Young widow Angela Reynolds doesn't need a gorgeous older man pursuing her while she asserts her independence professionally and personally. But hotel magnate Stephen Montoya won't permit this sweet, vibrant beauty to escape him. When he demands she kiss him each time she enters and leaves a room, the two of them discover that some passions cannot be denied--or tamed.
When Stephen asks her to marry him, Angela knows she wants his tantalizing body inside hers for heart-pounding intimacies she's only imagined. But she's unsure if she can surrender completely to this dominating man...or give up her newfound freedom.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from Whenever We Meet by Cerise DeLand
Angela Reynolds made a hasty check of her lipstick and threaded her fingers through her auburn waves one more time as she waited for the plane's passengers to disembark. "Remember now, no affairs!"
The elderly gentleman in the row of airline seats in front of her turned to grin at her. "I will, honey! But I had hopes!"
She burst out laughing--and so did he as he struggled up from his seat to make his way toward the exit.
Nothing like making a fool of myself!
She chuckled at her joy at being here in Guadalajara, Mexico in the middle of November. Being in the sun, instead of rainy Seattle. Being recognized for her talent with color and style. And being wanted. By a mouthwatering, dark-haired Mexican dreamboat of a man. To decorate the flagship of his new hotel chain. And to decorate his arm--and his bed.
But I won't let that happen.
She snapped her compact shut and dropped it in her purse. She had promised herself she'd not get involved with Stephen Montoya days before he had made her the offer of becoming his head decorator last month. That was an offer she did not want to refuse. An offer that should have come without the obvious promise in Stephen's eyes to make her his own. Even if I need to refuse myself the luscious opportunity to become his lover.
"Miss?" A passenger behind her pointed toward the door. "Are you ready?"
"Sorry. Of course, I am." She slid out of her seat and strode down the aisle toward the gangway.
The extra moments gave Angela time to try to calm her racing heart. She wondered if she'd light Stephen's eyes once more as she had the first time she'd met him. That had been in his office in the city near the gorgeous old cathedral. He had been looking down over the spires and turned toward her, a smile gracing his generous sculpted lips. She entered and paused, overcome by his magnetism. His powerful frame. His height. More than half a foot taller than she. Darker than she. With glistening ebony hair and brilliant jade eyes. A deep tan. And a mouth made to kiss a woman...everywhere.
Yes, Stephen Montoya was in this terminal waiting for her. As he had promised her he would be before she left here last month--and on email early this morning.
"I am delighted you agreed to be the head decorator for my hotels. I personally will show you everything you need to learn about my expansion plans--and my hopes for the future."
The promise thrilled her, made her breasts tingle and her pussy pulse with excitement. She hadn't felt desire so strong since she'd fallen hard for Wade Reynolds when she was twenty and na?ve about marriage and love--and how life can change all your plans.
Her plans since the death of Wade in Afghanistan over a year ago had changed drastically. They didn't include dashing men. Or affairs with them. Still, since she'd met Stephen, he walked in her dreams. And lived in her daytime hours since he'd offered her the job of spearheading the interior designs for his hotels.
"Return to me, Angela," he had beseeched her the night a month ago before she left him to return to her headquarters in Seattle. "I know you alone have proposed the right concepts for our d?cor." Two other decorators, older colleagues of hers with sterling credentials, had failed to please him and he sent each packing within a day.
"Even though I don't speak Spanish," she asked him, "and before coming here last week, I had never been to Mexico?" She voiced her biggest reasons that she might not be the best consultant for her boss to assign to this project.
"What the heart knows, the mind does also." He sat beside her on the veranda of his hacienda overlooking Lake Chapala--and in the velvet night, his large jade eyes flowed over her every curve and absorbed her into that big muscular body.
"Yes." She looked up toward the moon to break his mesmerizing spell and forced herself to recall what her mind had told her seven years ago when she'd been suddenly and magnetically attracted to a man. "Though sometimes it takes a while for both to become synchronized and admit the truth."
"Time can be irrelevant, when instinct rules."
"I am a big advocate of reason and control."
He had examined her gaze and her expression. "One day soon you will tell me why that is."
She glanced away, knowing to address that meant she would be promising to share her innermost torments of love and loss. She reverted to his topic. "Your instinct tells you I am the best one for the hotel, does it?"
"Your instinct does, too. You know it. I see it, feel it. You will tell them you want to be the consultant for us?" he had asked, with the look of a man determined to get his way.
"It will take nerve."
"You have that," he had asserted.
He was right. How he had known that, she concluded now, meant his famous instinct was at work.
Her instinct said she could make a mark doing this. Her mind said she was the best person for the task. She understood Stephen's vision for the hotels. For tourists who had the time to spend in a luscious hideaway. What she did not understand as well was how she could be so instantly attracted to a man. Again. After all her orders to herself, here she was, wanting this man. And she had to constantly promise herself she was strong enough to resist the temptation of the demanding Stephen Montoya.
Could she? For how long? How well? She was committed for a year's consulting. Subletting her condo in the Queen Anne section of Seattle, she told herself she hadn't lost her momentum to make a new start after her husband's death.
She shook her head now as she threaded her way through the terminal. She reminded herself that following her instinct had almost ruined her life. She had her ducks in a row professionally. Her personal goal was objectivity. Even if it dissolved with one look at Stephen. He was such a dashing combination of every dark hero she'd ever heard of. Sophisticated, disarming and fierce. Rhett Butler and Zorro. Double oh seven. Cary Grant and Hugh Grant. She chuckled at that last duo.
She rounded the corner and there he stood. Better than all those men because he was real. Here. Heart-stoppingly gorgeous. And my client.
She walked forward through the crowd, a grin on her face and her hand out to greet him. Her traitorous eyes absorbed him like water for her parched soul.
So tall and imperious, he stood out from the crowd. Impeccably attired in a charcoal gray suit and snowy shirt, he did not smile at her but welcomed her with the spell-binding focus of his wide, jade-green eyes. He had to be older than she by at least a decade. Suave. Secure in his skin. Savvy enough to launch his own hotel chain in this rocky world economy. With a dimple in his left cheek. A jaw that defined determination. And a smile spreading across his lips now in a welcome that sucked the breath from her lungs.
"Angela," he said in that rumbling bass voice, his English perfect but with a Spanish lilt that heated her to the core. "Welcome." He took her hand and drew her forward so that their thighs brushed. "How was your trip?"
Trip? How's my brain? She stood, rooted to the floor. Where she found her voice, she had no clue. "After the hour delay getting off the tarmac in Seattle, it was wonderful. Smooth."
"Let me take this." He reached for her carryon, his fingers warming hers, lighting fires of desire for him that she had warned herself she shouldn't feel. Then he did more. He wrapped his other hand around her waist and led her forward. "How many bags do you have?"
"One. Rather large, I'm afraid. I brought as much as I dared. Subletting my condo, I put most of my things in storage." Rambling on, Angie? "I'll buy more suitable clothes for the warmer climate here, I thought."
"Wise," he told her, as they stopped in front of a luggage carousel.
She examined his profile. Strong. Roman. Was there anything about this man she didn't like? She licked her lower lip. Not much, babe. In fact, not anything.
"Do you?" he asked her, his eyes taking a lazy tour of her mouth and her throat, and obviously inquiring about something she had missed as she fantasized about him.
"I'm sorry." She pushed her hair behind her ears. "What did you say?"
His eyes darkened and narrowed. He knew she was flustered and he was damn pleased about it, too.
Way to go. How transparent am I?
"I asked if you would like a drink or something to eat? Plane food is so horrible these days."
"No thank you." She heard the carousel begin to turn and crank out passengers' suitcases, but she couldn't look away from him. "I'll be fine until I get to the hotel."
"I have a better place for you."
Fire alarms clanged in her head. Not too close to you. That would be so dangerous, so quickly, before I have my bearings.