Authors: Natalie Anderson
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #Contemporary Romance
Praise for Natalie Anderson
‘This wonderful tale is a terrific mix of spark,
sizzle and passion.’
—RT Book Reviews
Ruthless Boss, Royal Mistress
‘Sizzling chemistry in the boardroom and well-
developed characters make this a winner.’
—RT Book Reviews
Hot Boss, Boardroom Mistress
‘You can always rely on Natalie Anderson to deliver
a fun and feel-good read …
is another fabulous read
by this amazing rising star …!’
The Millionaire’s Mistletoe Mistress
About the Author
adores a happy ending, which is why she always reads the back of a book first. Just to be sure. So you can be sure you’ve got a happy ending in your hands right now—because she promises nothing less. Along with happy endings, she loves peppermint-filled dark chocolate, pineapple juice and extremely long showers. Not to mention spending hours teasing her imaginary friends with dating dilemmas. She tends to torment them before eventually relenting and offering—you guessed it—a happy ending. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, with her gorgeous husband and four fabulous children.
If, like her, you love a happy ending, be sure to come and say hi on facebook/authornataliea and on Twitter @authornataliea, or her website/blog: www.natalieanderson.com
Recent titles by the same author:
Did you know these are also available as eBooks?
Blame it on
For Dave, Dave and Gungy:
Thank you so much for giving up time in your precious weekends to help construct ‘The Plotting Shed’—without that wonderful room of my own I don’t think Brad and Mya’s story would ever have been finished!
I truly appreciate your kindness and generosity (and that of Bridge and Kat for kid duty!!!)
I get away with it?
It was harder than you’d think to take a picture of yourself in a small, enclosed space wearing nothing but a bikini. Biting back the giggle, Mya Campbell peered at her latest effort. The flash had created a big white space over at least half the screen, obscuring most of her reflection, and what you could see was more dork than glam.
With a muffled snort—a combination of frustration and laughter—she deleted it and twisted in front of the mirror, trying for another. Her teeth pinched her lower lip as she glanced at the result—maybe the skinny-straps scarlet number was a step too far?
‘Is everything okay?’ the clearly suspicious sales assistant called through the curtain, her iced tone snootier than her brittle perfect appearance.
‘Fine, thanks.’ Mya fumbled, quickly taking another snap before the woman yanked back the curtain. She needed to get it away before being—ah—busted.
Both she and the assistant knew she couldn’t afford any of these astronomically priced designer swimsuits. But that long-suppressed imp inside her liked a dress-up and it had been so long and if she were to have such
a thing as a summer holiday, then she’d really love one of these little, very little things …
Giggles erupted as she tried to send the text. Her fingertips slipped she shook so hard. She was such an idiot. Typos abounded and she tapped faster as she heard the assistant return.
‘Are you sure you don’t need any help?’
She needed help all right. Professional help from those people in white coats. Too late now, the soft whooshing sound confirmed her message had gone. And she couldn’t afford this scrap of spandex anyway.
‘Thanks, but no, I don’t think this style is really me.’ Of course it wasn’t. She tossed the phone into her open bag on the floor and began the contortions required to get out of the tiny bikini. She caught a glimpse of herself bent double and at that point she blushed. The bikini was basically indecent. Would she never learn that bodies like hers were not built for tiny two pieces? She’d bend to pull off her shoes at the beach and instantly fall out of a top like this. Not remotely useful for swimming. She’d have to lie still and pose, and that just wasn’t her. Mind you, a summer holiday wasn’t for her this year either.
And never in a million years would she send such a picture to anyone other than her best friend and all-around pain in the butt, Lauren Davenport. But Lauren would understand—and Mya didn’t need her answer now. It was a ‘no’ already.
Brad Davenport looked at his watch and stifled the growl of frustration. He’d had back-to-back cases in court all day, followed by this meeting that had gone on over an hour too long. He watched the bitterness between the parents, watched eleven-year-old Gage Simmons seated next to him shrivel into a smaller and smaller ball as accusations
were hurled from either side of the room. The boy’s parents were more interested in taking pieces out of each other and blocking each other instead of thinking about what might be best for their son. And finally Brad’s legendary patience snapped.
‘I think we can leave this for now,’ he interrupted abruptly. ‘My client needs a break. We’ll reschedule for later in the week.’
He glanced around the room and the other lawyers nodded. Then he glanced at the kid, who was looking at the floor with a blank-slate expression. He’d seen it many times, had worn it himself many times—withdrawing, not showing anyone how much you hurt inside.
Yeah, it wasn’t only his client who needed a break. But Brad’s burden was his own fault. He’d taken on too many cases. Brad Davenport definitely had a problem saying no.
Twenty minutes later he carried the bag full of files out to his car and considered the evening ahead. He needed a blowout—some all-physical pleasure to help him relax, because right now the arguments still circled in his head. Questions he needed to ask and answer lit up like blindingly bright signs; every item on his to-do list shouted at him megaphone-style. Yeah, his head hurt. He reached for his phone and took it off mute, ready to find an energetic date for the night—someone willing, wild and happy to walk away when the fun was done.
There were a couple of voice messages, more emails, a collection of texts—including one with an attachment from a number he didn’t recognise. He tapped it.
Can I get away with it?
He absorbed that accompanying message by a weird kind of osmosis, because the picture itself consumed all his attention. He could see only the side of her face, only
half her smile, but that didn’t matter—he was a man and there were curves in the centre of the screen. Creamy, plump breasts pushed up out of the do-me-now-or-die scarlet bra she’d squeezed into. Brad swore in amazement, his skin burning all over in immediate response. The picture cut off beneath her belly button—damn it—but he really couldn’t complain. Her breasts were outstanding—lush curves that made him think … think … Actually no, he’d lost all ability to
Can I get away with it?
This doll could get away with anything she wanted.
Startled, but happily so, he slid his fingers across the screen to zoom the picture, adjusting it so it was her partially exposed face he focused on now. She was smiling as if she was only just holding back the sexiest of laughs.
Brad stilled, his heart hiccupping as disbelief stole a beat. There was only one person in the world with a smile like that. Slowly he traced her lips. Her upper lip was sensual—widening, just as the bone structure of her face widened to those sharp, high cheekbones and wide-set green eyes while her lower lip was as full, but shorter; it had to be to fit with that narrow little chin. And between those slightly mismatched lips was that telltale gap between her two front teeth. It had never been fixed. Her whole body was untainted by cosmetic procedures, indeed any kind of cosmetics.
Mya Campbell. Best friend of his wayward sister, Lauren, and persona non grata at the Davenport residence.
In that minute that Brad thought about her—the longest stretch of time he’d
thought about her—a few images from the past decade haphazardly flashed through his head. Glimpses of a girl who’d been around the house often enough, but who’d hidden away whenever
he or his parents were home. Who could blame her? His parents had been unwelcoming and patronising. Which of course had made Lauren push the friendship all the more. And Mya had come across as less than impressed with those in authority and less than interested in abiding by any of the normal social rules. The two of them had looked like absolute terrors. And the irony was that Mya was the most academically brilliant student in the school. An uber-geek beneath the attitude and the outrageous outfits. That was why she was
the school; she was the scholarship kid.
He’d only ever seen her dressed up ‘properly’ the once. She’d still looked sullen, exuding a kind of ‘cooler-than-you’ arrogance, and frankly at the time he’d been otherwise distracted by a far friendlier girl. But now he saw the all-grown-up sensuality. Now he saw the humour that he’d heard often enough but never been privy to—never been interested enough to want to be privy to. Now he saw what she’d been hiding all this time. Now the heat shot to his groin in a stab so severe he flinched. And she’d sent him …?
. He laughed aloud at the ridiculous thought. Mya Campbell had
just sent him a sexy summons. She didn’t even know he existed—other than as her best friend’s big, distant brother. Hell, he hadn’t seen her in, what, at least three years? He tapped the screen to bring it back to normal—correction, completely amazing—view. No, this playful pose wasn’t for him. Which meant that certified genius Mya Campbell had actually made a mistake for once in her life. What was he going to do about it? Crucially, where was Mya now?
Questions pounded his head again, but this time they caused anticipation rather than a headache. He tossed the phone onto the passenger seat of his convertible, ignoring
every other message. He put his sunglasses on, stress gone, and fired the engine. Now the night beckoned with a very amusing intrigue to unravel.
Can I get away with it?
Not this time.
The music was so loud Mya could feel the vibrations through her feet—which was saying something given her shoes had two and a half inches of sole. But she was used to the volume and she had enough experience to lip-read the orders well enough now. Shifts six days a week in one of the hottest bars in town had her able to work fast and efficient. The way she always worked. No matter what she was doing, Mya Campbell was driven to be the best.
Her phone sat snug against her thigh in the side pocket of her skinny jeans, switched to mute so it didn’t interrupt her shift. The duty manager, Drew, frowned on them texting or taking calls behind the bar. Fair enough. They were too busy anyway. So she had no idea whether Lauren had got the pic or what she’d thought of it. Though, given Lauren was welded to her mobile, Mya figured there’d be an answer when she got a spare second to check. She grinned as she lined twelve shiny new shot glasses on the polished bar, thinking of Lauren’s face when she saw it. She’d be appalled—she’d always shrieked over Mya’s more outrageous ‘statement’ outfits.
‘Come on, gorgeous, show us your stuff!’
Mya glanced up at the bunch of guys crowded round her end of the bar. A stag party, they’d insisted she pour the trick shots for them, not her sidekick, Jonny, down the other end of the bar. She didn’t get big-headed about it—truth was Jonny had taught her the tricks and she
was still working towards acing him on them. It was just these guys wanted the female factor.
She’d mixed three for them already and now was onto the finale. She enjoyed it—nothing like lighting up a dozen flaming sambucas for a bunch of wild boys who were megaphone loud in their appreciation. She flicked her wrist and poured the liquid—a running stream into each glass. Then she met the eyes of the groom and flashed him a smile.
‘Are you ready?’ she teased lightly.
The guys nodded and cheered in unison.
She held the lighter to the first shot glass and gently blew, igniting the rest of the line of glasses down the bar. The cheers erupted. She glanced at Jonny and winked. She’d only recently mastered that one, and she knew he was standing right where one of the fire extinguishers was kept.
Grinning, she watched them knock the shots back and slam the glasses onto the bar. Some barracked for more but she already knew the best man had other ideas. Her part in their debauched night was over; they were onto their next destination—she didn’t really want to know where or how much further downhill they were going to slide.