Business Casual (Lovelight #4)

Business Casual (Lovelight #4)

by B.K. Borison
Business Casual (Lovelight #4)

Business Casual (Lovelight #4)

by B.K. Borison


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Notes From Your Bookseller

Head back to Lovelight Farms and fall in love with this opposites-attract match where a tattoo artist and an uptight finance bro can’t ignore their attraction to one another — what could go wrong?

Two opposites decide to test their chemistry with one steamy night together. But will once be enough?

Nova Porter isn’t looking for love, and she certainly has no explanation for her attraction to buttoned-up, three-piece-suit-wearing investment banker Charlie Milford. Maybe it’s his charm? Or maybe it’s his determination to help her fledgling business however he can. Either way, she’s distracted every time he’s around. With her new tattoo studio set to open in her hometown of Inglewild, she doesn’t have time for frivolous flirtations. 

In an effort to get Charlie out of her system once and for all, Nova offers a proposition. One night. No strings. They’ll kick their uncomfortable attraction to the curb and return to their respective responsibilities. But their explosive night together scatters their expectations like fallen leaves. And with Charlie in town as the temporary head of Lovelight Farms, Nova can’t quite avoid him. 

And Charlie? Well, Charlie knows a good investment when he sees one. He’s hoping he can convince Nova he’s worth some of her time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593641170
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/16/2024
Series: Lovelight , #4
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 952
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

About The Author
B.K. Borison lives in Baltimore with her sweet husband, vivacious toddler, and giant dog. She started writing in the margins of books when she was in middle school and hasn’t stopped.

Read an Excerpt

¶ 1 •


The tree fields are glowing.

I don't know who was in charge of wrapping the pine trees with strands of twinkling lights, but whoever it was, they did their job with enthusiasm. Every tree in the south field looks like a star plucked straight from the night sky above, a warm, golden glow reaching its fingers across the dusky fields.

There's a dance floor in the middle of the trees pieced together with old rugs pulled from storerooms across the farm, a patchwork of color and patterns littered with pine needles. Tables cluster around the edges, tidy bonfires contained in shallow metal drums to chase the early autumn chill away. The big red barn has its doors thrown open wide, and wedding guests spill out into the fields with laughter and music and light, their hands curled around mugs of wine and cider.

Woodsmoke curls between the blooms that are twined in garland from tree to tree-sunflowers, chrysanthemums, daisies-an unbroken chain of flowers circling the entire wedding. Baby's breath peeks from in between the branches of the trees, nestled so it looks like snow has settled on the thick green branches. Jimmy Durante rasps over the speakers about making someone happy and beneath the canopy of flowers and lights and branches of pine, the groom dances with his bride.

Luka spins Stella out and her pale pink dress flares around her legs. He tugs her back, and she folds herself into him with a smile that rivals the twinkling lights around them. They slip between the trees, and I lose sight of them, nothing but the fabric of her skirt and the edge of his jacket as they spin around and around.

"They look happy, don't they?"

My sister appears at my side, cake plate in hand. She sighs wistfully as the happy couple appears again on the far side of a misshapen Douglas fir, eyes locked on each other. Luka says something, and Stella tips her head back with another laugh, long hair tumbling over her shoulders. Luka's smile softens into something tender and private. It feels like I shouldn't be watching them at all.

"They should be." I reach for the half-empty bottle of wine in the middle of our table and top off my drink until the red is even with the lip of my glass. I lean forward and take a noisy sip, raising my eyebrows at my sister. "It's their wedding."

A wedding that is a decade in the making. Luka and Stella spent a majority of their relationship pretending they didn't want to be more. It took Stella buying a Christmas tree farm and inexplicably deciding she needed a fake boyfriend to nudge that in the right direction.

Harper narrows her eyes and pinches her lips in a look so reminiscent of our mother that I get a shiver down my spine. She takes the seat next to mine and balances her dessert plate on her lap, hunching over it slightly. I think she's afraid I'll swipe it right out of her hands.

"Is that your third slice of cake?"

Harper looks at me with her fork sticking out of her mouth. "You've been counting?"

"Yes, Harper. I've been sitting here in the shadows, counting how many slices of cake you've decided to eat tonight."

I'm surprised there's any left. Layla, the bride's best friend and the owner of the tiny bakehouse in the middle of the tree farm, made quite the statement with her confection. Three tiers of delicious sponge cake. Buttercream icing. Cannoli filling piped between the layers. Tiny daisies iced around the edges and pine branches lovingly hand-painted over every inch. The cake looks like it belongs in a museum, not in the middle of a field with a bunch of inebriated townspeople.

There was almost a fistfight when they brought it out.

I reach out and swipe my finger through the icing on my sister's plate, ignoring her scowl.

Harper pinches the skin right above my elbow in retaliation. "Be nice," she says.

"You be nice." I rub at the spot she twisted. "What? You can't share your cake?"

"You can get up and get your own." She gracefully crosses her legs and tilts her plate farther away from me, gold stilettos glinting in the lantern light. I wiggle my bare toes in the grass. I have no idea where my shoes are.

"I meant be nice about the happy couple." She shoves another forkful of cake directly in her mouth. "Doesn't it make you feel even the slightest bit romantic?"

"The cake?"

She waves her fork in the air, then stabs it in the direction of Stella and Luka. They're barely swaying between the trees, their arms wrapped tight around each other as the world moves around them.

Harper sighs dreamily. I take another loud slurp of my wine.

"Don't you want something like that?"

I don't bother thinking about it. "No."

This day has been lovely, but . . . I don't know. Romance isn't exactly a priority for me right now. Of course I'm happy for Stella and Luka. After an almost decade-long game of "Will they? Won't they?" it's nice to see them happy.

But do I want that for myself?

Not particularly.

I'm comfortable in my solitude. I like the quiet. I like eating dinner by myself and picking what to watch on TV. I like starfishing in the middle of my bed and setting my thermostat to the perfect temperature. I like rolling myself like an overstuffed burrito in all my blankets. I like having my space to myself, and I like not having to compromise. I don't need to share my every day with someone to suddenly feel fulfilled.

My favorite person to be with is myself, and my relationship of choice is brief, consensual, and satisfying. If I have an itch that needs to be scratched, I can always find a casual hookup easily enough.

Though that hasn't happened in quite a while.

Maybe that's what's got me twisted up. I've been so focused on the studio, I haven't had a casual hookup in ages. Maybe the lack of physical release is starting to turn me into a goblin. A gremlin. One of those stone creatures my mom keeps buying me for my garden. Maybe a hookup will soothe some of my anxieties. Maybe it'll help me turn my brain off for a bit.

Harper arches an eyebrow, blissfully unaware of where my thoughts have tumbled to. "You can't marry a tattoo shop, you know."

"Because that's what all women should aspire to, right? Marriage?"

She pokes me hard in the ribs. "No. You know I don't think that." It's true. Harper is just as committed to her design business as I am to the tattoo studio I'm trying to lift off the ground. But she's always had a soft, romantic heart. And I've watched douchebags take advantage of it for years.

I'd rather not lose myself in a relationship, thank you very much.

Harper frowns at me around another forkful of cake. "I don't want you to be lonely."

"Who says I'm lonely?"

Her frown deepens. "You've been sitting over here by yourself slurping wine."

"That doesn't mean I'm lonely," I grumble. I prefer the quiet, and my feet hurt from dancing. "I'm not lonely. I don't have time to be lonely."

I've been running in a sprint for the last six months. If I'm not thinking about the logistics of the new studio, I'm working on some sort of permit or tax form or expense report. And if I'm not working on one of my endless forms, I'm tweaking marketing items and ordering chairs and eyeing my budget with thinly veiled panic. When I crawl into my bed at night, I don't think or feel a single thing beyond bone-deep exhaustion and a lingering sense of imposter syndrome.

But even with all the new, substantial weight on my shoulders, I love owning my own business. I love being one of the only female-owned and female-operated tattoo shops on the East Coast. And I love that I'm getting ready to open up a new location in the place I grew up. My first studio that's fully mine, not just a space I rent with other artists in a co-op. It's a risk opening in a town as small as Inglewild. Foot traffic won't be as strong as it is down on the coast, but I've always wanted a place here. In the town where I grew up. Where all my favorite people are.

I just have to hope that the reputation I've built for myself is strong enough to bring clients over.

But that's a worry for another day.

Harper boops me gently on the nose with her fork. "You just went spiraling again, didn't you?"

I tuck my hair behind my ears. "Possibly."

She clicks her tongue. "You need to relax. Cut loose." She eyeballs my overfull wine glass and the bottle I've claimed as my own from behind the makeshift bar. "If you keep going like this, you're going to burn out."

"Who is burning out?"

My older brother Beckett claims the other chair next to me, tie missing and sleeves rolled. I'm shocked he stayed in a full suit for as long as he did. He'd spent the duration of the ceremony tugging at his collar as he stood next to Luka.

He's at ease now though. A bottle of beer held loosely in his hand, his forearm braced over his knee. His dark blond hair looks strange without a backward baseball cap, his blue-green eyes uncharacteristically bright tonight. I grin at him and he grins back. Beckett and I, we've always been a mirror reflection of one another. More comfortable on the edges of things. Shoes off. Tie missing.

I poke one of the vibrant tattoos painted along his forearm. My first and very favorite client. His arms are completely covered in my work from wrist to shoulder. When I landed my first apprenticeship, I had trouble establishing a client base. But Beckett let me tattoo him when no one else would. He walked right into the studio I begged for space at and plopped down in the chair. Stuck his arm in my direction and gave me a blank, expectant look.

Beckett has always believed in me. Even when I haven't necessarily deserved it.

I tilt his forearm so I can get a look at his latest. A simple collection of meteors drawn in thin black lines.

"It's healing well," I tell him.

"Of course it is." He tilts his arm and peers at it. "You did it."

My smile slips into something that wobbles at the edges. Sometimes it's difficult to live up to the rose-colored glasses my brother wears for me. He thinks I can do no wrong, and I'm afraid the day I finally do something to disappoint him, it'll break both of our hearts.

I drain the rest of my wine glass without comment. Harper and Beckett exchange a significant glance above my head that they don't think I can see.

I ignore them both.

That's the trouble with growing up the youngest of four. I know they mean well, but my siblings tend to treat me like an unruly toddler in need of constant supervision. I know that's why Harper came over here. Beckett too. I think they've got a version of me stuck in their heads where I'm four years old and struggling to keep up, mud on my cheeks and gummy worms hanging out of my mouth. Beckett still puts his big hand on the top of my head when we're in parking lots like he's afraid I'm going to run directly into traffic. I'm twenty-six years old.

I cut my eyes toward him.

"Has Layla forgiven you yet?"

"Ah." Beckett rubs the back of his neck and glances around the field. I spot Layla by the cake table in a pretty maroon dress, her back against her fiancé's chest and . . . glaring daggers at Beckett.

Beckett sighs, low and slow. "I don't think so, no."

"That must make work difficult."

Beckett is one-third of the trio that runs this farm. Stella oversees the marketing and business, Layla runs the bakery, and Beckett is head of farm operations. Things have always been smooth sailing between the three of them, though this certainly seems like a hiccup.

"It hasn't made it easy," he sighs.


"I think the wedding brought up some feelings."

"Well, she and Mom will have something to commiserate about, then."

Beckett drags his hand over his face. "Is she still mad too?"

Harper and I snort in unison. "Beckett, you're her only son, and you eloped on a Tuesday afternoon. She didn't even get to make a slideshow of your baby pictures. Or do any of those creepy mashup things of you and Evie that predict what her future grandkids might look like."

Beckett's cheeks flush a furious shade of red. Last month he showed up to family dinner with a shit-eating grin, a new gold ring on his finger, and his wife on his arm.

"Layla's just mad she didn't get to make the cake."

"Of course she's mad she didn't get to make the cake. I'm surprised she didn't write it in the fine print of her contract."

"She probably did," he grumbles. He glances up, winces, and then finds something interesting in the grass by his feet to study. "She's probably going to take me to court for breach of contract."

"You'd deserve it."

Across the dance floor, Layla's eyes narrow like she can hear exactly what we're saying. Caleb curls his arm around her without looking away from the person he's talking to, his palm at the base of her throat. His thumb rubs up and down the long line of her neck, and she relaxes in increments, head tipped back against his shoulder.

I don't know what the hell is in the water in Inglewild, but the last five years have been a domino effect of couples . . . coupling. It started with Stella and Luka and cascaded all the way down. My brother and Evie. Layla and Caleb. Matty, the pizza shop owner, and Dane, the sheriff. Mabel from the greenery and Gus, the town paramedic. I'm pretty sure the two stray dogs that circle around the fountain in the middle of town are even going steady now.

"It's also entirely possible that she wanted to be there for you on one of the biggest days of your life."

"I wanted something small," he explains with a sigh.

"It doesn't get smaller than you, the bride, and the courthouse official."

He takes a healthy swig from his beer. "The hot dog guy too."


"The guy who sells hot dogs in front of the courthouse was the witness."

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