Friday, July 25, 2014

Handcuffed to Him, by Brenda Williamson



Ever since the bad breakup with handsome Michael Hollister, Lexi Ward has had only her job to keep her company. Believing the business will one day be hers, she soon learns that the terms of her inheritance have an outlandish twist when her boss dies unexpectedly. Desperate to hold onto the one important thing in her life, she agrees to the stipulations.

A year hasn't lessened the numbness Michael still feels over his breakup with Lexi. When his uncle, Lexi's boss, dies, the two are handcuffed together -- literally -- in a contest for the company. While his uncle's will gives him the means to garner revenge for their failed relationship, his lust takes command. The inevitable sexual trysts from being bound together ultimately change his endgame to winning back Lexi's love.


EXCERPT 

Anxiety took a firm grip on Lexi Ward as she walked into the lawyer’s office. The moment she opened the door, her muscles tensed, constricting her airway, and making it hard to breathe. 

“Ah, Lexi, please, come in,” Frank Nelson said as he rose from his seat behind his desk. 

If it were possible to disappear, she would. She had already dressed for work when he called to give her the news about her boss’s death. While that news was upsetting enough, the presence of her old boyfriend made everything worse. 

Michael Hollister’s devilishly enchanting stare locked on her. Like the proverbial startled deer caught in headlights, she stood trapped, a flood of memories rushing into her thoughts. The good ones moved to the forefront, reminding her of what it felt like to be in love. The tenderness of his passion had always made her feel safe. Then the bad memories elbowed the sweet sentiments out of the way. 

His presence rattled her more than it should have. Almost a year had passed, and she still hadn’t recovered from their falling out. She didn’t think she ever would. Yet as much as she wanted to hate him, her lingering attraction pushed old desires to the surface. 

Were his brown eyes darker, sadder? If they were, it had to be because his uncle was dead. That forlorn look wouldn’t be for her. She hadn’t seen him in months, though she had heard he was dating that viper who came between them. 

His gaze moved down the length of her. It hovered in the area of her chest. Her skin dampened as heat flooded into her belly and radiated to all her limbs. Mindlessly, she put a hand to her chest. The lumpiness of her clothing reminded her she had thrown on her old bra, the comfortable one she wore to work. The thin fabric of her blouse did little to hide her suddenly spiked nipples. 

Michael was behind many of her newly developed issues with self-esteem. Not usually self-conscious of her shape or her ample bosom, she folded her arms to hide her body’s betrayal to her anger. 

Irritated that Michael still had power over her emotions, Lexi tore her gaze away. “What’s he doing here, Frank?” she asked the lawyer. 

Frank Nelson had been her boss, Everett Hollister’s, lawyer for as long as she worked for Hollister Construction Company. His narrow frame, gray hair, and wrinkled face had always portrayed Frank as someone trustworthy. She seldom had dealings with the man, but he had proved to her in the ten years she had worked for the company he was every bit as honest as he appeared. 

“He’s named in the will,” Frank answered. 

“You never mentioned that when you called.” She glanced at Michael, expecting him to explain. 

He remained silent. 

“I thought this was all about me taking over Hollister Construction,” she said, resentment toward Michael pushing her toward a breakdown. “You said Everett named me as heir to his company, Frank.” 

“It would seem,” Michael spoke for the first time. “My uncle had a little more planned than just handing over the reins to his business without any strings attached.” 

As if an inferno sucked the air from the room, Lexi struggled to take another breath. She had seen Michael from a distance on several occasions, but they hadn’t spoken in six months. While his velvety rich tone sent a stream of fiery tingles to the tips of her fingers and toes, she’d not let his arousing voice smooth over the pain he had caused. 

“What strings?” she asked, annoyed he knew more than she did. And what happened to manners? No Hello? How’ve you been? 

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