Avery Clark loves her life. She travels the world doing a job that keeps her so busy she can't think about how lonely she is or the fact that she hasn't had day off in two years. This trip to paradise is a chance for her to get some sun and have a Mai Tai or three. That is until she runs into billionaire hotel mogul Hayden Wexton, who is absolutely one hundred percent off limits.
Hayden Wexton is a man who knows what he wants. As soon as he sees Avery, he can't get her out of his head. He's determined to show her life can be fun and she can still get her work done. Only, the more time he spends with her, the more she gets under his skin. That was definitely not a part of his plan.
Avery never makes mistakes, but with Hayden, well, hell, he might just be the best mistake she's ever made.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)|
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Hayden Wexton stood in his penthouse, staring out the floor-to-ceiling window. The glass reflected his image like a dark mirror, and he could see the satisfied smile curling his own lips.
"She just checked in, sir," the voice on the other end of the phone said. "We've put Ms. Clarke in one of our best rooms, as per your request."
So, she'd actually gone through with the job. He'd had his doubts.
"Prepare my suite," he said. "I'll see you soon."
Disconnecting the call, he tucked his phone back into the inner pocket of his suit. Flicking a tiny speck off his Armani jacket, he gazed back out at the window. Anticipation coursed through him. Avery Clarke was a difficult woman to corner. With the world as her playground she was nearly as elusive as he was. For weeks, he'd been trying to track her down. He'd used all his usual tricks — offers of exotic getaway weekends, the sparkling allure of gemstones, even staid invitations to dinners.
She turned him down every time.
"You're really going?"
He glanced back at his guest. Wyatt lounged on his leather sofa, a tumbler of fine scotch resting forgotten in his hand.
"I said I was. This can't be a surprise," Hayden replied, moving away from the window.
"I don't know," his friend replied. "After all, the two of you only spent one night together. I honestly thought you'd tire of your chase before it got to the point of air travel. Your liaisons don't usually have such long lasting consequences."
The man wasn't wrong. Hayden wasn't the sort to chase after anyone. He didn't need to. A half smile and an extended hand were usually all it took to secure a bedmate for the night. And in the morning, it was always him walking away without a backward glance.
Except Avery had slipped from his arms like a ghost in the night. The knowledge that he'd somehow been found wanting in her eyes. ... grated.
"I doubt I'll be gone long," he said, reaching for his own drink. "You have all my contact details if you need me."
Wyatt snorted. "Yes, because you've never disappeared at a moment's notice before. However will I run your empire without you?"
Hayden lifted his glass in a silent salute. Wyatt was the answer to all of his problems. Since he'd taken over the vice president position, Hayden had been freed from the chains of the day-to-day operations of the company. For the first time in over a decade, he'd had the luxury to actually enjoy the wealth he'd amassed. And enjoy it he did.
"She's not going to be pleased to see you."
"You don't know that," he replied.
"Avery Clarke is smart, savvy, and sexy as hell. I've worked with her for years whenever we needed to hire a hotel consultant, while you barely noticed her presence. Trust me, if she wanted more from you she'd have replied to any one of your numerous offers."
He frowned at Wyatt. It wasn't like the other man to try and interfere with his pursuits outside the office.
"Ah, but she hasn't seen me face to face since the Christmas gala. You know how persuasive I can be."
Wyatt nodded. "That's true. I turned down this job a half dozen times before you roped me into it."
"And what did I do?"
"Badgered me until I accepted. My fortune and I thank you for the persistence," he replied, raising his glass.
"What can I say? I'm a man who knows what he wants."
"And right now, your flavor of the month is a woman who has made us millions in the past. I'd be a terrible business counsel if I didn't point out your ill-fated romance could have financial repercussions for us if she refuses to work for Wexton Hotels again."
Hayden waved away the words. "You worry too much."
"You don't worry enough."
He arched a brow. "This is just a little seduction in a luxurious island paradise. No one is going to get hurt."
Wyatt shook his head. "Just try not to get us sued for sexual harassment."
He tossed his friend a dirty look. "Ha ha."
"Mark my words," Wyatt said. "This will end poorly for you. I don't even know why you are so set on winning this woman. She's not your usual type."
Sensible words. The world was endless, after all. There was no shortage of beautiful women to rotate through his life. It would take no effort at all to fall back into his old habits and spend the week sailing the Mediterranean with a gaggle of models. It wasn't like him to think twice about a woman who'd turned him down.
Except when he fell asleep at night, he couldn't shake the memory of Avery arching under him, of her hands gliding down his chest, or the way she cried out against his ear when her body climaxed under his touch.
No, one night hadn't been enough. He was nowhere near done with the elusive Ms. Clarke.
All he needed to do was convince her of that fact, and they could embark on the affair they should have had from the start. He had no doubt it would burn hot and fast but that was just his speed. A few weeks and the woman would be out of his mind for good.
Provided he could catch her first.
"Have you booked the private jet?"
"It's on standby," Wyatt said. "If you have the bad sense to go, a fully stocked jet is yours to command."
"Then I'm off to paradise."
Wyatt shook his head. "Just don't fall off the map completely. Every now and then I actually need you to do your job."
"Says the billionaire hotel mogul."
"You should loosen up sometime, Wyatt. You might find you have a taste for adventure."
"And then who would there be to grow Wexton Hotels?" he pointed out. "Besides, you have enough fun for the both of us."
"It's a difficult cross to bear." He downed the last of his scotch before setting the glass aside. His suitcase waited by the door, ready for the trip he was itching to start.
"I'll leave matters in your capable hands," he said.
Wyatt waved him off. "I'll show myself out once I've finished your excellent scotch."
"Admit it — half the reason you finally took the job was the unlimited access to my liquor cabinet."
"Your taste for extravagance is rubbing off on me. Now go get shot down so you can come back to work."
"What an appealing plan," he said drily, tossing a long trench coat over his shoulders and grabbing his bag. "I'll see you soon, Wyatt."
"Good luck," his friend replied with an airy wave.
Hayden strode from the penthouse with a smile on his lips. He didn't need luck.
He just needed Avery.
The surf tickled her toes.
Avery shielded her eyes, staring down the pristine beach. Palm trees waved gently in the warm breeze, and the sound of the ocean filled her ears. Last night she'd slept with the door to her balcony wide open so she'd hear the waves. This morning she'd taken her complimentary breakfast on that same terrace, soaking in the sun reflecting off the sapphire ocean.
Sometimes, my job just plain rocks.
Sure, she'd been hired to consult on a Wexton hotel that was losing money, a task that would likely prove a headache, but she got to do it on this little slice of heaven floating in the Pacific. There were definitely perks to choosing her own contracts.
Rolling up her linen pants, she'd waded through the shallows and scrunched the sand between her toes. When was the last time she'd taken a break like this?
Never. It's always work, work, work.
Not that she was complaining. She liked keeping busy, being the master of her own schedule. It kept her mind occupied. What would she do with a week or two off? Sit alone in her city condo binge watching TV shows? Or worse, suffer through endless dinners with her parents, listening to her only two living relatives drop hint after hint about extending their family line.
She reached down, fishing a shell from the water. No, she thought, examining her find, it was better to book job after job. The world was too big to stay in one place for long. It was the motto by which she'd lived her life. Well, for the past two years, at least.
A flick of her wrist sent the rejected shell sailing through the air before it vanished into the waves. Tipping her face up to the sun, she closed her eyes with a sigh. Right now, she wasn't feeling the usual pull to schedule every second of the day. Maybe she'd delay her start date and spend a week lounging by the pool. The thought of a romance novel in one hand and a margarita in the other was more than a little appealing.
Except I signed a contract.
Which meant she was currently on the clock and had better spend more time earning her keep and less time daydreaming about trading in her briefcase for a surfboard and spending the rest of her years chasing the perfect wave.
Of course, she'd need to learn to surf first, but that was a challenge she wouldn't mind accepting.
"Come on, Clarke," she said to herself. Stop procrastinating.
Forcing her body to move, she left the warm ocean waters with reluctance. What sort of boss would she be if she played hooky on the first day of the job?
A nicely tanned one.
She shook her head at the thought. There'd be time to lounge on the beach later, she'd make sure of it.
Resolved, she started the walk back up to the main hotel. Around her, happy families raced for the water, already in their swimsuits. Though she routinely stayed in the most beautiful hotels in the world, she couldn't remember the last time her bikini had made it out of her travel bags. That sad fact needed to be rectified immediately.
Reaching the paved walkway leading back to the lobby, she dusted the sand off her toes and slipped her heels back on. It seemed unnatural to wear such footwear with the sound of the ocean in her ears but she had an image to uphold. When the hotel elite hired Clarke Associates, they got the best, even in climates more suited to flip-flops than stilettos.
Eyes on the prize. Occupancy rates were down, and she needed to figure out why.
Air conditioning washed over her as she navigated her way into the hotel, banishing the tropical humidity that was making her curse her decision to wear long pants. Maybe there was time for a quick change before the manager meeting she'd scheduled.
She waved to her assistant, changing course to meet the other woman waiting for her in the lobby, a portfolio of notes already in her hands.
"Good morning, Karen," she said when she reached her friend.
"Morning," Karen replied, her unruly blonde curls bouncing around her face. "Are you ready for our first meeting?"
"Yep. With the managers, right?"
"One is out sick, but I scheduled the rest."
"Thanks for putting that together so fast." She examined her assistant before teasing, "Though, I think you missed the memo on business causal."
The petite woman sported sandals and a floral printed sundress that made Avery suspect her friend was a far smarter packer than she was.
"Aren't you hilarious," she said, rolling her eyes. "I've got a jacket I'll throw on. We are in a tropical climate and I've no intention of melting into a puddle on our first day."
"True enough. Show me those notes, will you? I need to check the —"
The words froze in her throat as her gaze zeroed in on the man standing at the reception desk, his back to her.
Karen followed her gaze and inhaled. "Is that who I think it is?" she breathed.
He was out of place in his black tailored suit as families in tie-dye prints raced around him. Golden hair was slicked back, but one wayward curl would invariably be teasing his forehead. She'd often watched him brush it back with a casual hand, barely noticing its presence.
Just like he'd barely noticed her. Until the night of the gala, at least.
He stood with the causal confidence of one used to being surrounded by the trappings of wealth. She wondered if he even saw the beauty of the lobby around him, with its imported marble, towering ceilings, and modern design aesthetics. No doubt he'd hand selected the architect who had put it together.
He said something that caused the pretty girl at the front desk to laugh, and Avery couldn't help the frown that crossed her face. She'd learned first-hand how charming he could be.
Charming enough for her to forget the steadfast rules that governed her life.
She'd stepped back, intent on escaping the lobby before he saw her, when he turned.
A crystal-blue gaze met hers, rooting her in place.
Her stomach clenched as the world seemed to narrow down to only him. She'd wondered what it would be like to see him again. In fact, she'd half convinced herself their heated night had been a fluke that didn't bear thinking about.
Well, she was sure as hell thinking about it now.
Those incredible eyes moved over her from the tips of her toes to the top of her head, and the appreciation she saw shining from them warmed her in a way that had nothing to do with the tropical climate.
Leaving his bags by reception, he strode forward without taking his eyes from hers.
Run, her mind urged.
Stay, her body purred.
Not that she was one to flee a confrontation. She'd stared down scarier men than Hayden Wexton. Of course, those men hadn't seen her stark naked, but still.
Fighting back the butterflies, she waited for him to close the distance between them.
"Avery," he said, stopping before her.
She did her best not to shiver as the sound of his voice rolled over her — the same voice that haunted her dreams, whisperings naughty words in her ear as his skin pressed against hers.
"It's been too long." He brushed his lips lightly against her cheek in greeting.
Don't lean in, she cautioned herself even as her traitorous body was more than willing to enjoy his touch.
"Mr. Wexton." She greeted him, striving to pull her professional persona around her like armor.
There was no missing the amusement in his expressive eyes. "I think we're well beyond the need for formality."
"You're my boss," she pointed out.
A slow smile curved his lips. "Wyatt hired you. I'm just an innocent tourist hoping to enjoy some surf and sand." His gaze shifted to Karen. "Karen, nice to see you again."
"Likewise," her friend said, her gaze darting back and forth between them.
"What brings you to the island?" Avery asked.
He waved his arm at the lobby around them. "It's my hotel."
"And your visit just happened to coincide with my contract? What a shocking coincidence."
"Must be fate."
"Or your VP told you I'd accepted this job."
Hayden grinned unrepentantly. "That, too."
Be strong. Don't fall for his charm. Or at least, not again.
"Just to be clear," she said, taking a step back, "I'm here for work."
"Excellent. This hotel was one of our best earners, but the last few quarters have seen it take quite the beating. We're relying on you to get to the bottom of it."
She arched a brow. "Are you here to look over our shoulders?" "Maybe I just needed a vacation."
"Your whole life is a vacation."
He pressed a hand to his heart in fake pain. "You are so cruel to me."
She couldn't help rolling her eyes. "Please. Five bucks says you were eating caviar in bed with some actress last week. Am I wrong?" Something flashed through his eyes before his easy smile slid back into place. "Hate to break it to you, but my social calendar has been rather lean these past few weeks. Must have been something else on my mind."
"Okay," Karen said, drawing out the word. "I'm going to go check on some super real and suddenly pressing details and let you guys catch up. Avery, remember we've got that meeting coming up."
"I will," she said, not looking away from Hayden as Karen disappeared as fast as she could. Some chaperone she was.
Hayden watched her go, amusement in his gaze, before turning his attention back to Avery.
"I meant it, you know. You left an impression."
Danger, Will Robinson. Don't get sucked in.
In the years she'd known him, he'd never gone very long between his cookie-cutter girlfriends. The idea that he hadn't tried to replace her with someone new was laughable.
But then again, for all his faults, he'd never lied to her.
"Why are you really here, Hayden?" she asked, her voice low.
His eyes darkened, dipping to her lips before returning to meet her gaze. "You know the answer to that."
"I'm not interested in being another notch in your bedpost." She winced and added, "Again."
Excerpted from "The Billionaire's Paradise"
Copyright © 2017 Victoria Davies.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Victoria Davies is a new author to me and I haven't read the previous books in this series but that made no difference to the enjoyment I got from The Billionaires Paradise, it really can be read and enjoyed as a standalone. This story is so much more than your normal Billionaire Romance in this book we have two people who have so many obstacles to get over, they spent a night together that was full of passion a while ago but will passion be enough for them both to get over issues that haunt them, they both need to let go of regrets, anger and disappointment for them to have any chance of love. Avery reviews and writes reports on how resorts that are not performing as expected need to change and she is working on Hayden's Tropical Island Resort, the last thing she expects ir needs is for Hayden to turn up, maybe he remembers that night as vividly as she does but she doesn't need another unfaithful playboy in her life..... What happens when two damaged people fall for each other, will passion be enough or will their past experiences destroy them, the chemistry between Avery and Hayden is sizzling hot and I loved how even though they needed to protect their hearts they were still honest with each other. I read this book in one sitting and I will be looking for more from Victoria Davies and if you love romance with strong characters I recommend you put this on your TBR list.
Oh Hayden how I loved you! You were highly entertaining with your pursuit of Avery. What a great character, not shy, almost arrogant, went for what he want no holds barred, quite charming, and completely vulnerable behind his rock hard exterior. And then there was the highly focused, puzzle loving, strong Avery who fought against him but did not quite succeed. Their story was fun, flirty, sarcastic and definitely hot. Even though you as a reader knew Hayden's thoughts and moves, it still made me feel for Avery during the rough patch. Her demons came out full force and made you want to comfort her. I loved her friend Karen and how she was there for Avery. Great story with a very romantic heart melting ending. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher through Netgalley.
What a great story this is, tightly woven together with two people who have a one night past with each other and a suitcase full of painful baggage from the past. Can they ever work through these problems and the bigger question, do either of them really want to? Hayden owns a large company of hotel chains and rule of thumb is to hire Avery's company to come in as a consultant to try to right things with the problems. She's perfect at what she does. After a marriage gone very badly, she threw herself into her work and her reputation only grew from there. She's done work for Hayden's company before, always dealing with Wyatt, his CEO. Hayden never really paid much attention to Avery, why would he when he always had a super model or stick Barbie hanging off his arm. Hayden is a one and done. For him it's easier to throw money or jewelry at them. That's his answer. Until he meets Avery at a Christmas gala and the two spend the night together after which Avery flees. No woman has ever run away from him. He pursues her on a regular basis and finally gets her to take a job in Hawaii looking at one of his hotels that isn't doing well. When he shows up after Avery and her partner Karen arrive, Avery isn't happy. For multiple reasons. I have to say that Hayden was slicker that cat poop, or at least he thought he was. Talking the big talk and Avery being a little too smart for Hayden's nonsense, driving Hayden to the point of frustration. Hayden in return pursues her at almost every turn and corners her into doing things and occupying her time. The only time these two seem to settle is when they kiss. Even then, Avery has a comment. Avery isn't stupid, she makes valid, reasonable points to which Hayden seems to give her some half a@@ answer that only further proves Avery's feelings about her. And Hayden has already told her, he's not interested in anything other than temporary. Avery and Karen are quickly sorting out the problems with the resort and the report is almost ready to go. Hayden and Avery spend some very close quality time together and things change very quickly for them, until an incident sends Avery fleeing back to the mainland and Hayden.... I can't even tell you. He's just a little too calm after what happens. All that energy and wooing he did to claim Avery and then what? Thank God for Wyatt. That's all I'll say. This is a great read. The characters are both fully fleshed out and deep. They both have their own problems that are all too real and Victoria wrote them so very well. Especially with Hayden. Sometimes we don't see the mans perspective in such a way in a book. Not so in this one and I really liked that. Avery was great as well. For all the dancing around each other these two did, Victoria managed to bring them full circle in an adult manner. How refreshing! Great story Victoria! This is a must read. **arc from NetGalley and Entangled in exchange for a fair review
Book Review For: The Billionaire's Paradise by Victoria Davies 'The Billionaire's Paradise' by Victoria Davies is book Three in the series "The Sexy Billionaires". This is the story of Avery Clark and Hayden Wexton. I have not yet read the other books, so for me this was a standalone book.Hayden is a wealthy man who owns several hotels and it Avery's job to help figure out what is going wrong with the hotel when they start loosing money. But a one night stand between Hayden and Avery a while makes makes Hayden want to have an affair with Avery. We learn that Hayden has been trying to corner Avery after that night to talk to her but she has been avoiding him. Until now, Hayden finally has her at one of his paradise hotels where he shows up to talk her into continuing what they have. But Avery is fighting it...she is all work and she knows he is all playboy but she still finds him to hard to say not to. I really enjoyed their story!"My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
An adorably fun read with characters that just made me smile. Avery is takes her job very serious and hasn't had a vacation in 2 years. She just doesn't have the time. Plus keeping busy is what keeps her sane. Hayden knows how to work hard too but he also knows how to play just as hard. After meeting Avery he's determined to show her how a little fun and being bad can be oh so good! Don't miss this one, I highly recommend it.
This is an engaging novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. In it, Avery is still nursing her wounds after her divorce from a wealthy playboy who thought fidelity was optional. A few months prior to the novel's opening, Avery had had a one night stand with a different wealthy playboy, Hayden. She knows she can't expect anything from him, so she avoids him afterwards. Then Avery travels to a tropical island to review Hayden's resort there, only to be stunned when Hayden is there to see her - even going as far as creating reasons requiring her presence. However, Hayden has demons of his own and will not lie to her and promise a future that isn't possible. This is a sweet story about two damaged individuals that are trying to find their way forward while protecting their hearts. I loved how, despite being damaged, that they both strove to be honest in their interactions with each other. Fans of the genre will want to put this on their TBR list. Just be warned that, while I described this novel as sweet (and it is), it's also explicit and not for younger readers.
Avery and Hayden are happy with where their life has taken them. He's a playboy charmer with more money than he can ever spend and more women than he could ever need. She's a woman with a career that keeps her plate full and the wanderer in her satisfied. Neither realized what they were lacking until they discovered it within each other. The Billionaire's Paradise is a reminder of why romance is not dead. Ms. Davies delivers characters that are gorgeously laid out for the lover in readers everywhere.