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Taylor Steele's heart began beating rapidly the way it always did whenever she thought about her most ardent desire. A mixture of relief and anticipation soared through her upon realizing that she was about to embark upon a phase in her life that she had been looking forward to for a long time.
She leaned back in the chair behind her desk and stared out the window while tapping her fingertips against her bottom lip. For the first time she wasn't appreciating the view of the Lincoln Memorial. Her thoughts were on something else entirely. She was inwardly counting her blessings.
During this past year she had achieved a number of her goals. First by venturing out and starting up her own wealth and asset management firm, which she named Assets of Steele, and then moving from New York to the nation's capital and purchasing a beautiful condo with a view of the Potomac River from her bedroom window. That wasn't at all bad for a twenty-five-year-old woman who'd made the decision after college not to return to her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, and work for her family's multimillion-dollar manufacturing company. Instead she had set her sights on New York after accepting a position with one of the major banks as a wealth and asset manager.
Now she could turn her attention to the final stage of her plan that she needed in place before making her most sought-after dream a reality. And that was the man she had chosen to father her child without the benefit of marriage. She was even open to joint custody of the child, if he wanted to go that route.
A permanent hookup with someone was not what she wanted, not even a teeny-tiny bit. Nor was she looking for a long-term lover, either. A short-term one could handle the task intended quite nicely. The last thing she wanted was a long-term romantic commitment of any kind.
But she was selective.
She had decided very early in her plans that not just any man would do. It had to be someone with all the qualities she wanted to pass on to her off-spring. He had to be handsome, intelligent, caring, healthy and wealthy. Definitely wealthy; after all, wealth was her business. And with those "must-have" qualifications embedded deep in her mind, she could think of only one man who met her criteria.
She tried ignoring the warmth of sensations that seeped through her veins. Dominic was one of her clients and she had never met a man who radiated so much sensuality. Part African-American and part French, at thirty-four he was the epitome of every woman's fantasy and a major player in numerous women's nightly dreams. The sexiness was there in his looks, his body, when he walked, talked or just plain stared at you. He was definitely the most gorgeous man she'd ever encountered. Besides that, she knew from the many charities he was associated with that he was highly intelligent and caring. And although she wasn't privy to his health records, she had no reason to think he wasn't in the best of health and could not father a child. The man was as virile as any man could get.
From the very beginning she had been attracted to him and for the past two years it had taken everything she had to keep their relationship strictly business, although he'd never given her the impression he expected anything else. Whenever they met he was always professional and courteous. She knew that he merely saw her as one of his employees and nothing more. He was paying a hefty fee for the services she rendered and her job was to take all the wealth he'd accumulated in his thirty-four years and make him richer, which wasn't hard since he was an ace at making the most of every financial opportunity.
It was common knowledge that he was the son of a wealthy Frenchman and his beautiful African-American wife, and from the time Dominic was born he'd had the best of everythingschools, social contacts and money, and he'd used all three to his benefit. He rotated residences between the United States and France, although she heard he also owned a beautiful apartment in London, as well as a private island off the French coast of Normandy.
Taylor picked up the brochure that had been sent to her compliments of her youngest sister, Cheyenne. It was meant to be a joke after a conversation the two of them had shared a week ago when she'd told Cheyenne that she wanted a baby, but not a husband.
Cheyenne had sent her the pamphlet that she'd come across in her travels as a professional model that advertised procreation vacations. A week on a Caribbean island, plenty of dirty talk with trained professionals, exotic food and aphrodisiac-laden drinks and if needed, a week's supply of Viagra.
It was advertised as a dream come true and the Bahamas resort encouraged potential guests to use their facilities for a week of near-constant, mind-blowing sex just for the purpose of making a baby. The packet Cheyenne had sent included several pictures bordering the brochure that could be considered X-rated. But they did a good job of getting their point across.
Compared to the frosty March weather they were experiencing, the island seemed like a really nice place to be right now. She could spend her time resting, relaxing and, of course, making a baby. Now if she could only convince the man she'd chosen to father her child to go along with her plan
"Ms. Steele, Mr. Saxon has arrived."
Taylor's secretary's voice coming across the intercom interrupted her thoughts, and immediately she took a deep breath when more heady sensations coursed through her. It was time to put her plan into action. "Please escort him in, Mrs. Roberts."
Dominic Saxon checked his watch. He had just about an hour to meet with Taylor Steele and then he had an unexpected meeting back at the hotel. He had received a call from his parents saying they were flying into D.C. from California and wanted to meet with him. His father's voice had sounded urgent but he had refused to say what the meeting was about.
Whenever Dominic made a pit stop in the nation's capital it was usually to check on the Saxon Hotel, just one of many his family owned in several major cities around the country. Usually Taylor would fly into New York for their meetings, so it came as a surprise when he'd gotten a call asking that he drop by her office on this trip.
She had been assigned as his financial advisor when she had worked for a bank in Manhattan. From the very beginning, the degree of her intelligence when it came to wealth management, as well as her comprehensive view of his personal portfolio, investment goals and financial objectives had amazed him. He was already a successful businessman but together they created a long-term strategy that was increasing his fortune exponentially.
Besides being very knowledgeable on financial affairs, he'd found Taylor to be an extremely beautiful woman. Even now he could recall the desire that had consumed him the first time he'd seen her and because of it, he had concluded the less he saw of his wealth and asset manager the better off he was. He had decided that first day that she was definitely a woman worth taking to his bedhe was one who didn't believe in mixing business with pleasure, no matter how enticing the thought or deep the craving. Yet the thought had remained lodged in his mind. He would be the first to admit it had been hard as hell to control the urge to take things further. He was used to beautiful women but there was something about Taylor Steele that caused him to think of hot sex every time he was in the same room with her.
Regardless of the iron-clad control he was known forphysically and emotionallyhe was definitely a hot-blooded man, which was something he seemed to remember each and every time he breathed Taylor's scent.
"Ms. Steele is ready to see you, Mr. Saxon. I'll escort you in."
He stood and smiled at her secretary, a nice older lady, who seemed more suited to baking cookies for her grandkids than trying to tackle the huge computer sitting in front of her. "Thank you, and I don't need an escort."
He fought for control of both his body and mind as he headed toward the door that had Taylor Steele's name plate on it.
Taylor inhaled a deep breath as she stared across the room at the man who walked into her office. He was wearing a black business suit with a white shirt that spelled out his wealth, and at thirty-four his mixed heritage made his looks striking. A sensuous shiver glided down her spine. He was simply gorgeous. His height, tall and imposing at six foot three, was hard to miss. She had seen photographs of him and his mother, a renowned fashion designer, earlier that year in People magazine. Megan Saxon was known for her beauty as well as for her skill and talent with fabrics.
From his mother, Dominic had inherited the shape of his lips, which could only be defined as full and sultry even on a male. He had his father's startling green eyes, which were a breathtaking contrast to his maple-brown coloring. Then there was the thick, black, curly hair that flowed past his shoulders when he wasn't wearing it back in a rakish-looking pony-tail as he was now. And last but not at all least were the chiseled jaw, cleft chin and high cheekbones.
As she stared at him, her courage began wavering. Anyone would say she had a lot of nerve to proposition Dominic Saxon to father her child and then expect him to back off. But then anyone who thought she had a lot of nerve would know that in essence she really did. She was known to be gutsy enough to try anything onceas long as it was legal. And there was nothing illegal about making an offer. The only thing he could say was yes or no, and inwardly she crossed her fingers that she would get a yes.
What did she have to lose?A very profitable client was the first response that popped into her mind. Would he still want her to handle his financial affairs after she made such an outlandish request?
She let out a relaxed breath with the sound of her name from his lips. She loved his accent, a blend of English and French. More than once during the course of their business meetings he would lapse into French without realizing he'd done so, and would quickly catch himself and revert back to English. She smiled. He hadn't yet figured out the fact that she also spoke French, not as fluently as he did but enough to get by. In fact she spoke several different languages, thanks to all those classes she'd taken while attending Georgetown. She had prepared herself to tap into the international markets.
"Dominic, I'm glad you were able to meet with me today." She liked the fact that they were on a first-name basis, a rule he had established the first time he had walked into her office as a new client. She also liked the fact that he had given her an appraisal from head to toe, which meant this new cobalt-blue business suit had made an impression. When she'd purchased it yesterday, she'd hoped that it would.
"No problem, but I do have an important meeting back at the hotel in a few hours, so my time with you will have to be brief," he informed her, breaking into her thoughts.
"I understand. Please have a seat," she said, coming from behind her desk.
He took the chair she offered and she sat in the one across from it, thinking it would be better not to sit behind her desk. Although she would be making what she considered a business proposition, she wanted less formality than usual.
"Thanks for seeing me on such short notice."
"No problem." What Dominic had said was true. It hadn't been a problem although he'd been surprised by her request to meet with him. She had moved from New York a few months ago, striking out on her own and leaving the company that had given her a start. Although her former employer had tried making a fuss, it had been Dominic's decision to follow Taylor, preferring to continue to do business strictly with her.