The Nanny Proposal. Joss Wood

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Название The Nanny Proposal
Автор произведения Joss Wood
Жанр Контркультура
Серия Texas Cattleman's Club: The Impostor
Издательство Контркультура
Год выпуска 0
isbn 9781474076500

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About the Publisher


       Eight months ago

      Standing in the shadows of the balcony encircling the ballroom of the Texas Cattleman’s Club, Kasey Monroe looked up at the clear night sky. Why had she thought attending a New Year’s Eve Ball in Royal, Texas, knowing no one but Aaron Phillips—who might, or might not, become her new boss—was a good idea?

      Aaron, as a member of the Texas Cattleman’s Club, knew nearly everybody in the room. He’d introduced her to his gorgeous sister, Megan, and her equally good-looking husband, Will Sanders, CEO of Spark Energy Solutions. And while Aaron had made an effort to include her, she felt woefully out of place.

      Even so, making small talk with strangers was still more fun than spending the night alone in her hotel room, obsessing about the party happening back in her home in Houston. Throwing a New Year’s Eve bash was a tradition she and Dale had started the year they’d gotten engaged and, for the first time in five years, she wouldn’t be playing hostess to their friends. Kasey couldn’t help wondering what Michelle was doing tonight. When last had she and her oldest friend spent the special evening apart? A decade? More years than that? Kasey rested her champagne glass on her cheek. It had been six months since she’d caught Dale and Michelle together in what was, as they’d explained, a drunken encounter that meant nothing. Pure sex, fueled by too much booze and a line of coke. Their combination of sex, drugs and rock and roll had broken her heart and, while she felt like her heart was slowly patching itself back together, she still felt like a fool.

      Her husband and her oldest and best friend... In a million years, she would never have imagined that scenario. Would she ever be able to trust anyone again?

      Five! Four! Three! Two! One...! Yeah, Happy New Year to me. Husband-less, friend-less, in a new town and among strangers.

      Oh, boo-hoo, Kasey thought, irritated by her bout of self-pity and taking a defiant gulp of her champagne. The last six months had been tough, sure, but ending a marriage should never be fun. But there was light at the end of the tunnel: her divorce was final, she had money in the bank and options.

      One of those options was Aaron Phillips’s intriguing proposal to become his executive assistant. Known as one of the most innovative and successful hedge fund managers in the country, Aaron didn’t have a large client base, but that didn’t matter because his clients were all mega wealthy. He worked out of his office within his palatial house on the outskirts of Royal and, as Aaron explained, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, she could do her job from either her home in Houston or here in Royal. He was demanding, Aaron told her, but he wasn’t a micromanager and as long as she produced the results, she could set her own hours.

      Kasey felt a spurt of excitement; a hefty salary, flexible hours and working out of her own space would give her life structure and, hopefully, would stop her from dwelling on her failed marriage and the loss of a childhood friend.

      Kasey lightly whistled to catch the attention of the waiter hovering by the ballroom entrance. She held up her empty flute and within a minute had a fresh glass of bubbly in her hand. This new year would be better, Kasey vowed. She was a strong woman and she was not going to allow the past to define her. No matter what it took, she was going to put this all behind her and get back to the person she used to be. Fun, happy, positive.

      Change had to happen and she was the only one who could implement those changes. She could start by accepting the position at AP Investments and relocating to Royal. Even if she worked from home, a change of scenery, and leaving Houston, would be a good move. Tomorrow—today—was the start of a new year and a new life and, God knew, she desperately needed both.

      Kasey looked into the ballroom and easily found Aaron’s tall frame. She tipped her head, studying him. He was so very smart, so very well built and, pre-Dale, exactly the type of guy she’d look at twice. Or six times. Early to mid-thirties, with chestnut-brown hair cut short to tame the curl, he had the broad shoulders, long and powerful legs and narrow hips of a competitive swimmer. Unfathomable green eyes under—kill me now—wire-rimmed glasses. And light scruff covered his impressive jaw.

      Sexy could be such a tame word, Kasey mused, feeling her stomach squirm. Then her skin tingled and she felt a slow burn that sent heat to that long-dead space between her legs. Wow...

       Well, hello, sexual attraction. It’s been a while.

      In a room filled with some very fine eye candy, Aaron was handcrafted chocolate. Which meant, Kasey realized, the only way she could work for him would be virtually. There was no way she could spend eight or more hours a day with that gorgeous male specimen. At the very least, her keyboard would be perpetually covered in drool.

      Kasey allowed a long slide of champagne to coat her throat and felt a small buzz. As if he could sense her eyes on him, Aaron slowly turned and scanned the ballroom. She really should look away, but Kasey, emboldened by the booze and the temptation of embarking on something different and a little bit wild, waited for his eyes to lock with hers. She’d met him twice before tonight and both times Aaron had been so professional and reticent, she’d found it impossible to read his emotions.

      However, tonight there was desire and flat-out need in his eyes and on his face.

      She turned around to check that there was no one behind her. No, she was alone and all that heat was for her. damn.

      This certainly complicated the should-I-accept-his-job-offer question...

      Kasey gripped the stem of her glass in a too tight grip and watched as Aaron walked, gracefully for such a big man, across the crowded floor. He was heading straight toward her, his eyes not leaving her face. Kasey swallowed and took another sip of champagne, hoping it would lubricate her dry mouth. One sip didn’t help, neither did two. Hell, nothing would because a lava-hot man was looking at her like she was a pretty package he couldn’t wait to unwrap.

      Aaron stopped in front of her and lifted his hand. Kasey sucked in a breath, thinking he was about to touch her, then wrinkled her nose in disappointment when he plucked the champagne glass from her fingers and placed it on the edge of the railing. Aaron, still so close to her, looked down at her, his eyes drifting from her lips to her eyes.

      “You look stunning, Kasey. Did I tell you that earlier?”

      It had been so long since she’d been complimented on how she looked Kasey had no idea how to respond. When in doubt, and she was so in doubt, it was best to keep it simple.

      “Thank you.”

      Unnerved by the warm appreciation in his eyes Kasey looked down at her tangerine halter-neck dress skimming her curves. Her two-inch heels just took her past Aaron’s shoulder. He was a big man and his masculinity made her feel intensely feminine. Something else she was unfamiliar with.

      “Happy New Year.”

      Kasey murmured the words back as a haunting melody drifted from the ballroom onto the balcony and swirled around them. Aaron’s fingers touched her hip and Kasey felt heat pouring from him and burning through the thin fabric of her dress.

      “Would you like to dance?” he asked, his deep voice raising goose bumps on her skin.

      Aaron didn’t wait for her reply. His hand slid around to rest on her lower back and he curled his other hand around hers, lifting it to hold it against his chest. Kasey felt his lips on her temple and wondered why, even though they were dancing outside, there was no fresh air. He was so warm, so solid, she thought as they swayed in place. Then Aaron’s foot slid between hers and they were gliding across the empty balcony under the light of a Texas moon. The man sure could dance, Kasey mused as he spun her out and brought her back in, closer than before.

      “You smell so good,” Aaron whispered into her hair.