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By Crystal Green
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhen Sean McIntyre first saw her, his sex drive let out an endless, shuddering wolf whistle. One that would've brought down the high-rise building if Los Angeles hadn't been so strict about fortifying the place against occasional earthquakes.
Or another natural disaster trigger like his new coworker.
He settled back in his leather office chair, just taking in the show, a grin easing over his mouth as she leaned against the door frame. All long legs, curves and catnip.
Dark gypsy hair waved softly past her shoulders, matching the black smoke of her eyes. She aimed a lowered gaze at him, the tips of her red lips swooping upward in a gesture more suited to a wet dream than the business offices of Stellar Public Relations, Incorporated.
Sean raised an eyebrow, amused. Intrigued.
But, as usual, Louis Martin screwed up the moment, bursting past the woman in a flutter of kinetic overload.
"There she is. Didn't know where you disappeared to," said the short, balding boss man. "One second I'm giving you the tour, the next you're ..."
The woman interrupted him with one sultry glance. Louis almost fell backward from the force of it.
"Sorry," she said, her voice as thick and slow as honey dripping from a fingertip. She nodded toward the window while returning her gaze to Sean. "I prefer the view in this office."
He bit back a laugh. Cheeky. Already he liked her. Already he wanted to peel off that slightly seethrough, butterfly-sleeved red suit that pushed the limits of professional wear. Sharp, flashy, powerful. All the things a PR representative should be.
And then some.
Louis fidgeted with his tie. "The view. Right. Your office'll be down the hall though."
Time to open his mouth, Sean supposed. "This is my lion's den. Not fit for a lady."
"No wonder I feel right at home." She flashed him that cool/hot gaze again.
Sean shifted. Nice. A thirty-two-year-old schoolboy with a hard-on. Should he grab a textbook and hide behind it while he got to his feet to shake hands? No English Lit or Trig tomes available, you say? Then maybe he could just stay seated and zoom his wheeled office chair on over to her, introducing himself as half the cad he actually was.
That's right. A gentleman would stand up, take a woman's hand, pay her proper respect. But gentlemen probably refrained from popping wood the second a beautiful female came within range.
He flicked a manila folder off the desk to his lap - the better to fool you with, my dear - and performed the chair slide.
But his cautious move didn't throw her off, not if that knowing gleam in her eyes was any indication.
What the hell, thought Sean. He grinned as he stood, flipping aside the folder, extending his hand. "Sean McIntyre."
The woman perused his outstretched palm, her gaze slipping to the front of his pants, her mouth still heated by that lazy grin. She knew he was turned on. Not that it made her a genius.
She tucked her fingers into his hand, sliding a nail along his thumb in a wickedly disguised shake. "Fiona Cruz. Pleased to meet you."
Cruz. The name rang an alarm. He'd heard of her successes as a marketing machine for actors. She was good. Damned good. But hadn't there been some hint of scandal surrounding her ...?
Time seemed to furl around itself as their skin pulsed with the contact, touches languishing, almost as if both of them wanted to see who would let go first.
Louis's voice sawed apart their grip, but not their sustained eye contact.
"We brought on Fiona because she's gangbusters."
Sean coolly acknowledged the weasel's remark. This introduction was Louis's way of turning on the burner under Sean's chair, wasn't it?
"Got that covered, Martie," he said, knowing the nickname would piss off the other guy.
The boss man's cheeks reddened. "It's Louis. As in Martin."
Fiona Cruz had started to wander around Sean's office, trailing her hand over the rigid, metal bookshelves, the writhing steel sculpture in the corner. A flame in the center of a frozen twist of furniture.
He couldn't help admiring her beautiful ass, wanting to cup the curves of it, rocking her against his groin, feeling every voluptuous inch of her opening for him....
"Fiona's brought her rising star with her to the firm. Lincoln Castle."
Sean blanched. "The soap star? That Lincoln Castle?"
As Fiona stopped by the window, which overlooked Wilshire Boulevard with its palm trees and summer-in-the-city streets, she tossed her words over a shoulder. "There's only one man with a name that ... singular."
Rage kicked him into gear, forcing his footsteps over to Louis, where he shadowed the boss with his height. "Look, do you have any idea how Castle is connected to my new client?"
Louis shrugged. "Of course. Say, McIntyre, I've got a conference call with Edgar Lux and his publishing house. Can you show Fiona to her office when she's ready?" Then he lowered his voice. "That is, unless she gets comfortable in your chair."
Rather than saying something that would cause Louis to fly into a fit, Sean kept his mouth shut, electing instead to usher his boss from the room with a thanks-a-lot glare.
Louis dashed away, leaving Sean alone with a woman who could very well be the end of his career at Stellar. If you could call it a career anymore.
He turned his attention to Fiona, trying to focus his anger. But he was distracted by the way her dress caught the sun through its sheer material, a dreamcatcher winding darker hopes through the threads of red while allowing fantasies to pass through.
"Let me guess," she said, her back still to him,
"watch out for Louis Martin."
"The guy's harmless, unless you don't know how to play office politics."
She turned around with a smile, leaning against the window frame, shifting the sunlight and blinding him with another jab of pure lust.
"I know how to play," she said. "Do you?"
He couldn't hold back a sardonic laugh. Another sweeping gaze over that jazz-baby body. "Listen, Ms. Cruz -"
"Call me Fiona."
"Fiona." The purr of her name caught in his throat. A professional-suicide hairball.
Excerpted from Playmates by Crystal Green Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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