In this excerpt, exhausted real estate broker Magda runs her nemesis, gardener Ty, late at night. Despite their enmity, he walks her to the subway station.
“I’ll bet no one breaks into the garden,” she was muttering.
Without thinking, he replied, “We get people cavorting there at night.”
Damn. He couldn’t see her face clearly in the half-light of the city streets, but he could hear the laughter in her voice. And that made things better.
“They leave things. Like shoes. Erm, underwear. Condoms.”
It was only a list. A list of personal items. Not sexy. Do not think of sex.
“Right. Cavort is a good word for that.”
He was really not going to think of cavorting in the garden with Miss Business.
“Anyway, we want to have an open door—open doorway—policy. And that’s what that means, sometimes. People are going to go in. Maybe they’ll smash a few zucchinis in the process. Dammit. I didn’t mean it that way.”
But she had stopped walking and was laughing at him again; the sight of his face seemed to make her almost double over so that she had to hold on to the iron gate of a nearby brownstone.
He couldn’t help it. It wasn’t the greatest night of his life, and he was sweaty and smelly, and he was walking in the humid night air with the woman he’d slotted in his mind as his nemesis, and yet she was wonderful and her laughter was infectious, and he wanted to laugh, too.
“It’s too much,” she gasped. “Please tell me that they’ve left the eggplants and peaches alone at least.”
“We can’t grow peaches. Oh, you mean—”
Another burst of silent giggles from her. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It’s been a really long night and I’m so tired, and the thought of Mrs. E having to break up a plant orgy is just too much for me right now.”
It was almost too much for him, torn between laughter and the talk of sex and all of his warring feelings.
He took a deep breath and tried to get his head on straight. “It used to be worse, when it was vacant, of course.”
“I’ll bet,” she said, wiping her eyes in that careful way of women who didn’t want to smudge their mascara.
“It really was a dangerous place.”
She gulped down a breath. “Tyson,” she said.
It was maybe the first time she’d said his name. “Ty,” she said, more softly. “You don’t have to convince me that the garden is a good thing for the neighborhood. Even if it were just something beautiful, even if it were only a clean, quiet spot on the block it would be enough. I know it does a lot more.”
About the Book: Open House, Uptown #2, Ruby Lang, available now.
Description: Love can take root where you least expect it.
Tyson Yang never imagined that one day he’d be the de facto spokesperson for an illegal community garden. But when the once-rat-infested-but-now-thriving Harlem lot goes up for sale, Ty can’t just let all their hard work get plowed under.
Even if he is irresistibly drawn to the lovely but infuriatingly stubborn real estate associate.
Magda Ferrer’s family is already convinced this new job will be yet another flop in her small but growing list of career path failures. But her student debt isn’t going anywhere, and selling her uncle’s historic town house and the lot nearby means a chance to get some breathing room.
Ty is her charming rival, her incorrigible nemesis, the handsome roadblock to her success.
Until one hot Harlem night blurs the hard line drawn between them, and the seeds of possibility in this rocky garden blossom into love…
Ruby Lang is the author of the acclaimed Practice Perfect series. She is pint-sized, prim, and bespectacled. Her alter ego, Mindy Hung, wrote about romance novels (among other things) for The Toast. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Walrus, Bitch, and other fine venues. She enjoys running (slowly), reading (quickly), and ice cream (at any speed). She lives in New York with a small child and a medium-sized husband.
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