Dear Reader,

Last year I visited New York City for the first time in many years. I’d forgotten how incredible it is, how its streets makes you feel so alive. Yet despite being frenetic, it’s easy to get around, and friendly.

New York is the setting for some great movies—An Affair to Remember, Sleepless in Seattle, Two Weeks’ Notice. The city has also inspired many books...including That New York Minute.

In That New York Minute, Rachel Frye and Garrett Calder, rivals in a Manhattan advertising agency, are complete opposites—such fun for me, the writer, helping them find their way to each other! Garrett is an aloof bad-boy—his nickname is The Shark!—while Rachel cherishes family above all else, despite her high-powered career. But they have two things in common: they’re both after the same job (whoever doesn’t get it loses everything), and they both need someone who’ll stick with them no matter what.

My visit to NYC will stay in my heart forever...but not for the obvious reasons. You see, I’d planned to travel there with two of my best friends and fellow authors, Sandra Hyatt and Karina Bliss. We were particularly excited because Sandra was up for an award at the conference we would attend. But a volcanic ash cloud forced the cancellation of my friends’ flight; to our mutual devastation, they never made it to NYC.

A few weeks later, Sandra died suddenly of a brain bleed. It was a terrible shock to her family and friends, and a reminder to us all to make time for those we cherish (as, indeed, Sandra always did). I will never get to visit the Big Apple with Sandra, but she will always be in my heart.

That New York Minute is dedicated to Sandra, whose infectious smile and kind nature made her loved by all. I do hope you enjoy it.

With warm wishes and a gentle reminder to cherish your friendships

Abby Gaines



Excerpt from That New York Minute

© Abby Gaines


Rachel pressed for the fifty-sixth floor, hit the Door Close button and stepped back to enjoy the rare solitude of having the elevator to herself.

Only to have a laptop bag wedged unceremoniously between the almost-closed doors. They rumbled open again.

To her horror, Garrett Calder followed the bag into the elevator.

"You!" she blurted.

A grunt and a jerk of Garrett’s chin acknowledged her as he set his laptop on the floor. He jabbed the button to close the doors.

Charming. Rachel resigned herself to a long, silent ascent. Not that she wanted social chitchat with Garrett, not after last night. She stared straight ahead, focusing vaguely on the safety certificate which, from numerous rides spent avoiding eye contact with other New Yorkers, she knew expired in November.

Garrett leaned against the wall to her left, facing Rachel. No idea of elevator etiquette. Mind you, most of her female colleagues would be delighted to have such an excellent view of him. No question he was good-looking, if you liked your men tall, dark and brooding.

She’d noticed before that he took up more than his fair share of space. How did he do that—he was tall, but there was no excess bulk on him. Nor could Rachel attribute it to his larger-than-life personality—last night was the chattiest she’d ever seen him. Unfortunately.

Recollection had her shifting in her high heels. She realized he hadn’t selected a floor destination, and stretched a hand toward the panel. “Fifty-four?” That was the floor they both worked on.

He winced and pressed his fingers to his right temple. “Could you please stop shouting?”

His deep voice held a faint croak, suggesting he might actually have finished that second bottle of bubbly. There was no sign of mockery in his dark eyes. In which case...maybe he’d forgotten their “conversation.” Maybe it was lost in the depths of his hopefully agonizing hangover. She was torn between relief at the thought, and annoyance that he could destroy her relationship without remembering a thing about it.

“Which floor?” she asked, louder.

His eyes, dark as coal, narrowed. “Same as you.”
Rachel’s hand dropped. “You’re going to fifty-six?” To the partners’ floor?

Garrett ignored her.

She registered that he was wearing a tie—charcoal gray, an elegant contrast with his dark shirt and perfectly-cut black suit. Something shifted, as if the elevator had jolted in its slow, straight course.

No way. She knew exactly how this morning was supposed to pan out. She would attend the partners’ breakfast along with “the other candidate,” schmoozing her heart out with the Key Bowen Crane partners. At the end of breakfast, she would be named partner designate, poised to cement her place in Madison Avenue’s largest independent ad agency. The “other candidate” would also be named partner designate, though only one of them could ultimately win the partnership, along with the coveted role of chief creative officer.

Rachel knew it would be her. Just yesterday morning, Jonathan Key, chairman of KBC, had said with a no-need-to-worry wink that he was sure she could guess who her competition was.

It wasn’t—couldn’t be—Garrett Calder. He’d been at KBC for mere months, and was renowned for moving on the minute he grew bored. Not partner material.

Surely there weren’t two other candidates? The walls of the elevator seemed to close in on her. Rachel sucked in a sharp breath—better—and checked the illuminated number above the door. Tenth floor. Hurry up.

"So, Garrett, when were you invited to the breakfast?” she asked, trying to sound relaxed.

A glint in his eyes suggested she’d stopped somewhere short of the mark. Landed somewhere right around tense. “A couple of weeks ago. I told Tony I wasn’t interested, but last night I decided I might as well come along.”

Mention of last night made her pause. But this was too important.

“What, uh, changed your mind?”

“You did.” That glint turned diabolical. Telling her that, hangover or no, he remembered every word.

“I suspect that second bottle of champagne dulled your memory,” Rachel said briskly, trying not to blush. “I did not encourage you to attend this meeting.”

“‘Do it on your own terms,’” he quoted.

She racked her memory for when she would have said something so self-absorbed. “You said that.”

“Did I? Damn, I’m good.”

Rachel gritted her teeth. “The whole idea of partnership is working with others, it’s not about your own terms.”

He didn’t reply, but one dark eyebrow rose lazily.

Garrett was lazy. He arrived around nine most mornings, when other people had been there since seven-thirty. Outrageous that he should think he could turn up to the partners’ breakfast on a drunken whim, and snap up the job she’d been working toward for so long.

“Has your boyfriend cashed in that rain-check yet?” he asked.

She clamped her lips together. Then, unable to resist, muttered, “What made you think we were talking about...what you said?” Not that she was about to tell him he was right.

“Been there, done that,” Garrett said. “By which I mean, I’ve been the offeree before. I’ve never begged someone to stay, but I recognize the body language.” He shook his head, all phony sympathy. “Like I told you, begging doesn’t work.”

Rachel’s eyes smarted. She blinked hard, twice. “Here’s some advice right back at you: What happens in the bar stays in the bar.” Switching gears, she said crisply. “So, Garrett, you’ve been at KBC, what, six months?” Aware it was somewhat longer that she’d been subjected to his suspiciously bland expression whenever others acclaimed her work.

“Eleven,” he said wearily, as he was already bored with the topic. Maybe it was just that a three-syllable word was too much effort this morning.

“That’s got to be a record for you. Come on, Garrett, you don’t want to be a partner.” He was renowned for his refusal to settle in one firm.

Her insistence had had a shrill edge; he winced. “If I agree I don’t want to be a partner, will you shut up?”

As if he would be so agreeable. He hadn’t earned his nickname—The Shark—by backing down from a fight. No, that moniker was born of his reputed “killer instinct” in winning pitches. It had become one of those self-fulfilling prophecies—Rachel suspected he benefited from an advantage over rivals intimidated by being up against The Shark.

Not today. She wasn’t about to be intimidated.

He probably made the name up himself. Which was good marketing, she’d admit. Perhaps she should start calling herself...The Terrier.

Didn’t have quite the same ring to it.

A glance at the numbers above the elevator door revealed they were at the twenty-fourth floor.

“I guess Tony had his reasons for inviting you to attend this morning,” she said, “but, Garrett, you won’t win. Why put yourself through that?” Maybe she could convince him to get out on fifty-four.

He didn’t say anything. Tension had flattened his lips and he obviously had a pounding headache. Drawing his dark eyebrows together in that thunderous way wouldn’t help the pain. He must realize, in his heart, that she was right. He was an outsider, and everyone knew that outsiders seldom won. Rachel’s shoulders relaxed. She could almost feel sorry for him.

Maybe that’s why he was drinking alone last night. Out of a sense of inadequacy.

She ignored the fact that the word didn’t gel with anything about him.


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Contest!


To celebrate the release of her latest novel, Abby Gaines has a special contest just for you! For a chance to enter, just visit Abby's website  and find the answer to the following question:

What was the title of Abby Gaines' June 2011 Superromance release?

Then email us at staff@authorsoundrelations.com with your answer by midnight on April 16th, 2012. Be sure to include your full name and mailing address and please mark the subject heading as 'TNYM'.

1st prize: A $20.00 gift certificate from Amazon.
2nd, 3rd and 4th prizes: Winner's choice of a paper copy of either Her Best Friend's Wedding, or The Earl's Mistaken Bride.

Good luck!

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