School headmistress Grace Stephens never thought her private fantasies could become public. But millionaire businessman Adam Bowen was used to getting what he wanted, when he wanted. And he wanted Grace to act out every word of the previously secret, suddenly missing steamy love story she'd written all about them.
Adam held her future--and every part of her body--in his hands. Leaving Grace no choice but to go from his make-believe mistress to his very real one.
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May 07, 2007
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Excerpt from Make-Believe Mistress by Katherine Garbera
Grace Stephens found it hard to think when Adam Bowen turned that intense blue-green stare on her. Her pulse beat loudly in the back of her head. Even though she'd rehearsed what she'd say at this meeting a hundred times, in the presence of her secret crush, she couldn't talk. "Ms. Stephens, I asked you what action you think this board should take," he said.
His voice was deep and slightly gravelly. But it fit him. He was a big man, almost six-foot-two, muscular and totally ripped. She'd never seen him without a healthy tan. However, usually he just glanced over her and moved on. She hadn't anticipated what effect being the center of his attention would have on her.
"Mr. Bowen," she said, sorting through her notes on the table. As soon as she looked away from Adam her concentration returned. She was the headmistress of Tremmel-Bowen Preparatory, a very prestigious school in Plano, Texas, she reminded herself. It was an institution that had long been the breeding ground of powerful world politicians and future captains of industry.
Though lately they'd been in the news more for their scandals.
Get it together, girl.
She cleared her throat and pushed to her feet, wishing her five-foot-two frame was just a little bit taller. She walked to the front of the boardroom where her assistant, Bruce, had set up her laptop and a projector. The vice principal, Jose Martinez, rubbed the back of his neck as she fumbled with her presentation. It wasn't just her job on the line, but the jobs of all her staff. Bruce, Jose and seventy-five teachers and support staff.
"I'm sorry for the delay. I was gathering my thoughts to talk to you and the rest of the board of regents."
She was incredibly nervous about this meeting. The thought of disgrace and unemployment were enough to make her sweat. She refused to go back to the life she'd struggled so hard to escape. The idea was enough to draw her attention back to the matter at hand.
"Tremmel-Bowen has long been the place where diplomats and world leaders send their children for polishing and training to become future world leaders."
"In recent years, that reputation has suffered," SueEllen Hanshaw said. The head of the PTA was a former beauty pageant queen and always made Grace feel like a country mouse. Sue-Ellen's makeup was flawless, shape money could buy.
"I'm aware of that. We've made a lot of changes this year to get the school back on track. But of course, we've had this one minor setback."
"I wouldn't call it minor," Malcolm O'Shea said. As the most active regent on the board, Malcolm had the power to influence the others, to keep the school open.
Of course he wouldn't. It had been his wife--Dawn--whose photo, in a torrid embrace with another teacher, had been splashed across the Internet. Scuttlebutt said that Malcolm and Dawn were currently in mediation preparing for their divorce.
But Adam was still staring at her and his eyes held more than their usual hint of boredom. They held anger, too. She couldn't blame him. After all, she was ultimately responsible for two of her teachers getting caught having sex by her students. She might have been able to manage the students if a picture of the incident hadn't been made public on the school's Web site. Stupid cell-phone cameras.
She felt flames of embarrassment sweep up her neck. Dawn had tried to explain that she'd gotten caught up in the moment and forgotten where she was, but Grace hadn't bought it. She'd kissed her share of guys--okay, maybe fewer than her share--and not once had she forgotten where she was.
Adam cleared his throat and Grace swallowed hard. His eyes held determination; she knew he and the other regents were here to deliver bad news.
The prep school that bore his name, which at one time enjoyed a reputation for being one of the most prestigious in the world, was now mired in scandal and debt.