Out today from Ellora's Cave:
Hammered: Second in the Erector Set series.
Alex McMann is putting his Masters in Business Administration to good use running the business end of the construction company that he owns with his brothers. He’s flown high and wide through the female segment of every geographic area in which the company has a presence, and now he’s ready at last to settle down. When he meets Olivia D’Angelo, CFO of one of their client companies, he’s sure he’s found The One.
Olivia is sharp, she’s smart, she’s sassy and she challenges him both in and out of the bedroom, where the sex is hot and plentiful. Just one problem. She has her own issues and isn’t looking for anything permanent. Can Alex convince her that he’s enough to satisfy her for the rest of her life?
The elevator pinged softly, the doors whooshed open and Alex McMann stepped out into the plush reception area for Concordia. Just the one name. Concordia. But everyone recognized it and the villages it built. He tried not to be impressed—after all, he’d been in some pretty fancy offices—but this one outdid all of them. Quiet, understated elegance that shrieked money. No muddy shoes in here.
A woman with stylishly upswept blonde hair, who looked as if she been dressed at Saks Fifth Avenue, was working at a semicircular desk made of polished cherrywood, head bent over what she was doing. But the sound of the elevator registered belatedly, she lifted her head and gave him a smile he bet she spent hours practicing in front of a mirror.
He forced himself not to run his finger around his collar or brush a hand over his hair, habits that denoted nerves. McMann Brothers Development was no penny ante company and after all, he’d been asked to a meeting here. He hadn’t come begging for an appointment. Still, hammering out a contract with Concordia would move them into a whole new class of developers. This was the giant step they’d been working toward. If it panned out.
“Do not fuck this up,” his brothers told him when he left the office. “Whatever they want, if we get the contract it will push us into a whole new level.”
“Do you want to wipe my nose and check behind my ears?” he asked with a sarcastic edge.
“Just go,” Josh told him.
“And call the minute you’re out of the building,” Tyler added.
“Sure, sure, sure,” he called grumpily over his shoulder.
So now here he was, hoping he was thoroughly prepared for this meeting. He knew—they all knew—that Concordia was famed for the award-winning villages they built all over the world. A portfolio the McMann brothers hungered to be included in.
“You’re Mr. McMann, right?” The woman’s voice was soft, modulated.
Ma’am? Was he a schoolboy?
She picked up the receiver on her desk and spoke softly into it, then smiled at him again. “Jennifer will be right out to get you,” she told him.
Okay. Jennifer. He stood with his briefcase, trying to wait without fidgeting. Then a door opened at the far end of the hall and the woman of his dreams walked toward him. If this was Jennifer he might hang around after hours. It wasn’t just his cock that wanted to stand at attention. He felt his heart drop to the bottom of his feet then bounce back up into his throat.
Jesus, Alex. Get your shit together.
She was of medium height, but that was the only thing medium about her. Hair the color of deep auburn hung to her shoulders in loose waves. And though she was dressed in a tailored blouse and straight skirt, the material of both was soft and did little to hide curves that made his mouth water. Her heels added three inches to her height but she didn’t teeter on them as many women did. She had an air of supreme confidence and he wondered exactly what Jennifer did that she exuded such poise and assurance.
When she reached him, she extended a graceful hand. “Mr. McMann? Jennifer was handling something for us so I came to fetch you myself. Olivia D’Angelo.”
“Alex McMann.” He grinned. “But then you know that.” When he shook hands with her electricity zinged between them. She felt it, too, her eyes narrowing just a tiny bit. He held onto her hand a millimeter of a second too long, loving both the strength of her grip and the soft skin of her palm.
“Indeed I do.” She eased her hand from his, her lips curving in a tiny but mischievous smile and lights dancing in her hazel eyes.
Oh yes. This woman was temptation on a plate. He wondered what she looked like without those clothes, hair spread out on a pillow—
“Mr. McMann?” Her words shook him out of the erotic reverie he had momentarily fallen into. “Let’s go. Everyone’s waiting for you.”
What was the matter with him? He was supposed to be here on business—and very important business—not pleasure. He held his briefcase in front of him, just in case his stupid dick decided to intrude and tried to control the sudden heavy thudding of his heartbeat. But as he followed her down the hallway he was mesmerized by the sway of her hips as she walked. Oh yeah, he was in very big trouble here. And about to enter what could be the most important meeting of his life.
Nice going, dickhead.
She opened a heavy oak door and ushered him into a conference room where nine men and women waited for him, studying him curiously. Some were dressed in business attire, others more casually. Alex figured those were the ones who checked on job sites. Construction and electrical engineers. He didn’t let their casual attire fool him. To sit at this table you had to be sharper than a tack.
A man at the closest end of the table rose and held out a hand to him.
“Alex? I’m Frank Vincent, president of Concordia.” Vincent was a broad, muscular man of medium height, in a suit Alex estimated cost him close to three thousand bucks. His salt and pepper hair and matching moustache set off the deep green of his eyes. Shrewd eyes that Alex was sure missed nothing.
He waved a hand to indicate the assembled group. “This is my executive staff. And your guide, Olivia, is my chief financial officer.” He smiled. “Don’t let the fact that she’s a woman give you false idea. She’s a shark with numbers and eats people for lunch at the negotiating table.”
Chief financial officer? A shark? Alex hoped he did a good job masking the shock that jolted through him. He didn’t know which part of his body she affected more—his brains or his balls. But he took the vacant seat Vincent indicated, removed a pen, yellow pad and brochure from his briefcase and waited for the man to proceed.
And be sure to read Book One: Erected
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