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Katie Buick dreams of opening her own niche restaurant, but finding a financial backer for a reformed party girl is proving impossible. Until she makes a final desperate plea to Ric Emerson, former geek and high school friend turned successful businessman. Too bad they haven't spoken since she humiliated him before their prom. The last thing she expects is ...
Katie Buick dreams of opening her own niche restaurant, but finding a financial backer for a reformed party girl is proving impossible. Until she makes a final desperate plea to Ric Emerson, former geek and high school friend turned successful businessman. Too bad they haven't spoken since she humiliated him before their prom. The last thing she expects is for him to say yes, or for him to have made such a complete transformation from old friend to heartthrob. But she learned the hard way that nothing good comes from mixing business with pleasure.
Ric knows Katie's idea is brilliant, and with his business acumen and her work ethic, they're sure to be a success. Building the business brings Ric and Katie closer together. Chemistry still simmers between them, blurring the lines between personal and professional despite their best intentions. Ric trusts Katie to make their business a success, but can he trust her with his heart a second time?
He held out a hand and she didn't know what to do. Her hesitation must have been obvious because Ric looked at her meaningfully and cajoled, "It's just a dance, Katie. We've done it before."
Of course. At the country club. They were teenagers and two out of a handful of young people there. Occasionally, they'd be pressed into dancing. It hadn't been unpleasant. But Ric hadn't raised her temperature then, not as he did now.
She took his hand and her body shivered as he took her into his arms. His hand pressed against her waist, drawing her closer as they circled the floor with tiny steps. Beat by beat, all her resolve melted until she leaned into him, her head resting lightly on his right shoulder. He brought their hands in so they rested on his chest, and she felt the erratic beating of his heart against her fingers. His body was warm and hard and for the first time in years, Katie felt a security there, like she was cherished and protected.
It was easy to rest here, to let herself forget how hard it was to prove herself. She forgot all the disparaging words and skeptical looks when she said she was starting her own business. She could escape that loathsome title-Girl Most Likely to Have Fun-and simply be Katie, the woman. She hadn't ever been that person before, and it filled her with sweetness.
The song ended, but she was still in his arms, her eyes closed, feeling his chest rise and fall with his breathing as their feet still shuffled along. The DJ droned on and commercials blared through the speakers, but it didn't register. Ric dropped his head and she felt his lips against her hair as he kissed the top of her dusty head.
"Katie," he whispered. Without warning, he dipped his head further and captured her lips with his.
They were warm and persuasive, tinted with the taste of iced tea. His tongue slipped inside and she met it, letting him take the lead and following willingly. Their feet stopped moving and they stood still while her arms slid up over his shoulder blades.
It was all she'd imagined, and more. He was firm but gentle, solid and sure, and his quiet command of her mouth made her feel more feminine than she had in a long time. Kissing Ric just fit.
Excerpted from The Girl Most Likely by Donna Alward Copyright © 2006 by Donna Alward. Excerpted by permission.
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