COULD THE WRONG MAN ON PAPER BE THE PERFECT MAN IN REAL LIFE?
Cate Harmon likes lists. While this may serve her well as a financial planner, her girlfriends think that creating a checklist for her ideal man is going a step too far. But she has one, and she’s sticking to it.
Cate has always dreamed of starting a family and settling down and yet she’s the only one of her close knit friendship group still unattached. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to lower her standards.
Enter Dave, a reformed bad boy with gorgeous hair and eyes the wrong color. Dave doesn’t tick any of the boxes on Cate’s list. It’s unthinkable that she would develop feelings for him, and yet … Cate finds herself being drawn to Dave in a way she’s never felt before.
Will Cate confront the reasons behind her list? Or will she risk losing a man who could be better than any list she could ever dream up?
This romance where opposites attract is perfect for fans of Rachel Gibson, Susan Mallery, Victoria Dahl, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
I handed him a few of our brochures and outlined the steps and costs involved in preparing a financial plan. I was careful to stress that it would be a long-term relationship. And that we’d be reviewing the plan regularly and reassess things if need be.
When I was finished, I offered him another smile. “Do you have any questions?”
I hesitated, then forced myself to straighten in my seat. He was a potential client, like any other, I reminded myself. “It’s not just me you’ll be working with,” I explained, “there’s a team of us.”
“I know. But why should you be my main point of contact?”
I gave him an odd look. In the last twelve months, I’d had to sell myself and the firm’s services numerous times. Up until now though, no one had ever been so direct. I straightened in my seat. If he preferred direct, I’d give him direct.
“I’m a qualified tax accountant with a decade of experience working on the accounts of small to medium businesses. Last year I completed my diploma in financial planning. I’m retentive enough to never miss the detail but my experience means I’m good at the bigger picture, which is important when building a solid financial plan.”
“I read your bio on the website.”
“Oh, of course,” I said, flustered. He’d researched me beforehand. Completely understandable but disturbing nonetheless. Not to mention the cheesy image of me on the company’s website that I hated. “What else would you like to know?”
“What are you like to work with?”
I thought carefully for a moment. “I’m very pleasant to deal with.”
“Pleasant?” He smirked at me, and for the first time that day, those golden eyes seemed to light up.
Oh God, I had not just said that. Yes, it was the truth, but sometimes the truth sounded lame. “I’m also very responsive,” I said, a tad defensively.
OK, so he was grinning at me now.
“What I mean,” I said slowly, “is that I’m always available to talk. I make a point of making time for my clients.”
Dave nodded and appeared to be trying to swallow his grin.
I’d had enough. Yes, he was a potential client and a particularly attractive man, but he couldn't just come in here and make fun of me. I was damn good at my job, and the fact was, the relationship between a financial planner and a client worked both ways.
I crossed my arms and narrowed my eyes at him. “What are you like to work with?”
His smile faded at the challenging tone of my voice. “I’m sorry?”
“You, Dave. How am I going to find having a relationship with you?” I bit my lip. Whoops. Professional relationship, I desperately wanted to add, but it was too late now. I felt myself flush. Way to go, Cate.
His lips were twitching again. “I’m pretty easy going.”
“Sometimes that’s another word for lazy,” I shot back. OK, so perhaps that wasn’t quite so professional of me.
His eyebrows shot up, and I think he looked impressed. “No, Cate, I’m not lazy. I just learned a while back there’s only a few things in life that are worth getting really worked up about.”
Was he saying I was worked up? I didn’t care. “That’s it? You’re easy going?”
His smile was accompanied by a soft rumbling laugh. It was one of those smiles. I wasn’t sure if it was the sound of his deep chuckle or that he was offering me a rare glimpse of his happy face, but either way, it was enough to make a girl lose her breath altogether and clench her toes. And possibly other parts of one’s body, but I wasn’t going to think about that right now.
Once Dave was finished laughing at me, he rubbed a hand over his mouth, like he was trying to wipe the smile off his face. He had nice lips. He had quite a wide mouth and his lips weren’t really thick or too thin. They were just nice looking lips.
And I was sitting in my office, opposite a potential new client, assessing the virtues of his lips. Back to earth, Cate, I scolded myself inwardly.
He was still rubbing his lips thoughtfully.
Stop it! I wanted to shout.
To my relief, he dropped his hand. “I won’t lie, Cate. It can take a while to get to know me, but once you do, you’ll find I’m a decent sort of guy. I don’t enter into relationships lightly, so you can be sure if I choose you, I’ll be in it for the long-term.”
I stared at him. I knew, with every logical bone in my body, that he was referring to a professional relationship, but then why didn’t it feel like it?
About the Author
Belinda is a marketing communications specialist and copywriter who allowed an addiction to romance and chick-lit to get the better of her. She was named a top ten finalist in the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Award in both 2013 and 2014.
Her other addictions include music and cars. Belinda’s eclectic music taste forms the foundation of many of her writing ideas and her healthy appreciation for fast cars means she would not so secretly love a Lamborghini. For now she’ll have to settle with her son’s Hot Wheels collection and writing hot male leads with sports cars.
Belinda lives in Sydney and blogs regularly about writing and reading at www.belindawilliamsbooks.com