Return to Emerald City
by Allyson Lindt & Sofia Grey
Return to Emerald City
A Collection of Sci-fi Romance Novellas Inspired by The Wizard of Oz
Dorothy’s Red Shoes
There’s no place like home… Dorothy is already feeling homesick for Emerald City, and wonders if taking a job halfway around the world was a mistake. When her love life crumbles–again–will she run for home?
His Replay Girl
If he only had the nerve… Ten years ago, Quinn made the best choice of his life, and the biggest mistake. It’s true, his band, Lionheart, is one of the biggest in the world, but how much does it mean if he can’t tell the woman he loves how he feels?
His Reboot Girl
If only he had a brain… Scott woke up with his head spinning and not much else going on up there. Now he’s a suspect in a terrorist plot, and on the run. One woman insists she's the key to his past and his freedom. Too bad he doesn't remember her.
His Rewind Girl
If he only had a heart.... Cam is as much machine as man. There are days he loathes the CyGes implants that saved his life but couldn't do the same for his family. They replaced his limbs, but now he needs someone to mend his heart.
EXCERPTS (Please choose only ONE to use with your post):
“Ready?” Ben smiled when I turned to him “We can sit anywhere.” He held out his hand, but I stood frozen. Now I was here, I felt sick. I normally avoided big, noisy parties like this. Why had I come? Oh, yeah. Because I wanted to impress Matthew, and I wasn’t going to do that if I continued to lurk out here. I shoved down my fear, clamped a temporary lock on my social ineptitude, and with a grateful smile, slipped my hand into Ben’s. His palm was warm, smooth and dry. He laced our fingers together and gave me a quick squeeze.
I nodded. I could do this. “Let’s go.” The words came out in a strangled voice, and Ben flashed me a smile. Heel, toe, heel, toe. I repeated the mantra in my head, and managed to walk beside him without tripping over my own feet.
A sultry jazz singer warbled softly from the stage, and wait staff flowed around the room, carrying trays stacked with canapés. In one corner, a magnificent Christmas tree reached the high ceiling, glass baubles reflecting a copious string of flashing lights. My beautiful shoes pinched already, but that was just because they were new. All the same, I didn’t want to walk too far, and I happily sank into the first seat Ben found. It was an ideal position. From here, I had an excellent view of the entrance; I could see everyone who came and left.
“So in order to get his attention, I need to have a boyfriend first?” My voice rose. Ben had to be mistaken. It sounded even more stupid, when I said it out loud. “Like how? Rent-a-date? And if I even had a date for the party, how would I tell him that I wasn’t interested? That I was just using him?”
“You use me.”
He flinched. “Ouch.”
I put my coffee cup on the ground, and bent forward to bury my face in my hands. “Gah. I didn’t mean it like that, Ben. I just meant…” You’re too nice to use like that. “I thought you’d already have a date.” I improvised.
“Well, I don’t. The girl I wanted to take is going with someone else. So if I’m free, and you’re free, why don’t we make Matthew Bradley so freakin’ jealous, he can’t resist you?”
My heart hammered against my ribs. Was it possible? I risked peeking at Ben through my fingers. He sprawled there in the sunshine, sipping his drink, gaze on me. “What do you get out of it?” I asked.
“At least three dances on the night, and dinner the night after. To debrief.” He took another sip. “If you’re busy chez Bradley, then dinner on the first night you’re free.”
It sounded too easy.
My thoughts swirled and darted in random directions. The big Christmas party, the one for all the Wellington employees, was next week. If I wanted to make a real impression on Matthew, that would be the place to do it. I was flying back to Emerald City for the holidays, but that wasn’t until a couple days later.
How about if I dressed up? Wore a slinky evening gown instead of my usual black slacks and shirt, put on fuck-me heels instead of flip flops, and got my hair and makeup done beforehand? My heart beat a little faster. Could I do it? The women he dated were always well groomed and elegant. That was why I thought he liked me—I was different from his normal floozies—but maybe that was where I was going wrong. I had no idea. I needed a guy’s perspective, but who could I ask?
“Hey.” The familiar voice came from behind me. “You look miles away. You okay?”
Ben. Standing beside me at the cart. How long had he been there? I watched, dazed, as he dug into a pocket, before holding out his phone to pay for his drink. Unlike most of the programmers I worked with, he had nice hands—with long slender fingers and neat, clean nails. I pulled myself together.
“Yeah, just thinking.” Ben was the closest I had to a male friend. Could I trust him?
“In a hypothetical way,” said Ben, “you mean how does a guy know when a chick likes him?”
If I blushed any more, you’d be able to fry eggs on my cheeks. I nodded.
He shrugged. “I like it when a girl talks to me. When we have things in common. If she flirts with me.”
I already talked to Matthew. We both liked going to the movies and eating dark almond chocolate. Maybe it was just my flirtation skills that needed brushing up?
Ben had gone quiet, and I snapped my attention back to him. He slipped off his specs and rubbed his eyes, all the while looking at me. “I don’t think you’re talking about me though.” His voice was strangely flat. “You mean Matthew.”
“I like him, but he doesn’t see me that way.” If I was going to humiliate myself, I might as well go the whole hog. “What do I have to do, Ben? How do I make him notice me?”
There was a long moment, during which I wished I’d kept my mouth shut, and Ben just looked at me. Then he leaned back and stretched out his legs. He looked calm and unruffled, and as if I hadn’t just spilled my guts all over the pavement.
“Well…” He paused, took a thoughtful sip of coffee, and gazed into the distance. “There is one thing you could do, but I don’t think you’d like it.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
About Sofia Grey:
Romance author Sofia Grey spends her days managing projects in the corporate world and her nights hanging out with wolf shifters and alpha males. She devours pretty much anything in the fiction line, but she prefers her romances to be hot, and her heroes to have hidden depths. When writing, she enjoys peeling back the layers to expose her characters’ flaws and always makes them work hard for their happy endings.
About Allyson Lindt:
Allyson Lindt is a full-time geek and a fuller-time contemporary romance author. She prefers that her geeky heroes come with the alpha expansion pack and adores a heroine who can hold her own in a boardroom. She loves a sexy happily-ever-after and helping deserving cubicle dwellers find their futures together.
Find Sofia Grey Online:
Twitter: @SofiaGreyAuthor https://twitter.com/SofiaGreyAuthor
Amazon author profile page: https://www.amazon.com/author/sofiagrey
Find Allyson Lindt Online
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/allysonlindt
Catch Sofia & Allyson blogging at www.GeminiGirls.com
Allyson and Sofia will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $15 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn host between this tour and the Excerpt tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway