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Styles of Seduction (Harlequin Kimani Romance Series #346)

Styles of Seduction (Harlequin Kimani Romance Series #346)

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by Jacquelin Thomas

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Love in high fashion…

Manhattan's most successful, cutting-edge designer, Kyle Hamilton, has a flair for what's hot and hip in the city's competitive fashion world. And with his sensual good looks, the dedicated bachelor has his choice of any woman…except the one who got away.

Zoe Sinclair was a naive intern at Roger Hamilton Designs when she met


Love in high fashion…

Manhattan's most successful, cutting-edge designer, Kyle Hamilton, has a flair for what's hot and hip in the city's competitive fashion world. And with his sensual good looks, the dedicated bachelor has his choice of any woman…except the one who got away.

Zoe Sinclair was a naive intern at Roger Hamilton Designs when she met Kyle. But she never forgot the forbidden kiss she shared with her hunky boss. Now she's moving up the ladder at a rival house, sworn to stay away from the playboy whose touch she still craves—until a family crisis throws them together during New York's Fashion Week. Working with Kyle to find his kidnapped sister, Zoe is falling once again under his seductive spell. And this time it's more than just her job on the line….

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Readers will appreciate the strong heroine and Blaze's growth."

Product Details

Publication date:
Harlequin Kimani Romance Series , #346
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

"This is the last one, Nelson," Kyle Hamilton announced as he carried a large brown carton through the door of his fifteenth-floor apartment.

His cousin rushed over to relieve him of his burden. "Thanks for letting me move in with you. If things work out the way I hope, you will only have a roommate for a couple of months at most."

Kyle wiped the perspiration from his forehead before saying, "Nelson, you don't have to be in a rush to move out. You're welcome to stay here as long as needed."

"You're sure I won't be in the way?" Nelson Hamilton asked. "Fashion Week is only a couple of weeks away. I know this is a busy time for you.

Mother has been driving her staff crazy for the past month getting ready for her show."

"That sounds like Aunt Vanessa," Kyle commented, a smile tugging at his lips. Vanessa Bon-nard Hamilton was a renowned designer in her own right. She had worked briefly for Roger Hamilton Designs, his father's business, before branching out on her own to build the Bonnard couture label.

He navigated around a stack of moving boxes and into the kitchen, retrieved a couple of bottled waters from the fridge and strode back to the bedroom, where Nelson was unpacking one of the boxes.

He handed a bottle to his cousin. "I'm going to RHD for a couple of hours," Kyle announced. "I'm not completely satisfied with our collection. I want to go back over the final changes one more time."

Nelson unfolded a sweater. "I thought everything was ready to go."

"For the most part," Kyle confirmed. "But I keep feeling like something is missing. I always get this way when it comes to Fashion Week."

He walked over to the door. "I left some menus on the kitchen counter. The restaurants all deliver if you don't feel like going out."

Kyle was out the door before Nelson could respond.

He was happy sharing his huge three-bedroom apartment with his cousin. Nelson had moved to Los Angeles a couple of years ago to try his hand at acting, but had returned home to Philadelphia over the summer. Since then he had been commuting to New York for auditions. It was Kyle who'd suggested that Nelson move to New York permanently.

Nelson had returned home to family drama between his mother and the rest of the Philadelphia branch of Hamiltons. Kyle and Nelson both thought it best that Nelson put some distance between himself and the tension.

While other New Yorkers enjoyed the Labor Day festivities, Kyle drove to the offices of Roger Hamilton Designs in historic SoHo, a trendy neighborhood in downtown Manhattan that attracted artists, retailers and businesses alike.

When he arrived, he turned off the alarm and locked the door behind him. All of the RHD employees were celebrating the Labor Day weekend, so he was alone. He insisted that everyone take the weekend off because he worked better when there were no other distractions.

Kyle removed a dress from its protective covering and laid it on the mahogany table in his large corner office. Examining it with a critical eye, he reached for a piece of sheer voile fabric lying nearby and fashioned it into a collar around the top of the dress.

Smiling in satisfaction, he pinned the material in place and then returned the dress to the garment bag. Kyle went through each piece, tweaking hemlines, changing or adding buttons or fabrics. The new spring/summer collection had to be a Fashion Week hit—Kyle would accept nothing less. The RHD fashion show would be the talk of the industry if he had anything to do with it.

At thirty-four years old, Kyle was the oldest son of Roger and Lila Hamilton. He fully expected to inherit RHD one day, so he worked hard to prove to his parents that he was worthy of the inheritance. His designs had received rave reviews for the past three seasons. He had even received the prestigious Designer of the Year award.

His paternal grandparents had owned a chain of dry-cleaning shops in Philadelphia. However, his father had chosen a different path. Roger had moved to New York and was soon recognized as a gifted designer. He met Lila Eustace soon after and she began working as a fit model for him. Within a few years, RHD became a huge success and his mother began designing, too. And Kyle intended to continue, and expand on, that success well into the future.

Shortly after 6:00 p.m., Kyle walked out of the building that housed the design firm. He was amused when he overheard the whispers of two women walking behind him. Women seemed to appreciate his six feet four inches of fit and toned physique, which he worked to maintain.

Whistling softly, Kyle unlocked his car and climbed inside. He would have dinner with his cousin if Nelson hadn't eaten already. He was thrilled to have a roommate—Nelson's presence would alleviate some of the emptiness he felt from time to time.

Kyle's mother often hinted that it was time for him to settle down. Kyle's mouth quirked with humor. There were times when he wondered what it would be like to have someone welcome him home, someone sweet and loving, but he refused to dwell on the thought for long. The reality was that Kyle was not husband material, and he had absolutely no desire to get married. His focus had to remain on his work.

"They've done it again! Our show is scheduled the day after RHD."

Zoe had listened to her boss complain for the past fifteen minutes about the day and time of his show, and it stirred a pool of irritation within her. "Jerry, it really doesn't matter when RHD's show is scheduled. Our new collection is brilliant." She softened her voice and added, "I just hope you're ready for all of the orders we're going to receive from stores around the world."

He released a short sigh and nodded. "I guess you're right."

Dressed in brown leather pants and a multicolored striped sweater, Jerry paced back and forth, fingering his goatee.

Zoe watched him for a moment, and then leaned back in her chair, arms folded. "When are you going to let this competition between you and Kyle end?" She had never met a man like Jerry Prentice. At times he seemed in control, but just the mention of Kyle Hamilton's name and Jerry could carry on for hours. As far as Zoe was concerned, it was childish.

It was common knowledge that Jerry and Kyle had a long history together. Their rivalry had started when they were studying design in college and grew more intense after they graduated. Kyle went to work at his family's company, while Jerry took a job at Guava International, RHD's biggest competitor.

"Kyle and I are not in competition," Jerry responded stiffly. "I just can't stand the man or his huge ego."

Zoe had her own issues where Kyle was concerned, but she was determined not to dwell on them. The preparations for Fashion Week had helped to keep her focus off the man who had toyed with her heart and then cast her aside with nothing more than a fleeting glance.

An image of Kyle rose in her mind, and for a second or two Zoe enjoyed the flash of heat whipping through her. However, the heat was soon replaced by cold fury. It was better for her to concentrate on that particular sentiment.

She pushed away from her desk and walked over to a rack of clothing. She pulled an outfit from it and said, "This is our showstopper, Jerry. It's your best work yet."

A huge grin spread across his face. "I agree.''

"It's time you stop focusing on Kyle Hamilton. If you don't, you'll end up letting your hatred for him stifle your creativity."

"What about you?" Jerry asked. "Have you stopped thinking about him?"

Zoe made herself turn to face him and meet his gaze. "I don't know what you're talking about. Kyle was just my boss."

Jerry gazed at her but did not comment, so Zoe considered the subject closed, pulling a scarlet-colored gown off the rack and inspecting the fabric. "I think we should use more feathers around the top."

Jerry allowed her to change the direction of their conversation. "Hmm…let's spice it up a bit more with some tulle."

"And some polished gemstones," Zoe added.

He smiled and nodded in agreement.

Zoe's mind drifted back to Kyle Hamilton. She understood why Jerry felt so threatened. What her boss considered arrogance was actually confidence emanating from Kyle's every pore. He was a creative genius. While Jerry was very talented, Kyle seemed to be in a league of his own.

She attempted to focus on the outfits hanging on the rack, but images of Kyle with his close-cropped dark hair, chocolate-brown eyes and sexy grin threatened to take up permanent residence in her mind.


"Huh?" She gave herself a mental shake. "I'm sorry, Jerry. My mind was somewhere else."

"Getting more creative inspiration," he responded. "I didn't mean to take you out of the zone."

"It's fine." Zoe picked up a sketch pad and made some changes to a drawing.

Jerry walked over to glimpse her adjustments. "Yes. I like that." He strode toward the door. "Take the sketch to the sewing room and give it to Martha when you're done. I want her to add the finishing touches right away."

Zoe did not look up from her work. She could hear Jerry shouting orders in the hallway. Fashion Week always seemed to make him more intense than usual.

When she was done, Zoe left her office with the dress and sketch in hand. She caught sight of a slender woman lurking nearby and sighed in irritation.

Zoe generally got along with everyone, and there were only a handful of people she simply did not like. Sasha Jones was one of those people. The woman made it her civic and professional duty to sniff out every ounce of gossip, making the rounds in Guava when she wasn't making Zoe miserable. For reasons Zoe could not fathom, Sasha had decided that Zoe was the enemy.

"I see that you're making more changes to that dress," Sasha said, gesturing to the gown. "What's wrong, sweetie? Are you second-guessing yourself?"

Zoe exhaled slowly before responding. Her patience was not limitless. Enough was enough. "I'm not having doubts about anything, Sasha. But I do hope you're not too disappointed that my designs were chosen to be featured this year."

For a moment, Sasha's eyes seemed to be caverns of ice.

Zoe bit back a smile as she stepped around Sasha and continued on to the sewing room. She had no idea why Jerry kept Sasha around. She seemed to do nothing more than find ways to stir up trouble.

There were more important things to think about, Zoe decided. She resolved to put Sasha completely out of her mind.

16 Styles of Seduction

• *

"Oooh, that witch," Sasha fumed. She hated everything about Zoe Sinclair. She especially resented the way Jerry fawned over the woman's designs. Sure, she had some talent—Sasha would give her that—but so did every other designer at Guava.

She was the one who had garnered all the attention until the wretched day Zoe had walked into their lives.

Zoe hadn't just taken the focus off Sasha—she had destroyed Sasha's relationship with Jerry. Sasha and Jerry had been lovers, but that had changed when he'd decided to become Zoe's mentor, much to her disdain.

Zoe was the one to blame.

Seething, Sasha brushed past a couple of her coworkers without speaking. She paused when she neared the sewing room, where Zoe was engaged in a conversation with a seamstress.

A fresh wave of hatred washed over Sasha as she spied on Zoe.

At five foot eight, Zoe was three inches taller than Sasha. Although most people considered Zoe beautiful, Sasha considered her plain, despite her smooth mocha complexion, dark hair and almond-shaped eyes.

Sasha ran her fingers through her long curly extensions. She was beautiful and she knew it. Like Zoe, she dressed at the height of fashion, although she preferred earth tones while her nemesis wore more vibrant colors and large statement jewelry. Simple strands of gold or silver necklaces were more to Sasha's liking.

Zoe caught sight of her in the hallway. "Did you need something, Sasha?"

Her cheeks grew hot as she fumbled for an answer. "I…I was looking for Jerry."

"Why don't you try his office?" Zoe suggested. "It's located on the other side of the building."

Sasha scowled at Zoe in silence.

The seamstress wore an amused expression, which quickly disappeared when Sasha sent her a sharp glare before stalking off.

Zoe Sinclair was going to regret the day she ever walked through the doors of Guava International. Sasha would see to that personally.

Meet the Author

Jacquelin Thomas' books have garnered several awards, including two EMMA awards, the Romance In Color Reviewers Award, Readers Choice Award, and the Atlanta Choice Award in the Religious & Spiritual category. She was nominated for a 2008 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction in the Young Adult category. Jacquelin has published in the romance, inspirational fiction and young adult genres.

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