New York Times Bestselling Author
DON'T TEMPT ME
From America's beloved storyteller, Barbara Delinsky, comes the story of a passionate lawyer, her powerful client, and one case of mutual attraction that's out of order...
As the only female partner at her law firm, Justine O'Neill tries to maintain a degree of cool professionalism. But all that flies out the window when she's introduced to "The Silver Fox." The high-powered CEO of CORE International, Sloan Harper is the firm's newest client--and the tallest, sexiest hunk of silver-haired alpha male Justine has ever seen. Her colleagues warn her that the man is a predator, as sly as a fox and twice as seductive. Justine isn't worried--she never mixes business with pleasure. But when Sloane starts asking questions, she can't help but feel she's on the witness stand, being cross-examined by a master. And when he finally takes her in his arms, kissing her hungrily, she is utterly defenseless--and ready for more...
Previously published as The Silver Fox by Bonnie Drake
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St. Martin's Paperbacks
June 25, 2012
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Excerpt from Don't Tempt Me by Barbara Delinsky
DON'T TEMPT ME (Chapter One)
Don't Tempt Me Justine O'Neill would never, never forget the first time she saw him. It was a Thursday afternoon, shortly after two. She had just returned to the office after delivering a luncheon address before members of the Counseling Association of America. The balmy April air had flushed her cheeks in complement to strawberry-blond curls which, buoyed by the weather, framed her face and cascaded in thick waves to her shoulders. In the aftermath of her enthusiastic reception by the several hundred professionals gathered at the New York Hilton for their annual meeting, her eyes sparkled a bright emerald-green.
As the brass-rimmed doors of Ivy, Gates and Logan swung shut behind her, she stepped briskly toward the desk of the receptionist. Her hands laden with purse, briefcase, and a thick legal notebook, she smiled in greeting. "Any messages, Angie?"
The receptionist's responding "On your desk, Ms. O'Neill" was met with a passing nod as Justine swept onward, through the open archway and into the maze of halls and offices that comprised the inner workings of the renowned law firm. Her slender legs took her down one corridor and up the next, the rapid beat of her high-heeled pumps silenced by the fine cream-hued carpet. At the door of her own office, however, she came to an abrupt halt. Senses suddenly sharpened, she grew alert. Then, drawn by an inexplicable force, she turned her head to the far end of the corridor.
There, at the entrance to the firm's posh conference room, stood five men. She quickly recognized four of them as her colleagues and dismissed them summarily. It was the fifth man whose silent appeal reached to her, commandeeringher attention, capturing her eye and imagination to the momentary exclusion of all else.
He was a striking figure. Taller by inches than the others in the group, an air of distinction set him further apart. He was tanned and vibrant, yet deeply composed and notably relaxed in contrast to the air of keyed-up anticipation exuded by the others. His jaw was firm, his chin smooth, his cheeks leanly planed, his lips set purposefully. The face was that of a man on the near side of forty, a man in his prime enjoying life to the fullest. But, above it all and most enchanting was a crown of the thickest, most vital shock of pure silver hair that Justine had ever seen. Sterling silver. Rich and elegant. Gleaming. And, with a deliberateness that altered the beat of her heart, his dark eyes held hers.
For a brief breath of eternity, time stood still. Engulfed in a wave of sensation wholly new and fathomless, Justine was captivated, hypnotized by the intensity of the man. She felt herself probed to the core, stripped of the protective veneer she had so carefully cultivated over the years. She felt suddenly raw, open, and vulnerable. And, she felt terrified, as though she were a small animal, hunted, cornered, and defenseless.
Following the direction of their guest's attention, four other pairs of eyes turned toward Justine. In that instant the spell was broken. Mustering her badly shaken poise, she nodded politely and forced her head toward her office, intent on fleeing the presence that had so totally galvanized her.
"Justine!" It was the imposing call of Daniel Logan, senior partner and son of the firm's founder. "Justine! Perfect timing! Won't you join us for a moment?"
The question, when issued from the lips of this powerful man, was a politely intoned order. Swallowing the tension that threatened to render her speechless, Justine moved to join the gathering, willing her legs to carry her smoothly,praying that she not trip over her feet before this audience of five. Having so recently been the sole focus of attention of so many more, it was ironic that her pulse should be thudding loudly. But then, that earlier group held no one of the magnetism of this unnamed man. If the verbal order had come from Dan Logan, the visual order was from this tall, silver-haired potentate.
"May I introduce Justine O'Neill." She heard the senior partner take a step toward answering her own first question. "She is one of our newer partners, without a doubt our most attractive." The overtone of sexism hardened Justine, giving her merciful strength to hold her attractive head high. "Her specialty is family law. She's built up quite a practice and a name for herself since she's been with us. Justine"--he turned his shiny-domed countenance toward her as she held her breath expectantly--"I'd like you to meet our newest client, Sloane Harper."
Sloane Harper. A large, sun-bronzed hand stretched toward hers, bringing a disconcerted grin to Justine's already flushed features. For she simply didn't have a hand free to meet his. Juggling the notebook and briefcase for a minute, she blushed more furiously. Then, with a deftness which brooked no protest Sloane removed the heavy notebook and returned her grin, finally enveloping her liberated hand in the warmth of his own.
"Ms. O'Neill ... ." He cocked his silver head with a refined flair.
"Justine, then. It's a pleasure to meet you."
"The pleasure is mine," she answered softly, strangely intimidated and, untypically, wondering what to say as she retrieved her tingling hand. Fortunately, Dan came to her rescue.
"Justine has been an associate with the firm for the past five years. She was made a partner in January." Taking delight in the uncharacteristic, if unintentional, gentlenesson display across the features of his young partner, he directed himself to her. "You've just come from a speaking engagement, haven't you, Justine?"
It took every ounce of Justine's willpower to drag her eyes from Sloane's. As though all else had been blocked out by his gaze, she forced herself to face not only Dan but the others in the group. They were all partners in the senior echelon of the firm save one, Richard Logan, the senior partner's son, a new associate fresh from law school.
"That's right." She confirmed Dan's surmise, admiring anew the man's ability to be well informed of his partners' activities in addition to handling his own busy practice. Daniel Logan was on top of everything. Everything. In most cases Justine welcomed his interest and insight. Now, however, as she strove to recover from the effect of Sloane Harper's dark eyes as they still studied her, she could only hope that Dan's insight was limited to the legal realm. Her present vulnerability was nonlegal and all woman . . and a puzzlement, even to her.
"Which group was it today?" The query came from another partner, one Charles Stockburne, a natty, middle-aged man, whose efficiency and expertise brought in the cream of the clientele.