A beastly boss is tamed in this Secrets of Eden book from Andrea Laurence…
CEO Brody Eden is a loner. The brooding billionaire has secrets that he refuses to unveil to anyone…until he meets his new assistant, Samantha Davis. She's temptation personified, and she's sitting right outside his door.
Samantha's never met a man as guarded—and gorgeous—as Brody. She doesn't want to fall for her boss, but there's something about Brody…. Beneath his gruff manner, Sam senses tenderness—and an intense passion waiting to be unleashed. And she'll make it her mission to enter his lair…and his bed.
Be sure to read other scandalous stories from the Secrets of Eden series by Andrea Laurence, only from Harlequin® Desire!
HEIR TO SCANDAL
HER SECRET HUSBAND
About the Author
Andrea Laurence is an award-winning contemporary author who has been a lover of books and writing stories since she learned to read. A dedicated West Coast girl transplanted into the Deep South, she’s constantly trying to develop a taste for sweet tea and grits while caring for her collection of animals that includes a Siberian Husky that sheds like nobody’s business. You can contact Andrea at her website: http://www.andrealaurence.com.
Read an Excerpt
Samantha Davis frowned at her godmother. Agnes had been there for Sam her entire life. She trusted the older woman, who had stepped in as a mother figure when Sam was still in elementary school. And she was helping her get a job when Sam needed it the most. But even then, she didn't like the sound of this.
Getting up to Agnes's office had been a feat of its own. Sam was pretty certain there were fewer security measures at CIA headquarters.
What was she getting herself into?
Agnes shook her head and pushed the form across the desk to her. "It's nothing to really worry about, honey. Mr. Eden is very particular about his privacy. That's why there are so many restrictive measures to get up to this floor. No one in the building has access except me, Mr. Eden and the head of security. I'm the only one at the company that ever has any personal interaction with him. If you're going to fill in while I'm on vacation, you will interact with him as well, so you'll have to sign the agreement."
An uneasy prickle ran up the length of Sam's neck. Although she and Agnes were the only people in the room, she felt like she was being watched. Looking curiously around the modern, yet comfortably decorated office, she spied a tiny video camera watching her from the corner. There was a second camera on the opposite wall to capture another angle of the room. Who needed surveillance equipment to monitor their secretary?
If it was anyone but her godmother telling her to take this job, she'd walk right out the door. But Agnes wouldn't rope her into a bad situation just so she could go on vacation for her fortieth anniversary. It must seem worse than it was.
And yet, she couldn't put her finger on what was really going on here. She scanned over the confidentiality paperwork with distrust. Brody Eden owned Eden Software Systems. Office solutions and communications. Nothing classified. Nothing that might threaten national security if it was leaked. And yet if she failed to follow the terms of the agreement, she would be obligated to pay a five-million-dollar settlement.
"I don't know about this. Five million dollars? I don't have that kind of money."
"You think I do?" Agnes laughed. "It's deliberately high to ensure no one breaks the agreement, that's all. As long as you do your job and don't talk about Mr. Eden to anyone but me, you'll be fine."
"I don't understand. Talk about what?" As far as Sam knew, Brody Eden was some kind of wizard behind the curtain. He was like Bill Gates without a face. Reporters had tried and failed to find information on him, raising even more questions, mystery and interest. He simply didn't exist before launching his software empire. If people found out she had access to him, she supposed they might come to her for details, but what was so important that she couldn't tell? How he liked his coffee?
Sam didn't understand all the mystery. She'd always assumed it was only to stir up buzz about the company, but the cameras and the contract made her wonder if there wasn't more to it.
Agnes sighed. "Sign the agreement and I'll tell you. It's not a big deal. Definitely not worth blowing this opportunity and this salary while I'm gone. You need the money. Sign." She pushed a pen to her and nodded. "Do it."
Sam did need the money. And the pay was very good. Too good. Suspiciously good. There had to be a reason why, but apparently she wouldn't know until she'd already signed her deal with the devil. Well, in the end, it really didn't matter. Her rent was due and she had fifteen dollars in her checking account. She picked up the pen, signing and dating the agreement at the bottom of the page.
"Excellent," Agnes said with a smile. "Mediterranean cruise, here I come." She got up from the chair and slipped all the paperwork in a folder. She carried it over to a small, silver door mounted in the wall that turned out to be some kind of drawer. Agnes placed the file inside and then slid it shut.
"What is that?"
"I was giving Mr. Eden your paperwork."
"You don't just walk into his office and hand it to him?"
Agnes chuckled. "No. I very rarely go in there."
Sam turned to look at the massive oak doors that separated them from the secret lair of Brody Eden. They looked like they would hold up to a battering ram and were likely wired with sophisticated locks and security like every other door she'd gone through. They were intimidating. Damn near unapproachable. And she was itching to find out what was on the other side.
"And he won't come out here to get it?"
"He does, but only when he feels like it. He communicates mostly through the speakerphone or the computer. He tends to email and instant message a lot throughout the day. The drawer works best for anything else. That's how you'll give him his mail and exchange paperwork with him. When he's done with something, he'll slide the drawer back to you."
"Like Hannibal Lecter?"
"Something like that," Agnes said. She sat back down at her desk, where Sam would be working for the next month, and folded her hands. "Okay, now that the legalities are handled, we have to have a chat."
Sam took a deep breath. The last half hour's discussion had built up a nervous tension that drew all her muscles tight. Now that she'd signed on the dotted line, she wasn't sure if she really wanted to know what was so closely guarded. And yet her curiosity was burning at her. "What have you gotten me into, Agnes?"
"Do you think I would've worked here for as long as I have if the job was terrible? I have had horrible bosses and he isn't one of them. I adore Brody like he's my own son. You've just got to learn how to handle him. He'll be less prickly if you do."
Prickly. Sam didn't like that word. She preferred her bosses to be without sharp, biting barbs. Of course, having a sexy, charismatic boss had only led her to heartache and unemployment. Maybe a prickly, distant one would be better. If she was rarely in the same room with him, she couldn't possibly have an affair and get fired.
Sam turned to one of the video cameras. She was uncomfortable having this discussion knowing he might be listening in. "Is he watching us on those?"
Agnes looked at the camera and shrugged. "Probably, but there's no sound. He can only hear us on the speakerphone unless you yell through the door. Right now, we're able to speak candidly, so I'll tell you the big secret. Mr. Eden was disfigured in an accident a long time ago. Part of his face was damaged very badly. He's very self-conscious about it and doesn't like anyone to see him. He also doesn't want anyone to know about his injury. That's the main reason for all the mystery. No one can know he's scarred like he is. When and if you do see him face-to-face, it's best if you go on like you don't even notice it. Keep the surprise, the disgust, the pity inside. It might be hard at first, but you'll get used to it."
She wasn't supposed to, but Sam couldn't help the pang of sympathy she felt for her new boss. How lonely it must be to live like that. It sounded horrible. It made her want to help him somehow. It was just her nature.
Her father had always called her "Daddy's Little Fixer." Sam's mother had died when she was in second grade, but being only seven hadn't stopped Sam from stepping up to be the lady of the house. She was never much of a nurturer, but she got things done. Socks with holes? Mended. No money for groceries? Macaroni Surprise for dinner.
If someone had a problem, going to Sam would guarantee it would get dealt with quickly and efficiently. Even if they didn't think they had a problem, she would fix it. That's why her two younger brothers referred to her as "The Meddler," instead.
But how could she help Mr. Eden if he kept himself hidden away? "Will I even see him? It sounds like he doesn't come out."
"Eventually, he will. Grumpy, like a hibernating bear. But his bark is worse than his bite. He's mostly harmless. Mostly."
Sam could only nod while she tried to absorb all of this. Agnes continued on, telling her about the various tasks she was responsible for. Aside from the basic secretarial stuff, she was also expected to run errands for him.
"I pick up his dry cleaning? Doesn't he have a wife or something to do that?" she asked as she looked over the list Agnes had typed up for her.
"No. He's single. When I say you and I are the only ones to see him, I mean it. You'll pick up coffee for him in the morning. Sometimes I get his lunch, but most times he will bring his own or have something delivered to the lobby, which you'll have to go get."
The man really didn't go out in public. It was mind-boggling. "How can someone live their life without going outside? Without going to the store or the movies or to dinner with friends?"
"Mr. Eden lives his life through his computer. Whatever he can do from there, he will. What he can't do, you do for him. You're more of a personal assistant than a secretary. He doesn't pay a premium salary for you to sit around filing your nails and answering the phone."
Apparently not. But Sam could deal with this. Now that all the secrets were out in the open, the nervous butterflies had faded. This might not be so bad. "When do I start?"
"Tomorrow. You'll shadow me tomorrow and Friday, and then you'll be on your own for the next four weeks."
"Okay. Any particular office dress?"
Agnes shrugged. "Most of the employees here are fairly casual dressers. Mr. Eden wears suits every day, although I've never been able to figure out why given no one sees him but me. You have such a flair for fashion, so I'm sure you'll be fine."
Sam tried not to laugh at her godmother's mention of her "flair for fashion." That was one way to put it. Another way was that she was obsessed with clothes and shoes. The more girly and feminine the better. She loved sparkles and glitter, pinks and purples. The right pair of platform heels or leather handbag could nearly send her into a climax.
Sadly, her past two months of unemployment had been devastating for her wardrobe. She'd gotten so discouraged from how everything ended at her last job that she'd slipped into wearing sweats and T-shirts all the time. Heels seemed like overkill for watching Lifetime movie marathons.
But that was in the past. She had a job, she was out in the world and her fashionable ways would reign once again. So yes, Mr. Eden would be getting a trendsetting eyeful from his little video cameras.
"Let's go get your badge and codes setup. They'll scan your fingerprint to get you access to this floor while we're there, too."
Sam got up from her seat and started following her godmother to the exit. Feeling brave, she stopped for a moment and looked back up at the video camera that was tracking her movements across the room.
Looking directly into the lens, she flipped her long blond curls over her shoulder and straightened her posture defiantly. "If you're going to spend the next month watching me from that little lens," she said, knowing he couldn't hear her, "I hope you like what you see."
"Like" was an understatement. Samantha Davis was distracting.
Brody had watched his new assistant train with Agnes for the past two days as though he were watching a fascinating new film. The two large screens that were connected to the surveillance cameras had captured his attention the moment Samantha came up for her interview. He'd ignored most of his work. Missed a conference call. He was just intrigued by her and the way she would turn to the cameras as though she were watching him as he was watching her.
He supposed it might be because he wasn't exposed to many peoplewomen in particularbut even if he were, he couldn't help but think that Samantha would catch his eye. He liked the thick golden-blond curls that spilled over her shoulders and down her back. Her skin had a kiss of sun like she enjoyed jogging or swimming outside. He was drawn to her large brown eyes and bright smile. She wasn't particularly tall, but she made up for it with sky-high heels that made her legs look fantastic when she paired them with short pencil skirts.
She was really quite striking. Certainly a change of scenery from fifty-nine-year-old Agnes.
He loved Agnes like a mother. She was hardworking, efficient, if not a touch crotchety, but he liked her that way. Agnes was an office dynamo. It made Brody wonder how he was going to get through the next month without her.
Agnes had mentioned this anniversary trip months ago. He had had plenty of time to prepare. And yet, he still wasn't ready to deal with the actuality of her leaving for that long.
When Agnes suggested hiring her goddaughter to fill in while she was away, it seemed like a sensible suggestion. But he hadn't thought to ask if her goddaughter was attractive. He supposed most people wouldn't think that mattered either way, but it did to him. Brody avoided most people, but he avoided beautiful women the most diligently.
It didn't make much sense to anyone, especially his foster brothers, who were constantly riding him to get out and date. But they didn't understand what it was like. When they approached a beautiful girl, they only had to worry about rejection. And considering his three foster brothers were all handsome, successful and rich, they didn't get rejected very often.
When Brody approached a beautiful woman, he knew rejection was a given. But that wasn't the worst of it. It was the look on a woman's face when she saw him. That first reaction. That flicker of fear and disgust that even the most sensitive and polite person couldn't suppress. In Brody's world, that always came first, even if followed by a quick recovery and an attempt at indifference.
But what was even worse than that was the expression of pity that inevitably came. Brody knew there were people with worse injuries than his. Soldiers came home from the Middle East every day with burns that covered over half their bodies. They didn't hide away. Some were even outspoken advocates, role models for other victims. People were inspired by their strength to look beyond their scars.
That was a noble choice, but it didn't suit Brody. He hadn't been injured serving his country, and he wasn't interested in being the public face for acid burn victims. Being pitied one person at a time was bad enough. He couldn't take the massive public wave of sympathy all at once. He supposed that was why he'd gained a reputation of being not just a recluse, but a real bastard. He didn't like being that way, but it was a necessity. People didn't pity the villain, even if he was disfigured. They just figured he got what he deserved.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
## I enjoyed this 2nd book in the series. I hadn't read the first story so I guess it stands alone just fine. Although it does leave many questions open for the next book. Not the romance. That was wrapped up; just the mystery. I love the Beauty and the Beast angle. Also, I'm thrilled that this author didn't portray the hero as the typical millionaire man-slut like just about in every story out there. I'm so tired of being hit over the head with how easy sex comes to them and how they've "hit it and quit it" hundreds of times. How refreshing it was that he didn't have a revolving bed. And the heroine was delightful. As was their chemistry. The only reason I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 was because it felt a tad rushed. I would've liked the ending to play out a little longer. Maybe talk about how they treated each other during the break-up and maybe not forgive instantly. But great read nonetheless that I will be reading again.
I love Beauty and the Beast theme romance novels and Andrea Laurence reminded me why this is still one of my favorite romance tropes. I love reading about a vulnerable, scarred, and damaged hero not looking for love, but finding it anyway with a beauty who sees past the scars with acceptance and loving him for who he is. Also, a little side note even though this is the second book of Laurence's Secrets of Eden series, it can be a standalone read. I haven't read book one yet and A Beauty Uncovered still made sense. Brody is the owner of Eden Software Systems. He's incredibly smart and rich, but a social recluse due to the scars marring his face and body that was caused by his abusive father. He soon became a foster child and was fortunately taken in by Ken and Molly Edens when he was eleven. Never did he expect that his new temporary assistant, Sam, would be the one to make him experience so many emotions foreign to him and most of all fall in love. Having lost her mother at the age of seven, Sam quickly stepped up to be the lady of the house and for that her father had always called her "Daddy's Little Fixer." If someone had a problem, Sam guaranteed it would be fixed. So, when she starts her temporary position as Brody's assistant she naturally wants to help him, but she's mostly intrigued by him. The scars doesn't faze or repulse her. Rather, she wants to dig beneath his tough exterior. She knows she shouldn't get involved with her boss due to a bad past experience, but after one kiss is shared in the office between the two she is more determined to bring out the beast from behind the shadows. Laurence really has a great way of making the reader feel as if they're a part of the story. Through the detailed descriptions and vivid images, I could feel and visualize the settings as if I were there with Sam and Brody. I loved watching their romance blossom with time and the way Sam gradually broke down Brody's tough shield. Their romance was filled with plenty of sparks; it was sweet, passionate and sensual to top it off. Although Brody's past was a heartbreaking one this story wasn't overshadowed with angst; romance was still the core of this story. This story evoked many emotions from me while reading and even had a few cry-worthy moments. For example, that breakup scene just tore my heart to shreds: the hurtful words exchanged between Sam and Brody, the palpable pain (good thing I didn't have makeup on while reading). What also surprised me while reading was the bit of mystery entwined with the story. Not only did the romance got me turning the pages quickly, but the mystery surrounding Tommy Wilder. I was on the edge of my seat trying to uncover Brody's darkest secret. Now, I cannot wait for the next story of Andrea Laurence's Secrets of Eden series especially with the way A Beauty Uncovered ended! Overall, a great story written by Andrea Laurence and one I'd highly recommend. Make sure to pick this one up. A Beauty Uncovered features an enigmatic and sexy beastly hero, a vibrant beauty who breaches his fortress walls and coaxes him out of the darkness and a romantic and passionate storyline that will surely satisfy readers. Beautifully written and poignant, A Beauty Uncovered is a love story that will captivate readers from the beginning to the very end.
I'm really enjoying this series, if you loved Beauty and the Beast, you will love this book. In Undeniable Demands we met Brody (who was left scarred physically, mentally and emotionally from his childhood). His self worth is so low that he is a self-made recluse and doesn't associate with the outside world, but he needs a temporary personal assistant as his normal PA is on vacation. In steps Samantha, who is not going to let Brody get the best of her. They say curiosity killed the cat, but in this story, we see a romance bloom from the interaction between Sam and Brody. We are taken a journey of self discovery and true love. We learn the mystery as to what is buried on his foster parent's home, which makes Brody on edge and in turn jeopardizes his new found relationship. Will this or Brody insecurities destroy Sam’s love? This can be read as a standalone, but I would recommend starting with Undeniable Demands to get the whole picture of the mystery and the twist and turns. This book is for anyone who loves romance and I would highly recommend it.
This is the second book the Secrets of Eden Series and I loved it. I always have a soft spot for the main characters that are not quite perfect. Brody is the "Beast" so to speak in this story. He has isolated himself from everyone other than his immediate family which is foster parents and his 3 brothers and 1 sister. Samantha or Sam as she likes to be called is hired to be is temporary assistant while his "grandmother" type assistant is going on an extended vacation. Brody has scars that he has caused half of his face to be disfigured. He feels as though that no one can love him the way he is and that they are only after his money. Sam sees past the scars and looks into his eyes and instantly feels the need to comfort him. He is shocked by how that she can be so at ease with him. This is a great story of love and self discovery. Sam wants to teach Brody that he can love himself and doesn't have to hide behind the curtain so to speak to the world. Can not wait to read book 3 in this series.
A Beauty Uncovered by Andrea Laurence (Secrets of Eden #2): Samantha Davis has landed the best temporary job of her life. After being burned by an office romance and losing her previous job, it's taken her a while to get another. Luckily, her godmother managed to get her a well paying job working as personal assistant to software CEO Brody Eden for the next month. Once the papers are signed and she begins training, however, Sam sees this job isn't going to be like any other job. The bright side is, since she won't see much of her reclusive boss, there's no way she can fall for him. But why is he so determined to hide away from the world? He's gorgeous, successful, and rich; why is he hiding away? Her family doesn't refer to her as "the fixer" for nothing. Sam is determined to push Brody out of his comfort zone and into the world. Brody Eden has his reasons for being reclusive. His rough early childhood and mistakes in love taught him to always be on his guard and skeptical. His successful software company has provided him both the wealth and technology to keep people at arm's length, just the way he likes it.But Sam refuses to play be his rules from the beginning. It doesn't take long for her to push him out of his comfort zone, and Brody is tempted to let her get even closer. There's not denying the attraction between them. But as close as Brody lets Sam, he still has secrets to keep that affect more than himself. While Samantha cares for Brody, she is hesitant to love again after her last relationship with the boss ended so spectacularly. Can they overcome their pasts to grab hold to a future together. I. Loved. A Beauty Uncovered! I've only read one other book by Andrea Laurence, but A Beauty Uncovered is enough to put her on my must read list. Even though I haven't read the first book in the Secrets of Eden series, I was able to follow the connecting storyline easily. Both Brody and Samantha are characters that you fall in love with and care about from the first words about them. You understand their insecurities, and that knowledge makes the challenges of their relationship, and their reactions to those challenges, believable. Brody is groundbreaking in my experience of romance novel heroes (in ways I can't tell you because it will ruin the surprise), and even though he can be rude, it doesn't make you dislike him. Samantha, with her love of glitter and sunny personality, managed to be both sexy and experienced while being warm and vulnerable--a rare combination in a heroine. The plot has enough action to keep the reader engaged in the story, and the material that links this book to the others in the series fit easily into this story instead of being shoe horned in. I loved A Beauty Uncovered by Andrea Laurence because this book has characters I care about facing the challenges in their relationship in ways that are true to their characters. I love the pacing and plot. I like the underlying story of the Eden siblings that ties the narrative to other books in the series. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a brooding, prickly but sensitive hero, a warm hearted heroine determined to fix said hero, and juicy secrets that you can sink your teeth into.
I was waiting for this second installment in the series and it was worth waiting for! The story of scarred Brody Eden who doesn't believe he is worthy of love because of his scars. He meets Sam who immediately sees past the scars to the man inside. Their connection is strong and immediate. I love watching them fall for each other. The side story of murder, mystery and intrigue that is following through the series is exciting. Don't miss out on this one!
The long awaited second book in the Secrets of Eden series is here and it did not disappoint. Brody was a scarred, reclusive beast that Sam's beauty tamed. With all Andrea's books this was a real page turner. A Beauty Uncovered has a twist from your normal romances and you will just need to read it to find out what it is. Pick up all of Andrea's books, they won't disappoint.
This is the second in the Secrets of Eden series by this author. This is Brody's story, the scarred reclusive computer whiz member of the family. Samantha is his temporary secretary, put in place by her God-mother while she's on holiday. The relationship that develops between Sam and Brody looks like being a little difficult because both of them have prickles. Him because of his scars and Sam has made a bad choice in having a relationship with her former boss. Seems like the girls in this series have pretty poor judgement with men both making the same mistake in the type of guy, but that's the only real quibble I have with the stories. Brody is adorable. He's sweet and romantic and the very opposite of sleazy. *happy sigh*. Sam, apart from aforesaid icky taste in men, is a bright and positive heroine, perfect for a man who spends a lot of time in the shadows. The background mystery that links this series is furthered along and it will be interesting to see how it plays out in the future books.
A Beauty Uncovered is the second book in Secrets of Eden series by Andrea Laurence. I must say that I'm loving this series. With each new book we draw closer to the mystery lies beneath the Eden's property. In Undeniable Demands we learn there is a body buried on the property (or former properties). In A Beauty Uncovered we learn a little bit more about the person and who he had been. However, there are still more secrets to be uncover. Other than the deep dark secret there is the story between Brody Eden and Samantha Davis. In A Beauty Uncovered, we find a Beauty and the Beast story. Granted the beast isn't really that ugly, but a bit scarred. Yes, he does keep himself locked up from the world, because he's afraid of what they might think of him. When Sam stumbles in Brody's life she doesn't go quietly and let him brood. Oh no, she marches into his life full force. Honesty Brody doesn't know what to really think of her, but his barriers start come down as he gets to know this feisty fiery woman. Seriously, I'm loving this series. Not only cause the mystery, but the main story line or you may say the romance. I love that Brody's all broody and moody, so much like the beast. However, he does have a good part to him, but he just keeps it hidden. While Sam is like a ray of sunshine and isn't going to let Brody's jerk-side takeover. She sees more than what he sees. I love how the relationship develops. Yes, Sam does have some insecurities and fears. Of course, we can't let a story go without a little trouble, because that would be boring. Granted we still have more secrets to uncover. Anyway, we have Brody throwing her past her face. Which got me all teary eye. A marvelous story. I love how Secrets of Eden plot is staying strong. I marvel at the love story and I can't wait to see what will happen in Eden in the next book. So, if you have a hankering for Beauty and the Beast type stories, you might want to give A Beauty Uncovered a try. I would suggest reading Undeniable Demands for the beginning of the secrets, but if you aren't really interested in that and just want Beauty and the Beast love story just aim for A Beauty Uncovered. Copy provided by Harlequin via NetGalley
Since Undeniable Demands came out, I have been anxiously waiting for Brody's story. I was not disappointed. Another great book from Andrea Laurence.