Tort & Retort

Genre: Contemporary Short Romance
Sexuality: Male/Female
Release Date: 2/15/2008
Length: Short Story (Plain Brown Wrapper)

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Ambitious and driven patent law attorney, Gayle Osborne, has a secret. Her power suits and take-no-prisoners attitude hide a passionate nature whose only outlet is reading and reviewing erotic romance. If anyone finds out that she is “Miss Retort,” the snarky and opinionated blogger from the Hits & Misses review blog, she’ll lose everything — her reputation, her clients, her job and, worst of all, her gorgeous mentor and boss, Tyler Monroe.


Tyler Monroe’s considerable presence seemed to fill the room just as his well-built body filled the doorway. She quickly looked back down at her laptop but couldn’t resist a peek at her mentor’s tight ass as he walked over to shut the door leading into the rest of their small office suite.

Damn. It really is too bad that he’s off limits. An ass that fine just begs for some exploratory nibbles.

She managed not to drool and forced her eyes away just in time to avoid being caught ogling him. At least the agenda for their meeting provided a convenient distraction from her lustful thoughts.

Throughout the meeting, it took an act of supreme willpower to keep her mind on business and off Tyler’s gorgeous toffee colored eyes, or what it might feel like to run her hands through his short dark brown hair.

After they exchanged updates on their various projects and covered the few other agenda items, she gathered her items up, already thinking of the preparations she needed to make before this afternoon’s round of client meetings.

“Umm, Gayle?” Tyler sounded uncharacteristically hesitant.

“Yes? Did I forget something?” She mentally reviewed the meeting agenda. “I’m sure I covered everything.”

“You covered everything on the agenda, but I have something else I want to talk to you about.” He glanced at his own laptop, then closed it and looked at Gayle instead. “Do you remember our agreement when you came to work for me?”

His unsmiling question made her immediately nervous. What had she done? Did she screw something up and not even realize it?

She erected the confident front she’d developed during law school and subsequently perfected during her daily interactions with overly egotistical geeks. She straightened the coat of her red linen suit and squared her shoulders. “I remember we agreed that you’d take a chance and hire me right out of school, unproven, if I’d take a chance and work for a lawyer that just started his own niche law firm.”

Try as she might, she simply could not come up with anything for Tyler to be unhappy about. There was the incident a few days ago where she’d told off yet another game developer who thought he could play Fantasy Fornication with her, instead of discussing the possibility of patenting his new algorithm. But Tyler had cheered her on for that when she’d told him what happened.

She realized she was fidgeting with her pen and set it carefully down on the conference table before she forced herself to sit back in her chair and relax. Or at least pretend to relax.

Tyler’s sharp eyes were sure to detect her tense hands and clenched jaw, and know she wasn’t really at ease. Remaining silent, she waited for him to finish his torment and just tell her what was on his mind.

Sometimes he took far too much delight in dangling people from hooks and watching them twitch.

“I’ve decided it’s time to make some changes.” Tyler looked down at the file folder he’d carried in with him but hadn’t opened during their meeting. “Past time actually.”

Gayle gulped. This had all the hallmarks of a pink slip. But why?


Tanya at Joyfully Reviewed gave Tort & Retort a Joyfully Recommended Read and says: “Bravo Ms. Anderson! Finally someone who writes a story about all of us faithful readers and reviewers, and she hits it right on the nose. For those of us who have careers in a male dominated profession we do constantly face the reactions to our reading choices that Gayle faces. Tort and Retort takes a humorous look at this world and genre and in a lighthearted way tackles some of the most common perceptions. If you like stories about hot men, enjoy reading ebooks and like a little romance and/or erotica in your stories then you have to get Tort and Retort. It is with NO hesitation that I Joyfully Recommend Tort and Retort for an April read.”

Cheryl at Fallen Angel Reviews gave Tort & Retort Four Angels and says: “The way the characters interacted with each other was great in the way their relationship was easy going and believable. I thought this book was really refreshing in the fact that Maura Anderson took one of the twenty-first century crazes of blogging and incorporated it well into this book. It was also fun to read the book reviews Gayle and her friends did. This is my first time reading anything by this author but it won’t be my last.”

Matilda at CoffeeTime Romance gave Tort & Retort four Cups and says: “Tort & Retort is a quick and entertaining read. As a reviewer, I found this story quite humorous. It takes reviewing to another level showing a different side of the process. Gayle and Tyler as a couple are a breath of fresh air. If you need a short break from your busy world, then take a bit of time to enjoy this book. It will make your day brighter.”

Jennifer at CK2S Kwips & Kritiques gave Tort & Retort four and a half Klovers and says (in part): With the character of Gayle Osborne, Ms. Anderson delivers a heroine that many women will identify with – a woman trying to balance her professional identity with her private persona, keeping the two worlds separate lest her personal interests somehow detract from her professional credibility. In this modern world, professional women are somehow thought less of if we have feminine interests, but it is those ‘frivolous’ interests that keep us in touch with our femininity as we trudge through the corporate world day after day. Gayle’s own inner struggle with these two sides of herself is something that is bound to resonate with many of the female readers.”

WitchyGiggles at Alternative Reads read Tort & Retort and says: “This was a delightful comedy of deception begetting an unusual brand of justice. The lengths to which these two go to hide a true portion of themselves is all too realistic, while the sex was stimulating. Miss Maura, ma’am, what’s not to love in being an erotic romance reviewer? (Delicate snort here) We are, after all, absolute “puddy tats”. More, please.”

Jacquelyn R. Ward at The Romance Studios read Tort & Retort and says: “What a cute and quirky story. Being a lover of erotic romance books and a reviewer myself, I couldn’t help but feel a connection to this story. Gayle is a strong woman who’s afraid to let others see that she really does have a soft and sensual side to her. Her fears are justified by the judgmental field she works in. Tyler is very similar to Gayle in that he is a just and fair man, but his softer side is also hidden because of the secret he is carrying around. The tip-toeing these two go through to try to protect themselves and yet garner the courage to tell the other, is hilarious. The chemistry between them is very strong. Whether it is working side by side on a case, or tearing up the sheets, the connection is undeniable. If you are looking for a good, interesting quick read full of heat and desire, this is the book for you.”