How to make a strong man fall hard? Refuse him.
Worth It, Book 2
Hunter Worth lives life to the absolute fullest. As vice president and head of brand marketing for Worth Luxury Goods, he's brought his family's business firmly into the twenty-first century. Ruthless yet charming, he's now set his sights on the sexiest member of the marketing team. First thing on his agenda? Seduction.
Gracie Hayes needs her job at Worth--and she's not about to let the gorgeous owner and her direct boss distract her--again. Orphaned, and with a rough childhood behind her, she's worked too hard to compromise everything for a fling, no matter how tempting. Independent, strong and resourceful, she will fight off Hunter. She has to.
Flirting, stolen kisses, a few nights of scorching hot sex...Hunter has all that in mind and more with the delicious Gracie. He never figures he'd fall in love or that she'd deny him. How will Hunter convince Gracie he's the one for her?
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Samhain Publishing, LTD
July 09, 2012
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Excerpt from Worth the Risk by Karen Erickson
"She can't make it tonight."
The dark, threatening voice sounded just behind them, and they both whirled around to see Hunter standing mere feet from her desk. He appeared ready to tear someone apart. All threatening, blustery man as he clenched his hands at his sides, his black suit making him look even more ominous.
"Oh, really? Why can't I?" He wasn't her keeper. How dare he butt into their conversation?
"I need to talk to you." He pressed his lips into a thin, firm line. He wasn't going to budge. Fine, neither was she. "Now, Gracie."
"It's all right." Marcus pushed away from her desk. "We'll go to dinner another time. Good night, Gracie. Hunter." He nodded once in Hunter's direction as he nonchalantly strode out of the room and toward the hall.
She turned on Hunter as soon as Marcus was out of earshot. "Why did you do that?"
His gaze narrowed and he stared her down like a hawk hovering over its prey, zeroing in for the kill. "Why did I do what? Discourage you from fraternizing with another employee?"
If she could stomp her foot and throw a tantrum, she would. He brought out the immature brat in her, and she hated that. The man drove her absolutely insane. "That you would even say those words to me makes me want to slap you."
He smirked. "I didn't know you liked it rough, Gracie."
Her arm reared back automatically, but he caught her by the wrist with his fingers, stopping her palm from making the connection with his cheek. She shook with a flood of emotions, the main one being pure rage. "You bastard," she whispered.
Hunter immediately looked contrite. "I'm sorry." He gentled his grip on her wrist, his thumb sweeping along her pulse, sending a scattering of goose bumps across her skin. "I didn't mean to make you so upset."
"You interrupted our innocent conversation by acting like a possessive, jealous lover."
"Maybe I am a jealous lover." Hunter looked pained that he made the admission and he shook his head, as if he could dismiss it. Make his words disappear. But he couldn't. They still reverberated through her, stunning her silent. "He was trying to ask you out."
"And I was trying to refuse him." God, why had she said that?
She didn't have an answer for him, was too afraid to confess the truth. And wouldn't he love hearing that she wasn't over him yet? Not that she'd given herself enough time. Three weeks wasn't nearly enough.
A lifetime might not be enough.
His thumb swept over her flesh again, a slow, tantalizing caress that made her tingle. "Tell me why, Gracie."
She cleared her throat and very carefully extracted her wrist from his hold, purposely ignoring his demand. "You said you wanted to talk to me?"
His gaze hardened and she knew she'd angered him. Luckily enough, he let it go. "Come to my office. We'll talk there."
"If you're looking for privacy, there's no one around who can overhear us." She glanced about the empty room, the cubicles long abandoned by her fellow employees. She hadn't caught a glimpse of the nightly cleaning crew who came around at this time yet either.
"I'd rather discuss it in my office. I have something I need to show you." He turned and headed toward his office, leaving her no choice but to follow. She locked her gaze on his long-legged stride, how proud and tall he held himself. He was a leader. Magnetic, handsome, commanding--Hunter Worth pushed all her buttons and made her want.
She barely withheld the growl of frustration that wanted to escape her at the thought.
"Sit down." He waved at the chair that sat close by his desk as they entered his office, and she did as he asked, fuming that she could follow his demands so easily. He shut the door, reminding her that she was completely alone with him, and then settled in the chair behind his desk. "While in London last week, we held extensive meetings in regards to the Worthwhile line."
She nodded solemnly, wondering where he was going with this. She already knew about the meetings. That had been the reason he'd gone to London in the first place.
"We're going to hold a huge launch party for the spring line with a runway show at the Beverly Hills store."
"The store Rhett is in charge of?"
His mouth hardened, his eyes darkened. She had the distinct feeling Hunter didn't like his younger brother much. "That would be the one. I plan on going to the location late next week to check it out, see what we're working with. I've never been to that particular store." He paused, his gaze meeting hers. "I want you to go with me."
She stiffened. Did he want to take her so he could get her back into his bed? "I don't know..."
"You're one of my most valued members on the marketing team and you're in charge of the Worthwhile spring launch. I need your opinion while on this trip."
"How long will we be gone?' She sat up straighter, wishing her spine was made of steel. Maybe it would give her a hint of courage, make her feel stronger, able to deal with this...this curve ball Hunter had thrown in her direction.
It was as if the man purposely kept her off center.
"Two, three days tops."
"I see." She swallowed hard, glanced about the room. Anywhere but at Hunter. "Are you asking me to go because you're jealous of Marcus?"
He slammed his fist on top of his desk so hard she jumped in her chair. "I am not jealous."
"Right. So your over-the-top reaction meant nothing." She dared look up to watch as he leapt out of his chair and rounded the desk to stand just before her. Tilting her head back, she met his gaze. Saw all the anger swirling in their blue depths.
"If you want to screw around with Marcus, then I can't stop you. Who am I to care what you do with your off time?" His eyes blazed as they stared into hers and she refused to look away.
"You scared him out of the office."
"I did no such thing."
She laughed and shook her head. "Stop pretending you don't know what I'm talking about."
Hunter leaned over her, resting his hands on each arm of the chair, boxing her in. She shrunk back, not because she was scared, oh no. More like trying to get away from his scent, his warmth, the very delicious essence of him. But seeing her move back only pressed him forward, until his face was directly in hers.
"Are you flirting with him to make me jealous?" The deadly thread in his voice made her shiver.
"I'm not that immature," she retorted.
"Really?" He cocked a brow. "You never showed any interest in Marcus until after we were--intimate."
The word conjured up all sorts of images. Her naked in his arms, his tongue drawing wet, warm circles around her hard, aching nipples...
"I didn't encourage his behavior."
"Look at you, all prim and proper. 'I didn't encourage his behavior'. Is that what you say about me? Us? Did you encourage my behavior?"
He was desperately jealous. And if the throb of his pulse at the base of his neck was any indication, he was also really upset. "I--I--"
"Did you want to have sex with me, Gracie? Or were you merely doing it because you thought it was what I wanted?"
"What are you saying?" He was purposely trying to confuse her. "Are you trying to get me to admit that yes, I wanted to have sex with you and no, I don't regret it? Because if you are, fine, you're right. I wanted it. I wanted you. And I don't regret it either. Does that make you feel better?"
Her breath came in ragged spurts after her abrupt confession, and she swallowed hard, wishing she could swallow the words and make them disappear. They stared at each other silently, regret hitting her full force and she pressed her lips together. She should've never said that. Why did he always push her so much? Of course, she wasn't over him yet. Couldn't get over him, as loathe as she was to admit it.
"I don't regret it," he whispered harshly. "If I had my choice, it would happen again."