The party is over for bikini model Izzy Alvarez. For six years she’s made a good living by flaunting her God-given assets on runways and in front of cameras, but now as she approaches the big 3-0, the bodacious Latina is shocked to learn she’s aged out of the profession that’s kept her in mojitos, mani/pedis, and designer thongs. What’s a girl with a taste for the finer things in life and no marketable skills to do?

Getting a regular job is too boring to even consider, so Izzy decides to follow in the footsteps of her newly-engaged frenemy and become a trophy wife. Although she’s desperate and too broke to get a chipped nail fixed, Izzy still has standards for her future husband, which means no uggos, no vertically-challenged guys, and no geezers who need to pop a blue pill to perform in the bedroom. Enlisting the aid of her computer whiz nephew and her closest pals, Izzy goes on the prowl for a rich, marriage-minded man, encountering likely candidates in a lot of unlikely places.

The high life she’s dreamed of may be within reach when Izzy meets a charming, successful man who’s not only hotter than a steamy summer night in Miami, but ready to settle down. Now all Izzy has to do is make sure her loud, crazy Cuban family doesn’t scare off el hombre perfectooh, yeah, and squelch those pesky, romantic feelings she keeps having for the sweet, cash-strapped guy she's known forever.

Will Izzy’s hunger for money win out, or will her fiery heart demand to be heard?

As we’re polishing off the last of the appetizers and I’m starting to feel a pleasant buzz from the rum, our conversation is interrupted by a familiar voice. “Izzy! Topaz! Nacho! Oh, my gosh, I haven’t seen you guys in forever.”
I turn to see Silvana Diaz, fellow model, friend (more like rival since we’re Latinas in the same age group and have always been sent up for the same jobs), and . . . I quickly take stock of
the wealthy-looking, pudgy, salt and pepper-haired gentleman whose arm she’s clinging to . . .
new member of the Sugar Daddy Matchmakers service?
“Yeah, it’s been a while. What have you been up to?” Besides hanging out at a plastic surgeon’s office. The once noticeable bump on the bridge of her nose is gone, and her lips have doubled in size since the last time we crossed paths.
“Oh, you know, just spending time with my man.” She strokes Middle-Aged Murray’s suit-clad arm and gazes at him adoringly. “He proposed on Valentine’s Day!” Silvana shoves her left hand in my face.
“Woah!” I jerk back in surprise when I see the size of the rock on her ring finger. Has to be at least three carats, and its platinum band is studded with sparkly diamonds, too. “That is quite a ring. You have great taste,” I compliment her fiancĂ©.   
“Only the best for my little mango.” He grins up at her. Yeah, that’s right, Silvana is a head taller than her hubby-to-be.
“He calls me that because I’m sweet and exotic,” Silvana explains, and I try not to gag.
“We’re all really happy for you, Sil,” Topaz says kindly. “Have you set a date yet?”
“No, but it will have to be later this year since I’ll be busy through the summer.”
I sit up straight in my chair, suddenly on high alert. “You’re going to be tied up all
summer? Did you get a national campaign or something?” Silvana is only six months younger than me, and she’s not nearly as pretty even with all her new cosmetic enhancements, so she’d better not have booked some big job, or I’m going to start flipping tables Real Housewives-style.
“I’ve retired from modeling. I don’t really have time for it anymore since Harry has to travel to Asia for business every few weeks, and I go with him since we can’t stand to be apart. Plus, it’s not like I need the money anymore.” She holds up her left hand and wiggles her fingers
to remind us once again how well-off her intended is and giggles.

So, Silvana no longer has to work and by the looks of things, Harry (ew, I hope that’s only his name and not an adjective that could be used to describe his back) is providing her with a very nice lifestyle that includes international travel and some very impressive bling. Hmmmm . . .

Forensic accountant Sloane Tobin and kooky pet psychic Willa may have the same face, but that’s the only thing these identical twins have in common.

How she can read the hearts and minds of animals has always been a mystery to Willa, and her rotten luck with men is equally baffling. Although she’s been looking for “The One” for what feels like forever (A teenage marriage to a French mime and dating a guy named Spider seemed like good ideas at the time!), optimistic Willa refuses to give up on love. When she meets Brody, the handsome rose expert hired to save her grandmother’s garden, she’s instantly smitten, but why does he keep sending her mixed signals? Does he return her feelings, or is their attraction all in her fanciful head?

Unlike her twin, Sloane has zero interest in romance. Her passion is her job, where she uses her gift for numbers to take down slimy embezzlers and asset-hiding spouses. When she’s assigned two high profile cases, Sloane feels confident the promotion she’s been angling for is within her grasp. But will her plan to climb the corporate ladder be thwarted by difficult clients, her co-worker-with-benefits, or – most surprisingly of all – her own sister? And how’s she supposed to stay focused on the drama at work when her childhood friend, Gav, moves in next door and the spark between them becomes impossible to ignore?

To get what they both want, can Willa and Sloane band together and rely on each other’s strengths? Or will their differences drive them apart once and for all?

“Let’s get back to what’s bothering you. Are you sure it’s not a man? Because you could tell me, you know. If you were involved with someone . . .”

“I don’t have time to date right now. I’m totally focused on my career.” This is Sloane’s stock response to any inquiries about her love life.

“I didn’t say ‘date.’ Relationships between men and women don’t have to be labeled.
Sometimes they just are . . .”

“Exhausting? Aggravating? A waste of time? Yeah, I’d agree with all that.”

“You wouldn’t feel that way if you found a guy you were simpatico with, someone as smart and ambitious as you, a professional type who values the finer things in life, like good clothes, a nice car–” 

“Maybe a BMW.” Sloane raises an eyebrow questioningly.

“Sure, why not? BMWs are good cars, aren’t they? They look really sleek and elegant and they cost a lot of money, so you’d have to be successful in order to afford one. Do you know anyone who drives a Beemer?”

“Wow,” Sloane shakes her head in disbelief, “you are so bad at this. It’s like being interrogated by Strawberry Shortcake. Actually, she’d probably be more crafty about it than you. ‘Do you know anyone who drives a Beemer?’ Seriously?”

I guess I tipped my hand. Sloane’s right. I do stink at subterfuge. “I would have asked you outright, but you’re always so–”
“Gav is dead,” she vows while pouring herself some more lemonade. “I should have known when he ran into Josh outside last week that he was going to run straight to you and blab about it. He’s like some gossipy teenage girl.”
Oh, shoot, now Gav’s going to get in trouble, which I promised him he wouldn’t. I need to bail this out ASAP.
“Um, to be fair, Gav’s known about this Josh guy for months and he only told me today because I threatened to tickle it out of him. What’s the big deal anyway?” Good, Willa. Put her on the defensive. “I’m your sister. You don’t have to keep things from me. Is there something wrong with this Josh guy? Gav did say he looked like a d-bag.”
She rolls her eyes. “That is so typical! Gav never has anything positive to say about any of the men in my life. They’re always ‘douchebags,’ or ‘jackasses,’ or have ‘sticks up their butts.’”
“Yeah, well, that works both ways. When have you ever liked one of his girlfriends?”

“Please,” she scoffs. “His girlfriends are nothing but tramp-stamped airheads who make
minimum wage and can’t string two sentences together to carry on a semi-intelligent conversation. They’re all totally scorn-worthy.”
“What about Thea? She was a lawyer.”
“And a condescending bitch who tried to deball Gav. Thank God he finally wised up on that one. Can you imagine if he’d gone through with marrying her? BLECH”
The funny thing about Sloane having such an aversion to Thea is that the two of them are actually very similar – in looks (both are tall, slim brunettes with blue eyes) and in personality (competitive, career-obsessed women who don’t suffer fools gladly and always want to be in the driver’s seat). Under different circumstances, they might have been friends, but that wasn’t going to happen while they viewed each other as a threat.
“Yeah, I think it’s best for everyone that their relationship didn’t work out.”
“Me, too. I would have hated to see Gav get hurt. I’m protective of him.”
“Protective, or . . . territorial?”

An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O'Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)

Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a "real" job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. She is the proud winner of the 2017 Independent Press Award (Romantic Comedy) and a Bronze Medal in the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Awards (Chick Lit).

Although Tracie swore she’d never write a sequel to any of her books, the character of Izzy Alvarez, who first appeared in
In Need of Therapy, would not be denied. Izzy As Is is Tracie’s fifth novel, and she hopes readers enjoy this return trip to Miami.

Author Newsletter – The Banister Buzz

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