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Champagne and Daisies - The Hamiltons Book 2 (ebook)

Champagne and Daisies - The Hamiltons Book 2 (ebook)

Sweet n Steamy Romance

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One night out. One balmy evening in Napa Valley. One man, letting loose before embarking on a new business venture. One woman, letting her hair down after another fight with her father over how she runs her winery—and her life. One too many glasses of wine. What does it all add up to? A one night stand.

Chelsea Hamilton has led a charmed life. She’s a golden girl who has it all. She grew up in the lap of luxury surrounded by a loving family. She’s no spoiled little rich girl, though. She has a huge heart, a kind heart, a giving heart – a heart that sometimes blinds her to the more practical considerations in life—and business. She just wants to be allowed to run the winery her way. Okay, so the profit margins might not be in line with the rest of Hamilton-Groves, but it’s not like she’s making a loss.

Unfortunately, her father believes she can be brought into line and he’s hired Grant Dawson to turn the winery around, and to teach Chelsea a few lessons in the process.

Grant’s eager to prove his worth to the patriarch of Hamilton-Groves. He’s masterminded dozens of successful corporate turnarounds. He doesn’t foresee many difficulties in whipping a little winery into shape. It should be a straightforward job that will hopefully lead to more work with the Hamilton Groves Corporation.
It should be, it would be—if the woman he’s supposed to be helping wasn’t the very same woman he hasn’t been able to get out of his mind since he let her out of his bed twenty-four hours ago. How’s he supposed to focus on turning the business around when he doesn’t know if he’s more infuriated or infatuated? Whichever it is, Chelsea’s fighting him every step of the way.

Available to Read on Kindle, Nook, iThings, Kobo, Phone, Computer, Tablet, Etc! Your eBook will be delivered to your provided email address by BookFunnel. 

Champagne and Daisies is the second book in USA Today Bestselling Author SJ McCoy's international hit The Hamiltons series, loved by over 1,000,000 fans of sweet and steamy romances. 

Readers say:

"I am so hooked on them all. ;)"

"Another great addition to this series!"

"Chelsea and Grant were so perfect for one another. I fell in love both of them right away." 

"The feel McCoy creates in her communities - small towns with delightful characters who have good days and bad days but who are devoted to each other. A good read, a fun read. There's no reason to not start her series."

"SJ McCoy spins great stories - don't miss this one."

"SJ McCoy brings out the laughter and the tears in all of her books! I have been hooked since the first book..."

"Can't get enough of SJ McCoy's books. Every story draws you in deeper, leaving you wanting more. It is so exciting when she lets her fans know the release date for her next installment. There are several different series now, but they all link back together. Don't miss out on a fantastic order. Pick up one of her books today, you won't be disappointed."

"SJ McCoy heats up the pages right from the start when Chelsea and Grant meet..."

"SJ McCoy has outdone herself yet again!! I would recommend this book to everyone. It is such a great story.

    Chapter One Look Inside

    Chapter One

    Chelsea wiped her eyes as she drove. She shouldn’t be this upset. She and Adrian hadn’t been going anywhere anyway. She’d known that for a while. She sniffed and shook her head. She shouldn’t be surprised. She wasn’t, if she was honest. She was crying because she’d messed up again, more than she was crying over Adrian. So, he was leaving for Nicaragua on Monday. So, what? They’d had some fun; now it was over. They might have talked some big dreams about him opening a restaurant here, but that’s all they were—dreams. Adrian was no go-getter. That was part of his attraction. She turned into the driveway of her parents’ house and waited for the wrought iron gates to swing open. As she pulled forward through the gates, she made a face at the realization that she’d been attracted to Adrian because he was so different. He wasn’t driven, he wasn’t an over-achiever—if she was honest, he wasn’t even an achiever, but he was kind and sweet. And now he was leaving. He’d asked her to go with him, but only because he’d known she’d say no. She couldn’t just leave like that. She had ties and responsibilities—two things Adrian didn’t believe in. She had a winery to run; he had a life to drift through.

    She brought the car to a stop in the circular driveway and rested her head against the steering wheel for a moment. Adrian’s timing couldn’t have been worse. Her father had summoned her here this evening to talk business. She straightened up and pulled herself together. The winery was her business. He’d told her she could run it as she saw fit, and she had been doing. It wasn’t exactly thriving—not yet, but it would. At least she hoped it would do well enough to satisfy her father. He cared about the bottom line. Her priorities were a little different. She wanted to create wonderful wines and take good care of the people who worked for her. They were her two biggest goals. The bottom line was a secondary consideration, and as long as she was making a profit, she didn’t need any interference from anyone.

    She got out of the car and slammed the door. She needed to remind her father of that, and she needed to do it calmly. She had to get her emotions under control before she went in there or she’d end up fighting with him—she knew it.

    She trotted up the steps to the huge oak front door and then took a deep breath before pushing it open. She was going to try to go with being the trite, dutiful daughter who just needed a little more time to get things running as smoothly as her father would like.

    “Hello?” she called from the grand hallway.

    “Chelsea, come on through, darling; we’re in the kitchen.”

    That was hopeful. The kitchen was always warm and cozy and homey feeling. Perhaps her father would be feeling relaxed and forgiving. No such luck. He was perched at the counter, a glass of bourbon in his hand and a dark look on his face. She didn’t let that deter her. She went and pecked his cheek.

    “Hey, Dad. How are you?”

    His lips twitched into a smile. He loved her; she knew that much. She might irritate and frustrate him, but he did love her. Even she knew he just wanted what was best for her. It was just unfortunate that he had a very different idea than she did of what that was.

    “Chelsea. How are you?”

    She nodded. She’d thought it best not to mention Adrian. Her dad didn’t exactly approve of him, but now she decided that she would. Maybe he’d feel bad for her and wouldn’t lecture her about the way she was running the business.

    “I’ve had better days.”

    “Is everything all right, dear?” asked her mom.

    “It will be. I’m just feeling a little sad right now. Adrian and I just broke up.”

    Her mom came and put an arm around her shoulders. “I’m sorry.”

    Her dad narrowed his eyes at her. “I’m not.”

    Chelsea shook her head. “Thanks, Dad. It’s nice to know you care.”

    He scowled at her. “When will you get it into your stubborn little head that I do care? It’s because I care that I want to see you succeed. It’s because I care that I’m not sorry to hear that your relationship with a no-good, freeloader is over.”

    “He’s not a …” Chelsea thought better of it and stopped herself. They’d had that argument time and again while she’d been seeing Adrian. There was no point getting into it again now that she wasn’t. “Whatever he is, that’s not the point. The point is. I’m upset, and you don’t care!”

    “Chelsea!” Her mom looked shocked.

    Her dad had gotten that stubborn look on his face, and she knew that she’d just blown any chance of getting him to understand—again.

    “I care that you’re upset,” he said in a slow, measured tone. “However, I’m more concerned with your overall long-term well-being, than with your latest crush. Right now, at this moment, I am sorry that you feel upset, but looking at the bigger picture, I am glad for the reason you’re upset. Short term pain, long term gain. It’s the lesson you need to learn in life—and in business. The right choices aren’t always the easy ones. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.”

    Chelsea blew out a sigh. “I guess.” There was no point arguing with him.

    “I’m glad you understand.”

    “Why?” She looked at him warily.

    “Because I’ve made a choice that wasn’t easy, and I know you’re not going to like it, but it’s the right choice for you and for the winery.”

    “My winery, Zosca? Or Hamilton-Groves in general?” Her heart was pounding in her chest wondering what choice he’d made, and knowing that whatever it was, there’d be no talking him out of it.

    His eyebrows knit together. She knew he didn’t like it when she referred to Zosca as hers, but it was. At least in her heart, it was.

    “I’m referring to Zosca. The winery we have allowed you to run as if it were your own.” He sighed. “The winery that isn’t on track to return much of a profit this year. I’ve decided to bring someone in to help you turn things around before it’s too late.”

    “You’ve what?”

    “You heard me, Chelsea.”

    She looked at her mom who shook her head sadly, then back at her dad. “You’re bringing someone in to help me, or to take it over?”

    “To help you. You can’t deny that the numbers aren’t looking good.”

    “No! I can’t. But isn’t it about more than that, Dad? You’ve always said that Hamilton-Groves is more of a family than a business. I’m trying to take care of my employees, like family. And you let me take over Zosca so that I could experiment. You know I’m trying to create something new, a more boutique style label. I’m never going to have the kind of economies of scale that Cameron enjoys with Hamilton-Groves. You have to remember that. You’re not comparing apples to apples.”

    Her dad shook his head sadly. “At the moment, I’m not, no. Cameron runs Hamilton-Groves as a business, and, because of the success that business enjoys, he is able to take good care of the employees. Zosca, on the other hand, is not being run as a business. You’re trying to put the horse before the cart. You need to establish the name, the brand, the profit base before you can indulge in taking care of everyone.”

    Chelsea blew out a sigh. “So, you’re bringing in some bean counter to take over?”

    “No. I didn’t say that. I’m bringing in a consultant to help you turn things around.”

    Chelsea shook her head. “What if I don’t want any help?”

    Her dad gave her a stern look. “It’s already arranged. We’ll be meeting with them on Monday morning.”

    She closed her eyes for a moment. She hated this. She wanted to run things her way. She knew she could do it. It wasn’t as though she was failing. She just … She looked up and met his gaze. She knew the look in his eye. There would be no further discussion on the matter. She could rant and rave, argue or wheedle and it would get her absolutely nowhere. His mind was made up. She nodded. “I’ll see you Monday morning then.” She turned on her heel.

    “Chelsea!” called her mom. “Don’t be like that. I thought you were staying for supper.”

    She turned back and went to kiss her mom’s cheek. However mad she was, she couldn’t just storm out on them. She loved them too much. “Sorry, Mom, but I don’t think that’d be much fun for any of us, would it?” She turned to her dad. “It’s best if I go home. I’m a bit too emotional tonight.”

    He nodded his agreement. “Call me if you want to talk about it. Otherwise, I’ll see you in the boardroom at nine on Monday.”

    She nodded.

    “And, Chelsea?” he called as she started to leave.

    She turned back around.

    “I really am sorry that you’re sad.”

    Tears welled up in her eyes, and she threw her arms around his neck. He stood to hug her, and for a moment she relaxed. They might disagree, they might fight, they might have very different priorities in life, but he loved her, and she loved him.

    ~ ~ ~

    Cole Hamilton shook his head as he watched his daughter leave.

    “I wish you’d waited until after dinner,” said Madeleine.

    He smiled at his wife. “You know full well none of us could have enjoyed a meal with all that hanging over our heads.”

    She sighed. “I know, but now we won’t see her for the rest of the weekend.”

    “It has to be done. She’s doing a good job, in some respects. She’s creating a good brand, a good reputation, and excellent wines, but she’s not keeping her eye on the bottom line.”

    “Whenever I talk to her she says she is. It’s just not her main priority.”

    Cole blew out a sigh. “It has to be! She’s running a business. I admire her values, but she can apply them in life, not business. She has to make money before she can throw it into her good causes and high ideals.”

    “I know.”

    Cole pursed his lips. “And she has to learn the difference between good causes and lost causes.”

    Madeleine smiled at him. “I agree; I’m glad Adrian is out of the picture. He was definitely a lost cause.”

    “A lame duck, if you ask me. I’m hoping if she can learn to be a little more realistic in business, she might carry that through to her personal life and make better choices there, too.”

    “And you think this Grant person you’re bringing in is the right one to help her?”

    Cole smiled. “We’ll just have to wait and see. Won’t we?”

    ~ ~ ~

    Grant went to the window of his hotel room and stared out at the setting sun. He hadn’t been back in Napa Valley in years. It was beautiful; there was no denying that. It was also the place to be if he wanted to make a name for himself in the world of wine. He’d spent the last ten years working his way around the world, consulting, turning businesses around. He was damned good at it, but it wasn’t where his heart lived. His heart lived here in Napa. He’d grown up here on a small family winery. His grandfather’s business. It had gone under when he was twelve years old. He shook his head and turned away from the window. And this was not the time to be getting nostalgic. He was here to do a job. He’d do it and do it well. Hopefully, it would be his in to the world of wine. If he made a success of turning Zosca around, he was hoping that it would impress Cole Hamilton, Senior and give him an in with the mighty Hamilton-Groves Corporation.

    His cell phone rang, and he picked it up off the dresser.


    “Grant? Where are you?”

    “Hey, Antonio. I just checked in to the hotel a little while ago. I was going to call you once I get settled.”

    “No time for getting settled. It’s Saturday night. It’s time to party.”

    Grant chuckled. “You’ve not changed then?”

    “No. My tastes are a little more expensive, but then I imagine yours are, too?”

    “Yeah, I’m more Michelin Five Star and a Fine Reserve than pizza and a six pack these days.”

    Antonio laughed. “Good, then you’ll enjoy Muse. Wine bar, stroke night club, stroke place to be seen.”

    Grant rolled his eyes. “I don’t really want to be seen. I don’t want to announce my presence here until the client knows I’m here. I should lay low until after Monday.”

    “Bullshit!” said Antonio with a laugh. “Your reputation may go before you, but I’m sure it isn’t accompanied by a photo. We can say you’re my old college buddy, which isn’t a lie. That way there’ll be no chance of word getting back to your poor unsuspecting victim that the hatchet man’s in town.”

    “I’m not a hatchet man! I’m a turnaround specialist.”

    Antonio laughed. “Whatever you say. I’ve heard about the path of destruction you leave in your wake. I just hope whoever your client is spends this weekend in blissful ignorance of the bloodbath that awaits them on Monday. In the meantime, we need to go out and have a good time. It’ll be good to catch up. What do you say, do you want to meet me in the lobby in fifteen?”

    “Sure, but I’m looking for a good steak, a glass of wine and a catch-up, not a night of debauchery.”

    Antonio chuckled. “You’re in Napa now. This is the place where you’ll find everything you’re looking for and more.”

    “I don’t need more.”

    “Yeah, you do. You need to get laid. I can hear it in your voice—you’re tense, wound up. You need to lose yourself in the arms and the charms of some sweet little thing. It’ll help you relax.”

    “Whatever you say. I’ll see you in the lobby.” He hung up and went to get changed. Maybe Antonio was right. He was wound up. This project was important to him in so many ways. He’d love to make a name for himself here, and there was a lot riding on turning this little winery around. Maybe he should do as Antonio said; have himself a good time and relax.

    When the elevator doors opened, he spotted Antonio immediately. There was no mistaking him, and no missing him. He was leaning on the reception desk chatting with the girls working there. Grant chuckled to himself as he approached. Antonio hadn’t changed a bit. To say he was a flirt was the understatement of the year. He could charm the birds from the trees and the panties off any woman he met. The two girls looked like they were already willing to drop theirs for him. He looked up and smiled. “Excuse me, ladies.” He came and gripped Grant’s shoulders. “It’s been too long, my friend.”

    Grant punched him playfully in the chest. “It has, but we both lead busy lives.”

    “We do, and we’ve earned a break. So, tonight is the night we kick back and have some fun. Let’s go.” He raised a hand to the girls at the desk as they made their way outside.

    The Maître D’ made a beeline for them as soon as they entered Muse. “Antonio! It’s good to see you. Your usual table?”

    Grant shook his head in amusement and followed behind as they made their way through the restaurant and out onto the terrace. It was a beautiful balmy evening, and the outdoor seating area was busy. It didn’t surprise him that the table with the best view was miraculously empty, or that the Maître D’ led them to it. Once he’d gone, Grant looked at Antonio. “You really haven’t changed, have you? The best table, the best service at the best places in town.”

    Antonio shrugged. “It doesn’t hurt that I own the place.”

    Grant laughed. “I should have known.”

    “Not really. I don’t shout about this one. I’m known for the wines and the womanizing. No one gives me credit for my business sense, and I prefer to leave it that way.”

    “We’re like two sides of the same coin. I’m known for my business sense, and no one associates me with wines or womanizing.”

    “Yet,” said Antonio with a smirk, “I have a feeling that once you’ve spent a little time here, you’ll be known for both.”

    “No. I might let loose tonight, but after that, I’ll be getting down to business. I want to make the most of this opportunity to make my name in the wine world, and I definitely won’t be doing any womanizing.”

    “You mean you won’t be giving yourself a name for it. You work hard; I know you’ll be playing hard while you’re here. I can’t believe you won’t tell me who you’re working for. I want to know who’s floundering so badly that they need to call you in to turn things around for them.”

    Grant felt bad. Cole Hamilton Sr. was Antonio’s uncle. In a way that made him feel he should tell Antonio. It was family business. At the same time, it was all the more reason to maintain client confidentiality. He shook his head. “It’s part of the contract. I am not to disclose the name of my client. I’m sure once I get to work that word will get out, it’s hard to hide the kind of changes I make …”

    “You mean the wails of pain from the bloodbath you’re about to inflict?”

    “It’s not a bloodbath. It’s not pain. I prefer to think of what I do as pruning to encourage new growth.”

    Antonio laughed. “That’s how you justify it to yourself?”

    Grant frowned. “It’s not justification. I’m proud of what I do. I turn companies around. I save them. Yeah, there may be some trimming of dead wood …”

    Antonio smirked.

    “Okay, so it’s a euphemism. I let people go. I fire them, but it’s all part of streamlining operations, making processes more efficient and cost-effective so that the company can thrive. It’s sacrificing a few for the greater good.”

    “Sorry, there’s no need to get so defensive.” Antonio looked surprised. “I was only teasing.”

    “I know, but you make me sound like a heartless bastard, and I’m not. I care about the overall good.”

    “I know you do. But let’s forget about business for tonight and get back to the wine and womanizing, can we?”

    Grant nodded. “Yeah, let’s do that. Steak first, though.”

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