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by Anna James
Description: Isabella Sheridan has a big problem and his name is Jake McAllister! Jake is now Isabella's business partner. To make matters worse he owns more of the Sheridan Advertising Agency than she does. He is difficult to work with, has a hostile attitude toward her and makes business decisions without consulting her. So why does she respond with so much passion when he kisses her? Jake McAllister does not like Isabella Sheridan. As far as he's concerned she's shallow and without moral values, both in her personal and professional life. So why is he so attracted to her? You'd think he'd know better based on past experience. And why, after just one passionate kiss, is he ready to give her the benefit of the doubt and become involved. Will Jake and Isabella resolve their differences and find love or will past perceptions be too much to overcome?
eBook Publisher: Sugar and Spice Press, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: August 2010
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [136 KB]
Reading time: 86-121 min.
Amy glared at her and she glared back, a mutinous look on her face. You wouldn't look at me that way if you knew what he thought of me, she told her cousin silently. He's a lousy rat! How dare he think so badly of her? And she never would have known if she hadn't overheard a conversation he was having in his office one day. As a matter of fact, it was that conversation that had made her finally decide to leave the agency altogether. Well, it hadn't been her only reason for leaving, she conceded wryly, but it was the final straw as far as she was concerned. He actually thought she was sleeping with their clients! She still couldn't believe it. Had he always thought so little of her?
Her mind drifted back to the first time she'd met him. It had been at a Christmas party. Her father threw one every year for his employees. In addition to the advertising agency, her father had numerous other business interests. Jake had been there as a representative from one of them. She'd been eighteen on that occasion and had just started her first year at college. He'd been introduced to her as one of her father's proteges; a financial wizard with a reputation of a man that got the job done--no matter what. He was the person her father was counting on to turn around his latest acquisition. There had been something about him, even back then, that had affected her on the most basic level, she admitted now. But, to him, she'd meant nothing. She had been merely someone to be polite to if he wanted to get ahead in her father's organization. She hadn't seen much of him since then, until recently, as he had never been involved with the advertising agency in the past. He was now, though, and she still didn't know why. Compared to his responsibilities within the rest of Sheridan Industries, running the advertising agency was small peanuts.
But they were business partners now it seemed. It was a shock finding out that Jake not only worked for her father, but, was actually his business partner; owning a significant chunk of stock in the agency as well as the rest of the business empire. Which was why he was able to force me out in the first place, she thought angrily. He didn't force you out, a little voice inside her taunted. You left of your own accord. "He's an extraordinary man," her father used to say. "Not only in the business sense but personally as well." Maybe you thought so, Dad, but I certainly don't!
"Care to dance?"
Isabella looked up with a start. She had been so preoccupied with her memories that she hadn't realized anyone was talking to her. "I'm sorry. What was that?" She looked around her nervously. "And where are Amy and Nick?"
"On the dance floor," Jake replied dryly, his eyes leading hers to where their figures were swaying together in time to the music. "Which is why I asked if you'd like to dance."
"With you?" she mocked. "Why don't you ask your lady friend? I'm sure she'd be more than happy to join you."
"Why Isabella, if I didn't know better I'd think you were jealous."
Her eyebrows arched. You've got to be kidding, she thought derisively, and was about to say just that when a thought occurred to her. Her lips curved mischievously. "Why, Jake, I'd love to dance. I thought you'd never ask," she replied sweetly, and standing, led the way on to the dance floor.
If Jake was surprised he didn't show it. He simply took her in his arms and they began to sway in time to the music. A tingling sensation ran down Isabella's spine when his hand came in contact with her back. It felt--No! She dismissed that thought right from her head.
"Isabella, I'd like to talk to you about something," he began. "It's about Sheridans."
The sensual sound of his voice washed over her and she leaned in closer to him. "I'm listening."
If he noticed anything different about her behavior, he didn't let on. "Yes, I'd like--"
She inhaled deeply and let her hand glide up his arm and come to rest on his shoulder, pressing her body against his lean frame. "What is that cologne you're wearing?" she asked breathlessly. "It smells wonderful." When her head came to rest on his chest, his whole body tightened in response.
"Isabella," he grated through clenched teeth. "I don't know what you're playing at, but I'm warning you..."
She looked up at him, her blue eyes wide and luminous, and her lips parted and kissably soft. "Jake," she whispered breathlessly.
"Isabella," he warned again.
This really was quite intoxicating, she acknowledged somewhere in the far reaches of her brain. She could easily... Don't blow it now, she told herself sternly. In a few seconds you can toss him a dirty look and tell him exactly what you think of him!
Without warning his lips crushed hers in a passionate kiss. It took her totally by surprise and shocked her to her very core. Which is why she began kissing him back with a hunger that not only matched his--it surpassed it! My God! I've never been kissed like this in my whole life, she thought dazedly. Had never responded to a man like this, ever. She could feel the blood as it raced through her veins; hear it roaring in her ears. Her heart beat wildly. She was on fire with desire. Helplessly she clung to him. She couldn't think; didn't want to think, only feel...
Reality set in. This isn't supposed to be happening, she thought frantically. She'd just wanted to teach him a lesson, for goodness sakes. Yet here she was practically devouring the man. Oh God! She didn't even like Jake McAllister. She couldn't possibly want him...could she? No! She ripped herself free from his embrace. "What do you think you are doing?" she asked in an anguished voice. What had happened to her just now? She had lost complete control of the situation. Jake had kissed her, but her reaction to that kiss--to him-- Panic set in and she turned and fled the dance floor without waiting for his response.
He raced after her and caught up with her on the street outside. Grasping her shoulder, he whirled her around to face him.