ALL HE WANTS
Dominic Knight is a man who is always in control. A self-made billionaire by the age of twenty-three, a genius of innovation, and CEO of a global tech empire, Knight always gets what he wants. And he wants Kate Hart. . .
A rising star of cyber forensics, Kate is well aware of Knight's reputation as a master manipulator, uncompromising leader, and demanding lover. But she's determined to stay cool and professional-no matter how hot and bothered her new boss makes her feel.
First he appears in her dreams. Then he comes to her in the night. And so begins a journey of erotic awakening and discovery as rich and powerful as Knight himself. In locales from the sultry red-light district of Amsterdam to the private sexual playgrounds of Hong Kong, Kate will shed every inhibition and surrender every part of herself-body, mind, and soul-to give her lover all he craves, all he needs, and all he demands . . .
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All He Wants
By C.C. Gibbs
Grand Central PublishingCopyright © 2013 C.C. Gibbs
All rights reserved.
She'd done her research like she always did before an interview. So she knew about him. Thirty-two, Stanford graduate, adventure traveler, and a more or less self-made billionaire who'd stopped counting zeros long ago. Quirky, too, but then so many in the start-up world were. Maybe even a little more than quirky since the death of his wife. But those rumors were confined to obscure blogs in cyberspace and were impossible to confirm.
Not that she cared about the man's private quirks. She was here because his company had recruited her at MIT and working for Knight Enterprises, the most innovative venture-capital company in the world, would be a dream come true.
Arriving last night from the East Coast, she'd expected to meet with one of Dominic Knight's lieutenants at corporate headquarters in Santa Cruz. But an early-morning e-mail had sent new instructions. And here she was on a quiet tree-lined residential street in Palo Alto.
The cab driver came to a stop and pointed. "That's it."
She looked out the window, mentally flipped through her Art I memories, and decided it was one of Greene and Greene's rare, turn-of-the-century homes. The structure was surrounded by a beautiful, hundred-year-old Japanese-style landscape specific to the building design. It was an unusual venue for an interview, but no explanation had been given for the site change. Although with the possibility of being offered her dream job, who was she to question the reasons?
She stood for a moment on the sidewalk as the cab drove away, surveying the small redwood building. On her junior year J-term, she'd stayed in a mountain village in Japan, in a temple inn much like this. It was supposed to have been a long weekend but, so enchanted by the quiet isolation, she'd stayed a week. Strange that a street so near a major metropolitan area was this tranquil; she glanced around, unsure for a moment whether she was dreaming, her memories were so intense.
Then a lawnmower powered up somewhere behind her. She shook off her reverie and moved with an easy stride toward the entrance to 630 Indigo Way.
A reception desk had been placed in the center of the foyer and a secretary, who'd been reading, set down her book and looked up. She could have been some teenager taking a day off from school: ponytail, jeans, waist-skimming T-shirt, and flip-flops. The girl bore a startling resemblance to the photos of Dominic Knight. Although, according to his bio, he didn't have children.
The young girl smiled. "You must be Dominic's four o'clock. He's not here yet, but he told me to tell you to go on in." She waved in the general direction of a hallway and went back to her book.
Dominic, not Mr. Knight. Even more interesting. As if it mattered, she reminded herself and gently cleared her throat to get the girl's attention. "Actually, I have an appointment with Max Roche. I'm Katherine Hart."
Kate stood there for a moment, an awkward pause stretching between them while the girl apparently read to the end of a sentence before glancing up. "I think it's Dominic you're seeing. Lemme check." Shoving a pencil in the book to hold her page, she clicked a computer mouse, the screen on a sleek monitor came to life, and she briefly scanned it. "Nope, not Max. Dominic." She pointed again. "Down the hall, last door. I'm supposed to ask you if you want coffee." Then she smiled and went back to her reading.
You didn't have to be a mind reader to know coffee wasn't an option, so Kate followed the suggested route. The hallway was lit by clerestory windows, the lustrous light illuminating a photo gallery of sailing vessels; some large, some less so, all glorious action shots of sleek racing yachts, sails aloft, running with the wind. She stopped for a moment and leaned in close to a photo of two racing yachts. Both were full-rigged, one boat heeling so hard to starboard that waves nearly skimmed its rails. And dangling inches above the water, one hand on the rail, the other reeling in a line, drenched with sea spray, was the CEO of Knight Enterprises, younger, thoroughly wet, a wide, exultant smile on his handsome face.
"That was a World Cup race off New Zealand. Sorry to keep you waiting. It was unavoidable."
The deep, rich voice was at ear level. Jerking upright, she swung around, gasped, breathed, Holy shit, then flushed. Dominic Knight in all his dark, sensual beauty was standing there, up close and personal, his quick raking glance so casually assessing she should take offense, not feel a shocking rush of pleasure. She almost gasped at the jolt, but caught herself in time because salivating in front of Dominic Knight would be super embarrassing and useless. He did models, aristocratic babes, high-end call girls. Researching his personal life had been like reading Entertainment Weekly.
Oh God, he still hadn't moved. Was he testing her sense of personal space? Was this some kind of psychological power thing? If it was, he was winning because his tall, powerful body, sleek in a navy pinstripe bespoke suit, was way too close, way too personal. Her heart was pounding, she was having trouble focusing her thoughts, the speech synapses from her brain to her mouth were misfiring, and unless she got herself under control, she was going to blow this interview. Breathe in, breathe out. Now say something normal. "The ... weather's ... great ... out ... here." Breathless and sputtering. Shit.
His faint smile widened.
Arrogant bastard. But having finally regained her wits, she didn't voice her thoughts.
His gaze amused, as if breathless women were the norm in his life, he blandly said, "I agree. Did you have an uneventful flight?"
Before she could answer, his cell phone rang.
He glanced at the display, frowned, and grunted, "Go on in. I have to take this."
Flustered by her response to a man who was even hotter in person than in his photos, feeling more like a thirteen-year-old Justin Bieber fan than a magna cum laude graduate of MIT, she lectured her uninvited inner adolescent as she walked toward his office. Seriously. What was that all about? Haven't you seen a handsome man before? Get a grip. Better yet, go away.
The hand-carved door at the end of the hall was slightly ajar; Dominic Knight conducted business casually. How reassuring. She wasn't fond of rules and protocol. Pushing the door open, she entered a low-ceilinged room with such spectacular views of the gardens that all thoughts of her embarrassing meeting with Knight Enterprises' CEO vanished.
Dropping her canvas messenger bag on a chair, she walked to the nearest window wall and surveyed the garden that reminded her of some of the royal gardens she'd seen in Japan: immaculately raked gravel, swirled in traditional wave patterns; large, rainbow-colored koi visible in the clear, limpid water of a nearby pond; artfully arranged boulders; ancient, perfectly pruned yews and pines. A small, arched bridge in brilliant red served as a picturesque focal point in the distance. The garden was a museum-quality work of art, carefully nurtured and maintained. Dominic Knight had an eye for beauty.
"I'll personally nail you to the wall if you screw me on this! You don't say no to me! Nobody says no to me! Now do your fucking job!"
She flinched at the audible fury in Dominic Knight's voice. Each word was implacable, taut with rage, the tone unexpectedly dredging up long-suppressed memories. Jesus, she'd not thought of any of that in years. Her gut tightened like it had as a child and she thought, This job isn't going to work out. Explosive people are bad karma for me.
She had plenty of other companies wooing her. She could pick and choose. Retrieving her messenger bag from the chair, she was almost to the door when he walked in.
"Forgive me again. I seem to be repeatedly apologizing before we've even met." But he was still distracted. He'd come to a stop, run a hand through his dark hair, his gaze unfocused.
"That's all right." She slung her bag over her shoulder. "This isn't going to work out anyway."
He looked startled. Then a second later he looked down, his gaze narrowed, fixed on her. "Nonsense. Your assignments are abroad. I won't be there. It should work out just fine." At least he didn't pretend to be confused. He seemed to know why she had reservations about taking this job. Or maybe he just didn't care. "I'm told you're the best and that's what I need."
"Our needs are incompatible." She kept her voice calm with effort, as he towered over her, his sexual charisma practically sending off heat waves, his commanding air intimidating—both seriously affecting her pulse rate.
"Tell me what you need—er"—he paused—"I'm not sure I've been told your name."
"It doesn't matter."
He looked at her as if she'd sprouted another head, then sighed. "Look, could we start over? I'm Dominic Knight. You're"—his dark brows rose in query, a touch of humor in his gaze.
"This isn't funny, Mr. Knight."
"I could call someone and get your name."
"To what purpose, pray tell?" she said, staring him in the eye with her best hard-as-nails look.
He smiled. "Really, pray tell? Channeling Jane Austen?" His sigh this time was barely audible. "As to what purpose," he repeated, softly mocking, "why not to our mutual satisfaction?" His voice went down a notch. "Now, tell me your name."
His deep, velvety tone melted through her body, turning on everything that could be turned on, again. Jeez, who would have thought using your vibrator before an interview was a requirement?
"I'm assuming you have a name," he prompted, a small smile stirring the corners of his mouth.
Asshole. Was he toying with her? Or did a mouth-watering CEO with a killer body figure every woman would roll over for him if he smiled? Her mouth firmed. "If you must know, my name is Katherine Hart. Spelled H, A, R, T."
His gaze was cool, as was his voice. "Perfect. Thank you."
"Miss Hart to you." She glanced at the door.
He noticed, ignored it. "As you wish, Miss Hart." He loosened his honey-colored tie, undid his collar button. "It's been a long day." He flexed his broad shoulders with a Zen-like grace, exhaled slowly, visibly decompressed. "I've had to listen to too many long-winded people in too many boring meetings. Have you ever noticed that those who do the least complain the most and those who know the least talk the most?" He held her gaze, almost smiled. "Now what can I do to change your mind?"
How could that sudden Zen-like calm be so hot? Or maybe tall, dark, and handsome was rocking her world because she was an adrenaline junky—a prime requirement in her line of work—and just looking at all that magnificent maleness was juicing her. "Nothing really," she quickly said, needing to get away, and it wasn't just bad karma. Men didn't shake her world like this. Or at least they never had. "I just changed my mind." She took a step to her right to go around him.
He moved left and checked her progress. "Change it back."
He was like a solid wall of machismo blocking her way. She tried to keep her voice from trembling. "I can't ... Sorry."
He recognized the small flutter in her voice, debated responding, decided against it. "Let's keep this simple," he brusquely said. "I need you in Amsterdam. So don't tell me no."
Jesus, that was either intimidating or damn intimidating. "Please move," she croaked.
"In a second," he said with a flicker of a smile, feeling that this difficult young lady may have finally gotten the message. "Tell me what it's going to take to get you on board. Name your price if that's the stumbling block. Max says you're beyond gifted even for a high flyer, and I need you in Amsterdam. This is important."
"Yes. That's the point. You can't say you don't want to work for Knight Enterprises. Everyone does."
That small startle reflex again. He really wasn't used to dissent.
"Look, I'm sorry if I said something to offend you." Although there wasn't a hint of apology in his tone. In fact, his annoyance was plain. He ran a hand quickly over his face, as though to wipe away the betraying emotion. "The ball's in your court, Miss Hart."
"What if I said I want to leave?"
The pause was so lengthy, a small moment of panic washed over her before she reminded herself it was the twenty-first century.
A winter chill colored the blue of his eyes. "Do I frighten you?"
"No." She wouldn't give him the satisfaction.
He tipped his head slightly and smiled in the most disarmingly ruthless way. "Good. Then if you'll sit down"—he indicated a chair—"we can discuss my problem, your skill set, and how we might cooperate."
Deciding the chances of her fighting her way out of this office were slight to nil, she sat. "You really don't take no for an answer, do you?"
"I'm afraid not." He dropped into a large black leather chair behind his desk. "It's not unique to a man in my position."
A salient argument, but not one she chose to value. "You're putting me in an awkward position, forcing this issue."
"On the contrary, you've put me in an awkward position. I'm offering you an excellent job. Max mentioned some of our issues in his e-mails. The dark market is making inroads in some of our outlier firms. It has to be stopped. Obviously you were intrigued or you wouldn't be here. Why not accept?"
"Personality clash. I heard you in the hallway."
"Perhaps you don't understand the company's organizational structure," he said with exquisite restraint. "I doubt we'll meet again."
"I disagree. As I understand it, Knight Enterprises' organizational structure is one of authoritarian leadership. You're hands on. You demand absolute compliance from subordinates."
His mouth tightened. "You've done your homework."
"I always do. And I have several other job offers, Mr. Knight. With the worldwide level of corruption, forensic accounting is in great demand." She smiled, sure of her prima donna status in her field at least. "Yours isn't the only company losing money to the dark market."
Her cheeky smile lit up her eyes and he looked at her for the first time as if she were more than just an obstacle in his path. She didn't know how to dress, but then the clothes of the young IT set weren't couture or colorful. Neutral tones went with their left brain functions. But her hair was a riot of red curls and her eyes were a potent green. Strange word. Bright green, he corrected himself. And beneath the drab army green jacket and slacks, he could see hints of a lithe, supple body that went well with her wide-eyed innocent beauty.
His lashes drifted downward an infinitesimal distance.
Hmmm. He hadn't considered that before, too intent on talking her around to his point of view. Not an easy task with Miss Hart. She wasn't docile. Or accommodating.
A provocative thought.
But he was a businessman first; there was time enough for other things once Miss Hart had done her job. Since he'd lost Julia, he was indifferent to women for anything other than sex, and that was available anywhere. Miss Hart's sexual function was immaterial.
What was material lay in Bucharest and, according to Max, Miss Hart was the answer to their problem. "Perhaps we could come to a compromise," he said, determined as always to prevail. "You could join us as a contractor. After you finish this Amsterdam job, you can walk. You're a December graduate. Most of the major firms won't start recruiting for another few weeks. You'd still be in the game."
"I'd have to turn down my current offers."
"I'd be happy to make some calls and get some brief deferments for you. I know everyone in this business."
Nobody says no to me, indeed. How much did she want to piss off one of the most powerful men in the world? "You're persistent." She gave him a polite smile.
"So I've been told. Do you have family?" He preferred employees with a casual attachment to family. They were more likely to work the long hours demanded of them.
"You can't ask that," she flatly said.
His smile was mocking. "Are you going to sue me?"
"I won't have to if I'm not working for you."
Excerpted from All He Wants by C.C. Gibbs. Copyright © 2013 C.C. Gibbs. Excerpted by permission of Grand Central Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Very Intense! There was so much happening in a very short amount of time. I enjoyed reading this because it was a bit more rounded in the sense that you understood more about what was driving each character, unlike some of the similar books that have been written. I liked that Kate had a backbone and wasn't just diving into bed with him just because he was a good looking rich guy. She may have wanted to, and did of course eventually give in, but the waiting certainly did enhance the story. There was definitely a connection between Nick and Kate that was electric. I look forward to seeing where this goes and will be reading the rest of the series.
I had been in a book slump when Southern Sunshine discovered this book. She was shouting from the rooftops about how great this book is. Well, as soon as I was able to read it I did, and I am thrilled I did! Dominic Knight is an ALPHA male to the 10th degree. He is just on this side of perfection and even with his flaws he is perfect enough for me. He is a powerful businessman with a dash of a Dom personality. Katherine Hart is a spitfire. The witty banter between them is highly entertaining and smoldering. It’s like preheating an oven for something delicious that is to come. From their first meeting the reader can tell that the chemistry between them is so obvious. “His deep, velvety tone melted through her body, turning on everything that could be turned on, again. Jeez, who would have thought using your vibrator before an interview was a requirement?” Katherine is a game changer for Dominic. He has a playful side to him. When he is playing “the game”, he plays to win. His unique tactics for giving pleasure to his lover makes this book exciting and will get the blood pumping to areas of your body that might have been a bit neglected lately. I was talking about your brain, get your mind out of the gutter. When I began reading this book I had some preconceived ideas of what to expect. I heard it was a Dom type book but so different from anything I probably have read. I was pleasantly surprised with what I got. C.C. Gibbs took a rather bad boy Dom to a different plane. Dominic has an edge to him. His past is not one that fairytales have been mused from. He struggles with being someone’s Mr. Right instead of being Mr. Right now. He wants something more out of life, a life with Katherine maybe. Katherine’s character was having me high fiving my kindle every time she dished it right back at him with his demands. It is breath of fresh air to have a female be equal to a dominant male and for his ego to not get in the way of what could be a perfect match. The supportive characters remained just that…supportive. They didn’t over shadow the main characters or take the storyline off course. The main character’s story had many facets and even though it is a fantasy of mine, the reader could believe that this could really happen. To find the answers of how this story will end, you will have to read All He Needs. I’m ready for more Dominic and his sexual chess game. Get comfortable, this could take all night!
Wow I'm not even sure where to begin. How can I convey how much I loved this book? I am so thankful to C.C. Gibbs for introducing me to Dominic Knight. He is hot, he's smart, he's just amazing. He's got everything going for him, except love. Since his wife died he has not even tried to find happiness in the romance department. Well that all changes when Katherine Hart comes into his life and into his workplace. Kate is awesome - she's funny, feisty, stubborn as a mule, argumentative almost to a fault and she makes the perfect companion for Dominic. Their sex life in UNBELIEVABLY HOT. Their chemistry is off the charts! And there is A LOT of sex! In fact they are pretty much addicted to each other from the start. The story has the usual ups and downs, some drama, some kindle-throwing angst and of course some tears. But that's all okay because it just makes their relationship more real, more fun. You want to know more. And just when you think everything will be okay, BAM! You're left anxiously awaiting Book Two (All He Needs), which by the way is equally as hot. What really made me fall in love with this book, this series and its author C.C. Gibbs, is the writing. All He Wants is so beautifully written, it just flows perfectly. I was instantly drawn into the story and the characters' lives not only because I found them interesting but because everything was so descriptive and so lovely I just wanted to know more and more. The attention to detail is truly outstanding; whether the author is describing a hotel room, a dining room, clothing, or explicit sex scenes (and there are lots of them), there is enough detail to paint a very accurate picture in your mind but it is not too much. You don't feel like you want to skim over a single word in this book; it's just that well-written. C.C. Gibbs is truly talented and has become one of my most favorite authors. I highly recommend this story.
Great story so far. Love Kate's personality and how she gives and takes. Nick is awesome without being to Alpha. Well written although a bit choppy in places. It was hard to tell sometimes when it switched from one character's perspective to another. But all in all worth the read and I look forward to the next book!
Love the book but can't get the next one on my nook very unhappy :(
This was a great book. You will enjoy the book. Great story. I can't wait until the next book to see what happens. Their chemistry is off the charts.
Not your typical Susan Johnson, but nevertheless, if you're looking for a 50-shades type read, this is the book!
Going for their hea in all he desires....yippie!
I am truly enjoying this series so far. I love Kate. She has spunk, she's no pushover. That is until she meets the sexy, hot Dominic and he seems to turn her world upside down. As strong-willed as Kate appears, she can't think straight when it comes to Dominic. And Dominic is only thinking about how to get Kate. The chemistry and banter between these two is amazing. It seems no matter what, they can't resist one another. However, what does one do when the attraction is too strong to resist, but the fear of the unknown is just as strong? I'm anxious to read the second book in this series to see this story unfold between this lust filled, confused, frightened couple.
Loved the series....but craving #3
This is a book to read if you're looking for a love story along with some great sex!
CC Gibbs was on point when she wrote this book. I love Dominic, the settings, and the divine lust accompanied. Cannot wait for All He Needs.
Can't wait for the next one