Restoring a dilapidated hotel doesn't come cheap, but Mia Fletcher doesn't want to accept financial help from Ethan Hamilton. This dangerously sexy businessman isn't someone who takes no for an answer, however, and soon their flirting turns into something more....
Mia knows Ethan isn't a forever kind of guy, but she cannot resist taking what he has to offer by getting him out of his immaculate suit and into bed! Surely their explosive affair will burn itself out--unless Mia can tame his untouchable heart....
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Harlequin Enterprises, Limited
March 01, 2012
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Excerpt from Trouble in a Pinstripe Suit by Kelly Hunter
'Miss Fletcher?' asked the wizened old doorman, resplendent in a bone-coloured tunic and turban.
Mia nodded, and turned to stare up at the dilapidated hotel before her. The majestic marble columns and crumbling portico plasterwork. The magnificent marble entrance stairs, dulled by age and the passing of many feet...
The tangled mess of overgrown garden...
'Welcome to Penang, Pearl of the Orient,' he said grandly. 'And the Cornwallis Hotel, lustrous heart of colonial Georgetown.'
The hotel was situated in the heart of the island's colonial district, true enough, and had a certain frayed, yesteryear kind of appeal--but lustrous? Mia slid the doorman a bemused glance.
'I know what you're thinking,' he said. 'That the hotel is old and much in need of repair. But sixty years ago, when i first started working here, it was indeed a glory to behold.'
'I believe you.' rajah, according to his discreetly placed name tag, beamed. 'It could be so again,' he said. 'Love could make it so.'
Love and vast chunks of money. 'Just as soon as the curse is broken.' 'There's a curse?'
'But of course. How else would the hotel come to be in such disrepair?'
'Years and years of neglect?'
'That, too,' he said. 'I'll inform Mr Ethan of your arrival. He's been waiting for you. We all have.' Rajah swept open the door for her. 'Miss Fletcher.'
'Mia,' she said, belatedly wondering how he'd known who she was.
'Miss Mia,' he said, his old eyes shining. 'Welcome home.'
This wasn't home.
No matter what the old doorman had implied, this hotel had never been Mia's home. She'd been raised in Sydney, schooled there; she lived there...in a sleek upmarket apartment overlooking the Harbour Bridge. She'd chosen the apartment for its spectacular harbour views, and because it was located two blocks away from the Fletcher Corp offices, where she spent a great deal of her time. That was her home. Not this run-down colonial hotel in a city half a world away.
Even if she had just inherited it from the mother she'd never known.
But the old doorman was waiting for her to enter, and his eyes were kind and welcoming. Home or not, this place was hers now, and Mia would do her duty by it.
She was Richard Fletcher's daughter--his only child--and heir to significant corporate wealth. She knew a great deal about duty.
She could do this. She could.
How hard could it be to step into a life she'd never known?
But she was used to that, too. With a quick smile for Rajah, Mia took a big breath, squared her shoulders, and stepped inside.
She was the image of her mother. She had the same delicate build, the same hauntingly elfin face as Lily.
Ethan Hamilton stood at the top of the grand stairway and stared down at the woman Rajah ushered into the lobby. He watched from his vantage point, content for the moment to remain unseen, as she stared curiously about the lobby, her gaze lifting skywards--as everyone's did--to the antique chandelier hanging from the ceiling. All six thousand hand-cut crystal pieces of it--never mind that it hadn't worked in years. Her lips curved into a smile--more wondrous child than calculating heiress--and Ethan felt his heart stutter.
He watched as Ayah, the ageing duty manager, hurried towards her. Watched Lily's daughter put her hand out in greeting, only to have Ayah clasp it and press it to her wrinkled cheek. She hadn't been expecting that--didn't like it, even though she masked her discomfort well enough. Ayah spoke briefly and Mia Fletcher shook her head, her expression faintly wistful. Whatever the question, the answer was no. She disengaged her hand, tucked a shoulder-length strand of glossy black hair behind her ear, and looked around again.
Would she notice the superb craftsmanship of the intricately carved rosewood balustrades that flanked the grand staircase? Would she see past the threadbare Persian runner to the exquisite colouring of the marble stairs beneath? Could she see the magic? he wondered. Or would she only see tiredness and decay?
She looked at him.
After a long, long moment she started up the stairs. He should have gone down to greet her, should have acted the gentleman rather than the statue, but one glance from her and he'd forgotten how. She gave him a careful neutral smile when she reached him, and held out her hand.
'Mr Hamilton,' she said. 'I'm Mia Fletcher.'
'I know.' He took her small warm hand in his, bracing hard against the jolt of desire that ran through him like a blade. He'd known need before, had taken care to control it. He released her hand abruptly--politeness be damned--but the memory of her touch remained.
'How did you know who I was?' she asked. 'How did Rajah know?'
'You look like your mother.' Except for her eyes. Lily's eyes had been a rich, warm brown. Her daughter's were grey like a winter sky. Cool, wary eyes that weighed and judged with a thoroughness he'd have welcomed had she not been so thoroughly dissecting him. Her father's eyes, he thought with a vague recollection of a stern, dark-haired man with eyes of bleakest grey. That was why they looked so familiar.