The food he’d brought had been perfect, each flavor complementing another. When they were finally done, she reclined on her side, the wind teasing her hair, loose strands swaying. He lay on his back. A dreamy expression entered his eyes as he gazed up at her.
“How come you always put your hair up?”
Self-conscious, Natalie fiddled with her wineglass. “Because I want to look professional.”
“But you look better…well, more approachable…with your hair down.” He reached out and played with her ponytail. “Silky and touchable.” He undid the barrette, and the hair spilled into his hand.
Crushed grass, wild flowers, shampoo, cologne, man.
Time seemed to slow around them. The breeze came over the water, bringing with it a taste of spring on the verge of melting into summer. The leaves above them danced, the shadows trembling over their bodies. His eyes darkened and lightened with each indolent movement of the branches. He raised his torso, his hand still caressing her hair. His lips were mere inches away from hers, but he didn’t close the gap between them.
The warmth of the sun, Alex’s eyes intent on hers, the whisper of the wind, his soft breathing, the staccato beat of her heart.
Natalie leaned forward and covered his mouth with hers.
He remained still, giving her the permission to explore as much or as little as she wished. Her tongue traced his lips, tasted a hint of wine, crisply acidic yet ripe. She probed, laid a gentle hand on his cheek.
The world stopped and tilted, as if time and gravity no longer mattered. Her hands skimmed the muscles of his body, tracing their taut lines through the soft fabric of his shirt. One brushed over a nipple; she felt his heartbeat accelerate. She ran the other down his tight abs; they jumped.
It was pure power, the ability to arouse a man, make him respond to her every little touch. The sexual side of her, denied since the breakup with Marcus, wanted to take advantage of the situation, make him lose control. Her fingers traveled down until they reached his belt buckle. She rested them there, putting just enough weight onto it that he would know where her hand was.
His desire for her was like a physical presence in the air. She wanted—
The sudden shrill ringing of her cell phone jerked her back to reality. She wrenched back from him and, before he could reach for her, fumbled for her purse. It was Louise.
“Ignore it,” Alex said, his voice raspy. He laid a warm hand on her thigh, exerted a gentle pressure toward him.
Tempting, tempting, but if she gave in, Louise would demand to know why Natalie hadn’t answered her call on a day as important as today. She was throwing Brian a birthday party, Natalie was going, and there would be no way to avoid facing her there. “I can’t.” Natalie put the phone to her ear. “Hello, Louise.”
“Can you come early?” she said without preamble. “I need some help with the food.”
“I thought you were going to cater.”
Alex looked up at her, his eyes dark. She glanced away, tucked her hair behind an ear, and drew her legs up, hugging them with her free arm. It felt like he could hear everything from Louise’s end.
“Well, I’m not going to cater everything. What would people think?”
“That you’re too busy to do everything?”
“Never too busy to help your father.”
Natalie’s hand tightened around her cell phone. “I wish you’d called me earlier. I can’t go right now.”
“I see.” Louise’s voice turned icy. “So you’ll be here to eat the food I’ve prepared, flaunt your boyfriend, and pretend you care when you can’t be bothered to do your share.”
Natalie’s head began to throb. “I told you Charlie isn’t my boyfriend.” As soon as the words left her mouth, she felt a slight tension from Alex. She scrunched her eyes shut; why did she have to argue with Louise about Charlie, especially in front of Alex?
Vengeful in Love Hearts on the Line, Book 1
Publication Date: December 19, 2013
Revenge is sweet... Self-made billionaire Alex Damon wants his pound of flesh from the people who ripped his family apart. When he discovers his enemies' daughter is working at his company -- and most likely spying for them -- he decides to start his revenge by seducing her. Natalie Hall is stunned at the personal interest from the CEO of her company. Vulnerable, with an already bruised heart, she wants to avoid any involvement -- but she can't deny the desire he arouses in her. ...but love is sweeter...
What should've been a straightforward eye-for-an-eye starts to unravel as Natalie's unflinching loyalty and kindness begin to thaw Alex's cold intent. But caring for her is unthinkable...since he plans to use everything in his power to ruin her family and everyone else she holds dear.
Reunited in Love Hearts on the Line, Book 2
Publication Date: January 9, 2014
A temporary reunion... Newly jobless and adrift, former investment banker Kerri Wilson travels to Virginia to see her best friend and regroup, only to run into billionaire playboy Ethan Lloyd. It's been years since she's snuck out of his bed after the most amazing sex of her life, and he's so not her type -- she likes them tall, dark and†manageable. But he's too hot to resist, and she succumbs to another sizzling, no-strings-attached (or so she thinks) night.
Unwilling to let her go this time, Ethan makes a simple proposition: a job, a place to stay, and an exclusive affair that will end when either of them finds someone else. But with her dark, painful past catching up to her, Kerri may have to bolt again -- even though her heart is telling her to stay. And Ethan's not giving her up without fighting to make their "temporary" arrangement something far more permanent...
Bilingual former management consultant Nadia Lee has lived in four different countries and enjoyed many adventures and excellent food around the globe. In the last eight years, she has kissed stingrays, been bitten by a shark, ridden an elephant and petted tigers. She shares an apartment overlooking a river and palm trees in Japan with her husband and son. When she's not writing, she can be found digging through old Asian historical texts or planning another trip. Website:†http://www.nadialee.net Mailing list:†http://www.nadialee.net Twitter:†http://www.twitter.com/nadialee