Manwhore. That's what the board of directors-and the tabloids-thinks of billionaire bachelor Reese Crane. Ordinarily he couldn't care less, but his playboy past is preventing the board from naming him CEO of Crane Hotels. Nothing-and no one-will keep him from his life's legacy. They want a settled man to lead the company? Then that's exactly what he'll give them.
Merina Van Heusen will do anything to get her parents' funky boutique hotel back-even marry cold-as-ice-but-sexy-as-hell Reese Crane. It's a simple business contract-six months of marriage, absolute secrecy, and the Van Heusen is all hers again. But when sparks fly between them, their passion quickly moves from the boardroom to the bedroom. And soon Merina is living her worst nightmare: falling in love with her husband . . .
Even with her nostrils flared, Merina forced a smile. There was only one way past this gatekeeper. She called up an ounce of poise—an ounce being the most she could access at the moment. “Merina Van Heusen to see Reese Crane.”
“Ms. Van Heusen,” the woman said, her tone flat, her eyes going to the doorknob in Merina’s hand. “You’re here regarding the changes to the hotel, I presume.”
“You got it,” Merina said, barely harnessing her anger. How come everyone was so damn calm about dismantling a town landmark?
“Have a seat.” Crane’s bulldog gestured one manicured hand at a group of cushy white chairs, her mouth frowning in disgust as she took in Merina’s dishevelment. “Perhaps I could fetch you a towel first.”
“I won’t be sitting.” She wasn’t about to be put in her place by Reese’s underling. Then her prayers were answered as the set of gleaming wooden doors behind the secretary’s desk parted like the Red Sea.
Merina barreled forward as the woman at the desk barked, “Excuse me!”
Merina ignored her. She wouldn’t be delayed another second…or so she thought. She stopped short when a woman in a very tight red dress, the neckline plunging into plentiful cleavage, her heels even higher and potentially more expensive than Merina’s Louboutins, swept out of the office and gave her a slow, mascaraed blink back. Then she sashayed around Merina, past the bulldog, and left behind a plume of perfume.
Reese’s latest date? An escort? If Merina believed the local tabloids, one and the same. Paying for dates certainly wasn’t above his pay grade.
Before the doors closed, she slipped into Reese’s office.
“Ms. Van Heusen!” came a bark behind her, but Reese, who stood facing the windows and looking out upon downtown, said three words that instantly shut his secretary up.
“She’s fine, Bobbie.”
Merina smirked back at the sour-faced, coal-eyed secretary as Reese’s office doors whooshed shut.
“Merina, I presume.” Reese still hadn’t turned. His posture was straight, jacket and slacks impeccably tailored to his muscular, perfectly proportioned body. Shark or not, the man could wear a suit. She’d seen the photos of him in the Trib as well as Luxury Stays, the hotel industry’s leading trade magazine, and like every other woman in Chicago, she hadn’t missed the gossip about him online. Like his more professional photos, his hands were sunk into his pant pockets, and his wavy, dark hair was styled and perfect.
Clearly the woman who had just left was here on other business…or past business. If something more clandestine was going on, Reese would appear more mussed. Then again, he probably didn’t muss his hair during sex. From what she gleaned about him via the media, Reese probably didn’t allow his hair to muss.
The snarky thought paired with a vision of him out of that suit, stalking naked and primed, golden muscles shifting with each long-legged step. Sharp, navy eyes focused only on her…
He turned to face her and she snapped out of her imaginings and blinked at the stubble covering a perfectly angled jaw. What was it about that hint of dishevelment on his otherwise perfect visage that made her breath catch?
Thick dark brows jumped slightly as his eyes zoomed in on her chest.
She sneered before venturing a glance down at her sodden silk shirt. Where she saw the perfect outline of both nipples. A tinge of heat lit her cheeks, and she crossed her arms haughtily, glaring at him as best she could while battling embarrassment.
“Seems this April morning is colder than you anticipated,” he drawled.
About the Author
A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.