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Authors: Celia Aaron

Tempting Eden

BOOK: Tempting Eden
4.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Celia Aaron

 

 

 

Tempting Eden

 

Celia Aaron

Copyright © 2016 Celia Aaron

All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the original purchaser of this e-book only. No part of this e-book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without prior written permission from Celia Aaron. Please do not participate in piracy of books or other creative works.

This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference may be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

WARNING: This e-book contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language. Please store your files wisely, away from under-aged readers.

 

 

Cover art by Mr. Aaron

Content Editing by J. Brooks

Copy Editing by Spell Bound

Table of Contents

Chapter One

E
DEN

Chapter Two

J
ACK

Chapter Three

E
DEN

Chapter Four

J
ACK

Chapter Five

J
ACK

Chapter Six

E
DEN

Chapter Seven

J
ACK

Chapter Eight

E
DEN

Chapter Nine

E
DEN

Chapter Ten

J
ACK

Chapter Eleven

E
DEN

Chapter Twelve

J
ACK

Chapter Thirteen

E
DEN

Chapter Fourteen

J
ACK

Chapter Fifteen

E
DEN

Chapter Sixteen

E
DEN

Chapter Seventeen

J
ACK

Chapter Eighteen

E
DEN

Chapter Nineteen

J
ACK

Epilogue

J
ACK
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame.”
Charlotte Brontë

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

E
DEN

 

 

 


I
DON’T GIVE TWO
shits if the entire development goes down the drain. That’s exactly what will happen if you go with anyone else. Give me the business and see all the units sold. Go elsewhere and get used to having a ‘for sale’ sign permanently in your window.” I tapped the screen and ended the call.

He would call back. Developers always did. I hurried across the sidewalk toward my building, the tallest in the city.

I looked up. Impossibly bright blue eyes caught my attention. That’s all it took. My left heel caught in a grate, stuck as sure as if it was superglued to the spot. I tried to take another step with my right foot to anchor myself. Mistake.

My coffee sloshed to the top of the travel cup, shooting like a geyser through the small opening before I let the cup go entirely. It crashed down, ending in a small explosion of caffeine and foam at my feet.

I pulled my left foot from the offending shoe to take a steadying step, but when my bare foot came down, it turned to the side, twisting as sure as a corkscrew. It was over then. Gravity would have its due. My momentum carried me toward the concrete at an alarming pace.

The blue-eyed man caught my elbow and easily pulled me upright. “Whoa.”

I yanked my arm away. “You made me drop my coffee.”

“What?” He cocked his head to the side, the sun illuminating his angular jaw and handsome features. “Let me help.”

“You’ve done enough. I don’t need your help.” My ankle was screaming, my shoe was still stuck in the grate, and the sleeve of my white blouse was streaked brown from the coffee. I’d dropped my blueprint binder. It lay open, the pages turning and turning, as if the breeze were the fastest reader of all time.
Shit.

I realized I’d let out a string of some of the vilest profanity allowed this side of the Mason-Dixon line, but no one cared. People kept passing by, not even offering a glance to the grate’s newest victim. It was just that commonplace. I made a mental note to call the Pilot Group, the building’s owner, and have the damn thing fixed once and for all. Thornfield paid a small ransom each month to ensure our business presence on the top floor, and maintenance was part of the package.

“You
definitely
need my help.” He took my elbow again as I glared up at him.

“I’m fine.” I went to step back for my shoe, but my ankle gave a decidedly painful twinge. More curses, these perhaps even more colorful than the last.

His thick black brows lowered, encroaching on the blue that had led me to this state of affairs. “You twisted your ankle.”

“No shit, and no thanks to you.” I glanced down to my notebook. How the hell would I manage to pick it up and make it to my office?

He bent down to retrieve my shoe. His back was broad beneath his suit coat. Built was the word. I hadn’t seen him before, or at least I thought I hadn’t. I was pretty sure I’d remember him. Those eyes at the very least. They were impossible, beyond beautiful, more startling than oddly colored contacts.

He gingerly removed my shoe from its metal prison. The leather heel was scraped and ruined. I’d have to take it in for repair. I added it to the long line of things in my life that needed fixing.

He scooped up my binder and returned to my side. I just stood, helpless and with the injured foot up and resting on the tips of my toes. In my skirt suit, I looked like the corporate karate kid about to do the crane kick and win the tourney. The thought was so ridiculous and out of place that I laughed at myself, more like a harsh bark.

He gave me a stoic look that revealed nothing. I tamped down my temporary amusement.

I just needed to get to my office and recover what little shred of dignity I still had left.

The day was already teed up to be full of difficulties. This start really wasn’t that out of character.

“Let me help you to your office.” It wasn’t a request. His hand returned to my elbow, a steady pressure.

He was sure of himself, walking the fine line between confidence and cockiness with the skill of a tightrope performer. I wondered if he was working without a net.

But it didn’t matter what he said or how he said it. I wasn’t in a position to say no. I would make a spectacle of myself trying to get to my floor in this state. “Sure. You owe me, since all this is your fault. Get me to the elevator bank, then I should be all right to make it from there.”

“If you say so.” He smirked and squeezed my elbow lightly. I hopped along, struggling toward the door, so much so that he did away with pretense and simply wrapped his arm around my waist, allowing me to use him as a crutch. I caught a whiff of his scent—masculine with some sort of tantalizing aftershave. Definitely not an Aqua Velva man, thank God.

He was tall, so that even jostling along on the one remaining heel kept my eyes at the level of his shoulder. His arm tightened even more, lifting me to keep the pressure from my injured ankle. He didn’t slow his gait, just manhandled me along like a package under his arm. He was hard against me, and I couldn’t help but mold to his metal, my curves melting into him.

I looked up, taking in his profile as he half-carried me into the high rise. He seemed younger than me, though I was only twenty-eight. His dark hair was cropped close. There wasn’t even the hint of a shadow along his jawline; clean-shaven and professional. His neck was long, almost too elegant for a man. His lips were full and a rich plum color, a perfect match to his light brown skin. Handsome by any standard. And those otherworldly blue eyes were stunners.

He hit the elevator call button. I noticed he didn’t have a band on his ring finger. That’s what I did—noticed details. Details were the sort of thing that could make or break a person. I wasn’t the sort to ever allow myself to be broken. Not anymore.

We stood in front of one set of shiny gold elevator doors, making the silly bet that it would be the one to open for us instead of the five others. I looked at us, standing together, covered with a hazy gilded finish. Me, short and fair; him, tall and dark. We made an interesting pair, standing too close, looking too familiar for strangers.

The doors slid open before I could ponder any further. We’d won the elevator door bet. That was something, at least. He swept me into the enclosed space, and I got a waft of him again, rich and masculine.

“Floor?” he asked.

“Forty-two.” My real estate brokerage, Thornfield, took up the entire floor, abuzz with salespeople working on some of the largest real estate deals and buildings in the Southeast. Well, it wasn’t
my
company. I was just a senior vice president of sales, overseeing a number of the pricier projects.

I’d been away for a week, checking over an almost-finished development in midtown Atlanta. Nothing fancy, just some lofts for DINKs (dual income, no kids) near some of the livelier spots. They were coming along nicely, and with another small infusion of Gray’s money for higher end interior finishes, they’d be ready to take to market. I was poised to make a nice profit on them now that the real estate sector was back in full swing. The money would go a long way to make my life easier, if only in the short run.

The stranger hit the button for my floor, but didn’t hit any others. He must have been skipping his floor to take me to mine first. Was there no end to his Southern gentleman behavior? I smirked.

“I can take it from here.” I pushed my elbow into his ribs.

He only tightened his grip. “I’m going your way.”

His strength made some of the wires in my brain cross. I wanted to escape, but I also tingled in all the wrong places.

A few others hurried into the elevator before the doors closed, saying their good mornings to each other or giving friendly nods. I nodded back and watched them as they watched me in the reflective panels.

The whoosh of gravity pressing down made my ankle ache as the blood rushed into it. I put more weight on my good foot, scooting closer into the stranger at my side. His hand slid down a little lower on my waist, onto my hip so he could hold me even more tightly. His hand was large against me, spanning the fabric of my skirt and top with ease. His constant pressure was making me warm.

BOOK: Tempting Eden
4.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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