After a solid career as an economist working at the US Embassy in London, forty-two-year-old American Ivy Cross is ready to jump to the bigger paycheck of the private sector and finally make time for a relationship.
Madrid-based tech superstar Ruben Alegre both infuriates and intoxicates her, and if he only lived closer she’d consider risking her heart.
When the opportunity for an incredible new job in Berlin arrives in the form of sexy Christof Brandt, she wonders if the offer is too good to be true. Her Late Bloomer friends are split down the middle, offering support but no clear decision.
Will she find a future with Ruben? Start a new life in hip and gritty Berlin?
There are no easy answers, but Ivy can’t deny that her life is about to change in a very big way.
Ivy mentally ran through the plan one more time as the Secretary of State gave the speech. First, she’d fake an upset stomach to her colleague Ben, touching her abdomen and nodding gravely before slipping quietly out the door. Then a firm nod to the Secret Service agents situated outside, secure in her clearance badge as a senior US Embassy employee to move freely about the building.
The carpet would muffle the sound of her high heels as she quickly walked down the empty hallway, and then she’d slip into her office and close the door. The press conference was mandatory for all staff, so Ivy would have the entire building to herself. But all she’d need was in her office. A few quick strokes to enter her password on her laptop, and then she would open the draft of the email she’d been perfecting for weeks. One click to send.
Ivy would take one last look around the office she’d occupied for the last five years, half her total stay in London— the functional, government-issued desk covered with manila folders; the dark blue carpet whose only selling point was the ability to hide stains; and the stand by the door, home to the umbrella she carried to work most days.
She’d shrug on her trench coat, wrap her Hermès scarf movie-star style around her long red hair, and take the elevator down to the lobby. At the top of the steps outside, she would pause, taking in this view for one last time—Grosvenor Square ahead with Dwight D. Eisenhower’s statue greeting visitors, a giant gold eagle above her head proclaiming demurely that the Embassy belonged to the United States.
One final goodbye to Sal and Chester, the guards at the gate, and Ivy would be free. Walking away from Hyde Park, she’d look up into the uncommonly sunny sky, cover her sparkling green eyes with oversized sunglasses, and head for the Piccadilly Circus tube station. An hour later she’d emerge at Heathrow Airport.
Once on board, Ivy would settle into first class, order a glass of champagne from the flight attendant, and look out the window into the fading daylight sky as the plane taxied down the runway full speed ahead to her exciting new life. She wouldn’t even bring a suitcase, leaving all the baggage of her current life behind. Everything from that point forward would be new—new job, new clothes, new country. Maybe even a new man, one who didn’t even own a suit. Her mouth curled into a slow smile, feeling the rush of takeoff. She gripped the arms of her chair just as she would on a real plane.
“You can’t be that excited about trade agreements,” Ben whispered, elbowing her in the side.
Ivy snapped out of her fantasy, instantly transported from champagne in first class to bottled water in the conference room.
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Betsy Talbot is a forty-something traveler and author. When she’s not on the road or penning books about love, adventure, and self-discovery, she is hiking, learning flamenco dancing, and drinking wine in a tiny whitewashed village in Spain with her handsome, long-haired husband Warren. (Watch out, Fabio!)
She is the host of The Quickie Romance Podcast, a weekly show highlighting excerpts from the best romance books in every genre. She’s been told she gives good audio.
Her latest project is The Late Bloomers Series, a five-book romance series about women in their forties. Because women with experience make the best characters—in life and on the page. Download a free Late Bloomers adventure right now at BetsyTalbot.com.
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