In the Tycoon's Debt [NOOK Book]


Their marriage had never been consummated; the bride's powerful father had seen to that. And after being driven out of town, groom Quinn McCain vowed to forget Evie Montgomery. Then the woman he'd once married arrived at his office, begging the CEO for money. How the tables had turned…

Evie's choice to sign the annulment papers had scarred Quinn to the core. Yet now he had the upper hand. In exchange for his help, Quinn desired the one thing ...

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In the Tycoon's Debt

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Their marriage had never been consummated; the bride's powerful father had seen to that. And after being driven out of town, groom Quinn McCain vowed to forget Evie Montgomery. Then the woman he'd once married arrived at his office, begging the CEO for money. How the tables had turned…

Evie's choice to sign the annulment papers had scarred Quinn to the core. Yet now he had the upper hand. In exchange for his help, Quinn desired the one thing he'd long been denied. And this time, he vowed love would play no part in their bargain!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426839139
  • Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Series: Silhouette Desire Series , #1967
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 253,726
  • File size: 130 KB

Meet the Author

Emily has been reading romance novels since she was 11 years old. Her first Harlequin Romance novel came free in a box of Hefty garbage bags. She's been reading--and loving!--romance novels ever since.

In her spare time, she loves to garden and cook...well, bake. Mostly cookies. Naturally, she still loves to read a good romance book. She's been blissfully married for nearly nine years. When they can ditch their five pets for a couple of weeks, she and her husband like to travel to exotic and exciting locations, such as Greece, Costa Rica and Ignorant Flats, Texas.

She has a degree in English from Texas A&M University. After college she taught middle school for four years. While teaching America's disenfranchised youth to appreciate fine literature, she learned very little about writing romance but a lot about finding humor in any situation. Eager for a job where she wouldn't have to dodge spitwads, she fled the teaching profession to write full-time. Though her characters sometimes misbehave, they almost never throw things at her.

Emily has been writing seriously for four years. In that time, she's completed five novels--one romantic suspense (big mistake) and four romantic comedies. In 2001, one of her dreams came true when her manuscript Love Letters to Tabitha was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart contest. Just over a year later she got "the Call."
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Read an Excerpt

Quinton McCain was known by his business competitors and his employees for being extremely intelligent, devilishly handsome and unnervingly even-tempered. In fact, he so rarely displayed emotion that quite a few rumors—and the occasional bet—had circulated around the office regarding his past, about which no one knew anything.

Since he had little interest in office gossip and even less in people's opinion of him, he did nothing to encourage the rumors—but nothing to put them to rest, either. One rumor painted him as a trained assassin for the CIA. Another as a Black Operative for a secret branch of the military. A third as the billionaire heir to a national chain of automotive stores. None of the rumors mentioned a wife. For most people, it was easier to imagine Quinn as a ruthless killer than a loving husband.

Which was why, the day Genevieve Montgomery called his secretary asking for an appointment and claiming to be his ex-wife, the rumor mill went into overdrive. By the time Quinn found out about the appointment, there was nothing he could do to stifle the gossip.

By the time Wednesday morning rolled around, the situation was so desperate that before Quinn could even sip his coffee, Derek Messina let himself into Quinn's office. Messina Diamonds, McCain Security's biggest client, was located in the same building just a few floors up. So while it appeared Derek hadn't particularly gone out of his way to stop by, it didn't bode well that he'd taken time out of a workday to do so.

Quinn scowled, trying to send subliminal get-the-hell-outta-my-office signals. Subliminal only because saying it aloud would make him seem way too preoccupied with Evie's impendingvisit. "So I take it you heard."

"About Evie?"

Quinn nodded. "Based on how quiet it gets every time I enter a room, it's all anyone in this office is talking about. A good portion of my employees are former military. You'd think I wouldn't have to put up with this crap from them."

He wasn't the kind of guy who made many jokes, but usually when he did make them, his friends had the common courtesy to laugh. It seemed a very bad sign that Derek simply studied him.

"Your meeting with her is today, right?"

Since he couldn't get Derek to take a hint, Quinn leaned back in his chair and nursed his coffee. "In just a few minutes."

"Do you know what she wants?"

"Don't know. Don't care."

"Do you want me to stay?"

"When she's here?" Quinn asked in disbelief. Derek nodded, seriously. "No, but I'd really appreciate it if you could pass her a note in biology. Tell her to meet me out behind the gym after band practice."

Derek gave him a blank look, and it was a minute before Quinn remembered that Derek hadn't had a traditional upbringing and had never even gone to high school.

Quinn sighed. "I'm not fourteen. I don't need you to hold my hand when I meet her. You know how I feel about my marriage."

"Right," Derek said. "You don't want to talk about it. You don't want to think about it. If I wasn't such a good friend, you'd shoot me just so there'd be one less person in the world who even knew about it."

"I believe those were my words."

They were a little harsh—especially in light of all those "paid assassin for the CIA" rumors—but at the time he'd said them, he and Derek had been very hungover. Too much brandy the night before had been the culprit in both their confessional discussion and their hangovers the next morning. Since they were both wishing they were dead, the threat didn't seem like such a bad one.

"Is that her out in the waiting room?" Derek now asked.

"I don't know." He'd arrived at six this morning. Though he hated the notion that he'd been hiding inside his office ever since, he couldn't overlook that possibility.

The truth was, he didn't know how to feel about Evie popping up in his life after all these years. On one hand, it might be gratifying to have her see exactly how well he'd done for himself. On the other, every cell in his body recoiled at the thought of her. Of the reminder of what an idiot he'd been.

He'd loved her. Been completely, stupidly devoted to her, in the way only the young and naive could be. He would have done anything for her. And, bored rich girl that she was, she'd toyed with him, manipulated him and used him to get back at her father. All before breaking his heart, ending their marriage and leaving him to rot in jail.

"It might be good to see her," Derek pointed out. "It might be cathartic."

What could he say? That he'd rather crawl naked through a pit of scorpions? That he'd rather go through therapy on live TV? That he'd rather parachute into hostile territory? Hell, forget the parachute. He'd just jump out of the plane.

His expression must have spoken volumes because, finally, Derek said, "You know, you could cancel the meeting. You could refuse to see her."

"No. I can't. If I did that, everyone in this office would wonder why I canceled. Then there'd be more rumors and speculation. Or, worse, sympathy."

He could just imagine it now. Some "helpful" person would decide he'd canceled because it had been too hard on him to see his ex-wife. Then he'd have to put up with the cloying compassion. People being nice to him.

He was a CEO, for God's sake. He had a net worth that ranked him among the richest men in the state. Beside which—while not actually an assassin—he was an excellent marksman and trained in demolitions. Men who could blow stuff up should not be the objects of pity.

He stood, tugging at the hem of his suit jacket. "No, the only thing I can do now is just get this over with."

"What are you going to say to her?"

"Whatever the hell I need to say to get her out of my office and my life as quickly as possible."

Evie Montgomery had forgotten how much she truly despised wearing cashmere. It made the back of her neck itch.

But the twelve-year-old lavender sweater was the single most expensive item of clothing she had. So two days ago, she'd pulled it and the matching skirt out of the storage chest and aired it out, knowing that if she wanted to get through today with any semblance of dignity, she needed to look her absolute best.

Still, as she sat in the impeccably decorated high-rise offices of McCain Security, she had to fight the urge to scrape her nails along the back of her neck. However, doing so would leave bright red marks across her skin. It was silly vanity, but when she saw Quinn for the first time in nearly fifteen years, she didn't want to look blotchy.

She was nervous enough as it was, without adding blotchy to her list of problems.

What if he never wanted to see her again? If that were the case, the next twenty or so minutes were going to be very uncomfortable. Particularly the part where she asked him to give her fifty thousand dollars.

Before she could contemplate that possibility, the door to his office opened and the same dour-looking man who'd entered ten minutes ago walked out. He gave her an appraising look, and she had the distinct impression he and Quinn had been discussing her. Which was just great. Because she wasn't nearly nervous enough as it was.

A moment later, the receptionist looked up and said, "Ms. Montgomery, Mr. McCain will see you now."

Evie moved mindlessly into his office, barely aware of his assistant asking if she wanted a cup of coffee and then leaving when she didn't reply. She was too keyed up to drink anything and too aware of Quinn to answer.

The instant she saw Quinn's face, Evie knew it had been a mistake to come. Knew her hopes that he'd moved on—maybe even forgiven her—were about to be crushed. His expression said it all.

He stood behind his desk, every muscle of his body tense, as if she were some medusa from his past who'd turned him into a statue of repressed hate. But of course, being Quinn, he didn't look angry that she'd come. No, he looked shut down. The way he used to look when dealing with "concerned" teachers who would try to talk to him about his father's drinking problem.

She was probably the only person in the world who knew that his complete detachment hid seething anger.

He had not moved on. He'd never forgiven her. And he would not loan her the money. Jeez, she'd be lucky if he didn't call in security guards to have her hauled out and thrown down to the curb.

A hysterical giggle bubbled up through her chest. Did the CEOs of security firms have security guards?

He certainly didn't look as if he needed them. In the years that had passed, his shoulders had broadened. His physique, which had always been long and lean, like a professional swimmer's, had bulked up.

No, he wouldn't need anyone else to throw her out. He looked more than capable of doing it himself. And like he might even enjoy it, if he let himself.

But she'd been doing hard things her entire life. This would be no different. Though undoubtedly more humiliating.

Since this wasn't going to get any easier, she launched into the script she'd been practicing for days. "Hello, Quinn. It's been a long time."

She expected some rejoinder. Not long enough, perhaps.

Instead, he nodded, his face still lined with cool distaste. As if a slug had slimed its way into his office and he didn't want to step on it and risk ruining the carpet.

"Evie." He accompanied the word with a brief nod.

That was the only way she knew it was a greeting and not a slur.

"How have you been?" she asked, mostly because it seemed rude to jump straight to the part where she begged him for money.

"Let's skip the pleasantries. You must want something from me or you wouldn't be here."

"You're right." She gestured toward the chair opposite Quinn's desk. "May I sit?"

He seemed to consider the question for a minute before nodding.

Maybe if they were both sitting, she'd be able to dismiss her fears that he was about to jump across the desk and pounce on her like a wild puma devouring his prey. However, instead of sitting when she did, he continued to lean, his hips propped against the edge of his desk, a mug of coffee steaming beside his hand. Since his legs were stretched out in front of him, she had to cross hers at the ankle and keep them tucked off to the side to avoid brushing her feet against his. If her mother were still alive, she'd be happy to know Evie was finally putting all of those deportment lessons to use.

"You must know that whatever it is you want, I won't give it to you."

"It's not for me, if that makes any difference at all."

"It doesn't."

The Quinn she'd known had spoken with a slight east Texas twang, not unlike the one that had made Matthew McConaughey the stuff of fantasies. Yet this Quinn had buried his drawl beneath the bland Midwestern tones of a newscaster. What else from his past did he keep hidden away?

Not that it mattered. She was here for one reason only. To save her baby brother. "It's for Corbin."

"I don't care—"

She spoke quickly over his arguments, her desperation palpable. "I need you, Quinn. You know I wouldn't ask for help if there was anyone else I could turn to." He didn't say anything, so she kept talking. "He's gotten himself into trouble and owes some people money. These people—the Mendoza brothers—I had a friend of mine who's on the force tell me about them. They—" She couldn't quite bring herself to repeat the things she'd heard.

Apparently the Mendoza brothers were the up-and-comers in the world of organized crime in Dallas. They were making a name for themselves by being more brutal and more ruthless than any of their competitors. They'd already been linked to a string of bloody murders, but the DA hadn't been able to build a case against them.

"Corbin says they've threatened him. They're going to cut off a finger or something. But I think he's wrong. I think it's going to be much worse. He's scared. And I'm scared for him."

So scared she couldn't let herself think about it. She'd been concentrating only on getting here. On talking to Quinn. On putting herself in his hands and hoping he'd help her.

Corbin was the only family she had left. Ever since her mother had died when Evie was a teenager, her relationship with her father had grown more and more hostile. She couldn't lose Corbin, too.

For a brief moment, Quinn's gaze seemed to soften as he studied her. Then he straightened and rounded the desk, distancing himself from her. "So why come to me? I suppose you want me to take care of it." He made a sweeping motion with his hand. As if brushing Corbin's problems aside. "I suppose you think that because I own a security company I have a legion of hired thugs to do my bidding. But that's not the kind of work I do."

"I know what you do."

He quirked an eyebrow as if to say, "Oh really? Prove it."

"You make money," she stated succinctly. "Lots of it. I know what you're worth."

This time the other eyebrow went up, too. She'd surprised him.

"I don't want you to make his problem go away. I want you to pay off his debt."

"You need money." He spoke slowly, as if marveling at the irony. "And you have no one else to ask?"

Despite the embarrassment creeping under her skin, she forced herself not to look away. Not to shy away from his cool, appraising gaze. "There's no one else."

"Your father owned half the county."

She hadn't spoken to her father in more than ten years, but last week she'd gone to him and begged. Literally on her knees. She'd begged him for the money. And he'd said no. Spit it, actually.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2009

    sincere and satisfying

    Emily McKay's new book, In the Tycoon's Debt, delivers a hot, passionate relationship between two complex, likable characters and adds the page-turning tension of a mystery.

    Quinn McCain is a classic hero. Quiet, private, strong and successful. He's worked hard all his life to leave his abusive, penniless past behind. The memories of that time are too painful, especially the loss of the only woman he's ever loved. Few people can break through his armor to find the proud, wounded man beneath, but Evie is up to the task.

    At seventeen, Evie Montgomery had been married to Quinn for less than four hours before her rich and powerful father forced her to sign the annulment papers. She lost Quinn that day, but his influence on her has shaped her life. She's a strong heroine, defiant and independent. She's left the wealth of her controlling father behind and made her own way.

    Fourteen years later, the mob is after Evie's little brother and the only person who can help her is Quinn. Quinn is now the wealthy CEO of his own security company while Evie is a struggling social worker. Fiercely protective of her little brother, he's the only reason Evie would agree to beg Quinn for money. The clock is ticking and she must find a way to penetrate Quinn's defenses in time to save her brother.

    As always, McKay has written well-developed characters and allows us to feel their emotional vulnerability and ride the rollercoaster of their turbulent reconciliation. Don't expect a deep, dark mystery here. The focus is on the main characters and their struggle to find a happily-ever-after. The criminal elements add tension and keep the story fast-paced, but don't overshadow the real conflict, which is between Quinn and Evie.

    The dialogue is lively and engaging. McKay captures Quinn's proud, wounded spirit in his words. He's sometimes cruel, other times tender, but Evie and the reader know the man beneath. Evie isn't the typical feisty heroine. She's a social worker and McKay uses her profession to give Evie more empathy and understanding than usual. That doesn't mean she doesn't sling any barbs, but when she does, they're well-deserved! By the end, Quinn is the man every woman wants to hear utter the words, "I will always keep my promises to you. Everyone of them." (Sigh....)

    Despite the seriousness of the conflict, McKay never loses her hold on the lighter side. When Evie shows up at Quinn's office, she sets the gossip machine in high gear. Quinn thinks of all he's done to build his business and his persona and now his employees are looking at him like the man who got dumped long ago. He's annoyed and fumes, "Men who can blow stuff up should not be the object of pity." McKay's subtle humor is natural. Just read the dedication at the front of the book. No, I'm not giving it away here. You'll just have to buy the book and read it for yourself.

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