She’s falling in love with the one man she can’t trust…
Elaina Robidoux knows how people view her: coldhearted, ambitious, ruthless. But it doesn’t matter. Running the family business is all she’s ever wanted and she’s so close she can almost taste it…until her father fires her and hires her nemesis—arrogant, unflappable Alex Tyson. Elaina may be hurt but she refuses to be defeated, so she throws herself into creating a business of her own. But she never dreamed that to close her first deal, she’d need Alex’s help…
Alex understands the power of a family legacy better than most and the last thing he wanted was to take that from Elaina. Her beauty and fierce strength are undeniable, but there’s a softer side that no one but him seems to see. She’s been taught that emotions are a liability, yet one impulsive kiss starts a chain reaction that neither of them wants to stop. But can love ignite—and survive—when secrets and loyalties collide?
She said the words as if he were a toddler encroaching upon a forbidden space. He supposed Elaina did view him as an unruly child. “That’s what he told me.” He stood and put out the cigar in the crystal ashtray next to the leather sofa.
When he looked back at Elaina, her eyes narrowed. Alex’s stomach did an unwelcome flip. He hated how much he was attracted to her. He’d rather be attracted to a man-eating succubus than Elaina. At least a succubus would take him out with a smile on his face. Elaina was not the type of woman to bring a smile to a man’s face.
She was beautiful. Her thick, wavy dark hair looked so damn soft. God was the only person who knew how many times he’d considered the softness of her hair, her smooth terra-cotta skin, or her full lips, and even then he’d deny it on judgment day. Her chestnut-brown eyes were bright and sparked with intelligence when they weren’t narrowed with skepticism or frozen over with disdain. Then there were her curves. The woman could make men stop in their tracks. He knew because he’d seen it happen. Full breasts, trim waist and rounded hips. He’d wanted to taste her luscious lips the second he’d seen her. Until she’d opened her mouth and told him all the reasons Robidoux Holdings didn’t need him.
He wasn’t sure why Elaina disliked him so much. Despite the rumors that he wanted the CEO position, he didn’t, and had made that very clear to Grant. A part of him was glad she openly despised him. Knowing he had absolutely zero chance with her made ignoring the way his body automatically reacted to her easier.
“There are other places you could have gone. Why did he let you up here?”
Alex wasn’t in the mood to argue. He also avoided being alone with her for too long to prevent any evidence of his crush from showing. If Elaina got a hint that he was attracted to her, she’d have his balls skinned and mounted on her wall like a trophy in no time.
“Ask him, Elaina,” he said in the blasé tone he used with her. “Your father invited me. I decided to come. I won’t be bothering you anymore.” He walked toward the door.
Elaina grunted softly. “I guess today’s the day I run men off.” The words were muttered under her breath.
Alex stopped at the door. Her hand shook as she brought her drink to her lips.
He frowned at the unusual display of a chink in her armor. Her words hadn’t been for him to hear, and he had no reason to find out what was wrong, but the slight slump of her shoulders tugged at an empathetic soft spot he hadn’t realized he possessed. “Are you okay?”
Her head whipped in his direction. Her eyes widened, and her arched brows drew together. “Of course I’m okay. Go down to the party and enjoy the free food.”
The coarseness of her words bristled. His hand tightened on the doorknob. He was ready to leave without another word, until the light glinted off the sheen of tears in her eyes. She looked away quickly and went further into the room.
Unsettled, Alex stared at her profile against the window. Elaina was a force to be reckoned with. If he made any reference to her tears, he might end up with his jugular ripped out. He didn’t have a clue what to say to lift her spirits. The two of them weren’t friends or cordial colleagues. Yet that newly discovered empathy wouldn’t let him leave without saying something.
“You did a great job on the party.”
She frowned at him. “What?”
“The party. I know you did most of the planning. From what I can tell, you did a great job.”
Her chin lifted. “It’s not that hard.”
“Still, I know your dad appreciates it.”
She sipped her drink. “Doubtful.”
“He does. But even if you don’t believe it, then know that I appreciate it.”
“Why would you appreciate it?” she asked suspiciously.
He thought about her earlier comment. “I like free food,” he said with a smile. Her mouth fell open. He’d at least succeeded in surprising her and taking away the sad look in her eyes. Alex hurried out the door before she could think of a snarky reply.
Synithia Williams has loved romance novels since reading her first one at the age of 13. It was only natural that she would begin penning her own romances soon after. It wasn’t until 2010 that she began to actively pursue her publishing dreams. Her first novel, You Can’t Plan Love, was released in August 2012.
When she isn’t writing, this Green Queen, as dubbed by the State Newspaper, works to improve air and water quality, while balancing the needs of her husband and two sons. You can learn more about Synithia by visiting her website, www.synithiawilliams.com, where she blogs about writing, life and relationships.