Title: Love Hate Relationship
Author: Jessica Prince
Genre: Contemporary, Romantic Comedy
People say that sometimes the line between love and hate is thin. What they don’t tell you is that sometimes it’s invisible.
Rowan Locklaine gave his heart to one woman a long time ago and has no desire to go through that kind of torture ever again. His painful past has turned him cold and heartless. Women serve only one purpose as far as he’s concerned, and relationships are nothing but a waste of time and energy. When the mouthy little blonde, Navie Collins, is hired as his personal assistant, he finds his world turned upside down. And against his better judgment, he can’t seem to stop thinking about her.
Navie Collins has spent years convinced she’s not good enough, that no one could possibly want her. Growing up the way she did helped to thicken her skin, so when she walks into a job interview and meets the temperamental, foul-mouthed, best-selling author Rowan Locklaine, she’s all too happy to put him in his place.
Rowan and Navie are convinced they hate each other. But as time passes and the attraction between them begins to grow, these two stubborn, strong-willed people have a life changing decision to make. Can they move beyond their pain for a chance at something better, or are they destined to let their pasts dictate their future?
**Love Hate Relationship is a STANDALONE Contemporary Romance that follows characters introduced in Shrinking Violet. It is not necessary to read Shrinking Violet first**
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“I need you over here right now.”
Temporarily stunned, I stood frozen in place until realization hit me. “Rowan?”
“Who else could it possibly be?” he asked in a detached, insulting tone that instantly got my hackles up.
“People call me!” I insisted childishly. I hated how my maturity nosedived whenever it came to my boss.
“If you say so. I need you to get over here ASAP.”
There was a strong possibility I let out a rather indelicate snort at his typical assholery. “Since you asked so nicely, I’ll be right there!” I answered, my voice heavy with sarcasm.
“Do you always have to be so damn difficult?” he grunted
“Do you always have to be such a raging hemorrhoid?” I fired back. I would have sworn I heard him choke on a laugh if I thought the man was capable of laughter. Rowan Locklaine was more likely to suck the souls from small children than to laugh.
“Did you really just call me a raging hemorrhoid?”
Was that humor in his voice? Couldn’t be. The Devil doesn’t have a sense of humor.
“If the shoe fits…or in your case, whatever Satan wears on his feet. It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday night, Rowan. Have your latest conquest run whatever bullshit errand you need taken care of. I’m off the clock and not required to be nice to you.”
“This is you being nice?” he asked indignantly, causing me to roll my eyes.
“Hanging up now.”
“Wait, wait, wait!” he hollered through the phone line just as I was about to disconnect. Reluctantly, I held the phone back up to my ear. “Look.” He huffed out a loud breath. “I’m…I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t mean to insult you…Navie? You still there?” he asked when I remained silent for several seconds after his apology.
“The world is coming to an end, isn’t it? It’s the zombie apocalypse. I’m not prepared! I haven’t taken any crossbow lessons yet!”
“You’re friggin’ hilarious,” he deadpanned.
I didn’t bother to stifle my laughter. “I like to think so.”
I listened as he inhaled deeply. “Please, I really need your help. I know it’s your day off, but it’s an emergency. I’ll even make sure Lauren pays you time and a half. Can you just please get here as fast as you can?”
“Rowan.” I sighed in exasperation. “It’s at least a twenty-minute train ride to your place. It’s not like I can just snap my fingers and make myself appear on your doorstep. You’re on the Upper East Side and I’m in Murray Hill.”
“I’ll pay for a cab.”
“Fine,” I grumbled dramatically. “But I’m not changing out of my comfy clothes. And I want double-time, not time and a half.”
“Okay, okay. Whatever you want. Just get here.”
At the unease in his voice, I began to worry a little about what was so important that I had to rush over to his apartment on a Saturday night. Not wanting to hesitate in the event it was something major, I slipped on a pair of bright pink flip-flops, pulled a gray hoodie on over my ‘That’s what she said’ t-shirt, and headed for the door. The only change I was willing to make before walking out the door was trading in my yellow rubber ducky pajama pants for a pair of plain black leggings.
By the time my cab pulled up in front of Rowan’s building, he was already standing out front waiting for me. As I stepped out onto the sidewalk, he leaned in and paid the driver before rising to his full height and turning my way. His hair was standing on ends, as if he’d been running his hands through it anxiously, and I couldn’t help but notice how amazing his body looked in just a plain white tee and another pair of athletic shorts. Man, it really was a crying shame he was such a mega-douche. Women around the world would line up just for a chance to stare at him uninterrupted for five minutes.
“Navie,” Rowan’s rumbly voice called out, shaking me back into reality. When my vision came back into focus, I noticed Rowan was standing much closer than he had been just a second before. When had that happened?
“I asked if you were coming.” His typically chilly blue gaze warmed just a bit as a cocky smirk spread over his lips. “You were just checking me out, weren’t you?”
Oh, hell, I thought with a huge roll of my eyes.
“You were, admit it. You didn’t hear what I was saying because you were too busy checking me out. It’s okay, everyone does it.”
“And then your mouth opens and the fantasy’s ruined,” I responded dryly with a roll of my eyes as I shoved past him. “Let’s get this over with. Too long in your presence and the desire to cause bodily harm becomes too overwhelming to ignore.”
“You know,” he started as we stepped into the elevator leading up to his floor. “I had no idea you were so…feisty. Gotta say, I’m pleasantly surprised.”
“Oh, goody. My purpose in life has been accomplished. I can die happy now.”
Luckily, the doors chose to open at that moment, saving me from whatever smartass comment Rowan had in return.
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Born and raised around Houston Texas, Jessica spent most of her life complaining about the heat, humidity, and all around pain in the ass weather. It was only as an adult that she quickly realized the cost of living in Houston made up for not being able to breathe when she stepped outside. That’s why God created central air, after all.
Jessica is the mother of a perfect little boy–she refuses to accept that he inherited her attitude and sarcastic nature no matter what her husband says.
In addition to being a wife and mom, she’s also a wino, a coffee addict, and an avid lover of all types of books–romances still being her all time favs. Her husband likes to claim that reading is her obsession but she just says it’s a passion…there’s a difference. Not that she’d expect a boy to understand.
Jessica has been writing since she was a little girl, but thankfully grew out of drawing her own pictures for her stories before ever publishing her first book. Because an artist she is not.