About The Wrong Woman
As an independent filmmaker, Katie Cherry is used to difficult shoots—but a band’s music video in a tiny lesbian bar is proving worse than most. Stress-busting, expectation-free sex with Zay, the calm, gorgeous bartender, seems just the ticket. But then she and Zay discover the band’s lead singer beaten into a coma in the bar bathroom. They need an alibi, but playing girlfriends is a role Katie’s never excelled at, so she can’t see this ending well.
Zay Fayed-Smith is finally getting her life back together after her junkie ex broke it apart. She’s working part-time while pursuing her dream of being a lawyer, and definitely keeping things chill on the girls front. Of course, that’s when a crime happens in her bar and her ex shows up wanting to try again. “Dating” Katie seems like the best way for Zay to keep her head down and teach her ex a lesson.
Except pretty soon, the charade begins to feel less and less like acting. And when the attacker turns his attentions toward Katie, they have to cut through the lies to discover what’s real.
Today I’m going to share an exclusive excerpt with you from The Wrong Woman! There’s a fair amount of drama and shenanigans in This is a scene where Zay is hanging out with Jonah (from Blank Spaces) and her ex, Parry, walks in. Zay has to summon Katie – who is playing her girlfriend for too-long-to-explain reasons – as a favour. Enjoy!
“How the hell do you have a plan? Last thing I heard, there isn’t an app for temporary girlfriend delivery.” He grimaced. “Well. Legal ones.”
Sure. Luckily she had a fake one on hand. She pulled up Katie’s name on the screen and called her. Sent up a silent plea.
The ringing tone ended. “Hi, Zay.”
Success. Now to get her here. “Hey, sugar. Listen, I’m at a bar with a friend, and Parry just walked in, and I kind of need you here because I said you were coming, so can you get to the Holy Oak sometime soon, like in the next half hour or something?”
Silence on the line.
Zay quickly glanced at her screen to make sure the call hadn’t dropped. “Uh, did you hear me?”
“I heard you. I’m not sure I understood you. Your ex is there?”
“Yeah and she’s throwing shade because I usually only go to bars when I’m single. So I opened my big mouth and said my girlfriend was on her way here. Can you please come out to the Oak and make a big entrance? Please?”
Katie sighed. “I’m already in my PJs.”
For real? “Oh my God, woman, if that’s such a problem, stay in your fucking PJs! Like I care! You live around the corner, so get here already!”
Sounds of movement. “Ugh. You owe me.”
“Yeah, sure, anything.”
“Okay. I’ll be there as soon as I can.” She hung up.
Zay put down her phone and met Jonah’s disbelieving grin. Shit, she was never going to hear the end of this.
He leaned forward and rested his chin on his hands. “Who was that?”
“Sounds like a really good friend.”
Zay fidgeted with her phone. “She, uh, might’ve been there when Parry showed up at the bar that first time. Where the singer was found.”
Jonah’s grin widened as he put the pieces together. “You mean . . . this is the one-night stand from four days ago? Zay. Zay. I’m in awe.”
“No, seriously. It was that good she’ll run out here for you? Damn.” He reached over and shook her hand. “Well done. Your sex skills are better than mine.”
Her face was one gigantic ball of fire. “Shut up. She’s not just a one-night stand. We’re Facebook friends now.” She’d noticed and accepted Katie’s invitation before coming out tonight. Not that that mattered or anything, because Facebook was Facebook and Zay was over that site in a major way . . . Argh, it did mean something. Seeing that request had totally sent a small flutter through her.
“So you’re practically together.” He waggled his eyebrows. “Skills.”
“Oh my God. No.” He was having way too much fun with this. “You’re officially never meeting my family.”
“Hey, I wouldn’t say that to them. I wasn’t raised by wolves.”
She covered her face. “Ugh, how is this my life? What did I do to deserve all this? Maybe my family and friends are right. I should go to mosque more.”
“Somehow, I don’t think it’s your lack of religion that’s the problem.”
“It’s not a lack of religion, it’s just that I don’t buy into it as much as some of my family does.” Like, say, her teta and jeddo. Not that her family was hugely strict about it to begin with, but for her grandparents’ generation especially, faith was intertwined in everything they did and with their identities as Lebanese people.
Growing up Canadian, with the Western values implicit in that, had given her some distance between life inside and outside her family, including some perspective on faith. This conversation—right now with Jonah—was such a typical example. If she were talking about this with an aunt or her jeddo, she’d get way different responses. It was . . . well, complicated, and hard to articulate, but not a bad thing. She was glad to be Canadian as well as Lebanese, glad for the multiple worldviews the two cultures gave her. She didn’t think all her cousins, who’d also been born and grown up here, felt exactly the same way, but it gave them something to talk about when their parents were comparing accomplishments over food during get-togethers.
Still, offering up a few prayers for clarity of mind and to help her stop saying stupid shit probably wouldn’t hurt.
“Not that attending would help you right now anyway,” Jonah helpfully pointed out.
She glared at him. “You getting another beer or what?”
He chuckled and stood. “This is gonna be great.”
Zay glanced around and saw Parry sitting with people at a table near the far wall. She was, of course, sitting directly in Zay’s line of sight. Ugh.
Once Jonah came back with his beer, he grilled her about Katie. Zay gave what answers she could, but was a little distracted whenever someone entered the bar. Thirty minutes later, Katie walked through the door.
Zay’s heart jumped, and her palms turned sweaty. Oh wow. Katie looked beautiful—she’d put on makeup, her hair flowed across the shoulders of her navy-blue trench like copper silk, and the hem of a lighter blue dress flickered over her legs, which were encased in black heeled boots. In the Holy Oak’s atmosphere of gluten-free brownies, ales, toques, and ear expanders, she was like expensive whiskey.
Oh man. Oh man. She’d summoned a fucking alpha, and she hadn’t even known it. This was like watching Shane stalk through nightclubs in The L Word. This was better than that.
Katie caught sight of her and smiled. She began walking over, and Zay stood to greet her.
“Hi,” she said as soon as Katie was close enough to hear her. “You look incredible.”
Katie walked straight up to Zay, pulled her tight against her, and kissed her so hard Zay almost forgot how to breathe.
No question at all who was in charge here.
Zay closed her eyes and gave into the kiss.
About the Toronto Connections Universe
The winters might be cold, but hearts are warm in Toronto. Canada’s largest city is home to a big lake, a big tower, and a big queer community. People here are trying to get by like everyone else: pay the bills, deal with life in the city, and maybe find some happiness along the way with someone who’s sweeter than maple candy and more constant than a Canadian’s love for Timmie’s coffee.
For some, falling in love is a real challenge. For others, falling is the easy part—it’s the happy ever after that proves a little more difficult. But in the end, love is worth every complication, misunderstanding, and occasional swear word.
About Cass Lennox
Cass Lennox is a permanent expat who has lived in more countries than she cares to admit to and suffers from a chronic case of wanderlust as a result. She started writing stories at the tender age of eleven, but would be the first to say that the early years are best left forgotten and unread. A great believer in happy endings, she arrived at queer romance via fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, and manga, and she can’t believe it took her that long. Her specialties are diverse characters, gooey happy ever afters, and brownies. She’s currently sequestered in a valley in southeast England.
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To celebrate the release of The Wrong Woman, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 27, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!