The last story in the fun & flirty #LoveLondon series from exciting new chick lit author Nikki Moore! The perfect novel for reading in the sunshine … and falling in love with London.
Hot summer romance…or cold revenge?
Super nanny, Zoe Harper is mad! It was bad enough discovering her ex-fiancé Greg cheating on her just weeks before their wedding. But now she’s returned home to London to find her younger sister Melody has been left jobless, homeless, broke and dumped.
Zoe is determined to get revenge on the infamous Reilly brothers for her sister’s heartbreak. So when an unexpected opportunity gives Zoe a way in to uncaring—and dizzyingly gorgeous!—successful music producer Matt Reilly’s world, she jumps at the chance to make him pay.
But living with Matt as nanny to his two adorable, but complicated children, Zoe soon begins to suspect that not everything is as it seems… Matt insists on pushing everyone away including his children, but why? And if his delicious summer kisses are anything to go by, he can’t be that bad surely?
Can Zoe convince Matt to open up a little and help fix this family before she leaves…or worse, before Matt learns who she really is?
Matt Reilly is a complete, unbelievable bastard and I’m going to make him pay, Zoe Harper vowed as she pounded the gold lion-head knocker against the door of his exclusive Knightsbridge residence.
When there was no response, she switched to thumping the glossy black wood with the side of her fist.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Answer. The. Door.
Utter fury was squeezing her chest so tight it felt like her ribs were suffocating her lungs and a horrible pressure was building behind her eyeballs, the sure sign of a tension headache.
Where the hell was he? She stepped back to gaze up at the impressive facade of the town house, which had to be at least four storeys tall including the basement area below her. The top two floors were exposed brickwork but the ground and lower floors were painted white, decorated with manicured window boxes. The property screamed refined wealth, as did the beautiful leafy communal garden area in the middle of the square. He must have paid extra for the property, which sat back from the road slightly. It was one of the only houses with off-road parking.
She turned to look at the gravel driveway. Someone had to be in, there were three cars parked up; a garish, canary-yellow convertible sports model, a sexy low-slung black supercar and a more modest silver Prius hybrid.
Thudding the door again, there was still no answer.
If she was some kick-ass action movie heroine she could bust the door down, flatten whichever of the selfish idiots was inside (although both at the same time would be preferable) and just be done with it. But at five foot seven, as well as pounds lighter than she’d been in years, she hardly looked or felt the part. Still, if there was anything guaranteed to bring out her fighting side it was protecting her younger sister Melody. She was her only proper family left apart from their Great Aunt Ruth, who’d always been distant and had all the affection of a watermelon.
What it came down to was that anyone who hurt Melody deserved justice. But she didn’t really believe in violence, and ruining her beautiful nails with their miniature stars and stripes design on every tip didn’t appeal either. The manicure was a present from her ex-boss Liberty, named after the statue of. It was something to remember New York by, a city she’d come to love. But better not to think about that, or what else she’d loved and lost.
Where the heck was Mr. High and Mighty Reilly, or for that matter, his younger brother Stephen? Surely they had enough staff to answer the bloody door for them. A girl could die of heatstroke out here. The midday sun was ferocious and prickling heat along the back of her neck. It was sure to be scarlet by dinner time.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Her hand was never going to be the same again. Then she’d be suing the sods for personal injury as well as emotional trauma for Melody. Her sibling had been crying so hard at Jemima’s flat in multicultural, packed Holloway that Zoe hadn’t been able to get the full story on arrival from Heathrow. There’d just been a lot of mumbling and sobbing around swollen red eyes and handfuls of soggy tissues. Still, what she’d figured out had been enough to instantly trigger her big sister reflexes. The stale, stuffy black cab had made for a nightmare journey across London but the sunlight glinting off the windows had matched her heated, murderous thoughts perfectly. She’d avoided direct eye contact with the chatty driver, jaw clenched as she replayed the fragments of her sister’s story in her head.
Fell in love with Stephen… Matt ended it, fired me… kicked me out without notice… never see the kids again… looked after them for three years!
How dare he? It was bloody outrageous and unbelievably unfair. How could anyone be so uncaring that they’d do someone who trusted them out of a relationship, job, home and salary all on the same day? So here she was outside of his posh, rich-guy’s, I’m so fabulous home, fully intending to grab her sister’s belongings as well as telling Matt Reilly exactly what she thought of a guy who’d treat a naïve twenty-two year old like dirt. If she could grab his brother by the scruff of the neck at the same time and give him a good shake for helping break her sister’s heart, she’d do that too. He had a lot of explaining to do as to why he wasn’t answering Mel’s calls.
Bloody men. They were a faithless lot at the best of times, the reason she’d left the States after five long years. But her sister’s boss had reached new levels of bastardom, if that was even a word.
Part of her wished that when confronted, Matt might admit he’d made a terrible mistake, beg forgiveness, tell Melody that of course she was good enough for his brother, and ask her to come back to them. But the text that had just pinged on her mobile meant the idea was a non-starter.
Appreciate the support Sis, but
please don’t cause a scene and
DON’T try and get my job back.
I’m never going back there.
Zoe didn’t really want her sister anywhere near them anyway. Still, an apology from Matt, an opportunity for Melody to say goodbye to the kids properly, pick up her belongings and be offered some kind of compensation for the notice pay she was surely entitled to would be something. Along with some explanation as to why Stephen had gone AWOL and seemed to be letting Matt make all the decisions. Perhaps he didn’t feel able to stand up to him? Or maybe he was intimidated by his older brother’s success.
According to the tabloids, Stephen was abroad a lot of the time, a playboy who basically partied and shopped his way around Europe with the family money. Why her sister had fallen for him she couldn’t understand. At thirty, Matt was older by seven years, a famous music producer who was hardly ever out of the press, despite his attempts to evade the spotlight. Snapping pictures of his children was a rabid hobby for British journos and there were rumours of a new girlfriend every week, although you couldn’t believe everything you read in the papers. She and Melody were close, despite the vast miles that’d been between them, and Melody had told her a lot about Matt’s children via Skype and text messages but nothing about any of his personal relationships, respecting her boss’s right to privacy.
Not that she’d got any thanks for that loyalty and professionalism.
‘Picnics in Hyde Park’, the final story in the ‘Love London’ series, is the longest and encompasses all that is good in the first five novellas. With more angst, humour, poignancy, romance and sensuality; this is the perfect ending to the chic, contemporary series.
Zoe is likeable; from the moment she appears, hammering on Matt’s doors to avenge her little sister. Her actions say so much; she is fearless, opinionated, loyal and more than a little guilt ridden, after her five year sojourn in New York but I connected with her immediately.
Matt is delectable, although he does hide it well, under his brusque and detached manner. Like Zoe, he is dependable and full of remorse for past actions. In many ways they are emotionally similar.
Emotionally invested in Matt and his children, Zoe is ‘caught between the devil and the deep blue sea’. The chemistry between Matt and Zoe has a forbidden thrill, which makes the outcome inevitable and sizzling hot.
This story is more than the romance between Zoe and Matt. There is her nurturing of the forgotten children and her complicated relationship with her Aunt to explore. Reunited with old friends provides the readers with pertinent insights into what makes Zoe tick. Finally there are ‘Picnics in Hyde Park’, the importance of which, I will let you discover for yourselves.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A Dorset girl and social media addict, Nikki Moore has a HR day job, two kids and a lovely boyfriend to keep her busy alongside the writing. She was in the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Scheme for four years and is now a full RNA member. Nikki was a finalist in several writing competitions from 2010 including the Elizabeth Goudge trophy and Novelicious Undiscovered, before being offered a publishing contract.
Published mainly by HarperImpulse, she’s the author of the #LoveLondon series, which has attracted four and five star reviews on Amazon, with some of the novellas featuring in the Top 100 short story charts on Kobo and the Top 20 in the Amazon UK bestsellers Holiday chart. The last in the series, Picnics in Hyde Park is due out in August. She has a short story in the bestselling RNA/Mills & Boon anthology Truly, Madly, Deeply. Her debut novel Crazy, Undercover, Love was shortlisted for the RNA Joan Hessayon Award 2015 (for new writing) and she is a strong supporter of aspiring authors.
Check out my reviews of Cocktails in Chelsea and Strawberries at Wimbledon
and my recent interview with Nikki Moore by clicking on the image below: