Series: Orchard Heights
Author: Roya Carmen
Genre: Steamy Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 27, 2020
Cover Design: Calico Images
For fans of The Ground Rules trilogy, Weston is back, and naughtier than ever, in this sweet and steamy boss secretary romance.
Gretchen Morris is barely thirty, yet she’s already a widow. Ethan, her two-year old boy, is the light of her life. This is it for her. She will never love anyone like she loved her late husband, Donovan. Every hour, he’s in her thoughts, in her heart, not letting go. She’s completely shattered because he’s gone, and every single day, she must live with the knowledge that she’s the one to blame.
She’s nothing but a hollow shell, going through her life on auto pilot, trying to be strong for Ethan, but failing miserably. She’s looking to become self-sufficient again, to head back into the job market and start a new chapter.
Surprisingly, all it takes is one jolt to bring her back to life; an opportunity to work with the reclusive wealthy man in the penthouse upstairs.
Weston Hanson is odd, beautiful, sweet, playful, and unlike anyone she’s ever met before. And he’s as broken as she is. He’s lived a man’s worst nightmare, gone through a divorce, and let go of a woman he loved dearly. He’s still obsessed with this woman and cannot move past the regrets in his life.
Can two people fall in love if their souls are full of broken memories, and their hearts are still held captive by others?
He rakes a hand through his hair. “Please don’t interrupt me,” he says softly, and I shut the hell up.
“Let me explain this to you thoroughly, and then you can voice in. You can speak when I give you the go-ahead.”
Wow. Is he for real? “Okay, Sir.”
A hint of a smile traces his lips. He clicks his pen again. He’s still not looking at me. I really wish he would. “There clearly is a mutual attraction between us. That much can’t be denied,” he says and finally lifts his gaze to mine, and a frenzy of butterflies flood my insides.
He rubs the back of his neck. “I… I’ve always thought you were attractive, and when Rosetta insisted on you, I was a little hesitant but then I rationalized that you and I wouldn’t really be working together and would have minimal contact. Yet, I won’t deny that I looked forward to seeing you in my office for the next six months, if only to look.”
His words are arousing me, despite the fact that he’s being very matter-of-fact about it all. Everything about him is alluring; his soft spoken words, his long fingers toying with that silver pen, the curves of his shoulders in his dress shirt, and most of all, his intoxicating eyes.
“But… then circumstances changed, and we found ourselves drawn together. I knew it was wrong to ask you to join me for lunch, but I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to be near you.”
I remain silent. Not only because he’s ordered me to, but also because I am at a complete loss for words.
“Yes, you and I can take the next step, but given the social climate these days, and the Me Too movement in the workplace, which I fully support, one can never be too careful.”
I nod obediently.
He finally puts down his pen, and flattens his hands on his desk, on either side of a conspicuous red folder. “I need your full written consent before we can proceed.”
“I really don’t think that is necessary—”
“I didn’t give you the go-ahead to speak yet.” He shifts uncomfortably in his seat. “I’m not done.”
I sit back, not believing the way he’s behaving, what he’s suggesting. I watch him intently as he flips open the red folder. I glance quickly at the heading on the sheet. It’s upside down, but I can still make it out. It reads: WORK PLAY AGREEMENT
I stifle a smile. He can’t be serious.
“I’ve pondered this incessantly and worked on this agreement all weekend,” he tells me, and I can’t believe what I’m hearing.
I notice the staple in the corner. It’s not just a simple one-page affair, it’s multiple pages.
While I was getting my nails done with my friends, he was busy whipping this plan up. While I played with Ethan at the park, he was working on this. While I binge watched old episodes of Sex and the City, he was typing this report up. This is so hot.
He hands me a copy of the arrangement, all business. My fingers are trembling when I take it from him, still speechless. My heart is threatening to burst out of my chest.
He reaches for an extra pen and hands it to me. He then picks up his pen again, and stares down at his copy of the agreement. “I thought we could go through it together, and then you could give me your thoughts. I look forward to hearing them.”
“Do I…” I hesitate to talk. “Do I have the go-ahead to speak now?” I ask, half-submissive, half-snarky.
He smiles. “Yes… I’m sorry. I just wanted you to hear me out.”
“Okay… well, let’s look at this, shall we?”
Roya Carmen is a busy mom, romance writer, designer, bookworm, chocoholic, and hopeless romantic. There’s nothing she enjoys more than making up stories about love, and sharing them with her readers.