by A.M. Salinger
(Twilights Falls, #1)
Publication date: September 20th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+,Romance
Alex Hancock needs money to salvage his career. Finn West needs a spouse to stop his aunt from sabotaging his future. Can the two men make more of the fake marriage they enter into?
When Alex’s business partner runs off to Mexico with their company funds, the lawyer has little choice but to return to his hometown of Twilight Falls to marry someone he’d never met in order to raise the money to save his business. What he didn’t expect was that the woman he was meant to wed would turn out to be a gorgeous, brooding man.
Finn had resigned himself to a life without love after his wife’s death from cancer. Wracked with guilt at never being able to satisfy her in bed, Finn is shocked when his body and his heart starts responding to the man he is tricked into marrying to stop his aunt from dissolving his trust fund.
Passions collide when the two men start exploring their relationship in ways neither of them anticipated. Can Alex convince Finn to embrace his sexuality and take a chance on them? Or will Finn run away from his only chance at true love?
Discover Alex and Finn’s story in the enthralling first novel in Twilight Falls, the new series by the author of the bestselling, contemporary romance series Nights.
Finn West glared at his art consultant.
Izzy Batista blinked her green eyes innocently at him. “Why, you’re getting married, Finn.”
Finn observed the striking blond man next to Izzy. The guy was wearing a light azure three-piece suit with a crisp white shirt and a silver-gray silk tie. The outfit highlighted his pale blue eyes, which were currently wide and filled with the same angry bewilderment coursing through Finn.
“He’s a man!” Finn snarled.
The stranger next to Izzy stiffened as if he’d been slapped.
Finn ignored the icy look dawning on the man’s face, clenched his jaw, and directed an accusing stare at his great-aunt.
“Did you know about this?”
Margaret Fontanier-West, or Aunt Maggie as Finn called her, smiled beatifically.
“Yes, I did. The terms of my demands did not include details of the sex of the person you had to marry.”
“Besides,“ Izzy added, “I quite clearly recall you telling me that you didn’t care if it was a man or a woman you got hitched to.”
Finn swallowed a curse. He couldn’t believe Izzy and his great-aunt had concocted this plot together.
And damnit, she’s right. I did say that!
He winced internally as he recalled the drunken conversation he’d had with Izzy when he’d rang the art consultant for advice late one night, some eleven days ago.
“Your great-aunt has done what?!” Izzy gasped.
“She’s given me an ultimatum,” Finn mumbled, head throbbing and hand clasped around his third glass of bourbon. “She wants me to get married by the end of the month or she’ll revoke the family trust. Which means I’ll lose the house and half of my investments.”
Silence fell on the other end of the line.
“Izzy, you there?” Finn said.
“Yeah, I’m here.”
Relief filled Finn. In the three years since he’d lost his wife Catherine, Izzy was the first woman he’d come to consider as a friend. It was through the owner of an art gallery in L.A. that he’d gotten to know her. Much to Finn’s amazement, Izzy had grown up in Twilight Falls, the place he and Catherine had moved to five years ago, before she fell ill.
After a stint in Paris and New York, Izzy had returned to California and her home roots. Finn had hired her to work for him in her capacity as an art consultant eight months ago. In that time, he’d come to appreciate her vivacious personality and her brains.
“What will you do?” Izzy said.
Despair twisted through Finn, his mind still spinning from the bombshell the woman who had raised him had dropped that afternoon.
“I don’t know,” he said bitterly. “I’ve already spoken to my lawyers. Aunt Maggie is within her rights to dissolve the trust.”
“Even though you’ve been pouring money into it through your stock investments?” Izzy said sharply. “I mean, most of that wealth is yours, isn’t it?”
“Yeah,” Finn murmured. “Catherine and I chose to make her our trustee five years ago. Neither of us had any other family and—” he paused, emotion clogging his throat for a moment, “and we couldn’t have children.”
“I know you won’t like hearing this, but I kinda understand why your great-aunt is doing this,” Izzy murmured after a while. “You do too, don’t you?”
“Even though I’ve been out of town for a while, even I’ve heard the gossip, Finn,” Izzy continued. “You’ve hardly set foot outside your estate since Catherine’s death. And you’ve barely spoken to anyone bar me, your aunt, and your housekeeper in the time since I’ve known you. If it wasn’t for your art, the world would forget Finn West ever existed.”
“Maybe that’s a good thing,” Finn murmured.
A frustrated sigh echoed down the line.
“I don’t know what happened between you and your wife, but nothing you could have done justifies what you’ve put yourself through since her death, Finn,” Izzy said in a hard voice. “It’s about damn time you actually started living again.”
Finn swallowed, the age-old regret and bitterness that had been a chain around his heart for the last ten years swirling inside him.
“That’s the thing, Izzy.”
“What?” she said, puzzled.
“I didn’t do anything.”
Izzy blew out a sigh. “Boy, you’re really wasted, aren’t you?”
Finn knocked his bourbon back and grimaced as the alcohol burned a fiery path down his throat. Anguish turned to anger when he recalled his great-aunt’s cool words once more.
“All right!” he growled. “She wants me to get married? I’ll get married! I don’t care if it’s a man or a woman, I just need a name on a damn marriage license by the end of this month! And I’m willing to pay good money for it too. Half a million dollars should do it.”
Izzy gasped. “You’re kidding, right?! Jesus, Finn, just how much have you had to drink?”
“I’m not joking,” Finn said in a hard voice. “Will you help me, Izzy?”
“Are you serious?!”
“Yes.” Finn grimaced and rubbed the back of his neck. “Look, I have zero interest in checking out the dating scene and trying to find myself a fake fiancée. Once I do this, Aunt Maggie will hopefully leave me the hell alone.”
“Wow. It’s a good thing you’re not going on the dating scene. That stellar attitude of yours won’t win you any favors.” Izzy paused. “Okay, I’ll see what I can do. In fact—” her tone turned thoughtful, “I just heard of someone who might be in need of some urgent cash.”
Finn dragged a hand down his face. Izzy had kept her promise. He couldn’t deny that. He just hadn’t expected her to take his words literally. When she’d called him a week ago and told him she’d arranged a marriage license and to turn up at the courthouse today for his wedding with a contract for his new spouse, Finn had presumed the latter would be a woman. He studied the vexed blond next to the art consultant and wondered where she’d magicked the poor schmuck from. The guy looked about ready to spit nails.
And probably hammer them straight through my and Izzy’s corpses.
The county clerk who was to officiate Finn’s marriage strolled into the room.
“Are we ready?” the woman asked with a cheerful grin.
“Not quite,” Finn muttered.
“Heck no!” Blond Guy stated vehemently.
The clerk’s expression fell.
“Oh.” She pursed her lips. “Having last minute doubts?” She glanced from Finn to the blond. “If it’s any consolation, you two make a cute couple.”
Izzy muffled a snort behind one hand. Finn practically heard Blond Guy grit his teeth.
“Could I have a moment with my—” the man made a pained expression, “fiancé and our witnesses?” “Sure thing,” the clerk replied with a smile. “Take your time. There’s an hour left until the next civil ceremony.”
Blond Guy stormed out of the chapel, an unrepentant-looking Izzy on his heels. Finn headed reluctantly after them with his great-aunt.
“I like him,” Aunt Maggie stated. “He’s plucky. I bet he’s a firecracker in the bedroom.”
A strangled groan left Finn. “I can’t believe you just said that!”
Aunt Maggie gave him a stern look. “I may be old, but my eyes still work. If I were thirty years younger, I’d take him for a spin myself. I mean, have you seen his buns? They’re mighty—”
Finn put his hand up. “Please, just—just stop talking!” he begged.
Aunt Maggie chuckled. “You’re so straight-laced. I don’t know where you get it from. It certainly isn’t from my side of the family.” She patted Finn on the back, her eyes gleaming with a light that caused a shiver to run down his spine. “You need to learn to relax, Finn. Enjoy life while you still can. Do the things you’ve never dared do before.”
Finn couldn’t help but feel there was some kind of hidden meaning behind her words. Blond Guy’s voice reached his ears as they stepped into the hall.
The man was admonishing Izzy in a low voice brimming with fury.
“I can’t believe this!” he hissed. “Why the hell did you tell me your client was a woman when he’s quite clearly a man?!”
Izzy blinked innocently. “I never said my client was a woman.”
Blond Guy’s mouth fell open. “What?!” he spluttered.
Finn’s gaze dropped to the man’s perfectly shaped Cupid bow and sculptured lips.
“I never said my client was a woman,” Izzy repeated patiently. “You just assumed that he—” she looked over at Finn, “was a she.”
A glazed expression washed across Blond Guy’s face. “Shit!” He glanced at Finn. “Well, he quite clearly didn’t know he was gonna get hitched to a dude either!”
Finn narrowed his eyes. “He has a name. And he is standing right here.”
Blond Guy blew out a sigh. “Look, Mr.—?” He arched an eyebrow at Finn.
“Mr. West,” Finn replied coolly. “Finn West.”
“Look, Mr. West,” Blond Guy said briskly, “surely, you don’t want to go ahead with this? I mean, it’s clear you were expecting to marry a woman today!”
“I was,” Finn admitted.
Relief darkened Blond Guy’s eyes. “Great!” He turned to Izzy. “I really don’t know what you were thinking but I’m calling this—“
“I still want to marry you.”
Blond Guy froze. He turned stiffly and looked at Finn as if he’d grown horns and a forked tail.
Finn stared back, not sure who was the most shocked out of the two of them at the words he’d just blurted out. He registered Izzy’s surprised expression and Aunt Maggie’s thoughtful stare. He ignored the two women and kept his gaze locked on the stunned blue eyes opposite him.
“You’re obviously in some kind of financial trouble, otherwise you wouldn’t have agreed to this. And I need a spouse.” Finn cast a dark glance at his great-aunt before looking at Blond Guy once more. “Let’s make the best of this situation. After all, it’s only for six months.”
A muscle jumped in Blond Guy’s jawline. He observed Finn with a frown, his expression clearly conflicted.
A wicked impulse Finn never even knew he possessed suddenly took hold of him. He pasted a cocky half-smile on his face, stuck his hands in his pants pockets, and closed the distance to Blond Guy at a leisurely pace. The man’s citrusy cologne hit Finn’s nostrils when he stopped in front of him. Blond Guy tilted his chin and glared at Finn. Finn’s lips twitched. He had a good two inches on the man. By the looks of it, Blond Guy wasn’t too happy about that.
“So, what’s your answer?”
About the author:
Ava Marie Salinger is the pen name of an Amazon bestselling author who has always wanted to write scorching hot contemporary romance. In 2018, she finally decided to venture to the steamy side. NIGHTS is the first of several sizzling series featuring sweet, sexy men with dark pasts and a whole lot of love to give to the ones brave enough to fight for their hearts. When she’s not dreaming up hotties to write about, you’ll find Ava creating kickass music playlists to write to, spying on the wildlife in her garden, drooling over gadgets, and eating Chinese.
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