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Published: February 2011
Retail Price: $4.99
Monet Carlson has sworn off men. Work is the only thing she has time for. When she signs a contract with the handsome Bristol Kelly, she struggles to keep her heart encased in a box of ice. His kisses prove the melting power to her heart. However, she must destroy the ghosts of her past before she will be free to love him.
“You look fabulous,” Bristol said with a smile as he stood on her front porch.
“Thank you.” Monet smiled and looked down, a bit of color warming her cheeks. Though the silk gown clung to her figure and the soft burgundy color gave a natural glow to her skin, she did not feel fabulous. Nice or maybe even pretty, but certainly not fabulous.
“What’s this? You are shy tonight?”
As she looked up, and really looked at him for the first time that evening, her breath caught in her throat. Some men looked awkward at best in tuxedos, but Bristol Kelly might well have invented the form of dress. His body fit perfectly inside the garment, as though they were made for each other. Then she reminded herself that he was the kind of man who undoubtedly did have this suit not only especially tailored for him but designed for him as well.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I didn’t expect you to show up on the other side of my door.”
“Who did you expect?”
“I don’t know.”
“You thought I had people waiting on me hand and foot?” he accused with an amused grin. “Sweetheart, I’m not the kind of man to have a man servant.” He chuckled.
She smiled, thrilled at his use of such an endearing term towards her. No one had ever called her something as innocently sweet as ‘sweetheart.’ She’d been called ‘baby,’ ‘hot stuff,’ ‘sexy,’ and much more embarrassing things. But ‘sweetheart’ made her actually feel innocent and almost beautiful.
Taking hold of his arm, he escorted her to the limo. Never having ridden in a limo before, she felt like a child at Christmas time. Excitement overwhelmed her as she stepped inside the vehicle. The interior was spacious and elegant, she felt as though she truly could be Cinderella on her way to a royal ball with her prince. Bristol – her imaginary prince for the evening – sat next to her, and she fancied that he sat a little closer than perhaps he should, considering the duration of their acquaintance.
Shaking her head of curls, for she had piled her nutmeg hair on top of her head tonight, she scolded herself for thinking such things of this man. True, his way of life was undoubtedly exciting. He was far too handsome for his own good, but she could not allow her mind to linger on such romantic notions toward him. The only relationship she could have with this man was a business relationship. Anything else was out of the question. Romantic relationships within business relationships usually went very wrong and destroyed more than a person’s heart.
“Is there anything I should know ahead of time about this event?” Monet asked, trying to get her mind off the man sitting next to her.
“To be honest, most of these people are a little stuffy. The fundraiser is for a children’s hospital here in town, but most of the people attending are there to donate for the prestige it will win them,” Bristol explained.
“Why would you donate to a cause as a means to look good in front of others?” Monet didn’t understand why someone would be more concerned about their own popularity as opposed to the health and well being of someone less fortunate.
Bristol shrugged. “I do it because I would not want my child to be hopelessly dying because I was too poor to pay for the care. So, I do it for the kids.” A hint of emotion tainted his voice.
“Is there anyone I should be wary of tonight?”
A look of surprise crossed his face as he looked at her. “You aren’t planning to leave me high and dry tonight, are you?”
“Good. You’ll have to walk home if you do.” He chuckled.
She smiled and tried to state her question in a different light. “I was asking in case I get separated from you for some reason. Or so I don’t put my foot in my mouth, like I’m doing right now.” She trailed off, utterly humiliated. In trying to dig herself out of the hole she had dug, she simply dug herself in deeper.
“Don’t worry. I’m not letting you out of my sight.” Bristol patted her hand and winked.