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Authors: Kate Perry

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Contemporary Fiction

Stay the Night

Stay the Night

A Summerhill Novel

Book 4

Kate Perry

Praise for Kate Perry’s Novels

“Perry’s storytelling skills just keep getting better and better!” –
Romantic Times Book Reviews

“Can’t wait for the next in this series…simply great reading. Another winner by this amazing author. “
–Romance Reviews Magazine

“Hot! Recommended!” –
Bookpleasures

“Exciting and simply terrific.”
–Romancereviews.com

“Kate Perry is on my auto buy list.”
–Night Owl Romance

“A winning and entertaining combination of humor and pathos.”
–Booklist

Other Titles by Kate Perry

Once Upon a Dream

Stay the Night

Let’s Misbehave

Lost in Love

Say You Will

Loved by You

Mad About You

All for You

Here with You

Tamed by You

Sweet on You

Dream of You

Looking for You

Return to You

Close to You

Perfect for You

Playing for Keeps

Playing Doctor

Project Date

Marked by Passion

Chosen by Desire

Tempted by Fate

Project Daddy

www.kateperry.com

www.twitter.com/KatePerry

www.facebook.com/TutuKate

[email protected]

Stay the Night

Kate Perry

© 2014 by Phoenix Rising Enterprises, Inc.

Cover Graphic © Slava Basovich Photography

Formatting by Polgarus Studio

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

For my sister. Especially.

A Note from Kate

I know you’ll be shocked, but I made some things up in this story. For instance, the London Assault doesn’t exist, and neither does the Auckland Harlequins. The FA Cup
does
exist, but I changed the time of year the finals are played.

Also, 51 South Street isn’t actually a bar but a house. Don’t go there or bother the occupants. Fifty-one Farm Street, meters away, is The Punchbowl, which is what I based the Red Witch on.

Logan Balestrino had the wisdom and foresight to realize that Titania needed a football star. Ian was born at her brilliant request.

And, lastly, I’d like to give an extra loud shout-out to Nectar Wine Bar for hosting the photo shoot for the cover of this book as well as this author while under deadline. This author (and her husband) can’t thank them enough.

Chapter One

Evicted
.

Titania gaped at the note on her door, the words making no sense. Maybe she was just exhausted from her flight home from Italy. She ripped the notice off and scanned over it. Evicted for back rent?

She fished in her pocket for her key and stuck it in the lock, but it wouldn’t turn. She jimmied it in, wiggling it. Nothing.

“Bloody hell.” She kicked the door. Turning around, she left her carry-on in the hallway and stomped down to her landlord’s apartment and pounded on his door.

It swung open. Ralph glared at her from the doorway, hands on his hips, in ratty boxer shorts. His paunch was covered with a white undershirt that had a stain at the collar. “You scared me, Titania.”

Her fingers itched to take a picture of him in his natural habitat, but she forced herself to focus on the matter at hand. She waved the eviction notice in his face. “I’ve paid my rent the past three months. This notice can’t be meant for me.”

“Your checks bounced.” He held his hands up. “And before you rant at me, I suggest you call your bank, because they’ll tell you they were returned for insufficient funds.”

“What?” She put a hand to her forehead. “That makes no sense.”

Ralph arched his brow. “Doesn’t it?”

Well, she’d been doing a lot of traveling, so she’d incurred a lot of expenses. And there was the upcoming gallery showing—she’d spent a fortune printing and framing all her photos.

She tried to remember her bank balance and how much she’d spent, but money wasn’t her forte. She never paid close attention to it. She took it for granted that she had enough. “There has to be some sort of mistake. I’ll go to the bank and straighten this out.”

“Don’t bother, Titania. You’re out.” Her landlord crossed his arms. “I left three notices in the past couple months.”

With a sinking feeling in her stomach, she remembered the big pile of mail on her kitchen counter that she hadn’t sorted through yet. Likely the notices were in there.

“And then there’s the matter of you threatening Mrs. Munson,” Ralph continued.

She rolled her eyes. “That was a misunderstanding. She was making a racket, and I just asked her to stop. That’s not unreasonable.”

“She was making a breakfast smoothie, and you told her if she didn’t stop the noise you were going to shove the blender down her throat.”

So she wasn’t a morning person. “I didn’t put it quite like that.”

“Half the hall heard you. Mrs. Munson is eighty years old, Titania.”

“Mrs. Munson likes to stir up trouble.” The woman had it out for her ever since the time Titania had accidentally let the woman’s little dog out of the building.

Well, mostly it was accidental. It wasn’t her fault the little yipping beast was running loose in the hallway, or that it ran outside when she held the front entrance open.

“Sorry, Titania. You’re out.” Ralph stepped back and closed the door.

She stared at it hopelessly, the click on the deadbolt sounding final.

The bank. She pulled out her mobile and opened the bank app to check her balance, groaning when she saw her account was overdrawn. She scanned her expenses, the sinking feeling in her stomach growing when she saw the gallery expenses had been much more than she’d expected and that she’d spent more than she’d realized in Italy.

Not to worry. She put away her phone and went to pick up her carry-on. Unfortunately the gallery showing wasn’t for several months, but she
did
have the pictures from the time she’d spent in Vatican City with the pope. She’d just stop at the
Time Atlantic
offices and have them pay her. Once she had money again, she could book a hotel room and start looking for a new apartment. After she ate—getting evicted roused her appetite.

Armed with the plan, she took the tube to the
Time Atlantic
headquarters in London.

She was fidgeting in the waiting area when the editorial director’s assistant came to escort her back to his office. The woman eyed Titania’s luggage but didn’t say anything.

Norman Hopper did though. “You planning on moving in, Summerhill?”

Titania looked around his office as she propped her carry-on by the door and set her two camera bags next to it. “How comfy is the couch?”

“Sit and find out.”

She sat down, bouncing a little. “I could sleep here,” she decided.

Hopper smiled, shaking his head as though she were funny. She wanted to tell him she wasn’t joking, but she needed to focus on the matter at hand. “I’ve got proofs from the pope.”

She took out the SD card she had tucked safely into her pocket and passed it to Hopper. Leaning back, legs crossed, she watched him insert the card into his laptop and scroll through the images.

Her stomach rumbled, and she looked around to see if Hopper had a refrigerator. “Do you have any food?”

He reached into his desk and tossed her a dusty bag of nuts without lifting his head.

“I meant food from this decade.” She set them aside.

“These photos of the pope are amazing,” he said, his head still bowed over his computer.

Of course they were. She was exceptional at what she did. She looked up at the wall behind Hopper, where a print of her picture that had won the World Press Photo of the Year Award was hung. She still felt proud when she saw it.

Hopper looked up from the laptop and took his glasses off. “I wasn’t kidding when I said these pictures are outstanding.”

“I know.” Hopefully the platitudes wouldn’t take long. She really needed a shower and chips.

“But I can’t take them.”

She sat up at attention. “That’s not funny.”

“I’m not trying to be funny, Summerhill. I’m serious. I can’t take your pictures, even though they’re damn incredible.” He tapped the screen. “There’s a story behind every shot, and it’s captivating. The more you look at one of your photos, the more you discover. Amazing,” he said with a frown.

“Then why aren’t you taking them?”

Hopper cleared his throat, his gaze darting away. “Weber seems to have it out for you.”

She stilled, her heart beating hard with dread. She glanced at the photo by Cole Weber hanging next to hers. That picture was why she’d asked Cole to mentor her eight years ago. Cole and his big ego had been flattered that a young thing like her wanted to trail him and learn the business, so of course he’d taken her on.

The funny thing about Cole was that he was both proud and jealous of her success. He took credit for it, telling people that she was where she was because of him. It was partly true, she was willing to admit in her more generous moments. But she liked to think that she’d have gotten to where she was on her own eventually. “What do you mean, he has it out for me? What does Cole have anything to do with this assignment?”

“Weber has been making calls.” The editor flushed, squirming in his seat. “He’s pulled in favors to get your photos banned. At all the major media publications, from what I hear.”


What?
” The world started to spin, so she put her feet firmly on the ground. Not that it helped.

Hopper didn’t look happy about it, either. “You must have done something to make him angry. Really angry if he wants you blacklisted.”

“What sort of favors could he have possibly racked up to accomplish that?”

Hopper looked sheepish. “He contacted the publisher to get me promoted to editorial director. I know half a dozen other people in editorial who owe their jobs in some way to Weber, and he’s bailed us all out of some sort of editorial jam with his pictures.”

“That prick.” She pointed at Hopper. “This is blackmail, you know.”

The editor winced. “But I can’t do anything about it. You know how everyone fawns over him. He’s a god in journalism. You’re as good as he is, but he’s been doing it longer. He demands adulation.”

She nodded, hating that she understood—hating that this was her fault, too. Cole had never liked that she hadn’t fallen for him, or even developed a severe case of hero worship.

It was her fault. She’d bollocksed the boundaries she’d set with him.

She blamed Paris. The ambiance. The food. The romance. They’d been there simultaneously a month ago, on different shoots, and had met for dinner. Wine and candlelight could make even a levelheaded girl lose her good sense.

In the harsh morning light, she’d realized it’d been a mistake. The last thing she needed was a “relationship” with a playboy photojournalist who was constantly on the road. She’d seen him in action—some nights he’d even left with two women.

He’d been trying to get into her knickers since they met. She knew it wasn’t love—he wanted her because she’d always resisted him. She was a challenge and, therefore, irresistible.

So she’d done the logical thing. Before she’d left for Italy, she told him they shouldn’t see each other again. She’d have expected him to be relieved. Apparently he hadn’t been.

She got up and went to stand over Hopper’s desk. “If I talk to Cole and have him call you, will you reconsider the photos?”

“Yes.” Hopper grimaced as he handed back her memory card. “But Weber’s stubborn.”

“I can get around him.” She tucked the card back in her pocket. “Can I get paid for my expenses in the meantime?”

Hopper shook his head. “I can’t pay you.”

“I don’t understand. I went on this assignment and delivered what you asked for.”

“But we’re not going to use them, so you don’t get paid.” The editor shrugged. “Check your contract. It’s standard.”

“I have to get paid.” If she didn’t get paid, there was no hotel room. She’d maxed her credit card in Italy. Where would she sleep tonight?

“Look, Summerhill, I really wish I could take these. They’re fabulous. But Weber has me bound. I owe him.”

“And there’s absolutely nothing I can do to make you decide that you don’t owe him that much?”

Hopper pursed his lips. “The only way would be if you brought me exclusive photos so big that I had to accept them.”

“Like?”

“Like some sort of scandal.”

Titania shook her head. Her sister was an actress who’d been embroiled in a scandal, and Titania would never inflict that on someone. “I’m not paparazzi.”

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