Exposing the Executive's Secrets [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Emilie Rose
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: FOR SALE: BACHELOR #13. One not-so-old flame. Still hot. Proceed with caution! Eight years after he destroyed her heart, Andrea Montgomery sought her revenge by purchasing Clayton Dean at a charity bachelor auction. Impress him, question him, tempt him--that had been her plan. But Clay's proximity soon made her realize she was no longer the tempter, but the tempted.... Clay knew why Andrea had been his highest bidder. She wanted answers about his callous dismissal of their affair. But the truth could prove devastating ... forcing them both to pay the ultimate price.
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Desire
Fictionwise Release Date: July 2006
23 Reader Ratings:
"This one's going to come back to bite you, Andrea. Please choose another bachelor."
Andrea Montgomery's heart bumped along faster than a roller coaster. Her stomach alternated between the rise of anticipation and the plunge of trepidation. She sipped her complimentary champagne, tucked her numbered bidding paddle beneath her arm and then reached for her dearest friend's hand and squeezed.
"Holly, I can't. You know I have to do this."
"Buying him is a mistake. Remember how torn up you were when he left?"
As if I could forget that kind of pain.
"That was then. I'm totally over him now." And she was. Absolutely. Without a doubt. How could she not be over a man who'd led her on for years and then dumped her without giving her a believable reason?
Andrea released Holly's fingers and then plucked at the black silk charmeuse of her gown. What little fabric there was in the garment clung to her like a second skin. The neckline plunged almost to her navel, and if the slit in the ankle-length skirt were an inch higher no one would have to wonder whether or not she wore panties.
She shifted on her stiletto heels—the only part of the outfit she liked—and scanned the crowd of overexcited, expensively attired women consuming free champagne and bidding on bachelors. No one in this affluent, conservative country club crowd suffered from the same overexposure as her.
"What were you and Juliana thinking when you chose this dress? As much as I love sexy clothing, this gown is too obvious and over the top. Couldn't you have chosen something more subtle? Subtle is sexy. Obvious is tacky. I feel like a high-priced call girl. No wait. Even a working girl would leave a little mystery and cover more skin."
Holly didn't even crack a smile. "When seduction's the name of the game you bring out the big guns. You're planning to bring Clayton Dean to his knees. Juliana and I thought you should dress the part of femme fatale."
Clayton Dean. Hearing his name wound Andrea's nerves tighter. "You've miscast me. A femme fatale seduces the man in question. I have no intention of revisiting the sheets with Clay. He had his chance eight years ago and blew it. And how many times do I have to tell you? I'm not out for revenge. All I want to do is show him that there are no hard feelings."
"Uh-huh." Holly didn't attempt to hide her skepticism.
Her friend knew her too well. "Okay, so I won't mind if he eats his heart out just a little over what he could have had. But that's all. I'd be a fool to hand him my heart again."
"I agree. That's why I'm going to keep repeating, this is a bad idea like a broken record until you get it."
"Holly, I've lived through the humiliation of Clay dumping me once. My coworkers' pity was hard enough to swallow the first time. And according to Mrs. Dean, Clay's staying in Wilmington only until his father is well enough to return to the helm at Dean Yachts, and then Clay will sail back to Florida. I promise I won't forget this is temporary."
"You're trying awfully hard to sell yourself on a bad idea, Ms. Marketing Director."
"Cut it out. Remember this is not just about me. Without Clay the business might have to temporarily shut its doors, putting me and a thousand other employees out of work. Joseph Dean has been like a second father to me. I've been worried about his mood since his stroke three weeks ago. He and Clay need to work this out before it's too late." The possibility of losing her mentor put a lump in her throat.
Holly's frown deepened. "What if father and son do kiss and make up and Clay returns for good? He'll be your boss. Will you still love your job then?"
Andrea winced. Good point. Darn it. As if she didn't have a boatload of doubts already about working with Clay. "I need to move forward. I can't do that until I put the past behind me. I'm a loser magnet, Holly. I have to break the cycle, and to do that I need to know what's so wrong with me that Clay and every guy I've dated in the past eight years dumps me just when I start to believe there might be something to the relationship."
Holly stamped her foot in irritation. "I could smack you. How many times do I have to tell you there's nothing wrong with you?"
Holly's attention shifted to something beyond Andrea's shoulder. "I hope you're right about being over him, because Clay looks good. Really, really good."
Andrea choked on her champagne. After catching her breath she discarded the flute on a passing waiter's tray and braced herself before following Holly's gaze to the other side of the opulent Caliber Club ballroom. Her first glimpse of her former lover knocked the wind right back out of her.
Clay did look good. Amazing, in fact. Damn him. The last thing she wanted or needed was to still find him attractive. His shoulders were broader than she remembered, and his tuxedo hinted at muscles he hadn't possessed as a lanky twenty-three-year-old. A nostalgic smile tugged her lips. He may look more sophisticated, but he still hadn't learned to tame his beaver-brown hair. The longer strands on top curled in disarray just as they had after she'd rumpled them when they made lo—
She severed the thought instantly. No need to travel that heavily rutted dead end road again.
Copyright © 2006 by Emilie Rose Cunningham.