Mistress to the Tycoon [NOOK Book]


That is Cooper Vance's unbreakable rule — and he is living proof that it works!

He's successful, sexy, totally single—and that's the way he likes it. Until he walks into an art gallery that he's determined to buy and sees a woman who takes his breath away….

Can this ...
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Mistress to the Tycoon

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That is Cooper Vance's unbreakable rule — and he is living proof that it works!

He's successful, sexy, totally single—and that's the way he likes it. Until he walks into an art gallery that he's determined to buy and sees a woman who takes his breath away….

Can this big-shot tycoon break all his own rules so he can broker a deal and make Ariel his mistress?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426813733
  • Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises
  • Publication date: 6/1/2008
  • Series: Taken by the Millionaire
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 163,836
  • File size: 159 KB

Meet the Author

Nicola Marsh has always had a passion for reading and writing.  As a youngster, she devoured books when she should've been sleeping, and relished keeping a not-so-secret daily diary.  These days, when she's not enjoying life with her husband and sons in her fabulous home city of Melbourne, she's busily creating the romances she loves in her dream job.  Readers can visit Nicola at her website: www.nicolamarsh.com

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Read an Excerpt

'Come in and take off all your clothes.'
Ariel Wallace grimaced at how forward that sounded and tried another tack.
'Make your way out the back. You'll find pegs to hang all your clothes on.'
Uh-uh. Worse.
'You've probably done this a thousand times before so head through that door, disrobe and let's get started.'
No hope!
Shaking her head, Ariel covered her face with her hands, not surprised to feel heat scorching her cheeks and deriving little comfort from the familiar smell of turpentine on her paint-splotched skin.
She couldn't do this.
Being an artist involved spontaneous bursts of creativity, fabulous blending of colours and frantic slashes of brushes, not inviting some guy she didn't know to get his gear off so she could paint him.
Whopping big commission or not.
She'd find some other way to keep Colour by Dreams afloat. She had to. She'd promised Aunt Barb, the founder of this amazing gallery and the woman who had practically raised her, that her legacy would live on.
And she'd do anything to make that happen.
The soft tinkle of wind chimes signalled a visitor entering the gallery and Ariel stiffened, her hands dropping from her face as she braced for an awkward confrontation. She knew how much uni students needed money and giving some poor guy the brush-off, no pun intended, didn't sit well with her.
If anyone knew about being poor, she did.
Which was exactly why she had to paint her first life portrait since art school. She had no choice.
'Hello? Anyone here?'
'Be there in a sec,' she called out, casting a final longing look at the back door, wishing she could make a quick dash for it.
Instead, she smoothed her favouriteochre peasant skirt, retied the Paisley bandanna under her unruly curls and pasted an I'm-in-charge-and-not-in-the-mood-for-nonsense look before stepping through the beaded curtain that separated her work area from the gallery out front.
'Miss Wallace? I'm Cooper—'
'Hi, Cooper. My studio's out the back so if you head out there, I'll lock up in here and be with you shortly.'
The words tumbled out in a rush, a combination of nerves, embarrassment and shock. She'd expected a lean, young, scruffy guy to come slinking into the gallery looking half as embarrassed as she felt.
Instead, she struggled not to stare at Cooper. She had no interest in his surname; she didn't want to get too personal considering she'd soon be seeing him in the buff.
In the raw…
She swallowed, unable to link those words with the guy standing in front of her. If she'd been mortified at painting some dishevelled, half-starved student without his clothes on, the thought of Cooper—all six-three, broad shoulders, long legs, killer smile, too-blue eyes and dark hair—sitting for her without a stitch on made her positively light-headed.
Though that could just be the oil-paint fumes.
'I wasn't sure you'd want to do this,' he said, amusement lighting his eyes, making them sparkle in the muted lights and sending an unexpected bolt of awareness through her.
'No choice.'
She stared, stunned by his easy confidence, his cool poise.
Wasn't this guy the teensiest bit embarrassed about getting naked before a stranger?
Judging by his confident smile and casual stance, obviously not.
'We always have a choice, Miss Wallace,'he said, his deep voice resounding in the high-ceilinged room, as sexy as the rest of him.
Darn it, and that was with his clothes on!
'Actually, I don't have a choice. If I can't capture you on canvas and sell the painting for the fortune I've been promised, I lose this place to some slime-ball developers who've been buying up the rest of this street.'
Confusion clouded his steady stare for a second before a tiny frown creased his brow and his smile vanished.
Great, she was scaring off prime model material before she'd even started.
Blowing a stray curl out of her eyes, she said, 'Look, I'm sorry to dump all that on you. I tend to babble when I'm nervous and, to be honest, I haven't done nudes in quite a while. Guess I'm a bit bashful.'
She averted her eyes and crossed the room, her beaded flip-flops slapping noisily against the polished Tasmanian oak boards, not wanting to see him staring at her as if she had two heads. Or, worse, laughing at her.
'You think I'm here to model?'
Flicking the door switch to locked and flipping the sign to 'closed', she swung back to face him, wishing she didn't need the money so desperately. Nothing was worth this awkward tenseness, even if he was the first guy to catch her attention in a long while.
'Well, aren't you?'
She flicked her gaze over him, starting at his almost-black hair worn a tad too long and curling at the collar of his navy polo shirt, over the snug way the shirt's cotton moulded his impressive chest and downwards, where faded denim encased long, lean legs.
No doubt about it. He was perfect model material, would be incredible to paint if those muscles hinted at beneath his clothes were as impressive as she thought. But there was something about him…something off-putting, as if he didn't belong here.
He paused, staring at her way too intently as if making up his mind about something.
Well, she would just have to make it up for him. She didn't have all night, and as much as she didn't want to do this, the sooner they made a start, the better. 'Look, I know this is probably awkward for both of us. Why don't I make us both a nice cup of honey and ginger tea? It'll help us relax and you can get changed behind that screen over there. I'll be back in a jiff.'
Ariel whirled around and headed into her studio, unable to fathom the stunned look in Cooper's blue eyes. She expected to hear his footsteps following her and when he didn't move, it suddenly hit her.
His confusion, his reticence: this had to be his first time doing this.
And she thought she was nervous!
Pausing in the doorway, she turned back to him, hoping to allay some of his discomfort.
'Cooper, if it makes you feel any better, you can keep your underwear on for this sitting,'she said, sending him her best smile, much cheerier now that she knew someone else in the room felt a lot more embarrassed about this whole fiasco than she did.
Cooper didn't move.
He couldn't.
He tried but both feet seemed firmly rooted to the spot as he watched the gypsy float through a curtain of shimmering purple glass beads after sending him the kind of bewitching smile that could make a guy seriously rethink his career.
After all, look at the way his mind was working at the moment. He'd gone from Melbourne's number one property developer to artist's model—nude model!—in less than a flash of pearly whites set against a luscious rosebud mouth.
He must be losing it.
All those extra hours at Vance Corporation trying to make a name for himself must've fried his brain.
This was obviously a silly case of mistaken identity and, the sooner he cleared it up, stated his business, secured what he'd come here for and headed back to the office, the sooner he could launch his own dreams.
'Cooper? Tea's ready. Come and get it.'
Squaring his shoulders, he pushed through the ridiculous dangling beads in the doorway, getting caught up in the process.
'Here you go.'
After disentangling himself, he finally looked up and stepped into Aladdin's cave.
At least, that was what it sure felt like to him: in each corner of the large room, swatches of gossamer-thin gold fabric hung from hooks on the ceiling and fell to the floor in cascading waves. Two ruby sofas sat at opposing ends of the room, covered in royal blue and purple cushions. There were unlit candles of all sizes, shapes and colours covering every available surface, both floor and glass-topped tables alike, while oil paintings of every description covered the walls.
The overall effect was bright, stunning and welcoming. Though that might have more to do with the gorgeous woman standing in the middle of the eclectic room with a strangely vulnerable smile flickering around her lush mouth.
'Drink some of this. It'll make you feel better.'
He took the chipped pottery cup, mentally searching for the right words. Maybe he should take a leaf out of her book and opt for brutal honesty? Something to the effect that he was the 'slime ball property developer buying out the street'?
Yeah, that would go down a treat.
Taking a tentative sip of the pungent brew—a brave move, considering he was a five espressos a day kind of guy and hated the herbal stuff—he tried not to stare at the woman standing between him and his own corporation.
'Mmm,' he said, surprised he didn't have to lie as the warm honey and spicy ginger slid across his tongue, giving his taste buds a pleasant jolt in the process.
'Drink up, then we can get started.'
He tried not to stare, he really did, but there was something about Ariel Wallace that drew his gaze like a connoisseur to a masterpiece.
She wasn't a beauty in the classic sense of the word, what with the crazy flowery bandanna covering her blonde curls, the heart-shaped face devoid of make-up, the pert nose and wary green eyes that looked as if she'd seen more than her fair share of trouble. As for her body, what little he could see of it beneath a voluminous ruffled skirt that matched her bandanna and loose white cotton top that hid more than it revealed, he couldn't pass judgement.
Okay, he couldn't see a lot of Ariel beyond her unusually striking face and bizarre dress sense, but, somehow, the exotic combination and her unique style had captured his attention. Go figure. He found it particularly strange when he usually admired elegantly dressed women, the bulk of his female acquaintances preferring black and expensive jewellery.
'Right. If you pop behind the screen and get ready, I'll get set up over there.'
Her brisk, no-nonsense tone had him hiding a smile behind his mug. She could be instructing him to take out the garbage rather than get naked.
Time to set the record straight.
'Miss Wallace, I don't think this is going to work. In fact, there's been a mistake—'
She crossed the room in two seconds flat, standing toe to toe with him before he could blink. 'There's no mistake. I haven't got time to find another model. I need this painting done ASAP and that means you're staying, nerves or not. Got it?'
If she'd jabbed him in the chest, he wouldn't have been surprised.
'And call me Ariel.'
She stared at him, so close he could see the tiny gold flecks flickering in the green depths of her striking eyes, issuing a challenge he had no intention of taking up.
'I'm not nervous.'
Though with this crazy woman looking ready to deck him if he refused to get his gear off, maybe he should be.
'It's just that I'm not who you think I am.'
She quirked an eyebrow, a sassy elevation that drew his attention to her eyes again, their unusual crystal-clear green distracting him from the task at hand: set the record straight, seal this deal and get away from the office, his father and the memories.
'Look, Cooper, I don't care who you are. You could be the Crown Prince of Transylvania for all I care. Right now, I need you sitting on that stool, without any clothes on, staring out that window and holding the pose till I say move. Okay?'
'This is insane,' he muttered, admiring her sass and wondering if she'd deck him when he told her the truth.
She was close enough to do it. Way too close. Her intoxicating scent, the faintest hint of flowers and oranges, had to be playing havoc with his brain because for one, tiny, infinitesimal second, he almost considered doing what she said.
'No, you're insane if you think you're leaving here tonight before I get your form sketched. Now, shelve the shy act and let's get to it.'
She cast him one last challenging look before strutting to an easel about five feet away, busying herself with charcoals and paper to give him time to disrobe.
He must be mad.
Nuts, crazy, totally loco.
But then, considering how desperate he was to obtain this gallery, the last bit of prime real estate in Brunswick Street and his ticket out of Vance Corporation, maybe taking off his clothes for the crazy lady wouldn't be so bad.
'You ready yet?' she said without turning around.
With a wry grin, Cooper headed for the ornate Japanese screen, pulling his T-shirt off along the way.
As a method to inveigle his way into a client's confidence, he'd never imagined getting naked.
Then again, this wasn't his fault. He'd tried to tell her the truth and she wouldn't listen. Ariel Wallace wanted a model and it looked as if he was it.
He just hoped she wouldn't spear him with the nearest paintbrush when she discovered he was here to pull the easel out from under her.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    Good story

    The only thing i wish is that she would have told him in one of their fights why it meant so much.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2012

    Ok but not great

    Okay, but not great. I liked the idea of the story, but couldn't get into the characters. Both the hero and heroine were unlikeable. First the heroine, then as the story progressed I started disliking the hero as well. It also bothered me that the heroine never told the hero why the gallery meant so much to her. Instead all she did is yell and scream at him. I guess they deserve eachother. Won't be reading again. ##

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2008


    The book is stunning! It¿s a negotiation in more ways than you can imagine but when you meet Cooper, you¿ll fall absolutely in love¿¿he¿s not only handsome, rich, smart, and has a sense of humour, he¿s sexy and sensitive. I have to mention that the Presents title does not reflect the storyline or the power it delivers but as we all know sometimes authors don¿t get a choice. Ariel well as far as I¿m concerned she¿s the ¿star¿ of this book. She¿s was rescued by a wonderful woman who she calls Aunt Barb. She was an orphan and Barb found her wrapped in an ¿art¿ canvas when she was a small child. Barb has given her a meaning to live and a sense of family. How can a reader not be drawn to this woman, this beautiful, funny, talented artist who wants to keep Aunt Barb¿s memory and art gallery alive? And guess what? Cooper¿s corporation wants to take it away from her¿..buy and develop the site. How they initially meet, what transpires and the chemistry between Cooper and Ariel sizzles right off the page. Their interaction, the cat and mouse game they play from the beginning to end, your heart will clench. I adored this book it¿s charming, funny and sexy and extremely moving thanks to Nicola Marsh!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

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