Risky Business: (Taboo Romance Series) (Forbidden Fruit Book 3)

BOOK: Risky Business: (Taboo Romance Series) (Forbidden Fruit Book 3)
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RISKY BUSINESS

 

Forbidden Fruit Series

 

by

 

Ali Parker

 

 

 

Description

 

 

Caden Taylor has worked beside his brother, Luke for the last few years to build up their investment firm - the one that no one believed they could construct. He's cocky, living high on the hog, and is a bachelor for life.

 

And he plans to stay that way.

 

Nothing is getting in the way of his success, besides... he's got all he needs. Him and his brother are best friends, confidants and loyal to each other, almost to a fault. That relationship and a few one-night-stands and he’s golden.

 

Unfortunately, Luke has a new girlfriend that he plans on hiring at the firm, but Caden is completely against it. Olivia is beautiful, brilliant, and the first girl that Caden ever loved.

 

As things heat up with this forbidden romance, Caden must decide… His brother, or his first, and possibly true, love?

 

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Risky Business

Forbidden Fruits Series

 

Copyright © 2016 by Ali Parker

 

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

 

The novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and plot are all either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons – living or dead – is purely coincidental.

 

First Edition.

 

Chapter 1

Olivia

 

 

"You nervous?" Dr. Darren glanced over at me as we stood beside the stage. The auditorium was filled with his advanced finance students who were peppering the speaker before me with rather intimidating questions.

"Never." I winked. "And even if I were, no one will know it."

He chuckled and pressed his shoulder against mine. "Somehow I knew that would be your response."

"No you didn't." I gave him a cocky grin and moved up onto the stage as the speaker before me made his exit on the far side of the platform. The clap was lackluster at best. Dr. Darren had been my advisor throughout my five years at NYC, and was an excellent professor. He cared for his students and took far more time helping me not only understand the value of an invested dollar, but many of the other skills I would need to access in front of the crowd of sharks in front of me.

"Class," his voice boomed through the room, "please help me welcome one of my favorite students, and top graduate from our program last year. Miss Olivia Desmant."

"Hot," someone muttered and the class snickered.

I tugged at the collar of my white button down and gave them a tight smile. "It is rather hot in here... isn't it. Maybe we should turn the air on."

Another round of snickers, this time they were welcomed.

"I'm Olivia and after working for one of the top investment firms in New York for the last year, Dr. Darren asked that I come back and tell you all the things you might not know, and perhaps wouldn't want to." I smiled and let my eyes move across the room. Half the people staring back at me would never make it in the dog-eat-dog world of financial investments.

"Let's start with a quick experiment and then I'll give you some statistics." I brushed my hands together and pursed my lips as I moved to the edge of the stage. "If you're a female please stand."

The girls in the room stood up, half of them giving me an eat-shit-and-die look. It was almost comical.

"If you're over the age of forty. Please stand up." I spoke softly, but kept my tone steady. They already believed me to be less than worthy of their time, regardless of my credentials. I was a pretty blonde female. I had multiple strikes against me. Where most would pull the covers over their heads and go back to bed over some of the shit I took on each day, I almost enjoyed overcoming the odds.

"If you're timid, shy, or have a speech impediment of any kind. Stand." More stood and glanced around at the others as if they might attack any minute. A third of the classroom were still seated.

"If you enjoy eating lunch, sleeping at night or taking a piss. Please... stand."

A chuckle resounded around me.

I pressed my fingers to my lips as everyone stood but one handsome guy. Tilting my head to the side, I gave him a warm smile.

"You there... how about sex. If you enjoy the warmth of having a woman in your bed. Or a man." I shrugged. "If you enjoy that in the slightest - stand on up."

He popped up like his ass was on fire and the room broke out into laughter.

"Good." I clapped my hands. "Now, look around. Every one of you."

They glanced around the room and shuffled back and forth a little bit.

"If you think you're capable of not only making it as an investment manager, but rising to the top and owning your own firm... please, sit down."

Four males sat down and several others started to, but seemed to waver in their belief about the future.

"Right. Everyone sit down. Let's be clear." I moved to the podium and pulled out my notes. "This isn't a career, it's a life. And if you're not one of the chosen few who might be ushered to the top, you have a long life ahead of you."

I glanced up and crossed my arms across my chest. "So why do it? What would be your reasons? Fame? Money? Prestige?"

"All the above," Handsome called out and winked at me.

"And what is that promise worth to you, Sir? Would you sell your last second in the day? The last warm meal you might ever experience? The last romp in the sheets you might get?"

The room was solemn... right where I wanted them to be. I stood in stony silence and ignored Dr. Darren's chuckle from beside the stage. He knew where I was going. It was a lesson he'd taught me far too well.

"Right. That's step one in making this thing work. What would I be willing to give up for the fame I'm capable of reaching and step two... how do I get the confidence to grab ahold of it when I see it."

I moved through the rest of my presentation, dragging the students back into an interactive discussion about all the parts of the investment world and what to truly expect. My time was over far too quickly.

"Now, if you're still interested in working for a large firm like Taylor, Taylor and Barden, then stand up." I smiled as half the class stood up. "Good. Come see me in a few years when you graduate."

I walked across the stage to the room clapping and moved over to Dr. Darren.

"Excellent job. Why mention Taylor, Taylor and Barden? Did you get an offer from them?" His eyebrow raised sharply.

"Not yet, but I think it's coming soon. I'm dating one of their partners, but I didn't think that would go over too well as a good reason to sleep with the boss." I laughed and touched his shoulder. "It's been a long process. Luke Taylor and I have been dating since my junior year here. We've talked about me joining him. I'm just waiting on his offer."

"I think that's incredible news." He pulled me into a side hug and chuckled as students walked toward us. "You were successful here, and will be in any endeavor you decide to take on."

All of them but the one that mattered most. Love.

"Miss Desmant, I'm Talon. Nice to meet you." Handsome from the front row stuck out his hand, and I shook it firmly.

"Pleasure is all mine."

"Can I call you Olivia?"

"I'd rather you didn't, but suit yourself." I pulled my hand from his and watched him closely. I'd known his type all my life, and yet I couldn't force myself to judge him too harshly. He'd already labeled me as an easy win either in business or the bedroom, but that is where he was wrong - on both accounts.

"A tough cookie, I see. I like it."

"What's that? Cookies?" I smiled and moved past him to talk to a few more students. After twenty minutes of answering questions, I made my leave. My best friend Dana was flying in that night for the next week or so. She needed a vacation from UCLA, and I needed the company. Luke was becoming more and more pushy about the future. He didn't at all seem like the kind of guy who would want to settle down, but his words spoke of another reality entirely.

"Olivia." A deep voice called my name, and I turned to see Talon jogging toward me. 

"I'm late for picking up someone at the airport." I glanced over at him as he walked with me toward the exit just ahead of us. His sandy blonde hair and dark blue eyes most likely made a few hearts flutter and thighs clench, but he wasn't at all my type.

Dark brown hair and deep green eyes with a southern accent, and I was all in, but the frat boy look with a cocky disposition? Hell no.

"I won't keep you. I just wanted to ask a question and you were so busy in there answering questions." He chuckled as if something he said was funny.
Nervous.

"It was the Q&A portion of the discussion." I smiled and stopped beside my red BMW. "What's your question?"

"I'd really like to come by your office sometime and talk about the future. I graduate in December this year, and I think I could offer a lot to any firm smart enough to take me on."

I opened the door and pulled a card from my handbag. "I like your confidence, but you'd better understand what you're signing up for before you dive head first into something that has the power to suck you under, drink you dry and spit you out."

"You're surviving well. If you can do it... I can do it." His smile was out of place for the comment.

"Because I'm a woman?"

"Yeah. Exactly. And you're blonde." He slipped his hands into his pocket. "And likely the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Can't be easy for you. All those alpha males vying for your attention."

"It's real easy. I don't like men." I shrugged, winked and got in my car. "Nice meeting you, Talon. Good luck."

"I'll be in touch." His cheeks were pink as he moved back and watched me like a hawk.

Too bad for him that the card wasn't mine. I didn't even know who Sylvia Warner was, but having the card flutter out of my purse on the way into the event couldn't have been a better omen. There was always one asshole in the group if I was lucky. Looks like it was Talon that day.

I chuckled as I headed toward the airport to get Dana. I needed a girl's weekend, but work was too crazy to get away. The transition from my firm to Luke's was going to be hard, but worth the leap. I could only hope that he would try and respect me enough in the office to steer clear of anything relational and simply treat me like the professional I was.

At the office I was an investment manager, not the girl that rode him every other night until he begged me to stop. We were great lovers, but not much else.

Somehow he'd fooled himself otherwise.

BOOK: Risky Business: (Taboo Romance Series) (Forbidden Fruit Book 3)
12.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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