Evie Sanchez is recovering from heartbreak by working at her parents’ Filipino restaurant when in walks Romeo Garcia, the boy she left behind. Only now, he’s a hot movie star surrounded by gorgeous actresses and adoring fans. Bad boy Romeo Garcia never understood why Evie stood him up at the prom. When he rescues her from a flying coconut in the dumpster, he is determined to dig into her heart for the reason. Their mutual attraction and unresolved feelings ignite in a scintillating night of daring sex, and Romeo shows Evie what she’ll miss the rest of her life if she walks away again. Evie lands a part as Romeo’s co-star and falls into her role, totally in love. He plays his part, too, with his romantic gestures and skillful lovemaking. But is the fantasy real or revenge? Evie and Romeo are about to discover if their buried feelings will explode in pure delight or utter disaster.
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Rachelle Ayala was a software engineer until she discovered storytelling works better in fiction than real code. She enjoys writing love stories and has always lived in a multi-cultural environment. The tapestry of characters in her books reflect that diversity. She is an active member of online critique group, Critique Circle, and a volunteer for the World Literary Cafe. Check out her four romantic novels. Michal’s Window is a powerful, emotional journey as lived through the eyes of Princess Michal, King David’s first wife. Broken Build is a story of healing where a man learns to love and trust the woman who destroyed his life. Hidden Under Her Heart is a heartfelt love story combined with controversy over difficult decisions, and Knowing Vera is a suspenseful, cross-cultural romance mixing an unsolved murder, adventure, and hot, steamy love scenes.
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Excerpt from Taming Romeo by Rachelle Ayala
[Evie is hiding in the dumpster to avoid Romeo and his new girlfriend when they come out of her family restaurant, Barrio XO, with a dessert in a coconut shell.]
“I’m not carrying that coconut shell,” she complains.
“It’s buko.” He enunciates clearly as if she were a small child. “They’re not easy to come by.”
You’re darn right, Romeo.
Buko is a young green coconut we Filipinos take pride in, using its soft meat and pure juice in pies, cakes, gelatin, and salad. Okay, the salad is more like a custard made with condensed milk, no lettuce in sight. Take that, Vegan Barbie.
A shot of pain bursts on the top of my head.
“Ow!” I yelp and fall on my behind onto something squishy. The dessert laden coconut shell bounces off me, showering me with ube, or purple yam bits, jelly cubes of many colors, shaved ice, tapioca balls, mango pieces, red bean, and ice cream. Boy am I glad Mr. Dee got his golf cap back before I came out here.
My lower lip quivering, I wipe the chilly ooze off my face, unable to resist a lick. Maybe he didn’t hear me. Maybe he’s getting on his bike. Didn’t his friends say to meet and set up for a film shoot? The coast will be clear soon.
“Evie.” A masculine, brown-skinned hand sweeps gelatinous hair from my face. “Are you okay?”
Dreamy eyes soften into luscious pools of dark chocolate as the signature Romeo grin slides across his, gulp, chiseled, manly face.
Five years ago, he was cute. Now, invincible.
“Let me help you out.” His voice croons, low and sexy.
Before I can respond, he lifts me out of the dumpster as if I were a rag doll and puts me on the motorcycle.
“Who’s she?” Beach Slapped Blondie sneers. “Eww… you’re dirtying the seat.”
Romeo tips his finger in a ‘one-minute’ gesture and turns to Blondie. “I’ll call you a cab. Take a nap before meeting us at the shoot so you won’t be so cranky.”
“I’ll call my own cab.” She stalks off, making sure to drive her displeasure home by kicking gravel onto the shiny fender of Romeo’s bike.
We both wince in unison.
Romeo examines my head. “I’m really sorry. I had no idea you were in the dumpster. What were you doing there?”
“Looking for my contact lenses?” I squint and avert my eyes from his shining lip ring. Dang, he’s hot.
He puts his arm around me. “You should have said something. We could have shared the dessert together. Now it’s wasted.”
If my heart was palpitating earlier, now it’s practically in arrest. “I’ll get you another. Let’s go in.”
“Later.” He traces the side of my sticky face and licks his finger, touching his lip ring. “I could eat you right now, but first, answer my question.”
“Sure.” I suck in a shuddering breath as visions of tonguing his lips and handling his man parts raise my core temperature.
“Why did you ditch me at the prom?”