What would it take for Danielle Hammond to design a necklace for one of the world's highest-priced diamonds? Gem broker Quinn Everard wasn't above using blackmail to get Dani to take the job.
She was the only designer worthy of the piece...and the only woman he wanted as his new mistress. Insisting she complete her work at his secluded Australian home, the millionaire soon had Dani under his seductive influence. But he had to watch out...or the smart, sexy woman could uncover every one of his well-kept secrets.
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April 07, 2008
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Excerpt from Satin and A Scandalous Affair by Jan Colley
"Danielle Hammond? I have a proposition for you."
Dani blinked, jolted out of a pleasant daydream, the Northern Queensland sun that had been warming her face at the outdoor cafe now hidden behind a wall of a man.
"May I join you?" The softly spoken deep brogue sounded more continental than Australian. She blinked again. It took a few seconds for her to understand that the subject of her daydream, the man she'd seen walk into her shop just minutes ago, had now crossed the road to the cafe and stood towering above her.
It took another few seconds to realise that she'd seen him before, and to swallow her jolt of dismay. It was him--what's his name--Quinn Everard!
The name exploded in her head as he tossed a business card on the table and pulled out the flimsy white chair opposite her.
Dani eased her sunglasses down her nose and needlessly read the card. "Quinn Everard. Broker." Simple, classy, on a satiny-silver card. They'd never met personally, but she'd seen his face in many jewellery publications over the years.
His head turned toward the cafe door and immediately a waitress materialised. He ordered coffee while Dani's curiosity ran riot. What could the great Australian gem expert want with her? He'd made it very plain, very publicly, that she wasn't good enough to wipe his shoes on.
"Did you see anything you liked?" she asked, sipping on the straw of her thick shake.
Chocolate brown eyes under thick brows scanned her face.
"In the shop," she qualified, easing one hot foot out of her shoe under the table.
"I was looking for you.Your assistant pointed you out."
"You were checking out my window. I saw you." He rested his elbow on the table and subjected her to a leisurely inspection. Just another nail in his coffin, as far as she was concerned. Dani stared boldly back, seeing in her mind's eye his tall broad form as he'd scrutinised her display window. How she'd admired what looked like an Armani suit--a rarity in the tropics--and his smooth, rolling gait as he'd straightened and disappeared inside. He moved like a fighter, and who's to say he wasn't? There was a definite break in his nose, the telltale bump high on the bridge, and a scar, smooth and pale, traced the corner of his mouth.
His inspection completed, he sat back in his seat. "I've been hearing your name around lately."
Thanks to Howard Blackstone, Dani's benefactor, who'd nominated her as his featured designer for the annual launch last February. "The Blackstone Jewellery launch, probably." Blackstone Jewellery was one retail division of Blackstone Diamonds, Howard's mining and manufacturing company. Dani pursed her lips sardonically. "Oh, I forgot. You weren't invited."
A flicker of amusement deepened the creases on both sides of his mouth, showing up an unexpected dimple. "I've never said I don't find your work interesting, Ms. Hammond. Which is why I'm here. As I said, I have a proposition for you."
She relished the sharp stab of triumph. This man had never made a pretence of liking her stuff, yet here he was. What on earth could he want to proposition her about?
Dani could think of some things...and they were all tied up with sizing him up as a hunk a few moments ago, before she'd realised who he was.
Hopeful that the lick of attraction she felt wasn't written all over her face, she cleared her throat. "A proposition for me? April Fools was a couple of days ago."
"I want you to design a setting for a large and very special diamond."
This was very satisfying. The great Quinn Everard wanted her, Dani Hammond, to make him a diamond necklace.
Oh, but there was that one small problem. They hated each other.
She raised her head. "No."