Authors: Elizabeth Lennox
|The Tycoon's Resistant Lover|
A New Look!
Lady Julianna Holbrook can't believe that the obnoxious and brash James Cavanaugh could be so rude! He shows up uninvited to a dinner party, he arrives at her store right before closing time and he simply won't leave her alone! So why is she so fascinated by a man she knows is completely wrong for her?
James finds the elegant and ever-so-proper Julianna a fascinating creature. She tells him to stay away, but she trembles in his arms. She pushes him away, but when he kisses her, she shows him a passion that sets him on fire. He has finally found the woman who intrigues and challenges him, but she won't return his phone calls.
Should he do the polite thing and leave her be? Never! James gets into her space, challenges her assumptions and shows her that her boyfriend can't ever make her feel the same way he can.
The Tycoon's Resistant Lover
by Elizabeth Lennox
Copyright ©2012 by Elizabeth Lennox
All rights reserved.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Julianna Holbrook sipped the cold white wine and shifted her back so it was more towards the orange flames of the crackling fire. She was suddenly cold and she shivered as she rubbed her icy hands over her wool covered arms to warm them. Or was it just that ominous feeling she couldn’t shake? That foreboding sense of impending doom that had nothing to do with the air temperature?
She’d never considered herself a superstitious person before. She believed there was a scientific explanation for everything, even when humans couldn’t explain something yet. But this was a feeling that wasn’t really tangible. It was…just…a sensation. Almost an awareness that something was going to happen. Just an expectation, probably. When had this feeling started? Why was she being so silly and even thinking about it? Normally, she would simply shrug off something so….metaphysical for lack of a better term. So why was she wasting any energy trying to decipher to this odd sensation now?
She had no idea, but she wiggled again, trying to get comfortable. This was ridiculous, she told herself and smoothed the ice blue wool skirt back over her knees, crossed her legs at the ankles….tucked the pillow more firmly behind her. She still couldn’t get comfortable! There was just something…..wrong.
She looked at the other two occupants of the room, wondering if they were feeling this odd, tingling sensation as well. Edward Livingston, her significant other, for lack of a better word because boyfriend seemed too juvenile, appeared to be engrossed in a conversation with their vivacious hostess, a beautiful woman named Jessica Mallory who wore a fabulous pink dress that hugged her incredible figure, adorned with gold chains around her neck and wrists along with gold hoop earrings. Her curly hair swished and danced about her face as if nothing could be still around her. In fact, the air surrounding the mysterious and beautiful Jessica Mallory seemed to be vibrating with energy as her chocolate brown eyes smiled at both her and Edward while the three of them conversed.
Julianna smoothed her blond hair self-consciously. The glossy, elegant twist she’d pulled it into for the dinner party was still in place but she wished she’d worn a color other than the light blue dress. The material was excellent and the cut made the dress a perfect fit for her figure, but she felt washed out, bland, especially compared to the fabulously adorned Ms. Mallory. Unfortunately, Julianna melted into the décor. The walls were cream, about the same color as her hair and the sofa was blue, nearly the same color as her dress. She sighed as she thought about how often she looked like the decorations. It seemed to be an issue that plagued her consistently.
Jessica Mallory probably never had that problem, she thought. The bright pink looked extraordinary on her. It took a great deal of confidence to pull off that color and Jessica added just the right touch with the gold chains. Julianna fingered her demure pearl necklace, wishing she had the kind of confidence to wear something with more flair and flamboyance.
When the doorbell rang, Julianna jumped, strangely feeling as if the tension in the atmosphere had suddenly increased. Which it probably had because their hostess didn’t look like she was expecting anyone else for dinner. Jessica’s eyes were wide with concern as she glanced between her guests and the doorway to the living room where she heard her housekeeper start to answer the door.
Julianna’s eyes snapped to Edward’s. “Did you invite anyone else, perhaps?” she asked. She immediately felt guilty when she caught the sharp glance he gave her. Both Edward and Jessica were wondering why she sounded so snappish. It was only because of this dratted premonition of doom! But she couldn’t say anything, afraid of sounding ridiculous.
Before she could apologize to Edward, a deep voice was already booming from the foyer into the living room and Julianna glanced at their hostess. Jessica’s face lit up as she recognized her unexpected visitor, her pace increasing as she moved towards the front door to greet the newcomer with visible excitement.
“I’m looking for Jessica Mallory. Is she in tonight?” the booming, male voice declared as if he had every right to crash their quiet evening.
Julianna heard the voice and her hand froze in mid air, her wine glass inches from her mouth while her eyes snapped towards the door. That deep, resonant voice sent shivers through her body, making her uncomfortable. Embarrassingly uncomfortable! Who on earth could have that deep of a voice? It was like Barry White with a bit of gravel as well as a touch of southern charm thrown in just for zing.
Edward’s voice was deep and made her think of intense, rich coffee, but this voice was more….disturbing in a way that made her knees wobble and her heart rate increase. Just by the sound of a man’s voice? Ridiculous, she told herself, but she put her wine glass on the coffee table because her hands were shaking ever so slightly.
“James?” Jessica called out, her feet moving faster as she tried to peer around the door. “Is that really you?”
Johanna felt an intense stab of jealousy shoot through her as the vibrant brunette hurried towards the voice in question. Something inside of her wanted to shout out that the other woman needed to step back and slam the door shut, warn her not to let the strange man into her house. She actually glanced around the room, wondering if there was a place to hide and then realized how silly she was being.
Hiding? At a dinner party no less? This had to be the most outrageous thought she’d ever had in her life! Instead of following her ridiculous instincts, she pulled herself together, gave herself a stern lecture about greeting others properly and, with as much dignity as she could muster, rose from the sofa to stand and welcome the newcomer.
Before she was ready for the intrusion, a tall, muscular man with enormous shoulders filled the doorway to the living room and her knees instantly started shaking. He was about the same height as Edward, but with a different look about him. Where Edward was refined power wrapped in a mask of elegance and manners, this man was just raw, blatant strength. There was no masking anything with the tall, blond man, just an almost painful shock to her senses that had her grabbing the arm of the sofa to steady herself from the man’s sensuous impact on her mind, not to mention the effect his presence had on her body.
His black turtleneck showed off his muscles to perfection and his long legs were encased in black slacks, but she instantly wished he were wearing jeans. Jeans that would mold to his long, muscular legs and….what was she thinking? She was practically an engaged woman and she was picturing another man in jeans? She didn’t even wear jeans herself! And this man was a stranger! They hadn’t been introduced as of this moment and she was already reacting to him in such a physical….carnal way.
She worked hard to suppress her instant reaction, trying to hide her body’s response behind a polite mask of mild interest as the large man’s startling blue eyes swiftly took in the occupants of the room other than the woman in his arms. When his eyes collided with hers, she felt as if an electric shock had just zoomed through her body. He was still ten feet away and she inhaled sharply when his eyes stopped and looked back at her.
She suddenly felt hot and cold as his eyes slowly traveled up and down her body, acting as if he had the right to visually accost her in such a manner. She glared back at him, telling him with her eyes that he was out of line and acting horribly rude. But the man was audacious and instead of being contrite and looking away as any normal guest would do, his eyes held hers and his grin widened. The man actually caressed her with his eyes in front of the other two people!
When he looked back down at Jessica, Julianna released the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding, sliding her palms along the sides of her dress as she noticed that her hands were sweating. How adolescent, she thought with derision. When had she reverted to being eighteen again?
Julianna sighed inwardly and shook herself to refocus her mind. She should not be thinking about this stranger. Not in jeans, slacks or in any other way. And especially not naked! She blinked and tried to pull her eyes away from his broad shoulders and gain control of herself. She’d never reacted to another man like this! How could her mind betray her so horribly?
The man was built with muscles everywhere, but that didn’t give her the right to….well, to do what he was doing to her!
She knew that Edward was extremely muscular, had felt similar bulging muscles when he’d taken her into his arms and gently kissed her goodnight on previous dates. But there was something about this man, the way he held himself or maybe the way he looked at the occupants of the room in one all-encompassing sweep before stopping on her and not moving that terrified her. He made her want to run and disappear. He was dangerous in ways she couldn’t even begin to understand, had never encountered before.
Suddenly those feelings she’d had earlier in the evening, the tension she couldn’t explain, came back to haunt her. She had attributed that strange sense of anticipation to the fact that Edward hadn’t informed their hostess that another guest would be arriving but this was what she’d sensed was going to happen. This man and his arrogance was the issue she should have shied away from. She should have excused herself earlier in the evening, telling both Jessica and Edward that she didn’t feel well.
Julianna watched warily as the man approached, her stomach muscles tightening while it churned with some unknown emotion. She didn’t understand her instant dislike of this man, except that she felt that strange sense of danger in him. As his eyes sliced through the other occupants of the room once more, she almost choked on her wine when his eyes came to rest on her again. They were ice blue and intelligent, with something strange in them that increased the shaking in her knees as she endured the introductions.
Jessica introduced him as James Cavanaugh, and for some reason, the name rang a bell but her mind wasn’t functioning fully while he looked down at her with that strange sort of omniscience. As he smiled and extended his hand towards her, she wanted to shake her head and tell him ‘no’, that he couldn’t touch her and he should stay away from her. Those eyes, she thought with trepidation, were telling her right back that he wasn’t going to do anything of the sort. His wide mouth smiled broadly, as if he understood what she was feeling. And was equally determined that he wasn’t going to stay away.
“James, this is Lady Julianna Holbrook. Be good,” she warned with a stern glance up at the man’s smiling blue eyes.
There was nothing she could do. As Jessica introduced the man, Julianna had to offer her hand although she wanted nothing to do with the man and his arrogance.
When his hand took hers, she inhaled sharply, her eyes glancing down at their hands clasped together and she tried to quickly pull her hand away. He held on though, not letting her disconnect from him so easily. As she looked back up into those crystal blue eyes, all her suspicions were confirmed. This man was dangerous. And all that danger was directed towards her and she didn’t like it. Not one little bit.
James laughed softly as he took Julianna’s cold hand in his large one. “Ah darlin’. I’m always good,” he replied which caused Julianna’s cheeks to turn an even darker shade of pink at his innuendo.
“Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Cavanaugh,” she lied, wishing him to purgatory for his boldness.
“The pleasure is all mine,” he replied.
“Can you stay for dinner?” Jessica asked, her chocolate eyes looking up at the man with pleading, but when he looked back down in her direction, Julianna realized that the two of them were just friends. She was actually shocked that Jessica didn’t feel the same sort of trepidation when James stepped back and put his arm around her waist.
Julianna tensed with the dinner offer, praying silently that he would turn down Jessica’s invitation, say anything and make up an excuse that he had to be somewhere else. When his blue eyes flickered her way, she quickly looked down at her glass of wine. Manners would dictate that he decline the invitation after seeing that the dinner party was already in progress. But she knew that he wouldn’t, being the crass, obnoxious man that she already sensed he was after only the ten seconds she’d been in his company.
“I thought you’d never asked,” she heard the big, blond man reply and every sense in her system came on fire. She took a sip of her cold wine, wishing it would pass along some of that refreshing coolness to her overheated skin. But nothing seemed to penetrate the heat. She even glanced at the fireplace, wondering if it were one of those automatic, gas fireplaces that could be turned off with a flick of a switch. Even the heat was conspiring against her and she felt like her cheeks were on fire as she looked up at the man who was now staring down at her as Jessica finished the introductions.
Jessica poured him a bourbon over ice and they all sat back down. Unfortunately, the man took the seat next to Julianna despite there being ample room in other places around the coffee table. He even sat too close, forcing her to shift her position closer to the arm of the sofa just so their legs weren’t touching. And why in the world did he have to put his arm along the back of the sofa like that? She could actually feel his body heat along her back where that arm was resting as well as all along the side of her where his massive body was too close to hers on the cushion.
Jessica sat back down in her chair and smiled admiringly at James. “James does some weird things with real estate. Aren’t you looking at some new property in London now? I thought I remember you mentioning that while we were in Switzerland recently.”
Edward almost rolled his eyes. “James is one of the preeminent real estate developers in the world, tackling projects that others think are too risky or even impossible. I wouldn’t describe what he does as ‘weird’, Jessica.”
Julianna grasped onto that news as a way to put the man in his place. “I guess that makes your fortunes rise and fall precipitously,” Julianna stated, hoping that it was true.
Jessica laughed, her curls dancing once again right along with those gold earrings that made her eyes sparkle even more brightly. “James is the only one I know of that can take a risky project and consistently make it profitable. Investors beg for the opportunity to do business with him even though many of them don’t understand the complexities of the project themselves. They just know about his track record and don’t care about the risks. James can overcome just about any challenge.” She took a sip of her wine, winking at his embarrassment.