New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

of Contemporary Women's Fiction, Romantic Comedies, and Historical Romances

 

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Double the sales with a sexy new contemporary romance collection—featuring a new Winston novella from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster.

 

 


New York Times bestselling sensation Lori Foster, USA Today bestselling authors Deirdre Martin and Jacquie D’Alessandro, and Penny McCall come together to deliver four all-new stories of fun and games between friends and lovers in this tantalizing anthology. Included in this spellbinding collection is a brand-new novella featuring Foster’s Winston cousins—sexy twins who use their knock-out mirror-image good looks to switch places and have a little fun with the girls of their dreams.
 

 

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There were reasons, lots of reasons why spending the night with this woman wasn’t a good idea, but damned if could remember any of them.  Whatever they were, he just didn’t care.  Right now all he cared about was her and him and putting out this damn fire she’d lit inside him.  He leaned forward, until only a paper thin space separated their faces.

            “Jack, I think--“

            “Don’t think,” he whispered against her lips.  Then he brushed his mouth over hers, once, twice.  Her breath caught and she parted her lips.  He settled his mouth on hers and in a heartbeat he was lost.  She tasted so damn good.  Like good wine and warm, soft woman.  Their tongues tangled and he slid one hand into her silky hair, dragging her head closer.  A growl of pure want vibrated in his throat and he deepened the kiss, sinking further into the velvety heat of her mouth.  He moved closer to her, pressing his erection against her thigh.  She shifted her leg and his rapidly diminishing control slipped another notch. 

            With an effort that cost him, he lifted his head.  She looked as dazed as he felt.  He prayed to God she felt as desperate as he did.

            He ran the pad of his thumb over her full, moist bottom lip.  “Yes or no?” he demanded in a low growl he barely recognized.

            She licked her lips, a gesture that had him clenching his jaw.

            “Yes,” she whispered.

 

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Chapter One

 

    

“I have some great news, Jack.”

Jack Walker’s every muscle tensed.  Uh oh.  The last time Gavin Laine, his boss and CEO of Java Heaven, had uttered those words a months ago, they’d been followed by the decidedly ungreat news that Gavin had hired a consultant to make sure Jack and his accounting department employees all bonded with each other.  Jack had been Chief Financial Officer of the popular southeast coffee house franchise for only a month at that point, and he’d thought the transition was going smoothly.  Certainly as smoothly as one could expect for a department that had imploded just weeks before Jack was hired when the former CFO and controller had been arrested for fraud and embezzlement.

Good thing Jack loved nothing more than a challenge because the department was in a shambles, morale was low, and personalities were clashing.  But after a rocky first few weeks, he’d hired a new controller and things were looking much improved.

Patience, however, wasn’t Gavin’s long suit.  He wanted everything done yesterday and had hired Madeline Price, consultant, to move things along and insure that the department bonded and resolved their issues.  That was the day Jack’s Java Heaven job turned hellish.

Like so many consultants Jack had been forced to deal with over the years, all Madeline Price did while racking up billable hours was talk, talk, talk, blah, blah, blah, and take endless notes.  No doubt an x-ray would reveal a pie chart where her heart should be.  It wasn’t his style to sit around and blah, blah, blah.  He much preferred to roll up his sleeves and take action. 

            Jack knew Madeline--or Mad Dog as he mentally referred to her--was also there to make certain good internal controls were being put into place, thus insuring that the sort of illegal activities that caused the last accounting debacle didn’t happen again--something which Jack frankly resented.  He didn’t like having someone from outside the company constantly looking over his shoulder, second guessing and questioning all his decisions.  Sure there were going to be some bumps along the way while everyone settled into their positions and became acclimated to the new CFO and controller, but nothing he couldn’t handle.

            As far as he was concerned, consultants could be summed up with the old joke about if you ask a consultant what time it is, he’ll steal your watch then charge you fifty thousand bucks to tell you it’s ten past eight.  He supposed consultants could be useful in some instances, but in this case, it was nothing but interference he didn’t want and a financial expenditure the company didn’t need.

He’d pointed that out to Gavin, but his boss was adamant.  So adamant, Jack suspected part of the reason Gavin had hired Mad Dog was that he planned to downsize the accounting department, something Jack was absolutely opposed to as he’d then be understaffed.  And understaffed meant overworked employees which meant for cranky, disheartened employees, and after what they’d all just suffered, they were cranky and disheartened enough.  He didn’t doubt that Mad Dog was making a list and checking it twice, all to determine who the weakest links in the department might be.  Who wasn’t going to be a team player. 

Which just pissed off Jack.  They all just needed time to adjust and regroup.  What they didn’t need was a consultant, aka Spy Who Could Cost Any One Of them Their Job, peeking at them over the rim of her glasses.

Unfortunately Gavin had steamrolled over all his objections, so Jack had sucked it up.  But damn, it was a hard sell.  Especially with a dragon lady like Madeline Price to deal with.  Jack could only guess that Gavin had found the woman because he’d Googled Uptight, Frigid, Unsmiling, Humorless, Pain in the Ass Consultants for Hire and her name had popped up as the number one choice.

Bad enough that he had to put up with her interference, but Madeline Price was just the sort of person he didn’t like.  The sort of person who saw everything in shades of black or white.  Everything was either totally right or totally wrong.  Her way or the highway.  Organized to within an inch of her life.  No chances, no surprises.  He’d actually possessed a few of those qualities himself not much more than a year ago, but he’d learned that life changing events changed...your life.  And your outlook. 

“So what’s this great news, Gavin?” he asked, because based on the silence that had followed Gavin’s announcement, Jack knew the question was expected from him.

Gavin smiled at him across the wide expanse of glass desk separating them.  A smile that was more of a showing of teeth that did nothing to allay Jack’s dread.  “You’re signed up for a weekend away at Casa di Lago.  This weekend.”

Jack forced his expression to remain blank but his suspicions doubled at the mention of the well known resort situated on the shores of Lake Lanier, about an hour and a half north of Atlanta.  He knew damn well Gavin wasn’t sending him to the resort for a tasting at their winery, or a massage at the spa, a round of golf, or a meal at one of the resort’s gourmet restaurants.  Wait for it...wait for it...

            Gavin didn’t make him wait long.  “Of course the weekend isn’t just for you.”

            Uh huh.  He’d figured as much.  Here it comes--

            “The entire accounting department is going.  For a fun-filled weekend of team building.  By the time you all return to work on Monday you’ll be rested, relaxed, and fully bonded with each other.”

            Jack’s brows rose in surprise.  Pleasant surprise.  God knows he’d expected much worse.  Even though he’d have to do some rearranging of his personal schedule to get away for the weekend, this wasn’t nearly as bad as he’d anticipated.

            “Sounds good,” he said, relaxing for the first time since Gavin had made his great news announcement.  “Although I’m wondering about the expense.”

“It’ll pay off in the long run.  Remember, Jack, people who have bonded work better together.  And people who work better together are more efficient.”

            That little pronouncement sent Jack’s radar whirring and knotted his stomach.  He knew those words.  All too well.  God knows he’d heard them enough ever since Mad Dog was hired.  They were her personal mantra. 

“Madeline arranged the whole team building weekend,” Gavin said.

Figures.  More consultant-related money going down the tubes.  But based on Gavin’s determined expression and tone, his mind was set.  Well, at least Mad Dog wouldn’t be coming along.  Thank God. 

“She’ll be joining the group for the weekend,” Gavin added. 

Jack barely suppressed a groan.  And there it was.  For about three seconds he’d been lulled into a false sense of security, stupidly thinking that the great news might actually not be bad.  Reality had just smacked him upside the head with the force of hammer to his skull.

“Why is she tagging along?”

Gavin’s expression turned inscrutable, which gave Jack’s radar another jolt.  He considered himself pretty adept at reading people and in the past two months he’d picked up on a lot of nuances of Gavin’s expressions.  This carefully blank look practically shouted that there was more going on than he was willing to say, which only furthered Jack’s suspicions of a downsizing.

Gavin shrugged.  “I want an outsider’s unbiased opinion on how the group interacts.  An objective rundown of the personalities.  That sort of thing.”

Seeing as how Mad Dog didn’t even have a personality, Jack seriously doubted her ability to objectively judge anyone else’s.

“Yeah, she’s a frosty one,” Gavin said with a chuckle, as if reading his mind. 

Definitely frosty.  No doubt if she were cut little ice cubes would fall from her veins instead of blood.

“But that’s what makes her good at her job,” Gavin continued.  “She doesn’t get personally involved.  It’s all strictly business.”  He rose and walked to the door, indicating their meeting was over.  “Carla will have the memo and itinerary ready shortly,” he said nodding toward his secretary’s desk.  “Plan to meet with me Monday to give me your impression of the weekend.”

“Great.  Can’t wait.”

Jack headed back toward his office, smiling on the outside at his staff whose desks he passed, grumbling on the inside.  Damn it, he had nothing against team building, in fact he’d participated in it before and had been impressed with the results.  But while it was one thing to have to reschedule his plans, having to do so in order to spend the weekend with her, after suffering her company all week long...he could sum that up in one word.  Blech.

Damn blech since he’d had big plans this weekend.  Seriously big plans.  He just hoped Claire would understand.  He heaved a regretful sigh.  And Sophie, too.

 

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Excerpt

Chapter One

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Reviews

 


 

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Excerpt

Chapter One

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Reader Comments (coming soon)

Awards

 

Reader Comments

 

Coming Soon

 

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Excerpt

Chapter One

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Reader Comments (coming soon)

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Awards

 

 

 

Top of Page

Excerpt

Chapter One

Reviews

Reader Comments (coming soon)

Awards

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and blogging with the Whine Sisters -- stop by and say hi!

         

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