I once accidentally smuggled a weapon into a prison. It was a metal hair stick
that might as well have been a shiv. I'm not sure that every single item's
barcode beeps at the supermarket self-serve before hitting the bag. Sometimes I
fail to indicate when I change lanes. And in my day job I'm often called on to
write persuasive copy.
But I'm no con artist. So how did I come to write a Robin Hooding con artist family?
I got frustrated with the state of the world and its politics and I wondered
what it would take to redistribute a little wealth, spread the well-being, and
save the planet.
I'm no activist either, but as a romance author I wield a mean keyboard and
that's how the Confidence Game series got started. Anger meet keypad plus blank
page equals One Night Wife.
I imagined a generations old family who saw it as their duty to take money from
rich people who didn't deserve their luck or use their positions responsibility
and give it to more deserving people and unpopular causes. Robin Hood without
the tights or the flying arrows.
It wasn't hard to find examples of villains to model for the story. We read
about them every day in the news. Every nation has their rip off merchants, and
frauds. Their liars, cheats and thieves. Their Cayman Island bank account
holders and tax avoiders and stock manipulators and ponzi scheme players. Their
unscrupulous politicians and on the take officials.
Without knowing #MeToo was on it's way I threw misogynists, bullies and abusers
into the villain making as well. They were all about to get a serving of
justice, vigilante style.
In a way the books in The Confidence Game
series are superhero stories, but no one wears a cape, or has a mutant ability.
It's all sharp suits and mind games, boardrooms, ballrooms and society functions
and not getting caught so they can fight another day.
Of course, there are cons and there are my con artists. Mine have ethics. They
don't mess with good guys, and ordinary people, and they take down other cons
who prey on people who don't deserve to be taken for a ride.
In other words, like Robin Hood they believe in social justice and making the
world a fairer place, even if they have to bend and break the law to do it. It's
not like the bad guys aren't already doing that.
And the title, ONE NIGHT
WIFE. That comes from the name of a con where a charming couple wriggle
their way into the confidence of a ruthless asshole and walk away with all their
money in a way the ruthless asshole can't do anything about.
If you're thinking this is a fake dating story, you'd be absolutely right.
Here's a snippet:
"You'll have to pretend to be dating me."
"I wouldn't have to pretend."
"Yes, Finley, you would." Cal's sit down and behave yourself voice. The one that
made her body react in confusing ways. "Because it's work for both of us. It's
part of the game. And it got bent out of shape the last time I worked with a
female partner, and it fucked things up for a lot of people."
"Because you fell in love with her?"
"Because I didn't."
Oh, that female partner. "You want me to pretend to be your girlfriend.
You know exactly what that sounds like, right?"
"That you are my girlfriend. What I'm saying is no more kissing. Absolutely no
sex. We keep what we do strictly professional, and the moment we can't do that
Did he mean that? They were adults, if they both wanted each other what was
stopping them? "But if—"
"This is not a negotiation. I bring you opportunities to take money from my
whales for your charity as long as you play the role of my girlfriend in public
and we have no intimate dealings in private."
He meant it. "But if I'm your girlfriend, we're going to need to act like we're
He sighed. "Yes, we'll need to be affectionate in public. I'm not saying that's
going to be a hardship. I won't be acting. I like you. You know that. But I
can't get involved with you. The Everlasting project is critical for Sherwood
and for me personally. I can't afford to be distracted or have anything go wrong
with the deal. And if you want your dollars with a fuck load of zeroes behind
them, you need to play by my rules."
She wasn't giving up on her dollars. "You really are no fun."
He stood. He offered a hand and she took it, coming to stand beside him. "You
should take time to think about it."
"I've thought about it."
He dropped her hand to pick up the rug. "You've thought about how to get around
She was giving up on having the man. "You've made it abundantly clear this
energy between us isn't something you're into. You just got yourself the most
uncomplicated girlfriend ever."
Finley Cartwright is the queen of lost causes. That's why she's standing on a
barstool trying to convince Friday night drinkers to donate money to her failing
charity. Hitting on the guy on the next stool wasn't part of her plan. Still,
hot but grumpy venture capitalist Caleb Sherwood might just be her ticket to
Professional grifter and modern-day Robin Hood, Cal Sherwood is looking for a
partner for a long con. Sexy Fin, doing her best Marilyn Monroe act for her
cause, has the necessary qualifications. By the time he cuts her free, her
charity would be thriving, and she'd have helped him charm billions out of
arrogant, gullible marks to fund his social justice causes.
But just when he thinks he's about to pull off the best con ever, his feisty new
partner gets the upper hand.
Sensual [Entangled Amara, On Sale: May 28,
2018, e-Book, ISBN: 9781640635609 / eISBN: 9781640635609]
Ainslie Paton writes hyper-real contemporary romance, mostly for love.
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