Sunday, May 10, 2009
Kissing her left something to be desired—the rest of her.
Rachel peered through the windshield, shading
her eyes from the brilliant Aspen sun. The resort, a
pristine white colonial, boasting fluted columns and
a wide wraparound porch, complemented the wintry
landscape. Snow-capped mountains and a cloudless,
cerulean blue sky formed the perfect backdrop. The
inspiring scene made her think of the old Bing
Crosby movie, Holiday Inn.
Jack jogged around the front of his black
Mercedes and opened her door before she could set a
finger on the handle. A crisp gust of wind blew her
long brown hair around her face. She pulled the
strands from her lips and accepted his help out of
His gloveless hands were surprisingly warm, his
palms rough and callused against her smooth skin.
She knew he worked out in the corporate gym on the
fifth floor everyday. Even if she never saw him come
off the elevator with his gym bag slung over his
shoulder, she’d know he lifted weights. A custom silk
dress shirt did little to disguise his ripped shoulders,
cut pectorals or V-shaped lats. She nearly purred out
loud just imagining the chiseled muscle beneath the
He smiled down at her as he wove his fingers
through hers and led her onto the curb. She raised a
brow. He was playing the part of the dutiful fiancé
like a champ. She wondered what it might be like to
really be this man’s girlfriend. His wife? His lover?
Her mind wandered with the tempting possibilities
until the valet distracted her.
“Good to see you again Mr. Davenport. We’ve got
your suite ready and waiting.” The grinning
attendant accepted Jack’s keys.
“Thanks.” Jack tipped the man and looked at
Rachel. His humorous smirk lent an appealing
playfulness to his normally tensed features. “You
ready for this?”
Her smile matched his, her chin tilting at a
mischievous angle. “Are you?”
Wait, did his sapphire eyes just spark
with...desire? Or had that been a trick of the
afternoon sun? Come on Rachel. You’re seeing things
“Yeah, I’m ready.” He took her hand once more
and led her up toward the glass double doors. “This
should be one interesting weekend.”
You can say that again.
The enormous receiving room bustled with
guests and staff. Many of the visitors stood in line at
the sprawling granite topped service desk, waiting to
check in or out. Others lounged in overstuffed sofas
flanked by potted palms and polished wood
occasional tables. The focal point of the elegantly
appointed space was an impressive stacked stone
fireplace. Its yawning interior cracked and snapped
with cozy flames dancing over glowing logs. Guests
nearest the hearth sat in damask wing chairs,
blowing the steam from china mugs or relaxing with
a book. Rachel’s attention rose heavenward,
following the hand-laid expanse of river rocks. The
decorative stones extended maybe thirty feet above
the mantel until they ended at a glass paned
cathedral ceiling. The skylight bathed the entire
room in golden sunshine.
Rachel opened her mouth to comment on the
beauty of the hotel, but Jack grabbed hold of her.
“I’m sorry,” he said, his hands on her shoulders, an
odd expression on his handsome face.
Instead of asking what he could possibly be
sorry for, Rachel squeaked when his mouth covered
hers. His lips were soft, warm, and devastatingly
sweet. At first she froze, but the kiss, his
intoxicating masculine scent, the feel of his hard
body, melted her shock as effectively as the spring
sun would soon melt the accumulated snow outside.
The rigid framework of her skeleton suddenly
lost its ability to keep her upright. Had her bones
turned to gelatin? Thankfully, his arms held her
tight, pressing her breasts against his cable knit
sweater, engulfing her in a sturdy cocoon. If it
weren’t for his embrace, Rachel was sure she would
have collapsed onto the floor, a gelatinous heap of
hyper-aroused nerve endings.
But before she could really get into the kiss,
Jack broke it off and stepped aside. He leaned into
her, his warm breath against her ear. “Follow my
lead,” he said in a husky whisper.
Huh? What did he just say? Where am I? What’s
my name? Rachel fought to regain her composure
and halt her near fatal carnal coronary, but before
she could do any of that someone joined them.
“Davenport! How the hell are ya?” The man took
Jack’s hand and shook it like a maraca. Rachel
immediately recognized his distinguished face.
Marshall Van Buren, head honcho, big kahuna,
main brain behind Mira Technologies’ European
division and top dog heading the company’s board of
directors. The multi-lingual Texas transplant
blended with the Japanese, the Spanish and the
French like a native. His eternal good humor didn’t
hurt his popularity either.
“Doing well, Marshall,” Jack answered with a
smile of his own.
“And this little lady must be your better half,”
he said, looking down at Rachel. “Glad you’re finally
settling down, Jack. The company needs stability
inside and out. A loving wife gives a man purpose,
don’t you agree?”
“Yes, I do,” Jack answered while gently
squeezing her hand.
“Good, good. Hate to rush off, but I have to get
going. Promised my wife I’d help her unpack.” Van
Buren turned, but then hesitated. “You two
lovebirds will be joining everyone for dinner this
“Wouldn’t miss it,” Jack assured him.
Marshall smiled, nodded at Rachel with a wink
and then walked away.
Jack turned slowly toward her. “I’m sorry I
grabbed you like that. I saw him coming and just
acted on impulse. Thank you.”
Rachel shrugged off his words, waving a hand in
the air. “Don’t mention it,” she said as if he’d simply
borrowed her pencil instead of kissing her senseless.
“I think you’re gonna earn every penny of that
five thousand dollars this weekend,” Jack said,
leading her toward the wide stairs.
Rachel smiled. You have no idea.
Question for Chapter 2
How many languages can Marshall Van Buren speak?
Let us know what you think. Comment and answer the above question to stay in the running for a prize at the end of the book. Stay tuned next week, May 17, for Chapter 3.