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One Month with the Magnate Mass Market Paperback – July 5, 2011

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4 Stars and Up Feature: Kitchens of the Great Midwest
"Foodies and those who love contemporary literature will devour this novel that is being compared to Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge. A standout." --Library Journal Learn more

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

USA Today Bestseller Michelle Celmer is the author of more than 25 books for Harlequin and Silhouette. You can usually find her in her office with her laptop loving the fact that she gets to work in her pajamas. Write her at: PO BOX 300, Clawson, MI 48017,  visit her website at:  or find her on Facebook at: Michelle Celmer Author

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

This was, without a doubt, the lowest Isabelle Winthrop-Betts had ever sunk.

Not even the sting of her father's open palm across her cheek had caused the humiliation she was feeling now thanks to Emilio Suarez, a man she once loved with all her heart and had planned to marry.

Her father had made sure that never happened. And Isabelle couldn't blame Emilio for the bitterness in his eyes as he sat behind his desk in his corner office at Western Oil headquarters, like a king on a throne addressing a local peasant.

Thanks to her husband, Leonard, that was really all she was now. She had gone from being one of the richest women in Texas, to a pauper. Homeless, penniless, widowed and about to be thrown in prison for fraud. And all because she had been too naive and trusting. Because when her husband had put documents in front of her, instead of reading them, she had blindly signed. How could she question the man who had rescued her from hell? Who had probably saved her life?

And the son of a bitch had up and died before he could exonerate her.

Thanks, Lenny.

"You have a lot of nerve asking me for help," Emilio said in the deep, caramel-smooth voice that strummed every one of her frayed nerve endings, but the animosity in his tone curdled her blood. Not that he wasn't justified in his anger, not after the way she'd broken his heart, but she'd had no choice. She didn't expect him to understand that, she just hoped he would take pity on her.

His charcoal gray eyes bore through her, and she fought not to wither under their scrutiny. "Why come to me? Why not go to your rich friends?"

Because his brother, Alejandro, was prosecuting her case. Besides, she had no friends. Not anymore. They had all invested with Lenny. Some had lost millions.

"You're the only one who can help me," she said.

"Why would I want to? Maybe I want to see you rot in prison."

She swallowed the hurt his words caused, that he hated her that much.

Well, he would be happy to learn that according to her lawyer, Clifton Stone, nothing would prevent that now. The evidence against her was overwhelming and her best bet was a plea bargain. And while the idea of spending even another minute in jail terrified her, she was prepared to take full responsibility for her actions and accept any punishment they considered appropriate. Unfortunately, Lenny had gotten her mother involved in his scams, too. After suffering years of physical and emotional abuse from her husband, Adriana Winthrop deserved some happiness. Not to spend the rest of her life in prison. Not for something that was Isabelle's fault.

"I don't care what happens to me," Isabelle told him. "I want my mother's name cleared. She had no part in any of Leonard's scams."

"Leonard's and your scams," he corrected.

She swallowed hard and nodded.

One dark brow rose. "So, you're admitting your guilt?"

If blind trust was a crime, she was definitely guilty. "It's my fault that I'm in this mess."

"This is not a good time for me."

She'd seen coverage on the news about the accident at the refinery. The explosion and the injured men. She'd tried to visit him last week, but the front of the Western Oil headquarters building had been crawling with media. She would have waited another week or two, but she was running out of time. It had to be now. "I know it's a bad time and I'm sorry. This couldn't wait."

Arms folded across his chest, he sat back in his chair and studied her. In a suit, with his closely cropped hair combed back, he barely resembled the boy she'd known from her adolescence. The one she had fallen head over heels in love with the instant she'd laid eyes on him, when she was twelve and he was fifteen. Although, it had taken him until college to notice her.

His mother had been their housekeeper and in her father's eyes, Emilio would never be good enough for his precious daughter. That hadn't stopped her from seeing Emilio in secret, fully aware of the price she would pay if they were caught. But they had been lucky—until her father learned of their plans to elope.

Not only had he punished her severely, he'd fired Emilio's mother. He accused her of stealing from them, knowing that no one else would hire her.

She wished her father could see them now. Emilio sitting there like the master of the universe and her begging for his help. He would be rolling in his grave.

See Daddy, he was good enough for me after all. Probably even better than I deserved.

Emilio never would have hurt her, never would have sacrificed her reputation out of greed. He was honest and trustworthy and loyal.

And right now, seriously pissed at her.

"So you're doing this for your mother?" he asked.

Isabelle nodded. "My lawyer said that with all the media attention, it's unlikely that your brother will be willing to deal. She'll serve some time."

"Maybe I'd like to see her rot in prison, too," he said.

She felt her hackles rise. Adriana Winthrop had never been anything but kind to him and his mother. She had done nothing to hurt them. She'd only been guilty of being married to an overbearing, abusive bastard. And even that wasn't entirely her fault. She had tried to leave and he'd made her live to regret it.

"Your appearance," he said. "Is it supposed to make me feel sorry for you?"

She resisted the urge to look down at the outdated blouse and ill-fitting slacks she had rummaged from the bag of clothes her mother had been donating to charity. Obviously he'd expected her to be wearing an outfit more suited to her previous station, but when her possessions had been seized, she kept nothing. For now, this was the best she could do.

"I don't feel sorry for you, Isabelle. It seems to me you're getting exactly what you deserve."

That was one thing they could agree on.

She could see that coming here had been a waste of time. He wasn't going to help her. He was too bitter.

Oh, well. It had been worth a try.

She rose from the chair, limp with defeat. Her voice trembled as she said, "Well, thank you for seeing me, Mr. Suarez."

"Sit down," he snapped.

"For what? You obviously have no intention of helping me."

"I never said I wouldn't help you."

Something in his eyes softened the slightest bit and hope welled up inside of her. She lowered herself into the chair.

"I'll talk to my brother on your mother's behalf, but I expect something in return."

She had expected as much, but the calculating look he wore sent a cold chill down her spine. "What?"

"You will agree to be my live-in housekeeper for thirty days. You'll cook for me, clean my house, do my laundry. Whatever I ask. At the end of the thirty days, if I'm satisfied with your performance, I'll talk to my brother."

In other words, he would make her work for him the way his mother had worked for her. Clever. Obviously he saw her plea for help as an opportunity to get revenge. What had happened to the sweet and kindhearted boy she used to know? The one who never would have been capable of dreaming up such a devious plan, much less have the gall to implement it. He had changed more than she could ever have guessed, and it stung to know that it was probably her fault. Had she hurt him so much when she left that he'd hardened his heart?

And what of his offer? The day her father died she had vowed never to let a man control her again. But this wasn't about her. She was doing this for her mother. She owed her. Besides, she had swallowed her pride so many times since the indictment, she was getting used to the bitter taste.

Despite what Emilio believed, she was no longer the shy, timid girl of her youth. She was strong now. Anything he could dish out, she could take.

"How do I know I can trust you?" she asked. "How do I know that after the thirty days you won't change your mind?"

He leaned forward, eyes flaming with indignation as they locked on hers. "Because I have never been anything but honest with you, Isabelle."

Unlike her, his tone implied. He was right. Even though she'd had a valid reason for breaking her word, but that hardly seemed worth mentioning. Even if she told him the truth she doubted he would believe her. Or care.

He leaned back in his chair. "Take some time to think about it if you'd like."

She didn't need time. She didn't have any to spare. Less than six weeks from now she and her lawyer would meet with the prosecutor, and her lawyer warned her that it didn't look good. For her or her mother.

This wasn't going to be a pleasant thirty days, but at least she knew Emilio wouldn't physically harm her. He may have become cold and callous, but he had never been a violent man. He'd never made her feel anything but safe.

What if he changed? a little voice in her head taunted, but she ignored it. The decision had already been made.

She sat straight, squared her shoulders and told him, "I'll do it."

Isabelle Winthrop was a viper.

A lying, cheating, narcissistic viper.

Yet Emilio couldn't deny that despite the fifteen years that had passed, she was still the most physically beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on.

But her soul was as black as tar.

She'd had him duped, all those years ago. He thought she loved him. He had believed, despite the fact that she was a Winthrop and he was the son of a domestic servant, they would be married and live happily ever after. She told him she didn't care about the money or the status. She would be happy so long as they had each other. And he had fallen for it, right up until the minute he read the article in the paper announcing her marriage to finance guru Leonard Betts. A multibillionaire.

So much for her not caring about money and status. What other reason would sh...


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373731124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373731121
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.5 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,543,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michelle was born and raised in Metro-Detroit in what her Polish-born friend labeled an "all-American family". Throughout her childhood, which she admits was
relatively uneventful, she loved to read and make up stories. Yet her dream was to become a cosmetologist. Countless Barbies (and a few close friends) fell victim to her shears and color experimentation's. She started cosmetology school the fall after she graduated high school, but quickly realized it wasn't for her. She quit after three months and became a true a beauty school drop out.

Her "what next" turned out to be marriage and family. To escape the craziness that sometimes came with being a stay-at-home mom, she read voraciously and became the queen of crafts. Crocheting, sewing, needlepoint--you name it, she tried it. By the time baby number three was two years old, she was completely burned out. Something was missing. She had all this creative energy and no where to vent it. She finally decided to try her hand at writing.

Her first manuscript, a young adult romance, took over a year to write. The second, another YA, she wrote longhand while running daycare in her home. In the next year she wrote two more. Still, something didn't feel right. She needed to find her niche. The turning point came when her mom gave her Jennifer Crusie's first hard cover release, Tell Me Lies. She was so taken by it, she wanted to read more. She found what she was looking for in the category romance section of her local used book store.

But, category romance? Those aren't REAL books, right? She read every Jenny Crusie book she could find and loved them all, then moved onto other authors. Finally it clicked. She knew THIS was what she wanted to do. She joined Romance Writers of America, and her local chapter in 2000, Greater Detroit RWA, of which she has remained an active member.

In 2003--eight years after making the decision to write--with over 100 rejections from editors and agents, Michelle sold her first book-length manuscript to Silhouette Desire. Since then she has published over 25 books with Harlequin and Silhouette and has no intention of slowing down any time soon. Most days you can find her in her office, curled up with her laptop, loving the fact that she can work in her pajamas.

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By Hopeless Romantic on May 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed reading Michelle Celmer's books. I am pretty new to reading her books. But so far I think I will be reading more.
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By Irma Alice J. Smith on March 26, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Always enjoy Michelle Calmer books,this did not dissapoint.Good read
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