She’s a high-tech boss who lost it all…He’s an up-and-coming coder…
Start Us Up, the steamy, swoon-filled first standalone romance in The Park Avenue Promise Series from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake is available now!
to always be friends and to one day make it big in Manhattan.
She's a high-tech boss who lost it all...
Ivy Jensen was the darling of the tech world, right up until her company fell apart completely after she trusted the wrong person. Her reputation in tatters, she finds herself back in the tiny apartment she grew up in, living with her mom. When a group of angel investors offer her a meeting, she knows she has to come up with the new big idea or her career is over.
He's an up and coming coder...
Heath Marino has always been fascinated with writing code. He's worked on a dozen games and apps and is considered one of the industry's more eccentric talents. But now he's back in New York to spend time with his grandmother. She was known as one of the city's greatest matchmakers, and he wants to know why. Surely there's some kind of code in his grandmother's methods, and he's going to find them.
When Ivy meets Heath it's instant attraction, but she's got a career to get back to and he just might be her on-ramp. It could be a perfect partnership or absolute heartbreak.
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Narrated by: Kitty Bang
Keep reading for a look inside Start Us Up!
“Were you planning on introducing me as your boyfriend?”
I shake my head. “No, but I wasn’t going to correct anyone if they got that impression, and now that I’m saying the words, I feel like an idiot. I’m not some sad chick who always needs a boyfriend. Nick was actually only my second long-term relationship. I’m perfectly content on my own. I don’t know what came over me. I can tell him the truth.”
“And waste my knight riding in moves? That feels harsh. Was the kiss that bad?”
“You know it was not. It was a perfectly fine kiss.”
“It was a pretty good kiss.” There’s a wealth of masculine arrogance in his tone, and I wish I didn’t find that charming coming from him.
It had been my only kiss in the last six months, and probably the most passion I’d had from a guy in a couple of years, and that was so sad. “It was a kiss we both need to forget because we’re going to be working very closely together for the next couple of months. We’ve got to hire at least one, maybe two contractors.”
“Where are we going to put them? I don’t know if you noticed, but neither one of us has a whole lot of space. I was a little worried about where I was going to put you.”
“They can work remotely if we can’t find someplace cheap.” The remote work might be a necessary thing since I intend to have one of the coders working on what I want them to work on—an interface for a social media/commerce app. I can give Heath a little, but I know what CeCe wants. The AI and Heath’s unique framework is what will sell this project.
“And if we get full finding?”
I like that he’s an optimist. One of us needs to be. “Then we find a small office probably somewhere in Jersey because that’s what we’ll be able to afford and we spend the next three or four years working our asses off only to fail because some asshole swoops in two months ahead of our launch date with something too similar. Then we can decide if we want to spend the money on the inevitable lawsuits, but that’s only if we get the choice. There’s also the possibility that someone out there gets word of what we’re doing and preemptively files for a patent that will block us even though the fucker doesn’t have enough to prove concept. Then, it’s back to the lawyers and we decide if we have deep enough pockets to fight, and that answer is almost always no.”
Heath stands, and I can’t help but notice how tall and fit he is. I need to take some me time because my brain is spending too much energy on how hot he is. He starts to lift one long leg over the railing.
I pop up. “What are you doing?”
His head turns slightly, lips curling in a mischievous grin. “Ending it all. I’ve seen the future, Ivy. It’s not worth it.”
He’s teasing me. I’m not sure why it rankles. Or maybe I am. “It can happen, and it does all the time. This is the big leagues, and it’s a battle every single day.”
He looms over me, so close I can practically feel the warmth of his skin. “Is it war or baseball? I need to know because you are the queen of mixed metaphors, and I want to be sure I’m all kitted up. So glove or rifle?”
He’s really not ready for this. “Both.”
“All right, then.” He glances down at his watch. “I should go. Apparently I’ve got both a game and a war to prepare for. I’m going to need some sleep. Now I know you said we shouldn’t kiss again, but we already went there so…”
I take a big old coward’s step back. If I let him kiss me now, it won’t be because someone’s watching and we need keep up our “cover.” It will be because I want him to, and I can’t want him to. I just can’t.
I’m lying to him. Oh, it’s for his own naïve good, but I’m still lying.
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