May 24, 2016 by Valerie Ullmer
First Chapter from Her Perfect Match
Gabriel Kane leaned against the massive oak desk with his arms crossed in front of his chest, schooling his face, and kept his true reaction to the request he’d heard from breaking through.
Over the last fifteen minutes, Rebecca Cole had laid out her business plan for the addition to her dating service, Liaison, in a precise and detailed way. But instead of the typical investment opportunity he thought he would hear, her proposal stunned him into silence. Instead of asking the numerous questions that swirled in his brain, he waited for her to continue.
He watched closely as her eyes wandered to the view behind him, out onto the high-rises of New York City from the floor-to-ceiling windows that surrounded his opulent office on the seventy-second floor in Midtown Manhattan. He had chosen the building for the intimidation factor. Most people were afraid of heights and some of his clients made a conscious effort to avoid the windows. It gave him an advantage even before they uttered a single word. His decorator had completed the rest of the office in solid woods with sharp angles.
He thought his office would have the same effect on Rebecca. But apparently the view gave her the strength she needed, and after taking a deep breath, she continued calmly with her pitch.
“The city is inundated with several hundred dating services, including exclusive online businesses, and if I expand into the male escort business on top of my dating service, I will be able to cater to many different clients at once.”
He chose her moment of strength to give up the pretense of keeping his eyes off her. He took his time as he perused the flattering wrap dress in the color of deep moss that emphasized the curves he had craved for years to touch, and became captivated as the color of the dress brought out the emerald in her eyes, which were fixed on him.
She was an understated beauty. Her hair was a lovely mix of dark amber and natural blonde highlights. Her body was classic, with her curves in all the right places and a tapered waist that drew his eyes as she leaned back in the chair in front of his desk, sending up a fragrance that tightened his body with desire he was unprepared for.
The side of her mouth tilted a fraction, as if she knew that he liked what he saw, and the gesture sent heat washing over him.
Practiced in the art of flirting, he gave no outward signs of his curiosity toward the woman he’d known since she was eighteen. But he had learned early in his life to hide his emotions from everyone around him, including those closest to him.
His parents had strict views on life; never show your hand and always go after what you want, even if it meant some had to be hurt because they weren’t ambitious enough. Because of his parent’s philosophy, he found himself alone and secluded, albeit successful.
That was, until he’d met Lucian Cole, Rebecca’s older brother. Their friendship was immediate, and with it came acceptance into a family that was so foreign to him, the first several visits made him uncomfortable. The level of affection that his family showed to him, and the easy grace in which he was accepted, left him longing. Well, accepted by everyone except Rebecca.
They’d met in the middle of the night as she snuck back in after being out with friends, and when she opened the kitchen door at four in the morning, she had run straight into him.
Pacing from one corner of the room to the other, unable to sleep in the quiet house and too preoccupied with his thoughts, he didn’t hear anyone until he felt her pressed against him. Before the automatic apology left his mouth, the smell of lavender drifted over him and her beautiful face tinted with the barest hint of a blush.
The impact rendered him mute.
His hands tightened where he had grasped her upper arms as he tried to get control of his riotous emotions, but she recovered before he had a chance to formulate a sentence. The flush on her face deepened, and before he could manage a word, she stepped back, out of his arms, and ran up the stairs to her room.
The next morning, they were formally introduced, and although he had tried to get to know her during that visit and many others, she shied away from him whenever he approached her. Several times, he sensed her glancing his way, but he never caught her doing so. The one sign that she might be affected by him was the blush on her cheeks whenever they spoke.
It had taken him several years, but whenever he had visited with the Coles, he made it a point to get to know her. The underlying attraction between them continued, but he never acted on it. But with her in his office, his body and his mind responded to her in a way he hadn’t to a woman in a very long time, and he wanted more than what their attraction promised. He wanted her, invariably in his life and in his bed.
Under normal circumstances, he would have expected her to call him directly, but she’d made the appointment through his assistant. He’d been surprised to find it on his calendar that morning when he arrived.
Despite his attraction to her and his friendship with her brother, he hadn’t seen her in several years. Lucian spoke of her often, but the generalities of the topics left him wanting. Not that he’d ever admitted to anyone other than himself of his desire for Rebecca.
Over the years, his dates were casual and most ended with sex, but never once had his emotions become involved. Most women knew the score; he never promised anything past the night in question.
Most of those dalliances were because of a need he wanted fulfilled, but no woman who had accepted him into their body over the years had stirred him as much as a half hour in this woman’s presence. And all they discussed was business.
“So, you are going into the business of prostitution?” he chided.
Her brows drew down, and he was familiar with the look she gave him. He wanted to get a rise out of her, wanted to see whether she was as passionate as he believed her to be from all the years they’d known each other.
She didn’t disappoint.
“Many women need escorts to weddings, parties, and company functions without romantic complications, and that is what the escorts will be providing. Anything else is worked out between the escort and the woman in question. We will provide the escorts with excellent medical screenings and they will be tested every month for our clients’ safety, as well as the escorts’, in case something sexual happens between them. But I won’t pimp out my employees.”
“And if the escorts don’t want to have sex with your clients?”
“There is no money exchanged for sex, just for companionship or a date, depending on what the client is requesting. If the escort is hired for an outing, he is contracted to go, but if he doesn’t want to get intimate with the client, then his choice will be respected and he will let the client know of his objections.”
“So you think women will be desperate enough to hire a date?” he chided.
Her gaze landed on his and when she smiled at him, he grew hard.
He shifted onto his other foot and awaited her answer.
“We have a waiting list of close to one hundred women who need dates to a variety of functions in the coming months. We had to turn away several women who needed a date within the next two weeks. I have hired a recruiting agency that put out feelers and next week, I have twenty-five confirmed applicants coming in for an interview.”
As he thought about all of the men she would have to interview, he sat up a little straighter and bit back a curse as his eyes raked over her. He wanted to rage at the thought of the number of men she would be spending time with. Even though he didn’t have any claim on her, he wanted her, and that possessiveness warmed his chest. At the same time, it scared the hell out of him.
“It sounds like you have it all mapped out. Why come to me?”
She shifted in the chair, and it surprised him that she showed the smallest amount of nervousness about her business plan.
As she gathered her thoughts, he took the opportunity to glance down at her shapely legs and to the knee-high high-heeled boots she wore. Something deep inside him stirred. His thoughts strayed as he imagined taking his time to unzip and peel them off her legs. He shifted again; this time he crossed his feet to hide is growing need for her, and perused the rest of her body.
Her chest rose as she inhaled a deep breath, and that brought his gaze to her soft curves of her breasts that were delicately outlined by her flattering dress. With difficulty, he pulled himself out of his daydreams and when he glanced up, he became caught in her gaze.
She cleared her throat. As she raised her hand to brush a stray hair away, she spoke.
“When I opened the dating service, it wasn’t as successful as I hoped, and I need an insertion of capital to bring it back to solvency. I’m willing to pay you back with an interest rate you set, within reason, or sign over to you a small percentage of the company.”
The first time he’d heard about her business, he’d been intrigued because he knew that she was a natural matchmaker. Several of their mutual friends had benefited from her expertise and had very happy marriages.
He knew that with the addition of escorts, and what she had told him about the women on her waiting list that he would be a fool if he didn’t invest in her business. He was rarely, if ever, wrong about financial matters.
But for the first time in his eight-year career as the CEO of Kane Investments, he didn’t care about how much money he could make. He wanted the woman behind the business proposition. He never mixed business with pleasure, but since she first stepped into his office, he was intrigued enough to consider it.
Her soft, husky voice drove him wild. The more she spoke, the more he imagined her shouting his name as he pleasured her. The thought of her curvy body under his, as he drove into her, had his fists clenched and his jaw tight as his eyes were drawn back to her, time and time again.
She wasn’t intimidated and knowing she awaited his answer, he snapped out of his fantasy.
“I’m willing to invest in your company, but I have a few stipulations.”
She nodded; her eyes glowed with the excitement of saving her business. “Okay, let’s hear your stipulations.”
“I have to work out some of the details, but the first is that I would like to be present during the interviews.”
He shook his head, not used to being questioned. “I have my reasons.”
She waited to see whether he would expand on his explanation, but when he didn’t offer any further reasoning, she nodded. “That’s fine. I’ll have my assistant contact yours with the schedule of our interviews. Anything else?”
“Of course. I want a stake in your company, as you put forth. I’ll come up with a figure before the interviews.”
Her brows drew down, and she assessed him for several moments, before she nodded her agreement.
“Will you want my lawyer to draw up the contract or yours?” she asked.
“We’ll discuss any further details before the first interview, and we’ll have them ironed out soon after. I’m sure that if both of our lawyers work together, it will be beneficial for us both.”
“What else could there be besides a financial stake in the company?”
“This is going to be a personal investment for me, so I want to work closely with you until I know the business side of things are up and prosperous.”
To cut off any further discussion, he held out his hand and almost groaned aloud when she placed her cool hand in his. He opened his legs before he pulled her close, until she was cocooned between his thighs. He saw her look of surprise before he felt the shiver that ran through her body. The movement ramped up the desire, until he thought about nothing else. He slid his hand to the small of her back and pulled her until she was flush against him. Feeling bold, he nipped her ear with his teeth before he spoke.
“Are we going to agree to work together?” he growled.
He heard her intake of breath before she whispered his name, and he knew of his effect on her. His face remained impassive as his body rioted to claim this woman nestled against him. He was silent as he waited for her answer, but she leaned back and scanned his face. He had no idea what she saw, but she leaned into him and nestled against him.
“Tentatively,” she whispered.
She brushed her lips against his neck, sending a surge of lust through him, before she backed out of his reach.
His fists clenched together to prevent him from pulling her back to his body. His desire had started to burn the first moment she walked into his office, but now an inferno raged inside of him.
Taking a deep breath, he dropped his hands and continued to stare at her. Her face, although passive, had a brightness about it that he found sexy and alluring.
She was the first woman who hadn’t accepted the advances that he’d overtly made toward her, and he had been less than subtle. He wanted her to fall into his arms and beg him to satisfy her body, and because she wasn’t, unexplained anger and possessiveness had the next words come out harsher than he meant them.
“I have one concrete stipulation. There will be a no-dating policy between you and the escorts you hire,” he growled.
Buy Link: https://amzn.com/B01FCRUS02