Natalie Pepper thinks she can just be friends with CJ, the man of her dreams. But after seeing him every day at work – and after he lays it all on the line – it becomes pretty clear that something’s gotta give. She’d admit to herself, and to him, that all she really wants is him…if she wasn’t so afraid of losing the best job she’s ever had (and the life it has made possible).

At least she’s got her friends to distract her. Lulu Rossi is an unorthodox and unpredictable spitfire of a girl who has a habit of saying whatever’s on her mind. And while that attribute entertains friends and intrigues her new boyfriend, Andrew, it might be the one thing that stops their relationship from moving forward. Lulu has unintentionally entered the world of Upper East Side royalty, as her ER doctor boyfriend turns out to be the pedigreed heir to an old money fortune – one that is watched over by his manipulative and exceedingly judgmental mother, Elizabeth “Tippy” Barton.

Natalie’s insane supervisor worsens the situation at work when her own man troubles result in a new “no fraternization” policy, and CJ finally gives up and begins to look for other opportunities. Natalie is forced to decide what is important to her for once and for all. Will it be CJ or her job?

Lulu must prove her worth to Andrew’s family – or make him see that the only person whose opinion really matters is his.

Candace Kanie wins at every game she plays. From the boardroom to the bar, she’s confident, clever, perhaps just a tad overbearing. It’s not easy for a girl like Candace to admit that love may be the one game she can’t win…at least not until she’s willing to change her strategy. In Men and Martinis, Candace Kanie will learn that sometimes to be at the top of your game, you have to hit rock bottom.

Men and Martinis is the first release in Delancey Stewart’s series “Girlfriends of Gotham” – a voyeuristic voyage through the lives of a group of twenty-something girls who dance, date, and drink their way through Manhattan during the days of the dot com boom. During an era when the up-and-comers in New York were partying like Studio 54 had never died, this group of friends discovers that the city is theirs for the taking; and they find their often-hilarious way through the forces that work to redefine the way they know themselves and each other.



“You ready?” he asked.

“For lunch?” I winked. 

“For whatever,” he said, an earnest smile on his face. CJ and I had a complicated relationship. There was a mutually acknowledged attraction between us, and I’d shared the two very best kisses of my life with him. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t part of my plan to get involved with someone at work—for a whole slew of reasons. So despite our incredible chemistry, we were doing our best to enjoy a friendship instead. But CJ made no secret of his desire for more. 

“Let’s start with lunch. I need to get out of here,” I said, grabbing my bag and coat. 

“I’ll take whatever I can get.” CJ didn’t move as I approached the door of my office, and I had to squeeze between him and the doorframe. The proximity allowed me to get close enough to smell the minty leathery scent that surrounded him. My nerves always started firing when I got that close to him, and I pushed past him quickly, blushing. He stood still just a beat longer as I waited for him to get going, and I was fairly certain that he had leaned in to smell my hair before finally stepping from the doorway. 

We wandered to a Korean barbecue that was on the second floor of a nearby building. I would never have ventured in on my own—the signs were in Korean and the place was clearly a favorite with those who knew what constituted good Korean. Luckily, CJ had done this before. 

We were seated in a private booth next to the window overlooking the street below. A small grill was built into the table in front of us, and CJ grinned at me as I looked around with great interest. 

“I’m glad you’re not a vegetarian,” he said. 

“Nope. Totally carnivorous.” I smiled, part of me embarrassed. When I was with CJ, it seemed like even my most innocuous statements took on an unintended sexual tone. “Why, will this be a meat-heavy meal?” There it was again. I flushed.

CJ was grinning at me again, the full lips pulled wide to reveal the adorable dimples on either side of his jaw. He shook his head slightly, the dark eyes shining. Evidently, I wasn’t the only one getting the innuendos that seemed to keep falling out of my mouth. “Yeah. Fairly meat heavy.” 

Our lunch arrived, and it turned out that we would be cooking it ourselves. The grill in the middle was lit for us and each of us had a long fork that we used to put strips of raw meat onto the grill and pull them off. We also had kimchi to compliment the meat. It was a unique experience, and I found CJ smiling at me at several points as I tended to my barbecuing.

“What?” I asked him at one point toward the end of the meal. “Am I that much a novice? Are you laughing at me?”

“No,” he said, his face finally serious. “I just … Natalie. This is hard for me. I want more.” 


“Lu,” Maggie said, “what on Earth happened?”

The large, ugly air cast did not fit into any of my heels, so I was wearing my running shoes again, the right one unlaced and bulging. 

“I got hurt.” I sat next to Candace and gave her a hard look. She often seemed smug when things did not go my way, and I didn’t feel like putting up with it today. “Did you order my mimosa yet?”

“It’s only eleven forty-five,” Natalie said. “They brought us orange juice. You have fifteen minutes to regale us with the tale of the injury.” 

I felt disappointed. My injured ankle meant that I had spent the weekend in my apartment and not out running around, as I would have liked. I hadn’t answered the phone, mostly because I was feeling down and didn’t like people to know me that way. I watched television and felt sorry for myself. Today was my introduction to the world again, and I wanted champagne. I waved at a passing waiter. The rule that restaurants couldn’t serve alcohol before noon on Sunday seemed prehistoric to me.

“It is only ten minutes until noon,” I said. “I’ve injured my foot. The doctor suggested that mimosas would help.” I gave him my best sad eyes. 

“Did he now?” The waiter was young, cute. He smiled at me and then gazed around at the other girls. Candace was grinning, her short bob shining as always, and Natalie and Maggie were also putting on their best friendly flirting faces. “I’ll see what I can do.” He walked away.

“I fell down,” I told the table. 

“That’s not very entertaining,” Candace said. “Even Natalie’s waxing incident was more interesting than that.”

“We agreed never to speak of that again,” Natalie said in a hushed voice.

“No,” Candace said. “You agreed.” 

“How did you fall?” Maggie asked, her dark eyes shining. “What were you doing?”

“I went for a run,” I said. 

Candace laughed. 

“That is funny because … ?”

“Sorry, I can’t picture you doing anything athletic.” Candace often said “sorry,” but rarely looked sorry. 

“Well, I was. I run most days while you are at work. I just don’t feel like I need to tell everyone about it.” 

Candace’s eyes narrowed for a minute. She had a habit of telling us about her accomplishments, so I guessed that she would know this was aimed at her. 

“Okay, so you were running, and what happened?” Natalie smiled as the waiter returned with mimosas for the table.

“Thank you,” I said to him, raising my glass in a toast. “Now I can properly tell the story.” I took a long sip and then smiled at the girls. “I met a nice man. A doctor.” 

“You hurt yourself on purpose to get his attention?” Maggie said.

“No. Don’t be silly. He ran into me. It was just a coincidence. But he knocked me down, and I twisted my ankle when I fell. And he took me to the hospital where he works, and then called me later that night to make a date.”

“So you’re dating a doctor!” Natalie declared. 

“Yes, I’m dating a doctor. Dr. Andrew Barton.” I had been looking forward to telling them about him but I was embarrassed about the accident. “We are going out next weekend.” 

“Wow,” Maggie said, smiling. 

Candace raised an eyebrow and appeared to be thinking about something. 

I ignored her and put his card on the table for them to inspect. “He gave me his card. Plus, he treated me at the hospital, so I know he is who he says he is.” 

“Andrew Barton,” Candace said. She said his name slowly, as if she were thinking about it. “May I see the card?” She held her hand across to Natalie, who handed the card to her. “Andrew Elliott Bancroft Barton.” Her green eyes narrowed again. “Why does that name sound familiar?”

I reached for the card. “I have no idea.”

“Dating a doctor is a whole new ball game,” Candace said, her voice like a warning. “And one with four names sounds fairly pretentious.” 

“He was not pretentious at all.” I felt defensive suddenly and didn’t want to discuss the doctor any more. I pulled my menu in front of my face, trying to discourage Candace from pursuing this conversation.

“It’s not like he’s French, after all,” Natalie said. 

I lowered my menu to smile at her. She was trying to lighten the conversation, since Candace had recently fallen in love with a Frenchman named Gregoire. Of course, he wasn’t pretentious at all. 

“Gregoire isn’t pretentious!” Candace’s voice rose. 

“I’m kidding,” Natalie said, her voice soothing. 

“Let poor Lu enjoy a first date at least,” Maggie said. 

“Yes please,” I sniffed, folding my menu. 

The conversation moved to other topics, and I nursed my mimosa and my foot, trying not to spend too much time thinking about the way Andrew Barton’s eyes sparkled when he smiled at me, and trying even harder not to think about Candace’s warning. Why would dating a doctor be any different than dating any other kind of man? I didn’t know, and I was sure Candace was wrong.

About the author:
I'm not big on labels, but there are a few that fit me (not necessarily in this order. Or maybe in this order):

- wine drinker (and wine geek)
- mother of small boys
- military spouse
- writer
- chocolate eater

I've written the Wine Country Romance Series, which ties my love of wine to my love of falling in love... and the Girlfriends of Gotham series, which begins publishing with Swoon Romance in December 2013.

I also love short stories, and my themed collection (all set in the same NYC brownstone across the span of a century) published in 2012.


Unknown said...

Thank you for the chance to win :)

Spg Chlomo said...


Unknown said...

The cover and the excerpt are both great!! thank you for the giveaway

Anonymous said...

Wowza! It looks great! Another TBR list add. Again.

Delancey Stewart said...

Thanks so much for hosting me!

wendy Hutton said...

sounds like a great read thanks

Unknown said...

awesome giveaway. This book sounds like a great read.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the opportunity!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the chance