Publisher: Cardinal Press, LLC
Formats: eBook, print
He wanted a fling. She wanted forever. All they got was a “goodbye.”
He wanted a fling. She wanted forever. All they got was a “goodbye.”
Taking over as the temporary associate producer on a television show, Chaney Sullivan comes face-to-face with her former boss who stole—and broke—her heart. He’s more attractive than ever, which complicates working together. But she knows better than to fall for him all over again.
Nobody denies billionaire Drake Llewelyn anything, but Chaney’s done it—twice. Even though he's too busy for a relationship, her beauty and sass intrigue him. But she's changed. Her zest for life and her little dimple are missing, and he wants to uncover why.
When an unforgettable kiss brings them together, fear drives them apart. Drake pushes her away—not believing in love. Tired of trying to please everyone, Chaney retreats. Can they find the courage to risk their hearts or will their pasts keep them alone forever?
* This is a revised, expanded version of a book previously published as Memo: The Billionaire's Proposal.
Read an Excerpt
“Damsel in distress here.” Struggling to carry a heavy box, Chaney eyed the row of antique armor on display in the great hall of Abbotsford Castle. “Hey, knights in shining armor. Can I get some help, please?”
The polished suits stood at attention, weapons in hand as if ready for battle, but not one moved.
The story of her life.
Okay, Chaney didn’t have the happily ever after she once thought she’d have, but she couldn’t complain. Few people got to fly to London for three days and stay at a luxurious castle with all expenses paid while working as the associate producer on a highly rated cable channel show.
This temporary position was the hands-on production experience her boss, Justin, said she needed if she wanted to have a shot at the promotion she’d been eyeing. Okay, dreaming about since the job notice appeared, and she’d submitted an application. Knowing finance was one thing, but understanding how projects got made and being in the trenches on a set was another. That was why he’d allowed her to use personal time off to come to England this week.
And she had one person to thank for the opportunity.
Her former roommate was counting on Chaney to make sure the taping of The Billionaire’s Playground, a travel show profiling the vacation spots of the uber-wealthy, went off without a hitch. Gemma’s job required her to look out for the cable channel’s interest, to put out fires, and make sure the show stayed on budget and schedule.
Chaney wouldn’t let her friend down.
The container full of electrical gear slipped in her sweaty hands. Her arm muscles strained against the weight. Her eyeglasses slid down her nose.
Dropping the hefty box on the gleaming wood floor would be an expensive no-no, one that could have historical implications given the medieval age of the castle. She tightened her grip.
“May I help you, my lady?” a male voice asked from behind her.
The Welsh accent reminded her of her former boss, but Gemma thought another billionaire would host this episode because Drake had a previous engagement. Chaney had been relieved to know she wouldn’t see him again. But plans could change at the last minute.
“Thank you.” She rested the container against her bended knee. “I should have borrowed a baggage cart or dolly.”
She glanced back at her rescuer. A man wearing chain mail, black leather, and armor plates on his shoulders, chest, and legs approached. And not just any man.
Her breath caught in her throat. He looked like a knight from King Arthur’s Round Table, not a billionaire businessman whose latest pet project had led him to host a travel show for his successful cable channel.
She had to admit the costume suited him.
Awareness fluttered through her, but she shut that down immediately.
Too bad Drake Llewelyn wasn’t a noble knight. He didn’t follow any code of chivalry. His armor might be polished, but underneath was a tarnished partyer.
He walked toward her with the grace and agility of an athlete. His armor didn’t slow him down one bit.
Uh-oh. She stiffened with apprehension. The costume must mean he was hosting this episode. Which meant she would have to work with him for the next three days.
The warm sound of his voice seeped through her. He took the box out of her arms as if it weighed no more than a container of laundry detergent.
She pushed her glasses back into place. Her tired and dry eyes from the long flight meant she’d taken out her contact lenses hours ago. “Thanks.”
“Thank you for coming at such short notice and filling in for Gem.” He sounded sincere. “Are you up to speed on this episode?”
Her heart thudded. “Yes.” Though at the moment, the show was the last thing on her mind.
“Of course, you are.” Two familiar brown eyes, with gold flecks flickering like flames, stared into hers and sent Chaney’s temperature soaring.
His mussed hair made him look as if he’d just returned to the castle after a crusade and was ready to bed the first female who caught his eye. And that beard…
She did a double take. “You grew a beard.”
“For the taping.” Drake tilted his chin to provide a better view. “Not as full as I’d hoped, but I thought a beard would look more knightly.”
“It does.” She usually preferred men without facial hair, but the mustache and beard, combined with the costume, made Drake look dark and dangerous. A black knight from an Arthurian tale who had his pick of maidens, courtesans, and queens.
Chaney swallowed around the crown-jewel-size lump in her throat.
“Where would you like the box?” he asked.
The deep rumble, coupled with his accent, sent her stomach into doing cartwheels and a series of backflips like a gymnast during a floor exercise routine. The unexpected reaction put every nerve ending on alert.
“By the lights.” Her voice sounded low, almost husky, and totally unnatural. The same odd way it felt to give Drake Llewelyn orders or feel the bolt of unwelcome attraction. She cleared her dry throat. “Please place the box next to the lights.”
As he carefully set the box where one of tonight’s scenes would be taped, chain mail clinked. The sound echoed through the cavernous hall until swallowed up by the tapestry-covered walls.
Drake stood, looking taller than she remembered. She hadn’t recalled his eyelashes being so thick and long, either. He seemed more handsome, if that were possible.
Maybe she was more tired than she realized. Exhaustion could easily explain her reaction to him.
His gaze raked over her.
She crossed her arms over her chest. “If I’d known we were supposed to dress up, I would have brought my beer wench costume.”
Drake laughed. “It’s been too long, Chaney.”
Five years, one month, and—she did a quick calculation—about five days. Not long enough, in her opinion. “I’m only here as a favor for Gemma.”
“It’s still good to see you again.”
No way would she be charmed by him. Being enticed by his knight get-up was bad enough. She straightened. “I doubt you missed me.”
“But I have.”
“Not according to the tabloids.”
He adjusted a chain mail sleeve as if the leather pants, tunic, and armor were his daily attire, not a designer suit. “You’ve been following me in the magazines?”
“Not really. Just...when I’m in line at the grocery store.” And drawn to the stories of Drake dating women as if they were library books to be checked out and returned before their due date. A leopard didn’t change its spots, and so it seemed, neither did a dragon.
“Grocery shopping. For your family?”
Her chest tightened. “Myself.”
“Gemma told me you were engaged.” He glanced at Chaney’s left hand, at her bare ring finger to be exact. “I thought you’d be married by now.”
She did, too. “Nope.”
“Let me guess. You found the long-term investment strategy lacking.”
Her cheeks burned when she remembered what she’d said to him five years ago. If she’d known then... Who was she kidding? She wouldn’t have done anything differently.
“No,” Chaney admitted. “He did.”
Drake reached his hand toward her, but she stepped away from him. “Chaney—”
“I’m not looking for sympathy,” she interrupted. “I got enough of that when Tyler, my ex-fiancé, broke up with me.”
“I wasn’t going to say I’m sorry because I’m not. The man is obviously an idiot.”
She bit back a smile. She’d forgotten how Drake could put things into perspective with only a few words. “He married my sister.”
“Then your brother-in-law is an idiot.”
Chaney laughed. “He is.”
“You’re too young to settle down.”
“Well, I don’t plan on settling down anytime soon.”
“We have something in common.”
“That makes two things,” she said.
Drake gave her a puzzled look.
“Gemma.” Chaney picked up her clipboard from the top of the box. “We have her in common.”
His eyes darkened. “Yes, we do.”
“We don’t get together often, but thank goodness for the Internet. I don’t know what I would do without her.”
The emotion in the two words and the concern in his eyes caught her off guard. “You know, Gemma will be fine. Her baby, too. I spoke with her after I arrived. She believes the bed rest is temporary, and with the way Oliver is spoiling her, she’ll be good to go for the remainder of this season’s tapings.”
“Let’s hope so, but until then...” A smile touched Drake’s lips. “I have you.”
The approval in his gaze let Chaney know he liked what he saw. She wouldn’t allow herself to care.
“Only on the set,” she said crisply.
“Of course.” His eyes laughed at her.
Flustered, she clutched her clipboard. “I’ll keep things on schedule so you can catch your flight out of Heathrow. Gemma said that was important to the host, which appears to be you.”
“Still the same industrious, competent Chaney. This arrangement should work out well.”