The Real Deal
Meet Kelly Reid, former CPA and whistleblower. Three years ago—divorced, broke, career in ruins—she came to work as the bookkeeper for Terry Gardens, her family’s garden center and landscaping business. Not exactly the job she had in mind when she came out of college ready to wrangle the world into submission. But at thirty-six, she’s learned that sometimes life wrangles (and mangles) you, and you have to take your peace where you find it. So if she sometimes feels a flash of panic that her chances for career, love, and family are slipping away, she takes consolation in knowing that she’s helping to keep her late grandparents’ dream—their successful business—alive.
Now meet Daniel J. Esposito, Super Broker, who hasn’t felt very super lately. He prides himself on conducting his deals with honor and integrity, but a new breed of real estate broker, the Rock Star Realtor—young, aggressive, fame-hungry—is shoving the old guard (which apparently includes Dan) out of the way in Manhattan’s cutthroat market. Now Dan’s job and the reputation of his late employer are on the line. But failure is an unacceptable option for a thirty-seven-year-old dynamo who’s accustomed to being on top. Dan needs just one fantastic deal to vault him back into the stratosphere—and he’s found it in a wealthy developer who wants to build on the land that houses Terry Gardens, a shabby garden center in Dan’s home borough of Queens.
Dan’s Super Broker mojo is fired up again, and he won’t let anything—or anyone—get in the way of closing this deal. Not a Rock Star Realtor, not his greedy new boss, and certainly not the pretty, prickly owner of Terry Gardens, who has a smile like sunshine and the irritation factor of a sand flea. Besides, who cares about a family business that’s long past its prime?
Kelly cares. And woe be to anyone who messes with her family, friends, and co-workers (even if said messer is a handsome, charming, and cocky realtor who makes her feel more alive than she’s felt in years).
Because no one gets past Kelly Reid, gatekeeper of her family’s legacy and One. Tenacious. Redhead.
This year, police widow Rendie Nielsen has finally found her Christmas spirit — or, rather, he’s found her.
Just in time for the holidays, the ghost of her husband Jake, an NYPD officer killed in the line of duty sixteen months ago, has come back with one final gift for his wife: help in navigating the twisty, bumpy road to another chance for love and happiness.
But while Jake’s re-appearance does give Rendie the chance too many police widows never get — to say goodbye — it complicates her life in a number of other ways.
First, he tends to pop up at inopportune times (as ghosts do) and since she’s the only one who can see him, family and friends are worried about her state of mind. Second, he’s trying to steer her away from her attempts to date JC Cruz, a hot and hunky detective from Jake’s old precinct who makes Rendie’s senses jingle and tingle in a way she hasn’t felt since Jake.
And third (and most problematic), Jake appears to be steering Rendie toward his older brother, NYPD homicide detective Mike Nielsen. The cynical, complicated, and annoyingly unflappable Mike is a loyal brother-in-law and friend, but in Rendie’s opinion he’s as far from happily-ever-after material — and his late younger brother — as it’s possible to be.
But Christmas is the season of miracles, and if Jake has anything to say about it Rendie will get her happy holiday ending. Even if it’s one she would never have thought to wish for herself.