Second chances don’t come along that often. But when they do you grab them with both hands, right? And hold on tight.
Perfect strangers don’t just leave you a share in their business. Do they? And even if they do, surely the rightful owner won’t just take it lying down…?
Abigail Fischer is about to find out. When a mysterious letter arrives informing her that she’s inherited a controlling interest in a thriving construction firm Abigail thinks it must be a mistake. Or a sick joke. Until she’s confronted by her new, very angry and very reluctant business partner. Handsome as sin but determined to be rid of her, Cain Parrish is everything Abigail desires – and most fears. Forced to uproot from her safe but dead-end job to help run the firm, Abigail is quickly drawn to her dominant partner. Attuned to her most secret desires, and able to meet them effortlessly, he quickly finds his way past her defences.
But Abigail is not what she seems. Astute in business and a skilled Dom, Cain can easily demand her submission, but can he find his way past Abigail’s carefully constructed façade to discover the shameful secret she’s managed to conceal all her life. And despite her growing enthusiasm for the new opportunities now facing her, Abigail can’t become something she’s not. Or can she? Is it possible to leave the past behind and start over?
When things start to go wrong in their business, and as Abigail’s blunders threaten to sink their small but up to now profitable enterprise, will their delicate personal relationship survive?
Will Cain forgive Abigail’s mistakes or is there a deeper significance to her apparent ineptitude?
“How do you like it?”
“Strong please. With milk and three sugars.”
His eyebrow quirks at the mention of three sugars, but he makes no comment. He goes to the counter to order our drinks, and I contemplate grabbing my bag and making a run for it. I abandon that thought—I wouldn’t get more than a few yards, and I have an uneasy suspicion he’d have no qualms about rugby tackling me to the ground. He seems determined to have his say.
A couple of minutes later, he’s draping his jacket over the back of the seat and shifting my bag into the seat opposite. The seat next to me is now free and he eases his long legs under the table, effectively boxing me in. I’d have to climb over him to get out. He shoves my coffee towards me, and I pick up the mug to sip slowly. It’s as good a reason as any not to have to talk.
“Well, it’s obvious what James saw in you. I’d happily fuck you myself if our circumstances were different. What attracted you to my uncle though? Or are you just a greedy little gold digger?”
My companion is obviously feeling chatty. I already knew that, he’s gone to considerable trouble to engineer this conversation with me. Still, his opening line took me by surprise.
Shocked at his crudeness and stunned by the implication of his words, I put my mug down on the Formica table with a splash and a clatter then make to get out of my seat. If he wants to insult—or proposition—someone, he can look elsewhere.
“Sit down, Miss Fischer, you’re going nowhere.”
“I bloody well am. This conversation’s over.” I’m on my feet now, and reaching across the table for my bag.
He makes no move to stop me. Indeed, he makes no move at all. He just sips his coffee—black, I notice—and waits for me to get tired of glaring at him from my lofty height of five foot four. We’re drawing some puzzled stares from the other tables, but no one seems inclined to intervene. Yet.
“Excuse me, please. I want to get out.” I try for a note of firm resolve, a tone that says ‘you don’t scare me, you can’t bully me’.
He’s clearly unimpressed. “Sit down, Miss Fischer. People are looking at you.”
Faced with a choice of clambering onto his lap or sitting down again, I sink back into my seat. Cain Parrish nonchalantly uses a paper napkin to mop up the spilled coffee on the table in front of me, before handing my mug back to me.
“Right, where were we? Ah yes, I was just asking you how you’ve managed to con my uncle out of his business. My business.”
I glare at him, not deigning to answer. He shrugs.
“I have all day, Miss Fischer. And the coffee here’s not bad.”
Well, that’s true at least, worse luck. I pick up my mug and take a couple more sips, ready to wait him out. Eventually though, I’m the one to break the silence.
“I didn’t know your uncle. I never met him. I’ve no idea why he put me in his will. If you think the business should be yours, you’re welcome to it. I want nothing to do with you, your solicitor, your building firm. Nothing.” There, that should be clear enough.
He drains the last of his coffee before replying, “It’s not that simple, though, as I think you very well know.” He dumps his empty cup on the table then leans to one side to reach into the pocket of his jacket. He pulls out an envelope, this time a thick brown one, and tosses it onto the table in front of me. “I daresay you’re familiar enough with the terms of my uncle’s will, but just in case you need to refresh your memory…”
Nothing on God’s green earth is going to compel me to take that document from the envelope and make a complete fool of myself in front of this infuriating and terrifying stranger. I glare at the offending article then shove it back at him.
“I’m not familiar with the will, and I’m not going to be. I have no interest in any of it. None at all. Now please, let me go. I have things to do even if you don’t.” Again I reach for my bag, and again he stays in place, blocking my way.
I try again, abandoning all thoughts of using my inheritance as a stepping stone to my own future. “You can have it. I’ll sign whatever you need me to. I never asked for anything from your uncle. How could I? I never even met him. It’s yours, all of it.”
His eyes narrow, and despite the relative safety of being among other customers, I find myself backing away the two inches or so available before my shoulders hit the wall behind me.
“You can’t give your share of the business away, and you can’t sell it. Except to me. And there’s no way I’m paying you a fucking fortune for what’s rightfully mine.” His tone is hard enough to split rocks as he delivers his salvo.
His icy composure is definitely slipping. And even though he intimidates me, I can’t help bristling. Who is he to tell me what I can and can’t do?
“Who says I can’t give it away? If it’s mine like you say it is, I can give it to the bloody cat’s home if I want.” I’m still unnerved by this whole mad episode, but now he’s started to really piss me off as well, and my stubborn streak is emerging. I could get myself into some real bother here, but I’m on a roll and there’s no stopping me. “For the last time, I didn’t ask for it, I’ve no idea why your uncle left it to me and I don’t want it. If it’s rightfully yours, then fine, enjoy it. Now, I really must be going. Either you shift, or I start screaming.”
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MEET THE AUTHOR:
Until 2010 I was a director of a regeneration company in Leeds, in the UK, before becoming convinced there must be more to life. I left to work as an independent consultant, and still do some of that though most of my time is now spent writing. At last I’ve been able to realise my dream of writing erotic romance myself. I’ve been an avid reader of fiction for many years, erotic and other genres, and I still love reading historical and contemporary romances – the hotter the better. But now I have a good excuse for my guilty pleasure – research.
In my own writing I usually draw on settings and anecdotes from my own experience to lend colour, detail and realism to my plots and characters. An incident here, a chance remark there, a bizarre event or quirky character, any of these can spark a story idea. But ultimately my tales of love, challenge, resilience and compassion are the conjurings of my own lurid and smutty imagination.
When not writing – which is not very often these days - my time is divided between my role as resident taxi driver for my teenage daughter, and caring for a menagerie of dogs, rabbits, tortoises. And most recently a very grumpy cockatiel. I’m a rural parish councillor, and I’m passionate about evolving rural traditions and values to suit twenty first century lifestyles.
I’ve completed my third trilogy in the Black Combe ‘family’ which is due for release later this year and I’m well on with writing the fourth. I also have a novella coming out soon, and I have a short story in Totally Bounds Paramour collection, and another in the Jolly Rogered anthology which is due for publication in July 2014. I have a pile of story ideas still to work through, and keep thinking of new ones at the most unlikely moments, so you can expect to see a lot more from me.