Read an Excerpt
Alexandria, Virginia, the hometown of George Washington and Civil War General Robert E. Lee, attracted visitors from near and far, but Maxwell Wade wasn't in the city to take in glimpses of Alexandria's proud history. The last time he visited Alexandria, Maxwell had spent a day on the bustling waterfront on board a lunch and dinner cruise, and had visited several of the historic museums that preserved the city's important heritage.
This time Maxwell was in town on business. He had been retained to represent Hopewell General, one of the largest teaching hospitals in the country, in a wrongful termination lawsuit.
He pulled up to a stoplight and waited patiently for the light to change from red to green.
Maxwell felt the tiny hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He glanced out the window, his eyes landing on the gorgeous woman sitting in the car next to him. Maxwell smiled and gave a slight nod.
She batted her long lashes and returned his smile.
The light changed and Maxwell was on his way. He harbored no regret at not getting her name and number. He was not lacking when it came to women.
Maxwell pulled into a parking space ten minutes later. He got out of the car, grabbed his briefcase and strolled confidently across the lot and into the lobby of Hopewell General.
"Here comes the East Coast equivalent of the late, great Johnnie Cochran," a man announced as Maxwell approached the north elevator. "Congratulations on winning the Benson case."
"Thanks," Maxwell responded with a grin. "Ray, I hear your checkbook's a little lighter after Judge Hanson fined you for suggesting that she recuse herself from your case." He eyed his friend from law school for a moment, and then shook his head. "I heard that she is not one to mess with."
Ray Graham shrugged. "Hanson really needs to put in for her retirement. I'm pretty sure that she went to college with Moses."
Laughing, the two men stepped into the elevator when the doors opened. They rode up to the second floor, which housed the hospital's legal department.
"Max, I really appreciate you helping us out with the Matthews lawsuit," Ray said, leading Maxwell into his office. Dr. Terrence Matthews had been fired when it was discovered that he had a drug problem and now he was suing the hospital for wrongful termination.
"I'm glad you called. I understand that his family was the hospital's largest benefactor."
Ray nodded. "We have our annual fundraiser coming up this month. Maxwell, we really need to settle this lawsuit before then. The hospital needs funding for our new cancer research center. Rupert and Sarah Matthews are no longer donors and we could lose others because of their influence."
Maxwell nodded in understanding. He followed Ray through a door leading into the legal offices.
Ray paused by his assistant's desk and said, "Angie, this is
"Oh, I am very familiar with Maxwell Wade," she quickly interjected. "Mr. Wade is the attorney who strikes fear in the hearts of all who oppose him."
Maxwell smiled warmly. "It's very nice to meet you, Angie."
"The pleasure is all mine," she responded, eyeing him hungrily.
He recognized the lustful gleam in her eye. At thirty-five years old, Maxwell had grown used to getting this type of reaction from women and it amused him.
Maxwell followed Ray into his office, closing the door behind him. They sat down to discuss more details of the Matthews lawsuit.
"I want to touch base with Camille Hunter at some point today," he told Ray. "We exchanged a few emails, but I want to speak with her in person."
"She's worked hard to keep this lawsuit from being the focus of the hospital," Ray stated. "The Matthews family, on the other hand, is doing everything in their power to discredit Hopewell General. They are in denial about Terrence's drug problem."
"They are claiming that he was set up," Maxwell commented.
"Yes," Ray confirmed.
Maxwell scanned through the documents of the case.
"Well, we will just have to prove that Terrence abuses drugs. I will bet that his parents have him stashed away somewhere in rehab right now. If we can find out where, maybe we can get this resolved quickly." Maxwell was used to winning at everything he did, from the boardroom to the bedroom.
He loved his hard-charging, hard-playing life and wouldn't change a thing. He found it incomprehensible that his good buddy Thomas Bradshaw recently married and was already a father. He had stunned Maxwell with the news that he had eloped with the mother of his son.
Ray made a couple of phone calls while Maxwell continued to read through the statements and documents of the lawsuit, jotting down notes here and there.
Maxwell pulled out his iPhone and sent a quick email to Camille Hunter, requesting a time to meet. He was looking forward to meeting the head of public relations for the hospital.
Camille Hunter pulled the folds of her coat together to ward off the winter chill as she walked briskly through the hospital doors. She loved her job as the director of public relations at the prestigious Hopewell General Hospital. At twenty-five years old, she had worked at the hospital for six years, beginning when she was a college student.
The moment she walked through the lobby doors of the hospital, Camille could feel a buzz of excitement in the air and it had nothing to do with the upcoming Christmas season.
She walked over to where a small group of interns were huddled and asked, "Hey, what's going on?"
"I just met Maxwell Wade," one of them responded.
"Oh, my goodness, that man is gorgeous. I've never seen anyone look that good."
Camille laughed. "Isabelle, you make it sound as if he's the only handsome man in the world." She secretly believed that Isabelle Morales, a Jennifer Lopez lookalike, was on the hunt for a rich man to marry.
"He's well over six feet tall and very muscular. You know how much I love tall men, and that suit he was wearing this morning looks like it was made just for him."
"It probably was," one of the other women interjected. "He can certainly afford to have a personal tailor on his payroll."
"I just love his long lashes," another cooed.
"Wait until you see him, then you'll know what I'm talking about," Isabelle told Camille. "That Maxwell Wade looks better in real life than in his pictures."
A couple of the other interns nodded in agreement.
"He is absolutely yummy," Isabelle stated. "I don't know how I'm going to get my work done with that sexy piece of chocolate in this hospital."
"Then maybe it's best that I don't meet him," Camille joked. "With all of the stuff piled on my desk, I need to be able to focus on my work."
"I heard he's currently single," one of the other interns interjected. "He and that model Kendra Dixon broke up a few months ago."
"Is she the one with the reality show?" Camille asked. She recalled reading something about it in People magazine while getting a pedicure.
Isabelle played with a curling tendril. "Yeah, she's the one. As for Maxwell Wade, he won't be alone for much longer if I have anything to do with it."
Camille chuckled as she shook her head. "Isabelle, I don't know about you."
"Hey, I have no problem going after what I want."
"We know," two of the other interns said in unison.
Camille laughed. "I'll see you girls later."
She stopped to talk with one of the pediatric physicians before heading to her office. The hospital was buzzing about the handsome multimillionaire Maxwell Wade. Camille had yet to meet the man in person, but she had read enough articles about him.
She and Maxwell had been exchanging emails for the past couple of weeks and his aggressive, confrontational style had rubbed her the wrong way from their first email exchange. He was a very handsome man, but she was not about to join the scores of women falling on their faces to worship him.
Humming softly, Camille sat down at her desk. The first thing on her agenda was to check her email. She was expecting an email with the menus for the annual holiday charity ball. Hopewell General's charity ball was the grande dame of fundraising partiesa formal, black-tie dinner and dance dating back to the 1950s when the hospital was established.
Theme and decor had always been important elements of the fundraising event. Poinsettias and Japanese lanterns created the ambience for the first one, so Camille decided to recreate that very first charity ball by using ultra-modern silver and black decor with dramatic lighting. Entertainment for that night would include a series of living portraits telling the history of the hospital.
Along with dinner, dancing and great entertainment, Camille had planned a silent auction with some fantastic prizes, which included fishing charters, hotel and resort spa getaways, and gift cards to local merchants.
She heard Dr. Germaine Dudley's voice in the hallway and froze.
"Please don't let him come in here," she whispered. "My morning started off great and I don't want it ruined."
Camille had been avoiding Hopewell's chief of staff since he made some comments to her a couple of days ago that made her uncomfortable. It was possible that she had misunderstood what he'd meant, but for now, she just hoped to remain out of his path.
"What's up, girl?"
She looked up from her monitor to find Jerome Stubbs standing in her doorway. Jerome was her best friend and an O.R. nurse. She smiled at him and asked, "How was your date last night with Julie?"
He grinned. "We never made it to dinner. Julie's a wild woman."
Camille held up a hand. "Enough said."
Jerome checked his watch, and then strolled into the office carrying a cup of his favorite coffee. He sat down in one of the visitor chairs facing Camille. "You mean you don't want to hear about my night of passion?"
She laughed. "No, I really don't."
"Don't want to get all hot and bothered, huh?" he teased.
"Jerome, don't you have to be somewhere?" Camille asked.
He shook his head. "Nope. I came in early just so that I could spend some time with my best friend." Jerome took a long sip of his delicious-smelling coffee. "I heard that Maxwell Wade is here in the hospital."
Camille leaned back in her chair. "Why on earth is this big news? Jerome, I just don't get it."
Jerome laughed. "I hear you, but you know how it is. He's world renowned and he's handled some of the top high-profile cases in the country. Maxwell Wade is a celebrity to these people."
"He's a lawyer. One who was hired to help us with this mess that Terrence created." Camille released a soft sigh. "I never thought Terrence would do something like this." She liked Terrence and had been deeply saddened when she found out that he had been stealing drugs from the hospital.
"Honey, you believe that there's good in everybody," Jerome said. "You didn't know that ol' boy was abusing drugsno one really did until he started flying over the cuckoo's nest. He had it so bad that he was stealing the patients' medicine. I heard that he was switching out the meds for placebos."
Camille met Jerome's gaze. "Why do you listen to the rumor mill? Half of what you hear isn't true. I don't believe he was stealing his patients' medicine."
"Girl, you need to take off those rose-colored glasses."
Camille chuckled. "Jerome, you are so wrong." She clicked open her email in-box to check her email. He shrugged. "Hey, it's true. You know that I'm right."
"Hey, I have an email from Mr. Wade," she announced. "He wants to meet with me today at some point."
Jerome surveyed her face. "You sound like this is a meeting you want to avoid. What's up with that?"
Camille had forgotten how well Jerome knew her. She had been at odds with Maxwell Wade since he was retained to represent Hopewell General. His arrogance had come through his email correspondence, irritating her. She had to deal with the arrogance of some of the male doctors on a daily basis and having Maxwell Wade around was just going to add one more sexist alpha male to the mix.
"Camille." Jerome prompted.
"It's nothing," she said. "He just rubbed me the wrong way in a couple of his emails."
"If anybody can handle Maxwell Wade, it's you, Camille." Jerome checked his watch. "Well, it's time for me to start my day. I'll catch you later."
"Stay out of trouble, Jerome."
He laughed. "Not hardly. Especially if 'Miss Thang' has anything to do with it."
"You'd better not let Kayla hear you call her that," Camille warned. Kayla Tsang was the head nurse in Hopewell General's emergency room. Everyone called her Miss Thang behind her back. She was the one who kept a list of everyone's wrongs and reported them to the chief of staff.
Her words didn't faze Jerome. "Miss Thang knows when to back off me. Call me if you want to have a late lunch together."
"I will," she promised.
Camille checked her calendar. She then sent a quick email to Maxwell to let him know that she had some time before eleven to meet with him.
He responded quickly to confirm that he would come to her office at 10:00 a.m.
"Great," she whispered. Camille hoped the meeting would go smoothly. She had always been very easy to work with, but she was not about to let Maxwell order her around like some second-rate employee. Camille could tell by his emails that he was used to issuing orders. However, she would stand her ground if necessary.
Camille was able to respond to emails and send out a few of her own before her assistant announced, "Mr. Maxwell Wade is here to see you."
"Please give me a few minutes before you send him in, Lori." Camille wanted some time to mentally prepare for her meeting with the attorney.
Lori nodded and walked out of the office.
Five minutes later, she returned with Maxwell in tow.
Camille rose to her feet and walked around the desk. Maxwell Wade was as devilishly handsome as his photographs suggested, perhaps even more so in person.
She released a soft, cleansing breath and said, "It's nice to finally meet you in person."
Camille took in his powerful presence and drank in the sensuality of his physique. The man was fine. And those sexy warm brown eyes of his
they could make a woman melt just from the heat of his gaze.
She affected an ease she did not feel, but Camille was not about to give Maxwell any hint of how much he affected her.