Career driven Johanna MacDonald has fought long and hard to become an executive in conservative Larkspur Industries. When an impulsive weekend spent with a charming threadbare stranger leaves her pregnant she's prepared to do whatever she has to to protect her career.
She offers her weekend companion $10,000 for a marriage in name only. She's relieved when he accepts and stunned when he turns out to be a wealthy west coast businessman and the city's most eligible bachelor.
Why would he consider such an arrangement? And why would he threaten both her career and her unborn child when she attempts to withdraw her offer?
An Awe-Struck ReleaseComing Soon...
A widow and mother of five children, Isabel currently lives in Marietta, GA with her son's family and a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Eve who is in charge of all of them. Isabel always loved to read, and writing her own stories just naturally followed. She wrote her first horse story at the age of fourteen and hasn't stopped since. When Isabel’s not writing or reading, she visits her widely scattered children and their families. Awe-Struck has published Ms. Martens’s contemporary romance, Johanna. Clementine, a Regency romance, is her second novel published by Awe-Struck.
"Johanna is an emotional rollercoaster of a story. You will laugh and you will cry at the twists and turns this story takes. There are unforeseen forces that will work against this couple as they try to love and protect each other and form a strong family unit. I found the author did a wonderful job in telling how the entire family can be affected by the action of one, even if it is unintentional. Johanna is also the story about a love that in the end won’t be denied. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and think you will also."Tanya -- Joyfully Reviewed
"I have to say despite wondering if there are companies out there as old-fashioned as the one Johanna works at, I enjoyed this book tremendously. The way the story is spun out, just when you think things will finally work out, something else happens and off you go again. The problems these two face are so great that I wondered if there was any way they were going to get together and stay that way. Luke's problem was unique and I hadn't expected it. His demons are deeply rooted and despite efforts by all those around him, they still hold him in their sway. He seems helpless against forces far beyond his capability to cope, though he continues to try. Only occasionally does his problem affect his performance at work. Johanna, once she figures out she loves him, loves him fiercely and beyond reason or rhyme and wants what's best for him even if it means she can't have him. I found this most poignant and had to grab a tissue as I read of her decisions and her strength in carrying them out. The author has penned a work of great emotion and depth and I think it's worth keeping. Once you read it, you're likely to want to again and again."Jordan -- Enchanting Reviews
“I really enjoyed reading this novel. The characters are very lively and filled with true emotions that non-fictional characters often feel. Furthermore, the relationship that develops between Johanna and Luke is something that can happen in real life. Usually, fiction is written with the idea that the strong male is the one who sweeps the female off her feet and offers her comfort and security. In this story, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that both Johanna and Luke need something from each other… This is a must read for all fiction.”Jasmine -- The Long and the Short of It Reviews
"Johanna is a stunningly beautiful romance that proves that the capacity to love is limitless and that true love in a marriage is based on far more than sex. I could feel every aching emotional pain that Johanna felt as over and over she tried to help her husband but he seemed to get worse. The author did a fantastic job of explaining what severe anxiety attacks are and what can cause them, as well as what the best treatments for them can be. Luke as the emotionally broken but still strong man was a pleasure to read about. I really enjoyed the resolution of this book, and for that alone will read this book over and over again. This book will win awards, and you do not want to miss it!"Regina -- Coffee Time Romance
5/5. Five out of five is rated as a "Lifetime Keeper"
"This book made me experience a vast range of emotions that I have not experienced from a romance book in a long time. I loved Johanna and it is definitely a recommended read!"Little Sunshine of Night Owl Romance
"Go ahead, jump!" chorused the contingent of college students leaning over the railing on the upper deck.
Did they think she was crazy? Johanna looked down at the widening gap between the ferry bow and the dock.
"Jump! I'll catch you," yelled a confident male voice.
It was jump or miss the ferry. "Oh, my God!" she yelped, and jumped. Strong arms closed around her and she looked up into the face of the man she thought she'd put in jail. "You!" She planted both hands on his hard chest and pushed.
He hung on his smoke-gray eyes filled with laughter. "Yep. Me. Call it kismet. Call it fate. Call it the hand of God."
Johanna snorted. "Hardly the hand of God. Coincidence maybe."
The ferry shuddered under her feet, its propellers digging into the gray-green waters of Elliott Bay to churning up a pungent mix of mud, saltwater and seaweed. With a deep-throated whistle, the elderly car ferry announced its scheduled departure.
"Don't do something like that again," a deckhand growled.
"She ended up in good hands," her rescuer said.
She wasn't so sure about that. For all that she had both palms pressed firmly against his chest, he held her in a full body press and gave no indication he intended to let go. For an instant, she allowed the tantalizing press of thigh to thigh, belly to belly and chest to chest. He was devilishly good looking and had a killer smile and, she sternly reminded herself, she'd left him shoveling forkfuls of stolen breakfast into his mouth while she hurried off to notify the maitre d'.
She'd just wound up a week's worth of negotiations with Harper Manufacturing, and stood at the bay window overlooking the street, indulging in a final cup of coffee and a few minutes of peace and quiet before heading for the office. Partially concealed by the drapery, she'd not been visible from the door when he poked his head in, sniffing the air like a bird dog.
He grinned and headed straight for the steam table where, with the aplomb of an invited guest, he loaded a plate with the remains of the catered breakfast and carried it to the nearest table, two pieces of ham balanced on top of a mound of scrambled eggs and home fries. Returning to the buffet, he got several muffins, a pot of jam and a glass of juice. Carrying his stolen treasures, he went back to the table and sat down. She almost laughed out loud when he shook out a white linen napkin and spread it neatly over his worn denim jeans.
His brazenness astonished her. Surely he knew that a restaurant employee could walk in at any moment, sound the alarm and have him carted off to jail. For reasons she hadn't fully examined, she waited until he'd consumed well over half the food in front of him before she stepped out of the alcove. He paused, loaded fork halfway to his mouth, looking more amused than alarmed.
"You going to scream?" he asked, his words muffled by the food he'd taken the time to shovel into his mouth.
"Absolutely." He bit down on a large wedge of ham. "But I'd really appreciate it if you didn't. Hard on the ears."
She had no idea why she wasn't screaming. Maybe the boyish humor gleaming in his gray eyes and his so obvious enjoyment of the food she knew would end up in the garbage if he wasn't stealing it, silenced her.
"Thanks." He buttered a muffin. "Actually, they know I'm up here."
"Oh, really?" The boldness of his lie amused her. "Do you routinely get permission to clean up banquet tables?"
"Now and then." He bit down on the muffin, his expression sublime. "Heavenly. Best baker in the city." He gestured at her suit and heels with the remnant of muffin in his hand. "You on your way to work?"
"No, I'm at work. Have been for over two hours. You ought to try it."
He arched an eyebrow.
"Working," she clarified.
"Oh, that." He dismissed work with a wave of his hand.
"Yes, that. If you were working you wouldn't have to steal breakfasts. You could buy them."
He stuffed half a muffin into his mouth. "I've got a job. Kind of."
"I can tell." Her glance took in his wash-faded sweatshirt and threadbare jeans.
"Clothes do not make the man. Could be you work too hard and dress too fancy. Ever think of that?"
"I dress for the occasion."
He waved a long-fingered hand in her direction. "That what they call a power suit?" Another wedge of ham went into his mouth.
"Not exactly." This morning she had selected a pale gray linen sheath with a tuxedo jacket trimmed in dark rose embroidery.
"I hope you didn't want something to eat," he said, looking concerned. "I've kind of cleaned things up."
"You certainly did." Nothing remained but a few crumbs. "Fortunately, I ate earlier." And last night and the day before, and every evening this week as she escorted Harper's representatives in and out of some of Seattle's finest restaurants. She'd eaten and over eaten and intended to spend the weekend nibbling on salad greens and sipping herbal tea. While this man ate what? Probably nothing.
She'd first thought him one of the homeless street people who occasionally sneaked in through a side door hoping to find just the sort of repast this fellow had found. But he didn't have the look of a street person. His gaze was too direct and his posture too erect. He lacked the hunched shoulders and furtive manner so typical of the homeless, most of whom found just being alive a heavy burden. He had the confident air of someone in full control of his destiny. Interesting demeanor for a man stealing food from a four star restaurant.