Up Close and Personal

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Press: Harlequin (September 4, 2012)
Publication Date:2012-9
Author Name:Child, Maureen


When brash Irish billionaire Ronan Connolly meets Laura Page, the connection is electric. 
He's danger.
She's a safe haven.
And the passion between them burns--too hot and too fast.
So Ronan ends the affair before it can get serious.But he can't stay away.Six weeks later he's back, wanting to pick up where they left off.
But Laura's having none of it.
She's hurt, angry--and hiding something.
Ronan vows to find out everything that happened while he was gone.
But this time, getting up close and personal may mean giving Laura his heart.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"Laura, I know you're in there!"Ronan Connolly pounded on the brightly painted blue front door a few more times, then paused to listen. 
Not a sound from inside the house, though he knew too well that Laura was in there.
Hell, he could practically feel her, standing just on the other side of the damned door.Bloody hardheaded woman.
How had he ever thought that quality attractive? Now that attractive hardheadedness had come back to bite him in the ass.Seconds ticked past and there was no sound from within, which only irritated him further.
He glanced at the sunshine-yellow Volkswagen parked alongside the house—her car—then glared again at the still-closed front door."You won't convince me you're not at home.
Your bloody car is parked in the street, Laura."Her voice came then, muffled but clear.
"It's a driveway in America, Ronan.
You're not in Ireland, remember?""More's the pity." He scrubbed one hand across his face and rolled his eyes in frustration.
If they were in Ireland right now, he'd have half the village of Dun-ley on his side and he'd bloody well get her to open the damned door."I heard that," she said.
"And feel free to hop onto one of your private planes and go back to Connolly-land anytime you feel like it!"If only he could, Ronan thought.
But he'd come to California to open an American branch of his business and until Cosain was running as it should, he was going nowhere at all.At the moment though, he was tired, on edge and in no mood to be dealing with more females.
Especially one with a head as hard as Laura's.He had spent the past six weeks traveling across Europe acting as bodyguard to a sixteen-year-old pop star whose singing was only slightly less annoying than her attitude.
Between the girl and her grasping mother, Ronan had been more than ready for the job to end so he could get back to his life.
Now that he was back, he'd expected peace.
Instead…Grinding his teeth together, he took a long moment or two and counted to ten.
Then did it a second time.
"Whatever the hell you want to call it, Laura, your car is here and so're you.""I might have been out," she shouted.
"Did you ever think of that? I do have friends, you know."The Connolly temper lifted a couple notches inside him and Ronan was forced to fight it back down."But you're not out, are you?" he asked, entirely reasonably, and he gave himself points for it.
"You're here, driving me to distraction and making me shout at a bloody closed door like I'm the village idiot turned loose on his own for the first time.""You don't have to shout, I can hear you," she said, her voice carrying nicely through the door.Laura Page lived on a tidy street in Huntington Beach, California, in one of a dozen town houses built to look like a Cape Cod village.
When he'd first seen her place, he'd thought it charming.
Now he glared at the building as if it were to blame for his current situation.A cool ocean breeze shot down the narrow street and rattled the limbs of the nearly naked elm tree in Laura's front yard.
Roiling gray clouds overhead promised a storm soon, and he hoped to hell he wasn't still standing on this bleeding porch when it hit."Your neighbors can hear me, too," he pointed out with a brief nod at the man clipping his hedge with enough vigor to whittle it into a toothpick.
"Why not open the door and we can talk this out.
In private.""I've got nothing to say to you."He laughed shortly.
That would be a first indeed, he told himself.
A more opinionated woman he had never met.
In the beginning, he'd liked that about her.
Too often, he was surrounded by smiling, vacuous women who agreed with everything he said and laughed at the lamest of jokes just to ingratiate themselves with him.But not Laura.No, from the first, she had been stubborn and argumentative and unimpressed with his wealth or celebrity.
He had to admit, he had enjoyed verbally sparring with her.
He admired a quick mind and a sharp tongue.
He'd admired her even more once he'd gotten her into his bed.He glanced down at the dozen red roses he held clutched in his right hand and called himself a damned fool for thinking this woman would be swayed by pretty flowers and a smooth speech.
Hell, she hadn't even seen the flowers yet.
And at this rate, she never would.Huffing out an impatient breath, he lowered his voice a bit.
"You know why I'm here.
Let's get it done and have it over then."There was a moment's pause, as if she were thinking about what he'd said.
Then she spoke up again.
"You can't have him.""What?""You heard me," she called back and Ronan narrowed his gaze fiercely on the door as if he could see through the panel to the woman beyond."Aye, I heard you.
Though I don't believe it.
I've come for what's mine, and I'm not leaving until I have it.""Yours? You've been gone two months, Ronan.
What makes you think anything is still yours?"Tossing the roses to the ground, Ronan set his hands on either side of the door and leaned in.
"Laura, I've been on a bloody plane for ten hours, listening to a teenage girl list the reasons she is to be adored.
I've had her mother bitching about everything from the type of bottled water on the jet to the fluffiness of her pillow.
I'm a man on the edge, love.
All I've thought of for these last weeks is getting back to my house on the cliffs and seeing my damned dog.
I'm not leaving without him."The door was yanked open suddenly and there she stood.
Five feet nine inches of curvy blonde with a pair of blue eyes as clear and lovely as a summer sky.
Even in her worn jeans and button-down white shirt, she took his damned breath away, and he resented that fact down to his bones.She kept one hand on the door and the other braced against the doorjamb as if she'd be enough to keep him out if he decided he wanted in.Ronan glanced down and saw his dog leaning into her with slavish adoration.
He scowled at the animal he called Beast, and the dog paid him no attention whatsoever.
"A few weeks gone and you've dismissed me?" he asked the dog in a withering tone.
"What kind of loyalty is that from man's best friend?"The dog whined and leaned even more heavily into Laura's side until she staggered a little under his weight."A 'best friend' wouldn't have abandoned him," Laura said."He wasn't put out into a jungle forced to hunt for his own food," Ronan countered.
"My cousin Sean—""Left him with me when he went back to Ireland.
You can see now that Beast is fine.
He's happy here.With me.""That may be," Ronan told her after sparing his traitorous hound another hard glare.
"But he's not yours, is he?""He's in my house.
That makes him mine.""He's only in your house because Sean asked you to look out for him until I got back."And for that, Ronan owed his cousin a punch in the face.
Called back to Ireland unexpectedly, Sean had asked Laura to watch Beast in order to save the animal a monthlong stay in a kennel.
Which Ronan hadn't found out about until it was too late to change anything.
Yes, it had been the right choice for the dog.
But for Ronan?He hadn't seen Laura since he ended their affair two months ago.
Though he couldn't exactly claim to have shut her out of his mind.
Hell, he had taken the bodyguard job for the teenage singer himself, rather than handing it to one of his employees, only so that he could get a little distance from the woman standing so temptingly close to him at the moment.
Distance hadn't helped.
He'd thought of her.
Dreamed of her, and awakened nearly every morning with his body tight and ready for her.Even now, the lush, slightly floral scent of her reached out to him as if to tease every sense memory he had of touching her, tasting her, being inside her."Ronan," she said in a patient tone that interrupted his musings, "we both know Beast is better off with me.
You're not exactly a good dog parent—""I'm not his father, I'm his bloody owner," Ronan countered.She ignored him.
"Soon enough you'll be going back to Ireland and—""Taking Beast with me," he finished for her.In truth, he hadn't really considered what he would do with Beast when his time in America was over.
But right now, the decision seemed an easy one.
Even fighting the quarantine laws to get the dog home to Ireland would seem like a vacation after dealing with Laura Page.Jaw tight, he looked deeply into those calm blue eyes and wondered if she was as unaffected by him as she seemed.
Had she forgotten him so quickly? Gotten over him so completely? A lowering thought for a man to consider.Brushing aside what had once been between them, he said, "Beast is mine, and I always intended to take him home to Ireland with me when I go.
Nothing's changed.""Sure it has," she said, taking a step toward him, dislodging the dog so that he nearly toppled over.
"You have a dog back home, right?""Aye.
Deirdre.""And it's been how long since you've seen her?""That's nothing to do with this.""It's everything to do with it," she countered, folding her arms beneath her breasts.
"A dog needs more than a visit every couple of months.
A dog needs love.
Someone he can count on.
Someone who will be there."Frowning, Ronan looked hard at her.
This was the reason he had stepped back from their relationship in the first place.
The woman had hearth and home and forever practically stenciled on her forehead.
She was a woman who wanted...


Romance,Contemporary,Literature & Fiction,United States

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Comment List (Total:13)

  •     I only read a quarter of this book. It was boring and nonsensical. The heroine was too weak. The hero was clueless. I don't recommend this book. I give it a rating of 1.
  •     My favorite person in this story is Laura and her determination not settle for less than the whole package. I will recommend this to anyone that would love a good read. The story line is great and holds your attention.
  •     ive always been a harlequin reader but going through the books (some by Diana Palmer etc) there seems to be no change. the story lines are all the same as well as the conflicts. i miss the chills and giddy feeling i get when reading these books. they all just look the same now.
  •     I enjoyed the characters and story line. The story grabbed my attention and kept it to the conclusion, good writer.
  •     Loved most of Maureen Child's books that I have read, and enjoyed ALL of them including UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL.
  •     laura falls for ronan and they have a short term hot affair but he breaks it off. he has to get his dog back from her and all bets are off about not falling in love with her.
  •     It was a good book to read but I had to day that the storyline was not that fun to.
  •     I won't go into specific detail but I did not care for this book. It is difficult for me to become immersed in a book when I don't like the hero or heroine which in this case it was the hero. I thought Ronan was a royal jerk and Laura just did not deserve someone who could treat her so heartlessly, so uncaring. I truly think she could have done better but I realize she had the baby to consider.I am sorry that I cannot recommend this read. It did not leave me with the warm fuzzies. I was too disgusted with Ronan's behavior throughout most of the book.
  •     It did not hold my interested. Wasn't a book that I had to finish. Could take it or leave it.
  •     This book was so great, I read it in one sitting. Forgetting that I had other things to do, I just kept reading.
  •     A decent story, a quick fun read.
  •     Ronan Connelly is back in California and ready to rekindle the romance between him and Laura Page. The sparks that flew between them is rare and Ronan realizes that he has to fight to get her back. However, Laura is resisting his charms and he must work harder to re-spark what they once had.Laura knows holding Ronan's dog as a hostage is the wrong thing to do. She convinces herself that she wants to give Beast a good home but Ronan sees right through the act. Every time she tries to put some distract between them, he is right there in her face and she can't help but to remember the passion they once shared.I love Ms. Child's books. Her California Kings series is fabulous and she mentions the family in this book. I wanted to love this one as well but I just didn't warm up to Ronan or Laura and after a few days of mulling it over, I finally figured out why. The story starts when Ronan shows back up in town. Laura is watching his dog because his cousin turned him over to her while he went out of town for business. Laura tries to use Beast (what a weird name since the dog is so mild tempered) as a wedge between her and Ronan but we all know that the dog is not the issue.Laura is holding some secrets and I can understand her reasons for doing so but it is still not enough for them to be apart for so long. Once Laura blurts out her "horrible" secret, Ronan steps up and try to apologize and be the man she needed in the past. It doesn't work and Laura holds on to Ronan's wild ways for entirely too long. This could have been wrapped up quickly.My biggest problem with the book is that I never felt the all consuming love that either character felt for one another. I believe they have chemistry but since the story started after the relationship, I never knew what made them attracted to one another in the first place. I wanted a glimpse into the past, so I could get a better understanding of the characters.Overall, I am happy that Laura and Ronan got their HEA but this is not Ms. Child's best story.Heat Level: SensualReviewed by SamanthaThis review was originally posted on The Season site (theseasonforromance dot com)
  •     Enjoyed this book, liked the relationship between h and H.

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