Start Us Up

A Park Avenue Promise Novel


Lexi Blake

Three young women make a pact in high school—

to always be friends and to one day make it big in Manhattan.

She’s a high-tech boss who lost it all…

Ivy Jensen was the darling of the tech world, right up until her company fell apart completely after she trusted the wrong person. Her reputation in tatters, she finds herself back in the tiny apartment she grew up in, living with her mom. When a group of angel investors offer her a meeting, she knows she has to come up with the new big idea or her career is over.

He’s an up and coming coder…

Heath Marino has always been fascinated with writing code. He’s worked on a dozen games and apps and is considered one of the industry’s more eccentric talents. But now he’s back in New York to spend time with his grandmother. She was known as one of the city’s greatest matchmakers, and he wants to know why. Surely there’s some kind of code in his grandmother’s methods, and he’s going to find them.

 When Ivy meets Heath it’s instant attraction, but she’s got a career to get back to and he just might be her on-ramp. It could be a perfect partnership or absolute heartbreak.

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An Exclusive Interview with Lexi Blake

~with Jillian Stein, co-owner of 1,001 Dark Nights / The Blue Box Press

(Ivy and Heath from Start Us Up interview Lexi Blake)

How did you come up with our story? 

I really wanted to deal with the idea of starting over. My husband used to work in high tech and we’ve been involved in many a start-up. It can be exciting and heartbreaking all at the same time. So Ivy getting involved in a start-up after reaching the heights she had was very interesting to me. I also like the idea of the heroine being the truly ambitious one. She moves Heath along professionally while he moves her along emotionally.

Was it hard to figure out what we looked like?

I’m still not entirely sure what you look like, Ivy, though you do look good in Chanel. Heath is a different story. He looks like every cute boy from a 90’s early 00’s teen drama. Think Penn Badgley (OG Gossip Girl) or Adam Brody (The OC). Heath looks like the dude who would never hurt Taylor Swift.

Was there anything that surprised you about our story?

Well, I certainly never meant for the three moms to play such a central role. I thought Lydia, CeCe, and Diane would be side characters who sometimes gave a little advice, but they reminded me that they’re grown women with stories of their own. Important stories. I ended up loving writing those three women far more than I thought I would. They still live in my head long after the story was written.

You don’t have to tell us who, but are we based off of someone in your real life?

Heath and Ivy? Nope. You two are completely from my imagination, though I did take one of the central fights Ivy has with her mother from my own real life. As for the other characters, well, my lips are sealed.

How did you choose our names?

Ivy is one of those names I’m not sure why I hadn’t used yet. It’s a lovely name and fits Ivy because she’s tough and manages to grow even in suboptimal conditions. Heath is just cute. It’s a cute boy name, and that works for Heath.

Ok, for a little bit of fun, which one of us would:

Steal the covers in bed

  • Absolutely Ivy

Cry during a Rom Com

  • Strangely enough I think Heath can get a little emotional. Though it’s just something in his eye, of course.

Stay up late watching cat videos

  • Ivy is a TikTok addict.

Fall for a prank

  • Ivy is far too serious to fall for a prank. She would see it coming from a mile away. Heath, however, takes everything as it comes and is the perfect target.

Win a rap battle

  • Heath has a little swagger in there.

Wing it on our wedding vows

  • She only writes code. Not vows.

New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband and three kids. Since starting her publishing journey in 2010, she’s sold over three million copies of her books. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance that she found success. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings.