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Self-contained business consultant Jill Hatcher’s one goal in life is to allow no one control over her life. Especially a man. But when she accepts her best friend’s request to set up and manage an in-house day care for three months, Jill has to work with the one man who has the power to break down the barriers guarding her heart.
Over-protective single father Michael Faraway wants a stable life for his four-year-old son and himself. While he does indulge his passion for Jill, he tries to shield his son from being hurt by a woman who has made it clear she isn’t looking for a long-term commitment. But when Michael sees Jill’s rapport with his son, he becomes determined to find a way to keep her in his life.
Michael and his adorable son expect everything and offer more than Jill dared dream. Determined to hold onto her independence, she’s afraid to let emotions rule her decisions. Only when a heart is shattered will her answer become crystal clear.
Page Count: 190
Word Count: 46380
“I planned to work at home until the renovations are complete.”
“Not practical,” Michael argued as he started down the hall toward his office. “Things will change quickly if we have any hope of getting the renovations completed by the target date.”
She found it necessary to hurry and catch up with him. “You’ve already decided on a deadline? And the contractor?”
“Yes. Rivers Renovations won the bid. Cole can have the renovations completed within five weeks.”
“Five weeks? Is that realistic?”
“It is if you’re Cole.” Michael stopped at the doorway to his office, abruptly enough that she bumped into his back. “Sorry,” he mumbled, swinging around quickly enough to steady her by gripping her arm with his hand.
Jill’s mind teetered on the brink of total shutdown. He was so close. The fact that they stood outside his office, at the end of a long corridor, lent an intimacy that ignored the fact that anyone could happen upon them.
The hand that held her was firm, steady but not forceful. The eyes that watched her were wary, yet tempting.
Up to this point, their attraction had maintained a polite, safe distance. They had both presented a professional manner despite the underlying heat of temptation. They had both settled for long, speculative glances without either of them making a move. Now she was close enough to reach out and grab what her body continued to insist she wanted.
Not only could she imagine the two of them tangled together, but she could feel the intimacy—the familiarity—of each and every touch and kiss. She really didn’t understand what it was about this man that enticed her with these feelings. Jill wanted to close her eyes and shut off those images, along with the surprising longing, but refused to let him suspect where her thoughts had traveled.
“Sorry,” he repeated but made no effort to put distance between them. “Looks like I messed up your dress after all.”
“Given the limited time and space of our working together,” she said, not backing down from that intense stare, “I assume it won’t be the last time we bump into one another.”
“We both know it won’t.”
His eyes held a promise that had a thrill skipping down her spine. She jerked it back, buried it deep. “Yes, well, in the office it goes no further than this.”
“And outside the office?” he insisted.
She had no idea. So she did what she always did, she sidestepped the personal question in favor of focusing on business concerns. “For now, we concentrate on work.”
Walking around him, she kept her gaze focused on the small area that would be her working space. To call it an office would be an exaggeration of the grandest proportions.
Jill had certainly worked in far more cramped circumstances, although none of those had come with the complication of close proximity to a man as dominating as Michael Faraway. It was, she reminded herself philosophically, only temporary.
Both the job and the attraction.
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