Secrets of the Tycoon's Bride [Secure eReader]
Click on image to enlarge.
eBook by Emilie Rose
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: To Hire A Wife He needed a wife--a perfect, respectable wife--fast! And Lauryn Lowes was the ideal candidate to become Mrs. Adam Garrison. A natural beauty with brains, Lauryn already worked for him. Soon, his playboy reputation would be a thing of the past. But when Lauryn turned his "proposal" down flat, the bachelor billionaire suddenly became more determined than ever to capture her as his bride. No matter what the consequences...
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Desire
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2007
16 Reader Ratings:
Lauryn Lowes would make him a perfect wife because he didn't love her and wasn't attracted to her.
Hell, Adam Garrison realized, he barely knew her.
Their bi-weekly meetings since she'd started working for him seven months ago had never allowed time for get-to-know-you chatter. She worked days when the club was closed, and he worked nights when Estate was open. He knew little about her except what he'd read on her job application.
A tap on his open door revealed the woman in question. "You wanted to see me?"
"Come in, Lauryn. Close the door. Have a seat."
She did as he instructed and perched on the edge of the visitor chair in front of his desk.
According to his lawyer, who happened to be Adam's best friend and someone whose judgment Adam trusted, Lauryn was the perfect wife candidate.
Adam's leather chair creaked as he leaned back to make his own assessment. Lauryn wasn't bad-looking. Bland. No makeup. Pale-blond hair which she always kept pinned up. An intelligent and independent worker. Otherwise he never would have hired her to handle his nightclub's multimillion-dollar books.
"Is something wrong? This isn't our usual meeting day." Lauryn pushed the narrow rectangles of her tortoiseshell glasses up her straight nose, and then with slender, ringless fingers adjusted the longish skirt of her boring navy suit.
He'd never noticed her hands before. But then he'd never considered those hands touching him. Intimately. Her short, unpainted nails were a far cry from the lacquered claws the majority of women in his life preferred.
Besides a manicure, she'd need new clothing to carry off this charade. Maybe contacts. Better shoot for a complete makeover. Otherwise no one would believe he'd chosen her out of all the fashion models and celebrities who frequented Estate and/or his bed.
He had his pick of women. Just not the type he needed for this assignment. The council already considered him a playboy. His female equivalent would not help his cause. Lauryn was far from a party girl. If she'd dated at all in the past months no one on the staff knew it. He'd asked. Discreetly, of course.
She shifted in her chair, reminding him he hadn't answered her question. That was something else he'd always admired about her. She knew how to be quiet instead of chattering endlessly.
"Nothing's wrong, Lauryn. In fact, I'd like to offer you a raise and a…promotion of sorts." He punctuated that with what he hoped would be a reassuring smile. Whether for her or for himself, he couldn't say.
God knows he had reservations about this plan. He was only thirty and he liked being single. Between witnessing his parents' far-from-perfect union and his front-row seat to the nightly dating safaris at the club, he'd never planned to marry for any reason, but he couldn't see any other way to achieve his goals.
He wanted a bigger stake in the family business and there was only one way short of murdering his two older brothers to get it. He had to gain their respect. His father had died unexpectedly in June, and here it was the first of November, and Parker and Stephen still hadn't given Adam more responsibility in Garrison, Inc., because they didn't take him seriously. Frustration burned Adam's stomach.
Lauryn's smooth brow furrowed. "I'm confused. I'm Estate's only accountant. How can I get a promotion? Are you planning to hire an assistant for me? Because I assure you, Mr. Garrison, I can handle the workload. I don't need help."
"Adam," he corrected not for the first time. She never relaxed around him. In fact, she always seemed on edge, and he didn't know why. People—women in particular—liked him. More than one reviewer had attributed Estate's popularity to Adam's charm. He knew how to work a crowd, how to make guests feel welcome and want to return.
Of course, he'd never tried to charm Lauryn Lowes. She was an employee and that was a line he'd never crossed. But he would today.
"The president of the Miami Business Council is retiring next year. As you may have heard, it's a pretty conservative group."
"I've been an active member for years, but the council's not willing to entertain the idea of a single guy—especially one who runs a scandalous South Beach nightclub—being in charge no matter how qualified he might be."
"You mean you want to run for president?"
The surprise in her voice stung like salt in a fresh wound. "Yes. And the only way for me to have a chance at that nomination is to become the stable, settled guy they require. I won't give up Estate. That means I need to acquire a wife."
Her look of confusion grew. "What does that have to do with me?"
"You're the perfect candidate."
She blinked once, twice, a third time. "To be your wife?"
She sat back in the chair, her posture stiffer than usual. After a few moments an uncertain smile wobbled on her lips. "I—I—You're joking. Right?"
Nice lips, he noted. Pale pink. No lipstick. Not collagen enhanced.
Natural. That's it. Lauryn's a natural.
Too bad that would have to change.
"No." He leaned forward and pulled the file pertaining to this merger from the stack on the side of his desk. "Brandon Washington—you've met my attorney—has drawn up the necessary paperwork. I'll pay you five hundred thousand per year for two years plus reasonable living expenses. After that we'll quietly divorce. We'll have a contract and a prenuptial agreement. What's yours stays yours including any gifts I buy you. What's mine stays mine."
Copyright © 2007 by Harlequin Books S.A.