Take Me As I Am
Forget the whole billionaire tycoon thing: Kate Moore is a billionaire’s daughter, and she knows first-hand that they’re not all romance novel worthy. Her father is brilliant, inflexible, and brutal – and nothing she’s ever done has been good enough for him.
Her one chance to take over the massive Moore’s Hotel Corporation is restoring the run-down Burnham Beeches in beautiful Sassafras to its former glory. To that end, she hires David Wright, a talented landscaper with an unparalleled eye for beauty and an unparalleled talent for distracting her from her goal.
David really needs this job. He needs the contract, the Moore’s name on his portfolio, and the money to pay for his ailing father’s health. Everything he’s worked for is now within his grasp, and he’s going to reach for it with both hands. What he doesn’t need is the diversion, or the temptation, presented by his new boss.
Neither David nor Kate are free to follow their own desires, but they’re powerless to fight their growing attraction.
But they come from very different places; perceptions will have to crash, misconceptions will have to collapse, and they will have to face their own personal challenges before they find their space to meet in the middle.
She moved her head, just a little, but it was enough for his fingertips to graze her jaw. Silken skin slid beneath his touch. He traced the line of her jaw then his hand cupped her nape, her hair falling gloriously over his forearm. He waited her for to move away, but her eyes found his and caressed him with a look he couldn’t deny. He bent his head, lips brushing hers. Her mouth yielded and he pressed more firmly against them, taking her lips between his, moulding his mouth to hers.
Slowly, so slowly, her hand settled on his shoulder, a touch so light he barely knew it was there. But he did and the hot coals inside his gut flickered into a flame. He opened his mouth, brushed her lips with the tip of his tongue, tracing the line of her lower lip. She sunk into him, her hand crawling behind his neck as her other hand found his upper arm. He wound his free hand behind her waist, anchoring her against him. Her soft breasts pushed against his chest, her heat infusing through their clothing.
Her mouth opened, tongue caressed tongue, before he plunged into the hot, honeyed centre of her mouth. She met him move for move, tilting her head to deepen the kiss, their mouths, lips, tongues igniting their own private dance. His brain was clouding with need, insanely intense, as though he were climbing to a peak only she would quench. His senses were attuned to hers, his skin sensitive to her touch, the tangible weight of her body against his.
Then that little niggling voice broke through the misty realms of his mind. The fog cleared, an inner voice nagging him for…something. Some reason he couldn’t quite connect with. There was nothing he wanted more than this woman in his hands to feel, explore, taste. Then the voice became louder, irritating the sensuous web that caressed him.
The voice harassed him, badgering away the misty recesses in his brain. Reason. Boss. She was… is… his boss. What, in hell, was he doing!
He couldn’t let—this—happen. Too much depended on not upsetting Kate Moore. He pulled back, lips warm and wet and tingling, dawning horror slicing his body. He was kissing Kate Moore! There was a clear line and he’d unequivocally overstepped it.
His hands slipped to her slender waist, fingers anchoring her to the spot. He watched, unmoving, as her eyes flickered open. Confusion, unanswered questions, then comprehension cleared her eyes. Her hands fell from his shoulders. A shaky hand brushed hair out of her face and behind her ear.
‘Kate…’ They spoke at the same time, but he pressed on. ‘I didn’t mean for that to happen.’
There was surprise, then… hurt. Hell. He’d meant to offer her an excuse, but he’d wounded her instead.
‘Damn, I meant to, but…’ He raked his fingers through his hair. ‘This is a mess.’
Her face hardened, lost the soft dreamy look in her eyes. The Kate in his arms a second ago wasn’t the woman who’d changed in a well-practised second. Her mouth downturned. Shoulders tensed. ‘I think we both know that we overstepped that particular line.’
Too late! He’d been a fool. Wrong to think one kiss could ever be enough. He’d thought it would be a cure, but it was only a prelude. He sighed, briefly closing his eyes, trying to calm his nerves, then, ‘Don’t shut down on me. I want to talk to you about this.’
‘I don’t shut down. I deal with things.’
‘By shutting down,’ he said. ‘I said the wrong thing. I won’t apologise for kissing you. Hell, I wanted to badly enough. I just didn’t want it to seem as though I was taking advantage. I’d never do that to you.’ She was a woman who deserved to be romanced—then kissed—at the right moment. On the balcony they’d just discussed, amongst moonlight and perfumed flowers and quality wine. Not while he was hot and dusty and sweating from work.
Her eyes widened a fraction and her cheeks enflamed. ‘Taking advantage..?’
A throat was cleared. Loudly. Then a voice grated, ‘Am I interrupting?’