Damien Trent's time for revenge was at hand. The Australian businessman had bided his time, waiting for Gabrielle Kane to return. She'd dared to leave his bed years ago without a word...but now she needed him if she was to save her family's company. And Damien would lend his help...but his price was Gabrielle's hand in marriage.
With five years of waiting behind him, Damien had no plans on making this a marriage in name only.
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August 06, 2007
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Excerpt from The Executive's Vengeful Seduction by Maxine Sullivan
Damien Trent acknowledged two things when Gabrielle Kane stepped from the elevator and walked along the corridor toward her office.
She was even more gorgeous than he remembered. And he'd been a fool to let her go. "Hello, Gabrielle," he said, straightening away from the wall, his gaze sliding over the soft gray material of her pantsuit that hugged her breasts and clung to her hips, down to the matching strappy sandals. She'd never looked more elegant and feminine than she did right now.
Her blond head shot up from searching through her purse, and her steps faltered. She paled. "My God! Damien?"
"You remembered?" he drawled, then felt something shift inside his chest when those blue eyes met his fullon. For a split second time reversed itself to five years ago. She'd walked into that business function with her father, and their eyes had met across the room, jolting him, making him want her.
Just like they were doing now.
She moistened her mouth, then appeared to pull herself together. "How could I forget?"
"That's something we have in common, then." He moved closer, pleased to see two spots of color rush into her smooth cheeks. "You've grown very beautiful, Gabrielle."
Her delicate chin angled. "Is this a social visit, Damien? You're a long way from home."
He mentally pulled back from wanting her. He was here for a reason. "We need to talk."
"After five years?"
His mouth tightened. She'd been the one to leave him. "It's important, Gabrielle."
Alarm flashed in her eyes, then was banked. "It's my father, isn't it?" she said, her tone without inflection now, but he'd seen her immediate reaction. She still cared for the father who'd cut her off after she'd walked out.
He cupped her elbow. "Let's go into your office," he said, feeling the slenderness beneath his palm, conceding that he'd missed touching her.
She turned away and with a shaky hand that was a dead giveaway she unlocked the door to a suite of offices with a sign reading Events by Eileen--The Events Organizer.
He followed her through the main reception area and into another office, taking in the plush carpet and quality furniture and fittings. "You seem to have done well for yourself."
She walked around the desk and stood with her back to the large glass window, a breathtaking view of the Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House behind her. "Let's not pretend you don't already know all about me, Damien. I'm sure whatever report you had done on me must have told you what I do and who I work for." She crossed her arms, her face closed. "Just say what you have to say."
So. She was going to play it cool now, was she? It didn't surprise him. She'd always been a mixture of fire and ice. It was one of the things he'd liked about her-- all that passion beneath a cool exterior.
He inclined his head at the high-backed leather chair behind her desk. "You might want to sit."
"I'd rather stand," she said, but her shoulders went back, as if preparing for a blow.
There was no easy way to say this. "Your father's had a stroke, Gabrielle," he said, hearing her gasp, seeing the shock she couldn't hide now. "It caused a cerebral hemorrhage in his brain. It was touch-and-go so they had to operate."
She swallowed hard. "Is he..." "No, he's not dead. They're hopeful he'll pull through and will recover fully in time."
"Oh God," she murmured, all pretence gone now as she finally sank onto her chair.
He watched her, seeing the whiteness of her skin and the way she bit her bottom lip, and he knew he'd done the right thing by coming to get her. "My private jet's ready when you are."
She blinked up at him. "What?" "You'll be coming home to Darwin to see your father." She shook her head. "No...I can't."
His mouth thinned. "He's your father, Gabrielle." She made a choking sound. "Obviously that hasn't worried him too much these past five years."
It was one thing to ignore your father's existence when he was in good health, but Russell had come close to death. It was time they sorted things out between them. Damien had told Russell the same thing not long before his stroke, when the other man appeared to be fretting over the loss of his daughter. Perhaps Russell sensed something had been about to happen.
"You were the one who walked out on him," he pointed out. "Your father found that hard to forgive."
"Perhaps I find it hard to forgive a few things, too," she said, remaining firm.
He was instantly alert. "Such as?"
A wary look suddenly entered her eyes. "It doesn't matter."
"Obviously it does or you wouldn't have mentioned it." She looked across the desk at him. "Nothing can change the past now. Let's just say that when I left home five years ago I never looked back."
He arched a brow. "Never? I find that hard to believe." She shrugged her slim shoulders and leaned back in her chair. "That's your problem, Damien. Not mine."