Carson Banick: The black sheep of the family is back--and now his family's future and fortune are in his hands. He must marry a suitable woman and provide an heir.
Beth Krayton: Carson's feisty PA is determined to succeed on her own, without a man....
They shouldn't suit one another at all. They shouldn't even be together. But as the attraction grows between them Carson has to ask himself what's more important, saving his family or claiming Beth's heart?
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August 07, 2007
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Excerpt from Marrying Her Billionaire Boss by Myrna Mackenzie
Desperation was such an ugly word. Unfortunately it
described Beth Krayton's situation. She had roughly forty-eight hours to find a good job and a nice place to live in her brand-new hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, before her brothers discovered her whereabouts and attempted to bring her back to Chicago.
She knew just what weapon they would use, too. Guilt. And she had never been good at handling guilt. Her brothers and former guardians had always been excellent at ladling it on, but after her "incident" two years ago, things had gotten worse. And lately, since she'd lost her job...
The memory of the totally humiliating scene that had unfolded two days ago sent a sick feeling rushing to her stomach. When she'd overheard her brothers and their wives discussing solutions to "the Beth problem" she had finally realized that, as hard as she had fought for her independence, the older she got the more determined to manage her life her family became.
When her parents died, years ago, her brothers had vowed to raise her and protect her. She'd been convinced that one day they would see her as an equal. But that overheard conversation, which branded her as a woman incapable of making good decisions, had killed her hopes. Now she understood: They would never rest until they felt she was safely in some other man's care. Only by proving that she could go it alone without a husband would she convince them to stop interfering in her life.
"If that's even possible," she whispered to herself as she barely refrained from groaning.
It wouldn't make the right impression in her upcoming job interview if people reported that she had been seen talking to herself and moaning out loud in public places. And she had to make a good impression, because with the clock ticking away, all that stood between her and her goals (and her brothers) was a man named Carson Banick, a wealthy hotelier who had advertised for an assistant well-schooled in the hospitality industry.
Beth didn't have a single ounce of experience in the hospitality industry.
That can't matter, she told herself, heading toward the building where her interview was being held. Perusing the classifieds, she had found few jobs she was qualified for that would pay a living wage. This job would ensure basic survival, it hadn't mentioned a college education and, more importantly, it might help her establish a career and an identity of her own. She'd never had either and she needed them with an ache she couldn't explain.
Carson Banick had to hire her. She had to convince him to like her. She had to exude charm in spite of the fact that she had never been called anything close to charming.
"I'll be charming today, darn it," she said, forgetting her vow not to speak to herself as she pushed open the door to the trailer thrown up on the edge of a leveled building site, stepped inside and came face-to-face with the most gorgeous, dark-haired man she had ever seen.
He was frowning at her.
Carson looked up from the stack of papers on his desk, irritated by the distraction of the door opening. He had already interviewed a number of people, but he still hadn't come close to finding what he was looking for. Judging by the appearance of the woman standing just inside the door, it was unlikely that this interview would turn up anything more positive.
It wasn't her dowdy sack of a brown skirt that troubled him. Neither was it the slightly ragged edges on her chin-length, astonishingly red hair. Clothing and hair could be fixed with an infusion of money, and he had plenty of money to spend.
No, it was the wounded, defiant expression in her eyes. The woman clearly had issues, and he was the last person in the world who ought to be allowed near wounded creatures with issues. He'd already proven that several times in recent history. People, important people--his former fiancee, his brother--had been damaged in the process.
Carson tried not to think of how Emily had looked when he'd left her. He fought not to remember his brother's pain-racked face right after the accident or Patrick's complete lack of responsiveness when Carson had visited him last week. He battled like crazy to keep from remembering that he was the one responsible for his brother's fall on that mountain. And he was nearly slayed by the injustice of Patrick losing the use of his lower extremeties while Carson took his brother's rightful place here at this desk.
Rising, Carson fought to keep his hands from curling into fists. Concentrate on this minute and this place and this woman, he told himself. Do the job. Keep things going until Patrick heals. Carson prayed that Patrick would heal, even though the doctors had told him that Patrick wasn't making the kind of progress they had hoped for. The only way Carson could help his younger brother was to hold his position and do the work well.